An introduction and some questions


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
May 13, 2007
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Hi everyone,

Firstly I'd like to express how nice it is to join such a friendly and informative group of hobbyists like yourselves. I've gathered some great insight from you guys since I've joined here and feel much more confident in starting my set up now since I first developed some interest a few months back.

I'm slowly but surely gathering equipment and knowledge to start my tank RIGHT, hopefully within the next couple of months. Here's a breakdown of what I have so far:

Substrate: flourite black (its been very difficult getting a hold of aqua soil in Toronto, Canada without outrageous costs...still paying off my student loans :rolleyes: )

Lighting: 3x55 Watt with AhSupply wannabe DIY reflectors

DIY stand and canopy that I'm really proud of

Tank: 55 gallon (fish only aquarium at the moment) but might upgrade to a 75 gallon..still thinking about it

30 Gallon sump which is hosting my biomedia and heater

pressurized CO2 system ready to go. I've made a dual venturi reactor as per Tom's design and have also inherited a mazzei injector 384 to experiment with when I have the chance.

Turbo twist 6x UV sterilizer

My main concern at the moment will be to establish good circulation from the start and this is where I would appreciate some input. At the moment I've got my tank drilled on both sides with an internal overflow on one side and the return coming from the other side with horiontal spray bar across the bottom. I've got two problems with this setup. Firstly, I don't get enough flow as I have to slow down the pump in order for the water to drain adequately through the overflow. Secondly, the spray bar pushes the water out with too much velocity which causes my fish to get pushed towards the front of the tank if they get in the way. Ultimately, I'd like to set up a closed loop for filtration/circulation and would like some advice on this. I'm thinking of drilling another two holes at the tank bottom so that I have two intakes to the pump and two outlets as well. Would it be better to have both intakes on the top and outlets on the bottom or vice versa. Or would it offer better circulation to have an input and output at both the top and bottom of the tank? Also, in terms of pumps, I've got a Mag7 and a Mag 9.5. So i can either do two separate loops or have the Mag9.5 run the whole system. Would the Mag9.5 provide adequate flow for a 50 or 75 gallon? If so, still adequate with the mazzei 384? I'll most likely have an external heater/UV sterilizer and canister filter (maybe nu clear 533) in the set up as well.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but some advice and/or details of your experiences would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance,



Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Sep 23, 2007
South Florida
Hi Immy,


Here are my thoughts on your post:

Black flourite is an excellent product IMO. I use it on my 180 and it looks/works great. Easy to rinse prior as well.

Lighting: 3x55 Watt with AhSupply wannabe DIY reflectors

You may want to think about this. This is a lot of light for a 55. High light = higher growth rates=higher nutrient demand (esp c02!).

You may want to go with just 1 or 2 bulbs for now, assuming you still get a good spread over the tank, as you can always add the other bulb(s) later.

I used to have a 55 and I used 60 watts of normal tube floro (no c02 or ferts) and was able to grow many plants. Just a thought.

I assume you want a planted tank? What kind of plants/fish do you want to keep? This may affect your hardware.........

C02 setup sounds good but hard to say until installed. You may want to forgo the Ph controller if you have one and just have it on during the lighting period.

DO NOT ADD C02 WHEN LIGHTS ARE OFF! There is no need for this at all.

You can turn on the c02 about 30 minutes prior to lights on and 30 minutes before lights out. Have the c02 solenoid on another timer.

Do you know what a drop checker is? They will help you determine your c02 levels.

Here is a thread on these:

You may find you don't need your UV 24/7 so think about this again. It is useful but most folks use them for short periods if there is an issue.

As far as your filtration:

You can add a CPR overflow kit (comes in many sizes) that would allow you to use more of your pump output. Or, you can drill intakes on BOTH sides and feed the sump from both intakes. that is how my 180 is drilled. Intake/outlet on both sides inside the overflow.

CPR CS90 Overflow Box

Outlets can also be drilled on both sides so then you can direct the flow from either end. Use loc-line to direct your flow as desired instead of the spraybar. - Loc-Line Modular Hose System

A mag 9.5 should be okay, but not with the venturi. They need a high pressure pump like the Iwaki, not a high flow pump like the Mags.

The nu-clears are nice. Many folk here use them like myself :)

You can always run the intakes to the sump, then to an NC, and then back to the tank.

There are many threads posted here (a lot by me lol) about closed loops and sumps.

I recently switched from a sump wet/dry to a closed loop canister, but kept my twin overflow, and simply fed the intakes to my pump instead of the sump.

The pump then drives the NC 533 and my mazzei 584.

Here is a LENGTHY thread that goes on forever about how I switched from sump to closed loop. Long read but plenty of excellent info and advice. May as well learn from all my mistakes LOL

I hope this helps.

P.S. Get the BIGGER TANK, you will be glad you did.............


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
May 13, 2007
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the quick reply Gerry!

I agree that the 3x55watts might be a bit too much. I was planning on starting with just the 1x55 lamp running until I have things under control and perhaps want faster growth. I've tried running with just the 1x55 and it looks like ample light, but only a par meter would tell the real truth (maybe I'll invest in one soon) When I made the diy canopy I was under the assumption that more is better when it comes to light. But I know better now.

I do have a drop checker ready to go as well which should be of great help. As per the UV sterilizer I was planning on running the unit as and when there is a need for it. I've heard that running it full time can affect the ferts. So really its just there on standby.

I was afraid that the Mag9.5 wouldn't suffice for the mazzei. In which case I'll probably try the diy dual venturi reactor to start with and experiment with the mazzei when I can afford a better pump. (any suggestions on high pressure pumps for 55/75 gallon?)

I'm thinking of tearing down the internal overflow/sump altogether and just use the holes for the closed loop/canister. Do you know of any literature that will help me get a better grasp of positioning outlets to maximize flow?

I'm going to take a look at the link you've provided now and take in some of your pearls of wisdom and experience!!! Thanks again.

Take care