In our last episode, we asked you guys which sump we should use to upgrade the standard glass sump that comes with the tank.  The results were pretty clear and we will be using the MD prototype sump on our aquarium.

We came up with our plumbing schematics and as you can see we decided to plumb the sump outside of the tank stank and next to the tank.  Why you ask?  Well the biggest benefit is that we can use a much larger sized sump which means we will end up with a larger water volume and more room inside the sump for fancy equipment.  Also, many of us here at MD are total equipment nerds and love to see new products in action and test them on our tanks here at the office.  Having this nice large external sump will give us more freedom to show you guys a variety of different products in future videos and continue to test out new products in a real world situation.

After mapping out the plumbing I gathered all the parts we would need and cut all of the pipes to size and assembled them without glue for a dry fit.  We needed a way to stabilize the long runs of PVC pipe so we also created this mounting board to support the PVC pipe.  After getting the PVC mounted we drilled a hole for power cords to run through the board, slipped in a little plastic grommet to clean up the edges  and attached a power strip on the back side of the board in order to power the equipment.

Now I know some of you are probably wondering about a controller which is definitely in our plans for this aquarium but we will tackle that topic in a future episode.

After getting all the PVC set into place we glued the pipes together with some clear all in one PVC cement to help keep it looking nice.

This MODE Aquarium comes standard with uPVC which does not exactly adapt to standard schedule 40 PVC fittings so we utilized this compression fitting that can be picked up at your local home improvement store to adapt to standard schedule 40 PVC on the drain line.

We have a 1” drain line that runs out of the tank and splits into two lines here at the sump.  Each line has a valve to divert the drain water into each of the 1” ports on the sump.

For the return, we ran ¾” PVC back into the tank and created a manifold.  We attached the stock return pump with a small segment of vinyl tubing which helps to reduce vibration and allows us to quickly change out the return pump.

Each of the outlets on the manifold has a ¾” ball valve that will allow us to control the flow of water.  These manifolds really come in handy for feeding reactors because it allows you to feed multiple reactors from a central return pump and eliminates the need for multiple small powerheads in your sump.  This clears up space and power cord clutter.

The manifolds can also be used to pump water out of your system for water changes which is especially helpful for larger systems where siphoning water from your display can take quite some time.  They manifold valves will stay closed for now as we cycle the tank but you can bet we will be installing various reactors in the future.

Finally, we adapted the ¾” schedule 40 PVC return line with vinyl tubing for connection to the uPVC pipe that comes on the MODE Aquarium.

Now that we have the tank plumbed up and ready to go, it is time to choose our rock and get water into this tank for cycling.

We stock a variety of different dry rock and I definitely wanted the freedom of using a combination of shelf, branch and standard rock inside the tank. So which will it be, the CaribSea Life Rock or AquaMaxx Dry rock?

The Caribsea Life rock is man-made of aragonite based material and infused with spores of live bacteria to help hasten the cycle time.  It is also colored with various shades of pink and purple to mimic coralline algae.

The AquaMaxx dry rock is naturally collected so every individual rock has a unique organic shape.  The rock is sun dried and free of live hitchhikers and pests that are commonly found on naturally collected live rock.