The Red Sea Reefer 350 was nicely setup and done. I can’t complain about it’s craftsmanship however I wish I would have waited a few months because now Red Sea has come out with the 425XL model. This newer model holds more water of course but it’s size is what I was really after. The length is the same as the 350 model but width is a little wider which means there would be more surface area. This also leads to a bigger sump area. Regardless, I had to work with what I had so I continued with designing a compact setup that would utilize one return pump feeding water to all equipment. This leads to less chords, freeing up outlets and a cleaner sump area. I wanted the sump area to be clean and different so I opted for a manifold setup in schedule 80 pvc. There’s no real reason why I picked schedule 80 besides the gray look to it. It just looks much nicer with the white cabinet and red valve knobs. The manifold splits the water to the UV light, Carbon Reactor, Bio Pellet Reactor, Chiller and mail display tank.
The hard wiring project took some time to gather all of the parts and pieces. The plan was to use a Vectra M1 return pump, however after flow calculation, I figured it would be best to use a Vectra L1.
Red Sea Reefer 350 800gph
Bio Pellet Reactor 200-400gph
GFO/Carbon Reactor 100-300gph
1/4hp JBJ Chiller 400gph
UV Light 100-200gph
Total flow needed: 2100gph
The max flow of the Vectra M1 is about 2000gph which would have worked however I didnt want the return pump to run at 100% max speed to satisfy all the equipment flow requirements. Plus the pump would be louder at it’s max speed. With Vectra L1 flowing at 3100gph, I’d have more flow to cover additional equipment if desired.
For precise control, I went with spears gated valves. All piping to the manifold were of sch 80. The gray just looked better in my opinion.
Here’s a break down of what I needed to accomplish this DIY build
1 x 5ft 3/4″ sch 80 pipe
1 x 5ft 1/2″ sch 80 pipe
4 x 3/4″ T fitting with 1/2″ in the center port
1 x 1″ to 3/4″ reducer since I started the manifold with a 3/4″ anticipating to use a Vectra M1 instead of the L1.
2 x 45 degree elbows because the pump output will not align with the manifold input.
1 x 3/4″ disconnect
4 x 1/2″ Screw Spear Gated Valve
1 x 3/4″ Screw Spear Gated Valve
4 x 2″ male threaded pipe to connect the gated valve to the T fitting
3 x 3/4″ 90 degree Elbow
2 x 1/2″ thread to slip for connecting the reactor to the bottom of the spear gated valve
1 x 4″ long 5/8″ green tubing
1 x 3/4″ barb
4 x Pipe bracket to mount the manifold
1 x Vectra L1
1 Oatley Primer/Cement glue combo
1 x 1.5″ tube for the intake on the pump
1 x 1.5″ 45 degree to point the pump intake to the bottom of the tank to avoid sucking in air since the water level is low in the sump
1 x 3/4″ to 1/2″ bushing adapter
2 x 1/2″ slip pigot for the return of the reactor to the sump
4 x 1/2″ male thread to slip for the reactor connector
12 o-rings for the 1/2″ connector. 3 per connector squished together to form a tight seal
It took about a week to put the whole thing together. I had to work on the reactor connector to ensure the sch 80 fittings worked. The male threaded part has to be trimmed a little to fit properly. The pipes had to be cut and all the fittings were put together without glue to test the fitment and ensure that it would fit nicely in the sump. I glued the main manifold first ensuring that no glue went inside the gated valves. I waited till it dried before moving to the next few pieces. I measured as needed. Every time I glued something, I had to wait for it to dry before I started moving the manifold around which took a really long time to put the pipes together.
I had the first gated valve setup for the GFO/Carbon reactor. The second is not used for now but it will be supplying flow for a UV light. The third is used for a bio pellet reactor. The forth goes to the chiller. The fifth valve goes to the display tank.
Use a table saw or a saw than can cut straight. I used a hack saw with an guide to make the cut. It was straight but just not that straight enough. Plus it took time cutting the pipes.
User a leveler. This would ensure that every angle is perfect. Mine is off a little. The T fittings and the elbows had line marks on them but when they lined up, it was slightly off. I didn’t notice this until I had glued one on. It was only off my a little so I left it.
Start gluing from the reactors up to the gated valve and then to the manifold. I started with the manifold first and worked my way down to the reactors which worked great however there’s a slight off-ness from one reactor to the other when placing the unit on a level ground. One can tell that it’s slightly off although you can’t really tell from looking at it once it’s hung.
Setting the pump flow:
For the Vectra L1, setting the power to the 4th LED worked great with the water only going to the display tank. Once I turned on the GFO/Carbon reactor, I had to turn it up to the 5th LED on the Vectra controller. After turning on the Bio Pellet reactor, I’m now on the 6th LED light. My assumption is what with the addition of a UV light and chiller, I would be up to the 7-8th power level LED indicators on the Vectra controller.
All in all it was a great project. It took longer than I had expect but it was well worth the wait. This setup should have came with the Red Sea to begin with.
I do want to note that I started with the intention of using the Vectra M1 for the return pump but soon figured out that the flow may not be enough for all the equipment I plan on running so I had to go with the Vectra L1 instead. I’ve bought all the 3/4″ fittings prior to getting the L1 so I had to get a reducer from 1″ to 3/4″ because the outlet of the Vectra L1 is 1″. That’s something to think about if you’re doing a similar setup. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.
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