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FAQs about Circulation Troubles, Repairs for Marine Systems

Related Articles: Circulation, Inexpensive Wavemaker Impressions, by Steven Pro, Plumbing Marine Systems, Holes & Drilling, Plumbing Return Manifolds, Aeration, Water Flow, How Much is Enough, Powerhead Impressions by Steven Pro, Marine System ComponentsRefugiums, Central FiltrationFlow-through Live-holding Systems, Refugiums, Business Set-Up

Related FAQs: Marine Circulation 1, Marine Circulation 2, Marine Circulation 3, Marine Circulation 4, Marine Circulation 5, Marine Circulation 6, Marine Circulation 7, Marine Circulation 8, Marine Circulation 9, & FAQs on Circulation: Rationale, Designs, Pumps, Plumbing, What's About the Right Amount, & AerationPumps, PlumbingMake Up Water Systems, Sumps RefugiumsGear Selection for Circulation, Pump ProblemsSurge Devices

Some Conundrums:

Bubbles, leaks, noise!!!, waste heat, screening problems, dust storms, cats and dogs living together, oh my!

Re: shifting sand!    7/2/13
Thank you for the link Bob,..I learned a lot!
<Ah, welcome Pam>
Re: shifting sand!    7/2/13

The learning "curve" continues.
Last night, after reading the link
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2007/1/aafeature , I reconfigured my powerheads.
Maybe they're too powerful? Or maybe I just need to tweak until (my desired effect!
Attached is a good illustration of the gyre affect on my "shifting sands "Maybe I should take out the Koralia power head?
I guess patience is key here (like I hear all the time!) to find what works best.
Thank for listening Bob!
<I actually like the effect of the "dunes" here... and unless it's bugging your livestock, would leave all as it is. BobF>

Filters heaters/ and some things you should know.   7/1/13
First off Thank you for your help. I really enjoy your site and learning about fish. However some of your pages/articles on catfish and cichlids on the wet web media site (under freshwater livestock) are all crumbled together and its hard to look through them- do revisit and correct/fix it if possible. Its probably not so bad in the cichlids but in the catfish its awful.
<I will pass this on to Bob; FWIW though, if you learn to separate the articles from the FAQs, the site makes a lot more sense. Articles tend to be pretty much what you'd see in magazines -- indeed, many of them were -- while FAQs tend to be aggregations of short responses to specific questions. So the FAQs don't have a beginning, middle and end because they're add to all the time. Using the search engine of your choice can help a lot here, because you're quite likely to find comments or replies relevant to your situation.>
<<Where specifically do you find "all run together"? URLs please. RMF>>
Filtration /heating questions for 55 and 90 gallon. If I use sponge filters only will I be okay I rather like the sponges. Easy to clean, and don't hurt baby fish should i ever have fry in my community of the future.
<A fine approach; indeed, standard practise among cichlid breeders. You do need big-ass sponges, but so long as you get the big sponge filters, this can/does work extremely well.>
Should I go power filters too or just sponge, canisters are hard for me to fix and maintain. (I have vision impairment and my staff know next to nothing about filter maintenance ).
<Sponges can work just fine on their own.>
Also Would 2 heaters be okay in a 55 or 90 gallon . What strength should they be/ brand you recommend .
<Will depend on the brand, but something like a 200 W heater is typical for a 55-gallon tank, and you'd probably need two for a 90-gallon one. Look on the back of the packaging -- there's usually a chart that lists heater size, aquarium size, and the temperature of the room where the aquarium is located. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Please help-Sick RES   7/1/13
<Hiya!- Darrel here>
How r u guys? Been a long time.
<We're well.  Hope you are, too>
I had a question about my turtle. He's now grown and his nails have even grown bigger. The problem is that now the nails really scratch us a lot..  He's used to being held and each time i do so i get scratched all over though he doesn't mean to.
<Yes, he probably just doesn't feel as safe as he did.  Interestingly, a turtle that feels threatened may freeze in place more than one that feels secure.  It may be that he just wants to be put down and isn't afraid of letting you know.>
Can i clip his nails ? and if so how?
<No.   If you clip them they will remain sharp.  You simply need to handle him in a way that his claws don't come near your skin>
He also is more aggressive when i bathe him. Every day we change his water and only after bathing him (to clean the little slime that forms on his shell) we put him in the fresh water. Earlier he would be fine but now protests a lot.
<What you are doing is GOOD for him, but he probably doesn't see it that way>
I gently try to wipe off the slime with my fingers over running water. Does that hurt him ??
<Not at all.  I suggest you tilt his head down slightly, so that water will not run into his nose>
If so why wasn't he protesting when he was younger?
Hope you have some answers for me.
Thanks and regards,
<Well, sadly, I don't think I have answers you want to hear.  As he gets bigger and more assured, he's being more assertive in tell you that he doesn't like being handled.  All we can really do is try to respect that as much as possible but still doing what we need to do to care for him>

Help, broken pump 10/7/2009
Help quickly please. We have a 75 gal reef display tank with a 20 gal sump. We knew our pump (Rio Hyperflow 1290 gph) was needing replacing and have a replacement coming on Friday, in anticipation of this, but it cratered last night. The question is: will the tank hold out till Friday night, with 3 powerheads going in it and us siphoning out of the sump and into the display several times a day? Where we live we have no access to this equipment and I have to try to get one put on the bus if it is needed earlier. The tank is 2 1/2 years old and has been very stable up till now.
It is stocked right now at its limit with mixed corals, invertebrates, 2 clarkii clowns, two damsels, a blenny, two anthias, two pajama cardinals, and a sally lightfoot crab.
Thank you in advance for your quick response. Melanie
<You should be okay... with the several time daily siphoning, replacing. I would feed very little to nothing at all till the new pump is installed, up and running. Bob Fenner>

Closed-Loop Problem...The "Meager Flow" Issue - 01/23/07 Hello Crew, <<Howdy Mark!>> Sorry that I went this route, I do realize how busy you all must be. <<No worries mate...sometimes ya just gotta ask someone...>> I did try the Google Search and Website Index first to no avail. <<Mmm, bet the answer was there for the finding...but let's proceed anyway [grin]>> Here is my problem, after attending a MAST seminar last April 06 with Anthony Calfo as the speaker, I decided to follow Anthony's advice and make a closed-loop system using his design as posted on this site. <<An excellent design...though it does seem folks don't quite "get it" at times>> I have just completed the project and I am a little saddened by the water flow achieved and wonder if a few modifications would help and be worthwhile doing. <<Ahh, I know exactly what the problem is here...too many or too big outlets/nozzles for the pump utilized...a very common mistake.  Nozzles of 1/2" diameter require "at least" 350gph per nozzle to provide enough "force" at the nozzles to be useful.  Nozzles of 3/4" diameter require at least 600gph per nozzle>> I have used a Sequence Reeflo Dart pump with the following plumbing: - 2" inlet pipe from tank to pump (Tank not drilled for CL so it is up and over tank method)(siphon effect) with two 1-1/2" strainers, Overall length of inlet pipe is seven feet(3.5' to first 90-degree bend then up 2' to 180-degree bend then down 1.5' to two 1-1/2" strainers tee-ed off of 2"), - 1-1/2" output pipe from pump to 1/2" outlet pipe on top of tank (28" of head with 180-degree bend to enter 1/2" pipe), - 1/2" pipe with eight loc-line valved outlets. <<Mmm, I think I'm dizzy now from reading this...or maybe it's just the wine...>> My first thought is to change the 1/2" outlet pipe to 1-1/2" and still use the 1/2 loc-line valved nozzles. <<This might help "some">> Secondly, I would remove the 180-degree bend in the 1-1/2 output pipe and just use a 90 degree bend to attach it to the new tank top 1-1/2" output line. <<This is a good move...will be equal to reducing head-height by a foot>> I have attached a crude drawing of the setup that may help you to visualize it. <<It does...thank you>> Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated before I go off spending more time and money only to find that my efforts did not help a great deal. <<Ok Mark, here's the deal...your pump provides 3600gph with zero head...your current arrangement adds a bit more than 5-feet of head.  The pump manufacturer advertises about 2800gph at 4-feet of head...my guess would be more realistically it's closer to  2400gph.  Add to this the pump is meant to be "flooded" (i.e. below water height) and the fact you are "pulling water over the top of the tank" and I'm guessing your actual volume by the time the water gets to the manifold is somewhere in the 2000gph range...maybe less.  Divide this number by the number of 1/2" nozzles and you get 250gph per nozzle...not nearly enough.  But don't take my word for it...cap off about half your nozzles and compare the difference.  The design changes you mention are fine, but they won't solve your problem.  As I see it you will either have to reduce the number of nozzles or get a more powerful pump.  Oh yeah...do consider drilling the tank for a bulkhead to feed the loop if at all possible>> Many thanks, Mark Krysztofiak Materials Management Officer <<Hope you find this helpful mate.  Eric Russell...humble WWM Crewmember>>
CLOSED LOOP SYSTEM ON 90g TANK               
          1/2" pipe with eight loc-line valved outlets.      
     1-1/2" line from pump to 1/2" outlet pipe            
28" of head with                      
180 degree bend to                 1-1/2" Strainer attached to 
enter 1/2" pipe                 2" pipe.    
Sequence Reeflo                      
Dart pump                1-1/2" Strainer attached to   
3600 gph                 2" pipe.      
      2" inlet pipe from tank to pump.  Tank is not drilled for CL so it is up     
    and over tank method (siphon effect) with two 1-1/2" strainers.      
    Overall length is seven feet ( 3.5' to first 90 degree bend then      
    up 2' to 180 degree bend then down 1.5' to two 1-1/2" strainers).      

Pump prefilter  9/1/05 Bob, You were right about my knowledge on the venturi system. I bought a Kent Marine Venturi tube and hooked it up to the discharge of my pump. Like magic my Turboflotor is working great. <Ahh, glad you solved that mystery> I now have a question about something I am considering trying, and have found no mention of anyone else doing on this website or any other. My problem is that I still get some bubbles coming back from my sump to my main tank. <Not uncommon> I have the over/under/over baffles and that still allows some to enter the pump intake ending up in my tank. The only way I have found to stop them is to put the prefilter that came with the pump (MagDrive 9.5) on the intake. I've been cleaning it out really well once a week, but it still concerns me. I was wondering if you or anyone you know has ever tried to cut a filter pad to the shape of the plastic intake guard of a pump. I know that the filter pad would have a smaller pore size which will decrease the flow into the pump. <... and be real trouble if it gets "too" clogged, or sucked in!> I think that the smaller width of the filter pad will end up making the pressure drop through it just about the same as the prefilter the pump came with. <Likely more> On a side note I am also planning on putting a filter sock on the overflow coming from my tank into my sump. <A much better idea... these pumps are almost all made to "push, not pull"... are centrifugal... Not a good idea to restrict intake...> Thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice against doing so. Cory <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Maddening Oolitic Dust Storms Hello Bob or Crew, After reading The Conscientious Aquarist and countless web articles on reef aquaria for over two years, I recently made the plunge into my first attempt at a reef aquarium.  After all, I was probably the most knowledgeable reefer who had never had a reef.  I was convinced that a DSB teaming with bacteria, micro-invertebrates, brittle stars and snails would lead to success, so I purchased ESV oolitic aragonite and added it unwashed (Don't wash it!  You want those angstrom-sized particles for biodiversity.) to my tank and two refugia.  The water clouded up big time and two days later a snail couldn't have seen its foot in front of its eyes.  (Add the live rock to the tank and it will clear.)  So, I added my Tonga live rock that had been dipped in a rainbow to the tank and the water did clear.  Now, my Tonga live rock looks like it was dipped in a mud hole and a powerhead won't clean it.<That is because you have an algae that is not coralline growing all over it.>  Then I added a small powerhead to a refugium and the water clouded up big time.<O.K. Don't do that again.  Depending on the size of the refugium a powerhead with direct disturbance will cloud your water along with disturbing the infaunal creatures that you are trying to cultivate.>  Lord only knows what will happen when I add the two Tunze air-cooled powerheads to the aquarium. Please tell me how aquarists have deep, fine oolitic sandbeds and water circulation at the same time? Thank you, Joseph <Joseph, The best thing to do is to disperse the water flow and not have it directly blowing into the gravel.  What I have found that works best is to keep the powerheads near the top of the water and blow from one side of the tank to the other.  This will disperse the direct flow of the water and not disturb the gravel as much.  As for the live rock, if you keep the phosphates down and the calcium and alkalinity up the color will come back.  Good Luck. MikeB.> The amazing, incredible pump to/from act! I am setting up a 40g Reef tank, with a 30g sump tank ,and I am wondering if I could use a canister filter with a flow output of 1000lph to feed the sump going through a UV into the sump then being returned to the display tank by a water pump of the same flow rate as the canister filter of 1000lph.  Your advice would be appreciated  <Uhh, no... as you will/would soon find... there are no two pumps that will stay balanced... rely on gravity... placing the sump above or below the main tank... having the one overflow into the other. Bob Fenner>

Micro Bubbles Dear Crew, I'm having problems with micro bubbles. I have a Panworld 40PX dedicated to a chiller and a sea swirl and I'm not having any problems.. I also have a Gen-X Mak4 that is dedicated to 2 sea swirls and that is where I'm having my problems. I have silicone all connections, placed a sponge in the sump and I'm still getting the micro bubbles. I notice at times that I will get a surge of bubbles that will shoot out both of the sea swirls, could it possibly be the pump? This is a new set up and I do not have any corals as of yet. Will this be a problem if the bubbles do not stop? Any insight or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Steve >>>Steve, I have no experience with the units you speak of, so I'm going to leave this query in the In-box for another crew member to hopefully answer. What I WILL tell you though for the time being is that whatever happens, micro bubbles are not harmful to corals or other inverts despite what you may hear or read elsewhere.  Jim<<<

Searching For The Sound of Silence! "Hello pet-fish my old friends..." Hi , I hope you can be of assistance. <Will try! Scott F. with you today!> I have recently bought a new aquarium. After setting up the Euro-reef CS8-2 skimmer in my sump, the noise level is unacceptable. The system has 3 pumps , they are Mag 9.5 . The system is so noisy ( due to overflows that sound like Niagara Falls , dripping and splashing in sump and hum of 3 pumps. <Ohh, no> What can I do to substantially lower noise level, can cabinet floor be lined with rubber to decrease noise?. <I have seen (and heard!) people use mouse pads, acoustical insulation, and other materials to do the job. You may have to check out a few DIY sites under "soundproofing materials"> I have yet to pick up a canopy as new lighting is being added but I doubt if the canopy will decrease the noise level from the overflows ( glass tops are in place). Aquarium is in my living room and one cannot even hear TV due to it's noise. Unable to sleep on floor beneath equipment as it sounds like a washing machine running over my head. <I would consider constructing a "Durso Standpipe", which is essentially a cleverly designed standpipe that is designed to reduce noise. Do a search under the above and you'll find some how-to sites, as well as a site where you can order 'em right from the inventor, Richard Durso (the URL escapes me now...)> Any help would be appreciated , the LFS has been little assistance. I see beautiful aquariums in magazines , how do people deal with the noise from equipment? <Well, some noise is unavoidable-but you can utilize equipment that is designed to operate quietly, such as pumps (people like Dolphin Amp Master pumps- quiet and powerful...> I have read so many of your columns and have never seen this discussed . Help, I am desperate. Sorry to sound so frustrated but I have just invested $4000 for this system. <I understand! I think that the modified standpipe will make a considerable difference in the noise level by itself. Extra insulation and possibly utilizing a different pump or pumps can take care of the rest of the noise. Unfortunately, it may involve more $$$, but it can let you enjoy your system in peace> Thanks so much. Leslie Conrad <You're quite welcome! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

-Extra flow = extra noise? Try a closed loop!- I have a 120 reef tank a mag 18 for a return pump with two overflows. I would like to know if a mag 24 would greatly increase the gargling sound in the overflow box. <Likely, but you'd be taxing the flow capacity of your overflows.> The reason for the upgrade is so I don't have to use power heads in the tank if possible. I would like to rely on my returns to do the circulation instead of the power heads. <How about making a closed loop with the mag 24? The pump would sit behind the tank on the floor with the return T'd off back to the tanks (on SeaSwirls if you can afford them). You can make a PVC inlet with a couple of strainers to draw water from the main and hide it behind the rocks. If this doesn't make sense, check any of the reef message boards and do a search on closed loops, they're all the rage! -Kevin> Please advise. Thank you in advance for your time. Regards, Cecilia

Puffer Trauma... another intake injury I ve been referred to you by to very smart people.  Last night I arrive home late, to hear a loud noise coming from my 45 gallon tank.  When I tried on the light, my puffer was caught in my uv sterilizer pump.  normally he's around 4inches long, but when I first saw him he was the size of a baseball. The pump caught about 2 cm behind his side fin, at first he was dazed and messed up, then my lion came out and start picking on him, well I solved that and the lion is no longer in the tank.  Its been around 20 hours, he still swimming slow but is now back to normal color, only this one side is all white, looks like necrotic tissue. <May well be> He wont eat and is apparently hurt, this fish means the world to me! I have a 45 gallon, with some live rock and only 1 small star polyp, other fish include small Picasso trigger, new yellow tang, and two damsels.  I have a 15 watt uv sterilizer, back pack protein skimmer and AquaClear filter, lighting I have 440 watt ice cap with VHO's.  Please help Thank you very much <The only real course of action is to keep the system stable and optimized, and hope... plus of course put a screen cover over that pump intake. In all likelihood, if this puffer is alive at this point, it will heal... though it may not eat for several days more. Bob Fenner> David White University of Michigan School of Dentistry Ann Arbor MI

Bubbles in Sump Hi Crew, I have read a number of FAQ's on microbubbles in sump but not able to solve the problem. I have a 200 gallon tank with the sump (72 gallons) in basement. There is about a 8 foot drop for my 2 inch PVC pipes (2 of them) to run from the overflow to the sump so when the water reaches the sump it crashes and generates significant bubbles (almost looks like a foam). I have ordered an Aqua-C EV240 but not set up yet so I know the problem is not the skimmer nor any pinhole leaks in my return plumbing (that has all been checked). I have put a sponge and tried to put up a couple of baffles but my Iwaki 100 RLT pulls the water through the sump quickly and the bubbles continue to get pulled through. What type of materials will actually trap these bubbles or is there a way to modify my sump so as to capture them in an area and have them pop before getting back into the return. <The easiest fix is going to be to add two micron filter bags to the drain lines. These should stop the microbubbles, but they will require cleaning almost every single day. If that gets too tiresome, I would modify your sump with baffles, forcing the water to go under and then over two planes. This should force most of the bubbles to the surface to burst before the return pump.> Thanks in advance, Joe <Best of luck to you. -Steven Pro>

Circulation versus Higher Temps Gentlemen: <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> Firstly, I would like to thank the person that helped clarify my grounding probe question that was answered by Andrew. <<!? oh... perhaps Anthony?>> My query today pertains to a pump that I recently added inside my tank. I have a 125G FOw/oLR acrylic bow. It stands 27 inches high and has three front panels. The two side panels are 12 inches wide and the middle section is 36 inches wide. I have a sump that has a wet/dry, UV and protein skimmer. I use a Rio 2500 that returns water to the tank from the sump, with the bulkhead positioned on the bottom in the middle of the tank. While I noticed that circulation was vigorous on the bottom one-third of my tank, algae would build up toward the top. I thought that adding a pump inside would create additional circulation as well as cut down on the algae. I added a Rio 1700 (with appropriate filter attachments) to the top right front corner of the tank. This created some nice circulation and appears to keep the water cleaner. The fish, especially the tangs, really enjoy the added water movement.  However, I have noticed that the water is warmer. I am wondering if it could be attributed to the added pump. <<Oh, for certain.>> My tank is also against a west-facing external wall that does get hit by sun in the afternoon, and it has been warm in So Cal the past few weeks. <<That could do it too, but a Rio 1700 is a fairly strong pump and capable of bringing up the water temperature a degree or two or even three.>> I have read some posts that debate the virtues of an inside pump versus increased temps. To test if the higher temps are due to the added pump, I disconnected it this AM to see if I notice a decline in the temp. I was reluctant to do this as I liked the additional circulation. <<I say circulation and consistent temperature are more important - you didn't mention what the actual temperature of your tank was, so it's kind of hard to tell you if it's too hot, or not a big deal. Even if your tank was 82, it wouldn't be the end of the world - just so the tank doesn't drop to 78 at night, you'd be fine. 78-80F is the ideal range, but I would certainly take 82F as a side-effect of vigorous circulation.>> Your comments and thoughts are appreciated as always. Thanks, Mitch <<Cheers, J -- >>
Re: Circulation versus Higher Temps
Thanks, Jason, for your prompt response! And, my sincere apologies to Anthony, as watching the NFL highlights and hearing the name "Drew" Bledsoe must have messed me up! <<Oh well...>> I am sorry that I failed to mention the temperature. It is 82F to 83F during the day and seems to remain fairly consistent during the night, with perhaps a slight decline as evidenced by my readings first thing in the morning. I should mention that the temperature would approach 84F in July and August before I added the Rio 1700. The fish seemed to behave fine which would support your consistency theory. When the temp would get that high, I would have a fan blow over the sump which seemed to drop the temp by a degree or two. <<Yes, the fan-plan works well... I do this myself as well.>> OK...please tell me if this is the correct approach. I will continue to run the Rio 1700 and monitor the temp. If it nears 84F, then I will use the fan to take it down a notch. But, I do not want the temp to drop too much too soon as this could be harmful for the fish. <<This might just require that you keep the heaters pumped up to 81-82 so that things stay nice and warm... or perhaps 'consistent' - that is the buzz word of the month.>> Thanks, Mitch <<Cheers, J -- >>

Live Rock & Tiny Air Bubbles Hi Bob, <Steven Pro in this morning.> Two quick questions for you. I just set up a FOWLR aquarium, 200 gallons, I run it with a 100 RLT IWAKI pump. I have noticed what looks to be thousands of very tiny air bubbles that makes the water not look crystal clean (it's been three weeks since set-up so not any detritus on the rocks or aragonite gravel). The flow from the IWAKI is very strong, don't know if this is what's causing it but I didn't want to lower the flow as I was told keep maximum flow. <These microbubbles are generally caused by one of two things. Either the pump is drawing in bubbles from the sump or their is a pin hole leak in your return plumbing that is acting like a venturi. First, I would see if the bubbles are originating from the sump. Excess bubbles from the skimmer or caused by crashing water from the overflows are two main problems. If not, I would check each joint, smearing with Vaseline and see if the bubbles disappear. Once you isolate which joint has the hole, merely clean up and reseal/reglue the joint.> Second question is I bought some nice (lots of coralline algae) live rock and have had it for about two weeks, it seems to be turning slightly white (dead looking in places). I run mini-compact lights for about 6 hours a day. <I do not know if your lights are intense enough, but regardless I would run for 10-12 hours per day.> Is there anything I should be doing to encourage the coralline algae growth. <Maintaining calcium and alkalinity levels while minimizing other nutrients is key.> Thanks for your help. Your site is great. Joe Jugovic <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Film on Top of Water what to do about film on top of water I have two return pumps and three power heads connected to a wave maker for water circulation still have this film on top of water can find no information any where James mills  <You should re-aim some of your returns or powerheads for surface agitation. Also, take a look at your overflow. This should be effectively skimming water from the surface and eliminating this scum layer. -Steven Pro>

Loud Water Flow Noises Hi all, First, I would like to add my praise to all the others regarding this web site. You guys are doing an amazing job and providing a great service (Bob' s book is great as well). Thanks so much! <Thank you very much!> I am new to this hobby and just purchased a 65 gallon tank with a sump system. After setting everything up, we turned it on and were astonished at the noise coming from a multitude of sources. I like the sound of running water (I have a fountain in a nearby room) but this was a different story. There was a very loud flushing, gurgling noise which (after searching on the web for clues) has been partially remedied with the addition of a vent tube at the first 90 degree bend. However, we still have a deep, gurgling water sound coming, I think, from the rapid flow of the water from the end of the exit pipe into the sump water (also possibly from just the water running through the piping). We have an overflow box which is filled with bioballs. From the overflow box to the sump, the water flows through 1.5 inch PVC pipe straight down 6 inches, bends 90 degrees and flows across for 16 inches before bending 90 degrees and dropping the final 8 inches into the sump. We're running about 15 gals/minute through. <About 900 gph, quite impressive.> To quiet the exit noise, we attached a 6 inch piece of bike inner-tubing to the PVC exit pipe which extends into the sump water. The idea was that this would reduce the turbulence in the sump, and it does seem to help quiet it a bit. However, this requires the water to flow through a narrower path of 1' diameter as it exits (vs. the 1.5' PVC). Here are my questions: 1.)Is there a problem with decreasing the diameter of the outflow--meaning might it back up and cause overflow problems (the tubing isn't fully distended when running and doesn't appear to be reducing flow). <It is possible to cause you problems. Better to use more 1.5" PVC.> 2).Is there a problem with harmful chemicals leaching into the water from the bike tubing? <I was wondering that myself when you first mentioned its use. I would much rather see you use PVC.> 3).Is there a better, more effective way of minimizing the sound of water entering the sump? <The use the air vent is great. Also, see if you cannot eliminate the 90's and use 45's instead. Try attaching a 45 right off of the tank and angle the water straight into your sump. You will probably have to move the sump around to fit it right. The PVC should extend into the sump water and should be vented somewhere. Preferably, right before the drain line goes into the water, insert a Y so that air can escape.> 4).Air is certainly mixing with the water as its exiting the pipe. Should I punch a vent hole in the 90 elbow positioned just before entering the sump? <See above notes, a variation on your idea.> Thanks so much in advance for any help you can offer. -Eileen <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Tank Overheating Bob & Crew, <cheers> I just finished going through your FAQ's on pumps and was wondering if there are any pumps less prone to heating the water?  <for starters, externals are less prone than submersibles> I just finished my 180 gallon tank and can't keep the temp unless and my chiller runs almost continually. <hmmm... you have bigger problems then... the pump choice alone is not going to make or break this situation. Do you use powerheads as well? They are horrible for adding heat to the water. A well designed reef has no powerheads ideally... just a large overflow system, a large external return pump and an adjustable manifold system to distribute and tweak water flowing into the tank> My pumps are from Little Giant: 2) 5-MDQX-SC returns from sump 1) 4-MDQX-SC closed loop reticulation 1) Mag 5 skimmer <this brand has been around for a while but their pumps don't have the same reputation (longevity). Still... they are less expensive than a super engineered pump (German Oases for example)> Little Giants claims low heat exchange in their adds. <hmm... do check the message boards regarding this... I don't want to be the only dissenting voice :)> Thank as always for your time and input, Mark Johnson <with kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Tank Overheating Anthony, Thanks for the reply, I know your inundated with questions.  <still our pleasure> I don't have any powerheads in my system.  <excellent> It does have a close loop re-circulation system with a separate pump. I also install 2 slightly smaller return pumps instead of 1 larger pump. My local LFS recommended Little Giant and since the used tank I purchased had 1 new Little Giant, I just matched the existing.  <they really don't have a great reputation for longevity in seawater> After many phone calls and much research, it seems that these pumps are somewhat known for excessive heat transfer,  <oh, ya!> by some accounts as much as 3-4 degrees per pump. Multiply that times 3 pumps, that adds up to a lot of heat going into your system. I did order a Dolphin Amp Master 3000 to replace my return pumps.  <I haven't used the Ampmaster but have heard very good things about it being very efficient and running quiet> I just hope people read this and don't make the same costly mistake I made. <thank you for sharing... it will be posted> Thanks for your help and insight, Mark Johnson <best regards... (and yes... 3hrs later, still doing e-mail :) )Anthony>

Rusting Pumps Bob....let me first, thank you for your time and effort. Your q&a is invaluable.. Now for my problem. Am I the only person having problems with water pumps which rust out? Just about the time I get everything in balance and my 125 fish/invert tank looks great and is thriving....a water pump or powerhead problem throws everything into trash. When my penguin powerheads kept having the impeller magnet rust....I went to the Rio ...which was worse. see attached letter to the manufacturer) I'm getting to the point that I want no mechanical water movement except for a new Supreme Mag 1200 which I bought and have yet to install. Please help me with your experience of which are safest. The hair algae which resulted is devastating...weeks of siphoning...Phosguard...water changes, with little improvements. HELP!!!! >> Regarding powerhead choices, mine (of commercially available brands) are made by Aquarium Systems (actually made for them), the Visi- series, and Hagen's. The hair algae problem you might enlist a Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus) or Mithrax (Emerald Green) Crab to help you with. Bob Fenner

HOT TANK Bob, I just got water in my 80 gal. tank, no lites on as yet, Iwaki 70xrlt pump, Rio 2500 in the sump running the Aqua C 150 skimmer...Problem...The temp is at 79-80 plus degrees. The Iwaki is very warm. So hot you cannot put your hand on it. Is that normal and can that be the reason for the hot water?  I live at 7000 feet elevation and the weather outside is below freezing every night and 30-40in the daytime. The house is heated to 70 degrees daytime, 60 nighttime. What do you think?...Thanks, Robert >> The Iwaki is contributing the heat... and it is way too hot itself... check out your plumbing situation... and air space around the unit... you don't want to restrict the intake side of this (or any) centrifugal pump (non-close-fit volute/impeller)<They're made to PUSH, not pull>... The plumbing on the intake (front) side, should not be down-sized, restricted (as with a particulate filter... or even a trap) AT ALL... Do solve this problem NOW... fire, et al. trouble possibly here....  Bob Fenner

Valve on the wrong side I installed a new Berlin protein skimmer using a Giant model 7 pump with a ball valve on the pump inlet to adjust the water flow. The results was a terrible slurp-slurp-slurp sound. Can you suggest how to eliminate the noise? Should the valve be on the pump outlet rather than the inlet? Or, is this normal for this type of skimmer? >> Yeeikes... yes to moving the restriction on the Little Giant pump to the discharge side... as with all centrifugal pumps... don't restrict the intake side... lest cavitation and more problems. Bob Fenner

External pump  I recently upgraded my pump on my reef tank from 3RIO 2500's to 1 external Tiny Might pump. I'm getting great water flow but my concern is with heat. Not heat in the water but heat of the unit itself. Since I've never used an external before I'm not sure what to expect the Motor case is too hot to touch. Is this normal for a 1200gph pump  Thanks  Erik Martin  Fremont, CA  <Yikes, no... NOT normal and dangerous... either have someone who knows come by and check out your install (perhaps too much restriction on the intake side... or poor ventilation around the unit... or??? Or call the seller, manufacturer and ask them about operating temps. A clip on thermometer will tell you about how hot the pump is... but it should NOT feel HOT to the touch. Take a look over the pump, pumping, plumbing sections posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com and consider temporarily unplugging the new pump and sticking the old Rios back on... Bob Fenner, who would>

Powerhead problem Hello again, I really hope you may have a solution for me. I have 2 powerheads in my 55 gal and I have had 4 fish deaths and 1 snail death because they are getting sucked up in the powerheads. I just saw one of my Banggai Cardinals just a few minutes ago. I took the cone off of the intake part to spread the current out some over a week ago. Obviously it is not working. I know reversing the current a little would help but then that cuts down on the regular current. Any advice? Sincerely, Lianne T Carroll :)~ <Either a change to other water moving mechanisms, or to fashion larger, more diffuse intake screens on your existing powerheads (put the current ones back on for now)... Look into foam type filters... to place on the intakes... some folks use pin type bio-balls... place live rock up and about these areas... at any length the intakes must be screened. Bob Fenner>

Tiny bubbles,... still ! Hi Bob Fenner ! I have worked out all the "kinks" of my tank and setup, but one problem still remains: tiny bubbles in the main tank ! I put batting material up against the overflow output pipe in the sump, just like you suggested. It DID help,... some. Most of the bubbles are actually coming from a small powerhead that sits in the first section of the sump, (which is not represented in the picture). This powerhead is used to constantly pull air out of the siphon part of the overflow box, so it is very necessary,....Oooh ! I could just set the powerhead in it's own, separate bucket of water or something, huh?  <Possibly> I just thought of this. Pictures for reference if needed: <<tank diagram.bmp>> <<overflow.bmp>> I am thinking of just putting more baffles in the sump, which will be a pain in the @#! since the whole system is already set up. Is this a good remedy for the bubbles, you think? <Yes... perhaps with a piece of open cell foam as a barrier...> Also, I wanted to tell you that the live rock is doing great. No ammonia increase at all, and things are already, after only 5 days of really low wattage lighting, growing like crazy on it. There is some algae on it that is the brightest green color. Just beautiful ! <Ahh> Thanks again, Bob Fenner, you're a really good person ! Jana <And you are a kind friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Norman (perils of pump intakes) R.I.P. Norman the puffer fish we previously discussed who had undergone a battle with an AquaClear 802 powerhead. Norman was a trooper to the very end. I was bringing home a critter carrier with holes a friend had just drilled to allow him picking-free recovery.. but it was too late. Norman just couldn't make it. Thanks for the advice and help trying to nurse Norman back to life. I'll never leave a powerhead intake open again. It sure is trying to be new to something, you feel helpless when you lose a friend out of your own carelessness. Thanks again for all your help with my tank.. <Very sorry to hear of your loss... It is so that pump intakes account for many, too many such losses. I will post your message in the knowledge that it will prevent many more. Bob Fenner> Bill Hammond

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