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More FAQs about Plumbing Marine Systems 10

Related Articles: Plumbing Marine Systems, Myth of the One Inch Beast (Why Relying on One Inch Overflows... or Overflow! Is foolhardy) by Scott Vallembois, Plumbing Return Manifolds, Refugiums

Related FAQs: Marine Plumbing 1, Marine Plumbing 2, Marine Plumbing 3Marine Plumbing 4, Marine Plumbing 5, Marine Plumbing 6, Plumbing 7, Plumbing 8, Plumbing 9, Plumbing 11, Plumbing 12, Plumbing 13, Plumbing 14, Plumbing 15 Plumbing 16, Plumbing 17, Plumbing 18, Plumbing 19, Plumbing 20,   Plumbing 21, Plumbing 22, Circulation Plumbing, & FAQs on: Plans/Designs, Parts: Pipe, Valves, Back-Siphon/Check-Valves, Unions, Tools, Solvents, Use of Flexible Tubing, Leaks/Repairs, & Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Holes & Drilling, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing Noise, Make Up Water Systems, Pumps, Plumbing, Circulation, Sumps, RefugiumsMarine Circulation 2, Gear Selection for Circulation, Pump Problems Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Fish-Only Marine Systems 2, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large SystemsWater Changes Surge Devices

More flow, mo' bettah!

Bulk Head Draining Noise 7/16/03 Hi Anthony, How are you doing?  Wish you still had your store in Cheswick.   <wow... good to hear from you my friend!> Love the new book by you and Mr. Fenner.  Great job.   <thanks kindly :)> Anyway, I read the questions and answers on the web site and am baffled on how to correct this problem.  I just purchased a new 120 long for a reef setup (upgrading from a 55).  The trickle filter is a 30 gallon sump filled with live rock and a Berlin Turbo Skimmer.   <do consider replacing this skimmer or adding another/better one on the future. Mediocre at best IMO> The return pump is a mag drive 1,200 gph flow (4' height).  There are 4 bulkhead drains drilled into the tank for drainage to the sump (according to my receipt, they are 1.75" bulkheads).   <likely 1" bulkheads (which require a 1.75" hole)> The noise from the bulkheads is unbearable.   <indeed... four 1" holes is borderline IMO for 12OO GPH. A siphon is being created. I have 5 holes on my 50 gallon mini-reef for the same sized pump> Sump noise is okay.  The water draining at the tank level is the problem.  I tried a couple of different drain setups and the T got rid of the sucking noise.  I am now dealing with a raging flow that sounds like Niagara falls in my living room.  The only thing that seems to quiet it down to a reasonable level is cutting the flow in half.  This seems insufficient for a reef display.   <absolutely> After reading all the postings, it seems like 4 drains should be plenty (which from a flow perspective, it is). How do I get rid of the noise?  Should I have a couple more drain holes drilled to lower the flow per hole?   <would be a good remedy... or even have just two drilled in the display wall to install the 1200 GPH pump on a closed loop. Then add a smaller pump for the sump return> The only other solution I can think of is to let the pump rip wide open all day when we are not home or are sleeping, and turn it down to half when we are there.  Is this a bad idea? <hmmm... interesting. Not thrilled about it, but can't really argue well against it if it is a minority of the time. You can get solenoids and put them on timers to do this for you if you like (timed restriction during your eve/viewing hours)> I am concerned about stressing fish and corals by constantly varying the flow like that.   <arguably it could be good for variety/feeding opportunities> Everything I read says that 1,200 gph should be good, and I think the setup should handle it, but I cannot stand it.   <in terms of total flow it is on the low end of the good range. Most reef aquaria require 10-20X flow per hour> Ready to return everything and stay with the 55.   <no worries... not that bad <G>> I have broken it down and set it up 4 times already and am pretty frustrated.  If you are still located in Pittsburgh, do you do any in home consulting services?   <I am still in the burgh... but at a loss for time on the consults. We have several good professionals in the area though. Our (WWM) old friend Steve Pro would be good to start with at Pro Aquatic Services: dspro@sgi.net > If I can't get this resolved soon, I am giving up (my wife will go crazy). Thank You, Andy <truly not that bad mate... easily resolved. Do consider the closed loop and/or chatting with Steve for a visit. Best of luck, my friend! Anthony>

Going With The Flow... Crew, I have been reading over the FAQs all day re: plumbing.  Since my two remaining fish are still in QT from a rather bad Ich outbreak, I've decided to redo my tank. <A perfect time for changes! LOL> I have a 125g marine tank that I'm planning on taking out the crushed coral and replacing it with a 3-4" DSB. Also, I'm going to try and redo the filtration. Currently, I have 4 holes drilled into the bottom of my tank.  Two of them feed my Blueline 1100 pump that supplies my Ocean Clear 340 filter.  The other two holes (towards the outside) are my return lines (I've inserted a rough top-down drawing of my current set up.  I will be inserting bulkheads into those holes and capping them underneath.  Anyway, I'm interested in having an overflow box installed.  Either one in the middle or one each corner, what do you think? <I prefer center overflows, myself, but overflows at each corner will work just fine> I will be putting Durso standpipes plumbed through 1" bulkheads as stated on Durso's website. <Durso's are very quiet...well worth the effort to construct and fine tune them> Here's where my confusion comes in.  I read on Durso's website that a 1" PVC standpipe can handle up to 600 gph. I've read in the FAQs that it's more like 300 gph.  I will want to put 2 return lines, so the total head will be about 10' which will put my pump at around 700 gph.  This flow will be too much for the two 1" PVC standpipes if they can only handle 300 gph each. Also, will a middle overflow or two corner overflows handle that water flow? I'm not sure how those things are rated, flow wise.  I hope this is all making sense so far! <It is...I've made two one inch standpipes flow a total of about 1000gph with no trouble...Durso's are a bit different. You can actually email Richard Durso on his website. He's a nice guy and will be happy to clarify the function and capacity of these standpipes> I was also thinking, since I don't like the power head look, that I want to do a closed loop circuit. Does it matter where I put those intakes?  I was planning on putting the intakes and the returns through the back about 4 inches above the DSB, with the returns closer to the sides. <That's fine. You may want to consider the use of a manifold for returns throughout the diameter of the tank, or entertain the idea of Sea Swirls (my personal favorite). Lots of possible ideas...> The returns from the sump will be up in the back corners.  I was thinking that this will give me good flow at the surface and towards the bottom?  So many opinions, I'm getting so confused.  Any help that you could provide would be a big help.   <Unfortunately, you're right about that. There are dozens of ways to go...I'd keep researching he numerous options available to you, and choose the most appealing ones..> If Bob or Anthony get this, your new book is fantastic.  Keep up the kind work that y'all are doing. <Will do! I'll pass on the kudos to Bob and Anthony regarding the book...It is a fantastic piece of work!> Vince <Thanks for writing, Vince...Regards, Scott F>

Aspiring Reefer - Or Aspiring Plumber! Scott (or whomever working the keyboard tonight), <Scott F. here - cold drink in one hand, a taro roll in the other...hey - how can I type...?> Thanks again for all your help.  Hope you will give me a little more :o) <Will try!> I'm in Argentina, so trying to do my setup right has been a real adventure. <Yep- I recall!> Anyhow - found the live rock, and a guy to build me a tank and drill holes. <Cool!> Proposed set up: 95 gallon FOWLR 60"L x 24"H x 16"W Aqua C EV 120 or 180 (guess bigger is better?) <If you can get the 180, that would be great!> Berlin Sump - 23"x12"x10" (supposedly rated up to 125 gallons) 100 lbs. live rock 4" or 5"sand bed (no live, but assume rock will fix that) Gonna try no additional filtration (unless you think I need it) <This is sounding soo much better than it did when you first started out! I'm really stoked for you!> Question is, how many holes, where, and how big? <Well- a lot of it depends on the pump, water volume, etc.. I'd look into a skimmer box built in the center, with at least two 1-1/2" to 2" standpipes...You'll be able to move a fair amount of water that way> Have been reading through FAQ's and still very confused (and scared I am going to have to go to plumbing school). <Yep- it's all part of the game. Trust me- when this is over- you'll be an expert...Every hobbyist in Argentina will want to hire you for your genius!> This is what I have concluded, rightly or wrongly, from reading FAQs (please feel free to comment/set me straight): For FO tank 10x water flow is reasonable (1000gph) <Yep- more if you can do it...> Powerheads in tank not optimal so will attempt manifold system. The outflow from 1000gph will require at least two 1" bulkheads (capacity 600gph each).  Some differing opinions on this (some FAQs say they can only handle 300gph, at least the way I read it). <I think two 1 inch returns should handle it. Or, you could route the returns using hard pipe or flexible tubing into 2 1 inch Sea Swirl rotating return devices at the top of the tank. That way, you won't have to drill and plumb manifolds into the side of the tank...Just drill holes for them on top, or brace them if using a glass tank. One of many ideas...the possibilities, unfortunately, are endless! (as are the costs, LOL!)> One 1" return is O.K. for the manifold setup. Should I be using larger bulkheads for the outflow and returns?  If so, what would you recommend? <As above...simple is good...> Holes should be drilled as near the top of the tank as possible, this applies to both the outflow and return? <I like to... It prevents disasters from floods in the event of power failures and drain downs...> If I am correct in assuming I need three holes, how would they be set up? Equally spaced along the back?  Or should the two outflows be near each other, at the end of the tank where the inflow box of the sump (underneath) is located (shorter runs of PVC)? <I'd keep all returns at opposite ends...Or, you could use a PVC manifold running the entire circumference of the top inside lip of the tank, with PVC elbows all along the length...mega flow that way!> Should the single return be drilled at the center of the tank (on top) to provide for more even water distribution through the manifold? <Well- again- lots of ways to go...> Sorry if these are silly questions, or if I am totally confusing things. <No- you're not. This project is costing you a lot of money, so you are absolutely right to do the research now to get it right! I'd read up on the DIY site ozreef.org for tons of ideas that you can apply...good reading for aspiring reef plumbers!> Thanks again for all the help.  Would not even attempt this without you. Jim <Well, I'm thrilled to be a part of it, as are all the members of the WWM crew! Feel free to write us again any time! Regards, Scott F>

Aspiring Reefer-Or Aspiring Plumber? (Pt. 2) Gracias Sr. Scott,   <Hola! Or is That Ola.. or- er... Well- I took 4 years of French in High School...LOL> I like the way you throw stuff at me when I ask questions that makes me work harder/learn more.  Can't believe the stuff I know now I did not know a month ago, but still a loooong way to go (especially as a plumber).  Thanks. <Yep- part of the fun is finding different ways to do things, and new ways around a problem...We can give you the tools, but there' nothing like learning it for yourself! Trust me on that! LOL> The tank guy is calling me, wanting to know how many holes I want drilled in the tank, how big, and where I want them.  I have searched your site, and LOTS of others, but not making much headway.  Couple of clarifications if you've got a minute.  (warning - some of these are going to sound dumb). <nah!> My approach (if it makes sense) it to decide the hole/bulkhead size/placement issue, and while the tank is being built (couple of weeks) do more research on the plumbing.  (will size the holes to the bulkheads, double threaded). <Absolutely- now is the time to make these decisions!> For a 95g FOWLR tank (60"L x 24"H x 16"W) Sump underneath, with external pump capable of handling 1000 to 1200 GPH (don't want powerheads, or much of anything non-living in the tank). Q1) For this size tank, with the proposed flow rate, will two 1" overflows (outflow from tank to sump) and two 1" returns (from the sump to the tank) be enough? Would one overflow and one return, larger size, work as well?  Seems like it would sure make the plumbing easier? <I'd go with one overflow with two 1"-2" standpipes inside. In my opinion, better to have a bit more than too little...You can always dial the pump down a bit if needed...I like two (or more returns) to provide more circulation in the tank...Again- they don't have to be "static" returns (i.e.; bulkheads...)> Q2)  If yes to above, place the two overflows near each other (or the one larger one) at one end of the tank (directly above the sump intake), as high as possible on the back wall of the tank?   <Yep- although I favor an overflow in the center of the tank (one overflow box with two standpipes...> Q3) Place two return holes at the opposite end of the tank (or better one larger, like 1 1/2") same level as the overflow hole(s)? <I still like more than one...> Q4)  Or something completely different (i.e., do I need more capacity for outflow to sump, like two 1 1/2" bulkheads)? <As above- couldn't hurt...> If you know any webpage that covers  placement/sizing of holes/bulkheads please advise. Tried OzReef, several others, and nothing really explains it for the beginner (have read all the plumbing FAQs, and the article on marine plumbing is just a picture, as far as I could find). <Hmmm- you might want to search the "links page" on WWM or OzReef...there are plenty of plumbing-related sites out there (I just can't think of 'em at the moment!)...> As always, you guys are the best. Jim <We try, Jim! We have some great people here...In fact- you may want to shoot an email to Craig, the resident WWM plumbing guru- who definitely has forgotten more about reef tank plumbing than I'll ever know! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Aspiring Reefer- Or Aspiring Plumber? (Cont'd) Scott, <Hey there!> One more question (actually three :o) and I promise to leave you alone for a while). <Never a bother!> Maybe I am missing the forest for the trees (info overload).  Is the whole issue with drilling holes simply about providing a gravity feed for the outflow, so as to avoid the whole siphon issue (floods, etc.)? <Essentially, yes.> If that is the case, should I not even worry about a return hole/bulkhead and just run something over the top of the tank (PVC manifold, Seaswirl, etc.)? <My point exactly! I really like Sea Swirls...no bulkheads to mess with, easy to use...a great way to go, IMO> Are there important advantages to having the return from sump to tank drilled w/bulkhead? <None that I can really think of...As long as your connections to the 'Swirls are tight, there is no additional leak danger, IMO> Finally, for the outflow to the sump, are there advantages to having two or more smaller holes (1") vs. one or tow larger ones? <Well, you can direct flow into different areas of the tank with two-or multiple- outlets...> Thanks again. <No problem. Regards, Scott F>

Plumbing a 90 gal for up to 1800 gal/hr? - 7/8/03 Gentlemen, I hope your Independence Day was a BANG! <A many entendre well wish, perhaps... at least for a manic ADDH adult <G>. Ha!> I'm planning a 90 gal. reef and was considering running all of the flow (up to 20X) through a 36x12x16 inch sump to be housed in a shed outdoors here in sunny SoCal.   <interesting... and have heard of this done by folks in your area. I recall the founder of Aqua C (Jason Kim) talking about doing this for his reef in San Diego area> I'm trying to move much of the noise and evaporation outside and to avoid those unsightly powerheads. <understood and agreed> Does this sound like a "sound" concept?   <indeed possible with your climate> If so...... Can this be done through a single corner overflow box and how large? <possible... although it will require some finesse to temper the sound. Do consider a half sized pump for the sump/return and perhaps a second pump on a closed loop on the tank to hedge your bets> Finally, what size bulkhead and drain diameter? <easy to figure, but too much to detail here per many sizes. Do decide on one pump versus two... and then check mfg specs (like Rainbow Lifeguard) for tolerances. 1" holes should only take 300 GPH each at most... but 2" holes may take more than 2X300GPH quietly. Also consider using the Durso standpipe modifications for a quieter overflow. See more info here: http://www.rl180reef.com/pages/standpipe/standpipe_menu.htm Thanks! <always welcome my friend> P.S. I hear Anthony may be guest speaking our SCMAS club meeting soon.  I would love to purchase his autograph....especially if there is a book attached to it! <I would love to come back to Cali soon :) Perhaps SCMAS could work something out with SDMAS (San Diego) or even DMS (Phoenix) to save on the airfare. I likely can stay at our good friend Bob Fenner's to save on lodging too. I'm easy <G>. I post my schedule at www.readingtrees.com and love to meet up with fellow fish nerds :) Especially our WetWebMedia friends! With kind regards, Anthony>

Sump Pump! - 7/7/03 <Hi Bob, Cody here reporting for duty!  Sorry for the delayed reply.> I'm getting ready to set up a 30 gallon FOWLR in my office (probably 40 gallon in the system with sump water).  Here are my pump questions: 1)  Considering that I'll have an in-sump skimmer, is another submersible pump for circulation back to the tank (I have a spare Rio 1700) going to create heat problems with the water?  <It could, especially if you have a skimmer pump by it.> 2)  If so, should I just drill my sump and go with an external pump?  <That would be my choice.> 3)  Either way, I was considering the Mag Drive 5.  One site that sells them highly recommended that they NOT be used in-line, ONLY submersed.  I haven't found any one else with that concern.  What's your opinion/experience regarding that?  <I haven't had any experience with Mags.  Try posting on the wetwebmedia.com forum to see what others think.> 4)  What pump(s) might you recommend that produce the least noise (both in-sump and external)?  <I like Iwaki an external.  Eheim is good for both external and submersed.> 5)  If the flow rate is too high, do you control it with a ball valve in the line returning to the tank?  And should that be a certain distance from the pump (i.e. not immediately after the pump)?  Hmm, It would be a lot better if the pumps flow rate is less than the overflows.> 6)  I also assume I do not need a pressure rated pump, just circulation? <See http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumprffiltfaqs.htm for more info.  Cody> Thanks for the help!  You all provide an excellent service!! Bob D

From the Sump to the Tank and the Closed Loop 7/5/03 How low do you go in gal per hour from the sump back to the tank and still work right and be using the closed loop for the most flow. RGibson <I honestly have no idea... but am quite certain that it is highly variable and entirely dependent on the needs of the livestock above and relative to the ability of the closed loop circuit to make up the difference. Simple experimentation my friend. Anthony>

From the Sump to the Tank and the Closed Loop How low could you go from the sump to the tank in water flow RGibson <I'm not sure what you mean by your question, bud. Please explain a little more>

Return Pumps and manifold 7/1/03 Hiya, <howdy> I was talking to Anthony the other day about making a spray bar for my 80 gln reef. He suggested I put in a bigger pump and basically an adjustable spray bar  for the return coming from my sump. this would eliminate some power heads and heat from my system and greatly improve circulation. <correcto> I was thinking of using one of the new Tunze wave maker pumps to do this. The general consensus is this will not work, (you can't use a wave maker for your return is all I hear) with nothing substantial to back up the argument. <actually... the Tunze streamer does not need to be harnessed to a manifold... quite competent in its own right> I can not see a reason why it wouldn't. <no need> What I can see is maybe the pump would have a load  that it wasn't designed for which in turn will shorten it's life span. My system is low tech and all my skimmer really does is oxygenate my water. So having a surge through my in tank sump won't bother much. These are pricey pumps, and it will take some creative work to connect to any kind of plumbing, so I want as much input as I can get before I go shell out $300 to get one. Thank You Steve <the Tunze models are really outstanding and turnkey... the closed loop manifold we chatted about at DMS is rather a DIY project for a large return pump from the sump> P.S. Tell Bob and Anthony the DMS says thank you for the awesome evening. <we had a great time and met really nice folks like yourself! A blast. Kind regards, Anthony>

-A few questions...- Hello, First, Thank you for the extremely valuable information you provide freely on WWM.  I am just getting started with this hobby (probable obsession it seems).  I have read nearly all the FAQ pages on your site over the past 2 weeks, and have posted my proposed setup on the forum for some valuable insight from the veterans of this hobby.  I am attempting to plan my system carefully before even starting to assemble it.  I am sure I will still find many questions along the way, but I hope to harm the least amount of SeaLife in my care in the process. <Sounds like you have the right attitude!> After all this reading, I still have a question about plumbing my overflows, a question about the overall flow, and a question regarding lighting. I am setting up a 125gal 48x24x24" tank, and am in the process of arranging to have it built. <That's what I have! The standard AGA or Oceanic 48-24-24's are 120's, when I think 125 I think of a 6' tank> I plan on ultimately having a reef setup...after a long period of fish and live rock only.  Even though this is in the future, I am planning for this from the outset. <Good idea> The specifics of my proposed system are in the forums, and I will not waste your time with them here. I plan on having a 25 gallon sump and a 20 gallon refugium set up below the main tank in the stand (already have measured everything out for this to fit).  I plan on having the sump baffled with the final chamber receiving overflow from the refugium and pumping this chamber back to main tank with two Eheim 1262 pumps in parallel for the redundancy factor.   Now, for my questions: I have never seen a direct answer to this question...will two 2" inside diameter overflows (one in each rear corner) provide adequate return flow for the two Eheim pumps listed (898 GPH at 0' head, I will have approximately 4.5' head so I am guessing about 1200 GPH between the two pumps) <Since we generally use 2 1" drains on pre-drilled tanks, a pair of  2" drains should be more than enough.> Next, will this be adequate flow for some of the hardier coral species?  I plan on the pumps returning to opposite sides of the tank and going through a SCWD on each side for 4 total nozzles (one in each corner). <Nice, you'll like the "squids". The flow needed will depend on the coral that you have in the tank. Increasing flow means simply buying a powerhead or two or setting up some sort of closed loop. Not a biggie, nothing to worry about.> Finally, I have read and read on this site as well as done searches on google and everyone seems to gloss over this basic Newbie question.  I know I need timers for my lights, but even looking in the online merchants, I can only find IceCap timers specifically for aquarium lights.  I plan on using PC lighting (tank is 24" deep because of this, I didn't want to go to MH lights). <24" is pretty deep for PC's> I cannot find timers specifically for these PC lights, and have even looked on the manufacturers sites...all that is ever mentioned is "timers" does this mean to use standard home lighting timers like you can purchase from a hardware store? <Yep, you can find analog or digital timers at pretty much any store. You don't treat the PC's any different than you would a household lamp.> Sorry for the long post, but I really did try to find  discreet answers to these questions before mailing you.  I just don't want to end up with a system that is poorly planned from the beginning and limits me in the future. <Sounds like your heading in the right direction, I wish you luck! - Kevin> Thank you in advance for your time, Kevin (SaltwaterNewbie on the forums)

Size Does Matter! (Bulkheads and Standpipes) Hello again, <Hi there! Scott F. back with you tonight> I appreciate your help and insight on setting up my new 180g tank, but I have a few more questions about the overflow.  I finally got a reply from Oceanic about the size of their overflows and their philosophy about those sizes.  Apparently their theory is that 7-10x turn-over in an hour is sufficient.  For that turn-over rate the drain is a 1-inch bulkhead and the return is a 3/4-inch bulkhead.  Now to go along with what you recommended and I agree, a Dolphin pump (3200+ gph), will the above size drain and returns be sufficient or should I have them drilled bigger by Oceanic?  If so what size? <If it were me, I'd think about 2 inch bulkheads...> I don't want to have problems with my system because of limiting bulkheads. Secondly I was thinking about adding Durso Standpipes.  If you suggest 1 1/2-inch drains what size standpipe?  The same with 2-inch drains?  I have read that for 1-inch drains you should use 1 1/4-inch standpipes. <I believe that you're correct, but the exact proportions seem to have escaped me...You can visit Richard Durso's website (do an internet search to get the URL) for his input regarding sizing and configuring overflows...> Lastly, I was thinking that I might need to put a single union ball valve where my pump will connect to the bulkhead at the sump and regular ball union valves at the bottom of each bulkhead of the aquarium drain for when I do tank or pump maintenance.  Does that sound advisable. <I do that with my pumps, and I think it makes perfect sense. In fact, you'll really appreciate it when it comes time to replace the pumps...> Thanks for your help. Daniel <Glad to be of service! Regards, Scott F>

Internal Overflow Sizing... I have asked this question on multiple forums and haven't got a satisfactory answer.  I just picked up a used  180 gal to upgrade my reef tank. It has two- 2" holes already drilled in the upper back glass, approximately 4" apart. I would like to build an internal overflow with "fence" or "teeth" type construction to prevent fish, et al. from taking the journey down into the sump. Ideally, I'd like to have roughly 3000gph as a turnover rate. Can you point me to a formula or make a recommendation in regards to dimensions for an internal overflow which can handle this rate? (including the width of the spaces and teeth)? Looking forward to hearing your solution for this. Jeff. <Well, Jeff, the 2" diameter standpipes in the tank can handle a decent amount of flow (at least 1500gph. However, for a lot of ideas on the proper construction, sizing, and configuration of overflows, you can't beat the resources found on the DIY site, ozreef.org. Check out this link: http://www.ozreef.org/diy/index.html#OVERFLOW Hope this helps! Have fun with this project! Regards, Scott F> Lifeguard heater modules Is it possible to use two of the heater modules together with one canister filter, or would this be to much pressure for the pumps to deal with? If it is to much to use two on one filter, should I shoot for using two filters and two modules? I'd rather not, but gotta do what's best. <Good question. I would use a larger wattage heater first here (likely there are up to 300 watt units that will fit), and if you need to use two, set them up in parallel (not series) to save on induced resistance. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lifeguard heater modules What do you mean by setting up two heaters in parallel? James <Running water through a "tee" to each module separately, rather than (in series) one after the other... Bob Fenner>

Overflowing With Ideas... (Prefab Overflows) I have constructed a tank and drilled the holes in the bottom for a wet/dry filter but cannot find a supplier for the overflow. Do you know of a company that sells the overflow by itself or in a kit with some other plumbing parts? Thanks Jerod <Yes, actually. There is a company called "wetdryfilter.com", and the owner, a friendly hobbyist named Christian, can custom fabricate overflow boxes to your tank's specific parameters. He's honest, and does good work. You can find designs on how to construct your own standpipe unit by searching on the net for the "Durso standpipe", or you can purchase one from the man himself...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

External pump 6/11/03 hi Anthony this is Genaro again <cheers from afar, my friend> I quite did not know how to  explain myself  I have lets say a 50gal. reef tank that has a corner box. one and a half inches for a drain, now if you can help me on choosing the correct size of the return pump... my returns to the tank from the sump are two 45angle 3/4 that I want to connect it on a single one pump I thank you again. <it is tough to say for certain... but I suspect that you could safely run a pump that delivers 600-800 GPH at 4'head on this system. Perhaps more... and either way, do be sure to have a teed bleeder line off the pump that runs back into the sump so that you can regulate and tune the flow. See the illustration here for reference: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm best regards, Anthony>

Tank/Sump Flex Connection Hello Crew, Thanks for your last response and how fast you guys are. Craig, I wrote to you last time about my tank-sump connection and the minimal clearance I had to connect the two.  I have a filter sock, the problem is I have a lid above the sock with a bulkhead on the lid. My question is, can I do away with the bulkhead, leave the hole in the lid, and just run my flex through the hole on the lid and straight down into my filter sock? If so that seems like it is the only way I have access to open the lid and remove filter sock for cleaning. again thanks for all your patience and help! <I don't see any problem with this as long as the flex fits relatively well in the opening and there isn't too much chance for splash/salt creep and the sump water level can accommodate this (not overflow or some other silly preventable tragedy).  If this eliminates one of those sock holder dealies, just use a big rubber band or zip tie to hold the bag on the flex hose so you can clean it.  Hope this gets you going!  Craig>

Which Valve comes first? The Gate or the Check? Is it necessary on the return to run the gate valve before or after the check valve? <Install the adjustable gate valve directly after the pump and before a check valve if used.> I have my gate valve first after the return pump then the check valve. does it matter ? Thanks <Sounds like you are alright!  Craig>

Reef plumbing- tees on drains... yikes! 5/20/03 Hi Anthony I need some help again. and I thank you in advance, <always welcome, mate> here is my question my tank is 60gl. now I have a small quiet pump to return water to  the left back corner of the tank. I do have two returns one left which is the one I am using now and one that is closed on the right side, should I connect the two returns using a tee the pvc is 3/4 and add couple of power heads. or leave one return and add the power heads and how many .thank you. <never tee-join drains, my friend... always let them drop singly to the sump/reservoir. As far as extra power heads... that is to be determined by the needs of your tanks inhabitants and the volume of the return pump (needing assistance in the tank or not). A total tank turnover of 10-20X hourly is a fair ballpark. Best regards, Anthony>

Plumbing a 180g AGA Tank Crew, <Hi Jeff, Don today> I'm ready to start plumbing my 180g All-Glass tank (pre-drilled for 1" and .75" bulkheads -2 corner overflows) to my sump but have a few concerns. <Fire away> I have searched past FAQs on this site and have read that the AGA corner overflows have the capacity of about 600 gph per overflow. My return pump is a Iwaki MD70RLT, so I may not have quite enough overflow to cut it. Is the "weak link" here the 1" bulkhead or the small slots at the top of the overflow wall? <The bulkhead> I have seen that Steven Pro has suggested, in the past, to use the .75" return bulkheads as overflow drains to supplement the 1" drains. If I do this, do you think I would have to cut wider slots in the corner overflows to help supply the addition drain throughput? <I have no direct experience with this so cannot answer directly. What I would do is wait until you do a live test with fresh water to check the plumbing, leaks etc. At that time you can determine if the overflows give enough volume.> Also, the sump is up against the opposite side of the same wall that my tank is up against, in another room. If I plumb this with rigid PVC, I am going to need to put two elbows on each drain; One directly below the bulkhead fitting on the tank and one directly above the top of the sump. Do you think these elbows will induce any significant drain restriction. <Yes, use 45 degree elbows if you can.> If so, would using a thinner wall pipe, like sched. 26 help improve this, or adapting it to a large pipe, like 1.5"? <I would use 1.5" for all plumbing. You might want to look into the Durso Standpipe as these corner overflows can be noisy and the Durso Standpipe really helps. Just put Durso Standpipe into your favorite search engine.> Sorry for all the questions. It is much easier for me to ask experienced folks and get it right the first time than go it alone and screw it up. <No problem, let us/me know how it goes. Don> Many Thanks, Jeff

Over Flow-box Noises Actually,  I figured it out !  I am hanging a piece of 1/2" above the drain so it's inserted about 1" into the drain.  The air is now drawn from the 1/2" pipe.  Works like a charm. <Good for you! Sounds like you came upon a variation of the Durso pipe. Take care, Don>

Check valve question I just purchased a B&K check valve. after I bought it I found out that it has a stainless steel spring. A Lowe's home center special. will this be ok? and can it be mounted horizontally? ........thanks for your help.....ed <Okay for what? Not saltwater. Bob Fenner> Check valve question ok.. what type of check valve do you recommend and do you know of a source where I may purchase one? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/chkvalvpds.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Bye-Bye Bulkhead? Scott, <At your service...!> I thought of another question...sorry.  You recommended to switch the order in the filter from live rock/skimmer to skimmer/live rock to get the most nutrient-rich water through the skimmer first. I thought of that, but this filter has a lid for the first chamber that has the bulkhead built into it. The skimmer is too tall to fit under that lid.  Would it be okay (safe-I have to keep things safe as possible with 7 kids!) to not use the lid for this chamber and just let the inlet hose from the display tank sit directly in the chamber (not connect it to the inlet bulkhead)? <Well, to give you my blessings on disregarding the bulkhead would be irresponsible on my part, but...I think that if you could properly attach the inlet hose to the inside of the sump, so that it won't pop out, it could work out okay...Just be careful> I would have a pump of some size running the skimmer.  The guy I bought it from had a Rio 2100 running it, but I plan to use an equivalent sized pump of another brand...maybe the mag drive.  I was also told that the Dolphin pumps are good...know anything about them? <I have not used them myself, but a number of my friends have, and they find them to be quite reliable. Do a little research on the options that you have, and select the pump that will best do the job. Good luck!> Thanks, Paul <Any time, Paul!>

125 FOWLR Set-up I want to prepare you that this might be long but I am at wits end. My wife is after me to stop the research and go on. I admit I am confused but I might have not been giving my questions in detail. <Alright Ed, relax, you are doing fine!  Tell your wife you love her very much, then give her the standard answer for anything technical or sports related.  You know what I mean?  She will understand. Do NOT ever forge ahead if you don't fully understand, especially in a marine tank.  No place for pressure.> Anyhow, I have a 120 gal tank which will be FOWLR and aragonite sand. I have a single internal overflow with a 1.5 bulkhead and a Durso w/1.25 stand pipe. Underneath the bulkhead I can either drain 1.25 or 1.50 pvc to a 25 gal. sump which inside contains at the drain a 100 micron filter sock draining into the aqua-c ev180 skimmer pumped by a also submerged Sen 700g. Then through a baffle over carbon and to a ? pump for a single return which can go 1"-1.25"pvc before going to the 3/4" into tank with a Lockline pipe with flare. the return will consist of 2-45 and 1-90 degree elbows. <This is all good, sounds great! Plumb as large as possible, but no need to go larger than largest possible bulkhead size. IOW, if the bulkhead is 1.50", then a 2" pipe is a waste, as the pipe will only move whatever 1.50" pipe will move. I would make the most use of the larger return and split into two or more 3/4" Lockline returns. Use PVC ball valves to control flow where you want it as well as AFTER pump to control flow as needed. The target flow rate for your tank (10-20 times) is 1250 to 2500 gph. Your 1.25 standpipe will drain about 800 gph +/-, so to get to 1250-2500 gph you need a minimum 1.5" overflow pipe size. Next, simply find the pump that will deliver 1250-2500 gph with ten feet of head. That's the chart at the manufacturer's sites or at the on-line dealer's site.>   I want to go 10-20 more volume flow. Will a Iwaki md40rlxt work? or how about a Iwaki MD 70rlt (RT).  Reef central says I have 10ft head loss with my piping and I will only use 4-5 ft of vertical pipe. <A MD40RLXT will pump 1200 gph at 4' head, so it won't pump 10-20 times tank volume. A MD70RLT (All I have on-hand is a Champion catalog, no flow chart) will deliver 1500 gph at 4' head, *maybe* 1250 gph at 10', but doubtful. The MD 100 RLT delivers 2000 gph at 4' head, so you are in the ballpark for 1250 gph at 10'. Just cross-reference the head height (10 feet) and desired flow rate (1250-2500 phone the Iwaki flow chart, then pick the pump that delivers that desired flow! There is much more on FOWLR set-ups in the marine set-ups pages on WetWebMedia.com. Do take your time, only BAD things happen fast in this hobby!  Enjoy!  Craig>

Re: 125 FOWLR Set-up Thanks a bunch. So say I want to keep the Iwaki MD 40 RXLT and keep the 1.25 Durso standpipe which was reduced from my 1.50 bulkhead because it would not fit in my overflow tower, would you continue below the tank with the 1.5 pvc to sump or with a 1.25pvc to sump. <May as well stick with 1.25" pipe.> Then the 1-1.25 return. I realize I will be turning over 850gph not quite the 10 times over I wanted assuming I honestly have 10 ft of head with the piping I told you I have. Do I have 5ft or ten foot of head? I really can't get that clear because it is a big difference and I really would like to keep the Iwaki MD 40rxlt.... cost too much to return. <No, you have ten feet of head, actual height (from top of sump to top of main) and then head height in the form of friction and resistance from fittings/bends/turns, totaling ten feet. I don't know what a 40 RXLT delivers at ten feet, but that is all you will get from it. If you need more total circulation, perhaps consider a closed loop system.  See Marine set-ups at WetWebMedia.com  Craig>

Plumbing question Hello and thanks again for all your help. Here is another one for you. I went to reef central as you said to get the calculations. my question is, after punching in my amount of 90 degree and 45 degree elbows and vertical pipe length with diameter  the chart gives me  a head loss of 10 feet. My Iwaki 40rxt return pump has a flow rate max @ 1344gph @ a max head of 15.4 feet. Am I to assume that this gives me 5.4 foot of head pressure from that pump which is roughly 1100 gph? <Roughly, unless you do something to change it. The added restriction from fittings is usually overestimated, but better to be conservative. I would up pipe size at least one size to reduce fitting issues/head pressure, if needed.  Craig>

- New Tank Plans - Hi Bob, <Actually, it's JasonC today...> You helped me tremendously with my last tank when I was overrun with hair algae problems. That was four years ago and until my recent move across country I enjoyed my tank after following your advice. I am now in the process of setting up my tank again and wanted to run my plan by you to get your thoughts and advice. I'm planning a FOWLR set up with the show piece being a large angel, probably an Emperor. It's a 150 gallon acrylic tank with a  predrilled center overflow and two 1" bulkheads. My sump, skimmer etc is in the garage behind the tank. I'm going to use an Iwaki MD-100RLT rated at 2,000gph (at a 5' head). I will be running approximately an 8' head. I suspect that the drainage from the tank will be inadequate and am planning on drilling the back of the tank near the surface for two or four more 1" bulkheads. I'm a little nervous about doing this and want to make sure I get it right the first time. My questions are Do you think two more 1" bulkheads will be enough or should I go with the four? <In this type of situation, more is always better - the tank is not going to drain any faster than you pump water into it, so more bulkheads only help share the load, give a margin of safety should one get clogged.> I am planning on drilling them at a height where they will be totally submerged, is this OK? <They do need to be mostly submerged to overcome the horizontal portion of the bulkhead - water won't magically suck into such things, it need to get downhill as soon as possible.> On the inside of the tank I'm thinking of just putting a screen directly into the bulkhead. Is this OK or do I need to put a 90 degree elbow in first (pointing upwards)? <Screen directly into the bulkhead is fine.> I want to make sure it drains as quietly as possible, should I vent the outside of the bulkhead by using a T instead of just an elbow to go to the sump? <I would at the very least try this, mostly because I think this will be your biggest challenge - with the amount of flow you have planned, it will be noisy by nature.> I think this will be good flow for a FO but want to on the high side of the requirement. I assume I'm not going too high, I already have the pump from my last set-up where the head was considerably higher. The old sump was in the basement. <Sounds fine to me.> Thanks a lot for your help, I really want to plan this properly this time and get it right from the start. <Good idea.> Regards Dave. <Cheers, J -- >

Durso Standpipe = Detritus? Hello WWM Crew, <Hi Maurice, PF here tonight> I have a 125 marine fish only tank and I've just cleared out my prefilter (mesh rolls) from my overflow boxes after reading some FAQs about the build up those things collect and what a nitrate heaven they are.  The water now runs straight to my sump over a bonded filter pad (which is much more accessible for cleaning) then over the bio balls. <Remember to clean that filter pad. Have you thought about using a PolyFilter instead? It would help pull pollutants out of your system> Now to my question, since I've removed the prefilter rolls from the overflow boxes, I now have a nice waterfall going, so I was planning to build a Durso standpipe (that I read about on your website, good idea) <I read about them here too, mine was a life saver.> in each of the overflow boxes to remedy this problem, however my concern and question is: with the water level raised being drawn from such a high level, won't you get a build up of gunk, settlement and detritus built up on the bottom? <I wouldn't think so. Depends on how high you build. You can make them lower if that's your concern. Nothing is written in stone as far as methods/procedures go.>  If yes how would you prevent this, if no why not? <I've not noticed any build up in my system, nor have I ever heard about this happening to anyone else.> Thanks as always for the great site and advice. Maurice <You're welcome, hopefully this clears up your fears.>

Overflows, pumps, where do valves go? Earlier I spoke to you on my drain at 1.25 and return at 3/4  with an aqua c ev-180 in sump and you had mentioned no valves at all on drain with a Durso pipe. Why is that? <Because the drain should be unrestricted and it's flow rate is dependant on the *return* rate, (the pump) and overall flow is therefore controlled with valves on the pump, not the drain. To size your drain pipe size, go to Reef Central and use their overflow calculator. Plan on moving all of your pump capacity through your drain(s), then control it further if needed with a valve on the output of the pump. If sized correctly this will be minimal. Valves aren't needed for service as once you are into a Durso more than simple cleaning, you are draining more water...Other than that, turning off the pump stops the overflow/drain.> Also you had mentioned taken care on calculation with my Iwaki 40rxlt. What if I went with a 1 1/2" drain since I have a 1 1/2" bulkhead, although the Durso standpipe is 1 1/4" and with a 1" return to tank? Thanks again for your co-operation. Ed <If this is one of the glass tanks with pre-drilled overflows then I would go with that set-up and go with the largest plumbing it will reasonably accommodate. The Durso drains work well on these. I would get an idea of pipe and drain size first with the calculator and then oversize it one size. If the bulkheads are larger (1 1/2"), go with the larger pipe.  Craig>

- Using a Used Tank - Hey crew, <Hello, JasonC here...> I was inquiring at my LFS about upgrading from a 75 to a 180 at the end of the summer and he was giving me some prices. A 180 glass, drilled w/ overflows, oak stand, power compacts was $1600 or so. I was then going to have him build me a sump underneath. Well I searched online and found a guy who's selling a 1 yr old 180 w/oak stand and hood and fluorescent lights for...$600!! AND, the guy is less then a 30 min drive. <Opportunity knocks...> My question is though, the used tank is not drilled so I guess I would need to have it drilled or get a pre-filter? <I would get it drilled... is much better way of getting water out of the tank and into external filters than external overflows.> Can I get comparable flirtation using these methods as opposed to the overflow?? <Consider the drilling, and then perhaps an overflow box inside the tank - not a difficulty DIY project.> What would be the best way to go about plumbing the tank to the sump w/out the overflow?? <You wouldn't... except for the returns.> This thing started out as a "late summer idea" and now I may be picking this thing up this weekend!!!  Thanks so much for you help...again.       Rick <Cheers, J -- >

Marine set-up I have a 110 gal tank in which I will have a 25gal sump which will be an open glass or Rubbermaid tank. This will be fed through the internally drilled main tank over flow through 1.25 pvc. <Calculate this well and oversize plumbing for both drains and returns.  Use valves on return to control flow.> In the sump I will have a EV-180 skimmer, heater, some live rock, and some activated carbon. Will this work? <Yes.  Perhaps skip carbon or use with regular changing maintenance.> The return will go trough .375 pvc pumped by an Iwaki MD 40rxlt. <.750" (3/4") pipe is likely what the pump outlet is, but do oversize depending in head height.> How much live rock should I put into sump? <Whatever fits and allows enough water volume for operation with some evap. loss.> And can my drain pipe to sump have a filter sock attached? <Yes, clean regularly.> And if so how far into the sump must the pipe and sock go into the sump? As far as you wish to prevent splashing sounds, salt spray/creep. etc.> Also my main tank will have 100lbs of live rock with oolitic aragonite substrate. <Sounds fine!> Sorry for number of questions ! <No problem, enjoy!  Craig>

Teflon paste Thanks in significant part to your help, I have made my design decisions.  I'm now into plumbing.  Is Teflon paste or compound reef-safe? <I would shy away from these products as they may need other materials to "carry" Teflon.  Teflon tape is much better.  Craig>

Reefing in Greece- plumbing question 4/26/03 Hello Anthony! It still amazes me that every time I do something in practice I realize that I have a lot of questions that I could never imagine before. Praxis is far beyond theory... Three quick questions: - Is it ok if I use only a usual aquarium flexible hose for the return from the sump pump to the tank ? <yes... no problem... very common> I will follow your way and return over the lip of the tank with a U-tube to be safe. - I have read in the FAQs section that if you have a refugium in your sump it is better not to have a big flow rate through the sump, but use an additional pump in a closed system for extra circulation of the water of the tank (or alternatively in-tank power heads, as you have advised me). <to be specific... I am adamantly opposed to using power-heads in the tank if it can be avoided. It seems though because of you limited resources in Greece to get pumps/drilled tanks, etc... that you were unable to have a larger pump and more holes (to avoid using in tank power heads). The reasons this are outlined here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm > The design of my sump/refugium is attached. Do you think that the 575 gal/h (which is 8 times/hour flow rate of the tank+sump) would be too high for the refugium? <the flow value (high, low or just right) can only be determined by what you will grow in it. Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha algae will benefit by high water flow... other organisms may not. You have to decide what you are trying to accomplish with a refugium and what will be kept in it to accomplish those goals before you can address water flow and light issues> - I have a Remora skimmer. Where is it the best to place the dedicated pump for the skimmer and where to hang the skimmer, according to the attached diagram? <it the diagram in the link that I mailed you last time, my friend, it depicted the skimmer in the first compartment of the partitioned sump to catch all raw overflow water first. That is the best place for it> Thanks and bye for the time being, Thanassis <best regards, Anthony>

UV connection I bought a Tetratec™ UV5 5 Watt Clarifier for the tank, I wanted to hook it up to the Fluval 404. Man did I have a hard time! The water kept leaking! I finally had to cut a piece of hose from the line I use to siphon the water out of the tank and two hose clamps and it's working. Just thought I'd share that with you in case anyone else has the same problems. So far so good, the three damsels that are left seem to be doing fine and I've noticed an improvement in the quality of the water already! <Plumbing can be a frustrating experience, eh? Thanks for the update and good to hear things are improving. Don>

Plumb perplexed <Hi Rod, PF here tonight> I was wondering if you can help? <I'll give it a go.> I just recently started my saltwater tank backup and I'm using a wet dry system that I got from a buddy of mines. I'm not sure if its working correctly the siphon is good and its, pumping well but it seems to be holding more water than I think it should be holding. its over 3/4 full. <That's about where mine is.> The more water I add to the tank the more it fills ups. It has 2 siphon tubes and probably a 1/2 in to 1 inch return hose. <The big question is, what is your return pump doing? Sounds to me like your return pump is underpowered.> If you can help or refer me to someone who can I will be very grateful (55gallon tank. corner filter, and a hanging filter to go along with the wet dry). <Well, hopefully that helped, if not, I'll drag someone else more plumbing knowledgeable than me into it. Have a good one, PF>

U-Tube siphon trouble Hey gang, I read your daily FAQ's and have read many times about people using air line tubing and sucking and such for getting u-tube siphons going, all I do is have 2 rubber sink plugs (the type for the laundry tub), turn the tube upside down inside the tank so it fills with water, cap the ends with the plugs while submersed in the tank (no air), turn the capped u-tube back into the over flow box, uncap and away it goes.  I get a u-tube going in 10 seconds or so and never have to suck on anything (which is a good thing right?), just thought I'd pass it along as it seems many have such a hard time with an easy practice.....Riot <Thanks Riot!  The only problem is this doesn't help re-start the siphon in the event of a power outage. Best to just hook up those tubes to a powerhead venturi and sleep soundly!  Craig>

Overflow sizes and placement How many inches of hole equals g/hr? Best place for overflow holes? <I would use the calculator at Reef Central or look at the pipe sizes for aftermarket overflow boxes for a guide. Best to shoot for a higher flow and control with valve on the return pump. 10-20 times tank volume total turnover. The best placement depends on the size, layout of the tank, inhabitants (make special considerations for anemones, small fish, soft bodied inhabitants, etc.). Best to check out marine set-ups at WetWebMedia.com or perhaps a good basic book, it will come in handy.  See the books forum at WetWebFotos.com for revues by hobbyists.  Craig Filter flow rate VS overall flow rate Hello Again! A quick question here - 180 g tank with 2 x Mag12's running through the sump from two overflows...  is this less desirable than running one closed circuit and just running one through the sump?  I am having trouble understanding how it would have a different impact on the tank...Regards, Mike <If the overflows can handle the additional flow (less head pressure with a closed loop depending on set-up) and if the skimmer/filtration will be supplied/function as needed, then not an issue overall, might increase flow rate some unless closed loop pump is still in sump. Craig>

Add-on overflows losing siphon Hello tonight, I have a quick question for you regarding external overflow boxes.  This is my first experience with an external unit.  I believe that I have the unit set up correctly with the skimmer box and overflow hanging off the back of the tank.  After filling the skimmer box and the overflow, I insert the two 1-1/4" overflow tubes into their proper location.  Next I insert a small length of airline tubing into the overflow tube up to the highest point and suck the air from the tubing to fill the overflow tube (then repeat for the second overflow tube).  So everything seems fine for the next couple of minutes or so, until the water continually siphons out the water from the in-tank skimmer box until it gets below the bottom of the overflow tube, and then the siphon quits and both tubes immediately drain. <I assume this is after the pump(s) are shut off (like a power outage)?  If so, hook up those tubes you suck on to produce a siphon to the venturi port of a powerhead on the same circuit as the return pump. Now the venturi will suck out the air (and a bit of water as it runs) and re-start the siphon when the power goes out or you turn off the pump.>   In a perfect world where the power never went off, or the pump needed to be turned off, this would be OK, but that's not reality, and this whole procedure is something I don't want to do every time I turn off the pump.  I'm not a physics major, but am I missing something in the setup that would help hold the water in the overflow tubes even with the pump off?  The system is made by Oceanic, with the skimmer box about 7"long x 4" deep x 7" high, and the overflow box about12" long x 4" deep x 12" high and divided into three sections (main chamber for the overflow tubes and two chambers for sponge filters covering the outlets for the return to the sump).  The bottom of the tubes rest about 1/2" above the bottom of the skimmer box and about 1-1/2" above the bottom of the overflow box.  The differential on the overflow tubes themselves is about a 4" difference between the bottoms of the two ends of the tubes.  Any suggestions?  Thanks,  as always, everyone at WWM does an awesome job with their responses. Dave <A simple hook-up to a couple powerheads to pull out the trapped air will do it Dave, enjoy! Craig>

Troubled By Bubbles! Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> I have spent many hours reading over the articles on your site before plunging into the world of reef keeping, its a great resource. <So glad that you enjoy the site! We're glad that you enjoy it! We sure have a great time bringing it to you!> I am setting up a 75gallon tank with 20 gallon sump/refugium. I built a diy overflow using the Durso standpipe design to reduce noise, it works great with one problem (that I know about). I am getting a huge amount of air going from the overflow to the sump. The large bubbles aren't a problem as they just stay on the surface but the microbubbles are entering the mag 9.5 return pump and pouring into my display tank. They look almost like dust and make visibility terrible as well as possibly causing problems when I decide to put fish or corals in the tank. <They definitely can be a problem...We need to find the cause and eliminate it, or at least, create some sort of barrier to keep these bubbles out of the tank> This happens even when I am not running my Berlin style airlift skimmer. I hardly ever have it on as I have nothing in the tank yet. I have one baffle in the sump to prevent sand from my DSB entering my return pump. Would putting in more baffles or removing the deep sand bed in the sump help? <I'd recommend the idea of additional baffles, or perhaps a sponge to help "absorb" them> Could I put foam around the return pump to cut down on bubbles? <I'd give that a shot, myself> I have just put in my live rock and sand but have nothing else yet so this would be a good time for any major changes. I know it can cause gas exchange problems in fish but don't know if it causes problems with corals or inverts. It also causes bubbles to collect on the walls and plumbing. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks <As we both have concluded, constructing some sort of baffle is really the best way to deal with the existing bubbles. As far as tracking down the source of the bubbles- I'd check all connections on your plumbing. You can use the old trick of some soapy water placed over the connections to see if you have a good seal. Hopefully, with a little diligent detective work, you can find the source of the microbubbles and eliminate them. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Hose clamps Hi:     I would like to know if you can use stainless steel hose clamps in the wet dry filter to clamp a hose???? Thank You <You can, but plastic works better...no metals to leach...  Craig><<I would say not "in" the wet-dry itself. Better to use plastic types. Bob>>

Bubbles in tank--plumbing question >Hey there, >>Hey there yourself, fella. ;)  Marina tonight. >I have a question for you. >>A'ight. >I recently turned my 125g fresh water tank over to a mixed reef which is to be stocked with the contents of my 75g. with the new tank I wanted to use a sump based filter system so I got a bs2 sump with a CPR cs102 overflow. I don't seem to have problems with bubbles from the over flow I think because of the media bags included with the bs2 but I am getting bubbles in the main tank from the return pump. I use an Iwaki Welshman wmd40rlxt this pump is rated at 1200 gph with 1" in and out. The overflow is supposed to be 1400gph but the return pump is draining water too fast from the sump which creates a funnel in the water and sucks air into the pump. I have a valve between the sump and the pump but I think its not the right kind because if I turn the valve the pump seems to suck harder and drains the sump faster. >>Do you know if you're using a gate valve (the correct type to use to adjust flow) or a ball valve (best when using at quick disconnect points)?  I suggest using a gate valve. >right know I am using vice grips on the return tubing to slow the rate which works but there has got to be a better way. >>Agreed! >I've been reading the other posts and it seems that most have split the return into two which seems to be a good idea that way I can get some more circulation to the tank. >>Again, yes, agreed, it diffuses the flow, as well as allowing more of the tank to receive freshly filtered water. >I haven't added sand yet but with the return the way it is the sand would be all over with the force that the return is at currently. would the split in the return tubing slow the water so I don't have to use vice grips? and should I be using 1" tubing? I have a friend that thinks the bubbles are from my protein skimmer. >>It's hard to say whether it's the skimmer or the pump (a picture would help), but it does sound as though you've got cavitation happening within the overflow, that pump must really be kickin' butt! >I use AquaC ev180 w/ dolphin dp-800. I also have a Korallin ca reactor injecting effluent into the skimmer. some other considerations I have is that I have the pump connected directly to the bulkhead on the wall of the sump. I was thinking that if I ran something between the two would it quiet it down some? >>A short bit of flexible tubing, perhaps?  It *might* help, but I can't guarantee it.  I'm going to point you to http://www.reefs.org you'll have to register to post, but there are many there who can help as well.  In my opinion it seems you need to adjust the flow going into the pump just a bit, and a gate valve would help you do this.  If your friend is familiar with plumbing setups like yours, and, since he can actually look at it, he feels the issue may be with the skimmer, go ahead and pick his brain as well.  Does the water coming out of the skimmer seem to be holding bubbles in it?  If that's a problem one way to tackle it is to simply let the water from the skimmer fall into the sump, instead being part of a closed loop.  Again, without seeing how you have this set up it's bit tricky to offer definitive advice. >Thanks for your time any suggestions would help. Scott Ballantyne >>I'm forwarding this message to a couple of others who I think are going to have much better experience than mine, if they have anything to add hopefully they'll email one of us.  I do hope this has helped a bit, and good luck!  Marina

Managing The Flow Hello WWM Crew! <Hey There! Scott F. with you today!> I need some help for my 125-gallon (72"x18"x18") FOWLR potential set-up.  I have an acrylic tank with 1 corner overflow.  The overflow has a 1" bulkhead attached, with a hose going down to a wet/dry.  I have a Mag Drive 9.5 in the wet/dry as a return pump, which delivers 800 gph with a 4' head.  From some of your feedback to other aquarists, it sounds like that I probably could only get 300 gph through that overflow bulkhead.  So it appears that my return pump will be too much for one overflow to handle.  Am I correct in this conclusion?  What would happen with this scenario? <It's quite possible that you could have a flood! You may want to see if you can add another standpipe to accommodate the flow...Do look into this, or enlist the help of a competent LFS...> And if my conclusion is correct, would you recommend adding another overflow (with a 1" bulkhead) to the other corner? <Yep!> I've found a site where I can purchase a pre-fab 2-sided overflow.  Would you recommended this?  And how easy/difficult is it to install into my tank? <A little "Weld On" acrylic adhesive and some elbow grease will do it> I will then need to install another input bulkhead into my wet/dry (CPR CR1000--rated at 150g). Again, would there be any negative ramifications from  this modification? <I don't think so...You will need to make sure that the pump can do the right job...you will need to test and adjust as required> Furthermore, I am planning to drill holes and install bulkheads at the back of the aquarium to run a close-loop circulation system.  My plan is to install 3 1" bulkheads near the bottom of the tank: one on the left side, another in the middle, and then one on the right side.  The one in the middle will take the incoming water to a pump, maybe an Iwaki 40RXLT, and then from the pump to a PVC T that will distribute the water to the two side bulkheads.  What are your opinions about this plan?  Do I face any problems because all 3 bulkheads are to be installed near the bottom of the tank (i.e. water pressure too much)? <I think that your plan sounds good. You may want to use an Iwaki 40RLT, which is pressure rated...Ask some other hobbyist friends who have built closed loops and see what they are working with...> I appreciate your feedback.  Your site has been very helpful to me and other aquarists in this exciting hobby! Regards, Ed <Glad that you find it interesting and helpful! I hope that you continue to enjoy the WWM site! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Set-up/Plumbing Advice - Hi crew! <And hello to you... JasonC here.> I'm in the process of setting-up my very first saltwater tank and in desperate need of your advice. I've attached a picture of the proposed setup. Water will flow through the 1" bulkhead (via a corner overflow which I am in the process of building), through 1" flexible PVC covered by a micron sock and into the sump/refugium. OK that's the easy part. What I'm worried about is the return. I have a new Fluval 404 (which I couldn't resist buying for $50 on eBay). I was reading the owner's manual and it says "do not place the pump above water level" (I believe the filter is gravity fed). I was planning to tuck all of these components under my stand so therefore, the sump and the Fluval would be on the same level (unless I build some kind of contraption/shelving to raise my sump above the level of the filter which would be a BIG hassle and space consuming). Will this setup work if they are on the same level? <I don't think so - the Fluval relies on the gravity feed.> What should I do? <Can the Fluval - save it as a gravel vacuum or something similar and buy a real return pump.> I've been regularly posting on your forum and a lot of people are telling me to ditch the canister filter. <Now I've joined their ranks.> If so, what can I use for biological/mechanical/chemical filtration. <Live rock in the tank and sump.> I'm planning to put fish AND corals in the tank and am worried about nitrate problems (which I've read canister filters produce a lot of if not maintained properly). The canister filter is rated for 340 gph. Too low? I am seriously contemplating on just getting a stronger water pump instead of the Fluval (there goes my $50). =) <Stop contemplating and buy the pump.> Also, I was wondering if I should enlarge the return pipes from 3/4" to 1" after the SCWD device in order to improve flow rates (the SCWD has (1) 3/4" input and (2) 3/4" outputs). <I don't think it will change anything - I'd stick with the 3/4".> Or will it not matter since the 3/4" SCWD outputs are the limiting factors? <Indeed.> One more: in my corner overflow, I wanted to add bio-balls to aid in filtration (a lot of my LFSs had this type of setup and I thought to myself, hey they must be doing something right) and maybe some sponge or floss on top of the balls to filter larger particulate matter as well as dampen the sound. <Yes to the bioballs, no to the filter floss.> Would this be a good idea taking nitrates into consideration? I feel so lost. <Think live rock...> I just want to make sure I do this right the first time to avoid any costly mistakes and wet carpets. Any help/advice/suggestions from you guys would be greatly appreciated. <Continue the study and research before any more purchases.> Jonovan
<Cheers, J -- >

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