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More FAQs about Plumbing Marine Systems 15

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 10, Plumbing 11, Plumbing 12, Plumbing 13, Plumbing 14, 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, & Holes & Drilling, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, 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

Loud toilet flushing sound from gravity overflow plumbing... Hello WWM Crew, <Hello Dennis, MacL here with you this fine and sunshiny day.> Thank you for all the advice you have given me in the past and I appreciate any help/advice you may offer. <Very kind of you to say.> Recently, I took the advice of various postings on your website and had holes drilled into my new tank (acrylic 30 g show) for two 1" bulkheads at the top of my tank (at the water level) on the back panel. The water flows thru the bulkheads thru 1" clear flexible tubing and enters my sump/refugium (a simple AGA 20g long) w/ Chaetomorpha and live rock.  The return pump is a dolphin/pond master series rated at 650 gph.  The return pump via 3/4"clear flexible tubing returns the water to the tank thru 2 u-tubes. When the return pump is on, the water level in the main tank reaches an equilibrium at right below the very top of the holes in the 1" bulkheads.  <Sounds wonderful.> This system works great and functionally speaking has been the best upgrade I have made thus far for my livestock (and as Blundell suggested, no problems w/ microbubbles).  But there is just one problem. the extremely loud sucking noise from the 1" bulkheads. Most of the time, the system just sounds like a babbling brook (and I can usually tolerate that sound), but every now and then it sounds like a loud toilet flushing, and this loud sound may go on for a long periods of time before it returns back to the brook sound. I tried to add a filter cone to ease my paranoia that my fish would get sucked into the tubes, but adding the filter cones made the sound 10 times worse. <Its not the most beautiful but you could use something like a PolyFilter around it. Cut to fit and tied with rubber bands. Makes a great cleanser as well.>  I tried adding a 1/2" flexible tube about 2" long thru the bulkhead (I'm not sure why, but just thought I'd give it a try) and the tank actually did not make any sounds at first (i.e. it was even quieter than the babbling brook sound), but shortly after, the loud sound came back w/ a vengeance.   Would adding elbows so that the drain in my tank will face downwards and would be well below the water level prevent such a sucking sound?  I hope that makes sense (not sure how to explain it more clearly since I am not a plumbing parts guru or great w/ DIY stuff). <I'm pretty sure I would but let me ask my water guru friend and send you a second email on that.>  Basically, I am rationalizing that since the water level is just below the top of the bulkhead drain that some air is getting pulled into the drain (and when I look at the drain it looks as though this is happening) and that is the reason why I hear such a loud sound.  But I am not sure and therefore seek your sage advice.  Thank you in advanced! <Dennis I wanted to get this out to you but will be investigating a bit more.  You should hear from me again shortly, MacL> -Dennis

Toilet sound follow-up Hello WWM Crew, <Hi Dennis, MacL here again with a follow-up. Just go to the end.> Thank you for all the advice you have given me in the past and I appreciate any help/advice you may offer.  Recently, I took the advice of various postings on your website   and had holes drilled into my new tank (acrylic 30 g show) for two 1" bulkheads at the top of my tank (at the water level) on the back panel.  The water flows thru the bulkheads thru 1" clear flexible tubing and enters my sump/refugium (a simple AGA 20g long) w/ Chaetomorpha and live rock.  The return pump is a dolphin/pond master series rated at 650 gph.  The return pump via 3/4" clear flexible tubing returns the water to the tank thru 2 u-tubes. When the return pump is on, the water level in the main tank reaches an equilibrium at right below the very top of the holes in the 1" bulkheads.    This system works great and functionally speaking has been the best upgrade I have made thus far for my livestock (and as Blundell suggested, no problems w/ microbubbles).  But there is just one problem. the extremely loud sucking noise from the 1" bulkheads. Most of the time, the system just sounds like a babbling brook (and I can usually tolerate that sound), but every now and then it sounds like a loud toilet flushing, and this loud sound may go on for a long periods of time before it returns back to the brook sound. I tried to add a filter cone to ease my paranoia that my fish would get sucked into the tubes, but adding the filter cones made the sound 10 times worse.  I tried adding a 1/2" flexible tube about 2" long thru the bulkhead (I'm not sure why, but just thought I'd give it a try) and the tank actually did not make any sounds at first (i.e. it was even quieter than the babbling brook sound), but shortly after, the loud sound came back w/ a vengeance.   Would adding elbows so that the drain in my tank will face downwards and would be well below the water level prevent such a sucking sound?  I hope that makes sense (not sure how to explain it more clearly since I am not a plumbing parts guru or great w/ DIY stuff).  Basically, I am rationalizing that since the water level is just below the top of the bulkhead drain that some air is getting pulled into the drain (and when I look at the drain it looks as though this is happening) and that is the reason why I hear such a loud sound.  But I am not sure and therefore seek your sage advice.  Thank you in advanced! <Dennis after consulting with an expert he says you need to add a plumbing trap to your drain hoses. Like what you'd find on the bottom of a sink. A place where water stands and you can do that with pvc or you can bend flexible hose into a U shape going down then back up then down. Basically creating a place where if your pumps were off water would stand. If there wasn't a vacuum going from the tank. Think this should help you Dennis. MacL> -Dennis

Loud noise! Thank you very much MacL! <So glad I could help Dennis> That makes sense actually.  Will re-do my plumbing to see if I can get rid of the vacuuming. <Please let me know if it does work? MacL>  Take care! -Dennis Plumbing Noise 8/13/04 Good morning, I have several questions about plumbing noise!   <this is a very common complaint... please do also (and first in the future) check our extensive archives at wetwebmedia.com on subjects like this. We build this database to help folks/friends like you> I finally got my 150 gallon tank up and running with water.  I couldn't believe the noise.   <sadly too common... this is from undersized overflow holes (diameter and/or number of holes drilled). This is a huge peeve of mine with mfg.s and merchants selling so-called "reef-ready" displays. They are hardly reef-ready. You may get an appropriate sized pump for the display, but without a large enough overflow... it sounds like a toilet, if not risking overflowing the display by out pumping the drains!> First tank stuff;  150 gallon glass tank with one center overflow with two 1.5" bulkheads in my living room wall. It is viewed from three sides.   One bulkhead drains water to a 50 gallon refugium directly underneath the tank via 1.5" pvc.  The second bulkhead drains water to a 40 gallon sump underneath via 1.5" pvc.   <the double sump is odd, complicated, unnecessary, ill-advised... and a potential risk (flooding) in the future. Do consider a single large sump> The sump and bulkhead are on the same level and connected by two 1" flexible tubes near the top of the fuge.  Everything is gravity controlled.  I have union ball valves on everything and all discharges.   <the ball valves on the outflow are definitely adding to the noise. The back up water by constricting the flow coming down and add to noise> Sorry, but I think this will be long... 1st.  The overflow; It was like Niagara falls.  I installed two 1.25 Durso standpipes and that helped immensely.   <OK> 2nd.  The return pump from the sump.  I have a Gen X Mak 4 pump.  It is incredibly loud.  I can hear it "hum" all the way upstairs.  It is not really a vibration because I have fixed that problem, just the normal turn of the pump.  I'm really not happy with it.  I haven't purchased my second pump for my closed loop pump yet. <folks often spend much time and money searching for a pump "as good as an IWAKI". Take my advice mate... invest in a Japanese made IWAKI and enjoy a durable pump for the next decade and beyond. A case of getting what you pay for :)> With all that noise from the primary, I am scared to get a second.  I know that everybody likes Iwaki's but I was under the impression that they were louder than the Gen X.   < a mistaken impression... they have a couple models that are loud/necessarily like the dual 400... but overall, this brand is top shelf and they have a model/size (and silence) to fit any demand> I must be wrong because I can't imagine a louder pump.  Can you recommend a QUIET pump brand so I can replace my Gen X and purchase a closed loop pump?   <IWAKI hands down... I've been using them as a hobbyist for 15 years... and a decade of that has also been as a merchant> The way I figure it, I have about 750 gph with the Gen X and I want to get at least another 1200 gph with the closed loop pump?  Sound ok? <this 150 gallon tank needs a total flow of around 3000PGH or better if reef, and you will need 3-4 1.5 inch bulkheads to handle this comfortably> 3rd.  The water flowing through the pipes sounds like a running toilet all day.  Now I read many pages of the plumbing FAQ's and tried several fixes.  I used to have the 1.5" discharge pipes exiting underwater in both the fuge and the sump.   <exiting at or slightly above the water surface for quieter flow> I read this causes O2 pressure and can make a toilet noise.  I changed the tubing so it "falls" into the water.  The noise is still there.  Next I tried to put a air tube down the Durso Pipe, but that didn't work as well.  I am pretty confused.  I don't have a suction noise from the Durso's, and I don't have a problem with micro bubbles.  I just can't stand how loud all the PVC is.   <I suspect the problem is that your overflow holes are simply overdriven> Maybe this is just the way it will sound.  Can you actually get rid of the water flowing down pipes sound completely??   <insulating foam (used to protect pipes from freezing)  often helps> Should I reduce my 1.5" pipes to something smaller?   <Yikes!!!!!!! no... it will get louder> From what I read, that shouldn't be the answer.  What can I do to reduce/remove this running water sound? <soft straight drops in the gravity line... and enough overflow holes to handle the flow... do compare bulkhead specs/capacity (at mfg site) to rate flow maximums> 4th.  I used to have the 1.5" pvc plumbed to a 1" T in my fuge to disperse the water flow.  This worked ok as long as I partially closed the discharge ball valve to the sump.  Is this common/ok to gate back the overflows?   <not recommended.... neither the valve nor the tee> Should I be concerned?  I tried to test fully closing each discharge to see if the other standpipe could handle the entire overflow.  If I closed my sump discharge, my fuge discharge (with the dispersing "T") couldn't handle the overflow.  The tank would have overflowed.  Is this common as well?   <a common flaw, yes... as mentioned above - its from the overflows being undersized.> I am new to the hobby and it is very hard to find plumbing info.   Well, there it is.  Can you please make recommendations and problem shoot my loud tank?  Is this tank/sump/fuge design ok? Will it ever be quiet?   <no worries... it can be made quiet!> I am really sorry about the long email, but I really respect your team's opinion.  I have been planning this tank since December and everything I'm doing/have done is a result of this site.  It is a WEALTH of info and I would hate to think what would of happened without finding this site.  I can understand why so many people give up on SW tanks because the info is so complex and so few places to get the answers.  It is a shame that manufactures don't give you the info.  (IE. predrilled "reef ready" tanks with 1" bulkheads).  Thanks to you and your team for everything... <do let us know what big city you live near... we can point you towards an aquarium club with kind members with quiet tanks <G> that can advice you locally. Best regards, Anthony> Plumbing Manifold 8/12/04 Hi Crew, <howdy> My name is Keith. I have a couple of questions concerning Anthony's plumbing manifold. A little history first. My system will be a 125g main tank, 15g sump and 30g refugium. The tank is up and running (sort of). I got into a salt tank with too little knowledge and have had some problems.  Copper in my water and poor water flow were the two main problems. I <the latter is a very (!) common mistake. The minimum should be 10-20 X turnover per hour. You will likely need 2000-300GPH turnover here> I have corrected the copper issue. I have to take my tank down, get rid of the substrate and (at one time) live rock. Currently the only overflow is a HOB with one 1" U tube. (LFS said was plenty - yea right) I have found some one local to drill my tank for me. <excellent! A drilled overflow is the best/safest> Now for the questions. 1) Do you recommend drilling the bottom of the tank or the back for overflows?. <always the back... I still cannot fathom why some folks recommend drilling the bottom. It is harder to plumb around, requires an awkward/large standpipe or overflow tower... and is simply an unnecessary risk. The high vertical (back usually) walls are best, safest and most discreet> 2) Will two 1.5" overflows be large enough?. <not sure... is this the bulkhead size or the drilled hole size? If the former, that would mean your drilled hole is around 2.5". Moreover... simply determine how much flow you want (2000-3000PGH) and compare against the bulkhead mfg.s specs (like at Rainbow Lifeguard plastic website). This is the only way to safely rate it> 3) This is the main question(s) - if I use Anthony's design for a manifold does the return need to come from the bottom or back of the tank?. <the manifold is to be fed by the sump return pump likely. Else an in tank pump> Once I get the return to the top of the tank, will the manifold be above the overflow box's or do have to use elbows to go around both box's?. <whatever is practical... I cannot say as I do not know where the overflows are placed. The manifold typically sits just at or slightly above the water surface to be discreet> The last and final question has to do with balancing the flow from the nozzle's. I will be using a T4 Velocity pump rated at 1250gph with 1" intake and output lines. <this is very little flow/pump for a manifold. Just imagine if you have six nozzles fed by this pump working at head... that's less than 200GPH per nozzle (weaker than the smaller powerheads). A dismal water flow. Beef this up, mate> I was planning on having ten nozzle's in the manifold, 4 in front and back and 1 on each end. <ten nozzles sounds excellent for the tank to improve water flow and reduce detritus, etc> Will I be able to get enough flow through this manifold that the front nozzle's have a good flow of water?. <not enough> Thank you for your time and all the good information I have gotten from reading for hours on your web site. Keith <I wish you the very best of luck, my friend. Anthony>

- Two Sumps? - Hi :-) <Hi.> I just got a used 75g reef ready Oceanic that I'm trying to plumb up. Unfortunately, the sump/skimmer that came with it is extremely small CPR CY192(14x8x14.5) That's only 4 gallons!!  I still want to be able to use this for its built-in skimmer (and easy carbon bag placement) so…. Can I add another sump (Rubbermaid) to hold my DSB/ algae? <Sure, why not?> I have  1" and  ?" holes in the overflow( I want to use the ?" hole for a drain too) The return pump is a Little Giant rated at 640 at 3 ft. (1"discharge and return) Option#1 :  use the 1" hole draining to the Rubbermaid which then gravity feeds( through 1" bulkhead) to the CPR sump's final chamber.  The ?" hole drains directly to the first chamber in the CPR sump (skimmer chamber) All returned by 1" intake little giant.  Another possible problem: the outlet of the CPR sump is 3/4" -Do I have to drill this out and replace with a 1" bulkhead to fit the pump intake? It would seem like everything would bottleneck here at the sump exit. Option #2 : keep each sump separate and use another pump too (I have another Little Giant with ?" discharge/return and 400 at 3ft.) 1"drain to Rubbermaid returned by big Little Giant :-) ((hee hee hee "BIG" little Giant)) sorry, I'm feeling a bit goofy! ?" drain to CPR returned by little little Giant Which option would cause less problems? <I'd just run the CPR above the Rubbermaid sump, with it's own pump, and a gravity feed back into the sump where the sump's return pump would return water back to the tank. Simple and trouble free.> Thanks for all your help, Jennifer <Cheers, J -- > - Y Connector - I have an All-Glass Twin-Flo tank - 2 drains, 2 returns - and only one pump. This would mean I will at some point need to transition from the pump's single output into 2 return lines, right? <Correct.> How does one do that? <With either a T or a Y fitting.> A "Y" connector would be the most obvious solution - but I can find no references to them; it seems to be a non-existent kind of part. <They exist - enter "PVC Y Fitting" into your favorite Internet search engine and you will find one.> Is there a source for these things? <Many.> (or, perhaps I'm thinking about it wrong.) Thanks (again), Mark <Cheers, J -- > - Pump Plumbing - I am having a 55 gal tank drilled for use as a sump. I am going to use a large external Pump to return water from my sump to my 180 gal at a rate of (hopefully 2500 gph) The pump has a 1.5 inch MPT fitting, what size bulkhead, and what size pipe should I use to go from the sump to the pump? <Ideally 1.5 inches for both.> Thanks a million for all the info!! <Cheers, J -- >

Plumbing a Sump for a 180 gal. Well, I have found someone about an hour from me who drills glass aquariums. So, I want to drill a 180 gal tank for use with a 55 gal sump. It will be a FOWLR set-up, so I guess I'm shooting for a 2000-3000 gph turnover right? << That sounds fine. >> How many 1.5" bulkheads do I need to do this? << I would say four. >> Is it ok to just plumb the overflows with a basket inside the tank and 90 deg. elbow on the back of the bulkhead? or do I need to build some sort of box to collect water right from the surface for better skimming. Is it possible to have too much overflow? << You can't have too much overflow, because it will be controlled by your pump.  I don't think you need a box, but I like them.  However, I like to have the box on the outside of the tank, but it does prevent optimal skimming.  I guess it depends on if you are willing to put up with seeing the box in the tank (which most people do and would recommend to you. >> I want to keep the set-up as simple as possible. I am planning to have the return water plumbed to go up over the tank, and not drill return holes in the tank and weaken the glass any more, is that ok? << Yes, I too would have the return lines run over the top. >> I thought about using 2 big Sea Swirls for the returned, but I'm not sure it's at all necessary in a FOWLR? << That is tricky, because you need to have the return lines return right at the water surface, or at least have some sort of hole drilled there.  Otherwise in a power outage those return lines will become siphon lines. >> <<  Blundell  >>

How do I control the flow to and from the sump?  8/2/04 Bob and Co., << Blundell here this morning. >> I've got tons of information but can't seem to get stuff hooked up (in my line of work we call this "analysis paralysis", where you have so much information you can't get anything done).   I have a 125 AGA (still empty; nothing's hooked up yet) that will drain ~1200GPH  (4' off the floor, no really bad angles in the plumbing), and an Iwaki 70RLT that'll pump > 1500 GPH.  I'm absolutely agonizing over this (everything else too; I know, it's supposed to be fun)  My options, I think, are to get rid of the huge pump in favor of something that has a flow rate closer to the drain rate - and/or - put in a bleed line (i.e., branch off part of the return back into the sump?) -  and/or - valve back the return (although I think I read somewhere that isn't good for the pump).  What's the best solution?  << I like the idea of having a large pump.  I don't think anyone ever says "wow I wish I had less flow or a smaller pump".   I like the idea of splitting the output from the pump, so some of the water returns right back to the sump.   I really don't see any disadvantages to this, and I like the idea of being able to adjust that with a valve. >> Given the above then, from the 1" drain bulkhead, I'd thought I'd increase the diameter of the drain lines to 1.5" (less flow restriction).  I'd run 1" return lines and only reduce them right at the ?" return bulkheads.   Does this make sense? << Sort of.  I would make very large drain lines, but I'm not sure that helps much,  unless you increase the bulkhead as well.  Maybe it helps, nothing to lose so you might as well try. >> The other source of anxiety is the sump.  Basically, what I think I'm reading is that all I have to do is drain into a box, run through a skimmer and what-all (UV, etc.), and 86 the wet/dry - dump in a bunch more LR instead of Bio-balls (do I need to have it lit down there?).  Is that pretty much it?  << You got it.  I do like to have my sump lit at night so I can grow lots of macroalgae down there.   I think it is a great addition to the tank. >> Thanks guys.  Much obliged.  I *know* I can do this.  << No worries mate. >> Mark <<  Blundell  >>

Plumbing Basics- HI :) <Hello! Ryan with you today> Thanks for all the great info on your site-it's awesome!! But, I think I'm a bit overwhelmed. <It happens!> I will be ordering a 65 gal( 48x18x17) with one back center overflow box and need to know where to have them drill the drain and how big to size it.  I have a 29 gal(30x12.5x18) DSB sump with about 4 ft of head between.  So…. If I need a flow rate of 1100gph(??), what size pump do I need if I have a 1 ?" drain?? <3/4 or 1 inch>  Do I have them drill it in the bottom panel for a stand pipe? ( straight down means less noise right??)<Yes, in some cases.  You'll have to tinker with it to eliminate "slurping."> or the top back panel? safer if I don't trust the overflow box not to leak?) <Yes, also a possibility.> Also, is it safer to drill two 1" drains in the same overflow box? in case one gets clogged or perhaps a drain to a future mangrove refugium) <Yes, but I'd recommend you to feed a refugium with a bleeder from the return, to prevent flooding.>  This is too much like the SATS--I think my head is spinning!!!! <Ha!  Geometry DOES come in handy...> Aquariums seemed like such a relaxing hobby <So they say...Diagram your plumbing out, and send it in.  I'll have a look and make some suggestions.> ;) Dazed and confused, Jennifer <Half-Baked, Ryan.  Just kidding.>

Overflow gph? All-Glass aquariums lists maximum gph through the 2 built in "mega flow" overflows in their tanks at 1200 gph total. On a 180 gallon tank, isn't that a little low? shouldn't the gph be more like 2000 or more? <Yes... like most all such pre-made arrangements these are too small and few. Bob Fenner>

Re: Overflow gph? uh oh, what should I do then? I was just getting ready to slap down $700 for one of these, is there a better route? I thought it was better than using hang on overflows? <If you haven't done so, ask your dealer or the manufacturer directly to "up-size" the bulkheads... to 2" inside diameter if you'd like... or add another of the size they regularly provide. The big companies don't mind these "custom jobs". Bob Fenner>

Closed Loop Options Hello, <Hi there, Scott F. your Crew Member tonight> I've been reading all of your FAQs on circulation.  One question I have is concerning closed loop circulation.  I have a glass aquarium and so cannot drill bulkheads.  What is the best way to set up a closed loop circulation.  It is a 50 gallon tank, which currently has a mag 7 pumping 500 gal/hr from the sump and another pump that is pumping around 300 gal/hr from the sump.  I want to add an Eheim 1262 which pumps about 900 gal/hr but don't want to have to pump it with a 4 ft head nor deal with all the extra water going into the sump.  Additionally, with the 4ft head the pump looses 200 gal/hr.  Do you have any recommendations for the intake pipe and how it should be configured? Thanks, Brent <Well, Brent, if it were me- I'd keep it simple and not do a closed loop at all. I'd opt for top-mounted external pumps, such as Tunze Turbelles or Aquarium Product Geminis. The put our massive flow (up to 1,000+ gph), impart virtually no heat to the aquarium, and use miniscule amounts of electricity (as little as 15-20 watts!). And, best of all- they require no drilling or supplemental plumbing connections! If you can handle the aesthetics (and cost!), internal Tunze Stream powerheads are the way to go. The simply move huge amounts of water with great flow, are controllable, and are of the highest quality! Check these ideas out! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> - Filtration for Non-Drilled Tank - Hi guys, it's been a little while since I have written in but I just had my Fluval 404 filter break down and am in the market for a new one. I have a 75 g Oceanic Bowfront and do not have it drilled - all equip runs H.O.T - I was wondering if you could recommend a reliable, efficient filter for this tank - I am looking into buying the Eheim Wet/Dry 2229 for my tank. I want to get the best filter I can so I do not have any problems with inadequate filtration or pumps breaking down. Can you tell me if this is a good choice for my tank or if you know of one out there that might be better please? <I go with either this model or the other Eheim that is the same size but not a wet/dry - I can't think of the model off the top of my head, but either of these would be a really good choice. A hang-on skimmer like an AquaC Remora Pro would be a good addition.> I am relying on your infinite wisdom to guide my choice here. Thank you kindly - you guys rock! Jay.D <Cheers, J -- > - Bulkheads - Hi Guys, I am starting a 180 gal. reef. My two corner overflow are 2". Last time I wrote I was having problems with water draining fast enough. So a added two 1 1/2" bulkhead on the back wall of the tank and two 1". My two pumps equal to 5100 gal. /hr. Now when I turn the pumps on I hear a loud sucking noise from the 2" overflow. Do I still need to add more bulkheads? <No... the sucking sound is just what happens when you have a large amount of water passing through them... air is being pulled down with the water.> I want to avoid dialing back the pumps since water entering the tank goes thru a manifold. My tank is still in the testing stages so I am flexible. Also what is the typical flow rating on these bulk heads? <A one inch fitting should be able to move 1500 GPH peak... reality will be somewhat less. A 1.5" bulkhead should be able to handle about 2500 GPH max.> What would the proper size sump be on a tank this size? <As large as possible - you've got a lot of water in transit and you'll need room to have a working sump and somewhere for the transit volume to go when the power shuts off.> Thanks for you dedication to this site. Sincerely Stephan <Cheers, J -- >

- Overflow Size - Hello everyone. <Hello.> I have a quick question. I would have posted in the forum but it appears to be down right now. I have upgraded my pump to a Quiet One 6000 and have put all the pumping into place. I have a 55G tank and a 10G sump. Now I was wondering what size of an overflow would I need? I currently have a H.O.T overflow box with a 1" and 1 1/2" U tubes to move the water between the boxes. I have a 1" drain hose in the back box. I currently have to use a ball valve to throttle back the pump because my drain can not move enough water. My current box is 5" across 7" deep and 3" thick. I was wondering if I increase the drain from 1" to 1 1/2" would that be enough? <Yes, that would make a big difference.> I am currently looking at building an overflow setup that is 15"x8"x4" and using either a 1 1/2" drain or two 1" drains. <Either would be adequate, but you also might to think about two overflow boxes which will give you the right amount of drainage and also redundancy should one of the two develop problems.> I will be using two 1 1/2" U tubes to move the water between the boxes. Could you give me your ideal on how many drains I would need and what size. <Two overflow boxes, each with a 1.5" bulkhead would be perfect.> Oh and the pump will be moving about 943GPH with my current plumping. Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

How do get rid of that sump overflow noise, but still have a lot of circulation? Hi << Blundell here. >> I've read pages and pages of the FAQ's and loads of articles from the website over the last year or so - loads of excellent info. thanks.  Anyway I've had a smallish reef aquarium (35 gallon) for about a year with some success, and now I'm setting up a 100 gallon fish only. In my experience I've got just about everything with the other aquarium wrong first time and had to change it so I'm trying to avoid that with this one.  So here is the spec: 4ft*2ft*2ft tank, 3ft*1ft*18'' sump, loads of ocean rock, and other suitable rock (none live), fluorescent T8 lighting (2-3 - undecided at the moment), good skimmer (either 'the beast or AquaMedic Turboflotor - still to decide). Lots of powerheads, etc. << Sounds good, especially the "loads of ocean rock". >> So here are my questions: Firstly I have an overflow which is an upstanding pvc pipe (1 and quarter inch).  If I use the Rio 2100 to return the water (approx 2500 lph) turning over the tank 5 times, I get a load suction noise. My LFS advised my to cut the flow on the return into the tank.  If I reduce it so it's about a 1000gph I get an low level of noise which I prefer.  But this means the total capacity of the tank only goes through the sump twice every hour. Is this enough? << I don't like the idea of cutting down circulation.  I think you are better to search the web for "Durso stank pipes" or even add multiple drain tubes. >> The answer I think depends on what I have in the sump - which then brings me to what to have in my sump? << You can't have to much circulation. >> I'm keen on having live rock, although I do have plenty of bioballs (left over from my original plans with the reef aquarium).  The sump is a fair size with 4 chambers (an old tank that I put baffles into).  My original plan was to have the water passing through filter pads, then the bio-balls, then on to a refugium compartment (with live rock and sand and Caulerpa), and on to the return pump. Would you suggest I include hermit crabs, sand shifting snails and other snails in the refugium? << A few, but not many.  I would get rid of the bioballs, and just add more live rock. >>  If this is a good idea where do put the skimmer in the order - or does it not really matter? << I would put the skimmer will before the Caulerpa grow out area, probably after the filter pads. >> Obviously I need to have good water circulation, but how much in an FO tank of this size? Would 10 times an hour be enough.  (I could do this with powerheads in the aquarium). << Tough to answer, but when in doubt add more pumps. >> So now the fish - which I suppose links to everything else.  I have a yellow tang, and blue cheek goby which have outgrown the other tank. (the blue cheek keeps chucking sand over the open brain coral!)  I have my heart set on a Niger Trigger, and I really would like to get some sort of Angel.  I like all the Angels I've seen and realize most would need an even larger set up.  Can you suggest any apart from the dwarf angels which would be OK in this set-up. << A 100 gal tank with lots of live rock really allows you to keep just about any angelfish.  I would just pick one that looks appealing to you (flame angel, coral beauty, rock beauty)??? >> I'm also considering getting a snowflake eel, and a lionfish. << These fish are nitrate factories in my mind.  I'm not sure I would keep them with the angelfish and goby.  I would either keep ornamental reef fish (goby and angel) or the aggressive fish (lion and eel) with your tank and trigger. >> Can you see any problems if I get them all small? << Yes, I wouldn't get a small fish, if you do get the eel or lionfish, instead I would make sure your angelfish or goby are 3-4 inches long. >> Are there and clean up crew that you could suggest? << In a 100 gal I would have a mix of 200 snails and about 100 crabs. >> Finally - lighting, it's a deep tank, but not a reef aquarium.  Is it just a matter of as much light as I like? << Pretty much.  If you want to grow coralline algae you'll need blue light, and if you want to grow Caulerpa you'll need light.  But if you just want the rock and fish, then it isn't that important. >> I'd really appreciate any help you can offer me - I really want to get this right, and not have to keep changing things - cost is a BIG factor for me. << For us all.... unfortunately ;) >> <<  Blundell  >> External Overflow Tubes Hello , and Thank you for reading...Question is on external overflow tubes. do the legs of the u tube have to be the same length ? will they lose siphon if one leg is longer than the other ? <Not likely... if these devices are "long enough" (reach over the side, are longer than the drop in water level... both, all should keep working just fine. Bob Fenner> CLOSED CIRCULATION LOOP WWM Crew <Hi David, MacL here with you this evening.> I'm planning/preparing to convert my 37g reef to a sump and closed circulation manifold, and was hoping to get your input/critique on my planned setup. The sump is going to be constructed of a standard 10g aquarium - it's cheap, and it's the widest aquarium that will fit under my stand; it will also allow me to continue to use my CPR BakPak (I don't think it will hang on the side of a Rubbermaid/similar container).  I'd planned on dividing it into 3 chambers (very simple setup), for skimmer, return pump, and a larger center chamber that will eventually house some macro algae (probably Chaeto). I'll be using a CPR CS series overflow, rated for 600GPH.  I've already made sure (in theory anyway) the sump will have more than sufficient volume to house the overflow water when the power goes out... I'm shooting for ~500gph water movement, and I plan to plumb the return and make the manifold from 3/4" PVC. I'd originally planned to use a Mag 7, but after experimenting with an online head loss calculator, with the configuration I roughed out the 7 is only going to make ~340-350GPH... Do you foresee any problem with moving up to a Mag 9.5 and staying with the 3/4" PVC?  According to the same calculator, that should get me 490-500GPH (got to get rid of those powerheads!!). <I can tell you I'm using a mag 12 with one inch PVC so I think you should be able to make this work.> I don't want to spend the money on an Iwaki right now, and I prefer to stay away from the Rios... While I've got you, does Chaeto/similar require a substrate or anchoring substance, or will it grow ok floating freely? I hadn't planned on putting any sand in the center chamber, but could put some live sand and/or LR frags if the macro needs it to take root... <I would suggest using some just so it gives you more options to use other types of grasses in the future.> Thanks in advance... to be able to tap into such a tremendous and well-respected pool of knowledge is invaluable to us who are still learning... <I hope this helped David.> David

PLUMBING 7/19/04 Crew,<Hi Eric, MacL here with you tonight.> Thank you for everything you do for our hobby and most importantly the money you have saved me over the last year. <That's very kind of you.> Two questions... I have purchased a Custom Sea Life 1/3 hp chiller for my 150g reef tank (around 220g total). I have the chiller on a closed loop powered by a GenX mak-5. The manufacturer where I bought the tank and chiller recommended that I put on a Nu-Clear canister filter to filter the water before it passes into the chiller. <I'm sure they were thinking the clearer the water the better for the chiller.> They plumbed the closed loop so that the filter sits directly behind the pump. The water exits the filter and is then teed with the flow controlled by two ball valves. At this point, some of the water goes to the chiller and the rest returns back to the tank. After the water passes through the chiller, it meets up with the rest of the flow going back to the tank.  The first thing that pops into my head when I think about the Nu-Clear filter is, detritus collector. <Definitely a good point.> However, this company insists that the water should be filtered before is passes into the chiller. Also, my overall impression on the way they plumbed the close loop is that they have created so much head - approximately 22ft plus the dynamics of the filter, that a strong pump like the GenX will be almost worthless. <Its definitely an interesting split.> Any thoughts would be appreciated. Does the water really need to be filtered before it enters the chiller? <Honestly I'm not familiar with that brand of chiller so I couldn't tell you for sure. I'm sure they want you to do this because they want the water going through the chiller to be as pure as possible to prevent buildups within the chiller.> I do not have any other mechanical filtration because I am employing a DSB, a 40g refugium with animal filters, and Chaetomorpha in the sump. I just hate the thought of the added work and expense of weekly maintenance to the filter. <Its a very good point, I can only guess but I'm thinking that perhaps they feel if you can keep most of the detritus from the chiller it will be more effective and have a longer life. I have to tell you in all honesty that if it was me I'd write the manufacture and questions why they suggest this. I've gotten to the point with my products that I don't hesitate to ask the manufacturer a question, we are spending a lot of money on these products.> If the water must be filtered, could I use an additional pump to plumb a closed loop from my sump to the chiller and back, freeing up my GenX for added tank flow? <You could do that> I also have a BlueLine HD100 which gives me about 1450gph but would take any additional flow I can get. Secondly, as my knowledge grows, so do my excess parts. Is there anyway to dissolve the silicone glue on old parts to allow for reuse? <I know people who use acetone to remove it.> I tried heat without success. Thanks for taking the time, <Good Luck Eric sounds like you are on the right track.> Eric

Tank Plumbing Query Greetings, Most Knowledgeable Crew, <Greetings!  Ryan Bowen with you today> You continue to be a source of much help through your FAQ's and personal responses.  I've been in the hobby a couple years and much is due to the books, website, and answers you all provide. <All read!> Ok, now for the questions and sorry for the novel, but I want to do this properly. <Ah! You have been reading>  I'm changing around my tanks and want to make sure that my plans will likely be successful.  Water parameters are all good with daily top off water and weekly water changes (0 nitrates, no ammonia etc). <OK> I have a 100 gallon acrylic rectangle 5 feet long by 18 inches wide soft coral tank with 200 lbs live rock, a mandarin, 2 pink bar gobies, coral beauty, Linckia starfish, a 30 gallon sump and a 10 gallon refugium.  The 10 gallon refugium is above the 100 gallon tank and water is pumped into it from the 100 gallon and returned to it via gravity through a bulkhead and flex tube.  <Great> I just bought another 120 gallon acrylic tank with a center overflow that is a shallow octagon 4 feet in diameter and 12 inches high that I want to plumb into the existing set up.  Right now I have a small 7" rose anemone that is very healthy in the 10 gallon refugium with a small pair of gold stripe maroon clowns (this is plumbed into the 100 for good water quality).  I'll be moving the anemone and clowns into the new octagon.   <Cool> So what I want to do is have the existing 100 gallon tank overflow gravity drain via flex tube into the new 120 gallon shallow tank.  Then the new 120 gallon shallow tank overflow via flex tube into a large sump with two skimmers I have as I do not want to buy new ones ( I have Euroreef that I love and Red Sea Berlin Skimmer that is sort of ok). <Sounds good thus far> The sump will then pump the water into the existing 100 gallon tank.  Will that work fine? <The only problem I can foresee is circulation- You may want to supplement in both tanks with high-flow powerheads.  You'll know once it's plumbed whether you need more flow.>  If power shuts off for some reason the sump would be large enough to hold all water draining into it. <Awesome> Then I'll have the refugium back as a true refugium and sit it in the middle above both big tanks and with a bulkhead on each side of the refugium gravity drain into each of the big tanks.  The refugium will get water pumped from the existing 100 gallon tank.  Sound ok so far? <You could also run a bleeder from the main return.> Then the next question I have is that if they are all plumbed together, for everything to work, I have to fill the new 120 gallon octagon tank which is 100 gallons of new water for my system which has right now between the refugium, existing tank and sump about 130 gallons- that's a lot of new water, so I have 130 gallons existing water and will have 100+ gallons new water.  So, help, how should I do that to be least likely to upset all my soft corals, the anemone and clown?  <Hmmm...it's about the same as a 50% water change.  You may want to consider cycling the water the in 130 before plumbing it in.> Ok, final part, assuming I get through the above ok, is stocking/lighting the new 4 foot diameter 100 gallon tank.  I'll add small grained fine sand, seeded with my existing live sand and some live rock and will figure something out for good water movement. <Great> The tank is very shallow and big with 16 square feet of floor space and I want clams so I think halide lighting would be good. <yes> I'm thinking of hanging either 2x250 watt HQIs or 2x150 HQIs above the tank.  I know the rose anemone does not need as much light as the clams so I do not want to shock it. <Just acclimate it with shade cloth...it'll be fine.> Right now in the 10 gallon the happy anemone has a 65 watt power compact.  What lighting would you suggest and how far from the water? <2 250's 14 inches from the water surface.> Any other suggestions on nice compatible very interesting inhabitants for the tank? <You'd really let me do the fun part?  I'd love to see a hardy butterfly in this setup.  Good luck! Ryan> Thanks, Flo

My new reef tank overflow problems 7/1/04 Hi Again. Thank you again for your prompt reply on my dilemma about the overflow drilled too small. I Currently have two 4x4" corner overflow with a stand pipe of 2" in each corner. As I was saying, water could not drain fast enough to feed the refugium. So I drilled the back of the tank for two 1 1/2" bulk head with screens. I have two Dolphin pumps: an Amp Master 2100 g/h and a 3000 g/h. The tank itself  about 180gal. <the total amount of water flow is very fine for a reef tank this size... but did you refer to the mfg specs on safe running levels for their bulkheads (about half the max) to see if they could handle the 5000+ gph being pushed? It seems like a lot of water for four holes/drains> The sump/refugium measures 32x28x16" with a 12" partition at 8" from the left. with those measurements this gives me about 46 gal. total and 34 gal. in the bigger section. <is the smaller section the sump proper? if so, this is tiny for a 180 gallon tank. Even the 46 gall in general is small considering the water flow> Each pump pushes water through a manifold containing 6 and 7 tees respectively. Even with the new drains I still cant' run both pumps without sucking the sump dry especially the 3000. I cannot fill up the sump with any more water for fear it will overflow when pumps are turned off. <understood> What is the problem here? Still too little overflow or sump is too small? <the principal concern here is the inadequate drainage (not enough holes or large enough... this we can figure out by the numbers). The sump ultimately is way too small... especially if the non-refugium side is a mere 12 gallons> Is it true the sump must be close to half the size of the main tank? <larger sumps are safer... but the only rule is that it should be able to handle all overflow water in the event of a power outage and not overflow itself> When we are talking about turning the water over 20 times, does that include the main display and the sump combined? <just the flow in the display my friend... and its not written in stone. Ultimately, its the specific invertebrates you choose that will dictate how much or how little flow is needed> Can I cut more teeth out from  the top of the overflow to help it? <no mate... the problem is the drain size, not the overflow teeth> Thanks a bunch. Stephan <at this point my friend... all you can do is bleed water off the return pump with a tee and put it back into the sump (or restrict the pump return some other way/valve). Anthony>

- Pumping Air - Hello crew, Let me start by thanking you guys for such a great site with tons of info. I am looking to get some additional clarification on a response posted by Anthony to another e-mailer. I am looking to replace the 4 power heads in my 120 gal reef tank with a closed loop system.  The tank is 4x4x2 with 2 corner overflows each having a 1" drain.  I have tried pumping directly from the sump but "surprisingly" the overflows can not handle the additional flow.  I do not have enough courage to drill additional holes. <Is something that should be done when the tank is dry.> I have an extra Mag-drive 9.5 that I was hoping to use as an external pump to power the closed loop.  I wanted to place an intake just below the water line, plumbed to the Mag-drive sitting on a shelf (outside and above the sump to reduce head but below the water level in the tank) then plumbed directly back to the tank.  In reading through the daily FAQ'S I found this exact setup described, which I have attached for reference.  I have tried this setup and I can't get the pump to prime itself or gravity feed up an over the back of the tank without a manual siphon. <I think perhaps you misread Anthony's intent. The inlet for the pump AND THE PUMP must be below the water line. By running the intake line up and over the tank's edge and above the water line, you've essentially put the pump above the water line. There are very few pumps out there that self-prime on a dry line or will suck water up hill.> The pump works fine when it's submerged but won't self prime. <Pumps of this design do not "self-prime" in the typical sense of the word. If they are already full of water, they will move that water, but they will not pull water through a dry line.> I have researched these pumps and the claim is that they can be used in-line or submersed. I am assuming in-line means external. <Yes, but at or below the level of the water... if you had a bulkhead in the back of your tank at or below the water level, this pump would work fine.> In Anthony's response to another reader on this very question he states; "with an inlet sufficiently below the running water line, the pump will be gravity fed and self prime (if kept clean... service quarterly or better) after interruptions of power>".  I am not sure what I am missing. <Putting a hose up and over the edge of a tank is not the same as what Anthony describes.> As long as the intake is below the water level inside the tank why does its elevation matter? Is the elevation of the pump itself critical? <No, it's all about the air in the hose, and the fact that the position of the hose essentially requires the pump to pull the water up hill.> Or can this type of pump just not be used for this application? <This pump will not pull air if that is what you are wondering.> Any help or further clarification would be greatly appreciated as I would love to get rid of the power heads and make use of this spare pump.  Thanks for all help.  You guys are the best. Marty <Cheers, J -- >

Plumbing Schemes Could you add a basement sump and propagation tank into the plumbing of a marine aquarium's design? <Well, sure. The possibilities are only limited by your creativity, ingenuity, space- oh- and your budget! Get a good book with system design information- such as Anthony's "Book of Coral Propagation" and get some inspiration! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Overflow Trouble - Hi this is Jonathan and I'm 14 and I haven't emailed you lately. I have just upgraded from my 3 year old 46gal saltwater tank to a 125 gallon long. I have a few questions for you about a overflow box. My new tank is not pre drilled so I am going to go with a overflow box and I have been looking on Championlighting.com and I found one that is supposed to be for up to a 125gal tank. It pumps out up to 600 gallons a hour I'm also getting a pump to shut the tube off for when the power goes out. <A pump? Do you perhaps mean an electronic flow-control valve?> What I need to ask you is that I looked at a lot of pumps to bring the water back in the tank, but I couldn't find one that was supposed to do 600gph. Should the pump and the overflow box have the same GPH? <The pump should be sized up to, but not more than the maximum flow of the overflow box.> I'm also looking for lights on the web site I looking at a Current Orbit that s 4x96 watt or a ARO VHO 4 lamp retro kit. The Current orbit comes with the lamps and hood fully assembled. The ARO VHO comes pre wired and everything needed except the four lights. I would get two Blue actinic and two white actinic. I would like to know you're opinion on the two light fixtures. <Both produce light.> I have pretty much made up my mind about the protein skimmer. I was looking at a ASM G-series. It has a Sedra 3500 pump and is supposed to be able to be used up to 200 gallons. Could you tell me if you think and there would be something that you would recommended instead. <That skimmer will work fine, but must be placed in a sump.> Thanks for all your help in the past!!!!!!    <Cheers, J -- >

Overflow box sizing, flow rates, lighting... Hi it's Jonathan, sorry about the other night bob I was emailing you about 2 in the morning and watching cheers at the same time (night person) and I probably hit the caps lock and didn't now it. Anyway I had a few question's on my new 12gal salt tank.1) I was looking on two web sites (Championlighting.com and oceanencounter.com) for  a overflow box and both said that 600gph where enough for 125gal,What do you think << I don't think you can ever have too much water flow.  I would think that 600gph is fine, because you can always add a closed loop or powerheads to the display tank for more water motion.  That also prevents you from excessive flow in your sump. >> I would also like to know what would you think would be the right extra amount of GPH on the pump putting water back into the tank, so it would be letting out as much water into the tank as the overflow box would be taking out. The length I was going to do would be 55" long from sump to the top right corner of the tank. <<  Well in this case, I would recommend looking at other tanks and seeing what others have done.  I personally think that 1,000 gph pump is about right for most people.  However, that will depend on what you like and what your goals are. >> The light I was looking at was on Oceanencounter.com, and it was pretty much what I was looking for, It's a VHO Retro kit. It has two lights each one is 160 watts. Do you think this is enough for the following corals Star polyps, Brains, Leather, Frogspawn, and my transfer of 2 Florida anemones, Elegance, and Xenia coral. << I'm not sure how big your tank is, but for now I'll say no.  Some of those corals are okay, but in general if you want to have a large successful reef tank, I would recommend at least 4 VHO bulbs, and even better is a metal halide system.  Before you buy those lights, I recommend seeing a tank with that lighting set up. Adam B.  >>

Sump Filter for 46 gallon Saltwater tank? Hi! <Hi Debra> I have recently received a 46 gallon bow front All-Glass Aquarium.  I currently have a 20 gallon that I have been maintaining just fine (with a lot of help from this site for over a year now).  Anyway, back to the new tank - I would like to use a sump filter for this one (nothing wrong with the Eheim I have now, but looking for something better).  I've received mixed messages from your site, so I guess I'm looking for a clear cut yes/no.  The tank does not have holes drilled into it. Several of your FAQ's state that if the overflow is not built in, don't attempt this. But then I've read something about automatic overflows (which I think helps guard against spillage during power outages). I'm confused. Should I or should I not attempt to go the route of sump instead of canister? <Honestly I think its one of those questions where you do the research and decide whether you want to do the work necessary or not. I'll tell you that a small tank can be much harder to take care of then a larger one so this should be easier. You might also look into refugium. Might I recommend "The Conscientious Aquarist" by Robert Fenner.> If I should, could you please direct me to a vendor that has a complete sump system - it seems like on the sites that I've checked I can't tell if all the plumbing is included or not.  I'm not a DIY nor the most mechanically inclined. <There are many sites on the web that have complete systems. Oceanic comes most immediately to mind and there are many others that exist.> Thanks, once again, for the great help. Debra <Sounds like you are on the right path Debra. Keep us updated. MacL>

Risky plumbing to a refugium Just recently found your site it has a lot of info, I am setting a refugium now in planning stage. I cannot drill my tank and don't trust overflows. My question is could you use a loop with a T at the intake of the ref a ball valve on both outlets of t to control water flow to ref and intake of pump. Also a Tat pump for intake from ref and tank maybe a ball valve to control intake from ref. I hope this makes sense I do not this took about 10 min.                        thanks Larry <Mmm, if I understand you here, you want to rely on gravity and the constant power/flow of your pump to return water in a sort of balance? Not a good idea. Gravity won't "let you down", but one cannot rely on a pump or the electric co.. Alternatively however, you could have your refugium above the tank, and rely on the water overflowing it, back into the main tank. Bob Fenner>

Overflow plumbing for refugium Bob thank you for your reply, I don't believe my wife will go for the refugium above the tank can you recommend a good overflow. thank you for your quick reply and the great website, Larry. <I do like the CPR products... and if it's a real concern (overflowing from the main tank on to the floor), you might consider getting/using two of these (teed together or not) to service the below tank refugium. Bob Fenner>

Overflow from Down Under - 6/24/2004 Bob: I recently read a response from you on an old FAQ titled "Overflow tower with "over-under" divider".  Here is an excerpt: "...you says a better overflow tower had an over-under divider in their fronts to return water to the sump from the bottom layer of the tank water. <Yes... to bring at least some, if not most of the water from the system's bottom water layer... to the sump, outside the tank>".  Questions (Sorry, I started with only 3): 1) I gather from the current "reef-ready" overflows, that this still holds true, yes? <Yes> 2) On these overflows, the bottom slots will pose a problem/be covered by a DSB in display, won't they?   <Mmm, not if they occur above the DSB area> 3) I am considering a custom drilled tank (around six 1" bulkheads on a 6' long 125gal), with the "internal skimmer box", a la Anthony Calfo.  Is it an issue having all water overflowing from the top of the tank?   <IMO/experience it is better to have water from both the surface and near bottom> 4) If so, is this "problem" solved by vigorous flow? <Could be> 5) Do you think six 1" bulkheads will allow me to do almost anything in this tank, flow-wise?   <... I'd likely go with three 1 1/2" (pi R squared... actually much more surface area, flow capability...) than the six one inchers... one right, left, about middle> 6) Would you have a different drilling preference (to be prepared for the most flow-demanding livestock in the future)? <As stated above, yes... and consider the alternatives to the ends/discharges... there's a larger SCWD on the horizon (per chatting with Bob Stern at Interzoo in May...)...> 7) If you were to suggest larger bulkheads, how much more noise are we talking about here (or am I at toilet-flush level already)? <There are various means to quiet down these downspouts... aspirators and open tees to the surface principally... worth looking into and employing> I am pleased to be able to state here that your website and books have been a boon to me and so many others.  Your contributions have saved untold lives, and I am forever grateful to you and your volunteer crew for what you have provided.  Sincerely, Rich Licari <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words my friend. Service to you. Bob Fenner>

Proper size for PVC return 6/10/04 Sitting on the fence - give me a push Hello all, I have conducted research on plumbing my new aquarium and have found conflicting advice (go figure).  I desire your varied opinions.  In plumbing an Iwaki 30rlxt (1" input and 1" output) with approximately three 45 degree elbows, one 90 degree elbow, 1 foot of horizontal run, and 5 feet of vertical ascent, should I use 1" or 1.25" PVC for the output?    <either will be fine... the difference is negligible> The research indicates that the more elbows and horizontal run I have the larger the diameter the better; but the weight of the increased volume in the larger diameter pipe increases back pressure in the vertical run thus potentially negating any benefit.  A call to Iwaki customer service left me believing it was a toss up. <I agree completely> Thanks, Mike the neurotic <that may be true too ;) Anthony>

Liquid Teflon I recently put a sump together with food grade pails and PVC piping and have spent the last week trying to stop leaks. Finally, I used Oatey's Great White pipe joint compound with Teflon, replacing the Teflon tape, and seems to have done the job. It is supposed to be non-toxic and non-separating, but it does not dry or harden, and has a strong smell.  It lists hydrocarbon oils as an ingredient.  I have used on 3 joints out of many, and theoretically the water will have very little or no contact with the paste.  The total system including sumps holds about 300 gallons of water (net of fish, rock and corals). How concerned concerned should I be about contamination? Thanks a lot, Ron <I would NOT use/trust this material on biological systems. Instead, if there's a possibility of draining, drying all joints, try a smear of 100% silicone sealant (any color, just sans the mildewcides for tub/sink applications) on both sides of threads and gaskets... and allow a day or so to cure. Bob Fenner>

Mind reading 101 5/26/04 Could you please tell me where to find a needle type air injector control valve locally (store name, type of store, what department, what to ask for?). Id rather not do online business, but last resort maybe a link? many thanks! <I'd like to help you find a local store to support indeed... there's just one problem: you do not mention where you are from... no state, no city... hmmm... no name or signature either. We're good, but not that good my friend ;) Nonetheless... I presume you are looking for a brass or plastic needle air valve to push air through with an air pump to improve the performance or your wheel chuck, er... SeaClone skimmer, I mean. If so, most local aquarium shops have these parts where they sell airline tubing, airstones, etc. Best of luck, Anthony> 

Bulkhead Diameter Hi Guys- <Hey there! Scott F. your guy tonight!> I have just purchased a new pump, Amp Master 3000, and am worried about the necessary size for the return piping to the sump. I currently have one overflow box in the back corner with a 1.125 ID bulkhead (using a Durso standpipe to keep things quiet). In order to handle the 3000 gallons per hour, I am having another overflow box installed in the other back corner, but not sure of the size piping that I need. I am certainly not an engineer, but found some gravity flow equations on the web that gave me an overall minimum ID of about 2" taking into account the 3 foot vertical drop and 3 foot horizontal length to the sump. Does this sound about right to you? <Yep. I'd go with 2 inch standpipes for this type of flow> Therefore, would a 1.5 inch new bulkhead be enough with the current 1.125" in the other corner, or should I go larger? Thanks for all your help, Steve <Larger cannot hurt, but I believe that 2" would be the way to go! Regards, Scott F.> 

- Plumbing Question - Greetings Crew!- Thanks for all the great reading on the site, it has been a great help. I'm new to the hobby and have a question about my setup. I currently have a 20gal main tank and a 20gal sump/refugium in the works. I've had the 20gal main drilled for two 1" bulkheads at the back. I have also purchased an Iwaki wmd20, which can pump about 540gph at 4' of head.  I originally planned on building a Durso in one corner of the tank and using the other bulkhead as a return from the pump.. however from reading on the WWM site, it seems like the single 1" bulkhead might have trouble with the kind of provided by the pump (they're said to handle about 300gph nicely). <One inch plumbing can easily handle 1200 GPH.> So now I'm thinking about fitting both bulkheads in the main tank with Durso standpipes, and plumbing the return from the pump up and over the edge of the tank. This way, I wont have to worry about choking back the pump, and will (hopefully) get a bit more flow in the main tank. Any thing wrong with this setup? <No, but the previous one would be fine too.> Ideas would be great.. thanks. <Cheers, J -- > 

Overflow plumbing  help I am going to drill a hole in my wall for my overflow so it can go to the garage for a larger sump. The problem is my wife wants the hole to be as low as we can make it so that if we sell the house we can put a plate cover on it. Is it ok to have the overflow go into the sump below the water level you want in the sump? I don't know how to draw what I mean to say so I hope I you can understand what I mean. The overflow would go straight down then make one of those soft 90 degree turns and straight into the sump. But it would be going in below where I want the water level to be inside the sump. <I understand what you are describing and yes, this will work... the water will pour out to/at the level of the ultimate discharge... so if the tank water level is ultimately higher than the sump/discharge level all will be fine... no matter where or how low the transit through the wall occurs> Also I want to use a 1" bulkhead. I would use 3/4" piping out of the bulkhead right? <Likely so... but this is not a very large diameter line... might I ask the flow of water you intend (discharge let's say... total gallons of the system?) You may likely want a larger overflow line... or two of them, perhaps tee'd together or separate> and a 3/4" return? I think that is what I need to do after reading your plumbing FAQ. Thank you, Josh <What is the size/diameter of the pump volute you intend to use? This diameter is what you want the plumbing to be on the discharge side of the pump. Bob Fenner>

- Overflow Plumbed to the Garage - I am going to drill a hole in my wall for my overflow so it can go to the garage for a larger sump. <Funny, that's what I'm doing too.> The problem is my wife wants the hole to be as low as we can make it so that if we sell the house we can put a plate cover on it. <Ahh, put the holes where they need to be and just make a drywall plug and spackle back over the hole - don't bother with plates. I rent, and that's what I'm going to be doing. Besides you'll need that hole to be pretty high up in order to get a good gravity feed. Additionally, two small holes aren't going to impact the resale value of your house too much. I wouldn't worry about it.> Is it ok to have the overflow go into the sump below the water level you want in the sump? <It would work, but could cause problems - you need unrestricted flow from the main tank. I wouldn't do it.> I don't know how to draw what I mean to say so I hope I you can understand what I mean. <I think I do.> The overflow would go straight down then make one of those soft 90 degree turns and straight into the sump. But it would be going in below where I want the water level to be inside the sump. <Understood, and I still am not fond of the idea.> Also I want to use a 1" bulkhead. I would use 3/4" piping out of the bulkhead right? <Uhh... no, one inch.> and a 3/4" return? I think that is what I need to do after reading your plumbing FAQ. Thank you, Josh <Cheers, J -- >

- Overflow Plumbed to the Garage, Follow-up - Thank you JasonC & Mr. Fenner, You both replied to my email and I want to thank you guys a lot. I should have told you more about my tank. It is only a small tank 26 gallons. 30x116x12. I thought one 1" hole would be enough to go to the 30 gallon sump out in the garage. Then have a Mag 7 or 9.5 for a return. I thought that it would give me enough flow so I don't have to use powerheads. <I wouldn't rely on a single point source for circulation - will lead to dead spots unless you put the return through a distribution manifold or something like a Sea Swirl.> Do you think it would be better to have 2 1" holes drilled in each comer? <In a tank of this size, 3/4 will probably do - the redundancy will keep you out of trouble.> Then have a Mag 9.5 for the return. I can throttle it back. <True.> JasonC you said I would use a 1" pvc to pump out of my 1" bulkhead. I was reading in your FAQ that you want a smaller diameter tube so that you don't get a lot of air. That the 3/4" pvc would not take away that much flow. I am wrong in thinking that. <Well, again the circumstances have changed - in such a small tank 1" bulkheads would be a dominant feature - 3/4" would be fine, as long as there are two.> It would be 1" pvc coming out of the 1" bulkhead then? <Optimally, but again, if you double up on the overflow - 3/4" will do.> The Mag 7 have a 1/2" return, and the mage 9.5 has a 3/4" return. If that information helps. Thank you for taking the time to help me and for being so patient. Thanks, Josh <Cheers, J -- > 

- Water Flow - I have just started gluing my 300gal. tank together and have searched for the answer but can't find it. Have drilled holes for five two inch bulkheads in side of tank and would like to know the estimated flow rate and pump size to match. <Hmm... think a two inch hole can flow quite a bit of water - somewhere well past 2,000 GPH. If you want to get exact numbers, I suggest you pick up the book Aquatic Systems Engineering which contains many formulae for figuring out such things. As for the pump - that's all up to you, with the number of holes in this tank, you should be able to size that pump at just about anywhere. Would keep it within a practical range - likely not too far beyond 10x turnover per hour.>  What's the trick on reading my answer if you don't reply by e-mail? <Hmm... no trick there, if someone doesn't reply, then nothing gets posted. Once I reply, your email should show up on the daily FAQs within a day or so, and then filed under to appropriate topic a day or so after that. This FAQ would likely land in Marine -> Set-up - > Plumbing.> Can I search using word for word or use  key words. <You can do that too.> Thanks     <Cheers, J -- >

Rust in my Marine Aquarium 5/4/04 Hi .... A quick question.  Is rust dangerous in my marine aquarium?   <yes... metals are dangerous for many marine organisms in closed aquarium systems> I have a small clamp the attaches the hose to a powerhead in my sump.  I have noticed that while the strap is stainless steel, the screw isn't and rust is rapidly forming.  Should I remove the clamp? <do get a plastic hose clamp to be safe> My tank is 6x2x2 with a 4x1.5x1.5 sump (2 thirds full) Thanks Steve <rock on my brother. Anthony>

- Plumbing in the Chiller - Yo WWM dudes, "Capt. Nemo" here, <Yo, do you have a submarine named the Nautilus?> I have a "shark victim" customer with major problems. They just bought a 125-gallon aquarium and cabinet from a local shop "shark" (if you get my drift), and they are now having nothing but trouble. Soon after, they heard about us (bad timing). They came down to our showroom and were very impressed with our systems but since they already have a "system", for lack of a better word, they are reluctant to buy a whole new system, which I can sympathize with. I agreed that I would try to design a retrofit system to eliminate all the problems they have (abysmal filtration, super-puny pump, a 400 GPH submersible as the main pump!, i.e., almost no water flow, and a lot of heat. All the coral and fish they purchased (from the shark) are all dead. Truly a shame. <Indeed.> Most of the redesign is no problem except that they purchased (from the shark) an in-line chiller to minimize the heat, which they want to continue to use (they paid over $750.00 for it). Since I've been able, so far, to design systems without the need for a chiller, I'm trying to figure out how to integrate the chiller they have without restricting the water flow. According to various sources, water flowing through the chiller will restrict the flow from the main pump 2-4 feet worth of head. Part of my original design was to install a high-power pump (at least 1400 GPH) to run the system. In a nutshell, here are two questions: If I plumb the system with the chiller in-line, does that drastically reduce the flow? <To an extent, yes, but more importantly too high of a flow through the chiller will drastically reduce it's ability to chill the water and in turn the chiller's efficiency.> If so, can I plumb the system using the same main high-output pump and then add a second, lower-output pump to circulate water only through the chiller? <Yes.> It seems to me that the second option would be best. <This is the best, and in my opinion only option that will "work".> This adds a second pump but it seems overall, it would stress the low-power pump less than making the high-power pump work hard for nothing. This would leave the main pump to get that water moving. Any thoughts or pearls of wisdom (pardon the pun)? <None other than what you've already covered... seems to me that you're on it.> Steve "Capt. Nemo" Bicker <Look out for that Maelstrom - Cheers, J -- >

Carbon Fallout! Hey folks, how's the Q and A treating you? <Excellent! Scott F. here today!> I finally have my tank up and running after months of planning and reading the best site on the net. You run the best show out there, and I cannot tell enough people about it. <Awesome! We're really glad to hear that!> I had a situation arise and I wanted to know if you could help keep me? I had a carbon container come apart in my sump. I woke up to black water, and volcanic ash all over my sand bed and the rock. <Yuck!> I have hooked up my Magnum to filter out the dust, but its going really slow, in fact, I haven't seen any improvement in 8 hours of running it. My protein skimmer (which I know I should dig a big hole in my yard and bury it in and unmarked grave), the Red Sea Berlin Turbo, has been useless. I could use some advice as to what, if any, other things I should be doing to get rid of this catastrophe. <I'd consider some good old fashioned water changes, with careful siphoning of the rocks and substrate. A series of small water changes, in conjunction with fine mechanical filtration, can really help do the trick!> My other question is: I purchased a new Mag Drive, 2400gph pump to supply the closed loop I built for the top rim of the tank for circulation. I put the pump below the tank in the cabinet and plumbed it from there back up to the tank. I reduced the 1" inlets and outlets to 1/2 inch to avoid the bulky 1" around the rim of the tank. I plugged it in today to test it out, and I am getting a dribble out of the 6 outlets I put into the closed loop. Where did I go wrong? <Hmm...Sounds like you are putting a lot of back pressure on the pump with the reduced tubing. Perhaps that, combined with the outlets, is creating a problem here. It may take some tweaking on your part, unfortunately. I can't really give you much more advice, other than to try going for the once inch diameter tubing and, perhaps, less outlets...Sigh> Looking forward to hearing from you, its finally getting above 50 here in Wisconsin, and I need to get outside before it snows here again. Its only April, we could get a blizzard warning any time. Quinn. <Wow! I think it would be cool (no pun intended) to have a blizzard once in a while, but I imagine that it gets old real fast! Hope that the spring and summer are awesome for you! Regards, Scott F>

Just what is an "eductor"?  Hello Bob,  <Hi Darryl>  First I'd like to thank all of you for the all valuable info I get for this site. My question is about educators. I know what a teacher is, but this question refers to a device used on closed loop returns. I've read where folks commented on them and I've even seen a picture of a DIY educator, but no one explains their purpose. Who sells educators? And lastly, do they go by another name?  <Ahh, likely an "eductor" (take out the "a")... an arrangement of plumbing... a "tee" connector of smaller diameter on the eduction end for drawing fluid or air from another source. A similar concept is involved in the use of "elution" arrangements. Try plugging both terms in your search engines, dictionaries. You can build/make these devices with reducer bushings or even with "sprinkler riser tees" (that have differing diameters on the rising part). Bob Fenner>  Keep up the good work.  Darryl Nelson

Plumb Floored!  Or, Best Way to Suck? Bob,  I have a 100 gal. Rubbermaid tub that I want to plumb through the floor as a refugium for my 65 gal. reef tank. I cant drill my tank so I have an overflow box with a piece of 3/4 in. pvc sticking into it. How do I get the siphon started?  Thanks, Chad  <Either by forcing water up through from the bottom with a garden hose... or inserting a small diameter line (like airline tubing) and with the upper and lower ends of the siphon covered with water, sucking out enough air in the line to start the siphon going. Bob Fenner>

- Plumbing Problem - Hi, I have a couple of questions about a plumbing problem I have found.  I have a sump I am trying to plumb the return pump.  If you were facing the tank stand, I have the sump all the way against right wall of the sump.  On the left side, I have the bulkhead, a 3/4" ball valve and a PVC quick-disconnect union (this ball valve and union is only to shut off the water supply and disconnect the pump if it needs to be serviced... <Smart thinking.> I have another ball valve on the outlet side of the pump to control water flow).  Between the end of that union and the left wall of the stand, I do not have enough room to set my external pump (a Gen-X MAK IV).  I don't know what to do so I have a couple of questions on alternatives: 1.  Can I move the ball valve and connect it to the bulkhead on the inside of the sump? <You could.> Then I would have only the union on the outside of the sump connecting to the external pump. 2.  If I have to scrap this idea and go with a submersible pump, is there a bulkhead-type fitting with a cap so I can close the hole? <Just use your typical PVC caps. How about a 90 turn after the union?> Thank you very much for your time.  I appreciate it. Paul <Cheers, J -- >

- Plumbing Problem, Follow-up -  Hi,  Just a follow up. I was going to do the 90 after the union but found an outlet on the internet that sold a union/ball valve as one unit. That combination reduced the length to where I was able to put the pump in line like I originally wanted to do. <Excellent... should have suggested the same.>  I do have one other question. Of course, the bulkhead hole wasn't drilled at the exact right height and the plumbing coming out of sump is a couple of inches higher than the inlet on the pump when it is just sitting on the floor of the stand. I can't imagine that this is unique. <Nope, have done this to myself both intentionally and by accident.> What do other aquarists do to level the pump with the plumbing? <I actually put this space in these days on purpose - shim the pump with high-density foam rubber to stop vibrations from becoming resonance in the stand.> Do they put the pump on a block of wood, a brick, or does anyone make a little stand with telescoping legs so you can adjust the height? <Sometimes a block of wood will suffice.> Just wondered if you might know how others have done it.  Thanks for everything,  Paul  <Cheers, J -- >

- Plumbing Problem, More Follow-up - Thanks a lot for the dense foam idea. <My pleasure.> That's a great idea... especially to keep the noise down! Depending on the thickness of the foam I find, I can start out with a 2x4 and still have room for a small piece of foam. <Would be fine.> depending on how thick the foam is, I may just be able to use it by itself. <That too... Cheers, J -- >

- Questions About Overflows - Hello, I am sorry to ask you about overflows since you have answered so many similar questions before... I have searched your site (which is absolutely amazing), but can't seem to find what I am looking for, and have found some conflicting advice (which is understandable considering the complex nature of this hobby).   I am a beginner (obviously) and just ordered a 75 gal (48x18x20) tank and a stand.  I want to get the tank drilled and planned on 4, 1 inch holes for overflows (the return will be over the top edge of the tank or maybe a rectangular manifold in the future).  The store can only drill 1 inch holes and I do not want to attempt this feat myself. <Correct me if I'm wrong but won't this mean you will end up with a bulkhead somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of an inch? This would be somewhat self-defeating and would probably be better off ordering the tank with a proper corner overflow box.> I would like the ability to upgrade to a 1400 gph flow, since I aspire to keep a reef tank some day (I'm just starting with live rock and a few small friendly fish). <Do think you should re-work this... that's a lot of flow from one source - would be much better to split this between recirculation and perhaps a closed loop or powerheads within the tank.> I would like to avoid using powerheads if at all possible.  So, on to the question... the store said that each 1 inch hole could accommodate a 250 gph flow.  By this calculation, I need 6 of these holes.  Will this be as unattractive as it sounds to have so many overflows and bulkheads? <Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.> Are there any other drawbacks to have so many overflows (more tubes to clean)? <Am concerned this number of holes in a four foot panel could potentially weaken it.> Also, is it OK to use flexible tubing (6 tubes cable tied together) to flow from the overflows into the protein skimmer portion of the sump (30 gal sump w/baffles for protein skimmer, refugium, and pump return). or should the overflows be tied together into one horizontal piece of PVC behind the overflows before running vertically to enter the sump. <Either would work.>  Again, I am really sorry to post this question since you have answered so many before and you are so generous with your advice - I hate to take advantage.  I really appreciate your advice, and I have learned so much from your website already - I can't wait to research even more topics!  Thanks again, Elisa. <Cheers, J -- >

Plumbing! Help =) 4/13/04  Hello Wet Web Crew, Your site is awesome!  <Thanks! Glad you enjoy it!>  Just wanted to run some plumbing parameters by you. My new tank is a 120R (48x24x24) FOWLR to be any day now. There is a trapezoid in the back and will be three holes drilled. The drain will be 1" and the two returns will be 3/4" run off of two Sedra 9000's (900GPH each). One return will be directed to the front face of the trapezoid in the upper part of the tank, and the second return will split to each side of the trapezoid in the middle portion of the tank. Now for my questions:  <Sounds good, but if it isn't too late, I would size up to 1.5" drains and 1" returns. You can always adapt down the size if you want, but it is really hard to go back and make them bigger. Unless you have really dramatic head losses, you will be running very close to the capacity of your drains which makes it very hard to sleep well at night.>  1) Is the drain bulkhead size sufficient? (I plan on placing a Durso standpipe in and his website recommends 1" drain bulkheads.) Will there be sufficient drainage for this size tank?  <They will probably be sufficient, especially if using a "Durso standpipe", but I personally am a fan of overkill (within reason).>  2) Should I place more than 1 drain bulkhead?  <Definitely yes! Particularly if you are using 1" drains, I would only count on each drain to be able to handle the flow from one pump. Be sure that you got the correct impression from the Durso website. I suspect that the recommendations there would have fallen in line with one 1" "Durso" per each 900gph pump.>  Should I move up to the Sedra 12000 x2 (1200 GPH ea)?  <If you like, but if so, I would definitely size up to 1.5" drains.>  4) What do you think of the return configuration?  <Sounds fine. You have to compromise between evenly distributing flow and having enough velocity to produce good turbulent flow. Using some kind of flexible (aim-able) outlet like loc-line adds a lot of flexibility.>  Thx again, Tom <Always a pleasure! Best Regards. Adam>

- Plumbing and Overflow Design - Hi all, I am in the process of building a 110 replacement for my 65 gallon reef tank and I wanted some sanity check on the plumbing I have planned, I have read the FAQ's until I can no longer make sense out of it all so I thought I would just ask outright.  Background information: 110 tall tank 2 X 250 Watt HQI XM 10000K 100 Lbs Fiji LR Tomato Clown and Black Sailfin Blenny Planning a 40 breeder tank as sump / refugium 1000 Turboflotor Classic. I have a 48 X 18 X 30 All-Glass tank that I have had (5) 1" bulkhead fittings fit into the top rear of the tank 3.5" down from the top.  My plan was to use the middle 3 for an overflow from a culture shelf type of weir that will be 4" high and extend 3.5" out from the back wall and 39" across the tank back. Question 1: should the front spill edge of the overflow wall glass be smooth or are "teeth" serving some purpose I do not know about. <The teeth act as a coarse filter - saving most fish from a free ride to the sump.> Question 2:  both remaining 1" bulkhead fittings are for return plumbing and I am thinking using one for a manifold around the top of the tank with 4 or 6 outlets, and the second diving down and feeding another form of manifold just above the 5" DSB Southdown topped with aragonite special seafloor mix to keep the deep tank flowing. I will be reducing flow with the elbows and such, but hopefully delivering the flow more precisely were it is needed <I think I missed the question there...> Question 3: Pump output recommendations at about 5' of head (30" stand and 30" tank) thinking about 1200 to 1500 GPH to allow some SPS or should I go all the way to 2200? <As much as is practical.> tank to house combination of  Zoo's, Mushrooms down deep and  Xenia, and a few  SPS up on top. (Not sure if I'm ready for SPS) <Until you have the metal halide lighting, you will not be ready.> Question 4: do you have a link to a good picture of an internal overflow / culture shelf picture? <I am not aware of any... perhaps one of out readers will send in a link.> Thanks for your time and patients with us and our thousands of questions, if not for you folks I would have hung up this fascinating hobby/obsession long ago and missed out on all pleasures it brings into my life. Forever in your debt, Todd <Cheers, J -- >

- Plumbing and Other Things - Hi, I had a few questions on plumbing.  I wanted to put both my FW and SW  storage trashcans in the garage and have/use a pump to pump the water from the garage to my SW tank in the living room.  I plan on having a 150 gallon tank with a 50 gallon sump/refugium.  My refugium will have three parts; the raw water from my tank overfill for the skimmer, a large refugium with macro algae and pod production, and a final chamber for water returning to the tank via a pump, in that order.  I will hardwire the pump in the garage to a switch in the tank room so I can just turn it on and off whenever I want to top off or do a water change.  Do you think this is a good plan? (feasible) <It is feasible.> Into what section of the sump should the water be pumped? <Don't think it really matters that much...> I also want to have another pipe leaving the sump that will be connected to a exterior drain so I can get rid of buckets all together. This will have a valve (or two) on it so I can just drain water from the sump for my water changes.   Which section of the sump should I have the water leave from? <Don't think this matters much either. Whatever works for your layout will likely be fine.> About how often will I actually have to siphon the substrate in the main tank?  <You should still do this regularly... perhaps once a month or so.> I plan on having a 1-2"  semi fine sand bed in the main tank with some corals and a fairly heavy fish load. <You might want to skip the vacuuming then and just try to have very robust circulation within the tank so that detritus and waste are suspended in the water column and hopefully taken downstream to your sump.> There will be Gracilaria in the sump along with a half inch layer of coarse or half in layer of very fine substrate along with some pod producers from IPSF.   I also plan on having the sump circulate about 7x's and the main tank circulate about 20x's per hour.   Thanks a million.   PS, I have been having a hard time finding plumbing sites/FAQ's. It is very overwhelming for a beginner. <Is very hard to nail down many specifics... just about every tank is a one-off, unique design which is seldom repeated exactly.> Have a good day/night.  Dan PPS.  Sorry, one more... Custom tank size.  45L x 35w x 22h.  Since most light manufactures sell hoods in even foot sections, can I get away with a 36" light hood on my 45" tank? <No hard set rules about such things. Aesthetically, might look a little odd, but would 'work' just fine. Would consider spending the money on something custom built to fit.> I was thinking a couple 150 HQI's with a couple T5 fluorescents.  I really like this type of setup, but if it will be too short for my tank, I could go with a couple of PFO mini reefs or something to that effect.  I just would hate to loose the fluorescent color enhancers.  What do you think? <I think it's your tank - do what makes you happy.> 45" is my max as it will be inside my staircase.   Thank you again... <Cheers, J -- >

Re: another overflow question - amended I submitted the question below a few days ago.  However, I realized that I omitted a few details, and I've done some more research since then.  (I am just beginning the climb up the huge learning curve of this hobby.)  My question below involves sizing the overflows for a 75 gal tank with a flow around 1400 gph (hopefully without powerheads).  I used the ReefCentral overflow calculator, but I don't understand the term "minimum linear overflow" and I can't find a definition that I can translate and apply to my situation. <Perhaps you should ask the folks at Reef Central - sounds like a buzzword of convenience... one made up to suit the purpose.> The results of this calculator show that I need 1.55 inch holes with a minimum linear overflow of 21 inches. <Hmm... > Overall, it seems that the consensus (derived from other questions and answers) is that 6, 1 inch bulkheads (hole size is actually larger) should be adequate for this flow. <I should hope so... would also give you some margin of error should one or more of those bulkheads become clogged.> I am still concerned about the aesthetics (and noise) of having so many overflows and any extra maintenance that this could cause.  Do you have any opinions on this? <Would consider perhaps tuning down your recirculation requirements and instead try and make up the difference inside the tank with powerheads, or perhaps a closed loop.> I have also seen differing opinions on the placement of the bulkheads.  I recently joined the local marine aquarium society, so hopefully I will be able to see other tank set-ups soon.  I have been checking out the tanks at the LFS's, but I can't seem to find a comparable system.  Additionally, I am planning on having a refugium in the 30 gallon sump (with baffles and extra Plexiglas strips to limit/divert the flow through the refugium to protect it.  Do you have an opinion regarding a 1400 gph flow through the sump with a refugium? <Wouldn't be much of a refuge... again, do reconsider such a strong amount of circulation.> Would I be better off with a lower flow through the return pump and adding powerheads instead? <Ahh... there we go... absolutely, yes.> Thanks again for your time.  I have been spending every spare moment studying your site and I am certain that the content has already saved me many headaches, hundreds of dollars and countless wasted hours (and my tank is still sitting in a warehouse)! > Original Email I am sorry to ask you about overflows since you have answered so many similar questions before... I have searched your site (which is absolutely amazing), but can't seem to find what I am looking for, and have found some conflicting advice (which is understandable considering the complex nature of this hobby).   I am a beginner (obviously) and just ordered a 75 gal (48x18x20) tank and a stand.  I want to get the tank drilled and planned on 4, 1 inch holes for overflows (the return will be over the top edge of the tank or maybe a rectangular manifold in the future).  The store can only drill 1 inch holes and I do not want to attempt this feat myself.  I would like the ability to upgrade to a 1400 gph flow, since I aspire to keep a reef tank some day (I'm just starting with live rock and a few small friendly fish).  I would like to avoid using powerheads if at all possible.  So, on to the question... the store said that each 1 inch hole could accommodate a 250 gph flow.  By this calculation, I need 6 of these holes.  Will this be as unattractive as it sounds to have so many overflows and bulkheads?  Are there any other drawbacks to have so many overflows (more tubes to clean)? <In a 75 gallon tank, there may be a risk of weakening the back panel with so many holes...> Also, is it OK to use flexible tubing (6 tubes cable tied together) to flow from the overflows into the protein skimmer portion of the sump (30 gal sump w/baffles for protein skimmer, refugium, and pump return). <Would be fine.> or should the overflows be tied together into one horizontal piece of PVC behind the overflows before running vertically to enter the sump. <Either one would work.> Again, I am really sorry to post this question since you have answered so many before and you are so generous with your advice - I hate to take advantage.  I really appreciate your advice, and I have learned so much from your website already - I can't wait to research even more topics!   Thanks again, Elisa. <Cheers, J -- >

Spray bar 4/7/04  I am setting up a 90gal salt fish only with 100+ lbs. of live rock. Filtration is Amiracle Maxireef 200 with overflow box,4 MaxiJet 1200's two pointing at each other on back wall and two low in the tank pointing towards the front. Mag 7 pump @ 4 feet head about 475gph, Berlin turbo skimmer and all plumbing is 1" pvc. My question is I am going with a spray bar return which will run 3' along the back wall top with it pointed towards the front just below the waterline. Should I go with 3/4 pvc or 1/2 and how many holes and also how far apart should the holes be Thanks.  <I'm not a big fan of spray bars... they clog in time and do not distribute flow evenly, nor are they adjustable individually (nozzles). Do a keyword search on our home page for "closed loop manifold". I have an article on the topic in the archives that will help you better harness your return pump. Be sure to explore many of the other links on water flow and plumbing on our pages found. Best of luck, Anthony>

Plumbing Questions  Hi, <hello! Ryan with you today>  I had a few questions on plumbing. I wanted to put both my FW and SW storage trashcans in the garage and have/use a pump to pump the water from the garage to my SW tank in the living room. I plan on having a 150 gallon tank with a 50 gallon sump/refugium. My refugium will have three parts; the raw water from my tank overfill for the skimmer, a large refugium with macro algae and pod production, and a final chamber for water returning to the tank via a pump, in that order. I will hardwire the pump in the garage to a switch in the tank room so I can just turn it on and off whenever I want to top off or do a water change. <Sounds reasonable>  Do you think this is a good plan? (feasible)  Into what section of the sump should the water be pumped?  <Whichever end you designate as the input>  I also want to have another pipe leaving the sump that will be connected to a exterior drain so I can get rid of buckets all together.  <Very nice>  This will have a valve (or two) on it so I can just drain water from the sump for my water changes.  <Great>  Which section of the sump should I have the water leave from?  <The design will tell you, as you put it together. Not really a high priority worry, so just plumb it in a clean, not obtrusive way.>  About how often will I actually have to siphon the substrate in the main tank?  I plan on having a 1-2" semi fine sand bed in the main tank with some corals and a fairly heavy fish load. There will be Gracilaria in the sump along with a half inch layer of coarse or half in layer of very fine substrate along with some pod producers from IPSF. <I only siphon the substrate in reaction to something detrimental- i.e. Cyano outbreak. Cleanup crew should be more than adequate for routine maintenance.>  I also plan on having the sump circulate about 7x's and the main tank circulate about 20x's per hour. <Sounds good, but plan it in a way that flow rates can be adjusted. 20x is pretty high, even for some corals. Tissue damage is not unheard of, especially if the flow is unilateral. I would encourage you to draw out every aspect you can. In this fashion, you'll be able to detect flaws while still in the design stage. Good luck, Ryan>  Thanks a million.  PS, I have been having a hard time finding plumbing sites/FAQ's. It is very overwhelming for a beginner.  < www.webwebfotos.com  or www.reefcentral.com forums are a great sounding board, as you're guaranteed another point of view.>  Have a good day/night.  Dan  PS. Sorry, one more...<Sure buddy! ;) >  Custom tank size. 45L x 35w x 22h.  Since most light manufactures sell hoods in even foot sections, can I get away with a 36" light hood on my 45" tank?  I was thinking a couple 150 HQI's with a couple T5 fluorescents. I really like this type of setup, but if it will be too short for my tank, I could go with a couple of PFO mini reefs or something to that effect. I just would hate to loose the fluorescent color enhancers. What do you think? <I think it would be easy to build your own hood with these dimensions, and then you could put whatever lights you wanted in there, as long as they fit. Lots of options to explore here, you may want to look at MH pendants with two small actinic hoods on either side? You know the rule, once you start custom, you finish custom. See ya>  45" is my max as it will be inside my staircase.  Thank you again...

Going Larger - UPGRADING 4/2/04 Hi Guys,  Short question here. I currently have a 100 gallon reef tank using a refugium for my filter. (I mainly keep tangs and a few corals). I wont go into lighting etc.. as my question in basically on the new setup I am getting. I just ordered a 200 gallon oceanic tank (8 ft long x 24 x 24). The tank has a double overflow boxes. Should I run one large sump that I wouldn't be able to get out easily once it is in or should I run two sumps - one on each overflow box? <If you run two sumps, you must connect them.  If you run two unconnected sumps, and one of the pumps stops, that sump will overflow since the other will continue to pump water up to the tank while part of it is draining to the sump with the broken pump.> Also, what do you think about adding a few holes in the upper back for additional pumps coming from the sumps or closed loop for more flow (instead of power heads?) <Extra holes are a great idea for many reasons, but it would have been very advisable to order the tank with the holes pre-drilled.  Keep in mind that wherever you drill the lowest hole, that is where the tank could potentially drain to in case of a leak.  Placing the holes up high and then plumbing down to where you want the inlet or outlet to be is much safer.> I am looking at Nemo or Shea pumps for my main returns and Mag 24 or something for the holes in the back instead of the power heads. Any other tricked out ideas I came to try them.  Thanks, Steve <I am not familiar with Nemo or Shea pumps.  Do consider Sequence for their high flow rates and low noise and power consumption and better reliability compared to equivalent Dolphins.  In general, I prefer external only pumps like Iwaki over submersible types like mag drives for better reliability and less heat transfer.  Best Regards.  Adam> Bulkheads/Wet-dry/Drilling Questions I'm new to this whole plumbing and wet dry filter thing and I have a few questions before I start to do any alterations to my tank. I currently have an acrylic TruVu 55 gallon tank with a Magnum 350 for freshwater fish. Today, I bought a Del Rey 125 wet dry filter and was planning to use the overflow/u-tube set up that came with it. Fortunately, there was not enough room to fit the overflow box. So now I plan on drilling and adding a bulkhead. Is a 1" bulkhead large enough?  <I would use at least one (likely two and tee them together) 1 1/2" bulkheads> The wet dry came with an Aquaclear 802 powerhead (up to 400 gph). How big should the hole be for a 1" bulkhead? <Measure the outside diameter. Likely an inch and a half> I was thinking about placing the bulkhead in the top center of the back. Is this a good location? <Mmm, no. IF only one intake, make it at one end and return the water at the other. Better to draw and return at both ends> Also I was thinking about keeping the Magnum running along with the wet dry or would this be too much filtration? <No> When I drill, do I have to empty the entire tank, or can I just remove half the water to give myself enough room to work with? Thanks for your time. Thomas <Better by far to do the drilling with the tank all the way empty... Not hard to do (in retrospect), though daunting for first times... do have someone help you who has done this before and run the drill slowly. Please read over on WetWebMedia.com re: the use of a smear of silicone on the threads and gaskets of your through-puts. Bob Fenner>

Overflows Hey guys! I have a custom tank in the plans. Its a 125 gallon. Dimensions are 60LX24DX20H. My LFS is having it built and drilled. I do not know much about how big or where to drill so I was relying on them for information. Before I went through it, I wanted to run what they told me to you guys to see what you thought. They recommended that I have 1 drill in the center of the back wall. It will have the wall thing built around it (don't know what it is called, but it has the groves in the top for the water to flow through).  <An overflow "tower" or raceway. Not necessary if drilled through the back... you can use commercially made thread in screens instead> Should the holes be in the back or on the bottom of the tank? <Almost always in the back> This (wall) will have these grooves on three sides. I was wondering if it would be better to have 2 holes drilled, one in each back corner but being in the corner, each would only have 2 sides of the grove things. I would also appreciate an opinion for a pump. I want a good one so I was thinking about Iwaki. but unsure of how much pump I need. Thank you for any information you can shed on my situation.  Rob <Rob, your answers and much other needed input on these matters is archived on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com Go there, use the search tool, or better, peruse the setup area of the marine section. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing And Sleep Deprivation!  Hi,  <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!>  Tons of great info here... my eyes are burning and the wife is telling me to come to bed.  <That's why I got a laptop!>  I have an Oceanic "Reef Ready" 180 gal with 2 overflows that have like 1.5 inch or so drains and 3/4 returns. My pump is a Mag drive 1200GPH. I am thinking that I may need a bigger pump, since this will be teed off into my refugium which will overflow into the main display. Is a 1.5" return pipe from the pump too big (will tee off and reduce to both 3/4 returns).  <I like the larger size plumbing, myself!>  I have a few corals that I can aim power heads at if need be. I wonder if the Mag Drive 1800 gph is suitable for the tank with all its applications.  <Good pumps, but I somehow never think of them as "main system pumps".>  I am unclear about the need for turnover. Is it for water movement or to get water through your filtration (sump).  <Well, a little of both, actually!>  If the latter be the case, I will have live rock in  my sump and in the display along with a 3 inch sand bed, so there is lots of bacteria growth area throughout. I saw some really nifty PVC couplers that attach via pressure obtained by slipping your pipe into each end and is snugged by a black rubber ring, then you tighten down the threaded ends and viola!  <Interesting. I have not seen these, myself>  My question is this... there is a little bit of the rubber that will be exposed to the salt water, and I wonder if that will leach any chemicals into the water.  <Hard to say. You might want to find out if it is rated for drinking water use. I'm actually a bit more concerned about the effect of saltwater on the rubber over time>  They are drinking water safe, but we aren't fish. And beer in our water won't kill us.  <But water in our beer is problematic!>  As for check valves, do they restrict very much water flow? They feel a bit springy to push in, but I guess I need those too.  <To be honest, I don't like check valves. They are prone to catastrophic failures if some debris gets stuck in the valve, such as a snail, etc. I'd just size my sump to handle a full drain down in a power failure situation>  The 1200 gph is starting to sound weaker as I go.  <Well- if you want 10-20 turnovers per hour, this is only average flow, when you take into account the extra head pressure caused by plumbing connections, etc>  Ok, this is all starting to get blurry, must sleep. Oh, I assume ABS pipe is safe for both fresh and saltwater...yes/no?  <PVC is my choice>  Thanks very much...and I have your book on the way! James  <Best of luck to you, James! Regards, Scott F>

Plumbing a Refugium (3/29/04)  Hello WWM Crew, <Steve Allen tonight.>  Well, I have spent the last hour trying to find the answer to my question to no avail. If you have already answered this please accept my apology for I know you are all busy people. Thanks though for all you are doing for the hobby. <No problem. Happy to help if possible.>  My question is... I have decided to add a refugium to my 400 gallon FOWLR tank. I have plans to enter the invertebrate realm by adding clams and corals. <Be sure to research the best lighting.> The tank has been set up for almost two years. I have only a few fish currently. I am trying really hard to take things SLOWLY and avoid any mistakes. <smart> I have decided that I need to add a refugium to the system in preparation for the invertebrate newcomers. I have a 20 gallon that will become the  refugium but it has to go below the main tank next to the sump. What I wanted to know is how to plumb it in. The easiest would be to use an overflow system and pump water from the sump to the refugium and have it return back to the sump to then be pumped up to the main tank. <Actually, often better to go from the tank to the 'fuge to the sump and up. Drilled overflows are best. Do you already have these for the sump. Here's a link to a nice diagram: http://www.inlandreef.com/Images/DIY/Plumbing/refugium_plumb.gif >  My concern is that all of the beneficial micro life will be destroyed by the impellers on all my pumps. <Certainly an issue, which is why an upstream refugium with gravity return is favored by may. Still, some have demonstrated that quite a few 'pods get through alive.> I bet the best way is to have the overflow from the refugium return directly to the main tank but that is no an option for me. <Understood> Lastly, at night I can see literally thousands of little critters in my tank (probably due to the low fish load) if I transfer some of my existing rock and sand is that enough or should I send away for some more in hopes for a more diverse system? <I'd bet you have plenty of diversity already. Just seed the refugium as you suggest.> Thanks again for all your work.  Robby Phelps <Hope this helps.>

Tank configuration 3/25/04 I've taken some suggestions I've received and come up with the setup at http://mysite.verizon.net/dhildt70/TankConfiguration3.htm the plumbing will not run exactly as depicted, it is more to show the flow of water.  The 1.25 inch pipe running across the top of the tank is going to be a closed loop manifold.  Will this be sufficient or should I try to incorporate some random flow via something like a SCWD.  Do you see any other issues with my plumbing or amount of flow or anything else? D'Wayne <Over all it looks like a good plan.  You may want to consider using 1.5" drains if at all possible.  Each 1.5" drain will be able to handle about 750GPH of flow at most, perhaps 400GPH for 1".  Also, I would suggest keeping the closed loop completely closed.  You can feed your refugium from one of the other pumps.  Opening the closed loop as it is in your diagram will allow it to at least partial de-prime in a power outage.  It also will increase the volume of water that could end up on your floor if the 'fuge drain clogs (a secondary safety drain is always wise).  As far as devices like the SCWD, you will have enough flow that it probably isn't necessary, especially considering the added complexity, but it certainly won't hurt.  Best Regards.  Adam>

-Who's rating these overflow boxes?!- Hi Guys! This is the first time I'm writing (most of my questions have been answered by searching and reading the FAQ's). <As most should! A big pat on the back for excellent self research! We're glad you've found it useful.> I want to say first, thank you for the awesome site.  It has helped me out enormously!  My question has to do with an overflow box that I purchased a while back.  Basically the overflow box contains a prefilter box that sits in the display, two J-tubes that siphon the water out of the prefilter box and a holding container in the back with two 1" bulkheads for draining.  It supposedly does 1200 gal/hr. <1" U/J tubes can handle around 600 each, so that sounds good.> In a nut shell my circulation goes like this:  Water siphons out of my display via my overflow box which then is transported to my sump via two 1" flex tubes that dump the water into the first compartment of my sump.  A Mag7 pump (external) pulls water out of the first compartment and pushes it into the ETSS Reef Devil Deluxe skimmer (external) which empties the newly skimmed water back into the first compartment.  The water goes under the first baffle and over the second to enter the refugium (sump dimensions are 24W X 18D X 16H, the refugium is 15W X 18D X 16H).  It then overflows into the last compartment where it is sucked up by the Little Giant 3MDQX-SC and is transported through 1" PVC piping and a 1" black tube back into the display having to first pass through a ball valve, check valve, and two 90 degree bends. The Little Giant pump sits about 4 ft. from the top of the tank. With two 90 degree bends, all the valves and tubing, plus the 4 ft. of head pressure my pump is pumping at most 875 gal/hr (rated 1,000 gal/hr @ 3 ft. head)!  And that's looking at it from an optimistic view point.  Currently, if I don't close the ball valve on the return about an 1/8 of a turn the pump will pull all the water out of the third compartment faster than the overflow can put the water there! <Hmmm...> I'm wondering did I purchase a junk overflow box (it is a non-named brand, purchased from a plastics company) or is it my setup that is slowing the water down too much? <The overflow box should be fine as long as the u-tubes are the standard 1" diameter ones.> Should I purchase an overflow box with a little more capacity to keep up with my pump?  Everything works right now but I'd like to use the full potential of my pump.   If there are any suggestions you could give me I'd really appreciate it. <Suggestions: Assure that there are no kinks or needless 90's in the tubing running from the overflow box to the sump. Make sure nothing is blocking the 1" drains in the overflow like clogged sponges. Check to make sure that the problem isn't simply a case of not enough water in the sump by opening the valve on the pump, and adding more saltwater to keep the chamber full. You'll want to stop this madness if the tank looks like it will overflow and take all that water back out. Heck, if it doesn't work you've just done somewhat of a water change! Basically, there's no reason that you can't run your pump full throttle on this setup. If the water is draining unrestricted, then maybe the u-tubes are too small or clogged. Try a few more things before giving up on your overflow. I hope this helps, I'm sorry I don't have a straight answer for ya! -Kevin>Right now I'm looking into getting a new overflow box from a different and notable company that is rated at 1400 gal/hr but wanted to know if it will even help.  Thank you very much for your time. Chris

Pump Size and Overflows Dear Bob and Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member today> How do you guys rate the Mag Drive pumps in  terms of reliability? <I find the new Mag Drive pumps to be quite reliable> I was thinking of getting the MD24 for a 75 gallon with 55 gallon sump. I was hoping 4, 1" bulkheads could handle 1900 gph. Do you think I'll be ok? <I think that they will, but with little margin. You may want to go for 1.5" overflows to be safe. Regards, Scott F>  



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