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FAQs about Plumbing Marine Systems 1

Related Articles: Plumbing Marine SystemsMyth 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 2, Marine Plumbing 3, Marine Plumbing 4, Marine Plumbing 5, Marine Plumbing 6, Marine Plumbing 7, Plumbing 8, Plumbing 9, Plumbing 10, Plumbing 11, Plumbing 12, Plumbing 13, Plumbing 14, Plumbing 15 Plumbing 16, Plumbing 17, Plumbing 18, Plumbing 19, Plumbing 20,   Plumbing 21, Plumbing 22, Circulation Plumbing, & FAQs on: Plans/Designs, Parts: Pipe, Valves, Back-Siphon/Check-Valves, Unions, Tools, Solvents, Use of Flexible Tubing, Leaks/Repairs, & 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

Schedule 40 (white) and 80 (grey) thru-hull, bulkhead fittings... both work

New Pump Plumbing Question Hi Bob, I've had a frustrating day (and evening) installing a new pump, and I desperately could use some wise guidance. Here's the deal: I have a Mag 12 pump on my 300 gallon reef tank. The flow rate for the tank is obviously too low, so I went ahead a picked up an Iwaki pump. (MD100RLT). I hooked up the Iwaki, and I find the flow rate to be ridiculously low . . . and I mean looooooow . . . as in my dog drinks water faster. So, I hooked the Mag back up in the interim, and I am seeking a little guidance. Maybe you know the answer right off? ;-) <Mmm, don't even know the questions yet> Here is the plumbing situation: The Mag 12 has 3/4" fittings. It is immersed in my sump, sucks water up, pushes it through a "T" connector, and pumps the water up each side of the tank. It uses 1" OD / 3/4" ID tubing. The flow rate, while certainly not optimal, is not all that bad. <Okay> The Iwaki has 1" fittings. Being an outside pump, I added a 1" bulkhead <Outside diameter I'll trust/assume... one does NOT want to bush down intake fittings> fitting in the sump. I made sure not to reduce the 1" inflow into the pump, as I've heard doing so can give flow-rate problems.  <Oh! Yes> It then pumps through a 1" check valve.  <Why a check valve here? Your sump won't accommodate the volume that might drain back if the pump, power failed? What type of check valve? Spring, ball types are trouble (compared to swing)... some coverage on these on WWM, under pond plumbing.> I then use a constrictor to reduce to use the already-there-for-the-Mag 1" OD / 3/4" ID tubing. I am thinking perhaps I should just rip out the small tubing and keep the whole setup from Iwaki-to-tank at 1". I don't want to rip out the old stuff unless I know that is the problem, however. <... ah... and all this on a three hundred gallon system...> Bob, what's my problem? Why is that Iwaki pumping so slooooooooooooooooow? <A few things... but most all having to do with the plumbing arrangement... "T's" are trouble with pumps that are engineered for flow versus pressure... as are restrictions/induced drag in small diameter conduits... But, skipping ahead... do re-design your plumbing and consider getting/using a direct drive pump... like an RK2 product instead... Maybe make up a diagram of what you have in mind plumbing wise, and we'll chat this up. Bob Fenner> Thanks a million! Dale.

Re: New Pump Plumbing Question Bob, Thanks for the advice . . . It was the check valve. Dale. <Ah... suspected as much. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing question Hi Bob <Howdy> I am setting up a new 100g tank with 30g sump. My only experience is a freshwater tank I have had for about 3 yrs. <Good to have this "under your belt"> I took your advice and I purchased 2 Eheim 1060's one for a Turboflotor skimmer and the other one for the return. The question that I have is do I route all the water from the overflow to the skimmer or do I T off to the sump with valves. It seems that the intake on the skimmer is very small, only 1/2. <For the brand/make of skimmer this may be "it"... all the intake it calls for, can handle. I would tee off the overflow, use a valve to the skimmer to adjust height of water in contact chamber of the skimmer.> I am planning on using 1" on the overflow and 3/4" return on the tank. The other question I have is what type of fittings are on the skimmer, I am having a very hard time finding the right ones to connect to the Eheim. <Turboflotor... large hardware stores should have tubing that will fit it. If not, often can be connected by fitting flexible tubing over the ribbed fittings in two layers... and plastic clamped... Bob Fenner> thanks in advance Jim

Helping out other readers!!!! (w/ noisy overflow plumbing) Hi Mr. Fenner, I'm writing you a little bit of info to hopefully help a lot of other readers of your site. First, I read the daily FAQs every day, and often see other people writing in about noisy overflows, or lots of tiny bubbles from their return in their main tank. <Yes, a common complaint> Believe me I've been there. I've solved it by doing the following. First of all I have a built in overflow that has a 2" hole drilled in the bottom. I tried I think just about everything, and nothing helped, ( something's kind of helped with the noise, but didn't stop the bubbles, or vice versa), until I did the following. Now my tank is completely quiet where you have to look at the waterline, to see the current moving to let you know if the filter is even running at all, and not a single bubble in the water column. My overflow is wide enough to allow a 4" wide pipe in it without touching the edges. I put a standpipe that is 2" wide, ran this up, and then put a flange that widens from the 2" to 4", then added another piece of pipe about 4" long, and 4" wide to that. The whole thing stops about 2" below the point where the water flows into the overflow. The enlarging of the neck is to gather, and concentrate more water down the pipe. Next what I did is put a valve under the tank, but the trick here is to use a gate valve, and not a regular ball valve. The ball valve will not allow you enough of a variable in adjusting the opening to regulate the flow. The ball valve goes from full open to full close in just a quarter of a turn. On the other hand, a gate valve goes from full open to full close in 10 full turns. This allows for a lot of fine tuning.  <Yes, I understand> In case anyone doesn't know what a gate valve is. It is made of white pvc plastic just like a lot of other plumbing parts used for filter plumbing, and has a red handle, but it's shape is different. The valve handle resembles a garden hose faucet handle, ( the round type), that sticks out one side. Unfortunately ( at least where I live), you cannot buy this type of valve at the home depot style stores, but will find this at specialty plumbing distributors. With this type of valve you can run your return pump at full force, ( something I read a lot of people complaining about is that they buy a pump with good flow only to have to cut back on the flow rate because of bubbles being produced), and by turning this valve you can match the rate of what is going down your overflow to the rate that is being returned into your tank.  <Mmm, better to rely on gravity than float switches, valves> By using this setup the water completely fills up in the overflow, then fills up the stand-pipe, and by adjusting the gate valve, you can get the water level in the flow-pipe to be just a bit below the top, thus eliminating the waterfall sound effect, and no air intake to create churning bubbles, yet enough flow to still get good water suction happening. My tank is a reef tank with good water flow, and I'm using a Gorman-Rupp pump that delivers in the flow rate dep't, yet I have not once had to do any fine tuning of the flow rate. <We used this manufacturers line in our pond service and install work for years> It has been working like a charm for a very long time. It has gone through the noise level test intensively since my tank is a see through built into the wall that separates my kitchen from the living room. These two rooms are in use 100% of the time, and you can hear a pin drop over the sound of the tank. I also used to get an incredible amount of bubbles in my water column from the return that I hated, and was enough to make me worry about the well being of the fish. I must add that my filter setup consists of a refugium, ( Miracle Mud, LR, and macro algae) with a separate sump for an external skimmer, the heater, PH monitor etc.. in the basement. The sump is very important as you know ( mentioning it just in case anyone forgets to think about it), to handle the rise in the water level when the pump gets turned off, ( which I do at feeding time). Sorry for the long letter, but every time I read about these problems someone else is having, it brings back the memories of me being so frustrated to have a tank which is supposed to be calming, yet sounded like an immense waterfall that drove my wife, and I nuts!!!! Greg N. <Thank you for this input. Will post (ultimately) under marine plumbing. Bob Fenner>

Bubbles in tank (for Brad) Hey Jason. <<Greetings.>> I have been reading the daily FAQs every day and noticed that Brad was having trouble with all those bubbles spitting back into the tank. I have a 125 All-Glass with dual overflows and had the same problem to begin with. I should be able to turn over 1200-1400 GPH. I am using a Iwaki MD30RLXT, which ends up being about 950 GPH at 4'split between the two. The problem ends up being that since I'm not filling the drain pipes up with 1400 GPH of water, it sucks in a lot of air, which ends up as bubbles in the sump. My sump is 55 gal, 4' long, and still had a problem. I thought those white floating things should have been made to adjust the amount of air flow into the plumbing. Anyway, I'll tell you what I did to fix the problem. I have ball valves on all the plumbing supply and return lines under the tank. If you restrict the flow from the tank (the 1" in the overflow) instead of throttling down your pump, it will take care of most of the bubbles. In essence, what you would be doing is throttling down your overflow to only handle what the return pump will supply it. Obviously, you would want to leave some slack in case something were to get sucked into the drain pipes. But with the All-Glass prefilters on the standpipes, I personally don't think there's much to worry about. What this does is allows your overflows to fill with a little more water. This will cause the white floating thing to rise more that normal because the water is not as free flowing as when it was wide open. I'm sure some people will not agree with this because it is restricting the flow from the tank. I just see it as matching up the standpipe capacity to the pump output. I have been running my set-up like this for about 10 months with no problems. I don't have any bubbles returning to my tank, and I'm running my Iwaki at full throttle. I also have a closed loop in the tank with another Iwaki MD30RLXT for more circulation. Hope this helps! <<we will see - will post in the usual style and we'll hope he's reading/keeping up.>> Jason <<Ahh... Cheers to you. J -- >>

Re: Plumbing question Thanks for the answers, but could you clear up 2, or 3 little quick things for me? First of all, sorry for not mentioning it, but the refugium is already in parallel. The discharge from the pump is 1" going back up through a swing check, then 1 1/2" tubing that has a tee spliced in it. The tee branches off in 3/4" to the refugium, which then returns into the big sump through a 1 1/2" tube. The main return continues up through the floor, which then tees off just under the main display tank to 2 x 1" tubes that discharge into the main tank. These 2 returns have 3/4" elbows at the exhaust. The quick questions are: if the pump discharge is 1", which would be better for the life of the pump, should I change the return from 1 1/2" to 1"  <Mmm, there is likely sufficient "head" pressure from the rise here... and don't know if you'd want the added pressure at the discharges by reducing the discharge plumbing diameter... I would leave as is> to reduce the flow as you stated, or would just an adjustable valve inline give the exact same end result.  <Yes.> I also managed to fit a 4" adapter on the standpipe in the overflow instead of the 3" that I thought would be the maximum. My big sump for volume I would think is already big enough. I am using one of those very tall garbage bins that are on wheels, and almost 4 feet tall. I figured this would also maximize the distance of the bubbles entering it near the top, and the exit to the pump which is near the very bottom, by using the air is lighter concept whereas they rise to the top away from the pump intake. One last thing, tell me if this is a crazy idea or not. To maximize the live food from the refugium entering the main tank without going through the pump at all. Could I keep the tee that branches off to the refugium, from the main return where it is now after the pump discharge, but instead of the refugium draining back into the main sump, could I put another tee inline of the return further upstream, and have it mix back into the main flow that way? <Yes... could be done... as an elution/venturi sort of set up... BUT would also fit an automatic overflow back to the refugium from another sump to assure that the refugium isn't drained, the venturi broken, AND a one-way check valve going from the refugium to the "tee"...> I was thinking the suction of the water flowing past would help pull, and mix it all back together. This way the entire refugium function is after the pump, where nothing will get shredded. <Actually, not that much does get shredded... surprisingly. I would just stick with the present arrangement, for fear of real troubles should a "siphon break" down below... Bob Fenner> I hope this is all explained clearly enough. Thanks greatly in advance Greg N. P.S. Just also wanted to let you know that thanks to your amazing website, I have gained an incredible amount of information, and still learning so much more all the time, but especially from the daily FAQs. I think it is the best way to gain overall knowledge of this hobby in all its different areas, since the questions are on such a variety of subjects everyday, and are actual real world experiences of people, not just textbook theories. I have learned already that you cannot always have a black, and white answer to questions in this hobby.  <! You are correct... in most cases there is no such thing... less arithmetic, more calculus... limit, chain, derivative understandings of our lives, the universe> Just gather all the info you can find, and then make an educated decision, because as a very experienced sales girl at a LFS that I go to once told me, sometimes the little fishies don't read the books to know what they are supposed to do, or not. <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing Hi Bob! My 100 gallon reef is finally plumbed, silicone is cured and everything is running with freshwater! AHHH. . the relaxing sound of a cascading mini waterfall. Thanks for all of your help!! Your suggestions are priceless!!! I have a few easy questions for you: 1) The wife says the water sound is a little too loud. It's not really a flushing sound (like air being trapped) just the gentle rushing sound of water. Although I am hearing some air being sucked in maybe once or twice an hour. Sounds like a flushing toilet Any suggestions? <A few... please read through the FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbfaqsmar.htm> 2) It seems that there are a lot of bubbles coming up through the tank. I ended up building the sump and placing the overflow tubes (2 of them) in the bottom of the sump. I don't know if that's where the bubbles are coming from, but that is my guess. Any suggestions for stopping the bubbles? <Same FAQs area... there may be a need to build/install a dampener, filter media, baffle in your sump... modify the pump intakes there> 3) I will be placing the live rock on Friday morning. The tank is acrylic therefore I will do everything that I can to keep from scratching it. In the event of a scratch, I was curious. . . do you have any painless solutions to this inevitability? The LFS tried to tell me that the Lifeguard scratch kits can be used underwater. . . <Some kits can be... best to just try and be careful... small scratches don't show much when the tank is filled> 4) I couldn't resist the urge to fire up the new Turboflotor 1000 even though it isn't in saltwater (fresh). Of course I wasn't expecting any foam. However, I did expect the skimmer to whip the water into tiny bubbles. Instead, the water column has large bubbles sort of like an air curtain. Is this the way it's supposed to be? <Yes... patience my friend> KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! <You as well. Bob Fenner> David Dowless Gambling' on a new fish tank

Plumbing question  Hi Mr. Fenner, I have just one question today. This weekend I upgraded my whole filter system to a homemade ( to the Ecosystem specs) refugium/miracle mud sump, and Caulerpa, with a separate big tub for volume. I've also upgraded my pump. Don't know if your familiar with the brand, Gorman-Rupp Industries. <Very familiar. Spent many hours running many of their fine pump products> A real high end pump that runs super cool, and consumes very little power. Someone I know runs a business that specializes in high end plumbing systems, ( laboratories, big saltwater aquariums, etc...), and he uses solely these pumps for aquariums. I've seen one like I got from him in action at another friends house previously. Along with upgrading to this pump, my flow rate has jumped tremendously ( up to where it should be for my tank size. 100G tank with 50G sump, and 40G refugium. My question is this: in my tank I have 1 built in overflow at 1 end of the tank, (not in the corner, but basically a squared of triangle that is centered on 1 end, because the tank is a see through to both sides). In the overflow box I have a standpipe that is 2" going down to a 1 1/2" flexible tubing that drains down to the basement sump. ( all the plumbing is down there, pump and all). It's working fine, and a high flow rate but it's not very quiet anymore There is more air mixing into the water ( kind of like a toilet sound. I've tried the air tube down the pipe, and even something called a Durso standpipe which basically has a pipe at the top of the standpipe that turns back down into the water to pull in instead of straight up like a regular standpipe, his page is a link from your site. This Durso pipe worked incredibly silent before I up graded the pump, but not anymore  <I would restrict the discharge of the pump... to something that will not mix water and air... cause noise problems> I also get some churning water in the sump which makes bubbles in the tank, ( not a good idea, and is what I want to fix), should I make the mouth of my standpipe bigger? <If you can... and likely a larger sump below...> Problem is I only have space in the overflow for probably a 3" pipe, and only going straight up. Do you know of any other tricks? <Many... but the restricted discharge is the main idea you should pursue... you don't need this flow rate> I've read over the areas posted on your site, and a few links, but nothing new is found that I've already tried. I know for sure it is not air leaking in somewhere, because I've tried adding a canister filter in-line, and it stops the bubbles. I don't want to leave it in-line though because the refugium benefits will be cancelled out for supplying the live critters for the fishies to eat? <Yes, divert only a bit of the water flow through your refugium... i.e. get another sump to run most of the water through...> I also cannot put the refugium on a separate pump. <No need... only to run the new sump in parallel (not series) with only a couple of volumes of water per hour running through it (the refugium), most of the flow through the new parallel sump> Hope you have some kind of new advice. Thanks greatly in advance! Greg N <Think here... Bob Fenner>

Plumbing Hi Bob! I'm still working on the plumbing for the 100 gallon tank. Thanks for suggesting the drilling tool for the tank and sump. It was inexpensive and worked great! <Yes, amazing tools for this job> Well. . .I've been trying to plumb with flex tubing but I just don't think it's going to work for my situation. The space is too tight in the cabinet, and the tubing keeps kinking. So I'm thinking of going to flex pvc or regular schedule 40. <Maybe the best route> On the return, I am running a Blueline 1100 (1100 gph) and it is tee-ed to both sides of the tank. If I use the regular schedule 40, there will be a 90 degree angle at the tee, and one 90 degree angle on each side entering the aquarium (total of 3x 90 degree angles). The tubing is 3/4 id. Will this drastically reduce the flow? Should I be concerned? Would flex pvc be better? <I'd use larger inside diameter tubing... for much more flow (pi r squared for surface area of a cross section if you remember...) getting the water out... 3/4" going back to the tank from the sump is fine> Unfortunately, the tubing and fittings for the overflow tubing is 1 1/4'' id. I can't find a 1 1/4 bulkhead with hose barb fittings anywhere. <Mmm, check the hobby magazines, or just use a "thread by barb" insert fitting of 1 1/4" in the "outside" part of the thru-hull (if it's threaded on the inside or outside of the throat> I might could order it online but I was really hoping to finish this so I could order the live rock Friday. Would it be okay if I just laid the two overflow tubings in the sump and didn't worry about attaching them to a bulkhead? <Oh, likely yes... I'd consider even attaching Emperor Aquatics "bags" on their ends (maybe with an insert fitting in the flex to give the bags' closings something to stop at) as collectors of particulates, diffusers of flow...> On the surface, it seems that I could lay the ends down in the bottom of the container and it would work fine as long as the tubing was long enough that it couldn't be pulled out. What do you think? <Should work fine> After I finish the plumbing, do you think letting the tank run for two days will be enough to be sure there are no leaks? <Yes> Thanks Bob! Keep up the good work and visit Las Vegas when you get a chance. My wife and I would love to treat you and yours to a "night on the town." <Thank you my friends. Bob Fenner> David Dowless Livin' and Learnin' in the city of Lost Wages. I mean Las Vegas.

Fwd: Overflow boxes Please forgive me Bob but I did a poor job of describing the overflow boxes I'm looking for. The kind I'm looking for are the type you put inside the tank as if you drilled holes in the corner of the bottom of the tank and go from the bottom of the tank up to top. Thanks again for your time. Tom <Oh... you have a 150 gallon All Glass tank... did you intend to drill it yourself? There are tools for this... better done by the manufacturer before assembling the aquarium... Through hull fittings are available from many sources (swimming pool supply, many e-tailers, service companies, big retailers in the interest...) and "risers" can be made from PVC pipe, sleeves the same... towers can be formed of PVC or acrylic sheet... Bob Fenner>

Plumbing (cutting through put holes in/for a sump) I am making a sump from a Rubbermaid container for my 100 gallon tank. What do I need to drill (?) or cut (?) holes into the container? Can I buy the tool at Home Depot?  <What an exciting question. Really, we (our old service companies) used to have a "museum" collection of such tools, materials... some really neat to work with (for drilling through very thick acrylic especially). I would go with a simple "hole saw" kit like those sold for fitting lock/door knob sets in wooden doors here. If you think you might want to drill more than one size/diameter opening, splurge on a multiple size set with interchangeable mandrill (the pilot bit that goes in the middle)> I know that ideally water would move through the sump from one end to the other, entering dirty and leaving clean. However, since I have two overflows it would be convenient for the overflows to empty into opposite ends of the sump with the skimmer (T1000) in the middle of the sump. <Yes, good idea> I probably will mount the return pump (external) on the end (not the middle). I guess I'm worried about unclean water entering and then leaving the sump, bypassing the skimmer. What are your thoughts?  <No worries... all gets about as clean as it were going linearly/in series... Only a bit of a percent lost in apparent "efficiency"> I have no room for a refugium in my sump but I am considering getting one of the CPR hang ons (24''). Will this improve my water quality?  <VERY much so. A friend who lives with us, Peter, has been "experimenting" with these for years... Many advantages in their use> Since I'll need to buy a CF for the refugium, is it worth the effort and expense? <Yes, of a certainty> Thanks for all you do Bob! <Thank you for your queries. Bob Fenner> David Dowless

Overflow boxes (sent by FAMA) Hi, I am a subscriber to your Mag and it's the best! I have a question for you. A friend of mine gave me his 150 Gallon All-Glass Aquarium. I want to install overflow boxes. All-Glass does not supply them for this size. Do you know of anyone that makes them for a retro fit application like mine?  <The best site, line to start with are those by CPR, Creative Plastic Research. Their link: http://www.cprusa.com/ Other manufacturer's can be found on the Links Pages on our principal site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> Thanks for your time! Tom Tompkins 

Plumbing Any suggestions for preventing leaks when using flexible hose for your plumbing? I am currently plumbing an in-line reducer, a tee, and I'm connecting the return lines to the two bulkheads. It's hard to believe the little snap clamp will keep it from leaking. . . <Two snap clamps are better than one here... as is a smear of silicone sealant (100%)... it won't stick to the polyethylene tubing or PVC barbed fitting, but helps to make as a nesting material... can be taken off later. Have seen, put together many systems with just this technology. No worries.> Thanks for your help and glad you had a safe trip!! David Dowless <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Increased flow rate Hi, I have a question about my plumbing. I increased my flow rate recently because it was less then what it should have been, and I started to get a problem which is a lot of fine bubbles. Now I know that too fine bubbles are not good for the fish, and frankly it doesn't look nice either because it kind of clouds the water if you know what I mean. I know it's not an air leak because I've gone over every connection. <Try using a piece of tubing against your ear... with the other end placed along all the joints in your plumbing (including the volute to the pump... this is generally the problem area), and/or a spray bottle of just water... you may well see "bubbling" of air/water at the problem junction> What I think is causing it, and tell me if I'm wrong is this. I have an overflow built in to my tank that drains through the bottom into my sump/wet/dry. My tank is 30" high, and I think with the increased water flow there is more churning of the water at the bottom of the overflow. <Maybe... have you considered inserting a slotted pipe, wrapping it in coarse batting material (from the yardage or fish store), securing same with rubber bands or zip ties? This would allow bubbles to coalesce...> I've added a small airline tubing into the drain of the overflow to help with the noise reduction ( the air being sucked in with the water). I can see lots of the little bubbles coming from the overflow pipe exit in my sump yet I can't see them as they travel through the tubing on it's way back to the tank ( a lot of my lines are clear soft tubing because my pump is in the basement, and it's easier to snake through the obstacles going through the floor). Or is it that I can't see the bubbles in the lines because it's just traveling through too fast to see? <Maybe> I don't want to start stuffing baffle, or anything inline in the overflow pipe to break up the bubbles because I don't want to start restricting the flow (buildup of stuff pulled in by the filter). I was told by someone I know that because the bottom of the overflow is at the bottom of the tank instead of being built up higher in the overflow part itself that this is causing a waterfall effect resulting in the churning. I can't start rebuilding the overflow because the tank is already stocked, and running. Do you have any ideas as to what to do. <A bunch... though hard to elaborate over the net... have you been to OzReef site yet for ideas? http://www.ozreef.org/> Is the airline tube I stuck down the overflow pipe a good idea ( I would like to leave it because it cuts down the noise of the water a lot), or is this helping to cause the problem?  <A good idea... likely not the cause of the trouble... As stated... would look to batting material to solve this bubbliness. Bob Fenner> I hope you have an answer for this! Greg N.

BUILD UP OF MATERIAL IN WATER RETURN LINES My reef tank has been set up for about 10 months. I have been noticing an accumulation of a white substance in my water return lines from the filter system. If I move or hit the water return lines, the white substance runs through the lines into the tank. I was wondering if you have any ideas what might be causing this to occur and whether there is a method to either eliminate this substance or filter it out prior to the water being released into the tank. <Likely "just dust" from your substrate, additive precipitants... living matter tends to "stick" more in captive settings. Likely no problem, but unsightly... would add more mechanical/particulate filtration. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/marmechf.htm> One of my thoughts is to increase the flow of water back to the tank. I am now using a RIO 2100 pump with a 4 foot lift. Under ideal conditions, I should be seeing a flow rate of about 390 GPH. However, once the water leaves the filter/pump, the water flow is split with 50% of the water running through a UV sterilizer and 50% running through a chiller, thus further reducing the flow rate. <Yes... I would run the water through a canister filter to your UV and let the rest of the water go through the chiller with the Rio> To give you more information about my tank, I have about 60 pounds of live rock. The substrate is crushed coral which is about 1.5 inches deep.  <This is likely the "powder" source> On top of the substrate, I have added 10 pounds of GARF grunge. <This too... an old guy with a hammer, bad live rock...> I have a CPR biological filter with protein skimmer. I use a UV sterilizer. I have 2 small power heads mounted in the tank to increase circulation. A 10 gallon water change is performed every 3 weeks. Nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and phosphates are near zero. Specific gravity is 1.022 and PH is 8.2. Water temperature is controlled with a chiller/heater at 78.5 degrees. For lighting, I have four 96 watt compact florescent lights. Two of the bulbs are blue and two are 6700K white. I run the lighting 10 hours per day. The fish in my tank include a small damsel, scooter blenny, purple tang, flame Hawkfish, clownfish and 2 Banggai Cardinalfish. I will not we adding anymore fish to the tank. I have 2 cleaner shrimp and a mixture of snails and crabs. I have about 8 pieces of soft coral and leather corals and plan to add more coral over time. <Sounds very nice> Any suggestions you might have would be appreciated. Regards, Jim <Just to add the canister... for redundancy's sake... and to provide steady flow through your other mechanicals (with dedicated pumping)... a few other reasons... removal of particulates will help both the chiller and UV...> P.S. I just ordered your book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and look forward to reading it. <You will enjoy, benefit by its perusal. Bob Fenner>

Dangerous Bubbles in a Marine Circulation System I just began running a 135 gallon fish only saltwater tank and it has been running for 2 weeks. The water that is being pumped back into the tank from the sump tank is cloudy as a result of millions of tiny bubbles. When I turn it off it is crystal clear. What is the problem and how can I fix it? The pump is a Sedra 12000 and it is outside the sump tank. Thanks. <There are a few ways to reduce to eliminate the "bubbliness" of your set-up... The most important aspect is actual function... it's dangerous to have air and water getting mixed together in your pump... gas embolism problems can result. Please read through the following parts of our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/bbldisease.htm and the FAQs and the Marine Plumbing FAQs: http://wetwebmedia.com/pbfaqsmar.htm You want to eliminate the possibility that you have a plumbing leak on the intake side of your pump, then next the possibility that bubbles are getting into the intake via the sump... then lastly the issue of coalescing, collecting the bubbles that are just being produced at the discharge side (into the main tank) via a piece of filter media, a catch sump there... Important to understand this and cure it now. Bob Fenner> Dave

Re: Tank Bulkhead Thank you Mr. Fenner, For your Help, Will this overflow be very loud, and if so what would be the best way to make it run quiet? <A few things help... do cut "slots in the upper riser and lower (if you are placing a tube over the overflow... Do situate some foam (like polyurethane) over but the area (but not touching the actual area where water flows down from your main tank)... and most importantly, do aspirate the down flow line/s with a length of rigid or flexible tubing (to allow easy mixing of air and water) into the overflow line. All of these can be done "later" when the unit is running... and have dramatic effects at diminishing noise. Bob Fenner> tank you for your Time, I got your book (it is great) Alan England. <Ah! You're welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank Bulkhead Thank you Mr. Fenner, I will give that a go. <Ah, good. Please do check out "OzReef" (premiere DIY site): http://www.ozreef.org/ for (assuredly) better descriptions of plumbing/noise reduction configurations... and get back with me if any of this can be made more complete/clearer.  Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank Bulkhead Well Do Bob, hope you don't mind me calling you Bob, I feel like I know you now, with the book and all! Alan England. <You do indeed my friend, and this is my name. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing question Hi Mr. Fenner, I wrote to you two days ago about the plumbing of a refugium that would be in the basement while all the other plumbing would be above it, tank sump and all. <Yes, do recall> You answered me back some questions that I asked you but I'm still a little unsure about the plumbing, and gravity.  <Ah, let's continue to try to make things more clear> If I use a separate pump, (in other words this will be completely independent of my filter system, where is the best place to pull the water from, in the tank itself, or from the sump.  <The sump> If from the sump won't this pull more then what it was built to handle as flow, or will it all balance out by itself. <Hmm... all will balance out... with a calculation, test for "transit volume"... i.e. the matter of the water "in play" with the system up and going... Very important to try all this out... with the water just high enough in your intake sump (for the main/recirculating pump) to prevent cavitating (air-intake in this case), to turn the power off on the pump... wait several minutes to determine how high the water will rise as all settles... and then to use this "difference in heights" (the low mark to the settled mark) to mark your absolute highest/safest level of water in your sump/s... Do you understand this? We want to have the water be no higher in the sumps/basement then can be accommodated should the power or pump fail...> I was thinking of feeding the refugium in this way. A tube from the tank, or sump going down through the floor into the basement into a tee, which would split. <Yes, good idea> One into a refugium, and the other into just a holding container for increased water volume. <Yes... and this container can also be used as a live rock, plenum, deep sand bed... area> From the tee into the refugium would be controlled by a valve so as not to have a too strong current going through the refugium and then out to another tee that would connect to the pump to push it all back up to the main tank. <Sounds good> The other holding container would just be full flow through to the second tee. So far will this work o.k. One other question, in both containers I was thinking of controlling the water height with standpipe overflows, <Can be dangerous here... I would just use large diameter through hulls between the sumps... the refugium one near the surface, the others near the bottom of the physical sumps...> now can the input of each tank be the same size as the standpipe, or should the standpipe be bigger then the inputs? I hope this makes sense to you!! Greg N. Montreal Canada <It does... make the through-hulls aka bulk head fittings big, BIG... you will have regrets otherwise, I assure you... by way of gravity, with the size system/sumps and water flow you're talking about, small plumbing, and anything in the way of anything but very large stand pipes (like four inch diameter plus...) will not accommodate flow... You might want to locate Phil Escobal's aquarium engineering book, or have a real engineer take a look at your proposed specifications... Otherwise "size up"... trust me. Bob Fenner>

Re: Plumbing question O.k. I'm slowly starting to figure this thing out. By the way, I was planning on the first sump being for the live rock, sandbed, macroalgae, etc.., and the second one empty, to simply increase the total water volume. One question though, if I use gravity to feed all this, and you say to use BIG sizes of pipe, how do I feed it from the original existing sump up above? I can't cut a hole in it, because it's already in use as a wet/dry filter, do I make a U shape over the edge with a BIG size pipe, <This is best> or do I use the exit that is already existing (which consists of a 1" flexible tube attached to the sump with a bulkhead, and split THIS with a tee, then use oversize just between the two new sumps, and a final bulkhead with a 1" flexible tube going to the new return pump. THIS is the part I'm not quite sure of yet!! Or am I still getting it all wrong?!! Sorry to be such a pain!! Just want to be very sure it's done right the first time! Greg N. Montreal, Canada. <I understand. Rig all this up with the oversized bypass line and fire it over. Bob Fenner>

Tank Bulkhead Hello Mr. Fenner. I am almost ready to set up my tank now, but I need to know this First! My tank is 48x20x24wide,my sump is going to be 24x15x12w <Okay> I am having a hole drilled in the bottom right hand corner of The Tank, with a Overflow around it. My return pump will be a Eheim 1060 hobby pump:amphibious,2,280lph,50w,3.1m head. Tell Me if you will pleas, what size bulkhead hole will it need so that the overflow do not fill up be for the water has run out of the main tank!, thank you for any info that you my give. Alan England. <At least 1 1/2" inside diameter. I would make it 2" i.d.. Bob Fenner>

Re: Plumbing question Hi Mr. Fenner. Thanks for the speedy response. In answer to your answers, and questions above, I don't have anyone that I can really go to for help in the actual setting up of the refugium. I've been thinking about the setup today while at work; would it be o.k. if I run a separate line from my sump down to the refugium, and then use a small pump to push it back up through another separate line into my sump since the flow rate should be slower then my main filter system? <Yes, the separate pump arrangement is better> Or how about this; I have built into my main tank, a drain system with shutoff valves that run from the bottom of the tank down through the cabinet, and is connected to the main house drain system. This is how I drain the system whenever I do water changes and such. Let me tell you it's a nice little feature to build into your tank upon setup if you have the space, and means, (routing the tubing to the house plumbing), a lot less messy also!  <Yes... do use two valves though... accidents do happen and with a hole in the bottom... can be disastrous> If I put a tee fitting on that line before the valves to the drain with it's own shut- off valve to control the flow, and then again use a little separate pump to return the water, could I have it return into the sump (wet/dry system), that way it would be completely independent of the main filter flow, <No... please. A nightmare in the making... even if you have "back-up" electricity, float switches, even a solenoid (electromagnetic switch) to cut off the feeder valve, I still would/will lose sleep with this arrangement... What if the power goes off? Or the sump return pump/s fail otherwise? Don't do it> and from what I've read on Oz's web page, in the D.I.Y. section, I would be getting the water for the refugium from the bottom of the main tank instead of from the overflow which is supposed to have a lot of waste in it from floating at the top. <You can/could do the same with a sleeve/pipe that's notched at the bottom overlying a riser to the top of the water...> One last thing, if I use a rubber maid tub, this is still o.k. for lighting, and such? wouldn't a glass, or acrylic enclosure be better if I want macroalgae to grow? <No better than the tub. Light will be directed from the top I take it?> What about one of those big Rubbermaid garbage pails, these, I would think are a nice size to add some total water volume, or are they too high, and narrow ? <Rubber Maid and other companies make all sorts of shapes, sizes... I really like the "water trough" ones RM makes... they even come with a flush area and through hull and plug at the side bottom! Bob Fenner>

Rainbow Lifegard Components Assembly, Marine Plumbing I am in the process of setting up a new 100 gallon tank. I have purchased a rainbow lifeguard canister system. The problem I am having is how to hook the system together. I have read the directions over and over and I can not find anything helpful. I am assuming that you hook the system together with pvc cement. <Most of it, yes... but the threaded portions are best joined with a light smear of 100% silicone sealant (to facilitate/allow it to be taken apart later... if you want to change a part of it)... not Teflon tape, pipe dope... definitely not solvent (again, this on thread to thread connections). For the slip parts, I strongly suggest fitting them with reducer bushings to barbed connections and using a small length of flexible tubing and clamps (all can be had from a large "hardware store", like Lowe's or Home Depot) OR going through the expense of getting true-unions (flush fit) between the major parts to once again allow their facile change...> If that is the case then how do you hook the quiet one pump to the first canister? <Best to bush down the intake to the first canister to the same diameter (3/4" if memory serves) to a barb and connect it and the pump with a piece of flexible polyethylene tubing, two clamps... second best to "hard plumb" the two with (as above), a true-union fitting, valve... You will want to be able to turn off, remove the pump/open the volute here...> The canister has a large water import that is a slip joint  <Fit this with a slip by thread reducer bushing (1 1/4" I think but measure by 3/4" thread, and fit that threaded end with a 3/4 barb by thread... so you can join the pump discharge (fitted with a female thread by barb... to the first canister> and the export on the pump is small and with threads. Help if you can! <Please contact Rainbow as well... they should provide more, better input for their consumers... and check out the "Oz Reef", masterful DIY site (both links on the www.WetWebMedia.com Links Page... Bob Fenner> Thank you John Bugby

Re: Plumbing arrangement for Rainbow products Thank you for your help. I have tried to e-mail Rainbow, but all I get back is a list of dealers. You seem to prefer to use flexible tubing instead of hard plumbing Why?  <Hmm, may seem like a "smarty pants" answer, but, "because it's flexible"... That is, because instead of "hard plumbing" (by solventing) the components together with flexible and clamps you can "change your mind", "manipulate the parts" (like to get to the cartridges, UV lamps... very important) much more easily than if the whole contraption was "glued together"... I noticed Rainbow Lifegard's list of fittings on their site... but not flexible tubing... can be gotten from HD, Lowe's as stated previously.> I am setting up a 100 gallon salt water tank. My filtering system is a trickle filter, the rainbow system with UV, and a protein skimmer. Is there anything that I have missed or should have? <Too large a subject area to cover adequately here. Please read through the "Marine Set-Up" section on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com, books, magazine articles, other folks sites, chat rooms... for sufficient input as to your choices... Bob Fenner>

Tank Question (re: Pb, Circulation) I have a new 100 gallon acrylic tank in which I will be keeping some corals, inverts and fish. I plan to divide the sump into three sections and run a Turboflotor 1000 in the first section, Caulerpa and LR in the middle and the return pump in the end section. No other filtration except 100 lbs of LR in the tank. 1) What course of action should I take. . . ? The manufacturer suggests connecting the T1000 directly to an overflow, but Champion lighting says use a feeder pump. <Feeder pump> Recently, I had my LFS drill and install prefilters. However, I ordered two prefilters (one in each corner), but when I went to get the tank it only had one which is rated at 800 gph. I was looking for a flow rate of at least 1000 gph. The LFS is trying to convince me that one prefilter is enough if I am using a Caulerpa sump. My instincts and research says, "phooey." <Hmm, two would be better for a few good reasons... Can be done on one... but if it should get too clogged...> 2) What do you think? One or two . . .Why is either choice the best choice? The LFS says that I don't need more than 500 gph. Will 1000gph from the main tank be too much for the Caulerpa sump? Your thoughts. . . <Though the flow rate through this conduit will likely not exceed the specified values... it is a good idea to plan for redundancy... and two would greatly improve overall circulation> 3) Being thoroughly familiar with WWM, my guess is that you will want the two prefilters. How does one go about plumbing this? Would you use two pumps or use a -T- to connect the overflows? <A "Tee"... I guess I am becoming predictable. How about you doing a stint answering queries?> Thanks and keep up the good work. David Dowless <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

One more question while I have your attention. Re: Tank Pb How would the return work with two overflows? Should I use a Tee connector so that it returns to both sides of the tank? <Fine and yes> WOW. . you do answer fast!!!!!! Thanks <When I'm in. For sure. Bob Fenner> David Dowless

Setup / Plumbing Questions Hi Bob, I am an "old guy" from the era of saltwater aquariums with bubble driven undergravel filters. In the mid 70's, during college I kept 3-50 gallon wide and a 29 gallon invert tank. About 4 months ago I started reading, researching, more reading, trying to get up to speed with what has happened since the mid 70's in the approach for marine aquariums. <Lots> I have attached a "rough" diagram of the system I am slowly putting together. I have an AGA 120 gallon aquarium (48"x24"x24") to house fish with live rock, a 41 gallon plenum sump for additional live rock and growing Caulerpa species macro-algae. I also have a 28 gallon filtration sump housing a Turboflotor 1000 and my return pumps. I need some honest, constructive criticism on whether my plumbing plans are realistic and workable: <Okay> In regard to using the 2 Eheim 1060's as return flow to the aquarium: - Will this give me enough overflow/gravity flow via 1" PVC to ensure that the Turboflotor has enough suction to run correctly? <Should> - Will this give me enough overflow/gravity flow via 1" PVC to ensure that my plenum/Caulerpa/refugium sump gets enough flow/circulation? <Yes> I plan on using 4 single union ball valves (2-1" and 2-3/4") at the point where the overflows and returns enter the bulkheads/tank. I plan on using the appropriate size unions at the juncture of equipment/sumps. <Good plan... like all-plastic ball valves and unions for sure...> I really need some advice on the correct bulkhead size to use, providing the gravity overflow from the plenum/Caulerpa/refugium sump to the filtration sump. I was thinking two 1-1/2" bulkheads, better to error on the more than less flow side? <Yes, and yes... Inside diameter 1 1/2" would be my choice as well> Lighting has really changed since I was into saltwater, I am leaning towards Custom Sea Life Power Compacts; the PC48496 (48"-384 watts, 4-96w bulbs: 6,700K daylight and Ultra Actinic bulbs) for my AGA 120 gallon, and the PC24265 (24"-130 watts, 2-65w bulbs) for my plenum/Caulerpa/refugium sump. Are these a good choice for fish with live rock aquarium and live rock with Caulerpa sump? <About the best in my estimation> I thank you in advance for your time and your writings, I've read just about all of Wet Web Media. I also wish to thank you for your honest criticism and answers to my questions. <A pleasure and honor my friend. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Mark Buckle

Overflow line to sump... Bob- I couldn't find the answer on your website and I'm not sure I trust the people at the LFS. Is there some formula for figuring out the size of the line from the overflow box to the sump?  <Some rough guidelines... an inch and a quarter line should be able to accommodate up to six hundred gph for instance> I'm going to be ordering a 180 with a 60 gal sump, in the next week or so and wanted to know what size line to use with a 3000gph pump.  <At least three two inch ones...> The LFS suggested a 1 1/2" however, it seems that if the pump uses a 1 1/2" line, that I would need something larger. I emailed both SeaClear and Clear for Life over a week ago for the answer, and haven't heard back from them. Thanks. Andy <Talk with your friendly physics teacher, showing them a diagram of what you have in mind... and take a look see for either Phil Escobar and/or Mr. Tunze's books on aquarium engineering. Bob Fenner>

Modify return or the siphon? Hi again....I really appreciate all your help with my new tank...I finally completed reading your book from cover to cover (it's great!). <Ah, glad you enjoyed the experience> I just finished doing a trial run with water in my new 125gal FOWLR system (60x18X24). I have an AMiracle sea reef 200 w/d with a hang-on overflow box, and a Rio 2500 return pump with about 4 feet of overhead pressure. my problem is that the flow rate on the overflow is slightly lower than the return flow. <Yikes... dangerous... what if it becomes even more restricted?> my assumption was the overflow rate with a 1 inch siphon tube would siphon around 500-600 gph, and the Rio 2500 at 4 ft overhead would give roughly 580gph return. unfortunately, the Rio flow rate is a bit higher such that the very, very top of the Rio pump canister is exposed and not completely submerged in my sump. in your opinion, which of these options would be best? <Really, neither... I would add another overflow... tie it in with the same sump, pump below... Other measures could be taken... restrict the discharge of the pump (with a ball valve), try running an airline aspirator down the overflow line to speed the rate of drainage (also greatly reduces the noise from cavitation)...> 1) buy a 1 1/2 inch siphon tube and hope that this increases the siphon rate <This will... tremendously... pi r squared is the formula for surface area... do the math for comparison> 2) hook up a ball valve on the return line to lower the return rate 3) hook up another return line (I currently have only one), so the overhead pressure increases, thereby lowering my return flow rate 4) change the pump to a weaker pump <Hmm, we have about the same ideas... would do, in order of preference: 3,1,2,4> please let me know if you have any other suggestions not mentioned above. I'm planning to go away in 2 days, and so I want to iron out the kinks and prevent a disaster, i.e. run the pump dry and/or flood my living room. <You're obviously aware of what's going on here and your options. Bob Fenner> thanks again, Knef

Wet/Dry - Iwaki and Berlin Skimmer Installation Problems!! Bob; Hope you remember me from the attached e-mail below. I need some help quick... please!! (Oh by the way, read your book but it doesn't help me with my current dilemma) I purchase all of the items we discussed below in my previous e-mail to upgrade my 90gal salt water system described below. Let me review: 1) Existing 90 gallon tank with only 4 fish that have been living in this very stable but very lightly bio-loaded environment for over 7 years, flame angel, yellow tang, Kole tang, Christmas wrasse. Game plan is to add another 4 - 6 fish of moderate size perhaps more if the environment can support it. I also have an existing Emperor Aq UV (25W) and a Fluval 304 (the UV is tee-ed of the Fluval). 2) Purchased a new SL-250 and Iwaki 30 to replace an SL-150 and a Quiet One. Also purchased a Berlin Turbo Skimmer and an Clearwater Tech S-1200 (250mg) ozonizer. Everything we discussed below. These purchases, I might add were made over 4 months ago. So why then has it taken me 4 months to get into my current " nightmare" you ask. The answer is as follows: First, the guy I work with who does my monthly maintenance just got around to allocating time to this "project" (That's a indication that there is a business out there servicing a very real need, aquarium maintenance)! Second, THE FOLKS AT RED SEA WHO MANUFACTURE THE BERLIN TURBO SKIMMER..... Problem is that they failed to disclose to the rest of the world that you can inject Ozone into a Classic Skimmer but not a Turbo! <Hmm, still should be able to do this... but a bit tricky with a plastic valve restricting the intake (vacuum) on way from ozonizer to contact chamber of the skimmer> So I have to make a decision as to whether I want to retrofit my Turbo back to a Classic or risk going through impellers at the rate of one every six months or so and stay with the Turbo. Your comments.....?? <Slow down the rate of intake of air/ozone into the volute, the cover about the pumps impeller... and they should last longer> Day before yesterday, we tackled the installation of the SL-250 and Iwaki 30....... 7 hours later, it still isn't running properly <?> and I still haven't got the Berlin or Ozonizer running. I had two bulkheads drilled on the SL-250, a 1 1/4" for the Iwaki and unfortunately a 1 1/4' for the Berlin Skimmer which is External to the Wet Dry with the Berlin motor in the sump connected to the skimmer via the bulkhead and PVC tubing. I said unfortunately because I had to reduce the 1 1/4 bulkhead to 5/8" which is not very easy.  <Next time threaded insert fitting and likely a small gate valve> I have not yet powered up the skimmer so I don't know what I'm in for on this end. I am going to run it as a Turbo once I get it running. <Good, I would> The problem we had was with the Iwaki. I followed manufacturer's instructions and came out of the SL-250 with 1" I.D. PVC Braided Tubing. The tubing was tee-ed of to 3/4" tubing which has a ball valve on it and dumps water back into the sump. We fired up the wet/dry and Iwaki and we couldn't move water fast enough out of the pre-filter into the Wet/dry. When we opened up the ball valve of the tee-ed off line, we still couldn't divert enough water. So at 3 am in the morning after finding some more 1" tubing at home depot, I (my maintenance guy is now long gone) replaced the 3/4": tee-ed off tubing with 1" tubing, however, since I can't find a 1" ball valve, I can't control, the flow and the water in now just trickling out of the pre-filter of the wet dry. <Get one from one of the on-line folks in the trade. Their links can be found on the WWM Links Page: http://wetwebmedia.com/links.htm> The folks at Iwaki floored me by telling me that I could run 3/4 inch tubing to an in-line ball valve and control the flow that way. In essence I don't really need to tee off the output tubing to control the flow with out back pressure. <No, but believe me, I can understand how these communications can go haywire... I think they meant "something else"... but can't tell w/o hearing/reading more of the actual conversation... I am NOT a big fan of relying on anything other than gravity (and then multiple options/outlets to assure flow) rather than pumping pressure and volume to keep water about where I want it...> They indicated, believe it or not, that I shouldn't be worried about a little back-pressure...... your comments please on how you would set up an Iwaki 30 from an Amiracle SL-250 used for recirculation only..........???? <I am not worried about "a little back pressure" either... and some pump/motor combinations are engineered to run best (i.e. with least electrical consumption, highest service factor) with some head (induced or otherwise), but by and large this proposition results in unnecessary expense. That is, what's the sense of paying the utility company to maintain a higher than wanted static pressure in a line? And generate excess waste heat thereby? It is likely best to match the discharge diameter of the pump/s with plumbing (flexible or better, rigid) of the same diameter, and if possible/practical to not utilize much in the way of restrictive valving at all....> Last issue, once I get the Berlin Turbo running, I plan to run the 250mg Ozonizer with an ORP controller. I'm having second thoughts about the size of the Ozonizer in this tank. Should I be concerned? Is it too much or will the ORP controller limit the amount of Ozone being injected?? <Not practically a concern, no... 250 mg dumped into a system of this type, size should not be a problem> Sorry for the length of this e-mail, whoever, I'm somewhat frustrated at this point. <Again, I can understand... am semi-frustrated just trying to figure out "who said what" and what they meant here myself. Bob Fenner> Regards Lew Kirschner

Wet/Dry - Iwaki and Berlin Skimmer Installation Problems!! Robert; To summarize; 1) Stay with the Turbo configuration and just make the appropriate adjustment to limit air/ozone intake. Don't retrofit back to classic 2) Stay with the 1" tubing throughout the system and just get 1" Ball valves to control the flow to the tank and the tee-off to back to the sump. Do you agree that a tee-off is the best approach O Outlet back to tank | | 1" Tubing throughout ** 1" Valve | |----**---------\ | 1" Valve | < return back to sump | | | | \---- |_____SL-250_________| 3) 250 mg per hour Ozonizer OK. just Slow down the rate of intake of air/ozone into the volute Thanks Lew <Do agree with your synthesis of our correspondence. Bob Fenner>

Re: Wet/Dry - Iwaki and Berlin Skimmer Installation Problems!! Robert; One last question: In #3 when you say slow down the rate of flow in the volute I assume you mean that in the case of the Berlin Turbo Skimmer: a tube runs from the air inlet of the Berlin Turbo pump through the air control hole in the skimmer to the outlet port of the ozonizer. When you tighten the nylon screw on the skinner outlet assemble (which the hose runs through), this in effect reduces the amount of air/ozone fed back to the pump thus reducing the amount of ozone feeding into the pump which brings it in contact with the water. Correct?? <Yes> I took your suggestion on everything else and the system is now working like a champ. My test reading have gone virtually to zero, my fish seem more perky and alive and the water is crystal clear!! <Ah, congratulations on your success... and your ability to discern our abstract conversations over the Net! Bob Fenner> Lew

Overflows Hi Bob. <Howdy> I am setting up my second marine aquarium. Piecing it together bit by bit as my finances allow. So far I have a Mag 7 pump and a Turboflotor skimmer with Rio pump. I will be getting a 72 gallon bowfront tank with stand, hood, and light for only $500. Pretty good deal from a LFS I think. My next step is to get an overflow as the tank I want doesn't have one built in. The problem I am having is that overflows are expensive; the cheapest I have found an overflow for that will fit my needs is $86. Why are these so expensive? They don't look real demanding with regard to manufacturing. <Lots of time to cut, hand-piece and solvent each together... you can/could make one...> And is CPR the only one who makes these things, or is there another manufacturer - Preferably (actually only) one that you would recommend, or am I stuck with the CPR? <There are a few... their sites can be found on the WetWebMedia.com Links page> The collecting equipment step is fun but expensive. I expect the plumbing part to be a lot harder as I have never done it before, could you recommend a website that specifically deals with plumbing. I am unsure what kind of values I need, where to put them, which do what, etc. <Yes, see "Oz's Reef" on the WWM Links Page... superb DIY source... and plumbing isn't hard at all.> I know I have to throttle back my return line a little as the return pump it 700 gph and the overflow I want is only 600 gph. <Oversize the return, or better still, use two...> Plus the pump to my skimmer is only 300, so I have to t-valve off the overflow line so only half the overflow goes to the skimmer, the other half into the sump. Does this sound right? <Yes, fine> As always, thanks for your help. I would have given up on this hobby long ago if not for you and your website. <Ah, my friend, we are happy to have you. Bob Fenner> Bryan Aalberg

Plumbing I want to hard plumb my filter system. Does it matter what type of pipes I use? Will the glue that you use to put the pipes together harm the fish? Also, what type of UV filter would you recommend for 100 gallon tank? Thank You! <See the "Plumbing" pieces on the Marine and Pond Indexes on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com... most folks use PVC or ABS of the various formulations used... and the solvents have no effect as they're "gone" when the plumbing is in use... some slight toxicity from these plastics, no big deal. UVs are also covered on the FAQs section of the same name on the WWM site. Happy reading. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing set up Bob, My husband is doing a project for college. He's taking plumbing in school and needs to get all the info on how you would set up multiple tanks all of them being on the same system. So if you had 100 tanks in a store running from the same system. How would you go about it and what would the plumbing be to do such a thing. And what type of filter system would be best used in a situation such as this. Thank-you for any info you can give Sneeker. <Please have him peruse the sections on "Plumbing" on the Marine Index, the same title and "Check Valve Use" on the Pond Index, and "Multiple Tank Set-Ups", "Flow Through Systems" on the Business Index on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com and contact me if he has further questions.  Bob Fenner>

Bubbles from outlet... Bob- I truly appreciate all the advice you have given everyone in the hobby, including myself. My problem is one I haven't seen in your column. I recently replaced the sump/refugium in my 125 FOWLR. At the same time I installed a new pump (the T4 from FFE) and plumbing. The first part of the sump has several baffles to help dissipate the bubbles, which works great. I have quite a bit of filter media in both the inlet and outlet portions of the sump. There are no bubbles that I can see in the refugium portion of the sump. The problem is that from the outlet in the tank, I am getting 100's (thousands?) of tiny bubbles. The only source I could think of would be somewhere along the plumbing lines or that the inlet at the pump might be sucking a small amount of air. However, wouldn't a small leak cause either a water leak or salt creep? <Not necessarily... and the source of these bubbles should be found and fixed ASAP... you should read through the "Emphysematosis, Gas Bubble Disease" piece in the Pond Section of the www.WetWebMedia.com site... applies to marine/aquariums as well> If so, I haven't seen evidence of either. I used flex ABS for the plumbing and with the exception of the pump, all fittings are glued. The pump fittings have clamps on them and the fit from the pump to the ABS was extremely tight. Any suggestions? Thanks, Andy <Yes, I would try using a length of tubing, one end on your ear, the other applied near all the joints,,, bit by bit and/or a wet hand towel/paper towel applied at each junction, one by one to locate the source of intake... Look especially to the MIP and FIP fittings installed in your pump intake/discharges and any/all gasket joined areas connecting the volute (pump housing) to the motor, trap (if any), unions... Find this NOW!  Bob Fenner>

Aquarium noise Hi: I hope you can help. We just set up a new salt water 180 gal oceanic reef ready aquarium. It's set up in the den, so we did everything we could to keep the pumps etc. on the quiet side. All that was for naught because you can't hear the pumps, protein skimmer or even conversation ( well... maybe not quite that loud ) because of the loud splashing/gurgling coming from the overflow chamber. I tried inserting sponges where the water hits the bottom but that didn't work. The noise apparently is coming from the drain hole/piping instead of the water falling to the bottom of the chamber. Do you have any ideas on quieting that sucker down? thanks in advance Terry <Yes, a few... Consider building a riser out of a piece of PVC pipe that has slots cut in it (no need to get too involved here on what size, how many... you'll be able to pull out, modify as we go along...) and insert this pipe on the hole cut in your tank via a FIP fitting (thread to slip)... with the top open to allow for overflow... Am a bit tired... and don't know if this makes much sense... Some folks wrap these sorts of risers with batting material (like from the yardage store, and panduits/zip-ties... to strain out the larger particulate/suspended material as it passes through from the tank to the sump below. Bob Fenner>

Re: aquarium noise Bob: I know about tired....been a long day. thanks for your quick response. We have the risers in the overflow boxes already, but I hadn't thought about wrapping them. The noise is definitely coming from the drain hole at the bottom. I was also thinking about cutting a piece of Plexiglas and gluing foam sponge to the bottom with a hole cot out for the riser, but I guess I could also put foam in the riser, since it goes all the way to the top of the overflow.  <Sounds good, just don't impede the flow too much, or allow a clog to occur... maybe a floating diffuser box on the entry side of your sump, with holes cut in the sides to allow the incoming water to flow out...?> I'd then use the Plexiglas to cover both boxes without covering the whole tank and avoiding gas exchange problems and increasing tank temps. thanks again. Terry <Good luck my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: aquarium noise Thanks again Robert: The tank came with foam cylinders to go around the standpipes...I'll just have to be careful to keep them clean. I have the diffuser box in the sump too. thanks for the advice. TP <Hope it all works out... have rigged the bottom "box and foam" design myself for quite large flow rates in holding systems, fish hatcheries... You know, another thought/idea comes to my feeble mind... have you seen the great filter bags offered by Emperor Aquatics? Fitting one of these (get two so you can be cleaning, air-drying the other while the "A" one is in service) on the discharge of your tanks overflow line will easily remove a great deal of particulates, quiet the water flow down, and be very unlikely to result in overflow of the sump... Yeah, just checked and their link is on the WetWebMedia Links pages... hunt these bags down... very worthwhile, Bob achooo Fenner>

Re: aquarium noise Bob: I was surfing and found this link with what sounds like a perfect solution....at least from all the kudos left at the site. Look under hardware...then at the top of that screen look for the ....standpipe http://www.rl180reef.com/frames.htm terry <Great... will add to plumbing FAQs. Thanks, Bob Fenner>

Anti siphon... Bob- I will be re-plumbing my tank soon and recall reading about a way to keep the tank from siphoning the water back in to the sump, without the use of a check valve, should there be a power outage. I think it involved drilling a small hole somewhere but, that's about all I can remember. Can you help? Thanks. Andy <There are a few ways this can be done... If you're pretty sure you're not going to regret drilling/fitting the tank (rather than fitting an over-flow box like the ones made by CPR (Link below), then I would cut (or have cut if a glass tank) a circular opening, fitted on both sides with a gasket, a bit of silicone sealer (100% designated, like the ones sold for aquarium use) smeared on the gaskets, as big a through hull fitting as you think you'll ever need/want... (at least 1 1/2" if not 2"...) for the overflow... a small section of pipe attached to the back side throat of the thru hull and then a "Tee" fitted vertically, connecting the through hull and the drop section of plumbing to your sump... with the up part of the Tee as an aspirator (to break the siphon action)... and another tee or street "El" in the tank with a "hand pushed in" (i.e. not solvented or threaded) piece of pipe going to the bottom (screened some how)... if a Tee inside with the upper part of the tee acting as an alternate over flow (lest the bottom intake get clogged... Anyone capable of drawing such things on these devices?  This is the best of many possibilities... Would attach, do advise the use of an alternate overflow outlet... either another cut through fitting or an overflow box. CPR, Oz Reef (great site for DIY aquarists) links can be found on the pages of the same name on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Thanks (and Overflow choices) Bob, I am new to this site. I stumbled across it on a web-surfing trip about a week ago. All I can say after much reading is WOW!!! With all the craziness in aquatics and all the mis-information, it is a pleasure reading your work, hearing your opinions and gaining some insight from all your real world experiences. The help you give to all the aquarist out there and the pets they will try to "hopefully" keep alive is admirable to say the least! It saves people time and money. It saves animals lives! They (the animals) did not ask to be placed in a glass/acrylic coffin and clumsily kept alive by a human. They came from a perfect system. It is our responsibility to them to do the very best we can to keep the alive and happy. That's what makes us happy, that's what makes us real hobbyist. From what I have read here, I know of no better site or person donating so much of their time and effort for this hobby. I am sure I speak for many people when I say "Thank you very much, your efforts are priceless and shall never go unappreciated!" <Wowzah. I SWEAR I did not write this to myself! Am taking this testimonial to the bank next time I'm out begging for a loan, and a copy in my pocket lest I make it inadvertently to the Pearly Gates to show St. Pete> Now for an actual question. Which is better, a built in overflow like the All-Glass design or hang on overflow? <Really... "six of one"... in general the built in ones are just as much of a pain to service (clean, replace particulate filter media...) and inflexible (can't be easily modified, added to) as they are more reliable than hang ons... which can at least be replaced... All things else being semi-equal, for big(ger) tanks (let's say hundreds of gallons) I do prefer built in overflow (and return) mechanisms...> thanks again my good man Brad Zimmerman <Any relation to Bobby? Thank you so much for "pumping me up". What a day brightener! Bob Fenner>

Water flow?  Bob,  Can you tell me where I can find out how to figure the amount of water that will pass through 3/4 inch pipe? I am putting together a new tank and am trying to figure out how much water my two 3/4 inch drains will pass so I don't get to large a pump . Thank you .  Jim bell >> Hmm, troubles right now (power outage), so am using my laptop, w/o speed, rapid search-ability... but am sure you can find such info. on the Net... But, am more than curious re your question... When, where in doubt, get a larger drain pipe size.... the interactions with the walls, any turns... induced drag are all important considerations ... and as you know the surface area of the pipe, at pi r squared... increases greatly with a small increase in diameter.... I' would not have any drain that was not at least 1"....  Bob Fenner

Can't get a straight answer Hello Bob I have just ordered a Pre-Drilled "All-Glass Aquarium" with a corner overflow kit. I am going on a suggestion you made in your excellent book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist." Where you said to stay away from add on overflow boxes. Here is a question I have been seeking an answer to for several weeks. I even E-mailed the company asking what size pump would be recommended for this pre-drilled90 gal. tank. They were very reluctant to give an answer. Someone on the Internet said, "The best size pump would be 400-600gph. This person says they work for "All Glass Aquarium," but I am not sure their info. is reliable. I was thinking of buying Iwaki pump WMD 40 RLT with 720gph (5.ft.head). The next size smaller pumps 480gph (5.ft. head). I was thinking of going with the stronger pump and using a ball valve to turn it down if necessary. Is this a bad thing to do to a pump or should I go with the smaller size pump? Should I get the American or Japanese motor? I will be using a Turboflotor 1,000 and it will be fed directly from the tank overflow and then into the sump. I will probably use some kind of pre-filter pad in the sump and then send water back to the tank. This is pretty much what l posted on Internet forums and have not received any good feedback. That's pretty much it for now.  Thank You Ralph Santangelo PS "All Glass recommended that I ask a LFS what size pump to use. I can't believe they can't make a recommendation for a pump on their own tank. >> Well, it's curious you don't state the size of the tank... or the overflow (in the pre-drilled box) through-hull... No problem with throttling down the discharge (never the intake) side of a larger pump... For a 3/4 inch adjustable-height overflow I would go with the smaller 480 gph pump... but if the fitting is 1" or greater, do consider the larger pump... The motor's country of origin is unimportant in terms of quality, service factor. Bob Fenner

Re: Can't get a straight answer Thanks Bob I just E-mailed All-Glass Aquarium and asked what size discharge my 90 gallon tank that I just ordered two days ago will have. Sorry I didn't give you enough info, that's probably why I did not get very many responses on the Internet, since I never mentioned the size of the discharge fitting. I just assumed it was a common size fitting used on all tanks. Thank You, Ralph  >> Ah, clarity is pleasurable. Yes, the drillings are different sizes per the varying volume of the system... and adjustable in terms of perforations in the "riser" fitted in the overflow corner... All will be clear when you have the tank in hand. Bob Fenner

Question about sunlight and a sump setup Dear Bob: You have given me great help in the past few months, Thanks for all the answers. I have what should be a very simple question, yet I have found hardly anything written regarding it. In a nutshell, I can't afford to get the lighting I want for my tanks in the short term (halide lamps). I have a dual 55 stand setup (one on top of the other) but all I have for them are the puny florescent tube lamps. I have a large box window that faces west, and is more than large enough to accommodate the stand. What are your thoughts on using sunlight to illuminate the tanks in addition to the florescent tubes? <No, not really re the window... too much trouble with heating, effects of red end spectrum lighting.... not controllable... > Currently, the bottom tank is freshwater. What I want to do is switch out a 40gal salt with the 55gal fresh. I want to run the bottom 55 as a 'sump', and put 2 protein skimmers (rated at 60gal ea) <SeaClones?>, UV sterilizer and fluidized bed filter down there where they are more out of the way. I have a FLUVAL 403 canister filter currently on the top 55, would that be powerful enough to draw the water from the bottom 55 and return it to the top?  <Not really... or should we say, minimally... I would have at least one other equivalent pumping mechanism.... like a beefy powerhead... or other canister filter.> Would it be safe to filter both tanks with it?  <Once again, minimally... I wouldn't rely on this unit alone> I was planning on using a gravity feed siphon from the top to the bottom tank, so if the water level dropped too much the siphon would just break and the water would not end up all over the floor. <No, use a constant level box (look at www.cprusa.com) or at worst a hole drilled at the top of the tank if it is acrylic... not glass> Also looking for some sort of float switch to put on the bottom tank so that my canister filter doesn't burn up if the water drops too low on that end. Do you know where I can find one of these switches? how expensive are they? <Don't go the float switch route on this sort of arrangement... too little means/extremes "transit volume flow" to be accommodated... see above notes and tell me if you understand, Bob Fenner> Thanks for all your help, David Szewczyk

Sealing joint material choices I'm planning to replace the hoses on my trickle filter to pvc pipes. what is  the best kind of bond materials would you recommend, to seal the joints  together?  >> PVC to PVC, weld-on solvents (light bodied) up to 2" diameter... if the pipe isn't new, clean, do use a "purple" colored primer to clean them up ahead of time. PVC to flexible? Threaded to barbed connectors and doubled nylon snap clamps... Bob Fenner

Water Noise Bob, Hi, you have helped me in the past and hope that you can help of friend of mine with the setup of his tank. Here is the problem, water noise and lots of it. Here is his setup: 180 gallon All Glass reef ready tank with dual overflows. He put his tank on the main floor of his house and his 300 gallon sump in the basement. He is using two Iwaki 55's to pump water to the tank from the basement and we figured about 10-12 feet of head. From the exit overflows he is used a one inch fitting that went to one and one half inch fitting at the bulk head. From there the pipe drops about ten inches where he added a 90 elbow to exit out the back of the tank stand. From there on the left side of the tank it drops straight through the wall and into the ceiling below. While the right exits the same from the bulkhead it has to travel approximately six feet before it enters the wall and drops into the ceiling below. Now from there both pipes travel horizontally about ten feet before both pipes drop another five feet into his sump. There is a lot more noise from the right exit pipe than the left exit pipe. We have tired angling the pipe from the right side so that there is no bend upward before it enters the hole in the wall where is goes into the basement. But this does little good. Someone at our local fish store suggested taking the overflow float out and inserting a longer pipe and inside of that pipe insert a smaller diameter pipe that is flexible and can be pushed down the pipe until it quiets down. We pushed the smaller pipe more than twelve feet down but that didn't work either. Our conclusion is that the pipe at the bulk head is to large and he doesn't have enough flow out of the tank to fill the 1 1/2 inch pipe. Would it help to reduce the pipe size at the bulkhead to one inch? Would you run one inch all the way to the sump? Or would it help to run one inch from the bulk head into a why ) connection behind the tank and then into 1 1/2 inch pipe and then through the wall and into the basement and finally into the sump? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks again for your help!! I hope this makes sense! Sincerely, Brian >> Some sense, yes... at least I think/hope I get the picture... No to reducing the plumbing size from the gravity overflows... this would probably result in setting up an oscillation between siphoning from the overflows and when the siphon noisily stopped... some amount of water overflowing onto the floor before the siphon started again...  The aspirator idea is a good one, if the partial vacuum from the draining water mixing with air is a big part of the noise... is this a gurgling type of sound? If it were me, and not knowing any more about this set up, I might do one or both of the following: Upgrade the drain plumbing to 1 1/2" diameter... to allow freer maximum flow... And buy and wrap around some "insulating foam" around the pipe... this stuff is made/sold for heat/cool insulation, but works well for sound as well... It won't "solve" the noise situation, but will muffle it greatly. The larger home improvement outlets sell this insulation. Good luck, Bob Fenner

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