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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 15, Plumbing 16, Plumbing 17, Plumbing 18, Plumbing 19, Plumbing 21, Plumbing 22Circulation 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

Holy Darwin's Batfish Robin!

Gurgles in the Kitchen Taps   8/27/06 Hi Guys. <Hi Sam> We have a loud shuddery noise that occurs when either our hot or cold taps are on low flow in the kitchen. Have heard an old wives tale that you can fiddle with the toilet cistern to fix. Any truth to this or other suggestions please? <I suggest going to a site that is geared for these type questions. On The House/Carey Brothers would be one.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, <You're welcome.> Sam Hyde

Flow Rates/Tank Turnover/Plumbing Confusion - 08/10/06 Hi, <<Howdy>> I used to have a 72Gallon Bow front tank set up but had to take it down. Now that I am setting it back up after a couple of years I had some questions on turnover rate and setup. <<OK>> I did read "Water Flow, how much is enough?" by Anthony Calfo and found it really useful.  Since my tank is empty I have the option now to drill holes, plumb the way I want and get a quieter pump.  I had a GEN-X 40 that will be my backup but it was too loud.  I was shooting between 10-20X turnover. <<A lot of water to process through your sump...can be done, but usually requires some effort to get things flowing well/quieted down>> But while searching various web sites and talking to people I was advised that I only need 3-5 times turnover through the sump and I should just add a closed-loop to make up the rest. <<This would be my recommendation as well.  This flow rate through your sump will be MUCH easier to manage>> Some say over skimming or reduce bubbles or noise etc. <<...?>> Some said it is not required in the sump or fuge.  Is this correct? <<Is what 'correct'?  I'm not sure what you are asking here, but if you mean 20x tank turnover through the sump then no, this is not "required">> It's been a couple of years so I want to make sure things have not changed. <<Mmm, the hobby is changing/progressing all the time...but fluid dynamics won't have changed>> Also I was going to put on a Sea-Swirl for more water movement.  I was not sure if one in the middle of the tank or two on each end would be better. <<Will depend in part on how big (flow rate) a Sea-Swirl you opt for, but generally speaking, one at each end of the tank would be best for good coverage/flow throughout the tank>> But they seem to only be on the surface so my thought was one in the middle and have a Tunze Turbelle Stream Pump lower in the tank (ever use these? Are they good?). <<This configuration too could work...and yes, I am familiar/use Stream pumps in my 375g reef tank...an excellent product in my opinion>> Based on that I can then drill the back for my overflow in the corner or middle.  I have a lot of options and need some help thinking this through. <<Glad to proffer my opinions>> a) One or two sea-swirls? <<Two>> b) Placement of overflow? <<Center...with a minimum 1.5" drain and 1" return>> c) Sea-Swirl(s), closed-loop, or from sump return? <<For a high flow rate/water movement...the Sea-Swirls (or Tunzes) or closed-loop>> d) Where to put the Tunze (opposite of overflow if in corner? or opposite of return from sump if not sea-swirl)? <<Either option is fine>> e) Where to put the return from sump if not sea-swirl?  Corner, middle, opposite side of overflow? <<Wherever it is needed to provide/augment flow based on your other configurations>> f) Does the closed-loop get water from the overflow?  Or do I drill back as source? <<The closed-loop pump will need its own "source">> Or add PVC with holes hanging in the tank. (hope that makes sense) <<For the closed-loop intake?  Mmm, best to drill a bulkhead>> g) Pump Velocity T4 at 1275GPH - but with 4ft head and 3 - 7 90's depending on how many returns I have.  This is not a pressure-rated pump but according to the flow rates I would get between 1080 - 900gph depending on the how many 90's I have.  Is this enough? <<For which application?...it is more than you need for the sump return...likely not enough for a closed-loop>> Do I need more and should I have this split to two returns? Thanks, Jason <<There's much to consider my friend, please have a read through our plumbing FAQs, here's a good place to start ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm) and be sure to follow/read among the links in blue.  Regards, EricR>>

Keep that PVC Primer off your Acrylic!   7/28/06 Any chance dried purple primer that I slopped around on the PVC pipes when setting up my marine system can stain my acrylic tank? < Not if it has fully dried. RichardB >

Proper steps in introducing fish... actually, plumbing help, SW stocking...    7/13/06 Hello everyone, I am in need of advice/input. <Okay> So I have been planning/running ideas through my head for the past few weeks and decided this is the best way to do this, any replies would be greatly appreciated on what to do differently or any feedback you think would be helpful. I had a 55 gallon FOWLR tank set up that got a terrible case of ich because I did not quarantine my fish. I was very new to the hobby then and know a lot more now.  I just purchased a all-glass 125 gallon aquarium. I have an oversized overflow box on it with a mega-flow 3 wet dry filter. My return pump is a mag-drive 12. That is the basic setup. <And a skimmer...?> Currently my aquarium is sitting 3/4 of the way full with water, I had to make sure my floor would be able to support it alright. <Yikes... the weight is "spread out?"... It's still level?> Tomorrow I will be filling it up the rest of the way and starting up the filter for the two week fishless cycle. My first concern is after I syphon the water into the overflow box how can I control the water level inside of my wet/dry filter? <By the total volume placed in the system... the water will drain down from the main tank...> I am a little concerned the Mag may be to powerful and just run the wet/dry low on water due to the siphon not being fast enough. <Not atypical... most such "pre-made, ready" systems are woefully inadequate in terms of plumbing size, fitting number... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/overfloboxfaqs.htm and the linked files above> Next is onto introducing my Stars and Stripes Puffer Fish. He is around the size of a football and in a tank way too small at a LFS (probably around a 30 gallon cube). <And going to be too large here... see WWM re this Tetraodont> I feel very sorry for this fish and want to get him into a bigger home. However I do not have a tank big enough to  quarantine him in. Which is why I decided to quarantine him in my display tank for 30 days before adding live sand or live rock. My reason for this is so if there is any parasites I can have the temp. high and the salinity low and they will die off with no substrate to multiply in. Also I was considering doing brief freshwater dips if he shows signs of ich. Does this all sound ok so far? <Mmm... not really... you might end up with an infested system just the same... Dipping a fish and returning it to a/the source of pathogens... doesn't work> My next question is more for down the road after my Puffer Fish has settled into his new home. What other type of fish would you suggest putting in with this guy? <In this volume? Nothing. You're topped out> I would really like to go with a very large Blue Hippo Tang but am concerned the puff will just eat him.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. <Likely would not eat such a fish, but would crowd it, poison it with its wastes> One more thing.. My mag pump has a garden house attached to it (new hose) <I would NOT use garden hose. Some are "drinking water safe", but many are not. Use virgin poly-vinyl and clamps if you must have some flexible here> that will run the water back to the aquarium. Do any of you have any suggestions on how to make the water enter back into the tank better than it just being a jet stream? I would like to spread the entry of the water out a little. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm and the FAQs files linked in this series above> Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and help! -Peter <Take your time here... I would skip on this too-large puffer... and have the floor this tank is set on checked out by an engineer before proceeding. Bob Fenner> Optimistic Flow Rates - 07/11/06 First of all great website, I've learned tons and spent hours reading posts, thank you. <<You're quite welcome...glad you find the site beneficial>> I tried to find my question but had no luck. <<Let's see if I can help>>>> I have a 300 gal FOWLR with a 50 gal sump.  I am running two twin tube hang on the back overflows, both with twin 1" drains.  I read I should be gravity feeding 1200 GPH for each box totaling 2400 GPH to my sump. <<Read?  Where?  No way on Earth you're gonna get 1200 gph to "gravity flow" through a 1" drain.  1200 gph may be the "rated" flow on the overflow boxes...but it's not going to happen with a single 1" drain>> My return pump is the Mag 2400.  I want high flow as I have groupers and triggers in this tank. <<Mmm, yes...most all fish species appreciate good water flow.  Though I'm skeptical when it comes to processing this much water through a sump.  But if the noise, bubbles, splash is not an issue with you...>> I used 1" for everything. <<Not big enough>> Right off the pump I have a check-valve, spring type from Lowes and a ball-valve on top of that all in the return line. <<The check-valve is not a good idea.  Aside from metal contamination from the spring and the huge lose of flow incurred when using these devices, the valve will inevitably fail at some point...usually when no one is around for a long period.  Much better to adjust your skimmer boxes, return lines, and the water level in the sump to handle all transient water when the power is off.  I'd also like to suggest you replace the ball-valve with a gate-valve...will give you much more "finesse" when flow adjustment is necessary>> Then it goes up the back of the tank and tee's to the ends when I have a 90 up then a 90 over then a 90 down and a 45 into the tank. <<Mmm...head pressure indeed.  Between the check-valve and the elbows I doubt your getting little more than half the rated flow of the pump>> I hope you can picture this. <<I can>> The problem is even with all that head pressure from 10 90-degree fittings, the ball-valve and the 45-degree fittings, I can't run the pump at even 50% or the aquarium overflows. <<Not surprising.  At the "most", I think you should expect 500-600 gph from the 1" drains...about half that if you want a bit of a "safety margin" or to keep things quiet>> I have to turn the ball-valve closed by almost half way for the tank to not overflow. <<Indeed>> Will changing the return plumbing to 2" help fix my problem? <<Ahh yes!  Will improve things by a huge margin>> Very confused, and lots of different formulas and theories. <<Agreed...and most seem a bit "optimistic" to me where flow rates are concerned>> Please Help. Thank you, David <<I hope I have.  Regards, EricR>>

Optimistic Flow Rates II - 07/11/06 Ok, I was told by US Plastic's that a 1" drain will flow approximately 600GPH. <<Yes...hear this all the time.  But I can tell you a more practical expectation is about half that.  A 1" drain may indeed be "physically capable" of allowing a gravity flow of 600 gph...getting it to work so in an aquarium application is another matter>> My overflow boxes have dual 1" drains.  That's where I figured 1200GPH per overflow box. <<Oh, okay...did not get that from the first email>> Four 1" drains for a total of 2400 draining to the sump. <<I see now.  But as you have discovered...not a practical flow rate>> The bottom of the overflow box has a 1" union going through it. <<Not a "union", is a "bulkhead"...two different fittings>> So do I need to try and drill a bigger hole in the bottom of the overflow box to accommodate for a bigger bulkhead or can I just adapt a 2-inch pipe to the 1-inch bulkhead. <<To increase the flow rate you will need to increase the size of the throughput (bulkhead fitting and drain pipe).  Just adding a larger pipe to the 1" bulkhead won't help, it still leaves you with the smaller restriction at the bulkhead>> I also have the 1" U tubes.  Do those also need to be bigger? <<Likely bigger AND more of them.  Actually, you might try this first.  With all the head pressure on your pump, the four 1" drains may well handle the flow and the real problem is your siphon tubes are not keeping up>> And worst case if I can't drill the bottom of the acrylic box to adapt for a bigger pipe, can I just add another dual-drain overflow box? <<If there's room...certainly>> Then not only would I have a plumbing nightmare, but I'd have SIX 1" drains going into my sump. <<You may want to consider alternative methods for creating flow and assign a smaller pump to service the sump>> I would like to keep the high flow rate as it seems to make a difference in my other salt tanks. <<I would agree, but it doesn't all have to be processed through the sump. Not having a drilled tank makes a closed--loop problematic...perhaps some Tunze Stream pumps?>> I never imagined this to be this complicated. <<Designing/building the drain system can often be challenging>> I greatly appreciate the help in your fast response. Thank you <<Very welcome, EricR>>

Plumbing...Threaded vs. Slip Fittings  6/20/06 In the articles indexes I came across the above article.  At the beginning is a picture of the recommended plumbing layout.  I was considering doing all threaded connections from the sump bulkhead to union to ball/gate valves in hopes of being able to replace/remove in the future without having to cut everything out and re-buy plumbing parts (if the occasion arose).  My question:  Does it matter whether you use all threaded connections (nipples, unions, ball/gate valves) or all slip (glued) connections, or some mix (if a mix, which slip vs. which threaded?)?  My main concern would be microbubbles.  But I don't know whether or to what extent to worry about these if I use Teflon tape, silicone, or pipe dope on the threads.  On another board, the guy said anything with threads (in his experience) will eventually lead to  microbubbles ending up in the display. Thank you for this advice and much in the past as well! <Mike, if the sealing is done correctly, microbubbles should not be a problem.  I wouldn't use pipe dope, Teflon tape would be/is my choice.  When putting the Teflon tape on, wrap in the same direction as the fitting will turn, that is clockwise of course. I have plumbed several systems with threaded fittings and have not been plagued with microbubbles in these installs.  I prefer using threaded fittings on the more expensive components such as ball valves, check valves, etc.  The rest of the plumbing is done with slip fittings.  James (Salty Dog)> PVC Glue "run" time   6/13/06 Quick question regarding "dry time" for PVC solvent: You stated: "Oh, and waiting a good hour before running water in newly solvented lines is about right in terms of curing time. Okay?" I notice fumes that are really overpowering and have been giving my fittings DAYS for the smell to go away. Is this not harmful to the aquarium? Or am I missing something? <Can be, could be... though I suspect the "after smell" is largely psychological> I most certainly would love to be able to use the new fittings sooner than later. Thanks...             Bruce Webster <There is a wide-range in PVC "solvents"... cure times... I am a big fan of "Christy's Super Hot Blue", and Green (heavy-bodied) "Landscaper" solvents... but many, likely most folks use clear, lower viscosity Weld-On... with (hopefully) or w/o their "purple" primer (comes in clear as well, but the purple is nice to assure you've applied it). When, where in doubt, I would wait for actual use of solvented plumbing, but do read the manufacturer's recommendation posted on the container. Bob Fenner, who for many years, waited about an hour for up to 2 inch pipe, fittings... > Plumbing Setup for New 135   6/10/06 Hello Crew,    <Scott>   I sent a question a while back and did not get a response, so I thought I would re-send in case it did not get through. <Thank you> I am about to purchase a new tank and was hoping to get some advice from you folks before I made a big mistake specifying hole sizes and locations!    <Okay>   The new setup is a 135 gal acrylic with a Ecosystem 3612 mud filter (with a rated flow through the system of 1000-1200 GPH). Based on advice from this website (which is an awesome reference tool!) I would like to be able to recirculate a higher flow (about 2200 gph) but the maximum allowable flow through the system is limited by the mud filter. <Yes. Best/better not to exceed this flow rate... if you want more movement... bypass this filter with it> Powerheads are an option to get the additional circulation but I would prefer not to use them, if possible.    <Agreed>   (FYI - Overflow system is sized for 200% flow (in case one somehow plugs) <Good> - I am planning to use two 15"x 5" trapezoidal pre-filters, each equipped with Durso standpipes and 1-1/2" ID drains.)    <All-right... may want to aspirate these just the same... to reduce gurgling noise...>   My LFS store where I am planning to purchase the tank suggested using the internal overflows as a "sump" for a separate (parallel) 1100-1200 gph recirculation loop. In other words, cut a 1" hole about halfway down the back of the tank behind each overflow, then feed a separate pump which returns to the display.    <Good idea>   I can't find this flow scheme anywhere in WWM and really don't have the experience to evaluate this - would you please advise your thoughts?    <Just another sump... perhaps best serviced by one of the two overflows... and these better up-sized to two inch inside diameter... but tying the two... mud and non-mud sumps together with an equalizer line to prevent flooding>   Also, my current thinking is to run the return connections through the back of the tank at three locations - near the top of the tank next to the overflow boxes. Does this sound OK or would you run the returns through the overflow boxes?    <I'd fun these either very near the top/back or over the top itself... equidistant from the sides... with nozzles on them to direct flow>   Lastly, I thought it might be a good idea to locate one or two of the returns lower in the tank, say behind the LR, to improve agitation - good idea or just another location for leaks?    <I would NOT do this... if the pump/s fail, even with check valves in place, this could be a disaster>   Thanks in advance for your reply.      Scott <Glad to proffer it. Bob Fenner>

Re: Plumbing Setup for New 135   6/11/06 Hello Bob, <Scott>     Thanks again for taking time to comment on my new 135 gallon set-up. I appreciate your comments and will definitely incorporate them into the design.      I was however a bit confused about your suggestion to "tie the mud sump and non-mud sump together".  Just to be sure that I communicated this to you properly, please allow me to clarify as follows.    <Let's see... what I'm suggesting is a pipe-line connecting these two sumps (that in turn would hopefully be about at the same level), to allow for a possible, likely real difference in overflow/return to each... An "equalizer" of sorts that would prevent too much water from going to or returning from either sump system...>   Regarding the second (non-mud filter) recirculation loop, my LFS guy suggests using the overflow box (or boxes) as the sump <?> for the second pump. The reasoning used is that there will always be a water column in the overflow boxes due to the use of the Durso standpipes.    <Mmm, not useful here... this pipe will have air mixed in... if you're referring to drawing water from the sump itself, this will work>   Does the above suggestion have merit or do I need to utilize a separate sump (same level as the mud sump with an equalizer line between the two) as you described?    <Mmm, if you're considering a "closed (pressurized) loop" separate from the sump (second), I would drill another through-put for its sole intake use. I would NOT run/drain water for this device through a non-water-filled overflow line. Bob Fenner>   Best regards,      Scott Isolate vibration of closed loop pump... Newspeak re pumps, plumbing   6/6/06 I have done a lot of research into closed loop systems, I plan on installing one on my next system. In the many photos I see of closed loop external pumps they are almost always plumbed right to ridged PVC pipe.  I think it would be quieter and transmit less vibration to connect the pump with some type of soft connection to isolate vibration, I have seen just one picture of this type of setup.  Your thoughts are much appreciated. Stephen Blalock <... Let's see if I interpret what you seem to be looking for... I do agree with the approach of utilizing a bit of flexible tubing at the junction mentioned... for the purpose of reducing vibration for a few ends (most notably noise and shimming of connectors over time, salt creep and leaking...), as well as making a connection that can easily be broken... This being stated, the same can be achieved by securing the pump to a stable platform, using true union couplers... and this latter is more favorable in terms of not reducing intake (important) and discharge flow through induced drag with the flexible plumbing and added fittings to attach same. Bob Fenner> 72 gallon bowfront question... plumbing ext., SW  - 05/20/2006 Greetings WetWeb crew! <Hello there> I have an Oceanic 72 Gallon Bowfront tank with a black pre-plumbed backflow, consisting of an elbow shaped downspout ("sucky" part, I'm kind of new to this, not sure what the technical name is for it). <"Overflow"> The water was first flowing through a 1" clear flexible PVC tube that was almost straight except for a little jog.  Since reading your website, I think I have found at least one problem and created the "elbow" shape like a kitchen sink drain, and this helps the drainage problem a bit as well.  After it hits the plastic part with holes in the wet dry it makes a lot of noise, some of which I wonder if could be dispersed a bit. <Could be> After sump, which is a generic wet/dry filter with a something 1600 series pump in it, the water goes back up via the 3/4" PVC clear tubing and through the bulkhead back through the nozzle and into the tank. My problem is that this wet dry solution is SOOOOO loud.  At first it made a hideous "sucking/slurping" sound, so I changed the "down" tubing to be a longer connection that I concocted using the original 1" Inner diameter tubing siliconed to a wet/dry vac (think home depot shop vac) vacuum tube. It seems to be working OK, but I'm nervous. This seemed to remediate about 80 % of the sucking noise, but it still comes and goes.  After getting a bit of a drip, I replaced it with some " 1" ID Spa-Flex tubing from Home Depot. It was so tough I had to heat it with a blow dryer to get the jokin' thing onto the downspout but that sucker doesn't leak now.  However, the sound still remains.  So, here are my bulleted questions: 1: Is there some type of hosing that I can pick up that is "actual" 1" wet/dry filter tubing, that isn't gerrymandered together? <Mmm, there are some folks that sell such... "Durso" is amongst the most/more popular> I got some vinyl pvc stuff from home depot, but it seems to kink a whole lot.  The wet dry worked but was a screwed up little system and it started to leak.  The spa flex seems to work, and does not kink, but I still get the sound.  Perhaps you have a suggestion.  The only tubing that (kind-of) seems to work is the leaking wet dry shopvac creation.  Which is obviously not a good solution. <No> 2: The newest tubing (the spa flex one) seems to make the least amount of noise at certain times, and then it's like the noise surges and becomes obnoxiously loud and "sucky". <Good description... the flow is establishing, dis-establishing a siphon, air-entraining...>   The pump was previously used in the same tank without trouble in a saltwater tank and had seized up at one point.  After I bought the setup from my good friend I plugged the pump in it worked well, but is it possible that the pump in unsteadily pumping, and if so is there a generally accepted "good" replacement pump that is quiet and steady? <... a few... posted... on WWM> 3:  The input / discharge / blower nozzle going into the tank seems a bit high and pokes up the plastic on the back of glass panels.  Could this be a reason for the surging? <Yes... but the real issue, problem and solution here is really the diameter, number of overflow/s, discharge plumbing> 4:   Is there an easy way to suck the silt and crap that is on the bottom of the wet/dry filter without disturbing the bioballs?  Or is agitating the bioballs OK and suggested?  I'm new to this wet/dry filter thing. <Better to give this media the heave ho period. See... WWM re> 5:  From looking at the filter can you suggest what brand it is?  It has some funky bends to it, so I'm sure it's a commercially bought brand, and not some home made specialty.  Perhaps if I contacted the manufacturer they could suggest a hose brand... <Mmm, not an issue of make, switching plumbing type> Here are pictures of my tank setup from my blog (hopefully gmail won't mangle my html, otherwise if you go to www.uglyorangetruck.com you can scroll down to the bottom entries to see the first tubing and the filter setup.  Click to make them bigger... <a title="72 Gallon Oceanic BowFront Aquarium Fish Tank" target="_blank" href=" http://www.uglyorangetruck.com/content/images/2006.04.14/72_gallon_bowfront_06.jpg"><img title="72 Gallon Oceanic BowFront Aquarium" alt="72 Gallon Oceanic BowFront Aquarium" src=" http://www.uglyorangetruck.com/content/images/2006.04.14/72_gallon_bowfront_06s.jpg" /></a></p> <a title="72 Gallon Oceanic BowFront Aquarium Fish Tank" target="_blank" href=" http://www.uglyorangetruck.com/content/images/2006.04.14/72_gallon_bowfront_07.jpg"><img title="72 Gallon Oceanic BowFront Aquarium" alt="72 Gallon Oceanic BowFront Aquarium" src=" http://www.uglyorangetruck.com/content/images/2006.04.14/72_gallon_bowfront_07s.jpg" /></a> Thanks for your help, your website has been a treasure trove of information. <Mmm, time to put some effort into reading: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Scroll down... read re Plumbing, Overflows, Noise... Wet-Dry Media... Bob Fenner>

Re: 72 gallon bowfront question... plumbing ext., SW ...  - 05/23/2006 Thanks so much Bob!  Just one question in following up, you said <Better to give this media the heave ho period. See... WWM re>" Do you mean just get new bioballs or just get a different pump/filtration solution? <... Umm, "give this media the heave ho period"...> I have a Flu-Val 404 that I am using in the stead of the wet dry, but I'd rather use the wet dry if it can be made to work well since it is pre-plumbed into the tank... ><Preston> <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bioballfaqs.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Deep Water Reef Tank? Tying together with another system via a refugium gambit  - 5/18/2006 Greetings, I'm a long time viewer, but a first time writer.  I have a very healthy 65 gallon LPS Pacific Lagoon reef tank with a custom 30 gallon sump/trickle filter and a custom separate 10 gallon 'fuge.  I have over 130 lbs of live rock and about 60 lbs of sand in the main tank with a deep sand bed in my Chaetomorpha refuge.  I also have a custom 4 foot counter current skimmer.  The tank is lit by 2 175 Watt 10,000K halide lamps and 2 65W Actinic Power Compact lamps.  Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate & Phosphate are 0.  PH is 8.4, Temp varies between 75-80 degrees F, Calcium is 420 and Alkalinity is 11 dKH.  I drip Kalk as top off water, and do bi-monthly water changes. For the fish load, I have 4 Chromis viridis (Green Chromis), 2 Pterosynchiropus splendidus (Green Mandarin), & 1 Zebrasoma flavescens (Yellow Tang). The corals are mostly LPS including: Euphyllia species (Hammer, Anchor, Hammer Branch, Frogspawn & Torch), Favites Brain, Lobophyllia Brain, Physogyra Bubble Coral, Caulastrea furcata (Candy Coral) and assorted zoanthids and mushrooms. Now the reason for my email... I was recently given a 29 gallon tank and wish to do a deep water/cave Pacific reef. I was planning on having some gorgonians, Carnation corals (Dendronepthya species), <Hard to keep...> Tubastrea (Sun Polyps), as well as some fan worms and sponges. I have an additional siphon overflow and a 600 g/hr return pump and was wondering if this type of setup will be able to be plumbed into my existing filtration/sump? <Mmm, could be> I know that I can do it, but would the water parameters and temperature be acceptable for such an entirely different ecosystem? <A given/guessed at risk, and benefits as well...> I have researched the feeding needs of most deepwater organisms, and know that my system produces tons of 'pods from the refuge.  Combined with regular feeding of Artemia nauplii and live phytoplankton, will this be enough to feed the non-photosynthetic life? <Mmm, not likely. You will find that you need other provided foodstuffs> Will this feeding foul rest of the 'lagoon tank'? <Again, a possibility> I'm afraid to do this and lose my corals, but I also want to give these demanding non-photosynthetic corals the best chance possible as well as have something different from the traditional reef. Thanks for your time and expert advice. Steve Sochalski <Thank you for sharing... I would encourage you to provide another, separate sump for this new, small set-up... too much to risk by combining with the animals you list. Bob Fenner> Standpipe plumbing, bubble-madness (and noise if you're really lucky!)  - 5/12/2006 Hi guys I need some serious help. I just purchased a 75gal to replace a 75gal that was old and leaking. I got an All-glass with the MegaFlow overflow already installed. <Hopefully one with the larger through-put/holes> Ever since I installed it and turned it on, I have been having a problem with air bubbles in the drain line from the tank into my sump. Is there anything that can be done to correct this? <... some> It is the standard 1 1/4" standpipe with drilled aquarium bulkhead fitting, then it goes straight down to a flexible pipe (pool hose stuff) and into a 20gal sump. <... have you tried aspirating this line?> I have tried to raise the standpipe, lower the pipe etc. I do not understand why the air is getting into the drain line. <It is "entrained"...> Before I used the stand pipe, I had a corner overflow, with bioballs, on the drain line I had a valve and that regulated the flow so I would not empty the overflow. I have tried this with the standpipe and it does not seem to work. when you slow the flow, the water stacks up in the overflow.   I am at my wits end at this point and am very unhappy with the whole MegaFlow/standpipe thing. It looks like it might be  a great setup, but mine just isn't working properly. any help would be greatly appreciated. I have a Quiet one pump to supply water back to the tank, not sure what the size is but I have not changed it from tank to tank.   Thanks, Chris <Mmm, this technique is described in various places on WWM, but basically, inserting a length (to be determined... so don't cut it just yet) of rigid or flexible "air-line" diameter tubing... nominally 3/16" into the standpipe... and trying this at different depths within the standpipe... should yield relief from the "entrainment"... try this and see. Otherwise, do Google on/with WWM re this issue, or read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bubtroubfaqs.htm and the linked files above, where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing many tanks on central filterization  - 5/8/2006 Hello all.  I've been tasked with putting together a network of 36 marine display tanks plumbed into a central sump. <A good challenge>   The tanks are 65 gallon glass with a one inch bulkhead in the back. <Wish these were larger... more numerous per tank...> The space I have to work with is 20' by 20'.  I've got a 180 gallon acrylic tank that I was planning on using as a sump/refugium.  I was thinking that I would make four rows of tanks containing three columns. <... why so many rows? I would make this two rows of two columns/tanks high... easier to get into...> Each column would contain three tanks.  Two pairs of tank rows could be created by backing two rows of tanks up to each other. The returns would go to the top tanks in each row and gravity would work the water down.  I'm really not sure on how best to get the water back to the sump from the bottom tanks and also how to get the water to the top tanks from the sump. <... "Water runs downhill... Payday's on..."> I am by no means an experienced marine plumber/carpenter, so I'm looking for any links/tips/advice that you can give me.  Thanks so much for the great website!  I've gained a fivefold of knowledge with just a couple weeks' worth of reading. Ryan Mullinax <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/cntfiltbiz.htm and the linked files at top where you lead yourself... much to relate here... and easy to settle on less than optimum design... I do encourage beyond educating yourself that you seek out a "guru", perhaps a service company in the aquarium interest... to look over your plan... draw all up on paper, including the "drop" of plumbing to get all back and forth... valving, flow rates... before buying lumber, cutting... Bob Fenner> Equipment/Pumps/Plumbing    5/2/06 Hello Crew, <Hello John> I've Google'd this topic and haven't found any hints or answers, so it is time I ask you...I'm setting up a 90g AGA with the Megaflow overflow kit.  I have an Eheim 1262 for the return from my sump/refugium.  My problem is plumbing the Eheim, with metric connections, to the 3/4" Megaflow bulkhead. If I use Eheim/metric tubing, it won't fit on the bulkhead, but if I use 3/4" tubing it won't connect to the Eheim.  Any hints or ideas? BTW, the Eheim is rated for higher flow than the Megaflow, but I plan to bleed off some of the return via a T into the refugium. <You might want to dip the tubing in boiling water to soften it, then try to slip it onto the barbed fitting.  I have done that a few times with good results.> Thank You  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> John H.

Sm. marine plumbing Qs   4/28/06 Hello,      I have been reading through your site for quite some time now. I am now ready to take a plunge into plumbing a small set-up. (I have too much time on my hands and not enough space for a larger tank.) My tank is 29 gallons, sitting on a 36 inch stand. I plan on using schedule 40 PVC and small flexible pieces to hook up the SCWD. Please take a look at my attached diagram and let me know if you see any disasters waiting to happen. <Mmm... are you planning on drilling the tank through the bottom to fit the return? Relying on a check valve should the pump/ing fail? I would NOT do this. This line should be run over the top... The one inch return line is inadequate for a Mag 7... The valve shown on the return is unnecessary> Should I change my drain line to 2 45 degree elbows in order to eliminate the horizontal run? <Mmm, likely won't make much difference here if this is kept as one inch I.D.... will siphon w/o air... With upgrading to a larger diameter, I would change the ells out> I am hoping to get somewhere around 400 gph on the return. Does this sound about right to you (roughly)? Thanks for taking the time to help! Steve <Steve, take a read through our plumbing articles, FAQs: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm A bunch more to consider, ponder before cutting and solventing here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sm. marine plumbing Qs  4/29/06 Thanks for the quick response. Sorry, the diagram does not show my return adequately. The tank is drilled only for the drain line. I do plan on running the return over the back, so the siphon will break in case of power failure. <Ah, good> The check valve was added as an extra precaution. You said that a one inch return would be inadequate for a Mag 7. I plan on using a 3/4 " return line. Is this inadequate? If so what size return do you recommend? <... for the return, an inch and a half> From my research, the Mag 7 should pump about 450 gph at a 5 foot head. I am hoping that the 90's will slow this down to around 400 gph. <Mmm... I would over-size this and all returns. As you will find, with screening, use, they tend to "run slow"... Bob Fenner> Teeing off to two pump intakes  - 04/27/06 Hi crew,   It may be stupid question, but I'll ask it anyway!  Is it possible to tee off two external pumps from one bulkhead fitting?  If so, is it recommended?    <Mmm, in general a poor idea. Most small aquarium pumps are centrifugal, designed to push, not pull... restricting their intake results in a loss of efficiency, generation of more waste heat, shortened "lives". Bob Fenner>   Thanks      Scott Griswold

Refugium plumbing question   4/18/06 Hi Crew- <Ed> I'm a bit confused about the best way to plumb a refugium, sump and closed circuit return loop. <Lots posted re on WWM... and lots to consider... many "variations" on themes...> I'm planning on setting up a 90 G Oceanic Systems "Tech Series" Tank with two return overflows and two Megaflow accessory kits.  The system will be designed to ultimately house SPS, LPS, Clams, Mandarin dragonets and  Wrasses. <Not altogether compatible as you're likely aware> To ensure that all are well fed I would like to run a RDP  vegetable refugium with Chaetomorpha macroalgae and a 4" DSB so that I can grow  pods. Reef Invertebrates, Calfo/Fenner has an illustration  for a Downstream Refugium on Page 53.  If I understand correctly  the refugium should have a water flow of 5 to 10 times tank turnover.  This  would be significantly lower than the 14 time turnover I had planned for the  Calfo designed Closed Loop illustrated on the WetWeb site. How can I marry these two seemingly contrary requirements? <Two separate pumps, sets of plumbing... Bob Fenner> Many thanks, Ed Set-Up/Water Flow  04/17/2006 Hi Guys and Gals <Hello Ian> I have spent many enjoyable hours reading the FAQs yet trying to find a definitive answer to my specific question has alluded me so far. All I want assurance on is whether I have the correct number and size of pipe entering and leaving my tank. It will be a 2500litre tank (roughly 600g?) with a 600litre sump. I plan to have 4x 50mm overflows cut into the back of the tank leading directly to the sump. A 28000lph pump with various tee offs en route ( frag, chiller, refugium,)  will hopefully deliver about 20000lph back to the tank by way of  1x 50mm pipe split into 2x 50mm at the inflows. I will also have 2x 18000lph closed loop systems each with a 50mm exit from back of tank and returning with 4x32mm to various points in the tank. All the 50mm exits are at a similar level which is just below the full water level. Should I have a 50mm emergency overflow above this level leading to sump? I am not sure if I will/can even have an overflow problem with this setup and the only place I was planning on having one was from my sump to drain to accommodate my water changes. <Sump should be sized correctly to avoid overflow problems.  I have posted a link with all sorts of useful calculators to help you configure your system correctly. http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/sump.php> Have I missed anything here? I take it that the closed loops will not drop the water level. <No.> How critical is the positioning of the exit holes to sump relative to the closed loop exits? <Not critical, just keep holes a safe distance from each other to avoid weakening the acrylic, no less than six inches from hole edge to hole edge.  Better yet is to have the tank builder set this up for you.> Thanks in advance for any input you may have. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Cheers Ian

Reef Plumbing/Filtration - 04/09/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I have just switched from a 55 gallon tank to a 90 gallon tank with a 30 gallon sump. <<Cool!>> I have four 1-inch bulkheads in my tank and a Mag-Drive 9.5 in my sump.  The guy where I purchased this tank from (Steve, from Elmer's Aquarium in Monroeville, PA) said this would circulate 1000 GPH. <<Would be close, yes...assuming no backpressure for the pump to work against.  In reality your flow will be somewhat lessened, determined in large part by your plumbing configuration.>> One of my questions is that I only have one bulkhead open because that is all the pump can handle. <<Likely your plumbing/head height (all creates backpressure) are severely restricting output.>> So this would be 250 gallons GPH, correct? <<Mmm, not necessarily...but if the single 1" return is handling the flow without excessive noise, surge, etc., then you are likely pumping 350 gph or less.>> Is that enough circulation that I can just leave it alone? <<Through the sump?...yes...for the tank as a whole?...no.  Do supplement flow in the tank with other methods...perhaps a closed-loop utilizing one or more of the other bulkheads.>> Only thing I noticed wrong was one of my elbows coming out of the sump is dripping once about every 1 to 2 minutes.  And it is dripping back into the sump tank so I am not really worried about it. <<Ah, okay.>> The micro bubbles are very minimal.  What am I doing wrong? <<I don't know that you are (doing anything wrong)...I would need more information about your plumbing configuration to say.>> My next question is do I need to run a canister filter for this setup? <<Likely the canister filter isn't 'necessary,' but one could be beneficial for using chemical media (carbon/Poly-Filter)...if 'maintained/serviced' properly.>> I currently have about 50 lbs. of live rock, some corals, 2 yellow tailed damsels, 1 yellow tang, 1 goby, 2 clown fish, 1 royal Gramma, 1 flame angel, 1 coral beauty, 1 cleaner shrimp along with a cleanup crew.  I have read on this site that canister filters are often misused with tanks running a sump. <<And also those without...is a maintenance (or neglect of) issue.>> Would a canister filter help me or hurt me? <<If you clean/rinse all on a weekly/bi-weekly basis, and change out media as it becomes exhausted, then it will help you.  Regards, EricR>> Reef Plumbing/Filtration II - 04/10/06 Hello again, <<Hello>> Thanks for the speedy reply. <<You're welcome>> I still have a few questions about your answers. <<Ok>> You talk about back pressure.  It is about 4 feet from my pump to the top of my tank. <<According to the manufacturer that alone would reduce the output to about 800 gph.  Then you have to consider elbows, tees, friction from the pipe itself, etc., etc..>> My plumbing comes out of the pump to the top of the sump tank and goes diagonally to the middle of my stand where it then T's off and one goes up one side of the tank and the other side of the T goes up the other side of the tank.  So I have 2 3/4-inch pipes going into my tank from the T. <<And all adds to head pressure (back pressure to the pump).>> And I am using 1" flex-pipe coming out of my bulkheads.  You also talk about noise.  What kind of noise? <<Plumbing/water noise...the kind of noise you get from trying to drain too much water through too small of  a throughput (your drains).  This typically will manifest itself as excessive gurgling/surging noises (some folks describe it as akin to a toilet flushing) and excessive turbulence/bubbles in your sump.>> The pump seems to be running fine. <<And it probably is.>> Only noise I hear is when I shut the pump off the pipes rattle for about 10 seconds and stop. <<!?>> I also have a check-valve and shutoff-valve coming out of the pump. <<Aha!  The check-valve is your problem.  Is best to not use these as they will restrict flow greatly on most non pressure-rated pumps...and the valve will likely fail on you at some point as well.  You should remove the check-valve and position all inlets/outlets such that your sump will hold the transient water volume in the event of a power outage.>> So my last question would be do I need a bigger pump and if so how big do I need to handle this? <<If you truly want 1000 gph then yes, you need a bigger pump (how big depends on whether or not you remove the valve).  But if you heed my advice to remove the check-valve, do that first and then see how your existing pump performs.  Regards, EricR>> Reef Plumbing/Filtration III - 04/10/06 Once more, Hello! <<Back at ya!>> I feel like an idiot asking all these questions but in regards to your latest remarks about the gargling. <<No worries mate...am happy to elucidate>> Yes, I do get that when the water level gets low, is there a way to stop that? <<Low where?...the sump?  Perhaps you need to extend your drain pipes, or add 45 or 90 degree ells.  Do have a look here for more info on noise abatement:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbnoisefaqs.htm >> Next, how many gallons an hour through the sump is suitable for a 90 gallon aquarium? <<It's not so much a matter of what's a suitable flow rate for the tank, but more what's a suitable flow rate for the plumbing/throughputs, as well as consideration for the size of the sump, and maybe most important of all...the location of the sump (in other words, do you want to be able to talk/hear the television over the sounds of the aquarium?).  I don't think you've mentioned the size of your sump in our previous exchanges, but with four 1" bulkheads for drains you should be able to easily handle the output from the Mag9.5 (sans check-valve) without undue noise/difficulty.  Open up all the drains and see what happens/how things perform.  If you don't wish to use them all, plug one at a time until you reach that point where the water starts to overcome the drains.>> Hopefully this will be the last time I bother you and again, you have been a great help with your answers. <<Not a bother my friend.  We have a plethora of information about this subject (and so many others!) on our site...do some keyword searches re and you'll likely find what you seek and more.  But if you don't, please feel free to ask a question.  Regards, EricR>> Plumbing my 240 FOWLR   3/31/06 Hello to all. <Hello Dana.>  I, like many others, have learned a lot from your fantastic web site and the generosity in sharing your knowledge. I find myself learning something new each evening when I visit the FAQ section. So thank you.  <You're welcome and continue reading.> I am in my second year of setting up my dream tank. What began as a FO with coral skeletons and wet/dry filtration is now a FOWLR with a refugium that is doing quite well (with many thanks to WWW for questions answered). The tank is a 240 acrylic (96" x 24" x 24"),   with the wet/dry converted to a sump housing a Euro-reef CS-180, and a refugium with a Euro-reef CS-6.1. The tank was ordered with 2 - 6" x 6" overflows, each 2 feet from the corners. I figured this would give me 1/3 more water flow with 3 sides exposed to water vs. corner   skimmers with only 2 sides exposed to water. What I failed to do was have TruVu (the company that made the tank) increase the size of the holes for the bulkheads. Yep - 1" ... and a smaller hole for a 1" bulkhead than should have been drilled (I found out the hard way that   there are 2 kinds of bulkheads ... the standard aquarium fare that tend to be somewhat fragile and the more "beefy" kind you find at a   good plumbing store .. and I discovered that the beefier ones need a slightly bigger hole!) So I find myself needing to increase my water flow. I added a closed loop system, which is working great. But I need to increase the flow   through the sump and refugium. Currently, they are plumbed together, with both overflows being combined, then split ... with one going to   the sump, the other to the refugium. The output of the sump and refugium are combined and fed to an Iwaki pump (900 gph w/ 6' head).   I want to add a second Iwaki pump, but there is no way I can run 900 gph through the refugium without making quite a mess. So here's my plan: 1. Increase the size of the overflow bulkheads to 1 1/2" or 2" (I'm sure you'll say 2") <I'd go with the 2".> 2. Have both overflows feed directly to the main sump 3. Use a pump located in the sump to feed the refugium, with the return from the refugium going back into the sump through 2 - 1" PVC   returns (I figured 2 - 1" might be better than 1 - 2" in case one ever got clogged) 4. Use the 2 Iwaki pumps to return water from the sump (each with it's own 1" bulkhead) to each side of the tank. I plan on splitting   each return into 2 outlets. The return line will be 1" PVC. Can I step this down to 3/4" after I split each return, or should I   maintain 1" all the way?  <I would split, you will not lose any flow rate.> OK - which leads me to the main reason I am writing. I am comfortable drilling holes in my tank, sump and refugium. However, how do you increase a 1" hole to a 1 1/2" or 2"? Without the acrylic for the center drill bit to drill into, it's mighty tough to drill a nice   clean hole. Here's an idea I had ... get a piece of 1/4" or 3/8" scrap acrylic, and drill out the exact size hole I need for the new   bulkhead. Then glue (I know what to use) the hole over the existing hole, trying to get it as centered as possible. After it bonds with   the tank, could I then drill the new hole I want, with my new piece of acrylic giving me the "meat" I need for my center drill bit? Is   there an easier way? Or is this a good plan? I did spend about 45 minutes searching through the FAQs looking for this answer, but to no   avail.  <Dana, why do you want to butcher the tank up with an acrylic plate/glue, yucky pooh, look like pooh.  Use the acrylic plate as planned and toggle clamp (can be bought with longer throat depths and offsets) it to the inside of the tank covering the existing hole.  The plate will allow the pilot drill to hold position.  Do let the hole saw do the work, do not push excessively when drilling this out.  When done, simply unclamp the back up plate and presto........  Increasing the overflow bulkhead would be a different story. Thank you in advance for your help.  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Dana (no longer "old school")

Re: Plumbing my 240 FOWLR #2   4/1/06 James,  <Dana> Thanks for such a quick response, but I don't believe I explained myself very clearly. The holes that I need to enlarge ARE in the   bottom center of the overflows. The holes are really only visible if you look underneath the tank. The idea was to glue a piece of acrylic   to the bottom of the tank where it will not be seen. The piece glued would be the EXACT size of the new hole I plan to drill, meaning that   when all is said and done, there would be no remnants of the new piece I glued on. <The confusion was when you mentioned the addition of another Iwaki pump and additional bulkheads would be needed.  I assumed this is what it was for.> So my plan is to: 1) Drill a hole in a piece of 1/2" or 5/8" acrylic using the same drill bit I will be using to drill my final hole needed for the 2" bulkhead. 2) Remove the piece of acrylic that I drilled from the drill bit. 3) Use this round piece to cover my existing hole - I would hold the piece in place, underneath the tank, over the existing hole that was   drilled for the 1" bulkhead - while a friend applied the acrylic glue by reaching down the overflow and applying the glue around the inside   of the old hole. 4) I would wait for the new round disc of acrylic to bond with the underside of the tank. <Not so sure this will glue well.  You will have to allow for the saw thickness so this round piece isn't going to be a close fit for the hold you are gluing it into.> 5) I would then drill my new hole. It should be fairly easy as this new acrylic disc will already have the pilot hole drilled, and the   drill bit would fit snugly around the disc. 6) When I am finished drilling, I would be left with a nice clean hole the size I need for a 2" bulkhead, without any trace that there   was ever anything attached to the tank (this is important to make sure I have a nice clean hole to make a nice clean seal for the   bulkhead.) 7) I would sand and clean the hole - then attach the bulkhead. As you can see, all drilling takes place underneath the tank. Given that the tank is set up on a stand and filled with water and   livestock, I'm not sure what good a clamp will do for me. <The clamp was mentioned thinking you were going to drill the back of the tank for new return bulkheads.> Thanks for your help. <What help.  You seem to have the problem solved, hopefully.  James (Salty Dog)> Dana Plumbing My Chiller And Canister Filter On One Line? - 03/13/06 Hello WWM Crew, <<Howdy!>> I am beginning to set up a 75 gallon cold water marine tank in my living room to house an assortment of invertebrates and fish native to the Puget Sound and surrounding coastal waters. <<Neat!  I lived in Seattle (Belleview) several decades back and still remember visiting the aquarium with its displays of local marine fauna.  Lots of bright colors if I recall...>> I am planning on using an Arctica Titanium Chiller 1/4 HP to keep the tank around 45 to 50 degrees. <<Depending on ambient room temperature, lighting, pumps, etc., are you sure this chiller is big enough for that much pull-down? I also have a canister filter (Fluval 404) which I plan to use in conjunction with a protein skimmer (a Prizm hang-on unit) to keep things running smoothly with respect to water quality. <<Mmm...perhaps I can persuade you to take a look at the AquaC Remora hang-on protein skimmer.  A MUCH better choice in my opinion.>> I would like to plumb my system as simply as possible and would like to avoid having a lot of intakes and outflows. <<Why?  These can be effectively utilized for providing random turbulent flow in the tank.>> Currently, I am considering two options for plumbing my system with ½' Sch.40 PVC: <<Mmm, I would consider 1" as a minimum...can be bushed down at the equipment intakes as necessary.>> (1) Route a PVC intake over the side of the tank's back wall, <<Let me suggest...if at all possible, you will be much better off drilling this tank (through the back) and installing 1" (min.) bulkheads for your overflows.>> with a pre-filter or screen to keep things from getting sucked into the plumbing, this line would then go to the canister filter (which draws 340 gph), then route the outflow to the chiller (which according to the manufacture requires a minimum flow rate of 480 gph) and back up over the back of the tank. <<Seems obvious...the chiller will not receive enough flow.  In fact, to get the best efficiency from the chiller you should try to maximize flow through the unit based on the manufacture's specifications.>> My concern with this design is that the chiller will not receive enough flow by relying solely on the canister filter to provide the flow. <<Agreed>> Therefore, I was considering putting an in-line pump between the canister filter and the chiller to boost the flow <<!>> although I am concerned that this could be detrimental to the canister filter in some way (e.g., burn out the pump in the filter). <<Indeed, I would not do this.>> FYI -- the vertical distance between the top of the tank and the chiller and canister units is about 3 feet.  Would either of these options work with this design? <<Not in my opinion.>> (2) Route a PVC intake as above to a T, with one line running to the chiller with an in-line pump and the other line running to the canister filter. <<You need separate intakes/supplies from the tank for each unit.>> I could then route the return lines back to another T-valve and then run a single return line back into the tank as above. With this design, I am trying to figure out if the placement of a ball-valve in the line running from the T to the in-line pump on the chiller side would be sufficient to prevent water from being diverted solely to the chiller side given the higher flow required for the chiller. <<Bad idea all 'round my friend.  These "balancing acts" rarely if ever work out.>> Once the lines are primed, would I have any problems keeping adequate flows in both lines using the T valves from the single intake and to the single outflow line? <<Indeed...continuously...if it worked at all.>> If neither of these options seems like a good one, I could revert back to my original plan and plumb the chiller and canister filter separately with one intake and outflow for each component. <<Ah yes!  In the end, THIS will be the more simple solution.>> While I realize that a sump may be the best way to go, I am not sure that I am ready to tackle the plumbing on a sump setup as of yet. <<Is really very easy...maybe even less complicated than your other "solutions."  Please have a look through our plumbing FAQs here ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm).  Lots and lots of good info!>> Thank in advance you for your advice! Jason <<Very welcome.  Regards, EricR>>

Plumbing My Chiller And Canister Filter On One Line? II - 03/18/06 Eric, <<Jason>> Thank you very much for your quick and informative reply.  I have since spent a great deal of time researching your archives (lots of great info!) and I think I am going bite the bullet and plumb a sump and overflow bulkheads for my 75 gallon cold marine tank (48"L x 18"W x 20"T). <<Ah, excellent!  It's not that this "is the only way" to do it, but I do believe you will have fewer problems/be happier with the system by doing this.>> However, given your expertise (and my wife's hesitation to trust my plumbing plans) I thought I would run my plan by you prior to ordering up all the pieces and parts needed for this. <<I'm happy to provide whatever advice/guidance I can.>> I was thinking of drilling and installing two 1" bulkheads in the back corner of the tank through the bottom and install a Durso standpipe in both bulkheads, with a 6" x 6" corner overflow chamber for each standpipe (I plan to order the parts from the Durso standpipe's website). <<Sounds fine, a couple things to mention...  Before drilling you will need to determine if the tank bottom is tempered-glass.  Many tanks of recent manufacture (and some not so recent) have tempered-glass bottoms in the 55g and larger sizes.  The manufacturers usually mark these with a "sticker" that often becomes lost over time.  If in doubt, contact the manufacturer of your tank.  If the tank bottom is tempered all is not lost, you can still drill your throughputs through the back or side (again, check for tempered-glass...though this is less likely), this is my preference for the reduced likelihood of draining the entire tank in the event of a calamity with a bulkhead.  Also, check around on some of the bulletin-boards (Reef Central, Reefs.Org) and make sure your overflow will be large enough not to "starve" the overflows (seems a bit small <and tight> to me for two 1" Durso's...would think 6"D x 10"W to be better, but do ask around first).>> I would then run two 1" PVC from these bulkheads to a 20 gallon AGA sump (24"L x 12"W x 16"T - biggest size I can get to fit in my stand) with a ball valve on each line and 45 degree elbows to make the two 90 degree turns needed to get into the sump tank. <<Another suggestion...don't install the valves on the drain lines...put them on the return lines.  This way you don't create any restrictions in the drain lines to trap errant snails/debris.  And don't use standard ball valves.  For about $10 each you can get saltwater-safe 1" gate valves from US Plastic ( http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=USPlastic&category%5Fname=16117&product%5Fid=16125) that will allow you to "finesse" the pump output very easily.>> In the sump, I plan to run a drop in protein skimmer and plumb lines to my canister filter.  From the sump, I am considering installing a Eheim 1262 Hobby pump (898 gph with a max head of 11.8 feet at 80 watts) in the sump with a 1" PVC line to an inline Arctica Titanium Chiller 1/4 HP and then into the tank (to answer your question regarding the chiller, I called a tech with the manufacture and he indicated that I was on the fence between a 1/5 HP and a 1/4 HP given a 30 degree cool down, so we figure the 1/4 HP would be better, <<agreed>> plus I plan to insulate my pipes and sump to reduce heat transfer into the system). <<Very good>> I was planning on putting a ball-valve between the sump return pump and the chiller, and a ball-valve followed by swing type check valve between the chiller and the tank. <<You only need the one valve on the pump output, unless you plan to install unions before-and-after the chiller to allow you to take it off-line without draining the return.  As for the check-valve...sure to fail on you eventually.  It is much safer to set overflow heights/sump water levels so the sump will handle all transient water volume when the pump/power is off.  The only thing you should be counting on is 'gravity' <G>.>> So, all of that said, here are a few of my concerns/questions. <<Uh oh...did I begin commenting too soon!? <grin>.>> (1) Will two 1" bulkheads provide enough flow into the sump through gravity feed to allow me to get at least 600 gph through the chiller and into the tank. <<yes>> The chiller requires a minimum flow of 480 gph and I would have about 28" of head and 20" horizontal piping to deal with in the return line with the chiller. <<Mmmm...your pump may not provide the flow you seek...best to run a test (timed water flow to fill a known quantity <5g bucket>) once your plumbing is installed.>> (2) Would you recommend the Durso style standpipe for my overflow? <<sure>> It seems like they are highly recommended on your site but some post indicate that side mounted bulkheads may be better due to the reduced likely hood of draining the entire tank during a bulkhead failure. <<Bingo!>> Considering this, I was assuming that if I sealed the corner overflow chambers to the tank with silicone I would only be able to drain the amount of water required to lower the tank below the height of the overflow chamber - is this correct? <<Indeed, this is true...as long as the seals don't ever fail.>> (3) I selected a Eheim pump given the accolades on your site, but I am concerned about relying on only one pump.  Should I plumb a second pump in my return line as a back up? <<Not if you are going to provide enough flow to your chiller (though you could pump water from your sump to your chiller and back to the sump again, using a separate pump for the tank return).  Most folks (me included) only employ a single return pump...but do keep a "spare" on hand for emergency replacement if necessary.>> If so, it appears that some post have indicated that running two pumps in series works well, although I am a bit unclear on how to do this. <<I wouldn't try this with magnetic-drive pumps.  better to use a bigger pump if necessary.>> Is a check-valve needed in between the pumps to prevent back flow or would one check-valve up flow of the chiller be sufficient? <<Yikes!...no...and see my previous remarks on check-valves.>> Also, should the pumps be sized the same (e.g., use two Eheim 1262 pumps or two smaller 1250 to get the flow I want - e.g., about 600 gph)? <<No pumps in series, please...>> FYI - I will have a power head in the tank running at about 400 gph to provide additional flow in the tank.  Sorry for the long post, and thanks again for steering me in the right direction in my previous inquiry - I think the sump route as you suggested will in the end be the best solution for me and the critters I plan to house. <<Very glad to help...enjoy the adventure!>> Jason <<Regards, EricR>>

Plumbing My Chiller And Canister Filter On One Line? III - 03/19/06 Eric - thanks again for the tips. <<My pleasure>> One last thing and then I think I am ready to get started.  I think I forgot to mention that my tank is acrylic, so I should be able to drill the 1" bulkheads using a 1.75" hole-saw bit lubricated with water according to post on your site. <<Ah yes!...have done this as well (on 3/4" acrylic), though I didn't use any lubricant.  Be sure to spend the extra money for the "bi-metal" type of hole saw...will last much longer/cut much better than the cheaper ones.  Also, be careful while drilling to not let the hole-saw "freeze up" in the hole...this usually occurs when the acrylic softens from the friction and then hardens around the bit...big trouble if this happens.  Remove the bit often (without stopping the drill) to clear chips and to let the acrylic and the bit cool.  You might also try some test holes on scrap if you can to get a feel for how fast to go.>> Do you have any recommendations on sealing the bulkheads (FYI - I am planning on purchasing 1" threaded bulkheads from the Durso web site). <<I do.  Apply a small bead of silicone around the hole on the gasket side, install the bulkhead, and let cure.  The silicone will "seat" the bulkhead yet it won't form a permanent bond, allowing you to remove/replace when/if necessary.>> Also, should I use Weldon or silicon to seal my overflow chambers in an acrylic tank? <<Silicone does not adhere well enough to acrylic for this purpose, use the Weldon product...but this "will" be a permanent seal so make sure you have them sized/positioned correctly.>> Thanks again! Jason <<Cheers my friend, EricR>>

Planning ... pb mostly - 03/11/2006 Hi, firstly let me praise & commend the dedication of the crew & members of this un-rivaled site! I have been reading this site to such an extent that my partner now thinks that I am training for some kind of plumbing degree! <Heeee! Maybe...> I kept a small marine tank over 12 years ago. My, how things have changed! I am planning my return to this rewarding hobby. I have recently purchased, with the view to have low if no restriction to livestock :- Trigon 350 corner tank - 78 gallon - I've fitted 1.25" bulkhead with 1.5" Durso, should be more I now know but tank came drilled in corner. <Yes... can use both for intakes... run the returns over the top...> 24x15x12 tank for sump (not decided on media setup yet) <Posted... on WWM> a single unit 2 x 150 watt, 10k metal halide unit buying skimmer this weekend, TurboFlotor 1000 or V2 skim 800 - for sump Also thinking of external canister filter as back-up <Mmm... possibly> I was planning a pump return from sump to a t-splitter, piped along top of water then 90 elbows piped down front corners of tank with either spray bars or  nozzles of some kind <See Antoine's article on Closed Loops... and the Related FAQs: http://wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm> Question time (phew) Should I run 1 x pump with controllable flow rate or a separate pump for each spray bar ? <One is best here> Or should I run this system independently and not from sump ? <Mmm, up to you... but the argument that two are better is not valid... better to have two pumps, one for back-up/reserve should the one in service fail... in a size, type of set-up you propose here.> Suggestions on pump flow rates highly appreciated. Looking forward to your thoughts. Thanx Julian <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Two Pumps on One Bulkhead? - 03/10/06 Hi Crew, <<Hi Tom>> Yet more questions for the pros as I plan a new 130G reef tank. <<Thanks...EricR here...not so much a "pro" as just wanting/willing to assist...offer up my perspective...>> I want to put a bulkhead in the rear panel of the tank, about 6-8" below the waterline, that will feed a circulation loop into a couple of SeaSwirl returns. <<A great idea.>> I need that bulkhead to feed two external pumps, on closed loop, with a combined pull of about 2000GPH. <<Mmm...ok...this 'could' work, though I would prefer to use a separate bulkhead (1") per pump.  These "balancing acts" between two pumps can be problematic.>> I know a 1.5" bulkhead in an overflow is rated around 1600GPH with just a gravity feed, <<And not without problems.>> but do you think a 1.5" bulkhead will adequately feed 2000GPH to a couple of pumps pulling on it? <<Should do, yes...different hydro-dynamics at play here.  Most any pump can/will "pull" its flow rate through its rated intake size (not to be confused with "sucking,", the pump must still be properly installed below water level so it is "flooded.").  Is this making sense?>> In other words, what is the largest pump you know of that comfortably works with a 1.5" intake bulkhead feeding a closed loop? <<Any of them with an intake port up to 1 1/2" in size.>> A couple of local guys tell me it should be OK, but I would sure like to hear your view. <<Honestly, I don't like the idea...but that's only my/one opinion.  I would prefer to match a single pump per bulkhead rather than guessing at how two pumps will perform on one bulkhead, whether one will "starve" the other, etc..>> I'm trying to halve the leak potential, and plumbing hanging off the back of the tank, by going with a single bulkhead to feed the pumps. <<Understood, and I'm not saying it won't work...but I do feel it is "false" economy.>> I'd also like to avoid 2" bulkhead and pipe (it's huge!) if I can.  I'd like to run 1.5" PVC from the bulkhead to just above the pumps, then "T" to a couple of 1" pipes into these pumps that have 3/4" intake fittings. <<In theory, the 1 1/2" bulkhead should provide enough water to feed two 3/4" pump intakes.  Might I suggest that you give this a try and let it run for a day/couple days under close observation to see how it performs...but leave your options open to add a second bulkhead if necessary.  Let me know how it works out.  Regards, EricR>> Thanks, Tom Two Pumps on One Bulkhead? II - 03/10/06 Eric, the tank builder cut the hole for a 2" bulkhead while I was debating...takes care of that dilemma. <<Mmm...reckon so...>> So the two pumps will still share a single bulkhead feed but at least it will be a very large one. <<Indeed!>> Related question, what's the absolute best way for me to insure a leak proof & relatively permanent seal on that 2" bulkhead? Silicone sealant on the gasket & threads?  I don't plan on ever having to remove it, but I do have to place it against a wall. <<Silicone is the way to go, yes.  No need to seal the threads, just run a smear/small bead around the perimeter of the hole under the gasket and tighten...let the silicone cure before adding water.  The silicone won't "stick" to the bulkhead fitting, facilitating removal should it ever be necessary, but it will "seat" the gasket nicely providing the leak-proof seal you desire.>> Thanks, Tom <<Always a pleasure, EricR>> <Mmm, better to not have centrifugal pumps "pulling against each other, or other low pressure... RMF> Predrilled vs. built in overflow box  - 02/27/06 Hello.   I was wondering if you could tell me some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a predrilled aquarium vs. using an overflow box.   <Mmm... is use of the Google search tool, the indices a mystery to you? > I'm planning on setting up a 100-175 gallon reef system and am considering these two options.  Is one a better choice for this type of application?   <IMO, yes> Approximately what kind of GPH rating should the box have?  I read 10-20 fold is typically adequate.   Does this include the flow created by the powerheads too, or is this the rating for the filtration system/pump alone? <En toto> I tried finding answers to these questions on WWM but was unsuccessful.  If they have already been answered I apologize for being redundant.  Could you maybe point me in the right direction?  Thank you   <Please read, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Read... down the list... see "Plumbing", Through-puts, Overflows... these are links... Bob Fenner> Plumbing Nightmare - 02/27/06 Hello Crew, <<Howdy>> I have been trying for awhile now to pay someone in my area to plumb my 180FOWLR. <<Hmm...No aquarium clubs about?...No LFS interested re?>> It has two internal overflows with a 1 1/2" and 1" bulkhead in each. <<Ah, better than most.>> I have a 55 gallon tank underneath to use as a sump.  No one wants to touch it since I bought the tanks from someone else out of state instead of from them. <<Is ridiculous...cutting off their nose to spite their face...>> I have been reading tons of info from your site and talking to aquarium shops but the more I learn the more I am undecided how to do this.  I have two Mag 9 pumps to put in the sump, (or should they be outside of the sump?) <<Is up to you...but I would run these submerged.>> and an AquaC 240 protein skimmer powered by a Mag 12 pump to put in the sump. <<Sounds fine thus far.>> The company that sold me the tank said that the overflows can handle 1500gph each.  But I have been told that I shouldn't be going with anything over 5x the amount of water in my main tank. <<Mmm, haven't heard this one before.  But do figure on no more than half this volume per overflow (1 1/2" bulkheads) for ease of plumbing/noise considerations, etc..  And were it me, I would halve that yet again (750 gph through both overflows combined).  Trying to push 1500 gph through your sump is going to be more problematic than you want to mess with.  Likely, if this tank/sump is in your living room, you won't be able to hear the television (or hold a conversation) over the noise.  You will be happier having/using one overflow plumbed to your sump and using the other overflow with a closed-loop manifold for flow in the tank.>> Since I will have approximately 200lbs of live rock in the main tank I don't want a wet dry or canister set-up. <<I see>> I would just like to have aggressive water flow with a good protein skimmer.  I suppose that I should put some filter floss somewhere?  in the sump?  to trap the larger debris in the water, <<You can do this...or put a filter sock on the end of the pipe proving tank water to the sump.  Either way, do be diligent about cleaning the sock/replacing the floss at least weekly.>> and a heater, but where in the flow of things should I put the protein skimmer and floss? <<The protein skimmer should be in the first chamber of the sump where raw tank water enters.  The floss can go anywhere between the skimmer and the return pump.>> Also, I want to bring both 1 1/2" lines into the sump on the same side of the sump to have the water flow to the other side where the pumps will send it back to the main tank. <<Agreed>> I would prefer to use flexible hose underneath the 180 to have as few pvc glued joints as possible. <<Then I would recommend "flexible" PVC as it is much stronger/resistant to kinking than vinyl tubing.>> One last thing, I was told to drill a small 1/4" hole in the top of the returns just before the elbow at the top, in case of a power failure so the backflow would be stopped when it started sucking air in.  Will this work or am I going down the road to disaster? <<This can/will work...until the hole gets plugged.  It is always best to plumb the system such that the sump will handle the transit water volume in case of a power outage.  In other words, don't run the return lines from the sump to the bottom of the tank.>> I would prefer to have a professional do all this , but it looks like I am stuck trying it myself.  Please steer me in the right direction before my wife divorces me for flooding her floor. <<Not as scary as it seems...can be done with basic skills.  Proceed slowly and think about what you are doing/want to do.  If you have specific questions/concerns, feel free to write in and I'll be happy to discuss.  Regards, EricR>> Flow Rate/Back-Pressure Issues - 02/06/06 I have never really gotten the performance I expected from my two Sequence 3600 pumps.  Based on distance, I calculate no more than 8 or 9 head of resistance which should get me at least 1200 GPH per pump.  I'm lucky to get 25 percent of that. <<Hmm, maximum head height (the point at which flow is reduced to zero) is 12 feet for this pump...and you're awfully close.>> The manufacturer suggests the biggest problem is the 1.5" output from the pumps is immediately "Teed" to two 3/4" return lines. <<Ah yes!  This pump is designed for high "volume" but does not seemingly deal well with back-pressure.  Teeing and reducing the line like you have done will reduce flow greatly.>> Would the fact that the return lines travel about 5 feet across to the bottom of the prefilter box (and then proceed up another 3 feet), cause such a tremendous decrease in flow rate? <<The added friction/pressure from the reduced diameter will inhibit flow, yes.>> Does going from 1.5" line to two 3/4" lines do that? <<Absolutely...if the pump can't overcome the back-pressure to keep up the flow.>> Would there be any benefit in putting the "T" after the five feet of diagonal travel over to the bottom of the prefilter box so that it will stay at a 1.5" line until it enters the bottom of the tank? <<This would help, yes.  "How much" will only be determined by giving it a try.>> Unfortunately, there is no possibility I can run 1.5" line into the tank as the holes are not big enough and there is no room to expand them. <<Mmm...I imagine this was one of the so called "reef ready" tanks/installations.  EricR>>

Re: Flow Rate/Back-Pressure Issues - 02/06/06 Thanks, you have confirmed my fears. <<Welcome>> I will consider a pressurized pump that might be able to fight the back resistance, but the problem is the ones I have looked at are two big (bulky) for my current set up. <<Mmm, have you tried looking at the GRI pumps (Gorman Rupp Industries)?  The model 520 is quite compact and would likely fill the bill.>> Live and learn.  (By the way this was a "reef-ready" set-up from a well known aquarium manufacturer.  Their tank itself is fine but there engineering of the plumbing has proven to be questionable). <<Ah yes, and this is not limited to a few.  Most all manufactured "reef ready" setups have throughputs that are not suited/sized to the purpose implied.  Regards, EricR>> Jeffrey <<RMF would re-plumb...>>

Painting pvc   2/6/06 Hello WWM, <Hello John> First off, you guys are great. Just needed some advice on this... My intake and return pvc pipes inside my 90 gallon [built in overflow] are white and stick out like a sore thumb and was wondering if I would be able to spray paint them black. No fish will be able to pick at the pipes since it's in my overflow so I thought it would be fine.... And what kind of spray paint can I use. <John, the only paint I know for sure that is safe would be epoxy and that isn't available in a spray can as far as I know.  Some of the poly paints may be safe but I'd go online to one of the paint sites and inquire. Thanks for the help <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> John

Pump for a 120 gal    2/3/06 Hi WWM Crew! I have recently set up a 120 gal, which you have already answered some questions for me.  I have a Mag 12 as a return pump plumbed with 3/4" flex hose into a tee up to the two bulkheads which are also 3/4" about 3 feet above the pump.  I understand that if I use 1" tubing instead of the 3/4" I will get more flow but will it be enough. <For?> The overflows for this tank are rated at 1200 gph total.  Right now it seems like I'm not anywhere near that because I have a lot of dead areas in the tank and I really don't want to add powerheads because of the unsightly cords. One LFS said that the mag 12 should be more than enough for this tank but I'm starting to doubt it!  I have about 120 lbs of live rock and about 80 lbs more to add from my 55 gal that I'm upgrading from.  I've moved some xenia and some small zoas in the tank so far and right now I'm starting to get some brown slime.  Not sure if it's diatoms or Cyano.   <Or possibly both and others...> pH is 8.4, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 10, SG 1.026. alk 11 dKH, calcium 420, and temp 80.  This is where the flow of the mag 12 concerns me.  So should I move up to a larger pump and if so what do you recommend? <... my understanding is that the Mag 12 has 3/4" fittings... increasing the plumbing diameter will not grant you more flow... however, increasing the number of discharges, will... and possibly reducing their discharge point diameters will increase circulation... Have you read re "Closed Loop" systems? Here on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm and the linked files above...> Also, will it help with the brown slime I'm getting? <More circulation, aeration will reduce these, yes> I'm also running a refugium in the sump with Chaetomorpha and reverse lighting.  I've cut back the main lighting from 12 to 8 hours a day but that doesn't really seem to make a difference.  I never figured with the tank parameters and  using RO/DI water that I would have these problems.....that's why I was wondering if it was just a flow problem. <Definitely a factor> The 55 gal I set up a year ago never had these problems and I used tap water!  Go figure!   Any help here would be appreciated! Thanks guys and/or gals, Mark <You may have need/use for another or larger pump here... Twenty times "actual" volume turnover per hour is not too much. Bob Fenner>

Re: Pump for a 120 gal   2/7/06 Hi Bob, Thanks for the fast response!  I've added a couple of powerheads, temporarily, until the mag 24 I ordered comes in.  After just a couple of days the brown stuff seems to have disappeared with more flow.   <Ah, good> I figure the mag 24 should provide sufficient flow from the two returns with four nozzles aimed at different areas of the tank.  I am also putting a gate valve on the pumps outlet just in case I need to restrict the flow a little! <A good idea... and possibly a union that you can "break" should you need/want to remove this pump from service in-between. Bob Fenner> Have a great night! Mark

Plumbing Options - 01/27/2006 Hello, <Hi James.> Do you know anywhere on the internet with plumbing ideas\plans for a big tank. <Well...There are tons of them. The only thing that really changes is the flow rate. Basics of plumbing stay the same.> I am moving house so I thought it would be easier if my new system is waiting for my fishies rather than the other way around. <Good idea.> My new tank will be 3.2 metres long, 1.3 metres wide and 65cm high. Glass is 20mm thick. I can't get Acrylic tanks here in   South Africa. I'm not sure how to plumb such a big tank. Where to drill the holes for the water going to and from the sump. How many return pumps to use etc. Any ideas or links would be most helpful. <Start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm . Follow the blue links at the top. Also, good info. can be found here http://www.ozreef.org/ and http://www.reefs.org/ . Take your time, compare options.> Kind Regards, James. <Have fun. - Josh>

Re: Overflow Configuration - 01/24/06 Please let me explain how my sump has been set up. <<Alright>> The sump consists of 3 compartments.  The first is where the water enters from the overflow consists of substrate on the bottom, looks like shells in appearance, then plastic balls.  Then white filter wool. <<Cleaned/replaced weekly (or more often as needed) I hope.>> The water exits through slots at the bottom and enters the second chamber, this is where the protein skimmer is situated.  The water then flows over a glass divider and is pumped back into the display tank. <<If this is working for you that's fine, but my preference would be to remove the filter media (add a filter sock to the sump return if you wish to trap/remove particulates), and place the skimmer in the "first" chamber to process "raw" tank water.  The second chamber could then be used to hold chemical media (carbon/Chemi-Pure/Poly-Filter), or utilized as a refugium.  EricR>> Regards, Alan

Wood finishing, plumber's tape for threaded connections, painted backgrounds, whew! Hi Guys (a generic term that includes the female members of the crew ;o) <Watch this...> I have searched WWM & couldn't find a relevant answer - hopefully I've not missed! <We'll see... or add to it> Just a quickie re finishing the woodwork for my new 24" cube - I will need some sort of finish on the veneered panels that I have now got for the new tanks cabinet and open topped hood but I am not sure what would be most suitable, I have been looking for some sort of polyurethane varnish type stuff but have so far drawn a blank (maybe its just called something else in the UK?).  The main area for concern will clearly be the hood woodwork as this will be the closest to the (salt) water & thus more chance of particles of finish (or some sort of reaction leading to leaching of nasties) entering the water column (clearly something to be avoided if at all possible (however I believe in planning for the worst - comes from working for the UK government I guess lol!!)) Any pointers to a suitable finish would be more than welcome. <Polyurethanes are fine (durable, non-toxic once cured, attractive), though I am a bigger fan of Varathanes (as you speculate, perhaps a "Yank" (formerly colony) term... These come in different reflectivities (I like the less shiny), and are even more durable> Would you be able to confirm my suspicion that PTFE (plumbers) tape will be fine for sealing my new closed loop system? From what I can gather this should be fine and nicely inert. <Is... though I am a bigger fan (here we go again) of using 100% Silicone (the same material/el used for making glass aquariums... for thread to thread connections... makes a nice flexible joining, and allows for easy unthreading if needed later on... and "makes a seal" rather than allowing salt creep over time. Bob Fenner> Ok just 1 other question ;o) <Oh!> I also need to paint the back (outside obviously) of the tank black to match the weir - I am planning to use enamel paint - Japblack I think the brand is (do you see any problems here?) <Am unfamiliar with this term> - will I be OK just to go ahead and paint this or would I be better running some sandpaper or such over the area to be painted to provide a "key" or rougher surface for the paint to adhere to? <Mmm, I have used latex or water-based in-door wall paint here... sans scratching... to good effect...> Sincere thanks as usual in anticipation Cheers   Chris Drill one round hole in Oceanic bowfront aquarium stand  - 01/12/2006 I've searched for an exact answer to this question.  I have found counsel not to drill holes in the supports for an aquarium stand and counsel that it would probably be OK to drill round holes through a center dividing wall that is also a support in a stand, but not near the edge. <Likely so... though will definitely void any warranty>   My question concerns drilling through the side wall of the stand. <Mmm, I would "beef up" the vertical supports (internally, with one or two by planks... screw into the existing...> I have an Oceanic 72G bowfront aquarium with an Oceanic stand.  There is no room underneath the aquarium for my new Ecosystems refugium.  The Tidepool II sump takes up more than half the space and the refugium requires 36".  I can put the refugium on its own stand to the side of the aquarium. <This will do... or above...> I am using vinyl hose for the return from the refugium to the sump and would like to go the direct route - through the side of the Oceanic stand.  That would require drilling a hole about 2" in diameter.  It would go in the center of the side wall, about 10"-12" up from the floor.  Would this be safe? <Likely so> The alternative is a crooked route down, back, and around the stand, and then bent into the sump - all reducing GPH and unsightly, plus far more likely to get kinked or even dislodged from the sump. Richard C. ROCKWELL <Do add the other wood supports, drill for the through-put and don't worry. Bob Fenner> Re: Drill one round hole in Oceanic bowfront aquarium stand  - 01/12/2006 Thanks very much. I shall add those internal wood supports.  On one of your pages, you say that one can never have enough space underneath the aquarium. So true! <Heeee! Or too large a hard drive, savings account...!> That alone is a reason for buying an aquarium larger than 72G.  At the time, 72G seemed huge. <As did candy bars... sigh... BobF> Plumbing silicone   1/7/06 Hey crew, <Scott>   I've recently acquired a ETSS  skimmer and would like to plumb it externally.  The problem I see  is that the sump needs to be drilled and a bulkhead fitting  added.  The wet/dry at this point (still a new tank) is the only  filtration so far.  I don't see a  problem to stop the flow  through the wet/dry for 10 minutes to drill and add a bulkhead.   The problem I see is all of the silicones I have found available need  48 - 72 hours to cure before touching water.  What would your  suggestion be? <Why do you need silicone.  Bulkhead fittings come with a rubber gasket to seal itself to the wet/dry.  As for plumbing the skimmer, plumbers Teflon tape is all that is needed.>   <<RMF suggests using a smear of 100% Silicone instead... on all threads in contact, and the gaskets... easy to remove, make a positive seal, and chemically inert>> As always thanks for the advice, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Scott

New set-up and plumbing Dear WWM crew, <Lance> I happened onto your web site a couple of months ago and have been reading feverishly. <About the same pace am keying...> What a tremendous wealth of information! I would like to give you my intentions, tell you how I plan to get there and get your feedback. I'm starting from scratch and ultimately want a reef tank with SPS corals and a few fish. I can't stress enough that I am proceeding very slowly and expect this to be an ongoing process over years, not completed in a couple of weeks. I want to establish as closed a system as possible. Minimal nutrient input and export. <Sounds very good> Equipment: Oceanic 215 gal. RR tank (72.5 x 24.5 x 29 inches) and stand. 4" Aragamax sand bed and 400 pounds of live rock. Oceanic Model 3 sump using bioballs and possibly a sand bed in sump with minimal light. 2 - 10 gal. Refugia. <... would look for, try to find space for larger volume/s> Mag Drive 18 pump (3/4" inlet/outlet) in sump. No skimmer - Exclusively biofiltration. <Mmm, would fit at least a small, under-sized one here... You will find the utility...> Lights - Current Outer Orbit (3 x 150W 10,000K MH and 4 x 96W dual actinic PC's) for display and each refugium will have it's own Current Dual Satellite (2 x 40W). Stage 1: Set up and cycling I'm stuck with the factory tank. No option to drill additionally. <Rats! Perhaps "over the top" returns... worth considering> I realize I will easily overwhelm the 2 - 1" overflows with this pump. Therefore, I propose to tee off the pump going to the display returns for the refugia. I plan to plumb the display returns with ¾" PVC from the pump, teed to each return and use a gate valve to throttle back to the capability of the overflows. <Mmm, not the overflows... let these run full-out> My conservative estimate is 300 GPH for each overflow and match the returns. Between the pump and gate valve will be 2 - ½" tees, one for each refugium, with a gate valve to control flow. One refugium will contain Chaetomorpha and pods turning 5 times volume per hour. The other will contain Gracilaria and Mysid shrimp turning 20 times volume per hour. Both refugia will have DSB, a couple of pounds of live rock and gravity feed back to sump to continuously "seed" crustacean populations in the display. Refugia will likely be seeded from a commercial source. <Okay> My first question concerns the bioballs. I frequently see these referred to in the FAQ's as nitrate factories. Shouldn't the nitrates be produced regardless, as the end stage of nitrification? <Mmm, yes... providing more surface area, agitation here "piles up" the forward reaction, accumulation of nitrate...> Is there a difference in this occurring on the bioballs as opposed to the surface of the rock or sand? <Mmm, no... the same reaction series, just more "sped up", more microbes...> Between the DSB's in the refugia and display, the algae in the refugia and the denitrification occurring in the live rock, can I conceivably control the nitrates? Thus, minimizing water changes and recycling nutrients? <Yes... especially over time... into the whole running several months...> Stage 2: Reef Janitors When cycling is complete, I will slowly add Hermits, peppermint shrimp, sea cucumbers and serpent stars. By slowly, I expect to be at least 6 months in from the initial set-up at this point. Give adequate time to re-equilibrate. <Good> Stage 3: Increase Display Turnover I need at least 20 times turnover per hour for the corals and would like to shoot for 30 times to allow more flexibility and increased head over time. I was thinking of using a closed loop system to accomplish this. The Sequence Reeflo Hammerhead pump (1 & ½" inlet/outlet) provides 5400 GPH @ 5' (0' static head but easily 5' due to plumbing). I'll plumb 1 & ½" PVC from pump and decrease to ¾" PVC for the manifold. I figure 14 to 16 - ½" nozzles ( ½" PVC 45 and 90 degree elbows). By my calculations, this should easily get me 20 times turnover per hour and potentially 30 times turnover with good nozzle velocity in the 300 to 400 GPH range evenly distributed around the top of the display. I can throttle back with a gate valve between the pump and the manifold. <Yes> My big question here is how to plumb the drain back to the pump for the closed loop. I know, ultimately, I need 1 & ½" PVC into the pump. But, how many drains should converge to the 1 & ½" PVC, <Two are better than one... placed near the corners...> what size diameter PVC for each drain up to the 1 & ½" PVC <1 1/2"> and placement in the display for the drains? <The corners> Incidentally, I am paying attention to details in the plumbing such as true unions on each side of pumps, minimizing tees and elbows, etc. <Ah, good> My concern is that there is a fundamental flaw in my reasoning, so far, somewhere along this process that I may be able to correct before I get started rather than when I encounter it! Any better or more efficient suggestions to accomplish increased turnover? <Mmm, no> Stage 4: Begin Adding Corals and Fish Key here will be slowly adding corals and fish. Thanks very much for the help and any insight. I hope I've not monopolized too much of your time. I intended to get as much of this information out there in an organized manner so I can keep future questions to a single sentence. (Don't hold your breath.) ha ha Thank you again for all the wonderful reference material and resources. Sincerely, Lance Good <Thank you for sharing your plans, goals. Best to hash out, cogitate furiously now... Bob Fenner>

Plumbing Returns, Angry Webmail - 12/25/2005 Hey Guys- You have an absolutely awesome site.. TONS of info here, although I have had a little trouble navigating my way through everything to find my exact answer. <We'd love to hear your ideas on how to simplify this....  please do send us any thoughts you have re, and explain where you have troubles navigating - I'd love to consider ways to simplify this for folks.> I've read through many of the FAQ's concerning overflow boxes, rates, how to, what to do and not to do. I've learned MUCH already, and the one thing I've learned by reading is to measure twice, drill once. Which brings me to me questions. I am having a custom built peninsula tank- by this I mean the tank will serve as a room divider, coming out from the wall, with one of the "short" sides" of the tank serving as the back, where a built in overflow box will be. <Gotcha.  Uhh, let me first warn you of something here - I am NOT a plumbing expert!!  The reason I am responding to your query is because it came to us "broken" - our webmail system was unable to supply the usual reply capability for us - only my system still shows our reply link.  Please, try re-sending your email from a completely different email.  Make sure not to have any attachments, and send as plain text - no HTML.  Then we'll be better able to get you answered by someone who knows what the heck they're talking about.  I'd be glad to shoot the breeze with ya about freshwater shrimp, though....  (grin)> The tank will be just under 120gallons, measuring 48x24x24 (inches). I was wondering what the overflow rate should be, and what size bulkheads to have it setup for. I was thinking on two 1.5" overflows with 2 1" returns, using one of the 1" returns as a spare and for future. The tank will initially be used as a Cichlid (fresh) tank, but I am having all of this done to accommodate the possibility of going to a salt tank in the future. Would this be adequate? <Uhh, yeah, you need someone other than myself to answer this.> I see that depending on who you ask, anywhere from 4-10 changes per hour is recommended, <Actually, if you plan to go reef, 10x-20x turnover is recommended.> I'm not sure that this applies to fresh or not. <Depends upon the particular application.  Some riverine cichlids would like this kind of turnover, others wouldn't be able to cope with it.> I was intending to use a pump rated at about 750gph.   Also, given the dimensions of that tank (being long and narrow), how would you recommend directing the return water? <Again, depends upon your application.  If you wanted to aim for a fast flowing river type system, drawing water from one end and returning on the other is great.  For a reef application, you'd want more "conflicting" water movement - want to create turbulence.> Should I split the return and have it come from both ends of the tank (which would be hard to hide) or would the flow reach the end of the tank by just using a directed spray or spray bar? <The former, return on both ends, is preferable in a reef application.> And how deep should the return be in the tank as a general rule?   <Uhh, beats me.  Send in again from a different email system, if you will, please.  We'll get someone more plumbing-savvy on your case.> Thanks so much in advance for your help, I value your opinions.  Kevin Marlin <All the best to you,  -Sabrina> Flow rate  12/2/05 Hi I have read just about every thing I can find about overflow boxes flow rates return pumps etc now more confused than ever I set up 75 gallon tank with reef in mind so far 80lbs live rock 2x 1500ltr/hr powerheads 12ooltr/hr canister filter and 24" 12" 12" sump filled with 2" deep Miracle Mud bed lit by 15w light 24/7.650gal/hr salt water safe pond pump.  <<Watch out for the pond pumps, they are NOT designed for marine use!  Marina>> This is were the problem is. overflow box has a 1" out let as I was told around 800ltr/hr fallout flow.  Couldn't get any fall pipe to fit outlet so modified it to about1/4" now it is running, water falling out of box to sump is so slow that pump has had to be restricted. Because it empties sump faster than it can fill. Now running at an even keel every thing ties up. The water level in the box isn't getting any higher so my question is, at last your thinking, if I change the 1//4" pipe and make it 1" like the outlet pipe it came with will I be able to open up my pump to full steam or will the overflow box not keep up with the outlet pipe Hope that all makes sense.  <Bob, here is a link with various calculators to help you figure things like this out. http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/hlc2.php  James (Salty Dog)> Best regards  <And to you also> 

New 120 with questions re plumbing, circulation mainly 11/4/05 Hello Crew Members, Invaluable site for this wonderful hobby. Don't know how you find the time to help us. <Fit bits in here and there, lots of friends...> I'm moving soon and will be replacing my 3 year old Oceanic 58 gallon with an All Glass 120 (48x24x24) drilled with two overflows. My 58 will be partitioned and used as the refugium (first compartment holding the skimmer, second holding a deep sand bed/algae, and the third holding the return pump. Right now all I use is a hob skimmer and a Tetra Tec 500 for chemical filtration (rated for 100 gallon with four cartridges of carbon, etc). This system has been very reliable with enviable parameters. The Tetra Tec will stay hanging on the 58 gallon as chemical filtration when the new tank is set up.  I have no experience with sumps except what I've read on your site. The All Glass tank has two 1 inch feeds in the overflows and two 3/4 inch returns. <Need more... and/or larger diameter, particularly for moving water out of the main tank...> Plan on hard piping but up to suggestions. What would you consider to be the largest return pump safe for this system? <Much for you to know... not useful to simply respond here... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm. From the top down...> All seems to be fuzzy math to me.  I was planning on getting a Mag 24 (2400gph) and equipping with a valve to control the flow back to the tank. <...?> My tank now has close to 20 times turn over. Any suggestions would be helpful so the new house doesn't flood and run me out this hobby.  As always, your service can't be measured. Jeff <Your fittings won't allow for this rate of flow... Please read, take good notes. Bob Fenner> 

PVC NSF-DWV safe for aquarium? 11/2/05 WWM crew, I recently purchased a few large PVC fittings for my marine quarantine tank. After returning home, I noticed the fittings aren't rated for potable use (NSF-PW) and only meet the NSF-DWV (drain, waste, vent) standard. Is it unsafe to use these fittings in an aquarium? Thanks, Jeff <Likely are chemically safe... but I do have a concern if they are in application where they might be subject to a good deal of tension/torsion... I would check/make sure they are rated "Schedule 40" (four hundred PSI) or higher use. Bob Fenner>

Adding A Drain For A Sump...Should I? - 10/27/05 Hi Guys, <<Howdy>> I currently have a 4-foot system, slightly higher and wider than your standard 4-foot aquarium. I have a DSB with lots of live rock and currently only two fish. <<Bet the fish are lovin' it...>> I use activated carbon and a protein skimmer (Jebo) which u can't even call a real skimmer. <<Mmm...>> It is very ineffective and of poor quality compared to the skimmer I plan on adding. <<?>> I am giving some considerable thought to having my tank drilled and a sump added to the bottom of my cabinet. <<Sounds good>> I probably will only get in a two-foot sump, in the sump I plan on storing all my equipment as well as running a DSB with Caulerpa, which will be permanently lit for nutrient export. <<Tis a good idea to light 24/7 with Caulerpa species.>> I am also going to add a new quality skimmer, which I will plug directly into the sump. To do this I will basically have to strip the entire tank and store my live sand and rock. My concern is what would the impact be on drilling my tank? <<Nominal, if done correctly.>> My LFS is going to assist me with this process and I am quite keen on going with them as I have seen some of the setups that they have done. <<ok>> I don't want to have the tank explode on me once the water is filled and the tank replumbed, once the tank is drilled how long should I wait before putting everything back together again? <<You can begin immediately.>> I am pretty sure I will get huge benefit from adding the sump and new skimmer, please advise me on your opinions and if u think my plan is a good one also if there is anything else I need to consider. <<If you like the LFS and trust their work then no need to fret...press forward with your plan and enjoy the benefits.>>



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