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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 22, Circulation Plumbing, & FAQs on: Plans/Designs, Parts: Pipe, Valves, Back-Siphon/Check-Valves, Unions, Tools, Solvents, Use of Flexible Tubing, Leaks/Repairs, & Holes & Drilling, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing Noise, Make Up Water Systems, Pumps, Plumbing, Circulation, Sumps, RefugiumsMarine Circulation 2, Gear Selection for Circulation, Pump Problems Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Fish-Only Marine Systems 2, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large SystemsWater Changes Surge Devices

Plumbing  - Keep It Simple  - Re: Water Storage Tanks part 2  3/16/07 Hello again WWM Crew, <Hi Mike!> On March 8th, I submitted a question about the viability of incorporating a 210 water storage tank into my setup.  I received a very helpful reply from Alex, who gave several suggestions on how I may improve my setup (and avoid floods!)  Regrettably, I am writing from a different computer and I do not have a copy of the original email to include in this one. <Hmm, I can't find the original either'¦ it is here somewhere.  I do remember answering.> To reiterate I have a 180 gallon main tank with a 55 gallon refugium. The main tank will be FOWLR to start.  With more experience, I will consider adding corals.   <Good to wait and make sure everything is stable and you are ready for more challenge.> I was given a 210 gallon FDA approved plastic water storage tank which I can place in my laundry room and plumb by drilling two holes through the wall. All of the hardware is in place, all I have to do is connect everything - I'm still waiting for my live rock to cure.   <Good.  Give yourself plenty of time to work this out.  Test the system with freshwater for a few weeks before you fill it up with saltwater.  Freshwater is easier to get out of carpet.> Taking Alex's advice into account, I have the following setup planned. I have attached a drawing and a legend to help clarify.   <The only thing that is not clear is the height of each component.  I will assume the sumps and storage tank are on the floor and the refugium is at the same height of the display.> As a side note, I do tend to "over-engineer" things. <I see that'¦> 180 gallon tank w\ two 1.5" overflows with standpipes draining to a 13 gallon sump. call this sump #1) <Too small.> Sump 1 has TurboFlotor 5000 skimmer with ozone generator attached, micro-bubble trap and Eheim 1260 pump (634 GPH). Pump moves water to the storage tank.  The storage tank has a standpipe 64.5" above floor level which drains by overflow to sump #2. Sump #2 (13 gal) has mechanical filtration, heaters, and an Eheim 1260 pump. Pump from sump #2 moves water to refugium, <Note each pump has a different amount of head and losses with a resulting difference in flow rates.> Refugium has one overflow that drains to sump #3 (13 gal). Sump #3 has no filtration, just an Eheim 1260 pump for return to main tank. <hmmm'¦> Additionally, the main tank has two Eheim Pro III canister filters for mechanical and chemical filtration. I also have three power heads (Eheim 1212 172 GPH each) and plan on putting two in the main tank, one in the refugium. <Yes.  The 600 gph will not be enough flow for the main tank.> I believe, with this plan, I should avoid any significant flooding pitfalls in the event of power failure.   <Unfortunately, there are still issues.  Having pumps in series like this will cause a flood if one pump fails or if the flows don't match perfectly (which they won't), unless your sumps have more unused capacity.  Think of this: if one pump fails, that sump will fill until the other 2 sumps run dry, overfilling the first and burning up the pumps in the other 2.  The only way to avoid this with the design you have is to have each sump less than 1/3 full to accommodate the extra water, and then you still have fried two pumps.  It is just too complicated and requires too delicate a balancing act.  Even if you manage to match the flows perfectly for a while, subtle changes will occur to the losses and flows and they will get unmatched, one sump will overfill.  You have got to streamline this design!!  Again, only ONE pump in the series.  The rest has to be gravity fed.  Pump once from the lowest point to the highest point, and let it flow down from there.  If you must have the 210 tank in series, you could raise it up on a strong platform (this is really probably a very bad idea!), so it is the highest point.  Put the refugium under the display, with partitions to house the sump equipment.  Pump from the sump to the 210 then let it flow to the display, then back to the sump.  ONE sump with enough spare capacity to hold the water in transit. The better option is to use the 55 as your only sump/refugium (with partitions) and use the 210 storage tank as a storage tank for pre-mixed saltwater for water changes. There are many answers on the site, keep reading. Here is a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbmardesignfaqs.htm Here is one design that will work, with refugium, sump, and water change system: http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/navajo001/200GALPLUMB.jpg > As a backup, I have a few uninterruptible power supplies for the pumps. <Rather than short term UPS, I worry more about backup in case of long power outage.  This doesn't stop an individual pump from failing either.> Stocking will consist of 4" deep sand beds for both tanks, 170 lbs of live rock for the main tank, 50 lbs of live rock for the refugium.   Further, I plan on adding various forms of macroalgae to the refugium:   Shaving brush plants, Red grape kelp, Halimeda, Chaetomorpha, and Red Gracilaria. <Nice!> After everything settles a few months from now, my livestock plan will include: 7 x Blue Green Chromis 1 x Ocellaris Clown (tank raised) 2 - 3 Purple fire fish 5 - 6 Kaudern's Cardinalfish 1 x Sailfin Blenny 1 x High fin red banded Goby 1 x Coral Beauty Angel, 1 - 2 Scarlet Skunk cleaner shrimp 5 - 6 Scarlet reef hermit crabs <My favorite hermit!> Several snails. In your opinion, is this too many for my setup? <This sounds like a very nice mix and not too much for this size IMO.> I apologize for the length of this, and thank you all again for an excellent resource. <Hoping to Regards

Re: Pump & Stocking Advice, Pb and pump sel.    3/11/07 Bob and Crew!  Thanking you in advance for your assistance.  I don't know what I would do without this forum.  I would like to ask a question that I have researched thoroughly but I still don't feel that I've located an answer that makes me feel comfortable.  I have a 180 gallon reef with a 16" x 5" center overflow.  The overflow has dual 1 1/2" bulkheads for the drain and dual 3/4" return bulkheads. <Mmm... I wish these last were 1" inside diameter... I bet you do as well... as most of the pumps I'd suggest have this size volute discharge...>   I need to accurately determine the gph drain rate. <Mmmm> I checked the calculator at reefcentral.com and it asks me to submit gph under the "recommended minimum drain/overflow size calculator".  For example, I selected 1,200 gph.  The calculator provided the following calculations:    Recommended minimum drain pipe diameter = 1.43 inches <About right>   Recommended minimum linear overflow size = 18 inches <What is this...?> How can I accurately determine this? <The former is sort of easy... it's the inside diameter of the two fittings (or 600 gph per) of the opening/s of your drains... and you have two 1 1/2"... which should do. The second bit, I don't know what they're referring to> I'm not the smartest guy when it comes to determining this, but it appears to me that I need to determine the gph flow rate of my return pump, <Mmm, and factor in losses due to head, induced drag (from plumbing, turns...> then determine what my drain pipe and minimum linear overflow size are.  Is this accurate or am I completely missing the boat? <Agree with the drains... don't know what MLO is... is this some sort of term for quesstimating the "drop" of water through drains... that supposedly will draw/suck water through horizontal runs of plumbing?> I feel extremely comfortable with all my other decisions, but this is an extremely important one, as I really don't think my wife would appreciate a small "beach" on the living room floor.  In addition, I have one more question that I'm not sure can be accurately answered at this point.  How much differential can there be between the drainage gph and return gph before serious problems could occur? <Mmm, the drainage MUST equal or exceed the return GPH...> I assume the optimum situation would be to have the drainage and return rates be as close to identical as possible. <Actually... trust me... you want the drainage capacity to be MUCH more than near equal to the return... Think on this... should one of the two drain lines fail...> My wife sincerely thanks you for your continued patience and willingness to help me.....help her.  I can't thank you enough.  Your expert advise is priceless.   Sincerely, Scott <Am glad to be your co-hort in your aquarium adventures... I would not be concerned here re the drains or whatever this MLO is... your two 1 1/2" ID fittings, coupled with tubing (hard or flexible) of the same diameter WILL accommodate 1,200 actual GPH flow. Bob Fenner>

Re: Pump & Stocking Advice, Pb and pump sel.    3/11/07 Crew, <Scott> I forwarded an earlier email to you.  If you choose not to answer that one and instead would prefer to answer this one, I'm not looking for an answer to both.  I believe my question to be a rather simple one.  Based upon my have a 16" x 5" center overflow with dual 1 1/2" bulkheads for the drain and dual 3/4" bulkheads for the returns, would the Iwaki 100 RLT be too much pump? <It would not IMO... but there is a bit more to my response... I would like to point out that this make and the 70 RLT have 1" discharges... you will need to bush either one down to 3/4" ID (use a schedule 80 (grey) PVC threaded coupler... with a smear of Silastic on the threads... secure the pump down on a piece of board... And though this pump is rated for some 2,000 gph, I suspect it will not produce any more than the desired 1,200 gph going through this reducer AND the rest of the plumbing return/discharges... WHICH I suggest you arrange in this 180 (most are nominally six feet wide, through a (Am feeling like Bob Barker now... "Come on down"...) a discharge manifold like here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm Please read through the above files linked in blue...> would you recommend the 70RLT instead?   <Mmm, no... I don't think going from the rated 1,500 gph to and through the plumbing, you'll get any more than 1,000 gph... which is really insufficient for the purposes you'll likely... You could make up some of the circulation, aeration aspect with spiffy internal pumps... like the fab Tunzes or new, far-less-expensive Hydors...> Based up the calculations at reefcentral.com, with pipe diameter of .75" (I assume they are referring to the return pipe) <Yes> and with the # of elbows, vertical and horizontal heights, the 100 RLT returns approximately 1,378 gph <You will never get this... I assure you... the "model" presented on RC is fallacious... is at best an example of "best guess scenarios"... In the real world... My advice, really... if truly curious, rig all this up, avail yourself of a flow meter and see for yourself>   which I believe would be appropriate for the gph drainage.  Your thoughts are welcome .  Thanks once again for your patience. Scott <There are a couple of standard works on "aquarium" engineering... Again, if you really want to know... I would go with the 100 RLT... You'll see. BobF>

Re: Pump & Stocking Advice   3/11/07 WOW!  What an awesome forum!!!  Thanks so much for the prompt reply. <<We do our best.>> I was leaning towards the 100RLT for a while now, but had almost talked myself out of it.  Thank you for reassuring me that I was initially on the right track, because I did research this thoroughly.  I will be incorporating 2 Tunze Turbelle Streams as well. I can't wait to get started.  I guess that sometimes we can out think ourselves and make things more complicated than they really are.  Thanks again! Scott    <<You're quite welcome, on behalf of the Crew. Lisa Brown.>>

Plumbing Confusion 3/4/07 Hi Crew, <Hello Ari> I have not been able to find an answer to my question in the FAQ's on WWM.  On a 125 gallon AGA with two standard overflows (i.e. 2x 1" drains and 2x 3/4" returns), without re-drilling, do you recommend keeping the 2x 1" drains going to the sump with a pump trying to deliver 600 gph return via 2 over-the-top 1" u-tube returns, <I much prefer using the built in drains vs. U-tubes, much less troubles as they have a tendency to lose their syphon.> and then running the 3/4" inch through-puts as drains on a closed loop also over the top also with 2 u-tube 1" returns.  As background, I am planning a DSB in the sump with a skimmer, and an upstream fuge powered by sump's return pump. <I would use the system as supplied.  A closed loop is best done with a separate pump.  See here and linked files above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circrat.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm> If you do recommend this setup, how should I link the 2x 3/4" drains <returns> to a single pump without losing too much flow, or do I use 2 pumps?  Also how much flow should I expect to get on this closed loop return, and how many returns is optimal. <Reading the links above and related files should give you the info you seek.> Thank you so much.  - Ari <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re:  Plumbing Confusion 3/5/07 I apologize that I was not succinct enough in my description.   <No problem.> Just to clarify, this plan does not contemplate overflow drains.  What it is suggesting, as learned from reading the notes I have read on your fabulous web site, is that two dedicated 1 inch drains be fed to the sump and returned at 600 gph via over the back u tube, then the two 3/4" return lines be used for drains instead of returns. <Much clearer now.> My question then becomes, a) do I hook up the two 3/4"  lines to feed a single pump, <Mmm, are all four drain lines going into one common sump?> b) if a single pump is optimal, are there any connection techniques for the two 3/4" drains to a single pump that would maximize flow within the closed loop, <Closed loop is just what the name implies. closed loop, entirely separate from your other drain lines.  You will be feeding water from the 3/4 drains directly into the pump and returning back to the tank.  The plumbing configuration on the return is entirely up to you.  That is, do you want 1, 2, 3, or 4 outlets/returns into the tank.  Most folks will drill into the back wall of the tank and install bulkhead fittings for the returns and plumb with PVC pipe or hose.> and c) what flow rate should I expect from this loop. <One 3/4 inch drain, unrestricted (no elbows, reducers, etc) can handle approximately 300gph.  Teeing two 3/4 lines together by way of a "T" will not give you 600gph, but somewhat less because of the "T" restriction, and elbow restrictions that will be incorporated into the returns through bulkheads.> My thought would be that AGA claims their overflows can handle 1200 gph. <The minimum diameter pipe for the drain would have to be 1 1/2", and unrestricted, to give you a 1200gph flow rate.  So, being that you have two separate 1" drain lines, your total flow rate would be somewhere around the 1200gph figure providing the drains are flowing directly into the sump.> WWM says that a 1" drain can handle about 300 gph each x2= 600 gph. <Send me the link where you read this, there must be other factors involved as a 1" diameter line, unrestricted, should produce closer to 600gph.> Therefore, the overflows have a total of 600 gph balance, with two 3/4" drains connected to a pump on a closed loop, what is the highest amount of flow I can expect, or shoot for? <With a properly sized pump, using the 1" drains only, should give you a flow rate of a little over 1000gph.  As for the closed loop, it will all depend on your plumbing configuration, pump size, etc.> My guess would be 450 gph (i.e. 3/4 of 600 gph as 1 inch drain is to 3/4 drain).  The other 1000+ gph needed I guess will need to be provided with powerheads.  I hope I have clarified myself, and again any advice is very much appreciated. <With the built-in drains, and your closed loop system, powerheads should not be necessary, as you will easily get more than 10X tank volume flow rate.  Here is a link to plumbing calculators that will aid you in this venture.   http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/hlc2.php> Very truly yours, Ari. <Very truly yours??  James (Salty Dog)>

600G In-Wall Plumbing Nightmare -- 02/22/07 I wanted to bounce some ideas off of you guys, I'm open to about anything right now <<Sure...bounce away...>> I own a small service company, (we do custom installs as well) and we had a customer request a tank re-haul.  It is an older in wall tank that was set up for fresh, and we would like to make it into a marine Fish Only display. <<Ok>> It's a giant tank! <<Cool!...love big tanks...have a 375g in-wall reef display myself>> It's about a 600 gallon system, 10ft long x 4ft tall and about 24"-36" deep. <<Very nice>> It is an in-wall with the two larger viewing panes visible and the left and right sides are bricked in, so basically it's a transparent wall with the ends bricked in. <<Same configuration as mine...>> It has six bulkheads, ~ 1" each centered on the bottom glass every 2ft.  Underneath the tank is cabinet space, but its cut up into sections by vertical supports for the tank. <<Indeed...but hopefully room for a sump?...refugium?>> I can get below the house if need be to place equipment since its pier and beam. <<Ah yes, my house has a crawl space as well...which is where I positioned the chiller for my system>> But it would be very hard to fit a sump of any real size in between the supports. <<Hmm, what is the possibility of pulling/reinstalling this tank and building a redesigned support stand to allow for the ancillary systems?  I built my stand to support the 375g display tank, and designed it to be open enough to fit a 75g sump and a 55g refugium beneath the display>> The current filter uses a cartridge filter and a large external pump. <<Mmm...a possible maintenance nightmare...in my opinion.  Am sure you are aware some purposeful chemical filtration (carbon/poly-Filter) and employment of a large fluidized-bed filter or two will serve better here.  The cartridge filter could be left in place if desired but will require strict maintenance on a weekly (or more often) basis>> The two outer (far left and right) bulkheads had some kind of clear rigid pipe going towards the surface (I believe they were return lines) and the remaining four had strainers below the substrate <<...?!>> as intakes- (Could be the other way around.).  My idea was to plumb Durso stand-pipes from the outer bulkheads and tuck the Dursos along the glass on the far sides of the aquarium- (would 90 out of the bulkhead to the left and right end of the tank then go up towards the surface). <<The fewer turns the better here.  Why not build skimmer towers to house the stand-pipes and go straight up?  The skimmer boxes could then be camouflaged with live rock>> Or I could just pop the drain and the return right above the substrate and cover with rock. <<Mmm...this too could work since you're not utilizing a sump and the drains will need to be plumbed directly to a pump>> Then plumb in two large Eheim Canister filters, and use the center as a circulation pump, the returns would have check-valves and would rise just above the sand. <<I wouldn't use the check-valves.  Aside from the huge amount of restriction from these valves that may damage the canister filters...sooner or later they 'will' fail...though I suppose this is a small concern really considering the drains will be plumbed much like a closed-loop with a canister filter installed.  (a ball-valve to shut-off flow to facilitate maintenance of the canister filters will be a necessity.  But I still like the skimmer tower if for no other reason than to 'skim' the fats/proteins/colloids/et al that collect at the water/air interface on the surface of the water) Heating this tank, I have no idea. <<Look to the 'in-line' options available.  As implied, these heaters can be plumbed 'in-line' on the output side of the canister filters>> Plumbing a protein skimmer? - I have no idea. <<A dilemma indeed, in the absence of a sump.  Are the ends of the tank accessible?  Perhaps you could employ several of the largest 'quality' hang-on skimmers you can find (Deltec, AquaC)>> The other options would be trying to plumb three sumps together to make a large sump- but that may be too much of a headache than its worth, or using a similar system, with an external pump and module filtration like the cartridge filter that's there now. <<I would drill/plumb together the three largest tanks that will fit beneath the stand...if it were up to me...  You really do need someplace to install a skimmer (or 'skimmers'), and probably some ancillary biological filtration.  You wouldn't need to use 'all' the drains to feed the sump and could still employ direct-fed canister filters for chemical filtration, etc if you wished.  But if a sump is just not possible then perhaps as you say, the modular filtration systems will have to do>> Any fresh ideas would definitely help! <<Ahh...if only I could see this arrangement firsthand>> Oh and by the way, big fan of all of you guys, I've seen a few of you speak in Dallas, and Houston on a few occasions- always learn so much. <<Bob has indeed assembled a fine group of folks here>> Thanks, Jeff Morley <<Do keep brainstorming this Jeff, and feel free to 'bounce' any further thoughts/questions my way...am certain there is a reasonable solution.  Regards, Eric Russell>>

Re: 600G In-Wall Plumbing Nightmare - 02/22/07 I've decided that it's impossible to do a sump, so I'm going to do the two Eheim canister filters with attached fluidized-bed filters-you were talking about the fluidized sand bio-filters right? <<Correct>> Where can I find an in-line heater that large?  How many watts is it going to take? 3,000? <<Mmm, will have some dependence on ambient room temperature, but if not overly cool I think you could get by with around 1000-1200 watts of heat.  My system is about 500 gallons en toto and I get by with two 300-watt heaters>> The one I've seen is $1,000- is there more economical units than that? <<There are, have a look here: http://www.aquaticeco.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/product.detail/iid/9092/cid/2198  A "pair" of 300-watt heaters plumbed in series on the output side of "each" canister filter (four heaters total) should do the job I think>> To address the film on top of the water, I'll use a large pump to move water across the surface, and perhaps an attachment that connects to the intake of the pump to skim the surface. <<Very good.  But speaking of skimming...hopefully you have come up with a way to employ some type of foam-fractionation device as well>> I think this is going to be the direction I go in; perhaps I'll add a UV-sterilizer as well. <<Can be a useful tool...if maintained/kept clean>> Any advice is greatly appreciated. Jeff Morley Lone Star Aquariums Custom Aquariums & Service www.lonestaraquariums.com <<I hope I have been of service.  Eric Russell>>

Nano-Reef Plumbing  2/1/07 Your site is excellent. Great Info! I have searched and have found tons of info on larger systems. I want to keep my bulkhead as small as possible, because it is a small tank and esthetics are extremely important. My question is should I go with ½" or 3/4" bulkhead in my AGA Mini-Bow 7? <Likely the 1/2"> These bulkheads will be going into the back side of aquarium. Also, how far from the edges of the glass do the edges of the holes need to be? <Mmm, two inches or so> Thanks for your help! Awesome site! Keep up the excellent work! Matt <Will do. Bob Fenner> Plumbing Question 1/29/07 Hello, crew. <Hello Jay> This is pretty much my first tank. Will this work? I got a 240 tall aggressive FOWLR tank. I plan to do this: drill 2 overflows. 2" drain 1 3/4" return (if bottom isn't tempered) pump-530gph <I'd be shooting closer to 2400gph.  With the waste producers you will be getting, we want to keep a fairly strong current in the water to move waste into your filter socks.  Do clean/replace these socks weekly.> closed loop manifold with ball valves for adjustability 2" sand bed 70-100#s LR <I'd go with at least 150#.> 50gal DIY sump Aqua Medic Turboflotor T1000 skimmer <Don't think this skimmer is going to handle the load.  Check out Aqua C and/or the Tunze line of skimmers.> Here's my questions. 1) How wide to make the overflows or does it matter? 2) Is the 2"drain 1 3/4" return over kill? 3) Do I need a bigger pump (it's not a reef tank)? <Definitely!> 4) Should I use live rock or macro algae? <Live rock, macro is best grown in a refugium where it can be culled easily and not take over the entire tank.> Here is a pic of what Im thinking of http://wetwebfotos.com/usermedia/high/3/11813_1.jpg <Here is a link to several different calculators to help you size your plumbing correctly. http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/hlc2.php James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Cursed Tank, and plumbing now...    1/28/07 Hi Bob, <Brian> I have been doing a mind numbing amount of reading on your site (thanks for all the great info) <Mmm, welcome... and a (standard) comment here... re the amount of perusal/reading... not necessary or required to scan all... but maybe the more recent (higher numbered) FAQs file/s in any given subject area... WWM is "copy/cut-paste" made (not database driven, but BobF devised)... in this way... Just read till you understand your options, the rationale behind them...> and am concocting a plan for my 265 gallon tank.  At this point my clownfish and Inverts are in my 29 gallon tank (see previous e-mails below).  I removed the live rock to tubs in the dark with a powerhead in each.  When I removed the rock there was a lot of "gunk" which I rinsed off with tank water.   <Good> I'm sure that was a big source of my toxic tank conditions. <It might well be> With your permission I'd like to run my plumbing ideas for the 265 gallon tank by you.  I have also had two contractors over to give bids for placing the tank in the wall of my basement so all plumbing will be hidden in an unfinished area with easy access for cleaning and water changes. I'd like to drill the tank for an internal overflow and two separate closed loop manifolds.  I spoke with Perfecto and while it will void the warranty they said both the sides and bottom can be drilled. <Good to check... some makes/manufacturers/years the bottoms of larger tanks are "hardened/tempered"... not-drillable>   I found a site online that fabricates internal overflows that are 6"X8"X6".  I would place this in the center and drill holes of appropriate size holes (2 5/8" for a 1.5" bulkhead) for two 1.5 inch drains in the bottom.  If there is room I'd like to do Durso standpipes. <Can be arranged... inside or even outside the tank...> The drains will go to my Euro Reef sump with the CS 12-1, and a large wet dry trickle filter (I know you hate them, but I want to be able to handle a large bioload). <Mmm... you can always remove the media later... I guess (Heeeee!)> I'd like to tie the two sumps together to equalize the water and have two return pumps that after head pressure will give around 600-800gph(perhaps Mag drives 9.5's). <Can be done> I plan to have one closed loop for each half of the tank.  For the closed loops I'd like to drill the intakes about 4-6 inches from the top of the tank (with 1" bulkhead and strainer), <Mmm, please tee these intakes in the tank, and screen both...> and have the return manifold enter the tank through the bottom so that I can hide the loop under the substrate.  Is this a huge risk for a leak or tank failure to have the holes in the bottom of the tank? <Yes... too much for me... I'd fit these perforations (in and out) near/er the surface... as one can never tell... Am thinking about copyrighting this stmt... what a money-maker!> Otherwise I'll go over the top and down, I would much rather not have a lot of pipe on top of the tank.  Each loop would have six 1/2" inch returns with 3-5 inches of loc-line through the substrate.   <Mmm... again, I would not do this... better, fine to just jet the discharges near the surface/downward> If I figure 350 gph per return I will need pumps that can deliver around 2100 gph. <Mmm... sorry re the too-numerous Mmmm's... but you won't be able to drive this volume through six fittings of this size, in the stated plumbing configuration... I'd do a bunch of look/seeing re the pump stat.s you want (flow AND pressure)... AND I'd upgrade to 3/4 inch ID plumbing... if indeed you want something like the stated flows> I am looking at an Iwaki MD100 with 1" input and output.  Can I bush this down at the pump to 1/2" pipe for the entire manifold? <I would bush this diameter down to 3/4 inch ID at the tank/bulkhead... leave it one inch on the intake all the water about, 3/4" on the inside of the tank>   Am I also correct in assuming that I can run the inlet from near the top of the tank to the floor where the pump will be, and the return up to the bottom of the tank with little effect on head pressure? <Head? Who said head? Oh, yes... no worries... the pressure will/would be about the same with the lines water-filled> At this point I still am thinking about valves, fittings etc....  Any input you can give on this plan would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Brian <Heeeeeee! Please peruse that aforementioned site (WWM) re marine plumbing... BobF>

Which Option For Plumbing A Separate External In-Line Filter? - 01/18/07 I have a 142 gallon aquarium that drains through a 12" x 12" central overflow via a 2" Durso standpipe into a 30 gallon sump. <<Ok>> A Reeflo Barracuda then pumps the water back into the tank at about 1500 GPH.  I want to run a second loop through a Nu-clear 533 filter, primarily for additional circulation and chemical filtering with Purigen and PhosGuard. <<I see...excellent>> I have a Little Giant 4MDQ-SC for this purpose, although I would like to eventually replace it with something cooler and quieter. <<One of the small Iwaki or GRI pumps would do nicely...even BlueLine or PanWorld for a bit less dosh.  Choose the smaller models without the cooling fan for less noise...would still be plenty of flow for the purpose of the filter>> My question is, how should I supply this second pump? <<Preferably with its own throughput/bulkhead fitting from the tank>> I have three available options.  The first is to feed it through a 1" bulkhead in the bottom of the overflow. <<Mmm...only if the overflow can take the extra volume...I believe RC has a 'calculator' for this>> The second is to use the currently plugged hole in the side of the overflow near the bottom, and then through the 1" bulkhead in the bottom of the overflow via 1" tubing.  In that way, it will draw water from the tank outside of the overflow, not from within the overflow itself where it may compete with the 2" drain. <<Indeed...this is a much better option in my opinion.  The bulkhead in the side of the overflow can easily be fitted with a screen to protect livestock>>>> The final option is to feed the pump from the sump, but will that be too much for the sump or drain to handle? <<You'll be pushing, maybe even exceeding the limits of the drain...at the least this will create more noise/turbulence, and the associated plumbing hassles to resolve same>> Thank you very much for any assistance that you can provide! <<Best to go with option two in my opinion.  This is the approach with the least hassle and the best chance for success...you will in effect be creating a closed-loop with an in-line filter.  Regards, EricR>>

Marine Plumbing, Pump fitting   11/24/06 Email in Unreadable Format <something other than IE...> <Here's a resend of the unreadable letter, Bob. I don't have enough experience with plumbing to feel confident in answering the question though. -JustinN> <<Thanks much>> Hi there'¦ I'm using a Panworld 250PS inline pump for my 200gallon predator tank.  I wanted something to create enough water movement without numerous powerheads but perhaps didn't quite know what I was getting myself into'¦ it's quite the powerful pump at about 1700gph including the calculated head loss. <A bunch!> The pump comes with a 1' male intake and the same for the output.   I used 1' vinyl hose from the pump back to my tank's water input manifold ~ I kept all of those measurements at 1' and there doesn't appear to be a problem here.  I also used the 1' vinyl hose directly off a 1' plastic elbow on the sump going right to my pump.  After first running my system for about 20hrs, I have noticed 3' of the hose IMMEDIATELY before the pump intake is collapsing.   Not enough water is getting to the pump for what it needs to run efficiently, correct?   <Suction... the flexible can't resist the low pressure... needs to be replaced pronto... either with reinforced flexible ("beverage" hose)... can be had at Lowe's, Home Depot in this diameter... or a good bit of length of rigid... affixed immediately to the pump intake...> I then noticed that obviously the barbed/flanged plastic pieces are all reducing the water intake to the pump along with the 1' elbow. <Yes... these are not 1 inch inside diameter> Would I be correct in saying that I should use 1 ¼' all the way up to my pump intake, only reducing it at the pump to make the parts fit therefore not restricting water flow? <This is a very good idea... there should be no to little restriction on the intake side of centrifugal pumps... they are made to push, not pull...> As well, should I replace hosing with hard pvc pipe leading to the pump? <Yes, I would> I was reading that some people use pvc cement'¦ but then in one of the responses in the FAQ's either you or your staff mentioned using small pieces of hose JUST to fit to flanged/barbed ends so that no cementing was used? <Some folks do this, yes... but not easy to come by hose of this dimension/that will work... you'd be better off all the way around using rigid ahead of the pump> Your help will be greatly appreciated'¦ have already been to Home Depot like 10 times and this will potentially be the 3rd time I have redone the plumbing on my tank.  I'm almost there I think. Dave <My record for going to HD is about seven times in one day! Have considered getting orange shirts... as so many folks consider that I work there... BobF>

Plumbing Two Returns - 11/22/06 I have a tank with two 1" returns and plan to use an Iwaki 70RLT as my return pump located in the basement. <<Mmm, do test/be sure this pump will not overwhelm the returns.  In many cases, a 1" return will only efficiently handle about 350-400 gph>> The question I had was how should I best plumb the return?  Should I have a T located close to the tank?  Could I use a 1" PVC return going into the T or is it better to use 1.5"? <<The returns should be allowed to run "individually to the sump.  Plumbing the returns to a "T" will limit their capacity even further>> Also, should I put ball-valves after the T and before each return bulkhead or only on one? <<I wouldn't install valves on the returns; too restricting/too much chance of collecting debris (snails) and causing an overflow...best to install a "gate-valve" on the output side of the pump to moderate flow if needed>> Thanks for all the help. <<Happy to share.  Eric Russell>>

Re: Plumbing Two Returns - 11/22/06 I must have worded my question incorrectly.  When I was referring to returns, I meant the output from the pump and not the drains. <<Ahh...ok>> I have two 1.5" drains on my tank and two 1" returns from the sump. <<Excellent...in that case I would recommend locating the "T" close to the tank (a "Y" fitting would be better/more efficient if one can be found), but still go with a gate-valve just after the pump output as well as gate-valves on each pump return at the tank (gate-valves are much more precise/allow a more finite adjustment, and generally have a larger orifice than ball-valves of the same pipe diameter).  Regards, EricR>>

Rinsing Sand/Eliminating a Back-Siphon -- 11/21/06 I was reading your FAQ's and have a question from one of your responses to the FAQ. <<Okey-dokey>> I forget the article subject header/date etc... but don't think it is needed.  The gist of it was adding new sand to a new aquarium and the crew's recommendation to not filter or rinse because the dust in the water is beneficial to a new setup. <<Ah yes, when using aragonite sand the 'fines' as they are called are readily soluble/contribute readily to the mineral content of the water...though can be a real mess/pain to clean off equipment.  But 'rinsing' the sand is no fun either>> Currently, I have my new tank circulating saltwater at the appropriate salinity and temperature and I am using a sump.  My sump is empty.  In short, it's simply water circulating over my new 2" fine aragonite sand bed. <<Ok>> Although the sand has pretty much settled I still have a cloudy mess. <<Been there...>> Am I correct in saying that I should simply let it run for four or five days as is... before adding my cured live rock? <<I would...only to prevent settling/covering up of any emergent life on the rock>> I will be using live rock in my sump as filter media...shall I leave this out as well for the 4 or 5 days??? <<Might as well, yes>> Second question:  I'm super paranoid about overflowing a tank or my sump in my 200-gallon tank and 55-gallon sump. <<As you should be...but this is easily taken care of by assuring water/drain levels are set to allow the sump to hold all transient flow when the power is off>> So, to be safe I do test runs and what do ya know...I have a system that cannot overflow. <<Excellent>> So, I put together a manifold for water coming into my tank from the sump with 'hang-down' type 90 degree elbows to give me 4 mini-powerhead like nozzles. <<cool>> They hang down about 4" below the manifold and about 3" below my overflow box...see where this is headed???? <<Mmm, yes...the manifold is draining too much water for the sump to hold>> So after a 24-hr no-leak test run...I shut my pump off to mix my salt....and the phone rings. <<Uh-oh>> I'm upstairs for about an hour on the phone to come back down to my aquarium room/sump flood! <<Indeed>> Obviously, the pump back-siphons the water to the level of the manifold nozzles 3" below my overflow box. <<Indeed>> After wet-vac' ing up the water I realize that this is what has happened.  I figure it would only back-siphon to the first nozzle exposed to air...nope...it back-siphons water to the lowest nozzle that is fully submerged. <<Curious...I too would have thought once any nozzle was exposed the siphon would be broken>> Although I am fully aware of this now... I'm sure there is a simple fix to correct this from happening unexpectedly but not quite sure what it is.  Obviously I could use a shallower nozzle that when running, would just barely hit the water surface so when the pump turned off it wouldn't back-siphon much at all, but this wouldn't give me the flexibility of range in my water flow. <<Understood...but this may be your best/only option>> Any suggestions? <<Can you get/fit a larger sump to hold the extra volume?  Can you set the 'running' water level in the existing sump lower/low enough to handle the extra volume?>> What about drilling a small hole in the top of the manifold and using a very small hose shoved down inside while keeping the other end of the hose up and out of the water? <<Might be worth a try; just be sure to have the hose inside the pipe pointed 'downstream' to keep from jetting water all over the room>> Would this keep air in the water supply manifold that prevents all back-siphoning? <<Maybe...but you might find you have to do this at each nozzle>> I just don't want water shooting outta this small hose while the pump is on. <<Indeed>> Any advice? <<Before trying the hose idea, I would try drilling a small (1/8') hole just above each nozzle opening about a half-inch below the water-line (where the water-line is when the tank/everything is 'running').  This should break the siphon when the water-level falls and should have little effect on the operation/efficacy of the manifold.  But, if you do this, do make checking/clearing these holes part of your regular maintenance routine>> Regards, Dave Brynlund <<Cheers, Eric Russell>>

Overflows and returns  11/16/06 First off, I want to thank you for all your help. This is truly a great website to help hobbyists like me. I am trying to plumb a new tank and had a question about combining lines. My tank has 2 1" returns and 2 1.5" drains. I wanted to know if I can T the 2 returns with a 1.5" PVC pipe <Can> and T the 2 drains into a 1.5" PVC pipe <This I would not do... better by far to run both 1 1/2" lines down independently to the sump> so that I have one PVC pipe draining into my sump and one return pump. I know you usually want to T 2 smaller sizes into a larger sized PVC pipe but since my returns are only 1" I wanted to know if I could T the 2 1.5" drains with a 1.5" PVC. <I would not... too much likelihood of restricting the flow to too large a degree. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing Question 11/13/06 Greetings, <Hello Tracy, James here in Michigan also.> I have been reading and reading and reading your site for weeks now.  While I understand the idea of bottom filtration, and by this I'm simply referring to the drilled holes and not a plenum, I can't seem to find the plumbing parts necessary to set up the bottom filtration.  My local aquatics store suggested the typical big chain stores for my needs.  I have the bulkheads for 1 3/4" holes, but I can't seem to find an extender for the outlet or the rest of the plumbing parts to plumb to my canister filter.  My local plumbing stores don't seem to have any of the sizes that I need. Is there a place to purchase plumbing supplies online?  I've been searching and searching. <Here is a link to an etailer that sells such.  A Google search will produce many more, some may be closer to you.  http://www.thatpetplace.com/MainPro/IndexFishCleaning.aspx> I'm still slighting hesitant about going through the bottom, what with the potential for leaks & floods, so I'm still tossing around the idea of plugging the holes and going over the back. <Bad idea going through the bottom if a leak proof overflow box does not surround the pipe.  All Glass Aquarium makes a kit that would fit the bill nicely, and it is a DIY project. Look here.   http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=12078&N=2004+113794 This company also sells plumbing parts you are looking for.> I'm considering a CPR Bak Pak and an XP3 Canister Filter by Filstar, but I'm interested very interested in CPR's Cyclone, also.  I've not considered lighting too much, yet, but thinking about a 4 light 48" with compacts and 5 moonlight LEDs.  My goal right now is mostly LR with Corals and Invert's, maybe a couple fish.  Clowns, gobies, shrimps, snails, etc. <Do search our website on above subjects.  You will find much info here to help you achieve your goal(s).> Any suggestions or comments will be tremendously appreciated.  I'd love to rush right into this, but am trying hard to hold back the reigns and do it right the first time. <I'd stay away from hang on overflows and go with an internal box such as the one I suggested.  Seems like you are always fiddling with HOB's, air bubbles in the "U" tube, plugged pre-filters, pumps running dry because of siphon loss, etc.  Do search, read, and learn on our site.  Here is one link you can start with.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm> Thank you. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Tracy in Michigan

Leaking PVC Connection   11/6/06 Hello WWM Folks,    <Scott>   I have a small problem with a newly set-up 135 gallon saltwater system that I was hoping you might be able to help me with.    <Will try>   The aquarium is a 135 gallon acrylic, with two 1-1/2 " overflows feeding an Ecosystem mud sump.       The system ran with no leaks for several days so I thought I was in good shape. Then I had to pull on the Durso standpipe for some minor adjustments. Since then I have a very slow (say one or two drips a minute) leak coming off the threaded connection from the 1-1/2" bulkhead to the PVC connection attached to the drain line. The drops are falling into a makeshift catch basin so I don't have an emergency but I would like to resolve the leak.    <I think I can picture the site... a slow leak at the threaded junction, but no real way of tightening this because the attached pipe is solvented>   The overflows are tied together and I am concerned that by cutting out and replacing the leaking bulkhead I may cause more damage and produce a leak somewhere else. Also I am concerned about the toxicity of the PVC "blue-glue" to my aquarium inhabitants.    <Is fine if allowed to cure for a few hours>   Have you folks had any experience with some type of external patch to remedy this type of problem? <All sorts... of... sometimes, allowing the site/area to dry out and using a very thin/low viscosity solvent (clear) will "do it" here... as well as Christy's might. Extension and replacement couplers require cutting...> I did some checking on the internet and found a material called "Plug-n-Patch Marine Putty" that can be applied externally on wet or dry surfaces. <Mmmm, nah!> I am inclined to give this a try before replacing the bulkhead but thought I might see if you folks had any other suggestions.     Thanks again for the help you all provide for novices like myself. I can honestly say I could never have built this system without countless hours spent reviewing your website.      Scott <I'd turn the pump off... try either the clear or landscape (colored) solvents idea here first. Bob Fenner>

Re: New Predator Tank Stocking, actually plumbing/overflow Advice   10/29/06 Thanks for all your advice Bob, where can I send your Christmas present?? <Mmm, the Red Cross?> On the comments about my 'emergency drain' on my smaller tank.  I think perhaps you misread what I was getting at.  I already have a corner overflow with a drain out the bottom of my tank to my sump.  My water level in my overflow remains at approximately 3" during normal operation.  I am thinking of putting my emergency drain within the overflow compartment perhaps about 5" from the bottom of the overflow on the back or side of the glass.  If there was a power failure... Simply my pump would not continue to fill my tank and tank water would lower to the level of my overflow draining out the bottom drain.  It wouldn't have any effect on the emergency bulkhead drain.  The only instance in which the emergency bulkhead would come into play would be if the strainer on the primary bulkhead drain would become clogged thus allowing the overflow water to rise beyond 5" and then the water would have the same drainage capacity as my primary overflow. <Ah, I see now> Correct?  Two 1 1/4" drains on a 90 gallon tank should be sufficient since my primary drain already easily handles the tank flow? <Yes> On my 200gallon tank, which is becoming the predator tank I described below, I only have the one drain and my pump that would be rated at 1,775gph overflows the overflow and raises the tank water and runs my sump dry.  Thank god I did a trial run on freshwater and nothing else is in the tank.  I've emptied my freshwater and someone's coming out on Friday to drill a second 1 1/2" drain on this tank. <I'd have multiple... oh, I see this addressed below> I'm wondering though, If my existing drain is not sufficient to handle the water flow, adding a second drain would handle the water inflow... But if either one of them becomes clogged... My sump will run dry.  I was so paranoid of my 200 gallon tank overflowing and flooding my developed basement... I made it virtually impossible to overflow my tank... Pretty much in every instance my sump will run dry long before my tank overflows.  Is it better to add as second hole within the existing overflow several inches up the back of it? <I'd keep at the same level.>   Should I possibly add another overflow box within the tank and add a third drain?  i.e. one overflow contains two drains and the other overflow contains one drain? <Yes> 3 drains total and obviously the highest positioned drain serving as my emergency drain? Dave <A good plan. BobF>

Marine Plumbing, drains/overflows...  10/24/06      Hey there, I mailed you quite a while with a question on waterproofing a homemade sump. Thanks for the advice you gave me, it worked out well if you remember.. I was thinking about getting my sump rhino lined.. yes it sounds dumb now). <Actually... polyethylene... just expensive in HI> Anyway, I was hopping you would be able to give me a little more of that great advice. I did lots of searching on your site but its a little hard to find the right search words.. all the wrong topics keep coming up. So, the problem... I currently have a 240gal 24x24x96 tank. My drain lines cannot handle the amount of water my pump is putting into the tank. <... not unusual a situation> I have two 1.5" drains with Durso style standpipes in the overflow boxes. The pump is the SUPER quiet sequence dart. The pump is pushing water up through about 6 feet of head, which according to the pumps flow charts should be giving me somewhere near 2400gph. Now a 1.5" drain should give me 60gpm right ? <Mmm, no... not in the real world> (I got that on your site with another person you helped out) Then two 1.5" drains should give me 120 gpm or 7200gph. Now considering that my pump is pumping out at around 2400gph I know I have a design flaw. Even if the pump had no head its max output is rated at 3600 gph which is still way under what my overflows should be able to do. So here it goes, ill start with the left side overflow and run you down the pipes.      The standpipes drains about 1" below the waterline. The water then falls down about 20" to the bulkhead. Under the tank I have a union placed right up against the bottom of the bulkhead. After the union the water falls 6" down to a 45elbow then travels 6" horizontally to another 45elbow, through a bulkhead with another 45elbow sending the water falling 15" or so to a submerged output. I'm going to be putting a micron bag on this line. The submerging keeps it nice and quiet. <Yes>      The overflow on the right is identical until you get past the union on the underside of the tank. After that union the water drops about 6" to a 45elbow then about 8" horizontally to another 45elbow sending it (still horizontally) to a tee. The tee has unions on both side and 45elbows going into two bulkheads for the two separate chambers of my wet/dry. To do something about the noise and the velocity of water tearing the blue filter pad to shreds) I have two small bowls that sit on the wet/dries blue filter, the bulkheads output are submerged in these bowls about 2". <Good technique>      So to sum it up, the left side has two bulkheads, one union and three 45elbows to a submerged output. The right side has 3 bulkheads( two are on separate lines after the tee) four 45elbows ( two on separate lines after the tee) three unions, and one tee, going into a submerged output ( really didn't mean for this to start sounding like a riddle hehe). All the plumbing is in 1.5" and I though that maybe the air holes at the top of the standpipes weren't big enough. <Mmmm...> So I took the tops off  and let the noise all out. It still nearly overflowed my tank. Could it be that my standpipes need more head pressure to deliver more flow? <No/pe> should I try to lower them? <Won't help much... not appreciably> Or could it be that having both my lines submerged has left the air nowhere to go but up making it hard for water to go down? I don't know but, Am hopping you do. <No more hopping/hoping...>      The last time you gave me advice you mentioned you have a home on the big island. <Yes, in Holualoa... on the 180... just down from K. Komo market> I hope you weren't there for the quake and your house is ok. anyway... hoping for some good advice over on Oahu.. take care <Thank you... What you "really" need are more and or larger overflows... two, make that three 2" inside diameter... the rest of the plumbing configuration detailed is fine... not contributing to your lack of flow potential... Either re-drilling the tank and re-doing the plumbing or changing the delivered water to the main tank (a smaller pump, diverting part of the flow... a restriction valve...) are your easy alternatives. A hui ho! Bob Fenner in Thailand> Mahalo nui loa -Chris

Flow Rate/Flow Restriction - 10/21/06 Hi, <<Hello>> First I'd like to say thank you for the service you provide.  No matter what issue I'm researching, I know I can always find information on WWM. <<Is a collective effort...you're quite welcome>> My question has to do with flow in my reef aquarium. <<Okay>> I have a 72G Bowfront with a 20G (Long) as a sump.  I purchased it from a private party and they had the back of the tank drilled with a single 1" bulkhead. <<Mmm...too bad they didn't put in two...>> The overflow box is a half-box that doesn't extend to the bottom of the tank.  From everything I've been able to research, the drain is about 600 GPH. True? <<In a perfect world, yes...but I would only expect a little more than half that for practical purposes (noise, air entrainment/excessive bubbles)>> This is where I have a problem. <<Oh?>> When I purchased the system, the owner had a 700 GPH pump (with about 5' of head pressure). <<This tells me nothing I'm afraid>> When I moved the tank and set it up at my house, I added a Mag <<Mag-Drive?>> to the existing pump (until I researched and bought my new pump).  So, that's (2) 700 GPH pumps, each with about 5' of head pressure, which I estimated to be around 700 to 800 GPH with both pumps running.  Even with 2 pumps running, I could only have the ball-valve I installed on the drain about 3/4 open or it would suck air. <<Strange...and dangerous to use a valve on the drain to control flow.  Partially closing the valve means restricting the internal diameter of the drain.  The first time a snail takes a ride down...well...you get the picture...>> I obviously knew I needed (and wanted) a single pump with higher output.  I bought a Rainbow Quiet-One 5000 (rated at 1300 GPH at the head). <<Too much for a 1" drain>> I installed it, and plumbed it with 1" Spa-Flex, split return, reduced to 3/4" loc-line (dual nozzles on each side). <<Sounds fine>> Now I have the drain all the way open, but I can only open the ball-valves on the returns about 1/4 open each and the flow coming from the nozzles seems extremely low.  Am I doing something wrong here? <<Nope, controlling the flow from the pump "output side" is where it should be...though I would use gate-valves rather than ball-valves for much more infinite control over the flow>> I have a 1" check valve plumbed in below the split, <<Not a good idea to rely on check-valves...it will clog/fail sooner or later.  It is best to arrange plumbing such that the sump can handle all transient water flow in the event of a power failure>> used a "T" instead of a "Y", knowing I had plenty of head pressure to play with and I can still barely open the return lines.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and thanks again for doing what you guys do. <<I imagine your previous pumps did not handle the head pressure well, or the plumbing configuration produced excessive head pressure to the point that the pumps were not "pumping" near the flow you thought you had (Only way to measure this reliably is to "time" the pumping of the water in to a vessel of known capacity).  I suspect the Quiet-One pump handles head pressure/the new plumbing configuration much better than the other pumps did, thus the need to throttle it back.  If you really feel the flow rate is too light for the drain size, then I suggest you check that ball-valve on the drain line for a restriction>> V/R, Rob Hagemann <<Cheers, Eric Russell>>

90 Gallon Setup - 10/22/2006 Good evening and hello to whoever is on duty, <MacL here at your beck and call. Hope all is well with you and yours.> I finalized and received my lighting for my 90g reef tank. I am now on to the plumbing. My tank is an AGA Mega Flow. As I took the parts out of the box I was shocked to see their own 'proprietary bulkheads. They are 1' and ¾' bulkheads with hose barbs all as one unit. The 1' for the return to the sump isn't so bad as the id of the hose barb is 1', but the ¾' hose barb for the intake is an issue for me. My main pump (Blueline 40) requires 3'4' id and the opening for a ¾' hose barb is only ½' id. I do not want this restriction. Also AGA states that the maximum flow is only 600 gph. My pump will exceed that even if I am 'careless' with elbows etc.  I was thinking of replacing the bulkheads with standard ¾' and 1' slip bulkheads. Do you think this is a good idea or do you see a problem with this? <I've used the AGA  bulkheads and knocking on wood here, have used stronger pumps that that, but I can see where you'd want to get rid of the size restrictions.  I think you'd be okay to go with different bulkheads if you can get a proper seal and have no leakage.  You might also go to the AGA website and present them with the question and see if they offer an alternative for you.> The other question I have has to do with the standpipe that comes along with the Mega Flow. Does this work well or should I go with a Durso standpipe? My concern is noise. Does one work better than another or do they both need tinkering with to make them quiet? What does one have over the other? They seem both the same to me, so why do some people switch? Is there a certain way to adjust these to make them quiet? How would I do that? Lastly, would the increased flow to changing to the larger bulkhead increase the noise from the standpipe? Is this why AGA chose the diameters that they did? <Increased flow will increase the noise in my experience but I didn't find the noise bad on either of the mega flow or the Durso. In fact most people do really like the mega flow. I've no personal information on the Durso but I'm sure on many of the websites you can get some testimonials on them.> I appreciate your help. This is the last piece of my puzzle for me to finish my plumbing. <Personally I would contact AGA and explain what you want to do. I think you will be fine to go with standard bulkheads but you need to make sure with your standpipe fittings as well.  I will say that in my experience the mega flow is very easy to set up and maintain. Good luck, MacL> Thanks,  -Ken

Hard Plumbing...Soft Plumbing...Pump Intakes...Bulkheads -- 10/18/06 Hi Crew, (not sure who is on duty). <<EricR here>> Thank you for my lighting help. <<Don't know who that was but I'm sure you are quite welcome>> I now received the rest of my equipment and am on the plumbing.  I am setting up my 90g reef tank.  It is an AGA Mega Flow.  Of course the space I have in the cabinet is not enough for my sump and two Blueline external pumps. <<A common scenario>> One pump is for circulation and the other is for my skimmer.  I originally planned on using PVC pipe. I don't have much room on the suction side of either pump unless I use 90 degree elbows, or I use the reinforced tubing with a hose barb and do a kind of a circular loop from the sump and back down to the intake of the pump.  Are either of these methods ok or not ok? <<Either will likely work fine, but I like the smoother turns of the 'looped' tubing.  Maybe you could use 'Spa Flex' tubing (flexible PVC) rather than vinyl tubing (less chance for kinking/collapsing).  If you decide on the 'hard' PVC, use two 45-degree ells to make a turn rather than a single 90-degree ell as this will cause less restriction>> I had always heard that you shouldn't restrict on the suction side of a pump. <<The line should be as straight/unobstructed as possible, yes...but a turn or two shouldn't be a problem>> Does either of these two methods constitute restriction? <<Not in the sense that installing a valve would>> I know you lose PSI for each elbow on the discharge side, but is same true or similar on the suction side? <<Not so much an issue of PSI as GPH...the fact the water is 'falling' to the pump helps a bit>> I also heard a good method with these pumps is to use the flexible tubing on the intake and put the pumps on a mouse pad as this will reduce the vibration that you would get from using PVC and having the pump on the bottom of the wooden cabinet floor. <<Indeed...a short length of flexible tubing on both input and output nozzles can help dampen vibration of the plumbing...and like you mention, a mouse pad/piece of carpet/carpet pad can reduce vibration noise transmitted to the cabinet>> Of course to use this method I would have to use a 90 degree hose barb.  Lastly, I was surprised to see that the Mega Flow tank came with bulkheads with hose-barb ends as one unit. <<Yes...cheesy/cheap>> Why did they make that decision for the hobbyist or am I missing something here? <<For the same reason they decided to install throughputs that are still too small and yet call them 'Mega Flow'>> Can the hose barb part be cut off and a slip fitting be put in? <<Best to replace the bulkhead altogether>> It looks like it is 3/4" intake and 1" out. <<Yep...too small and not enough>> Thank you in advance. Regards, Ken <<Happy to assist, Eric Russell>>

R2: Hard Plumbing...Soft Plumbing...Pump Intakes...Bulkheads - 10/20/06 Hi Eric, <<Hello Ken>> Thanks again. <<Always welcome>> Few more questions if it is ok? <<Sure>> What do you suggest that I use from my 1" bulkhead return to my sump in terms of piping or tubing.  The bulkhead is pretty much right on top of the sump.  Do I use PVC straight down, or angle it somewhat, or tubing. <<I would use rigid PVC straight in to the sump with a 45-degree ell on the end positioned just below the water's surface.  The ell helps to clear bubbles so they aren't trying to go back up the pipe/creating resistance like a "straight-in shot" would>> I am asking the question based on what may be the quietest with the standpipe in the tank. <<Understood>> I thought I read somewhere that straight down was not the best option. <<Thus the reason for the ell/for placing the output below the surface>> When I fill the tank with water the first time and run the system to check for leaks: A) Can I keep this water and go with it or do I need to change it due to new tank, tubing, piping, etc. <<Should be fine to "keep">> I was wondering if there is anything that could be bad for the live rock or livestock once I stock the tank? <<Mmm...be sure to follow proper cycling protocol for newly established systems>> B) How long can I run the system without lighting (except room lighting) without putting anything into the tank? <<Theoretically speaking...indefinitely...but I like to put light on my rock while curing/cycling the tank, and let the natural algae progression take its course>> I was wondering if I would get algae if I ran it for a couple of three days with nothing in it, as I am not sure what day I am getting my rock. <<No matter...will happen eventually>> I used to use Reef Crystals many years ago when I had a reef tank. Is this still good? <<Will be fine>> My tank is 90 gallons with a Marine Technical Concepts HSA-1000 skimmer, and their Pro-Cal calcium reactor, Maristar HQI (2x250 watts) and T5 (2x54 watts), and two Tunze Turbelle Stream 6000's with controller.  How many pounds of live rock do I need? <<I like to go with a "bit less" than most would suggest for reasons of aesthetics/giving the organisms room to move around/grow.  I would start with about 60lbs of a premium rock and make adjustments as need from there>> Is it 1.5 lbs per gallon or less than that? <<A useless measurement in my opinion...to many variables (weight of the rock, type system/ancillary equipment employed, species/type animals, etc.)>> It is supposed to be Fiji. <<Should be fine...though some regard this rock as "bargain" rock>> It is from LFS and it is as cured as you are going to see from a store. <<I would still expect/allow for this in your tank...albeit likely diminished>> I will also use the packaged live sand too (for aesthetics mostly), maybe about 3/4" or so (depth ok?). <<Yes>> Is the Carib-Sea live sand or the Nature's Ocean a better choice? <<Waste of money in my opinion...use dry aragonite and let the rock seed the sand>> Is there a certain grain size that I should be using, and do I have to put this under the rock or can I put the rock in the tank first, and then the sand up to it? <<A mix of grades from sugar-size to 2mm is fine...and yes, for stability placing the rock on the tank bottom and then adding the sand works fine>> I think I used up my quota of questions.  Thank you so much for your help. <<No worries mate...we're here to help>> Regards, Ken <<Be chatting.  Eric Russell>>

Hard Plumbing... Soft Plumbing... Pump Intakes... Bulkheads - 10/19/06 Hi Eric, <<Hello Ken>> Thanks for the response. <<Quite welcome>> In between I sent you my email and saw your response I had discovered the world of flexible PVC. <<Ah...>> I used this with PVC glue. <<Yep>> I used 3/4" and 1" for my two pumps.  I did a smooth curve (not a loop). <<Excellent>> It probably took 15" -18" to make the smooth curve.  I would imagine that this should be ok? <<Will be fine>> Does this stuff definitely hold? <<If you installed it correctly, yes...is as strong or stronger than schedule-40 PVC hard pipe>> I also put a union on the suction side.  Is this ok? <<Yes...and a good idea to facilitate maintenance of the pump>> I figure that in case I ever have to take the pump out this would be the simplest. <<Indeed>> I would imagine that I should put a ball valve somewhere on the discharge side.  What do you think? <<I agree, but not a ball-valve...instead install a "gate-valve" as this will give you a much finer control of the flow.  You should also consider placing a union between the pump-discharge and the gate-valve for the same reason you placed one on the intake side of the pump>> I know some people would say put a valve on both ends of the pump due to sump drainage if the pump is removed but I could always take some PVC pipe and a 90 degree elbow and some more pipe and put it higher than the water line. <<If this is your "return pump" it should not be an issue as you should have the sump plumbed in such a way as to hold all the transient water when the pump is off.  Thus, once you turn off the pump and allow the tank to drain down, water from the drain line/pump intake line wouldn't be a problem>> I am trying to keep as many "add-ons" out of my plumbing. <<Always good>> Of course I need to lose some gph anyway since the pump is rated at 790 GPH at 5-feet of head and the tank can only handle 600 GPH. <<No worries, the gate-valve will allow any final adjustment if necessary...and I think you will find that 600 GPH will be too much for the single 1" drain to handle easily>> One more question about the standpipe with the Mega Flow. <<Okay>> Is this noisy? <<Usually, yes...you will probably want to consider a modification.  Do a Google search re "Durso Standpipe" or "Stockman Standpipe"...I think both offer "kits" for these now>> I was curious why I read about people switching to the Durso standpipe.  Do you have any ideas on this? <<Indeed...most hobbyists find the "stock" standpipes supplied by the tank manufacturers to be about as inadequate as the throughputs themselves>> Also, is there a trick to "tuning" either of these standpipes? <<Should be listed on the respective websites, but generally, aspirating the drains sometimes proves helpful>> Oh yea, and I did replace the two bulkheads that came with the tank. <<Ah, very good>> Thanks a lot. Regards, Ken <<Pleased to share, EricR>>

SW Pb, valves  10/03/06 Hi <Greetings> I have 2 Mag drive 9.5 pumps. I tried to contact the company that I purchased the pumps from and they have yet to reply to me. I was curious if I would be able to place a ball valve on the return line... would this damage the pump in any way.... <Yes you may. A gate valve would be a much better idea though as they provide for finer adjustment among other positive attributes. Be aware that there is a limit to how far you can throttle these pumps down before they will shut off or overheat.> thanks <You are welcome - Emerson> Adam Dusza

Source for LocLine Fittings 9/29/06 WWM Crew <Robert> I'm toying with the idea of a closed loop manifold on my 157 gal tank, sounds like a better idea than a Tunze 6060 sitting in the background. <But I love the Tunze 6060!> My problem is I can't find anywhere around here or on the net that has plastic adjustable nozzles to put in my T's. Do you have a source for them? <If you mean the flexible LocLine fittings, Drs Foster & Smith carry the line.  See here my friend.   http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=4090&ref=3969&cm_mmc=LiveAquaria_DFS_Links-_-Fish_Supplies-_-LiveAquaria_Gen_Page-_-Plumbing_Supplies&subref=AA&N=2004+113794> <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Plastic adjustable nozzles source  9/29/06 WWM Crew <Robert> I'm toying with the idea of a closed loop manifold on my 157 gal tank, sounds like a better idea than a Tunze 6060 sitting in the background. My problem is I can't find anywhere around here or on the net that has plastic adjustable nozzles to put in my T's. Do you have a source for them ? Thanks <Mmm, Custom Aquatic, Marine Depot/Bayside (.coms) should have or they can buy/get from All Seas. BobF>

Pump Flow vs. Pipe Diameter - 09/13/06 Hello WWM Crew, <<Howdy Mark>> I need some assistance with plumbing my new 65gal tank. <<Let's see if I can help>> For my return I'm using a MAG-7. <<Okay>> I have about 4.5' head, 3\4" PVC, then goes to a SCWD and out to the tank.  Using REEFCENTRAL'S head-loss calculator it says I should get about 368gph and then the SCWD (-20%) will reduce that to 298gph. <<Mmm, thereabouts I suppose...many factors can affect flow (number of turns, 'type' of pipe, etc.)>> If I use 1" PVC it says I should get 417gph (375gph after -10% loss to SCWD). <<The "percentage" of loss due to the SCWD shouldn't change (would still be 20%)...and I doubt going from 3/4" to 1" pipe will cause a "marked" increase in flow as the MAG7 pump only has a 1/2" outlet>> But that is assuming its 1" throughout.  I don't have any idea how to determine the loss going from 1" PVC to 3\4" PVC.  Your help would be greatly appreciated <<The Mag-Drive pumps "reportedly" work better with plumbing that is larger in diameter than the pump outlet, but I wouldn't bank on this making much difference.  Most all pumps are limited by their design/the size of their output opening...the 3/4" plumbing for the MAG7 is quite suitable in my estimation.  Keep in mind the flow calculator is just a tool for "approximating"...if you "need to know the actual flow rate", the only way to be sure is to set up and run a test (time the filling of a container with a known volume)>> Thanks and keep up the great work you do. <<Welcome...we are trying>> Mark <<Regards, EricR>>

Sump/Manifold Plumbing - 09/13/06 Hi again folks. <<Howdy Jim!>> I am smack in the middle of setting up my new 150XH reef (I know, it's a tall tank, but there were reasons), with a 40G Breeder sump/refugium. <<Cool!>> This was a very hurried job after my 72G bowfront sprung a major leak, <<Yikes!  Been there myself mate>> but now that the fish and corals are all (relatively) happily settled in their new home (instead of Rubbermaid tubs in the middle of the living room floor), I am considering how to redo the current temporary plumbing into something more permanent and helpful. <<Okay>> The tank is a predrilled/overflow tank from Perfecto, with one corner overflow (I had anticipated two) which has a drain and a return fit with 1.25" bulkhead fittings. <<Mmm...better than the usual 1" I suppose>> My original plan was to run the 1.25" drain through a bushing, down to 1", and directly into the input of my Poseidon2 Vortex Venturi skimmer sitting in the first 9" compartment of the sump, probably without even using a pump--just let gravity drive the skimmer.  Assuming I manage to achieve the right flow rate, which, based on the pump that came with the skimmer, should be 700-800 GPH, does this make sense, or is it a crazy idea? <<You will never achieve 700-800 gph with a 1" (bushed) gravity drain my friend...expect something closer to 400 gph.  But from what I can tell from a quick scan of the NET, this skimmer is not a "recirculating" and thus won't work by simply feeding water to the skimmer body.  This skimmer needs to pull water from the sump through the venturi pump to operate properly>> I was hoping this would assure 100% skimming of the incoming water, but I can just run the drain into the compartment and use the Via Aqua pump that came with the skimmer to drive it, if that makes more sense. <<This is what you will have to do>> Then through triple baffles/bubble trap (the idea for movable compression baffles was a huge help) into a 20"x18"x12" lighted refugium compartment with live rock, DSB, and macro-algae, then into a 7" return compartment with a MAG-12 return pump and a float valve for automatic make-up water. <<Sound fine>> I was then planning to run the output of the MAG-12 into a SCWD (by way of a union and a ball valve), and run one side of the SCWD into the pre-drilled return, adding an over-the-wall 3/4" adjustable return at the other end of the tank to achieve some random/surge circulation. <<I would use BOTH throughputs to feed the sump...one "may not" handle the flow from the MAG-12...at least not quietly>> I was then also planning to add a couple small powerhead driven circulation devices in the back, using a design I found on Reef Central that uses PVC to keep the powerhead up out of the tank and in the canopy where it doesn't add heat and can be maintained (strainer and PVC up to the powerhead, then PVC back down to the location where circulation is desired). <Hmm...have not seen this...>> Now that I've done some reading about plumbing on the site, I am questioning the entire plan. <<...?>> First, I am wondering if this would be enough circulation.  I figure the MAG-12 should be pushing about 900 GPH at 6' head. <<Will be quite less after the SCWD...but still possibly more than the single return will handle efficiently/quietly>>   Adding a couple 200 GPH auxiliary circulation devices would bring my total to 1300, or 6-7 turnovers per hour.  Given what I have read, that doesn't sound like a lot. <<Maybe go with some 400 vs. 200 gph powerheads>> Of course, I know it's important to consider what I am keeping, which is all LPS, mostly Euphylliids, Caulastrea, and various brains and Fungiids, none of which particularly like very strong current, correct? <<Not really...they will appreciate some good flow...but not being directly blasted.  It will likely take some finesse on your part>> Furthermore, it sounds like the SCWD would seriously reduce the flow rate of my return, and I don't think I want that. <<Indeed...maybe as much as 20%>> But the present, single laminar return is definitely not working.  I was considering running my return into a manifold, but it sounds like the return wouldn't begin to have enough flow to drive a decent manifold, so I would need to install a second, closed loop system. <<Agreed>> I don't have any intention of taking the tank down to drill additional holes, so would it be possible to run a closed loop manifold without drilling? <<I wouldn't>> An internally positioned pump? <<Love those Tunze Stream pumps>> I can't imagine an overflow would work to drive a manifold! <<Not recommended>> How can I achieve decent, non-laminar flow with the present tank system?  Any advice will be appreciated! <<Why not use a "smaller" return pump (returned over the top) and use one throughput for the sump drain, and the other throughput to feed a closed-loop?>> Jim Jensen <<Regards, EricR>>

A Plethora of Plumbing Questions - 08/31/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> I have a few questions regarding plumbing my 120 tank to my sump. <<Alrighty>> I am setting this up as a FOWLR now, but planning for the flow for a full reef later. <<Mmm, no reason your FOWLR shouldn't have this benefit as well>> I have been reading WWM daily to get a good idea of how to plan things, I just wanted to run this info past you to see if all is good. <<Ok...let's see what you've got>> I have a 120(48x24x24)gal tank, it will be built into the wall with a utility room in the rear, so space is not a big issue. <<Cool!>> I am going to have it drilled locally at a glass shop.  I am going to use two 1-1/4" bulkheads for drill-bit size reasons.  I have 2 bulkheads to be installed that are 1-1/4"ID.  These will both feed the sump.  I plan on having them drilled aprox 5" from center to the top of the tank (in the corners), and in the tank, use two 1-1/4" 90's with a threaded strainer to skim the top. <<Ah, yes...this is very similar to my drain/overflow configuration>> After coming out of the back of the tank, I will use a reducer to go to 1-1/2" pipe.  I know that it will only flow the equivalent of the 1-1/4" flow bulkhead, but the 1-1/2" pipe is more readily available <<Indeed>> -What is the flow of each 1-1/4"? <<There are many things that can "revise" what is essentially a laboratory environment/best possible scenario flow calculation...  The flow calculator on Reef Central says you can flow 920 gph through a 1.25" bulkhead drain...experience has taught me that reality is about HALF the calculated rate.  You can squeeze out more, but for reasons of complexity/noise/hassle you will be better off adding more throughputs if you need/desire more flow than this>> From the reducer it will go into a T-wye for better flow movement, and will run above the tank a few inches to be topped off with a cap on each Over-Flow that will be drilled at the top to allow for air to vent.   <<You'll find inserting a length of tubing through the vent-hole in to the pipe a short ways will be more efficient than the vent-hole alone>> Then running down via a 1-1/2" pipe it will go into the sump via a 1 1/4" reducer. <<...?>> My sump lid is already drilled for the 1 1/4". <<Ah!...I see now>> Will this second size change hurt flow at all? <<Will be a "slight" hindrance/increase in friction as the water navigates the "bump in the road">> I plan on having 2 unions installed and 2 gate valves. <<Unions are fine, but I wouldn't put valves on the drain lines...too much flow restriction and chance for blockage>> I will also allow for an additional T somewhere in there for convenient water changes and maybe feeding a fuge later. <<Good planning>> OK, with this said, here are a few of my questions: -What do you think my total flow will be with the 2 1-1/4" bulkheads? <<As outlined previously...about 900 gph or so, before things start to become problematic>> -Do I need to go to 1-1/2" bulkheads? <<If you want more flow than this, yes.  But I see no reason to push more water than this through your sump.  You may want to consider additional throughputs for a closed-loop for more water movement within the display tank>> -Is converting to the 1-1/2" in the middle causing any flow issues? <<No>> -Where in here should I put my UV? <<Mmm...should not be plumbed in-line with the drain>> Should it just get its feed from the sump and use a pump or add another T + reducer to use gravity to feed the flow with a gate valve? <<Best configured/flow regulated through a dedicated pump>> -Will the UV just return to the sump? <<Up to you...can be plumbed to simply recirculate in the sump if you wish...or can be plumbed from the sump to the display>> It's a 15-watt (I know it's a little small but I'm using it for now) will it do any good? <<Again, up to you...its efficiency will depend greatly on how diligent you are about keeping the lamp sleeve clean...but yes, will likely provide "some" benefit, though these units are more trouble than they're worth in many cases...in my humble opinion>> -I have an in sump skimmer, should be OK..?? <<No idea/not enough info, but if it came with the sump I have doubts as to its quality/efficiency>> -Will running 45's instead of sweeping 90's matter for me? <<If true "sweeps"...no>> -My sump is 30x12x14T, is this big enough for this flow? <<Many variables to be considered here (plumbing configuration, dynamic water levels, transient water volume, etc., and not the least of which, your (your spouse's) tolerance for noise), but generally speaking this should handle 900 gph just fine>> I will start with the bio balls and evaluate later to remove. -For now I would like to go with an in sump pump, maybe a MAG, can I use just one pump and feed it up to a "T" with two over tank feeds? <<You can>>   -Or should I use two pumps???$$$$ <<A single pump suitably sized will serve fine.  My advice would be to "oversize" the pump slightly and install a gate-valve on the output side to temper flow as needed.  You'll appreciate the extra power/push once the plumbing lines begin to restrict from the inevitable build-up of bio-film>> -I would like to just use one, can I get enough flow to turn the water over 10-15 times an hour? <<Not with two 1.25" bulkhead drains...nor may you want to push this much water through the sump...but at any rate, this much flow will require more or bigger throughputs>> -If I use just one, what size would you recommend to return lines before and after the "T"? <<Best to follow the manufacturer's recommendations>> Or if, I use two with no "T" what size line?  Can I start with one pump and a "T" setup to save $$ and change later to two later? <<Sure...changing to two pumps is not necessary, though having the "built-in" redundancy is not a bad thing in case of a pump failure>> -What size pump, in flow - do you recommend for this setup? <<A Mag-12, with previously mentioned gate-valve installed>> Which in-sump pump is best for low heat? <<The MagDrive pump work well for me>> -Are gate- or ball-valves better for me? <<Gate-valves...much easier to make fine adjustments>> -Would this whole thing work better with an external pump? <<Either can do the job...but a submersible pump is usually easier to employ>> Whew!!!!  Thanks so much for taking the time to help with my, I mean our, Obsession!!! <<Indeed my friend...I'm happy to assist>> Hopefully this all makes sense to you. <<Yes>> And sorry for all the questions! <<No worries>> BTW, this is tank #4 in my house, I'm finally growing up at 36, and getting away from the hang on filters. Randy <<Good luck with your project, EricR...49 as of yesterday and still not quite grown up>>

Re: A Plethora of Plumbing Questions - 09/03/06 WWM crew (Eric), <<Hi Randy!  EricR here again>> Thanks for taking the time to help me out. <<No worries mate, is what we do!>> But as you know, your answers bring up more questions, if you don't mind?? <<Not at all>>   -First, regarding the total flow for my 120-If I shoot for 10-15 times circ.(for the future reef setup), what percentage or flow-per-hour is normal to go thru a sump? <<Mmm, 3-5 times the tank volume in my opinion.  But it is not so much a question of what is "normal" but rather what is needed and reasonable.  Some folks have thousands of gallons moving through their sumps, but the are usually plumbed with very large throughputs (2" bulkheads and larger) and the vessels and associated pump/s are usually located in a dedicated fish room or in the basement which can make dealing with the noise associated re much easier.  The reality for most folks is a sump placed under their tank which resides within a "living space" in the house.  For these aquarists (myself included), pushing 1000+ gallons of water through the sump becomes impractical for many reasons...and rarely if ever necessary>> What is max and what is overkill? <<Maximum would be whatever you can plumb for/tolerate...overkill, in my opinion, is anything more than a few tank turnovers per hour in most cases.  Though more water movement than this is usually needed within the display, it is usually easier to provide via a closed-loop or other method>> Also, what is too much, and will add microbubbles back into the tank?   <<Micro-bubbles are more a function of design (location of drains/lack of baffles in the sump) or faults in the plumbing connections, though higher flow-rates can make micro-bubbles more problematic to deal with>> Should I shoot for 2 - 1 1/2" bulkheads or do you think that the 2 -1 1/4"s will do fine? <<How much flow do you plan to try to push through these bulkheads?  If you keep it to 1000gph or less for the pair then the 1.25" throughputs should be fine>> <RMF would make these 2"> A closed-loop system sounds like a great idea, do you think a single 1 1/4" for both the intake and return are good? <<Yes...the fluid-dynamics are much different from a gravity-drain system>> Or should the closed-loop return go over the tank? <<Can be done, but "only for pump output/tank return line".  The pump input line will still need a bulkhead to draw through>> What's ideal? <<Either application will work>> What percentage of total flow or flow-per-hour is normal to go thru a closed-loop? <<Strive for something between the 10x-20x tank turnover you seek.  Do have a read here and among the other links in blue at the top of the page for much information re these setups: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbretfaqs.htm >> For the sump, I'm thinking of a MAG 9.5 or Mag 12, but this will depend on how much I need for the flow thru the sump. <<Either should work fine>> And maybe a MAG 5 or 7 for the closed loop?? <<Mmm, no...the size of the pump for the closed loop will be determined by the pipe diameter and number of nozzles on the manifold.  Typically, expect to use a pump that provides about 300-350 gph per nozzle for 1/2" nozzles, and 550-600 gph per 3/4" nozzle...all figured after head loss to the manifold.  So...a closed-loop manifold with four 1/2" nozzles will require a pump that provides 1200 gph "after" head loss in order to provide sufficient water velocity at each nozzle>> You said not to install valves on the overflow lines, isn't this a good idea for service and maintenance? <<Not in my opinion, provides too much restriction (take a look at  the size of the throat in the valve...smaller than the diameter of the pipe).  Once the pump is stopped and all transient water has drained from the lines why do you need a valve?  Installation of unions for removal is fine, but I don't suggest putting valves here>> Now on to the sump itself-  I have a decent sump that I described in the previous email.  But the more I read at WWM and other sources, I am leaning toward adding a fuge. <<Always beneficial>> I am very afraid of a catastrophic overflow issue, <<...?>> so I am thinking about turning an old 45 gallon (36x12x24t) into a sump.  I know that the tall 45 will handle any excessive overflow needs that may arise, <<Correctly plumbing, setting drain heights to assure adequate handling of transient water flow will eliminate chances for flood>> but do you think that the 45 is long enough to handle a section for the- feed in(3"), the skimmer(10-12"), the fuge(?"), a few baffles for microbubbles (2"each), and a pump/heater chamber(10")? <<Hard to say...perhaps a dry-run/some experimentation ahead for you>>   What is a desirable footprint for the fuge with this 45 gallon sump setup? <<Honestly...as large as possible>> If I go the tank route, I would like to incorporate the fuge all in one tank, again to lessen the chances for overflow/leakage/water on the floor with multi-tank issues. <<Multi-tank systems are no more likely to flood when designed/installed properly.  I have a 55g refugium that is gravity fed from the display tank and in turn gravity feeds in to the pump chamber on my 75g sump.  The bulkheads/drains have all been designed/placed so when power is off the transient water volume from the tank and refugium drains down to the sump...with room to spare>> Should I just scratch the 45 and try to get a 55(48") or do you think I can make a fuge with the 45 that will be large enough, worth while and productive enough for my 120 main tank? <<If you can afford/have the room, definitely go for the 55...but mainly due to the increased total water volume/increased refugium volume this will add to the system.  Bigger is definitely better!>> What is the ideal flow over any given fuge in my situation? <<Again, 3x-5x turnover will be fine>> Now for the tricky part, the baffles.  I have read several times that the silicone will not adhere to the acrylic very well or very long, if I use acrylic for the baffles in the glass tank. <<Should be fine for this application...though it is not difficult to measure/have glass cut (can be done at any Lowe's or HD) to use for the baffles>> Are there any option for this other that getting glass cut to size from a local shop? <<As stated>> Can I use acrylic for my baffles with any long term reliability? <<Sure>> If I go that route with the glass and the 100% silicone, how do I know what are the ideal heights for the baffles? <<Mmm, usually less than half the tank height...often determined by the optimum water height for your model skimmer>> Once I get them cut and siliconed in, it's not like I can slide them or just pop them out and recut one myself. <<Ah, but you can!  Have a look at this method for installing "pressure-lock" baffle systems: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i1/Baffles/baffles.htm>> I have seen a few guys go with the EPDM black rubber/weather-stripping stuff for a seal on an adjustable baffle, If I do this then I can use the acrylic and do a little experimenting with the sizes and cuts myself. <<Yes indeed>> Have you ever used the EPDM for acrylic baffles in a glass tank? <<I haven't...but the link I gave you describes a similar process that is intriguing>> Is it a good long term, reliable solution? <<Looks like it could be>> And last, I have read that the MAG manufacturer says to use 2 times the output size for your return line.  If I "T" this before returning to my tank (3/4" from pump-1 1/2" line into the "T" and then 2 3/4" lines from the "T" to the tank) will the pressure be sufficient? <<Adding the 'T' will increase back-pressure/head loss...best to "upsize" your pump and install a gate-valve on the output side>> I guess this ties into the sump flow question that I asked above.  And I may add a SCWD into the closed loop return?  Good or bad idea? <<That will depend on the design of your return manifold.  If you have two separate manifolds (left and right) then yes, the SCWD will work...if the manifold is one piece (all nozzles on the same "loop") the SCWD is moot and only adds more head loss>> If I start with a FOWLR is this necessary? <<Increases/effective water movement benefits any marine tank, in my opinion>> Thanks as always, for all your help-there is so much to think about to minimize my mistakes!!   <<Always welcome>> Here's a funny one that I heard today at my LFS.  I asked the owner/schmuck about total flow rates for my 120 and he said 5 times is fine???  I told him I had read online, that it should be quite a bit higher.  He said " you can't believe any of the stuff online" .  I told him that the guys online said "that you can't believe anything from your LFS!!!!"  I wonder how many books that he has had published and sold???  LOL!!! <<Differences in opinion abound...and not all LFS owners are "schmucks"...It's always best not to rely on a single source for information...do your own research from multiple sources and then use your own good judgment to make a decision>> Thanks again. Randy <<Be chatting.  EricR>>

Re: A Plethora of Plumbing Questions  9/8/06 Eric, <<Randy>> Here we go again, more questions. <<Okey-Dokey>> However I am fine tuning my direction on my fall winter build, thanks to you and lots of reading. <<Cool!>> Some of this may be a little redundant, but I'm getting ready to have the tank drilled, and want to get it right. <<Understood>> And yes, I have checked the manufacturer's specs on MAG pumps. <<Very good>>    Once again-120 gal, built into wall, fish room in rear, 55 gal fuge/sump, FOWLR-but preparing for full reef, space is not an issue.  First- FLOW RATES. (sump and closed loop)  Here is what I am getting from writing to/from you and reading (please correct or acknowledge as you feel necessary): <<Will do>> -Total flow for tank should be 15X-ish? <<There's no magic number but, strong vigorous flow is very desirable for most systems...15x tank volume should do fine>> -I will have 2-1 1/4" or 2-1-1/2 (which is better for me, and are 2"ers definitely too much?) <<Bigger is definitely better, but 2-1.5" bulkheads will provide sufficient flow to service the sump>> bulkheads drilled to feed sump and fuge feed.  55 gal sump located 4-5'down and 3-4' away (feed will be on far end (6-7'horz.) and return will be on closer end (2-3'horz.).  The 55 gal will be perpendicular to the 120 for space/wall issues/walkway issues within my fish room/utility room. -It seems that my sump will only require 3-5X flow, do I really need the 1-1/2"ers if I also have a good closed loop. <<The larger throughputs will make efficiently plumbing/silencing the overflows easier to accomplish>> It seems if I go to big, I will just have excessive flow in my sump <<Mmm, no...the flow is determined by the pump>> and to large of a pump (or larger than needed) I'm thinking a MAG7 or 9.5, could I get away with a MAG7?  I think the 9.5 will fit perfect?? <<Considering your plumbing configuration...I'd go with the Mag 9.5>> I know a oversized pump is recommended but maybe not oversized sump feed/flow.  I do not want to control the sump feed with a valve on the sump feed side. <<Agreed...would need to be done from the pump out feed>> I know it's all about sizing it all correctly. <<Yup>> -The fuge - My 55 will be designed as follows-skimmer-fuge-baffles-sump (with both feeds going into the skimmer area). <<Ok>> Will the 3-5X be to much going thru the fuge? <<Nope>> Or enough to push out some pods and such? <<Yep>> Should I design the 55 differently to let the fuge get it's own diverted/valve feed? <<Could...but not a necessity>> What do you think the 55 will add as far as gallons to my system? <<Did you leave room for collecting transient water volume?  Likely somewhere just below half the rated volume>> -My closed loop will handle the bulk of the flow (is this a good setup?). <<Sounds fine>> What ever size bulkheads I go with to feed the sump, I would like to match with a single closed-loop feed (for aesthetics, uniformity and possibly, less cost from the glass company) totaling 3 bulkheads in the rear. <<Should be fine>> For the closed-loop, making up the rest of the flow at 12-15X flow rate. <<Ok>> I'm thinking the MAG 12 (or will a 9.5 work considering that there is no head-loss). <<Mmm, no...12x-15x tank volume will require a Mag-18 or Mag-24 OK, regarding nozzles, not including the split return from the sump, will 4- 3/4"  nozzles (totaling 6) from the closed-loop be enough?  Or should there be 8 (total, including sump return)?  I really don't want to do all this, and then have to add any powerheads? <<Then plumb for eight nozzles and "cap" two of them off until such time as you think you need them>> Also, I want them to be black so I may go with the flex/modular nozzles once in the water, this will allow for some flexibility on directional water flow.   -So, thus far I have talked about 3 (?) sized bulkheads evenly spaced in the rear (2 sump, 1 closed-loop).  Is there any advantage in going with Bulkheads on my returns/nozzles (more $$ in bulkheads and holes drilled not to mention additional risk in drilling and strength compromise)? <<No worries, build your return manifold from PVC pipe and fix above the tank>> Is there any disadvantage in going over the top with these? <<Indeed...have you had a look here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm >> Keep in mind that the tank is in wall (glass shown only) and I will have anti-siphon holes on the sump return-I don't drill these in the closed-loop, correct? <<Correct...and these aren't necessary in the sump return if you have position/plumbed correctly>> OK, I think I'm done (for now), with all of this said, if all seems OK with your opinion and experience.  I will have 3 (?) drilled in the rear.  Thanks again, for all your help. <<Is my pleasure>> It's a good thing us devoted readers don't have your phone numbers!   LOL LOL! <<Hee!  Indeed my friend!>> -Randy- The best advice for any newbie, is get educated to save $$---i.e......Prizm and SeaClones-need I say more!!! <<All true...Regards EricR>>

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