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125 gallon tank, reef set up, circulation/filtration 12/7/11
Hello Crew,
Getting near completion of my tank and wanted to run my setup by you to get some input which i totally respect. First off it will hold live rock, live sand, fish and some soft corals. I have 4 x 96 watts of JBL power compact lighting (2-blue & 2 white) i have two (2) total 1-1/2" overflow drains
<... you'll be returning water over the top?>
and a 25 gallon euro-fil sump. the drains flow directly through a 7" filter sock and some live rock and carbon in the first compartment. The following two baffles have been removed to house next my aqua c ev-180 in sump skimmer ran by a Mag 9 in sump pump that returns to my main tank via 3/4"" braided tubing. next inline is my Coralife twist 36 watt uv sterilizer pumped with a in sump Rio hf14 pump that returns back to the main tank via 3/4" tubing. Next i have a in sump Sen 600 pump that connects to my current usa 1/3 chiller that returns back to the main tank via 3/4" tubing with a swing check valve.
<Mmm, don't rely on this, these checks... see WWM re, return the water in such a way that if (when) there's a break in the line, gear, all or not too much of the water will drain out of your system on to the floor>
At the end of the sump it is drilled to accommodate a Poseidon PS4 external pump that returns to the main tank via 1-1/4" braided tubing. What are your thoughts?
<I wouldn't use an external pump for circulation... better by far to utilize in-tank powerheads or other pumps. Read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm
scroll down to the Circulation tray... Hydor products if money is dear, EcoTech, Tunze et al. if not>
Another question is that my Rio hf14 sterilizer pump is rated at 840gph at 1 foot of head.
<Won't do this flow... Please see WWM re this brand. Unreliable to dangerous>
680gph for algae and 290gph for parasites. Currently it is at 4 to 4-1/2 feet of head to the unit and another 3 feet to the main tank. do i have a happy medium or can i throttle back on the Rio with a ball valve?
<Mmm, I'd replace, use a different pump period... otherwise don't worry>
Sorry for this being to long but if changes are needed then now is the time.
<No worries. Bob Fenner>
125 gallon tank 12/7/11

Hello Crew,
Please see attached. My apologizes if i sent it a couple times. my computer is telling me it was not sent.
<Strange... not sent this time either... at 0 Kbytes... Try sending to my personal email: fennerrobert@hotmail.com
Re: 125 gallon tank, Pb... /circ. 12/8/11

Hello Bob,
<Big E!>
Thanks for you fast reply. I just want to clear up your input just to make sure we are on the same page. Are saying that i have to <too> much water that will be returning back to my main tank?
<Mmm, nope. Just that you mention two 1.5" overflows but no through-put for a return>
is that why you mentioned i would have water going over the top? Also what pump do you recommend for the uv instead?
<... the one returning your water from the sump>
As far as the external pump my sump has been drilled and the pump attached.
Keeping in mind of my setup as is what would you do at this point in detail if possible?
<Read where you were referred. B>
Thanks again,
Re: 125 gallon tank 12/8/11

Big E,
<I'm Big B>
I have one through-put at 1-1/4" returning to main tank from Poseidon ps4, one through-put at 3/4" from chiller via Sen 600 pump and another 3/4"through-put returning to main tank from uv sterilizer unless i use the Poseidon return inline with uv sterilizer.
<I'd do the latter. B>
Thanks again

Consult the Experts, I do... 90 g upgrade... reef... plumbing and moving plan 7/25/10
Hi Crew,
I have a 75g tank, with a 29g refuge/sump. I have been planning, and scheming for the last couple of months to move to a 90g. Its not much of an upgrade, but the purpose is to get a drilled tank, as my power company
cannot consistently keep power on, and 3 times now the overflow box has lost siphon. This has resulted in moving a 75g tank in order to shampoo the carpet. Once was enough, I never want to go through that again.
<I hope others that read this learn from your experience!>
To the point, as I know you guys are busy. I wanted to run my plan through you, and see if there are any problems. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. The current 75g has 100lbs live rock, 5" DSB in DT, and a 5"
DSB in a section of the 29g. Tank is 9 months old, and all parameters are solid.
1. The 90g will have 2 corner overflows (WWM suggestion), each will have a 1.5" drain, and a 1" return. If I ever want to increase flow, I can convert the 1" into a drain, and run the return over the back. It will have the
100lbs of live rock currently in the 75, plus another 30lbs of dead live rock that has been sitting in saltwater for 3 months just to maintain it. I will be adding less than 1" of coarse aragonite just to cover up the bottom of the tank (the wife does not like the DSB look in the DT).
2. I am converting the sump to a 38g tank, with an 8"x12"x22" DSB. Will have macro algae, Chaeto, with reverse DT lighting.
3. Return will be provided by 2 Mag 9.5 pumps, and I will also have 2 Koralia 3's for additional movement in the DT. I plan on installing 2 Sea-Swirls, 1 to each Mag pump in the future, but I could not convince my wife to let me spend the money just yet. So each return will just be aimed in the DT to act like powerheads.
<All sounds fine thus far, but do realize the overflow vs. pump situation will not leave you with any redundancy. If you can, just go 2" on the overflow drains, each will be capable of handling the flow of both pumps should one become obstructed.>
4. Just in case you are wondering, I have an AquaC EV-180 for skimming, a custom built carbon reactor (I found a use for a SeaClone 150, he he), and a Phosban reactor on standby should it be needed.
I have built a holding series of Rubbermaid containers that will hold the fish and LR while I set up the 90, and test it. I will have a Mag 7 pump water to the first container from the last, and each will siphon drain to the last container with the pump.
<Siphon drains can spell disaster, even in just a few days.>
Each container will have a powerhead for additional water movement. The corals are going in a QT tank. I am going to scrap the DSB in the 75g, and lay down new, dry aragonite in the 90g after rinsing. The DSB in the 38g
will consist of mostly dry sugar fine sand, topped with sand from the DSB in the 29g. I expect a small cycle from moving the 29g sand, so once all is in place will monitor for a couple of days before returning the LR, and fish to the tank.
Once I begin this conversion, I am guessing the fish will be in the Rubbermaid containers for 8 days. That is how much time I allotted for drying of the plumbing, testing the plumbing, and cycle of the DSB in the new sump.
As always, any advice the team can provide is invaluable.
<Personally I would expedite the whole process. Though you can keep your livestock in holding bins indefinitely, it is far easier and more desirable to get them in the new system ASAP. If at all possible try to allot a whole
day for the new setup. Get all your plumbing done, let is sit for a few hours (a day at most), fill with tap water to test, drain, then just move all over. Specifics may prevent you from doing this, but waiting a few days for the DSB won't accomplish much. Losses in the holding system will be more likely.>
Sorry for the long email, but since I am looking for critique, I wanted to insure you knew all the facts up front.
<Sounds like a well thought out plan. My .02 means little, only you know your specific timeframes of work and situation! Congrats on the new tank, Scott V.>

Re: Setup Critique, Pb 6/24/10
Hi Guys. Ordered all the parts I need now I just want to make sure I have covered my PVC basics. I have attached the plans for the plumbing. Please expose any follies I have made. I know you guys aren't ball valve fans on the return but I only kept it because I have the bleeder line in.
<Is fine>
I was thinking of removing the bleeder line and if I do I would pull that other ball valve as well. I could have sworn I saw that bleeder setup on your site somewhere, why exactly do people install them??
<To divert/use water flow that they consider excess, rather than just restricting the discharge>
I was thinking water changes but that makes no sense because it will only release a little water out of the tank before the overflows will stop pulling water down. Thanks again for ALL of your help.
<Well... I'd use the "diverter line" to service the UV rather than sharing the ETSS Red Dragon pump... the skimmer needs the flow, and slightly higher pressure that the UV would be better run w/o. IF the UV is not fitted with true union connections, I would make sure and provide these, for easy removal of the unit for periodic checking, servicing, replacing of the germicidal lamp/s. Lastly, the general circulation/return pump... IF the FIP/MIP fitting on the discharge is 1" (or even less) there is no benefit in grading up to 1.5" ID through a wye on the return... Either use a reducer bushing of 1" to the 1.5", or just keep the discharge at 1" all the way. BobF>

Re: Setup Critique, Pb follow-up 6/25/10
Hi again. So I was thinking that since I am running the drains at one end and the returns on the other end of the tank that I should just forget the wye splitter on the return all together and just run my return pump straight to one return bulkhead and cap off the other hole.
I mean what really is the point to split one pump to two returns anyway, if its flow I have 3 Tunze 6100's which should be enough. What do you guys think?
Thanks so much,
<Welcome. B>

Instruction Manual, Reef Ready set up sans directions in print... Pb and... Mmmm... 12/13/09
Hey crew,
<Hello Ryan.>
I am a bit bummed out. I did all my homework and thought I had a great thing going. Picked out a tank size based on the livestock I wanted to house to ensure I could be a good provider and put in A LOT of hours on WWM. I found the tank size I wanted to upgrade to. I wanted to do a sump and fuge and really do the whole thing right. I shopped and shopped and read and read on WWM and waited. Finally I found one. Here is how much I paid $1260. Here is what I got. A 120g Oceanic Systems Tech series, 30g sump, stand, and Coralife light fixture with 2 true blue actinic, 2 metal h, and 4 moon glow LED. I know it sounds too good to be true. And it's not what you are thinking, everything is fine for the most part. The stand is in good order, no dings in the tank, it holds water, (I made sure prior to purchase) the light works fine, and it all looks amazing. It was marketed as a "reef ready" set up which didn't really matter to me.
<Theses tanks are more reef ready than most called that.>
I was just happy I found a package deal at a great price that had everything I wanted. The tank has an overflow/pre drilled sump, all PVC and plumbing was included.
Here is the problem. I didn't think to make sure there was an instruction manual. Who would really? It is just one of those things we assume. I tried oceanicsystems.com but they don't have any online. I tried every search engine I could. I put in a call but got nothing back. Now I have this awesome tank and sump with all of these pre drilled holes and plumbing and nothing to go by as to how to set it up. I feel like I have exhausted every resource. So WWM, any ideas?
<Well, these do not have a manual to speak of that I know about. Basically you are going to use the drilled holes as sump drains or pump returns.>
Thanks for everything you do. If you folks don't have any more ideas above what I tried you don't have to worry about getting back to me. I know you are all super busy.
<Ah, just look through the net for setup examples...the offerings on YouTube can give you many ideas on how to plumb this. There is no one correct way, a lot of it is personal choice and preference based on your equipment.>
Happy Fish Keeping,
<You too, Scott V.>

Refugium 12/13/09
Hello Crew,
<Hello again Ryan.>
The information on this site is unbelievable. They have problems in the workplace these days with Facebook and MySpace. Not here my friends, I have to make a real effort to stay off this site at work or I would accomplish nothing at all.
<Ha, been there too!>
I e-mailed in the other day regarding a new purchase of a 120g Oceanic Tech Series with a 30g Oceanic Sump (pre-drilled) with no instructions for anything (plumbing from the overflow/pump installation/return/etc. I was upset at first but then I had a radical idea... I have a brain of my own and can set this up any way I want!!
<Ohhh yeah!>
Here is what I am planning. All of this is preliminary in the sketch/diagram phase: I have a gravity feed into the sump via overflow and Durso Standpipe from the main tank. The water hits the skimmer in the first compartment then through a set of baffles that house a few tablespoons of carbon in a media bag into compartment two that features 4-5 inches of live sand, live rock, and some Chaetomorpha. The water free flows over the refugium into compartment three, however I plan on a small Rio pump inside the fuge to give the Chaetomorpha the water movement it needs to thrive. I plan on a light, maybe a compact T5 as a grow light on a reverse daylight schedule from the display tank to help stabilize pH fluctuations. Compartment 3 houses the heater and return pump. I am thinking about a Mag 9 5. I am confused though as to where I can put in some minor mechanical filtration.
If I have a foam pad or fiber aft the refugium as far as linear flow is concerned, will that allow the benefits of the fuge to reach the main tank?
<It should unless it is a very fine pad. If you can I would incorporate this first, before
all else.>
(pods and etc for animals in the main tank to feast on) Also, are my appliances in the correct order. (skimmer prior to fuge)
I read a lot of posts on WWM that people prefer to skim prior to the fuge.
This is my first sump/refugium set up and I really want to take my time and do it right. I am living by the measure twice cut once theory. I am also pluming in a drain for easy water changes. When I put in the baffles and plumbing as per my measurements, what kind of caulk/PVC cement do you recommend.
<Any PVC cement will work fine, just give it 24 hours to fully cure before adding water. As for the baffles, what materials are you using? If you are going glass to glass just use pure silicone. Be sure it does not have biocides/mildewcides in it. If you are going glass with acrylic baffles, take a look here:
I don't want to poison the tank before I even get water in it due to my structural components leaching bad stuff into the tank.
Thanks for everything!
<Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Pump questions for 215 oceanic, and Pb -- 08/14/09
Hi guys! Great site here. While I was searching for an answer to my question I was able to learn other useful information. But I am still confused as to how to proceed with pumps. We have a 215g reef ready
Oceanic. It came with the standard dual overflows with two 1/34 inch
<One and three quarter diameter holes I'll take it>
pre-drilled holes in each. We have a MRC 450g high-flow reef sump that will be connected to this system. This will be a reef and fish system with sand and liverock. We installed our tank in the wall of our
living room, and the back of the tank is inside our utility room. The sump is not directly underneath the tank, but off to the right, crating a 6 foot return to one overflow and a 2 foot return to the other.
<Umm, I'd use both these lines as overflows... either have the tank further drilled or just return the water from the sump over the top of the display tank>
We are not concerned with the noise of the pumps we use as all equipment will be housed in this utility room which is pretty well insulated for noise already. So my question is, what type of pump should we be purchasing for the returns? I have read information on your site which recommends Iwakis, but I am at a loss for what the appropriate gph is needed for this system.
<... well, there are a few "ways to go" here... I wouldn't rely on a/one single pump to circulate water from the sump AND provide internal flow.
I'll present what I would do here as my one best choice (there are others)... So... for the sump itself, you can 'guess-timate' what flow per given head, turns... I'd look into a fractional horsepower Sequence Pump... see here for their calculator: http://www.mdminc.com/SEQChooseYourPump.aspx
of about 900 actual gallons (all that can really "fit" through one of the drilled through-puts safely... lest the other become occluded)... read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/BulkheadFloRateArt.htm... and add some internal pumping... My choice? Vortechs...>
And I am confused about whether we should have a separate pump for each return or be getting a larger pump and t-ing the returns.
<I'd run the returns on one pump, make a discharge as pictured here:
(Our protein skimmer is external and comes with it's own pump if that helps). I have tried reading the
FAQs but I got even more confused. Anything you can tell me would be great. And I have attached a picture of how the tank and sump are configured in relationship to each other.
<Take your time here... realize your goals and the inherent limitations in the openings you have... Bob Fenner>

Tank Configuration 5/5/09
Hello All,
< Hello Ramon and Sons ! >
I have two questions that I need help with,
< Ahh, I thought you might. >
I have a Red Sea Max 65 Gallon All-in one( just cycling for about 2 weeks now) a 29 Gallon that has some Fiji rock 2 inch sand bed and a 10 Gallon tank that I am using to kill off BGA.
I would like to know which would be the best way to connect them all together?
< That would depend on your plans for each tank. >
I can't drill the RSM, 29 Gallon, or the 10 Gallon.
< Can't? >
I have 2 Maxi-Jets 1200s that I can use and buy an overflow for the 29 gallon to the 10 gallon and use the 2 pumps, one would be for the flow to the 29 gallon and one pump for the return from the 10 gallon to the RSM.
< O.K. If I am reading this correctly the plan is as follows:
The 65 gallon to the 29 gallon with a maxi -jet.
The 29gallon to the 10 gallon with an overflow.
The 10 gallon will then return to the 65 gallon with another Maxi-jet.
If drilling is absolutely not possible I would scrap the 10 gallon frag tank and have the 65 overflow into the 29 and then returned. The two Maxi-jets will not pump the same even if they are rated the same. Although
initially this could be corrected with the use of a valve, it is still a recipe for future disaster. You should also check the Maxi-jet with a head loss calculator to be sure it will be sufficient.
http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/hlc2.php >
I was thinking of making the RSM into a reef tank, the 29 gallon into a refugium and the 10 gallon into a Frag tank or do you have any suggestions on what to do with the 29 gallon and 10 gallon?
< You took the words right out of my mouth...or my keyboard. That would be my suggestion as well if drilling were possible. >
Any Ideas would be helpful.
< Please write back if you decide to drill and/or have anymore questions >
Thanks, Ramon and Sons
< You are quite welcome. G A Jenkins >

Putting the system together, Should I or Should I not? 3/29/09
Hi, need some advice from you again I was planning to plumb my 200 gal & 75 gal. reef to my 90 gal. fish only tank.
<Okay, hello Manny.>
Now would that cause a problem in the tanks? Would it effect the bio-load?
<It would not affect your bioload, but depending on how stuffed to capacity the fish only tank is, it can affect the water quality in the reef.>
What do you think? here is a drawing of my setup. I has the line setup already would just I to know if it would be SAFE for the system.
Your help would be grateful as always.
<It looks fine...just one note. I don't know what size the overflow lines are, but if they are 1" beware....those just don't flow as advertised. See:
Thanks Manny
<Welcome, Scott V.>

<<Click here for the full-size pic. -Sara M.>>

Re: Putting the system together, Should I or Should I not? 3/29/09
<No worries dude.>
the over flow on the 200 gal are (2) one on each side and they are 1.5",
<Ah, good.>
the one on the 75 gal. and 90 gal. fish only tack is 1".
<Do plan on 750 through each 1.5", keep it at 750 to have redundancy if one fails. For the 1" lines, 300 is really it.>
as for fish on the 90 gal. only have a 8" lion fish, a 2' ell about and a orange spotted rabbit fish for now. The 90 gal has its own sump I was just thinking I could save some hydro cost and run it all on one system.
<You know, you certainly could do this. But, I think you are in for a headache in the long run linking these. Everything transmits across. Water quality, disease, etc.>
Thank you for the reply Mannybr /> &<I have had many the same ideas. I personally would just build separate systems...they have separate purposes. It can be done, but it may be more trouble than it is worth IMO.
Scott V.>

Re: putting the system together should I or should I not? 03/30/09
Thanks for the quick reply!
<Very welcome.>
I'll keep it separated like you said, it's not the trouble. Once again a big THANK YOU to Scott and the crew at WetWebMedia keep up the good work guy's!
<Thank you very much Manny.>

Confirming Plumbing Plan -- 03/03/09 Salutations my Wet Web Friends, <Greetings Russell> Having assimilated, to the best of my ability, the many many hours of reading here along with my experience with my current tanks, I have developed a plumbing plan for my new 180g (72"x24"x24") glass display and 125g (72" x 18"x 20") sump/refugium that I would like you to review to make sure I didn't miss something. All of the holes I am drilling are along the back top of the tank. I am installing the Glass-Holes 1500gph through-wall overflow which utilizes two 1.5" drains. <Am familiar... and you likely know that a friend and fellow WWM volunteer, ScottV is a partner in the co.> The 125g sump/refugium is partitioned such that, from left to right, I have a 36" refugium, 18" sump return with two Mag 12's, bubble traps, and then about 16 " for my AquaC 240 skimmer. One of the 1.5" drain pipes will go to the refugium, the other to the sumps skimmer section. Both side compartments then flow into the central sump return section. I will return up and into the back of the tank with two 1" PVC lines (or hose) that will reduce down to 3/4" once I enter the display ( 1" return may be a bit of an overkill but thought I'd reduce friction loss where I could). I will run a spray bar for each Mag 12 / 1" return line, mounted under the two center braces of the tank with three ½ " nozzles for each. In addition, I will drill two more 1.5" drain lines to feed a Dart pump for a closed loop system. The two 1.5" drains will tee together just prior to the 2" Dart intake. I ran two closed loop drains just to slow down the flow into each drain, strainer. <Good idea...> Dart output will be controlled by gate valve and fed up behind the display with 1.5" PVC then split into three 1" lines which will enter the back of the display. Two lines will feed a manifold that runs around the top perimeter of the tank with eight ½" nozzles. The third 1" closed loop return will be piped down the back of the tank to the bottom where I plan to push water up vertically through the rock-work with three ½" nozzles. I believe that I have accounted for real world drain capacities, pump output and return line/nozzle sizes and quantities. Do you feel that this is a practical plan/expectation? Thanks, Russell <Mmm... I'd propose to "do" the water movement part here differently... For one, you don't really need, nor can you use two Mag 12's on the sump/refugium... as the volume of water on the 'fuge side you'll want to be less than the 1.5" drain can deliver... I would go with just one Mag 12 or maybe bump this to a Mag 18... and even then with a valve on the discharge side for flow control. Using a Dart pump (a good unit I'll vouchsafe) for an externalized closed loop would also not be my first choice... For potential leak, energy use reasons... Instead I'd use two well placed internal pumps (Vortech my first choice, Tunze... even Koralias)... Placed per some of Jake Adams ideas... with a Wavemaker controller or not... Want to chat this over further? Am very sure that many other folks have other plans that they'd promote... with validity. Bob Fenner>

Re: Confirming Plumbing Plan 3-4-09 Bob, thanks for your comments. I chose the two Mag 12's as my return pumps simply because I already have them; they are currently being used as returns on my 110g which is being upgraded to the 180g. <Ahh, I see... well, I'd just hold the one in back supply... myself, and use just one full time here... diverting some flow with valving to/through the 'fuge side> I had considered a couple different drain flow options and if the primary concern is flow through the refugium, a couple properly placed valves on the drain line can resolve that issue. You mention that I don't need the two Mag 12's for return pumps. Is this just a matter of not needing that much flow through the sump/refugium...slower flow, longer dwell time? <Mainly, yes> You also said I couldn't use the two Mag 12's. Is this again just a matter of overall flow volume? <Yes, and sorry for the lack of clarity... Though (I better look... yes...) the Mag 12 is rated for 1,200 gph... In actual application, the two will not produce such volume... and the Glass Cages 1,500 gph kit might well "keep up" with their pumping capacity... but there is a very real danger that "something" might/will eventually occur (a blocked screen...) and these pumps might overwhelm the through-put box... Hence my degree of adamancy re having superfluous capacity on the drain side... including more than one opening...> I chose the closed loop with the Dart primarily as a cost effective way to move a lot of water in a stony coral tank. It seemed that the cost/gph moved analysis favored a closed loop approach. <Mmm, look again... at real flow, mass water movement versus operational cost (electricity)... better by far to move much more water at a slower rate...> Another consideration was that the closed loop with many outputs also seemed to provide a lot of flexibility is directing flow versus the power head approach. I also was looking to clean up the look of the display by eliminating the power heads. Much of the reading I've done here seems to point people to closed loop systems so I wonder if you can expand a bit on why you favor the power head approach... <Am going to "goose" Jake Adams here... Am wondering if his excellent "water flow" pitch/presentation is available on the Net... Maybe here: http://www.archive.org/details/SierraSaltwaterSystemsMARS11_08_JakeAdams-DluidDynamics or here: http://sierrasaltwatersystems.blogspot.com/2008/04/podcast-max-marine-aquarium-expo-jake.html> is it just a leak potential and power consumption issue, or is there more, such as potential for wavemaker? <Mmm, do search the Net for articles with the product... Vortech...> Russell <Mmm, how to make a succinct statement here.... Comparing a centrifugal pump arrangement such as the external Dart pump, plumbing... one will get a good deal more pressure, but much less volume of water moved per kilowatt of power consumed... Your corals will benefit much more from having more water moved more gently... The placement of the internal pumps can be important... and the size, shape of the system, arrangement of structure in the system itself can aid/hinder your circulation. Do please peruse/listen to JakeA's pitch... and if you have a chance to see him in person... do so. Bob Fenner>

Re: Confirming Plumbing Plan 3-4-09 Bob, <Russ... glad to catch this ahead of posting the dailies...> Ok, I understand your comments on the two Mag 12 return pumps....concern that they may/probably will overwhelm the 1500 gph overflow at some point even accounting for the total head loss. Also understand the issue of overall flow through sump/refugium. Points taken. <Sorry again for the incompleteness of expression on my parts here... Am lagging a bit today, from the eve's vino tasting> Regarding overall water movement in the tank, I had understood (apparently misunderstood) from reading that high velocity random turbulent flow was best for stony corals. This led me to pursue the closed loop system with multiple outlets at 300 - 350 gph each. However, as I understand your comments, assuming I can live with the aesthetics of power heads in the display and having to clean them periodically, I'd be better off with say, four Koralia 4's ( over Tunze or Vortech based on cost) at 1200 gph each, wavemaker optional...maybe added when funds allow. This would give even greater overall water movement(albeit with less randomness that the closed loop system) than the Dart with much less power consumption. <Mmm, I do wish I had time to do a bit look-seeing in the literature for you/all of us here... There are real scientific measures of water movement effects on growth rates... How to put this again in a petfish jargon general statement? "I like to "do" what seems to occur in nature... which is not at all like pumping through small ports at high velocity"...> I will check out Jake Adam's material for more enlightenment. Just goes to show what you have always said....many different paths/trade-off in this hobby. <Oh yes> I appreciate the conversation, thanks. Russell <Thank you Russell. BobF>

Plumbing/new tank questions 8/27/08 Hello to all that help and support this site. It truly has been an inspiration (in a 'fishy' kinda of way) for my continued love and interest in the hobby; without it, I dread to think where the LFS would have taken me. <Heee, they're not all bad!> While I'm sure that many of my questions will have been answered in previous threads (I've spent countless hours reading as much as my brain can handle and looking for answers), I wanted to get input on my 'proposed' tank setup. I am upgrading from a 75 gal. (Very 'rigged' tank with a HOB overflow) to a 120 gal. Glasscages Rimless (48x24x24) with a single center overflow. I've heard mixed reviews on Glasscages, but would also consider that one bad experience will get the publicity of 100 good experiences. <Nothing wrong with their tanks.> Here are my questions I would appreciate opinions on before making the investment. With a single overflow I wanted to use a 2in bulkhead drain with a 1.5 in for the return line. I had originally thought about 2 corner overflows with 1.5in drain bulkheads, but like the look and space used by the single centered overflow (In my head I see two islands with a swim through for the fish, very open). Is this appropriate, and would I be able to 'fit' and 2in. Durso stand pipe into one center overflow (the tank will be about 5 feet away from the TV and noise must be considered)? <There is nothing wrong with a center overflow, however do consider having multiple throughputs/drains in the overflow. A single 2' can handle a good bit of flow, but it is a good idea to have another should the first on get plugged/fail. With a 1.5' return, I assume you plan on using a large pump? Depending on your planned flow you may want even more than two throughputs. Also be aware that the more flow you run through the sump the more bubble troubles you will have. Fitting the Durso in the overflow just depends on the dimensions of the overflow, you can specify to them to make sure there is room for this. > I'll be using a sump (40 gal. breeder) diagramed by Melev's site, it's the one that he demonstrates turning a glass aquarium into a sump/fuge. It is a basic flow from the protein skimmer through a bubble trap to the refugium which is separated by a 4in baffle and egg crate (to keep sand out of the pump). I would like to use an external pump (preferably an Iwaki) unless there is considerable noise reduction to the internal return pump. <Iwaki pumps are great reliable workhorses, but if quiet is what you want I would look elsewhere. I would look at the Eheim 1262 for the amount of flow you are talking about or even the Reeflo Snapper throttled back a bit if you want even more flow. Both are dead quiet and the power cost on the Snapper is hard to beat if you want a high flow return.> There will be 3 right angles and approx. 4ft of head for the return. I was thinking 1.5in for the return PVC. With this in mind (and any corrections you may have already made), should I consider an 1100 or 1600 gph return pump? Is this too much flow through the refugium and sump? <This is quite a bit to push through a 40 gallon breeder. Some get away with this amount of flow through these, but most have bubble issues. Do look at the Eheim mentioned above, the flow will amount to a few hundred gph less, more manageable.> I'm trying to keep the plumbing very simple, and trying to use as few as powerheads as possible. <On a tank this size it is often easier/better to have a dedicated sump return with a separate closed loop if you don't want powerheads. > Tank overview and proposed equipment: Coralife 220 Protein Skimmer (this will be upgraded around Xmas time.) ;) Current USA/Orbit. 48' 2x 250 watt Metal Halides and 4x 54 watt T5's. Any input on the light fixture? I will be mounting it to the ceiling and wanted something around $1000 that was an all-in-one unit. The tank will be open-top. <It is a nice fixture with a finished look, this counts since it will be out in the open!> Primarily, I want to get into keeping SPS with some specific LPS near the bottom half of the tank (considering the stronger MH bulbs). Excuse my being vague here; I am also purchasing several books as we speak, which are written by some of this site's contributors, to narrow this animal selection down. <A great idea for anybody.> Thanks for the time and support with this site. It is an invaluable resource for all in this hobby. <Thank you.> Thanks, Blake <Welcome, have fun setting up, Scott V.>

Central filtration, plumbing 8/21/08 Hi I have been keeping marines since the 70's and reefs since 86. <Hey old timer!> I have run multiple aquariums on a central system for many years. I will now be building a large fish room. I am going to be running 18 aquariums on a single central system. In the past I have always provided each aquarium with a individual return branched off of the main pump return line. I was wondering if you have an opinion with regards to changing this set up and instead returning the water to the top row aquariums and allowing the overflow to serve as the return to the second row and so on to the third row with this overflow going to the sump. This would be easier to plumb and more economical as well. Let me know what you think Thanks! Glen <Will make a few general statements here. Overall, I would revert, stick with your first design... for a few reasons: One, the issue of disease transmission. It's much easier to be able to assure that what is going back through your centralized filter is clean, than have water mixed tank to tank. Ditto with controlling flow to and through any given tank... What happens if you don't want so much water in a tank below, but do want it in one above? Having done these sorts of set-ups over many years time, I assure you the individual in/out arrangement is vastly superior. Bob Fenner>

Drains, Returns and Closed Loops, OH MY! 6/1/08 Hey Guys! <Brian> So here's where I am at and need some plumbing help. I have a 120g (48.5x24.5x24) AGA with center overflow that has a 1.5" drain. The tank is also drilled with 4 1" bulkheads along the back. I originally was going to use just the 1.5" to drain to the 40g breeder sump, and 2 of the back holes for returns with the other 2 for closed loop intakes, but after much reading on your site I think it might be best to change that train of thought. So here is where I am at, and would love to hear your thoughts. <Okay> 1.5" drain and the 2 outer 1" to drain into sump. That would put approx 2200ish gph into sump. <Uhh, no... about half this at most> So first question is with 5' of head, what should my return pump be rated at to handle that. <I'd stick with about 1,000 gph maximum calculated> Internal, external doesn't matter. I would run 1" return line back up T'd off to separate 20g fuge(this will gravity feed back to sump return area). The 1" return line would T off again up near tank and drop back over the top into tank. The other 2 1" drains would T together up to 1.5" to feed into Dart pump for closed loop. I would run the dart up through a OM 4-way, 2 returns would come up over the top to the front corners with loc-line, the other 2 would come over the back of the tank, run along the very back inside the tank to the bottom middle on each side and come back up through the sand with more loc line to generate flow back up. I have to run the lines through the tank as the bottom is tempered and can't be drilled. The goal is to have no powerheads anywhere in the tank. <Will, can be made to work.> I am sure there is something I'm missing in here, so any help is appreciated. Thanks, Brian <Just "missing" the estimate (of probable gravity/drain feed from the 1.5 and 2-1" lines) and need to consider the return in turn... all else reads as fine. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing Questions For New Marine Tank Setup -- 4/02/08 Hi. <<Hello>> You guys and girls are great. <<Why thanks!>> I am refinishing an older tank and am getting ready to plumb. <<Cool! Maybe it's just me, but I think designing/building a new system is as much fun as stocking it>> Here is a Google Sketchup of my tank and sump, to scale, with the back of the cabinet removed. <<I see 'very nice>> The gray circles represent bulkheads or holes in the cabinet back. <<Okay>> I plan to start with FOWLR and then grow into a reef tank as I learn. <<Mmm, okay 'do keep this in mind when making your fish selections as what works for the former may not work for the latter>> It is a 75 Gallon tank drilled at the corners for two 1.5 inch ID bulkheads for overflow. <<Ah'¦excellent! So much better than the ubiquitous 1' bulkheads 'and will give you a maximum of about 1400gph en toto>> The tank will have about 90 lbs of cured live rock (maybe some of it in the refugium) and about 2 inches of sugar aragonite, lit by an Aqualight Pro 48". <<Be sure to keep an 'open' structure when doing your aquascaping'¦no need to 'fill-up' on rock. I believe it is in the May issue of Aquarium Fish International that Richard Harker has an article on the 'minimalist' approach to reefscaping'¦you should check it out. I used this approach on my own system for a couple years now, and with a little patience it really does provide for a healthier and different/better looking display, in my opinion>> The bottom of the tank will have a PVC frame to lift the rock 2 inches off the bottom. I may also place lighting eggcrate on the bottom to distribute the weight. <<All more trouble than it's worth. Better to set the rock on the tank bottom (lay down a piece of fan-fold foam insulation or the like first, if you are worried about direct contact) and fill around with the sand 'again, in my opinion>> Beneath is a 30 gallon sump refugium divided into three compartments for 1) overflow and ASM G2 skimmer (left, looking from the rear ) 2) return pump (middle) and 3) refugium (right). The pump is an Ocean Runner OR6500. <<Ah'¦love this brand of pumps. I used to employ Mag-Drive pumps exclusively for return pumps, but made the switch to Ocean Runner a few years back on a whim and have not regretted it. The pumps run quieter, seem more powerful given equal rated flow rates, and thus far have proven very reliable. I'm not knocking the Mag-Drive pumps 'still a great performer for the money. But for those looking for an alternative re'¦>> I plan to plumb two 1.5 ID PVC Sch40 drain lines with turnable street 90s in the tank down to the sump. <<Um'¦I am familiar with PVC street ells (elbows), but I don't know of any that 'turn' after being installed/cemented in place. I hope you don't mean to leave this joint free to move?>> One line will have a tee/nipple with a .75 ID ball-valve dropping water into the refugium. Both lines will dump into the skimmer section on the left. Water will pass from the skimmer section through baffles into the pump chamber with the OR6500. <<Sounds fine>> I will place socks on the overflow exhausts. <<Do clean/swap out regularly>> The pump will pump water directly back to the Display tank with 1.25 ID PVC Sch40. I will place a true-union ball-valve immediately after the pump. <<Excellent 'but I suggest a 'gate-valve' here rather than the ball-valve. For a few more bucks the gate-valve will give you much better control over the flow rate from the pump 'is quite handy when trying to finesse flow versus drain capacity/rate>> I plan to Tee the 1.25 into multiple lines (.75ID) for multiple outlets. I hope this is clear so far. <<I think I'm still with you>> I am estimating 1100 GPH after Head and Tees. <<Mmm, yes 'maybe a tad bit more 'but easily tested>> I plan to solvent all the joints except at unions and valves, where I will use silicone on the threads. <<Ah yes 'this or a few wraps of Teflon tape 'either can/will work well>> I have three questions. First, do you see any glaring issues with this setup (e.g.- pump speed with small pump chamber? <<This 'is' a consideration'¦ be sure to position/space the baffles to allow sufficient water flow to reach the pump before it 'starves' the pump chamber of water. Experimentation re can be problematic, but installing repositionable baffles as described here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i1/Baffles/baffles.htm) can make life easier>> Sugar aragonite storm?). <<Little concern here I think>> Second, since I do not have boxes installed for overflows; do you have any recommendations on how to keep fish and snails from visiting my sump... <<Indeed I do>> Should I just use regular 1.5 strainers or is there another more creative solution? <<The bulkhead strainers will work 'though they will set the water height at the height of the bulkheads, and the also will reduce flow quite a bit. A better alternative is to use PVC (or ABS if you want 'black') elbows in place of the strainers. The elbows can be trimmed as/if necessary to fit'¦and you can even carve 'teeth' in to the rim if you wish. The elbows are left as a 'slip fit' to allow rotation which allows you to fine-tune water height within the tank, or to make slight adjustments to flow rate between the two drains>> Third, I was considering setting up a manifold at the top but am concerned that with the reduction from 1.25 to .75 and all the 90s, my OR6500 will not have the pressure to generate enough current. <<I am in agreement'¦ I doubt you would have enough flow/pressure to use more than two ¾' nozzles (if that)'¦might as well keep with your original plan>> What do you think? <<As stated, mate>> Thanks for your time, and keep up the great work. John "Fishnu" <<My pleasure to give. Regards, EricR>>

System upgrade, Connecting SW Systems -- 09/08/07 To the WWM Crew: <Flavio> I have a 125 G. marine and a 125 fresh. The distance between the tanks is about 50 cm. The marine system is a established one ( 6 years ) and is a growing soft corals, porous rock, and fish good mix. I intend to connect the two tanks, in order to double the water volume and to have the possibility to add more fish and propagate/divide some more grown corals, using the future new salt space. I think I have two options: Option 1: to connect the tanks using a water line between the bottom of the corner division (overflow) of the tank 1 and the bottom of the tank 2 ( the two tanks have 3 holes (with ball valves) in the bottom glasses); and also to establish a water line between the overflow of the tank 2 and the sump. The pump is the sump and feeds tank 1. Option 2 : just to add another pump in a bigger sump ( 60 G.) that feeds tank 2 and connect this one to a shared sump. <Mmm, I would go with Option 2. Gives you more flexibility... and less potential for disaster> Another issue is the new 125 G. of new salt water to fill the added tank. I use natural salt water. Do you think it is better to gradually mix the new with the "old", connecting the two tanks during, let me say, 10 minutes each day, or just connect totally since the beginning ? <I would do the latter... if the waters are about the same temperature... All should be fine> The added tank will have new water, new sand, new rocks. I am thinking to mix some tank 1 sand and rocks to the news in the tank 2. <I agree with you here> Please use this email to contact me: <Done> Thanks for your advice and for your so helpful site. Fla¡vio <A pleasure to share with you. Bob Fenner>

Pump head vs. distance. Figuring Straight Runs Of Pipe For Head-Loss -- 06/19/07 Quick question. <<Alrighty>> I have been searching for this answer. <<Hopefully I can provide some illumination>> I know I have seen it places but can't come across it. <<Likely so...let's hear it...>> When sizing a pump and taking in to account head and pressure, how many feet of head do you account for when going in a straight/level line? ex...Is 10-foot distance equal to 10-foot of head? Thanks Bryan <<A very good question Bryan, and one, yes, I'm sure has been asked and archived. But no worries mate, we'll create another 'Google-hit' right here. The answer is yes, you do need to take any 'straight' runs of pipe in to account when figuring pressure/head-loss. A good rule-of-thumb is to add an 'extra' foot of head-pressure for every ten-feet of 'straight' pipe run. So to use your example... A 10-foot run of 'horizontal' pipe would constitute 1-foot of head-loss...but a 10-foot run of 'vertical' pipe would constitute 11-feet of head-loss...Understanzee? Always best to buy a pump BIGGER than you think you will need, and install a gate-valve on the output side to temper flow if necessary...in my humble opinion. Regards, Eric Russell>>

Not in FAQ question on water changes. Synthetic SW prep., surface skimmer design 4/19/07 Hello Crew, <RM> First, thanks for maintaining this wealth of information. I've found it very helpful on many occasions. You guys rock! Unfortunately I live very close to the municipal city well and thus the chlor(am)ines concentration is so high that it offends the nostrils out of the tap and leaves a white powdery film behind when it evaporates. I was relieved to find that the procedure I've adopted for mixing water is the recommended one; pre-mixing and storing. What I've been doing is putting the water from the tap into a 30 gal Rubbermaid along with a heater, aeration, powerhead, and then ozonating the heck out of it for about 24 hours and the whole house has that nice fresh after-thunderstorm smell. I don't add a dechlorinator product since I heard they don't really remove the chlorines, just bind them or something. <Mmm, I do agree with your water processing technique... but there are purposeful dechloraminators> I've heard that the ozone will actually remove the chlor(am)ines. Is this the case? <In time, yes> Then I give the ozone another day to dissipate out of the water with just straight air aeration, then I add my Kent Marine salt mix, which I heard is "the good stuff"? <I prefer other brands: http://wetwebmedia.com/synthsaltmixes.htm> Would this practice be sufficient in removing the heaving chlorine loads in our tap water? <Yes> How long can prepared saltwater be stored (in the opaque Rubbermaid container, with top on)? <Weeks to months> Will it lose salinity or anything important (like trace elements, which I read on here are not actually that important for FO), or react with the plastic? <No, no and not significantly> It hadn't seemed to thus far, but I thought it best to get a 2nd opinion. I know that the cost of salt mix is really negligible but lets say I wanted to cut down this cost. Can I store the wastewater from a water change, highly ozonate it, store it for a time and perhaps use it again? <Not worthwhile IMO> I ask because I've also heard that with enough standing time, most things not easily dissolved in water, will evaporate out (i.e.. contaminants). <Not so> Would this go along with the best practice of premixing and storing? <To a large extent, sanitizers do "go away", some chemical species in many source waters will complex... react with each other, more so with salts in solution... become less reactive...> Also, on a different note, I read that another reader was looking for a surface water skimming device. I have a setup where the surface water is pulled into my canister, filtered, and then sent UP through the undergravel filter. I read that this is more efficient for the bio-filter. I made the skimmer part out of a refugium by cutting out a square on the top front side, then hinged a piece of plastic to the inside of the box via wire ties, then siliconed a strip of Styrofoam to the underside of that "door" to give it buoyancy. <Neat> In the final setup I attached a hair comb (ghetto, but functional) to the front to keep the fish out. It works very well. I've attached a couple of pictures to better illustrate. If you're able to post them, hopefully people seeking such a device will find them. <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing New Reef Tank, Equipment Assembly Line (What order do they go in) 4/11/07 Hi Crew! <Hello David.> I have used your site a lot lately as I am going to be setting up a new reef tank. <Awesome.> I have had successful FO tanks in the past and want to graduate. <Yes as bad as it may sounds 'aquariums are like drugs, you have to get something new to get your fix'¦> Here is my equipment: 125 AGA MegaFlow tank 100 gallon sump (divided in two, 50 gallon sump and 50 gallon refugium) The sump does have a wet/ <Okay, great water volume.> dry area) The water flows into wet/dry area, into sump, then one of the return lines has a t with pipe going to refugium. Coralife lighting (4*96 PC , 2 are 10000k, 2 are actinic) <Well Power-compacts are probably my least favorite form of reef lighting. They depreciate in lumens rather quickly and have to be replaced every 6-9 month realistically 'the design of them literally makes the bulb cook/heat itself. High Output T-5's or VHO's would be a much better choice.> 2 turbo sea 1270 pumps for return AquaC EV120 w/jg fitting and Mag 5 pump (tank and stand were given to me for free so I'm stuck with them for good or ill ;-) I am planning on plumbing with flex pvc. <The flex stuff is best used in the areas where the pipes/pumps meat in conjunction.> My installation has the tank and stand on one side of a wall and the sump/equipment is going in the utility room on the other side of the wall. <Very cool.> My questions are: What is the best placement for skimmer, in the sump or in the refugium? Or split? intake from one are and discharge to the other? (a small pipe from return feeds refugium, water from refugium exits to sump) <The skimmer should most certainly be placed before the refugium and will only be efficient if it is allowed to process raw overflow water before the 'fuge.> If I add a uv sterilizer, can it also draw water into and return to sump? <Do you mean have the U.V. sterilizer fed my the overflow, no I wouldn't do that, if the U.V. is to be useful in any manor it can't have high volumes/high velocities of water pushed through it.> I haven't been able to find a good answer on placement issues. It seems to me that equipment in the sump would lose some efficiency by recirculating some of the same water over and over. <Mmm, yes but more will be loss if water is pushed through the sump to quickly.> I would also greatly appreciate any tips or hints you have for this system. <If you have any specific questions I'd be more than happy to answer them or point you in the right direction.> Thank you in advance, <Of course.> David <Adam J.>

Re: Plumbing new Reef Tank - 04/12/2007 Hi Adam! <Hello again.> I read your response carefully and what I think I understand is that you think I should use flex pvc to connect pumps to sump, then use a short piece to connect pump to hard pvc then to return. (in essence isolate the pump with flex pvc and use hard pvc for the longer runs) <You got it.> The lights I obtained on a real steal before doing a whole lot of research. Do you think they would be ok to run until I am further along and can afford a new set of lights? <Yes the lighting comment was just more of an FYI...for you in the future...for other people now.> On the UV question, what I meant was should I use a small dedicated pump to run water through the UV with the pump taking its water out of the sump and returning it to the sump. <That's fine.> I have never used a uv unit before and it seems to me that a 40 watt unit at low flow should be able to service this tank and kill Ich parasite. <Will not completely eradicate a crypt problem, is a good tool to have on hand (wouldn't run 24/7) <<Mmm, why not? RMF>> but won't replace proper QT by any means.> Do you have any recommendations on models for this type of installation? <What you suggested is fine.> Do you think the EV120 choice is adequate for my setup? <Yes, good skimmer.> I had read that using 2 smaller skimmers is better than one larger one <Really? I haven't read/experienced that.> and was planning on maybe purchasing another one shortly. Is another one necessary? <I don't think so, not in this case.> (I always plan on upgrading that's why I got the one with the fitting for the calc reactor) Thank you very much for your help! <Anytime.> Sincerely, David Matza <Adam J.>

Re: Plumbing new Reef Tank -- 4/13/07 Hi Adam! <Hello again.> Thanks for all the help! <No prob.> As far as the dual skimmer issue is concerned, I can't remember what website I read it on but the so-called guru said it was better to have two small skimmers rather than one large one. He said the reason was one skimmer would-be able to be chugging along at full speed when the other one was being cleaned. It sounds reasonable but in actual application might not be efficient enough to warrant purchasing 2 units? <Not in a cost effective manor anyway...> Just wanted to let you know that. You may get that question in the future. <Have received it before but have not much info, data to warrant using two, especially when large recirculating models are easy to come by now.> I have never run more than one skimmer at a time so I have no personal experience to judge his claim. <Have run more than one skimmer on a system before, but these have been very large commercial systems.> OH BTW, I have a fully cycled 20 gallon tank ready all the time for qt. I learned my lesson on that a long time ago. <Good...well not good you learned it the hard way...you know what I mean.> The best way to go is painfully slow, but then I have never had any fish losses due to ich outbreaks. <Well that is good.> I was just interested in the UV because since this is going to be such a bigger tank with way more expensive livestock I thought it might be prudent to have a little extra insurance. <Yes but be sure to read the articles on the web...WWM, pros and cons...just you aren't going in blind.> Thanks again for the help! <Anytime.> David <Adam J.>

Plumbing a Mag-5 Pump and Calculating Head-Height -- 03/05/07 WWM- <<Adam>> I have a 65g. AGA tank with built in overflow rated at 600gph, <<Mmm...a single 1" drain likely...600 gph is "optimistic" and downright problematic...in my estimation>> and a Mag5 return pump. <<A decent enough make of pump>> The Mag5 is rated at 500gph, and 310gph at 4ft. <<Yes>> Is head-height determined by total distance between pump outlet and tank return outlet or simply height from return pump to top of tank? <<Is a bit more 'involved' than either statement. Head-height/head-loss is figured based on a combination of factors to include length of horizontal and vertical pipe runs (though these are not 'calculated' the same...I'll explain in a moment), plus the type and number of ells/tees/fittings/et al, and even the diameter of the pipe/tubing used. Calculating vertical pipe/tubing installations is simple...one foot of rise equals one-foot of head-height, and it is generally universally agreed that every ten-foot run of horizontal pipe is equal to a one-foot rise, as is each 90-degree ell and each tee fitting in the run. So, as an example...if you have a return line that rises two feet above the pump, makes a 90-degree turn, runs horizontally for 5-feet, makes another 90-degree turn, rises another two feet in to the tank, and terminates in a tee...you are imposing a resistance on the pump roughly equal to 7 ½-feet of head-height. Does this make sense to you? As for the diameter of the pipe/tubing, it is often advised to match pipe-tubing diameter to the output diameter of the pump...but in my experience; especially with the Mag-Drive pumps, I have found that 'upsizing' the pipe often yields better results/flow rates. For the pumps with ¾' outputs and smaller, I have found 1' pipe/tubing to work very well>> Is this pump vastly underpowered for my setup? <<That depends on what you want the pump to do. If the only purpose is for filtration/processing water through your sump and your head-height is equal to 4-feet providing 300 gph of flow then yes, I would consider this about ideal for a single 1' drain>> It seems a fine line between maximizing overflow flow capacity and overflowing the tank. <<Yes indeed...and that's even assuming the accompanying noise/surge aren't an issue>> If so what would you recommend? I am in the process of converting from Wet/dry to sump, so many possibilities. <<My recommendation would be to utilize a pump that; based on your plumbing configuration, provides about 300-350 gph to the sump...and utilize powerheads/closed-loop/etc for additional flow within the display tank>> Thanks for all the help! <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Increasing system volume & Long plumbing runs 1/26/07 After reading the FAQs I have decided to more that double the volume of my systems by placing a large sump and refugium in the garage and plumbing it through my crawl space back to my tank. I will be adding over 200 gallons each to my 120 gallon tank and to my 92 Corner. My main reason for doing this is ease of maintenance, system stability and reducing the risk of spillage indoors. I will have a 100 gallon refugium and 100 gallon sump. <This is a worthwhile cause. After all: The solution to pollution...> However, I need some recommendations. <Can do, pardner.> a) My 92 corner is about 70 ft (horizontal) and about 7ft (vertical ) to the new sump. 5ft of the vertical height is indoors before it gets to the crawl space and then another 2 ft drop over 70 ft to the sump. Will I have a problem in the drain to the sump? <Mmmm... Not a problem per se. You will definitely have a low flow-rate, and there is potential for a clog due to the shallow angle. I am not overly concerned for your system, as the benefits outweigh the potential problems. The reality is that there is a 7' drop, and water will flow. There are calculations available that can help with this setup, but my main focus would be on maintaining a straight and true slope, with no low spots for water and detritus to collect and cause restrictions to the already low flow-rate.> b) I do not think heat transfer will be that big an issue because of system volume and want to consider submersible first is this reasoning valid. <My opinion comes from a service-oriented point of view, but I think pumps should be reliable and low-maintenance. In many cases, that means a submersible pump can do the job. With 70' of hose and an unknown number of turns in the circuit, I am inclined to opt for a high-flow/low-speed inline pump. To address the heat-loss issue you mention, I think it is a genuine concern that two lengths of 70-foot plumbing (Vinyl or PVC?) *will* present a huge opportunity for cooling of the water. System size is a help here, but you have to consider that you may need a spare or pair of spare heaters for redundancy.> If so do you have any recommendations for a reliable, efficient, submersible pump that can pump 1200 gph 7ft vertical and 20ft horizontal through 2 separate returns (my Eheim 1262 wont handle the load unless I get an Eheim per return) <Mmm... was under the impression that you planned to build separate sumps/refugiums for each system, meaning one sump and fuge per tank. Is this a mistake on my part? You did say you would be adding "200 gallons each..."> c) Any Suggestions for raising the height of the skimmer since the Rubbermaid's are over 2ft? I have Euro-Reefs and Tunze's. <Milk-crate?> d) I would also like to have the same setup for my 92 Corner but I am concerned that by sharing one sump for two displays I could increase the chance of disease spreading if I have an occurrence. Is this concern warranted? <Absolutely warranted. *BUT*, I would remind you that under normal circumstances, with proper QT practices, you should be able to avoid undesirable vectors in your captive eco-systems. If it were me, I would research the feasibility of making two separate systems for your needs. > Thanks in advance <I enjoy the opportunity to assist! -GrahamT.>

Plumbing/Water Flow In A Three-Sided Tank - 01/09/07 WWM crew, <<Howdy Brian!>> Got the Reef Invert book by Anthony and Bob and have been masticating on its colorful fibers. <<Hee-hee! But wouldn't a piece of gum be better?!>> Planning a system with upstream refugium, display, and downstream sump/fuge with return. <<Cool!>> I want the display to be viewable from both sides and along the width, more like a biotope than the standard, two dimensional wall reef. <<I see>> I am thinking 20" tall, 24" deep, 60" long acrylic (125). <<Ok>> I am having trouble imagining how plumbing might be incorporated to avoid obstructing the view. <<Will have to be run in/out from the "concealed" end>> Can I have symmetrical overflow, like reef-ready tanks but on the one 24" width which will face the wall to keep pipe out of view? <<Sure, you might even want to consider a horizontal overflow, or just bulkheads with screens...though the latter requires a bit more fuss to mange water levels/flow. Whichever method you choose, don't worry about the plumbing outside the tank on the end being visible. This was a concern for me when I installed my current system a few years back (in-wall system viewable from both sides), but once there is water in the tank the light refraction prevents you from seeing through the end panel>> Will this be inviting dead spots on the far side? <<Assuming flow will only be coming from the one end, you will need a full flow pattern, and in my opinion, preferably something that pulses/alternates intensity. A Tunze Wavebox would be ideal here I think, though if you don't want to give up the space associated re you could also get by with a pair of Tunze 6000 pumps mounted to/below the overflow and cycled with the Tunze 7095 controller>> BTW, I am thinking 1500 GPH flow rate for the display, <<I don't think this will be enough, especially considering the configuration. The Tunze pumps mentioned when combined will give you a bit more than twice this (when "both" pumps are at "maximum") and I think you will find this to be a big help at keeping detritus in suspension at the far end of the tank>> 1000 GPH for the up-'fuge (16x24x60) -- 'pod colony. <<Should be ok, but if you find the flow a bit much to manage here you can easily reduce by half and still be fine>> As always, thanks so much. Brian <<A pleasure to share, EricR>>

Re: Plumbing/Water Flow In A Three-Sided Tank - 01/10/07 This is fantastic, Eric. Thank you. <<You're quite welcome Brian>> It's going to take me a while to digest. This whole thing is putting a strain on my spatial skills. <<Ahh...understood (had to think about that for a moment). Do give me a shout if I can be of further assistance. EricR>>

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

- Plumbing Question, Follow-up - Regarding: elementary aquarium plumbing. <Suggest you pick up a copy of Aquarium Systems Engineering, by Pete Escobar. Should certainly find it at the book store in Scripps Aquarium [is where I bought my copy], but may also find it at one of your local fish stores. Cheers, J -- > I found "Aquatic Systems Engineering: Devices and How They Function", by Pedro Ramon Escobar. I suspect that this is the book you meant. <Yes, had typed that title from memory which I find falters more and more often these days.> From the table of contents, I think yes, you correctly detected I'd like this book. :) Joe <Cheers, J -- >

- Proper Plumbing Sizing - >Is there a table for this somewhere? <Somewhere.> >How come no one else asks this question? :) <It's been asked before.> Hey, crew, Reef Central answers this question here: http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/drain.php They don't mention they necessity of duplicates on their calculator, but it's a start. It would seem to me that a tank running 3600 GPH should have 3 2" overflows. Joe. <Sounds about right. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, J -- >

200 GAL SW Plumbing 7/13/05 Good morning Oh Guardians of the Briny Shallows (or is it getting deep? HA!) <Ho boy... where's my coffee?> Once again, this site is the best, most informative site I have seen in my years of fish geeking! Kudos! Give each other a pat on the "body part of your choice". <Too sleepy to stretch this far> Enough of the silliness for now and on with the questions. After I finish getting the new Koi Pond up and running (THANKS BOB!) <Hey! Don't blame me!> my next project is setting up my 200 GAL Marine Tank. Since I am ordering a lot of the same plumbing supplies for the pond that I will use for the tank (bulkheads, valves, etc) I wanted to add them into this order to save some on shipping. <Good idea> Anyway, if you have a moment, could you please see the attached link to my picture of the plumbing diagram for the 200 GAL tank and let me know if you see anything glaringly wrong with it? http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/navajo001/200GALPLUMB.jpg Just a quick tour: The PURPLE lines are for easier water changes (I find that lugging buckets never seems to get any more fun! ;-) ) <No wonder I look like an Orangutan in profile!> The GREEN lines are, of course for carrying raw water from the tank to the skimmer and fuge and from the fuge to the return pumps. The LIGHT BLUE lines are for water return to 2 down-spout-like outlets about 2/3 down the back of the tank facing each other (DARK BLUE) and also a Manifold around the entire top perimeter. The 55 refugium will have an approximately 6" DSB and LR piles with some Macro Algae. Now the only really specific question I have (other than anything you might see) is should I switch the 2 pumps around? I am unsure as to what effect all the manifold holes will have on the water pressure. <Will lower it immensely... best to order tees that are threaded on the "riser" end (for irrigation)... i.e. that are threaded, and some threaded plugs to block some as you see fit once all is up, going. I would not (worry re) switching or changing pumps at this junction> I am thinking that 1000 GPH from the Iwaki might not be enough to power the proposed 12 1/2" Loc-Line nozzles for the manifold. What are your thoughts? <You'll have to try it and see... should be about right in my estimation> By the way, the Iwaki 70 RXLT came with the tank setup when I bought it. I have already ordered the Sequence to get the turnover rate up to around 20X. Of course it is also good to have some redundancy. <Yes> Thank you for your time and efforts to further this hobby. You are like a candle in the darkness. "Fish Geeks...Go toward the light..." HA! <Yikes, and hopefully back again> Have a wonderful day! Tom (The Tool Man) <The schematic/plan looks fine to me. Bob Fenner>
Re: 200 GAL SW Plumbing 7/14/05 Hey Bob! Are you running the entire site by yourself these days or do you just keep getting the short straw when it comes to my emails... HA! <Mmm, a bit of both... I do send ongoing correspondence to whoever has been chatting with... and I do respond to all "old" queries, inputs (generally w/in a day). Seems like a lot of the WWM Crew are on holiday> Anyway, a GREAT BIG Thank You for all the help the past few weeks. <Always welcome> If you think there is anything I can do to help you/your site out in the near future (i.e. a couple of months after everything settles down and I get a little free time) please let me know. <Thank you for your offer> Also, I am planning on using the threaded riser tee's with 1/2 " LocLine tubing for the manifold outputs. Excellent suggestion about the threaded caps though. Will pick some up. <Ah, good> Orangutan huh? Hope you're back isn't really THAT hairy! ;-) <Wish I were a graphic (instead of pet-fish) artist... would like to make a DaVinci drawing showing a human with longer arms (outside the circle) holding a pickle bucket and gravel siphon... Ha!> Have a good one. Tom
<Always my friend (Semper felicitas compadre). BobF>
Re: 200 GAL SW Plumbing 7/14/05 Bob, <Charles... had a friend years back with your family name... Dick... we built a few fish stores here in San Diego> I liked the submission from Tom, but think that there are two potential problems with the design. <Do hope he sees your note here> First, the pipe connecting the overflow to the refugium and the sump could wind up over powering the outflow from the refugium. I would test the setup by capping the sump inlets from the overflows and see if the 55's outflow is up to the task. If not, add outflow capacity. Granted it is unlikely that both sump tube will clog with who knows what, but from my engineering experience, equating the unlikely with the impossible invites Murphy in for a visit. ;-) <A good point... both lines/overflows are labeled as two inch... I would make two of these from the 55 to the sump> The other thing that bothers me is the 2 inch drains for water change support. Those are shown going deep. Should you get distracted for any reason in the middle of a change, or a valve sticks open, one is quite likely to see the tank flush down the drain. Since the feature is intended to support water changes. I would place the inlets just deep enough to support the maximum normal change, e.g., a 10% change. That way you can get distracted, but catastrophic failures cannot occur. Large changes are problematic for the tank's inhabitants anyway, no? Regards, Charlie H. <Another valid concern. I would add to this to only do such changes manually (vs. automated) AND to be present at all times during such change-outs. Thank you for your input. Bob Fenner>

Re: 200 GAL Plumbing 7/15/05 Hey Bob! <Tom> Just saw the responses from you about my 200 GAL plumbing design on today's FAQ page. (I have to say it is kind of cool to see something I did on the web!) Then it was followed by comments from Charlie H. I just wanted to take a minute and make sure I am following the conversation. (added to the end of this email). The first thing he mentions is the possibility of the overflow overpowering the refugium outflow to the sump. Would this be possible even with the valve on the refugium input? <Mmm, not likely> I designed it so that the flow into the refugium can be adjusted so as not to create a sand storm. But your comments did remind me of the need for redundancy, so I will definitely put in another 2" outflow line from the refugium to the sump. <I figured you would work around the two potential troubles mentioned...> Second concern he had was the drains for water change being so deep in the tank. I may not have explained this well enough in the original email. The lines in the tank going down toward the bottom and then pointing toward each other are strictly for return water from the sump to the tank. Actually while typing this email, I was relooking at the picture and I do see a potential problem with the return lines. When (not if) I have a power outage, the return lines will almost definitely be turned into a siphon since the tank is on the main floor and the sump, etc is in the basement. <Yes... you will install check valves...> BOY wouldn't that make a pretty mess! Since I don't trust check valves with this much water volume, how about instead of running the returns down inside the tank, I just put 45 Degree street elbows on them and point slightly lower than horizontal toward each other at the top of the tank. Think that will be too much turbulence? <No, should work fine> I don't think the "boss lady" would like a lot of water splashing on the walls and ceiling in the living room! HA! The water change will be accomplished by closing the return to the tank and using the Sequence pump to pull water from the sump to the sink. So, worst case scenario, I could potentially drain the sump. But with the horsepower the pump puts out, I can't see it taking more than a minute to push enough water out for the water change. Hopefully I can stay alert for that long. HA! <Yes... again, I would only do this when you're there... like having your coffee> At any rate, I just wanted to clarify the design for any future readers. Thank you again for your time. Tom <Thank you. BobF>

Plumbing Design - 08/11/05 Hello Crew! <<Howdy>> Thank you for the great advice so far. My tank is (oh so slowly) progressing toward the day it will actually have saltwater in it! <<agonizing, ain't it <G> >> I have a 180G. I am not sure how large my sump will be yet, but I plan to do a separate refugium. <<Goodonya mate! Is really the best way to do it, as opposed to combining the two...in my opinion.>> It will be fed water from a tee off the sump return line (already skimmed), controlled with a gate valve. <<This can/will work, though I prefer to feed raw tank water to a 'fuge. Nutrient export is part of the function of a refugium, after all...and the critters you're trying to cultivate will appreciate as well the organic matter that is going to be removed by the skimmer.>> You can see a diagram of my plumbing plans here: http://home.cfl.rr.com/homebrewed/fish/sump_plumb2.jpg <<Nice diagram, but you're making it more complex than it needs to be; and trust me, the more simple your plumbing the happier you're going to be in the long term. This will work...but I think you're going to have to "fiddle" with it constantly. Not to mention I think you'll have a "noise" issue as well. If you wish to discuss, let me know and we'll chat more.>> I want the fuge to have a DSB, some live rock, and lots 'o macro algae. <<Mmm...which macro algae?...may want to exclude the rock from the 'fuge in favor of the increased water flow.>> I'd like the fuge to provide food (small critters) to the main tank. <<Most desirable/beneficial, yes.>> My main question - I am trying to decide on an external return pump size and would like to know how many times turnover you recommend for a refugium? If I were to use a 20G refugium, would 400 GPH be way too much? Should I plan on only 200 GPH? <<200 will probably do, but 400 is fine if the plumbing is set up to (effectively) handle it. I would go for the higher number and throttle back as/if necessary.>> Thanks, Randy <<Regards, EricR>>

Tank Setup Draft #1 Bob, I was hoping you could look over my first draft of my proposal for a tank upgrade. I have a 65g tank that I'm looking to improve on. I've also been reading a lot of the FAQ's on sumps and aquarium plumbing so I may be jumping into the deep end with no water wings. <Hey, no splashing!> I'm looking to add a 40g Rubbermaid container for a sump and a return manifold like what is described in Anthony's article. I would also like to add a DSB with some type of plant life (mangrove plants if I can find them). <Can be ordered via the Internet... See Dr.s Foster & Smith, Inland Aquatics, Marine Depot (.coms)...> Please excuse the rudimentary diagram attached but I was hoping it would help make sense of what I am describing. <Better than I can/could draw> Currently the tank is empty so I'm starting from scratch with a budget of approx. $2,000. <Wowzah!> To start, my overflow would drain into the Rubbermaid container with a bulk head fitting in the top left side. The container would be split down the middle equally with Plexi glass or PVC sheet with holes drilled to allow water to flow between the two compartments. One side would contain additional live rock and the other would have a DSB (5") with mangrove plants or Caulerpa. <If using macro-algae, you might want to consider another genus... perhaps a Red... like Gracilaria sp.> This container would be illuminated with my existing canopy with two 36" fluorescents and one 24" actinic. <If not using Caulerpa spp., you'll want to have a timer, and perhaps rig a "reverse photoperiod" light interval opposite to overlapping with your main/tank lighting> On the top right I would have another bulkhead to allow water to flow out into my wet/dry filter I currently have. The bioballs would be replaced with more live rock. I will be purchasing an AquaC EV180 to be housed in the wet/dry. <And I see a line designating a block to sustain a given water depth, good> Another bulkhead would be drilled into the wet dry to run plumbing to an external pump to run the water back to the display tank using Anthony's plan for a return manifold. I would work a shut off valve between the wet/dry and pump and between the pump and return manifold as describe in the article. The return manifold would be constructed with the ring in the tank having 6 T connecters with 1-2" straight pipe for nozzles. I'm looking at getting an improved external pump to improve water flow. Is there a way to measure the GPH for my current overflow box. <Mmm, yes... 1) Reading the rating the manufacturers give, 2) Calculating per the given diameter and "head" et al. of the arrangement, 3) Setting all up and trying...> The new pump is going to be rated at 700-1000 gph. Please pass on any advice you can give me with this setup. <Looks good to me> P.S. I'm sure you don't remember me. I moved to Okinawa about 4 years ago, but I just wanted to let you know that the island is still a great place to live and dive probably not as pristine as when you were there but I still loved every dive I did. I was wondering if you would be willing to post where you might be diving this summer or e-mail me. <Will gladly do so, and encourage you to come on out with us. Thus far we have some nebulous ideas re going back to Hawai'i a few times (please make it known when you can be there), to somewhere about in May after the Aquarama show in Singapore (you are welcome to join the few WWM folks, Di and I...), and a trip to the Galapagos either in March or April (expensive, but a trip of the lifetime... on one of the Aggressor Fleet boats that Di's arranging... for 14 total> Bob Fenner signing my dive log (figuratively who doesn't dive with a computer) would make a great souvenir. <Hey, I've joined the modern age! And do dive with two> Adam Schrage "Why do the Walk of Life when you can Swim, Bike and Run" <Good spiel! Bob Fenner>

- Plumbing Designs - I am looking for input to the plumbing design I came up with. Please review the attached diagram. Tank size: 200 gal Reef - Sump/Refugium Sump: Converted 55 gal aquarium Overflow boxes: Two CPR CS-90 -- 600gph Overflow Plumbing: 1' ID Plastic Tube Miracle Mud and Macro Algae Kent Marine Nautilus EX Protein Skimmer with MAG 12 -- 1200 gph Sump Return Pump: MAG 18 -- 1800 gph Sump Return Plumbing: ¾' PVC tees to twin pivot nozzles - Closed Loop Circulation system Dolphin Master 2700 pump 2700 gph Pump Intake Plumbing: 1.5' PVC pipe Pump Discharge: 1.5' PVC pipe tees then reduced to two SCWD with twin ¾' pivot nozzle discharges. Any suggestions are very welcome!! <Looks good to me.> Bob
<Cheers, J -- >

Today's diagram for plumbing design Hi Guys and Gals, In today's FAQ you show a great plumbing design. I especially like the closed loop system with the SCWD's. <Me too. Liked it so much made it the daily pic and have it on my active desktop as the backgrd.> After looking everywhere I can't seem to find prefab suctions that slip onto 3/4" or 1" pipe and sit directly in the tank. To be clearer on this, suction covers with grates as to not suck up my friends. Not to be confused with overflow boxes. Sure I can fabricate something, but it's so much simpler to purchase things. Any sources you might have for this? Thanks in advance. You guys rock, Dick <Mmm, these fittings are available... try one of the larger on-line etailers like Dr. Foster's & Smith, MarineDepot.com... they should have thread in strainers, threaded elbows, couplers... Bob Fenner>
Plumbing design, skimmer first? Regarding the email titled "Plumbing Designs"...the proposed setup that I emailed you about previously is very similar to this. However, I'm curious as to why the skimmer is plumbed after the Miracle Mud/Algae section. You replied that the setup "looks good," but wouldn't it be better to have the skimmer first? <By and large, yes... there is some advantage in having the skimmer later in that the water level in its chamber is easier to keep stable, but some disadvantage in the removal of life that might otherwise be transported to the main/display system> I know that Ecosystem doesn't recommend that use of a skimmer, but I'd probably use one too, so I'm interested in your thoughts on the correct order (if any) of the plumbing of the skimmer. Regards, Walt <In actual practice, the order/arrangement of the skimmer usually is not of major consequence between these two alternatives. Bob Fenner>

Re: today's diagram for plumbing design Hi Bob, Alright, I finally get to converse with the "Master". Just can't write enough about how great your site is. You guys have saved me from many mistakes before hand. I use your WWM FAQ as my hindsight if that makes sense. I've tried the marinedepot.com site. I'll check into the Dr. Foster's and Smith. If I ever have the opportunity to meet you the beers are on me! Thanks a million, Dick <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Will be looking for you and that brew someday soon. Bob Fenner>

Re: today's diagram for plumbing design Hi Bob, Duh, I went back to MarineDepot and searched for strainer's AND there they were. I've been searching under overflows, fittings and skimmers with ton's of feedback, but nothing related to what I was looking for. There's another beer! Thanks, Dick <Thanks for the tip. Bob F, shooting for a six-pack>

-180 plumbing query- I have a 180g reef ready Oceanic Tank that is going to be a FOWLR, the manufacturer claims that the supplied bulkheads should allow for 1800g/hour flow. After reading several FAQs this does not seem realistic <Actually, it probably is. We run a 180 Oceanic at the shop at around 1500gph and the water levels in the overflows are still very shallow.>, the return bulkheads (2, one in each rear corner) are 3/4" ID and the drains (2, one in each rear corner) are 1" ID. Do you think this is realistic, I would like to attain this 1800g/hour flow. <I would say so, but install a gate valve on your pump just in case> I am looking at using a Dolphin AMP Master 3000 or 4700 which I would reduce to the size of the bulkhead fittings right below the bulkhead. <Have you checked out the pump curves on these guys? Even after a T and a few elbows, this may end up being too much for the tank to handle.> I was also thinking of the possibility of using the teed return manifold and using all 4 bulkhead holes as drains, If you think this is a better idea what size pump would you recommend and what would you recommend for plumbing (tubing size etc.). <If you really wanted to go wild with the return this would be a viable option, but I'd keep it below the max since who knows how high the water level in the tank will go.> I was thinking of running 1.5" pipe to the top of the tank and then reducing it and splitting it into either 1" or 3/4" pipe with 3/4" tees to direct the water. I know this is a lot and not necessarily coherent but I would appreciate any help you can give me. <No worries, and very coherent! I think the amp master 3000 would be a bit much for this tank. Big dolphin pumps, IMO, are best used on a closed loop that by-passes the overflows. Check around the forums for ideas on intake manifolds as well as return options (sea swirls!!!). I would pick a good sized return pump that wouldn't go over 1500-1800 gph after you have taken into account all the head pressure (elbows, t's, height, etc). I hope this helps! -Kevin> Regards,

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

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

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

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

Refugiums, macroalgae and reef plumbing Hello, <cheers> Can you tell me the best set up for a Ecosystem mud filtration unit, my tank will be a 125gl with twin overflows. I need to know what is a good pump, and how should I run the lines from the pump to a heater/chiller (aqua-Therm) and back to the return. I want to have at least 1000-1200 of gph for the sump and I need at least 600gph for the chiller so it will not freeze up, that is the manufactures states. I was thinking that I could use a Mag drive pump rated for 1500 or 1800gph to do the job. <please view the illustration and following links to get an essential take on the matter: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbfaqsmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reeffilt.htm how do you rate the Kent marine Biosediment to the miracle mud( I hope you are liquored up to tell me about it)? <I find them both to be equally useless and overpriced and would advise a deep bed of fine oolitic/aragonite sand instead (6" or more) :) > I also need to know why you said sea grass is a better choice than Caulerpa and why don't ecosystem tell you why. <actually... seagrasses are not the only or best alternate for Caulerpa. But Caulerpa is frightfully noxious if neglected and has been shown scientifically to impede coral growth. They are not found naturally together on a reef. Other algae like Chaetomorpha and Gracilaria are more stable and less toxic if neglected> They don't have the patent on plants, right so why promote a species of plant when there are ones that are better for filtration, <because Caulerpa was one of the very few "plants" available in the hobby when Leng Sy first developed his mud system and they are the only common macro that can remain in stasis if lit 24/7> how can I get some of this sea grass. <seek Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria instead from IPSF.com (AKA "Tang Heaven" or Hawaiian "Ogo")... or from inlandaquatics.com ("Spaghetti algae")> thank you, and I appreciate you site . Mr. McCoy <kind regards, Anthony>

- Plumbing Considerations - Hi Guys, <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have been renovating the reef tank lately and have decided to upgrade my sump. An old glass tank of mine fits the bill perfectly, it is 38gal and fits snugly beside the main tank. The only thing holding me back is the potential loss of tank water turnover due to the plumbing involved. I am running the return line on a via aqua 4900, giving me 1056 gph (I'm converting from metric to give you guys a break, in litres that's 4000 lph I think). The via aqua has given me reliable performance, and is a quality piece of aquatic machinery, but I sense the head pressure may take a dive if I re-plumb the sump. Maybe not. <Well... do avoid 90 degree elbows like they were plutonium. You might even consider using flexible tubing to avoid sharp turns in the plumbing... would help that pump be all it can be.> Could you please advise me if the new sump is worthwhile considering the plumbing situation ? I would love the extra capacity and room to arrange my components. <If I'm reading this diagram correctly, the overflow into the new sump looks a little scary... would be easy to break that siphon... and maybe even harder to start without gravity doing any work for you. There doesn't seem to be enough height differential to have a proper siphon.> Would be better for you to have this sump below the tank.> To assist you in your considerations I have provided a schematic diagram of the tank and proposed changes (excuse the quality). Current length of return line : 3ft 3"; 2 PVC elbows to spray bar Proposed length of return line : 5ft (approx); 5 PVC elbows to spray bar Thank you for any help Andrew Hough <Cheers, J -- >

Great plumbing article Hey folks, Thought I'd pass this along. Advanced Aquarist's Online Magazine has posted its latest issue, with a number of good articles, including "An Engineering View of Aquarium Systems Design: Pumps and Plumbing," by Sanjay Joshi, Ph.D., Nathan Paden & Shane Graber. It can be found here: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/jan2003/featurejp.htm I only scanned through it, noting that it has a lot of equations and tables, and is based on fluid dynamics and hydraulic engineering references. Should be great for those with technical circulation questions that I see pop up in the dailies from time to time. Hope you can pass this along to those who need it. Later, Jeremy M. Dawson, Ph.D. <Thank you for this lead. Will post the link. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing references hello I was wondering if you could steer me to a good reference for the plumbing of a system. My dilemma is that I have set up a 200 gallon FOWLR tank using PVC pipe and have the micro bubble problem. I have asked written you many times and you have given me good suggestions into trying to solve the problem, just seems I've tried everything a number of times and can't >solve it. I still wonder if somewhere on the return line there may be some small air leak, I've smeared with Vaseline on the joints but see nothing. My piping is dry, if there is a hole wouldn't there be some type of water leakage?? I'm at my wits end and ready to redo the entire plumbing for the system therefore wanted to know if you had any good resources? <Thereefweb.com-click on article-then "How To". These types of problems are frustrating and aggravating. We've all had these experiences. Reefweb.com is the source I used when I plumbed my first tank. If you have a bubble problem, rest assured that air IS getting into the return at some point before it enters your tank. I would examine the overflow lines. Do they make bubbles in the sump that are then sent up into the tank? Are you sure about your answer to this question? If you have determined there are no leaks in your plumbing (if you used pvc with cement, a joint leak is hard to imagine), the bubbles must be traveling from your sump through the return lines. Let us know how this turns out. David Dowless> Joe

Reef plumbing woes Anthony, OK... now what if drilling the tank is not an option.....I mean, my next tank can be drilled, and every one from here on out that will share my central sump theory, but I do nor have the means at this point to break this whole system down (after nearly three years of trying to get it right) and send the tank out to be drilled. <no worries here. You likely have a professional aquarium service company (installing and maintaining aquariums for offices, homes, etc) in the area that can do this chore in an afternoon at your home. It is the case for most big cities> Anyway, you asked what cities I was near. I am in Danielson, CT....20 miles west of Providence RI....20 miles south of Worcester, MA...& 40 miles east of Hartford, CT. <awesome... there are several big aquarium clubs regionally for you. In fact... although not exactly in your back ////yard, I will be in Boston this weekend with Eric Borneman for a coral reef aquarium symposium. Road trip if you like! See here: http://www.bostonreefers.org/meetings/archive/2003/01/18/ as far as other clubs and places to network... do consider regional trips to RI, NY and MA to visit their clubs and events... well worth the road trip and fellowship. At Boston this weekend... there are likely to be 200-250 fish nerds just like you and me to chat with <G>. Tank tours too to visit aquarists homes (best of the best in the city). We have links to various clubs here on WWM (follow "links" link from the home page)... also, seek clubs from listings on message boards like ReefCentral (they have a club forums page).> I could probably grasp a non-gravity/siphon concept if I saw it on paper, as well as in person. <I would not use a siphon (u- or J- tube) under any circumstance. I am only recommending gravity overflows bud. Flood and fir hazards otherwise> Or maybe even in print, if you could expound a little. <indeed... but it would be much easy for me to chat it to you or for you to see it at another aquarist or shops place... I regret that it would take too long to write at length> In any case, I would like to create a huge remote sump to run this, and other future tanks through. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. <there is a very good book on this and related topics called "Aquatic Systems Engineering" by Escobar. Do consult, my friend> I apologize for the Super hero comment, and although my mind had not gone to the "plum harboring" place that yours did...rest assured that the image is now burned indelibly in my mind. <heehee... you'll never look at a plum the same way again> Thanks, I think. Look forward to your words of wisdom, if you can find the time between washing your tights. <I'm thinking of shaving my legs and having colored tights tattooed on instead. Then I will only have to wear a thong. Ha! Just a little fodder for your next therapy session> peace.-Your (now in need of therapy) friend in CT.....Pat <best regards, Anthony>'''''

Plumbing and algae bed Buenos tardes! I wrote you a few days ago and my situation has changed so I have more questions about plumbing. I am in the middle of plumbing a 135 gallon tank, 70 gallon sump, skimmer, etc. I have come across a good deal on a 1/4 HP chiller and need to plan ahead for the additional plumbing it will require. I have an Iwaki 55 RLT pump that I would like to use for both the skimmer and the chiller. The skimmer can handle the 1080 GPH this pump puts out but I am concerned about overskimming at this rate so I figured adding a T with a ball valve to adjust the flow to the chiller 200 GPH is what West Coast Aquatics recommends) would reduce the flow to the skimmer and feed the chiller. How can I measure the rate at which the water is going through the chiller to get it near 200GPH? <There are a few ways... actual direct volumetric measuring (with a bucket of known capacity, a watch... pumping water into/through the piping...), good/all non-metal in-line flow gauges... But I would not use the same pump here. I have some other suggested changes for plumbing/pumping as you have so well-diagrammed. I would not share the pump, but instead dedicate the one pump to just running your skimmer (either throttle it down with a gate or ball valve ahead... or get another smaller volume, decent pressure pump in its stead)... too hard to control otherwise... trust me> Second question is probably the result of too much (or not enough) reading on my part. I have recently read up un the benefits of an algae/mud bed. I plan on having a refugium with macroalgae (Caulerpa?) in it for algal scrubbing but was wondering if the algae bed or mud would be more efficient at removing nutrients. I could put one in over my sump that drains into it. <This is a good idea... I might reduce the flow through this area... by diverting most of the water flow from the main tank just to the main pump intake area... or simply supply the area with the overflow water from your refugium sump> I am sending you a crude drawing of my current plumbing plan. Let me know what you think. Thanks. <Other than the suggested changes above (reduced flow to the algal sump region, dedicated pump to the skimmer... I would discharge the water from the skimmer in the general/main pump pick up area, and rig the chiller on this main pump on its discharge side... on the way back to the main tank. Comprendes? Bob Fenner> Gerardo Gomez

Re: Plumbing and algae bed I've had some trouble sending you emails this evening. They have all been returned either because the attachment was too big or email address wasn't recognized. <no problem on your end, my friend... just very heavy e-mail traffic today and a lot of pictures and diagrams with said mail... server/box got bogged down but we have caught up now :)> In any case, I got two responses to an earlier question, from Anthony and Bob. Thank you guys. A couple of follow ups for both of you if you don't mind. The sump is baffled but that is not marked in the drawing I sent you previously. Since I will be skimming the tank approximately 7X per hour should I be all that concerned with algae filtration? <I will be publishing an article shortly with citations to follow detailing the darker side of Caulerpa... heehee. Truth be told, I have gone years without complaining about Caulerpa because most aquarists kept relatively small amounts. With the trend towards culturing large masses of it, though... I cannot help but mention the demerits of it all and some alternatives. Indeed, my concern is not at all with marine plants and algae species... in fact I love them and am fascinated to cultivate many species.> Won't the high skimming rate remove the excess nutrients anyway? <not at all my friend... you are assuming that a skimmer automatically removes all bad compounds to make your/this system work. Skimming in fact removes mostly bad and some good but none to exclusion or without limits.> I do like the idea of using the refugium as a zooplankton reactor but if my system would benefit from algae filtration would I be better off building a separate algae bed or just putting some plants (NOT Caulerpa! got it) in the refugium? <that depends... if you expect a nutrient problem in your tank because you want to enjoy a heavy bio-/fish load, then perhaps the need for vegetable filtration is greater. But if your tank is like most, you will benefit by plankton culture more than another nutrient export mechanism. Skimmer, water changes, corals and turf algae in the display, carbon, etc... all remove nutrients as well or better than plants in refugia. However... none produce plankton. The point of course is that you have many options already for nutrient export, but none that produce plankton well... not even the rock in your display because the fishes in most tanks exploit that source heavily to the extent that it cannot produce as significantly as a fishless refugium acting as a plankton reactor, so to speak> Since I am in the middle of plumbing all this I figured I better do it now. Bob, shouldn't the skimmer drain into the chemical chamber for carbon filtration? <as long as carbon is inline upstream between the skimmer and the return pump, it makes little difference where it is placed. It is still pre-treatment before return to the display. Only a UV and the need for specific clarity could change that path> I like the idea of using my main pump (Iwaki 100 RLT) to feed the chiller but can I just let that empty back into the sump or would that not cool the water in the tank properly? <a bleeder loop right back into the sump would be just fine... if not it is a sign that the tank needs a better turnover> I have a single 1 inch return line to the tank and no room for more. Please see attachments and notice chiller hook up. <attachments did not make it through, bud> Thank you again for sharing your expertise and good night from Chicago! Gerardo ~~~~~ <with kind regards, Anthony>

Plumbing in a 50 gallon sump & 25 gallon refugium... Hi Bob, Now that I'm in my new home with all the extra room!!!! yes!!!!, I can get serious about expanding my salt water system. This is what I'm wanting to do. <Okay... am about to add a couple of tanks to our new/used place as well> I have a 55 gallon salt aquarium currently in my office setting next to the office closet...in the closet I'm mounting heavy duty shelving to support my 25 gallon refugium above main tank level to gravity feed main tank in office. Below shelving on the ground in closet, I'm placing a 40-50 gallon sump for skimmer, heaters, dosing, water changes etc...so, the sump & refugium will be hiding in closet, sounds great, yes!!! <Yes> Sorry to say, but the plumbing for this is pretty confusing, & the more I read your web posts the more confusing it gets. <Mmm, let's try to make all less-confusing... In fact, because "aquarium plumbing" pieces/articles aren't there, please take a look at the "Pond Index" articles on the subject (Plumbing, Check Valves, Pumps...) as the terminology, concepts, purposes are the same> Seems like everybody has a different way of plumbing. (use pumps here, gravity feed here, refugiums above/below main tank, use these valves & check valves here, this size of tubing...Holly God help me, my head is spinning!) sorry. <As long as "it works" doesn't matter what design is touted, used... "All roads lead to Rome"... > Bob, I just need a little bit of your time & wisdom on how to approach this project, the first of many more to come. Because I realize how important it is for good water quality management to succeed with a salt aquarium. <Okay> This is what I'm thinking & please correct me If there's a better way. Can I gravity feed from main tank to sump, use a pump to move water from sump to refugium & then gravity feed main tank from refugium... <Mmm, you could... but no way to match flow rates between/amongst non-pressurized systems... you would have to rely on float switches in the sumps below... and/or siphons to equalize water heights in the sumps as you state... and/or divert some of the water from the main sump (below) with a tee/manifold returning most of the water directly to the main/display tank... and only a bit of it in/through the upper sump/refugium. Do draw out what you have in mind, send here or via fax (858-578-7372)> also valves & check valves on each leg of system with some sort of a electrical shutoff valve on each leg if lose of power. <Again... I wouldn't get involved in this "balancing act"... Instead... devise a flow path that will not dump water on the floor given total power or individual pump failure... and test with a given volume of water in the system to see if this can/will occur... It will> Would this work or is there a much better way. Please, please I need your input to send me in the right direction. <Count on gravity...? As always, thanks so much for helping us green boys in this wonderful hobby. <Please do "pencil" out what you have in mind, including pumps, plumbing, valving, fittings, and send along. We'll hammer this out. Bob Fenner> Lee Harris

Pumps, Pipes, Valves...Oh my (sorry oz flash back) Hello Mr. Fenner. Here I am writing with another idea. No design attached but that will be coming your way this weekend I think. I am asking about my thoughts on plumbing. I am rather dim witted when it comes to plumbing. I've done a lot of research and so far this is the ideas I have come up with. Could you let me know if I am on the right track? <Sure> 1) I would like the over flow to run down to the sump using 1 1/4" PVC piping. The outlet of the overflow box 1". <Okay... not too much need/sense to making the drain line down on a gravity feed more than the diameter than the line of the overflow box... and you may well want to fit the overflow line with an "aspirator"... a length of small diameter tubing (rigid or soft) to quiet the "downdraft" gurgle noise... This is fit into the overflow line, down a distance into the 1 1/4" in your case... and open above the height of the overflow box...> 2) I just got in the mail yesterday my new AquaC EV120 2002 skimmer (doing a happy dance here!) It was recommended that the pump I should use would be a Rio 2100 (not confident in theses pumps), Mag5, or Iwaki 20. I checked the g/h on these pumps and the range from 440-692 (the higher being that Rio) I thought, using the crazy mind of mine, that I could do something different. Could I use a Eheim 1060 (10' of head and I think 600+ g/h) to power not only my return (about 4 1/2' head) but the skimmer as well? <Yes, could be tee'd off, valved...> Just a thought I need your guidance on. 3) The return would use 3/4" PVC...or would going to 1" to 1 1/4" be wiser? <No... once again, best to stick with the size of the discharge on the pump line itself.> Or could I use 1 1/4" PVC and tee it off to two returns using 3/4" PVC for both of those? <Just stick with the 3/4"> 4) Forget ideas for 2 & 3 and use a closed loop for the return and a separate pump for the skimmer. hehe <Sometimes this works out best... as "adjusting" flow/pressure to a device on a manifold can be the Dickens... 5) I am confused about gate valves. Should they be used instead of the ball valves? For controlling flow rate I thought the gate valve sounds more, ah.. sound. :) <Gate valves are better in your case... easier to do finer adjustments on> I think I have bothered you enough with my questions! I hope to hear back from you soon, and with your permission, I will send another diagram of my plumbing design. Do take care and thank you in advance. Josh <No worries. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

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

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

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