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Plumbing Valves... gate and ball... and sump pb      9/27/11
Good morning,
I am in a bit of a quandary regarding which valve to use for my sump/fuge valve due to an error during the planning stage... I talked to a plumber.
As a result I have halted before proceeding with the plumbing install.
I was informed that a gate valve is not designed to handle flow restriction due to the design of it's inner workings, as the gate will accumulate sediment.
<Mmm, not really... all-plastic ones can easily function here>
Whereas a "globe" valve is of similar concept, save the inners are designed to resist this from occurring.
<Mmm, actually about the same as gate types>
I have noticed that almost all write-ups on WWM state/say gate valve. May I assume that these have been used without issue for extended periods? and Could you shed further light on this situation for me please?
<I'll try: Both types can/do work>
Oh, the system: 65gal display with 55gal sump. I am draining from a CPR Mechanical Overflow (CS-90DX: 600Gph) with Tom Aqua Lifter AW20,
<Mmm, please see WWM re these sorts of devices... I WOULD double them; as they are way too often subject to failure>
through 1" ID PVC Sch40 white to a tee at the sump, the tee is slightly offset to the fuge side of the sump due to the central support of the stand (right hand side - skimmer is left and return is centre), the valve's purpose will be to reduce flow/volume to the fuge side. With the offset, flow is anticipated to be considerably higher at the fuge side as water does not flow according to reason... it's lazy and takes the shortest path.
This brings to mind another question: What would a good ratio be for fuge vs. skimmer side?
<Depending on actual flow... about half/half>
I have anticipated 60:40 split (40% to the fuge), but would like your opinion whether this is appropriate?
<Well, flow rates through refugiums are better defined by total volume flows per hour... more than 3-5 is generally more than functional>
Thanks again for your continued support in this hobby.
Richard J.C.
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Debris (Plumbing line bio-film buildup) -- 01/05/11
Hello WetWebMedia,
<<Hey there Les>>
I have a three month old 175g reef aquarium and 40g sump. I'm using a recirculating pump w/ PVC pipe to circulate 2000 gph using a 2" intake and four 3/4" returns. I also use two additional pumps that circulate 1200 gph (combined) through my sump and refugium with four additional 3/4" returns to the display. About a month ago or so, I noticed that if I shut off my pumps (for feeding) that when I restart, I suddenly get these little clear/white tiny pieces of debris briefly coming out of my returns into my display.
<<Not atypical>>
It happens all at once but clears up in a few minutes.
Is this just slime in my PVC lines that is just breaking off?
<<Yup... Bacteria/other organic substances (mulm) build up on the interior surfaces of the water lines. When water motion is stopped and then resumed some of this material is stripped off, as you observed, and exits in to the tank. On older/more mature systems this material can appear darker (tan/brown) and heavier/thicker than what you are seeing on this ' very young' system>>
Is this common?
<<Very common'¦ And is the main reason I advise folks to go with a slightly larger pump than they think they will need; tempering flow initially with a gate-valve on the output side of the pump, to allow for increasing flow as the bio-film builds and restricts the plumbing lines. On some very small systems it may be possible to periodically 'clean away' this buildup, but for most it's just not practical due to the length and complexity of the plumbing runs'¦thus the need for the 'slightly' oversized pump>>
Does it hurt anything?
<<Nothing but aesthetics'¦and then only briefly>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Re: Plumbing and RDP [Scott V] 4/20/09
Hey Scott good morning!
<Good morning.>
Sorry to bug you but I have two quick questions I would like to throw at you... First let me say thanks for all your help thus far!
I have read what seems like a 1000 horror stories about Glasscages, with only a handful being good...hope my tank is one in that handful!
<I have never heard of any functional issues, I do think you will be fine.>
I probably should have do a little bit more research on that area first...fingers crossed! I am in need of your experience on these next two questions sir!!!
Ok, I know you like those algae frees and those MJ mod.s but for my first time around I have narrowed my choices down, as you know the Tunze nano 6045 and the second choice being the Koralia 4's. I have read several discussions on Tunze vs. Koralia, which most opinions seem to be about personal choice rather than any info/facts.
<Tis the case here too.>
I know that the Tunzes are smaller in size, been around longer, and I know that the Koralias are cheaper [half the price of the Tunzes] and have a wider dispersed flow. Have you ever used either or both?
I know the saying you get what you pay for but I am not sure if that applies here? Do you have any differences, pro or cons, other than what I said of the two?
<I just personally like the flow from the Tunzes better myself, both are fine powerheads.>
What would you go for, the Tunze 6045 or the Koralia 4?
<Personally the Tunze, maybe one of each.>
I'll be getting two of whichever even though a couple people have said I'd only need 1 for a 75 gallon. I'll keep my next question simple! I told you about the plan for the Cl hole, leaving a hard pvc piece with a "valve" and a end cap. For the overflows one will be tee'd with one end having a "valve" going to the fuge and the other end like you said draining back to the sump so the line will still have its full flow. I have heard/read that ball valves are no good and they fail. Not so much with check and gates. I was thinking I would need gates or true unions but I have no clue!?!
<There are no failing issues with ball valves, the main reason people use gate valves is that they make fine adjustments easier.>
Can you tell me what is the best valve for me to utilize for both applications I will need them for?
<You can use either here without worry. Skip the check valves all together. They will eventually fail you. Better to make sure you have enough extra volume in the sump to handle what drains or siphons back down when the power is out.>
Again your experience is greatly appreciated and valued highly!!! Thanks in advance kind sir! Have a good morning! Be chatting soon.
<Very welcome, talk soon.>

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

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

-Plumbing question- Hi, I am plumbing a sump return pump.  It is a Gen-X Mak IV, 1990 gph at four feet.  With price not mattering because both ways are similar in price, which way would you recommend to plumb the return line 1) Use a barbed nipple coming off the return pump and use flexible hose back up to the tank or 2) use PVC connectors and PVC pipe?  I have a ball valve and check (anti-siphon) valve, to connect to the PVC option, but I would suspect I could find ball and check valves that could be connected to flexible hose. Other than a ball and check valve that could be connected to flexible hose, I have the rest of the equipment for both options. <Since it doesn't really matter which one you pick, I'd go with the flexible tubing option because it will be much easier. I would screw (or if it has slip fittings, locate the proper adapters) the ball valve right on the outlet of the pump on top of a true union. I would have a ball valve and a true union on both the inlet and outlet of this pump since it is being run externally. Flex hose will be easy to work with, and the head pressure will be reduced without any hard 90's in the way. Good luck! -Kevin>  Your recommendation would be appreciated. Thank you, Paul Overflows, pumps, where do valves go? Earlier I spoke to you on my drain at 1.25 and return at 3/4  with an aqua c ev-180 in sump and you had mentioned no valves at all on drain with a Durso pipe. Why is that? <Because the drain should be unrestricted and it's flow rate is dependant on the *return* rate, (the pump) and overall flow is therefore controlled with valves on the pump, not the drain. To size your drain pipe size, go to Reef Central and use their overflow calculator. Plan on moving all of your pump capacity through your drain(s), then control it further if needed with a valve on the output of the pump. If sized correctly this will be minimal. Valves aren't needed for service as once you are into a Durso more than simple cleaning, you are draining more water...Other than that, turning off the pump stops the overflow/drain.> Also you had mentioned taken care on calculation with my Iwaki 40rxlt. What if I went with a 1 1/2" drain since I have a 1 1/2" bulkhead, although the Durso standpipe is 1 1/4" and with a 1" return to tank? Thanks again for your co-operation. Ed <If this is one of the glass tanks with pre-drilled overflows then I would go with that set-up and go with the largest plumbing it will reasonably accommodate. The Durso drains work well on these. I would get an idea of pipe and drain size first with the calculator and then oversize it one size. If the bulkheads are larger (1 1/2"), go with the larger pipe.  Craig>

Gate Valves Dear Bob, <Steven Pro in this morning.> Please, could you supply me with the people to contact re all plastic 1 1/2 gate valves? If possible, e-mail addresses as well? We are not able to find a supplier in South Africa. <I don't know of anyone off hand, but I can give you a few leads. http://www.cfbowman.com/ http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/default.asp http://www.savko.com/ Best regards, Brian Muir <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

Plumbing parts Hello Guys, <<Hi.>> Bryan again with a few quick questions about aquarium plumbing parts. <<Shoot...>> I have been searching all over trying to find one place that carries all types of plumbing parts. One place has some, then another has something different that I need. IYE what is or are the best online places to buy plumbing parts? <<I would try these two places: http://www.plumbingsupply.com and http://www.usplastic.com - between the two of them you will likely find everything you need.>> I read that you want to use check valves and not ball or gate. right? <<Depends on where the valve is going and what you are trying to accomplish. Check valves are one-way flow valves, preventing backflow and not really at all like a gate or ball valve.>> Exactly where are the best places to add check valves? ( after return pump) <<That's the ticket.>> (my understanding is they prevent backflow and siphoning) <<You are correct.>> Last question. I am looking for 1/2" moveable outlets to make a return manifold like Anthony describes in his book. What would this type of stuff be called and where should I be looking? <<It is jointed tubing and can be had at any number of aquarium supply shops - check with some of our sponsors, I'm sure at least one of them carries it.>> Sorry for the trouble...and as always...Thanks for wonderful help. <<No worries. Cheers, J -- >>

Making waves Hello guys. I am setting up a 135 gallon reef tank and I am almost finished plumbing the return from my 70 gallon sump but I have a question about the returns. I am using an Iwaki 100 RLT pump as my sump return pump(2000GPH) and will have 4 one inch returns, one in each corner of a 6x1.5x2 ft tank with the ones 6 feet apart pointing at each other. I was considering adding an electronically controlled 3 way ball valve to create a wave effect but it was a little more than I wanted to spend ($800!!!) so we come to my first question. Do you know of anyone that has ever tried a sprinkler system electronic control valve in a reef tank? <This and a few other novel approaches... unfortunately, they carry the risk of metal pollution> I don't think you can create a wave effect because you would probably burn up the motors but one could change the flow patterns within the tank a couple of times a day. I am also wondering if the materials to fabricate these things could withstand the harsh effects of salt water so I thought I would ask you first. <There are a couple of metal components that come in contact with the water internally> My second question is whether you think the above mentioned return pattern will be adequate for my tank. <Should be.> I plan on keeping mostly soft corals but some SPS also as well as fish and inverts. For additional circulation I have a 1.5 inch bulkhead that I plan on using for a closed loop with a pair of Sea Swirls as returns. <Good idea> I am considering hooking up my chiller to this instead of hooking it to my main pump. Is that a bad idea?  <Should be fine... Do make provision for covering over the intakes to prevent animals from being sucked in... and maybe rig an overall shut-off switch for all pumps when draining water here... easy to forget, run some dry with (near) surface intakes...> The water going through the chiller wouldn't be filtered. Please see the attached graphic ( I hope you can make sense out of it) and make any recommendations you see necessary. By the way, did Mr. Fenner make it down to Mazatlan? <Not yet. Anthony are scheduled to be there early October for a conference> Gerardo Gomez ps: the purple thing is a calcium reactor <Ahh, I wondered. Bob Fenner>

Re: Plumbing Craig, thanks for great information and speed on the plumbing info you gave me.  Will look up marine depot for their plumbing parts.  I do have a few more questions regarding valves (check, gate, ball).  The best way though is to explain my intended setup.  I have a 75 gallon tank.  I have two 1.5" holes drilled on the back for flow to the sump.  Going to use 1.5" PVC from tank to the sump 3 foot below the tank.  Sump is DIY made from Rubbermaid container.  Water initially flows into one end of sump thru filter bags then to the Euro-reef skimmer. Water travels thru sump over chemical media to return pump.  Pump is a Little Giant rated at 1050gph @ 3ft.  Return to tank thru 1" PVC to the top of tank.  Making a manifold like Anthony describes in his book to vary the flow pattern so hopefully I can reduce the use of any powerheads. Intending on going w/ soft corals.  (whew) Now some questions or help.  One of my concerns is that my pump is too big for my described setup (got a great deal on eBay) what do you think?  I have never got a good or definitive answer on the amount of water two 1.5" bulkheads could handle and I am afraid it won't be enough for the pump. One thing you brought up was the use of gate or ball valves for oversized pumps. Explain a little more if you could Craig.  And from my description above do you see anything that I might change, add or do differently? Sorry so long this time, about ready to put everything together.  Thanks a million, Bryan <<Hi Bryan, No problem, sounds like a nice set-up. Are these 1.5" holes or holes for 1.5" bulkheads? Regardless, you will match that I'm sure. The pump is fine.  A little oversized but shouldn't be a big issue and you can match the output of the pump to your overflows with the gate valve on the *outflow* of the pump. A gate valve is like a guillotine, it raises or lowers a "gate* to either open or shut down the valve.  This is preferable to a ball valve for this application. Your 1.5" overflows will be fine for your pump, likely even when completely opened up. As I recall 1" overflows are rated for something like 600 gallons. It sounds fine Bryan, do have a good time! Craig>>

Plumbing set up Hi Bob, <Steven Pro this morning.> I'm planning my next tank (reef) and I'm considering using electronic Y valves from the main pump run by a wave maker in order to eliminate powerheads in the tank. I don't see any discussion on this approach and I'm hoping for your opinion. I know that the parts are expensive but is there any other reason that more people are not doing this? Thanks, Seth <I have seen a few of these designs myself. The big concern with some of these is with the Y valve having a lot of metal parts. Other than that, they are just something else to break, so I would leave them out. You can create a lot of turbulence by using multiple outlets all around the tank and not worry about a wavemaker or expensive valves/solenoids. -Steven Pro>

Ball Valve Questions Hey Guys- I've read that you're not a fan of a ball valves on the drain lines from tank to sump...I wanted to put 2 true union ball valves on the two drain lines on my tank so things could be disconnected w/o water spilling everywhere... Is this going to be a real problem as far as these valves causing blockage? <Possibly, better to allow the drain lines to flow freely.> Is there no need to adjust drain line flow? <Not usually.> thanks for the help, Craig <Ball valves with unions are good to use before and after pumps for ease of servicing, but not for regulating flow. They only work well full on or full off. -Steven Pro>

Brass valve Hi Bob <Steven today.> I just finished setting up my 100g tank that I will be stocking with coral and fish. I stocked the tank so far with 150lb of live rock and 2" of live sand about 5 days ago. Everything is going great, I am now waiting for the tank to finish cycling. Last night I panicked after reading about the effects of copper on reef tanks and realized I had installed a brass electric solenoid for my top-off water between my RO unit and the sump. When I installed the valve I knew that copper and reefs don't mix but I did not think that brass on the top-off side would have any effect, especially since a lot of people use tap water that probably runs through copper pipes. I removed the valve immediately, do you think I will have any problems with copper in my tank with the top-off running for the past 5 days? I am planning on getting a copper test kit today and I was thinking of doing a premature 20% water change. <Jim, I am unclear about something. Was the brass valve submerged or even near the saltwater or was it merely connected to your RO unit far away from the saltwater? I think it was the latter. In that case, you are probably OK, but I would definitely get another valve and test the tank water. -Steven Pro> Thanks, Jim

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