FAQs About Sump/Filters Pumps/
Related FAQs: Pumps/Plumbing/Circulation 1,
Sump Pumps/Pb/Circ 4,
Sump Pumps/Pb/Circ 5,
Sump Pumps/Pb/Circ 6,
1, & Sumps/Filters 1,
Sumps/Filters 2, Sumps 3, Sumps
4, Sumps 5, Sumps 6, Sumps
7, Sumps 8, Sumps 9, Sumps 10, Rationale, Design, Construction, Sump Components, Maintenance, Refugiums, Plenums in Reef Filtration, Marine System Plumbing, Holes & Drilling 1,
Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing Noise, Make Up Water Systems,
Set-Up, Algal Filtration in
General, Mud Filtration
Articles: Pressure Locking Sump
Baffles; Welcome to the World of Versatility! By Joshua
McMillen, Refugiums, Marine Filtration,
Reef Filtration, Mechanical, Physical, Plumbing Marine Systems by Bob Fenner,
Myth of the One
Inch Beast (Why Relying on One Inch Overflows... or Overflow! Is
foolhardy) by Scott Vallembois, Fish-Only Marine
Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems,
Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small
Systems, Large Systems,
to screen those intakes, overflows...
Questions about Sumps and glass tank seams and chips
Dear WWM Crew,
<Hit it Eddie>
It’s me again, and I have a lot more questions to ask you. The test fill
went great. The tank and the stand did fine. I’m still working on the siding
for the stand, so in the meantime, I’m trying to finalize my filtration
plans. The plan all along has been to have a sump and a refugium/DSB, but I
had to wait until the stand was built so I could know exactly how much room
I would have.
The 75 gallon tank has the typical overflow with the 1” drain and ¾”
<Ugh; a one-inch through-put is too small... DO plan on doing most all your
water (re)circulation inside the main tank... with submersible pumps,
However, I intend to use both holes for drains and run the return over the
back of the tank.
<Mmm; well, the 3/4 inch won't do much good. See HERE:
The plan is for the drains to empty into the skimmer chamber of the sump.
<Mmm... better later... in a chamber that has about constant level>
The skimmer is an Aqua C EV-180. Then there will be the typical baffles to
the other chamber of the sump that will have the return pump. Also in this
chamber will be a power head that will pump water to the DSB/Refugium, and
the water will then gravity feed from there back to the return pump chamber
of the sump. That’s the general plan. Now to the specifics and the questions
. . .
I have had a difficult time finding two containers that will fit together in
the stand to use for the sump and the DSB/Refugium. I know I can use either
smaller tanks or plastic storage containers. For cost reasons the plan was
to use storage containers (trying to do this on a budget), but I can’t seem
to find the right size.
<Mmm; even online? Container Store, Amazon...?>
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I went by a LFS in a nearby city (hour and a
half away) that was going out of business. They had a stack of 20 gallon
glass display tanks that they were selling for $5 each. They were each
drilled with a 1” bulkhead about ¾ of the way up the back, and were painted
blue on all three sides. Because they were so inexpensive, I picked one up,
thinking it might work really well for the DSB/Refugium—since it was already
drilled I thought I could use this throughput for the gravity feed back to
the sump. I took it home and put it in the stand and measured the remaining
space for the sump.
Then I made a vain search for a plastic container that would fit with the 20
gallon tank, but couldn’t find one. That left me limited to using a
10 gallon aquarium for the sump.
<Too small; I'd use the 20 for the sump, the ten for the 'fuge>
(The space is too small for a 20 Gallon. Is there a common 15 gallon size?
I’ve never seen one.)
<Oh yes; 24" X 12" X 12" if memory serves>
I happened to have an old 10 gallon that might work (see below), and if it
doesn’t they are not expensive. So the plan is now to put baffles in the 10
gallon dividing it into two chambers. The water drains into the skimmer
chamber and flows through the baffles to the return chamber. In the return
chamber are two pumps—the Mag 7 pump
May well overdrive your over-flows.... Again... I would NOT drive this much
water through.... IF one of the too-puny overflows becomes occluded... water
on the floor>
which will return the water to the display, and a power head which will pump
water to the 20 gallon DSB/refugium. From there the water will gravity feed
to the return chamber through the 1” drain. To make this work I will have to
build a platform to elevate the 20 gallon tank several inches, but I have
plenty of vertical room in the stand.
So, now here are the issues/questions:
1. I am test filling the 20 gallon tank, and there are some bubbles in the
seams (see pictures—these are from the two front corners. The back
corners also have bubbles, but not quite as many). I have no idea how old
the tank is or how long it was used as a sales tank by the LFS. In my
purpose it will not be full at any time—only up to the drain, so about ¾
full—but it will contain a 5” DSB and perhaps some live rock. In your
estimation is it safe to use for this purpose? I can continue to test fill
for as long as necessary. Also, in test filling it I have filled it over the
bulkhead (by turning the elbow fittings up I have filled it a couple of
inches higher than it will be in normal use). So it has a couple of inches
more water in it now than it will have normally.
<I wouldn't be concerned w/ these air bubbles>
2. If the 20 gallon tank is safe to use, what GPH should I look for in the
power head to feed the water to it?
<Small; as in 3-4 turns per hour>
3. In regard to the idea to use a 10 gallon tank for the sump, will this be
large enough to handle the amount of flow and excess water in a power loss?
<Not likely NO. For SURE you want to "test" here... FILL the tanks up, turn
on the pump/s and then turn them off... see how much water "runs down hill",
MARK the sump as to MAXIMUM depth (with a permanent marker, tape) and DO NOT
fill it any more than this>
I know the 1/3 display tank size rule for sumps, but I am counting the 20
gallon DSB/Refugium too, so that puts me at 30 Gallons.
<Mate; ALL the water above the overflow of the main tank PLUS
refugium will have to be accommodated in the SUMP. USE the twenty or keep
looking. You've configured a disaster in the making here>
Also, I am going to put a valve on the return line so that I can throttle
back the return pump if necessary.
<Not a good idea really. Just get/use the size (pressure, flow) pump that
will be on full all the time>
Most circulation will be accomplished through circulation power heads in the
4. If a 10 gallon tank will work, how much minimum space needs to be between
<About... Oh, see this below. Yes to gaps that allow getting a siphon,
cleaning tools into>
I did a WWM search and found somewhere that someone put 1.5” to 2” between
baffles. To fit the skimmer in the sump I need less than 3” between the
baffles, but the EV-180 can be put outside the sump if necessary. I have
space behind the sump, just not lengthwise.
<I'd place this IN the sump for sure>
5. Finally, the 10 gallon tank I have has a small chip in the glass (see
picture). It is a seashell shape with no cracks, but it is at the very
bottom of front panel on the edge. Under normal operation, it will be
half-full or so. Is it safe to use for this purpose, or should I pick up
another 10 gallon tank?
<I'd at least fill in the chipped area with Silastic. Won't help
strength-wise, but will save someone from a nasty cut>
Thank you SO MUCH for continually answering my questions. I don’t want to be
a pest, but I don’t really have many other people to ask for advice.
<We're happy to assist your efforts>
I live in a small South Alabama town, and I know of no one else here who is
into saltwater aquaria.
<Perhaps a posting on CraigsList? Starting a "Meet Up" group in your
area....? Easy, fun to do>
I have a friend who owns a LFS, but he is almost 2 hours away. I trust your
judgment. I have CMA and have read it twice. I read WWM FAQs constantly. Yet
often my questions are so specific I feel I need to consult the experts. I
just hope that it’s not TOO often.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Return Pump 7/7/16
Just a quick question. How long can my return pump that is plumbed
externally from sump be turned off for so I can replace bulkhead and
add new pump with PVC pipes.
<In terms of what? Avoiding anaerobic issues potentially? Depends on what it's
all hooked up to, temp.... But less than an hour should be fine in a worst case
scenario. Bob Fenner>
Pump questions; sel. moving to the basement
My gf and I just purchased our first home. I wish to bring with me my 80 gallon
I currently have tank at old house, which utilizes a Mag 9.5. The sump is
directly under tank.
In new house, I want to have sump in the basement. If I make the sump about 5
feet off the ground in basement, it. would be about 8 or 9 feet to living room
where top of tank return.
According to flow chart of 9.5 Mag, at 10 feet it claims to do about 420 gph.
<In an ideal world.... no turns; no reductions in pipe diameter>
If I had the extra cash I would get a proper pump, but for now, do. you see any
issue using the 9.5 to go thru the floor?
<I do not... I would do what you can to reduce vibration/shaking (fasten it onto
a board with something that gives...) and use schedule 80 nipples (or MIP, FIP)
with Silastic rather than Teflon tape, pipe dope... for connecting the
pump/volute to incoming, outgoing plumbing>
I know charts are one thing, and reality is another. I just don't want to
relocate tank and find out the pump isn't close to whats needed.
Thanks in advance for your opinion
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Gravity feed a uv sterilizer ?
Good morning. I have a quick question regarding supplying a UV
I currently have an open 2 inch bulkhead on the back of my tank that I
can easily tap into and gate valve in order to supply a UV sterilizer.
Will this work if I can control the flow?
<Mmm; can; yes. Better to use purposely pumped water... as it won't have
air bubbles, can be more easily measured in flow... DO NOT rely on this
overflow as your only way to deliver water to the/a recirculating sump.
That is DO HAVE at least one other full capacity overflow in addition>
My thinking is that I can have it supply the UV and then have a drain
directly into my dump. <sump> either in front of my protein skimmer or
in front of my return pump. Will this work?
<"A" drain; yes; just not the only one>
I have a 36 W sterilizer and figured 8 to 10 gallons per minute in order
to maximize parasite control.
<See WWM re UV set up, plumbing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Gravity feed a uv sterilizer ?
I currently have three bulkheads drilled into the back of my overflow. I
am using two of those right now to drain into my sump I thought I would
take the third on you bulkhead and have that feed my UV. That was my
Hopefully that will work.
Then I would have the UV outlet drain directly in front of the sump
return pump to the main display. Will that work? Thank you .
<?... Keep reading. BobF>
Remote sump configuration. Pump, pb f'
I am in the planning process of setting up a display system that
consists of two 40gl, two 75 gl, and one 125 gl aquariums that will be
placed in different locations within my living room and dining room.
Each tank will have a different theme (Fowlr, LPS, Softie, etc.) and be
supplied and filtered by the same remote sump. The problem I am having
is getting the drain water back to the sump considering it has to travel
over 25' horizontally (through my crawlspace) and then a 6' vertical (in
order to avoid the "communicating vessel" principle).
<Large diameter pipe...>
Would a booster pump be the correct type of pump to overcome the
<To pump the water to the sump? No. To return it; perhaps a pump of
higher head (pressure)>
Is there another type of pump that would work better?
<Yes... there's a wide range of "curves" per pump/motor... If I might
ask a pertinent question; how much water are you trying to move
back/forth here per hour? I'd do most of the actual circulation per
tank, w/in the tanks themselves...>
I have been researching this for a while and cannot find the right
variation of words to get a hit on Google. Thanks for all you guys/gals
<Let me direct you to read here:
scroll down to circulation: Read the more recent FAQs files... then down
to the various Pump Selection areas... ditto.
UV sterilizer plumbing and placement
I am in need of some help/advice.
Wanting to mount a UV unit and wondering what will be the best way to do it
Attaching three draws (solutions ?) trying to make more clear my set up and
what I intend to do about connecting the UV…
<I only see two>
The “solution 3” is the more difficult to me because of the space available
near the sump…but, if it is the best one, I will try to find a way.
The system has about 900 liters of water.
Thanks in advance for your help
<I would definitely go with "solution 1"... Just in case there's trouble
with the sump level, and/or means (overflows, siphons) getting water to/from
the individual tanks... I would NOT add to the likelihood of more water on
the floor, draining/pumping water into one tank to the other... Go w/ number
1. Bob Fenner>
|UV plumbing and placement
to The WWM Crew
Sorry….I forgot to attach the “solution 3” in my previous email
>Oh! I would still go w/ #1... and for browsers, I would NOT place a
canister filter (or any centrifugal driven device) higher than the water
level it's supplying/moving... These pumps are made to PUSH, not to pull.
RE: UV <and canister filter> plumbing and placement <In a two tank
shared sump> 2/5/14
Bob. Thank you very much for your advice and your presence.
Considering the #3 what if the canister filter was below the water level in
the sump 1st compartment ?
<I'd still run it into and out of just one tank... allow the overflows from
both tanks to recirculate to/from the sump>
Or, another option, to use a dedicated pump in the bottom of that
<A dedicated pump... for what? Read here:
The first tray... re pumps/circulation for sumps and refugiums. B>
Plumbing/return question, and pump sel. for circ. f'
I have a 65 gallon tank with a 40 breeder sump in the basement.
I have a 1" return coming back up to the tank. My
return splits in the tank into 2 loclines. I did this
because I wanted to spread out the flow more and because I like to keep
one of the nozzles near the surface for a siphon break.
<A good plan>
When I initially finished the build I had the 1" splitting into 2,
1/2" return locline nozzles. But it looked so tiny, I switched it
to 2, 3/4" returns before the tank was even running.
<A good move as well... even "induced drag" in such a small (1" ID) pipe
is considerable over a good run (length), rise (head)>
Soooo does it matter what size these are?
Is it better for my pump one way or the other?
<Yes to put it most simply. The discharge of the volute (cover over the
impeller) should not be "downsized" in terms of fitting (MIP or FIP)...
so, it should be 1" as is your plumbing at that point. The restriction
further up, at the points where your loc-lines are transitioned, is fine
to reduce to 3/4"... I should and hence will mention that most of your
flow I'd provide "in tank"... not via a sump, esp. one in a basement>
I've had the tank running several months with the 3/4 ", the only
thing I noticed is that the flow out of the nozzles is just ok, even
with an oversized pump.
<Mmm, yes; problematic... cost of electricity, likely increased waste
heat... Do you understand what I mean re using in-tank pumps? Please
scroll down to pumps, circulation...
Thanks so much!!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Plumbing/return question
Thank you Bob!
<Ah, welcome Kris>
Yes, I do understand what you mean by in-tank pumps, I have 2 nice sized
powerheads moving water in the tank as well and flow seems very good,
fish and corals aren't overwhelmed and yet I haven't noticed any
stagnant spots as of yet.
I appreciate your feedback on the return nozzles, Since making the
switch to the 3/4, I've wondered if that was the right thing to.
<Mmm, yes... as we can likely agree/concur: "Life (indeed the universe)
is a "series of compromises"... Here, trading pressure for volume is the
right trade off... IMO/E of course... but there are (of course) "means
and extremes" of this situation... i.e., one doesn't want maximum
pressure OR volume at the expense of the other>
The "just okay" water movement is fine for the tank for filtration and
sump movement, my concern was whether the 3/4 could be too big for some
<Mmm, no; not>
The pump I'm running is the Sicce Syncra 12 hf, which
everyone says "whoa that's overkill", however with the head pressure I
have (sump is also over about 6 feet as well as in the basement) and the
fact that I am running a UV sterilizer and reactors on it as well, it
seems to be doing the job nicely.
I see this detail "Syncra 12 3200gph, 1-1/2" inlet, 1-1/2"
outlet, 17.5' max head, 7.40psi".... I would definitely
use 1.5" diameter pipe on the discharge here NOT the 1". You
can keep the 3/4" discharges at the tank, but you're shortchanging
Thanks so much for all you do for this site! It is a wonderful
<Glad we are of service. BobF>
Re: Plumbing/return question, circ. pump 10/7/13
<Hello again Kris>
I do have 1-1/2 pipe coming off the pump itself, but it splits into 3 1"
pipes. One returns to the tank, one goes to the uv sterilizer, and
one goes to the reactors(and also goes down to 3/8" line). Uv and
reactors have valves to adjust the flow. I had the tank drilled
for a 1" return, my original pump was a Speedwave dc 10000 with a 1"
output. The transformer
burned up after only a month of use, so I am keeping the
replacement as a spare as I really don't trust it. The heat it
produced was evident in the warped plastic and charred circuits inside,
and I'm lucky my son was home
and was able to deal with it when it cooked.
<Too much head, resistance... Likely your present pump has the same
Did you read on WWM re circulation pumps and plumbing? B>
Thanks so much for your help!!!
Re: Plumbing/return question... sump... somewhere else filed?
In regards to my pump/plumbing, sorry for the delay in getting back to
you, it's been a crazy couple of weeks. I actually asked many
questions on your site before I had the tank built regarding pumps, and
plumbing sizes, because I wanted to have the tank drilled properly.
This was back in April, and NateG helped me determine pump size and the
plumbing size of 1".
He even recommended the DC pump that died. With the DC pump, I was
just pumping the water upstairs, no UV or reactors were involved.
Actual 1" flex pipe length is 9.5 ft vertical and 5 foot horizontal.
<... I take it (am hoping as well) that the discharge on the pump volute
is/was 1" as well... i.e., not reduced>
There is a true 90 degree bend where the return goes out to the tank,
otherwise if it were hard piped there would be 2 more. When
I got the Sicce pump, used alone it moved a lot of water, so I thought
it would be okay to use it for the UV and reactors.
<Stop. A note here for you and browsers into the future: This is a false
assumption; that is, pumps (motors, impellers...) are designed or put
another way "can" do so much pressure and volume... sometimes both, at
times not much of either.... There are "curves" one can find for many
such combinations... but again, one should know BOTH potential head
pressure AND volume in trying to match water movement to ones
When I hooked those up to the Sicce to it to see how it did, there was
still plenty of water movement back up to the tank and through the sump.
So I figured that would be ok.
<Perhaps; re-read the above>
I also thought it would be better to not reduce the size of the existing
plumbing right off the pump, which is why I did the Split to 3 1" pipes.
Considering my set up, plumbing size of the already drilled and set up
tank, distance the water has to move, what is my ideal pump/setup?
<... don't know w/o a good deal of look-seeing, BUT importantly, I would
(as stated over and over on WWM in places) DO most of the
routine "circulation" for this and most all systems "IN the tank"....
not from outside.... Using powerheads, submersible pumps... USE
the outside pump ONLY for your sump, UV... minimally>
Should I take the UV and reactors off the return pump?
<What would run them? Again... I am a bigger fan of using dedicated
pump/ing for such gear/mechanicals recirculating to and back from the
sump itself AND another dedicated pump to/from the main/display
Is this clear?>
Should I look for a return pump with 1" outlet?
<I don't see below where you state the volume of the system... but if
it's no more than a couple hundred gallons... likely the 1" ID plumbing,
fittings will do...>
Thanks so much...
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Plumbing/return question, plus sump f'
Thanks again Bob. Tank is 65 gallons, sump is a 40 breeder with
probably 30 gallons water. Considering displacement of rock and
equipment, not that much water to move.
I do have other pumps I can dedicate to the UV etc, I thought I was being
"frugal" by only using the 1, saving electricity, but I do see your
point on using dedicated pumps.
<Yes; easier to regulate flow...>
To answer your question, the DC pump had a 1" output matching the tank
plumbing, so no it was not reduced.
I did check flow curves on both pumps I purchased, and certainly was
extremely helpful and I would recommend anyone pump shopping should use
these valuable tools.
A max head rating on a pump means nothing if you don't know how the GPH
curve drops accordingly.
Thank you again for the valuable information.
<Glad that we can share for others benefit. BobF>
Water Flow/Volume... <<RMF addenda>>
Your site is awesome, not enough hours in the day to sit and read all
the information that is available. I also think my wife is starting to
feel a little neglected. oops. As for my questions, I have a
6' long 125 gallon aquarium with an additional 75 gallons in a sump and
a refugium. My goal is a reef system with limited fish,
mostly inverts and corals. I am particularly drawn to LPS coral and some
polyps. The display tank is on main floor, and
equip is in a dedicated basement room. If "dilution is
the solution" for reducing pollution would my tank benefit from adding a
175 gallon poly tank in my basement. I have plenty of room. I
currently have a Mag 36 pumping water from sump to DT, gravity
would provide flow from DT to poly tank then sump with skimmer, then
refugium and then to pump chamber in sump. I would raise the poly tank
off the floor so I could drain some water from bottom to remove any
settled detritus from the tank. The pump is reduced to 2200 gph because
of head pressure, and reduced more due to plumbing size restrictions.
I'm not sure final actual water circulation. I don't have any
other pumps or power heads running, I was relying on the Mag drive.
My tank is drilled and has overflows in the 2 back corners and 2
additional bulkheads installed near the top also on back wall. I
believe all 4 bulkheads use 3/4 pipe fittings which are too small I know
but its what I have. This creates a lot of water noise due to
volume moving thought small piping.
<<Yes; I'd abandon or drill out these fittings, through-puts... replace
w/ 1.5", or 2" ID>>
I am wondering if I would be better served by replacing the Mag 36 with
something smaller like around 750-1000 gph after head pressure
adjustment, returning this water to DT thought the 2 bulkheads in the
middle of the back wall, then add another circulation pump attached to a
closed loop system with 4 or 6 outlets.
<<Yes; much better served. Along w/ the (still) redrilling of the
overflows (and as large a fitting diameter as the discharge on the
volute of the pump you settle on for the sump/main tank return). I would
definitely do this>>
Water only escapes the DT from the top of the water column in the overflow
boxes, should I be removing water from near the bottom of the tank also?
<<Mmm, not likely of use, much benefit, IF you're adding sufficient
'in-tank' circulation... this latter will "stir up" the bottom water
If so how is this safely accomplished.
<<.. Can be done in a few ways... a "tee'd" (aspirated to the air at the
top to break/disallow siphoning) line that has an extension to the
bottom area is likely best for this sort of hobbyist setting). Again, I
wouldn't do this>>
I plan on using a DSB soon.
Also I use 3 -175 watt MH lights, do you feel this is enough for LPS like,
frog spawn, hammer coral, bubble coral and so on... I have been
considering switching to 250 watt MH... thoughts?
<<Mmm... I wouldn't likely switch from the 175s... better to just raise
the LPS, other "light intensity loving" corals to higher levels on
rock... use a PAR or PUR meter to ascertain light energy.>>
or maybe consider LED
<<Ah yes; if you can afford the initial investment... look to units that
can be modified, adapted to another (likely larger) system>>
instead. I'm thinking I need to do something different with lighting
because my frogspawn is not opening big for a while now and also my
zoo's haven't been opening either.
<<See WWM re allelopathy... the better chance of what's going on here.
I tested and have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10 nitrates, (down from 20
forever.. finally progress) 8.3 pH, 425 calcium, don't have alkalinity
or phosphate test. Thinking its water flow or lighting. I sincerely
appreciate what the staff at WWM does, living in western Iowa there
isn't much for LFS here. Plus never get same answer twice. Thanks
again for giving of your time and opinions.
I'm Darrel - I usually answer reptile questions and although I have a
Marine tank, I usually leave the aquaculture questions to the real Pros
like Bob, James, Neale, etc. When I do chime in, it's on the
engineering level at which I am very well qualified.
The reason your letter caught my eye is because I, too, like doing
things in a large scale and rely heavily on the engineering aspect to
solve the technical problems -- so for that reason only, I want to chime
in on one, tiny concern I have ... just food for your consideration --
AND NOTHING MORE -- then leave the real answers to the real pros.
Yes, Dilution is a great solution or at least a really great
asset in our systems. With enough back-tank storage, you can
make a 125 gallon tank carry the bio-load of a 350 or 400 -- we just
think of it as a 400 gallon tank with all the fish residing in the same
125 gallon portion of that much larger amount of water.
It's a cool and elegant solution.
Until the power or the pump fails -- and suddenly the 350 gallons of
bio-mass are now stranded in the 125 gallon portion of the tank where
the toxicity now increases exponentially. Since the bacteria of
the nitrogen cycle grow on virtually ever wet surface in your system --
and they grow to the limit of their food source. What I'm saying
is that in the proposal you mention below (125 gal tank and then 75 + an
additional 175 in the basement) maybe as much as 2/3 of your nitrifying
bacteria are now cut off from the system in which the bio-mass resides.
My concern would be that completely separate circulation systems are
absolutely necessary in a situation like that and in reality there
should be a third, totally separate circulation system that uses a low
volume, low power pump that is fed from a backup UPS system like we use
in home computer systems. >
Water Flow/Volume – 05/13/13 /EricR
Your site is awesome,
<<Thanks…a collaborative effort>>
not enough hours in the day to sit and read all the information that is
I also think my wife is starting to feel a little neglected. Oops.
As for my questions, I have a 6' long 125 gallon aquarium with an
additional 75 gallons in a sump and a refugium. My goal is a reef system
with limited fish, mostly inverts and corals. I am particularly drawn to
LPS coral and some polyps. The display tank is on main floor, and
equip is in a dedicated basement room. If "dilution is the solution" for
reducing pollution would my tank benefit from adding a 175 gallon poly
tank in my basement?
<<It would…as long as you don’t overstock the display beyond what can
“get by” for a couple hours in the event of a power outage>>
I have plenty of room.
<<Go for it!>>
I currently have a Mag 36 pumping water from sump to DT,
<<A big pump…>>
gravity would provide flow from DT to poly tank then sump with skimmer,
then refugium and then to pump chamber in sump.
I would raise the poly tank off the floor so I could drain some water
from bottom to remove any settled detritus from the tank.
The pump is reduced to 2200 gph because of head pressure, and reduced
more due to plumbing size restrictions. I'm not sure final actual
<<Easy enough to test if you can direct the output on to a container of
known volume and “measure” how long it takes to fill>>
I don't have any other pumps or power heads running, I was relying on
the Mag drive.
<<I personally prefer to not run large volumes of water through my
sump/refugium/et al, and use “propeller” pumps (e.g. – Tunze Stream
Pumps) to create flow within the display. Not only are the
propeller pumps much more efficient re…reducing transient flow through
the display/sump greatly reduces or eliminates issues with noise,
My tank is drilled and has overflows in the 2 back corners and 2
additional bulkheads installed near the top also on back wall. I believe
all 4 bulkheads use 3/4 pipe fittings which are too small I know but
it’s what I have. This creates a lot of water noise due to volume moving
thought small piping.
<<I have no doubt>>
I am wondering if I would be better served by replacing the Mag 36 with
something smaller like around 750-1000 gph after head pressure
<<I think you could even get by even with 500 gph after head-loss>>
returning this water to DT thought the 2 bulkheads in the middle of the
back wall, then add another circulation pump attached to a closed loop
system with 4 or 6 outlets.
<<You could do the closed-loop…but you will use a lot less power with
MUCH better flow by dispensing with the CL and going with a couple
Water only escapes the DT from the top of the water column in the
<<As it should…to help keep the organic film that develops at the
air-water interface cleared away>>
should I be removing water from near the bottom of the tank also?
<<Not in my opinion…you don’t want to drain the display dry in the event
of a power interruption. In fact, your overflows at the surface should
be set so that your sump can easily handle/hold the transient water
volume in such an event>>
If so, how is this safely accomplished?
I plan on using a DSB soon. Also I use 3 -175 watt MH lights, do you
feel this is enough for LPS like, frog spawn, hammer coral, bubble coral
and so on...
I have been considering switching to 250 watt MH... thoughts?
<<Not necessary here>>
or maybe consider LED instead.
<<Is an option>>
I'm thinking I need to do something different with lighting because my
frogspawn is not opening big for a while now and also my zoo's haven't
been opening either. I tested and have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10
nitrates, (down from 20 forever… finally progress) 8.3 pH, 425 calcium,
don't have alkalinity or phosphate test.
<<Do get a test kit and check this…low Alkalinity may well be the issue
with your corals>>
Thinking it’s water flow or lighting. I sincerely appreciate what the
staff at WWM does; living in Western Iowa there isn't much for LFS here.
<<We’re happy to assist>>
Plus never get same answer twice. Thanks again for giving of your
time and opinions.
<<Happy to share… EricR>>
Re: Addended: Water Flow/Volume 5/13/13
In your opinion then would I be better served using a pump and closed
loop with multiple openings or just use a couple propeller pumps in the
<The latter by far... See WWM re... closed loops are passé for several
125 g tank what volume of water should I be looking at moving.
<Also gone over and over... Do you need help using the indices, search
I have a sump but its <it's> quite small 18"x10", the middle sects which
I will use as a fuge for growing cheato
<Algae that goes crunch?>
is only 7"x10" with baffles at each end 10" high. Will the water mix
okay, or would it be better if the baffle on the water in side was split
allowing a gap half way up so water could enter through the middle as
well as the top?
<You'll have to run it to see... you may well have to direct a lower
flow rate here. See WWM re designs...>
Also is a deep sand bed workable in such a small space,
I'm planning on a live rock set up in the display section and skimmer
and cheato in the sump?
Finally should I be planning to run carbon and phosphate remover in
reactors or bags, or could I do without these there's loads of
conflicting advice on the interweb?
<... Am not a fan of HPO4 contactors (rust... GFO), but can see the
rationale for lanthanum use in some circumstances... Contactors are
better than Dacron bags in flow paths>
Thanks in advance
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Refugium/Sump, pb design 11/1/12
Hi, I am entertaining the idea of building a refugium/sump for my 40
gallon breeder style tank. I will be using a 29 gallon bow front tank if
I decide to build the sump. The 29 gallon tank is much taller then my
display tank and I was wondering about the baffle height and how it
effects the setup.
<As long as the "underpass" is a few inches below the top of the sump
(and main tank) water level....>
Now I know that the higher the baffles the more water capacity I can
have in the sump which is what I am looking for. I am worried that the
way I am planning on setting up the sump might increase the chance of
micro bubbles since I want to utilize higher baffles. With the slow down
of current in the design my return portion of the sump will be much
lower then that of the inlet and refugium. I am thinking this might
create micro bubbles in the return portion of the sump, correct?
<Possibly, depending on flow rate... I wouldn't be concerned at this
point... IF this is an issue, there are mechanisms (filter bags, sponge
material) that can resolve the bubbles>
If so, how might I be able to reduce the micro bubbles from the higher
elevated drop of water into the return portion of the sump?
<As stated above>
Another question I have is in the picture I provided for the sump where
the refugium flows over into the center return area I was going to slot
the top of the baffle to reduce flow. I was wondering if simply drilling
holes in the top of the baffle instead of using slots might be more
<About the same>
Didn't know if one of the crew might have tried this before or not, but
if not I will try it and find out for myself. My biggest concern is
flooding my house since my tank is in the upstairs portion of my home. I
have searched around for fail safes and have only found uninformative
quick references to ideas and not really how to incorporate it into the
design (quick references mentioned not from this site).
<You could attach an overflow... to elsewhere... via a through-put in
the sump... but unless you're using an auto top off system, you won't
likely have a problem w/ the given volumes of the main and sump tanks>
The attached JPEG image is a copy of the design I drew up for how I want
to setup the sump/refugium and if there are any recommendations that
would make it more efficient I would appreciate your input.
<It may be hard to get the pipe filled, and keep it filled on your
overflow... I'd see WWM re a Durso standpipe instead. Bob Fenner>
Overflows, Sumps and Pumps (Oh My!) – 08/16/12
Hello Wet Web,
I've read a lot of your info since March of 2011.
<<Excellent…do keep reading!>>
You have helped me a lot and that is an understatement!
<<Ah! Is redeeming to know>>
I have a 55 gallon tall tank, 30’’ long, 24’’ high, and 18'' wide.
<<Ah yes…the ubiquitous 55>>
The glass is tempered, so no drilling.
I'm thinking of putting an overflow on the tank. The tank has some
corals, a few sps, lps and Zoas and mushrooms, plus a couple of fish. I
want to get a CPR overflow, but don't know which one. I would like to
get the one with 2-1.5’’ holes, I think it is a 1500gph, but am afraid
it might be too big for a 55 gallon.
<<Is more than you “need” in my opinion. Going with a smaller setup
(2-1” or 1-1.5”), and even then sizing/regulating your return pump to
provide flow equal to half the return’s capacity for redundancy/safety,
will be enough circulation yet a whole lot less headache re
noise/bubbles/plumbing issues et al>>
I also need to know what size sump
<<As big as you can fit…for many of the reasons just listed. But for
sure nothing “less” than 15 gallons>>
and what size pump?
<<For the size overflow I have recommended, something that will give
about 300gph with whatever head-loss your system will provide>>
As you can see I'm a little afraid of an overflow onto the floor with
all the water and I don't have the extra money for costly mistakes I'm
going to make.
<<Understood…but many benefits to be gained by adding a sump. Though
there are those (some here) who would say they would do without rather
than rely on a siphon-style overflow>>
Believe you me, I have made a few even with all the info I've read here
and other places!
<<Mmm, me too…even after many years in the hobby>>
Also if I don't go for the overflow which I really want, how many power
heads should I put in there and where is the best places to put them.
<<Enough sized to provide flow at some 500+ gph…and positioned near the
top to provide a “GYRE” type flow pattern>>
So what do you say guys, can you help a lady out?
<<Hope I have… Do research WWM re the terms I have used (gyre, head
loss, etc.), along with sump plumbing and design, and then come back
with more questions if you wish>>
<<Happy to share>>
I know you gentlemen
<<Ladies here too!>>
are very busy.
<<We’re here to help…>>
Sump and Pump (Design…Choices) – 07/27/12
I had a couple of questions dealing with my sump design and return pump.
I have a tank that is going to be 72x24x28 and will be sitting on a
homemade stand approximately 40 inches tall with the sump located
directly below. It will have an internal trapezoid overflow with two
11/2 inch Durso standpipes and two returns coming out of the overflow. I
was looking at getting a sump built from the tank manufacturer that is
60x24x15 and divided into three sections: protein skimmer, return,
refugium, like the picture shows below.
<<I see this, though something does strike me right-off. I would suggest
that rather than having the return pump recirculating back to the
refugium, that you instead have one of the returns from the tank feed
the refugium. The idea is, like the skimmer chamber, to have the
refugium process the “raw” water from the tank>>
The return area would be roughly 17x24x15 as well as the refugium. The
baffles would be an inch apart or do you think they should be wider?
<<Wider…say 2-inches. These areas are great for placing heaters, media
The protein skimmer section would be about 23x24x15. Do you think this
is a good design or is there something better for the space you would
<<I tend to go simply with the biggest aquarium I can find to fit the
space, to use for a sump…and even not worry so much about baffles (often
not needed), though you can install these yourself if you’re a bit
handy. This is a more economical approach as you might imagine. But
saying that… I do think your sump is designed pretty well, and likely
“custom” is the best way to maximize this space>>
Is the refugium going to be big enough to make a difference?
<<Bigger is better…but it can/will make a contribution. I would suggest
adding a ball of Chaetomorpha macroalgae and lighting the section
(doesn’t take a lot…see WWM re) on a “reverse-daylight” schedule. The
Chaeto provides an excellent matrix for “critter” production. But if the
lighting is not something you wish to contend with, you can certainly go
with an unlit chamber of live rock>>
Also, I was looking at getting the Super Reef Octopus 5000 protein
skimmer for this system. What are your opinions on this skimmer?
<<My current faves are the skimmers from Reef Dynamics (formerly
Euro-Reef), but I think this is also a fine choice>>
I will have a total of about 350 gallons and it will be a mixed reef
with fish. My last question deals with the return pump. I was going to
use a CoralVue Water Blaster pump. What are your thoughts on this pump?
<<Should serve well…though I think it’s hard to beat the Eheim line of
Looking at this pump I was looking at two different models, the 7000
which is 1800 gph with 12 feet max head or the 10000 which is 2600 gph
with 16.5 feet max head. Would the 10000 be too much?
<<Indeed… With supplemental flow within the tank, you don’t need to run
a big return pump. Going smaller here will also eliminate many problems
re bubbles, noise, poor plumbing design, et al… Whichever pump you
choose, do plumb a gate-valve on the output-side of the pump to allow
you to temper flow if needed>>
I will be feeding the refugium
<<Do reconsider this…as I explained earlier>>
and the two return lines and could dial it down if I had to, but I just
want to make sure it isn't too much?
<<It’s my opinion you could get by with about 900gph on the return…even
less. The slower flow allows better processing of the water through the
refugium (longer dwell time), and greatly eases any issues as
Also, I will be using powerheads for flow as well so it is not entirely
dependent on the returns.
<<Indeed… Have you looked in to the many options in “propeller pumps”
for this purpose? …versus simple powerheads…>>
Thanks again for all your help!
<<Happy to share! EricR>>