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FAQs about Wet-Dry, Trickle Filter Plumbing Issues

Related Articles: Trickle Filters, pt. 1 By Bob Goemans, Physical Filtration, Denitrification/Denitrifiers, Nitrates and Marine Systems

Related FAQs: Wet Dries 1, Wet Dries 2, Wet-Dries 3, Wet Dries 4, Selection, Set-Up, Pumps, Bio-Balls FAQs, Bio-Ball, Wet-Dry Media 2, Other Filter/Media/Elements (other than bio-balls), Modification/Conversion, Operation/Maintenance/Repair... Biological Filtration, Biofiltration 2, Fluidized Beds, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, PhosphatesDenitrification/Denitrifiers,


Marine Plumbing   8/25/10
<Hello Bruce>
My friend gave me a Del Ray 125 wet/dry filter without no plumbing and pump. So I did some research and ordered a siphon overflow box rated 600gph at eBay and also purchased a Rio HF20 as a return. The pump is about 5 ft below the top of the tank. Did I order too big of a pump?
<No, should be closely matched if the overflow is indeed capable of 600gph.>
If so, what are my option of correcting the flow output from the pump.
<It is always advisable to install a gate/ball valve at the pump's outlet for output control.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Wet dry drain hose Can you tell me the specifics of the drain hose for the wet dry filter. I'm talking about the hose that connects from the overflow to the wet dry drain hose. I am trying to find a company that sells the individual pieces. I found one company, but I don't know what the hose is made from specifically and that company has a wide choice of products. Thanks. <Try Drs. Foster & Smith or Premium Aquatics.  Both sell replacement hoses.  James (Salty Dog)>

Flow rate calculations 7/4/03 Hi Anthony, <Cheers, my friend.> I'm setting up a new tank that will use an overflow "shelf" like the one you describe in your BoCP book (BTW- great book!).   <Thanks kindly!> The tank is a standard 50g (36x15x20) and I would like to be able to push 1000gph max through the overflow.   <Very good> I can make the shelf 22in long, but I can't figure out how much clearance I should give it to get the right flow rate and keep the water level near the top of my tank. Any ideas? <A full inch from the surface of the water... and 4-5 1" overflow holes or their equivalent in larger bulkheads.> Also, do you know of how to calculate the flow rate of a siphon? <I would never recommend a siphon overflow under any circumstance... won't sleep in a house with one. Overflow risk and fire hazard in time IMO> To reduce noise, I'm putting two drains in the shelf- one near the bottom that will be a siphon and move most of the water, and one near the top to catch whatever the siphon can't handle.   <Hmmm... maybe I'm misunderstanding here. Drilled overflow or siphon overflow?> The top drain will be a Durso or other quiet non-siphon drain.  I'd like to use the smallest possible pipe size for the siphon (to keep the overflow height as low as possible) but be able to push say 800gph through the siphon.  Any ideas? Thanks, David <I think the use of the word siphon must have merely meant an overflow hole operating at high capacity (creating siphon beyond what gravity overflow will afford... and if so a precarious endeavor... use more holes instead for safety). Best regards, Anthony>

WET DRY anti-siphon Hey guys. <Hello! Ryan with you> I'm developing a valve and float for the wet dry that will adjust the flow in if the water in the sump raises or lowers also; It will shut off the flow in the event of a power outage!  I have a 3/4" valve and float that works well on a 55 gallon discus FW tank.  Do you think it would be a good idea to market a larger valve for the saltwater guys? <sure, anything to help the hobby.> I've got a website that I started but; Not going to market anything till I do more research about the materials used in this valve as far as toxicity in different waters and, get an idea for how long this thing lasts before it needs replaced. <A very good idea.  Durability is so important in a product.> I haven't posted any thing on the site yet. I tried electric solenoids and the power head thing but; this works so much better because the tank stays at the same level and just re-starts itself. I've been toying around for years with this thing and finally; Something works (SO FAR) <and we can't wait to see one in action!  Keep us posted and send over a demo model;) Sounds like you're headed in the right direction-Ryan> Alan

Overflow Siphon Hi again, I have a 150 soon to be FO saltwater and I've built everything myself stand/hood/filter but I bought the over flow box to the wet/dry filter I built. My hardest task has been starting the siphon!!! I need to know the trick on starting the siphon in the overflow box, its a U shaped tube. Is there a special way to start it?  I've tried many ways but nothing seems to work. I know it's a dumb question but I need help haha. Thanks, Chris <Well Chris, you seem handy, so I suggest you permanently install an airline tube in the top of the U-tube (hot glue, marine seal, epoxy, etc) and hook it up to a venturi powerhead, so it will pull the air out of the top of the tube and restart the siphon if/when the power goes out or a circuit breaker trips (or when you just want to turn the darned thing on!). This way you won't come home to a flooded house and that not so nice burning heater smell....and assorted other horrible stuff, and the siphon will start itself. You can see something similar on the CPR overflows.  Enjoy your new toy!  Craig>  

Wet/dry overflow (necessarily flooding?) I have a question concerning wet/dry filters. I have read and been told they tend to overflow. I don't want to drill the tank. What steps can I take that will prevent the sump or tank from overflowing. Thank you, any help you could provide will be very appreciated. John Bugby <A good question... and no, wet-dries, sumps, refugiums need not cause (much) risk of overflowing, flooding... Take a look through the FAQs on "Plumbing", "Sumps", "Overflows"... on the Marine Index of our site: www.WetWebMedia.com here... I would look into overflow "boxes" like those made by CPR (link on the WWM site) instead of drilling the tank.... and practice with the water level in the sump/wet-dry by hooking the whole thing up, turning the power off... and permanently affix a "not to be filled higher than this level" mark on the sump/wet-dry... Bob Fenner>

Wet/dry books Would you recommend any books on how to plumb a wet/dry filter? <Actually... there are a few that have some worthwhile illustrations and descriptions... but the best source is "Oz's Reef" all the way around... for an amazing mix and depth of aquarium DIY info. and it's free, on the Net... their/his link is on the www.WetWebMedia.com Links Pages... Bob Fenner>

Re: algae? > hibernation?) Bob Fenner> > My only complaint so far is that with the bio balls gone, the tank makes more noise as the water splashes into sump. But it's kind of peaceful, it's right in front of my desk at work, so I stare at a wall of fish as I > daydream...Ohmmmmm <<Maybe a piece of foam or lengthening the return device (spray bar, drip tray?) into the sump would quiet things down. "All is water". Bob Fenner>

Wet/Dry or Sump Hello, I have been reading about sumps and wet dry filters. I just obtained a wet dry/sump for my 55 gallon tank. I am somewhat confused. What I have been reading is that the bio-balls should be removed and replaced with live rock. Is that necessary? <No, but is better in many situations.> Is that best? I have about 75 lbs. of live rock already in my tank. <Then you do not need the benefits of W/D filtration.> I thought the bio-balls were a good place for the right bacteria to grow and help filter. Am I behind the times. <A little bit.> I was planning on using my wet dry/sump to put a protein skimmer and move my heater into it from my tank. <All you need is a sump.> I currently have a Emperor 400 and I thought that the wet/dry sump would replace that. <Your liverock is capable of replacing both now.> Also, I have read that the overflow hose is or should be 1" and the return line should be 3/4". Is this true? <Depends entirely on the gph.> My LFS told me to use 1/2" return and that the spray bar that I am going to make for my return should also be 1/2". I haven't got my TENECOR WET/DRY 75 FILTER yet, but I am trying to get ready for when it gets here. I have a Rio 2100 (672gph) for my skimmer and a Rio 3100 (700gph at 4ft) for my return. What are your suggestions! <To get your pump to perform at 700 gph at 4 feet of head pressure you will need to use at least 3/4" line, preferably 1".> Thanks, Daniel <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Wet/dry Thank you for your time. I have a 80 gal tank w/ the built-in wet/dry & venturi tube protein skimmer. I want to add a wet/dry with a Berlin skimmer below ( good choice? ). <What are you keeping? Fish, corals, or both? For fish, wet/dries are alright, not so for reefs. There are more efficient skimmers for the money as well.  For reefs, refugiums, sumps are the most popular choices.> My tank needs about another 1" from the wall for the prefilter to fit behind, short of moving the tank is their another way to get the water below & still not have to worry if the power goes out? <Is this with overflow boxes? I would suggest drilled overflows instead, either through the back or bottom. These feed by gravity and stop when the water level reaches the top of the overflow, so you can set water level. Far superior to add-on overflow boxes which can fail in power outages.> I can't really see any other way. If I have a new prefilter made to fit, does their have to be any certain about of space in the prefilter for the unit to work correctly? <There is no need for a pre-filter with overflow(s), you can use a micron/filter bag in the wet/dry/sump/refugium.> Also, do you recommend work on & inside the tank with the lights on?   <Not sure what your question is here? Lights on or off makes no difference, unless you have high powered lights and low or no water for extended periods while working on the tank.> I have a tang that consumes Nori etc. well, but seems to eat so much that his stomach will protrude from his body when looking head on at him.  Should I remove the Nori sooner than when it is gone? <No, Tangs are supposed to be fat and healthy!> Feeding him formula 2 & angle food preparation with extra vitamins every other day, and on the other days just some clip Nori, is this a good >regimen & should I use Selcon / vita chem on every meal? <Sounds good, the vitamins can't hurt.> Thank you for your advice ! D.Mack <Enjoy!  Craig>

Wet/dry Questions Craig, Thank you for your reply ! This is a FOWLR tank by the way. I am now having a new tank built 48 x 20 x 28 100 gal or so) with the center prefilter. What size return line do you recommend for a deeper tank, I was thinking 3/4" but most pumps @ 3' that push 1,000 gph or more use 1" lines, I could reduce the line to the return. what do you think?   <Don't be fooled by the pump outlet size Darrin. These pumps reach their full flow rate with much larger plumbing, up to twice as big in diameter as the outlet size. I would run 1.5" - 2" pipe (with a 1" pump outlet) to or near the top of the tank and step down to several 3/4" outlets from there.> Size of pump you recommend? <This depends on your desired fish and needed flow. Match your flow to the needs of your inhabitants. For instance, most Tangs require/prefer strong currents. There is a good calculator on Reef Central to help with sizing.> What type of skimmer do you recommend & brand? <There are several good choices. Our favorites are Euro-reef and  Aqua-C.> I would like to rely on the skimmer as complete filtration only in time. Thanks! <It wouldn't hurt to have micron filter bags on the overflow lines at the sump to mechanically filter larger particles, other than that a good oversized skimmer will do well. Sounds like a good time! Craig>

Wet/dry questions What type of wet/dry filter do you recommend and how do they work if you don't have a pre drilled tank?<you will have a prefilter box. that you can purchase with the wet/dry I currently have a 200 gal wet/dry for my 180 (its drilled though. but you can still get a prefilter box for a non-drilled aquarium) and the manufacturer is Sea Life Systems> Thanks again I think I will leave the fish in the wild. Hate to kill something because I was stubborn.<agreed my friend...get something more appropriate... oh and BTW you wanted a Pomacanthus imperator. correct? if so make sure you purchase a Red Sea specimen. they are much better looking and much hardier than their Indonesian counterparts, good luck, IanB>

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