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FAQs about Gear Selection for Circulation 1

Related Articles: Pump Specification Chart (by maker/URL, power use, flow, head, fitting size), by James Gasta, Wavemaker Pump Specification Chart (by maker/URL, power use, flow), by James Gasta, External Water Pump Impressions: Move Some Serious Water By Steven Pro,  Submersible Pump Selection, Efficiency and Price Assessments by Steven Pro, Circulation, Plumbing Return Manifolds, Inexpensive Wavemaker Impressions, by Steven Pro, Aeration, Water Flow, How Much is Enough, Marine System ComponentsRefugiums, Central FiltrationFlow-through Live-holding Systems, Refugiums, Business Set-Up

Related FAQs: Pump Selection 2, Marine Circulation 2, Marine Circulation 3, Pump Selection 3, Pump Selection 4, Pump Selection 5, Pump Selection 6, Circulation Pumps, AerationPumps, Powerheads, Installation/Arrangement, PlumbingMake Up Water Systems, Sumps RefugiumsSurge Devices,  FAQs on pump selection by Brand/Manufacturer:  Eheim Pumps, Dolphin ,Hydor/Koralia Pumps, Iwaki, Mag (Supreme) Pumps, OceanRunner, Quiet One (Pentair) Pumps, RK2 Pumps, Sequence (Dart), Tunze, Vortech

There are good pumps in both magnetic and direct drive formats... you have to do your homework in figuring short and long term actual costs.

Suggestion on Iwaki Pump Hi Bob, how are you? <He is probably doing marvelous. He is diving in Indonesia right now. Steven Pro in his stead.> I have a 75 gallon Oceanic Reef-Ready tank that I am setting up. This is my first tank and I want to do things right. <If you are new to saltwater, might I suggest Mike Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium" and Bob Fenner's "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist." Both are excellent.> Rumor has it that my overflow is rated at around 750 gph. All the return will run is the return. I will have approximately 4 feet of head. Can I get away with the 40RLT? <That model is rated for 750 gph at 4 feet of head, which should be fine.> If not what would you suggest? Best regards, Mike <Have a nice night. -Steven Pro>

Pumps Hi guys, Quick question tonight. I would like your opinion on external pumps. I have been watching e-bay and found a Little Giant 3MDQX-SC and 4MDQX-SC for auction. What do you think of this particular pump? Good/Bad. <<Decent... not junk.>>  Thanks Bryan. <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Ideas, Thoughts and Opinions (pump type, sizing for marine system) Thanks for the sand bed advice! <<My pleasure.>> I still have questions on the pump for the 60 gallon thank though... Given the spray bar configuration detailed in the original set of questions below, I believe that the pump driving the spray bar will be under about 6.5 ft. of head. <<Mmmm, I don't think so - the maximum head height would be calculated by the highest vertical height of the return pipe - even if it does a 180deg turn and goes into the tank, it still only reaches a maximum height of 4.5 feet or so... if it were 6.5 feet, you'd be working on this tank via a step stool.>> so I believe that the Iwaki md40RLT should be sufficient for the job.... <<Well... the RLT series is actually rated for pressure - very long head heights, you'd probably be better off with the 30 RLXT>> providing my calculations are correct and providing the tank needs to turn in excess of 5 times per hour.  Is this the correct pump and what is the "ideal" number of turns per hour? <<The ideal amount is really a range, perhaps 7-10 times per hour or more if you can do it. The catch here is that it is, in a practical sense almost impossible to duplicate the flows found on reefs... so really, the more the better.>> Thanks Lisa <<Cheers, J -- >>

Pump & Skimmer (What's the frequency Kevin, Anthony, Steven?) Hi Bob & Friends I am setting up a reef tank using a 120 Gal AGA with the two overflows on either side. I am also going to purchase a 30 gallon tank to build a refugium/sump. Could someone please recommend an efficient and durable pump for my returns, considering I have to split the return to either side of the tank. <Please see our previous posts regarding here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pumpselmar.htm> I am looking at the Aqua C 180 skimmer. Is this a good choice for a 120 gallon? Again I am open to recommendations. <Sounds fine. I am still bummed out I did not get to meet Jason from Aqua-C and see his facility on the trip to San Diego.> I am also reading Bob's book and carefully planning tank's population. Thank you, Anthony <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

WATER PUMPS Hi there, thank you for answering me so quick.  I have another question regarding two water pumps. I am going to buy a water pump to use as my return pump in my sump. I have narrowed it down to two choices, the RIO 4600, and the SEDRA 12000. I'm really not concerned about the money. However, I am concerned about quality, and noise level. <Rio has had QC problems widely publicized, but I have used then with generally satisfactory results: not the quietest, but reliable and good volume for the money spent. We have no experience with the SEDRA. Quite frankly, I would not personally use either when OASE or IWAKI were available: quiet, long-life and very reliable> Do you happen to know which one would give longer life?  And which one would give me a quieter noise level? I have about 6 feet that I have to run up back to the tank,  <a modest demand for modern pumps> and I was also concerned about whether any of these two company's over hype their GPH readings at this height?  <if you cannot run down this published information on their company websites through a keyword search, simply ask your vendor to acquire this for you. It is almost always right on the pump packaging> I hope you guys can help me out with some info. Thanks Hamilton Riverside, CA <best regards>

Pump and filtration Hi Bob ! This site is the best aquaria site I have come across yet !!!  <thanks kindly for saying so.. very redeeming to hear it> Have read over most advice you've given on the site and it has helped me tremendously. I recently bought a 65 gallon All-Glass Aquarium with the corner overflow and a Wet/dry filter for up to 75 gal. I have not started running the system yet because I am buying everything slowly (no rush, want good equip). I am going to purchase an Iwaki MD, a UV sterilizer and protein skimmer.  <most private tanks can easily do without a UV sterilizer... invest in a quarantine tank instead and use it faithfully> My questions are: 1) Should I buy the Iwaki MD 30 or 40? <more flow is always better if your overflows can handle it> 2) Should I buy the Iwaki RLT or RXLT model? (I'm worried about adding equip to the RXLT since it's supposed to be for circulation only) <agreed... if you expect to have many elbows, tees, valves, etc that add to head/pressure> 3) Is an 8 watt sterilizer enough or should I go 15 watts (I plan on running the US sterilizer with the IWAKI) ? <either are two small to be of any significance. Still not necessary... UV are better for algae control. Must be maintained VERY strictly for pathogen control. Again, a QT tank is far better for disease control> 4) Would it be overkill to add a Mechanical canister filter and Chemical canister filter to the system (they would also be powered by the IWAKI) ? <unlikely necessary... good products though. Do consider if you have no other means of chemical filtration> 5) Can you recommend a good protein skimmer ? <Euroreef and Aqua C skimmers are two of the most outstanding> 6) How can I repay your advice ? <continue to learn and share your wisdom in kind> Thank you very much ! Rick <best regards, Anthony>

Pump Questions Greetings, I am attempting to setup my new 72 gal bow front aquarium and I purchased a submersible Catalina pump (CA-2200) that states on the box that it pumps 800 gal/hr at 6' head. Well, I tested the flow rate multiple times by simply filling a bucket using a straight shot up with a 4 foot 3/4" hose and the actual flow rate was 425 gal/hr. I then did a real test by placing the pump in my sump and the flow rate up to my aquarium was approx 325 gal/hr (approx 4 foot head and 1 90 degree turn). Could I have a faulty pump? <Possible, but do check what is the required diameter line for their flow rate. All flow charts need to show the gph, head pressure, and pipe diameter. You can pump a lot more water through a 1" line than through a 3/4" line.> The pump is rather small (5.5" x2.8" x3.8"), is it even possible for a pump this size to pump this much water? <Yes> I have a feeling that the flow rate is a scam, would you agree? <Do not know for certain, but not unheard of for an aquarium product not to live up to the manufacturer's claims.> Anyway, I wanted to purchase a quality, very quiet pump this time and I know you recommend the Eheim 1060. The Eheim web site states the flow rate at 602 U.S. gal./h but gives no flow rate curve. I believe I rigged my overflow so it can handle approx 500-600 gal/hr. I want a return pump that can handle this flow. With this in mind wouldn't the Eheim be underpowered? <It will not put out the water flow you wish.> What would the actual flow rate for this pump be approx with a 4 foot head and a 90 degree turn? <Ballpark 300 gph> If the Eheim 1060 pump is not powerful enough can you please recommend another quiet, submersible pump that can handle this flow? <Try two 1060's. I prefer to use tow sump return pumps. That way if one breaks (very unlikely with the Eheim) you have a second one that will keep things going until you get the replacement. If you don't like that idea, take a look at the Supreme Mag-Drive line. They will run submersible and are inexpensive and reliable.> I greatly appreciate your help. Thanks, Jeff <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Protein Skimmer & Pump I have a 180 ga all glass aquarium with twin overflows.  I used only the 1" for returns.  I want to know if the 3/4" could be used to feed water to the Iwaki pump for the protein skimmer . RGibson <<I would match the feed diameter to that of the pump. Iwaki makes pumps with both 3/4" and 1" inlets, depending on the model. If the pump you plan to use has a 1" inlet, then you should match the inlet plumbing [union, valve, bulkhead, etc.] to that of the pump, even if you plan to reduce the output to 3/4". Cheers, J -- >>

Help! Loudest Pump ever Bob, Hope all is well.  <yes, recuperating nicely from that bizarre accident involving a mislabeled bottle of Nair. Anthony Calfo in his stead> I've finally set up my 265 gal Fish Only tank and the water is "cycling".  <Now that's an aquarium!> Right now I have 4 power heads in the tank for circulation, 2 SOS skimmer boxes going to a custom acrylic wet/dry which is attached to a 40 gal sump which houses 2 heaters, <good job on the two heaters for safety... even a third to make all work less hard and last longer> and a Nautilus skimmer. The problem: from the sump the water is being pumped back into the tank by a MAK 4 pump model 40LX and it is ridiculously loud, almost lawnmower engine loud. It is making the entire sump vibrate. I'm waiting for my lifeguard htr module, UV, mechanical and chemical filter modules to come in and my plan was to replace the elbow shaped valve that runs from the sump to the pump with a 'T' shaped PVC and add my second MAK 4 pump model 40LX to pump water thru the lifeguard modules and back into the sump. But at this point, just the one is so loud I don't know what to do. The fairly small room in which the tank resides was supposed to be a relaxing room with a leather sofa and bookcase. If this pump stays this loud I'll need ear plugs. Any advice would be most appreciated. <easy... Iwaki 60... whisper silent and serious water flow (a pump for the big dogs!). Do check the specs to suit your needs> Patrick -Philadelphia, PA <Hmmm... Phili, ever visit CMAS (Chesapeake) or WAMAS (Maryland) clubs? Great clubs for marine aquarists. Best regards, Anthony>

Pump problems Hi gang <Cheers, mate... Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob has electrolysis done to remove all of the hair on his body except for his eyebrows. For those, he has elected to have the EA (electrolysis artist) sculpt a permanent look of surprise with the remaining hair on his brow.> Once more I seek your advice since you haven't let me down yet. I have a 110v marine setup using an external Quiet One pump.  <Ughhh... great pump: for freshwater. Do check the archives on their less than stellar reputation in seawater. It seems that stainless steel isn't always so stainless. What's up with their metal drive shaft in these pumps?!?!> That was until tonight when the 8 month old pump stopped working.  <have heard this many times before.. young pump age failure> I believe it's due to the thermal protection but I can only assume that its an impaired impeller causing the problem.  <you said it brother!> What is the best pump (and GPH rating) that I can get to replace this lemon?  <Iwaki and Oase top the list for me. Work horses that can easily last more than a decade! I have stopped counting Japanese Iwakis over 10 years old that I have seen> I'll try to repair this one and keep it as a spare.  <fine idea> Not to worry, I have jury rigged another smaller pump in the meantime until I can get a new one in the next 24 hours. Thanks as always Joe <excellent! Best regards, Anthony>

Pump Bob, I have a fountain pump (outside use) that I use to pump saltwater into my tank during water changes. I am not to sure if this would be a problem. The pump is not made for saltwater and I notice it has a metal screw to hold the screen and a metal clip. Do you think I should not use this and get something that is saltwater friendly? <Good question... if for no other reason I don't have a "real" answer. I would keep using it IF it was for only occasional use... but if this is something you do... quite often... I would invest in a saltwater useful pump. Bob Fenner, who actually uses a Little Giant Water Wizard (tm) to move seawater in largish volumes (a freshwater fountain pump as well)>

Re: Pump Selection, the zenith Hi. I was wondering if someone could recommend to me the real good pump for a180 gallon fish only tank. I have a large trickle filter,(10 gallons of biomedia) and an expansion sump that holds about 20 gallons more water and a large DAS Protein Skimmer. I plan on keeping a 1 large clown trigger,1large maroon clown, 1 large Hippo Tang, 1 large eel, 1 Yellow Tang and some other larger fish. I was told circulate at least 4 times the tanks volume in one hour so I would imagine a MAG drive 9.5 at minimal would be good but I would like to consider other pumps, ones that produce less heat, noise & use less electricity. Any that you could recommend would be great! <to give you a point on the horizon... the absolute Cadillac's of the industry are (German?) Oase pumps. Amazing!!! Stainless steel... whisper silent, extremely low power use and categorically very long lasting! Coming down from that cloud I would be very pleased to have most any Iwaki pump (except for the 400 series perhaps). Kindly, Anthony>

Plumbing and Powerheads. Mr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo in your service> In the overflow of my 75 Gallon RR Oceanic tank, there are two hole. One is a large hole for water to drain down to the sump, for which I'll build a Durso standpipe.  <very cool> The other one is a small hole for the supply line (from my Mag 7 lying the sump). Do you think it would be a good idea to reverse the flow in this smaller hole? I'd build a smaller version of the Durso standpipe for it, if necessary.  <yes... very much agreed. It is quite likely in most aquaria that more drainage is needed to afford a better/appropriate circulating pump> In essence, I'd then have two holes that would drain the overflow compartment. Perhaps, the large hole plumbed down to the sump, and the smaller hole plumbed to a refugium and then to the sump.  <indeed fine/wise> The smaller hole would allow for a lower flow-rate through the refugium. Good idea (Y/N)? <Yes! a nice benefit> Also, I was thinking of placing two Otto powerhead/pumps on a wavemaker in the overflow compartment (if they fit), in order to keep them out of view. Do these pumps do well with on-and-off cycling (Y/N)?  <none really do in the long run> I would have gone with the Maxijets, but I think their flow-rate are too small for what I'd like to do.  <agreed for this and more reasons> From one of the powerheads, I'd like to run PVC piping (hidden by the sandbed) to the two left-side corners of the tank. From the other powerhead, I'd like to run PVC piping (hidden by the sandbed) to the two right-side corners of the tank. Each corner outlet would extend about 5 inches up from the bottom of the aquarium and end in a 45 degree angle piece pointed towards the center of the tank. With a 3 inch sandbed,  <more sand please for better denitrification (5+inches)> only about 2 inches of the PVC would be exposed at each corner outlet. Have you heard of PVC piping (hidden under the sandbed) used like this, in place of those conspicuous powerheads? <sure...many variations on this theme. A bit unpredictable and limiting if the path/flow isn't ideal from go. Perhaps a waste of time. I prefer pumping up to PVC piping mounted just at or above the water level with numerous swiveling tees for the ultimate flexibility in the path of the water flow as corals grow or are moved> I'd also attach the supply line coming from the Mag 7 (in the sump) to a Sea-Swirl, which I understand is good for upper level "current making"/"water movement". <yes.. and excellent product> Finally, I'm trying to decide if it is better to slightly elevate live rock on PVC piping base(s) or just let it rest directly on the sand bed? I've heard conflicting opinions on this. <if on the sand bottom, use a few large foundation pieces to build the reef off of. I prefer as little rock on the sand floor as possible myself> Thanks again for all your assistance. I'd like to do all these thing correctly from the start, to save myself headaches later! :) -Russ <best regards in your endeavors! Anthony>

Pump for reef aquarium? Thanks for your excellent suggestions earlier. My upgraded aquarium is doing great and everything looks better than ever. I just have one more question right now, about pumps. The new aquarium has two water outlets, one drilled into the corner overflow unit and that dumps into the sump, then returns to the tank using a Mag7 pump. It gives a fair current, but not enough for a reef tank.  <agreed> The other outlet is drilled into the rear bulkhead, toward the bottom of the tank. It's fitted with a strainer/diffuser that pulls water through the live rock and feeds it to an external pump and then comes back into the aquarium with no filtration, also through a ... oh, you know, one of those little black plastic arm things that directs water flow. Darn, I can't think of the name right now. Anyway, those little arms are at the top of the tank, so the sump filters and returns top water, while the external pump just exchanges bottom/live rock water for top water and keeps things from getting stratified in the tank. The main pump I'm using for circulation is a Lifeguard Quiet One, and (IIRC) it's giving me about 500 GPH at 4' of head. I'm running into it through fixed 1" PVC, until I get to the actual connection to the pump, then it goes to 3/4" vinyl tubing for the last 6" of connection. The return is through 1" vinyl tubing from the pump straight up to the bulkhead connector. The problem is, my tank temperature is higher than I'd like, and I'm pretty sure it's the Quiet One that's raising the temperature.  <for several reasons they are not your best bet for reef aquaria> I was told originally that it wouldn't heat up unless I was applying too much head pressure, but the temperature was running stable at 80F until I hooked up the pump and it's since climbed to flirt with 84F over the last week, since I hooked up the LQO pump. So now I'm looking at either replacing the pump or buying a water chiller. I live in an area where the temperature doesn't usually get above 78F, so buying a $700 chiller just to offset the problem caused by a $120 pump doesn't make much sense to me, when that's the only reason I'd ever need it. <agreed> I'd rather just replace the pump, but I don't know which pump will give me the flow I'm looking for without raising the water temperature. Any suggestions? <so many choices... but I like external Iwakis (except the louder 400 series). Quiet, cool and long lived. Best regards, Anthony>

Quieter Aquarium Hi all, <Anthony Calfo here again> Thanks for your suggestions on the water flow noise. We will try them and hope for the best. These next questions continue the quest for a quieter aquarium. The first question is regarding the pump for my Turboflotor T1000. I've read on this site that the Eheim 1060 (although I also read that you recommend the 1048 and 1250 models??) is recommended instead of the Rio2100. 1. Is the Eheim the quietest pump out there for this job? Do you have other recommendations for quieter pumps that you think are good? <really a subjective opinion and one that I doubt amounts to much. Most of these pump models are extremely similar in running noise. It is simply the nature of the beast in mag drives versus direct shafts (although there is a bit more variation in the direct drives). > As well, we are intending to line the cabinet that contains the sump and pumps with "mass loaded vinyl" to deaden the sound transmission through the cabinet. 2. Is this better than soundboard? Are there better materials? <wow, it seems as though you are very sensitive to the matter and I can appreciate that, although I've never deliberately examined or considered products and materials specifically for this purpose. Perhaps you can share the wisdom of your experience with us after you finish your project> I also was going to T off from the main pump to the fluidized bed-instead of using the Rio400 that came with the system (it was very loud:)) 3. If I wanted to stop the main pump for about 10 minutes each day for feeding, would this cause a problem for the fluidized bed? <definitely not a good habit although each event may not amount to much. A better habit may be to have a delay wired to a solenoid so that the pumps would kick back on automatically (the failure by manual return is inevitable). You can even have a timed solenoid switch the path of the flow into a loop with the sump for ten minutes before switching back to the upstream path to the display to prevent O2 deprivation of the fluidized bed> Thanks again in advance for your advice, Eileen <best regards, Anthony>

Re: pumps/returns Anthony, I asked Iwaki/Walchem this question. Actually I was inquiring into their larger 400 commercial series pumps and specs for a larger pump. Anyhow, they indicated that their 400 series was significantly louder since another electrical pump actually drives it. But they actually recommended two pumps in-line as being fine, and a little backpressure was good for the pump.  <agreed... a "little" is good for most pumps> But they also recommended to put a check valve in place to restrict backflow in case one of the pumps fails to prevent water being pumped back through the faulty pump. <indeed wise> Interesting. Wouldn't a check valve essentially prevent backpressure anyhow ? That being said from the manufacturer, whets your take ?  <not clear of your question by the wording... are you asking if it is a matter of "restricting" versus "preventing" backflow? Indeed it will "prevent" backflow if it is working properly and it will add a small amount of resistance/backpressure naturally by design.> Dolphin pond series or two Iwakis in-line ? I'm a big fan of Iwaki's, but if the drawbacks outweigh the advantages, no use trying to increase the pain. . . <I do like the Iwakis and see little disadvantage other than the noise of the 400 series. In this case, I'll defer to the manufacturer's assurance and my brand preference and vote Iwaki.> Jim <best regards, Anthony>

Pumps (I'll say!) Iwaki pumps are worth the money. it will used less power and it is not tank cooled like mag drives. used only pumps that are NOT tank cooled and you will control the heat in your tank, not the heat controlling you. RGibson <Ralph, thank you kindly for your input/shared opinions. Anthony>

Mag-Man! Do either of you guys know who he is and why he is writing in about Mag-Drives? Steven Pro <Never heard of him... but from here out I suggest we call him "Mr. MAGnificent">

Pumps (again) Hello WWM crew! <Cheers Brad! Anthony> I am in need of an external return pump from my sump to my 75Ga. reef tank. I have been researching various pumps and am more confused now than before I started researching.  <thanks to the shameless and sometimes misleading (and other times outright fibbing) of marketing ga-roos> I initially wanted to buy an Iwaki.  <my fave, by far.. more below and in past FAQs> Iwaki's seem to be a name that is everywhere.  <they have been around for a VERY long time and have had an impeccable reputation all along.. not an easy thing to do. The only thing that anyone can complain about is that you have to pay for their quality. No one debates that they are very durable/long loved> Yet I hear they run very hot and are not very energy efficient and are a tad noisy.  <The American made ones just a tad and relative to what? Not so to most other direct drive units. But all DD units yes relative to MAG drives (at the expense of head)> The Japanese vs. American Iwaki's have all the same specs/parts yet the Japanese versions are almost twice the cost. Makes me leery of any company that would do this. <not at all my understanding or experience with the brand for over ten years... literally a few thousand dollars spent on these pumps and even more wasted on other brands> I am looking into the CSL Velocity T3 (140watt). It would produce about slightly less 10 times tank volume turn-over rate. Is this a good brand? It sports a 2 year no-fault warranty. Nice. Heat transfer? <not familiar with the brand. The flow is somewhat irrelevant if your overflows like most folks can't take as much as they should (you'll want the equivalent of 5+ 1" drains for a reef tank on a 75 (or 2-2 1/2" inch, etc)> Little Giant 3-MDQX-SC would turn over a little more than 10x tank volume but I have heard little about this pump except that it also runs hot. <I wish I could say something nice about these pumps other than they are inexpensive and you get what you pay for. If your goals before upgrading or moving on are short-term, perhaps a LG will be OK> So many choices out there.  <too many... and indeed many good ones included> I just want a good, long lasting high, quality pump that will be easily plumbed from my sump into my 75Ga Oceanic Reef Ready tank. I would like it to have a water turn over rate of about 10 times per hour and not suck electricity like a mad man. <without the electricity issue, I have a distinct preference for Japanese Iwakis... seen more than a few last over ten years and silent. A big diff from the American version and most other DD units. If electricity is your primary concern... look only at magnetic drive units at the expense of some head (pressure) and heat transfer for most> I would really like to put this issue to bed and move on but I am get more confused at every turn. Zimmy <Then pick a Supreme Mag-drive unit for the 5 year plan and with consideration for power consumption. Else, A Japanese Iwaki will not fail you in the long view. Anthony>

Pumps (again pt. 2) I just got an e-mail from Oceanic about my inquiry of the maximum flow rate of the overflow unit on my 75ga reef ready tank. They state that 750 gph is max. They also say the it would be a bit noisy at this flow rate  <agreed...operating at a siphon (that's what makes the sucking noise in peoples tanks when the overflows are too small for the pump)> and that 500/600gph would be much quieter.  <an obscenely undersized overflow... I wish the manufactures would throw us marine aquarists a bone on this one> This is fine I guess because I have an addition 850gph of water movement from powerheads. <yes, will be just fine. But I do strongly prefer large overflows to spare the need for powerheads...they add heat, extra risk of shock, inevitably kill a few in tank creatures, require that much more maintenance to keep clean, they are ugly and no affordable brands last as long as a good direct drive external pump. Truly a waste in my opinion, but may be necessary if you cannot have extra overflow holes drilled> The Velocity T3 would put me in at this range because I will have about 6 foot of head pressure if my figures are correct. I will have about 3 1/2 of horizontal piping and 2-90 degree elbows adding about 2 feet of head pressure on top of the 4 foot return distance from sump to tank. Correct? <agreed> Is this a good choice? Any better choices out there at this gph and why do you believe so. Thanks very much. Sorry to be a pest. Zimmy <no trouble at all. Kindly, Anthony>

Iwaki pump Hello Bob. (or any of his little helpers.) <But I look taller in movies... doesn't that count for something? Anthony> Almost everyone I asked said Iwaki's are indeed a good choice including Mr. Calfo. Thanks for your opinion kind sir.  <very welcome> Now should I buy a pressure rated pump or just their standard pump. <probably pressure rated if it is to be used as a return pump> Should I get the American or Japanese version?  <Japanese if you are willing to spend the extra for a longer lasting pump> What size would be sufficient for my 75ga. tank with a straight return from the sump to the tank. (No UV, canister filter or anything else between sump and tank)  <that you have to figure on your own a bit pending the inhabitants needs. FOWLR, reef, if reef, what are the inverts needs, etc. But the ballpark would be 800 GPH minimum... with perhaps 1500 gph max (if your overflow can handle it and you are trying to reduce the amount of extra power heads in your tank. I hope you have the equivalent of at least 4-1" overflow holes drilled I the display. Otherwise you might be restricted to a smaller pump and having extra PH in the main tank> After I buy the pump, I have but to plumb everything and I am ready for action. Man these external pumps are costly! I only hope they last a few good years. <I've seen more than a few go way over 10 years old!> Zimmy <kindly, Anthony>

Pump modifications, connection, customer service Bob, I have a T1000 skimmer and the noise from the Rio 2100 is too much. I've done everything I know to do to decrease the noise level and nothing helps substantially. If I must, I am willing to upgrade the 2100. After thoroughly searching your site, it seems that you feel an Eheim 1060 would be enough power (100 gallon with messy, carnivorous fish and some corals). Here are my questions: 1) Is upgrading the best choice versus modifications to the current pump. . . if you know of any modifications to try? <You can/could try switching out the impeller... there are some "stock" paddle wheel and needle types available from TAAM/Rio and others> 2) Will the upgrade substantially decrease the noise level? <If the noise is principally due to the pump, yes> 3) Will the Eheim need any modifications or can I just connect and it use it just like the Rio? <The latter> 4) If yes, what will I need to do so I can use the Eheim? <Connect it...> FYI. . . I contacted the maker of the T1000 about these issues and they were no help at all. In fact, I asked them several questions and they gave a one line response stating that currently they are working on a skimmer to use with a different line of pumps. <What? Was this directed to Aqua Medic in Germany?> IMO the original skimmer instructions (almost nonexistent) should have given me a clue about customer service. . . <Do please contact the parent company> Thanks for your help. Health and prosperity to you!! David D. <And you and yours my friend. Bob Fenner>

Pumps Hi Bob, I just ordered your book, looking forward to reading it.  Question, I'm looking for pumps, one to run water back up from the sump (my overflow box works best quiet) when the flow is towards 600gph), and one for circulation. I was thinking that I could mount a pump somewhere in the back and pump it to eject water in different directions. I have powerheads, but do not like the look. I know you seem to prefer Eheims and the 1060 seems to be the closest at 560gph but this will be reduced since I have a 4' head height. Dolphin has a DP800 which at 4' will produce 600gph(70W). Any advice or comments about the idea for circulation. Regards, Roland the newbie canuk <What's it all aboot, eh? Well, Eheim does make/have larger pumps, and the Dolphin line is also very nice, you hoser. I would go with either one. Bob Fenner, now stuck in the "Strange Brew" mode for the day>

Pump selection Bryan here with a few quick questions on pumps. I am looking at a couple different ones and would like your opinion. I have a 75 gal FO, have 3 maxi jet 1200 PH w/ sump under tank in stand. Going to upgrade to external pump but at present time can't go all out on price. So am looking at the mag 7 or 9.5 and also the Little Giant 2MDQX-SC which is 640 gph @ 3'. Leaning towards little giant but haven't found a lot of info on durability, noise and the heat produced. are these good units? or would the Mag be a better choice. Thanks again Bryan <mag drive quieter and more energy efficient. Little Giant better head and possibly longer life. I like mag drive units when pump heat is not a factor. Anthony>

One Large Pump Running Everything? I recently purchased a 90 gal. saltwater tank and now want to add a protein skimmer. My problem is this. I thought I was being smart in purchasing a single large, efficient pump to run everything- a Dolphin aqua sea 2100gph pump, then teeing off to all new equipment as I purchase it. I have read that some of these skimmers use modified pumps or recommend a particular pump and am a little confused as to which skimmer I can successfully use with my current pump. Tank is fish with invertebrates and using a large wet/dry with sump. Any help is greatly appreciated. <You are going to have some trouble here. Most protein skimmers now are coming with the pump included. The ones that are not are the down-draft types. These usually recommend a particular model of pump to use. You may be better off going that route because adjusting the flow to the skimmer will be more difficult and that down-draft skimmers are fairly large and difficult to hide in your stand. If you do choose to keep the one pump, you have to purchase several gate valves to control and distribute the water flow. Ball valves will be useless in this application. -Steven Pro> Scott

Subject: New System (Pumps mainly) Dear Bob, An addition to the previous message! Is it a good idea to bypass the Plenum with some of the main tank water, straight into the return chamber?  <If the flow rate is high otherwise yes...> I read somewhere that Plenums don't like too much flow through them.  <Mmm, this is so> For my return pumps I am using 2 Grundfos 15/50 Selectric central heating pumps with Aquaturn conversion kits on them making them safe for saltwater. I got the pumps free from a mate who is a plumber! <As stated elsewhere... do take care (regular maintenance, screening of intakes to keep particulates out) to assure the "cooling" through-put inside the volute does not get clogged with debris... these pumps are designed, built for recirculating potable water only... not biological> I hope to get it all completed in the next few weeks. I hope you find this letter interesting. When complete I will be more than happy to send you a few photos of the system from sunny England! Eden Maddocks <Real good. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Which pump? Bob, I'm looking through the Pet warehouse catalog. I need a stronger pump for my 240. Right now I have a MAK4 which has been an excellent pump. Its been running for 3 straight years now. Anyhow An IWAKIMD-70RLT is $287 dollars, and a MAG DRIVE 1800 is only $114 dollars. MAG drive pumps out 1800 gph, IWAKI 1500 GPH. In this sense do you get what you pay for? Or is the MAG DRIVE pump really that good? If the MAG drive is good, why doesn't everyone jump on the MAG drive pumps. The price diff. is substantial. Thanks Bob.. <The price difference has to do with the Iwaki being a "more established line", perception as to service factors... I would ask a wider audience who have more practical experience here. Please send the same query to the chatforum: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ Bob Fenner>

Power heads Hi, Bob. How are Maxi jet powerheads? Any problems? Thanks, Bernd <Please use the Google Search feature on WWM or read through these FAQs on Marine Circulation: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Hello Mr. Fenner a few questions :) (pumps, pumping...) Hi sir, how are you doing this morning? I was doing some research on the net for my tank and found your site. I have read through many of the questions that people were asking in hopes that I would find the answers to mine, however, I'm not the greatest and finding info that I need. So, what better way to get info than ask :) . <None come to mind> I've been having some problems with my tank ... primarily with circulation.  I have a 75 gallon tank with an emperor 400 hang-on, an Excalibur protein skimmer, and four small power heads as the circulation right now. I want to build an in-line pump system that will be just for circulation. What type of in-line pump should I buy? <Please read through the "Pump Selection FAQs" here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pumpselfaqs.htm Hmm, even I had a hard time finding this area... there is a Google Search tool on our site... do become facile at finding things my friend... too much in the world to search, sort through randomly> I would like to purchase one at this point that will be able to serve as a return pump from a sump in the future. The pump will also have to have enough output to hook up to two separate outflows on opposite sides of the tank. I get easily confused with all the brands and choices. Please help .... and thank you so much for your time. It takes a special type of person to answer people's questions no matter how many times you get the same ones. Thanks again for your patience and wisdom. Neil <Oh, and do read over the "Pumps, pumping" piece here (though on ponds, the same phenomena apply): http://wetwebmedia.com/pumpspnds.htm Bob Fenner>

Water pump I need a small in-sump water pump (like 200gph at 1.5? vertical and 8' horizontal round trip back to sump). Who makes your favorite? Silent, low heat transfer, durable and won?t get clogged by errant macro algae. <Look to Aquarium Systems here... their mini-pumps... imported from Italy> BTW, looks like Euro-Reef is going to build a custom 12? dia. skimmer for me! Thanks so much for the lead and for the much needed prodding. <You will not be disappointed... the very best choice on the planet for you here> You familiar with Fritz?s Super Salt?  <Yes... for lazy folks... you should be pre-making, storing your synthetic... Bob Fenner> New discovery for me. J.D. Hill

Pump question Hi Mr. Fenner, I've written to you a few times in the past week about the building, and plumbing concerns of a refugium.  I have a couple of new short questions. Which is better for lower heat transfer, submersible, or external pumps, or do they both give off about the same amount of heat?  <In almost all cases external pumps are better> I've been looking at the webpages of Eheim, Rio, and Mag pumps, which do you consider the best, and model ( I know you kind of lean towards the Eheims) for my situation. <The Eheims> My tank is 100 gallons. This pump is to be used to push water through a refugium, and second sump used just to increase total water volume. This setup will be sitting in the basement, and pushing up about 14 feet <Fourteen feet? Then none of the above. Look to a direct drive (not a magnetic) of size, power curve to fit your situation... maybe a fractional horsepower Jacuzzi...> to the main tank on the floor above, and one of it's functions is to help with the water circulation. Is it also true that better water circulation helps reduce unwanted algae? <Yes> Thanks once again for all your wisdom Greg N. Montreal, Canada <Bob Fenner, who has no wisdom, only scant knowledge>

Water Pump options Got the official report on water pumps from MDM Incorporated (the Sequence folks). Their equivalent pump is rated at 52dB at 10', the Iwaki MD70RT (what I'm using as a reference for velocity and sound level) is rated at 40dB at 3.28'. In my opinion, the MD70RT was fairly loud, so I don't know if I got a bad unit, or if this is a simple case of 'specsmanship'. <Interesting all the way around...> How the heck do you evaluate water pumps? <Service factor, power curves, other users opinions, what my suppliers can offer...> Trying them out at $350 a pop gets EXPENSIVE really fast. We need some kind of Consumer Report for the hobby. I think our trade magazines report on whoever turned in an advertising contract. <You're way more sophisticated than this industry my friend.> Any other pumps you like in 20-30gpm range? <Jacuzzi makes a few... offered by Aquanetics as well as other OEMs... Bob Fenner> J.D. Hill

Can't find anyplace to purchase a Eheim pump Recently I had a problem with my Rio 2500 that I had been using as my main system pump. I gathered from my reading of your daily question and answer that you are quite fond of Eheim water pumps. I respect your opinion greatly and would like to replace my burned out pump with an Eheim however I can't find one.  <Hmm, they're sold by a few etailers... please take a look on our links page for their URLs: http://wetwebmedia.com/links.htm> I went to your sponsors web page at customaquatic.com and they do not mention Eheim. <They've just started to carry the line... do contact them> I found another web page premiumaquatics.com but they are out of stock. I went to Eheims web page and located 2 local fish store that are authorized dealers 1 doesn't have any in stock the other I refuse to buy anything from due to poor attitudes of sales clerks / owners on top off outrageous prices. <Good for you... Am a big fan of good consumerism> I currently have my 75 gallon tank running (not exactly ...more like limping) off of a mag3. Not surprisingly I have been getting a huge algae bloom. I need to locate an appropriate pump any help you can give me would be appreciated greatly. If I am unable to find Eheim would you suggest a second best pump. <Perhaps another Supreme Mag... of larger size> Tank consists of a 75 gallon perfecto aquarium, 192 watts of 10K power compacts@12hrs per day , @130 lbs. of Fiji live rock, SeaLife systems pro 200 w/built in protein skimmer (biomedia removed) not drilled. I kind of think that I need a submersible pump @ 600 to 900gallon per hour that will not heat up my water excessively or create a lot of noise. In addition to the main system pump I have 2 MaxiJet 900's and 1 Hagen 802 run on an aquarium systems natural wave timer (I have an extra Hagen 802 available) Also my protein skimmer runs off of another Rio 2500.I have a tsunami At1 to top off evaporated water around 5 gallons a week. One other thing that I was considering was to get rid of all my power heads and just get a really strong system pump so that I could keep an anemone for my 2 Percs. <Oh, then perhaps an external pump... a Dolphin, Iwaki...> Fish include 2 Percs, 2 yellow watchman gobies, 1 Banggai cardinal, 1 Kole tang and a Coris gaimard wrasse (changing from juvenal phase currently). Also 1 scarlet lady cleaner shrimp, 1 fire cleaner shrimp, 1 borrowing starfish. Corals include Briareum, elegance, pearl bubble, Hammer, mushrooms, seamat, green star polyps and Xeniid. I hope to 1 day get a powder blue tang but I think that I will need a much larger aquarium first. <You are wise to wait here my friend. Bob Fenner>

Replacing Little Giant pump Hi Bob, I have a 135 Gal tank with wet/dry filter and a Little Giant 4-MD-SC pump (rated capacity of 810 gph @ 3ft). The pump just burnt out. Since I am not very handy, I figured I would replace with pump with similar plumbing characteristics (i.e. 1" inlet, 1/2" outlet) so I don't have to worry about modifying plumbing. Both the Little Giant 4-MD-SC and Little Giant 5-MD-SC have 1"inlet and 1/2" outlet. The 5-MD-SC has higher gph of 960 @ 3ft. The number 5 is easier to find and therefore found it at better price than number 4. I thought it could only be better to increase water turn and was going to buy the 5-MD-SC, but someone at the LFS told me that it can be detrimental to have too high of a flow over the wet dry. Any thought on that?  <Hmm, well, you can "overdrive" a wet-dry beyond efficient flow/capacity... but do agree you could use more flow... You could bypass some of the water (not have it all go through the wet dry media)...> Should I go with the 4-MD-SC or 5-MD-SC? <The model 5 Magnetic Drive, Semi-Corrosive would be my choice... even though you will/should modify the plumbing to fit it... don't size down the diameter on the intake or discharge... Bob Fenner> Thanks Thierry

Question on Water Pumps Bob, I received my T3 pump today and got it installed this evening... quiet and powerful... I did notice when I put my hand on the motor of the pump it's pretty hot to the touch... it this normal for an external pump?  <Hmm, well, these units do have different "running temperatures, depending on make/model and application (e.g. too much restriction on the intake side can cause a centrifugal pump to overheat...). None should be "too hot to touch"... and there are actual "standards" and clip on thermometers one can apply to the motors to assess whether the pump is "too hot"... Hopefully you have yours installed properly, with some air space, circulation about it... If you have a concern, I would definitely contact the manufacturer.> I figure it is, but I thought I'd ask you just to be safe. I really do want to thank you for the guidance on my pump, I really had a dilemma and you worked me through it to what I believe is the best solution for me... Take Care, Hank Sauer <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question on Water Pumps Hi Bob, something is definitely not right. My tank is up to 90 degrees now, and the water in my sump feels like bath water.  <"It", the heat source, is likely "that" pump... Next time, Eheim!> The intake hose has a 1 inch opening (the fitting are something less) with no restrictions I can see... it's a straight shot from the bulkhead to the pump. On the return the hose is 3/4 inch but the plastic return at the top is smaller, just over 1/2 inch... could that be my problem? <Only a smidgen... the fact that you have stated the pump was "hot to touch" is enough for me... the pump (even ideally plumbed) is contributing too much waste heat to your system... You can either employ countervailing cooling strategy/ies: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chillersmar.htm OR switch to another pump... I would do the latter, now. Bob Fenner> Thanks a bunch! Hank Sauer

Question on Water Pumps I want to thank you for the advice you gave me on my puffer with ich... I'm following your advice and feel good about the outcome. <There is strength in positive thinking> Now I've got a new dilemma. I came home last night and the Rio 2500 that I'm using to pump water from the sump back to the tank was making a humming noise and not pumping. I put my hand in the sump and the Rio was quite hot. Seems the stories about Rio are true.  <They are subject to failure... but would last a lot longer if folks would periodically take their volute, impeller out and clean them, and watch their intakes for blockage> Anyway, I'm going to buy a new pump and I was wondering what you thought of the quality in the Rainbow Lifeguard Quiet One. It seems to be a moderately priced pump with decent output. Any misgivings/concerns (heat, etc...)? <This modified Grundfos product has a terrible history of failure... works great for a few weeks to months, then burn out. look into Eheim's line, believe me... one time investment.> Most of the other good external pumps are a little pricey for my budget.... Thanks again for your help, your truly a godsend! Hank <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Question on Water Pumps Thank you so much for you quick reply. Not the answer I wanted, but better to know now... The Eheim was my first choice (I had read you opinion), however, I have had difficulty finding any in stock at the few places I found who carry them.  <A sponsor, custom aquatic (.com) now carries these> I was also considering a little more flow than what Eheim offers. Would a Velocity T3 or an Iwaki be a good substitute? Again, thank you for your help and guidance. <Hmm, a few factors to consider here... what sort of pressure and what amount of volume are you using this pump for? If you don't need that much of the former, and moderate (the Eheims come in three sizes in the West), I would go with the Eheim still... much less electrical consumption, much less heat (especially compared with the Iwaki)... and better service factor...> Hoping I won't have to bother you too much more, Hank Sauer <Never a bother my friend. Thank you for helping me be more clear, complete. Bob Fenner> Re: Question on Water Pumps That had to be the fastest reply ever... I feel like I should be paying you for the wonderful service you provide. <You are my friend. With your intelligent, caring input> I already own one of your books, I think I need to buy more if you have them out! I am a believer in supporting those who support me. <A worthy attitude> I will use this pump as a return from my sump into a 90 gal tank, a little under five feet of head. The tank is FOWLR, I was aiming to increase turnover to around 7 times per hour... Is this overkill? <Hmm, no> As always, I appreciate your time, knowledge, and willingness to share both.  I feel like we should all be calling you Yoda LOL! <I am shaped somewhat like this fanciful character... and today feel about as old! Bob Fenner> Hank Sauer

Re: Question on Water Pumps If you don't mind, one last question down this line, and I'll let you enjoy your Sunday. I don't believe the turnover on the Eheim would be enough for my needs, based on our prior discussion, and with your comment on the heat of the Iwaki, I'm leaning towards the Velocity T3. Would this be a good choice for me?  <Yes, more actual flow> I calculate 12 gallons per minute at 5ft to be 700+ gallon per hour.... our about 8 turns per hour on my 90 gal tank... <About this, yes> After this one I'll "use the force" for the rest of the day! As ever, Thank you for your help and friendship, both are highly valued. Hank Sauer <And yours, Bob Fenner>

Re: Dolphin pumps? Hi Bob, Thanks for reply. As usual, I must keep bothering you for clarification.  You stated: "They're fine products... do you need that much flow/pressure?" I always thought the general rule of thumb for circulation was 4-10x the size of your tank. At 5' of head, the DP-800 gives 600gph, the DP-1200 gives 1050gph, while the Eheim 1060 probably around 450gph (couldn't find a pump curve). From your statement, I kinda got the feeling that I may not need that much flow?  <Hmm, clarity is pleasurable... sorry for the ambiguity... Can't tell from where I'm sitting what the application/s are... More of a "philosophical question" back to you. Yes to the "rule of thumb" for a circulating/recirculating designated pump... Do you have powerheads, submersible pumps as well? Advised> But then you recommended the bigger of the two Dolphin pumps. Sorry if I missed/misunderstood something. Thanks in advance for the reply. Hope you're having a good day. <You as well my friend. Bob Fenner>

Question on pump sizing Bob, I am getting close to setting up my 150 to replace my 75. My question is do you think that the mag5 I am using for a return is sufficient one for each return? (I know sufficient for what? <g>) I would like to have enough movement that I do not have to supplement with too many power heads, but at the same time not thrash my softies.... <S/b fine... I might add a couple of smaller powerheads just the same... near and blowing across the bottom> If not Mag 5, what would you suggest - preferably brand/model but at least gph. <If this is what I already owned I would stay with it... If starting new, I'm presently partial to Dolphin... and the size/volume? A bunch (several times the capacity of the tank per hour)... divided amongst functions. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Marty

Powerhead selection what powerhead capacity (gph) would be appropriate for good circulation in a 125 gal FOWLR system? I plan to get two powerheads for this purpose. <At least two... and really, about the largest you can find... that won't cause troubles with any sorts of livestock that could/tend to get sucked-up into the intakes (look into making, buying more serious intake screening here, trust me. I like the Hagen and Aquarium Systems (labeled) powerheads best. Bob Fenner> thanks, Knef

External Circulation Pumps Hi Bob, I am looking for your opinion regarding circulation pumps. I current have a 75gal tank with Rio pumps in a 20 gallon sump providing circulation for the tank and skimmer (Rio 3100, 1700). I am looking to replace the Rio's, both for quality reasons, and because I would rather have pumps external to the sump, largely for heat reasons. The pumps I am considering are the Velocity T3, and the Supreme Mag-Drive units. The former pumps are 2-3 times the cost of the Mags for given outflow. Is there really 2-3 times the value in the T-3 units (which are similar in cost to the Iwaki's, etc.)? Are they of significantly better quality, that much quieter? <Hmm, in my opinion/experience they are worth about three times the cost> Which "path" would you take given the choice? Thanks, Steve <Well, with some cutting, solventing, I am tempted to encourage your looking for a fractional direct drive pump (one) and using valving to split the discharge to your various needs... Are you familiar with Dolphin pumps? Bob Fenner>

Thx, PowerSweep PH's, shrinking Sarcos, happy w/ tang Hi Bob, I hope this finds you doing well. I really appreciate your willingness to help so many of us out. My day is not complete without a visit to WWM. <Nor mine...> A couple of quick questions for you if I may? <Sure> What is your opinion regarding Zoo Med's power sweep product line?  <Nice units for the money. The owner, Gary Bagnall and I are friends... he is an ethical, involved businessperson/individual> I'd like to add more chaotic water flow to my tank and thought this type of product might be an economical way to do so with a minimum of rework to the plumbing. <Okay> I noticed your comments about "shrinking" Sarcophytons in one of the FAQs from 6/25. I'm having a similar experience with my specimen. Alkalinity (2.86) and pH (8.3) are good, calcium is a little low (about 370 at the moment) and iodide is at little high (10). I just got a new hydrometer which surprised me with a salinity reading of 1.028 (my old one reads 1.025), so I'm working to gradually bring that back down over the next week or so.  <Good idea and technique> Water temp is a running at 86. <Yikes, this is high... do your best to reduce and hold down to about 80 F.> No observable parasites. 5% water changes on a weekly basis. Two units of carbon (one unit rotated out on a monthly basis). No neighbors in range to sting. My other soft and LPS corals are doing well. You mention feeding. What do you recommend? Phytoplankton? <This and an occasional "wash" of meaty-based "frappe" (blenderized) food, basted in their direction... once a week or two> The Kole tang you previously suggested to help combat hair algae is doing a wonderful job! Muchas gracias. <Por nada mi amigo> As always, thanks so much for the assistance,

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