FAQs about Pump
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Water Pump Impressions: Move Some Serious Water
By Steven Pro, Submersible
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Wavemaker Impressions, by Steven Pro, Water Flow, How Much
is Enough, Marine System Components, Refugiums, Central
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Related FAQs: Electricity 1, Electricity 2, Electricity 3, Energy
Consumption Measure, Electricity
Costs, Pump Energy Use, Heating/Chilling Costs,
Power Outages, GFCIs and Marine Aquariums, Surge Devices, Grounding Probes, & Pump Selection 1, Pump Selection 2, Pump Selection 3, Pump Selection 4, Pump Selection 5, Circulation Pumps, Marine Circulation 1, Marine Circulation 2, Marine Circulation 3, Aeration, Pumps, Powerheads, Installation/Arrangement,
Make Up Water
Refugiums, Surge Devices, FAQs on Pump Selection
by Brand/Manufacturer: Eheim
Pumps, Dolphin, Hydor/Koralia Pumps, Mag (Supreme) Pumps, OceanRunner, Quiet One (Pentair) Pumps,
RK2 Pumps, Sequence (Dart), Tunze, Vortech, Rio Pumps
tank restructure. Saving (mostly electrical) cost on SW sys.
I have at present a 2700 litre marine reef set up. My display tank is
2700mm x 1200mm x 800mm in size. Due to huge costs for electricity
(which has gone up by 100% over the last five years and set to double
again over the next three)
<Too likely so>
as well as chemicals, equipment and ongoing replacement of fish etc I
am seriously thinking of either changing to, a) fresh water system same
size or b) a same size marine fish only system. I need to drastically
reduce my costs if I am to remain in the hobby and can only do this if
I reduce the pump and lighting load. The other option is simply to
close down completely.
I have also looked at downsizing but this would not suit me in terms of
the visual aspect inside the house. I could I suppose retreat to the
garage and keep something going there. All quite sad but I have to do
something and I was wondering whether you would be able to in a
nutshell tell me which set up would be the most cost effective way to
<Have seen a friend's talk (James Fatherree) on reducing costs
of operation/maintenance of marine systems recently... Metal halide
lighting is out, and the cost of LEDs too high to switch out presently.
I'd look into T 5 fluorescents... and what they'll accommodate
at depth... moving higher intensity light-need invertebrates higher up
in the water column.
Pumps should be checked for "draw" electricity-wise (not just
their rating) and replaced with either high efficiency (lower pressure,
moderate pressure), like the Sequence line, and/or internal
"prop" type pumps... see WWM re Vortech. These are the major
sources, but there are other savings to be realized by reading about
such on WWM, the Net in general. Bob Fenner>
Thanks for your help.
Higher Electric Bill--Need a More Efficient Pump --
I have a dilemma I'm hoping you can help me with.
<<I shall try>>
I'm just starting up my very first saltwater tank and I think I
need a new system pump. Since the pump--a Little Giant 4MDQX-SC, has
been running, I have noticed a significant increase in my electric bill
over the past month, and since I haven't done anything different
I'm sure it's got to be the pump.
<<Mmm, well'¦I don't know what your definition of
'significant increase' is'¦but if the recent cold-snap
isn't to blame, then likely so>>
This has got me thinking I definitely need something more energy
<<You will likely need to 'downsize' a bit, and maybe
even go with a 'submersible' pump, to realize any
'significant savings''¦especially once you factor in
'the cost of a replacement pump'>>
Here's how everything is set up: This is a sump return pump with
1" inlet/outlets, and teed off of it are the protein skimmer,
refugium, and ozone reactor, which is not running yet.
<<You will find it much easier to keep the skimmer
'tuned' if provided with its own dedicated pump>>
I have been looking at the Reeflo Super Dart Gold, which seems more
energy efficient than what I have.
<<Hmm'¦this pump actually consumes 20 watts
'more' than the pump you have now'¦and produces nearly
twice the flow. It's true it is more efficient re watts per gallon
of flow rate'¦but overall electrical consumption will be more
than what you are experiencing now. I don't think this is the
direction you want to take>>
What do you suggest?
<<It's hard to make a suggestion without knowing more about
your system and the details (flow requirements) of its components. But
if you can get by with a bit less flow, say something in the 900gph
range, and can utilize a submersible pump, then switching to an Eheim
1262 will give you almost a 50% savings in electricity over the Little
Giant pump you have now'¦and it will be quieter, more
reliable, and likely last much longer to boot.
Otherwise'¦unless noise is a problem'¦you are
probably better off from an economic standpoint to stick with the pump
you have already paid for>>
As always, I will be most grateful for all the help you guys have
given. Please help!
Thanks in advance,
Old Bridge, NJ
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR in Columbia, SC>>
Re: Higher Electric Bill--Need a More Efficient Pump --
Thanks so much for the reply--you've given me some things to think
<<Ah good'¦you're quite welcome>>
Here's some more specifics on my system--total combined water
volume of my system which includes the tank, sump, and refugium, is 191
gallons. The Little Giant pump has its own system manifold that
controls the connected components via their own ball valves--one goes
to the refugium, one to the skimmer, one to the ozone reactor, and the
final one to the return bulkhead under the tank. So I'm able to
regulate flow this way.
<<Mmm, I see'¦ I think you will find, especially over
time as a bio-film builds within the plumbing, that
regulating/balancing flow in this manner will require a lot of
'fiddling' with those valves>>
I don't have the skimmer running yet, but I know it requires a gph
of 225, and the ozone reactor, which also is not running yet, requires
between 100-300 gph. The way my sump is designed I can't fit a
so I'd have to use an external one. Would the Eheim 1262 work as an
external pump in this situation?
<<The Eheim can be plumbed for external use, yes>>
Right now the system manifold is connected to the Little Giant with a
1" FPT PVC fitting. Can the Eheim accommodate this?
<<I believe the input is 1' and the output is
5/8''¦but it is a simple matter to use an adapter
What you've said got me interested--since the Little Giant has been
running I've noticed a $100.00 increase in the electric bill!
<<Wow, that seems excessive to me'¦I don't think my
'entire' reef system consumes that much electricity in a
It has been very cold and we've had the heat cranked here, but as
we use gas heat I don't think this could be the reason.
<<Mmm, don't discount the energy required to run the
Let me know if the Eheim or any other pump would work
<<If you can get by with the lower flow rate of the Eheim it will
certainly 'run' cheaper than the Little Giant pump you have
now'¦and probably a lot quieter to boot>>
--if you need more info please let me know.
Old Bridge, NJ
<<Considering the design of your system, this is probably about
the most you can do. Although, if it were possible to arrange the
refugium; and maybe that skimmer too, to receive raw tank water
directly from the display, you could do away with a couple of those
valves, increasing the efficiency of the pump and eliminating the
tedium of trying to keep 'all' balanced/regulated with that
valve manifold. Cheers'¦ Eric Russell>>
R2: Higher Electric Bill--Need a More Efficient Pump --
Thank you Eric! I feel like there's hope yet!
<<You are welcome my friend... EricR>>
A question on pump options. 12/30/09
Hello WWM crew!
I am trying to reduce tank/ drain noise as much as possible and have
succeeded using two options. The first is to use an Eheim 1250 for my
The second is to use an Eheim 1260 dialed down using a ball valve to
roughly the same level the 1250 puts out (a little less than 3/4
I own both pumps already so there will be no additional cost to me.
<For purchase... but operation... Better to... Oh!>
I do know that when experimenting with my Kill-A-Watt (my new Christmas
toy), the dialed down 1260 draws almost the same wattage as the
With that being said, which is actually the better option in terms of
pump longevity and heat? I am unsure if the 1250 would work harder to
keep up with the head loss/ pressure, creating more heat than the
dialed down 1260 makes. I understand dialing down pumps is the norm,
but most likely not as much I have done with my 1260.
<Better to have "just enough" pump/ing and not dial down
anything. I'd be running either just the 1260 or looking for
Thanks for all of your help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Large System Re-evaluation --
<Hey Ian! JustinN here!>
For the last 5 yrs I (and my visitors) have been enjoying my tank.
I have a total 2500l setup (main tank: 2500mmx1200mmx800mm) and trying
to house a full reef system. I say trying because I have had various
successes with corals, soft and hard. The costs to run this size setup
are quite high with food, water, replacing lights, fish and corals
<Absolutely understood -- that's quite the volume of
The government in South Africa however are proving to be my biggest
challenge! In many different ways but now I have a serious problem. The
cost of electricity has already increased over the last year by 35% and
is set to increase a further +-40% per year for the next three
years!!!!! This is needed to pay for a couple of power stations which
no one seems to know when will be on line. It's the usual story
about mismanagement of a national resource but of course it's
The electricity cost to run this setup I have is about 60% of my total
monthly electricity bill so it is becoming quite an issue. It is
already more than the acceptable minimum wage!
Rather than shut down the whole system I am looking to restructure the
tank in such a way that these costs can be dramatically reduced and
somehow still keep the visual appeal.
<Understood -- lets see what we can do.>
* Do I just go much smaller? Problem is I have this huge purpose built
void in the wall to fill so will look a little silly. However I imagine
a 700l tank would be manageable in terms of costs.
<I wouldn't -- if power is your main concern, see the next
* To maintain the size I imagine I have to remove all the live rock,
all the corals so that I can cut right back on the amount of light. At
present I have 8x T5 39watt tubes as well as 4x 25watt MHalides which I
have just changed down from 400watt MHalides. I imagine and hope fish
only do not require anything special? The moment the light is for the
Aquarium trade it seems to be 3x the price!!
<Just in Metal Halides, we're already looking at 1600 watts of
power draw -- this doesn't include the 312 Watts of T5 lighting. If
you are no longer planning on keeping the corals, just remove the
Halides from the system...
Even if you kept all the T5's active, you'd still be looking at
1600 watts less draw per hour running. Fish only tanks do not require
any kind of special lighting -- the light is purely for aesthetics in
these configurations. The same goes for live rock -- you might not get
some of the stellar growths off your live rock like you can with full
reef lighting, but this does not affect the efficiency/function of the
live rock, only the colorful aesthetics.>
* The main electricity thieves are the pumps. How much do I need? At
the moment I have 1x .75KW running 24hrs as a main pump for
circulation, 1x .75KW running 16hrs a day as the extra wave/turbulence
as well as a .45KW running 24hrs on the skimming. Various smaller pumps
running all the other bits and pieces.
<This is largely subjective -- you won't need as vigorous of a
flow in a fish only tank, but this is all your personal tastes... I
wouldn't personally drop the skimmer, but perhaps the wave
generation can be dropped?>
* Or do I look at keeping fresh water and try doing something
<You could -- if you chose to go with a planted tank in this
situation, you'd be still looking at a lot of the same costs at the
end of the day though.>
Please advise on how best to cut out all these crazy costs and yet
still allow me to participate in this wonderful hobby.
<Well Ian, based on your commentary, my thought is for you to move
to a fish only tank -- you can easily reduce the overall flow, and
definitely reduce the lighting -- the lighting here only needs to be
enough to complete your aesthetics, so you can see your livestock and
enjoy it. Good luck! -JustinN>
Re: Large System Re-evaluation --
Thanks for the advice.
<Glad to provide it>
I have been thinking along those lines, fish only, but wanted to get
another opinion. The lighting I understand. What do you recommend
regarding the water flow? As you said I could drop the wave generator
pump, what could I do about the other pump which at present is pushing
out about 20 000 LPH. However the actual volume returned to the tank is
less, perhaps half that?
<Hmm... Now I'm a bit confused -- are you performing a balancing
act, per se, between the tanks? Pushing water from the display to the
sump with one pump, and returning it with a separate pump? I apologize
if I'm densely misreading this, but if this is the situation --
this is a configuration destined for problems... There should be an
overflow of some sort to accommodate the drainage from the tank, simply
by using the reliable powers of gravity, and this outflow is then
returned via the sump pump. If you're doing the balancing act here,
removing and replacing both mechanically, that alone could be a great
savings in power. Unfortunately, as big of a volume as you've got
here, I'm not sure there's many solutions for circulation
outside of using larger pumps -- traditional powerheads are clearly
going to be fruitless, and even the newer propeller-drive style
powerheads, like Hydor Koralia's, would likely be relatively weak
with this size. There's always the option of slowing down the
output from the tank to the sump, and likewise the return to the tank,
but I'd say you're in about the optimal range if you're
What return volume would you say I need to keep
the tank healthy? Would I have to get rid of my anemones, the clowns
will be heartbroken!!!
<They'll find something else to 'host' -- they always
do. My black and white Ocellaris has been having a long-term affair
with my in-tank Tunze nano skimmer -- just don't tell his day-girl,
the frilly mushroom! ;)>
My system also has a 200L refugium, another 100L tank filled with fine
sand and of course the sump at 300L.
<Excellent -- hopefully my previous fear here is
How important is the control of Temperature in a fish only? Would they
panic if the fluctuation was say between 24-29 deg C? Because then I
can cut out my chiller.
<That's a pretty hefty shift in temperature daily -- if you can
maintain this to a 1-2 degree max shift, you should be ok... stable is
always better though.>
Thanks for your time, much appreciated.
<Glad to provide it! -JustinN>
Float switch I am trying to locate a float valve that turns
the power on and off to your pump. Do you have any of these
or know where I might find one? Thank you for your time. <We
don't have them but our sponsors do! There are a couple different
models/manufacturers. They start at around $59 up to $150 or so. They
use either physical floats or electronic/light
sensors. Enjoy! Craig>