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More FAQs about Plumbing Marine Systems 11

Related Articles: Plumbing Marine Systems, Myth of the One Inch Beast (Why Relying on One Inch Overflows... or Overflow! Is foolhardy) by Scott Vallembois, Plumbing Return Manifolds, Refugiums

Related FAQs: Marine Plumbing 1, Marine Plumbing 2, Marine Plumbing 3Marine Plumbing 4, Marine Plumbing 5, Marine Plumbing 6, Plumbing 7, Plumbing 8, Plumbing 9, Plumbing 10, Plumbing 12, Plumbing 13, Plumbing 14, Plumbing 15 Plumbing 16, Plumbing 17, Plumbing 18, Plumbing 19, Plumbing 20,   Plumbing 21, Plumbing 22, Circulation Plumbing, & FAQs on: Plans/Designs, Parts: Pipe, Valves, Back-Siphon/Check-Valves, Unions, Tools, Solvents, Use of Flexible Tubing, Leaks/Repairs, & Holes & Drilling, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing Noise, Make Up Water Systems, Pumps, Plumbing, Circulation, Sumps, RefugiumsMarine Circulation 2, Gear Selection for Circulation, Pump Problems Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Fish-Only Marine Systems 2, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large SystemsWater Changes Surge Devices

Microbubbles...Big Trouble! Hello <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I recently added a downstream refugium to my sump for my 75 gal reef ready tank. I realize I need to remove the mechanical filter items like all of my sponges so that beneficial copepods & such can pass through to my display tank. I mainly used these sponges in the past to keep out the micro bubbles from entering my display tank. I also added 2 baffles and one bubbles trap which is about 2 inches off the bottom of my sump and 2 inches above the water level in my sump. This helped but I am still getting a ton of micro bubbles in the display.  What can I do correct this? <A couple of thoughts here: First, I'd search your plumbing for the obvious...any loose seals or connections that are not 100% airtight. Even the smaller break in seal can admit air, which causes microbubbles. Another step that works is to employ large chunks of live rock (which is quite porous) to help "catch" some of the stray bubbles, or you can use a dense growth of prolific and beneficial macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha, which forms a dense, yet permeable matrix, allowing some microfauna through, but perhaps trapping bubbles in the process.> I have tried adjusting the pvc pipe where the water enters the sump so it is below the water level, above the water level and I even tried drilling a couple of holes in the pvc pipe to let out air before in dumps into the sump but I continue to get a lot of bubbles. I should mention , when the water comes from the display tank, it comes down & enters pool hose which links directly to some pvc pipe in my sump. The pool hose dips in the middle (from the wait of the water) where it suspended in the air and then rises about 4 inches because the hose needs to connect to the pvc connection on my sump. This pool hose is constantly shaky from the force of water flowing thru it but also it gurgles & hick-ups quite a bit. I think this is from to much air getting caught in it. <Sounds like it...Exactly> I am just not sure why this is happening. I hope I am explaining myself clearly.  Do you think this is the cause of my problem? <A very good possibility> Do I need to find a way level off the hose (eliminate the dip) to make the water not rise & essentially flow smoother? I am not sure if this will eliminate the gurgling/air in the hose or not. <I think that this adjustment is certainly worth the experiment on your part...try it and see> I also have a question about mushrooms. I recently purchased a mushroom rock that has about 10-15 mushrooms on it. How can I transfer these mushrooms to my main rock in the display tank. Is it best to break this rock into several small pieces & glue them to the rock in the display tank? <If you don't want them all on one rock-yes> I don't think I should pry them off the rock they are currently attached to. <No, you shouldn't> Is there better way to get them transferred/attached to the large piece of rock in my tank? Please let me know- thanks for your time -Anj <I like the idea of carefully chipping off small pieces of rock on which the 'shrooms are attached, then carefully gluing the rock in place where you want them on your reefscape. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Micro bubbles from closed loop 10/7/03 Dear Reefers, <I prefer it in brownies instead, if you must know. Mmmmm... brownies> Firstly a big thank you to Anthony and Robert ( not to mention Messrs Gonzalez ) <ahhh, Messr and Madame Gonzalez <G>.> for penning Reef Invertebrates. I have just finished reading, and it is a 5 star book with no equal in its field. <an outstanding compliment taken with thanks. Please do tell a friend :)> Please help me with a problem relating to micro bubbles. I am nearly there with my set up but have hit a dead stop again and am running out of steam. <microbubbles are a common problem... if you have the energy, it has be writ about at great length in the archives here at wetwebmedia.com> I have a 90 US Gal tank with a 7" square corner overflow box, bottom drilled to take one 1" and one 3/4" connector. The 1" drains a modified ( to optimize siphon effect) Durso which comfortably balances an Aquamedic Ocean Runner 6500 ( i.e. 1,670 USG/h nominal - excellent pump) from the second of 2 daisy chained sumps. The return is via 1" hose teeing to a 1/2" pipe work loop round the top of the tank with 8 x 1/2" mid water nozzles and 2 bottom spray bars. This all works very well, but there is not quite enough turbulence.  In your pbfaq9mar.htm - item headed Closed Loop System - you advise in response to a question " Would it be possible to place the intake [for a closed loop circulation pump] in the overflow box" answer  "< Ideal as long as the box itself can handle the flow>". I have therefore followed this advice and plumbed the 3/4" overflow box connector ( with a short stub and inlet screen inside box ) via 1" hose to a Dupla Turbo 5A pump ( 82w, 620 USG/h nominal, 2600 rpm, 14 feet max head ) and fed this into the other end of the same return loop. <interesting/good> This now provides the necessary turbulence/circulation, as far as I can tell. However, the Dupla is creating micro bubbles - so I have come to a dead stop again. <understood... the (overflow) well is too shallow and we need to baffle the bubbles. It could be as simple as installing an inline coarse prefilter (like a tube cartridge with a foam block) and only need to compromise with the additional servicing (monthly/quarterly?) of this media> The Dupla is the source as I can hear the characteristic snapping sound from the impeller housing, and no it's not venturi effect. <understood> Unfortunately, the overflow box is black glass, so I cannot see whether bubbles are being sucked down into the inlet. <seems likely... else it is an aspirating breach (pinhole) on the pump housing or intake plumbing (unlikely)> The overflow seems to work fine and I have tried adjusting the Durso to bring the box water level up to the tank level and avoid bubbles being created, and I have covered the outlet with a 2" dia pipe and cap, to draw water from nearer the bottom, but with no effect.  Is it possible to pull bubble free water from the bottom of my overflow box handling this flow rate? <yes... as described above with a coarse prefilter... Or... you can even plumb the prefilter on the outflow side of it all (in a place that is easier to service)> The Dupla only has a 3/4" inlet connector. I have used 1" hose (4 feet) to connect to the box outlet, with one 90 degree bend. Which is the more likely cause of the bubbles, the pump cavitating, or bubbles entering from the overflow box? <in this case... I'll put my money on overflow influx> If the former is it worth trying a restriction valve on the return hose from the Dupla? <an inexpensive option to try indeed... use a gate valve if you do> If the latter, is it practical to make an in line vessel to vent any bubbles without losing the head - i.e. by venting at tank level? <complicated... some flow will be lost indeed as per above res> If neither is possible, do I have to run the 3/4" outlet into the sump and use a second sump outlet to feed the Dupla? <not ideal> This would mean pumping against a 4 foot head, which I was specifically trying to avoid by using a closed loop. Given the choice, is pumping against a 4 foot head more or less efficient than restricting the output in a closed loop? <I cannot say without seeing/working with it> Finally, in general is there a better way to set up a circulation loop using an external pump to enhance flow/turbulence but at the same time avoiding micro bubbles or risk to the inhabitants from intakes? Many thanks, Eric Brightwell FZSL <the simple closed loop manifold works well and easily with properly sized sumps. The problem for most aquarists is that their sumps, overflows and refugiums alike are grossly undersized. Public aquariums for all of their success with fish longevity can ascribe much of it to stability in the standard of having as much water behind the scenes as on display. Does this mean that aquarists need a 100 gall sump for their 100 gallon tank - no. But it does mean that a 20 gallon sump is too small/turbulent. In this case, your problem is not that your overflow box is too small/turbulent (or  rather... it is a by-product of the real problem... which is that the sump is not large enough and/or the drilled overflow holes are not large/numerous enough to handle a single and proper large return pump to single power the manifold. It sounds like the modifications you'll need to make here though are minor. No worries! Anthony>

Water return manifold 10/3/03 Hi all, <cheers> Once again thanks for all you do, BTW just received a copy of reef inverts. My commendations, it's hard to put down! <ahhh... good to hear. Thank you.> I have a question about what setup would work best for the return manifold that Anthony wrote about in http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm .   I have attached some pics so it makes more sense. <very nice job> I have two options for the design and I am afraid one of them might disrupt the overflow could you please help me complete my design? The question I guess is would it be better to have a full loop around the tank even though it crosses in front of the overflow, or should I put a cap on the end and just have the flow go one way and not pass in front of the overflow? Cheers, Ryan    <perhaps neither... blocking the path of the overflow is bad, granted. But not having a complete loop will impact the distribution of water through the manifold. In this case... the simple solution is to use flexible or hard PVC pipe to bridge the distance in front of the overflow with a slight arch. Best regards, Anthony>

Playing With Plumbing... Evening :)  I am planning on setting up a new tank with a drilled corner overflow, as opposed to the overflow box I am running now (too scary and wrought with inevitable failure for me). <I'm in agreement with you there!> It will be a 20H nano, the same tank I have now, and I'm wondering what size bulkhead you would recommend for a tank this size.  It is being plumbed for a 10 gallon sump/fugium; the whole system will be pretty basic and easy to set-up.  In addition to that inquiry, I would also like to know what your feelings are on standpipe vs. a drain bulkhead on the back of the tank instead of the bottom.  For some reason the standpipe idea seems wiser, I don't know if it is though, so I wanted to pick your brain. <I like standpipes, myself...I favor the Durso standpipe design for its quiet operation, Bulkhead size is really your call...I'd opt for a larger size, like 1" to 1-1/2" or more....This will provide greater flexibility, IMO> The return pump won't be incredibly huge, so a drain pipe size of 1ID would be sufficient, right? <Yep- we're on the same wavelength here> I plan on a 3/4 return, which I think will be plenty. <I'm sure that it will be> I was also wondering if you think a baffle system will enable me to have a refugium that doesn't get too much current, as I would like it to be as gentle as possible (purchasing the sandbed critters from IPSF and I'd like them to be in a relatively slow flow, as to not disturb them too much...right??). <Well- I would not be overly concerned about disturbing these animals, unless you're absolutely blasting them-and the sandbed!> I'm hoping that I can accomplish the water flow needs of my tank with this one return pump, split to at the surface, cause I hate powerheads and I don't want to see any equipment in my already small tank.  Every powerhead I use adds a ton of micro bubbles, and if anything makes me want to pull my hair out, it's having a crystal clear tank overloaded with milky micro bubble water. <Look into Sea Swirls...> Is this a realistic idea to shoot for? <Sure> My only concern is that the water flow will be too strong for an ideal refugium.....but if you think it is within reason, I am going for it.  Not too many other options here!  I was planning on using the typical baffle system that I have seen in many set-ups, and it seems as though this should suffice. I'm curious if an extra baffle would slow the flow further, or if it would just be overkill. <You may have to experiment a bit. It's hard to say until you hook it up and let it rip!> I would like to have the refugium area be as large as possible, and since it will be a DSB ref., I don't want to limit the space I want for my macro growth too much, as the water level won't be super high.  And lastly, what flow in terms of GPH would you say I would need for this 20? <Depends on the animals you intend to keep. If you're playing with SPS- shoot for 10-20 turnovers an hour...Again- you'll probably want to play around a bit...> Any thoughts you have or potential problems you see would be most appreciated. <Well, I recommend using lots of ball valves for more precise control of flow, so that you can play with the settings and adjust everything to your liking> I realize much of this info is on the site, but since this is a small tank, and I'm new to plumbing tanks, I wanted to make sure I get it right from the start.  Kudos on the site, it's a wonderful place to increase my knowledge, and I thank you for it. <Glad that you enjoy it! It's our pleasure to bring it to you every day!> p.s.-I just got my LR from premium aquatics today.  Awesome stuff :) <They have a great reputation for quality...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Noisy overflow (9-29-03) Hello <Howdy, Cody here today.> I am new to the site and also saltwater. I have installed an Aqua Clear 175wet/dry with a pre-filter box onto a 125 gallon tank. The return pump is a CAP 2200.There is moderate "gurgling" noise in the pre-filter box from the water going down to the sump. Anyway to quiet it down?<There should be some ideas here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm.  Cody>

Drilled Aquarium?? I am setting up a 125 gal reef with 55 gal. sump hidden underneath.<is the 125 drilled or not?> all my plumbing will be hidden via bulkheads etc. to underneath.<I am assuming it is drilled> How can I hide my airline tubing for my 10" airstone,<I don't suggest using an airstone in the main display. I have not seen the setup to your aquarium either so you will just have to find away so that it is not visible but I am against putting the airstone in the reef setting. I would try powerheads which are much more beneficial to the inverts and other life> is there a special bulkhead fitting, any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Louie<good luck, IanB>

Bubbles in a New Set-Up - 9/24/03 Hello Great Wet Web Crew;) <cheers, Joe!> First off, really enjoyed Anthony Calfo's article at reefs.org ( http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2003/short.htm) it was especially helpful since I'm setting up a new system with a problem. <good to hear> It's a 75 gal, gallon tank with a built in return box. It's plumbed to a 15 gallon sump with 1.5 inch PVC and returns through an external 970 GPH mag drive pump. <FWIW... the sump is rather small. Going to be tight to work in, and too dynamic to serve as a refugium, settling chamber, etc in the future> Here's the problem, at full flow I'm getting what look like superfine air bubbles from the articulated return. This did not occur when I ran it with only fresh water to test the plumbing once adding the salt (Red Sea) the bubbles popped up. I've siliconed everything in creation from and including the sump connections up to and in including the pump connections. There does not appear to be any to be any bubbles in the flow tube (clear) coming up from the pump. After reading many of the articles and FAQ's on air bubbles I was wondering if it could be that at full power the pump is pulling air into the line from the sump and chopping it up? Some kind of pressure differential? <hmmm... I'm not convinced of that> Could this kind of air be pulled in on the output side of the pump? <yes... much more likely. And surprising to many folks that would expect a pinhole leak to spray water (which it rarely does) rather than aspirate it like a venturi (you guessed it!)> Anyway your thoughts would be helpful before I pull all this plumbing apart. <yes... temporarily disconnect the articulated aspects... or even the entire return structure... from the pump, and run a single hose return up to the tank. Assuming that the single connection off the pump is a good seal... this will tell you if some aspect of the original articulated return has a pinhole leak or not. Take the ball and run with it from there> Could the pump housing itself be pulling air in? <indeed... even the fittings on the inflow side. If not silicones... consider, or test with Vaseline> On another note, in Mr. Calfo's article he mentions his dislike of "reef-ready" tanks which is exactly what I have (Oceanic Systems)!!! <they are a nice thought... but grossly under-plumbed> Any thoughts on improving the return flow in such a system. <yep... short of drilling more holes... use all drilled holes (2 drains and 2 returns) for drains. Then simply return the water up the back/side of the aquarium like described in the manifold article> Sorry to be long winded and thanks in advance for your help. <no worries... our pleasure> Is you new book available in the big book stores yet or only through you? <I believe/hope it has begun to trickle down through the chains of distribution. Amazon.com has it... and I have an extended list of dealers and distributors of our books at readingtrees.com> Thanks and be well, Joe <with hope for you in kind my friend, Anthony>

Closed return manifold bubbles 9/29/03 Ok, I understand that micro bubbles are from the pump eating air or small leaks in the pipe joins. Where would large bubbles come from in a closed manifold? All of the tees are blowing 1-5mm bubbles into the water column of my tank. The tee to nozzle join is sealed with silicone and I have double checked all of the other plumbing joints. Dave Lockwood <there are a couple of possibilities... the most likely being a venturi like action from outlets placed just slightly above the water surface (or half submerged). If instead your outlets are all submerged but you are still getting bubbles... there is clearly a leak in the plumbing somewhere that is aspirating air (pinhole in fittings, pump housing, etc). Do consider. Best regards, Anthony>

- Overflow Sizing - Hi- I'm building an overflow tower for a 90 G drilled tank I purchased. Is there a recommended width and height for the tooth spacing or some sort of way to calculate the flow/spacing ratio. <Eh, not that I'm aware of. So, I'm assuming that you've bought a 90 w/ just a couple of holes in the bottom and no overflow chamber? The top of the teeth should fall just under the lowest inner lip of the tank (so that if water was to overflow completely over the teeth you still wouldn't have a flood). You can make teeth (slots) 1/8 - 3/16" wide and as numerous as you can make them without breaking the thing (about 3/16 to 1/4" should do it). I'd go for a total length of teeth about 12" long, whether you shape that into a box or rounded. Good luck! -Kevin>   Thanks for such a great site. Dave

Tank Talk Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Was looking at the All-GLASS 125 gal. tank for my reef with pre-drilled  Twin Flo corner  1" overflow and 3/4" return in one corner. Is this sufficient or do you need 2 of these set-ups, 1 overflow and 1 return in each corner, thus 2 overflows and 2 returns total. Thanks <Well, in a perfect world, I'd order the tank with a full-length overflow (like the concept discussed by Anthony in his "Book of Coral Propagation"- a must read, IMO) and multiple returns provided by a manifold at or near the surface... If you are just going with one overflow, I like it in the center, myself, but corners are acceptable, too. Do talk to the folks at All Glass. They make fine products, and might be able to custom build something to your specs... Regards, Scott F.>

Tank Talk (Pt.2) Hey Scott, seems I was wrong, the tank comes with 2 corner overflows, not one. Each overflow has a feed and a return near the surface as you stated. Can I just T these off to sump  and 2 bulkheads (1 drain,1 return) or do I really need 4  bulkheads (2 drains, 2 returns at sump) ?  Thanks again.  Louie <Well, Louie, I'd go for the bulkheads, myself, and rely less on external plumbing...But your idea can work fine. Less plumbing means less potential for clogging and other problems, IMO! Hope this helps! Scott F>

- Return Pumps and Bulkhead Size - Hello. <Hi.> I currently have a sump with only one bulkhead (outlet) to which a little giant pump is connected (close loop). The pump has 3/4" inlet and outlet. I need to increase my flow and would like to put a bigger pump. My question is, can I hook a pump that has a 1" inlet to the 3/4" bulk head (with adapters obviously) and not create any damage to the pump? <It won't damage the pump.> Will the flow be affected? <Yes, the smaller bulkhead will limit the pump's output just a bit.> It will be difficult to drill another hole. <As long as this sump isn't glass, consider using a Dremel tool to cut the hole out larger - in the ideal world, you should use the 1" bulkhead here if you can.> Thanks --AGT <Cheers, J -- >

- Cycled, Leaking, and Dying - Greetings crew, Thanks for the input long ago on my plumbing design. It has worked out superbly. I have excellent flow even with 1 MD40RLXT, I can't wait for the second one in a few months. The 180 gallon tank and 30 gallon sump have cycled. I have 70 pounds of live rock and 350 pounds of sand which gives me a 4.25 inch deep sand bed. The salinity reads at 1.021, Nitrite at o, nitrate at 0, ammonia at 0 and pH at 8.2, all reading are via a Salifert kit. The temp is a constant 79.9-80.1 degrees depending on day or night. My photoperiod is 11 hours and I have a white moon light controlled by a Solar L2 controller. The controller drives two icecap 660's which drive 4 72" URI VHO bulbs: 2 actinic blue, 1 AquaSun and one 50/50 bulb. My skimmer is a Prizm Pro in the sump which is giving me good skimmate output. The life forms consist of 1 yellow tang, 1 maroon clown (had to get Nemo look alike for my sons), 2 yellow tail damsels, 2 blue damsels, 1 striped damsel, 1 banded coral shrimp, 1 Atlantic blue leg crab, 5 hermit crabs, 2 feather dusters that I inherited on a piece of rock, 1 chocolate chip star, 3 turbo snails, and 1 margarita snail. The tank just fully cycled two weeks ago and most of the rock has brown algae which some of it's turning into beautiful coralline greens, purples, reds and other colors. My current issues which I haven't been able to resolve follow: The four snails are not doing anything. I added them by floating for 30 minutes and adding 4 oz of tank water every ten minutes for one hour. I then picked them out of the bag and placed them on the rock and sand. They started to clean right away for about 45 minutes and then stopped. They now just lay around as if on a siesta for the past week. I picked them up and they don't pull into their shells but they do move very slowly when placed upside down. I haven't been able to figure out why they are acting like this. All of the other critters are OK. I've looked around in the faq's and found some stuff about copper poisoning. The rock was obtained from an LFS that was going under and he advised that copper was never used in his systems. I don't have the funds to buy a test kit for copper right now and I figured that the crabs and shrimp were all doing well so that probably wasn't it. <It's very rare to get copper from nowhere, I wouldn't be too concerned about that or the snails. Just give them some time - it's not like they move fast on a regular day anyway.> My next problems is with a leaky connection. I have two 3/4" bullheads at the sand line in the tank. These are for the sand line returns and there are 4 3/4" water line returns. One of the bottom returns is leaking at the bulkhead to union joint. I used 5 wraps of pipe tape on all of my connections and ran the system for a week without salt to ensure that all was well. I didn't notice the leak until the system was two weeks into cycling, it's very slow, 2-3 drops a day. I am currently catching the drips in a paint tray but I would like to fix the drip. There is a valve between the pump manifold and the leak so I have no problem there but the bulkhead is at the bottom of the tank and against the wall so I have no real access to this area except for a long arm stretch. I've tried to tighten the connection but it as already tight and only moved a 1/4 inch. I was thinking about placing a plastic plug into the tank side of the bulkhead, letting everything dry for about a month and trying to place some CA glue on the threads to see if that will help, hopefully I will get some capillary action into the threads. If the leak doesn't stop I'll just leave the plug in the bulkhead and rely on my other returns for current. <Uhh.. I'm not sure I follow - is it the bulkhead itself that is leaking? If so, there's no easy way to address this leak without draining the tank. When I assemble bulkheads, I always put a little bit of silicone (sealant, like for making glass tanks) on the gasket that comes with the bulkhead - that way you have some extra insurance. If the leak is in the fitting between the bulkhead and a treaded union, then I would do you described - plug the bulkhead from inside the tank and remove the threaded union, put silicone on those threads and reassemble. I would not try the CA glue trick.> Any suggestions for these two problems are welcome. Thanks for the excellent site, books and good information. Jeremy Pratt <Cheers, J -- >

New All-Glass Tank Overflows - 9/19/03 Thanks for your reply Anthony.  I have to know your opinion on the new all-glass tank overflows. I do plan on upgrading my 90 gal reef to a 120 in a few months.  My question is to you do you approve (or like) the new design location of the overflow boxes on the reef ready tanks.  Would you get one of the new ones or get an old one, what are the drawbacks of them being in the middle back of the tank?   I don't know if I like how they put them in the middle of the tank.  Do you think I should get one of the older styles while I still can , that is if it will suit the reef keeper better than the new style. <I'm grateful that they have addressed the issue in the hobby of having/providing drilled aquaria. My opinion of their old and new styles however, like any other commercial one I've seen, is that they are insufficiently drilled - lacking enough or large enough holes. What happens then is that aquarists often buy a properly sized sump/return pump for their display... but learn that the drains cannot handle them. So they throttle back the pump and need to add powerheads in the display... how ironic! And they are nearly as ugly, IMO, as those glass overflow towers <G>. My preference is to have overflow holes drilled high along the back wall... not the floor with a glass tower. I described modifying this with an internal horizontal overflow (more discreet and efficient) in my Book of Coral Propagation. We have several messages about it in our archives here at wetwebmedia.com too... do check them out with a keyword google search - toggle terms like "internal horizontal overflow" and see what you get. Hmmm... not sure if I've helped here or not. Holler if not :) Anthony>

- Plumbing & Skimmer Bubbles - Hello crew, <Hello to you.> I have a wet dry/sump that houses the skimmer in one of the two parts. My skimmer is an "ASM G1" skimmer which it's supposed to be like Euro reef. <Ok.> Because of the size of the sump the skimmer fits snug. I have bubbles coming out of the "leveling" tube and this ends up going into the pump and up to the tank. I have tried putting a sponge at the bottom of the skimmer but made no difference. What I am thinking of doing is to build a bubble trap (baffle). Since this does not fit the sump, I thought of building it external. My sump has a 3/4" bulk head that is connected to the main pump, I want to build the baffle so it's connected through this 3/4" bulkhead, and then drill another one on the other side to connect the pump to it. Would this work? <I think so, but I'm not sure from the description how this will affect the bubbles.> While I'm at it, I need to increase the flow to the tank so I thought that I could actually drill another hole on the baffle to connect another pump, but I do not know if the two pumps will dry out the baffle since it would only have one connection to the sump... <Possible... might need to increase the size of that bulkhead.> Hopefully you can understand this. Or any tips to eliminate the bubble on this skimmer? <Really sounds to me like you have a mismatched set - the skimmer and the sump - would be better perhaps to redesign and build a new sump altogether that had a settling chamber, perhaps some baffles to allow the bubbles to settle out. If I understand your description correctly, space is at a premium, which means your baffle idea will likely be undersized, and may not be effective - very hard to predict.> Thank you <Cheers, J -- >

- Water Changes - Folks, <Howdy.> My 150 gallon (incl. sump, main tank 125) reef will be up and running soon (I hope), after lots of planning, and help from WWM crew (thanks). I'm aiming on a 15 gallon water change a week. Does it make much difference if this is 15 gallons at once, or 5 gallons every couple of days or so. I could manage one change of 15 galls. But it would be easier for me to do smaller changes more frequently, as heating and mixing 15 gallons at once is a bit difficult in the space I have for my 'hobby stuff'. <You'd be better of with the one, larger change... if you can make space for a [new, plastic] garbage can, this would be sufficient to prepare and store plenty of new mix water.> The tank will have 250W halides and I've been told that for a reef system I need to remove the sliding cover glasses. <No, please don't. These provide a margin of safety and also UV protection.> So plenty of evaporation, plenty of Kalk. However occasionally I have to be away from home for up to two weeks. When this happens will putting the glasses back (to reduce the 'top up' requirements on a long suffering family) harm the corals & inverts (SPS & clams in eventually)? An auto - top up is on the cards, but even this might not be enough for a two week absence. <I don't even think it will be enough for a week.> Final question ...my overflow chamber and first sump compartment came full of bio balls. I've removed these but suspect the overflow will now be very noisy. If I fill the 'gap' with small pieces of living rock am I just swapping one wet / dry nitrate factory for another. <In essence, yes, but bioballs in the overflow compartment will be submerged so they won't function like a wet/dry, so these are safe to leave in place.> If so, any suggestions for noise reduction. <Alter the input so that the water doesn't flow out from so high... closer or even in the water in the sump.> Following a thread on WWM I looked at Durso standpipes. However I have the DIY skills of a hippo who has just won the annual Serengeti 'Mr. Clumsy Hippo' contest, so found the construction (or fitting, or even the concept), beyond me! This is not false modesty ... the sight of me with a drill and screwdriver in hand can reduce my family to tears. <Durso stand pipes can be purchased directly from Richard Durso: http://www.rl180reef.com/pages/standpipe/standpipe_frame.htm > Thanks yet again. Brian <Cheers, J -- >

- Plumbing Question - I have a 180g reef ready Oceanic Tank that is going to be a FOWLR, the manufacturer claims that the supplied bulkheads should allow for 1800g/hour flow. <Have owned this tank... 1800 GPH is approximately true.> After reading several FAQs this does not seem realistic, the return bulkheads (2, one in each rear corner) are 3/4" ID and the drains (2, one in each rear corner) are 1" ID. Do you think this is realistic, I would like to attain this 1800g/hour flow. <Keep in mind that a this flow rate will be noisy. Better to get decent turnover - I used an Iwaki 40 [1,200 GPH] and then relied on powerheads in the tank to boost the circulation for the organisms in the tank. Much more quiet this way.> I am looking at using a Dolphin AMP Master 3000 or 4700 which I would reduce to the size of the bulkhead fittings right below the bulkhead. I was also thinking of the possibility of using the teed return manifold and using all 4 bulkhead holes as drains, If you think this is a better idea what size pump would you recommend and what would you recommend for plumbing (tubing size etc.). <I think this would work... could add probably another 500-600 GPH per 3/4" fitting. Keep in mind that you still have to pass water past the slots in the overflow towers which will become a limiting factor. I'm pretty sure the 1,800 GPH rating takes this into account.> I was thinking of running 1.5" pipe to the top of the tank and then reducing it and splitting it into either 1" or 3/4" pipe with 3/4" tees to direct the water. <You could do this or build a manifold that distributes the water at several places along the water line - many options open to you here.> I know this is a lot and not necessarily coherent but I would appreciate any help you can give me. Regards, D'Wayne <Cheers, J -- >

Bubbles in the water column Hi all, What is the best way to seal non permanent joints on sch.. 40 pvc pipe? I've assembled a closed manifold for my sump return and have sealed some of the joins with Teflon tape for easy disassembly and cleaning. Evidently I'm getting some small leaks since there are tiny bubbles coming out of the manifold. <The best way I've found (we used to do this in our service division) is to smear a thin layer of silicone sealant (the 100% stuff) on the threaded side right before assembling (the sealant makes a water-proof nesting that comes apart (though not that easily at times)> Could this be caused by a pressure difference at the pump? I'm using a MagDrive 18 with a 3/4" output into a 1" pipe and wondered if that could be the problem. <Mmm, yes... as in there is going to be pressure difference here (hence centrifugal force effects). If really concerned and you want a "removable" feature (a good idea to facilitate removal, replacement of pumps) you might look into "unions" (either coupler or valve types)... especially "true" unions that will allow you to "take apart" the plumbing w/o having to pull apart rigid tubing. Bob Fenner> Dave

-180 plumbing query- I have a 180g reef ready Oceanic Tank that is going to be a FOWLR, the manufacturer claims that the supplied bulkheads should allow for 1800g/hour flow.  After reading several FAQs this does not seem realistic <Actually, it probably is. We run a 180 Oceanic at the shop at around 1500gph and the water levels in the overflows are still very shallow.>, the return bulkheads (2, one in each rear corner) are 3/4" ID and the drains (2, one in each rear corner) are 1" ID.  Do you think this is realistic, I would like to attain this 1800g/hour flow. <I would say so, but install a gate valve on your pump just in case> I am looking at using a Dolphin AMP Master 3000 or 4700 which I would reduce to the size of the bulkhead fittings right below the bulkhead. <Have you checked out the pump curves on these guys? Even after a T and a few elbows, this may end up being too much for the tank to handle.> I was also thinking of the possibility of using the teed return manifold and using all 4 bulkhead holes as drains, If you think this is a better idea what size pump would you recommend and what would you recommend for plumbing (tubing size etc.). <If you really wanted to go wild with the return this would be a viable option, but I'd keep it below the max since who knows how high the water level in the tank will go.> I was thinking of running 1.5" pipe to the top of the tank and then reducing it and splitting it into either 1" or 3/4" pipe with 3/4" tees to direct the water. I know this is a lot and not necessarily coherent but I would appreciate any help you can give me. <No worries, and very coherent! I think the amp master 3000 would be a bit much for this tank. Big dolphin pumps, IMO, are best used on a closed loop that by-passes the overflows. Check around the forums for ideas on intake manifolds as well as return options (sea swirls!!!). I would pick a good sized return pump that wouldn't go over 1500-1800 gph after you have taken into account all the head pressure (elbows, t's, height, etc). I hope this helps! -Kevin> Regards, D'Wayne

- Overflow Design - I'm about to have some large tanks made and was wondering - is there any reason to build these tanks with conventional overflows, i.e., hole in the bottom of the tank with a stand pipe and overflow baffle? Would not a hole (or 2 or 3) in the back of the tank with a bulkhead and strainer located at the waterline accomplish about the same thing? <Indeed... as they say six of one, half a dozen of the other. Either would work fine. Cheers, J -- > Drilling Acrylic Can anyone offer some experience/advice for the placement of holes in acrylic tanks in relation to the seams? I'm setting up a large reef system and I'm plumbing 1 inch bulkhead returns (two per end) in the ends of the 3/4 inch acrylic tank. I want to place the bulkheads as high as I can and was wondering if I can drill the holes right next to the top seam? My understanding is once acrylic is solvent glued it's essentially all one piece, yes? Thanks! Eric <My general "rule of thumb" is to leave gaps at least as wide as the cut out diameter from seams. You can adjust the water height in the system with plumbing distal to the tank if this is a/the concern... either ell's, tee's or valves. Bob Fenner>

-CPR overflows- Hello WWM, I was read the FAQs today & saw this statement from Kevin, concerning CPR overflows-->"<I'm a J tube user for life (if drilling isn't an option!), the CPR overflows are horrid, and I'm not sure about the Tidepool ones as I haven't used them> <-- What makes the CPR overflows "horrid"? Just curious, I was thinking about getting the 1400gph CPR overflow myself! <Heh, I knew I'd have to explain sooner or later. I've used the CS90 and CS102 (the 1400gph one you're talking about) both on my personal tank and at the shop. My main reason for disliking them is that a small pump w/ venturi kit is required in many cases to suck the accumulating air out of the top of the siphon "chamber". This pump then spits the bubbles into your main tank, that is, if it keeps sucking the air out because, w/out frequent cleaning, the nipple provided to suck the air out get's clogged. When this happens the chamber will eventually fill with air; breaking the siphon. Although I have had bad experiences with them, not all have, and some actually swear by them. A quick ReefCentral or reefs.org search will get you several more opinions on the subject. Personally, I find that the additional cost and potential problems make a J tube style overflow choice a no-brainer. If you wanted to try a CS series overflow, make sure you match the flow closely, and be willing to deal with the unique issues surrounding it. Hope this helps! -Kevin> Thanks, as always, Scott in Denver

- Overflow Design - Hello Bob! - Please forgive the intrusion, I do normally post my questions to the "Crew" in general. <Well, it's JasonC here this time... hope you don't mind.> I'm looking for help with designing the overflow/s for my aquarium.  I'm in the process of establishing a new reef setup (seam rupture on previous 14 yr. old tank) that will be installed in a wall and viewed from two sides.  I awaiting the arrival of a 375 gal. acrylic aquarium from Tenecor (ships next week) which I ordered sans overflows.  I did this because my plan was (is) to utilize some type of "external" overflow system.  The dimensions of the tank are 96x30x30x3/4, of course the overflows will be installed on the end, or ends.  My idea is to drill a series of holes at the top two inches of the tank to function like the teeth on an internal overflow, and attach the overflow box (drilled for bulkheads - 2 x 2") to the outside of the tank.  If this sounds feasible to you, what would your recommendation be for the size of the skimmer holes? <It's kind of a sketchy plan... you will need to 'attach' the overflow box just as if it were part of the tank - with acrylic cement, otherwise it's going to fall off... you should consider just having this built onto the tank.> How many and how far apart (without compromising structural integrity)? <I'd go with 1/4-3/8" holes, as many as you want, not too close to any seam or edge.> What's the max flow I could expect through these holes? <Depends on how many you drill, but the number would be pretty high to match your expectations... perhaps 20-30 per end.> How big should the skimmer box be to handle the flow (say - max 2000gph)? <Well... drilling small holes isn't going to get you this high a flow rate unless you drill a lot of them - with standard bulkheads you need two to three 1.5" holes to reach a flow rate that high. Additionally, flowing this much water in and out of the tank is going to be very noisy... I would consider lowering the recycle rate in favor of some strong water movement within the tank via strong powerheads like the Tunze Stream Pumps.> Thickness of the acrylic? <I assume you mean for the overflow box... 1/4" would work - doesn't need to be heavy duty because it won't be holding much water at any given time. And... as I mentioned before, you will have to bond this to the tank with acrylic cement.> Have I missed anything >:-) <How about three large holes with bulkheads and strainers, plumbed directly to your sump?> If you think this is a bad idea my second choice would be to utilize an overflow design like Anthony describes in his coral propagation book. <I'd rather see you do this.> Saying that, what would be the measurements of this design? <The same as the width of your tank.> I would want to keep the dimensions to a minimum for aesthetic purposes. <Again, and I think we've discussed this design before... you should really be working with the people at Tenecor to help you realize this design rather than trying to augment the tank after its arrival. Add a couple of inches the length and this portion will be hidden behind the wall - this way you can have either a standard overflow on each end or perhaps something similar to Anthony's design. Any attempt to attach something to the side of your tank is ill-advised - if you have little or no experience with acrylic adhesives, you could potentially ruin your tank if you are not careful. If you've never worked with acrylic before, it's actually not that easy to make a five-sided box that doesn't leak - and you're talking about a four-sided box that needs to be attached to the tank.> If you have other ideas please feel free to expound. <My thinking here is that you should just keep it simple - drill two 1-1.5" holes on both ends - add bulkheads with strainers, and plumb these to your filtration system.> Any assistance will be greatly appreciated. Respectfully,
<Cheers, J -- >

Getting Looped! Thanks for the reply Scott F., (my name as well, with out the F!), Would you run the entire system on the Mag 12, or would you run the "loop" independently, both pumping from the sump? <Well, in a perfect world, I'd run the closed loop right from the tank, rather than from the sump. It would be independent from your main filtration/circulation system> For better savings on the electric bill, I'm thinking that running the entire PVC maze from the Mag 12 makes more, (saves more), sense to me! <Well, in the long run- cost is an important factor- so you'll need to be the judge of what works best...If you elect to use the system pump to run the whole thing- that's the way it will be! Good luck!> Thanks again Scott F. at WWM, from me, Scott B. in Denver! <A pleasure, Scott! There are so many ways to accomplish the same thing, so do what feels right to you! Regards, Scott F. >

Closing The Loop! Top o' the day WWM crew! <Good morning to you! Scott F. with you today!> Anthony, after kicking back & checking/contemplating the plumbing design pictured on my new 75g/70g sump, and reading the Book of Coral Propagation, in your experience, would the pipe going up the center/back of the tank be more useful by "completing" the loop, siliconing the PVC under the lip behind the trim, with a few flexible, ball socket outputs in the loop and running it on a separate pump (Mag 7)? <First of all, I must say that I like your work! Very nicely executed! As a fan of Anthony's idea of the manifold, my advice is to complete the loop! It's such a cool idea, and a lot easier to construct than many of the other circulation ideas of seen discussed... Go for it!> As it is, a Mag 12 is intended to flow up from sump, thru the 1.5"id into the three way, two SCWD wavemakers & the 1/2" adjustable input, up the back of tank. I wanted an effective circulation in tank, with current behind the future aquascape. <It will be!> It seems it would be easy to complete the loop that I didn't realize I was starting to begin with, or would you leave it as is? Well wishes for the entire crew.  Thanks, as always, Stormbringer <Once again- I'd close the loop! You've done some great planning and great execution, so just finish it off and you're perfect! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Plumbing Problems: Disaster in the Making? - Dear Crew: Please refer to the attached photographs of my current system and the set-up it replaced. <Checked them out> I have grown desperate and need some plumbing advice. I recently upgraded my system to consist of a 180G with a 48x18x16 refugium/sump/skimmer in the cabinet. To the left of this is an upstream 44G pentagonal corner tank serving as a refugium; to the right-elevated and perpendicular-is the old 80G tank that will eventually be a reef when I can afford proper lighting. There are two holes drilled in the back of the 180. One currently goes to a closed ball valve-it's a spare meant to be available for whatever future application. <Good planning> The other bulkhead leads to an Iwaki WMD 30RLXT that T's to a pair of 1" flexible PVC lines with ball valves just beyond the T. Each of these discharges up into one of the side tanks.  The water is raised about 2.5 feet in the process. <ok> As you can see, each of the side tanks has a drilled bulkhead leading via a 1.5" flexible PVC back down into the 180. To stop the massive flow of bubbles, I have added ball valves to the discharge ends. These ball valves are a royal pain in the backside to adjust.  Anyway, I cannot seem to balance the inflow and outflow of these tanks. <You shouldn't restrict the drain lines or you'll be guaranteed a future flood disaster.> I've overflowed them twice now. <See?!> I never run the flow to these tanks when I am not in the room. <So this is obviously not a permanent solution then. A better idea would be to have those lines run into the sump where the bubbles could easily dissipate. The extra 'pod loss from impeller shear would be minimal. Of course this would require that the 180 has it's own pump though...> I did have it working perfectly for a couple of hours yesterday, but turned it off so I could sleep in peace. When I turned it back on today, it overflowed after a minute or two (before I could shut the pump off). <Open them ball valves!> The sump circulation (using an Iwaki WMD 40RLXT) is working just fine now that I widened the ridiculously this slots in the overflows to 1/4" with a drill. The UV you see in the pictures is temporary. The system has been running fallow for nearly 3 weeks due to ich. I won't put the fish in until it's been fallow for a month and the plumbing is working properly. <Good plan> I would appreciate some advice as to how to fix this problem. A few questions come to mind: 1.Should I buy another pump and run the flow to each side tank independently? It seems that any adjustment to the one affects the other. I'm certainly glad I had the foresight to pay for an extra hole. (just wish I'd put one or two in the back of the 80 too. <That shouldn't be necessary. The problem here is the drain line restriction, I'd run both those lines into the sump.> 2.If I get another, will the 30RLXT bee too big for one line? <See above> 3.Is there any better way to do away with the billions of bubbles in the returns than restricting the flow with a valve? If the valve idea is workable (worked fine on my old system),  then I'll invest in gate valves over the Internet, since I can't find any in the SLC area. They should be much easier to adjust. <Gate valves would work better, but there would still be much too large of a chance for a flood than would be workable.> 4.The water level in the side tanks is usually 2-3 inches above the bulkheads. When it gets much closer to the top of the bulkhead, a whirlpool starts up the most horrific, loud, high-pitched sucking sound I've ever heard. It is unbearable. Any suggestions to remedy this problem? <Try using an elbow to point it down from the bulkhead, T that off and add a pair of strainers. This way the flow would be much less forceful (2 possible paths in) so nothing gets sucked in and it would eliminate the air sucking problem. This can even be hidden behind the rocks> Your assistance is truly valued more than you can know. THANKS, Steve Allen <I wish you luck!> P.S.  I stupidly put about 10 lbs of live rock into my  hospital tank in order to make my Foxface happier while undergoing copper treatment. I assume that I'll need to discard the rock, yes? <I would designate it as quarantine tank rock and not allow it to go back into the main. Be wary of an ammonia spike from any dead copper-poisoned inverts inside. Good luck! -Kevin>

Reef Plumbing - 8/27/03 Anthony, I have absorbed almost all I can on the website, plus all the questions you all have answered so graciously in emails.  I believe I have all the kinks worked and am looking to make sure there aren't any more flies in the soup (I've had a few).  10 months of research and I still don't have all the answers *sigh*  The tank is a 90G glass with a 29G Sump that will house the AquaC EV-240 PS, 2 250W heaters, etc.  I found a diagram that you had posted about reef aquarium hardware and am going to use an internal skimmer box that spans the back of the tank.  It will be plumbed with 4 2" bulkheads that drain into the sump.   <excellent> The water will be initially returned by an Iwaki MD70RLT (you talked me into it), but the sump will also be pre-plumbed for another Iwaki (55 or 70).  The second pump will be added 6-9 months after the "above the display tank" (your very convincing)  29G refugium is complete to make sure it has time to mature producing ooooodles of zooplankton before corals are added. <heehee... it will pay off my friend :) > The second pump should increase the flow rate to ~2000-2400Gph @ 6ft. Each pump will be split for 3 return lines that will be routed through the canopy and have swiveling 45 degree elbows just below the water's surface (4 corners 1 middle front and 1 middle back).  I had initially thought about just getting an Iwaki MD100RLT, but I like the redundancy.  Comments?   <agreed... the redundancy is good. Also... see here for a manifold description:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm > The only other thing I have a question on is who should I graciously mail the check to? haha.  Thanks once again for everything and I'm sure we'll be talking again. Jeremy <very welcome my friend... best of luck! Anthony>

Reef Plumbing - 8/28/03 Ok Anthony.   The inevitable has happened.  I have discovered 2 more questions since your last response.   <all good :) > How far should the internal skimmer box be below the top of the tank?   <just low enough for comfort/safe running... likely around or not much more than 1-2" from the top of the tank. The running water level will only be 1/4" or so over that> I also read your article on the manifold setup u gave me the link to (excellent informative reading).   <thanks kindly> When I plumb the tank will there be any problems that you foresee by hooking up both return pumps to the single manifold? <hmmm... I'm not trilled about it... does complicate matters slightly. If both pumps are plumbed at the same height on the same sump... then OK. Else, it is not recommended> I also anxiously await the arrival of my copy of "Reef Invertebrates" Once again thanks to you, Bob, and the whole crew for the amazing wealth of knowledge you so kindly share with those of us wishing to increase our understanding in this amazing hobby. Jeremy <best regards! Anthony>

Plumbing Design Hey guys and girls, I have been trying to decide on how I will plumb my new 4 foot marine system.  Attached is the design I have come up with so far.  Do you think it will work?  Are there any flaws?  Would you change it at all, if so how.  Any comments will be very much appreciated. <unfortunately, the gravity feed to the downdraft skimmer would likely not be enough water velocity to run the skimmer effectively, if at all, other than that, it looks good> Thanks in advance,  Amon <best, Chris>

- Overflow Planning - Hi Guys, <Good morning, JasonC here...> Great FAQs!  Unfortunately I didn't find anything pertaining to my situation (searched the internet as well).  I've been in the hobby for about 30 years, devoting the last 14 to reef aquariums.  I'm in the process of setting up a 375 gal. acrylic tank and have some thoughts about the overflow/surface skimmer I wanted to bounce off you.  I've always used over-the-top suction type overflows in the past and they've served me well (with proper maintenance), but plan to use drilled gravity overflows with this system but with a different twist as I'll explained below.  I didn't want anything inside the tank so I've ordered it without a built-in overflow.  I'm also installing it in a wall to be viewed from front and back so any overflow will be in the end (or ends?).  I have two ideas as follows: 1) Drill a series of holes (3/16 or 1/4 inch) at the desired water height in the end of the tank and build/attach the overflow box to the outside.  <You'd almost be better off putting in a divider at one end that would act as a spill-over and having an overflow the width of the tank, then hide this portion by the wall, rather than trying to add something to the end of the tank.> 2) Install bulkheads (1 1/2 or 2 inch) with strainers at the desired water height and plumb to the sump. <Or you can do this - the quick and easy solution.> Whaddaya think?  Any thoughts on the number of holes/bulkheads? <On one end, two, 1.5". On both ends, one each would be fine.> Whichever system, I'm thinking I should use both ends of the tank for overflow?  <Ideally, but it wouldn't be difficult to use just one end - just add a slight slope to the tank so that gravity helps move the water to that end of the tank.> Thanks much!  E. Russell <Cheers, J -- >

- Overflow Planning, Follow-up -   Hello again! <Hello to you.> Thank you for the reply.  Sorry for the resend earlier, just not patient enough some times. Anyway......I would like some clarification on your earlier reply, if I may?  When I suggested installing large bulkheads with strainers through the side of my (acrylic) display tank at the water's surface as an alternative to an internal overflow your response of "quick and easy" leaves me to believe you don't think much of the idea (correct?). <No... what's wrong with 'quick and easy' - nothing wrong with bulkheads.> I'm interested to know your opinions on why you would or wouldn't use this method. <I think you misunderstood.> I really would prefer not to install bottom plumbed overflow boxes inside the tank and don't want to diminish tank space with an internal divider/spill-over on one end.  If you have any alternative ideas for a "through the side" gravity overflow/skimmer system I would love to hear them as well.  I'd also like your opinion on skimmer size.  The tank is a 375 gallon reef. I know what the marketing literature says but I'm curios to know if you think the AquaC EV-240 would be large enough or if I need to spring for the EV-400? <Think it would be worth it to have the EV-400.> Thanks again for your time.  Eric <Cheers, J -- >

Water Returns Hi WWM, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I recently ordered a new tank with a center overflow.  The store suggested having the 4 returns running up through, and out the overflow.  At first this seemed like a good idea, but later the problem of back siphoning daunted on me.  As I see it, there are a few, but inefficient ways to prevent this.   <Well, the easiest is to have a sump large enough to accommodate the potential "drain down" that would occur during a power failure!> First one is to drill a small hole in the return lines, as high as possible.  The problem with this, as I see, is that the hole has to be above the intake of the Durso standpipe, to let the air in.  This will cause water to splash inside the overflow, and also reduce the return flown in the tank.   <My thoughts, exactly> The second would be to place the returns as high as possible, preferably at the water line.  How would this affect the drainage? <Once the water drops below the returns, no more water would flow out...This may be your best idea. Channel the returns to Sea Swirls mounted on top of the tank (my favorite method), and the returns will not present a problem in a power failure> Since the returns are so close to the overflow lip, wouldn't the same water be filtered, leaving dead spots in the tank?   <Well, you could build a closed loop into the lower part of the tank, to provide circulation in the deeper parts> Third would be to use check valves.  Regardless of the design, I plan on using them, but I've heard that they can fail so I want a second preventive measure.   <I'd avoid them. If they clog (and even the best can), it can spell catastrophe> Is there any other way to prevent back siphoning of a return that's in the overflow?  Would it be better to have the returns coming through the back of the tank, at the waterline?   <Yep- I'd go for the waterline, or above, as outlined previously. You'll have little to worry about that way!> My second question has to do with the drain rate.  Right now, the hole that should be drilled will accommodate the size of the overflow.  If I wanted more drainage, and simply drilled another hole, would this make a difference since the overflow hasn't changed?   <Well, it will make a difference, but a given sized overflow can only accommodate so much water through it...You may need to do some math here. There are good DIY sites, like OzReef, which have articles that address the art of overflow sizing...Do check it out!> I just wanted to add that I came across your shark FAQs last night, and couldn't stop laughing that Anthony's response to that 15 year old kid who wanted to house sharks that are over half the length of his tank.  Good job! Jonathan Nakashima <Anthony has some zingers, huh? We get some funny ones, here! The best one I saw was a  guy that wanted to use a piranha to clean his septic system (he was serious!). Takes all kinds, I guess! Good luck with your system! Regards, Scott F>

-Plumbing a 46 bow- I am thinking of buying a 46 bowfront to set up a reef and want a sump underneath.  Do you think I should drill for a 1" drain in the back of the aquarium and two 3/4" returns. <I would just use a hang on overflow box instead of drilling. If you still want to drill, you'll have to do it on the back glass of the aquarium because the bottom panel is tempered. Your best bet will be a hang on overflow.> Also, the Iwaki's all have 1" on them so can I use a Y that goes from 1" to two 3/4" for the returns. <Sounds fine> Does the Iwaki 30 RXLT sound good? <Excellent choice> I also want to make a refugium, from past reading you said it should be from the drain to the refugium, but how do I T off the drain? <Same as you would the return, but install a gate valve on the side of the T leading to the 'fuge so you can control the flow.> Also, do you think that MH lights are too strong for this tank for a mixture of all corals? <175 or 250w MH lamp(s) should be fine for a mix of soft, LPS, and SPS corals. I think a pair of 175w MH lamps with VHO actinics would be a good choice. Good luck! -Kevin>

The Bulkhead Question I am DIY-ing a filter for a 30 gallon.  I am considering this to be a practice run for the future and also a good way to understand the mechanics of filtration.  I am making a prefilter box out of Lucite CP.  I need to know for a 30 gallon what is the diameter of the hose I need from the prefilter to the input to my future sump. <1" hose is usually the way to go, and would be my recommendation> This might seem like a mundane question but I need specifics to draw things out. <best, Chris> Patrick Hand

New Plumbing for Big Tank 8/5/03 Hi Guys ! <hey Chuck> I currently have a 300 Gallon reef tank with the plumbing set up as follows: - 50 gallon sump under stand - Two overflow boxes with 1.5" diameter drain pipes  into the sump - One  open  circuit 1" return driven by an Iwaki MD100RLT (2000 gph) that returns water to the display tank from the sump - Two closed circuit pumps (MD100RLT - 2000 gph each) with 1.5" drains and 1.0 " returns  that provide additional  circulation - One open circuit pump MD100RLT (2000 gph) that provides flow into my protein skimmer <your electric company loves you> I want to move the skimmer, sump (50 gallon will be replaced with 200 gallon), pumps etc into my garage that is on the same level as my tank. <OK> I want to replace the skimmer pump AND the return pump with a Dolphin AquaSea 9700 (9700 gph). The display tank drains will both be 1.5 inch PVC teed into a 3 inch PVC (into the garage) and the return will be 2" PVC (from garage). The skimmer water supply will be teed off of the 2" return output from the Dolphin 9700 into a 1" PVC pipe feeding the skimmer, with the skimmer draining into the sump from a 1.5  " PVC pipe. <I generally avoid teeing plumbing to a skimmer or from drains. The difference in head can wreak havoc on finessing a steady feed. Do reconsider a proper dedicated line for the skimmer> I would also like to replace the "closed circulation loops" by running another line from the display tank to the garage. Originally, I was going to just plug up the closed loop 1" drains and tee off 1 inch lines from the 2"  return line into the closed loop return bulkheads in the display tank.  But, I do not think that my 2 overflows (8 x 8) and my two 1.5 drains have enough capacity to handle the full 6000 gph flow (2000 main return + 2000 left closed loop recirc + 2000 right closed loop recirc).  Do they ? <doubtful> I have several alternate plans: #1  Do not plug up the closed loop drains.   Instead, tee the 1" closed loop drains into a 2" pipe into the garage and feed the closed loops into the Dolphin via a Tee off of the pump's 2" input supply.  Is this ok to do ?   <horrifying <G>> Can I run both a closed loop and an open loop off of the same pump?   <nope> I would use union ball valves to roughly balance the input/output flow through the pump, skimmer, circ loops, main return. <ball valves are very poor regulators... gate valves are much better (much more precise control). And you cannot finesse all of these tees at any rate. Do resist using them> This is my preferred solution as long as the open/closed loop plumbing scheme is sound. <alas no. You do realize that in the event of a power outage, the "closed loop" which is not truly closed as the open end of the tee allows air to vent and will drain your tank to the point where the so-called closed loop is tapped?> #2  Use the two 1" closed loop drains as open loop drains by teeing them into the main 3 inch drain to increase drain flow rate capability from the main tank.  Unfortunately, this does not increase the flow enough so I dislike this choice.  However, a little more flow is better than nothing ! <arghhh... tees <G>. Complicating this terribly :p> #3  Cut larger drains and install larger drain bulkheads where the old 1"closed loop drains were and use these drains to supplement flow rate out of tank.  However, this requires cutting the new larger holes while the tank is full of water and could crack the tank even if it is drained to below the required level (not to mention pissing off all my SPS  !!!!). <draining the tank for an after noon and drilling the tank dry and properly here really is the best solution> #4  Move the closed circuit pumps into the garage and plumb them as two separate closed loop lines as in the original set-up.   <also good> I know that I might have to go with this but I would really like to use only one central pump to make maintenance easier, cut down on power usage, cut down on heat, etc. . <understood... but it is not safer or better. And certainly not easier regarding the magic act that will be required to control flow with all of those tees> Can you please provide any guidance to my misdirected plumbing efforts ? ;-D Regards, Chuck Spyropulos <turn on a moody blues CD, smoke a blunt and all will be revealed. :) Of course, to relieve much of your plumbing woes (extra pumps and lines and valves, etc)... you could just scrap all but the sump return and install a few Tunze streamer pumps. Short and sweet... and quality pumps that will last 10+ years likely. Best regards, Anthony>

- Water Flow, UV, and Plumbing - Hey! <Hello to you.> I need to increase the turnover in my tank and increase the efficiency of my UV. I have a 75g FOWLR, with built in overflow that goes down to a wet dry, in the wet dry (sump) I have the skimmer. I have a little giant pump rated at 590 gph w/ a 6' head, that also pushes water through a UV that is rated at 350 max outflow, the pump is connected to one end of the sump. What I figured is that I do not have enough turn over in my tank and that the flow is too strong for the UV to be effective. So what I want to do is to get another external pump rated at about 400gph including the 4-6' head to pull water out of the sump and connect this pump to the UV, my tank has one main hose that Tees off into two bulkheads, one on each of the corner of the tank, (the main is a 3/4" hose). 1. The only way that I can get this other pump to pull water from the sump is to have a hose or PVC tube and elbow go over the sump from the outside and down in the sump to pull water, my sump is about 14" high, then connect this one to the UV, would this work? <Only if you have a pump that can self-prime... and I can't think of any in that GPH range. Most pumps won't 'suck' water from any height and instead rely on being primed by gravity - via the bulkheads on the side of the sump.> I can't really drill another hole in the sump. Is there any other way of doing this? <I think you will need to find a way to drill the sump or put the pump in the sump.> 2. To get the water back in the tank I thought of joining the end tubes (one hose coming out of the outlet of one pump, and the other one after the UV from the other pump) into a Tee that will be connected to the main and then this will Tee into the two hoses that go to the bulk heads. Basically combining the outflows of two pumps (pushing up) into one main going up to the tank. This is the easiest option for me. <It's not the best option, however... better to have each flow into the tank individually.> The other option (but it's harder to get to) is to have each of the pumps connected to each of the bulkheads, through their own hose, no Tee. This will have different flows out of each bulkhead, I don't this is a problem, is it? <It's not a 'problem' per se, and it's preferable to combining both pumps to one.> Would this increase my turnover? <Yes, but you might want to examine your UV to see if moving water through it at its highest rated flow is in your best interest. For example, a 25 watt UV might be able to move 400 GPH of water through it, but if you want to kill protozoans [which is what I'm guessing you want to do] with the UV you need the water to sit in front of the bulb a little longer, which [again on a 25 watt bulb] means slowing the flow down to 150 GPH.> Any other suggestions? <Cheers, J -- >

Plumbing question (overflow and return) Hi WWM crew, <Hi Isaac, Don here today> I am in the planning stage of my new 180 gal reef system. I am moving to a new house in 2004 so I am starting my design drawings now. <OK> I plan to have two overflows where water leaves the main tank, for redundancy. How big of a opening do I need for each overflow? <Minimum 1.5". I would plan on 4 or 5 across the back> I also plan to have holes drilled in the back wall of the tank, rather than on the bottom. The overflow will just consist of a bulkhead fitting, with a strainer on top to prevent stray snails from plugging the pipes. No overflow boxes. I think this provides me with the cleanest look without taking any real estate. A crude ASCII drawing is below if you see what I mean (equal-space font recommended, such as Courier): side view +-------+ |     A |  v |     | |  | |     +----+--+ |       |     | |       |     | +-------+    To sump Where the "A" is the strainer and the "v" is a hole on top of an inverted T for a vent hole. Do you see any issues with this design, in terms of noise, surface skimming or other issues? <I would put in an overflow box the length of the tank. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm. I would also make sure there is enough room for a Durso Standpipe to eliminate noise. Search with google to find plans for these standpipes.> Now to my return lines. See following diagram: side view +-------+ |       |      v |      -----+  | |       |   |  | |       |   +--+ |       |   | +-------+  From sump I plan to tee off a vent hole "v" to the side of my return line to prevent back siphon in case of a power outage. Do you think this will work? Will the return water shoot through this vent hole? <Oh, yes, you will have a real nice fountain out the top. Do not do this. This is another reason to have an internal box to help control the amount of drainage during power off.> Thanks in advance. Keep up the great work and contribution to this hobby. <Thank you, Don> Isaac

-AGA new style overflows- This is for Kevin Sliech, if possible: <More than possible!> Kevin: I read an email that you replied to in the dailies on 6/24 (sorry, I am behind). I was wondering where you got your information on All-Glass' changes, <Straight from the horses mouth, our regular tank-delivering wholesaler along with a pamphlet from AGA. I don't believe they're available yet, truck loads had supposedly left but we still continue to receive old-style tanks as they blow out their stock of them.> and if you can point me to a link or elaborate further? <It appears that AGA has yet to update their website this decade, so it will be little help to you. In short, the overflows (now called Megaflow or something fancy-pants like that) will be located on the back tank wall instead of in the corners. On tanks with a single overflow it will be centered on the left (I think left..) back half of the aquarium. On the 4' tanks that require two they will be each centered on a half of the back. On the 6' tanks, it appears that instead of centering them on two 3' sections on the back, that they're instead centered on the first and last 2' sections. I hope this makes some sense... I believe the drilled holes will be the same, but due to the shape of the overflows, there will be many more slots. This is great for folks like me who have all kinds of crap growing and blocking them. The accessory kit has the "Durso" modification to silence the gurgling. I hope this long winded response helps! -Kevin>

Plumbing a 90G tank WWM Team, <Hi Mark, Don here today> First of all, I just want to say thanks for taking the time to respond to people's emails and by doing so building an incredible database of info (you may even want to publish a book of Top 500 FAQ's).   <'Tis a labor of love!> Anyhow, I have a 90 gallon tank that I want to drill (I have such a fear of my tank/sump overflowing that I won't do anything until I feel comfortable with water overflow).   <Could not agree more, siphon overflows are a disaster waiting to happen> I live on the 15th floor of a condo building so I don't need upset neighbors!  Anyhow, I am just curious if you happen to know of any places in Manhattan (or close) that would come to my place to drill the tank?   <No, but you might post the question in our forum at www.wetwebfotos.com/forum> I plan to talk to my LFS and browse the yellow pages but thought I would throw the question out there in case you know of a reliable person. Also, I was planning on having 2 or 3 overflow holes drilled even though Ionly have a 500 GPH pump but I'm planning now for future growth.  Is 2 or 3 enough?  How big should they be?  I'm assuming I can "plug" the ones I don't need at first?    <I would plump with anything less than 1.5" pipe. You will have to get the bulkhead you need and then drill to fit than. Something like 2.75" if I remember right. You can make the decision but I would drill at least 3 maybe 4. Better to over design. If necessary, you can plug the drains you don't need.> Thanks in advance for your time. <You are welcome, Don> Mark

Overflow Question Hey crew, I was just reading over the dailies and came upon one titled "Overflow Dilemma", and that's when it happened.  I had an idea.  The person writing the question wanted to drill overflow holes in the backside of his tank.  I was already planning on buying hang-on overflow boxes that use a siphon.  My idea is to use 4 modified Durso Standpipes, as seen on Durso's website for external overflows, going directly through the back of the tank, instead of the overflows.  They would be spaced along the back of the tank at the same level.  I would also use the egg crate "screens" on the standpipes to keep debris out.  Would this work?  I'm thinking it would, if I maybe upsized the sump I'm planning on using? <Perhaps. Easy to do if you provide some "true unions", perhaps some flexible tubing in your install> This could save a bunch of money!  Please let me know. <Does sound like a much better arrangement. Bob Fenner>

Overflow dilemma Hi WWM crew! <Hi Bob, Don today> I'm getting ready to set up a 30 g acrylic tank in my office.  I want to drill overflow holes at the top-back of the tank, and add an external overflow box.  I'm looking for around 300 gph through the sump, and figured that eight 3/8" holes would give me just less than one square inch of area - plenty (I thought) for 300 gph.  To test, I adjusted my garden hose to get around 300 gph by timing a 5-gal bucket to fill in 1 minute (I'm good with the math like that) .  I drilled eight 3/8" holes in a row near the top of the bucket and let it fill.  The bucket overflowed, so I drilled two more holes.  It still overflowed.  I enlarged  all 10 holes to 1/2", and then it looked like it barely kept up with the 300 gph (and that's almost 2 square inches of area).  Where is my thinking off here??  A one-inch drain pipe (.78") is supposed to be good for roughly 600 gph. <Yes that is the current rumor, but IME it is more like 300 or less per 1" hole. I would over design and put 2-4 1" holes equally spaced across the back. If nothing else, it will leave you room for expansion if necessary and it is a lot easier to drill the holes now and cap them if you don't need them.> I'd like to get your thoughts and advice before I drill  something that won't work.  Thanks for the great job you all do !!!  Bob <Thank you and good luck with your new tank>

Taking The Plunge! (Cont'd.) I would rather go with the internal drilled overflow but am not sure if I'll be able to get the tank drilled. If I am unable to get my tank drilled will these 2 things reduce my risk of flooding the room? The LFS doesn't drill tanks here. I haven't checked with glass companies yet, but my thought is they won't guarantee it. <Well, the potential for failure is higher on the over-the-side overflows. If the siphon breaks, you can burn your pump out. And it is true- some LFS's and even glass places won't drill aquariums. Perhaps the dealer can return the tank to the manufacturer for drilling there?> 1.  My sump is large enough to hold the amount of water that the overflow could siphon into it if the return pump fails. <Good. That takes away one major concern right there!> 2. Put a float switch in the sump so if the water level gets to a low point, which means the tank is getting really full, it shuts off the pump until the water level has returned to a 'safe point'. <Float switches are favored by some, but they are not foolproof, either. They can clog with debris or coralline over time, and can fail. Much better to rely on a well though-out plumbing scheme...> The only problem I could see happening then is the float switch failing. <Yep!> Then Again, I could set the return line at a level in the sump so if the water level went below it, air would just be pumped.... Not good on the pump, but would save me from a flood. <True...But could lead to a fire...! Sheesh- I'm painting a grim picture here, huh?> Am I missing any scenarios that could make me think I'm on Noah's Ark when I wake up in the middle of the night? <I think that you pretty much covered them!> Thanks. Bill <My pleasure. Regards, Scott F>

- Wrong Hose - <Hello, JasonC here...> Well I've just experienced my first, and hopefully last, sudden die off of fishes. <I'm sorry to hear this.> Actually 2 of 8 fish and the rest seeming a little stressed. Inverts and corals (all soft or mushroom) seem to be mostly unaffected. Anyway the circumstances leading up to this go as follows. Late last week the pump running my skimmer decided to stop working. Seeing this I checked into my LFS's to see about a replacement. Well they all wanted A LOT of money for the Rio 2100 so I ordered from an internet seller hoping it would arrive in a timely fashion, which it did. Since I was ordering I decided to help my circulation by adding a SCWD mechanical wave maker. To the point, when I received the gear yesterday I immediately got the skimmer running again and decided to hook up the SCWD. I used auto heater hose (new) as I had some around. I know this was brand new and I rinsed as well in plain tap water. Is this hose leeching something into my water or is this an effect of the skimmer not running for almost a week? <I'd put my money on the hose.> I did a small water change while the skimmer wasn't running and nitrates are only reading .2 with a Salifert kit. I also took a sample to the LFS today and they could not find any ammonia, nitrites, nitrates or Phos. I'm confused. This is the same type of hose used to hook up a dishwasher or washing machine just without the metal ends. <Neither typically have seawater running through them...> I would think this is safe. <Nope.> Is it, or do I have to use some special, ultra mark-up "aquarium hose"? <Any hose suitable for food or beverage service - vinyl, etc. I would not use black rubber hose. Cheers, J -- > - Follow-up: Wrong Hose - Thanks. I think it was the hose as when I took it out you could almost see an immediate difference in respiration. Much better. Although I did lose my tang as well :( <Sorry to hear about the Tang. At least it's a mistake you won't make twice. Cheers, J -- >

Closed Loop 7/22/03 Okay, now that I understand the principles involved, I think I want to make a closed loop work. I figure I'll need to run a siphon over the edge (can hide it in the rocks) to supply the pump as the two 3/4" bulkheads will not handle the extra flow necessary which I figure is about 2,000GPH (shooting for 3,200GPH total). <I do not/will not recommend an over the tank siphon for any reason/application. They are archaic and prone to fail in time. In this case... at the expense of burning out your pump of it should lose prime. Closed loops as stated before are tapped into the tank. Literally tapped - two drilled holes... shut-offs coming off that... then quick disconnects... then the pump in between. All for convenient pump cleaning or replacement without draining the tank later. Do visit the message boards for perspective from many others that have tried this. A common strategy with SPS keepers> If I want the siphon to handle the total flow, what size do I need? 1.5"? 2"? What kind of strainer should I have on the business end? <the pump has an inlet and outlet size/tolerance. Simply follow the pump/mfg specs. And I prefer a coarse foam block on the intake if it will be serviced regularly... better/safer would be a sturdy filter cage like we use on pond pumps for leaf litter> One thing I have going for me is that I can run a manifold above the perimeter of the tank just about any way I want to. I know there are unlimited options in tweaking this sort of thing but where should I start? three 1" outlets? Four or five 3/4" outlets? <depends on the pump again... my friend. You are putting the cart before the horse. That said... 6 outlets on a four foot tank are in the ball park with 3/4 or 1" pipe> Should I bother with Sea-Swirls? <they are fantastic... just pricey> My tank is 69X24X24 so I estimate the net volume (minus two corner overflows) at 164 gallons. Thanks for your patience and also your books which I found after I have made a couple of mistakes but in time to help me correct them. George <slow down and enjoy the journey, bud :) its a beautiful hobby. I would strongly suggest you take some road trips to regional aquarium societies and stores to spy their aquariums and plumbing to put this all in perspective. E-mail can only do so much. Best regards, Anthony>

Drilling Tanks (7-23-03) Wow! thanks for the fast response!  I actually just bought Bob's book last night and stayed up most of the night reading it <Awesome!> (it was rough this morning).  Anyhow, just a couple of follow up questions.  I plan to follow your advise and get the tank drilled.  Where is the best place (bottom, top back, etc). <In my opinion, bottom.>  I see conflicting opinions on the various chat room sites (I guess that is why they are called opinions).  Also, how do I obtain chemical filtration with a LR/PS setup? <I would buy a small outside power filter and run carbon through it, if not going with a sump other wise there are plenty of places to put carbon and other things in the sump.> Do I just buy a sump with various components?  If so, any suggestions on sump "kits" (I'm not the most handy and work a lot of hours so I really don't have the time to make my own).<Here are a few place to try: http://www.myreefcreations.com/main.html http://www.lifereef.com./frame.html Also see our facts on WWM for tons of info. Cody> Thanks so much for your advice. Mark

Predrilled & Drilling Tanks (7-21-03) First of all, I wanted to say your website is fantastic.  I'm glad to have found it. <Me too! You got Cody today.>  My question involves pre-drilled tanks.  I recently received a NON pre-drilled 90 gallon tank from a friend that bought it 2 months ago but never set it up (he was transferred to London). Anyhow, I am now ready to buy filters, pumps, etc for it but have been reading that pre-drilled is best.  Do you feel it worth spending the money to have the tank drilled (not sure if I trust my abilities)?  <Yep, much safer than the hang on type overflows.>Also, by reading the emails on your site, that live rock is the way to go.  But, 100 lbs of LR is expensive. Is there a compromise (i.e., a w/d filter with less LR needed)?  I'm more interested in FO tanks but am trying to be some what flexible in case I want to move to reef/anemones.<I would just go with LR and a skimmer.  You could go with a little less LR if you're doing FO.  There are also many places on the internet to buy LR for good prices, check our sponsors.  Stay away from w/d dry as they are nitrate producers and need constant upkeep.  I would invest in a good book such as the Contentious Marine Aquarist by our very own Bob Fenner and keep reading the many facts on WWM.  Cody> Thanks Mark

- Closed Loop Plumbing - Hello WWMCrew! I am having a 180 AGA Reef Ready tank custom drilled for a closed loop. I had initially though that four 2inch holes placed at different levels on the back glass along with two 1inch holes placed about six inches up from the bottom of the tank (also on back glass) would allow for good flow throughout the tank. The arrangement would be as follows - two of the 2inch connected to the intake and one of the 1inch connected to the output of a little giant 4mdqx-sc and then the other three connected in a similar fashion on their own little giant 4mdqx-sc pump. <Hmm... a little scary. I wouldn't feed anything from drains below the water line. If a pump or plumbing fails, your tank will drain until it can't... and that would be a huge mess. I would feed your closed loop from one of the stock overflows.> Additionally, I am considering plumbing the return holes in such a fashion that I can split the return several ways and "snake the return lines to different positions in the reef stack. I thought about cycling the pumps off every four hours to try to generate a more "random" flow - but I'm concerned that this will not be good for the life of the pump. <Your thinking is correct, you will destroy the pumps.> I'm also concerned about the size and number of holes I am contemplating putting into the back glass. All that said would I be better off to reduce the number of holes by half and add two of the Tunze Turbelle pumps positioned so that they point at each other? <That's what I would suggest.> Attached is the initial placement jpeg... Thanks so much! Lisa <Cheers, J -- >

- Re: Closed Loop Plumbing - Truly confused now! I have read that using the overflows are bad practice for closed loops because of limited real estate for holes in the bottom - especially on the AGA tanks --- and depending on how they are plumbed, they can exceed the capacity of the of the overflow. <That's what valves are for.> I have seen where people drill holes in the side of the over flows - but that puts you in the same situation of the tank draining if a pump fails... <Actually not... the overflow contains a limited amount of water. If there were a power failure, all that would drain would be the water in the overflow box, and not the contents of the tank.> Not sure how to proceed at this point. <What happened to the two Tunze Stream pumps?> At any rate I have re-thought my original design and am going to limit the holes to four; two midway up the back glass for pump input and two about 6 inches up the back glass for return and try using SCWD's internally on the returns to vary the flow throughout the reef. I have read that they can be used internally or externally - but I don't have any experience with these devices so any input on SCWD's used in an internal application would be great... <Will work fine internally, although you may find that you need to clamp the hoses on the SCWD is the water pressure is too high.> BTW - hole sizes are also changed (gone down) from the original to 1 1/2 inch for the pump input and 3/4 inch for the pump return! This design modification will also allow me to not power cycle the pumps off every 4 hours! <Ahh good.> Thanks in advance! --- Lisa <Cheers, J -- >

Niagara Falls: Overflows 7/16/03 Anthony, Thanks for the info.   <always welcome my friend> Never thought of the closed loop system.   <indeed one of the easiest ways for reefers to get the flow they need without scary noise. Some small bit of attending to do with intakes... and do be sure to install shut offs and quick disconnects on either side of the pump for servicing later> I'll contact the store I bought the system from (your old stomping grounds in Monroeville) and see if they can fix that for me.  I actually went out last night and switched to a smaller pump (950 gph).  Didn't help too much, not to mention I would have to add powerheads for flow increase (undesirable). <yes... dreadful to have to resort to those powerheads. That's what the big pump is for <G>!> Keith said they would send someone to figure out what is wrong and fix it if necessary.  I'll give them the chance to do so.  If they cannot remedy the situation, I'll call your friend Steve.  It is good to have his address for future reference.  Thanks again. Andy <best of luck with it, my friend. Anthony>

Playing With Plumbing! OK Scott, you always seem to draw the "short straw" when I have a question for you guys. <Well- we all love what we're doing here- it's a lot of fun for us, too!> Thank you for all of your advice, it has helped tremendously, especially with my algae problems. <Glad to hear that! These can be some of the most annoying, yet "solvable" problems in the hobby!> I contacted the manufacturer of my tank, Tenecor, and they said that they would not install, nor recommend installing overflow boxes in my tank as they would have to cut openings in the top reducing integrity.   <Not good at all...Glad you contacted the manufacturer, though!> So, I've sort of made up my mind on using 2 Lifereef hang on overflows (and install modified Durso standpipes).  Both are rated at an average of 700 gph. A guy at work swears by them.  He never has to restart the siphon after a power outage like some of the other hang ons.  Do you have an opinion on these?  They seem like they should work fine. <I've used hang on siphons in the past...I am not a big fan of them, if drilling and internal overflows are an option. However, if they are properly configured and maintained, they can be quite reliable. Durso standpipes are very quiet, and quite efficient once they are "tuned".> When I get my live rock and new sump, I want to plumb in a refugium. It will be fed off of the main return manifold and gravity overflowed back into the sump. Reverse photoperiod lit with another DSB and some macro algae. <Sounds fine...If you can get some Chaetomorpha for use in the refugium, that would be my macroalgae of choice...> I also plan on buying an Aqua-C EV-180. <A great skimmer!> I currently have a Remora Pro, but I don't want that many things hanging on the back of the tank. <Understood! A great HOT skimmer, though!> I wish I would have found your website a year ago, I could have saved a lot of money. Oh well, live and learn. <"That which doesn't kill us, strengthens us..." LOL> Thanks again for all your help. <Any time! Good luck with your system! Regards, Scott F.>

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