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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 11, Plumbing 12, Plumbing 13, Plumbing 14, Plumbing 15, 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, &  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

Keep those intakes screened over or all sorts of things will get sucked up to/on it.

Patience paying off: big reef set up 10/27/04 Per Anthony's request, I am copying the WetWebMedia crew.  I have left the dialogue intact below, in case there is anything to salvage for your site. <ah, thanks kindly my friend. I do enjoy e-mail to the personal address... but its even better to share exchanges with others via the dailies and archives> It's been three weeks since my last reply, and things are getting back to normal for my tank.  Many things have been learned...most I assume are common beginner's challenges.  However, with a 300 gallon tank, the dynamics are much different than a 55 gallon! <very true... usually better as good and bad things happen slower> I followed Anthony's advice and created a manifold that circles the top of the tank.  After doing some research on water flow optimization, I concluded that 1.5" PVC was the way to go, which would allow for 12,000 GPH circulation if I ever had the need.  Also, 1.5" PVC and valves are black, which is certainly less visibly annoying than white PVC.   <very nice... although the manifold is presumably hidden by the top lip/trim of the tank (mfg pre-form or custom trim?)> The manifold is in 3 equal sections, joined by threaded connectors to allow assembly/disassembly within the tank.  At present, there are 15 open outlets, and 8 more that are capped. <very nice> I bought this tank used, and it came with (4) MAK4 pumps and (1) Iwaki 55RLT.   <yikes! Overkill to say the least> Rather than purchase new, higher flow pumps, I wanted to use the ones I had.  To come to the conclusion, 4 of the pumps are plumbed into the manifold.  One is driving the ETSS 800 skimmer.  All is working well.  There is a great deal of swirling water now!!! <ah... yes. I do believe that to be true. Gulp.> The tank is a "reef ready" design with 4 holes in the back, and an overflow.  In my original design, I was only able to get 2 pumps-worth of water over the overflow.  Now, 4 pumps draw water out of the holes in the back.  Three return directly to the top manifold, and one feeds the skimmer.  The fifth pump siphons water out of the overflow area and feeds the chiller, then the manifold.  By drawing water out of the overflow area, I'm still able to create water surface skimming.  Yes! <sweet> One of the bigger challenges was implementing the skimmer.  As noted below, my original design did not include a skimmer, but Anthony convinced me otherwise.  I also have intentionally tried to stay away from a sump, if at all possible, to reduce complexity.  This design results in a completely closed system.  So, the skimmer was very new to me.  I had originally planned on having it below the tank in the stand.  However, luckily before plumbing it, it occurred to me that I would then be introducing an "open" water flow...you experienced aquarists know where I'm headed.  No can do.  The skimmer now sits visibly on top of the tank.  My wife calls it a chimney.  :) <do consider the very discreet top-rail mount Tunze line of skimmers that are marketed exactly for this purpose. Top shelf skimmers. Sell your ETSS skimmer and your dog on E-bay and use the money for a Tunze or two> The second part of the skimmer challenge was figuring out what to do with all the air bubbles.  Following the manufacturer's guide, the skimmer flowed directly into the display tank.  The guide said that after a couple of weeks, the air bubbles would go away.  Well, they never went away!  It looked like a hot tub!  The conclusion was that I changed the flow to go into the tank overflow area.  Viola!  A few air bubbles still get into the main tank, but it is acceptable. So, now I have 300 lb of live rock, a few fish, and Anthony's book.  Water quality measurements are excellent...I'm ready to get on to the corals! Thanks again for the advice! Jerry <it is inspiring to see someone take the time to be thorough, an educated consumer and try to do right by the living animals we take into our charge. Thanks for sharing, mate. Anthony>

Drilling for overflow Hello crew!  I have just purchased a 40 gallon glass tank and I want to drill a hole on the bottom for an overflow drain. I believe the glass is 1/4" of a inch thick (non-tempered). my question is, do you think the glass can withstand the weight of the water, substrate and rock without breaking? or should I go with a hang on the back CPR rated for 600gph or 800gph? thanks for any input. <Yes to the drilling possibility. The hole should/will be round (of course) and you will likely have it placed a few inches from a corner. Of a certainty, using a hang-on filtration unit will work as well. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing siphon break Dear WWM crew. <Stephan> I was doing my finishing touches on my plumbing. I have two manifolds each with its own pump that are hooked up in the sump below the tank. <The pumps themselves are there I take it, not the manifolds> I ran into a problem with one of the manifold. This one is a loop of flexible PVC and six tee's tied to six bulkheads. These bulkheads are all drilled thru the back wall of the tank. My water input is situated near the bottom of the PVC loop with a union. I have an additional tee with a fitting  that is just above   to water to break the siphon. <Oh oh...> I turned on the pump and water seem to be running fine thru the manifold until I turned the pump off. I heard a  expected sucking noise from the siphon followed by a gushing water sound pushing back into the pump. Water in the sump started to rise quickly until I was able to stop the flow with the ball valve. <Yikes> And for my questions: Is the location of the union connection (below the water level) in the wrong location? Should it be at the top? <Yes... needs to be above the upper tank water level, or at least at the absolute lowest level you want the upper tank to drain to> I am saying that  because the other manifold is hooked up with a union at top and that siphon break works. I was thinking maybe I should create a close circulation of  loop instead. How such a thing be hooked up? My guess is to giving up the stand pipe in the overflow chamber, connecting the bottom bulkhead to pump's intake? <This is one way> If so, wouldn't it suck all the water out of the overflow considering that my pump is 2100 gal./hr. <No... will only pump/suck the water that is higher/over the overflow> I' not sure what other aquarist hook up their closed loops but I don't think a bulkhead on the back wall of the tank would be the answer here. I am afraid with this way the animals would get stuck on the screen of the intake. <Me too... a reason for having more than one overflow, using good screens, hiding these pieces of pipe behind structure (rock et al.)> Thanks for the fatherly advise as always. Sincerely Stephan Gaudrau <Do you have a drawing, clear photo of what you have, and what you hope to do? Please send along if so. Bob Fenner>

Re: siphon break This raises other questions. If I were to use the 2100 gal./hr to hook up a closed loop, does that diminish the turnover rate? <Yes, to some extent> Originally two pumps were at the sump level. <Mmm, for the sake of clarity, completeness here, it only matters what the respective water levels are in the tanks> The tank is 175gal. sump/refugium is 75 gal. and external upstream refugium is 45 gal. This is almost 300 gal of total water. Am I turning this 300 water 20x or is it just the tank itself? <For the tank's consideration, just itself... for other containers, each one respectively> that would mean pump capable of pushing  6300 gal.? I am afraid to eliminate a valuable overflow drain. Can one still have the stand pipe plus an intake for the pump? Are there other ways to hook up a closed loop system? <There are... From what I understand from your messages, I would not abandon the current bulkhead/through-puts (and have a hole drilled, fitted for an overflow standpipe), BUT rig an external rigid pipe manifold/collective drain from them (outside the tank) with one or more tee risers as siphon breaks... with one (or two) drain lines going from this overflow manifold to the lower tank... and just some (one or two capacities/hour of the water from the lowermost tank/sump to the upstream refugium. Does this make sense? Bob Fenner>

Re: siphon break This raises other questions. If I were to use the 2100 gal./hr to hook up a closed loop, does that diminish the turnover rate? <Yes, to some extent> Originally two pumps were at the sump level. <Mmm, for the sake of clarity, completeness here, it only matters what the respective water levels are in the tanks> The tank is 175gal. sump/refugium is 75 gal. and external upstream refugium is 45 gal. This is almost 300 gal of total water. Am I turning this 300 water 20x or is it just the tank itself? <For the tank's consideration, just itself... for other containers, each one respectively> that would mean pump capable of pushing  6300 gal.? I am afraid to eliminate a valuable overflow drain. Can one still have the stand pipe plus an intake for the pump? Are there other ways to hook up a closed loop system? <There are... From what I understand from your messages, I would not abandon the current bulkhead/through-puts (and have a hole drilled, fitted for an overflow standpipe), BUT rig an external rigid pipe manifold/collective drain from them (outside the tank) with one or more tee risers as siphon breaks... with one (or two) drain lines going from this overflow manifold to the lower tank... and just some (one or two capacities/hour of the water from the lowermost tank/sump to the upstream refugium. Does this make sense? Bob Fenner>

Bulkhead Frustrations... Good morning crew. <Hi there! Scott F. here with you!> Thank you again Scott for your invaluable advice and by boy, do I need more now!! <I'm ready!> To re-cap. I am/was moving my 6x2x2 mainly fish and live rock display, evolving this to a fully blown reef tank and doing away with most things mechanical. Two sump/refugiums with Caulerpa racemosa in one and DSB in the other. <Ok- I'm up to speed here...> Well, today (make that 3 weeks ago. I wrote most of this then and today is an update. If you see what I mean?) was the moving day!  Only had to move the tank eight feet! Anyway, after moving it across the room I started to fill the tank with fresh water for a practice run. And?......Drip, Drip, Drip, from the tank connectors on both sides of my bottom drilled tank. Each side is fitted with down pipes to help surface skimming. I don't like this setup but due to finances (or lack of them) I am stuck with it for the time being. <"Drip" is not a word that I like to hear...> The tank connectors have soft rubber seals on the top (the water side) of the glass and hard white plastic seals on the underneath side. (They are made by Aqua-Medic and to make matters worse they are metric, all my other pipe work is imperial) Is there anyway you know, that I can prevent these from leaking? Can I put a soft rubber seal on the top and the bottom? or is this not good practice? Should I use silicon? <I'm thinking that you'd want to use something like plumber's putty (on the outside, of course). You may need to experiment here (gulp...). I highly recommend that you consult a hardware store or a good "do it yourselfer" who has encountered this problem before. When you're talking about the potential for serious water damage, you cannot afford to take chances!> Should I do them up from underneath or the top of the tank? I know these are supposed to be hand tight couplings but have now tried hand tight and also hand tight with a quarter turn with a tool, as you cannot grab hold of much of the top nut. Maybe a quarter of an inch it makes life difficult. (I have read of Bob's horror story of the helper who took a tool to a hand tightened seal) I have taken these apart twice now and cleaned them but somehow they both just continue to leak.) Just to make matters worse, I have around twelve not too small fish and all the live rock and corals plus BTA all in a 40gallon tank with just a small trickle filter (I am keeping feeds to a minimum) but the Majestic Angel is scratching! Even worse is I kept the seawater, in airtight containers, thinking this would all be done in a day or less, and is now getting on for three weeks! Should I still use this old seawater? <I don't see too much problem with the use of "older" water, as long as it's been aerated and kept free of external contamination> Perlease ! I need some advice on how to seal this tank connector. The underside of the connectors are also hard to reach, as the tank itself is on poly tiles, then a half inch thick mdf, then more poly tiles, then a pinewood board, so to get at the tank connector under the tank is still very difficult. Can't get a spanner on the two inch nut if I wanted to!  I cannot take the tank off the stand as all the rigid pipe work is glued (solvent) in place and is very rigid indeed. <Grr...> I have now been trying for over three weeks to seal these without success. Have you guys any ideas on what I should do next?  Hope some-one can offer some ideas as I am at a loss now as to what to do with this tank. Many, many thanks you guys. Simon. <Gosh, Simon- I'm sorry that I don't have any really great solution to this predicament...It's kind of tough to develop a plan of action without seeing these guys in person...My best advice is to enlist the hope of a qualified aquarium service technician in your area....Money really well spent, IMO! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Painting items that are inside the tank Hi crew, I have both searched your website and asked you direct questions while re-doing my reef tank- and I appreciate both.  I recommend you to others,  and link you on my homepage. I just constructed my PVC closed loop- 1/2 inch, 7 outlets, going to shoot 1800 gph through it with a dedicated pump (separate from my sump).  The  white PVC sticks out like a sore thumb, and its going to be an open top  system.   I've never seen black PVC- so I'm hoping I can paint it  black (yellow, blue, green, anything but white). What, if any, paint would be  safe for continuous contact with saltwater with corals and inverts? << I've seen people do this but I just can't recommend it.  Here is why. I think you can get paint that is non-toxic and holds up well in saltwater.  However it will grow algae on it (which is good) and then something like an urchin will come by munching on that algae.  So I would either let the coralline grow on the plastic, or better yet (and more common nowadays) is to use those black lock line pieces for the parts that will be visible. >>    If a safe paint were to flake, would it pose any threat? << I really don't think there are any threats, but when you are investing thousands of dollars into the health of your system, I wouldn't chance it. If things started dying you would be so mad at yourself, and would blame it on the paint (regardless of its role in the problems). >> No promises- but  this may well be my last question for a while-:) Thank you for your time. James Pruefer <<  Blundell  >>

Strange location for bulkheads 10/11/04 Hi, please see attached pic. Feel free to post pic on your FAQs. I have a room dividing 180G with bulkheads in strange locations. If this were  your aquarium and you had a wet dry with two inlets, how would you set it up (without hang on overflows of course)? <I would never use siphon overflow for starters... dangerous long term. I do prefer having the vertical walls drilled for gravity overflows though (bulkheads). In this case with a room divider tank... I suppose I'd drill the center floor as I see in the pic... and let the rockwork disguise the standpipes or internal towers> I turned both into sinks with 2' pipes in them and then built cheap returns out of flex-tube and PVC. The previous owner stuck a powerhead in one sink and used the other hole as a return. I love your website! Cheers, Marshall <thanks kindly, best of luck! Anthony>

- Someone Call Don Ho - HELP.. this would be the 1st time I have asked for your help - I have the nightly ritual of reading your Q&As and website and can usually answer my questions and solve my problems from that... but I can't seem to tackle this problem and you guys and gals are a wealth of information! I have recently set up a 125 gallon FOWLR tank with a 75+/- sump (15 gallons attached fresh water holding) - both custom acrylic - with bits and pieces designed by your website... I am migrating over from a 55 gallon FOWLR that was set up about 9 months ago.... I learned my lesson with the Tenecor "all in one" setup quickly!!  The new tank has a coast to coast overflow with (2) 2" overflows and a corner holding reservoir that dips down the tank about 3/4  for the huge overflow - a slanted "Y" plumbing that enters the 1st chamber of the sump - over live rock and rubble (there is about 90lbs of live rock and 5-5 1/2" of live sand in the display and about 10 lbs in the sump) the raw water exits thru a wall with (4) 1.5" holes - the wall is about 3/4 the height of the sump for overflow... into the large skimmer/heater chamber (EV 180 - Mag 7) over a 3" baffle to a filter media area and under a wall with a 1.5" open bottom to the return pump holding area - Dolphin AmpMaster 3000 - I increased the return plumbing to 2" straight up to 1.5" bulkhead with only 1 elbow  to the 1" return manifold with 6 loc-line segments each with 3/4" dual spray nozzles. I am fighting massive amounts of micro bubbles in the display originating from rush of water from the overflow (single 2" flex braided pvc)... I have done the following... 1) checked for air leaks in all plumbing and at the return pump - nothing - all good.. no Venturi action from the pump. 2) gated down the overflow to reduce water pressure entering sump.... restricted the pump  - too much fluctuation between overflow siphoning and pump - drilled 2 small holes on the outflowing elbows to reduce air siphon and noise - works great - but can't restrict to much pressure at the gate valve or it will leak out holes... 3) added poly-filter, sponges, sock of crushed coral in the filter media area to diffuse bubbles.... - bubbles still coming thru. 4) added more live rock to 1st chamber to diffuse bubbles - made it worse 5) added pre-filter tray to 1st chamber - clogged filter quickly, foamed, overflowed and restricts pump 6) extended plumbing to 3" below water level when entering sump, added filter bag to the end... nothing 7)just drilled many holes about the size of a pencil from the sump water level down to the end of the flexible tube to release the  water - drilled small pinholes above water level in sump to release air 8) last resort... I added a few of the bio-balls that I had in my old tank ( still up and running - my QT tank) completely submerged on top of the live rock/rubble - I was told that these can act as diffusers for the bubbles in the sump - I didn't want to use them - but if it would work, I was going to try. the water enters down - about 1-1.5" off the bottom - then up thru live rock and then the bio balls - bounces down thru the 4 holes in the wall.... I tried a drip tray and sponges everywhere.... I was told by Jason K at Aqua C that the skimmer does produce micro bubbles the first few weeks of operating  - but I have been fighting this for about 4 weeks now - and it is not coming from the skimmer.... Still have micro bubbles in the display - any ideas of what to do next?? Your input would be much appreciated!! I just want this hurdle to be over with. It has been nothing but hurdles setting this tank up - but I think this would be the last one in the race. Thanks again for your time. Michelle <Well... it's my guess that this problem is exacerbated by the high flow you have in your circulation loop. It's not the overflows per se, but the amount of water flowing through them. I personally try to get as much circulation going in the tank via powerheads as I do via the return pump rather than trying to accomplish all with one pump. Jacking up the size of the return pump really just puts bulk quantities of water into circulation and a large(r) sump with many baffles would probably be the only way to address this short of throttling back the Ampmaster. Hope that helps. Cheers, J -- >

- Someone Call Don Ho, Follow-up - Sorry, I was time pressured when I responded... Thanks - I had a feeling that more baffles would be needed.... right after I wrote to you, I added a baffle wall with 1" ground clearance right after the 1st chamber and then a bubble trap right after the skimmer and before the return pump. An over, under, over and then under to the return chamber. The baffles are spaced 1" apart with the center wall with a ground clearance of 1" . It seems to be helping - I think I will just wait until the insides of the plumbing and tank is coated with algae and film. Maybe that might help some... I have been messing with the plumbing and sump for so long that nothing has been able to grow. My first hurdle was with the return pump not able to push the volume of water I needed for the return manifold and the 3' spray bar. It was restricted with the 1.5" reducing to the 1" just before the bulkhead - at the elbow. I had to increase the size of plumbing. Now the flow is perfect - not a hurricane for the fish - just enough to create movement in the tank and loosely blow out the sand junk. If I do have to restrict the pump I am considering the dolphin pre-filter assembly as a last resort - I had a couple of sea-swirls on my last tank - they worked great - but I didn't want any external powerheads on this one. The return manifold with 7 loc-line tees - "y" with 2 segments and a nozzle on each along with the spray bar have good circulation with the coast to coast overflow skimming the surface from the rear have an excellent turn-over, debris removal with no turbulence... but nothing can be simple as that... the bubbles, although still there, are fewer than before and just may dissipate over time - hopefully!! <Results are most often the end product of choices made.> Thanks again and keep up the good work - you guys are great!! Michelle <Cheers, J -- >

- Overflow Noise - Bob, Hi!  I set up a tank for a customer, and she heard the sound that the overflow was making and just about threw in the towel on marine aquaria (no pun intended).  Afraid that she might not be able to make the sound more tolerable, she was considering switching to a canister at my recommendation.  She wants to have a full blown reef eventually, and another LFS has her really uneasy about canister use in reef aquaria.  From one more experienced, she would like to hear whether or not she will be able to successfully maintain a reef using canister filtration. <It is possible, yes but probably with a strong commitment to very regular water changes and diligence in keeping the canister clean. Likewise, it would be wise to have redundant canisters to keep the system running when one fails or is being cleaned.> With an Eheim Ecco, 1 1/2-2 lbs of liverock per gallon, good water flow, and good husbandry I feel like this could work. <Is also a quiet canister so might be a good choice for this customer... just make sure she buys two.> However this option does leave her with a hang on the back skimmer, she is afraid will make as much noise as the overflow. <Perhaps she just isn't really "ready" for a marine aquarium.> Are there any REALLY quiet hang-on skimmers? <In what way? They all make some amount of noise.> We were also considering getting the glass tank drilled. <This won't make anything any less noisy.> However with everything set-up and running, I'm afraid to tear everything down and get everything drilled and re-set-up and not have it meet the standards of peacefulness.  Are there any other relatively simple options we could work on putting together to make for a virtually noise-free system? <Think the redundant canisters might do the trick, although without a skimmer... would suggest you at least try an AquaC Remora to see if she can tolerate the noise. Encourage her that some allowances must be made to have an exquisite tank.> Thanks as always! Scott Critter Cabana <Cheers, J -- >

Anthony-type - overflow (internal horizontal) 10/9/04 In the articles that mention the overflow box that is inside the tank (Anthony's overflow), they are described as having a very small layer of water overflowing into the box. I am working on a tank that is 60" long and the box could  be almost as wide as the tank.( <ooh, excellent... the longer the better> no other overflow boxes present) In the articles they mention that the thinner this layer of water the better. <correct... it concentrates the proteins and improves protein skimming> If so then how would I know how many gph pump to use. <you must not allow yourself to make the mistake that so many folks do... buying a pump (or lights) without identifying your animals actual needs. If you have a reef tank with typical corals... you need a minimum of 10-20X turnover. Even more if you keep stony corals (do 20X minimum here). Once you figure your needed flow... you then need to be sure the tank is drilled with enough/large enough holes to handle that flow. Only then can you select a pump rated for that determined flow at the height/head against it> How much water flows thru a 1/8 " by 58" passage.   <not sure... do check with the flow calculators.. books like "Aquatic Systems Engineering".. or from the bulkhead manufacturers websites... or from big message boards like reef central> If all the required circulation (10 or 20 X tank volume - what ever you chose) is taken care of with closed loop pumps (multiple pumps) is there a minimum flow thru the overflow - skimmer - refuge system that I should not fall below ??? Thanks Carson <Ahhh... very good question. True, if you take care of the display flow with an in tank closed loop... then the recirculation between the sump and the tank is not so critical. Less is fine in this case. Anthony Calfo>

Plumbing, marine, closed loop Hi Guys....wonderful site. Many thanks >>Thanks back!<< A quick question if I may?  I have a 75g display, 30 g sump/refugium. Plumbing is a 1" bulkhead (I.D.) drilled at the back in the tank with a flexible hose going into the sump with a Mag Drive 9.5 forcing the water back up over the rim of the tank into a single elbow/effluent. A lot of flow/velocity...too much laminar I'm afraid.  But So far....the balancing act is perfect. Water level in sump matches the pumps output pretty nicely as there is no need to use the ball valve to divert flow. (this seems to defy the 600 gph flow rate I read about with a 1" bulkhead) I have been reading Anthony's suggestion about making a return manifold to more evenly disperse the water throughout the tank. Probably will give that a go this weekend. >>Great. Such a manifold works out very nicely.<<   Also, I have 2 small Rio's in the tank for additional flow,(240 gph each)  along with a EuroReef CS-6 skimmer in the sump stirring things up even further. Will this be adequate flowage for my setup? I do not have any livestock in the tank yet...just 130 lbs of Fiji rock. After scouring your site...I've seen that 20x tank volume is pretty much the norm these days. I do want a few fish...but mainly corals and inverts. >>You don't really need 20x moving through the sump. More flow in the main tank is nice though. >>The Rio's make me a little nervous though, they have a rep for burning/shorting out<< I was wondering if adding a closed loop system would help? Or, is this overkill/un-necessary? >>If you want more flow, sure! Sadly, the amount of flow in a tank is partly a function of the corals you keep and personal preference. I know on my tank, I never seem to have enough flow regardless of all the extra closed loops I add!<< I do not want to drill additional holes for plumbing, so I was thinking about looping pvc from the top of the display tank, gravity feeding into another Mag-drive of some sort, (size recommendation would be helpful) then shoot right back up into the display (no even going into the sump...just independent) maybe splitting the effluent  into 2 feeds?  ("T") this way...could I eliminate the Rio's inside the tank? >>Sounds good to me. I like removing any kind of power head from the tank, and I run my closed loops over the top instead of drilling - I think it give greater flexibility for the future. You can also look into a device called a SCWD that is basically a 'T' that alternates the current between both sides of the 'T' by a series of gears powered by the water flow. There are, or course, more expensive options like the oceans motions 'Squirt' - I just got one to replace two SCWD's and I love it so far! As for pump size, that depends on how much flow you want. Mag 9.5's seem to be a good all around size. << Thanks so much for the insight... >>Hope it helps!<< Mike Gaydos >>Rich<<

Re: Plumbing, marine, closed loop Hi Rich, Thanks again for taking the time to respond to me. All this information is surely a lot to digest for a newbie like myself, but I keep reading and learning. Anyway, I guess my main misunderstanding about flow rates comes into play when the term "turnover" is used. I thought 20x tank volume meant all water must go thru the sump. So then what you are telling me is not all of that 20x must go thru the sump but rather just get "moved around" by a combination of sump, skimmer, powerheads in display, and closed loops?? >>That is exactly what I am telling you! Its important that there is 'enough' flow around the corals, not that all the water  must pass through the sump>> Could you please tell me what the desirable amount of water MUST move thru the sump/skimmer to be effective at filtration and the rest just for water movement? >>I can give you a sideways answer - as much as possible.         In my case, 600 gph moving thru overflow/ return, 350 gph thru skimmer, and possibly another 600 gph moving thru a closed loop over the top of the tank be adequate? Sure seems like a lot to me.... >>The skimmer doesn't count as flow or turnover unless it is a HOB skimmer. The animals in the tank could take more flow, but you don't have to add more unless they need it. Does it move around the tank briskly? Are there no dead spots? Then you are fine! >>      One other question please about closed loops. How do you prime the pump if it is fed by the line hung over the top of the tank? >>The easy way is to fill the line of the loop with water before you hang it over the top of the tank. You can also plumb in an ball valve above the tank so you can open it and fill the line with water. That makes sense, really>> I'm sure the supply must at least originate roughly in the middle of the tank with some sort of filter/screen over it as not to suck in anything undesirable? >>Screen yes. You can put the intake where ever you like in the tank (I hide mine behind the rockwork) or if your overflow will take the extra flow, you can stick it in the overflow.>> Once it is primed...it should continue on until power is disrupted or would it continue to siphon? >>Yep! (ok...that was 2 questions) >>3!>> Oh....one more....please......where does one drill the anti-siphon hole in the manifold as described by Anthony?  Cant have it above the water or it will spray while running....so in the "loop" somewhere pointed downward or is it even necessary at all? >>Some people don't use them, but they are a good idea. If the power goes out, the manifold will continue to siphon your tank. The anti siphon hole does go slightly above the water line, drilled in such a way as to point slightly downwards so its 'spray' doesn't hurt anything.>> Thanks so much....really! Sincerely Mike Gaydos  (rookie) >>My pleasure!>>

Re: closed loop Can I take squeeze in another closed loop question? I'm pretty clear on flow rate now...thanks to you. Could a person who only has the lone 1" overflow bulkhead installed (with limited 600 gph capacity) plumb in a closed loop hung over the top of the tank.....gravity fed into a pump, but them have the effluent merge into the manifold to increase volume that way? The manifold will be 3/4 with at least 6 elbows/returns. Should have plenty on room in there for the extra flow provided by the closed loop?!? This make sense? >>Makes sense but is generally considered a bad idea because it makes the pumps 'compete', or push against each other>> One last thing.....Will the Kansas City Chiefs be able to make the playoffs with the rather rocky 1-3 start this season? >>Sadly, no>> And if you could supply me with the winning Powerball lottery numbers that would be cool too... Thanks a bunch. >>7 3 8 9 5 33>> Mike >>My pleasure>> >>Rich>>

Internal Horizontal Overflow 9/30/04 Sorry for the ignorance, but I have to ask.  I'm still not very clear on a couple of things on the internal horizontal overflow design.   <no worries... all good> Are the holes that are drilled in the back of the display sectioned off from the main display water by a baffle of some sort?   <hmmm... rather simply by the internal overflow box that captures/feeds them> And if so, do you have to put the "teeth/comb" on the top? <not needed... the internal well is large enough to fish a hand or need in to capture anything that goes over... and actually, snails will (fortunately) come and go cleaning it. The strainers on the hole intakes (bulkheads) themselves protect finer matter from going down> Or is it basically just holes drilled in the back, that the water flows out from.   <more or less> Also, if I do something like a closed loop returning from my sump will the PVC hit the strainers protruding from the bulkheads or do I raise/lower the drain bulkheads so that the pvc "ring" from the closed circuit does not hit the strainers?   <they are not touching each other... the closed loop ring sits right at the water surface or slightly above... while the internal overflow box is just under the surface of the water near the top> If you can send some pics or diagrams that would be helpful.  I hope these questions aren't too ridiculous.  I just bought your book, but am a little anxious to get my new tank up and running. Thanks for all the help. <no worries... page 42 of the Book of Coral Propagation has a diagram and profile of it with text/description :) Best regards, Anthony>

Plumbing 9/30/04 Dear The Gang at WWM, <howdy> Let me first start off by saying thanks for the amazing service that you and the WWM provide. It's a wonderful and invaluable resource of information. <thanks kindly! Please do tell a friend... hmmm, and recruit another volunteer to help us in the process <G>> I often find myself up till 2 or 3 in the morning trying to learn as much as I can about having a Reef Aquarium. I was reading your article by Anthony Calfo entitled Plumbing A Water Return Manifold - "goodbye powerheads!". I had a similar idea and was wondering if it would be more beneficial to make the manifold going around the back of the aquarium? <whatever is most convenient for your physical placement/layout of the aquarium> By just adding a second 90 at the top and have it run along the back of the aquarium, you can have two sets of return jets in the back corner of the tank, at three different levels in your aquarium. And the bottom of the manifold would just be straight pipe with 30 - 1/8" holes in it to aerate the substrate and behind the live rock. <the later being interesting but not necessary when you have adequate random turbulent water flow overall... and most importantly, have not made the mistake of building your reefscape against (leaning) any wall like so many folks do against the back of the tank (bad long term)> And would it be possible to incorporate a 30-gallon refugium in the system? <certainly> If so can you direct me in the right direction to where I can find out the best way of doing that? <we have an extensive refugium chapter in our latest book "Reef Invertebrates" by Calfo and Fenner... and have some great archived FAQs on refugia> Thank you so much for your assistance. Joe Othman <best regards! Anthony>

Tank Setup Draft #1 Bob, I was hoping you could look over my first draft of my proposal for a tank upgrade. I have a 65g tank that I'm looking to improve on. I've also been reading a lot of the FAQ's on sumps and aquarium plumbing so I may be jumping into the deep end with no water wings. <Hey, no splashing!> I'm looking to add a 40g Rubbermaid container for a sump and a return manifold like what is described in Anthony's article. I would also like to add a DSB with some type of plant life (mangrove plants if I can find them). <Can be ordered via the Internet... See Dr.s Foster & Smith, Inland Aquatics, Marine Depot (.coms)...> Please excuse the rudimentary diagram attached but I was hoping it would help make sense of what I am describing. <Better than I can/could draw> Currently the tank is empty so I'm starting from scratch with a budget of approx. $2,000. <Wowzah!> To start, my overflow would drain into the Rubbermaid container with a bulk head fitting in the top left side. The container would be split down the middle equally with Plexi glass or PVC sheet with holes drilled to allow water to flow between the two compartments. One side would contain additional live rock and the other would have a DSB (5") with mangrove plants or Caulerpa. <If using macro-algae, you might want to consider another genus... perhaps a Red... like Gracilaria sp.> This container would be illuminated with my existing canopy with two 36" fluorescents and one 24" actinic. <If not using Caulerpa spp., you'll want to have a timer, and perhaps rig a "reverse photoperiod" light interval opposite to overlapping with your main/tank lighting> On the top right I would have another bulkhead to allow water to flow out into my wet/dry filter I currently have. The bioballs would be replaced with more live rock. I will be purchasing an AquaC EV180 to be housed in the wet/dry. <And I see a line designating a block to sustain a given water depth, good> Another bulkhead would be drilled into the wet dry to run plumbing to an external pump to run the water back to the display tank using Anthony's plan for a return manifold. I would work a shut off valve between the wet/dry and pump and between the pump and return manifold as describe in the article. The return manifold would be constructed with the ring in the tank having 6 T connecters with 1-2" straight pipe for nozzles. I'm looking at getting an improved external pump to improve water flow. Is there a way to measure the GPH for my current overflow box. <Mmm, yes... 1) Reading the rating the manufacturers give, 2) Calculating per the given diameter and "head" et al. of the arrangement, 3) Setting all up and trying...> The new pump is going to be rated at 700-1000 gph. Please pass on any advice you can give me with this setup. <Looks good to me> P.S. I'm sure you don't remember me. I moved to Okinawa about 4 years ago, but I just wanted to let you know that the island is still a great place to live and dive probably not as pristine as when you were there but I still loved every dive I did. I was wondering if you would be willing to post where you might be diving this summer or e-mail me. <Will gladly do so, and encourage you to come on out with us. Thus far we have some nebulous ideas re going back to Hawai'i a few times (please make it known when you can be there), to somewhere about in May after the Aquarama show in Singapore (you are welcome to join the few WWM folks, Di and I...), and a trip to the Galapagos either in March or April (expensive, but a trip of the lifetime... on one of the Aggressor Fleet boats that Di's arranging... for 14 total> Bob Fenner signing my dive log (figuratively who doesn't dive with a computer) would make a great souvenir. <Hey, I've joined the modern age! And do dive with two> Adam Schrage "Why do the Walk of Life when you can Swim, Bike and Run" <Good spiel! Bob Fenner>

Max drain in a 1.75" bulkhead? Hello to the WWM crew! << Blundell here. >> Although I am sure this info is somewhere in your archives I had no luck locating it so here we go.      My 80 AGA RR has a single bulkhead in the bottom of the overflow box.  The inside of this bulkhead is 1.75" wide and the outside is 2.4" wide. << That is big. >> I need to know the max GPH I can run through this so I don't purchase too large of a pump.  I am currently looking at the sequence Reeflo dart which would run about 2700 gph @ 4 foot head. << I bet it can handle that.  I'd try it out, that is really the only way to know. >> What is the max gph I can swing with this bulkhead?  Should I consider a second closed loop pump on a separate manifold (I currently am running a mak4 (1180 gph) on a squid and my SPS need more flow!). << Extra closed loop systems are great.  Really no reason not to have one.  But I think your drain will keep up. >> Much thanks in advance for all your help!  ~CK~   <<  Blundell  >>

A question re: tank over flow hi Bob! Arnold here, just a question re: over flow. I cant find any of them at the FAQS. Is there any thing to consider when it comes to making a tank over flow? sort of; size of the hole (bulk head), line down to the sump etc.. But I'm afraid that this local glass shop can bore 3/4" only:(  if I go 3/4",how many holes should I need? I'm thinking of drilling that hole(s) at the back wall of my tank. Do I need to build a box for this? again my tank was 72"Lx18"Dx19"H. Please elaborate.. <Thank you for this reminder... am going to put a reminder on my laptop and finally (! he writes with conviction) produce some sort of general, definitive piece on marine aquarium plumbing (no applause please). Yes, to respond to your queries, there are quite a few seminal factors to bear in mind with the making of a tank overflow... for instance, to use an after-market "box" or to drill a hole/s... in the back, bottom? How many? What size? Most folks here (WWM) seem to be "rather" negative toward hang-on boxes... I am not so much so... with larger systems, employing two such devices virtually assures that one will have one going all the time... Holes in the tank? Most people are better off with ones in the back (or sides) rather than through the bottom... just something about gravity and the propensity for wet floors here... The placement of holes should be down a couple (as in two generally) inches from the proposed water level (this can be "adjusted" with threaded elbows on the inside of the tanks bulkhead/thru-hull fittings being turned...) Size? As large as you think you'll ever want to accommodate water through them... there are tables for such configuring, though, other important factors like "horizontal run" and induced drag are rather difficult to elaborate here/now... and "when in doubt, up-size" should be a guide/spiel. Do you know much re quieting down the at times incredible "gobbling" noise of such plumbing arrangements? There are a few techniques here... but suffice it to state, the larger diameter fittings and plumbing directing water from your tank to out... are easier to fit with noise-reduction. In your circumstances, I would look around for another glass shop... 3/4" holes are not of much use in a six foot long system... I would go with at least two 1 1/2" overflows (near the back corners... and likely two or three 3/4" returns... spaced about equally in the upper back. Bob Fenner>

Re: overflow topics Hi Bob! I have contacted somebody to make that hole for my tank over flow and do the plumbing inside the tank as well:) But slight problem here, How can I haul this six footer tank?.. eerk!  The place was bit far from home, Hoping to find somebody here to lend a truck! <Ask the folks who will do the work... they may have someone who will come to you... to your door/tank service... Alternatively, perhaps a local fish store can/will help you out with the haul> Any way let's skip that thing and got some questions here.. I noticed a lot them complained about those bubbles observed at their tanks/sumps produced by the over flow and return, is there any threat for this such thing? <Mmm, yes... some embolism possibilities. By and large you want to reduce the incidence of fine bubbles getting into your pump mechanisms> If so, any tips to avoid this problem? <These are posted on WWM> By the way Bob, I haven't made any move to start my project yet. I'm waiting till late November which my wife promised to plunge in for a salt water tank and I'm so excited, yet she was hesitant to let go the beautiful Flowerhorn whose occupying the tank. Here's the funny part, She snapped "what's next, a whale?!". Bob, I just want to gather all the vital information I can reap through your input way ahead so that when the time comes specially purchasing, ready and armed with your  valuable information. Hoping for your patience here.. thanks Arnold Borja <Good to have your significant other involved. Do keep studying, making notes on what you'd like to do... and why. Read on the Net, books, magazines... and look into whether there is a marine fish club in your area. Would be very beneficial and much more fun to have a local "guru" to look over your shoulder, show you about. Bob Fenner>

To be painting overflows   I was hoping that you might know about paints.  I'm really not too pleased with the color of the overflow covers that came with my tank.  They are speckled black and blue.  I would rather them be a solid black.  The covers are acrylic, I believe.  Are there any safe paints that I could use to repaint my covers?  If not, are there places online where I could buy black covers? Thanks, JR <Water-based latex paints are fine here... but do require that the parts be clean, dry. Bob Fenner>

- Can't Drain the Tank Quickly Enough - Good evening, I was recently given a 75 gallon tank and wanted to set it up for saltwater. It had 2 holes drilled into it, a 1" bulkhead and a 3/4" bulkhead I was told that the 3/4" should be used as the return to put the water back in the tank. <Is pretty standard.> Now the 1" should be used to drain into my wet dry, right? <Yup.> I put in my surge 6000 (600 gph)  pump and it pumps the water out of my wet dry faster than gravity can drain the tank. All I have on it is a stand pipe (in other words just a pvc pipe up to the top of the tank). Do I need to have an overflow box? (it sure would take up a lot of space)   Should I just drill another 1" hole so the water would drain faster? <You might want to, if only for redundancy, but it occurs to me that something else may be wrong. I ran a 75 gallon tank with the same outlet and intakes as you describe and ran a pump in the 750 GPH range on the tank all day long. Do look to eliminate any 90 degree elbows or restrictions in the 1" line coming out of your tank.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Armando <Cheers, J -- >
- Can't Drain the Tank Quickly Enough, Follow-up - So is an internal overflow box necessary? <No.> I think that since I don't have an overflow box, that it could be the problem. <I don't think that is the problem.> Or is it ok just to have the PVC pipe all by itself the top of the tank? <I would install some type of screen onto that pipe so that no fish get sucked in.> I also attached a picture <Cheers, J -- >

Plumbing a 90 gal Hello crew << Blundell here. >> First off thanks for the web site I have found a lot of solutions and information on a never ending family hobby For history purposes I have a 46 gal salt water tank with a 20 gal refugium tank mounted side by side I have been relatively successful with this for 6 years now. No major catastrophes we have both fish, clams and corals outgrowing my current tank. As is the nature of this hobby I am upgrading to a 90 gal All-glass tank with overflow (mega-flow kit) and 30 gal refugium ( also displayed the kids like looking at the bugs) which will go under my main display tank. the refugium tank will also have an overflow box. I am planning the new tanks to house again both fish ( 5-6 small fish), clams and corals. The refugiums primary purpose is filtration and food for the corals and clams. I planned on plumbing the main display tank to drain directly into the refugium tank with nothing more than 1.5 in pvc and a shut off valve. my return would be a Mag 7 pump down in the overflow box in the refugium tank and a 3/4 in tube to the main tank << Not bad, but I think that pump may be small. >> the Mag 7 pumps at 700 gph plus an 802 power head ( 400 gph) in the main tank for additional flow, 5 watts per gal of PC lighting In the refugium tank I am using a Prizm protein skimmer, 200 watt heater,  3 watts per gal PC light and I am thinking about a DIY carbon tube pumped with a 301 power head and potentially a UV tube in line with the carbon. 60 to 80 lbs of live rock spread between both tanks and 4 in fine aragonite in both tanks The only maintenance I typically do is a 5 % water change weekly or 10 % bi weekly depending on my kids schedule, calcium and iodine additives. Since this is my first time with a sump style set up and it always helps to have a second opinion My questions are: Does this plumbing make sense? << Sounds fine, but you can't have too much flow. >> Are there any additional valves or by passes you would recommend ? Is there something missing ? I've been debating on a water top off system in the future  << Just take a look at the tanks of friends just to make sure.  Sounds to me like you are fine. >> Is this sufficient filtration ? << It is all in the amount and quality of live rock.  Do well there and you'll be fine. >> Thanks again for your help <<  Blundell  >>

Plumbers loop Thanks for the reply. Looking under the kitchen sink I see the U shaped pipe. Is this the plumbers loop? << Yep. >> If so, does the loop need to go right after the air output on the pump? << I believe so.  When in doubt try it out.  If it doesn't work, then I guess I was wrong. >> Sorry about the confusion, I am definitely not a plumber! << I just pretend to be one.... until things flood. >> Thanks, Sarah Brooks <<  Blundell  >>

Bubbles in reef Hi there,  <Hi Sarah, MacL here with you this fine and lovely evening.> I just upgraded my 75 gallon reef to a 180 gallon with a 100 gallon sump with refugium. I am using a Mag 1800 in the sump as a return which is working great. Because of my hatred for powerhead suction cups and such, I decided to do a closed loop circulation system using a Mag 1800. I then plumbed it up from 3/4 inch to 1 inch hoping to increase flow. The pump is external. In the main tank there is a PVC input for the water which then goes through the pump and back into the tank via PVC tees. There are a ton of tiny bubbles coming into the display. Could this be from an air leak at pump and PVC fittings? I tried the Vaseline trick around the pump fittings, which did help a little. If so, would I fare better gluing the PVC to the pump? Or, could it have anything to do with going from 3/4 to 1 inch pipe? <The way I understand it, it is air in the line so if you make like a plumbers loop it should get rid of the bubbles> I hope this makes sense. Let me know if I need to send a picture to accompany this description, Thanks for the help!  <Hopefully I made sense as well Sarah, take a look under your kitchen sink, that's supposed to be something similar to get rid of the bubbles and the noise. Let me know if that helps and if not we'll think of something else. MacL> Cheers, Sarah

- Don Ho sings... Tiny Bubbles... - Hi there, I just upgraded my 75 gallon reef to a 180 gallon with a 100 gallon sump with refugium. I am using a Mag 1800 in the sump as a return which is working great. Because of my hatred for powerhead suction cups and such, I decided to do a closed loop circulation system using a Mag 1800. I then plumbed it up from 3/4 inch to 1 inch hoping to increase flow. The pump is external. In the main tank there is a PVC input for the water which then goes through the pump and back into the tank via PVC tees. There are a ton of tiny bubbles coming into the display. Could this be from an air leak at pump and PVC fittings? <Quite possibly.>I tried the Vaseline trick around the pump fittings, which did help a little. <Not familiar with the Vaseline trick and would recommend strongly that you do not use this in/near/around your fish tank - it is a petroleum product and can cause big problems.> If so, would I fare better gluing the PVC to the pump? <I wouldn't glue it per se, but instead use 100% silicone adhesive which is strong enough to make the seal, but flexible enough to remove the joint should you need to service the pump.> Or, could it have anything to do with going from 3/4 to 1 inch pipe? <There's a chance, but it's a slim one.> I hope this makes sense. Let me know if I need to send a picture to accompany this description, Thanks for the help! <Makes perfect sense. No need for a picture at this point.> Cheers, Sarah <Cheers, J -- > 

Bulkheads in tank with built in sump Hi all- Bob and Anthony enjoyed hearing you speak at the IMAC. <cheers, Andrew... it was a great time for all of us :)> I am being aided by my LFS but I am about to drill the bottom of my 65g acrylic tank and wanted a second opinion.  The back wall of my tank has a sump built into it (IFS). That's where the protein skimmer and return pump are located- I threw out the bioballs.  Well after adding an upstream refugium it became more imperative that I make some plumbing changes.  The third section of this in tank sump has about 5 inches of water covering two Rio 1700s.  So I have now bought an Iwaki MD 55rlt it will pump water into my main tank thru two outlets and into the refugium.   <very nice> I was going to try a J tube to get water out of tank but now I plan to drill and add some type of Rubbermaid container as a proper sump.   <whew! avoid siphon/J tubes at all costs... risky in the long run> So the question is will two one inch bulkheads drilled in the bottom of the tank flow enough water into this new sump?   <not sure... you need to add up the numbers on your plumbing size and run plus elbows, etc to calculate head and actual water flow... then compare that against the mfg  specs for the bulkheads sizes you choose to rate them. There are calculators for this on the big message boards like reefcentral.com and in fine books like Escobal's "Aquatic Systems Engineering"> The refugium is 27 gallons so with 90 gallons of display water I'd like to use as much of the Wake's flow potential as possible.  I have seen one inch bulkheads rated from 300 to 1000 gallons/hour. <there is no prayer of a 1" bulkhead coming anywhere near 1000 gph. 300PGH is the safe number bandied about which I agree with... and they can go as high as 600 PGH although quite noisy at that> Should I be expecting the low value because my bulkheads will be located in a small section roughly 4inx12in? I hope this makes sense-the sump built into the back of the tank always seems to confuse.  Basically I just want to be sure that my plan matches expectations before I drain, drill tank bottom, I have to cut stand too..., plumb everything well you know Alright thank you very much and sorry I if I'm making a simple question way too long. Andrew <no worries, my friend... its a challenge at first, but worth doing the math. My impression is that 2 1" holes is nowhere near enough here. Larger bullheads or more small ones are needed here IMO. Kindly, Anthony>

Friends Don't Let Friends Use Siphon Overflows 9/7/04 Hey guys, <howdy> So I have the old Amiracle hang on overflow, and was running a 1 1/8" inside diameter u shaped tube. I took out the u shaped tube and constructed a standpipe of 1 1/2". <hmm... I see the illustration mentioned below. Your "standpipe" really isn't one... it's still a siphon overflow. A standpipe is an open-mouthed gravity overflow "drain" by some definition of the word> Click here and look at the first picture that comes up as you scroll down the webpage to see a picture of what it looks like... http://aquaticpredators.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=13 It worked well and was able to draw out more water from the inside skimmer box (inner box) to the outer box more than before. <a larger bore siphon, yes> After I saw the result of this (more water being drawn out), I decided I needed more flow rate coming from my return pump. I basically went from a 3/4" return line to a 1" return line and took out all of the 90 degree elbows that I had at the top of the return line and put 45 degree elbows instead. This in turn gave it less back pressure, allowing the pump to push more water out. However, after doing this with the return line, my inside skimmer box (inner box) couldn't take this much flow rate. What happens is the inside skimmer box gets filled up with water and overflows back into the aquarium and unless I turn the return pump off, the aquarium overflows. My questions are the following: <the pump simply needs a gate valve off the top of it for fine tuning the outflow> What can I do to make my overflow be able to take more flow rate? <I do not trust or recommend siphon overflows of any kind. They are patently unreliable and a danger IMO (flooding and worse)> Shall I need a bigger inside skimmer box (inner box) to take more water in? <my very strong advice is to have the tank drilled with enough holes for a proper flow> Shall I need to make the standpipe bigger, from a 1 1/2" to 2"? <you cant polish a turd <G>> Or did I just miss something in the process, or leave something out? I can't figure it out. Just to let you know, my bulkhead on the outer box of the overflow is a 1 1/2". So the problem isn't on the outer box of the overflow, it's on the inner box of the overflow (or skimmer box); it just can't handle all the water flow from the Mag-drive 12 that I have as a return pump. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Hamilton <do drill my friend... you will not regret it. Just be sure to drill enough/large holes. Anthony>

New tank isn't drilled (but overflow required!) Hello Bob, would like to know which overflow would be ok / compatible with the jewel Trigon 350ltr,and return pump required (Eheim 1260/ ocean runner 3500   or what do you advise! <I am much more "positive" re the use of such add-on overflow "boxes" than many of my cohorts here at WWM... for a system this size, for safety's sake, I would utilize two such devices... either tying in their discharges to your sump with a tee or allowing each to overflow separately>    Sump size is going to be roughly 27x15x18 with live rock, Caulerpa and then return probably housing carbon/ heater. Rowaphos I would  put under direct flow from overflow in a basket or something. Would you suggest any material different from above in relation to  sump, your expert advice would be greatly appreciated   Thank you ,I Smith, Preston, Lancs, UK. <All sounds about right. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing intake questions If you don't mind I just have a few questions. I just want to make sure I get as much as I can right the first time.  Also thanks for the quick response on the last questions I asked. My current equipment and setup...... - I have a 1" bulkhead on my sump. - I have a 3/4" return on my tank. - I purchased the Panworld/BlueLine 100PX-MD40R 790gph with 3/4" MPT in/out My questions are if I reduce the 1" bulkhead from the sump with a 1" x 3/4" reducer so that I can run 3/4" PVC from the sump all the way to the pump intake will that cause any issues?  Or will this be OK as the pump only has a 3/4" intake opening.  There will also be a Ball Valve and Union in the run. The reason I am wondering is because the 3/4" pipe will fit a lot easier with the room I am working with. Also I will be keeping the discharge/return of the pump at the 3/4". Thanks for letting me ask these questions as an experts advice is always welcome and a great resource. Hi, Your setup should work just fine. Depending on the output of your pump, you do in theory get less GPH with a 3/4" vs. a 1" return, but not enough to cause any issues. I did the same thing you're about to do on my latest tank. Jim

Plumbing issues 8/31/04 Hello Helpful WWM Crew, I recently asked a question about lighting a reef tank and received some helpful advice that I have already pursued. Thanks.  <Glad we were able to help!> Anyway, I have a new question today. First, the proposed setup: 45G DAS main tank (I believe that this tank would make a beautiful reef tank) and a monster sump/refugium in the neighborhood of 45g additional water volume.<Most excellent!  Most folks underestimate the benefits of a large sump and the added water volume.> Here is my problem- the DAS tank has internal filtration which may be adequate for the tank size but I have an in-sump skimmer and drop in chiller (for these wonderful Texas summers :) ) and need to set up a vessel(s) near the display tank. The DAS has wood trim that extends roughly 6-7 inches above the water level which makes it impossible to use a hang on overflow. The filtration area in the tank houses a skimmer and about 3 ft of rolled up media so I already have something like an in tank overflow that I could clear of the unnecessary skimmer and media. <These are such beautiful tanks, but also very inflexible!  I am thinking of some options...> The problem I am trying to figure out is how to get water to the sump and refugium. The obvious option is to see if somebody could drill the tank but I prefer not to do this because I am aware that the glass could break.<If you choose someone who is experienced at this, the risk is really very small.  IMO, this is the best option.> I would really like to have the DAS as the display but I am just not sure how water will get from point A to point B. I think it would not be possible to use some type of a float switch setup for a pump in the overflow area due to variations in the return level at the sump and obvious wear and tear on the pump.<Aside from logistical issues, relying on mechanical devices for draining a tank is flirting with disaster.  Gravity is the best and should be the only force necessary to move water from the display to the sump.> Any suggestions? I sure would hate to buy another tank but I don't have a clue on how to overcome this problem. Thanks very much for your previous and continued help. Chris <If you absolutely won't drill the tank, then your next best option is to cut a space in the wood trim to accommodate a hang-on overflow.  IMO, this is as risky as simply drilling the tank, and might affect the structural integrity of the tank.  If you do this, I would cut a "window" in the wood trim rather than cut all the way from top to bottom.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Plumbing question 26 Aug 2004 Hi WWM crew, <Hi Shawna, MacL here with you.> I love your website and am gaining quite a bit of knowledge on my nightly readings.  Excellent information. <thank you kindly.> I have a few plumbing questions on my 135 gallon new tank.  It is not drilled and cannot be so I have been told I need to use 2 overflow boxes from CPR.  I am a little confused on which to get as different LFS gave me different answers. <They are talking about setting it up in different ways. That's why its so tough, these tanks can be set up in a couple of different ways.>  Some said 2 dual 1 inch holes would work so I would have 4 lines in to the 30gallon sump the others said 2 single 1.5 inch boxes so I just have 2 lines down there. <My personal preference is to keep things as simple as you can.> Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Unfortunately I cannot drill my sump tank so I need a submersible pump and am thinking of going with the supreme Mag 24 or the ViaAqua 8000. <I gotta tell you I love love love my Mags.>  The ViaAqua was recommended from my LFS but I had never heard of them.  What I was wondering is if I have 2 or 4 lines down to my sump can I have 1 return line from my submersible pump that is dedicated to a closed loop manifold with 6-8 teed outlets into my tank? <Yes> I read the article Anthony wrote and it made me instantly want to put a manifold in my tank instead of powerheads. <Understandable.> The LFS said that I have to have the same amount of lines from the pump that I have going down to the sump.  Would plumbing a 1 inch return to a 1 inch manifold with several of these outlets work with my setup? <I think so> Thanks for all of your help! <YW, let me know how it goes. MacL> Shawna

Overflowing system Hi I have a sea clear system II 50 gallon salt water tank, it has been set up for about 2 years, the pump was not putting out enough so we bought a new one and installed it the same way as it came out of the tank and after about 5 hours it over flowed the tank.  It appears to be pumping out more water than it is sucking in.  What do I do?   Thank you Terrie <You have two basic options, no, make that three... You can throttle back the pump... with a valve, tubing... or return/exchange it for one of lesser flow rate. 2) You can modify the overflow/return slots/holes from the integral/back filter area to allow more water to spill in there to match the existing pump... or 3) You can abandon the back filter entirely and go with another added on system, like a sump/refugium. This last is what I encourage you to do... the folks who own/run SeaClear are fine gentlemen, but this system is bunk... not easy to work on, and way too undersized. Please see elsewhere (use the Google search tool on the site) on our root web: www.WetWebMedia.com re these modifications. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing a manifold Hi WWM crew, I love your website and am gaining quite a bit of knowledge on my nightly readings.  Excellent information.   <thanks kindly :) I have a few plumbing questions on my 135 gallon new tank.  It is not drilled and cannot be so I have been told I need to use 2 overflow boxes from CPR.   <I would frankly rather see you go entirely without a sump than have to depend on siphon overflows. They work well for some people, but are disastrous for nearly as many it seems over time. Frustrating at best> I am a little confused on which to get as different LFS gave me different answers.  Some said 2 dual 1 inch holes would work so I would have 4 lines in to the 30gallon sump the others said 2 single 1.5 inch boxes so I just have 2 lines down there.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.   <a drilled display tank is far preferable. For how much you will ultimately invest in this tank... do consider selling the one you've got and getting a drilled one. Folks often regret not making this call early> Unfortunately I cannot drill my sump tank so I need a submersible pump and am thinking of going with the supreme Mag 24 or the ViaAqua 8000.   <the former is more reliable IMO> The ViaAqua was recommended from my LFS but I had never heard of them.   <they are and economy brand> What I was wondering is if I have 2 or 4 lines down to my sump can I have 1 return line from my submersible pump that is dedicated to a closed loop manifold with 6-8 teed outlets into my tank?   <this is quite frightening if the siphon overflow should ever fail> I read the article Anthony wrote and it made me instantly want to put a manifold in my tank instead of powerheads.   <rock on my brother :)> The LFS said that I have to have the same amount of lines from the pump that I have going down to the sump.   <that's not correct mate... the pump can have a single return> Would plumbing a 1 inch return to a 1 inch manifold with several of these outlets work with my setup?  Thanks for all of your help! Shawna <my ultimate advice is to skip the sump... too many risks without a drilled tank. Invest in a great infrared float switch and top shelf skimmer for the display tank instead. No worries. Anthony>

Pool hose use Dear WetWebMedia Crew, Is pool hose safe for use as drain lines for overflow boxes?  The drain lines that came with my overflows are not long enough, and the pool hose at Home Depot is less  expensive than the replacement overflow hoses. Sincerely, Jason <My experience has been that all these types of hose are safe for biological systems. If/when in doubt though, get the company/manufacturer name and contact them re specific use. Bob Fenner>

Bubbles Hello and thanks for taking the time to read my email...<Hi Anthony, I've had your email for a day or so but have been trying to do some research for you.> Problem is I refuse to put powerheads in my new reef tank. <Ahhh don't like that powerheads hanging everywhere look, I do understand.> I also refuse to cut the flow (for my corals sake) I am running dual Blueline 200's(Iwaki 70 equivalents 1600 gph each) one for each side of the tank two outlets per pump. 120 Gal. Standard tank dual 1 1/2 " inch overflows and 4 3/4 " inch returns, 65 gal sump. <I understand.> My problem is when the water enters into the sump the bubbles that are created are extensive and most of them find their way right into both return pumps intake. Without redoing the plumbing is there anyway I can remedy the thousands of microbubbles that are being created.<You need to put in some kind of baffle plate for the water to land on and not cause so much splash. The idea is that you need to knock down the amount of turbulence.> currently there is nothing but saltwater in the tank as I am doing the testing on everything. Is there any downside to having bioballs submerged in the overflow part of the sump to catch the bubbles or do bioballs even though SUBMERGED cause nitrate problems. <Bioballs that are submerged will hold detritus, unless you have some type of prefilter to catch the detritus, but its not in the same manner.> Also if any of you live in the NY Metro area what would it take to get one of you guys to come over and critique the set up?  I hope the pictures I have attached went through..<They did come through Anthony and thank you.> Thanks for your help. Anthony

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