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More FAQs about Plumbing Marine Systems 6

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 7, Plumbing 8, Plumbing 9, Plumbing 10, Plumbing 11, 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

Overflow and Sump part 1 Thank you for your reply. I have attached a Power Point slide with the design of my sump. Tell me if this will work. <No real problems, but your baffling will not create the water levels as you have shown. Attached is another PP file with how the water levels will end up with your baffles. -Steven Pro>

Drilling Tank... Good evening, I seem to want to make it hard for myself. I purchased a 300 gallon acrylic tank about eleven months ago and it has the standard overflows to my skimmer, calcium reactor, and return pump. I also removed two temporary power heads and plumbed two external pumps on each side of the tank up and over the tank so no holes were drilled. Well now that the tank has been going for ten months, I would like to drill the back of the tank for two inlets to the pumps on the side of tank. If I remove approximately 110 gallons out of the tank, (here's the punch line) should and could I drill the two holes needed? <It is possible.> Part of the reason to do this is to re-incorporate my refugium back into the line up. One of the pumps would pump water back to main tank and a fraction to the gravity return refugium. As always thank you for your time. <Be sure to use extremely sharp bits/hole saw for this and go slow. -Steven Pro>

Overflow & Sump, Part 1 I have been reading over the FAQ's which have answered many questions but many more were created. I am setting up a 20x20x10x24 All Glass aquarium. <Hmm... We have ventured into the fourth dimension.> I want to drill a 1.5" hole near the top to fit a 1" bulkhead that will go to a 10 gallon aquarium for a sump. The sump will house my heater, Prizm skimmer, <The Skimmer needs to be kept in a special chamber so it receives surface overflow water and a constant water level.> carbon, floss, and return pump. 1. Can I purchase a diamond bit at Home Depot and drill the hole myself? <I don't know if Home Depot sells these, but you have to use a lubricant with the drill bit and keep the drill perfectly perpendicular to the glass surface. I have always use drills made for this purpose that come with a tripod for stability.> I have read it can be done. If so is 1.5" a good size? <I believe a 1" bulkhead needs a 1 3/4" hole.> How far from the top should the hole be drilled? <About 4" from the top to the center of the hole.> I am going to build a internal overflow box with notches at the top. What should the dimensions of the box be? <Whatever is comfortable for you to work with.> I am thinking of 3"x6"x3". Is this a good design? <That seems fine.> I have seen many. 2. What kind of flow rate am I going to get with a 1" bulkhead from the overflow? <300-400 gph> What rate should the pump be going back to the tank? <Same> If I put a valve on the line going back to the tank to regulate the flow to the tank will this help stop the bubbles that so many people have problems with? <No> This is all I will ask for now. Thanks for your help and website. Shaun Nelson <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Plumbing Noise Hi guys, Have some plumbing questions. Main thing is dealing with bulkheads and gushing water noise. Like you haven't heard this one. I have researched but have some questions. I have 2 1.5" bulkheads drilled on the back left and right at the top of the tank. Most things I have found deal with the bottom drilled overflow and Durso standpipe to quiet the water noise. Here are my questions. I had a "T" coming off/out of the bulkhead on the back of tank down 1.5" PVC to the sump. Using "T" to vent the air. Still pretty noisy, especially with the tank being in the waiting room of my office. <Can you isolate where the noise is coming from and how is it produced? Either drawing air into the T or from the water crashing/splashing into the sump.> Had thought of maybe using a "Y" instead and maybe putting a piece of tubing down into the PVC a ways to help vent the air. What do you think? <I don't follow your description for a correction.> Any suggestions, IYO/IYE what seems to work the best? <If it is drawing in air at the T, add a cap to the top and drill a small hole in it. That way excess air will vent off, but not draw air and make a suction noise. If it is from water crashing into the sump, I would try extending the pipe work below the water line.> I had a LFS tell me that if I use a 90 or 45 elbow that there would be no noise or gushing since the tube would be closed and no air. What do you think? <The air will be drawn in through the bulkhead and probably worse.> Last thing, I was thinking or wanting to paint some PVC elbows that are being used to pull water into the bulkheads. Can this be done and with what? <I have never used a paint. Perhaps see if black ABS pipe will fit into your bulkheads instead.> Thanks for your time, Bryan <Good day! -Steven Pro>

Overflow Box for a 180 gal All Glass tank Anthony, I need to find a overflow box for a new 180 gal ALL glass tank . The overflow box will be in center of back of the tank with two 1-1/2 inch bulkheads  off set hear the top to handle the water return to the sump, It will handle 5000 gal per hour. That should make it reef ready?  RGibson <Hmmm... this is very subjective here, bud. But relative to the complaints of many aquarists that find some of the so-called "Reef Ready" commercial tank overflows inferior... I would be content to have a 180 gallon overflow that could quietly handle 2000 gallons. This is reasonable in my opinion. The hard coral reefers will tell you that even this is inadequate. A 180 gallon SPS tank will have over 3000 gph of circulation or it will fail within 2 years due to complication in part from the inferior flow dynamic. I'll commit to that! So... what is enough? I understand the mfg's need to keep price low... and this my contentment at 2000gph for "reef ready" which will keep most common and hardy soft corals well. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: overflow to sump & gph to and fro Hello All/Some/One: I read in section http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbfaq6mar.htm where Mr. Pro (stage name?) wrote: "I  would not take a siphon overflow for free and I would never even think about using one in my house".  If you are not Mr. Pro, do you agree?  Is the actual problem of breaking siphon that the sump's contents will then be emptied and cause the display tank to overflow? <Nope, the opposite> If so, what is a person to do with a 55gal all-glass that is already set up, but is now looking into sumps/refugiums?  At this time, I am not ready/willing to break it down, bring it to a professional, have holes drilled and an overflow put in (which I also read that they may not even drill/warranty my tempered-glass bottom!).  Can a safety switch be purchased (or created) that when the water level reaches critical in the display, the pump will shut off?  Please help with some solution other than "get yourself a tank with a built in overflow" wink!).  Also, please clear this up for me; if I have 1000gph overflow to sump, and 600gph return pump, does the overflow part slow down? <Yes, the overflow can only remove as much water as is being returned to the tank.> How about the opposite: 600gph overflow and 1000gph pump? <This would be a waste of pump, the overflow would be too restricting.> Or does neither work and they need to be equal (can't be, right?)?  I have read so many FAQ's that I think I am confused again. Regards, Rich. <Hey Rich, drilled overflows are always going to be safer than siphon overflows.  The problem with siphon overflows is the potential for problem.  In theory they work well, say for example your power goes out and your pump stops, then the tank drains down to the level of the overflow box that is positioned on the inside of the tank.  But what if the suction cups that hold it to the glass are old and no longer fit tight, then water will suck through these holes and overflow your sump.  Or maybe the return from the pump starts siphoning water back into the sump in the even of a power failure, another chance for your sump to overflow.  Another problem is air gathering in the top of the siphon tube and breaking the siphon, then the pump drains the sump and burns up.   Than being said, make sure that the suction cups fit tight, drill a small hole just below the water line on the return to the tank to break the siphon in case of a power failure.  You can also drill and attach some airline tubing to the top of the siphon tube and attach the other end to the Venturi portion of a power head, so if air does gather it will be sucked out.  Hope this helps. -Gage>

Drilling Aquariums for Overflows Hi Anthony... Hope you are well! <cheers, Jenny! With hope you are too> I sent an e-mail to you at your home address regarding further info I needed for my new tank. As I have not heard from you I guess you didn't get it or you have been to busy to check your mail there. Should I not have sent it there? <my sincere apologies dear... I did receive it but have been buried in communications as of late. It has been a struggle just to keep[ up with our WWM mail. My apologies again> I thought I would because it is the same subject I have been asking about and so thought you wouldn't want it on WWM to bore your readers with. <not at all... we prefer to share all with the WWM readers for our mutual benefit and information exchange> In short the FS I'm getting the tank from say that the tank manufacturers won't do the spec he has sent them (which sounds like 6 holes of 53mm) without a signed waiver in case the tank fractures. <not a surprise...they are all conservative... and look for ways to skim extra profits on "custom" orders.> They say there must be a second 10mm back panel of glass siliconed to the first and also a  6mm safety panel in the overflow shelf you recommended (don't understand or see the need for the overflow shelf bit) <I totally agree... the extra back panel is sensible... the internal piece is a sham> This means 12 holes in all at a cost of approx. 22 USD per hole i.e. 264 USD just for holes! <that's ridiculous... they should have just suggested 2 large holes instead and none of this would be needed. The number of holes is unimportant when an internal overflow box is used... that's what stretches the skimmed water and concentrates it. I did not/cannot recommend a specific hole size as I am not familiar with the available metric plastics/bulkheads in the UK. Still... you get the point from the diagram: any number of holes large or small to get the flow you need. Mfg specs for bulkheads will confirm flow ratings> Can you just tell me a safe number/size of holes to drill to give me the flow rate of 2000 gph without the need for all this reinforcement they are saying is needed (6 holes sounds a lot to me anyway). <six small holes (1"/25 mm) would not be a lot for this tank. But 2 or 3 larger holes (say... 40-60mm) would likely work as well> If you can tell me this then I will tell them to do it and sign whatever they want just to get my tank! <If the back reinforcing panel is not expensive, it is sensible and worthwhile. Too bad the extra hole drilling is priced so ridiculously. It sounds to me like this manufacturer does not have much experience with custom work. For this we are blessed here in the US, I suppose> Anyway thanks a million for all your help and I promise not to bother you  with this one again. (notice I only said this one) Thanks again - Jenny <no bother at all, my dear... best regards! Anthony>

Re: circulation Hello. I wondered where I could find out more about the single pump and loop idea. Right now I am running 5 power-heads plus the main pump on a 58 gal. tank. The idea sounds intriguing. Any plans or help would be appreciated. Thanks a lot, Mark <Hi Mark, Try: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm  and also all of the links and FAQ's. Much to learn there. Have fun! Craig>

Re: Plumbing Issues Thanks for the response.  Could you elaborate on the reason that you "shun overflow boxes"? They seem to be almost universally used. <Internal overflow boxes are woefully inadequate at the flow rates most people use today.> One advantage, as someone advised me, is that you have a prefilter that catches the junk. <It is only good if you are willing to clean it daily, like any good prefilter, else they become aerobic, biological filters/media and not mechanical filtration/prefilters.> Do you lose anything by not having a prefilter in the overflow box, for instance, detritus gets sucked directly out and into the pump, although I suppose you could have a prefilter (a strainer sock?) installed on the pump. <I don't use any prefilters. Instead I prefer to build my sumps to accommodate a settling chamber/area.> Also, if you "drill your tanks with holes near the top of the water line", then that means that the pipes run down along the back of the tank and so there needs to be space between the tank and the wall, right? <Correct. -Steven Pro>

Macedonia reefing Thank you again Antonio, I read a lot about Durso stand pipe's, and I need your opinion about them. Some people says that they eliminate noise. <I do believe that they are quite helpful at reducing drain noise! About registration of my book, I can not really find what number you think on front cover. Kindest Regards Boris <the registration/book number is on the inside front cover in the lower right hand corner. There should be one there... if not, please advise me where you purchased your copy from and approximately when. Thanks kindly, Anthony>

He Has BIG Bulkheads! Wow!!  I just got my bulkheads in, I had ordered 4, 2" bulkheads (2 for the tank to drain water to the sump and 2 for the sump to receive water from the tank) and 2, 1.5" bulkheads, which were to be used for my 1" pumps, so the pumps would always have enough water feeding them, I read this was a good idea. <I agree, especially if you're like most reef enthusiasts, and will one day up the circulation in your tank with a larger pump> So, I'm looking at these 2" bulkheads, and they are HUGE!  Do I really need to use 2, 2" to drain the tank to the sump?   I guess you can't have to much overflow, but wow, I didn't know how big these bulkheads would be! <Yep! Those are large bulkheads! However, I think it's not a bad plan. Was it Billy Idol or Donald Trump (what a contrast) who said in the 1980's that "...Too much is never enough?"> The tank is a 125Gal, and will have about 40gal worth of sump/refugium, and plan to use a MD55RLT as a return pump, should I really use both 2" bulkheads for overflows?  or maybe just 1?  wow these are big lol... <Maybe install both, cap one, and have the other available for future expansion...?? Mark <Good luck, Mark! You'll have a lot of options in the future with this setup! Regards,  Scott F>

Holy Bulkheads Batman! Wow!!  I just got my bulkheads in, I had ordered 4, 2" bulkheads (2 for the tank to drain water to the sump and 2 for the sump to receive water from the tank) and 2, 1.5" bulkheads, which were to be used for my 1" pumps, so the pumps would always have enough water feeding them, I read this was a good idea.   So, I'm looking at these 2" bulkheads, and they are HUGE!  Do I really need to use 2, 2" to drain the tank to the sump?   I guess you can't have to much overflow, but wow, I didn't know how big these bulkheads would be!   The tank is a 125Gal, and will have about 40gal worth of sump/refugium, and plan to use a MD55RLT as a return pump, should I really use both 2" bulkheads for overflows?  or maybe just 1?  wow these are big lol... <Do use both, two... better too many, too large than the opposite... for redundancies benefits. Imagine one of the overflows blocked... Bob Fenner> Mark

He's Got Big Bulkheads (Pt. 2) Well, I think if I build and hide them behind an internal overflow box it may not be so bad...2" is hard to plumb...the parts are hard to find and expensive (compared to 1 1/2").  The biggest eyesore is the elbow and intake screen in the tank, to get this to work with this threaded bulkhead, it will stick out like 5 inches and look awful in the tank! <Yep- not the most pleasing thing to the eyes...> If I were to pick up some scrap acrylic (I assume any kind will do for this since there's not much pressure) Could I drill the hole in the back wall of the tank, and build an overflow box that didn't go all the way down to the bottom? Just to skim the top and cover up the bulkheads? <Yes! This is exactly the idea presented by Anthony Calfo in his "Book of Coral Propagation". It's a great idea..> It looks easy enough to build, is there any special size or gap the grates need to be in the overflow to work with this size bulkhead?   <Nope. My only recommendation would be to have more than you think you need- you can always cover them...> Would the below 'picture' work?  assume the "O" is my 2" bulkhead in the back wall of the tank. |  | |  | 0__| | | |

CPR Overflow Hello wonderful source of information... I am going to modify my plumbing setup. Currently my CPR CS100 overflow is piped straight down into the sump (no bends). At the right valve setting on the pump return, the water level in the overflow is 1" above the screen in the overflow. It is nice and quiet. I am thinking of moving the sump under the tank and will require some bends in the plumbing. I would like to use rigid PVC for the plumbing, and I read that using a T fitting near the entrance to the sump, with one part of the T facing up with a short length of pipe to vent air into the line would work to reduce the flushing effect. What do you think?  Where in the line would I put this tee? Thanks for your help. Michael <Hi Michael, you are talking about a "Durso" type return for your overflow. The T and vent would be directly after the overflow with the vent extending above the water level of the display. (If it were at the sump the vent would have to extend above the water level of your display to keep from siphoning) Your overflow may work without a vent, even with solid pipe and bends. You might also consider flexible tube. Try looking up Durso returns on WetWebMedia.com in the marine set-up section.  Craig>

Water flow in Macedonia and Coral Book UPDATES Thank you Anthony , so happy to here this from you, I'm going to do exactly as you have told me, and now to conclude, should I use 2  1-1/4" bulkheads or 4 same size, <this may require some experimentation. For convenience and aesthetics, it may be better to do the two larger bulkheads. However, they might also be louder (the sounds of rushing water) than the 4 smaller bulkheads. My advice is to use the 2 larger bulkheads only if you are sure the sound, if any, may not bother you> and by the way is that your greenhouse in your book, <yes, my friend!> and is there are some updates to your work. <yes... the Book of Coral Propagation has had its first update just a couple of weeks ago. We did not want to send any unsolicited e-mail, so the update notice only went out to people that registered their books. You can go here to register your book my friend and get information about the updates: http://www.readingtrees.com/reg.html  > Kindest Regards Antonio <thanks you, my friend. And best regards to you. Anthony>

Water flow Hi, to all WetWebMedia crew, specially for Mr. Calfo and Mr. Bob Fenner, which books I have read this days. <welcome my friend! It is very good to hear from you from so far away :)  > Because of geographical location of my country, Macedonia all goods, information live rock, fish invertebrates etc are very difficult to obtain, so I decide to order Bob and Anthony's books, CMA an BOCP. I can not find words how useful this books were for me, and a lot of mystical stuff from saltwater aquarium keeping are demystifying to me now. <thank you, Boris. It is very redeeming and inspiring to us to hear you say so> I feel that I can build a true reef tank know. I have a great help from a man from Croatia, also, Mirabel. Know I have just one little question about bulkheads that I'm planning to drill, and what circulation I will achieve with this holes. My tank is 150x 60x 60 cm or 60x 24 x24 inches. I'm planning to drill two 1' bulkheads for overflow and two 3/4' for return, or it will be better to drill two 1 ?' for outflow and two 1' for return, and running AquaMedic 6500l/h pump for return. Well this is advice I need from you and once again than you for great books. <the return pump that you have is a very nice size and will likely outperform even 2 bullheads. A 1" bulkhead is only good for about 1500l/hr (although they rate them for 3000 l/hr). I would recommend having 4 large holes drilled and all used for drains/overflow. Smaller holes for return are not necessary (you can return up over the top of the aquarium to an upstream refugium, a manifold or spray bar or simply through a U-tube). Or again, you can drill the returns slightly higher than the drains. But... know that 2 holes alone will not be able to handle your 6500l/hr AquaMedic pump. At best they will make a terrible loud siphoning noise while trying to keep up with the high flow.> Boris from Macedonia  P.S.  Sorry for my funny English <no worries at all my friend. You communicate very well! I only wish that I could respectfully reply in your language. With kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Re: Overflow / underflow . . . Hi Steven, Thanks for the advice. <You are welcome.> I was able to redrill the overflow hole to house a 1.5 " pipe. A plumber told me to use a hole saw the diameter of the original (smaller) whole as a guide for the new (larger) hole saw by mounting it inside the new hole saw. <Wow! Great tip!> Although I couldn't do that, because the smaller saw was not the screw-on type, I was able to do the same thing by drilling a whole into a scrap of wood with the smaller saw and using the resulting donut as a guide by sliding it over the guide bit on the larger saw. Perhaps this will be of some help to your readers. <I am sure. Thanks!> After successfully replumb ing the overflow and pipe work going into the CY294 trickle filter,  I have a new problem. The filter makes a lot of noise (gurgling) from the air that gets mixed in with the overflow if I leave the valves going into the filter sump fully open (I installed ball valves on the overflow pipes immediately before they go into the sump). I can stop the noise by adjusting the valves to restrict the flow by a little bit. Do you have any advice on how to eliminate or reduce the noise while still operating at full flow? <I would extend the drain lines so there is no water falling into the trickle filter/sump. Also try venting some of the air. Right before the water goes into the sump, change the pipe so that air can vent away. Basically use a T to create a little chimney so that air, but not water, can escape. I don't know how better to describe this. I really need to take some pictures or these plumbing tips/ideas.> I have already installed a Durso type pipe to the overflow, and I added a small very porous sponge to the backside of the overflow comb/wall. This eliminated the noise from that end of the overflow. The gurgle is entirely where the water goes into the trickle filter sump. Thanks for the help, Rob Stein <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Gate Valves Dear Bob, <Steven Pro in this morning.> Please, could you supply me with the people to contact re all plastic 1 1/2 gate valves? If possible, e-mail addresses as well? We are not able to find a supplier in South Africa. <I don't know of anyone off hand, but I can give you a few leads. http://www.cfbowman.com/ http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/default.asp http://www.savko.com/ Best regards, Brian Muir <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

Plumbing in New House Hey there! <Good morning!> Our new house is being built. This week they are finishing putting in all the wiring, plumbing, and installation and they will start dry walling next week. I will get an aquarium when we move in. Most likely 55-100 gallons. I'm not sure where to put it yet. It might go upstairs in the loft that looks over the great room, or it might go in the basement. If it goes in the basement, I have to consider what to do for plumbing. We have pipes down there but no sink. In the future, how hard would it be to put a utility sink down there? <I would ask your contractor about this.> Is this something I could do myself? <It depends, unless there is no convenient drain line. Cutting up your concrete floor is no fun.> Thanks, Andy <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Plumbing I want to have a 72" long reef tank with the sump in my basement. I'm trying to figure out the best way to design the plumbing system. The sump will not be directly under the tank. There will be a short horizontal run (approximately 2-3 feet) so that means at least two elbows. Can you give me any referrals, written materials or consultants that will help with the design? Do you guys do design consulting? <Feel free to send us a drawing and we can give you advise. Otherwise, I am sure there are several aquarium maintenance companies that could do design or even installation work for you. There is also the Chicagoland Marine Aquarium Society, Inc. I am sure you could get some helpful hints from them, http://www.cmas.net/ -Steven Pro>  

Plumbing in a Large Canister Filter Hi Bob, <Steven Pro this morning.> I am about to embark on my first PVC project, and I'm stressing. <No need to.> I'm trying to connect an Ocean Clear canister and Mag-Drive 12 to my tank. If you can you recommend any websites or articles, or give any suggestions I would greatly appreciate them. My biggest concerns are "gluing myself in a corner" so to speak. That is, I'm not sure where in the line I should put any valves and/or unions. <Before and after anything that may need cleaning or replacement.> I don't know what types of elbows to use where. <Schedule 40 PVC is best, if that is what you are talking about.> Do they make PVC adapters that are threaded on one side and have a PVC slip on the other? <Sure> Also, how can I prime the pump once it is "hard wired"? I attached a diagram of my proposed setup. <I have never used an Ocean Clear canister before, but you should be able to open the unit up to replace/clean the micron cartridge. You should be able to simply open it up and pour some water into it to prime the pump.> Thanks for all your help, Adam <I looked at your drawing. It appears fine. I would place true unions right before the canister, between the canister and pump, and after the pump. -Steven Pro>

Overflow / underflow . . . Hi Bob. <Steven Pro in this morning.> I currently have a 50 gallon salt water tank, which my fish are outgrowing. I just purchased and am setting up a 180 gallon pentagon tank (salt water fish only). I designed the filtration set up to be oversized (as fish tend to grow, and I figured I would rather have too much than too little filtration capacity). <Agreed> Here's the set up, (any suggestions or comments you have will be appreciated): CPR CY294 wet/dry w/ two protein skimmers (total capacity 500 gal tank / 1500 gph). Iwaki 70RLT pump (1500 gph at 4' head ft.) Nu-Clear canister filter with .25 micron pleated filter and carbon insert. 57 watt UV (rated effective rate 1500 gph). Here's the problem.   The tank's built-in overflow has a 1" (inside diameter) bulkhead, <Standard are far too many overflow boxes.> and the tank has two returns of 3/4 each. The CPR has two 1" inlets and a 1 1/2" outlet. The Iwaki pump has a 1" (inside diameter) inlet and outlet. I plumbed everything with 1" pipes and fittings, until the final "T" to split the line for the returns (which used a 1" tee, and then stepped the outputs down to 3/4 each). The problem is that the 1" overflow does not provide enough flow to keep up with the output of the pump. <Yes, a very common problem and why I dislike overflow boxes.> What are my options to increase the output of the overflow? <There is really not too much else you can do besides re-drilling/redesigning.> Because of the tight space, it would be difficult to re-drill the tank and go up to a larger bulkhead (e.g. 1 1/2" or 2") and I would like to avoid as much re-plumbing as possible. If I have to do this, how do I re-drill the hole (is a whole saw o.k. for drilling acrylic)? <The problem with re-drilling the hole is that there is no material for the center pilot hole to grab onto.> I'm not sure that this would solve the problem, anyhow, as there are 3 90 degree elbows on the overflow line. <This is not helping the situation.> There is an elbow connected to the bulkhead to turn the line from vertical to horizontal, then about a 4' run, a 90 degree turn (still horizontal) and other 1' run, and then a 90 degree turn to vertical to drop into the CPR. <Is there anyway you can relocate the CPR W/D so it is a straight drop down?> Can I put a powerhead type pump (e.g. a RIO 4100 or something small and rated for about 1500 gph) in the overflow line? <No> If so, does it matter where it is placed in the line?   Thanks for your help, Rob Stein <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Bulkhead/through-hull fitting options When a bulkhead is listed as Slip x Slip or Thread x Thread its obvious that both sides are threaded.  I am looking for a bulkhead with the inside slip, for an elbow / intake screen, and externally threaded.  Is this a Thread x Slip bulkhead that I want?  or a Slip x Thread Bulkhead?   I am under the impression (since I have not been able to find a TxS only SxT that TxS is what I need.   Which am I looking for?    <Actually... best if these are thread by thread... external (throat) portion threaded on the outside so you can sink/tighten up (by hand as Steven mentioned) with the nut from outside, and internally threaded to fit in your screen fitting. If you can only locate the externally threaded (and slip internally) variety, do insert a slip by thread piece of pipe (we use cut in half risers usually involved in sprinklers) to give you a threaded part to insert your screen inside the tank. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Mark

Bulkheads Hmm, having trouble finding a 2" thread x thread bulkhead, I was planning 2, 2" bulkheads to drain my 125gal. To the sump then return using a MD55RLT pump for a return, should I go with 2, 1.5" drains, or keep looking or make a decisions on settling for the 2" slip and make them threaded myself? <I'd go with the two inch, slip if that's all you can locate... All Seas Marine (L.A. wholesaler) and most Spa, Pool wholesale outfits sell the T X T's, Bob Fenner>

Bulkheads... slip is slippy I really wanted slip for the easy of installing an elbow in it to connect to my intake, so I can adjust the water level easy.   Any particular reason you prefer Thread x Thread bulkheads over a slip internally?  It would seem easier to adjust the elbow for water level in a slip bulkhead, do they tend to fall out, etc. easily? <Bingo! Imagine the potential trouble... livestock sucked up against the through-put, pumps running dry, water on the deck, raining frogs, locusts! Oh, wait, the last two are biblical type proportion disasters. You get, know the point. Be chatting, Bob F> Mark

Bulkhead/through-hull fitting options Excellent!  Many thanks.  By the way I have always wondered is All Seas in L.A. is the same company as the All Seas Marine in Chicago? (very near the airport). <Yes. Used to be owned by the Chua family (Edwin and Ted in L.A., Millie in Miami)... but sold> I always enjoyed going to the wholesalers to pick out fish, very fun... <Agreed... even for an old timer like me... every time find something new, see new/old friends... Bob Fenner>

Water Flow Anthony, <cheers, mate> I have a Iwaki 30 RXLT that I was planning on plumbing to a single 3/4" bulkhead, using 1" PVC and reducing it at the bulkhead. Can 3/4" bulkhead flow that much water, or will it raise the head pressure?   <the resistance will increase and you will lose volume/flow. No need to plumb returns through a wall/bulkhead. Simply leave 1" line alone and send over the top with a U-tube, or better yet... plump a closed loop just at or above the water surface fed by this line (tapped with a tee). It will act as a manifold to feed various downward pointed tees throughout the loop. This spares you the need for horrible powerheads in the display> Thanks, Mark <best regards, Anthony>

Closed Loop Configuration Hey there- <Good evening- Scott F. here tonight!> My little giant pump on my 125 is rated at about 1300 gallons per hour. I currently have just two outlets with ball and socket flex tubing. Would you recommend that I just place a couple powerheads in the tank or possible use a Mag drive pump plumbed from the 3/4" hole in the overflow box (normally used for return from sump) for a closed loop and plumb the main return from the sump behind and over the tank instead of up through the overflow box.  The closed loop return lines would also run behind and then into the tank.  The only problem is that I don't know if the all glass overflows can handle much more flow through them unless the slits at the top of boxes were widened.  The other option would be to plumb an intake in front of the overflow box and then down through the box as Richard Durso has described.  I hope all of this isn't to confusing.  Thanks for your help. Josh <Well, Josh-you do have a variety of options for the closed loop. The most common configurations that I have seen simply have intakes in  bulkhead fittings installed into the side of the tank, never having anything to do with the overflow box(es). Richard Durso's idea is good, too- he has a nice idea and makes one heck of a good standpipe, too! I guess my recommendation would be to do whichever configuration you are most comfortable with. And, do check with the people at All Glass regarding the flow rates that their overflows can handle...Sorry I couldn't be more specific-like I said, so many ways to accomplish the same thing! Good luck Scott F.>

Re: closed loop? Hey there- I have a 125 gallon reef tank with mixed LPS, SPS, and soft corals.  I have a little giant 4mdqxsc running from my sump to the tank and to the chiller.  It seems that I do not have enough flow in the tank because there is a lot of settled detritus on the rocks.   <Maybe or maybe not directed usefully?  What is the flow rate of your pump?> I want to set up a closed loop system.  I am not sure how to go about it without drilling the tank.  Can I just use pvc or vinyl tubing to drain water?  Can I use a Mag drive pump? What would be your recommended setup without drilling the tank or without using an overflow box, there is not much clearance behind the tank.  Thanks for your help. Josh <There are two ways without drilling your tank Josh. One, you put the pump or powerheads in your tank, or two you use a remote pump with a protected inlet in the tank. The problem with this idea is the system must be primed and may lose a prime with a power outage and run the pump dry....not good.  Drilled overflows are the best way to go if you don't want pumps in the tank.  Craig>

Plumbing Dear WWM Crew, I am using PVC pipe for my new reef tank setup. Can PVC glue that has been given ample time to dry, affect the reef occupants? <Nope, it is completely safe.> I'm not convinced that aquarium safe silicone will produce well bonded pvc connections. <I can tell you that it won't. Use the PVC primer and glue.> What if anything should I do with the bulkhead gaskets other than tightening the bulkhead snuggly? <First off, just hand tighten. Do not use a pipe wrench. I just hand tighten them, but I know Bob likes to use a bead of silicone around them, too. Either is just fine.> Thanks for your website, Brian <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Automated water changes for mini-reef Hello, and thanks for the great website and instructive information. <thanks kindly... please keep reading, learning and sharing> I'm interested in attempting the following experiment: to maintain a 180 gal. community mini-reef system with automated water changes from the regeneration (the rinse water that cleanses the ion-exchange resin bed)  from my household water softener. <I see some likely problems already if your household softener uses potassium or sodium chloride to recharge: imparting chlorides which skew alkalinity in the aquarium for post treated water... OR...(your case) the impart of hardened "purged water" which has mostly useful hard water elements (exchanged for chloride by the softener) BUT(!) also has un-exchanged sodium chloride. This unregulated NaCl allowed into your aquarium without  the other balanced minerals and trace elements of seawater will naturally effect your SG but without the other necessary elements. In simpler terms... you can add enough NaCl table salt to a glass of water that gives you a desired reading for marine life, but without the trace elements... marine life will die in this salted water even though the hydrometer says differently> We use a 38,000 grain "on demand" water softener (using sodium chloride) <Houston we have a problem...> and a RO system. (THE RO brine is used for another application -- a humidifying water fountain). The hardness of our municipal tap water is approx. 16 grains. It is chlorinated, but has low (undetectable) total dissolved solid, phosphate, copper and iron content. Each regeneration uses approx 35 gallons, and regenerates approx. every 5 days. Approximately 3lbs of salt is used for each regeneration: <Ughh> The water chemistry of this "brine"  consists mostly of sodium chloride, calcium and magnesium. <Oh, ya!> I have 2 pH readings, 8.1 and 8.2 I'd like to have this water run through some activated carbon and a specified amount of additional synthetic sea salt -- before it hits the sump. <sorry... how do you reckon the incidental plain salt carried in? Even if you could easily measure it, do you really want to get into making your own synthetic trace element slurry to dose and temper the stray plain NaCl?> The tank would be appropriately fitted for overflow drainage. <way too complicated here, bud. Your best bet would be to get a separate (small is OK) 2-column de-ionizer and completely demineralize this water if your goal is saving water. The high pH of this effluent that will be lost through the DI is a small loss and easily/cheaply recovered post treatment> The issues, as I see it are as follows: 1: Maintaining the specific gravity of the tank by fine-tuning the requisite additional salt; (including fiddling with the evaporation rate, by changing the amt. of uncovered surface area.) <a complete nightmare... complicated and recommended only if you enjoy the challenge and are a chemist> 2: Accounting for an accelerated removal of trace elements (strontium, etc.). <accelerated? They were never there in the first place. Not sure we are on the same page here. I am talking about you reckoning the sodium chloride that you are bringing in with this rinse water but without the slurry of balanced trace elements to make SW> Before I reinvent the wheel, do you have any information about other attempts in this area? <no one bothers when time and expense are issues. This would have to be a personal challenge for you, because there is no practical reason otherwise for doing it. The irony is that your tap water through carbon is probably the best water could you have in the house for a marine tank. Reconstituting pure DI water is probably second.> Are there any flies in the ointment I'm missing? <a whole swamp full of flies, brother!> Other considerations? <this really all boils down to not bringing plain salt into the make up water or being a brilliant chemist with a lab to check the daily/weekly variances and compensate for them with your own home-made synthetic sea salt mix> -- e.g. are there some reef species that would be more tolerant to this? <cruel and unnatural to do so... doesn't happen in the wild> Species to avoid? <Ha!... All<G>> Are there other automations to help minimize other tank maintenance, <I can forward you a chapter from my book about setting up automatic water changes with solenoids> such as substrate maintenance? <thin substrate, strong water movement and active sand sifting animals> What other issues should I consider? <hmmm... I'd suggest that you try treating this more like a hobby instead of a science, my friend :) ... unless you truly enjoy the science more than the organic living components (our fishes and corals!)> Thanks!-Frank Pagoda BTW: I plan to keep a journal on this project & publish my results to help others who may be curious about this operation.   <indeed, that would be excellent at any rate. Kind regards, Anthony>

Quick plumbing question Hi guys, Sorry to bother you, but I wanted to get a second-opinion on what I'd done when I plumbed my refugium into my sump.  I have a pump that pushes water from my sump into the refugium and then it overflows back into my sump.  I've pulled power on this and it presented no problems.  I did have the refugium return just pouring into my sump from about 8" above. This was noisy and REALLY increased the humidity level inside my aquarium stand.  So to counter this, I added a piece of PVC tubing that extends down below the water level of my sump.  There is probably 12"+ height difference between the two water levels (the refugium being  higher).  I figured that the bulkhead overflow would provide air to prevent the tubing from acting as a reverse siphon or anything.  Does all of this sound safe to you?  As I write this, I'm thinking that I should just temporarily cut the power to everything to make sure.  All the same, please affirm/warn me of what I've done.  Thanks! John <I am trying to picture this, I think I've got it.  The refugium overflows into the sump, and there is a pump in the sump returning water to the refugium?  Sounds good to me as long as the return is either higher than the overflow, or has a small hole drilled in it at the same level as the overflow to break the siphon in the chance of a power failure.  -Gage>

Re: New tank setup Hi again, <Welcome back Mark> Been reading the plumbing FAQ and have a question.  I read a 1" can move about 300 gph.  When I look at a 1" Bulk Head, its wider then 1". <They are designed for a 1" inside opening, or in "plumbing" 1" i.d. (inside diameter)> When you thread in the insert, it becomes 1".   <Yep, 1" inside> I have an elbow for a sump made to work with a flex drain hose.  The Elbow on 1 side is slip, for the drain host (which actually measures 1.25 or so), and the other side is threaded to go to the sump, and actually measures 1" (this piece also threads inside the 1" bulk head.  The Elbow is listed as 1".  I assume you put all this together, and the flex drain hose I have that fits this elbow must be 1".  What if I were to use a 1" Slip Bulkhead, and a slip elbow and use a 1" flex drain hose?   Can I plug (glue?) the flex tube right into the slip back of the bulkhead?  Then the other end of the flex tube into a slip fitting into the sump.  This would do a few things I think, 1 it would have no elbows of angles, just a gradual half circle or what the hose does, no elbows etc since it would come right out of the back of the bulk head, and 2 it would actually give me slightly more drain area, since the actual diameter of a 1" flex tube is 1.25" as explained above, and last it would have less parts, which is always good!   Just curious is I am on crack or if this will work before I order the parts. <Either of these or several other ways will work! You won't get more drainage area as the bulkhead opening (in the tank) and at the sump will still be 1", so it is still a 1" connection. Either threaded or slip connections will work nicely.  Slip connections can be glued with PVC glue or silicone (I glue them with PVC glue).  Size the tubes and fittings for your particular situation. Before you commit completely to your plan, look up Durso pipe overflows to see how you can deal with venting and air intake. (required to drain water) Overflow manufacturers rate their overflows according to plumbing size and they can be a good source of flow rate for overflows and pipe sizes. My recommendation is to oversize overflows.  You won't regret it.> How much gph do you think a setup like that would move if its possible?   I would return the threaded bulk heads I bought for a store credit at the LFS, and order the slips through the internet (LFS fish are great but dry goods....$250 for a Mag 12 I fought for $90...) <I don't know exactly, surf over to one of our WetWebMedia.com sponsors and look at their overflow ratings and plumbing sizes and go from there.> Planning out the new system an plumbing as best I can with what I got to work with, I'm sure I'll have some more questions.  I can tell you one thing about building your own custom sump...how am I going to build it if I can't even draw it?!?  but I can picture it in my mind :) Thanks again Mark <No problem Mark, let us know if you need more help!  Craig>

Stocking and Misc. Questions I know its typically a bad idea, but what are your thoughts on live plants with a UG filter and 1, 48" fluorescent? <Tough to generalize, but on the whole, I'd say that a UG filter and live plants is typically problematic, in the long run. I think that there are some better options, as far as filtration for a plant tank is concerned. Also, a single 48" fluorescent may not be enough light for many plant species. This also depends, of course, on the size of the tank and the species involved.> Next tank and question.... My 125gal FOWLR, The only current resident is a 4" puffer (currently in his first week of cu QT), <Love to hear that you're using quarantine, but IMO, copper is not usually necessary unless you are treating a disease.> so I'm trying to get the main tank ready. RedOx has been low (120-150) for a month even with 75mg/l (right measurement?) of ozone. Water flow is a common question, I'm currently using an overflow box (1), with a RIO 2500 return.  I suspect the RIO is only pushing about 500-600 gph with the head it has. <You may want to supplement the circulation in this tank with some external powerheads, or other methods. Even with a FOWLR tank, it would be nice if you could get 10 tank turnovers per hour, IMO. A lower RedOx reading may not be corrected simply by the application of ozone, so please look into other water quality issues to correct the cause. Although RedOx is useful in getting a feel for the water quality, please don't get overly fixated on achieving a number, say 350mv. Instead, become fixated on exploring ways to achieve and maintain the best possible water quality, such as water changes, nutrient export mechanisms, etc. You'll enjoy your hobby a lot more that way!> I plan to build a new stand (with doors big enough to fit things through opposed to what I have now) and build a new custom Sump / Wet dry / Refugium.  The tank is drilled (1 is currently blocked and the other is the return with a spray bar). MY plan is to put in new bulk heads, and make the drilled holes the drain (2 of them) to the sump, and use a new Mag pump to return the water via those nifty pvc U things you guys seem to like:)   What Mag pump would you recommend?  A Mag 12? Will I have issues with water returning to the sump to fast with 2, 1"overflows? <You'll probably be about right. A MAG 12 will move about 1050 gph at 6 feet of head. 2 one-inch standpipes in your overflow should be about right, but do test and be prepared to modify your overflow or adjust pump discharge if needed.> What size PVC should be return be?  3/4"? <Well, since the MAG that you are considering has a 3/4 inch MPT outlet, that would be your easiest choice. Lots of possibilities for things to do with the return (I.e.; oscillating water return devices, like Sea Swirls, for example, or a manifold with lots of outlets, etc.). All depends on your preferences and needs, and the needs of your animals.> I plan to get 4-5 fish total.  I was thinking of my fish list looking something like this: Porcupine Puffer (have him) Juv. Emperor or Asfur angel (3-4") <I'd really avoid an angel with a puffer, as the puffer could nip tankmates, and an angel with its finnage is a good target. Also, do consider the adult sizes of the angels (can reach 15" in the case of the emperor...With the adult puffer at almost a foot- too much bioload for this tank. You'd need a larger (hundreds of gallons) tank for this combination> Wrasse or hog of some sort (any preferences?) <Do look into one of the smaller Thalassoma species as a possibility> Purple Tang (3-4") <Could work, but can be a bit belligerent at times, and can reach almost 10 inches or more> Not sure what else, 1 maybe 2 others. Perhaps something algae eating like a Foxface but I don't really care for Foxfaces or Rabbitfish. <Lots of possibilities. DO look under the fish resources on the wetwebmedia.com site> Lastly, the QT Tank is a 20L with 2 big pieces of PVC (thx for the info the elbow grease worked great lol), a heater and a Duetto 100 (says its good up to 30 gallons), which is more or less a small sponge filter with a smaller sponge prefilter and a carbon container I emptied out (thx copper). There is also a Mini-Jet in the opposite corner the Duetto moving water. I am very happy with the Duetto so far, but my ammonia will not go below 0.2. pH is 8.2, no nitrites. Do you think this is ok?  What would you recommend? <Keep up regular water changes. You can do smaller changes two or more times a week. Siphon all uneaten food and detritus out during changes> What of your books would best benefit someone who's been in the industry, but hasn't read any new books other then The Reef Aquarium (sprung) and Marine Aquarium Reference (Moe). <Those are both excellent books, but you could make some nice additions to your library with Bobs "Conscientious Marine Aquarist", Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation", and Scott Michael's "Marine Fishes". These are all useful books that you'll enjoy.> Thanks again as always! Mark <Best of luck! Scott F.>

75g Set-Up Hey Steve, thanks. Just some clarification regarding the 'loop' at the top of the tank with outlets. Ok, to recap and visualize. My Mag 12 takes water from the sump and discharges it via a 1 1/2" PVC pipe behind the tank and in the middle, splits at the top via a PVC T <Just a note that this T should be 1 1/2" pipe that then has two reducing bushing to go to 1".> into 2 1" PVC pipes that run around the top back to the tank (above the water surface), to the front corners of the tank. <This 1" loop should create a "circle" around the top of the tank.> 1/2" outlets are positioned on all 4 corners of the tank at the top and drop just below the water surface (1-2") with 90 degree Street Elbows all pointed toward the middle of the tank. Okay so far? <Really, you can position the outlets wherever you want. Just so they will provide multiple streams and turbulent flow. Also, it is not a bad idea to use modular pipe, available from many e-tailers, to have finer adjustments to direct the flow. Modular pipe is the black bendable stuff that comes with many built-in overflow boxes.> 1. Will the Mag 12 not be too powerful for the AGA overflow <This maybe a problem and why I don't like the overflow boxes.> (the sump run dry - not enough water flowing into sump for how much is flowing out)? <This should not be a problem. You can easily find the maximum running water level in your sump, such that you do not run the pump dry or overflow the sump in the event of a power outage. The only problem maybe one of noise. Look up Durso overflow designs to help remedy.> 2. Because the return PVC line from the Mag 12 is 1 1/2" it will obviously not fit up the 75 gallon AGA overflow return hole, right? <Yes> So, do I plug the second hole in the AGA overflow? <It would be better to use this as a second drain line.> 3. Do I place 'turn valves' on each of the 4 outlets to restrict/modify water flow? <I would not worry about them. If you constrict the flow, by going from 1" to 1/2" or 3/4", you should get fairly even distribution of water. There maybe some difference, but not that it will matter.> Agreed that powerhead are better left out, but what is proposed above covers only surface circulation. With my reef setup will it be necessary to place any Mini-jets or even small Maxi-jets near the 5" DSB behind the LR? <You should be able to aim these down as well.> So many questions! I just really want to get it right. Appreciate the help, Andrew. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Wet/Dry Gentleman, Thanks for all your help in the past! Just built a sump/wet-dry for my fish only system. I have a 75 gallon (Corner Over-flow) fish only system. Equipment: LifeGuard Quite One 700 gal/hr external main pump, a Supreme MagDrive 9.5B in sump pump powering an ETSS Revolution 500 protein skimmer, a Coralife turbo twist 3X UV, 2 Ebo-Jager 125 watt heaters and 2 power sweep 228 power heads for in tank circulation. My previous sump was only 7 gallons and I couldn't stop micro bubbles from entering my tank, so I built a new one, about 20 gallons (24x11x18) I have the skimmer dumping into the bio chamber followed by an over-under-over baffle system trying to eliminate micro bubbles. Seems to be doing a good job, much better than the smaller sump, however I did not permanently glue the baffles to the sides and bottom of the sump. Wanted to ensure my design worked first. I used small blocks of 1 inch by 1 inch plexi as guides so I could slide the baffles in and out as I please, making adjustment before I go permanent so I wouldn't have to start from scratch. However, as I had thought, the flow is still making it around the baffles on either side and I believe some bubbles are making it back into the main tank this way. Hoping that if I do glue them permanent this should eliminate my micro bubble problem. I just wanted to get your opinion on my baffle dimensions. Both "over" baffles are 5 inches in height from the bottom of the sump and the "under" baffle is 3 inches from the bottom of the sump. There are 2 inches between each baffle. This leaves 2 inches for the water to flow down to get under the "under" baffle with 3 inches of clearance from the bottom. The bottom of my bio tower is at 6 inches from the bottom of the sump. I don't mind making the over baffles higher and raising the overall height of my water lever and cover a few bio balls. In addition I have my main pump opened full throttle, but I did put an elbow fitting so as to draw water from the bottom of the sump. This has without question inhibited the flow rate of the pump back into the main tank. Does this arrangement sound correct. Or should the first "over baffle be higher than the second. I am considering making it 7 inches instead of 5, or should both be the same height? If so, should they both be at 7 inches or maybe higher? Any suggestions?? Thanks John, Cape Cod <Hi John, I do have some suggestions. The idea is to slow the flow down enough in your sump and provide *downward* movement of your water at a slow speed, so the bubbles are allowed to rise to the surface as the water moves down, then reverse the direction and make the water rise, leaving more bubbles while it drops again. Some sumps use sponges to help eliminate bubbles as well. The space in between the baffles should be the same distance as the space at the top and bottom of the baffles making the water flow slow and steady. Making it only 2" speeds the water allowing the bubbles to be swept in the current instead of floating to the surface of the water. It isn't so much the water flowing around the outside of the baffles, it's that the gaps are too tight speeding the flow of the water. Open the space between the baffles and it will remove more bubbles. You don't need the Ell on the pump, it just impedes your pump. You don't need to raise the water level unless you want. You have to weigh this against sump capacity if the power goes out..... The deeper the sump and wider the spaces the water flows through as it rises and falls through the baffles the more *time* gasses will have to rise to the surface, and disappear. Hope this helps, Craig>

Pipe work/plumbing I am setting up a small 10 gallon refugium with gravity return from water surface and would like some advice on piping does it have to be of a certain grade and where can I get it cheap in the UK can I get it from a plumbing shop or does it have to come from aquatic retailers?  Thanks Bob. <Hello! You can use regular household polyvinyl chloride (PVC) available at your local DIY or plumbing shop. They will also sell the glue you will need. Bulkheads can also be obtained from these shops or from a pool and hot tub supply. Have fun! Craig>

Re: New Tank I am only renting a house right now and will be moving in a year and a half or so. So, using overflows is alright with me. <It would not be alright with me.> What is the exact reasons people don't like them? <They have a tendency to break siphon and cause a flood.> They are a little noisy but with five tanks (three are fresh water) and a seven year old daughter what is a little noise? <This is not my concern at all.> Would 2 CPR 1600 gallon overflows work until I move and reset up my tank and can have it drilled then. <Let me put it this way, I would not take a siphon overflow for free and I would never even think about using one in my house.> and can you give me a pump recommendation. <Take a look at the plumbing and circulation FAQ's on www.WetWebMedia.com or use the Google search feature looking for "return pump". You need something in the 10 to 20 times the tank volume per hour.> I am going to add a larger sump for now. I will have to order my overflows because nobody carries larger one. Thank you. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Solution - Turboflotor 1000 and bubbles in sump/tank I was able to get rid of 90% of the bubbles. I "invented" a device. Maybe I should market it! Since my overflows use 1" PVC and output from Turboflotor are 5/8", I made a bubble trap with a 2" piece of PVC with cap on bottom. I made it about an inch higher than normal sump level. I then inserted this into a Marineland filter material (filter in outside). I then flow water from overflows and from skimmer into top of the PVC traps (overflow and skimmer returns extend about 2/3 of the way down into the traps). The water flows in, cascades out of top (which dissipates some bubbles) and then flows through filter material. The filter material removes most of the remaining bubbles. This has eliminated 90% of the bubbles - the only one that remain are extremely fine and evidently pass through the filter material. There are still bubbles but they are greatly reduced. If I could find a finer filter material I am sure I would eliminate almost all of them (something like a sponge-type filter with a 2"-2.25" opening in middle to fit 2" PVC trap). <Emperor Aquatics makes micron filter bags that maybe just what you are looking for. They are extremely efficient at trapping debris, but must be rinsed out almost daily, for fear of becoming a home for nitrifying bacteria.> Will the remaining 10% bubbles and of very fine/smaller nature pose much of a danger now? <Probably not much> They are hard to see anymore and most evident under the 2 x 96 compact fluorescent lights. You can't see them coming out of the return anymore - before it looked tons of dust blowing out into the water. They are very very fine and smaller now and don't seem to stick to everything anymore. - Mark <Do look at the micron bags as another option. If you clean them regularly, they are very effective at removing large amounts of detritus. -Steven Pro>

Turboflotor 1000 and bubbles in sump/tank I set up my new 38 gallon tank today with a 30 gallon sump. Everything is ok except I have lots of bubbles from output of Turboflotor (outputs into sump) and then they get in return pump and into main tank. Are bubbles a problem or dangerous to my reef animals/LR/fish when I add them? <Yes> If they are dangerous, do you know of a way to cut down on bubbles from Turboflotor skimmer that get into sump, or how to eliminate them from entering main tank? <You can add some baffles to the sump in an effort to direct the bubbles to the top of the water where they can safely burst on the surface or change/reposition the output of the skimmer to minimize the bubbles or even try adding a sponge to your baffles or over the return pump intake. -Steven Pro>

Re: Tiny bubbles (Reply to Steven) Good Morning, Steven! Your reply to my second message came through garbled, with half of it in italics, and some of it missing, so I had to wait to see it on the web site ;-) <The web is both great and mysterious at times.> The <>< is an IXOYE, or "ichthus" of the Christian faith - Christians make this sign to recognize each other....but it works for this site just as well! <I do remember, having had twelve years of Catholic education.> A fish, yes indeed! Better go get that coffee. wink wink. Say hello to your wife and baby for me, and if you want some Texas BBQ, let me know! We are going hunting for bubbles today, you may get several email from me, trying to track down the cause - you've been warned, and Anthony can attest to how often I have asked advice! Scott is going to redo the plumbing, and I'm going to work on the skimmer. wish us luck! -Cathy in Texas <>< <You guys do not need luck. I am confident that you two will discover the cause and correct. -Steven Pro>

Re: Tiny bubbles  Howdy! SUCCESS!!! There are now no more bubbles in the tank, except for every once in awhile a cloud emerges from the spouts. No where near the amount we had before, and it may be the skimmer "breaking in" - right? <Perhaps just a bubble or two slips by your baffles every once in a while. Nothing to be too concerned about.> The skimmer has green stuff in the tower, but the bubbles haven't risen to the collection cup yet. Though this may be due to the off again, on again of us messing with the tank, how long should it be before those bubbles get to the top? <With stability, just days more than likely.> I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to you guys - hopefully without the mushy part - for all the patience you have had with me and mine. We wouldn't have learned so much in so little time without your patience and guidance. And I know my "fishies" are much better for it! <You are quite welcome.> Now I get the fun part of putting in more animals and coral - once everything stabilizes, of course! So, what do you think of a snowflake eel? (wink) -Cathy in Texas <>< <Some of your crustaceans would be in jeopardy with the addition of an eel. Have a lovely day! -Steven Pro>

Tiny bubbles Howdy! Good Morning! <Good morning Cathy! Steven here this morning feeling a bit of a longing for the Texas food.> Ok, we checked all the pipes - found one that hadn't been glued properly. Yes, Scott did the cleaner, primer, and glue thing, but missed one, but we STILL have bubbles. They must be from the brand new Aqua C EV 180. <Quite easy to check, unplug the skimmer for a while and see if the bubbles cease. Then you will know for sure.> The manual says that this is normal?!?! Won't it kill my livestock before it settles? <It is really best to eliminate them from making their way into the display.> My Red Sea Xenia has already lost it's "feathers" and has stark fingers. The rest of things aren't looking too good. I've scanned and scanned for articles on how to fix the bubbles, but the Google search leads me to a page, then leaves me there :-) <You can start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm and follow on through the FAQ files. The bubble problems are scattered throughout the plumbing FAQ's.> How do I fix those bubbles? <The only thing I can tell you is to systematically go through until you find the source, then eliminate it.> We've tried to fiddle with the water spout, and the air, to no avail. Yes, I leave time between adjustments to see what each one does; about an hour. Still bubbles. Aye yi yi! Thanking you once again - and where's that call? <blush> <That would be Anthony.> Getting pushy in my old age. -Cathy <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

Tiny bubbles (2nd time) Hello Steven! Thanks for the link - we had printed that page before we started; going to see "the list" of things to check - my goodness! Something to think about - make a list on the site for things to check, as reading all that mail kinda makes one Google. <I have a big list of ideas and half started articles to point people to cut down on emails. One for trouble shooting bubbles, another on trouble shooting protein skimmers not working, one on refugium styles, etc. With work, the wife, the baby, the new book, the other things get done, but slowly.> Ya know, like: 1. It may be the brand new skimmer - turn it off awhile to see. 2. It may be a hole in the piping - check each joint. 3. It may be your return pump is too powerful (?) 4. You may need filter media on the overflow piping to break up the bubbles. Any more that you can add? <That about covers it, I think.> Thanks again for all the advice, I'll be reading -Cathy <>< <I just got it, "<><" is a fish. I need to start with coffee in the morning before emails. -Steven Pro>

OOPS - hehe (marine plumbing) Ok, now help - sorry! (sheepish grin) What I thought was sand blowing around is actually tiny bubbles coming out of all the spigots (?) in the tubing around the top of the tank. They must be coming up the pipe that feeds the tubing that makes water flow for the tank, but they are not apparent in the refugium. <understood... this is a common and easy problem> I know, all those bubbles have GOT to be bad for the life in the tank,  <correct... a supersaturation of O2 like nitrogen with divers> but how do I stop this? I'm afraid for my fishies! Ok, I know you aren't a plumber, but this REALLY is past me.  <no worries... we get this one several times monthly. What has happened is that there is a pinhole leak after the pump that is aspirating a fine bit of air in to the tank (assuming you don't see bubbles in the sump being sucked into the pump and aspirated). Simply take some Vaseline and smear each joint of PVC one by one... smear and wait to see if bubbles stop... then move on to the next until you find the union that has the small leak. Then clean off the Vaseline and reseal that joint. Did you use pipe cleaner, primer and glue for all fittings or just glue? A common mistake. All are needed.> There is a pipe that comes off the pump in the sump (with a union in the middle of it), leading to an elbow over the refugium, to head towards the back of the cabinet; pipe over the refugium to the back of the cabinet, another elbow to turn the pipe to the right, pipe leads to side (back) of cabinet, elbow to go up the back of the tank, pipe to the top of the tank, elbow to head into the tank, pipe leads to a union, then into the framework around the top of the tank. Follow THAT if you can!  <can't... it sounds way too complicated <G>> My hubby is inventive, but he is also stumped by the bubbles - "an enclosed system cannot be making these bubbles!".  <simply a pinhole leak in a hard or barbed fitting after the pump> Well, the most bubbly part is where the water is dumping into the skimmer box. (oh boy - my hands were wet, and now trying to type. Is this common with fishy types? hee hee. Had to straighten a mangrove that wasn't tied.) No, the water isn't plumbed directly to the skimmer, the rate of flow is too fast for the small spigot to accept, and the return pump is moving too fast anyway - it would run dry by the time the skimmer was done. Okay, so now what do we do? You have been extremely patient with me, and I APPRECIATE that more than you know!  <my pleasure!> But then, this is your fault ;-) giving us the idea of a refugium to better the lives of the tankmates. We were blissfully ignorant, and would have left our nitrates way too high. Thanks again for your help, -Cathy <>< <best regards, Anthony>

Return line from sump Hi Bob, I just setup a CPR Overflow (800 GPH) and a CPR Wet/Dry sump on a 50 gal tank. I have it connected to a Mag 9.5(950 GPH). I would like your advice on spray bar design on return line. I would like to drop the two 802 powerheads in the tank and just use the sump pump as water movement. The tank is a fish only, but near future a reef. Should I extend the spray bar from one end to the other with PVC and cut slots in it to dump the water? Thanks Jamie <The PVC idea should work fine, when the tank is converted into a reef you may still need more circulation, it is hard to tell with out the spray bar being set up already. You could cut slots in the PV or drill holes. Check out the links below for more information. Best Regards, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarfaq3.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm>

Plumbing Questions Hello Crew, <<Hello Michael!>> I have been reading your Q and A section have found it to be very informative. Thanks for all the good work. I am planning a 300 gallon reef tank and have some questions regarding design/plumbing that I am sure you can answer. The tank will be a 300 gallon acrylic with two overflow boxes - one in each corner. I am fairly certain that the standard drains are one - 1" in each overflow, which I am certainly not crazy about. <<way undersized>>I was considering having the 1" increased to 2" or adding a second 1" inch in each box. <<at least>> The return pumps will be 2-Little Giant 4mdq's with 3/4" returns. In addition to the standard returns, I was considering adding a one inch return out of the sump split with a "Y" (pump unknown at this point) and hooked to two 1/2" or 3/4" lines <<For SeaSwirls of this size, likely 3/4">>connected to appropriately sized sea swirls. I want to avoid using powerheads so I was considering adding one additional draw off of the sump to hook into a pvc manifold with two outlets (gate valved for control measures). One 1/2" line would be hooked to a spray bar along the back bottom of the tank. The other would be a 3/4" inch or 1" return line that eventually splits at a T Ball Valve electrically controlled by Aquacontroller or similar device. <<Size plumbing to the valve needed>> The T valve would split into two returns - one for each side of the tank (probably returning through the bottom of the overflow box and out the side of the overflow into a centipede splitter) to act as a wavemaker. While I think I have some good ideas, I am not sure if I can draw all of these lines out of the sump or how to size the returns, predict noise levels, which line to run through the skimmer, chiller etc. Should I bag drawing the additional lines out of the sump and use a typical closed loop system. If so, what size lines should I use out of the back of the tank, where should they be located, what pumps would you recommend, etc...??? I want to nail down the plumbing ideas so I can have the holes pre-drilled etc. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Michael <<Wow! Lots of goodies! Your turn over (10x tank volume minimum, can be more) is the base figure. It appears you need to size the returns to a minimum 3000 gallons per hour. To get a good idea of the size plumbing and overflows to do this you can see how overflow box manufacturers size their pipe, then go the next larger size. (check out web sites carrying overflows) My own personal experience is to go larger on the overflows and use Durso type overflows for noise reduction. Any vented overflow pipe that draws air from anywhere but the overflow itself will help in reducing flushing sounds which usually come from sucking air with water into the overflow. Flush! Even a small hole will draw enough air and be quiet in comparison to a closed overflow W/O a vent. (Vents work like the roof vents for home plumbing). Then you can size your pumps to provide the needed turnover without fear of limited overflows. As long as there is enough return flow or a dedicated return you can run as many lines off the sump as you have room for pumps, lines, flow to accommodate. My own choice would be to run the skimmer and chiller on their own line, but they could also be run off a line split off the return and valved for proper flow. To sort this out, start at the needed turnover/flow rates and work backward from there, sizing as needed. You won't regret having larger overflows.  Don't forget to factor head height in your flow/pump calculations. With the exception of return lines you intend to split (which require larger pipe to accommodate flow) you can stick with pipe sizes matched to pump outlets. Your closed loop/sea swirls design needs to provide enough flow to the SeaSwirls (they have a minimum flow rate to be useful) Make sure if you do this that they get what they need to run. Lots of work and plumbing but sounds like a blast! The pumps you site are good, many choices out there. Too many variables to name brands/sizes, they need to be sized in combination with all the other flow schemes. Again, start at needed turnover and work backward from there. Quite the project! Go for it! Craig>> 

Light Foam on Top... and trim the sideburns Hello, I'm getting a lite film on the top of my water and I am wondering if this is something to worry about, Or will my filters eventually get it. I have a 120 gallon saltwater, with live rock and two large canister filters and the main filter is an EBB & FLOW w/ protein skimmer. The film almost looks oily with fine particulate matter in it. Thanks for your time in this matter and thank you for having this page. Thanks again, Tim Calaway. <<Hi Tim! Yes, proteins have an affinity for the surface, that's why many people use skimmer/overflow boxes that skim this thin layer of water off with all of it's rich organics. You can skim it off with a clean glass or cup held just at the surface to pull the scum into the glass. A clean, white, scent free paper towel will also soak up some. Maybe think about an overflow or skimmer box. Craig>>  

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