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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 3, Marine 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 16, Plumbing 17, Plumbing 18, Plumbing 19, Plumbing 21, 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, Refugiums, Marine 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 Systems, Water Changes, Surge Devices,

Am really liking these rubbery vibration dampeners here twixt schedule 80 true unions and.... a sch 80 union ball valve! At the Leafy Sea Dragon exhibit (mechanicals back room) SIO/Birch Aq. 2015 

Sump return pump and plumbing questions      2/15/15
HELP, I can't make up my mind. I have information overload. I'm trying to decide what would be the best return pump for my under cabinet sump system.
And how best to plumb it. I have a 110 gallon Oceanic Reef Ready Tank with a 30 gallon Oceanic Reef Ready sump. (probably not quite big enough, but it was a good deal) & I have a MTC HSA-250 Protein Skimmer.
<Which will run on its own pump>
The Display Tank has two compartments, one for the overflow (that I'm planning on installing a Dursos Stand Pipe)
<Use two>
& the other for the return. Both are pre-drilled with two holes. One 2" (outer most) One 1 1/2" - 1 3/4" (inner most, can't reach great to measure but close to that).
<Use them both for the overflow... run the return/s over the top>
Any who...my questions are: I'm wanting to get at least 1100 GPH return, however there will be at least a 3' lift from the under cabinet sump (my holes are in the bottom of the display tank) then add the 18"+ stand pipe(s) inside the tank. Should I have two drain pipes, both Dursos' & two returns?
<At least the two drain pipes... most of the water movement I would do in-tank... not in/out of a/the sump>
Will one pump be sufficient?
<For the sump recirculation, yes. Again... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm
scroll down... for sumps, refugiums... plumbing, pump selection... Further down, Circulation...>
If I have two returns and drains, what would be the best way to plumb that?
<All posted>
Would two pumps be required? (Again, how would I plumb that?) Can my Skimmer handle that many GPH?
<Have to research the requirements yourself.. of pressure AND flow rate.... from the manufacturer and tweak per your application>
My research sounds like 900 GPH is the maximum for my Skimmer, but that's not confirmed by the manufacturer.
<Do so>
Just a deduction from discussions regarding the best pump for the Skimmer from your and other websites.
Now, here comes the dumb girl questions. Explain to me the "flow" of the plumbing. (I'll attach pictures of the sump)..
<Nothing attached>
H2O comes out of the tank into the 1st sump chamber, fills that until it reaches the narrow chamber that the previous owner had some foam like media in. Fills that until it overflows into the largest, final chamber where I plan to put the Skimmer. Then attach the pump(s)
<One; dedicated>
to the Skimmer, pump(s)
to the return pipe(s) up to the display tank and then back again.
<Mmm; yes; you ask good questions... but I strongly suggest you have some petfish friends come over and look at your design in place. Again, I'd run most of the circulation WITHIN the tank itself... much quieter, safer, cheaper...>
I've been doing a ton of research on what would be the best pump and I've narrowed it down to four.
1) The Reef Octopus Water Blaster 5k, 7k or 10k.
Is bigger really better?
<Mmm; not really. Best to have "just about right" and use it full-out... i.e. not over-sized and throttled back>
These are not cheap and come highly recommended by the website (LFS owner)
they're sold on.
2) Jecod/Jebao DCT Marine Controllable Water Pump DTC-12000 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=A7SIQ2Y2T11UM 
this pump is way cheaper, but way bigger GPH. Do you really get what you pay for?
<Not always, and sometimes...>

3)Aqueon Quietflow Submersible Aquarium Utility Pump
Again less expensive than some of the others, decent GPH, but quality??
<Middle of the road; like most all their copy-cat, relabeled mostly imported products>
4) Danner Supreme HY-Drive Water Pump 3200 GPH.
http://t.petco.com/product/114742/Da...ed-_-Product_3  Now we're getting pricey again, but super GPH.
<Good units... Not to throw you a loop, but do look into the Eheim line as well>
See what I mean! I can't decide. Don't know what the better quality would be. Is my sump tank big enough to handle the size of pump I'm considering?
<Not really an issue... the transit volume (water in play) is about the same w/ any pump used... you'll need to experiment and mark the sump water level at max. with the recirc. pump off... to avoid flooding in the event of power, pump failure>
And the skimmer as well?
<... the manufacturer... will have this data>
ARGHHHHH! Not to mention the plumbing itself. I've read dozens of articles and I just get more confused.
<Do NOTHING until you feel comfortable. DO PLEASE READ what we have here...
it is largely complete and internally compatible. AND THEN ASK specific questions. You have a good mind obviously... as you're aware of the basic questions and differences... >
Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
<The reading>
Thanks in advance.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Oops forgot pictures

Here they are...
<14 Megs...>

Difficulty planning for new build's pump/plumbing sizes     4/25/13
Hi WWM crew...My name is Kris. 
<Hiya Kris>
I've never posted a question here before but have found this site quite valuable.  After years of running all-in-one reef tanks (currently a 39 gallon) I am taking the plunge to a tank with a sump, the sump being plumbed down in the basement of my home.  I am having the tank custom built to fit a certain area of my house, but I can't order it until I know how big I want the holes drilled, and I can't know that until I know what size my plumbing will be, and I can't really plan that until I choose my pump.  Which is where I am stuck.  Here is my plan:
<I'm excited haha let's do this!>

60 gallon mixed reef with drilled internal overflow (corner), 30 x 22 x 23.5 tall.  Planning on a Herbie style drain. 
<I too have a 60 with a Herbie. LOVE.>
Single return which comes out through the overflow box and splits into 2.
<Same. I made a spray bar with loc line circle flow. Part of it comes in front of the overflow box and the other goes along the back wall. Very discrete and effective. But a bit pricey>
Sump is a 40 breeder.  Simple sump plan, from left to right: 
Refugium-bubble trap-return-bubble trap-skimmer-mechanical filtration. 
Refugium will have its own supply T-ed off the main drain with a valve to control flow.  So water will flow into the sump in the refugium section (slower flow) and into the mechanical filtration section, all moving toward the center return section.
<Ok this will be tricky with the Herbie. I use the center return concept like yours quite often on 4-6ft tanks seeing as there are 2 drains. But i would advise against this with your single drain 60. Have your 2 drain lines go right into your mech/skimmer chamber, then fuge, then return. If you really wanted to split your drain line into 2 different sections you will obviously need two gate valves. I would advise using a "True Wye" fitting for this application rather than a T. They are about 4 times the cost and hard to find but worth every penny.>
I initially planned for a external pump, and may still go that route, but thought with the return section on the sump being in the center it might be easier to go submersible if I could find a pump that will push the kind of head I need.  I have measured about 10 ft of vertical, 7 foot horizontal, and with added elbows valves and such, online calculators were varying between 14 and 16 ft head loss.
<This will vary greatly on the size of your plumbing. 1" will do though>
 I am open to either internal or external pumps at this point, but I need to pick one.  I was trying to look at the flow curves on pumps online to see what would still have good flow at that head pressure.  I was looking at the Iwaki 40RT and 55 RT, Blueline 70HD, PanWorld W70HD, and the Danner Mag drive 24 (submersible).  Are any of these a proper size for my tank and sump?  I am open to any suggestions.
< Blueline 70HD=PanWorld 200PS. Both are made by PanWorld and way too big.
Based upon the 14-16 ft of head, turning 85 gallons of water over 5 times an hour, the BlueLine 40hd would do. If you want a bit more turnover or to have the option of powering a reactor then the BlueLine hd55. That's for external which will need 2x 1" true union ball valves-there is about $50 on the cheap end. I would look into a DC internal return. Look into the Waveline/SpeedWave 10000 or Reef Octopus Diablo DC 10500. Pricey but 50+ less in plumbing and much less electricity. Oh and you can control the flow with a push of a button. I've got the Diablo 5500 with the Herbie-pretty awesome. You could have a very narrow section for the pump if you run an auto top off. Which i would absolutely do if you have the room for it. >
The other thing I am having problems with is the size of drains and return.
 I am planning on using regular old PVC piping. Should the return be the same size as the outlet of the pump?  How do I size the drains properly? 
Drains need to be larger than returns right?  How much larger?  Can your plumbing be TOO big for your tank?
<Plumbing can certainly be too big. Question for you-how many gph are you trying to be putting through this system? You can put a LOT of water through a 1" siphon. I don't think you would want to turn your system over more than a 1" siphon could handle. Go with 1" bulkheads for drain and 1" for return. Are you planning on putting all 3 bulkheads in the overflow box? Will be tight. For what its worth, I use my 3/4" bottom bulkhead for siphon, 1" bottom bulkhead for safety drain, and i have a 1" bulkhead drilled in the back of the tank/overflow chamber. 90 into that back bulkhead and 90 out of it to my loc line. Pretty tight quarters but clean>
One of the problems I'm having is in asking for advice on various forums, is when I ask for pump advice people say the pumps I am looking at are way too big.  But most of the pumps with higher head ratings ARE bigger pumps, and the high head then takes the GPH down to a more reasonable flow.  I can always tee off the return line as well to reduce flow in he tank.
<Look at a flow chart for these pumps. You will then agree with the advise you have already been offered>
Please help me with a pump size and plumbing size.  I am so lost.  I have been planning this tank for a long time but just decided to put the sump in the basement a couple of months ago, and have been confused ever since.
<It is indeed a complicated system with a lot of variables. -NateG>
Re: difficulty planning for new build's pump/plumbing sizes     4/26/13

Thank you so much Nate!  That was fast!
<The internet is quick haha>
I had planned this center return configuration to try and keep a truly separate refugium, where the fuge water is not getting skimmed or anything.
 Is this concept kind of over-rated? I also wanted to keep the flow slower through the fuge.  I see your point in both drains going to the same place though.  I'm going to rethink my sump plans...
<Try thinking about how many gph you want going to your tank. Then decide if you want less than that to go through your fuge. Keep in mind that with pretty standard baffles, the speed will be faster at the surface than at the substrate. I really don't see the benefit to that concept unless you have 2 overflow boxes going into a fuge i.e. high gph.>
I am planning on using my PhosBan reactor and pellet reactor (see how I've outgrown the AIO?), but left them out of this discussion because I was planning on them running off a separate small pump like I have them now, for ease of controlling flow, and having them return right back into the sump.  Does this sound ok?  It's pretty much how they are configured now.
<Bio pellet reactor? Sounds fine, i would have them in sump if you can make the space. What are you running for a skimmer?>
So I should be ok with a submersible pump of some sort, 1" plumbing on return and 1" on both drains?  Or am i better off with 3/4 on the main drain?  And if I am, why?
<Submersible should be fine but you should consider the total wattage of your pumps. Then find out how much they are costing to run in a month.
Danner Mag drives work but they are just so damn inefficient on top of being loud. A Mag 18 would work at 145 watts. @ $0.10/kwh that's $126.67 a year for a pump that costs about $180. The Diablo DC 10500 with spa flex to the tank to get rid of some head pressure will do the job and @85 watts.
Cost upfront is about $270 but costs $74.26 a year. Money will start going back into your pocket long a little after a year. Long before its warranty is up.>
<Nah, go with 1" on all lines. More gentle flow around turns for that siphon line.>
Thank you thank you thank you!  I am feeling much better about all this.
<Oh good. Happy to help. Any plans for an auto top off? They are simple and wonderful! -NateG>
Re: difficulty planning for new build's pump/plumbing sizes     4/26/13

I do have an auto top off, a Tunze Osmolator.  I have a thing for topless rimless tanks so that has always been a necessity.  I plan to have that holding tank in the stand under the sump, topping off into the sump.
<Excellent choice. Happy tank>
Skimmer, well, I got a deal on a ASM g4 off a local reefer site.  Thing is HUGE, I had no idea until I met the guy to buy it how big it was.  Figured I would bring it home anyway because I should be able to sell it for a profit on e-bay.  I assume this is too big...and it takes up so much sump space.  Not sure what to buy though...any advice is appreciated.
<Yeah that's a monster for your set up. Imagine that you have 3 different skimmers, all 3 have different body and drain styles but all 3 have the same pump. They will likely perform very similarly to one another. Skimmers have come a very long way and the pump is its heart in soul. You can absolutely not go wrong with a skimmer that has a Sicce pump on it. I would start there>
So I have always ran reactors outside the sump.  I have this 40 breeder sump on a big stand, so I have space outside the sump.  I like the idea of having then in there though in case of leakage. :). Do you just...set them in there?? And yes bio pellet reactor.
<If you have the room i would absolutely put them in them in sump. Better to have them sitting on sump flood vs. hang on the inside>
I was looking at the dc pumps and like that idea a lot.  Way more energy efficient...like that they are adjustable flow. So flex line will help with head loss?  I assume because no sharp angles?
<Yeah this last wave of more affordable dc pumps has been pretty legit.
Love mine. Flex pvc is very handle stuff. Pricey but great. Any chance you will be having all 3 bulkheads drilled into the bottom? -NateG>
Re: difficulty planning for new build's pump/plumbing sizes      4/29/13

All three bulkheads will be drilled into the bottom of the tank, yes.
<Good. This will remove about 3 ft of head by not having the tank drilled in rear>
I am looking for a very clean look with this tank so I don't want any pluming showing behind the tank, etc.  I plan on the plumbing coming up through the floor behind the wall then through the wall behind the tank and directly into the stand and up.  The return will come through the overflow box up high then split into 2...I assume I will need to put a siphon break
on that somehow.
<Only if you are not planning on having the outputs by the surface of the water>
This is so incredibly helpful, I can hardly thank you enough. 
Any other insightful tidbits you want to pass along?  :D
<Most welcome. Have fun! -NateG>

Upgrading tank and corals losing color    11/23/12
Hi crew!  I've got a hodge podge of questions.  I'm upgrading from a 55 gallon (non drilled) with a 30 gal refugium to a 80 gallon drilled frag tank.  Since I'm going to need new substrate I've been reading the recommendations on WWM for reef tanks and believe Aragamax oolithic is recommended at a depth of 4". I do have a 4" DSB (oolithic) in the refugium and will use this refugium with the new tank.  My main goal for the substrate is for pH and alkalinity stability 1. Will it be beneficial to use the oolithic DSB in the DT?
<Yes; highly>
 2. How many pounds of sand will I need?
<Mmm, likely 150, perhaps a bit more... I'd look to buy in bulk>
 The new tank's footprint is 48 x 24.  I will be keeping my existing sand to seed the new sand. 
<Ah good. Then perhaps a bit less to buy>
Plumbing: Since I don't have experience with drilled tanks I've been researching hooking it up to plumbing. The new tank has 2 drilled holes in the corner.  I've read on WWM to have a back up drain in the event the first one fails (blocked, etc). I was thinking of doing this with the 2 existing drilled holes, even though the one is for the return, and hanging the existing return on the back of the tank. Any advice?
<Mmm, yes; to continue reading... for now... there are a few options, and you should be satisfied that you've personally investigated... Most all is gone over (and over) in WWM's archives/FAQs>
 Also, I've read on forums that the bulkheads that came with this tank (Deep Blue) are junk and need to be replaced.  Have you heard anything of the like?
<Mmm, a bit; they're a bit more flimsy... I'd rather use schedule 40 PVC than ABS... and two gaskets (one for in, out) and a smear of aquarium Silastic... again, gone over on WWM if you'd like more detail>
 Lastly, I've had problems with my corals losing color, even mushrooms.  In trying to rule out culprits I've tested the water for everything, except for elements like potassium,
<An upcoming topic in our interest>
etc, changed out bulbs (T5), use Rod's for feeding, and use Tropic Marin Reef Salt all to no avail. However, I was reading on WWM FAQs that it could be allelopathy. 
<Yes; quite common>
Could this be a reason for color fading?  I have Sarcophytons, Cnidarians,
<These are all Cnidarians; the phylum>
 Sinularias, Xenias and Zoanthids.  All are fully extended and seem pretty happy except for the color. I've written before about this and Mr. Fenner replied it could be the phosphates and nitrates being too low.
<Also prevalent in these days of (over) use of chemical filtrants. Chemo and Photo-synthates absolutely need some (measurable concentration) of both>
Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you crew!!  Jennifer
<Welcome Jen! Bob Fenner>

Flow rates with multiple return lines    11/16/12
Hi crew,
I've been searching for info on flow rates with multiple return lines for over 14 hours now and I'm still not sure that I understand exactly how to calculate it.
I want the flow rate from each return to match each other and I hope that you can explain it to me.
 <Will try>
I have a Marineland 125 gallon tank with an 1.25" overflow and 1" return in both back corners rated @ 600 GPH overflow each.
<Mmm, well, the 1.25" ID drain won't supply said 1,200 gallons... See here:
... there's a bunch that could be related... that's err, related. No big deal re the small/ish overflow, nor the rate in/out of the sump... I'd provide (if desired to necessary) more flow via internal pumping/pumps...>
I have an Aqueon Model 4 29.25 gallon sump.
 <Am familiar>
I'll be using this as a freshwater fish/planted aquarium
<Oh, then not much more flow required, desirable really>
 with approximately 2.5" of substrate.
The water volume in my tank and sump total approximately 130 gallons.
If I'm thinking correctly, I only need approximately 390 GPH flow rate for fish and plants which would be a turn over rate of 3.
My plan was to use one return water pump and tee off to each return line.
I understand that I need to calculate 1.5' per 90 degree elbow and add that to the height of the pipe.
 <About this>
What I don't understand is:
1. Do I add the height of both returns or just one?
2. Do I also need to add the horizontal (flat) length of pipe to the height measurement also?
<There is some induced drag... but I wouldn't obsess re... Short answer: "not really">
3. And how important is it to have the horizontal (flat) length of pipe be the same length for both returns in order to match the flow rate for each return?
 <IF this were critically important (the matched flow/capacity) then important to have the same length... but it's not important... IF you absolutely had to have equal/ish flow rates, using valves, other measures could be employed to meter and measure flow (rate and volume)>
Right now I have 1" pvc drain pipe coming from the overflows to the sump and .75" pvc return pipes back to the tank.
I allowed for 12" of rise from the pump to a pvc tee.
The left horizontal (flat) pvc return pipe is 58" in length and uses two 90 degree elbows.
The right horizontal (flat) pvc return pipe is 12" in length and uses two 90 degree elbows.
And the height measurement for each return is 45".
4. Do you think I should move the position of my sump so that I can center the return pump in the stand in order to match the measurements of both the left and right return lines?
 <Nope. I would not>
I have not purchased a return water pump yet and the tank is still dry, so I can re-plumb everything if I need to.
 Thank you, Dan Brouwers Sr
<You and your system will do just fine w/ unequal circulation through these lines. MUCH more important is the positioning of the discharges... setting them up to "spin", turn the water in a gyre... side to side or over and under... w/ the discharges placed near the surface (much more efficient...). Again, not really a big deal in any/all cases here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Flow rates with multiple return lines    11/16/12

Hi Bob,
 <Hey Dan>
Whewwwwwww... I am so glad to hear that!
I have the discharge on the left aimed toward the center of the front glass
<Mmm, best to have it go along the long edge, the other on the other side in the opposite direction>
and I have the discharge on the right aimed toward the center of the back glass.
And I'll adjust the height of each discharge to be approximately 3/4" below the water surface and turned slightly downward.
<Right at the surface is ideal>
I will also use a check valve above the pump to prevent any flooding when the power goes out.
 <See WWM re... these are unreliable in practice... of any make/model (spring, flap, clip...). And can/do significantly reduce flow... you want to get the most for your money. I wouldn't use; and definitely NOT rely on>
Thanks for all of your help!
Dan Brouwers Sr
<Welcome. BobF>

Tank Setup, acrylic manuf. sel., plumbing, circ.  4/13/12
Hi Bob and crew,
<Hello Kevin>
First off I'd like to say the site you have is just awesome, so much information.
<Glad you enjoy and thank you.>
I am getting ready to finish part of my basement and I am going to be putting in a new setup down there. Part of the wall will be bumped out and the tank will be viewable from the front and right side and I will have a small fish room to the left. Also, this will be my first attempt at a reef tank. I wanted to run the setup by you to get your opinion. I currently have a glass 150 gallon FOWLR and I am looking to purchase an acrylic 75 x 24 x 28 tank from Envision Acrylics. Have you heard anything on this company or recommend anyone else?
<Mmm, they do have a notable list of clients. I would be happy with them.>
Since I am able to customize it I was wondering what would be the best configuration for the two overflows. Should I put two boxes in the back corners, a trapezoid in the middle with two drains or I've seen coast to coast external overflows. Is one better than the other? I was leaning towards the trapezoid in the middle
with two drains in it.
<I would lean your way as well.>
As far as the drain size, would two 1 1/2 in pipes with Durso's be enough?
Looking on your site a 1 1/2 in pipe should handle about 750gph, and if I'm correct I want the tank to turn over 3-5 times.
<Actual flow rate will depend on your plumbing, avoid elbows if possible or other restrictive fittings. You should easily get 800gph through each drain. See here.
The tank is about 220 gallons plus about a 50 gallon sump, so I was thinking about 900-1000 gallons per hour? The two 1 1/2 in pipes will give me 1500 gph so I would have a little bit of cushion.
<Do you plan on supplementing the actual flow in the tank with powerheads?
I would shoot for a total flow rate, including powerheads of at least 2000gph.>
This leads me to my next question. For the return pump I would like to do an external pump, I was looking at the Iwaki's or the Reeflo's. Should my return run over the top or should I run the return to the top of the tank through the back and use loc line? Should I use 1 inch or 3/4 inch piping for the return?
<I would incorporate the returns in the overflow box and would go with the output size of the pump.>
I was thinking of coming up from the pump to the top of the tank and branching off a T fitting to the right and left side. Based on this, which pump would work the best? I was looking at Iwaki MD40RLXT, (don't know if this is strong enough).
<I would opt for a pump that would put out at least 2000gph. You should put a ball valve on the pump return for controlling the flow rate.>
I also plan on using a Vortech for additional flow so it would not totally rely on the return for flow.
<Great, you have answered my question above.>
My last question, I promise, is it safe to use the sand and live rock that I have currently in my FOWLR setup for the new tank. It has been up and running now for about 3 years.
<Mmm, depends on how nasty it is. Likely full of detritus/waste. In my opinion it's not worth the trouble and time to clean the old sand. Better to just replace and start anew.>
Sorry for being so long, I just want to make sure I do it right the first time.
<Do plan carefully.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Tank Setup, through-put size, Pb....   4/13/12

Thanks for the reply. I have a couple more questions now after reading your response. Based on your response and checking on pumps of 2000gph, the piping for the return would have to be 1 inch. Should I have one or two returns?
<A one inch line coming up and teed off and reduced to two 3/4" lines.>
You said to run the return through the overflow box. Would I want to run it over the top or would going up half way and putting a bulkhead be better?
<Bulkhead fittings through the overflow. Envision Acrylics should be able to do this for you. They will place the returns in the proper position.
Just tell them or whoever what you want to accomplish.>
Do they make any type of loc-line type returns for 1 inch piping?
Everything I see is either 1/2 or 3/4 inch, so what would my options be with a 1 inch return pipe?
<You will be teeing off into two 3/4" lines so there will be no problem.>
Also, I will not reuse my sand from my current tank and I assume the same would be said for the live rock?
<The rock could be bleached and put through several rinsings and be seeded with a few pieces of fresh live rock. You can use the old rock as base rock to build up bommies or whatever plan you have.>
Last question, are there any other acrylic company's you would suggest looking into?
<The Aquarium Company does nice work at reasonable prices. Might want to give them a call at (888)989-8988. Bob may input here with other suggestions.>
Thanks for all your help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Tank Setup, Pb, sizing    4/13/12

One last question. When reducing the 1 inch return to 3/4 inch can I do that below the tank and run 3/4 inch up through the overflow and T it off or should I run 1 inch all the way up the overflow box and just reduce to 3/4 inch off of the T?  Will it make a difference?
<If it were mine, I have the manufacturer use 3/4" PVC in the overflow and connect them to 3/4" bulkheads at the bottom.  Tell them you want threaded bulkheads where you will be connecting on the bottom of the tank.  You can then install PVC unions and pipe them to a 1" tee with reducers or use hose barbs to make your connections.  You can install the tee right at the pump outlet.  Depending on where you live, it might be difficult to come by some of these fittings so I will link you to a company that sells just about any PVC fitting you would need.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re: New 5x2x2 Braceless Reef Tank Plumbing 1/12/12
Ok I have read more and learnt the following:
As complex, nuanced, and hard to understand as the life forms themselves is the marine reef . Most will be defeated. Part art part science it's not easy or simple and fewer certainties Your tank is an entire ecosystem and all living within are dependent upon your care .
<Heeee! And I'd add, "a whole lot of fun and self-discovery!" Cheers, B>
Re: New 5x2x2 Braceless Reef Tank Plumbing 1/14/12

Have I have learnt anything so far about the basic plumbing set-up of a marine reef? Well yes and no.
Principles of Plumbing
Keep it as simple as possible.
Build in redundancy.
Larger diameters are generally better.
True unions everywhere.
Gate valves on pump outlet.
Swing check valves on pump outlet.
Ball check valves everywhere else.
<Also. Check valves in such applications only serve to slow down flow; almost all fail w/in short whiles>
Draw a diagram
Larger, say 2", heavy duty double-threaded Schedule 80 bulkhead fittings but drilling as few as is absolutely necessary so four. Three overflows 2" with Durso [do you just drop in?]
<Drop in? As into the sump/reservoir below? Better to utilize mechanical filter bags, T-off the bottom... to dissipate energy...>
and a one and a half inch return.
No manifolds, no power heads, no closed loop. The tank builder awaits my instructions regarding hole size, number and where to put them.
<See WWM re... it's all there>
To start I must decide on the tank drilling . Please advise.
<Ok: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/thrhullsiz6f.htm
and the linked files above... B>
Re: New 5x2x2 Braceless Reef Tank Plumbing 1/14/12

Bob, '
When talking sizes in particular that of bulkheads are all sizes nominal, specifically I intend to fit Schedule 80 2" through puts. Now when you say 2" holes drains are you referring to the actual hole size or the nominal pipe size?
<For schedule? Forty... likely 2.5", for eighty, 2.75">
I am confused about placement as the Durso goes through the base while an overflow can be drilled in the back near the top. So are these two separate ideas?
<No, not necessarily.... id est, Durso's can be fitted for both in-tank and back of tank through-puts>
I am planning to put two holes for drainage fitted to DIY 2" Dursos made with 2" pipe (nominal) and one or two returns. The diameter of the returns, according to my understanding, are to match that of the chosen pumps outlet.
The Durso drains through a bulkhead. I have no idea what I meant by "drop in".
<...? You have no idea? Okay; neither do I>
You say "nah" to swing check valves yet in "I wish I had all the money in burnt out and flooded pumps..." you extol their virtue. What have I missed: the application?
<This is for other applications... out of system, above grade... your install is undoubtedly not above grade... that is, it's below the system>
Bed time
<About mine as well. Cheers, B>
Re: New 5x2x2 Braceless Reef Tank Plumbing 1/15/12

The pump outlet is 36mm which is 1.4 inch, so the appropriate pipe size is 1.5 inch is it not?
<Whatever fits the MIP/s, FIP/s on the volute... the cover part of the pump over the impeller... Use a bit of Silastic on the threads... Not pipe dope, Teflon tape...>
You do not advise use of a manifold nor it seems are you keen on splitting the return more than twice.
<Manifolds have their place, uses... I have never advised otherwise>
As my tank is rimless
<...? B>
Re: New 5x2x2 Braceless Reef Tank Plumbing 1/15/12
As my tank is rimless I would have thought that a bulkhead in the back would potentially
<Key word; no>
compromise the tank and if that is true then an up and over the top return pipe or a bulkhead through the base are the two remaining options are they not?
<... not... for instance, overflow "boxes"... see WWM re>
Is that then an extra and strictly unnecessary hole In the tank ? An up and over the back is less than ideal for a minimalist rimless tank I think so what would you advise?
<That you continue reading. B>
Re: New 5x2x2 Braceless Reef Tank Plumbing 1/16/12

"Keyword no" Are you saying no to a bulkhead fitting for the return high on the back of the tank?
<Sorry for the confusion; "no" to it being dangerous to drill round holes to fit through-puts (rim-less tanks or not)... Which does bring up a question I have, must ask. What type of glass and thickness is this tank made of? Do you intend to fit a Euro-brace along the long runs inside? I would>
A straight up return from pump to tank through its base is simple in plumbing terms is it not?
<Mmm, yes... but unattractive to me>
Or am i missing something again? Or are you of the opinion that where a simple alternative is available it is generally preferable to avoid drilling a hole?
<Might I introduce you to two friends who are in the aquarium hole and plumbing biz? Please meet Mike and Scott of Glass Holes: http://www.glass-holes.com/main.sc
Do feel free to ask them for their input as well...>
I think two 2" Schedule 80 bulkheads for the drains
<Mmm, again, I hope I'm not bugging you overly, but what is the flow rate (calculated) for the pump you have in mind? I would only rely on one of the two overflows capacity...>
and one and a half inch for the return all drilled through base and set at the back: the perimeter of each at least 6" from the tank walls. Am I way off the mark?
<No... but I would run all through puts from the back glass, near the top... Bob Fenner>
Re: New 5x2x2 Braceless Reef Tank Plumbing 1/16/12

I have seen the light - the gyre the gyre! Adams article in Adv Aquarist is fantastic.
Meanwhile the tank is 15mm Opti-Glas which is a low iron type . I am debating going to 6x2x2 rather than 5x2x2. I will tell the guy about the Euro-Braces.
<Six by for sure if there's room... and def. the bracing>
So all throughputs in back high up, and each drain capable of drinking the un-throttled return pumps maximum output, so that if one fails the other copes?
That sounds good in that the tank is free of the clutter but how does the Durso design work in this case, and does it involve an overflow?
<Does and does. Read/see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diy_durso_pipes_jg.html
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dursopipefaqs.htm
The pump I have in mind is a red dragon 10 or 12000 litres for the 5x2x2 (5600litres or 150 US gallons, excluding sump), given that with head etc.
it'll be somewhat lower than the maximum output this size seems ok but I do not know, just guessing.
<Again... I would provide most circulation from internal pumps... You read like a high-roller; check out Eco-Tech's line... the external pump should be just enough for filtration>
Bugging? No! I welcome your comments
<Ok! B>
Re: New 5x2x2 Braceless Reef Tank Plumbing 1/16/12

Does these pictures
<Nada attached>
show the kind of plumbing arrangement to which you refer? The left one I think shows through the back Durso x2 plus one return with the bulkheads near the top? Furthermore do you recommend an internal overflow, as in the picture on the right, to go with it or can that be dispensed with? Lastly would you advise that the bulkheads ought not be drilled until and unless the tank builder has the very same bulkheads to hand to ensure the snug fit? I say this because there are differing statements regarding actual hole diameter, specifically Schedule 80 2" for example 3.1 3.0 2.75 inches, depending on where you look and who you ask.
<Mmm, yes. Smaller/tighter is better. B>
More or Less 1/16/12

Bob, This discussion is mostly about the tank its drilling, bracing, overflow, plumbing and a little on circulation. There is a shed load more to do. Although I have qualifications in chemistry, zoology, botany and medicine I find the task ahead daunting to say the least. Sp to all novice would be aquarists I say if it were easy we wouldn't want to do it.
<Rob... I don't change my vehicle's oil, neither would I attempt a self-appendectomy... I salute your efforts to understand and direct or do most all, but maybe it'd be worthwhile to hire an established company to do this install>
I remember a Dwarf Gourami building a bubble nest for his offspring- a marvelous event to witness in your living room. He died soon after. My partner at the time rang me at work in tears to tell me that he was dead.
Inconsolable as she was she still managed to pull the chain and flush him down the toilet. From the sublime to the ridiculous!
<As life itself (or should I more accurately state, our appreciation) my friend. B>
Re: More or Less, reef Pb 1/16/12

An established company to do the install would be fine if they:
* cut the price by about a half
* knew exactly what they were doing
* could be trusted
* cared enough to do it right
I doubt that any can do all that. Besides its the journey I'd miss out on.
<Ahh, understood, appreciated>
The glass site is fantastic. The overflow and through the back method is the one I will use. It is exactly what I want. As I am in UK they say that they wont ship the overflow kit.
<Mmm, Glass-Holes.com? Am Bcc'ing my "son" ScottV (part owner) re. Perhaps there's some other way>
I don't know if there is a way round that. English docs don't earn anything like American docs!
I am grateful for your advice and guidance. A couple more queries on the bulkhead drilling before I move on:
* are you saying that rimless a tank is no different to a regular tank concerning drilling, and therefore they are equally at risk of breaking while being drilled?
* how far below the lip do you drill a 2" bulkhead for a schedule 80 fitting?
<Mmm, 2-3 inches/5-8 cm.... The actual overflow part can be an elbow tilted up...>
* you asked about the return pumps calculated output. By that I think you mean, adding the head loss, elbows, pipe lengths, etc to come up with a predicted performance figure.
If so I will work it out and get back to you.
<And you. B>
Re: More or Less 1/17/12

* Pump head loss of a Red Dragon 12000 litres calculation
* Tank 6x2x2 is 190 US gallons 720 litres
* Target 5 or 6 times volume per hour say 1000gph[us] or roughly 4000litre
* Pump is rated three times more than I need it seems
<Much more... hopefully one last time: I'd use the external water flow for filtration, providing water to other mechanicals; e.g. skimmer, contactors, reactors... and provide circulation w/ internal pumps... propeller types... for your fab gyre>
* Pump performance chart shows dramatic fall in pressure with feet or equivalent feet of head loss.
* [ http://english.royal-exclusiv.de/Meerwasser_Aquarium/lkurve12.gif]
<Ah yes>
* Overflow redundancy built in with GH 3000 kit
* According to the actual figures from your tests a 2" bulkhead drains 1350gph so if one blocks the other can handle the flow.
<About this, yes>
* There are lots of calculators for this so I am using the higher estimates of equivalent feet of head loss
* Pump head loss factors 90 elbow 7 gate valve 1.0 adaptor 3.5 union .2
* Three 90 elbows, gate vale, true union, single outlet schedule 80 1.5" pipe size, horizontal feet 4, vertical feet 5...Now the Hazen-Williams formula is just too much homework...and there are too many differing answers
* My guess is that roughly 50% of the pressure will be lost.
<Again; yes>
So leaving 6000lph which exceeds my 4000litre target but I note to drop from around 6000 to 4000 takes only another 3 feet or equivalent feet. If its too much flow then I can throttle back with the gate valve. If its not enough then I am stuffed so maybe a bigger one is more appropriate.
<I wouldn't>
* Many comments refer to inflated claims regarding the output of pumps.
* Is there a reasonably accurate and simple cook book, recipe, rule of thumb?
<You're upon it>
* Sorry Bob but I have read about it and there seem to be a myriad of calculations, all different.
<Not to over-worry. You'll be fine here. BobF>
Re: Tank Volume Pump Output Overflow Capacity 1/22/12

Bob, thanks . When you say "about "- as in yes or not quite there yet or is clueless??
<Closer; successive approximation>
I started with an idea that I wanted a reef 5x2x2 rimless but was clueless about how to proceed until I discovered your site. I know now that it is going to take a long time to set this up.
* tank size up to 6x2x2
* two 2" bulkheads through the back with capacity 1350gph [Scotts number]
* rimless but euro-braced built by UK top glass man.
* calculated pump output to be less than 1350gph i.e. fail-safe if one drain blocked
* internal pumps for flow, set surface gyre.
* plumbing simplest routes, rigid pipe, true unions gate valves etc
That's all folks!
* split return to each rear corner size- as pimp outlet
* big sump 80g ? if it'll fit
<As large as possible>
* big refugium Chaeto reverse lighting
* big skimmer
* live rock
<Can you fit/add a DSB?>
* so a modified Berlin method.
Don't know
* Kalkwasser
* calcium
* water changes.
After plumbing the water change regime is the next area that I don't understand is water changes. The spectrum of opinion varies from bi-weekly 5 % [Scott Fellman], to 10% once a month but mostly to clean up[Troy Brightbill, coral science reefs.org] to hardly ever [coral-shop] and loads more in between.
<Not to worry re at this juncture>
Generally speaking where there are many opinions there is no "proof" as if there were unequivocal proof there would be no argument, at least not a rational one. So how does a novice like me decide?
<Study, experience. Nothing is decided until it's done (a fave, though not likely original perspective)>
Particulate matter, mulm, substrate hoovering, cleaning skimmer etc is worth doing and effectively involves changing some water, say 10% monthly.
This I think Brightbill is saying, and a 10% monthly change is less onerous than 5% bi-weekly Do you think Brightbill is incorrect about the chemistry or that he is missing something? This you wrote on ponds some time ago.
<Larger volumes are far more "forgiving" than smaller... I'd likely change 5-10% a week. BobF, who didn't see the bit below and am responding now>
In the happiest of circumstances you have a sump area with a slope over the surface of the basin leading to it.
<Such slopes don't last, work...>
You open a valve or drop in a submersible pump and voila! the "bad" water and solids are whisked away What exactly do you do to get this slope and valve idea in you sump or the basin leading to it ? A 45% angled piece of glass as ? After or before skimmer and refugium? A diagram ? What kind of valve ? Gate or shut off?
<None of the above, like so many of our public election choices>
My take on it is that frequent small changes are probably a good idea and that a low tech approach is the original fail-safe option as there are no mechanisms to fail.
<We have a Winnah!>
However an automated water change system, for instance Genesis Renew, would mean you could programme say one or two gallons a day which would be even better. What do you say?
<Simple, manual, redundancy in controls, contingent plans for all potential to probable sources of trouble...>
<Welcome. B>
Re: Tank Volume Pump Output Overflow Capacity 01/22/12
You ask whether I could fit/add a deep sand bed.
<You say you want a revolution?>
A remote deep sand bed allows for a bare bottom tank and if the bed is also separate from the refugium then different and most appropriate flow rates can be achieved for each.
<Mmm, I'd have appreciable substrate in both>
For instance display x20+ (Gyre fashion), bed x5, refugium x10 volume per hour vpr
<Less in the last>
More options are available, finer control, removal, repair, and replacement - all easier.
A large remote deep sand bed using sugar aragonite sand or similar 0.5 to 1.0mm grade. to a depth of not less than 6" will be required.
<Deeper the bettah>
How I plumb it in and what pump and where to put the pump and the tank for it and how it all fits together- well I haven't a clue. So, can you tell me how ?
<All posted on WWM, in articles and books I've penned... searchable>
The number of pumps is escalating ; one each for return, skimmer, refugium, and remote deep sand bed, not to mention in tank pumps. Am I missing something here that I skipped past?
<The last... a few, like two in the tank, two outside; one for recirculation, t'other for the skimmer>
Did you deliberately not comment on the latter half of my last missive? I include it here:
<See a later resp. or the same now posted to the Dailies on WWM>
In the happiest of circumstances you have a sump area with a slope over the surface of the basin leading to it. You open a valve or drop in a submersible pump and voila! the "bad" water and solids are whisked away
What exactly do you do to get this slope and valve idea in you sump or the basin leading to it ? A 45% angled piece of glass as ? After or before skimmer and refugium? A diagram ? What kind of valve ?Gate or shut off?
<Again, none of the above>
My take on it is that frequent small changes are probably a good idea and that a low tech approach is the original fail-safe option as there are no mechanisms to fail. However an automated water change system, for instance Genesis Renew, would mean you could programme say one or two gallons a day which would be even better. What do you say?
<And, we'll be chatting. B>
Re: Tank Volume Pump Output Overflow Capacity 01/22/12

I bought NMS Reef Keeping Invertebrates mainly for the refugium related content.
<Mmm, is this the work by Antoine and I? >
I see you saw the bit you didn't see before.
<Ah yes>
Simple, manual redundancy -led thinking anticipating all contingencies, so buckets, ladders etc are out because there is no safe method of hauling 5 gallon drums around the house period.
Two big rectangular water butts under the sink in my case probably the garage in yours hard plumbed to an RO unit.
One butt contains RO water and the other salt mixed, aerated, refractometer tested, heated, stood display tank-ready water delivered via sump through a flexible removable pipe, preferably gravity fed, if not then pumped.
Both the butts fitted with float valves and overflow waste in the event of failure of the float valve.
The salted RO water, buffered butt would need to be thoroughly mixed by another pump. Removal of say 5% of tank volume via siphon to waste run would precede the introduction of the "new" water.
Or something akin to this method. Making that happen does not fill me with joy.
Is there a better, simpler way ?
<You'll very soon know my friend.>
You should get paid for your time and expertise.
<There are many forms of such payment, and far more satisfying, besides remuneration>
Re: Tank Volume Pump Output Overflow Capacity 01/23/12

Bob if you only have the return and one for the skimmer and two in tank how do you regulate the differing flow rates to refugium and DSB ? Gate valve?
<Mmm, IF you need to feed the refugium/DSB area separate (just a portion) of the total outside flow, gate valve/s and a tee are fine>
If you have deep sand in tank then why have a RDSB
<Mmm, am not such a fan of reverse sand beds in large reef tanks... too hard to control, limit nutrients. I encourage your further study and use of a regular gravity fed DSB>
as well or do you use a different or larger size substrate?
<Mmm, no, not necessarily>
I do want a revolution. Society is class ridden, access to education and health depends largely on income and class, the US is no exception. Weapons oil gas is the mantra of the elite . if we all had reef tanks we'd have no time for war. Hail the reef tank
<Won't disagree. Cheers, B>
Re: Tank Volume Pump Output Overflow Capacity 01/23/12

Bob. Also I thought bare bottom was a good idea as removal of the crud is more efficient and easier.
<Nah... less attractive and functional... Read:
Also if the substrate is deeper than 6" it would occupy a substantial area of glass and the question then is would a 30" depth be appropriate rather than 24"
<Keep reading. B>
Re: Tank Volume Pump Output Overflow Capacity 01/23/12

I just re-read your text and you say two pumps outside (the tank) for circulation .
<Mmm, no: one for the skimmer and t'other for circulation. B>
Do you mean in series or in parallel ? Second pump off and manually started or auto start if first fails ? Surely you don't mean both pumps on at any time, do you?

Equalizing aquarium, basic SW plumbing, using WWM 1/8/12
I'm new to saltwater aquarium. Although I have not actually started the tank up. I still have a couple of ?. I've been doing a lot of research over about a 3 month span. I'm going to have a 20 gal fowlr tank, and a 20 gal sump/refugium. Now I want to get a Mag 2 pump for my return from the sump to the main tank because I know that the smaller the tank the more cleaning a care it will need. So I want to minimize me putting my hands in the tank.
So I hope to create enough circulation to prevent the tank getting dirty, with the assistance of a nano protein skimmer. My ? Is how big should my overflow be,
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/thrhullsiz6f.htm
and as much of the linked files above as makes you feel comfortable>
and how strong of current should I use.
<Also linked above>
And how can I modify the power head to the return pump below to create flow in the main tank.
<Mmm, I wouldn't do this. Look instead to a smaller size internal pump... Hydor on the cheap side... other brands gone over... on WWM>
Everything else I under stand. I've even looked into purchasing a diamond drill bit to cut the hole in the side of the tank for the return, to maximize space in the tank. Any suggestions would be great. Thank you for your time.
<Glad to share w/ the 30-40k folks who use the site everyday... Please learn to/use the search tool and indices ahead of just writing us. Bob Fenner>

multiple tank plumbing 1/16/11
Hi Crew hope everyone is well.
<I am, thank you>
Just a quick question. I have had a good browse through the many pages of plumbing for aquariums on your site, but still haven't found what I'm after.
I want to build a marine system with one large sump that will supply a 12ft tank segmented into 4 x 3ft (might even be 3 segmented 6ft tanks) I know this is used in the trade in LFS but I'm not sure how it's done and want to get something built. This will be housing fish only. Any ideas on what the best and most reliable set up would be for this, including valves and taps to prevent any floods if there is a power cut etc.
<? There are a few general approaches... PVC pipe, schedule 40 ball valves... Screens for the overflows. Now-a-years, buying parts, tools can easily be done/ordered via the Net for better price, availability>
Hope you can help or point me in the direction of some good and easy to understand diagrams to overcome this, as I'm struggling to find anything.
All the best
<Unfortunately we/WWM does not have just one such set of "instructions"...
But there are numerous examples, input from us, folks writing in:
the third tray down... Oh, and including (the linked on the main articles) pieces on commercial system plumbing. Specific questions, concerns, please write back.
Bob Fenner>

plumbing questions for 240 g reef tank, & aspirating overflow lines/Dursos 12/7/10
Hello, I've got a 240 g with 70g sump/fuge combo and would like to know what the quietest(very important) external pump you would recommend for the sump filtration. I've got an Iwaki 40 running now but the noise is unbearable (a very loud hum).
<Good pumps, but typically noisy.>
I've got 2 corner overflows with 1.5 in. Dursos , each with 1.5 in. bulkheads and piping (twin drain lines to the sump). I've got 1 in. return lines going back up into the overflows. Also what would the recommended
sump only flow be for such a setup. My LFS claims I should go with a 4000 gph pump just for the sump return!
<Ah, um, no way! These overflows will handle 1800 gph in the best of scenarios. I would look towards an Eheim 1262 to fit the bill here. Near dead silent, lasts forever and will give you 900 gph minus head pressure, plenty of flow through the sump on this system. This will leave you with a quiet pump and quiet overflows and true redundancy.>
He may just be trying to sell me a pump.
<And/or just has no clue.>
I'm getting a constant siphon effect on my Dursos and I'm experimenting with aspirating. Do I just insert a 1/8 " rigid airline tube down through the 1/8 " hole in top of Durso cap?
<Yes, but for lines this size I would drill the hole out a bit larger for a bigger line, 3/16"-1/4" I.D. or so.>
How far down should the end of airline tubing go?
<It will vary, but generally just a few inches. You can just slide it up and down to find the spot that quiets the line, stops all siphoning.>
And should the top of the tubing be several inches above the aquarium?
<Just high enough to always be above the waterline.>
I just couldn't find a definitive answer. Thanks for your help.
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Questions About Plumbing Set Up/Marine Plumbing 11/30/10
Hello WWM,
<Hello Barry>
I don't know what I would do without your website. I've got a 240g acrylic tank/canopy/stand that I bought from someone and then I purchased a 70g sump/refuge/return section to go with it. My questions are:
1. Tank has 2 corner internal overflows with 1.5 in bulkheads and 1 in. return bulkheads. The previous owner has the 1.5 in drain lines meeting underneath tank at a T junction and then he has a 1 in drain line entering the sump.
Should I change this to twin drain lines and make it 1.5 in. all the way into sump (then I would have 2 drain lines entering the filter sock).
<Yes, the one inch T junction severely limits the required flow of your system.>
I'm also getting a lot of large intermittent bubbles in the skimmer chamber from the drain line. How can I eliminate this. Can I drill a hole just above the water line to let air out?
<Move the drain line away from the skimmer intake. The socks should eliminate any bubble problems, may have another problem somewhere else.>
2. I have an Iwaki 40 as my return pump, but it doesn't seem to be able to flow enough gph to make the water level in the DT rise high enough to be midway between the teeth entering the overflows.
<Why is it necessary for the water to be at the mid teeth level, doesn't make any sense.>
What gph pump would you recommend for this setup with the 2, 1.5 in. bulkheads?
<At least 3000gph.>
<Ummm, warning! Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/BulkheadFloRateArt.htm
The two one and a half inch through hulls will NOT accommodate this flow rate... and even lower rates may be problematical should one become occluded. RMF>>
Pump is also quite loud, would you recommend another brand or maybe a submersible pump?
<The 40RLT (822gph) or the 40RLXT (1344gph), whichever you have, is not enough gph for your system.
I'd look at the Reef Flo and the Lifegard Sea Horse line of pumps.>
3. What is the best way to feed the refugium, a tee off of the drain line or return line?
<You stated the refugium is incorporated into the sump so why is it necessary for a separate feed.>
Or should I just buy a dedicated internal pump for it.
4. I have a Ocean Clear canister filter that I'm thinking of running carbon on. What would be the best way to plumb it into the system?
<Be much better off using an inexpensive media reactor fed by a powerhead.
Your sump is plenty large enough to incorporate this. If you must use the Ocean Clear, I'd plumb it into the pump discharge line. With a refugium, I personally would not use the Ocean Clear filter. The micron filter will filter/trap many beneficial critters.>
Thank you so much for all of your help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Plumbing query
Hi Bob,
"<Ummm, warning! Please read here:
Allowing for head loss and the possibility that he may also feed off this pump for his Ocean Clear Canister Filter which would further increase head loss by quite a bit.
<Agreed, but I would refer the querior to Scott's pc. in any length AND point out the likely maximum capacity of each through-put, AND the need for redundancy in capacity. B>
Re Questions About Plumbing Setup/Marine Plumbing 12/1/10

<Hi Barry>
I think I just found out the problem with my lack of pump flow. The return lines are 1 in. under the tank but then when it travels to the top of tank it becomes 3/4 in. dia. then it leads to 3/4 in. loc line flared nozzles.
Should I replace all the return line with 1 in. piping and keep the 3/4 in. loc line return nozzles, or would the 3/4 in. LocLine end pieces still impede flow?
<It shouldn't impede the flow enough to matter as you are feeding the "T" with a one inch line then dividing among two 3/4" lines which is a combined area greater than the one inch feed. What will impede your flow significantly is head loss which is far greater with circulation pumps than it is with pressure pumps. Five feet of one inch pipe with no restrictions such as elbows, valves, etc, reduces your 40-RLXT 1200gph pump down to about 1080gph. The addition of a couple of 90 degree elbows will drop this flow well under 1000gph. I may have mislead you in suggesting a minimum of a 3000gph pump. What I should have mentioned is that this was providing you were going to use a circulation pump rather than a pressure pump as head loss is much higher with these types of pumps. It is recommended to use a gate/ball valve on the pump outlet which will allow you to throttle down the pump if necessary. May want to look here as to flow rates through twin 1 1/2" lines.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BulkheadFloRateArt.htm >
Does LocLine have 1 in. diameter nozzles or should I upgrade to the 1 in. flow accelerator nozzles from Matuzzi? (forgot the name but it sounds Italian:).
<Not familiar with that name if correct.>
Also in reference to feeding the refugium do you think that the water coming into the skimmer compartment is enough flow for the refugium (which is the next chamber) or should I tee from the drain line to refuge also (its 20 gal fuge).
<If what you have is a combo sump/refugium, you should be fine with what you have. Elaborate a little more or send a pic of the set up.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

120 Gallon Plumbing -- 11/01/10
Hi everybody!
<<Hi Brent!>>
Thanks for taking the time to read and answer my questions!!
<<Not a problem'¦>>
I am about to buy a 120 gallon (4'x2'x2') used aquarium. The current owner of the tank told me that the aquarium only has one overflow in the corner of the tank with only one 1.5" drain
<<Can be utilized -- and is at the least "much" better than a single 1" drain, which is all too common>>
that is reduced to 1" because of the Durso standpipe.
<<Hmm, this is generally advised to be reversed (making the diameter of Durso larger than the diameter of drain -- e.g. -- 1.5" Durso on a 1" bulkhead), but still easily rectified by making/purchasing a larger Durso standpipe>>
I would like to drill the tank to add another 2-3 drains on the back wall but he is not sure if the glass is tempered.
<<And a real problem if you can't make that determination>>
I plan to make this a soft coral reef with mostly Sarcophyton and Xenia with 1 or 2 Colt and Cabbage corals.
<<Should make for an interesting display>>
I already have purchased 150lbs of dry rock
<<I want to urge you to not overfill the tank with rock, but rather to leave room for corals to grow/fishes to swim/water to flow'¦>>
and I have a Precision Marine Red Line 150 protein skimmer.
My questions are.... If I cannot drill the tank, would the current 1" drain be sufficient?
<<Can get by, yes (though I would certainly look to increasing the diameter of the standpipe to at least match that of the drain bulkhead) -- with additional water movement added via supplementary powerheads>>
I have a 29 gallon sump and I do not really understand the flow through the sump and all the calculations that go with it, so I was wondering how many gallons an hour should the return pump be rated for?
<<No need to overcomplicate this'¦ Considering the small size of the sump, I would not exceed more than a few hundred gph to simplify plumbing and reduce/alleviate noise, splash, and bubble issues. The reduced drain (1") will give you around 300 gph -- just about right for this size sump. You can increase that to about 750 gph by utilizing the full 1.5" available. I would still not push more than about 300 gph through the sump, but the extra diameter of the drain would give you some "wiggle room" as mulm/bio-film builds within the plumbing>>
Any other comments would be greatly appreciated.
<<Purchase a pump that is a bit larger than you think you will need and install it with a gate-valve plumbed in-line on the output side of the pump. The valve will let you temper flow as needed to maximize the drain capacity without overwhelming it, and conversely, will also allow you to increase flow from the pump to allow for buildup within those plumbing lines as well when the time comes>>
Once again, thanks for your time.
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Drilling/Plumbing an Oceanic 120'¦and a WWM Book on Such? -- 08/28/10 <oh yeah!>
Hey Guys your site is awesome.
<<We (guys and gals) are happy you think so>>
I have read many emails and answers on this subject but still need some specifics.
I am attempting to assemble a fairly high end 120 Gal after the installer at the LFS quit right after most of my equipment was delivered.
<<Mmm, bummer'¦ But if you are a little bit 'handy' and willing to do your research, this can be quite rewarding for you>>
This will ultimately be a high end SPS tank and while money is always a consideration I have already spent around 6K on this project so I want to do it right the first time.
I have a brand new Oceanic 120 (reef ready)
<<So 'they' say'¦ The 1' through puts are lacking re their size--but you can make do>>
and large high flow sump 41"L x 24"W x 30"H. The return pump is a Dart Gold.
<<This is way 'too much' pump (3800gph) for the existing 1' stock gravity drains (600gph-700gph--combined!)>>
After reading on your site about the dangers in undersized drain bulkheads it sounds like I need to drill the drain holes from the existing 1" to 2".
<<Yes'¦ And install a gate-valve on the output side of the pump to temper flow even further as necessary. But, have you even considered the 'noise' that flushing this much water through your system/sump will make? '¦not to mention the plumbing/bubble hassles? It's your system and certainly your call--but I always recommend folks limit flow through their sump to only a few hundred gallons, and utilize the many makes/models of 'prop-pumps' available today for generating water flow within the system. You won't realize much if any initial money savings versus purchasing one over the other (in fact, the prop-pumps will likely cost more to start with), but the savings re reduced plumbing hassles, reduced operating costs, much better water movement, and lower 'piecemeal' replacement costs more than make up the difference, in my opinion>>
Of course this is a very heavy tank and I would prefer not taking it to a glass guy to have it drilled if that can be avoided.
<<You can avoid drilling it altogether, re my previous argument>>
Can I drill this myself?
<<I do think the Oceanic aquariums are 'non-tempered' glass so yes, you can drill it yourself (do check with the manufacturer to be sure before you begin)>>
I have a full shop
<<Hey! Me too!>>
and have been doing DIY stuff for years and am fairly competent.
<<Ah, okay--I feel better about this then. You should need little more than to look up/review the process/steps involved>>
Can you suggest a source for the proper bit?
<<Well my friend, you can spend a whole lot or a whole little here. If you are only going to drill a few holes then the cheap bits suffice quite well in my experience. I find I can get 8-10 holes out of one before it needs to be replaced. Simply do a search on the Net for 'diamond core drill bits,' and let your pocketbook be your guide>>
Assuming I go to a 2 1/4" hole what do I replace the existing plumbing pieces in the overflow with?
<<Not sure I am following you here'¦ If you mean you are drilling the larger holes in 'new ' locations and need to plug the existing drains, then I would silicone a glass 'patch' over the existing drain holes (be sure to use glass of the same thickness as the panel/bottom, and overlap all edges by 1-inch'¦2-inches if there is room>>
Is there room for to enlarge the 1" hole to 2 1/4"?
<<You will have to determine whether the existing overflow boxes are large enough for this (you may bell have to remove and enlarge these), but be sure to keep the edges of any new holes at least 1.5' from the edge of any panel you drill through to reduce the chances of 'cracking to the edge'>>
Should the 3/4 bulkhead return holes be left the same size?
<1' would be better if you stick with the pump you describe and wish to maximize flow'¦but the ¾' returns can 'work'>>
Second question. This tank will eventually be installed in a different location with a basement fish room containing the sump.
<<Ah--I see>>
For now (about a year) they will be installed side by side in the basement.
The top of the sump is above the level of the bottom of the tank. As a result, the drain lines will have to come out of the bottom and then rise up over the sump top before going into the bottom of the sump which is about 18" below the bottom of the tank. Would it be better to drill the side of the sump and install (2) 2" bulkheads to allow the drain lines to feed directly into the sump instead of up and over utilizing the two existing bulkhead holes in the sump top?
<<That depends on your desired flow rate through the sump. The first configuration will limit the flow from the gravity drains--if you wish to 'maximize' capacity then yes, you will need to configure the drain lines so the water will 'fall' the entire route to the sump>>
What is the title and topic(s) of the book that one of you has written on this and related subjects?
<<Uh-oh!--did Bob put you up to this? [grin] He has been after a couple of us to do just that for several years now'¦<<I'll say!>> which of course, we haven't. Your best bet is likely to do Net searches/search the aquarium DIY sites as I don't rightly recall a good 'book' for what you wish, at the moment>>
Thanks in advance!
John C
<<Happy to share, mate--and do let me know if you wish to discuss any of this further'¦ Eric Russell>>

Gyres, Bulkheads and Flow Rates/Marine Set-Up/Marine Plumbing 8/28/10
Hi Guys,
<Hello David>
It is some time since I have been here having set up a 50g five years ago.
We are now in the process of building a new house and I have the opportunity to build a 5ft x 2ft x 2ft in wall tank. Ideally I would like to design a tank that did not require any internal powerheads or pipe work.
<Sounds nice.>
I have been researching the build on WWM and elsewhere and have come upon the idea of gyre flow. However there is a limited amount of information out there and wonder what your feelings are on this?
I am considering using a vertical gyre with a "spine" arrangement of live rock down the midline of the tank. An inlet would be positioned around 12" high and 4" in from the front and back on each end corner of the tank allowing alternation of the gyre direction. Is one inlet per "corner" sufficient?
<Yes, more to follow below.>
My specific questions relate to flow rate, overflow design and outlet bulkhead sizing. Various calculators and sites provide different estimates and figures, theoretical or practical, I don't know.
While the viewable tank length will be 5 ft I can extend it by up to 6" at one end and use the entire width of the tank, 24", as the weir, or up to 4" at both ends and have two 24" weirs and overflow boxes.
The volume of the tank is nominally 150 US gallons.
For my sump, to achieve a turnover of 3x-5x,or 450-750gph what size and how many bulkheads should I use?
<For reef systems, the recommended flow rate should be at least 10X the tank volume and I would size the pump for at least 20-30% more than anticipated to allow for any head loss. If the sump and pump are to be located in the basement, I'd size even higher and use a pressure type pump rather than a circulation type pump. Ball/gate valves can be used to
control the flow rate on each return. I would have the tank constructed with built-in overflows at each rear corner of the tank using 1 1/2" drains, one per overflow box. A 3/4" return line in each corner will provide the necessary flow rate and most tank manufacturers will incorporate the return line inside the overflow box. Seeing as how you want no internal plumbing, I would suggest the use of a rotating return device such as Sea Swirls. Take a look here.
http://premiumaquatics.com/store/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=PA&Category_Code=&Product_Code=SEASWIRL The use of a device like this will
provide flow to all areas of the tank.>
I have been looking at the Calfo overflow setup, any thoughts?
<If it were mine, I'd go with the corner overflows.>
Does the use of a comb significantly reduce the flow rate over the weir?
<No, as long as the total square inch area of the gates in the weir are greater than the inside area of a 1 1/2" PVC pipe.>
I know I should have a turnover rate of 10x+ through each pair of inlets on the closed loop but what flow rate should I aim for at each inlet? i.e. should I balance the flow between them or set one high and the other as a booster to maintain the gyre?
<I'd shoot for equal flow from each return.>
Could I place the outlets for the closed loop in an overflow box? Will I get enough water over the weir fast enough to feed the outlets?
<A closed loop system shouldn't be necessary with rotating return devices and offers a little more peace of mind eliminating possible sources of leaks.>
Should I just use bulkhead sizes to match the inlet size of the pump to be used?
<No, as mentioned above.>
If not the above can you advise?
I apologise for the number of questions. I have researched but the more I look the less consistent the information and would appreciate you input.
<No problem on the questions, is what we are here for.>
Many thanks,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Gyres, Bulkheads and Flow Rates/Marine Set-Up/Marine Plumbing 8/28/10 - 8/29/10
Hi James,
Thanks for the swift reply and the sound advice.
<You're welcome.>
Could you address the use of gyres in a reef tank, whether it is a useful approach and the best way to implement it. I have seen Bob advise it in a few posts but there is little information out there describing its practical application in a tank.
<I have no experience whatsoever with gyres so I cannot comment. There is some information on it in this article, scroll down a bit.
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>

First Time Go/Marine Plumbing 8/22/10
hello and thanks in advance for your help.
<Hello, and you're welcome.>
Now to the point, I have a 150 gallon AGA bowfront with dual 1 inch Durso overflows and returns. It also has a glass holes.com 2000 gph overflow between the Dursos, in the bottom of the tank there are two 1.5 inch bulkheads where the last owner had returns cross- plumbed via dual 1inch SCWD's hooked to a Reeflo hammerhead feeding off a 75 gallon DSB/refugium/sump. my question is, is this all really too much flow for a coral tank? the lighting setup I think is ok 3 250 hm 410k pc. I just picked this up as a deal and everything was and is still watertight. and want to make sure I'm not getting in over my head. Thanks a ton
<Total flow rates in reef systems should be at least 10X the tank volume, which in your case would be 1500+ gph. Flow rates can be easily controlled by placing a gate valve at the pump outlet if one is not present already. If this system worked
well for the previous owner, you may want to follow suit. It may be helpful for you to read here and related articles found in the header.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re Lighting Question/Reef Lighting/Selection/Now Plumbing 12/20/09
Two more quick questions. I hope I am not bothersome, I just really respect your guys opinions and want to do this tank right.
<Not a problem.>
I was planning on using two 1 1/4 " dorso <Durso> standpipes draining through 1" bulkheads to feed my sump and then I am going to return the water with two Rio Hyper flow 32HF (I will use separate small pumps to feed my skimmer, UV, two canister filters (for Rowa phos and carbon) and refugium). I am going to split each pumps water into four 3/4" bulkheads (8 total) that will feed the show tank with loc line. I also plan on using two SCWD (one for each pump) to create a wave environment. My questions are: Is this going to be enough flow in the show tank (8'x 21"x19"deep) for SPS, LPs, Clams, and Softies (assuming that I get about 1500 GPH from each pump at about 5 ft)?
<You will be lucky to get that at 4 feet and providing there are no restrictions such as tees, elbows, etc.>
And, will I need another drain into the sump or will the two standpipes be enough?
<The flow rate through two 1" bulkheads is about 700gph at best, do the math here regarding your pumps. Two 1- 1/2" bulkheads will give you close to 1950gph total flow to the sump, somewhere more akin to your needs.
Splitting each pumps water flow into four port tee assemblies will also lower your total gph. Time to read here.
And here
Do read related FAQ's and articles in the headers. You will find FAQ's very helpful.>
Thank You for Your Time,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Ryan Lundstrom

Water Movement/Plumbing 11/3/09
Good afternoon crew,
<Hello Chris>
I am in the planning process of upgrading my aquarium filtration and have a question or two for you. I will be removing all my hang on back filters and skimmer from my 29 gallon aquarium and installing one hang on back style overflow in order to install a sump where I can grow some macro algea <algae>. I have been researching and am leaning toward the CPR brand of overflow which has the C-style tube as opposed to the J-style. My question is regarding what flow rate I should use. I would like to get the over flow rated for 600 or 800 gph. The 600 is 20x the aquarium volume but I really want the water to be moving and not let anything settle which is a problem I have right now which is why the 800 wouldn't be too bad. I'm planning on using the return set up diagrammed by your very own Anthony Calfo
<No longer with the crew.>
with the returns bordering the top of the aquarium by piping. One adjustment I would like to make is that I want to extend two lines to the bottom of the tank to ensure that there is plenty of movement along the bottom of the aquarium.
<It will not be necessary in your 29, you will have plenty of movement, and doing this will require extra plumbing to prevent siphoning of the tank should a power outage occur.>
I will try and attach a diagram of what I want to do to make sure its understood. My main concern is regarding return flow and head pressure. I read in one of the FAQs that every junction in the return tubing is like adding 1' of head pressure. Does that mean that for every bend or branch in my water return I need to add that much more to how much my pump can handle? For example: If I went with the 800 gph overflow, would the Mag Drive 9.5 which is rated a 800 gph at 4' head pressure be extremely underpowered for my return designs when the top of my aquarium is 4' from the floor?
<Should be fine if you eliminate the unnecessary lines to the bottom of the aquarium.>
Thanks for all your help and I hope this was understandable.
<These type overflows work best when the pumps actual flow rate is closely matched to the rated gph of the overflow. In your case I would go with the 600 overflow and use the Mag Drive 9.5. This should be a real close match up. Is better to have a too much pump as you can always throttle it down by incorporating a gate/ball valve at the output of the pump. Using undersized pumps with these type overflows can cause bubble build up much faster in the top of the "C" tube.
James (Salty Dog)>

Oceanic Reef Ready Bow Front/Plumbing 9/20/09
<Hi Julie>
I've had numerous salt & fresh water set ups over the past 2 decades and was recently given a 72 gallon Oceanic Set up that's set with the over flow in the corner so it can be plumbed from the bottom. This is the first tank we've had to be a bottom plumbed tank and I was wondering what you'd suggest for a filtration system.
<Most folks will use a wet/dry or sump for this application. It offers excellent air/gas exchange and a convenient place for the heater and filtration aids such as a protein skimmer.>
W/out looking at the tank I want to say one bulk head is a 2" and the other 1 1/2". It will be a fish only system w/live rock only for hiding places.
<Your system likely has a 1" bulkhead for the drain and a 1" for the return. PVC pipe sizes are dictated by the I.D. Example, a 1/2" for the return 1/2" in diameter on the inside, and about 7/8" on the outside. A 1" pipe will measure 1 3/8" on the O.D. Do read here and linked files above for additional plumbing info.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Oceanic Reef Ready Bowfront/Plumbing
Hi Bob,
I noticed a typo on my part...<Your system likely has a 1" bulkhead for the drain and a 1" for the return. PVC pipe sizes are dictated by the I.D.
Example, a 1/2" PVC pipe will measure...
Should have read 1/2" for the return.
Watching too damn many Tarzan movies lately, distracting.
<Will try to find, amend... B>

Coral Beauty Behavior/New Plumbing -- 07/27/09
Hi Eric,
<<Hello Wayne>>
I wouldn't say this is a new behaviour. It was doing this before the removal of the clowns; it started doing this a few days after it was moved from quarantine to the display (about 3 weeks now) although I think it has been getting more frequent in the last week.
<<Mmm, I see'¦ It's hard to say what may be the issue. This fish often does not fare well from collection/travel stresses'¦but can be quite hardy if/when a healthy specimen is obtained, and once it is well acclimated. If the system is healthy (e.g. -- good water quality, adequate water flow, adequate structure for hiding/resting places) I don't think there's much to be done. I suggest waiting to see how it behaves once more fishes are introduced>>
My wife has generously allowed me a budget and some time to re-plumb the system and fix everything up to make me happy so that I'll stop tinkering with the plumbing and being a generally grumpy person on the weekend because I feel like things aren't quite right.
<<Ah'¦but to be a reef hobbyists is to tinker'¦isn't it?>>
I'll be moving the sump to the basement and passing the overflow and return lines through the floor. This means I'll be able to add a better protein skimmer and new pump to handle the extra head.
I'm looking at either a Danner Mag Drive 1800 Supreme or a Poseidon PS4 for the pump and perhaps a Vertex IN-180, AquaC EV-120 or one of the Pacific Coast Needle Wheel skimmers (the 350 I think it was).
<<I would be inclined to stick with one of the first two listed here>>
I am a bit hesitant with the Pacific Coast skimmer as I am having a hard time finding reviews for these.
I would consider the MRC MR-1 but I cannot get one in my area and it seems most of the online suppliers either will not ship to Canada or the additional costs are unreasonable. The Danner pump seems a little more favourable since it would mean a few less plumbing connections and it sounds like the Poseidon may raise my water temperature a fair bit.
<<Valid concerns'¦the Mag Drive/most any pump will add some heat to the system>>
I'd hate to buy a $300 pump only to end up needing to buy a chiller as well! Do you have any comments on the pumps or skimmers?
<<I prefer a submersible pump for most applications; where you can get one big enough to do the job, for their ease of installation and generally quieter operation. Eheim is my first choice for quality/dependability, but sizes are very limited. The Mag Drive should do fine'¦ And though maybe not the most reliable pump (consider having a spare return pump on hand), they are usually 'good enough''¦and'¦do surprisingly well with head --pressure. I have a Mag Drive 1200 (1200gph) that will outperform at height the supposedly better made Ocean Runner 6500 (1700gph)>>
Besides the obvious check valves and ball valves, are there any suggestions you would make for plumbing a basement sump?
<<The only real difference between this and one under your cabinet is the length of the plumbing run (and easier access!). Primary consideration will be sizing the pump correctly. Go a little bigger than you think you need'¦and plumb a gate-vale on the output side of the pump to temper flow as/if needed>>
I am considering using TigerFlex PVC hose for the overflow drain lines to cut down on resistance from elbows etc and to make plumbing easier. Standard PVC for the return line
<<I would use the flex-PVC going 'both' directions (to and from)'¦for the reasons you state>>
and likely a 3 chamber sump for in/out/refugium although I have been thinking about just using something like a stock tank as well.
<<Go for simplicity'¦and the largest volume you can accommodate>>
Thanks for your continued input.
<<Always welcome'¦ Eric Russell>>

Crazy Plumbing question: It could work, but I hope nothing ever fails in the system. 7/15/2009
<Hi Mike.>
Alrighty, bare with me, as this may be a bit confusing to type, probably even more so for those of you reading...lol.
<I will confess it took me a bit to visualize.>
I'm setting up a 200 gallon Marineland Deep dimension, dual corner overflow, with Starphire front glass.
In talking with the owner of the LFS where I purchased this tank, and then another hobbyist who recently set up this same tank, we came up with an idea, that seems crazy, at first...but more feasible, the more I think about it.
The overflows come with Marineland Dursos and returns, 1 Durso and 1 return for each overflow. The overflows also have a removable "plate," at the front, that has a "grill" cut into the bottom of it, and a grill cut into the top. The top grill works as the overflow preskimmer. The bottom grill has no purpose that I can see, as the are no holes behind it......yet!!!
Oh boy, I can see this is going to require pictures.
Here's a picture of the overflow, front plate installed.
Front plate removed and plumbing setting in place.
Front plate.
<Ahh.... that is to pull some of the water from the lower part of the tank into the overflow.>
So, here's our thoughts, yes, Barbie's included in this possibly insane idea!!!
One of the overflows will serve as a typical overflow, as designed, draining to a sump/refugium and then returning.
The other overflow will be modified and used as a closed loop feed. Here's the plan:
<In the beginning, there was a plan....>
Remove the plate and drill 2X 1"-1 1/4" holes in the overflow, in about the area of the lower "grills."
<3 to 4 inches from the bottom of the tank.>
The removable plate will be reinstalled over these holes. These new holes will then be plumbed to the bulkheads, using spa flex. PVC would be used from the bottom of the bulkheads onward... This will give me 2X1" lines, draining out the bottom of that overflow.
These 2X1" lines would be combined, using a Y, into a single 1 1/2" line, which would feed a large pump, like a Dolphin 3000/4000.
<Would use a 2" line>
The output of the pump would be 1 1/2" or 2". The output would be split into either 2 or 4 return lines, which would return over the back. My first thought, is 4 return lines, 2 feeding 3/4" SeaSwirls and 2 feeding 3/4" LocLine with penductors. Each return line would be plumbed with a ball valve, to fine tune flow.
<So you are talking about a true closed loop, nothing but recirculating water.>
Ball valves would also be plumbed before and after the pump. I wouldn't even need the spa-flex, if I just stubbed 1" PVC a couple of inches out of each bulkhead and screened the ends off. This would enable all of the water in that overflow to be turned over quickly. It would also enable me to cut more, or larger holes, behind that cover plate.
<Larger holes will not gain you anything. No matter how many or how big the holes are, all the water still has to go through 2 x 1" I.D. holes.>
This would give me one overflow that's plumbed to the sump/fuge and the second overflow being modified for the closed loop.
My original concern was that the 2X1" lines would limit me to only about 1200 GPH of flow. Then it was brought to my attention that the 600GPH per hole, represents gravity flow, NOT flow forced by the large pump.
<A common misconception. 300 gph is closer to reality for gravity flow.
600GPH in a 1" is a best case, with all of the stars and planets in their proper alignment and you have complete siphon,
<That said, in this circumstance, with a pump 'pulling' and the weight of the water above the drains 'pushing' you should certainly get 600 GPH, perhaps more. I certainly would not try this with anything less that schedule 80 PVC just from the standpoint of pure safety, in this type of setup, a failure anywhere in the loop could cause a disaster..>
Soooo, does any of this make any sense at all??
<It does,>
A devoted reader and fan,

Re: Crazy Plumbing question: 7/17/2009
<Hi Michael.>
Thank you for such a quick response and your comments and advice!! Now I'm back with a slight change....uh oh...
<Hehehe, no problem.>
I would still drill two 1" holes in the overflow, under the removable cover. Instead of plumbing these holes to the bulkheads, I would just leave them covered with the "grill" of the removable cover. Inside the overflow, I would stub 1" PVC pipe out of each bulkhead, just an inch or so. This would allow water from the display AND from the overflow to supply the pump.
<Fair enough, the flow rates will be about the same though.>
If I'm reading your response correctly, no matter what I do, short of drilling larger holes in the glass (which I will not be doing), the most I'll be able to get out of the pump, no matter what pump I use, will be approximately 1200 gph?
<Perhaps slightly more, due to pressure, but certainly no more than 1500gph.>
If this is the case, I may scrap the idea and go with internal powerheads, leaving both corner overflows for their intended use.
<Whichever you decide, do let us know.>
Thanks again,
<My pleasure.>

Marine plumbing, its a nightmare!! 6/17/09
Hi guys and gals, first I just want to say how great this site is. I found this place when I first started out keeping fish, it's been a great help:)
<Thank you, great to hear!>
I currently have 4 tanks, 2 tropical and 2 marine (I'm attempting to merge the marine tanks into one). I'm having a pig of a week what with the general crap going on in the world, cut-backs at work and to top it off I was greeted home Monday by Whitespot in my Reef setup.
<Uh oh.>
I'm taking your advice Bob after reading through many posts on the site and going fallow (lots of fun... i don't think!). Anyway, that's not what this is about, my real problem is the plumbing on my new tank. This is the first time I've attempted to build my own tank and even after reading your many listings on the subject for months now I still get a headache just thinking about it. I thought I'd done the hardest part of the job just drilling the glass... was I wrong or what!?
<Drilling is intimidating, but fairly easy.>
Anyway, to the point, I've got one 1 1/2" drain pipe which tee's under the main tank and goes to my holding tank and sump (ball valves are fitted either side of the tee in order to control the flow). My holding tank has two 3/4" pipes that drop down into the sump where I have a Rio pump supposedly pushing 3500Lph back to the tank (I plan on replacing this shortly:)) also through 3/4" (the pump is recommended at a maximum head of 3meters.) I'm having loads of trouble trying to quiet down the drain pipe, I've tried just about everything I can think of and all the fixes I can find both on your site and the web in general (the only thing I haven't tried is the Durso fix because of the lack of space in the weir and I think it would just empty the weir quicker than new water could fall back into its place).
If anyone could give me any info it'd be much appreciated, have I simply got this completely wrong and it'll never work in which case do I have to go back to the drawing board?
<Two things come to mind. First, if you have just a straight pipe in the overflow you are going to have noise. You do need to fabricate some sort of "standpipe", whether it be Durso, Stockman or a creation of your own. With just an open pipe you will keep getting gurgling and sucking noises. The other thing to look at is the valves on the drain line. Any restriction at all drastically reduces the flow capacity, even if you have two outlets such as this you may not be getting what a 1.5" line can actually flow.
This too can lead to quite a bit of noise.>
Cheers in advance, Dave (UK)
<Hope this helps you troubleshoot this, Scott V.>
Diagram included:
Main tank 72"x24"x24"
Sump 43"x15"(h)x12"(w)
Holding tank 12"x12"x24"
Weir 10"x20"x 21"/22" split in half (drain and return)

System Setup, Plumbing, Pumps 5/21/09
Hello, WWM Crew!
<Hello Dan.>
After bidding a sad farewell to my 50-gallon all-in-one system last year (moved 1500 miles away), I'm returning to the hobby now.
I've just ordered a 135-gallon tank with a 38-gallon sump. The main tank has two 1.5" overflow drains and two 1" returns drilled. I'm planning a reef tank.
<Sounds good so far.>
So here's the question: do you recommend a single 1500 GPH return pump that returns to both 1" holes, or two smaller units?
<One smaller unit.>
I can imagine some pros and cons of each: for the one pump: simpler (except have to split the plumbing to go back to two holes), maybe quieter (?). For the two pumps: don't need to split the plumbing, and if one fails the other one keeps going so you don't have a period of zero water flow.
<Tis an advantage.>
Your thoughts? Your recommendation for brand/model of pump(s)?
<For this setup I would look into either the Eheim 1262 or OceanRunner 3500. Neither will provide 1500 gph, but you really do not want this. Two 1.5" bulkheads can flow 1500, but it leaves no redundancy. I would keep your flow to 700-750 or so, leaving a 100% redundancy in overflow capacity should any clog occur. It will in time.>
Thanks so much!
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Plumbing a 95 Gal FOWLR -- 05/04/09
I am planning the setup of a 95 gallon FOWLR tank (36"x24"x24").
<<Nice dimensions>>
I will order the tank with two vertical overflows, but I am not sure if I should go with 1.5" holes at 750gph or 2" holes at 1200gph.
<<It depends on your plans/plumbing'¦ The 1.5' will probably suffice, but having the extra capacity of the 2' available when/if need is always nice>>
Is 2" overkill?
<<No'¦ Especially when it comes to easing plumbing noise issues>>
Also, if I install a closed-loop manifold, does this change the answer?
<<Not really'¦ More detail on your plumbing plans (pumps, desired flow, etc.) would have helped here, but based on the size of the tank I'm guessing a 1.5' drain will provide ample feed to the pump you'll be using for the closed-loop. And the other 1.5' drain will process enough water (and likely more than you will want to deal with noise-wise) through the sump. But like I said, going with 2' drains will provide a bit more leeway in either direction 'is up to you>>
Thanks, as usual.
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Re: Plumbing a 95 Gal FOWLR -- 05/05/09
Thanks Eric and crew.
<<Quite welcome>>
Now more details on plumbing plans for your review:
* Main Display: The 95 gal. glass tank will have two sets of overflows, each overflow drilled for a 2" drain to sump/fug and 1.5" return to tank.
* Sump & Refugium: I have a custom made acrylic sump/refugium that is 30 gallons total (really 20 gallons with water and 10 gallons in case of tank backflow).
<<Do test that this will be adequate 'it is not unusual for the reverse (10g running capacity and 20g 'empty' volume to catch all the transient water volume)>>
The sump is split down the middle (long ways) with one side for the refugium and the other side with a skimmer section (AquaC Urchin with Mag Drive 3),
<<A good skimmer, but marginal in size for the system 'in my opinion (I would have gone a size larger). This doesn't mean it won't work out fine 'time will tell>>
baffle section and return area (using a Mag Drive 9.5). The refugium section overflows in to the return area.
<<Sounds good>>
* Goal: My goal is to incorporate a closed-loop manifold and accomplish a total turnover of about 1500 gph (15x), as well as capitalize on the redundancy of the overflows which can handle 1200 gph each. So now the big question: How to do it?
<<'¦? Here and among the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cllooppbfaqs.htm >>
* Drains: After reading a ton of strings on WWM, it seems I should bring both 2" drains down to the sump and tee each of them off with a ball or gate valve to adjust flow to the refugium to about 10x.
<<Mmm, no'¦ If you are planning a closed-loop, you will need to plumb one of these drains directly to the pump used for the closed-loop. Remember, as the name implies, there is no 'open' portion of the loop such as the sump/refugium. Utilizing a 1500gph pump to pull water from the sump and return it to the tank via a manifold is simply just that 'a 'return manifold''¦and in a 30g sump will present a whole host of problems re bubbles and noise, I assure you>>
That way the 'fuge gets a dose of raw water from the display, with the balance of the water going into the sump for skimming. What am I missing?
<<As just explained>>
Is there a better way to accomplish this?
<<Indeed...if you really want a true closed-loop. The refugium can be fed via a 'tee' off the one overflow that will be servicing the Mag 9.5 return pump>>
* Returns: I am honestly confused by all the info I have read about plumbing back to the display when you have dual overflows and what to include an over the top closed-loop manifold. I ended up my reading with the thought that I need two submersible pumps (maybe Eheim 1262s based on 5' head pressure) going from the return section of the sump - one used solely for the manifold system (which will have 3/4" PVC framing and five 1/2" outlets with loc-line)
<<Do consider that you need about 300-350 gph of flow after head-loss and 'per ½' nozzle' to achieve good flow>>
and the other to the 1.5" overflow return lines using a tee. This would make a total of three pumps in my sump, which may get crowded.
<<Yes'¦ Not to mention the noise such flow through a 30g sump would cause. And again, what you propose is not a true closed-loop'¦but a simple return manifold>>
I would then want to install dedicated GFCI outlets to power each pump. I have read about using an external pump like the Reeflo Snapper or Dart to power the returns, but I have never used external pumps and would have to drill the acrylic sump (which I would like to avoid unless it is the best way to go).
<<The external pump is the best way to go for the 'closed-loop''¦yes>>
I guess the plumbing with the external pump would be similar? What is best option to accomplish the turnover I am looking for?
<<I prefer Tunze Stream pumps (or similar) for flow within the tank'¦and I hear many folks like the Koralia pumps as a cheaper solution>>
As always, thanks for your time and sharing of knowledge.
<<Quite welcome'¦ Do consider my statements'¦and read up on the closed-loop to gain a better understanding re'¦and then write back and let's chat about all this further. Regards, Eric Russell>>

Plumbing and RDP [Bob F, Scott V] 4/13/09
Hey Bob, Scott V, crew! Happy Easter to all!
<Hello Jeremiah, happy day after to you! Scott V. today.>
I hope this finds everyone in "hoppy" spirits hehe!
<It does, thanks.>
I have two really quick questions... I am setting up a 75 gallon reef that I have received tons of great info on thanks to Scott...thank you Scott!
<Happy to help.>
I'm having 3 holes drilled in the back wall. Two to accommodate my GlassHoles overflow box and the other to accommodate a possible CL. The purported closed loop hole is not very deep in the tank, slightly under the other 2. So that the tank won't have to be drained to the hole level with future plumbing installation I have come up with an idea I'd like your input on. I will be using flex pvc for all plumbing but in this case I thought that out of the bulkhead I will plumb a hard pvc line long enough to put a valve on. The end of this line would have threads so that I could adhere some kind of threaded cap/plug on the end with a little silicone until the rest of the plumbing is intact.
<Sounds good.>
That way if the valve slowly seeped the cap would definitely stop all else. Also, whenever I decided to finish the plumbing, ideally I would keep the valve shut off, undo/unthread the cap, install the rest of the flex pvc to wherever it is going, allow enough cure time, then open the valve and let the flow proceed. If I works out, it'd allow me to finish the plumbing without draining the tank at all. Do you see any problems or hidden obstacles?
My hopes are that this arrangement would be leak/drip free. It could be a year or two before anymore action was taken on this hole. I wasn't sure because it seems too easy! Will there be a trade off or sacrifice installing this way?
<Just a bit extra work, but no issues.>
Ok, on to my next question. Other than my 75 gallon display, I will be running a 55 gallon "display" refugium slightly lower and to the side, and a 55 gallon sump underneath. The sump will house a skimmer, return pump, heater, and a few stray pieces of live rock. It will sectioned off in 2 sections, skimmer and return. Since the fuge will be its own display, I'd like to have its lights on the same time frame as the 75 reef. I was shooting for the benefits of RDP, and was wondering if I could light the sump and use it for the reverse photoperiod, still getting the same benefits as if I were to use the fuge?!?
<Not without a macroalgae growing in the sump.>
Would there be something "alive" I would need to put in there to reap the benefits?
I didn't know if the reduction of PH fluctuations was just from lit water...heeee!?
<It is not.>
Ok.. to change the subject for a sec, there was a disagreement, slight difference of opinions so to speak, between Bob and James "salty dog" back in January regarding ground fault devices.
<And again recently!>
I'd like to give my "2 cents" [I hear my wife saying uh-oh], I am an Electrician by trade and I must side with Bob...[no not kissing rear] they are called GFCI, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter! It was also said that any Elektrishun would use the term GFIC....uh naw, down here in KY we call em' GFI's!
<Well, I do agree. The President could pass an executive decree that they are to be called 'Elephant Outlets' from now on and it would still be GFCI to me. But it is all a label here, still the same essential safety item.>
If this is Scott, can you pass this along!
<For sure.>
Oh yea Scott, Mike was great, the tank company lost the first drill bit and template he sent them so he mailed them another one no sweat. He has indeed been as helpful as you!
<Hmmmm, lets not let him hear this! ;-P)
I am waiting on the tank to be finished now so I can get that overflow box shipped out! Oh yeah, by the way, GOATS ARE COOL.
Thanks for all you guys [gals] do and for the wonderful site!
<Welcome and thank you, have fun with this new system.>

Re: Plumbing and RDP [Bob F, Scott V] 4/14/09
Scott, thanks once again!
<Welcome Jeremiah.>
I was hoping my plan would be as cut and dry as it sounded, assuming the valve wont reduce flow noticeably!
<Not that much with it completely open.>
I also agree with the elephant outlet comment, they are a necessity.
<They are indeed.>
I'm figuring out all my wiring on them within the stand now while I am waiting on the tank! A couple follow up questions if I may... If I don't decide to grow any Chaeto, etc in the sump [which I guess wouldn't be that difficult] and stick with the fuge for macro, how long could I let the light cycle overlap [fuge lit longest] before things start to go haywire?
<Quite a while. Chaeto is supposed to get a resting period, but I have seen it illuminated 24/7 successfully too.>
For that matter I thought of 8am thru 10pm or 9am thru 11pm on the display. Didn't know if 14 hour cycles would hurt.
<I would go for 12 here. With 14 you may notice your corals looking tired and droopy towards the end of the day.>
Then for the fuge maybe 6pm to 9 or 10am. I have no clue to what is "the norm" or even "do"able?!
<There is quite some variance, leeway here. But for the display I personally would stick with 12.>
What are your thoughts on this? Worse case scenario I plan for a vegetable filter in the sump.
<Not a bad idea, maybe an algal turf scrubber. See: http://wetwebmedia.com/algaeFilt.htm>
Hey off subject, not sure if you recall our previous exchanges but I had talked about going with the Tunze nanos for powerheads and you "approved." My question is, do you feel there is a different brand/model that would be more efficient/applicable for price, heat, and performance? Any good swivel heads?
<Personally I like the AlgaeFree MaxiJet mod.s too, but the Tunzes are always top notch.>
I'll be sure to send some pics by of the 3 sided Starphire beast once things settle!
<Oh yes!>
I couldn't begin to explain how anxious I am!!!! It goes without saying but, thanks man, for real! Until next time!
<Welcome, talk soon, Scott V.>

Re: Plumbing and RDP 4/15/09
Thanks man! I'll play a little bit with the fuge lights to find a sweet spot but the display will be on 12s!
<Welcome, sounds good.>
I'm the only one that's supposed to come home tired and droopy ; ]. I must apologize, I forgot to ask one question in conjunction with CL plan, and one totally off topic and my OCD wont let me not ask them haha!
With knowing what will be on the outside of the tank with the "CL" hole {dark tunnel that ends abruptly :]} what would you do about the inside, a bulkhead strainer of some sort, plug, wide open, etc?
<Generally just a bulkhead strainer.>
Maybe something I could get at GH's before Mike sends my box?
<I will CC him, if it has not he'll toss one in.>
Ok, for my fuge I plan on drilling myself, bulkhead size 1.5". What would be an optimal way for pod transport? The drain [or both] is going to be fed directly to the return section in the sump and I want as many as those guys to go on the display tank vacation as possible. Got to love road trips right hehe. Should I just leave the bulkhead open?
<Yes, just leave it open to drain right in.>
Maybe some sort of pvc elbow, how bout a remote controlled vacuum robot that follows my every command? Whoa sorry! Again maybe something on your site? How would you do it Scott V?
<No fancy plumbing parts needed. Just have the refugium drain into you return section in the sump.>
Thanks, Sorry! All in one! You guys still rock! ~Insert cheap flattering chat here~ HAHA
<LOL. Welcome and thank you again!>

Reef/ sump plumbing and Stocking question 12/2/08 Hello all, <Hello Randy.> I have a few plumbing and stocking questions. First the plumbing questions. I am setting up a 72 bow reef with a 30 gallon (36") custom sump below. The sump will contain a twin sump inlet assembly with 1-300 micron bag, 1 -ASM G3 skimmer, 4 over/under baffles and then a 10x12x13 return pump area. I will be drilling the tank and adding www.glass-holes.com's in tank overflow kit. With the sump there should be aprox 90 gallons of water(80 with rock added-guessing??). I will be adding a 3/4"SCWD on the return for varied output flow. And there will be a Hydro Koralia #3 in tank powerhead. Is the Mag return w/SCWD and 1 Koralia going to be enough flow? Should I add a second Koralia #3? <I would, you will not have too much through the return with the Mag and the SCWD combined. You will have a more balanced flow with the extra powerhead.> I know there is no such thing as too much flow (within reason). <The application of the flow is just as important. Random, not laminar.> With this said, should I go with 2- 1" lines into my sump or 2- 1.5" lines into the sump? <Definitely the 1.5" lines, you do not want to restrict the overflow drains.> If I go with the 2 1.5" lines and the 3/4 "Y" setup on the SCWD which MAG pump do you recommend? The MAG7.5 or 9.5?? <The larger will still leave you redundancy in the overflow once head and plumbing are accounted for. I would go for the 9.5.> I would like to get it matched as close as possible. I have heard that using a partially closed valve on the return side (or any side) can cause potential blockage over time as debris accumulates. <If you are referring to the overflow, do not restrict at all! As for the pump, you can restrict the output if need be, you will not need to here.> If I use the 2- 1.5" feeds, should I step up to 1" returns from the MAG to the SCWD(I believe that both devices have 3/4" male NPT fittings), and then 3/4" from the SCWD to the tank. <Little to nothing to gain over the ¾" for the run it will have.> I am thinking about drilling the returns and using bulkheads, what is your thoughts on this? Any issues, advise? <You can IF you have sufficient transit volume in the sump, the amount of water that will drain or siphon into the sump when the return pump is off. Otherwise, just plumbing it over the top to a length of LocLine allows you to place the return just below the water's surface, minimizing this volume.> Also, is the ASM G3 skimmer to big for only the 80 gallons of water? <No, a fine size for this system.> Will it over skim? <I'm not a believer within reason.> Should I put it on a time, for how long? I had it on my 120 and loved it for skimmate collection. <Just let it run and collect nasties.> Now for the stocking. Can you tell me the best tang for a disease free reef tank? I am leaning toward either a purple or a yellow eye/Kole?? Do you think that these fish will work together? <I would stick with just the Ctenochaetus strigosus in this size tank.> I know I'm at max. Currently have-1 yellow watchman, 1 Ocelers. clown, 2 yellow tail damsels---Would like to add, a ick resistant tang, 1 midas blenny (will he work with the watchman?), <Chances are good they will clash.> 2 neon gobies, 1 royal gramma, 1 flasher or fairy wrasse, 1 six line wrasse, <Be aware these can be bullies and put any shrimp in your tank at risk.> and possibly a pair of Banggai cardinal fish. Do you have a preferred flasher or fairy wrasse that is recommended for price, availability, and beauty? <Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis in my book. Do be sure to cover the tank for any of these wrasses, they are jumpers.> Thanks for your time and devotion to our hobby, Randy <Welcome and thank you, Scott V.>

Tank plumbing/ water flow 10/22/08 Good evening all at WetWebMedia, I'm writing to ask a few questions before I under take a large tank re-plumbing job on my 75g. mixed reef tank. <Okay, good evening to you too.> I have been experiencing a fairly bad case of BGA and need to fix some flaws in my setup to hopefully eliminate it or at least keep it under control. I'm looking for some advice to avoid mistakes I have found that come quite easily and frequently in the aquarium school of hard knocks. First some background of my system, obviously I have a 75g. tank with a 20g. sump and an Iwaki MD55RLT return pump that is piped to a manifold loop at the top of the tank with 6 nozzles. I'm guessing flow is about 800gph with head loss @ 4 feet, draining through 2 1-1/2 drains drilled at the top of the tank. <Realistic estimation.> The drains consist of 90* fittings plumbed through bulkheads with tee's on the outside of the tank. These are plumbed down to the sump where I have a PM Bullet1 skimmer running off a Mag 9.5 in-sump pump. The water then exits the skimmer and returns to the tank. This setup is noisy to say the least and I find the TV getting turned up louder and louder because of it. <Not fun!> This besides the BGA, is the main reason for doing what I'm about to propose. Also the amount of water flowing between the tank and sump means a huge amount of evaporation not to mention high humidity in the house, which is not good here in the northern climates in the winter. I probably have to top off 1-1/2 to 2 gallons a day. <This really will not change much with the changes you are making.> Now for the advice, my plan is to eliminate 1 of the drains and plumb it directly to the Iwaki pump as a dedicated recirculation loop back up to the manifold for maximum flow in the tank and avoiding 800 gph through the sump. I want to replace the return pump with a Mag 5 piped external to the sump. This should return about 250 - 300gph to the tank and I assume should be quieter while having tons of flow with the recirc. loop. Is this enough turnover through the sump for the skimmer, or will I need more through the sump and skimmer. <It will be fine.> I may replace the skimmer because I haven't been satisfied with its performance poss. with an Aqua C EV120 but I have heard they can be noisy. do you have any experience with these ? <Hmm, yes. They do of course aspirate air, there is some noise. I find the pump used to drive the skimmer being the larger noise factor than the skimmer itself.> I know they are great skimmers but back to the noise issue. This will probably be done at a later time anyways. <Do also look at the EuroReef line, a bit quieter IMO.> The tank is full of residents and they will all have to be removed for this and I will be rearranging the live rock in the tank at the same time. They consist of 1 each; Coral Beauty Royal Gramma Tomato Clown Exquisite Wrasse a small Naso that will be finding a new home when he gets much bigger a couple of Convict Blennies a Toadstool Leather a Frogspawn a couple of Colt Corals and a small Xenia These will be removed and segregated in buckets and plastic tubs while this is re-piped and rearranged. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. does my re-piping plan look sound? <Yes, though you will lose the redundancy of two throughputs for your overflow. You could keep both drains and just drill a new hole for the closed loop.> Will 250 gph through the sump be enough turn over? <Yes.> Is 2000gph through the recirc. loop overkill? <Not if tweaked, properly implemented. A ball valve on the output of the pump will allow you to throttle back a bit if needed.> How long should the PVC cement cure before I refill the tank and put the livestock back in? <Technically 24 hrs.> Also as a side note I am also looking into some sort of refugium like a hang on for the tank for macro algae production against my BGA problem, Is there any certain size you would recommend for a 75g. tank? <No, just the bigger the better.> Thank you so much in advance, you fine folks at WWM have helped me keep many fine things alive a lot linger than they would have without you. I really appreciate all you do for me, everyone else, and the hobby in general, thank you! John P. <Thank you John. I do wonder, what in particular is so noisy in your setup? What you propose should be quieter, but what you currently have may just need a bit of tweaking to quiet down. How is your overflow setup, do the drain lines go into the water in the sump, are they aspirated? Is it a flushing noise you are hearing? Write back with some details about what/where the noise is, we may be able to save you quite a bit of work. Scott V.>

Re: Tank plumbing/ water flow 10/23/08 Hello Scott, here are some answerers to your questions. The noise may or may not be able to be reduced. I do accept that there is going to be a certain amount of noise with an aquarium no matter what it consists of. <Of course.> The drains consist of 90* fittings piped as overflows through the back of the tank about 2" from the top. These are piped through bulkheads into tee's on the vertical with a bushing and small piece (4") of 1" PVC and a vented cap. The noise I'm talking about is just the gurgling noise and the sound of the water falling the 2'-3' down to the sump. One of the pipes goes right out the back of the tank straight down to a 90* fitting into a bulkhead into the sump. Inside the sump I have vertical tee's to allow some entrained air escape to help prevent micro bubbles. The other drain is the same except that this side drops down about 16" and 90's over towards the sump and down another foot or so into the sump. I have done a decent job with splashing in the sump with a micron bag to deaden the sound. The problem noise is just the water draining, traveling and falling in the pipes. I have tried to insulate the pipes with commercial thick insulation like you would have on your air conditioning piping. It didn't help much and looked terrible. <Been there, done that! A losing battle.> I am not experiencing the sucking/ siphoning that many have from trying to put too much water down the drain. <The rundown of my previous questions.> As far as loosing the redundancy I'm not too concerned about that because I would be going from 800gph down two 1-1/2" drains to 300gph down a single 1-1/2" drain. My logic is that 1 gurgling overflow would be quieter than 2 slightly faster flowing overflows. <It can be, usually not in reality. You should not have any gurgling. Are the elbows inside the tank pointed up? If so lowering the flow will make little difference, the opening needs to be submerged; the opening on the elbow facing down.> As far as allowing the cement to cure for 24 hours that will be difficult for I have a young child that loves disorder in the house and a wife doesn't, at all. Is there a reasonable time period for it to set up before the VOC's will harm livestock. If it's got to be 24 hrs then that's what it has to be but it won't be fun. if you are married then you know what I'm talking about. ha ha. <I am, to a very understanding woman!! 24 hrs is playing it safe. Many, including myself do put the plumbing into service much faster, sometimes a matter of minutes. The educated choice is yours.> Aqua C skimmer- noise from aspiration will not be a problem-I run tubing outside for the skimmer air for the PM. no asp. noise none! Would you recommend an EV_120 or 180 for the load I have listed plus the couple shrimp, snails , hermits I forgot? <I almost always favor a larger skimmer, room and funds permitting.> Any hang on refuges you would recommend? <None in particular, all are basically just a hang on box. If a pump is included this may guide your choice. Some of the lower end pumps can be noisy.> Also the Iwaki pump has union ball valves on either side and the outlet is closed off slightly slowing flow and making the pump slightly noisier. Will this cause excess heat to be transferred to the water? <No, this will not effect the heat transfer in any significant way. It is fine to throttle the pump back on the output side, never on the suction side.> My summer time temps approach 84* when I keep the house temp at 76*. winter temps are around 79* in winter with the house at 72*. The only heat sources are the Mag 9.5 in the sump, the Iwaki return pump and a 260W PC light fixture. I haven't used a heater since day one and would like to bring down the summer temps without having to evaporate more water or invest in a chiller. The tank has been set up like this for about a year and a half. <These wet rotor pumps do account for quite a bit of heat. You could possibly run the skimmer pump externally to eliminate a bit of this. The wattage used by a pump will in the end become heat, consider this while looking as skimmers. Also a thought, if you are not adverse to the look of powerheads this may be your answer. Running the smaller pump as your pump return and powerheads in lieu of the closed loop. This eliminates the big, power hungry pump and the heat that comes with. It will pay for itself in a short time, you will see an impact on your power bill. One more note re the drain noise in the pipes. Running the overflow drains at a slight angle, not completely vertical, can lower the noise radiating from the pipe itself quite a bit. Also, using flexible PVC (sold as SpaFlex at many hardware stores) will virtually eliminate the noise radiating from the pipe itself.> I look forward to you answers / more questions if needed, thank you once again, John P <Welcome, Scott V.>

Flow Question'¦Pump vs. Plumbing Configuration -- 10/19/08 Hey guys, <<Howdy Blake>> With the aid of your site and Reef Central, I have successfully plumbed my first reef. <<Neat!>> Thanks again. <<On behalf of the crew'¦ Quite welcome>> I have a quick question regarding flow for my tank. <Okay>> Here are the details: It's a 150 gal. (48x30x24) with a 50 gal. tall sump. For the sump loop, I have 2 1.5in drains and a 1.5in return. I am using the Herbie method for the drain (controlling a siphon w/ a gate valve and the second 1.5 is for safety. It is tested and accommodates easily if the first were to fail.) <<I'm not a fan of utilizing valves on gravity drain lines as I think there are better and safer ways of managing the flow, and the second 'safety' drain line will only help in the event of a clog as long as you keep the maximum flow rate to no more than what a 1.5' gravity drain can safely handle without a siphon event'¦which is about 700gph. And ideally, this second 'safety drain' is installed slightly higher than the main drain to allow you to adjust the sump return flow rate to the main drain line only>> This is all run using a ReeFlo Snapper that is fed using 1.5 pipe increased to the 2in. intake. <<It is generally best not to reduce the intake line to a diameter below that of the intake nozzle of the pump to preclude flow loss'¦but in this case it's not an issue because this pump's maximum volume rating (2500gph) is way too much for a single 1.5' drain (keeping in mind that the second drain you installed is for safety/backup purposes should the first become restricted or plugged completely). A gate-valve on the output side of this pump will allow you to dial-it-back as necessary to achieve an optimum flow rate for your plumbing configuration>> On the output, I have aprox. 2 90 deg. turns and a T at the top reduced down to 3/4 Loc-Line on either side. <<Hmm, okay'¦so in terms of headloss, this will add about 5-feet of head-height to the existing 'rise' of the return line (figure 1-foot of head-loss for each bend/tee and one for each Loc-Line fitting). So assuming about 3-feet of rise this gives 8-feet of head-height/head-loss/head-pressure to the pump. Considering the specs for this pump (high flow w/low wattage and low maximum head-height) I figure flow has already been reduced more than half by the plumbing configuration alone>> 1st question. When I ran the system without the Loc-Line it produced a much stronger flow; <<Aside from reducing/restricting the output diameter of the pump by half, the convoluted interior of the Loc-Line causes turbulence which further restricts flow. Nothing unexpected here in my opinion>> it has been reduced to the point that I am almost concerned. I would say I have around 800-1200gph coming from it. <<Mmm'¦I'm thinking probably lees than this'¦especially if the flow is well handled by a 'single' 1.5' drain>> It concerned me because when I added sand the pump had slight clicking sound that eventually went away. <<Probably ingested some sand particles'¦not to worry>> Could I have damaged the pump? <<If a large piece of substrate were to 'wedge' in the volute there is a possibility of damage to the impeller (breakage or 'grinding away' of the impeller blades)'¦but fine grains of sand (unless in VERY large volume) should not be a problem for the pump>> Is this amount of flow sufficient for the sump? <<I don't know what your actual flow rate is'¦but as little as 300gph would still be fine in my opinion'¦and much easier to manage re noise/safety issues. So yes, whatever the flow rate the pump is producing now is likely fine, as long as it is not overwhelming the drain>> At its current state, the overflow is pretty silent and I have no micro bubbles, <<Well there ya go>> but I thought I would have a bit more flexibility in "horsepower." <<Then I suggest you remove the valve from the one drain and utilize both within capacity (about 1400-1500 gph combined)'¦and get a bigger pump>> However, if the overall flow is sufficient w/ the CL for the projected animals (SPS) then no stress. For the closed-loop, I have a Dart with an OM 4-way. <<Ah, okay'¦a bigger/more powerful pump'¦and the 4-way is a nice little piece of gear too>> It is fed using 2 1.5' intakes and 4 1' outputs in each corner of the tank. They are alternating from each corner of the tank. The flow from the CL is incredible. <<Excellent>> Considering the flow schematic, should this be, hypothetically speaking, sufficient to keep SPS? <<Much more to it than this as you should be aware'¦but yes, this flow should be sufficient>> The lighting question is for another day. ;) <<Alrighty>> Thanks for all the input. Blake <<A pleasure to share. EricR>>

Plumbing and Pump 9/22/08 Hi guys. <Vince> I have read so much that my head is swimming with ideas. I want to re-plumb my system from scratch to make it appropriate for hard/soft corals and everything in between. My DT is a 220 gallon (72" x 24" x 30") All-Glass aquarium which is to say that the two glassed in boxes with the holes underneath accommodate 1.5" ID and 1" ID piping. In other words, my absolute maximum drain capability will be two 1.5" and two 1" drains. I have read that 1.5" does 600 gph and the 1" does 300 gph, but I can't figure out if these numbers are for one or two drains. (Does a single 1.5" drain do 600 gph or 1200 gph?) <A single 1.5' is good for about 750 safely, while 300 is correct for the 1'.> The 1" ones are currently plumbed for return lines, but I am willing to use them as drains and just have my returns hanging over the back, which actually increases my return line and wavemaking options (Can we say "8 way Ocean Motion"?). My sump is a standard glass aquarium that already has a hole drilled with a 1" ID bulkhead from which the main pump can draw water. I do NOT want to drill a new hole to accommodate a larger pipe. I intend to keep approximately 30 gallons (half full) in the sump. So, for my intended bio-load, I understand I ought to have 10 to 20 times my DT gallonage turnover, which is to say 2,200 to 4,400 GPH flowing from DT to sump back to DT. <You will want 10-20 times turnover for total flow, it does not all need to transit the sump. > <Perfect.> I also will have two Koralia 4 water fans just to create circulation in the DT. (The 2nd one has yet to arrive, so I have not had an opportunity to experiment.) I have read one suggestion that if I put one at mid-height in a back corner and the other one mid-height at the center of the back wall and aim them both at the dead center of the tank, that the turbulence created by these positions will simulate gentle wave action. <You'll just need to experiment with different placement of the powerheads in relation to your sump return.> So, here are my questions: 1. What GPH do I need going into and out of the DT? <I would shoot for around 1000 gph or so on this tank. This will be a manageable level through the sump and puts you around 3000 gph of flow in the display with the powerheads.> 2. Are the two 1.5" drains sufficient to accommodate that GPH? <Yes, although using the 1' drains also just provides that much more redundancy.> 3. Will the positioning of the two Koralia's actually create a turbulence to simulate wave action? <With a little experimentation in placement it definitely can. I would actually start with the two on opposite ends of the tank, pointing at each other. Mix in your sump return flow and then start tweaking it here and there until you are happy with the flow. A bit of positioning info in this article http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm> T.I.A. Vince. <Welcome, have fun setting up, Scott V.>

Revised Tank Plan 8/31/08 Hello again WWM crew, <Blake> As usual, you guys are an indispensable help in this hobby and I thank you for that. <Thank you for the high praise.> I have revised my tank plan and wanted to run the idea past a professional. The LFS's in this area aren't quite "pro's." I am ordering a 150 Lg. 60x24x24 from Glasscages w/ Starphire, rimless. The plan is a centered overflow with 2x 1.5 in drain (I will be implementing the Herbie Method; pros/cons), and a 1.5 in return. It will flow into a sump (40 gal)/refugium, and have an external return pump (Dolphin 3800/4800 model). <Do use at least two 2' drains for the 3800, another if you use the 4800. The 1.5' bulkheads will just not handle these pumps. More throughputs will be needed to have any redundancy/safety factor'¦ and you should. Do also consider that this is quite a lot of flow to manage through a 40 gal.> Here is the main question, the closed loop. I have planned 2x 1.5 in. drains to be drilled about 8in from the top of the tank on either side of the overflow box. These will flow to a Sequence Dart with a 2in. intake, and return out of a 1.5in outtake. From there I will plumb it to an Oceans Motion 4way. I planned on having 4x (total) 1in. returns for closed loop in each corner of the tank bottom. There are some interesting configurations I could use with the OM 4way and haven't decided on one yet. <A product that offers many configurations to you.> The tank will be rimless and the "wave" action could be scary. <This too is a matter of leaving some safety, with the water level down a bit more than actually needed.> I thought a 1 and 2, 2 and 3, etc. would be great for keeping solids suspended. The Dart is rated at approx. 3600 GPH. <It sounds like a good configuration for 1' lines.> I plan on keeping Acropora, Montipora, and some clams. Combined with the overflow does seem like enough flow for the chosen animals. <Surely.> I have chosen the Orbit USA 60in. 2x 250MH with 4x T5 50 watt. Is the increased length from 48in to 60 in. purely cosmetic, or is there a different in light positioning? <With each MH covering 3ft you will likely have some dark spots/shadows. With proper positioning/aquascaping this can work well and even look very appealing. It just depends on the overall aesthetics you are going for.> I couldn't find a description anywhere (sorry, that is a random question). If there are any major flaws here please educate. Hope your Labor day is treating you well. <It is, thank you.> Thanks as always, Blake <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Re: Plumbing Questions For New Marine Tank Setup - 4/04/08 Thanks Eric. <<Most welcome, John>> I will certainly pick my fishes for reef compatibility. <<Great!>> My reference to street 90s was the same point you made (about using turnable ells in the tank in place of strainers). <<Ah, okay'¦excellent>> However, snails, crabs or small fish can still crawl or jump into an ell even if it is just below the surface unless it is screened somehow. <<Mmm'¦in my experience (I use these on my tank), the only real problem are the larger snails (e.g. -- Astrea spp.)'¦and then only because they can cause a blockage (I no longer utilize these snails in my system'¦for this and other reasons)>> Short of using strainers on my ells do you have any suggestions for keeping critters out of my drains? <<I never tried it myself, but Anthony once recommended using a bit of the plastic 'gutter guard' such as that found at Home Depot/Lowe's. You cut a small piece, roll it up, and insert it in to the ell (the material will 'spring open' to hold itself in place). It will take a little experimentation to figure out just how 'dense' to make the roll for the best effect, but according to Anthony, the material inhibits water flow very little if any, but will keep your critters from making the trip down the drain. Only real problem I see with this is that you will need to make checking/cleaning of the ell a regular maintenance task>> As a follow up question, I had not intended to "throttle" the OR6500 with a gate valve, but simply to union and ball-valve the pump to allow for disconnecting. Rather, I drilled two 1.5 overflows in the DT to ensure I could run the OR6500 full-out. <<I see'¦and I understand this will not likely be necessary with this pump. But if you should ever change pumps or go with a bigger pump'¦'¦'¦'¦>> However, I am now concerned about the OR6500 outpacing the flow through the baffles. <<Ah yes'¦and a valid concern I think. I remember once having to actually drill a 1 ¾' hole in the baffle on a pump chamber in order to keep up with the flow of a large pump>> I have already siliconed them in place but if I run into rate problems I will rip them out and weather strip them! Someone should create a baffle flow spacing calculator! <<Hmm, yes'¦though I find many of these so-called 'calculators' to be faulty/misleading at best. Better to use real-life findings/test results in my opinion. Using the pressure-lock baffles one could probably do these tests quite easily'¦though the possibilities/variations in configuration (width of vessel, depth of vessel, height of baffle, number of baffles, etc., etc.) could/would make it quite the project. Although even just a 'few' assays might provide some useful benchmarks for folks to start from>> Thanks, all the best. John <<Cheers Mate, EricR>>

R2: Plumbing Questions For New Marine Tank Setup - 4/04/08 Thanks again, and slainte! <<Always welcome. Slainte Mhor! EricR>>

Plumbing With 'Shared' Pipe -- 04/03/08 Hi Bob, how are you today? <<EricR here today'¦ Bob is off diving in Borneo'¦between sessions of sharing cans of Tiger Beer [grin]>> I have been looking and reading but cannot find a real answer to my question. <<Oh?>> My question is in regards to plumbing. <<Okay>> My tank has dual overflows each with a 1.5 inch bulkhead. One overflow is directed to a sump housing a skimmer. The other overflow is directed to a separate sump with a refugium. Each sump holds approximately 30 gallons. <<Are these vessels connected? Ideally, the refugium would gravity-drain in to the pump-chamber of the sump>> I am planning on using two Pan World 100PX external pumps for my returns. <<Okay'¦at just under 800gph these should be fine after headloss. And I do very much like the idea of having/employing a redundant pump, should one fail>> The pumps have a 0.75-inch inlet and a 0.75-inch outlet. I want to connect the sumps using 1-inch bulkheads and 1-inch PVC pipe. <<Mmm, you need to match the size of the drain bulkheads at the least'¦so 1.5' or larger bulkheads are needed here>> Would it be ok to use the 1' pipe connecting the sumps as the return line and tee off each pump from it? <<Oh, I understand now what you are doing'¦and no'¦I do not recommend having the two pumps share a single 1' supply line>> What I would like to do is use separate tees for each pump and then use a reducer just before the pumps intake. Would it be better to use reducing tees to tee off each pump from the 1-inch 'connecting' pipe to the 0.75'? <<See my comments below>> I am thinking running one pump for each with a 1-inch bulkhead would be fine. This would be pretty much like separate sumps, I think. Seems each pump would still mainly pull from the closer sump. So they would each have their own water supply, basically. Am I seeing things right here? Or do I need 1.5 inch bulkheads in the sumps to do this? <<Given the problems with trying to 'balance' overflow lines for two isolated and separately plumbed vessels on the same display, I understand your wish/reasoning for connecting the two vessels. What you propose might work'¦if you use at least 1.5' bulkheads and pipe (2' would be better) and position the tees (yes, reducing tees will be fine) for each pump at opposing ends nearest each vessel. Although, I think you will still experience issues with controlling/setting the working water-heights due to the 'shared' nature of the plumbing. Adding a second connecting pipe of 1.5' or larger may help with this somewhat'¦but I truly think your best option would be to position the refugium to gravity-drain to the pump-chamber of the sump, and then plumb 'both' pumps from this location, providing each with its own 1' feed line>> As always, thanks for your time. Gary <<Happy to assist, Gary. Please do feel free to write back for clarification or to discuss this further...I can't say I have a 'warm and fuzzy' for what you are proposing here. Regards, Eric Russell>>

New Tank Plans!...Lots Of Plumbing Questions -- 03/12/08 Hello everyone! This question is for Eric R, hopefully. He's answered a couple of my previous emails and just wanted to run some things by him. Hi Eric! <<Hey Karina!>> Karina here. <<Greetings my friend>> I had written you a few weeks ago about installing an upstream refugium for my 50 gallon. <<Ah yes, I do recall>> You said my flame angel needed a bigger tank, <<I did, yes>> and now I am in the planning stages of an upgrade: 210 gallons!! <<Yay! I do love BIG tanks!>> I'm so excited, <<No doubt!>> and I should have it by the end of the year. <<Ah, good'¦much time for planning/research then>> I've done lots of research, so much that my brain feels like it's about to explode. <<Ha! A temporary malady, I assure you'¦and much self-satisfaction/confidence to be gained in the acquired knowledge>> I have some basic plumbing questions, if you could possibly help, it would be much appreciated. <<I am happy to try>> The tank is a 210 gallon AGA, reef-ready. <<Mmm'¦not likely'¦>> I know that's a little deceptive, <<Indeed>> as it only accommodates 2 overflows, each having a 1-inch drain, and a 3/4 return. <<Yes...and limiting your 'total' flow after headless from your return pump to 600gph. You will need to allow/plan for alternative methods to provide adequate water movement within the display>> I was thinking of using all four holes as drains into the sump. <<You could, but the very small gain (about 175gph per ¾' bulkhead) will not alleviate the need for supplemental flow>> Would I need to employ standpipes for all four? <<If all used as drains, yes>> I guess common sense there tells me yes <<[grin]>> ....but it's always nice to have confirmation! <<Consider yourself'¦confirmed>> Besides my brother always said that I lacked a little common sense! <<Hmm'¦is how I think of 'my' sister too!>> So, these would drain into the sump, which I will be using a 55 gallon aquarium for. <<Excellent'¦bigger the better>> The first compartment will be for the skimmer. I am looking into the Aqua C, possibly the EV240. <<A fine choice>> Next chamber will be a refugium. I still haven't established my dimensions yet though....I haven't gotten that far. <<Okay'¦but do try to maximize this'¦of course, keeping in mind how much room will be required for the skimmer and return pump(s)>> Most of my questions have to do with this last chamber. I would like to employ the closed-loop manifold. <<Mmm, if plumbed through the sump this is not s true 'closed'-loop (note the emphasis on 'closed') but simply a 'return'-manifold. And a fine idea too'¦though considering the limited flow capacity of your drains, it would likely be simpler to just 'tee-off' the return to two outlets positioned at opposite ends of the tank>> Now, I will start asking away. Using the four holes as drains....should I expect a maximum of 1800-2000 gph through the overflows? <<not even close'¦ To keep from creating a 'siphon' condition, and to avoid the subsequent dangers and noise issues re, figure on a maximum of 300gph per 1' drain and 175gph per ¾' drain>> I know these are at ideal conditions and will probably be less than that. <<Hardly 'ideal'>> I don't plan on keeping SPS, just my softies and a couple LPS that I already own. <<You will still need some good strong flow 'either provided with e true closed-loop or powerheads/Stream pumps within the display>> My next question is....will the refugium be able to handle this much water flow? <<Using 'my' figures of a bit less than 1000gph, yes, should be fine. Though running at a bit less will be okay too 'and easier to 'manage'>> I have decided on Gracilaria, since this big upgrade is mainly because I really want a Sailfin tang. <<Sounds good>> I know this particular alga likes to tumble, but here I am picturing Category 5 hurricane conditions! <<Mmm'¦the baffling between chambers should smooth this out some>> Would a series of baffles slow down the flow somewhat? <<Ah'¦not 'slow down' so much (volume of flow through the sump does not change), but will spread/smooth it out some>> Speaking of refugiums, does the carbon come before or after this chamber? <<Could be used in either 'but my preference is 'after'>> I have seen it placed before on some designs, and after on some others. <<Indeed>> I would figure the refugium would want the rawest water after the skimmer, so the carbon would come after it. <<We are in agreement>> As for the return, I did want to use the closed-loop manifold. I am thinking that the pump I use for this would be too powerful for the amount of water being directed into the sump, no? <<Mmm, maybe I misunderstood earlier'¦ Yes, the pump/flow required to utilize a true closed-loop would be way too much for the drains/sump>> If that's the case, do I need two separate pumps, with two separate vessels of water? <<Ah well, that's just it'¦and closed-loop does not employ a water vessel (sump), but rather, is plumbed directly from/to the display tank 'in a 'closed' loop. Comprendes? >> That's where the whole thing gets a little muddy for me. <<I see 'do peruse our FAQs on closed-loops starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbretfaqs.htm and among the linked files beyond>> I hate how powerheads look in the main tank, and I would love not to use them. <<I understand 'but sometimes system constraints (space, noise, etc.) make this the best solution. I do think a pair of Tunze 6101 Stream pumps w/controller would be a simple and very effective solution for your tank>> I figure I have plenty of time to figure out this closed-loop thing, even though aquarium plumbing is new to me. <<Do research re on our site 'and you can always bounce your questions off me>> If you say that I can use the sump for the return on the closed-loop, it looks like from the picture on Anthony's article that the sump is drilled to accommodate the plumbing. Is that correct? <<If I follow, you mean this article here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm), and no, this is a 'return-manifold' and not a closed-loop>> I am leaning toward the Iwaki pumps, since those tend to get the best reviews from other reefers. <<Very reliable, agreed>> If the closed-loop doesn't take water from the sump, I am thinking that a pump rated at slightly less than my 1800 gph at 3' head would be good for a return? <<Slightly less than 1000gph, as stated previous 'and too 'anemic' for a return-manifold with more than about two ¾' outlets of three ½' outlets>> Please help if you can clarify this closed-loop thing to me. <<Am trying [grin]>> I will continue to read FAQs and articles on other sites as well, just to better orient myself. <<Excellent 'is not rocket science, but you do need to learn/understand the dynamics involved>> Oh and I did come across this statement, and I wanted to get your input: <<Okey-dokey>> 'AVOID HARD PLUMBING IN THE PUMP RETURN LINE! We cannot stress this enough! Although (to an amateur) a filtration system plumbed with hard PVC may LOOK neater and more professional than one plumbed with flexible vinyl or (preferably) flexible PVC, hard PVC elbows and pipe provide more resistance than flexible tubing. This increases head pressure and makes the pump work considerably harder and operate at a hotter temperature. If you must use hard plumbing (like we do when a client insists in spite of our recommendations), use "sweep" elbows instead of tight 90 degree elbows and be prepared to purchase an aquarium chiller.' <<There is 'some' truth here'¦ Ninety-degree turns do impose more head-pressure than a gentle/gradual bend, and I do myself prefer to use Flex-PVC when plumbing intricate/complicated twists and turns to avoid excessive 'joints.' But sometimes neatness 'does' count, especially when space is tight 'and the use of hard-pipe does not 'automatically' mean you will ruin/shorten the life of a pump, or mean you will require a chiller on your system'¦so'¦you have my opinion>> From the WetWeb, it seems that most shy away from the flexible tubing, and I wanted to hear what you had to say. <<Most often the 'flex' tubing people use is the cheap vinyl tubing available most home/hardware stores. This tubing has a tendency to 'collapse' (especially with any kind of bend in it), thus restricting flow 'it also requires 'barb' fittings which often have a much smaller inside diameter than the tubing 'and, it is often 'clear,' which means algae is easily fostered/grows in the inside of the tubing, again reducing flow>> One last question, in regard to my heaters, can I place them in with the refugium, or should I put them in either the first or last chambers? <<I have mine in the skimmer chamber of my sump>> Thanks so much for all your help and I am counting down the days!!! <<Quite welcome 'I share your excitement!>> Karina <<Read up, my friend. And if you need me, you know where to find me. Eric Russell>>

Re: New Tank Plans!...Lots Of Plumbing Questions -- 03/13/08 Hi Eric! <<Hello Karina!>> Thanks for your speedy reply. <<Quite welcome>> I did spend most of the evening yesterday perusing the Wet Web on closed-loops, as well as some threads from Anthony Calfo on Reef Central. <<Ah good!>> Afterward, I felt bad for sending this. LOL <<Hee-hee! No worries mate'¦>> I didn't really "understand" the difference between return-manifold, and closed-manifold. <<Mmm, indeed>> But I do now! <<Yay!>> I do have a couple more questions, if you wouldn't mind terribly. <<Oh, all right'¦[big-grin]>> For a long time, I realize I've been confused in terms of how much turnover needed to adequately filter a tank, and water flow. <<You are not atypical here>> Is a little less than 1000 gallons, 950 per your calculations, enough to filter the water appropriately in a 210 gallon? <<More than enough, yes 'considering 'most' of the filtration is being carried out 'within' the display itself>> I was thinking I needed more turnover, but now I see that where I was confused, it pertained to actual flow in the display, and not how much water was being dumped into the sump. <<Indeed'¦ And reducing flow through the sump even more 'say to about the same volume as that processed by your skimmer, while keeping the same number/size of drains, will GREATLY reduce the chances for negative plumbing issues while still providing plenty of water flow through the sump>> As for the pump, something rated 1000gph would work for the return? <<If you decide to keep with this flow-rate, yes. Headless will reduce the flow from the pump enough to be handled by your drains (as previously discussed/described), but do also plumb a gate-valve on the output side of the pump to temper flow if needed>> I am thinking of using an external pump feeding from a bulkhead in the sump...this way I can give more space to the 'fuge. <<Good idea>> I am thinking....a 1.5 inch bulkhead to the pump? <<The fluid dynamics are different here as opposed to that of a 'gravity fed' drain. It won't 'hurt' to over-size the bulkhead to the pump (and would allow for 'upgrading later), but you can simply match the bulkhead to the pump inlet if you wish>> I read somewhere where a slightly larger pipe could be used, since it's better to "flood" than let it run dry. <<As long as the sump/supply has adequate volume for the flow rate, and is positioned above or on the same plane as the pump, this shouldn't be an issue>> But it seems that I would need to reduce this to match the pump inlet? <<You will, yes'¦>> I don't have specifics now, since I'm still researching and reading about what diameter PVC I need to use, and valves and a bunch of other stuff. <<Excellent>> I really, really want this closed-loop! <<Okay!>> I understand the concept now though. <<Whew! Finally'¦[grin]>> Would it be wise to use a submersible pump in the display, hidden, to feed the closed-loop? <<Ack! Not in 'my' opinion'¦ Servicing such can be a real pain 'even a nightmare. Best to keep the pump for the closed-loop 'outside' the display tank>> Or would I need to drill the main tank? <<Now you're on the right track>> If I drill...again the same thing with the sump external pump confuses me. <<'¦?>> Am I going to drill a huge hole to match the GPH of the pump, or will the pump be able to drain out exactly the same as it pumps back in? <<Oh, I see'¦. No 'again, match the bulkhead to the size of the pump input connection>> That is really the last true question I have about that set up. I took lots of notes last night, and am clear on what I want to do. <<A good feeling'¦ain't it>> On stocking this system...I have read some posts where you talk about how big the Desjardin tangs get. <<Ah yes'¦I have seen specimens of the very similar Zebrasoma veliferum off the Big island of Hawaii that were bigger than the submerged mooring buoys they were picking algae from (easily 16' long)'¦and fishbase.org lists the potential for 18''¦though reaching this size in captivity is unlikely I think>> Would it be wise, conscientious even, to keep one here? The length of the tank is only 72 inches. <<Keep the aquascaping 'open' and I think you/the fish will be fine>> If not, I also like the Kole tangs and will be happy with one of them. <<Is up to you 'I think you could even keep 'both' in the 210>> Also I like the pink-square Anthias. << Pseudanthias pleurotaenia? A great fish>> Can these be kept singly, or would I need to throw in a couple females? <<This is one Anthiine species that does seem to do well as 'solitary' males in captive systems 'although adding a couple females may help him to retain his coloration 'as will feeding a quality food like New life Spectrum pellets (mine loved 'em)>> I don't want too much in there, I was thinking, my current 5 fish (two saddleback clowns, the flame angel, a bicolor blenny and a yellow wrasse) and maybe two more yellow wrasses, I read a long time ago that these fish are social with one another. <<Halichoeres chrysus? More so than many, but no guarantee. Still 'a wonderful aquarium fish and worth a try I think>> Plus either the Desjardini or Kole tang, or the male Anthias. If I can keep him alone. If not, probably I will pass on this fish and pick something else. <<I think you are fine in your selections thus far>> One last question and this might seem dumb. It seems dumb to me even, but I really don't know the answer. <<Ask away!>> The heater....should I look into how to heat the whole 210 gallons, or just worry about heating the volume of water in the sump? hahahaha I asked it, and now I feel silly. Sorry! <<Ah well'¦ You need to take the volume of the 'entire' system in to account (tank, sump, skimmer, et al). And I suggest a couple smaller heaters rather than just one really big heater. This gives you some measure of protection, both if a heater should fail to work, or if a heater should 'stick on'>> Again, I appreciate all your help. <<A pleasure to share>> I will be spending the next few months visiting a few LFS and checking out their designs. Karina <<Enjoy the journey/anticipations ahead. Be chatting, Eric Russell>>

Plumbing 90 gal "Reef Ready" 1/10/08 Hello Crew! <Hi there Mark.> I've recently acquired a 90 gal (48"x18"x20"), "reef ready" acrylic tank, with a center overflow arrangement. The tank has rounded front corners, a nice recessed acrylic removable cover over the overflow, and two thin Lexan covers over the access holes. <Sounds nice.> There are no other slots or holes in the top of the tank. I believe this makes it a "show tank". The overflow has twenty, ¼" wide slots approximately 1" long. I'm still planning/studying my plumbing options and as such have discovered the limitations associated with the standard 1" drain and ¾" return. <It is limiting.> I know the 1" drain is the "bottle-neck"....but how much can this box flow? <The 1' bulkhead, about 300 gph safely, the box itself much more. I have tested many, many boxes (as well as bulkheads) with similar teeth. I would expect the box itself to flow upwards of 900 gph and still flow through the teeth, not over the top. However, do keep in mind that these teeth can be blocked with algae, dead fish, etc. Leave yourself some wiggle room here.> What size drain line could you install without modifying the slots? <1 ½' drain, maybe even a 2' if you can fit it in there.> This new system is replacing my existing 55 gal FOWLR system which incorporates the, "accident waiting to happen", siphon overflow design. My wife is complaining about all of the equipment hanging on the 55 due to inadequate space in the cabinet for the; skimmer, lights, etc., as well as noise, and hence the new tank. <I'm currently in a similar place my friend.> I'm custom building hickory cabinets to hide all the "junk" and I've built an acrylic sump with integral refugium, (30"x18"x18") with the help the WWM FAQ's and Scott V. <Excellent! This setup sounds very nice.> I would eventually like to keep corals and thus need to plan for increasing circulation in the future, before the tank is up and running. <Yes, it is much easier to do now.> First let me request your input on the overflow and limitations on the 1" drain. I have constructed a Durso style standpipe to reduce noise, out of the recommended 1 ¼" PVC for the 1" drain. With the standpipe inside this overflow, there isn't much room for anything else except the ¾" return. The centered overflow is not square or rectangular. It's a trapezoidal shape, i.e.: sides are angled. I thought about increasing the drain to 1 ½" per numerous recommendations posted, but it doesn't look like a standpipe constructed out of 1 ½" PVC would fit inside this overflow. <You may be able to fit one in there if you cut the pvc fittings where the pipe slips in down to a bare minimum. This will slightly shorten the assembly and will be ok considering this is not a pressurized flow. Another option is to find an 1 ½' pvc 'wye' fitting and point the angled branch of the fitting down while putting a cap on the top with a hole drilled for your vent tube. This will keep the intake underwater, keeping it quiet as well as reducing the size of the assembly.> I have been mulling this over and my thoughts are towards leaving the existing overflow unmodified since I do not need more than what the 1" drain can supply running through the sump. <I personally like slower flows like this through sumps, but having larger drains for a safety margin is always a good idea.> The sump will contain a skimming compartment on the left, refugium on the right, all flowing to the middle return area. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right....never mind. <Ahh'¦yes.> Total volume of the sump and refugium is about 39 gal. but will probably only contain about 20 gals under normal op. I will split the tank drain line and supply reduced flow to the refugium with most going into the skimmer compartment. Typical from what I've read. <Yes, and this design saves you from having to run a refugium feed pump.> The real dilemma is how to put the return pumps I already have to the best use. I have a Mag 7 running my 55 and I have a Mag 9.5 that came with the tank. Now....I know that the 9.5 is a bit much for the 1" drain. <Yes, by quite a bit.> The stand I'm constructing is 34" tall and the tank is 20" tall. So, I have 4.5 feet of vertical plus one 90 deg elbow, equaling about 5.5 ft of head to overcome...let's call it 6 ft. That puts the Mag 7 at 400 GPH and the 9.5 at 720 GPH based on the charts. The return that came with the tank is split into two flexible nozzles. The Mag 7 is too small, but the 9.5 is a bit much for the 1" drain. <The Mag 7 will likely work fine, but I would still put a valve on it to adjust if needed. Flow charts are best case scenarios. The actual flow you will see at the tank will in all probability be less. You will have friction loss through the pipe and the such.> Instead of using a valve to restrict flow to the Mag 9.5, I'd like to use it to feed a spray bar across the inside top front edge of the tank to spread the return flow across the tank. I'd like to make it out of ¾" PVC with three ½" outlets. <You would still need a valve on the pump in this scenario.> The other option I was contemplating is using the Mag 7 to run the filtration then drilling the tank and using the Mag 9.5 in a closed loop. <Good option.> The thought of drilling a brand new tank isn't that appealing to me, but power heads are even less appealing especially since there are no slots or holes along the back to feed the electrical through. <You will need one or the other for a reef.> However, the Mag 9.5, even in a closed loop, will only allow me to have at most 4 return nozzles. <More like two or maybe three at most if you want to have a dynamic flow to work with.> So.....should I: 1. Use the 9.5 in the sump with a spray bar across the front for a return and drill the tank for a future closed loop system when I can afford a bigger pump 2. Use the Mag 7 for filtration with the split flexible return and drill the tank for a closed loop system using the 9.5 with four ½" outlets. <Yes, but I would limit the outputs to two or three here. I do strongly encourage you to build a manifold as you describe or a mock up of the system first. This will allow you to play with the flow and make sure it is what you want before you drill holes in your nice new tank. > 3. None of the above.....you have a better solution! <You might consider drilling your tank for the Mag 9.5 closed loop intake and use your spray bar/return manifold for the closed loop's return. This will give you adjustability in your system (even if you decide on a larger pump down the road) and limit the holes drilled in your tank.> Thanks for a great site! <I too love this site!> The January 2008 calendar Rocks! Looks just like a turtle I saw off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale diving in March of 2007! <It is an amazing picture.> Mark Gustin <Have fun setting this up, Scott V.>

Re: Plumbing 90 gal "Reef Ready" 1/11/08 Scott! Hey thanks for the previous sump evaluation back in October. I think it turned out great. I haven't tried it yet...still building cabinets! <Great! It sounds like you will have a very nice, satisfying system when you are done.> Thank you for the wye suggestion on the 1.5" Durso. I hadn't even considered that option. A wye should significantly reduce the width compared to the 90 Street EL connected to a Tee. <Yes it will, anything to get a larger drain is a plus.> It may actually allow the water level to come up a bit higher in the overflow as well with cutting the fittings down. I will construct a 1.5" Durso with a wye and cut the fitting down to see how it might fit...before I modify the existing overflow drain. Cheep experiment! Expensive tank! <Exactly.> I may play around with a closed loop and the Mag 9.5 on the 55 setup I have. <Great idea.> The pump inlet will have to go over the back of the tank since I cannot drill the glass. Not an optimal condition but will probably work for test/trial purposes. <Works pretty much the same as drilling, just requires priming.> Most of the pumps I see in the 1000+ GPH range have 1" inlets. Like the Iwaki MD40RLXT. I figure 1200 GPH @4' would be plenty of circulation for this 90 gal. With 400 to 600 going thru the sump I'd have 1600-1800 GPH of circulation. <Yes, if you do go with the 1 ½' drain.> Do you think 17-20x's tank volume is overkill for a 90? <Not at all, especially if you plan on any SPS.> I doubt that the friction resistance in a manifold would be 4' of head. This pump should do more than the 1200 GPH in a closed loop system. <Not much more flow. The flow chart on this pump shows about a 2 gpm difference between 0 and 4 ft. Good pump, 120 gph difference for 4ft of head pressure!> If I decide to drill the new tank for a closed loop, should I go with a 1.5" bulkhead and strainer or leave it at 1"? <One inch will be fine here.> I'd like to keep the strainer size down...kind of ugly sticking into the tank. May be able aquascape it out of sight. The good news is the back of the tank is black and will mask the bulkhead and strainer. However, I don't want to run the risk of starving the pump. <Good idea to hide it, just make sure you can clean/service the strainer.> One other thing regarding this pump....I've seen some people using the pressure rated Iwaki (RLT) pumps for a closed loop. I don't really understand why they would do this. The suction side is flooded and the friction resistance in the manifold shouldn't be such that a pressure rated pump is required. Is there any other reason why they use the pressure rated pump? <No reason I can think of on a closed loop. You are correct, the fittings just won't provide that kind of pressure. These pressure rated pumps are good for applications such as pumping out of basement sumps. Otherwise, the flow curves on the standard or high flow versions far exceed what the normal aquarium will ever see.> Thanks again! Mark Gustin <Very welcome Mark, and thank you for including the previous correspondence'¦it does make things easier. Have fun, it sounds like you are getting close to up and running, Scott V.>

Re: Plumbing 90 gal "Reef Ready" 1/14/08 Scott <Hi Mark.> Thank you for the valuable input. <Welcome.>I will definitely be able to use the 1.5" drain utilizing the "wye" as discussed and ordered the 1.5" bulkhead fittings this weekend from Marine Depot. Now back to making those cabinets! <Yes!> House keeping note....I have the wrong height dimension listed on the 90 gal in the first e-mail. Should be 24" high...not 20"...don't know what I was thinking! You may wish to fix before posting. I corrected it in this message as well as the spelling of plumbing in the subject line...sorry. Mark Gustin <Thank you for the correction Mark, have fun with your project and good luck, Scott V.>

Plumbing/PVC Size 12/20/07 Hello, <Hi Frank. I could help you much more if your tank and sump size were known along with the pump(s) and their gpm that you plan on using. James (Salty Dog)> Quick question since you all are always a big help. I have two 1" bulkheads and two 3/4" bulkheads. I know your suppose to size up the pvc piping in the tank to 1 1/4 inch for the 1" bulkhead and 1 inch for the 3/4" bulkhead. Is that the same concept for the piping from the bulkhead to the sump........a bit larger? Thanks Frank

Re: Plumbing/PVC Size 12/21/07 Sorry about that. My Tank is 125 gallons and my sump is 46 gallons. <That is some help but still no info on pump size. Here goes. I'd recommend at least 1250gph flow rate in your tank. It doesn't all have to come from the returns, powerheads can furnish part of this. Two 1" bulkheads will not be enough to provide 1250gph to the pump, at most, with no restrictions such as elbows, check valves, etc., you can expect a total flow rate of no more than 500gpm through each 1" bulkhead. Do not quite understand what you are getting at in sizing up the PVC to 1 1/4 for the 1" bulkhead. If you are thinking about a reducing coupling going from 1 1/4 to 1", that isn't going to help too much. Your water flow is limited to what can pass through the 1" bulkhead. As for the pump, do not reduce either the intake or return. Most pumps have enough pressure to produce their rated flow rate minus head loss per foot of tubing used. This link may help you. http://www.aquaticeco.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/popup.calc_pumphead James (Salty Dog)>

Plumbing Questions 12/12/07 Thank you always for your help. <You're welcome, and hello Frank.> You guys <and gals> have helped me out plenty of times on things. Im in the process of setting up a 125 G AGA tank (72"x18"x22") with the 2 MegaFlow Overflows ( each with 1-1" bulkheads and 1-3/4" bulkheads.) I have a 46 G oceanic sump with 2 intakes. I also have 3 Quiet One 3000 (780gph). I realize now that these pumps are way too powerful for the bulkheads to accommodate after reading the other FAQ's. I know I can use one for the return and just dial it back with a gate valve. Here is my question....finally.......Would it be better to have the return go to a pvc y after the gate valve and return to the 2 3/4" bulkheads or a direct return to 1 of the 1" bulkheads and use the other 1" bulkhead and 2 3/4" bulkheads for the intake to sump? If I ended up using the 2 1" bulkheads for the intake can I just use one of the Quiet One 3000's and use a pvc y pipe to draw from the 2 bulkheads or should I buy 2 new Quiet One 1200's (296gph) inline for each bulkhead? <No, no, no, read below.> If I removed the teeth spacing on the MegaFlow to draw in more water, could I actually use a Quiet One 3000 on each of the 1" bulkheads? <Wouldn't be doing anything like that, this design is proven.> One last question....on the intakes.......is it better to use pvc piping with elbows and such or using flexible tubing? <Definitely hose direct from the bulkhead fitting to the sump fitting, each elbow will restrict the flow rate. I'd also put gate valves on the drains just below the bulkheads.> I would greatly appreciate your advise of this.........I've been debating and 2nd guessing myself on this for a couple of weeks and would like this tank setup for operation before Christmas. <I do not understand why you have three pumps. Each one inch drain should produce close to 600gph flow rate. With the head loss of the pump, this should work just fine. Go with the design, one pump tied to each 3/4" bulkhead, and the drains plumbed to each of the sump's inlets. As long as no elbows are used in the drains, this system should work fine. Do plumb gate valves to each pump in the event they may have to be throttled back slightly, won't be much.> Thank you guys so much. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Frank

Re: Plumbing Questions 12/14/07 <Hi Frank> So to summarize.......making sure I understand correctly.....the 2 1" bulkhead drains connected to a gate valve, then direct flexible hosing to sump inlets. <Yes.> Should the pumps be connected inline between the gate valve and the direct hosing, or connected to the end of the piping in the sump? <??, The pumps should be plumbed so the gate valve is on the outlet, then flexible hose to the return bulkheads.> On the return end.....should the gate valve come before or after the pump? <As above, after. Never restrict the intake to a pump, won't last long.> So I need to connect each Quiet One 3000 on each drain piping and return piping.......4 total? <You're confusing me. The drain hose should go into the sump, then the pumps will pump the water back to the return bulkheads. Four pumps???> I really only have one outlet in the sump for the return.......there is actually two, but one bypasses the mechanical filtration. Do I still use each of those outlets for the return to the 3/4" bulkheads.........FYI.....the drain pipes are going to be connected to some Durso type of standpipe.....unless you have a better idea..........will that still be good for the gph flow to the sump, or should I do something else or alter this design? Thank you once again. I hope its the last plumbing question for now. <Frank, is best to get familiar with plumbing/installation now. Do go here and read/learn, then ask questions. Also read linked files above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm One thing I'd like to mention as to bulkhead/pipe sizes. Most manufacturers will rate the flow of their returns at the maximum gph. This is not a real world figure. Example: Most HOB overflows with a one inch bulkhead are rated at 600gph. You might get this flow rate if no hose is attached to the bulkhead, just a straight shot down. Any hose, fitting, etc will create friction and even the length of the drain hose plays a factor in this. In a real world setting, a 600gph overflow connected to a sump with flexible hose, gate valves, etc, may yield 500gph at best. <<< No, not even..... RMF>>> Same goes for pumps, their gph is rated at the head, not after three or four foot of hose is added. Most pump manufacturers will list gph at different head lengths (in feet)> I think I mislead you in the last email in this regard, my apologies. James (Salty Dog)> Frank

Re: Plumbing Questions 12/16/07 James (Salty Dog), <Frank> I think I know where I was confusing you and thus confusing myself. The reason I was stating 4 pumps was cause I thought there had to be pumps plumbed on the intakes to pull the water from the tank to the sump, then pumps for the return. But after reading your responses; thinking about it, then going to the links you gave me..........I'm guessing that there are no pumps associated with the intake and that the sump is fed from gravity/siphon effect and only 2 pumps would be needed for the returns. <You got it.> I guess I will keep the other pump as a spare when one fails. Got one last question I hope. When you first initially turn on the return pumps, there should be water in the sump and in the piping right? <Definitely.> I was wondering how do you initiate the siphon when your ready to start it all up? <Just make sure the water level in the sump is at the desired depth and make sure your overflow box is full of water. The drain should start by itself.> I guess I will keep the other pump as a spare when one fails. Your awesome. Glad I wrote to you guys before I made would-be mistakes. Take care James. <Always good to read/learn/ask if unsure. James (Salty Dog)> Frank

Plumbing Nightmare'¦ (Indeed!) -- 12/07/07 Dear Mr. Fenner, <<Hiya Jerry...EricR with you today...>> Why is it the more I read on your website, the more money it costs me to fix the errors!! Yes I know shoulda, woulda, coulda!! <<Ah yes! But think of all the learning experiences/opportunities that have come from it>> I upgraded my tank 4 months ago and was so excited about the upgrade I didn't really check the stats on the overflow. <<Uh-oh...I sense a 'Mega' mistake coming>> Right now I have a 90g reef with a MegaFlow unit, <<Yes, well...try not to giggle when you say that [grin]>> 1' Drain Pipe and ¾' return, which now seems fairly small. <<Mmm, yes...and as Tom Hanks stated when the 'Wonders' fell apart after a single hit song...'A very common tale.' We are well aware of/often hear about these tanks and their shortcomings re the advertised 'Mega' throughputs>> The drain pipe drops into a sump w/ trickle plate/Poly-Filter, bio-balls replaced with DSB/live rock, no lights. <<Okay>> Second chamber holds my AquaC Urchin-Pro and a Rio that pumps into a 20g refugium, from there it returns via a 2400 Mag-Drive, reduced to ¾'. <<Okay...a couple red flags here. First- Pumping from the wet-dry to the refugium and the pumping from the refugium to the tank is just a plain bad idea... Even if you use valves to balance flow/were to use identical pumps, this 'balancing act' just doesn't work due to variable differences in head pressure/line resistance from the buildup of bio-matter. Sooner or later an imbalance 'will occur' likely resulting in water on the floor, damaged equipment, even the possibility of fire or electrocution. You really need to position the wet-dry such that a 'gravity' overflow of sufficient size will supply water to the refugium for return to the display. Second- That 1' drain is only going to handle about 300gph. Assuming zero headless for the moment from the Mag-Drive, that pump is twelve-times more pump than you need! And no doubt these issues have something to do with you writing in...[grin]>> The problem is a few-fold!! <<Yes>> You state in your plumbing article that you should never pump one box to the next, and that it is destined for disaster. <<Indeed>> Trust me I have spent countless nights wondering when one pump will go out, and because of one bad pump loss two. (and the constant adjustments!!) <<Yep...Murphy's Law 'will' catch up to you>> Also you state that Skimmer and refugium should get raw water, <<Ideally>> and flow through the refugium should be handfuls. <<Hmm...this, in 'my' opinion, is variable...and often dependent on the type of refugium methodology employed. But for the most part, yes, a circulation of a couple to few volumes of water per hour will usually suit>> Here is my plan; since I just bought a new AquaMedic Ozonizer (got a great deal or I would have bought the Sanders) and I am waiting for my ORP controller and new EV120. I figure since I have to make changes anyways, I might as well make them all. <<Excellent>> Promise I am getting to the question!! <<No worries...does help me to have all the info/know the background>> Since drilling is not an option and a hang on back overflow will not fit, here is my new plan. <<So, limited to the existing throughputs, eh'¦you can 'make do' re circulation to the sump/refugium'¦but you will definitely need to provide some supplemental water flow within the tank via powerheads>> I was thinking of taking the return line and making it into a second overflow, since you say it is better to have two than one. <<Some redundancy is good, indeed'¦but this is most often done with these so-called Mega-Flow tanks simply because the supplied throughputs are just too inadequate>> The 1' dropping into the sump (DSB/Live rock will be removed and put into the refugium with the other), the EV-120 in the fist chamber with raw water and the second chamber will hold both pumps. <<Let me stop you right here for a moment'¦ 'Both pumps?!' Even with utilizing both the 1' and ¾' throughputs as drains, you are still only looking at a maximum 'gravity' flow rate of about 450-500 gph'¦ You only need a pump that will supply from 700-900 gph; to allow for head-loss and gradual loss of flow from bio-film buildup in the plumbing. Also, do be sure to plumb a gate-valve 'after' the pump to allow you to throttle-back this flow if/as needed>> Mag 2400 will be piped 1' (or ¾' what do you think is better?) <<I think a smaller pump 'is better''¦with no need to exceed the diameter of the pipe beyond that of the pump outlet>> behind the tank, dropping in by split Loc-lines. <<You will likely find that only a single return will supply enough 'force' with the limited water flow to be useful>> I figure with 4 elbows and 4' of upward pump, collective maybe 9' of headspace. Mag 2400 will now return maybe 1250gph. <<Maybe so'¦but still way more than your drains can handle>> The ¾' will drain into the refugium, so now both skimmer and refugium will get raw water. <<This is good'¦and hopefully the refugium then 'gravity drains' to the pump chamber of the sump>> Rio 1400 returns to a ¾' SeaSwirl. <<Save your money here'¦you just don't have the overflow/drain capacity for it>> Whew!! I was thinking that this addresses all the issues that you have written about. <<But unless I have grossly misunderstood or something has been misstated, your resolutions are flawed>> But then I was thinking, will the overflow wall allow enough water in or will it suck dry? <<The 'overflow wall' will not be an issue, the drains will simply not handle this much water volume>> You say gravity is something you can rely on, so since I am pumping more back in, won't the overflow box fill just as fast? <<The box will fill, yes, and overflow'¦ And gravity is indeed the issue here. Because you can pump a certain volume of water through a specified diameter of pipe does not mean that same volume will 'gravity drain' through the same diameter'¦is not the same hydrodynamics. You can not drain the volume of water from this tank that you are indicating without increasing the number or size of the throughputs. Since you say this is not possible, your only option is to reduce the volume of water returned to the tank>> And if the box is overwhelmed with how much I am pulling out, is there a way to speed up the amount flowing in? Maybe cut bigger and deeper grooves on the top? <<Again'¦I think the overflow box is the least of your concerns here>> Well anyways before I start ripping things out and buying new parts I thought I would run this past you. <<I'm very glad you did>> Your views and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Since you started this whole thing anyways!! I would have been perfectly fine sitting in ignorance!! <<Mmm'¦not for long'¦>> Have an awesome night and if I haven't said it yet, you guys are the absolute best on the web and anywhere else!! <<Thank you'¦a collective effort>> Thanks, Jerry <<Jerry'¦ Please write me back to let me know your thoughts/understanding of what I have stated, along with anything you have already done and the results re (have you run this tank lately?). I do think this matter likely bears further discussion. Regards, Eric Russell>>

Re: Plumbing Nightmare? (Indeed!) ? 12/09/07 Hello Eric!! <<Hey Jerry>> Thanks for bringing a laugh!! <<Oh?>> When I read your first line there was no giggle, it was straight out laughter!! <<Ah, yes'¦but not too 'hysterical' I hope>> Soooo I take it you've come across this before!! <<All too often>> Yes, this same plumbing has been working for me for exactly a year; Dec is the 12 month marker. <<Huh! You've been running a Mag24 through a 1' gravity overflow?! I do not doubt your veracity, but I suspect 'something' is not as it appears/has not been made clear to me here. There is just no way a 1' gravity drain could handle this volume'¦>> The only difference is the tank size, I went from a 70g to a 90g, I know, not much of an upgrade...but it did seem to give my tank some room to breathe!! <<Indeed'¦an additional 20g in volume on this size system can be a big help>> So in theory, the project I was going to take on will do exactly opposite. <<Opposite?...as in what you expected?>> I was thinking that turning the 3/4" return into a throughput will be too much drainage and you're saying the overflow will be overwhelmed by my 2 projected returns... <<Ah okay, yes'¦adding/using the ¾' throughput for a drain in conjunction with the 1' throughput will 'still not be enough' to handle the flow volume from your proposed return pumps. And let me just add'¦ Even had you the overflows/drains to handle this volume, you would NOT be happy with the resulting noise, etc., associated with this much transient volume processed through a small sump. Much better to keep this to the 300-500 gph your current configuration will handle and supplement water flow in the display in some other manner>> As for flow in the tank, I do have a Tunze 6060 and Rio Plus 1100 at opposite corners. <<Oh'¦excellent!>> The refugium does have Chaetomorpha, a DSB and Live rock; I also know that Chaetomorpha do like higher flow...soooo <<This macroalgae will also do well with a couple hundred gallons per hour as well, I assure you. My 55g Chaetomorpha and DSB refugium has been fed by a single ¾' overflow for the past four years. But, if you desire more water movement in the refugium than this you don't have to increase the water input, necessarily'¦simply add a small powerhead to the refugium itself>> I was thinking of getting a bigger refugium and ditching the sump, and call it a day. <<Mmm, the sump is 'handy' for housing those filtering elements you do not want in your refugium (e.g. -- protein skimmer).>> But I just measured and because of the center pillar, I won't be able to angle it in there. <<Gotta love those manufactured stands too, eh?>> One last idea Eric, I promise'¦ <<No worries my friend'¦we want to make sure we do/get this right>> You say to gravity feed. <<From the refugium to the sump? Yes>> What if I just take the sump and turn both chambers into a refugium. Drill 2- 1.5" bulkheads at the end. Raise the sump up so it will flow over the top of the refugium. Put the skimmer, skimmer pump and the return pump in the last chamber of my second refugium? Now I have water volume and twice the fuge!! <<Hmm, I would rather see the refugium flow in to the last chamber of the sump'¦and I would not have the skimmer in the refugium (you will lose much of the beneficial biota to the skimmer by doing this). If this were me/mine'¦ I would house the skimmer in the first chamber of the sump (fed by the 1' drain line) which then flows/overflows to the last chamber which houses the return pump. The refugium (fed by the ¾' drain line) would be slightly elevated and drilled/plumbed through the end panel to allow it to gravity drain in to the pump chamber of the sump. This setup isolates the refugium from biota-removing equipment and allows raw surface water to feed in'¦and positions the skimmer where it too is fed raw surface water, and, the flow of water 'away' from the skimmer helps keep beneficial critters from being 'drawn' to it>> Okay enough thinking from me'¦ My brain is going mayday, mayday!! How would you gravity feed into the refugium? <<As just outlined 'do let me know if you have any questions re>> Do you have a link or a step by step?!! HELP!! <<Hmm, I don't have a graphic just offhand (this is where Bob chimes in about me finishing that plumbing piece [grin]), but do have a look through our plumbing and refugium FAQs'¦there's likely something similar in there somewhere (you can start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium1.htm )>> Eric I am at the end...Once again the chain reaction effect has me second guessing everything!! <<Not such a bad idea 'considering>> Also I want to say Thank You for taking the extra time to help me in this endeavor to correct a wrong'¦ Jerry <<My pleasure, Jerry 'let me know if I can be of further assistance. Eric Russell>>

R2: Plumbing Nightmare? (Indeed!) ? 12/09/07 Thanks Eric, <<Happy to share Jerry>> You are da' man!! <<Say it again!'¦Say it again!...>> Your plumbing idea sounds perfect!! <<Ah good'¦>> It does address EVERYTHING I wanted to accomplish!! <<Excellent 'is a simple but effective design>> Sometimes there is just no replacement for plain out right EXPERIENCE!! <<Indeed>> One last question and I promise I will be in the "yes!! I have another project" bliss! <<Ask away mate!>> I know you have something in WWM about drilling. <<Drilling glass, yes'¦it know I have answered a few Q's about it before>> It will be my first, but what better way to learn than on a 20g fuge. If it "blows" it won't be an expensive lesson. <<Mmm, agreed 'much less scary than drilling glass for the first time on an expensive display tank>> Where would you drill the 2- 1.5" bulkheads? Just below were you want the water line or lower? <<For maximum strength/safety sake 'I' generally recommend the outside of the hole (not the bulkhead, but the actual hole size needed to 'fit' the bulkhead) be at least the distance of its diameter from any edge (top, side, etc.). But for this application, I think you can put them where you want the water line to be 'as long as you keep at least 1.5' of glass between the edge of the hole and the top and side edges of the tank>> Is there a formula for this? <<Nothing 'official''¦that I am aware>> Or am I again, over thinking? <<Nope, these are valid considerations. Other may/will tell you differently 'it's up to you to decide how to proceed>> Thanks Eric, after this I promise, no more emails. Well at least till this project is over!! [grin] <<No worries my friend 'It is my earnest desire for you to succeed>> P.S- My LFS sold me the Mag-24, out of box for a discount. Starting to sound like "maybe" it's not a '24.' <<Hmm'¦indeed'¦ As already stated'¦there is no way your 1' overflow could handle a Mag24 (2400gph) pump>> Regardless this thing is huge!! Is there a way to check, so my flow math is not all askew? <<If you can'¦direct the flow in to a container of known volume (5g bucket) and time how long it takes to fill>> You guys are the best, <<Aw, shucks!>> Jerry <<Be chatting. Eric Russell>>

Marine sys. Pb, stkg... ScottV pls have a look, respond 11/30/07 Hello all, <Larry> This is the first time I have written but I have poured over the sites information for the past few months and all I can say is wow! The service that you all provide is greatly needed and appreciated! I will get right down to it. I have a 90 gallon (4ft long) aquarium. Undrilled. My plan is to drill 2 2" holes. One hole close to the back left corner. <Mmm, but not too close to the corner...> The other, two thirds of the length from the previous 2" hole. I will drill a 1.5" hole one third the length of the tank from the first drain hole on the left for a return. I will have a sump made that will approximately measure 36"Lx12"Wx12"h. In the first chamber I will have a Tunze 9010 protein skimmer. In the second chamber I will have a refugium filled with live rock and Caulerpa. In the third and final chamber I will have 2 heaters. Externally plumbed will be two return pumps. The one pump will be a sequence reef flow snapper pump ( 1850 g/hr at 4' of head) that will feed the drilled return hole measuring 1.5" in diameter. The second pump will be a sequence reef flow dart pump (rated for 2820 g/hr at 4' of head) to feed a return line that will be plumbed over the back right edge of the tank and connect to a wavy sea wave maker at the right corner of the tank. Would this be enough water circulation for the tank? <Mmm, should be, yes> I will also have 90 to 110lbs of live rock. My tank inhabitant will be an undulated triggerfish and maybe a school of aggressive damsels. I am aware that an undulate trigger needs a species only tank. I was hoping that I could locate a Red Sea male specimen <Are gorgeous, more peaceful> at a size of about 2-3" and have him grow up with a school of damsels. I am also aware the undulates get more aggressive and territorial with age so the damsels may not work. Is their any possible tankmate that may work with the undulate at all? <Perhaps some other Red Sea choices...> Would you know where I could find a male Red Sea undulate trigger in Western Canada? <Mmm, have your LFS look for you... are rare in the West period (compared with Europe), but might be able to be ordered, your request put into a system...> I was just wondering if you could comment on my setup and offer your expertise on areas I may need to improve? Thank you so much for your time and knowledge! Larry <Mmm, well, I do wish you had a working drawing/graphic of some sort... I don't exactly follow the third, two-third placement of your through-puts rationale... We have a Crewmember/friend here, ScottV who has interest in a company that does this sort of work. I'm going to ask him to chime in here. Otherwise, I'd like to have you (re) read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm The fourth/pink tray... re Marine Plumbing... Bob Fenner>

Marine sys. Pb, stkg... ScottV pls have a look, respond 11/30/07 Hello all, <Larry> This is the first time I have written but I have poured over the sites information for the past few months and all I can say is wow! The service that you all provide is greatly needed and appreciated! I will get right down to it. I have a 90 gallon (4ft long) aquarium. Undrilled. My plan is to drill 2 2" holes. One hole close to the back left corner. <Mmm, but not too close to the corner...> The other, two thirds of the length from the previous 2" hole. I will drill a 1.5" hole one third the length of the tank from the first drain hole on the left for a return. I will have a sump made that will approximately measure 36"Lx12"Wx12"h. In the first chamber I will have a Tunze 9010 protein skimmer. In the second chamber I will have a refugium filled with live rock and Caulerpa. In the third and final chamber I will have 2 heaters. Externally plumbed will be two return pumps. The one pump will be a sequence reef flow snapper pump ( 1850 g/hr at 4' of head) that will feed the drilled return hole measuring 1.5" in diameter. The second pump will be a sequence reef flow dart pump (rated for 2820 g/hr at 4' of head) to feed a return line that will be plumbed over the back right edge of the tank and connect to a wavy sea wave maker at the right corner of the tank. Would this be enough water circulation for the tank? <Mmm, should be, yes> I will also have 90 to 110lbs of live rock. My tank inhabitant will be an undulated triggerfish and maybe a school of aggressive damsels. I am aware that an undulate trigger needs a species only tank. I was hoping that I could locate a Red Sea male specimen <Are gorgeous, more peaceful> at a size of about 2-3" and have him grow up with a school of damsels. I am also aware the undulates get more aggressive and territorial with age so the damsels may not work. Is their any possible tankmate that may work with the undulate at all? <Perhaps some other Red Sea choices...> Would you know where I could find a male Red Sea undulate trigger in Western Canada? <Mmm, have your LFS look for you... are rare in the West period (compared with Europe), but might be able to be ordered, your request put into a system...> I was just wondering if you could comment on my setup and offer your expertise on areas I may need to improve? Thank you so much for your time and knowledge! Larry <Mmm, well, I do wish you had a working drawing/graphic of some sort... I don't exactly follow the third, two-third placement of your through-puts rationale... We have a Crewmember/friend here, ScottV who has interest in a company that does this sort of work. I'm going to ask him to chime in here. Otherwise, I'd like to have you (re) read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm The fourth/pink tray... re Marine Plumbing... Bob Fenner> <<I would keep the Snapper as the return pump and employ the Dart on a closed loop, both pumps will be too much flow through sump/refugium this size. This will also give you a safety margin with the overflows, both pumps through two 2' bulkheads will definitely be pushing the upper limit. The other thing to watch out for is the return through the 1.5'. You will need to be 1.5-2' from any edge to drill safely, this includes the top. This will put the line in a position to drain a substantial amount of water into your sump in a power outage. As Bob mentioned I have an interest in a company specializing in just this sort of thing. I would recommend checking out our site at http://www.momsfishsupply.com/overflowinstallation.html for placement and drilling tips. Good luck, Scott V.>><Outstanding. RMF>

Pump question Bob... reading 11/11/07 Hello Bob, Your site is AWESOME. I'm new to the hobby and am setting up a reef tank (72 gallon Bow) and am curious what size pump to go with... the Mag drive 700 or Mag drive 900. I have a 1 inch return <Stop~!> on a tide pool wet/dry (tentatively). Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Regards John <You've got a bit of reading to do John... Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm the third tray down... "Overflows..." what you have currently won't supply either pump model. Enjoy the read. BobF>

New 120 Gallon Setup For A 'Pre-Drilled' Newbie -- 10/08/07 I'm a long time listener, first time caller..... <<Welcome>> I recently acquired a 120-gallon tank with stand and am in the process of plumbing and painting, etc. <<Neat!>> This is what I have done so far and I would like some input to see if what I have done is going to fly or crash. <<Always happy to proffer an opinion...>> The tank has the typical 1-inch and .75-inch through fittings in the bottom. <<Mmm, yes...two of each?>> I have built Durso type standpipes with 1.25-inch PVC in which the bottom of the intake is approx. 4 inches below the overflow (water surface). I ran a calculation on that level and if I have a power outage, the sump will not overflow. <<Excellent>> The returns will remain .75-inches and will be piped to both sides and back of the tank resulting in approx. (6) .5-inch outlets with a directional jet opening on each. <<I see>> Opposing flow patterns is what I am going for here. <<Understood... and will require a return pump capable of providing at least 2400gph (1200gph if the two initial returns are pumped separately) AFTER head loss in order to provide enough useful force/flow/volume to each ½' outlet. This is MUCH MORE than the two 1' drains can handle (figure about 600gph combined). Best to configure a 'closed-loop' if you wish to use a return manifold with multiple outlets>> Under the tank, both 1.25 drains lines will remain independent and both drain into the sumps bio box lid. <<Mmm, if the throughputs are 1' like you stated earlier, then this is your maximum drain/flow capacity>> My filter and sump are approx. 45-gallons. My return pump is a Little Giant 4-mdx? something rated at 1000 gallons at 6 feet of head pressure. I ran a flow rate computation on all fittings, pipe, etc. and came up with a corrected flow of approx. 750-gallons per hour. <<The computations are great for planning purposes, but I'm sure you realize you can only get a real value for the flow rate by firing up the pump and timing the fill of a vessel of known volume (e.g. -- 5-gal bucket)>> On the output side of the pump I would like to make a manifold with ball-valves <<Gate-valves provide much better control/finesse>> that will divert a part of this return water to a small refugium <<You can do this (though flow adjustment becomes a constant struggle due to changing flow rates from bio-film buildup, etc.), but it is best to bleed water from a return line to feed unprocessed raw tank water to the refugium which then gravity drains to the sump's pump chamber to maximize transfer of refugium biota to the tank>> as well as a UV sterilizer. <<But for commercial applications, I feel these units are superfluous, with little value versus maintenance/upkeep. Better to invest in/apply ozone via the skimmer...in my opinion>> And return this water to the display tank through a 1-inch line, "T" it off under the tank and reduce the line to the standard .75-inch fitting that fits the through fitting in the bottom of the tank. <<Huh!? As in via another pump in the refugium!? Bad idea...>> The manifold on the pump exit side could also have an auxiliary exit to pump water back to the sump directly if I end up with too forceful a flow at the tank level. <<I would simply install a gate-valve on the output side of the pump to temper flow if necessary>> Does this set-up seem to be realistic in terms of performing? <<Nope...as already stated>> Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. This is the first pre-drilled tank I have owned so this is new to me, but I have learned everything I know from watching this forum and web site...it has been an eye opener for sure. Thanks, Chip <<Chip... Do mull over my responses and get back to me with your questions...as well as more detail re your refugium setup as I think this is a problem (at least as I understand it now). Regards, Eric Russell>>

Marine Plumbing Questions -- 09/14/07 Hi guys, <<Howdy Mike>> I am setting up a predrilled aquarium (AGA MegaFlow) with a ProClear 60 wet/dry sump, single drain pipe and return. <<At least 1.5' I hope...though I'm thinking these highly overstated (Mega!) returns only come as 1'>> Return pump is a Rio 2100. <<Do have a backup handy...these are about as 'bottom-end' as you can go for a return pump>> I've read a lot of the plumbing articles, but I can't really grasp how to prevent back siphon or set the system up to stop the tank from draining in the event of power failure. <<Concerns over back-siphon won't be an issue if the components are configured such as to only allow as much transient water volume to drain to the sump as it (the sump) can handle. You need to adjust the height/depth of overflow boxes and pump outlets, as well as the 'running' water level in the sump to accommodate this>> I can't determine if check-valves are a good way to go, and if they are, what type and where optimal placement would be in my system. <<Check-valves are NEVER a good option in my opinion. Much like siphon-overflow systems...sooner or later they WILL fail>> This is my first venture out of canister filtration and could really use the help. <<The addition/use of a sump will be a marked improvement...though use of the/a canister filter for ancillary chemical filtration is also recommended>> I feel like I'm going to make a lot of rookie mistakes here; could you guys also direct me to an article that demonstrates how to efficiently (as in avoiding disasters) start the wet/dry system for the first time? <<Ah yes, your education awaits...much info to be absorbed and available on our site. Please begin reading here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm) and among the associated links in blue. And do feel free to write back to me if necessary>> Thanks for the help, Mike <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Marine Plumbing Questions -- 09/14/07 Thanks, Eric. <<You're quite welcome Mike'¦let me know if I can help with specific plumbing issues>> You are absolutely correct; the Mega is more of a Moderate Flow @ 1". <<Argghhh'¦yes, this is a pet peeve of mine, Bob's, others'¦marketing hype. As I have heard Bob state'¦do wish the manufacturer would 'get a clue!'>> I can use the Rio as a powerhead instead of the return pump; what would you recommend to take its place (54 G tank with PC 60 sump)? <<Talking submersibles'¦I have had much success with the MagDrive line of pumps over the years'¦and am currently utilizing Ocean Runner pumps which have performed admirably thus far and seem to have a bit more 'oomph' over a similarly sized MagDrive, though they are a bit 'bulky.' Considering the meager 1' drain on your 'Mega Flow' tank, either the MagDrive 5 or the Ocean Runner 3500; with gate-valve installed on the output side to temper flow as needed, would be sufficient>> I suspected that correctly configuring the predrilled overflow would stop flooding/back siphon, but it is a relief to have it confirmed. <<Indeed'¦if the overflow has holes/slots at the bottom you will need to either block these, or install a standpipe at the correct height. And don't forget about the out from the return pump'¦this will need to be positioned such that when the pump is off the siphon will 'break' before the sump/wet-dry filter overflows>> Thanks again, Mike <<Always happy to share. Eric Russell>>

R2: Marine Plumbing Questions -- 09/14/07 Eric, <<Mike>> I'll let you know how it goes when setup is complete. <<Please do>> I think you have set me on the right path and the links were helpful as well (so much info!). <<Excellent'¦and indeed!>> Thanks again, and regards to you and the crew. Mike <<Be chatting my friend. EricR>>

R2: Marine Plumbing Questions -- 09/23/07 Hey, Eric (or crew), <<Hey Mike'¦Eric here>> Just wanted to let you know everything is running great. <<Ah, good>> MegaFlow is certainly a misnomer. <<Ugh!'¦ Indeed so my friend>> I took your advice and bought the Mag 5; without a control valve, it just rapidly drains the sump regardless of how I configure the overflow. <<Mmm, yes'¦install that gate-valve, mate>> So the Rio remains until I can configure the Mag with a control valve. <<I see>> That said, even with the Rio everything is well. <<This is good to hear>> I intentionally attempted to flood the house with power outage, etc., but the water level/back flow never surpasses the sumps capacity (knock wood). <<This is good'¦'gravity' is a 'certainty'>> Thanks for the advice. <<Was my pleasure to give>> You guys are an invaluable resource for a beginning marine hobbyist like myself (and for experts as well, I'm sure). Mike <<Thank you'¦is gratifying to know. Eric Russell>>

New Custom 120g...Wanting A 'Quiet' 2400gph Turnover Rate! -- 08/17/07 Wet web media crew, <<Hello Matt>> I have been reading nonstop for a couple days (there is a staggering amount of data on your website) <<Indeed>> and am trying to get the best configuration. I know I want the 48' wide tank; most likely 24' x 24' for the other two dimensions. <<A standard 120-gallon tank then>> The Lee Mar guys are the ones making the tank. The standard 48x24x24 has one 2' drilled drain then two 1 ½' return holes in the back center overflow. <<Better than most...>> I do not think this is adequate so I must have them customize the tank. (Any suggestions here would be great, I want to get it right the first time instead of regretting a choice and be stuck with it.) <<Mmm, well...I need to know what your 'goals' are with this system to be able to afford much help>> I want to make sure that I have a big enough drain that it will be quiet and able to easily handle 2400gph, then add a second one as a backup and to supplement draining. <<Ah, okay...then I would have 'three more' of the 2' drains installed. This will give you about 4800gph 'maximum' capacity. This is a bout half what some folks/most drain calculators will tell you...but is a more practical number/expectation in my opinion. Even though four 2' drains will make your goal of 2400gph quieter/easier to plumb, processing this much flow through a sump just below the display will be anything but 'quiet'>> I think both drains could be in same overflow box. <<If you are considering a maximum of only two drains your goal of 2400gph of quiet flow 'may' still be attainable, but will require much tweaking/tuning to achieve. Perhaps you should consider a closed-loop to boost the water flow within the display and utilize a much smaller 'return' pump>> If I have read correctly a 2' bulkhead would be the appropriate size (making the drill holes ~3'). <<Not in my opinion...as stated earlier, I would plan on about 1200gph per 2' drain>> Would there be any advantage to drilling the holes in the back glass (still in the overflow) instead, or in addition to, the bottom glass? <<This is my preference...if only to limit the amount of water lost should a bulkhead fail>> Are my dimensions correct for drain sizes? <<Do consider my statements re>> With drains this size, would a stand pipe, such as the infamous Durso standpipe still be required to decrease noise. <<Likely, yes...and would need to be constructed of pipe of the same diameter as the drains to prevent loss of flow capacity>> Not sure about the whole closed-loop system. <<Is the 'better' option here I think...or some Tunze Stream pumps>> Given a big enough sump, any problem with that much flow through a sump? <<I think you will be surprised at how much noise 2400gph of water volume dumping in to a sump can make. Even if the sump is large (100+ gallons), it will be a challenge to quiet the noise and control the turbulence/bubbles>> Is there any disadvantage to having 3-4 extra holes (in each of the corners of the tank) in the bottom to have available for return flow and cap any not in use? <<Of course (NOW is the time to drill these)...and I would not 'cap' these but rather utilize them without increasing the flow rate to help reduce noise/plumbing issues. The more drains available...means fewer gph per drain...means fewer hassles all around>> I would like to use as few powerheads as possible for adequate flow and still be able to keep SPS. <<Can be done, though I find the Tunze Stream pumps to be very quiet, very efficient, very flexible in their application, and quite worth the 'intrusion'>> I appreciate your time and will be purchasing the tank in the next month. If you have any suggestions or ideas for this tank, please feel free to add any suggestions. <<I suggest you chat with/seek other's opinions re pumping this much water through your sump...research other options and base a decision on your own good judgment>> Thank you, Matt <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Re: New Custom 120g...Wanting A Quiet 2400gph Turnover Rate! -- 08/22/07 Eric or other expert, <<Just Eric here'¦>> I have revised my plan to incorporate the response from Eric into my tank. Attached is a schematic of the tank-in-progress. <<I see it>> Would it be better to 'T' the two corner holes for the intake of the closed-loop then 'T' the two middle of the tank returns for the return then just use one bigger pump? <<With the configuration shown (if I understand/interpret it correctly) I think you will have better control/efficiency utilizing a separate pump for each as you show. Though I suggest you swap the ball-valves for 'gate-valves' (more control/finesse), and move them to the 'output' side of the pumps (you don't want to 'starve' the input side of the pump)'¦and I would even consider up-sizing the pumps to a Mag-9.5 to allow for future loss of flow as the bio-film builds up in the inside of the plumbing>> The current plan is to use a 30-40 gallon sump with a Mag 18 return, theoretically giving around 1200 gph through the sump. <<If utilizing the two 2' drains in the diagram to feed the sump'¦excellent>> The refugium will be a separate 20 gallon tank that utilizes a powerhead to get water into the refugium and is gravity fed back into the sump. <<This will work fine'¦though you could add a tee off one of the drains to feed the refugium as an alternative (regulated with a valve)>> Do you see any obvious, or not so obvious, problems to this design? <<Not thus far>> What is your opinion of the devices that rotate flow between returns (i.e. Ocean Motion)? <<I haven't used these myself but have a friend in the trade who uses them extensively with his customer installations. The devices seem to be well made and he 'swears by them.' I think they are worth your further investigation if you are interested in regulating flow thus>> Thank you for your continued assistance. Matt Jenkins <<Always happy to help. Eric Russell>>

R2: New Custom 120g...Wanting A Quiet 2400gph Turnover Rate! -- 08/25/07 Eric, Hey Matt!>> You are an excellent resource in learning and implementing proper reef design. <<Thank you>> I thank you for your help. <<Is my pleasure>> The purpose of having a ball/gate valve before and after the pumps of the closed loop would be to allow me to take the pump out for cleaning and maintenance without a bunch of water flowing out. <<Indeed 'and agreed this will be necessary if you are not utilizing some kind of overflow box that would limit the 'drain-down' with the closed-loop, in which case just a 'Union' fitting before the pump would still allowing disconnection but with less restriction than a valve>> Is there a better way to close both sides in the event I need to work on the closed-loop? <<Me'¦not if the intake for the loop is positioned such that the transient water volume would overflow the sump>> Would it be beneficial to increase the closed-loop plumbing in order to accommodate the gate-valves (while leaving the bulkheads 1")? <<Ah yes! As you may have noticed, the valves have smaller inside diameters than the piping they are intended to match'¦ And if you don't want to upsize all the plumbing you could just 'bush-up' the fittings at the valves (a 1.5' valve will come close to giving you a 1' inside diameter)>> Again, thank you, Matt Jenkins
<<Any time'¦ Eric Russell>>

Plumbing 75 Gallon Reef Tank 8/12/07 Hello Crew! I would first like to thank you so much for your abundance of information and advice. It has done me wonders. I am currently moving into a new house and am very excited to be upgrading my 20 gallon reef tank to a 75 (48 x 18 x 21) gallon AGA reef tank, but am stumped on the plumbing. I have been researching the best and most efficient way to plumb the tank, and I would like to run my findings by you. I am planning to have 2-2 inch bulkheads draining into a 55 sump/refugium, and having the return branch into a T-bar and consist of 4-3/4 inch returns, powered by a Little Giant 4-MDQX-SC pump (1 inch outlet). This set up would allow me to have the 10 times turnover rate. So my question for you is whether or not this system is a good idea in your eyes? <Sounds good thus far> Is the pump sufficient and will the 3/4 bulkheads be able to handle the water coming from the pump? <Yes and yes... there are other pump lines I prefer... archived on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Scroll down to the third tray> Is this a good approach? Thank you for your time your advice is invaluable. Have a nice weekend. Josh <Keep accumulating data, honing your notes Josh... You'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

In a fix and need advice, SW set-up... Pb... 4/21/07 Bob <Tom> Thanks for the advice and for getting me headed in the right direction. I want to take the time to comment on the great information you and your staff provide. I have learned so much over the past month and would have made an expensive mistake it if had not been for the information provided in the articles and related FAQ's. Once again, thanks for shedding some light on things. <Welcome> Since we last chatted, I cancelled the order for the sump, skimmer, and calcium reactor. I have since purchased a CS250 Euro-Reef protein skimmer. I am also in the planning stages on a sump that will be 72"x18"x24" that will be behind the display tank in an adjoining storage room. <Nice> I have access to water (hot water tank feed), electricity (gas furnace), and a drain. This looks like a good place for the sump because I have ample space for equipment, can insulate room to help cut down on the noise of external pumps, perform water changes, and have a storage area for make-up water. The only negatives I can think of would be if I had to get the hot water heater or furnace replaced. Any thoughts on this plan? <Mmm, good to have such access, a "back room"... do just leave space around/access to such appliances... as they eventually do have to be serviced, replaced> Do you think the humidity would be a detriment to the gas heater or to the room? <Maybe... I'd contact the manufacturer re their suggestions> My planned system is as follows: 1) 215 gallon Oceanic with 4 drains(1.5"), and 4 returns(1"), the center bulkhead will be feeding a closed loop system for circulation using 1" PVC and 12-14 1/2" nozzles. 2) 72"x18"x18" sump with compartments for skimmer, refugium, chemical, mechanical filtration. and return water. 3) two external pumps, one for the closed loop and one for the return system water 4) three 250w heaters (VisiTherm) 5) DSB of 5"-6" 6) 250-300lbs of liverock 7) Outer Orbit 72" 3x 250w MH, t5's, HQI's and blue/white led's for a total of 1062w Now for the questions, you just knew they were coming lol. My goal is to have a system that will allow me to keep fishes along with invertebrates in the beginning, I do want to be able to keep corals sometime in the future after I do a lot of research and reading. I want to do everything I can for the health and well being of my "charges". I want this system set-up to be designed right from the beginning and for the long haul as well as flexible enough to maintain all marine life so long as I do my part. Questions: 1) Do you feel that I will get sufficient flow from the three, 1 1/2" drains? Would 2" at the same number be better? <Much> (woops, that was two questions lol) 2) What percentage of the total flow rate(3225 gph-4300 gph at head) is ideal to push though the sump? <Mmm, the refugium portion... much less... Posted: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugpumpfaqs.htm> I know this has to do with many factors, such as drain size/number, pump size, sump design/size, and I am sure I am missing a few other things here, but, I would like a solid number so I can design the sump to handle this flow rate percentage. <Most all are covered on WWM... read on> 3) Will using a true union valve between the sump and intake side of the system pump (for removal and maintenance of pump only) cause too much restriction on the pump if left in the "open position" while in normal use? This will be an external pump. <Nope> These are the questions I have at the moment, I do appreciate the time and effort you put into this site and I do enjoy the learning experience. Thanks to your wisdom, advice, and experiences, I know where I want to go, just struggling with the how's and best methods to accomplish my goals. <No need/use in "struggling"... take all a bit at a time... Reduce to simpler questions, stated goals... You'll do fine> Hopefully, in the end, I will have a system that is balanced, reliable, thought out, and a real joy for the inhabitants (my wet friends) and for onlookers as well. I know I can get there with proper guidance, time, and the information provided here. Thanks and Best Wishes Tom P.S. Great Book, "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", Everyone should read it at least once if not twice! <Thank you for this. Bob Fenner>

Tank Plumbing...Pipe Diameter/Joint Sealing - 04/02/07 Hi Guys! <<Hello Jason>> I am building a closed-system with SCWD for circulation after reading many of your FAQs and articles. <<Hmm...I think you mean a "closed-loop">> You guys are great! <<Glad you think so>> I hope you can help with some plumbing questions that I tried searching for on your FAQs. <<I shall try>> I may be getting an Eheim pump... If the output valve is 3/4", after reading your FAQs, you've said the piping should be a bit bigger. Will 1" piping be fine for a 3/4" valve? <<It will>> I also read that you guys suggest flexible hose piping to the valves to reduce vibration. <<Yes>> Can I just use a clamp with your suggested silicone on the valves? <<You can, yes...but if you are using the pump in a "submerged" fashion I don't feel you need the silicone>> When connecting joints that slip, is it fine just to use Silicone to create a seal .. or must I use PVC solvent? <<Use PVC solvent. Done correctly this will make a permanent watertight seal, and if you make a mistake...is cheap to "redo">> Seems to me that if joints are threaded together, you suggest silicone. <<Ah yes, for "threaded" PVC joints the silicone will do fine...and also allow the connections to be undone when/if necessary. Though personally, with the exception of seating/sealing bulkhead fittings, I prefer to use Teflon tape for threaded joints...is quick and easy to apply/reapply with no waiting for silicone to cure>> Thanks guys! Jason <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Pump question for Aquavim tank... Not Reef Ready- 03/25/07 Hello guys! I recently purchased an Aquavim 88 gallon seamless RR < http://www.aquavim.com/ rounded glass...> tank setup. It's an awesome attention-getter in my living room, but I'm getting frustrated trying to figure out a circulation/pump plan for this very tall tank/stand. I'm calculating a head pressure of about 5.5 feet.(4.5 feet from sump to top of overflow box, then a 90 degree turn, then a 45 degree turn into tank). It has a single 1" outflow, then a 3/4" return. (I know, the 1" return is killing me!) <As will the 3/4" return... Not RR... Reef Ready> It seems like I'm in between pump sizes for my planned FOWLR setup with Orca sump refuge. For example, the Mag 7 puts me around 400-420 gph which is 4.6 turnovers. <The 1" return may not fit this...> Moreover, the Mag 7 only has a 1/2" outlet so I would lose even more head pressure going up to a 3/4" return. <Not much... I wouldn't be concerned here> The Mag 9.5 would be around 720-750. (Too much for a 1" return). <Way> The pump has to be the submersible type as I don't have a bulkhead for the return. <I'd cut, fit one... or switch sumps to this...> I could go with a Mag 7 and do powerheads in-tank, but this is ugly amongst the other issues. Could I valve-down a Mag 9.5?? <Could...> Is this safe?? <Is, but I wouldn't...> What would you do?? <Try to see what sort of flow you can get through both the present through-puts... and loop the discharge, return from whatever pump you settle on to over the top... on/with some sort of "closed loop" arrangement... this pre-drilled tank is not really able to be used for the intended purpose...> Any other pump brand or suggestions that would get me closer to 500 gph without having to deal with valves?? Thanks guys!! Kris K <As stated... and posted. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm It's... an Bob Fenner>

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