Please visit our Sponsors
More FAQs about Pump/Plumbing Noise, Prevention, Abatement and Aquarium Systems... or Save My Sanity, PLEASE! 5

Related Articles: Plumbing Marine Systems by Bob Fenner, 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:   Pump/Plumbing Noise 1, Pump/Plumbing Noise 2, Pump/Plumbing Noise 3, Pump/Plumbing Noise 4, & Marine Plumbing 1, Marine Plumbing 2, Marine Plumbing 3Marine Plumbing 4, Marine Plumbing 5, Marine Plumbing 6, Plumbing 7, Plumbing 8, Plumbing 9, Plumbing 10, Plumbing 11, Plumbing 12, Plumbing 13, Plumbing 14, Plumbing 15, Plumbing 16, Plumbing 17, Plumbing 18, Holes & Drilling, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Make Up Water Systems, Pumps, Plumbing, Circulation, Sumps, RefugiumsMarine Circulation 2, Gear Selection for Circulation, Pump Problems Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Fish-Only Marine Systems 2, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large SystemsWater Changes Surge Devices

Does "noise" bother invertebrates?... Yes, it can

Fluctuating Sump Level; one inch drain line/s      11/9/14
Dear WetWebMedia,
Thank you so much for your service to the aquarium trade. I have successfully kept a reef tank for seven years. My original fish are still alive and thriving. I owe it to following the advice I've learned on this
I apologize in advance for my lack of physics knowledge. I also apologize for the lengthy email as I don't know what information is important. A couple months ago I moved and had my reef tank upgraded to a 120 gallon tank at the same time. It is a room divider tank and visible on three sides. The overflow is located on one side of the tank. It currently has one 1" drain
<Mmm; too small... needs to be... "over-sized"... at least 1.5 inch for this volume system, sump... in fact, two drain lines would be preferable to one... Oh, I see below...>
with a Durso, one 1" drain that is unused,
<I would use this drain as well>

and a 3/4 inch return. The return is rated at 1200 GPH. There have been problems from the start. The Durso appears to be tuned correctly with no flushing. To start, the drain line vibrated/shook and sounded like a dishwasher.
<Yes; overwhelmed... siphoning intermittently.... maddening noise wise>

We attempted to solve it by cutting the drain line shorter to allow it to hang straight down and just below the water level in the filter sock. The noise and shaking continued.
<Ah yes>
We then drilled a few holes in the line to allow air to escape. This greatly reduced the shaking and noise, but did not eliminate it.
<Won't do so... either have to slow the rate of flow down (by pumping less), OR adding another drain (of size), OR re-drilling the present drain line, fitting a larger through-put/bulkhead fitting and larger diameter
I have an auto top off unit in the sump/refugium that beeps if the water level rises above the sensor. At least once a day the water level in the sump rises and sets off the alarm. Tonight when it happened, I watched the sump water level go back down to below normal. I then noticed that the water level was unusually high (by a couple inches) in the overflow. The water level was higher, but not "flushing." It also seemed like the drain line was substantially quieter. I turned the pump off to check for an obstruction in the drain line, but couldn't see anything. When I turned the pump back on, the level in the overflow was back to normal, but the level in the sump was too high again. It makes me nervous having the water
level fluctuate like that.
<Ah yes>
Do you have a guess as to what the problem is?
<Indeed I do... very common w/ undersized plumbing as you have here... the system is oscillating twixt flow and siphoning down the one drain line... when the water is backed up in the upper tank, the sump is drained sufficiently to set off the auto top off alarm...>
I'm assuming the problems have something to do with the drain not being able to handle the return rate. Is that correct?
<Ah yes>
If so, would it help to utilize the extra 1" drain?
<I would employ it and hope it does so>
If so, is it ok to have two dursos in the same overflow?
I already inquired about making the drain holes bigger, but was told the holes were as large as they could be with there being three holes in the same small area.
<Yes; an engineering/design defect. There have been quite a few commercial systems... and custom with this mistake>
Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.
<I would first try using both one inch drains... IF this doesn't "do it", I'd slow down the rate of flow to/from the tank... and provide more flow INSIDE the main/display tank with submersible pumps (see WWM re); using the sump less... IF this doesn't satisfy, the present holes can be abandoned, a piece of material placed over them and the tank/drain area re-drilled, WITH one larger drain line (2" if it were up to me) and a one inch return. Bob Fenner>

Closed loop... pb issue; cavitation from too large pump, too small pb     8/11/14
I have a closed loop on a drilled tank, bottom has 5 inch bulk heads, i drain
<Wish there were two>
and 4 returns, i have a Iwaki rated at 1900 gph , 1inch in/out. Out is plumbed to pvc manifold that has flex to the 4 returns. I also have union valves on inlet and outlet.
When i try and run wide open it cavitates and produces lots of bubbles, if i back down it is fine. Question , would increasing the pipe size on the inlet to 1.5 inches help?
<On the intake side; yes>
It would still have a 1inch bulkhead and pump inlet ( just between a larger pipe)
<... need to re-drill the tank... Enlarge the bulkhead as well. Bob Fenner>
re: Closed loop
<What I'd really do is to change the pump on your current arrangement to something smaller flow-wise (like by half), and instead provide circulation within the system... via pumps, even powerheads... See WWM. Closed loops are for the most part passé nowayears... for a few good reasons. BobF>
Re: Closed loop     8/13/14

If I back it off I do not get bubbles , I do have some streams in side tank Thx
<No sense spending the money on electricity to throttle-back, nor the added waste heat of a too-large pump. B>

Pump noise... Choices, ditching an inappropriate Little Giant    3/15/13
I have a Giant 5.5 MDQ SC (240V)

<Umm, I would definitely switch this pump out... You don't need a magnetic drive (MD) or semi-corrosive (SC) pump... There are MUCH better choices in terms of service factor, electrical consumption... >
 in my garage returning from the sump to my 90G upstairs. The static head is around 12' and may be 40' of 1" return pipe.
I have 2- 700Gph rated glass hole skimmers upstairs. The pump return system flow has not been reduced and seems very balanced. I have the pump mounted on a unattached and freestanding wooden table with the only connection being 2- 1" vinyl tubing to the sump which is attached to the wall.
This pump has driven me out of my garage sanctuary due to the noise. I can hear it at night and the wall the sump is attached to makes the mother in law apt down stairs like an industrial area.
<Oh no... way past time to replace>
Do you have any experience with the quietest yet a powerful pump.
Thanks Terry
<All sorts... Just search WWM re Pump Choices... there are several FAQs files archiving our input, responses for various applications. From there, I'd search more widely re other actual users input, evaluations, lastly searching the Net re manufacturers' input. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pump noise    3/16/13

Thank you
<Pleased to help you. BobF> 

overflow and <base> rock question    8/22/12
Hi Bob.
I wrote to you a bit ago with questions. I have as of yet tried to figure out if I still need reading glasses due to this site!
<Do re-size the fonts as necessary!>
I have, since our last conversations, installed a small 27qt.
<Quarts? Bigger would be that much better>
 sump to the 58 gallon show tank I have. I have started removing the bioballs slowly-maybe 1/4 per week. I have also added 15 pounds more live base rock to the main display. I am sorry to say that after 20 years of fish only keeping, the addition of the live rock is making me lean towards running at least a small reef of sorts. I kind of figured this would happen after finding this terrible site of information!!!!!!!
Couple of quick questions. My wife is complaining of the water noise (she is the one who has insomnia and we moved the tank into the laundry room) from the overflow. Can that return be submerged.?
<Yes; and a sieve/Dacron bag placed over the discharge end... requiring frequent cleaning, but quieting it further>

What do you think of Marco rock out of Florida?
<Nice people, products>
 or adding dry reef rock or dry Carr. rock to the sump?
<Can be easily done.
Do see WWM here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/baserockfaqs.htm
 Will it slowly propagate beneficial bacteria, or is it a waste of money.?
<The former>

And, if I add it to the sump, do I need to light it?
<Some light would be beneficial: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugltgfaqs.htm
Thank you for your book and all of your time. And to all you guys and gals helping us make the right decisions for our animals.
On a side note. I am a professional mechanic. Don't know how many of us that are avid fishkeepers out there, but the challenge of not putting your greasy, contaminated hands into the tank and killing everything can be done. Thanks to this site, and who I am I guess, I now spend over $40 a month on gloves of all sorts thanks to this hobby!!!
<A good idea... even to protect your hands, health for your line of work>
Just wanted to thank you for everything, and let you know that anything can be done in this hobby with a little love, patience, and, esp. reading, understanding and care.
<Thank you for your kind, well-elucidated words Joel. BobF>

NOISE    6/19/12
| I cannot keep the sump quiet
,,, the Refugium a floor above is the source ....it is fed by the Deltec16 and exits under water in sump
<Mmm, I'd attach a Dacron filter bag (will need to be cleaned likely daily to ever few days) over the/se intake/s... yes, underwater. A bit of reading for you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbnoisef5.htm
and the linked files (above) in the series>
 with  lots of turbulence air bubbles and noise....fine tune with  gate valve helps for a while but it always cycles to its seemingly preferred state of turbulence. I would send photos but I don't want to crash SAC, Langley, the Jupiter probe servers.

1 Display Tank [1100x1100x600] contains a weir/overflow exiting through 2 returns base bulkheads [yeah I know through the back but the builder went behind mine] to Sump directly below.
2 Display Tank is fed through the base by Deltec E-Flow 10 located in Sump.
Pump is at max power [80w] with a Stop Valve on outlet side and terminates in 2 directional pipes. It has two returns [one fitted with a gate valve] to sump
3.Sump  contains the Deltec E-flow 16: the main circulatory pump to the Refugium
4. Sump has an internal weir to accept the returns from both DT and Refugium
5.Sump can hold contents of the DT beyond the weir, and the Refugium second chamber downstream of its weir [i.e. the compartment containing the Deltec 30/70s external skimmer [option is then to put skimmer outside refugium] as well as its own contents
6. Refugium  has lowermost bulkhead through the side for the primary return to the small compartment of the sump the neck points downwards remaining submerged, hopefully, and it is  fitted with a Gate Valve. Above: a second return to sump adjustable in height above the primary, is upturned [? risk of syphon] and set at a level  appropriate to the skimmer. This return is into  the large compartment and has no gate valve. A third and final  through the side  fail safe bulkhead lies near the top and drains to waste.
7.Refugium [2000x700] is one floor above DT/Sump and has two chambers separated by a weir -the larger chamber for macroalgae and the other presently housing the Skimmer
Four EcoTech MP40s will provide the speed and a Deltec 30/70s external [with self-cleaning head] the sp
So what are the problems you foresee with this setup and what are the errors? That is after the obvious one which is that I don't know what I am doing, have gone too fast and will likely crash
Re: NOISE   6/20/12

The idea of the Dacron bag is to break air from the column of water I presume.
<To slow down the water, noise as well>
I have read on wtwbmd that the intakes need to be submerged to effectively release air from column.
I suppose that's assuming you have a trickle overflow above the submerged one with the idea being 99% down the submerged intake and 1% trickle....or do you have the Dacron on all and any intake?
<... the discharge/s>

The only product I can find in UK is Aqua Medic pre-filter sock made of polyester- is this suitable?
<Yes... the names are related... Dacron Polyester. B>

Re: NOISE   6/20/12
So do I need to place these bags on pump inlets  too; or just the gravity returns from refugium down to sump.
Re: NOISE   6/21/12

So at the exits and entrances of the return pipes?
<No my friend... only at the discharge ends... where the noise is being made, the water comes out...>
I know I am being a bit thick here but I am unsure what exactly discharges are: do you mean the submersed  exits of the return pipes from |the |DT and the refugium into the sump and/or the inlets/intakes/entrances to these pipes.
I have a second question.  Having reduced flow by powering down my pumps there is a great reduction in noise and turbulence. The DT will now, I roughly calculate, have a volume turnover rate of  x4 to 5 .I believe that is now accepted as appropriate given that the in-tank circulation is catered for independently in my case by 4 EcoTech MP40s. Is that correct?
<It is indeed. B>

Silent Durso 3/13/12
<Hello Douglas>
Just an idea that worked great! Durso was making some typical noise so I just attached a cheap plastic airline valve to a two inch piece of airline tubing, inserted it into the air hole at the top, used the adjusting knob to fine tune air flow and now it is completely silent.
<Thank you for sharing.  Will post for others on our daily FAQs.  James (Salty Dog)>

sump pump, sel.    12/8/11
To Crew,
I currently have a 75 gallon saltwater aquarium. I have a Tidepool II sump filter with a Mag drive 18 external pump. Could you recommend a more energy efficient , quieter pump?
<Mmm, yes... Eheim's line and using internal wave maker/pumps for circulation in the tank itself (instead of an external pump). See WWM re>
Would this be the little giant?
<The olde AZ co. air pump? Silent Giant? The Lippincott Industries line? No>
Also, I've gotten mixed opinions about the bio wheel. Should this be left in the sump or taken out?
<IF I had purchased or had this Marineland product, I'd leave it in operation... as long as nitrate accumulation wasn't an issue. Bob Fenner>

Noisy plumbing   11/13/11
Good morning wwm crew,
<And to you Don>
This is another plumbing question. I read your forum daily and have answered many of my own questions, but this one has me puzzled. I have a 180g reef tank and a 55g sump. I have 4 Hydor Korallia 4 12v powerheads in display. 180lbs live rock. I have Magnificent fox face, yellow tang, Naso tang, maroon clown, lemon peel angel, scooter blenny, neon goby and about 30 various snails. Plenty of coral sps and lps. 126 3w leds for lighting, 90 blue leds (coral breeding ground). Top of aquarium is at 66" from floor (not counting hood). The 180g has a glass-holes 3000 kit installed center top of tank. (2x 2" bulkhead drains capable of 3000 gph)
<Am familiar... friends of Scott and Mike, the owner/operators>
and two 1" return lines drilled 3" to the left and right side of the overflow box. My 55g sump is divided into 3 chambers. Left is the refugium. Center is return section. Right is my skimmer section (Tunze1050). With bubble traps left and right to prevent micro bubbles from entering pump. Which works great.
One of my 2" drains goes to fuge and one goes to skimmer. The 2" to the skimmer is straight below the right bulkhead. (A 90 off the bulkhead turned down with 12" of airline tubing drilled into it,
<Mmm, may need to be extended... best to have return plumbing designs that these "aspirators" can be easily adjusted for length>
then 1 more 90 going under the tank and one more turning it into the skimmer section. Pipe is below water to eliminate splashing sound.
<I'd put a "bag" over this as here: http://www.cpraquatic.com/pdf/sockitcombo.pdf
Tried it above and below water.) The 2nd 2" drain (a 90 off the bulkhead turned down with 12" of airline tubing drilled into it goes down and then turns left with a street 90 (long radius plumbing 90) then has about 1" of fall going total of 2' from 90 to 90, then 90 into cabinet and 90 down to fuge exiting below water.)
<And "sock" this one as well>
My pump is a rio32.
<Mmm, I'd replace this... not a fan of the make/r. Too likely to fail, even catch on fire>
pumps water to both 1" return lines. Attached rubber hose from pump to pvc plumbing
<Double/dual clamped>
and put foam under pump to eliminate noise. I installed sponges I had from a existing wet dry sump into the overflow box to stop the waterfall into the overflow but the water gushing through the pipes is very very loud. It is not a constant waterfall sound it is a repeating gush gush gush gush sound. No gurgling sound or burping sound after adjusting the airline going through the 90s. So my questions are:
1. Is the 2" overflows to <too> much? Do I need to adapt them to 1.5"?
Everything I read no one uses 2" overflows.
<Not too much. If reduced in diameter, less potential flow volume... and still a need to do as above re aspiration and socks>
2. Do I need a bigger pump? (Thinking lack of flow is creating more noise?)
<Mmm, no... not likely... But I would switch to a different pump>
( I have changed to a smaller pump for a test and did not change noise but haven't tried a bigger one) If so what pump is recommended to be quiet and produce large amount of flow?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/pumpselmar6.htm and the linked files above>
Thank you ever so much for your help and for your website! Sorry if I gave to much information that wasn't needed. Sincerely Donald
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Noisy plumbing   11/15/11

Thank you for your fast reply! I will most definitely order 2 sock kits and get them installed.
<Ah good>
After reading a lot of discussions about pumps good and bad I've come to the conclusion Eheim pumps are what I'm wanting.
<An excellent choice>
But the biggest they offer isn't big enough. I need a submersible pump due to my sump design and cabinet space. So my question is can u recommend a quiet submersible pump brand that will produce 2400gph to 3000gph?
<Mmm... I really would use an emersed pump at this volume... Alternatively I'd greatly reduce the flow through the sump/refugium and use internal pumps instead for in-place circulation...>
I been looking
at the Danner pro Hy drive models but the reviews I've read aren't so great. And I cannot seem to find one that will produce the high amount of flow I'm wanting to achieve. Thank you once again.
<Do a bit more reading in the "pump selection" area...
and: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugePbF4.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

One pump or two... standpipe noise, bubbles NRR... Not Reef Ready plumbing -- 10/07/11
Hello All,
Thanks for all of the terrific information! Have spent many hours looking through a good number of the sections. Just a quick question. I have an All Glasss <Snake tank?> 120gal dual overflow tank currently being setup for a marine tank. Plan to start as a FOWLR and then possibly convert to a reef tank. I built my sump out of a 38gal tank with both overflows coming into a chamber on the left, then flowing into a skimmer chamber with a Bubble Magus NAC 6, then flowing through a bubble trap to a return chamber. There is also a final right side chamber for a refugium that will overflow back into the return chamber. I have two Eheim 1260s (recs from you guys)for my return pumps. When both are running (each returning through one of the overflow compartments) the return is terrific.
The problem is it's so good it's extremely loud.
<Mmm, what, where is the source of noise?>
I plumbed the returns to the sump so they come in under the sump water level, which helped, but still extremely loud.
<Are these "vented"? Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/dursopipefaqs.htm>
Also this still gives me quite a bit of micro-bubbles in the main tank.
<And the end/s here... do they terminate in a/ filter bag/s? See here for example: http://www.cpraquatic.com/pdf/sockitcombo.pdf>
I then tried using one Eheim as the single return pump, with the returns coming off a T connector from the pump. This is much quieter, with significantly less turbulent water flow in the sump, but much less forceful water movement in the main tank. So, my actual question. Is the single pump enough, or should I just use both and deal with the noise.
<I'd use both, fix the noise issue>
(BTW, the pump is pumping against ~4ft vertical head and returns are 3/4" with the overflows each 1")
<I know... disappointing. Bob Fenner>
Chris S.

return pump question   1/20/11
Hello, I have an Iwaki wmd 40 rxt as my return pump for my 240g reef with 70g sump/refug.. It is too loud for me and doesn't provide quite the flow that I need. I would like to purchase a Reeflo snapper gold to replace it.
<Definitely a quieter choice!>
Would the snapper gold give me just that little bit of extra flow I need or would the advertised 2600 gph be greatly reduced? I have 3 vertical feet of head and about 8 horizontal feet of head.
<It will be reduced a good bit with this. IF your overflows can handle it I would go with a Dart here over the Snapper Gold if you want extra flow. A ball valve on the output will allow you to throttle it back if it is a bit too much.>
My 1.5 in. return lines eventually decrease to two 1" lines on the top of the tank before exiting into LocLine into the water surface. Thanks.
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Bubbles, noise, and flow that won't flow   12/7/10
Hey WetWebMedia crew!
<Hello James.>
Thank you for your impeccable knowledge of the trade and consistent information to all of us amateurs and novices alike! My system is a 135 Clear For Life acrylic with a corner overflow with half of the teeth
removed, 1 1/2" bulkhead, 8" of 1 1/2" PVC up from the bulkhead with numerous 1/4" holes drilled and a 90 at the end in case of a fish or snail getting sucked in, and bio-balls filled up to the 90. Under the tank is 1 1/2" PVC running straight down with a 45 just below water level, this flows into a filter sock. My sump is a 20 gallon Eshopps reef modified into a refugium with an extra baffle, and a ASM G1x doing the skimming. There is a Rio 2500 running my JBJ Arctica 1/10th chiller with 3/4" I/D tube to a 3/4" bulkhead in the back of the tank 1/3 of the way from the overflow to the other side of the tank. There is also a Little Giant 4-MDQX-SC plumbed with 1" I/D tube (for vibration) from a 1" bulkhead in the side of the sump, out of the pump is also 1" I/D tube to a ball valve and flap style check valve, to a 1" bulkhead on the other 1/3 of the tank. Inside the tank is a 1" Tee and 2 45's for flow direction. Sorry for the long detail but with all of the information I know it will be easier to diagnose my problem.
<This is good, all the info is here!>
My problem is the noise from the over flow box, micro bubbles, and if I open the ball valve all the way my tank fills before it can drain into the overflow but the water level in the over flow does not rise at all.
<This is too much flow for this line. Opening the pump all the way is making this line siphon, a dangerous situation.>
I have purchased an ABS wye and all of the other pieces for a modified Durso standpipe because I cannot find Flex PVC or a PVC wye at any of my local plumbing or hardware stores that are the right size. Is it ok to use ABS in place of PVC for the standpipe?
Is a Durso the best unit for my application?
<It is, just fabricate one yourself as you are doing. Make it taller, just a few inches below the top of the overflow. With an 8" tall line in your current setup I suspect much of the noise you are hearing is water falling down into the overflow.>
What can I do in regards to the bubbles and flow rate?
<You simply need to lower your flow rate. See:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BulkheadFloRateArt.htm. Lowering the flow rate will decrease noise and bubbles and put the rate at a much more reasonable level for your sump to handle. With a 20 gallon sump it does not give bubbles much chance to dissipate at such a high flow. I would simply just use the Rio as your return pump and either feed the Little Giant out of the tank for a closed loop or use powerheads for in tank flow. There is no need or advantage to running all of this flow through the sump.>
Thanks for all your answers and hard work
James in sunny California
<Welcome, Scott V. in the same area!>

Overflow sump noise   5/13/10
I have a 100 gallon saltwater tank set up with freshwater. I am having issues with the noise that the overflow sump/lines is making (air/water mix causing gurgling and slurping). Venting is not an option because I can't
get the top of the vent line above the tank level.
<Any overflow will need to be aspirated to function properly.>
I have tried aspirating with different sized tubes and other objects, but none have seemed to help.
Right now I have a sponge on top of the overflow line and it helps a little bit, but its still noisy. Any ideas? Another question I have is about covering the sump top so fish don't get sucked into the sump. Any ideas
as to what to cap the sump with and still allow proper flow?
<Some more information is needed here to make an assessment. What size overflow line(s), how is it plumbed, what size pump, what brand/type of overflows?>
Thank you,
Chris French
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Overflow sump noise 5/19/10
I have a Walchem Iwaki magnetic drive pump.
<Hmmm, size/model?>
The overflow line is 1/2 inch PVC running into 1 1 1/4 inch flex hose which feeds the filter sump. The supply line is 3/4 inch. See attachment for plumbing.
<A 1/2" overflow drain line? This is almost useless, even in the smallest of tanks. The noise you are hearing from this is the line sucking in air as it siphons. For a 100 gallon tank you need larger, multiple drains.
See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BulkheadFloRateArt.htm>
Thank you
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Noisy Snails Need To Find A New Perch! 5/5/10
Hello all,
<Hello, Jeff>
Hope everything is good over there.
<Things are going well, thank you.>
I have a quick question. I have a few new snails that like to spend the day resting on top of my skimmer and refugium pumps. They like to rest their shells on the side wall of the aquarium.
The slight vibration of the pump causes the shells to rattle against the glass, producing a constant loud and very annoying sound.
<Yep, been there, heard that.>
I can hear it the other room.
I know it's bad for my sanity, but is it bad for my inhabitants?
<Well, it's probably not great for them but as far as actually harming them, I don't think so. It could, however, be especially bothersome to any timid fishes that you might have.>
Also, do you have any suggestions on how to keep them from doing this?
<Heeee! I can tell you from experience that pointing your finger at them and telling them to cut it out doesn't work at all! The first thing I'd try to do is encourage them to find another spot to congregate. You could try attaching (with new rubber band or zip-tie) something like a small piece of plastic egg crate that's been cut to fit the top of each pump. I doubt that the snails would want to crawl across (or hang out on) such an uneven surface. In lieu of that, you could try putting some sort of bumper up against the glass so that the snails' shells can't make contact in that area. You might be able to use something like several layers of fiberglass screening wedged between the pump and the glass. It's the same material that's used in screen doors but since it's fiberglass, it won't rust or deteriorate in saltwater. It will, however, make a nice surface for algae to grow on, though, so you'll need to swap it out/clean occasionally. Both egg crate and fiberglass screening are commonly available at home improvement stores. You'll find the egg crate sold as sheets in the lighting department. It's also referred to as a fluorescent light diffuser. Here's an example: http://img.alibaba.com/img/buyoffer/102959875/Plastic_egg_crate_light_diffuser.jpg >
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. Hopefully you'll be a noise-free household very soon!>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

New pump, insufficient drain/ing    4/26/10
Hello Crew,
I wrote to you not long ago inquiring about a pump.
I have a 150 gallon with 2 corner overflows and returns. My sump consists of 2 Tidepool II's linked together and connecting to the pump that then returns. My pump was a 9.5, able to pump 950 gph but with allowing for the head room for each corner probably about 700gph.? You advised on getting an 1800 pump. I got the 1800 pump and now both sides keep draining down to the air hole in the overflow pipe and filling back up again. How can I stop this from happening?
<Mmm, possibly by increasing the diameter, and/or lowering the position/depth of the aspirating (air)lines... But better by far by increasing the diameter and/or number of the overflow (drain)lines>
If its air bound, how do I get the air out? Could you please advise me on what I'm doing wrong? Thanks Dawn
<Your situation is quite common... Troubles w/ even so-called "reef ready" commercially made systems. Please read here:
and the linked files above... till you understand the rationale here, your choices. Do feel free to write back if this is not clear, complete. Bob Fenner>
re: New pump
Hello, I had to write back and tell you, I figured out the problem with the air noise...I put the elbows on backwards!!! (thus moving the position of the air holes) The overflows are now quiet, but there are ALOT
<... no such word>
of tiny macro bubbles coming out the returns. Would this be the pump? Impeller?
<Mmm, most likely air entrainment... Read where you were previously referred>
Are these harmful to the fish?
<Could be>
Could you advise me how to get them to stop? I do apologize about the previous inquiry. I have learned quite alot in a short time reading thru your site. I will continue to read, and would like to get your book. Thanks for educating us so, to make our aquariums better.
<Welcome. BobF>

Need sleep. Gurgling overflows  4/21/10
I have a All Glass 125 gallon reef ready tank that's been running wonderfully for the past 6 months. My Xenia's are pulsing and my Frags are fragtastic but it seems that recently the right side standpipe is at a constant gurgle. I adjusted the height of the adjustable pipe in the overflow to no avail and when I put my finger on the vent hole there is no change in noise or water level. The tank is level and that was not an easy task considering my floor is not.
I noticed that the clear drain hose coming from that side may be clogged with algae since it runs close to the light over the fugue. I guess my next step is to either replace or try to clean the hose with a plastic plumbing snake (any recommendation is helpful).
<An aquarium or baby bottle brush tied to a length of flexible wire will do the trick.>
Do you think a clogged hose could be the problem? The overflow drains fine other then the constant noise.
<It is draining fine now, but the noise will be caused by water falling too far within the box (raise the pipe), the pipe end being open to the atmosphere (add an elbow directed down into the water) or siphoning. The latter is by far the most common and is typically caused by flowing the line past capacity. In this case the buildup in the line can have quite an impact. I would start with cleaning this out. Keep in mind that if this does solve the problem it is an indication of how close to capacity your overflow is flowing, leaving no redundancy.>
Thanks in advance,
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Sump Noise'¦Imbalances in Flow Rate vs. Drain Size/Quantity -- 04/03/10
Hi all,
<<Greetings Dwayne>>
First off, wonderful site, reading your FAQs has reduced my sump noise to a dull roar.
<<Ah yes, a common issue>>
Yay me! I just set up a 125 gallon reef ready (or so they said) tank.
Upon starting the pump I was sure a freight train was barreling through my living room.
<<Too much flow for the size of the returns and/or the size of the sump>>
It's not so bad now, but I wonder if it can be quieter.
<<It can'¦reduce the flow through the sump (you don't need as much as you might think) and use one of the many excellent devices available these days for producing flow within the display>>
So how quiet can a sump be?
<<Very'¦ I have a 375g display supported by a 75g sump and 55g refugium. If I turn off my skimmer (itself a quiet Euro-Reef design), you are hard pressed to know any water is flowing through the drains. I have 1' drains (three of them), but I limit my return flow to less than 900gph en toto for the three drains (a maximum of 300gph per 1' drain is highly suggested), plus my drain lines are 'aspirated' to reduce air buildup and the associated turbulence and noise (do search our site re 'aspirate' for more detail'¦you can start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbnoisefaqs.htm ). Mine is a predominantly 'SPS' system so good flow is a requirement, but this is easily and much better supplied by in-tank propeller pumps versus heavy flow from my sump>>
Are we talking canister quiet, HOB quiet, HOB with a low water level quiet, or something else altogether?
<<You might be amazed how quiet your system can be, once you realize you don't need to process more than a few hundred gph through your sump>>
I'm using a MagDrive 18 pump at about 10 ft head, so somewhere in the neighborhood of 900 to 950 GPH.
<<Have you measured this? It's probably a bit more'¦these pumps actually do pretty well with head pressure>>
I now know that's too much for the dual one-inch overflows,
<<Yup'¦by about 50%. Not only are you 'overdriving' the overflows, but should one become clogged'¦'¦'¦'¦.>>
better late than never I guess.
<<Yet you are still pumping more water than the overflows can safely handle'¦>>
I've managed to get it to about the HOB with low water level sound, maybe a little louder. Should I keep trying or do you think that's the best it's going to get?
<<You can try aspirating the lines, but the better course of action would be to swap the Mag-Drive 18 for a Mag-Drive 9.5'¦cutting not only noise in the drains/sump, but energy consumption and heat gain as well>>
The water level in the overflows stays at a steady level,
<<Until a blockage down the road>>
but I still hear the rushing bubbles sound.
At least I can hear the TV now,
<<Mmm, yes'¦been there>>
I can live with it at this point if I have to, but if it can get better I'll keep tinkering.
<<It can be better>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Skimmer Trade? (And Plumbing Issues Too!) -- 02/01/10
Hi, and thanks in advance for any help you provide.
<<Hiya Pam'¦let's see if I can be of service>>
I have inherited my college freshman's reef.
<<Mmm'¦hopefully this will read better than the majority of such>>
Started with a free ('it will only cost you $40 worth of salt to get running') 55 gallon set-up with standard fluorescent lighting
<<Ha! I'm guessing you didn't inquire/think past the 'to get running' phrase'¦>>
'¦over three or four years it is now a 150 gallon set-up.
<<Ah! This is actually better for you/your livestock re the increased stability of the larger system. Also'¦I'm just a BIG/BIGGER tank kind of guy>>
(hmmm if only we had known'¦that was a really dirty trick...just kidding!)
<<Ah well, rare is the hobbyist who doesn't think about upsizing>>
We love the 'little piece of the ocean' and I don't mind the upkeep while the progeny is away at school studying biology.
<<That's a good thing as you will likely keep/have this tank for some time'¦I'm betting>>
However, I am an amateur and working hard to learn through on-the-job training...
<<Read, read, read'¦>>
Bought used, the system came with a ProClear Pro 300 used as a sump, no bioballs or anything.
<<It's not uncommon to see 'converted' wet/dry filters used as sumps on reef systems>>
The ProClear is a strange design with one end side lower (yikes! I'm sure there is a point to that, but it annoys me)
<<Indeed'¦a wet/dry filter generally runs with a quite low water level (remember, it wasn't designed as a 'sump'). I reckon the design saves on material'¦perhaps eases access'¦or maybe someone just thought it looked snazzy [grin] >>
so to avoid the possibility of an overflow in the event of a power failure I only keep about 15 gallons of water in it. The water level is about 7-8'.
<<This is about normal'¦though if there is room and it is desired'¦a larger, simple plain glass tank could be utilized to increase volume>>
Overflow water dumps into the first compartment then into a felt filter sock that is washed 2X week.
<<Kudos on the maintenance of the filter socks'¦a huge source of decaying organic matter>>
We are using an ASM skimmer (G-3 I think) with a Sedra ksp-5000 needle wheel pump in the second compartment; it is emptied/cleaned 2X week. The return pump is in the third compartment along with the float switch for the auto top-off and the return for the phosphate reactor. Oh, and there is Chaeto growing albeit very slowly in the third compartment as well.
<<The Chaetomorpha would serve better in a dedicated refugium receiving raw water from the tank, and then drained directly to the pump chamber of the sump. The slow growth is likely due to much of the organic/nitrogenous material being removed by the filter sock and skimmer before it reaches the macroalgae (assuming it is sufficiently 'illuminated' for growth to begin with). But still, this is not all bad'¦ As long as the Chaetomorpha is healthy and not decaying/falling apart, it is providing an excellent matrix for epiphytic matter, small beneficial crustaceans/planktonic organisms, et al>>
I use Bulk Reef Supply's two part product and magnesium to keep parameters at about:
dKH 9
Calcium 400
Magnesium 1280
pH 8.2
Others are:
Salinity 1.026
No detectable nitrate, phosphate or ammonia on API kit
<<All good>>
There are just a handful of fish, a yellow tang, hippo tang,
<<This tank is quite borderline for this very robust, active, and even skittish fish'¦in my opinion>>
three Chromis, a scooter blenny, and a pair of clownfish. A lot of coral, and a very mixed assortment'¦About ten smallish sps colonies, a few mushrooms, a small cauliflower sized hammer, a softball sized candy cane and two smaller ones, a huge open brain, two large Cynarina, a Sinularia and two Sarcophytons, some pulsing xenia, GSP, as well as several blastos, micros and Acans. Lots of Zoanthid colonies'¦I think that is the bulk of it.
<<Ah yes, the ubiquitous 'reef garden' for sure. If not already, I would run a cup or two of carbon on this system, or perhaps some cut-up Poly-Filter (not to be confused with polyester filter material) as a hedge against this noxious mix of organisms>>
2-250W metal halides and two actinic VHOs. I have no idea how much rock, it was bought a little at a time'¦it probably takes up about ¼ of the volume of the tank'¦just a guess. Everyone seems to be happy and healthy and growing.
Too much information? LOL
<<Not at all>>
My question is this, and I feel crazy considering it'¦ My friend is getting rid of a 240 gal set-up. She has been using an AquaEuro USA downdraft skimmer with a RIO 2500 pump. It seems quieter than the ASM
<<Really? I wouldn't expect this (I generally find downdraft skimmers to be noisier and requiring more powerful and 'energy hungry' pumps than needle-wheel skimmers)'¦I wonder if the skimmer is 'underpowered' with the RIO pump'¦ And as a note'¦the RIO pump is not a good performer for the long term>>
and she's willing to trade the ASM for it before her system goes to a new home. My husband and I would love to reduce the noise a little, however, since everything seems to be rocking along pretty well, I wonder if I am nuts thinking about trying something new. To add to my worries, I can't find a lot of info about the AquaEuro downdraft pro or con. What do you think?
Given the option, would you trade skimmers?
<<I would not'¦but then I am extremely fond of the needle-wheel style of skimmer (I have a Euro-Reef CS12-3 on my own reef system). While the GSM skimmers don't necessarily utilize the best of materials in some instances in my opinion (polycarbonate vs. acrylic), I would still favor it over the 'unknown' downdraft skimmer here. As for the noise re the GSM'¦ If it is more than a couple years old, replacing the pump and/or impeller may help, as the Sedras do 'wear' quite readily in my experience>>
On a side note, a lot of the noise seems to stem from the overflow water as it rushes into the sump
<<Oh'¦very common>>
'¦any suggestions there?
From the overflows the water travels down flexible ribbed tubing that looks like something from a swimming pool.
<<Hmm'¦replacing this with 'smooth' rigid PVC pipe can help re the induced turbulence>>
Each dumps into T's that have about 7-8' of perforated pvc pointing down into the sump and about a 3-4' length of capped off PVC pointing upward. (if they aren't capped, it burbles water out the top.) I don't know what that is all about; it is the way it came.
<<Likely to alleviate the turbulence/noise (and associated bubbles) you mention. Perhaps an attempt to 'aspirate' the drain line, though this is better done 'at the top' where the drain exits the tank (do search WWM re). You could remove the 'tees' to reduce resistance/splash-back, and replace these with an 'ell' fitting to divert bubbles from going 'back up' the line, and positioned below the water line to further 'mute' noise. But if all this seems too daunting to take on'¦simply reducing the volume of water pumped to the tank will result in a reduction in noise from the overflow(s). If you can tell me the specific number and diameter of your overflows/drain lines'¦and the type/capacity of your return pump'¦I can then better determine if this is a viable route to take. It is very possible that you are merely pumping more water to the tank than the drains can quietly (and maybe even safely) handle. It is very likely that a flow of just a few hundred gph would suffice'¦and if you have a 1' drain trying to handle more than that, well'¦>>
Plumbing is not our strong point'¦my husband is an electrician :)
<<So the lighting is no problem, eh [grin]'¦>>
Could some noise be reduced there with some modification?
<<No doubt'¦but I need more/more detailed info on your pump and plumbing system>>
Thanks again!
<<Happy to share'¦be chatting! Eric Russell>>
Re: Skimmer Trade? (And Plumbing Issues Too!) -- 02/02/10
Thanks Eric,
<<Quite welcome, Pam>>
Ha ha'¦ After previous encounters with a steady parade of reptiles, amphibians, mammals I fully knew that no "free" pet only costs $40 LOL!
<<Indeed'¦ And though I don't think it is the case here'¦oftentimes the 'cost to that free pet' is much more (worse)>>
We know we'll end up with the 150-no problem,
<<Ah good>>
but of course it has involved a lot of education for me.
<<And some measure of enjoyment as well, I hope>>
I really appreciate your role in that. :)
<<Is my pleasure>>
Back to the matter at hand. There are two overflows in the tank each fitted with a dursa.
<<Durso'¦as in Durso Standpipe'¦a very helpful device for improving the performance and increasing the 'silence' of the drain lines>>
I believe the outlets are 1" diameter.
<<Very likely so as this is (unfortunately) a very oft used diameter on production tanks. This being the case, you maximum flow capacity is about 600gph'¦and maybe less depending on the design of the system>>
The return pump is a Mag-12 1200 GPH.
<<Hmm'¦even with head loss I imagine the output is still a bit too much for your drains'¦creating a dangerous and 'noisy' surge/siphon effect. I suggest you install a gate-valve (not a difficult to adjust ball-valve) on the output side of the pump and temper the flow to see if this eases the noise from the drains>>
When you say the ells should be "positioned below the water line", they already are, the water level in the sump is above where they are plumbed in through the wall of the sump (if that makes sense) and of course they also discharge under the water level as the current pvc is about 7-8 inches long.
<<Ah, okay'¦then the 'tees' you mention are attached to this and positioned on a vertical plane? If it's possible, try twisting the tees to a horizontal plane (uncap the plugged end as well). Though this will probably be unnecessary if you reduce the flow from that Mag-12 pump>>
My question with reducing the size of the return pump would be with regard to flow and water turnover, etc.
We currently have the return water coming through LocLine that is positioned to emphasize the flow as well as two middle sized Hydor powerheads. Not sure what size but not the smallest and not the largest...how's that for being technical?
<<Hee-hee! Don't forget to adjust that thingy bob on the watchamacallit, too>>
That is it as far as flow or circulation is concerned. If we used a smaller return, do you think we would need to add another powerhead?
<<Maybe not, it depends on how the different organisms you have are positioned/placed in the tank and how the flow is adjusted re, and of course how much there is'¦but it most likely wouldn't hurt. I've seen very, very few instances where a system wouldn't benefit from more water flow>>
Any other questions?
<<Not from me'¦you?>>
Oh, and thanks for the opinion on the skimmer.
<<No problem'¦have lots of 'em [grin]>>
<<Cheers'¦ EricR>>

R2: Skimmer Trade? (And Plumbing Issues Too!) -- 02/02/10
<<Hiya Pam>>
I love this, what started in my mind to be a skimmer question has evolved into a plumbing/noise reduction project. Thank you!
<<Ah yes! I had a feeling'¦>>
We love the reef, but wow, making it quieter has been a challenge that I had just about given up on after insulating the cabinet, etc. I am now filled with optimism that we may at least incrementally reduce some noise.
<< It can be done'¦ There's rarely any need to flush large volumes of water through your sump in my opinion, and the fact here is that your 1' drains just can't handle a lot. Reducing this flow, and the subsequent bubble/noise issues, will make a marked difference. Additional water movement in the display itself is easily attained with the any number of the great products on the market today just for such>>
You have been a great resource.
<<Redeeming to know'¦thank you>>
I think I completely understand all your instructions.
I looked around on WWM, but I didn't find any actual instructions for installing a gate-valve
<<Mmm yes'¦and this is something Bob has been after me/others to do something about for some time>>
<Heeeee! How come you don't see Clark Kent and Superman in the same time/place? RMF>
but that is probably because it is not rocket science for non-plumbing challenged folks!
<<Indeed'¦just make sure you place it in-line on the 'output' side of the pump. An alternative (though it still wouldn't hurt to have the gate-valve installed) would be to downsize this pump to a Mag-9.5'¦or better yet, a higher quality Eheim 1262. I suspect that head loss on your system would render a flow rate 'about' ideal for the pair of 1' drains, with either of these pumps versus your current Mag-12 pump>>
If instructions are out there somewhere, please shoot me the link. LOL in the meantime I'll figure out where I can find the valve/plumbing adapters/etc. One of our LFS has pond stuff and we have the usual big box hardware stores (maybe in the irrigation department?)
<<You want something made of plastic/PVC'¦I use these: http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid=39923&catid=584&clickid=searchresults Even though your pump's outlet is less than 1' in diameter, I suggest you get a 1' valve and 'bush-up' the line connections to fit. Doing this ensures just the 'mere presence of the valve' doesn't overly restrict flow from the pump >>
Since you have recommended it, I'm guessing that restricting the output of the pump won't have any negative consequences for the pump.
<<No'¦magnetic-drive pumps like the Mag-Drive, Eheim, many others, are designed to work very well in such situations>>
I will report back in a few days after the modification is complete.
<<Please do!>>
Sounds like a good time to do a water change!
<<No time like'¦>>
One last question. I know there is some sound that is the vibration or something from both the skimmer pump and the return pump that is being communicated through the sump/cabinet
<<Ah yes'¦>>
...do you know what I mean?
<<I do indeed'¦ You need to place some thin 'inert' cushioning material under the pumps and even the skimmer body itself. I use pieces of ¼' fan-fold insulation from Lowe's/HD, etc'¦ Some folks use computer mouse pads. Any soft, cushiony, but not too thick material will do'¦as long as it is chemically inert>>
Like it is making those things faintly vibrate or reverberate or something.
What about putting some sort of pad, rubber or something that is not porous so as to be a bacteria factory, under those pumps? Something to insulate the hard surface from that slight vibration...Something that I can get while I'm at the LFS or the big box possibly? ;)
<<Absolutely'¦ Don't worry about the 'porosity' though'¦ Any additional bacteria settling sites will only benefit biological filtration. Think about it'¦why do we advocate high-quality 'porous' live rock'¦>>
On a mission...
<<Queue theme music from 'Mission Impossible'>>

Overflow Gurgles 7/27/09
Hi there, I have an overflow question for my 125 gallon reef ready tank.
<Okay, hello Aaron.>
It is a 125 gallon All-Glass Reef Ready system. I have a Marineland model 4 sump in the basement directly below the tank that I built a stand for so it is right below the ceiling. About 8' from sump to top of tank. My
problems are that on the tank, the right side gurgles about once a minute.
<Usually an indication of a siphon in the line, not desirable.>
I can watch the water level rise about 2" to the upper part of the standpipe then it gurgles and drops back down.
<Definitely a siphon.>
The left side does not, but however in the sump in the basement the right side has major flow, and the left side has very little. The right side you can just see the water pouring into the chamber with tons of bubbles and lots of force and pouring onto the filter media tray, and the bio wheel turning rather fast. On the left side is very slow flow. No bubbles, no force, and just running onto the filter media trays with no force at all,
and the bio wheel spinning rather slow. When the right side gurgles in the tank you can see the rush of water in the sump as it gurgles above.
<It sounds like the right is siphoning, while the left is not.>
I have a 1" pvc drain line going straight down into the flexible (Pool hose) line with a slight upside down question mark then into the 90 that is in the sump.
<This "upside down question mark" can trap water within, leading to this kind of siphon. But another issue below.>
For returns I am using 2 mag drive 18's. The returns are not straight shots. The one on the right goes straight up through the floor to a offset with 2 45's back up into the tank. The left side goes up 90's, goes through my UV, 90's out and up into the tank. It is very noisy. I need help with, why the gurgling and up and down water level on the right side.
And why not enough force on the left side.
<First I would make sure both lines are equally aspirated/vented. You may have to remove the P traps on the overflow lines, but the real issue here just sounds like too much return flow for what these lines can handle. I would go no more than 300 gph per drain. Keep in mind even this leaves no redundancy in overflow capacity should one fail. See:
You have always been there when I need help and I really appreciate it.
P.S. When I called Marineland to ask them all they could suggest is that maybe my tank wasn't level, and was rushing more water to the right side.
I checked for level and it was off (leaning to the right) just a smidge.
The bubble in the level was just crossing the line. Could this cause problems.
<Not the problems you are facing, but others. See:
Thank you
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Overflow Gurgles 7/28/09
Ok. So if it is a siphon problem, how do I fix it. Both standpipes have 1/8 holes in the top of them. Also when I first got the sump I was running the mag 7 on the left and mag 9.5 on the right. That was nowhere near enough flow.
<It will not be for total tank flow through two 1" overflow bulkheads.>
It was barely coming out of either side onto the media. So I got a mag 18 and put it on the right side, and put the 9.5 on the left.
That helped on the right side but still not enough on the left. So I finally got another mag 18 and I have plenty on both sides just a lot more on the right. If I could split it down the middle it would be perfect. I have ball valve shutoffs on both side and have tried tuning the right side down some but by the time I notice a difference I'm half way off on the right.
<Will be the case.>
So you think it sounds like a siphon problem. I'm not sure how that works, If you could explain it to me that would be great or just let me know if there are any solutions to the problem. I've heard of sticking a air tube down the hole.
<This can help in a pure siphoning situation. Your siphoning is caused by flowing more than the drains can handle. This causes the water level to rise, at some point enough to force more water down the drain.
This in turn creates a temporary siphon (despite having the line aspirated) that ends in that flushing noise you are hearing at the end of every cycle. You really only have two options to fix this.
One is to decrease the flow through the overflows and replace that flow with supplemental flow such as a closed loop or powerheads. The other option is to drill the back of your tank within the overflow boxes to gain more overflow capacity. A couple of 2" lines will put you in very good shape.
The downside of the latter option is the need to take the tank down to do it, but if it interests you at all, see:
http://reefercentral.com/Videos.html on the drilling process. Do also see:
http://wetwebmedia.com/SystemPIX/PlumbingPix/Oneinchart.htm for more of an explanation on the 1" line issues.>
What would that do.
Please let me know what you think.
Thank you so much
<Welcome, Scott V.>

What should I do?  Overflow noise   04/23/09
I have this 25 gallon aquarium with a very loud overflow. It is so loud it interferes with answering queries. How do I fix it?
<Hun, I hate to say it, but if you can't fashion a baffle for that overflow box, maybe we should just get a new tank (the glass part, not the stand and all). Then you/we could drill the hole in a better place, make a new
overflow box with a proper baffle (like the one Mike offered us). I don't know... but that thing this is incredibly loud!
Sara M.><<Should have proffered a referral... B>>

What should I do? 04/23/09
what? cant fashion a baffle? of course i can r u nuts?
<Hmm, I'll believe it when I see it.... or, better yet, stop hearing it.
;-) - Sara M.>

Unknown tank part in built in overflow 4/7/09
<Hello Gretchen.>
I just purchased a very much used AGA brand 125g, with 2 built in pre-drilled overflows. I am still in the process of cleaning it. I found a piece in the overflow and I don't even know where to being searching for
what this item is since I have no clue what it is called, nor what it does.
<Hmmm...it was likely at one time tied to the drain on the opposite overflow aspirating the line. It appears to be a "resonator chamber", used mostly in engine type applications. The idea is it smoothes out the air flow and quiets things down.>
I posted on a forum that has some of the more knowledgeable fish folk that I've seen, and they don't know what it is either. I don't even know if it belongs in the drain pipe.
<Not a drain, a component of one, like I said, it was most likely tied into the opposite overflow line.>
It's a plastic bulb with an airline-sized hole on top, and a hollowed stem which fits in the drain pipe. I attached 2 images, and here are the links for the purpose of making it archive friendly:
It is only in one of the overflows. The other one is missing. I'm hoping one of the crew could identify it and tell me what its purpose is.
<Skip it, run this line and the larger one in the other overflow box both as drains with "Durso" type standpipes.>
Thanks in advance!
<Welcome, see http://wetwebmedia.com/diy_durso_pipes_jg.html
for more on this plumbing and how to do it. Scott V.>

Oversized drain and noise 2/21/09 Hey guys, hope you're all doing well! <Hello Dave.> Wondering if you can clear up some confusion for me. <Sure thing.> I am about to pick up a standard dimension 120 gallon tank with a single internal corner overflow with two 2.5 inch holes in the bottom. <Wow! A tank with appropriately sized throughputs out of the box for once.> One is going to be used as a drain, and the other for return. I have a 30 gallon sump, and an Eheim 1260 for a return pump. The expected flow out of the sump, taking head pressure into account, will be about 430 gph. <Reasonable expectation.> I have been reading your website regarding plumbing, and have the impression that I should go with the largest bulkhead and stand pipe I can fit (being 1.5 inch) for both redundancy, incase there's a partial blockage, and to keep the noise to a minimum. <Yes, exactly.> I contacted Richard Durso on his web site to ask about his 1.5" standpipes that he rates at 1500 gph, but he encouraged me to go smaller, because of the relatively low sump flow I have planned! <Whoa, red lights, sirens going off. There is no reason to go smaller...this is like saying you need a smaller garage door because your car fits in too easy. And a 1.5" line will flow nowhere near 1500 gph. 750 gph is a good working number, almost 900 gph in the absolute best case scenario with all of the planets aligned properly at 12 noon on the vernal equinox. I am aware his site claims 1500 here and 600 gph out of a 1" line, but these are both far cries from the real world, actual quantified testing. For those that want to see: http://www.dursostandpipes.com/?page_id=14| To get the skinny on what is really going on read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/SystemPIX/PlumbingPix/Oneinchart.htm  this is only about the 1" bulkhead, but the 1.5" bulkheads are way overrated in the industry in much the same way....sorry to be so long winded about this, but there are so many sources out there misleading people about overflow rates that have so obviously never quantified the actual flow.> He said that such over sizing would actually make things louder because a lot of air would be getting sucked into the pipe due to the minimal water, and produce a boiling water kind of noise!? <Hmm, no. The amount of air drawn into the line has nothing to do with line size, it is all about how much volume the water displaces in the line as it moves through.> I could go with the 1.25" pipe he offers, which is made to fit a 1.5" bulkhead, however this goes against everything else I have read, unless I misunderstood. <You did not misunderstand, going smaller does indeed lower your draining capacity, to the tune of 300 gph or so in this case.> Which is it, does over sizing the drain increase, or decrease the noise? What do you recommend? <Keep it 1.5", if you read through many of the online forums, many if not most out there advocate actually making the standpipe itself larger for noise reasons. There is not any validity to this either IMO.> Also, given my two 2.5" holes, how large of a pipe and bulkhead hole would you use for the return...is there any benefit to over sizing this as well, to a 1.5 incher... or should I stick with the more common 1" or 3/4"? <Stick with 3/4" for the flow you are talking about running.> Thanks very much, Dave <Welcome, Scott V.>

LOA <Lights of America, brand... fuge lighting> install instructions if you want them, Standard Durso Issues <noise, flow...>  2/11/09
<Hello John!>
Well I'm getting there on my 65g as a first timer. I have the sump and fuge running and have some rock on order :)
On the LOA fuge light:
Thought I'd pass on how I hooked it up as it's probably a little different, and more detailed, than what I've seen on your sight. It a very safe implementation, as it keeps the light off of the fuge cover and offers a toggle switch for convenience.
You need the following:
1 Plastic Outlet Box w/threaded knock outs
1 Cord strain relief (via compression fitting) liquid tight connector w/male box threads 1 Box cover with plastic switch toggle on it (usually red in color) that has a 'marine' mark stamped on it.
1 15 amp toggle switch w/ground screw
1 Cord w/plug (Has to be 3 wires Black, White, and most importantly Green!).
Remove box knockouts first, one on the back and one on the side.
Attach box, using the back knockout hole, onto the light stem w/silicone.
Attach strain relief connector into the side knockout of your choice.
Insert cord into the strain relief connector leaving 4-6" of cord in the box and then tighten the nut on the cord forcing a good compression fit. This connector is critical as it prevents cord movement and will also end up being water tight.
Install switch by connecting the black wires to the screws on the switch, connect the white wires together via wire nut, connect cord green wire to the green screw on the switch.
Install box cover by placing the red switch toggle on the back side of the cover, over the wired switch's toggle. In this case the cover serves as a switch for the switch and keeps your salty wet hands away from the real switch itself. The enemy here is not getting a shock, but rather corrosion within the switch, which eventually means a fire inside of the plastic box.
You now have a liquid tight working light with a big red toggle switch on the box for turning it on and off.
You can now use the 4 holes on the outlet box to run string, cord, etc.. to hang the light from your stand, so it hangs 1" away from your acrylic fuge cover. Attach your string to an eyelet above so when you work on the fuge you can simply grab the cord from the eyelet and move it away. You can now use the light's stem screw to adjust the angle of light entering the fuge.
Finally, silicone over all metal screws once you have it adjusted to extend their life span from corrosion. Plug your light into an outlet w/GFCI protection. I hope this helps someone.
<I have no doubt it will, these are great inexpensive refugium lights. Thank you for sharing your instructions.>
On my Durso overflow gurgling:
Sorry to trouble you with this very common problem, but I was not successful in using the aspiration trick. It's the crappy 1" drain thing. Where were you guys when I bought my tank! I blame you all ;c)
<Well if the things would just flow as advertised there would be no problems!>
Kidding aside - I'm running a puny Mag5 and I inserted air tubing (smaller than the standard 1/4" ID) down the air hole and moved it around to various depths and it seemed to make no difference. Do I really need to back down
the flow from a mag5?
<Hmmm, you may have to from what you describe about your overflow line below. These longer runs do have an impact on the flow ability of the drain.>
Sheez.. I did not go below the bulkhead in terms of depth as I was afraid of the air tubing coiling down at the bottom, resulting in eventual overflow clog/block. Do I need to go below the bulkhead joint?
<On a bottom drilled tank with a standpipe? No. The line should end within the first few inches of the standpipe, near the top. This is where you need to introduce the air, break the siphoning.>
My return line is far from ideal, it has 2 90's and a horizontal flow, with a decent slope however. This is because my sump is in another room. If I could do a redo, how many times have you heard that one!, I'd drill 1.5" holes in the back...
<Well, think of how long you will have this tank, how much more comfortable you would be with larger drains. You don't even have rock in the thing yet, the time is now if you have any inkling to drill larger holes! Not just for more flow, but for redundancy.>
Anyhow, as a side note the water line is consistent so it's not siphoning.
I'm wondering if I should try a larger ID air tubing?, or maybe even rigid air tubing? There is quite a bit of noise coming from the inserted air line, making me wonder if the ID is too small?
<It that the noise, the aspiration line? If so check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbnoisef4.htm, the fifth query down or so. It is a simple and cheap silencer that will quiet that line down to a whisper.>
Not sure why this isn't working based on the success of other WWM posts?
<It sounds like it is working fine if your water level is consistent and stable. If the line noise is the issue, try the silencer, it works wonders.>
Thanks as usual for any help.
<Welcome my friend, and thank you again for sharing the Lights of America tips. Scott

Another Noise Issue In 90 gallon, and bubbles, addended   2/9/09 Good morning! <Hello Heidi> I have been reading all last night and this morning trying to find the answers for my problem. Same issue as many others in that the water coming into my sump sounds like Niagara Falls. The water is so turbulent that it's causing millions of micro bubbles. I bought the tank used. It's a 90 AGA RR with 3/4" return bulkhead and 1" overflow. Yep....the dreaded 1 inch overflow. I have an acrylic sump/fuge that I believe is 30 gallons with baffles and bubble trap. I have read all the tips to quiet this baby down and nothing has worked. I am wondering if my issue is that my tank is being powered by a Mag 12 pump. And since I only have a 1 inch drain it's being overwhelmed. I use flex tubing on both return and overflow so I have no way of restricting the pump at this time. So IS it that my pump is too strong? <Yes, a 1 inch drain cannot keep up with the Mag 12 pump.> And if that is the case I could either buy a new pump or somehow rework the plumbing so I can add a gate valve into the return line. <Cheaper to add a valve. Regardless of what pump you use, the valve allows you to set the optimum flow rate for your drain size.><<... Umm, on the discharge side of the pump... NOT the return from the tank... The much better advice here IS to add more drains, drainage. RMF>> I know more flow is better but how do I calculate adequate gph for my tank? <Is generally recommended to provide a 10X tank volume flow rate. In your case, about 900gph. This can be accumulative and can be supplemented with the use of power heads. It's not necessary to provide the entire 900gph through your sump.> Right now the Mag 12 provides 1130 gph at 4 feet. Or am I completely going down the wrong path here and should be looking at ways to disperse the water going into the sump? Overflow is draining into 1" PVC that is 2-3 inches below water surface. I was also contemplating bringing the PVC farther down (almost to the bottom of sump) and using an elbow. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. I have to admit if it stays like this I think I would end up taking it down. That is how loud it is! <You need to control the flow from the pump. Do install a gate or ball valve. Right now, I'm sure your pump is cavitating, and that is what is causing the noise.><<Lowering, submerging the discharge is a good idea. RMF>> Thank you! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Heidi  

Re: Another Noise Issue In 90 Gallon 2/9/09 Thank you so much. You gave me the information I needed! Especially that flow is accumulative as I was planning on using power heads anyway. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: More re: Another noise issue in 90 gallon 2/9/09 Bob, Adding the valve to the discharge is what I meant, not worded properly. I can see where it could lead her to install on the drain side. If she responds, I will point that out. I will also suggest adding additional drains, but I'm thinking she is not going to be too keen on emptying the tank and having more holes drilled in the tank, but will also suggest over the tank overflows as an alternative method. Sorry for the SNAFU. James <Keen on doing the retrofit or not, this is really the only sensible alternative IMO... I just do NOT trust single overflow drain lines... especially of too-small/inadequate diameter. Cheers, B>

Re: Another Noise Issue In 90 Gallon 2/9/09 Hello Heidi, Just to let you know, I did not mean for you to add a valve to you drain, but rather the pump discharge side. I see the way I worded it may mislead you into thinking I meant the drain side. Another suggestion is to add another drain or two supplying your sump. Since the tank is up and running, you probably aren't too keen on emptying it and having additional holes drilled and boxes constructed. As an alternate method, you could buy some over the tank overflows, but I would still install a valve on the discharge side of the pump. Cheers, James (Salty Dog)

Re: Another Noise Issue In A 90 Gallon 2/10/09 Yes, I did understand perfectly what you said. <Good.> And since I know my drain is too small anyway I would not want to slow that down any more. But thank you for the return email. <You're welcome.> My plan is to replace the pump. I'm thinking of the Maxi Jet Utility pump as it has an adjustable flow rate. It rates at 750 gph and decreases to 500 at 4'. And if that should be too much I can "dial" it down even further. A nice feature to have if I can't get a gate valve installed. <Yes, it is, but ideally it is best to have valves with unions on both the drain and pump outlet. It does make maintenance easier if a pump has to come out for service or replacement.> Thanks again! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Heidi

Re: Another Noise Issue In 90 Gallon 2/9/09 With single overflow lines of any type, HOB or drilled....one is just not enough. Human nature is to just flow the thing to max (even with multiple lines), think it will flow more than it will, and restrictions will always occur. Water just ends up everywhere! The answer? Take what you need and double it at least, seriously. Fact of it is larger lines can just pass more crud through without clogging...larger is better, more is better here too! I see an article coming out, and soon. Scott V.

Hi Scott, I did offer this same information to the querior in a separate email I sent out yesterday. You seem to be into plumbing pretty well, have you found a plumbing calculator on the net that is reasonably accurate. In the past, I've used the one on Reef Central, but I do not believe it is accurate but may be good enough to get in the ballpark. Your feelings? Regards, James

No James, I have yet to find a calculator that is at all accurate in regard to overflow lines. Like you say, the RC calculator is just not accurate, much more so at certain flows than others. It is not universally wrong! Scott V.

Well, I take that back. I had not looked at the calculator in years. It is universally wrong! Scott V.

More Overflow woes 12/28/08
My current setup is a 135 Gallon Reef with fish setup with a 20 gallon fuge/sump fed from a CS102 overflow capable of 1200GPH with a 2 inch diameter downpipe.
<Do you mean two 1' drains? As far as I am aware that is what these are still shipped with, even according to the manufacturer's site. If so this will only flow 600 gph max quietly and reliably.>
My return system is currently an external Quiet One 4000 1" port feeding 1.5" PVC with a T spitting into two 3/4" feed tubes.
<With plumbing and head this pump is borderline for the box.>
Question is..this tank is super loud in the current configuration. I am looking for the optimal sound/turn over rate possible for this system would downgrading to 1/2" tubing still allow enough of a turnover rate?
<For filtration yes, but not for total circulation even if you run the pump wide open.>
Or would upgrading to 1" feeds allow a better turnover?
<No real return on upsizing this at these flows.>
Less of a turnover=less sound. More of a turnover may equal a better equilibrium to my overflow?
<Is the noise coming from the overflow (I suspect it is)? If so you will have to lower the flow via a ball valve on the pump return to a level you can tolerate, but this still does not leave any redundancy/safety factor with the overflow setup (see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbholessizeplace.htm). This brings you back to the need for supplemental flow within the tank via powerheads or a closed loop.>
<Scott V.>

NOISE Question
Noise Question, Overflows 12/2/08

Folks �
I am finally up and running after three months of intensive research on your site and others. I believe it was worth the wait, however, the one thing I was scared of: the dreaded drain noise, is still baffling me after trying different methods to eliminate/reduce it.
I have a 150 new AG "reef ready" tank with flex hose for drains, one is 5 ft the, other is 3 ft in length. The shorter 3 ft piece is kind of curved because there is only about a 6" distance from the tank bulkhead to the sump bulkhead. I am told this "almost" loop is not good, however, this is the drain that surges the least...it's the longer 5 ft piece that is louder even though it's straighter.
<A more direct route would be better.>
The 5ft piece surges like crazy even after I turned down the gate valves on the Mag 18 almost to a trickle. ( I should have bought a Mag12, I guess) I am guessing I have no more than 300 gph for each 1" drain, and IAW with your site that should be sufficient for noise purposes.
<Is flat out the limit of what they can handle.>
However, this drain line even stops draining for ~ 1 second intervals and than drains again...like constant convulsions.
I tried aspirating the Dursos with 3/8" tubing and sticking it to different depths...nothing. I made special fittings for the long length so it won't curve almost 90 degrees to the vertical sump bulkhead...it now enter parallel to the sump to a 1" PVC connected to a 1.25" T with a end cap on the top side, which I drilled with a 3/8" hole and I also aspirated. Still surging...maybe marginally better at best. Is this surging safe? I mean is bad to leave it like this if I did not care about the noise?
<It is not safe, the overflow basically relies on the siphon to restart every few seconds to drain. If the siphon did not restart'¦>
The only thing left that I am thinking is taking off the sump bulkheads off, so I can have enough room for both flex hoses to place in their respective filter socks, maybe with a 45 degree PVC elbow attached to the drain lines (not using the original sump bulkheads). This would be a "softer" and lower landing in the sump. I would have never thought that water gravity draining is so temperamental?
<They can be very much.>
Besides drilling a new hole, what other options do I have?
<If you are indeed running 300 gph or less through each your drains will work, but with no redundancy. As for the siphoning, I suspect there is somewhere in this line (I am having trouble picturing the whole run) that is acting somewhat as a P trap, pooling water inside the line. This can cause siphoning issues even with the line aspirated above. The siphoning cycle within the line will become apparent up above as in allows water to flow, then stops, starts, stops and so on.>
Respectfully, Andy
<I do hope this helps, if not do write back with some more details (maybe a pic) of the lines/run. Scott V.>

NOISE Question Re: Noise Question, Overflows 12/10/08 If I avoid mechanical filtration (filter socks) altogether, I could have a "softer" landing of my drain lines, which may reduce the current siphoning effect. <Will make no difference.> (Your site mentions that with good skimming and LR you do not need mechanical filtration). <Not a necessity beyond a protein skimmer; it is a form of mechanical filtration.> However, that would mean that both drain lines would be submerged under the water. Would that cause problems in the long run? <No, this is the normal way to run lines into the sump. It does not matter that the outputs are submerged if you have the line properly aspirated above. Do consider replumbing these drain lines with a more direct, vertical route.> Thanks,
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: