More FAQs about Pump/Plumbing
Noise, Prevention, Abatement and Aquarium Systems... or Save My
Sanity, PLEASE! 5
Systems by Bob Fenner, Myth of the One Inch Beast
(Why Relying on One Inch Overflows... or Overflow! Is
foolhardy) by Scott Vallembois,
Pump/Plumbing Noise 1, Pump/Plumbing Noise 2, Pump/Plumbing Noise 3, Pump/Plumbing Noise 4, & 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, Holes &
Drilling, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Make Up Water Systems,
Pumps, Plumbing, Circulation, Sumps, Refugiums, Marine Circulation 2, Gear Selection for
Problems, Fish-Only Marine Set-ups,
Systems 2, FOWLR/Fish and
Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems,
Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large
Changes, Surge Devices,
Does "noise" bother
invertebrates?... Yes, it can
Fluctuating Sump Level; one inch drain line/s
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
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.
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
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
level fluctuate like that.
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?
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
I have a closed loop on a drilled tank, bottom has 5 inch bulk heads, i
<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
<... need to re-drill the tank... Enlarge the bulkhead as well. Bob
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
Re: Closed loop 8/13/14
If I back it off I do not get bubbles , I do have some streams in side
<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
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
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.
<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
<Pleased to help you. BobF>
overflow and <base> rock question 8/22/12
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:
Will it slowly propagate beneficial bacteria, or is it a waste of
And, if I add it to the sump, do I need to light it?
<Some light would be beneficial:
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
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>
| 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
<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:
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
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
4. Sump has an internal weir to accept the returns from both DT and
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
The idea of the Dacron bag is to break air from the column of water I
<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>
So do I need to place these bags on pump inlets too; or just the
gravity returns from refugium down to sump.
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
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
<Thank you for sharing. Will post for others on our daily
FAQs. James (Salty Dog)>
sump pump, sel.
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
Would this be the little giant?
<The olde AZ co. air pump? Silent Giant? The Lippincott Industries
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.
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
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
<Mmm, may need to be extended... best to have return plumbing
designs that these "aspirators" can be easily adjusted for
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
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
<Mmm, no... not likely... But I would switch to a different
( 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.
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
<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
<Do a bit more reading in the "pump selection" area...
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
One pump or two... standpipe noise, bubbles
NRR... Not Reef Ready plumbing -- 10/07/11
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
<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
<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>
return pump question
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.
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Bubbles, noise, and flow that won't
Hey WetWebMedia crew!
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
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
<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:
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
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
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?>
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Overflow sump noise 5/19/10
I have a Walchem Iwaki magnetic drive pump.
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.
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Noisy Snails Need To Find A New Perch!
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
<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
<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:
<You're welcome. Hopefully you'll be a noise-free household
<Take care, Lynn Z>
New pump, insufficient
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
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
<... no such word>
of tiny macro bubbles coming out the returns. Would this be the pump?
<Mmm, most likely air entrainment... Read where you were previously
Are these harmful to the fish?
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.
Need sleep. Gurgling overflows
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
<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
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)
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
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
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
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
better late than never I guess.
<<Yet you are still pumping more water than the overflows can
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!)
Hi, and thanks in advance for any help you provide.
<<Hiya Pam'¦let's see if I can be of
I have inherited my college freshman's reef.
<<Mmm'¦hopefully this will read better than the majority
Started with a free ('it will only cost you $40 worth of salt to
get running') 55 gallon set-up with standard fluorescent
<<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
<<Ah well, rare is the hobbyist who doesn't think about
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
<<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
<<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
<<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
I use Bulk Reef Supply's two part product and magnesium to keep
parameters at about:
No detectable nitrate, phosphate or ammonia on API kit
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 Â¼ 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
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
'¦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
<<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,
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>>
<<Happy to share'¦be chatting! Eric Russell>>
Re: Skimmer Trade? (And Plumbing Issues Too!) --
<<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
We know we'll end up with the 150-no problem,
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
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
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
<<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]>>
R2: Skimmer Trade? (And Plumbing Issues
Too!) -- 02/02/10
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
<< 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
<<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:
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
<<No'¦magnetic-drive pumps like the Mag-Drive, Eheim,
many others, are designed to work very well in such
I will report back in a few days after the modification is
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
...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 Â¼' 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
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
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
<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
<Usually an indication of a siphon in the line, not
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
<It sounds like the right is siphoning, while the left is
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.
You have always been there when I need help and I really appreciate
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
I checked for level and it was off (leaning to the right) just a
The bubble in the level was just crossing the line. Could this cause
<Not the problems you are facing, but others. See:
<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
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
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
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
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...
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
;-) - Sara M.>
Unknown tank part in built in overflow
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
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
<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
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
Thanks in advance!
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
LOA <Lights of America, brand... fuge
lighting> install instructions if you want them, Standard Durso
Issues <noise, flow...> 2/11/09
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
1 15 amp toggle switch w/ground screw
1 Cord w/plug (Has to be 3 wires Black, White, and most importantly
Remove box knockouts first, one on the back and one on the side.
Attach box, using the back knockout hole, onto the light stem
Attach strain relief connector into the side knockout of your
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
<Well if the things would just flow as advertised there would be no
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
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
<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
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
Not sure why this isn't working based on the success of other WWM
<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
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
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
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,
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 12/28/08NOISE Question
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
<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
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
<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
<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
Noise Question, Overflows 12/2/08
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
<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
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
<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
<Welcome, Scott V.>