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FAQs about Bubble Trouble and Aquarium Systems: Plumbing Issues

Related Articles: Plumbing Marine Systems, Plumbing Return Manifolds, Refugiums

Related FAQs: Bubble Troubles 1, Bubble Troubles 2, Bubble Troubles 3, Bubble Troubles 4, Bubble Troubles 5, Bubble Concerns, & FAQs on Causes/Fixes: Diagnosing Sources, Intake/Overflow Issues, Pump/ing Issues, Discharge Issues, Biological Issues, & Solved Cases, & 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, Plumbing Noise, Make Up Water Systems, Pumps, Plumbing, Circulation, Sumps, RefugiumsMarine Circulation 2, Gear Selection for Circulation, Pump Problems Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Fish-Only Marine Systems 2, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large SystemsWater Changes Surge Devices


New tank plumbing questions 9/19/08 To WWM, First off, thank you for all of the information you provide. <Great to hear, thank you Ed.> It has been a big help. Now some details, I have just finished an upgrade from a 60 gal. reef tank to a 125 gal. reef tank. The new tank has two 1.5 inch drains and four 3/4 inch returns. I am using a Sequence Dart for the return pump with about 18 feet of head pressure when you account for all of the tees and elbows. Both returns are fitted with Durso standpipes. Now for my problems, when I tested the system there were no issues with micro bubbles. Then salt water was introduced, the bubbles appeared. <This happens, you can never tell about bubbles until the salt is added! You can experiment with different baffle configurations, make the path of the water to the return pump as long as possible. This can be tough with a Dart return, this is quite a bit of water to have to manage through a sump. Even filter socks on the overflow drain lines can make a huge difference here.> I am currently adding u-shaped pipe to the bottom of each return to try to diminish the bubbles. Secondly, and more of a concern at this point, I am still getting a bit of gurgling noise from the air hole at the top of the Durso. When I throttle down the pump, the noise diminishes as well as the bubbles. Obviously I want to maximize flow to the tank so throttling down the pump would not be my first option. The air inlet on the Durso is 3/16 in. If I increase the size of the air intake, will that decrease the gurgling sound? <If it is 3/16' inner diameter this should be enough. If the outer diameter is 3/16, I would increase the size. Two 1.5' bulkheads will struggle to keep up with the flow from a Dart, even with all the plumbing. Do increase the size of the airline, but the amount of flow is likely the culprit here. Even if the airline does solve the issue, realize that these drains will be running at their absolute maximum with no margin for safety. 750 gph is about the safe maximum for a 1.5' bulkhead without siphoning (the source of the noise). If you are just now setting up this tank, I strongly encourage you to take it down now and drill for another drain or even two.> If so, to what diameter? <1/4' inner diameter or so.> Thank you for your help. I look forward to your response. Ed <Welcome, congratulations on the upsize! Scott V.>

Air Bubbles in MegaFlow Return - 12/08/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> You have a great website! <<Thank you>> Q:  I bought a 95-Wave Aquarium from All-Glass Aquarium.  The system came with the All-Glass Aquariums MegaFlow Overflow Accessory Kit.  After I start the system everything is working fine but I noticed that the system was pumping small air bubbles into the tank.  After a while I realize that the "3/4" elbow" has a little hole that is placed on purpose. <<To stop back-siphoning when the pump/power is off, yes>> This small hole is an anti-siphon feature in the event of a power outage. <<Ah...I should read ahead *grin*>> When I close (using my finger) the little hole the bubbles will stop. <<Try positioning the outlet pipe such that the "hole" is "just below" the surface of the water.  This should stop it from entraining air with the water stream>> I have seen these systems working in other aquariums and it seems to work fine, (no air bubbles). <<Likely the outflow pipe was positioned as I described>> Can you help me realize what is wrong with the ¾ elbow? <<Give my suggestion a try.  If it is not possible to position the "hole" below the water line, then block the hole and position the pipe outlet shallow enough that the sump can handle the transient water in the event of a power outage>> Best regards, Luis Miguel Ferrero <<Cheers mate, Eric Russell>>

Re: Air Bubbles in MegaFlow Return - 12/11/06 Howdy Eric, <<Hello Luis>> I did what you recommended me and everything is working fine. <<Ahh, very good to hear>> Thanks! <<You're quite welcome>> Nevertheless, the weekend I reviewed other systems that utilize the same Overflow and notice that although the water level did not cover the small orifice it wasn't throwing air bubbles into the tank. (?) <<Hmm...perhaps those systems are utilizing smaller pumps/less powerful flow...or maybe the holes were "plugged">> Rgds. Luis Miguel Ferrero <<Cheers, EricR>> Tiny Bubbles (In The Wine??) 11/23/06 Crew, <Adam>    Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Lets all take a second and think about the great things we are blessed with.....OK, lets go! <Yes it was.  I was blessed with a very good paying job.>    It's been awhile since my last major fiasco, but sure enough I am in a pickle again. You are all the experts and with your advice I have defeated Ick, developed a quarantine system and have had excellent results with my tanks..... SO I UPGRADED! I got a new house and a new 120 Gallon "all glass" Aquarium with 2 drilled in overflows that move 1200 GPH (all glass specs). I also have a clear pro wet/dry sump that is rated for a 120 gallon tank, so it is like 8 gallons (I KNOW I KNOW, my Local fish store was off the base recommending this one and I now regret it.) I also have a mag 7 return pump that is connected to flex tube into a T, then one goes to a 3/4 PVC return and the other side is 1/2 flex tube to a return water shooter deal (name??) My problem is I am getting a undesirable amount of micro bubbles.   1.My hypothesis is that my Mag7 is not flat in my sump it is sitting slanted due to not long enough flex tube. This may be causing this? <Unlikely.  Are you seeing a water vortex just above the intake of the pump?  If so, your problem lies here, and a higher level of water will need to be maintained in the sump.>   2. My return GPH is too much for my sump? <No, the Mag 7 is rated at 700gph at the nozzle, and with your "T" in the system, plus hose length, you are probably pumping closer to 600gph at most.>   3. On my PVC return the elbow is a 90 and I didn't flex the return top that shoots the water into the fish tank? <Would be better to put the "T" at the pump outlet and flex hose from there to your outlets, but would have nothing to do with the bubbles.>   4. Instead of having a T return, should I have just 1 main return and fore-go the double return??!? <I'd stay with the dual return.  If the pump is brand new, you will experience some micro bubbles until the plastic components get seasoned, but the bubbles should only appear occasionally.  If they are constant, you are sucking air somewhere in the intake.  Another point...Is the sump water bubble free to start with?>    I don't think my problem is a venturi type issue because 98% of the tubing is flex tube which couldn't have a hole or it would shoot water out like a cannon? <It is the joints where the problem will lie.  Good idea to apply some Lifeguard or other brand of silicone grease on the fitting before putting the hose on to it, and be sure it is clamped securely.> Any other ideas from you would be appreciated. I cannot solve this mess and this is the first I have ever dealt with an overflow system and I am getting stressed out. I have read 5 hours worth of the info on here and I really would like a personalized answer. I appreciate all you guys do and as soon as my tank gets up I am putting a advertisement for your site on it.. <Mmm, you are putting an advertisement on your tank??> Thank you all!!!! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>      -Adam

Bubble Trouble?...Maybe Not - 06/24/06 I recently moved to a 75-gallon Megaflow tank with a 30 gallon Rubbermaid sump. <<cool!>> My problem is that I am getting microbubbles from the return into the sump. <<Very  common>> I have been working on the problem for 4 months without any luck. <<Frustrated, eh?>> What I have done is placed a small Rubbermaid container with holes in the bottom, I have a micron filter pad on the bottom and floss on the top. The water flows into the container drips down to another Rubbermaid container with holes on the bottom.  From there it flows into a bucket, which then fills up and overflows into another bucket with holes on the bottom. <<Mmm, sounds a bit complicated...but should eliminate the bubbles>> With all this baffling I am still getting microbubbles into the display tank. <<Ahhh...the problem is not your "sump return", but rather the pump/return line to the display tank>> The sump is very quiet and very little flow inside. The bubbles can only be seen with a flashlight.  I have tried several different sumps, and three different pumps.  At this time I have a Mag-7 inside the sump for the return.  I shut of ALL flow in the tank including skimmer and sump pump, I then waited for the bubbles to clear, and plumbed my UV sterilizer into the baffling system. <<...?>> At 150 gph flowing through all the containers I still have microbubbles. <<Have you ensured all your plumbing joints are sealed?>> Can there be a issue with the water perhaps? <<Is more likely a matter of air entering your return line plumbing>> The tank has been set up for 4 months yet I have bubbles constantly rising from the sand bed. <<Hmm, I wonder if we have a different situation here?  Bubbles rising from your substrate is a natural and desirable function of the nitrogen cycle which is always ongoing in your tank.  As nitrate is converted to nitrogen gas in your substrate, the gas is liberated and rises as bubbles to the surface of the tank.  if your "problem" is these bubbles you see when water movement is stopped in the tank, then you have no problem at all my friend>> My pH I can not get above 7.8 during the day.  That is with 432 watt t5s. <<Likely something to do with how you prepare your water.  Perhaps you need to buffer your make-up/top-off water>> Any help would be appreciated thank you ...Laura Z <<Do some reading here for more info on microbubbles causes and solutions ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bubtroubfaqs.htm),  and here for help with your pH (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm).  Regards, EricR>>

Bubble Trouble 11/25/05 Hi There, <<Hello David. Ted Here>> I am in the final stage of setting up a 55g reef tank that began over six months ago.  I am also as close as I can get to giving up, converting it to a vivarium and buying a snake. My problem is, are, bubbles.  I have read and read the FAQs but cannot resolve the problem. Most FAQs suggest that the problem stems from the return from the sump.  However I have removed the return pipe manifold and set up a direct hose from the sump pump to the tank so there is no joint exposed to air, the pump is submerged so no air exposed joint there and still the bubbles go on. <<Ok. So you've confirmed these are bubbles and that they are coming from the water in the sump?>> Initially the drain to the sump was generating a boiling cauldron, but that has been tweaked so that there are no obvious bubbles at that point.  The in sump Tunze DOC skimmer generates a level of fine bubbles but as this is designed as a hang in tank skimmer I assumed that this is either a: normal or b: temporary. I have tried creating  bubble traps additional to the existing baffles, I have tried running the water over and through filter sponges in the sump in the hope of coalescing any tiny bubbles into larger ones that will rise and burst. I cannot think of anything else to do apart from scrap and redesign the sump which would be expensive, basically confined to the same footprint as the current one and no guarantee of success. The bubbles in the tank are far, far less than at the start.  Basically there is a degree of fine bubbles that require serious squinting to define as bubbles and not fine particulates, and not a seething white mass as previously. So what do I do?  Should I just go ahead?  I have postponed getting my rock twice now, or resign myself to redesigning?  Is a level of "bubbular activity" acceptable or do I need crystal clear bubble free water as I used to have in my freshwater tanks? Looking forward to your suggestions. <<Sorry that this is so vexing. Solving these types of problems is best done through steps where you eliminate possible sources of the problem. You seem convinced it is bubbles and not sediment. Ok. Hook up the return pump to return water directly to the tank and bypass the plumbing (as you have previously done and described above) and wait a few hours. If you still have micro bubbles then look at the overflow return as the source of the bubbles. Place the pump as far from the overflow return as possible, add rock or anything else to cause turbulence at the return point in the sump and slow the progress of the bubbles towards the pump. You want to give the bubbles a chance to escape. If the micro bubbles are gone, then hook up the return pump to use the normal plumbing and try again. If the micro bubbles are still gone, then the problem is the skimmer (or some other equipment) otherwise you've confirmed that the main pump plumbing is involved in the problem. Your goal is by process of elimination, isolate the source and then correct the problem. If the main plumbing is the problem, rework the plumbing. If the skimmer is the problem, consult the skimmer instructions and see if you can eliminate the bubbles returning to the tank from the sump.>> David <<Good luck - Ted>>

Micro bubbles and urge to throw filter in backyard!!  11/22/05 Hi. Sorry to bother all of you fine experts at the web today. I have searched and searched the FAQ's to no avail. I even posted a question in the chat forums, which I love by the way!! So now I am resorting to bothering y'all once again. <No worries> Here's the problem: I have almost solid sprays of micro bubbles blowing into my tank. They happen about every 20 seconds. My water looks extremely cloudy from this annoying and dangerous to my livestock problem. I have tried the following:  Listening thru a tube for air leaks, placing Vaseline over the joints of my connections and then removing it of course, wrapping connections in a special leak fixing tape, opening and re-closing lid, rearranging tubing, wiping around everything hunting a leak, and just getting mad and yelling!!! I cannot find what the problem is. So I am going to ask for a few solutions and then ask if they don't work, will my final solution be good for my tank? <We'll see> Okay, first things first: The setup: A 92 gallon corner saltwater tank.  (Loaded with snails, stars, crabs, shrimp, fish, live rock, and sand) The plumbing: An intake pipe which converts to flexible tubing down to an Ocean Clear canister filter, 5" of flexible tubing to a Mag1800, <Stop! Is this the order these items are in? The pump should go first, then the mechanical/cartridge filter, then all else... the pump is made to push, not pull...> and then 4-5 more feet of flexible tubing going from the pump returning to the tank. All flexible tubing used was 3/4". My solution for today: replace all tubing coming from intake side of tank to pump with 1" or if I can swing it 1 1/4", which will cause less back pressure on the pump, making it easier for it to pull the water. <... Ahhh> Is this a waste of time? Oh yeah, forgot to mention that when I turn the control valve down on the output side of the pump, the bubbles do get a little better, but I have to turn it halfway shut, which causes me to lose valuable GPH. <Just change the order here>  If this doesn't work, and you can't give me some miracle fix that I'm overlooking, I am considering removing the filter from the whole setup and placing the Mag1800 directly inside the tank, in the back corner in a plastic square container with sides of at least 5" to prevent it from sucking sand in, and using the prefilter that came with the Mag1800. Then doing a "T" and run some tubing so that I have 2-4 outlet pipes under water to create LOTS of water movement in different directions. All of this would be hidden behind my rock of course. Then remove all powerheads from tank. Okay, you may need to know what other equipment I have on the tank for this, so here goes: An AquaC Remora Pro with Mag3 and prefilter/surface skimmer box (I get lots of tea colored skimmate daily, about 1 cup)  An Aqua clear 110 power filter (500 gph)  I have 130 lbs of different varieties of live rock which I will discuss further down 100lbs of sugar size live sand I was trying for the "Berlin Style" filtration method, but had the filter attached to the Mag to filter a little extra due to a 7" Regal Tang and her waste products: She's quite messy, if you know what I mean. Okay, the deal with the rock is: Currently 90lbs of it is in the tank, the other 40 is still "curing". The 90lbs in the tank has Cirolanid isopods in it, though I haven't seen one in a week or two. I have caught probably 30 in the past 2 months. <You must be very good with a net> I bought 60lbs of live rock from Florida (gulf-view) and though it is beautiful in it's diversity of life, it also has a very ugly side: Cirolanids!! So, I am removing the rock Dec. 8th and placing it in a 29 gallon for a 6-8 month quarantine to starve the isopods out. In the meantime all my tank will have is 100lbs of new live sand and 40lbs of Caribbean (Haiti) Lettuce Coral live rock. I know this will leave me on the low end for rock filtration, but in 6-8 I'll have plenty of live rock in there. If my suggestion of removing the Ocean Clear and placing the Mag in the tank will work, will it work without the 90lbs of rock? <Yes, should> I am so sorry to bother you with such a long e-mail, but I truly don't know what else to do, and I'm getting that desperate feeling of throwing the filter out in the yard, which is usually my cue to bother you guys and you usually talk some rationalizing into me. Thanks for the wonderful sight and on a side note, I'm getting "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and "Reef Invertebrates" for Christmas!! I can't wait to read both of them. Thanks again for being so nice. Christy <Again, no worries. Move the pump to the first thing, have it pump through the OC filter... your problem will be solved. Bob Fenner> 

Fluval 404 bubbles 7/31/05 I recently purchased a NEW Fluval 404 on 6/27/05, I fought with it for 1 month adding new hoses, O rings, etc. even reshaping the hoses, and getting down to shaking the canister on a regular basis to release air.  My problem is that every 30 min to 1 hour My Fluval release a large amount of micro bubbles into the tank.  I have tried everything that HAGEN has asked me to do. I am running the Fluval only no airstones or any thing else in the tank. It is a salt water new set up (2mos old) 40gl with live sand and rock.   I returned the Fluval and the store replaced it with a new one. It has been running for 2 days. and I still get a rush of micro bubbles. Question:  is there a flaw in this design. or am I getting a bad batch? <Likely there is a simple, poor/incomplete connection twixt a hard plumbing fitting and the flexible hose on the intake side...>   Do you know of any other filter similar to the Fluval 404 that I can use that will no create this problem? <... Please read here: http://www.google.com/custom?q=canister+filters&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com> I really do not want to use the Fluval anymore if the bubbles are always going to be there. PLEASE ADVISE Pam <... as you will find, there are techniques for determining the source of entrained air... I would turn off, drain the unit, disassemble the intake side line... re-fit with a bit of silicone grease, making sure the flexible tubing is pushed on entirely over the hard plastic fittings. Bob Fenner>

Vaseline, Tiny Bubbles and Don Ho nowhere to be found... Dear Steven/Bob, <what the heck... I'll step up to the plate... Anthony Calfo in your service> Thanks for the help. I checked all my connections and refitted everything with new Teflon tape, still having the problem, though. Tiny buuuuubbles, not in my champagne but in my tank!! T <the best trick is to smear a bit of Vaseline on each joint one at a time to see what stops Venturi action... its foolproof if there is a tiny aspirating pinhole leak> he guy at my LFS is trying to get me to buy a whole new pump i.e.: drop $179.00. He maintains that the mag-drives are notorious for this and that I should upgrade my pump while I'm at it????  <really... I didn't know that your LFS guy is a crack addict?!?> He claims the supreme mag drives are best suited for in-sump (submerged operation), even though my directions say they can be used in sump or in line.  <so I guess that he is <wink>> I do have a sponge pre filter on the bulk head fitting. as you had suggested.  <which should eliminate the possibility that bubbles are being aspirated from the draw side of the pump> Also are there any other issues in regards to the health of my marine fish that these bubbles might effect?? The guy at the LFS claims the bubbles may cause Popeye??? <Ehh...sort of. Fish can get oxygen poisoning from supersaturated O2 just like we can get nitrogen narcosis. It bubbles out of the blood stream> Is this just a ploy to get me to spend my cash????.  <mostly he sounds like an ambitious salesman... or a crack addict that needs money> The "O" ring on my pump seems in good shape (no cracks or tears). Additionally there is no salt creep on any of my connections which I felt would be a sure sign of a bad fitting.  <not a sign at all... on the upstream side, a fast flowing pump will draw air and not leak water if there is little resistance> The outer housing of the mag drive is simply screwed with 4 plastic screws into the main unit with an "O" ring for a seal. I'm tempted to put some petroleum jelly/aquarium sealant or something of that nature around the "O"-ring for maybe a better seal if that indeed is the source of the problem (and save 200 bills),  <use the aquarium sealant for the rubber... petroleum jelly breaks down rubber> but my first inclination is that would definitely contaminate my system??? Any suggestions?? <I wouldn't use a garden shovel to apply it... but a little bit  won't hurt>  Also I just noticed today that the areas where light algae is building up on my glass (mainly at the lower portions of the tank near the gravel and along the corners), <areas of weak current> I have small little white (for lack of a better word) "bugs" scurrying around on them. I cant seem to see them any where else. <good guys... likely copepods> Although they are very hard to see. I just finished cycling three days ago. Tonight I added a Marine Beta and an Atlantic Toby Puffer when I noticed these "bugs" because the obey was eating them off the glass. I wished I had noticed them prior to adding the new fish of course.  <good food for him> My other fish, a snowflake moray, fire goby and an Ocellaris clown are all eating well and showing no signs of stress, labored breathing, scratching....etc.  <wow! strange mix in the long run... it looks like the eel and Betta will be eating good down the road until one hits the toxic puffer> PH; 8.4, SAL; 1.021, TEMP. 78 Nitrites; 0, Ammonia; 0, Nitrates 20ppm. Did a 10% water chance upon introduction of the new fish. I have been feeding frozen (blood worms and greens), dried (Tetra Marin) and live brine shrimp, all with doses of Vita-chem in their food. Have never introduced water from the LFS to the system either. <a very good habit!> Appears to be ick of the tank?? But I do not think ick scurries??? <no...no worries at all. They are from the live rock or live sand and so beneficial that people set-up in line refugiums just to culture them> Nothing on my fish either. Everything I have read in regards to disease starts with symptoms of the fish not the tank. Seems strange to have this problem only 45 days into the tank system??? Hopefully I've caught this problem early. Any idea of what these may be???, are they dangerous?? and if so, should I treat with copper (fish only system)???  <Aiiiieeeee! Never dose a main display with live rock, gravel, etc for ANY reason. The copper is not effective in this manner and it ruins all of your calcareous media! You really need to invest in a Quarantine tank my friend for all new fish to enter first... especially with the reliability of the advice you are being given. Please archive quarantine procedures on this site> Keep reading about this Hyposalinity treatment on your site as well. Does it work if this is ick???? I forgot to mention in my previous e-mail how much help your book The Conscientious Marine Aquarist has been. Thanks a lot, John Carrara <Bob has done this industry a great service in so many ways! Anthony Calfo>

Bubbles in tank--plumbing question >Hey there, >>Hey there yourself, fella. ;)  Marina tonight. >I have a question for you. >>A'ight. >I recently turned my 125g fresh water tank over to a mixed reef which is to be stocked with the contents of my 75g. with the new tank I wanted to use a sump based filter system so I got a bs2 sump with a CPR cs102 overflow. I don't seem to have problems with bubbles from the over flow I think because of the media bags included with the bs2 but I am getting bubbles in the main tank from the return pump. I use an Iwaki Welshman wmd40rlxt this pump is rated at 1200 gph with 1" in and out. The overflow is supposed to be 1400gph but the return pump is draining water too fast from the sump which creates a funnel in the water and sucks air into the pump. I have a valve between the sump and the pump but I think its not the right kind because if I turn the valve the pump seems to suck harder and drains the sump faster. >>Do you know if you're using a gate valve (the correct type to use to adjust flow) or a ball valve (best when using at quick disconnect points)?  I suggest using a gate valve. >right know I am using vice grips on the return tubing to slow the rate which works but there has got to be a better way. >>Agreed! >I've been reading the other posts and it seems that most have split the return into two which seems to be a good idea that way I can get some more circulation to the tank. >>Again, yes, agreed, it diffuses the flow, as well as allowing more of the tank to receive freshly filtered water. >I haven't added sand yet but with the return the way it is the sand would be all over with the force that the return is at currently. would the split in the return tubing slow the water so I don't have to use vice grips? and should I be using 1" tubing? I have a friend that thinks the bubbles are from my protein skimmer. >>It's hard to say whether it's the skimmer or the pump (a picture would help), but it does sound as though you've got cavitation happening within the overflow, that pump must really be kickin' butt! >I use AquaC ev180 w/ dolphin dp-800. I also have a Korallin ca reactor injecting effluent into the skimmer. some other considerations I have is that I have the pump connected directly to the bulkhead on the wall of the sump. I was thinking that if I ran something between the two would it quiet it down some? >>A short bit of flexible tubing, perhaps?  It *might* help, but I can't guarantee it.  I'm going to point you to http://www.reefs.org you'll have to register to post, but there are many there who can help as well.  In my opinion it seems you need to adjust the flow going into the pump just a bit, and a gate valve would help you do this.  If your friend is familiar with plumbing setups like yours, and, since he can actually look at it, he feels the issue may be with the skimmer, go ahead and pick his brain as well.  Does the water coming out of the skimmer seem to be holding bubbles in it?  If that's a problem one way to tackle it is to simply let the water from the skimmer fall into the sump, instead being part of a closed loop.  Again, without seeing how you have this set up it's bit tricky to offer definitive advice. >Thanks for your time any suggestions would help. Scott Ballantyne >>I'm forwarding this message to a couple of others who I think are going to have much better experience than mine, if they have anything to add hopefully they'll email one of us.  I do hope this has helped a bit, and good luck!  Marina

Microbubbles...Big Trouble! Hello <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I recently added a downstream refugium to my sump for my 75 gal reef ready tank. I realize I need to remove the mechanical filter items like all of my sponges so that beneficial copepods & such can pass through to my display tank. I mainly used these sponges in the past to keep out the micro bubbles from entering my display tank. I also added 2 baffles and one bubbles trap which is about 2 inches off the bottom of my sump and 2 inches above the water level in my sump. This helped but I am still getting a ton of micro bubbles in the display.  What can I do correct this? <A couple of thoughts here: First, I'd search your plumbing for the obvious...any loose seals or connections that are not 100% airtight. Even the smaller break in seal can admit air, which causes microbubbles. Another step that works is to employ large chunks of live rock (which is quite porous) to help "catch" some of the stray bubbles, or you can use a dense growth of prolific and beneficial macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha, which forms a dense, yet permeable matrix, allowing some microfauna through, but perhaps trapping bubbles in the process.> I have tried adjusting the PVC pipe where the water enters the sump so it is below the water level, above the water level and I even tried drilling a couple of holes in the PVC pipe to let out air before in dumps into the sump but I continue to get a lot of bubbles. I should mention , when the water comes from the display tank, it comes down & enters pool hose which links directly to some PVC pipe in my sump. The pool hose dips in the middle (from the wait of the water) where it suspended in the air and then rises about 4 inches because the hose needs to connect to the PVC connection on my sump. This pool hose is constantly shaky from the force of water flowing thru it but also it gurgles & hick-ups quite a bit. I think this is from to much air getting caught in it. <Sounds like it...Exactly> I am just not sure why this is happening. I hope I am explaining myself clearly.  Do you think this is the cause of my problem? <A very good possibility> Do I need to find a way level off the hose (eliminate the dip) to make the water not rise & essentially flow smoother? I am not sure if this will eliminate the gurgling/air in the hose or not. <I think that this adjustment is certainly worth the experiment on your part...try it and see> I also have a question about mushrooms. I recently purchased a mushroom rock that has about 10-15 mushrooms on it. How can I transfer these mushrooms to my main rock in the display tank. Is it best to break this rock into several small pieces & glue them to the rock in the display tank? <If you don't want them all on one rock-yes> I don't think I should pry them off the rock they are currently attached to. <No, you shouldn't> Is there better way to get them transferred/attached to the large piece of rock in my tank? Please let me know- thanks for your time -Anj <I like the idea of carefully chipping off small pieces of rock on which the 'Shrooms are attached, then carefully gluing the rock in place where you want them on your Reefscape. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Bubbles in the water column Hi all, What is the best way to seal non permanent joints on sch.. 40 PVC pipe? I've assembled a closed manifold for my sump return and have sealed some of the joins with Teflon tape for easy disassembly and cleaning. Evidently I'm getting some small leaks since there are tiny bubbles coming out of the manifold. <The best way I've found (we used to do this in our service division) is to smear a thin layer of silicone sealant (the 100% stuff) on the threaded side right before assembling (the sealant makes a water-proof nesting that comes apart (though not that easily at times)> Could this be caused by a pressure difference at the pump? I'm using a MagDrive 18 with a 3/4" output into a 1" pipe and wondered if that could be the problem. <Mmm, yes... as in there is going to be pressure difference here (hence centrifugal force effects). If really concerned and you want a "removable" feature (a good idea to facilitate removal, replacement of pumps) you might look into "unions" (either coupler or valve types)... especially "true" unions that will allow you to "take apart" the plumbing w/o having to pull apart rigid tubing. Bob Fenner> Dave

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

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

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