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FAQs about Pump Troubles/Repairs 2

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A nice batch of tank-raised clownfish at last time's Interzoo. Pic by MikeK.

pump issue      7/17/14
Hey bob-
I was doing my routine water change two days ago, where I shut off the pumps during siphoning. I then throttle them on and off as new water enters my 40 gallon sump till tank has enough water to run full again.
As I was letting the pumps run, (I run two return pumps, one 600 gph, which I use a ball valve to get 300gph to run through 25 watt uv light, and a rated 1200 gph return pump, which goes right back to tank, after 4 feet of head pressure, and two elbows, I am getting somewhere around 600 gph to tank) my one pump stopped pumping despite making noise and vibrating. I took this pump off line, and opened it up, and my father, who has a lot of mechanical ability, noticed the round housing in which the impeller magnet
sits in, had gouges, so obviously the pump was starting to eat itself up.
<Yes; the impeller was "off kilter" on its spindle... marking up (and making noise) with the volute>
He sanded down the housing, making it smooth, put the pump together, and plugged it in, low and behold it ran. My dad said this is most likely a Band-Aid, and the pump is probably on its way out.
<He is correct... whatever caused the drive to not rotate parallel... and resurfacing of the volute... likely will contribute to acircular rotation>
The pump was manufactured in 2000, and its been in use since then. However, upon looking for contact info for this company, they went out of business about 6 years ago, and there is no info or info on parts on them. I cant recall the company off hand, however, it was made in Hungary.
My question is, as im sure you have had several pump issues in your career, did we really just Band-Aid it, or is that a normal fixing routine that some places do?
<Is not... unless you can find matching parts... better to replace it>
I am trying to plan ahead financially, and was curious if I had days, weeks, months etc. for another pump.
<Can't say/state>
Also, if this pump does decide to retire for good, I am very confused on appropriate overturn thru the sump.
<...? PLEASE; just search, read on WWM re>

There is a coral magazine article where it says less than 1 time an hour thru the sump is efficient. Other forums have said 4-6, and one site said 8 or more.
It is a 155 gallon tank, roughly 170 gallons total water volume. I have the quiet one pump, pushing 250 gallons per hour to the tank through the uv.
Leaving that alone, if this pump does crash out, how many gallons an hour would you personally shoot for. Having the 250 gph already, I was thinking Mag 12, which after head pressure and elbows, would be about 900 gph, which sounds like a lot, however, if the quite one pump ever quits, it is probably ten years old, then I have one pump that would be strong enough to t off, and use for both return and uv. Then instead of using two pumps, I can just have only one pump.

Noisy Pump    4/12/11
Hello again Crew,
<Hi Dave>
Hope you are having a great year.
<As good as it's going to get...Thank you.>
I recently have ran into a problem with the Mag 3 pump on a Remora Pro skimmer. I emailed Aqua C and while I wait for them to reply I thought I would get your thoughts on the matter too if you don't mind.
<Do not mind a bit. I believe the Remora Pro comes with the Rio 1400 as standard equipment from AquaC. If you chose the Mag 3 option, that is fulfilled by the dealer and is packaged separately from the skimmer.>
The pump has recently began to rattle a lot, and it seems to be stressing the fish. I lost a small blenny that went through the teeth of the skimmer and down into the pump. I took the skimmer box off when I replaced the fish so I could keep the cover and sponge prefilter on the pump to protect it. Last night I cleaned the tank and did a water change. I pulled the pump and cleaned it out just to be sure. When I put it back on it rattled like crazy and the new blenny went insane, once again trying to get into the skimmer box. I assume it thought it was an escape route. Do you think I should try to replace the pump?
<It may be just an imbalanced/damaged impeller or a faulty bushing. Look at the pump manual and
insure that the impeller assembly is put together properly.>
If so, would it be beneficial to upgrade to the Mag 5?
<AquaC does not recommend using the Mag 5 unless you install a ball valve between the pump and the skimmer.
Without doing this, the skimmer will likely overflow. Would be best to ask Jason this question at AquaC.>
I would like to be able to use the skimmer box.
<Meaning the surface skimmer?>
I think it makes a big difference.
<It does as most oils etc are at the surface of the water.>
Are there any other remedies you have dealt with for this particular situation?
<As above.>
I can always find ways to cover the pump, but in the long run it won't help if it is stressing the fish. I have heard good things about the Eheim pumps, and the 1250 is rated at 317gph. Would that be an acceptable change. I know I couldn't use the skimmer box anymore, but the health of the fish has to come before the appearance of the tank(though usually that goes hand in hand).
<Again, I would direct these questions to Jason and I will forward a copy of this query to him as well.>
Thanks so much for all of your help. The tank looks great thanks to the advice of you ladies and gentlemen.
<You are most welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Noisy Pump 4/12/2011
I got that one response sent a couple of hours ago, this is probably redundant. I will paste my answer below:
Hi David,
Thanks for the message, I can help you out. That is some really strange behavior, I've never heard of or witnessed anything like that. If the pump is rattling or vibrating loudly, it could be that the impeller got damaged and it's spinning in a weird way. It's hard to say whether this really affects the fish, but I would speculate that it must affect their stress level to a certain extent.
One solution I can think of would be a DIY mod to your prefilter - you can try gluing or clamping a piece of fiberglass window screen material to the inside of the prefilter teeth. This will prevent fish from getting inside, and should preserve the surface skimming functionality of the box. You can buy this inert screen material at your local hardware store and it is easy to work with.
Upgrading to the Mag 5 will give you more water flow and foaming performance, so if your current pump isn't capable of producing a lot of wet foam, you would probably see a boost in overall performance with the stronger pump. However, if your current pump is already capable of filling the cup with wet foam, I wouldn't recommend upgrading. The Mag 5 is the same size as the 3, so it can be used with the same prefilter box.
I have attached a picture of a clear prefilter box on a Remora Pro with the Mag 3. This will give you a better idea of how it's supposed to look when installed. Let me know if you have any other questions and I can help out.
<Thanks Jason, much appreciated. I did not see any attachment though.
James (Salty Dog)>
Jason Kim
AquaC, Inc.

Pump Filter Filterpux, external pump cooling fan air filter!  12/10/10
> Mr. Fenner,
> Let me start by saying I am a big fan, and have a signed copy of what
> is known around here (everywhere) as the "marine bible." I had the
> privilege of meeting you at the MMC held at Cranbrook a few years ago
> (after your conference on Selecting Livestock for your System). My friend
> and I were like 2 kids in a candy shop, what an experience.
> I graduated from Lake Forest College, IL in 1997 with a BA in Biology
> and Art History. The best course by far was Marine Biology junior year.
> Our field component was held on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. This is
> where I truly saw the ocean for it was worth.
> My love for the ocean prompted me into the realm of the saltwater
> aquarium. I had a 90 gal saltwater reef complete with an MRC3-3r skimmer,
> Tek light 6x54w t-5's, 55 gal sump/fuge complete w/Chaeto, 3 pumps (2 x
> lg4- return/closed loop) and 1 Blueline 55 (skimmer). I noticed during
> routine maintenance that the pumps would
> gradually run hotter towards the end of the maintenance cycle. When I
> cleaned out the pump, I could clearly see why. Many people forget/neglect
> to clean the pump housing portion of the pump, where the cooling fan in
> located. The pump eventually runs hotter and hotter until one day it
> seizes up and gets thrown out. I am no millionaire by any means, and pumps
> can be very pricey.
> This is why I created the Filterpux, a small filter to slip on the
> end of the pump housing. It is a 3 stage electrostatically charged filter
> that traps dust/dirt/dander on the outside of the filter. It is not a
> gimmick product, this actually works! I was wondering if I could ship you
> a few different size filters (free of charge of course) to get your
> opinion. You can check out the website @ www.filterpux.com
<A great idea... and w/ a huge possible application to other areas of technology... the most important it seems to me, the personal computer universe. I don't have such external pumps in use, but thank you for your offer. As you have a website up and going I will post your note here on WWM. I would suggest you have someone go over your website... to fix simple grammar issues if nothing else. Good luck, life in your enterprises! Bob Fenner>
> Thank you for your time,
> Sincerely,
> derk

Shorted <yet another> Rio Pump Cleanup after electrical failure.   3/26/10
Aloha WWM crew-
<Hi John.>
I woke up this morning to find one of my Rio 600 circulation pumps had shorted inside the aquarium.
My Percula Clown and Blue Damsel were already dead (the banded coral shrimp was stunned but seemed to be still alive) and the water stunk of electrical fire. Boo!
<The magic smoke was let out of the pump and into the water.>
I quickly did a 50% water change today, and plan on another 50% tomorrow.
I installed new carbon in the filters which I plan to remove and replace sooner than quick! Other than the massive water changes and carbon filters, what else, if anything, can I do to clean up my now "Exxon Valdez" infected water??
<The only other thing I would do at this point is to add PolyFilters to soak up any contaminants - particularly copper from the system..>
As it stands now, the banded coral shrimp is alive and seems to be less stunned after the water change. My invertebrates (a few colonies of various polyps and some undesirable Aiptasia) are half closed but seem to be trying to open back up. I do not have a quarantine tank and at the moment am stuck with the main display.
<Let me take the opportunity encourage the use of GFCIs
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/FWGFIUseArt.htm >
Mahalo in advance for your help!
<My pleasure.>

Dart Impeller question 05/21/09
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Online pictures are available for 30 days I just picked up a Reeflo Dart with a chipped impeller. I was wondering if this would affect anything. I have never had a pump this large and with running 24/7 and up to 3600gph, I would imagine that an impeller would need to be perfectly intact.
<To a point.>
The chip doesn't look bad and there is nothing noticeable about the performance of the pump. I just wanted to your opinion on the matter.
<It is not overly concerning so long as you are happy with the way the pump performs and there is no excess vibration. These pumps turn fairly slow and with the missing piece being near the center it may very well not be an issue for you. If you do wish to replace this give Chris at Reeflo a call. Last time I bought one of these impellers it was about $25 shipped.>
<Welcome, Scott V>

Flow Question 'Pump vs. Plumbing Configuration -- 10/19/08 Hey guys, <<Howdy Blake>> With the aid of your site and Reef Central, I have successfully plumbed my first reef. <<Neat!>> Thanks again. <<On behalf of the crew'¦ Quite welcome>> I have a quick question regarding flow for my tank. <Okay>> Here are the details: It's a 150 gal. (48x30x24) with a 50 gal. tall sump. For the sump loop, I have 2 1.5in drains and a 1.5in return. I am using the Herbie method for the drain (controlling a siphon w/ a gate valve and the second 1.5 is for safety. It is tested and accommodates easily if the first were to fail.) <<I'm not a fan of utilizing valves on gravity drain lines as I think there are better and safer ways of managing the flow, and the second 'safety' drain line will only help in the event of a clog as long as you keep the maximum flow rate to no more than what a 1.5' gravity drain can safely handle without a siphon event 'which is about 700gph. And ideally, this second 'safety drain' is installed slightly higher than the main drain to allow you to adjust the sump return flow rate to the main drain line only>> This is all run using a ReeFlo Snapper that is fed using 1.5 pipe increased to the 2in. intake. <<It is generally best not to reduce the intake line to a diameter below that of the intake nozzle of the pump to preclude flow loss 'but in this case it's not an issue because this pump's maximum volume rating (2500gph) is way too much for a single 1.5' drain (keeping in mind that the second drain you installed is for safety/backup purposes should the first become restricted or plugged completely). A gate-valve on the output side of this pump will allow you to dial-it-back as necessary to achieve an optimum flow rate for your plumbing configuration>> On the output, I have aprox. 2 90 deg. turns and a T at the top reduced down to 3/4 Loc-Line on either side. <<Hmm, okay'¦so in terms of head loss, this will add about 5-feet of head-height to the existing 'rise' of the return line (figure 1-foot of head-loss for each bend/tee and one for each Loc-Line fitting). So assuming about 3-feet of rise this gives 8-feet of head-height/head-loss/head-pressure to the pump. Considering the specs for this pump (high flow w/low wattage and low maximum head-height) I figure flow has already been reduced more than half by the plumbing configuration alone>> 1st question. When I ran the system without the Loc-Line it produced a much stronger flow; <<Aside from reducing/restricting the output diameter of the pump by half, the convoluted interior of the Loc-Line causes turbulence which further restricts flow. Nothing unexpected here in my opinion>> it has been reduced to the point that I am almost concerned. I would say I have around 800-1200gph coming from it. <<Mmm'¦I'm thinking probably lees than this 'especially if the flow is well handled by a 'single' 1.5' drain>> It concerned me because when I added sand the pump had slight clicking sound that eventually went away. <<Probably ingested some sand particles 'not to worry>> Could I have damaged the pump? <<If a large piece of substrate were to 'wedge' in the volute there is a possibility of damage to the impeller (breakage or 'grinding away' of the impeller blades)'¦but fine grains of sand (unless in VERY large volume) should not be a problem for the pump>> Is this amount of flow sufficient for the sump? <<I don't know what your actual flow rate is 'but as little as 300gph would still be fine in my opinion 'and much easier to manage re noise/safety issues. So yes, whatever the flow rate the pump is producing now is likely fine, as long as it is not overwhelming the drain>> At its current state, the overflow is pretty silent and I have no micro bubbles, <<Well there ya go>> but I thought I would have a bit more flexibility in "horsepower." <<Then I suggest you remove the valve from the one drain and utilize both within capacity (about 1400-1500 gph combined)'¦and get a bigger pump>> However, if the overall flow is sufficient w/ the CL for the projected animals (SPS) then no stress. For the closed-loop, I have a Dart with an OM 4-way. <<Ah, okay 'a bigger/more powerful pump 'and the 4-way is a nice little piece of gear too>> It is fed using 2 1.5' intakes and 4 1' outputs in each corner of the tank. They are alternating from each corner of the tank. The flow from the CL is incredible. <<Excellent>> Considering the flow schematic, should this be, hypothetically speaking, sufficient to keep SPS? <<Much more to it than this as you should be aware 'but yes, this flow should be sufficient>> The lighting question is for another day. ;) <<Alrighty>> Thanks for all the input. Blake <<A pleasure to share. EricR>>
Re: Flow Question 'Pump vs. Plumbing Configuration, pump repair  -- 10/20/08
FYI... and for the info of the community. <<Cool!>> After I had capitulated to the fact I had bought an insufficient pump, I realized that flow of the Snapper was continuing to decrease. <<Strange>> All things being equal, a pump shouldn't be decreasing flow; ah hah!!! A clue. <<Indeed>> I decided to test my construction/plumbing and take the loop apart and inspect the Snapper. In addition to adding sand, I had also added some carbon to the tank due to some tap water that was left in the plumbing from the leak test(the tank is cycling now). The only carbon available at the nearest LFS was Kent Marine Reef Carbon. While I am not about to make a claim about how the product works, I will comment on its size. Apparently, Kent Reef Carbon is the exact size to clog and not damage a Reeflo Snapper impeller. When I deconstructed the pump it was completely filled with the carbon. I had had an issue with the filter bag not securing when I put the carbon in the sump and some had spilled it out. I cleaned it out and it is functioning much better. <<An interesting discovery 'thank you for the update. EricR>>

Can you help, Jebo/Lifetech Pumps  9/24/08 I have a Lifetech 4660 pump and the ceramic shaft broke do you know where I can get on Let me know and thanks Mel <Mmm, best to write their wholesaler/importer/reseller: http://www.jeboaquarium.com/ and ask where in turn... Bob Fenner>

Bubbles and Silicone Grease 9/15/08 Hello, <Cheri> Thanks for taking your time to answer my questions. <Not a problem.> I read through the questions regarding micro bubbles in the aquarium and got a bit confused regarding the use of Silicone Grease and Aquarium O-Ring sealant (are they the same thing?). <Yes, there are other specialized silicone greases out there, but the types used for plumbing, diving, cameras, o rings in general are fine to use.> In my case the bubbles are not a constant stream, they pump out a very short , light burst every 10 seconds or so. The pump is a Mag 7. I am so paranoid about using any type of chemical around my tanks....so here goes. To start, there are no bubbles in the return area of the sump. So, I want to try and see if the bubbles are coming from air getting in around the unions and/or the pump face, so would it be OK to use the silicon grease on the O-Ring in each, or is there a specific type of product I should use? <Any silicone o ring grease will work for this, the variety found in the plumbing sections in hardware stores is generally the cheapest.> Also, I plan on putting some of the grease around each joint in my return system to see if one of them may be the problem. Is there anything else you might suggest I try? <Hmmm, I would use plumber's putty, clay, or even just regular old silicone for this. Using the grease to diagnose a leaky joint is going to get messy and the stuff is virtually impossible to clean off.> Again, thank you for all of the information you provide. You are a great help. Cheri <Welcome Cheri, thank you. Scott V.>

Rena XP-1 Problems 2/11/08 I have had one set up less than 2 months. I discovered the other day that it wasn't working at all so I pulled it out and went to investigate. The impeller simply will not turn in the thing. I can hear it trying too, but that's it. Like I said, the whole unit is about 2 months old, so I am wondering what kind of problem I'm having this early. The impeller / impeller housing was all clean... but it just won't spin! <Ryan, do contact Rena on this problem. Go here http://www.planetrena.com/contact-us.html> Thanks in advance. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Ryan

Turn off Gen-X pumps for Feeding? 12/22/07 Hi Bob - <Hello, Scott V. here.> We emailed a while back and you and your crew rule the world! <Just a small part of it!> That being said: I have a 100 gallon reef tank with a main pump (currently two Gen-X PCX-40 pumps) pushing my main water from the sump about 12 feet up and into the display tank. There are also several pumps circulating water within the display tank. I rigged up a timer system that turns off my main pump for feeding. I can set it for 15, 30, 45, 60, or 75 minutes. Historically I had been turning off the main pump for 15 minutes when feeding fish food, and 30 minutes when feeding plankton. But recently my Sequence 3.5-amp main pump recently froze, after only about 3 years of use. (Yes I know that pump was way too much for this system even moving water 12 feet). So I replaced it with the two Gen-X pumps. Although I don't really know why, I suspect that the Sequence froze because of turning it on and off two to three times per day. <Doesn't help.> What do you think? Is it a bad idea to turn off my two Gen-X PCX-40 pumps for feeding? <Start up is the hardest thing on an electric motor in service. But, a few times a day is not terribly significant. It will shorten the life of the pump, but not significantly.> Thanks, Carl Beels <Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Turn off Gen-X pumps? 12/23/07
Hi Scott, <Hi again Carl> Thanks for your prompt reply...I spoke with someone who knows pumps of all kinds and he said that most pumps actually do not run all the time, and are designed to turn off and on automatically depending on various system conditions. <Most pumps do not run continuously, but start up is still the hardest phase on these pumps.> I think the pump froze because of a seal leak or possibly because it may have sucked too much air over time. <Likely.> OK so now I have two questions: 1. Do you typically turn off your main pumps when you feed your reefs? <Some do, I personally don't. Fish get fed by dropper, as they eat more is dropped in, nothing goes to waste. As far as feeding inverts, it will be spread about your system anyhow.> 2. Do you use a back-check valve? This is apparently the norm in many non-aquarium pump applications to prevent the pump from ever running dry. The back-check valve would go next to the pump on the suction side. Seems like that might have saved my pump. <This is commonly used in suction lift applications, rarely utilized in aquarium use. In this case I would not use one. Just too much restriction. Does you pump run dry on startup? It shouldn't in your case. Otherwise no problem restarting a pump a few times a day. Good luck, Scott V.>

Curious Pump Issue -- 11/22/07 Hello All, <<Greetings Jackie>> I hope you and your families have a wonderful Thanksgiving. <<Thank you>> I have a question related to my return pump which is a Mag Drive 9.5. <<Okay>> The pump has been in use for approximately 1 year. A couple of days ago I noticed it is expelling a large amount of tiny bubbles into my main tank. Do you know what would cause this to happen? <<Mmm, I've used this brand of pump for many years with good reliability (though I recently made a switch to the Ocean Runner line of pumps for some applications)'¦if the pump is 'submerged' this is likely due to air intrusion somewhere along the plumbing line, rather than any particular fault in the pump itself. A joint/junction somewhere may have worked loose and is 'sucking air' much like a venturi functions (only takes a very small pin-hole). It will take a bit of investigative work on your part to find the fault. One tactic for finding the air leak is to smear a bit of silicone grease around each joint 'one-at-a-time' to see if the bubbles stop>> Also, should I be concerned about the health of my inhabitants? <<In my experience, unless the bubbles are very small and very profuse they are likely more of a nuisance to you, than anything else>> Thanks, Jackie <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Mag Drive Pump Sticking 11/3/07 I have a Supreme Mag Drive water pump (model 5 utility pump) in my sump servicing an ETSS skimmer. It seems to get stuck and will not turn on every time it is turned off unless I disconnect it and bang it a few times. I have taken it apart and it seems clean inside. Any suggestions? New impeller anyway? <I'd replace the entire impeller assembly.> Also if I do need to replace it, should I get the same pump in terms of gal/hr flow? <You would have to see how much flow the ETSS Skimmer can handle. Check with them or your manual. James (Salty Dog)>

Chiller Pump Is Overheating My Tank! -- 07/14/07 Hello there, <<Hiya Stephen>> I have a brand new Blueline hd-20 external pump that is being used to pump water through my chiller and re-circulate the return water in the tank. As seen here http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/mynd/AquaPod/chiller-2.jpg http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/mynd/AquaPod/chiller-1.jpg <<I see it>> The distance is short, the pump is super quiet and is working like a charm. <<Have heard many good things about these pumps>> However, the casing on the pump is really hot and when I mean hot I mean you cannot touch it for more than 5 seconds in some places. <<Typical of a pump that does not employ a cooling fan 'and one reason it is so 'quiet'>> Because of this, when the water was in the tank tonight at 8pm it was 72 degrees. <<Hmm...I have to wonder why you think you need the chiller>> By 9pm after adding the water and priming the pump the temperature via the chiller/heater rose to 77. Here it is 12:36am and the temperature in the tank in the basement which is 75 degree, with no lights on in the tank and no salt in the water (just distilled water) with no filtration in the tank at all has risen to 79 degrees. <<Quite a jump, but your picture shows this pump hooked to a pretty small tank. You would likely not realize this kind of increase on a larger system>> Now, the chiller has come on and is cooling the water back down to 77. <<Doing its job then'¦>> I think the external pump is heating up the water. <<Yup'¦>> This does not seem normal. <<Why not 'it is quite 'normal' for the heat energy generated by the pump to be transferred to the water>> If the temperature of the casing does get this hot and it is going to continue to heat my water up and turn on the chiller now, what is going to happen when the lights are on for 10 hours? <<Indeed 'but did you even determine the need for the chiller/this pump beforehand?>> The Chiller should not even be coming on now, <<'¦?>> it's going to be on 20-hours a day. I just need you to tell me if this is normal behavior for this type of external pump? <<It is>> Suggestions are welcome. <<Try placing a small desktop fan to blow on the pump 'this should cool the casing by a few degrees and limit some of the heat transfer (though you will now have to deal with the noise of the fan)>> Also, there is no problem with the pump. It is not making any noise, not shaking, nothing out of the ordinary. It is brand new and other then the heat seems to be working perfectly. <<Even 'with' the heat, I'm sure it is working as intended/designed>> What to do? <<Try running the tank without the chiller/just a fan to blow across the surface of the water 'you may discover you could have saved yourself some trouble/money>> Kind regards,
<<Be chatting. EricR>>

Re: Chiller Pump Is Overheating My Tank! - 07/14/07 Thanks for the quick reply. <<Quite welcome>> Just to verify things. The reason I have the chiller and external pump is not only to cool the tank but to allow 240GPH extra circulation back into the tank as you can see here: http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o46/mynd/AquaPod/grommetized-1.jpg <<Ah yes 'did get this from your earlier query>> This Chiller also acts as a heater which auto changes based on the temperature you set it for. This means no heater in the tank either. As you can see I am keeping it simple, Heh. <<Indeed, and I do understand the desire to keep ancillary equipment out of such a small display>> I went ahead and purchased a little fan from Lowes: <<Excellent>> http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=3084-48819-FB1 0-5Q. Works like a charm and I can now easily put my hand on the pump forever. <<Sometimes the most simple of resolutions'¦>> The chiller has stopped coming on except for maybe once all day and the temperature in the tank has remained a semi constant 77-78 degrees with all the lights running too. <<Yay!>> Thanks for the information, advice and for giving me a bit of comfort about the pump. <<Was my pleasure to assist>> If you post this please include the response and links if you can for anyone that wants to see this in progress and its outcome. <<No worries...we do post all'¦>> http://www.njreefers.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=26&topic=322 3.0 Kind regards,
<<Cheers mate. Eric Russell>>

Noisy Powerheads, Wavemakers  3-13-07 Dear Crew, <Hi Guys.> As always, thanks for your help! <Of course.> We have a 72G reef tank (see photo). <Neat.> For circulation we are running 3 MaxiJet 1200 power heads linked to a Red Sea Wavemaster Pro.  This set up creates lots of turbulent circulation. <Yes.> However, we notice that the power heads make a noise when they turn on as part of the Wavemaster timing sequence.  We hear this and the fish jump. <Mmm...yes, the constant stopping and starting of the impeller, especially over time can lead to diminished efficiency.  Furthermore when is the last time the pumps were taken out and cleaned?> Is this sound normal? <If they are old or in need of a cleaning yes. I would take them out and disassemble the intake grate...check it for debris as well as clean the impeller area. If there is calcareous algae build up, remove it.> Is this bad for the fish? <If the noise is sufficient enough to lead to stress, it's not a good thing.> Is there a better way to achieve circulation? <Personally I like closed loop systems better as they can be designed to be more aesthetically appealing and not impart heat into the display area.> Thanks in advance for your help. <Anytime.> Jan & Ellen <AJ.>

Belching Return Pump, Possible Air Leak   2/11/07 Hi Crew, <Hi Jason, Mich with you tonight.> I'm having a problem with my Quiet One 6000 return pump. Once every few minutes, it will spew a stream of bubbles into the display tank. This is preceded by a "shhhhh" noise from the pump, like the sound of opening a soda. <Sounds like an air leak.> The pump is external, connected to the sump by about 14" of PVC plumbing as follows: (all 1") bulkhead -> threaded connector -> ball valve -> connector -> union -> pump. All slip connections are PVC bonded, and all of the threaded connections have silicone except the union->pump connector. The bulkhead intake is 12" below the water level of the sump, and it is not drawing air from the surface. On the return end, I have pump -> union -> connector -> ball valve -> nipple -> vinyl tubing -> nipple -> elbow -> bulkhead. <First place I'd check would be the vinyl tubing.> Any thoughts on what is happening? <Sounds like you're drawing air somewhere.> My particular confusion comes from the intermittent nature of the problem... there's some sort of buildup followed by release of these bubbles from the pump. Would a simple loose connection or small air leak cause this? <That would be my thought.  Have you tried checking for water leaks while the pump isn't running?  It may require the water to rest in the plumbing for a while before revealing itself.  The pumps may need to be turned off for more than a few minutes, maybe a hour or so.  Obviously make sure all the exposed plumbing is dry initially.>   Thanks for any advice! <Hope that helps!  -Mich> Jason

Bubbles in Main Tank, cavitation? 1/13/07 <Ken, Graham T. with you tonight.> I have a 180 gallon tank plumbed into the basement which dumps into a 300 gallon sump. <Big sump. Good.> The return line is 2" pvc to a hammerhead pump which pumps a head of about 12' in 1.5" pvc to the tank. I am circulating about 3,500 gallons per hour from the sump. <I only see one hammerhead pump with a 2"inlet and 1.5" outlet, and it isn't rated for that head... but I probably missed the one you have.> I also have a closed loop moving additional water within the tank with four returns. My issue is that I am having tiny bubbles returning from the sump to the main tank. The sump is very calm , tiny bubbles not visible and I have tried a return box with sponges to trap possible bubbles and multiple inlets to decrease the intake draw of water, nothing seems to decrease the bubbles. Can my powerful pump be chopping the water and creating air bubbles. <That would be my guess. The large differences in pressure associated with pumping volume at that head with induce cavitation. Cavitation, simply put, is just water boiling because of the extreme low-pressure on the input side of your pump. Remember, it is not just heat that makes water boil, but pressure differential. Adding more lines to feed the tank will do little or nothing since the low pressure is found at the impeller-housing, after the 2" restriction. The real change must be made at the out-put stage. Unfortunately, if you do have the pump I spec'd out (Dart), then you may be undersized to boot. Either way, utilizing a low-speed pump, using multiple pumps, or enlarging the inlet-size of your current pump are all ways to reduce the unsightly bubbles you generate. HTH, -Graham T.> Thanks Ken

Will a MagDrive-24 Overheat My System? - 01/03/06 I would like to put a Mag-24 inside the main tank hidden in back running to an internal manifold with 6 outlets around the internal rim of the tank (120G) to provide only internal flow much like the one described in WetWeb. <<This is feasible, though placing the pump "in the tank" does make for more difficult maintenance...and you will also find it likely that six outlets are too many for this size pump after head-loss>>   The actual question is two fold. <<Ok>> 1. Is a Mag-24 too much pump for an average aquarium with assorted corals and fish? <<I guess that depends on your definition of "average"...but in this instance/with this size tank, no, not in my opinion>> According to most charts with all the tees and 90's I will be adding about 10 ft of head to the pump leaving approx 1100 gph running for flow.  I believe you address this with about 350 or so at each outlet, I should be ok?... <<Mmm, no...using these figures you will only be able to provide sufficient flow for three outlets (these are 1/2"?).  But, you may well find three outlets to be enough>> 2. I have heard they run hot, do you know just how many degrees I may be adding to the tank or will I be ok in this area.  This is of great concern to me. <<Adding any make/type pump will usually result in a rise in temperature...and yes, the big MagDrive pumps can get pretty warm.  Just how warm?  Hmm, I think on a tank this size with this pump you could see a 2- to 4-degree increase in temperature.  How "hot" does your tank run now?  If you are at the upper limits already (83F-84F) then yes, this pump will probably push you beyond the "recommended" limits.  But don't discount the effects of evaporative cooling...the addition of a small fan or two to increase evaporative cooling can normally compensate for this small increase>> The reason to add it to the tank is to make the tank as problem proof as possible. <<I see...and of little consequence re "heat" issues as adding the pump to the sump would have the same effect>> No hoses running to and from the tank just for flow.  It would be all internal. <<Can be/has been done, though as stated it does make servicing the pump/loop a bit more hassle>> You guys are great by the way. <<Thank you...tis a pleasure to assist>> Sometimes I get information overload on here just reading to learn.....wow. <<Hee-hee...indeed!>> r/ Kevin <<Kevin, unless you're already "maxed-out" on heat in your system you can probably add the pump and deal with the heating issue without having to employ a chiller.  Regards, EricR>> SW Pb, valves  10/03/06 Hi <Greetings> I have 2 Mag drive 9.5 pumps. I tried to contact the company that I purchased the pumps from and they have yet to reply to me. I was curious if I would be able to place a ball valve on the return line... would this damage the pump in any way.... <Yes you may. A gate valve would be a much better idea though as they provide for finer adjustment among other positive attributes. Be aware that there is a limit to how far you can throttle these pumps down before they will shut off or overheat.> thanks <You are welcome - Emerson> Adam Dusza

Tufa has been removed Thanks for the informative response the other day.  <always welcome> The Tufa rock has been removed, not only from my tank but also from my property. The vendor kindly refunded my purchase price on the returned goods. <a good way to honor/keep a customer> This evening I was again reading the FAQs and noticed with alarm that I have one of the well advertised and less well loved Lifegard pumps. It is presently on its second motor. <yes... the "Not-so-stainless steel" shaft that leaks> It will not receive another. Given that the life expectancy of this circulator is certainly limited I am in the planning stages of replacing the thing. <a great pump for freshwater though> The manufacturers rate the capacity of their pumps in the face of various head losses. Without going to engineering tables, what do you use as a rule of thumb to add head restriction for 90s and other fittings in addition to the easily measured physical lift from sump to tank? <add one foot of head for each elbow, valve connection and ten feet of horizontal run in addition to the height> My tank is 48 x 18 x 20 inches and came equipped with a 1 1/2" standpipe. I built an 18 Gal sump to increase the water volume a bit and to have a place to add essentials. Would you be so kind as to recommend the appropriate MagDrive (as they are available locally) to hustle all of the water around at the required rate? <I believe that there is a Mag 1100/1200 that would be quite comparable to your Lifeguard if you are otherwise pleased with the flow> I sincerely enjoy the fruits of your collective labors. Cheers, from B.C., Fred. <thanks kindly, northern friend! Anthony Calfo>

Foreign Particles in Tank/Using the Wrong Pump Pads - 09/04/06 Hello crew how are you doing?  Hope you are all fine and well. <<Hello...EricR here, and yes, doing well thank you>> The last time I asked you a question was last year concerning my pistol shrimp.  An update on that is that I have 2 yellow watchman gobies that have paired with this one shrimp, and that is the coolest thing in my tank. <<Indeed!>> Ok, I'll build into my question.  Basically what happened when I first got the tank was that the pumps were noisy, so the person from my LFS gave me some cushioning I can put under them in the sump. <<Some folks use rubber "mouse pads" for this...Neoprene also works well>> Unfortunately, this material has dissolved into what looks like dust particles and its pretty nasty. <<Yikes!...obviously they gave you the wrong material to use>> The problem is that these particles don't go away and are on the bottom of my sump, and are covering significant portions of my live rock hiding a lot of their beauty. <<That's not good>> I was wondering if you knew if I can get a sieve or very fine filter to eliminate this stuff? <<Hmm, you can try placing a filter-sock over the end of the pipe outlet from the tank overflow>> I was thinking of putting it in front of the return hose from the sump, so that over time it will all be collected.  Do you know if this is possible? <<Not sure I understand what you're saying...if you mean the pump return to the tank then no, I don't think that is practical...better to try my idea or something similar to trap the material as it returns to/processes through the sump>> To give you a better description of the 'dust', it looks like small brown strands of dust.  I know there are products to eliminate cloudiness by making smaller particles clump together, do you know if this is possible? <<I wouldn't recommend using a flocculent here, it may do as much/more harm than good by clustering/smothering your micro-organisms>> I hope my question is clear, it's sort of a unique problem so I hope you understand what I'm asking. <<Try the filter-sock, or even placing some filter floss in the flow path through your sump.  Also, once the filter material is in place, use a turkey baster of similar to stir up the "dust" in the display tank to help it get to the sump for trapping/removal>> Thanks for your time and help! <<Regards, EricR>>

Mag Drive Pump Slowing Down   8/1/06 Hello Wet web, <Hello Mike> One question for you. I have a Mag drive 9.5 pump that pumps water through my chiller 4' below my tank and back up 4'. The pump has slowed down dramatically since I installed it (1 1/2 months ago). Are these pumps not meant to pump with this configuration? <I would disassemble the pump and look for blockage in the impeller chamber.  This pump has a maximum head of 14 feet and should work well with a chiller providing the chiller lines are not restricting flow.> Thanks for the help, You're welcome,  James (Salty Dog)>    Mike

Optimistic Flow Rates - 07/11/06 First of all great website, I've learned tons and spent hours reading posts, thank you. <<You're quite welcome...glad you find the site beneficial>> I tried to find my question but had no luck. <<Let's see if I can help>>>> I have a 300 gal FOWLR with a 50 gal sump.  I am running two twin tube hang on the back overflows, both with twin 1" drains.  I read I should be gravity feeding 1200 GPH for each box totaling 2400 GPH to my sump. <<Read?  Where?  No way on Earth you're gonna get 1200 gph to "gravity flow" through a 1" drain.  1200 gph may be the "rated" flow on the overflow boxes...but it's not going to happen with a single 1" drain>> My return pump is the Mag 2400.  I want high flow as I have groupers and triggers in this tank. <<Mmm, yes...most all fish species appreciate good water flow.  Though I'm skeptical when it comes to processing this much water through a sump.  But if the noise, bubbles, splash is not an issue with you...>> I used 1" for everything. <<Not big enough>> Right off the pump I have a check-valve, spring type from Lowes and a ball-valve on top of that all in the return line. <<The check-valve is not a good idea.  Aside from metal contamination from the spring and the huge lose of flow incurred when using these devices, the valve will inevitably fail at some point...usually when no one is around for a long period.  Much better to adjust your skimmer boxes, return lines, and the water level in the sump to handle all transient water when the power is off.  I'd also like to suggest you replace the ball-valve with a gate-valve...will give you much more "finesse" when flow adjustment is necessary>> Then it goes up the back of the tank and tee's to the ends when I have a 90 up then a 90 over then a 90 down and a 45 into the tank. <<Mmm...head pressure indeed.  Between the check-valve and the elbows I doubt your getting little more than half the rated flow of the pump>> I hope you can picture this. <<I can>> The problem is even with all that head pressure from 10 90-degree fittings, the ball-valve and the 45-degree fittings, I can't run the pump at even 50% or the aquarium overflows. <<Not surprising.  At the "most", I think you should expect 500-600 gph from the 1" drains...about half that if you want a bit of a "safety margin" or to keep things quiet>> I have to turn the ball-valve closed by almost half way for the tank to not overflow. <<Indeed>> Will changing the return plumbing to 2" help fix my problem? <<Ahh yes!  Will improve things by a huge margin>> Very confused, and lots of different formulas and theories. <<Agreed...and most seem a bit "optimistic" to me where flow rates are concerned>> Please Help. Thank you, David <<I hope I have.  Regards, EricR>>

Pump Restrictions  7/9/06 Hi, how are you? <Let me try my best Tom Leykis impersonation "Hunter.. Do you care?" - I'm fine thanks for asking.> I have a question about restricting your pump's output, i heard that restricting the input can burn the motor while also hearing that restricting the output will do no damage at all. <No damage but will create head-loss rather quickly.> Then the other day my LFS employee said you can not restrict a pump's outtake too much or it will ruin the motor. <Depends on how much back-pressure there is and if the pump is built to handle it.> I  have been running a 20 gallon FOWLR + a cleaner shrimp with only nitrate  being my only problem, but that is kept under control by weekly water changes of 5 gallons. However i am moving up to a 90 gallon and am running two life guard filters (mechanical and chemical) just incase i ever need them with a wet dry and 15 gallon refugium mainly for nutrient export and nitrate reduction. <The canisters (mechanical/chemical media) is s detritus trap and probably the source of your nutrient problems...you need to replace these with a large protein skimmer.> My main pump is a Mag drive 2400. i know this is too much but can i use it if i use a ball valve on the output to restrict the water flow. <Should be okay, put I would be careful as to how much you restrict it.> Thanks Very much for any info. <Anytime.> A young up coming aquarist <I'm young....or so I'm told.> Hunter <Adam J.>

Blueline Pump Noise   6/16/06 Hi Crew: <Gregory> It's been a while since I needed to bother you guys, but'¦?! I have a new Blueline pump and it is making a lot of noise.  It is hard to tell whether it is from the pump or the PVC leading to the pump.  It might be cavitation, but how to tell?? <Drain the water from this plumbing, turn the pump on and listen...> I have a 2' drain that is eventually cut down to a 1 ½' ball valve and then the 1' input for the pump. <... there should not be such a restriction/ball-valve in front of the pump... this, like most centrifugal pumps made for aquarium applications is for "pushing" not pulling... in other words, you may well have a cavitation issue> One interesting thing (at least to me) is that when I pour my water change or top off water near the input to the pump, the bubbles make the pump almost silent. <Dangerous to mix water and air together here...> I don't know if that means anything but thought I would mention it. I thought these pumps were pretty quiet, so thought I would ask.  Have you guys heard anything 'have any suggestions for me??  Thanks, Greg <Mmm, you've tried opening the ball valve completely? I'd remove any intake screens from this side of the pumps, and see if this quiets this pump down... you may have air trapped around the impeller/volute that could account for this noise as well... this can be a bit hard to remove, but may be able to be flushed by pressurizing the line (like with a garden hose) while the pump is temporarily turned off. Bob Fenner>

Regulating Pump Flow... Inadequate Factory Overflows - 06/12/06 Hi Crew, <<John>> I bought an Eheim 1262 to use as the return from my sump to my 90g (with AGA MegaFlow). <<I love Eheim pumps...wish we could get some of the bigger ones over here>> It's a great pump, but it seems too powerful for the MegaFlow system. <<Not so "Mega-", eh?>> Actually, I should say it seems too powerful to run the MegaFlow quietly - water rushes though the system and it sounds like a dishwasher. <<Typical of these undersized (Mega or not) factory overflow systems>> I've read through the FAQs and this seems like a common problem. <<VERY common>> One suggestion that helped was to increase the diameter of the hole at the top of the MegaFlow drain tube.  However, my system is still extremely noisy, unless I pinch and restrict the flow coming out of the Eheim. <<Replacing the MegaFlow drain tube with a Durso-style standpipe might allow both an increase in flow AND a reduction in noise...but still no replacement for the simple want/need of a larger throughput>> So my question is (finally) is it safe to add a ball-valve on the return side of the Eheim, or will this produce too much back pressure and jeopardize plumbing connections? <<This is quite safe and satisfactory, though I would install a gate-valve as opposed to the ball-valve for better "finesse" of the flow.  Magnetic drive pumps such as the Eheim respond to/endure this type of control/adjustment very well.  But do make sure you install the valve on the "output" side of the pump>> Would it be better to step down to the Eheim 1260 and let it run unrestricted? <<Not in my opinion.  The plumbing lines will eventually start to restrict from bio/mineral accumulation...but with a twist of the valve you can step up flow to compensate>> Thanks, John H. <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Isolate vibration of closed loop pump... Newspeak re pumps, plumbing   6/6/06 I have done a lot of research into closed loop systems, I plan on installing one on my next system. In the many photos I see of closed loop external pumps they are almost always plumbed right to ridged PVC pipe.  I think it would be quieter and transmit less vibration to connect the pump with some type of soft connection to isolate vibration, I have seen just one picture of this type of setup.  Your thoughts are much appreciated. Stephen Blalock <... Let's see if I interpret what you seem to be looking for... I do agree with the approach of utilizing a bit of flexible tubing at the junction mentioned... for the purpose of reducing vibration for a few ends (most notably noise and shimming of connectors over time, salt creep and leaking...), as well as making a connection that can easily be broken... This being stated, the same can be achieved by securing the pump to a stable platform, using true union couplers... and this latter is more favorable in terms of not reducing intake (important) and discharge flow through induced drag with the flexible plumbing and added fittings to attach same. Bob Fenner> Bad Pump?    6/4/06 I've got a Maxi-jet power head, and can't seem to get the water flow started.  Is there a trick to this? <'Tis a plug and play product...if it's new return it, sounds defective.> Pete. <Adam J.> Teeing off to two pump intakes  - 04/27/06 Hi crew,   It may be stupid question, but I'll ask it anyway!  Is it possible to tee off two external pumps from one bulkhead fitting?  If so, is it recommended?    <Mmm, in general a poor idea. Most small aquarium pumps are centrifugal, designed to push, not pull... restricting their intake results in a loss of efficiency, generation of more waste heat, shortened "lives". Bob Fenner>   Thanks      Scott Griswold

Tank Overheating With Many External Pumps - 04/25/06 Good morning all, <<Hello!>> I've spent at least a couple hours every day looking over the problems that others have had, and this has helped me beyond words in setting up my new 150 gallon tank. <<Mmm, yes...not repeating other's mistakes...>> So, first I just want to say thank you for taking the time to help all of us! <<A collaborative effort...you're quite welcome>> I've been battling a problem with my external pumps overheating my tank.  My water temperature reaches 85+ degrees in the winter time when the ambient room temperature is 64. <<Wow!>> I have an office fan blowing cool air on low from behind the canopy to keep the temp at around 79 degrees. <<Sounds fine...I utilize fans and a small chiller to maintain my tank at around 80F in the winter, and around 83F in the summer>> Yesterday, we finally broke the 70 degree mark outside, and our house heated up to around 78 degrees.  I had to use both office fans on high to keep the tank below 84 degrees, and that's without my halides! <<Does seem excessive>> I know that 84 degrees is tolerable by many animals, but this seems to be an excessive amount of heat exchange when it's coming from just the pumps, and 20 degrees of heating without lights or a heater makes for a huge hurdle going into summer.   <<Indeed!>> Here's some info about my tank:  Dimensions: 48x24x30 (LWH) Canopy and stand are made from MDF and 2x4 constructions. The canopy has an open back for more air flow, and 4 Ice Cap variable fans in the canopy top exhausting any heat in the canopy.  Ebo Jager 250-Watt heater - removed to determine that this was not the cause.  Pumps: - Blueline HD70 - 1750 Gal/Hr - 290 watts (PanWorld 200PS-MD70R) - Closed Loop at the rear of tank to 1" spray bar with 1/2" tees. - Blueline HD30 - 590 Gal/Hr - 90 watts (PanWorld 50PX-MD30R) - AquaC EV180. - Iwaki WMD 40RLXT - 1080 Gal/Hr - 1.9 Amps (218 watts?) - Tank return tee'd off to two SQWDs so each corner of the tank has random flow towards the reef. - Dolphin AmpMaster 4000/3000 - 3000 gal/hr through 1.5 inch pipe -1.21 Amps (140 watts?) - Closed loop at the bottom of the tank, 1.5" tee'd into (2) 1" pipes the go to opposite ends of a spray bar with 1/2" tees. True flow is probably about 2000 gal/hr because of the way it's plumbed. Lighting: - (3) 95 Watt VHO (custom hood lacks room for 46.5 inch bulbs) (2) 50/50, (1) Actinic - (2) 250 Watt HQI Ice Cap reef pendants with (2) 10K bulbs (halides not being used yet) Chiller: - Pacific Coast 1/4 HP Chiller (not used yet, because I don't want to mask the problem), it's rated to cool 150 gallons about 20 degrees. This won't be big enough if I'm using it for my pumps & halides during summer. <<I'd still give it a try before going "bigger">> Sump: - Sump - 25 Gallons (a little small for the evaporation rates I'm getting which is approximately 3 - 4 gals/day. <<May seem like a lot for this size system, but is not excessive...contributed to by the fans...low relative humidity in your house/area>> So, a lot of info for an implied question. <<Mmm, yes...and no real "clues" that anything is abnormal regarding your equipment/setup>> Is this a normal amount of heat given my pump selection? <<Is a lot of pumps...some heating would be expected, but generally not to the extreme you describe>> Are any of these pumps known for heat issues? <<As compared to some others...no>> I've tried plumbing my AmpMaster 4000/3000 with 2" PVC and not use the Blueline 70HD, but with 2 spray bars in different locations it was nearly impossible to achieve the flow rates I was hoping for, because of all the Tees & 90 degree elbows. <<Understood>> I've cleaned all of the intake screens, and I've positioned the pumps so their exhaust is not impeded.  None of the pumps seem hot to the touch, more like a warm cup of coffee. <<Hmm, curious...what about the impeller housings?>> Any ideas would be of great help, <<I think first you have to isolate the source causing the problem.  Shut down all but the return pump and see if the water temperature falls.  If it does, fire up the other pumps one at a time and evaluate each pump for its heat exchange/transfer capacity.  If you find the offending pump, perhaps it is an aberration and fixing the problem will be as simple as changing it out with another (gee, it's easy for me to spend your money <G>), or maybe scrutinize the plumbing for something that may be contributing to excessive heat...like excessive head/back pressure.  You're only/best option at the end of the day may be to fire up that chiller>> Thank you! -David <<I'd be interested to know what you discover.  Regards, EricR>>

Tank Overheating With Many External Pumps II - 04/26/06 Thanks Eric for your quick reply, <<Quite welcome David>> I have checked all of the impeller housings, and they all seem to be clear. <<Okay>> I started shutting down the pumps individually and waited several hours to see if I could isolate the problem.  I found that the Blueline HD70 was probably the biggest contributor with a temp drop of around 5 degrees. <<a lot>> I went back to reading WWMedia about plumbing pressure rated pumps, and I came across an article from Mr. Fenner explaining that these pumps want to push rather than pull which makes sense, but it got me thinking about the plumbing.  I have more bends and elbows on the intake side than the output side, and now I'm flashing back to a problem I was originally having which was cavitation on the intake vinyl tubing I originally installed. It was completely cutting off the intake flow after a few minutes of operation. <<Ahh...maybe on to something here...have to think starving the pumps would certainly cause a rise in temperature>> Now I'm planning on replumbing the intake to 1 1/2" from the bulkhead like this: 1 1/2" Bulkhead fitting---Ball Valve---barbed nipple---spa-flex---barbed nipple---Union--1 1/2" to 1" threaded reducer---Blueline. This will give me more to draw from, and get rid of the elbows. <<Much better my friend...with one observation.  Unless you have the valve here to allow removing the pump (for service/replacement), I recommend you place your valves on the "output" side.  If the valve is there for servicing the pump, then I would place it as "close to the pump" as possible>> Anyway, thanks for putting me on the right track with isolating the problem, and thanks to everyone there for your collaborative efforts! <<Have no doubt you would have figured it out...but you're very welcome>> Just a quick side note:  Don't mount this pump on the backside of your stand, because there's a lot of low-end vibration that resonates though the cabinet and even the floor like an electric raiser on a bass drum. <<Very true>> Also, to further minimize the vibration from these pumps, go to a computer store and buy a gel-filled mouse pad that would normally go under your wrist to keep it straight when using a mouse.  I put one of these under the pump, and voila!!!  Nothing but a quiet fan. <<Indeed, I even use vibration dampening pads under my submerged pumps...this, combined with a 'short' run of spa-flex or flexible vinyl tubing at the pump inlets/outlets can make a world of difference.  EricR>> -David

Equipment/Pumps/Cavitation    4/10/06 Hi,  <Hello Mark> You're are best hope at solving this problem.  I have had a reef tank for about 7 years now.  I would now consider myself pretty experienced at all things water/pumps/etc.  I am now stumped.  I have a 120gal w/55gal sump (sump is located below main tank in basement).  It's a great setup since I can do water changes, maintenance, etc. easily.  In my continuing effort to improve things I removed the pump to my skimmer and I tapped into the main return line (which goes to main tank) to run my skimmer.  This pump can run both w/enough power to spare.  My problem is the tee I inserted inline now causes air bubbles in show tank. I thought of inserting a "Y" instead, however, I am not sure this will prevent air bubbles as well.  Any and all suggestions are appreciated.  Thank you in advance for your help.  <Mark, I believe you are drawing air somewhere in the newly inserted "T".  James (Salty Dog)> Best, Mark

Equipment/Pumps    4/6/06 Hi I've read through your articles and I know I've seen one on this but I can't seem to find it again.  I have a Mad <Mag?> drive 1200 pump connected to a downdraft skimmer.  The pump will run quiet for a while then start making a suction with gurgling noises the same way a bathtub does when you drain it.  Do you have any suggestions on how to fix this?  <Sounds to me like the pump is sucking air, water not high enough above intake.> Thanks,  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Danielle

Equipment/Pumps/Iwaki Complaint - 2/28/2006 Hi guys (gals)!  Peter here.  <James on this side.> I just wanted to let you and other potential Iwaki pump purchasers know about my recent saga. <Shoot.> I purchased an MD-70 (Japanese motored) via Marine Depot.  When I installed the pump, it was extremely loud - not vibration, but the fan on the back makes a very loud "whooshing" noise.  <Typical.> The second my wife walked in from work, she said "what is that noise."  The tank is in the other room, across the house.  I removed it after maybe 2 hours of operation.  I contacted Marine Depot who told me that once the pump has touched water, they can not accept it for return as Iwaki would not accept it back.  He recommended that I contact Iwaki direct and find out if they would do a refund or exchange it for a smaller pump which would be quieter (in his words). So I contacted Iwaki and explained the situation.  They said they would be more than happy to swap out the pump for a smaller model - I requested nothing for the difference in cost of the smaller pump.  At this point I was very happy as I mailed off the pump.  Then 2 weeks later, I call to check on the status.  This is where it goes south.  The gentleman says, "oh, it arrived last week, but I don't know if they've looked at it yet.  Let me check and call you back."  A few minutes later, I get a call and he tells me, well, the cord is shorter than it was when originally sold, and thus, they can not accept the pump back. <Some companies do have strict policies as sad as it may be.> Now those of you who have researched the Japanese motored Iwaki pumps know that they do not come with a plug on the cord.  So when I received the pump, I went to Lowe's and bought a plug (with cord) to attach.  I cut the cord on the pump maybe 8-12 inches in order to avoid having 3 feet of excess - as I think anyone would do?  There was still a good 2 feet of slack on the pump cord.  Now they say that because the cord is shorter, that they can not resell it and thus can not accept it back.  Why don't they put a cord on the darned thing to begin with if they don't want people altering it?  IT'S A $5 CORD, HOW HARD IS IT TO ATTACH A NEW CORD?  It's a $300 pump, you would think that something this simple would be nothing compared to customer satisfaction.  I guess that doesn't matter any more. After all of the good things I heard here about Iwaki and their pumps, I must say I completely disagree.  They may last a long time, but they are by no means quiet (by any definition of the word) and their customer support is terrible.  Sorry for my rant, but I think others should be aware of what they are getting into. As for WWM - The site is great and here, customer service is top priority (and we don't even pay anything for it).  PRICELESS <Peter, thank you for the kind words, about us anyway.  I'm sure Mr. Fenner will post this on the Wet Web.  Will serve as a warning to Iwaki pump buyers not to alter the unit in any way so as to protect the warranty and/or exchange privileges.  <James (Salty Dog)> Best regards, Peter Flow Rate/Back-Pressure Issues - 02/06/06 I have never really gotten the performance I expected from my two Sequence 3600 pumps.  Based on distance, I calculate no more than 8 or 9 head of resistance which should get me at least 1200 GPH per pump.  I'm lucky to get 25 percent of that. <<Hmm, maximum head height (the point at which flow is reduced to zero) is 12 feet for this pump...and you're awfully close.>> The manufacturer suggests the biggest problem is the 1.5" output from the pumps is immediately "Teed" to two 3/4" return lines. <<Ah yes!  This pump is designed for high "volume" but does not seemingly deal well with back-pressure.  Teeing and reducing the line like you have done will reduce flow greatly.>> Would the fact that the return lines travel about 5 feet across to the bottom of the prefilter box (and then proceed up another 3 feet), cause such a tremendous decrease in flow rate? <<The added friction/pressure from the reduced diameter will inhibit flow, yes.>> Does going from 1.5" line to two 3/4" lines do that? <<Absolutely...if the pump can't overcome the back-pressure to keep up the flow.>> Would there be any benefit in putting the "T" after the five feet of diagonal travel over to the bottom of the prefilter box so that it will stay at a 1.5" line until it enters the bottom of the tank? <<This would help, yes.  "How much" will only be determined by giving it a try.>> Unfortunately, there is no possibility I can run 1.5" line into the tank as the holes are not big enough and there is no room to expand them. <<Mmm...I imagine this was one of the so called "reef ready" tanks/installations.  EricR>>

Re: Flow Rate/Back-Pressure Issues - 02/06/06 Thanks, you have confirmed my fears. <<Welcome>> I will consider a pressurized pump that might be able to fight the back resistance, but the problem is the ones I have looked at are two big (bulky) for my current set up. <<Mmm, have you tried looking at the GRI pumps (Gorman Rupp Industries)?  The model 520 is quite compact and would likely fill the bill.>> Live and learn.  (By the way this was a "reef-ready" set-up from a well known aquarium manufacturer.  Their tank itself is fine but there engineering of the plumbing has proven to be questionable). <<Ah yes, and this is not limited to a few.  Most all manufactured "reef ready" setups have throughputs that are not suited/sized to the purpose implied.  Regards, EricR>> Jeffrey

Trouble getting pump to restart  12/30/2005 Hi crew, <Hello Dave> Odd thing happened today... every day I unplug my pump before feeding, to prevent pellets from being sucked into the filter and festering... I've had this system about a year now... and today when I plugged it back in it wouldn't start.  So, I went and got my spare from the basement, but just on a lark I tried plugging the original back in again-- and lo, it started just fine. This is a small submersible pump, I have no idea what kind, it is the one that came with my JBJ 12g Nano-Cube.  FW tank. What would cause this to happen?  Is it a sign that the pump is going "bad"? And in what way?  Or is this simply a "feature" of cheapo submersibles? My worst fear is that there is some kind of short, but if that were so then why would it have restarted?  If there is a short it's not dumping enough current into the water to be noticeable when I... ah... stick my hand in the water... hm...<This is why I like to see people use GFCI's on their aquariums.  As far as the pump...not unusual.  They are not made to last forever especially for how cheap they are. Try taking it apart and clean the impeller, rinse the hole out good where the impeller assembly goes.  James (Salty Dog)> Happy new year to you all!<And to you> Thanks, -Dave

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