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FAQs About Sump/Filters Pumps/
Plumbing/Circulation 4

Related FAQs: Pumps/Plumbing/Circulation 1, Sump Pumps/Pb/Circ 2, Sump Pumps/Pb/Circ 3, Sump Pumps/Pb/Circ 5, Sump Pumps/Pb/Circ 6,
Refugium Pumps/Circulation 1, & Sumps/Filters 1, Sumps/Filters 2, Sumps 3, Sumps 4, Sumps 5, Sumps 6, Sumps 7, Sumps 8, Sumps 9,
Sumps 10, Rationale, Design, Construction, Sump Components, Maintenance, Refugiums, Plenums in Reef Filtration, Marine System Plumbing, Holes & Drilling 1, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing Noise, Make Up Water Systems, Marine Aquarium Set-Up, Algal Filtration in General, Mud Filtration 1,

Related Articles:
Pressure Locking Sump Baffles; Welcome to the World of Versatility! By Joshua McMillen, Refugiums, Marine Filtration, Reef Filtration, Mechanical, Physical, Plumbing Marine Systems by Bob Fenner, Myth of the One Inch Beast (Why Relying on One Inch Overflows... or Overflow! Is foolhardy) by Scott Vallembois, Fish-Only Marine Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Refugiums,

Max intake head on Eheim 1262    6/29/12
Team, after several exchanges with you on various topics, I now have a 180G with a 1.5 in overflow feeding a 30g sump ready on a Malawi cichlid tank.
I purchased an Eheim 1262 for using as the return and am a bit worried about placing it in the sump and having it "push" water just in case it runs dry if there was ever a leak/blockage.  Can I instead place it inside the main tank and make it "pull" water
<No, can't. These are centrifugal pumps (as most all are made for our aquarium purposes)... Only "push">
 from the sump (30 in vertical head plus two bends) and have an additional hole in the intake pipe just below water surface both to avoid water siphoning back (in case of power cut) and also to keep the pump pushing some amount of water even if the sump were to dry up?  I understand this would drop the effective flow rate a bit and am ok with that.  Given these pumps can be used externally, I am assuming they are built to take at least a little bit of head on the intake side or would I be ruining the pump doing this?
<It won't work period really... there's too much space about the impeller in the volute...>
Thanks so much as always!
<Am hoping none of ex physics students read this; call me to task for such crappy explanations. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Max intake head on Eheim 1262    6/30/12

Thanks Bob,
I got to try it out yesterday and found the intake pipe shuddering heavily trying to overcome the large suction head but not succeeding!
<Ah yes>
Information is something I can Google but for knowledge, I have to turn to your expertise:-)
<Am still holding out for a modicum of wisdom... Cheers, BobF>

Overflows/pumps 5/9/12
wwm: Kevin
Thanks for the response.
wwm: You're welcome.
Would you recommend the return through the overflow as compared to over the top?
wwm: I would go that route if it were mine.
I can get the properly sized sump as well, since it is a new setup. Just wanted to get your thoughts on the two methods and if there are any advantages or disadvantages to either?
wwm: With Loc-line fittings you should be able to direct the flow most anywhere. I'm thinking you will be using some type of wavemaker as well.
Thanks Again
wwm: You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)

Plumbing Question... pipe, solvent sel.
I've tried to read the FAQs on this, but I think there are just too many!
I have a 28 gallon bowfront, and I have dreams of adding some tanks for better filtration and pod production.  We had a lot of our stuff in storage, so we have many, many Rubbermaid tubs not in use.  So my plan is to drill a hole in the side of a Rubbermaid tub, have a pipe draining into a ten gallon glass tank with a hole drilled in that draining into my main 28 tank.  I'm thinking I will have as much live rock as the tub will hold for pods, and then I really want a DSB/sea grass tank for the ten gallon for nitrate control and I forget the benefit of the sea grass, but I also think it will look good (the tub will be a little higher then the 10g, which will be a little higher then the 28g).  Anyway, my question is, what kind of pipe and "glue" works for the Rubbermaid tub?  Thanks.
<... solvents for either PVC or ABS; the former much easier to find bulkheads et al.. Bob Fenner>

Re: Shimming a wooden stand, and 1" through-puts, pump choice/size... 3/14/12
Bob, thanks very much for the quick response and yes the stand is a cabinet style and yes Marineland dual overflow aquariums are still 1" overflows.
Thanks for the link about the 1" overflow problems. Im planning on using a Mag 9.5 as my return that I had lying around. Do you think its too much for the 1" drains?
<at 950 gph, by far>
The return is plumbed through a 1" SCWD using 1" pvc braided tubing and hose barbs and then into a section of pvc using a 1" sweep 90 elbow.
In all there is approx 4 ft of vertical piping and tubing, along with 3ft of horizontal tubing, 4 hose barbs, a sweep 90, and the SCWD that the return has to travel through.
<I still wouldn't trust it, this... maybe both 1" lines dedicated to returns... I'd redrill or fit w/ a decent overflow box... See Glass-holes.com re. And 1.5 inch is what I'd choose>
Of course these numbers are actually x2 but since the SCWD only lets water travel to one side of the tank at a time, the second side shouldn't affect actual head loss (at least I didn't think so). I plan on most of my flow coming from 4 JBJ 1600 gph powerheads
on a Wavemaker so if the Mag 9.5 is to<o> much, I have no problem getting a smaller pump because Im not concerned with a lot of flow in the sump, really just enough to feed the skimmer and the refugium(which is fed by a split off from 1 of the returns with a union valve). If you feel the Mag too much any other pump suggestions would be much appreciated.
<See WWM re... am a huge fan of Eheim's line>
thank you very much for your help. I just wanted the opinion of an expert (that's an ego stroke....lol) to make sure my shimming was both safe and effective. I figured......the more shims the merrier.
<I do agree. Cheers, BobF>
re: Shimming a wooden stand, overflow number, size 3/14/12

Thanks again Bob, I think I failed to point out the Marineland tank does have two 1" returns and two 1" overflows. (If that makes a difference regarding the Mag 9.5)
<Actually, not really. Any can accommodate "about" 300 gph, discounting siphoning... but I do NOT trust that any one, even two could become easily occluded. Am a huge fan of over-sizing overflows for volume, noise reasons.
Cheers, B>
re: Shimming a wooden stand; pump/Eheim choice for sump 3/14/12

Looks like Im Eheim shopping. Any advice on a particular model or gph rating when considering head loss.
Your choice... I'd run "just some" water through the sump... B>
Re: Pump, circ. for sumps f'

Bob, after looking over Eheim pump models, Im leaning towards the 1260 model which is rated at 640 gph. I was wondering if this is still too much flow for the dual 1" overflow lines.
<Mmm, too much for one of them, should the other be/get blocked... See our prev. email>
My concerns with going much lower are being able to feed both my fuge and my reef octopus skimmer.
<Oh! The skimmer has its own pump I hope/trust... and a few turnovers of water to it, and the sump is fine per hour>
The skimmer has the bubble blaster hy 2000s pump rated at 550 gph. Question, do I need to have a flow in the sump that is at least 550gph?
<... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumppumpcircf3.htm
and the linked files above>
I was thinking with less flow than the skimmer is rated for, the skimmers pump would pump the skimmer section of the sump dry.
<... and the FAQs on skimmers in sumps>
Please tell me Im wrong with that line of thought. Thanks again, you have been most helpful.
<Rather than wait for a response, do please learn to/use the search tool (on every page) and indices. B>
Re: Shimming a wooden stand, pump./circ. sugg. 3/19/12

Bob, I just wanted to thank you again for all your help. Your help and expertise has been much appreciated. After researching pumps this weekend,
I think I have decided on the Sicce Syncra 3.0.
<A good unit I'd wager>

It appears to be basically the same pump as the Tunze 1073.40 with slightly less flow and about $50 cheaper. The pump is rated at 714gph, which, as you pointed out, will still be more flow than I need for the 1" overflows.
<Ah yes>

However the pump has a flow control valve which should allow me to dial it in at under 300 gph.
Im hoping this will allow me to keep my current plumbing the same but I'm unsure about the 1" SCWD Wavemaker. It states in the directions it "can use pumps rated 700-3500 gph". I think I'll be fine, it probably just wont switch very often with approx 300 gph running through it. I suppose a call to the manufacturer is order.
<Or their rep. Cheers, BobF>

Plumbing and Placement of Refugium, skimmer placement in sumps 1/20/12
Hi Crew
where s Bob
<A common appellation>
One crew member said;
Ideally' the drains from the tank would flow to a compartment on one end from which the skimmer would draw'¦water would then flow through the refugium compartments and in to the chamber where it is returned to the tank
....allows the skimmer to process raw tank water with a minimum impact on the biota in the refugium compartments (due to the flow of water coming 'from' the skimmer compartment to the refugium
<Ideally, yes... but this arrangement/placement of skimmer and newest water isn't really a big deal... nominally will result in a percent or two greater efficiency... vs. locating the skimmer more distal to new water>
Duh! what does that mean? If the drains flow first to skimmer <area> then to the refugium then how exactly does the refugium receive raw from the display tank?
<The skimmer will not "take up" all new water... Again, the difference in your understanding is a matter of degree, not absolutes... the universe is more like calculus than arithmetic>
I note the from is parenthesized so does it mean that not all of the water draining from the display travels via the skimmer but "overflows" or by-passes the skimmer?
<Good; yes>
Also does it mean that the skimmer refugium and sump are all in the one compartment?
<Mmm, well, the sump is the whole kit and caboodle... the refugium just the area w/ the biota, substrate... and the skimmer simply a tool that can/may be located in or near an area/portion of the sump>
Would the tee off the drain + gate valve to refugium then to sump by pump idea not be better ?
<Nah; not in actual practice IMO/E>
<And. BF>

Regulating Remote Sump(s), flow to/from centralized sump - 12/20/11
I have a vision that I've not see discussed. I have multiple reef aquariums on multiple floors in my house, all above the basement level, currently.
I wish to add a larger reef aquarium on the basement level and in the process eliminate the individual sumps in each of the existing aquariums. The vision is the have one single master sump to serve all aquariums above including the new one on the basement level. This master sump, will be the source from which all the aquariums will be serviced, however, it will not be under or near the large aquarium on the same basement level. I hope you see where I'm going. . .
<I do>
In other words, all is fine with the exception of the overflow from the basement level aquarium. I'll somehow have to have it overflow to a 'landing' sump from which I'll need to pump that water to the master sump, on the same level. I can't have it gravity flow to it.
<Mmm, actually... it too will be gravity fed>
Clearly, this can become a calibration/regulator nightmare.
<Mmm, no; not really. NEED excess/redundant overflow capacity (at least by two) in all systems... and t'were it me, an automated alarm/shut off system for the master pump... keyed to water on the floors>
Attempting to pump out the 'landing' sump at the same rate at which the overflow, flows into it is the problem.
<Unsolvable... just have to have ultimate total transit volume capacity in the master sump>
I can see using a sump pump that turns on and off as the level rises, but I just don't like that idea much. What are your recommendations, please?
<Gone over and over on WWM under a few sections. Do try the search tool.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Regulating Remote Sump(s) - 12/20/11

I've searched and searched on your site. All I see is content relating to how to size pumps, flow rates etc. Did you read more than just my subject line?
<Yikes... let me suggest, and try a string... "Transit volume sumps, design..."
Mmm, wish I could easily just bring up the cached views... Maybe the tool on the left shared border in addn.
Re: Regulating Remote Sump(s) - 12/20/11

Thanks for your attention and advise. I'm certain that your advice and experience in invaluable. However, (you knew that was coming, didn't you) I've either not stated clearly what my concern is, or I'm not savvy enough to find the information on your site.
<Mmm, maybe a drawing, plumbing diagram?>
Google-ing Transit Volume, leads me right back to you. I'm unable to decode "Maybe the tool on the left shared border in addn". I did get that "addn" is 'addition' though. Searching "Transit volume sumps, design..." sure didn't get me to any discussion that seems relevant to me.
Further, you say that it will be gravity fed. . . .I may have not stated that clearly either.
<I have... the tanks in the house will drain down to the basement, and the larger tank IN the basement in turn will overflow into the "master sump" you described in your first email>
I understand that the "landing" sump under the large basement level will be gravity fed, however, getting that water to the location of the Master Sump will require pumping, unless you are suggesting
some delta in the levels of the two sumps and utilize some type of siphon.
<NO to pumping OR siphoning... These are VERY dangerous to rely on>
I'll need to have the sump water rise about 8 feet then back down to the master sump.
<Again, that drawing please. B>
Re: Regulating Remote Sump(s) - 12/20/11

OK, the attached is the concept plan.
<Ahh, nicely done>
Assume that all plumbing can be
accomplished to drain and supply to all the aquariums other than drain the 300 gallon unit on the basement floor.
<Yes, I see the basement wall with your label>
In that I don't see how to drain uphill, over the wall, I'll need to pump from the 300 Gallon (or its independent 'landing' sump) to the master sump located in the Reef Room.
The part below where you say, "I have. . . " is assuming that the basement 300 gallon will "drain" into the master.
The drawing shows why this is a challenge. Hence, the need to 'Regulate a Remote Sump(s)' that would be under the 300 gallon and be pumped to the master sump for filtration and redistribution.
<Well... the route I would go here, seeing that there are oh so many tanks of given volume... and function, is to have separate sumps (at least four)... It's not worth the electrical cost (to me) to pump the water up two floors, I wouldn't take the risk of pumping water back and forth (over the basement wall), and there's little to gain and quite a bit to lose in actually blending water, depending on the organism make up and the desires (growth, color...) you have in mind. Better by far to have slow water movement in individual sumps/refugiums and internal pumps for most circulation. This is what I would do. Bob Fenner>

Re: Regulating Remote Sump(s) - 12/21/11
Got it, ok, thanks much for your attention and advise.
<Note not really advice per se, but statements re what I would do given the circumstances. In perusing the sump, fuge files on WWM you'll find disparate opinions and experiences... some folks having tried "balancing" pumping to and fro... this operation is fraught w/ danger I assure you.
Cheers, BobF>

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

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

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

Plumbing Valves... gate and ball... and sump pb 9/27/11
Good morning,
I am in a bit of a quandary regarding which valve to use for my sump/fuge valve due to an error during the planning stage... I talked to a plumber.
As a result I have halted before proceeding with the plumbing install.
I was informed that a gate valve is not designed to handle flow restriction due to the design of it's inner workings, as the gate will accumulate sediment.
<Mmm, not really... all-plastic ones can easily function here>
Whereas a "globe" valve is of similar concept, save the inners are designed to resist this from occurring.
<Mmm, actually about the same as gate types>
I have noticed that almost all write-ups on WWM state/say gate valve. May I assume that these have been used without issue for extended periods? and Could you shed further light on this situation for me please?
<I'll try: Both types can/do work>
Oh, the system: 65gal display with 55gal sump. I am draining from a CPR Mechanical Overflow (CS-90DX: 600Gph) with Tom Aqua Lifter AW20,
<Mmm, please see WWM re these sorts of devices... I WOULD double them; as they are way too often subject to failure>
through 1" ID PVC Sch40 white to a tee at the sump, the tee is slightly offset to the fuge side of the sump due to the central support of the stand (right hand side - skimmer is left and return is centre), the valve's purpose will be to reduce flow/volume to the fuge side. With the offset, flow is anticipated to be considerably higher at the fuge side as water does not flow according to reason... it's lazy and takes the shortest path.
This brings to mind another question: What would a good ratio be for fuge vs. skimmer side?
<Depending on actual flow... about half/half>
I have anticipated 60:40 split (40% to the fuge), but would like your opinion whether this is appropriate?
<Well, flow rates through refugiums are better defined by total volume flows per hour... more than 3-5 is generally more than functional>
Thanks again for your continued support in this hobby.
Richard J.C.
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Re: Off-Grid 70/90 Gal? 3/3/11
Okay, I see the benefits of Sump over Built-In Filtration. Having read the benefits of a sump, in my situation the question remains:
Does having a sump still worth it if I don't have the power to generate the kind of turn-over of water most people have?
<... for what benefit/s? Even slow flow is good/great for refugium and DSB gains>
Power consumption is my main concern and I'm still trying to find out if built-in filtration requires significantly less power.
<... does; depending on the pump/ing mechanism's employed, makes, models...>
I don't think my batteries can handle the power required to circulate a sump and cycle the water in the 90 gal to the 1000GPH-ish people are suggesting.
<Have help set up a few collecting stations w/o AC availability... with enough deep cycle DC batteries, inverter... one can run most any/every-thing>
Earlier, it was suggested I plumb the external sump through the wall to a stand outside horizontal to the display so I don't have to use as much pump power sending the return flow back to the display. Will a 75 built-in filtration set up draw significantly less power than the sump on a 90 gal?
Or will I be able to get by with an adequate amount of water movement from sump to display with, say, less than a 20 watt (MAX) pump. It comes down to the judgment call of: Does decreasing the amount of flow by having to turn over the extra volume of water with the sump in the 90 still outweigh the benefits of a "Proper" turn-over of water in the 75 internal filtration? If the answer is "Yes", I'll go for the 90 gal. If I'm getting over my head with the power I can handle, then I'll stick with the 75 gal. Mahalo Nui Loa!
<I'd run both. B>
Re: Off-Grid 70/90 Gal? 3/4/11
I see, so more water doesn't have to mean more watts. As long as I can get the flow back to the tank to equal the overflow I'm all set- even if I reduce the overflow and run a 6 watt powerhead from the sump to the Display?
<If this will pump the "head" here>
Also as long as I have adequate movement inside the display, right?
I was under the impression I needed a giant pump like so many other people. Yes, I could run it on my 10 solar panels and deep cycle batteries, but the constant load would drain my system too fast! I'm looking to you for any old school tips to keep the system simple utilizing little power as possible. And it seems now like I'll be able to accomplish this with all the live rock I've been cycling, a 30 gal sump and natural
sunlight. I sure appreciate It!
<Again, placing the tank and sump adjacent, about the same level is optimum. B>

Pump Decision 2/10/11
I have been trying to decide on a return pump to send the water from my sump back to my 180 FOWLR. I just finished reading Steve Pros article on pump efficiency and comparisons, as well as other articles and recommendations, and my head is still spinning. My 180 has two internal overflows. I will be plumbing the tank down approximately 3 feet and a straight run of about 30 feet to a room in my basement where there is a large counter and sink where I will have my sump. I am figuring on about 7 to 8 feet total height to have to pump the water back.
The bulkheads are larger than I am used to seeing; I believe they are 2 or 2 1/2 inch piping.
<The overflows? Wow! 2" inner diameter?>
First question is whether or not I should combine both overflow's outputs to one larger pipe before the straight run, and whether this should be done for the return run.
<For the return, yes. As for the overflows I prefer to keep them independent. If you combine them and something restricts the line you are in trouble!>
I am planning on having an AquaC EV240 in the sump along with the live rock. The pumps that I have been considering are an Iwaki MD30RLXT, Velocity T4 or a Tunze 6060. I like the idea of the efficiency of the Tunze, ad I've heard about the Velocity being quiet but the Iwaki has been proven over time.
<Well, do find out exactly your overflow size and then either do write back or take a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BulkheadFloRateArt.htm.
You really will not want horizontal runs in the overflow lines. It does reduce flow and create noise. If at all possible do slope them a bit. As for pumps, with those you list I would lean toward the Tunze, quiet and efficient. But first you need to determine what flow your overflows can handle, and then add in some redundancy. If you end up in the market for the Iwaki email me back here, I have a couple looking for a good home!>
With initial cost not being a factor which would you prefer on this system if it were yours? Thank you.
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Pump Decision, sump 2/11/11

<Hey Rich!>
I have some new info. First, I didn't know to measure the inside dimensions of the bulkheads. The overflow bulkheads seem to be 1 1/2 inch, and the returns 1 1/4. I checked out your link to the flow rate page of bulkheads and it seems that if plumbed straight down my optimum rate would be about 950 GPH for each bulkhead. If I tried the 30 foot run with a few 90 degree elbows I would greatly diminish the capacity of the overflows.
<It would, yes. But do also realize if that is the inner dimensions of the bulkheads it is not that of the line. By the time you put the PVC into it and account for wall thickness it sounds like you are dealing with 1" lines.>
If I have my sump directly under the tank,(rats!), I had better go with the Tunze since it would be the quietest. This will also mess up my plan of the EV 240. I only have 24" of space under the tank.
<Well, I should add since I wrote that piece some years ago I have found that the flow does not diminish much if the lines are sloped. If you can run your lines with a bit of a slope your plan may still work fine.>
This would make it impossible to take off the collection cup. Any suggestions on a shorter skimmer that is of the same or better quality?
<That is tough. Those are pretty darned short! I would check out what ETSS has to offer.>
Also what (quiet) pump should I use to run the skimmer?
<Eheim is hands down the favorite.>
And one last question: The top of my overflows are about 1 1/2" from the top of the tank. Are they designed to just let the water fall into the overflow or should I have some pipe going over the side of them to keep drawing water in?
<Let it flow into the box. You will want a Durso style setup (Google the term, much info there) inside the box to keep it quiet. If you are the slightest bit mechanically inclined do consider drilling through the back wall of the tank inside the box for additional overflow bulkheads of a larger size.>
As always, you guys are a great help. Thanks.
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Pump Decision, sump f' 2/20/11

Hello Scott
<Hey Rich.>
I went to my local Home Depot and bought one sch 40 PVC 1 1/2" male coupling and one 1" male coupling. They screw in perfectly in the bulkheads so I am dealing with 1 1/2 and 1inch lines.
<Oh good, rare!>
I picked up a used 45 gallon glass tank from a local fish store for my sump. I will be putting acrylic baffles in it to make my compartments. I will be picking up a 4 month old ETSS Buddy 40 skimmer and want to get an Eheim 1262 for the skimmer. Two further questions:
The owner of the store said that I should use a couple of socks in the sump to filter out larger waste as it enters the sump. Won't this become a nitrate factory?
<They can.>
What would you recommend?
<I have gone back and forth running these over the years. It is nice to filter some stuff out, but not necessary. If you do go this route get quite a few. If your LFS will work you a deal on purchasing half a dozen or so that would be great. Otherwise Etailers offer these for a few bucks a piece. I like to have many, swap them out every couple days and then just throw them in the washing machine when I have a bunch to clean. No detergent needed, just let the machine do the work for you.>
And I am having trouble finding two return pumps, in case one fails, that have 1" outputs. So far I have only found Quiet one 4000 or 5000 with this size. Should I use a reducer to downsize the pipe to 3/4?
<Yes. Any pump that needs a 1" output will outrun your overflows. Just reduce the return size. To stay quiet I would look again towards Eheim or even OceanRunner pumps.>
And what would you use for GPH for the two return pumps. I want to use PVC in a closed loop with T's throughout to return the water in the display tank. (OK that was three questions)
<You have two 1.5" drains, correct? I would look to run 900 or so at most through the sump. This will leave you with true redundancy in regard to the overflows. If one becomes plugged for some reason the other can handle all the flow. 900 max, you do not need to run near this much if you have other flow in the tank. The more you run through the sump the more noise and microbubble issues you will have, and it is much more power efficient to move water within the tank than in and out of it through the sump.>
Thanks for the help
<Welcome, enjoy the build!>
Re: Pump Decision 2/21/11

Hey Scott
Total of 900 thru sump: about 450 each pump? I was thinking two Tunze 1073.020, rated at 634 GPH each.
<Will be perfect with head accounted for. Good pumps too!>
I figured that after the four feet of head and turns in the pipe, they would probably be pushing about 500 each? Is this still too much?
<Na, you will be fine. People really underestimate head and plumbing.
Remember manufacturers' flow charts are best case, and then some with some pumps!>
I want to use the Eheim 1262 on my ETSS Skimmer. Thanks for putting up with my nagging questions!
<No problem, have a good one.>

Plumbing Question (No 'balancing acts' please'¦) - 12/13/10
Hi everybody,
<<Hiya Cesar>>
I am new to marine aquariums. I am still planning things out and have not started anything, yet.
<<Always good to plan/research first>>
I have a 30 gallon acrylic display tank, a 40 gallon acrylic tank (refugium?), and a large wet/dry with sump. The wet/dry sump is under the display tank, but I am afraid that the refugium sits to the side of the display tank.
<<This is fine - in fact, the refugium can be quite an interesting 'display' itself>>
I can easily set up the display to drain to the wet/dry sump and get pumped back up to the display tank. However, I want to incorporate the 40 gallon tank as a refugium.
<<I think employing the 40g tank as a refugium is an excellent decision>>
Should I: 1) drain the display to the 40 gallon tank, then drain that to the wet/dry sump, and pump it to the display tank, or 2) drain the display to the wet/dry sump, pump it to the 40 gallon tank, and pump that to the display tank?
<<A 'gravity drain' to the refugium which is then 'gravity drained' to the sump is the way to go here, you would never be able to balance/keep in balance two pumps utilized as you describe. However, you say the vessel under the display is a 'wet/dry' sump'¦ The mechanical filtration (filter sponges/cloth) typical used with these devices to prevent premature fowling of the bio-media will negate most of the benefit of the refugium re its planktor production. You can overcome this by utilizing 'two' drains going to the wet/dry; one from the display and a smaller one from the refugium (with the display still also draining to the refugium). The drain from the display would attach to the regular input of the wet/dry filter, while the drain from the refugium would be routed directly to the pump chamber of the wet/dry filter, thus allowing the planktors, et al to circumvent the mechanical filter material. Another option would be to remove the bio-media and filter material if not needed/wanted (say, if this will be a 'reef' display) and use the wet/dry filter simply as a sump>>
The first method sounds like the easier answer.
<<Not just easier -- is better/smarter'¦do not try to 'balance flow' from two pumps as you describe>>
However, it will require drilling a bulkhead hole on the lower side of the tank because the two tanks are side by side.
<<Shouldn't be a problem. The two tanks will simply perform as a shared system (water levels will be equalized between the two tanks) with water pumped to the display from the sump, and drained to the sump from the refugium. You'll likely want to utilize a bulkhead screen between the display and the refugium to keep fishes from entering the latter. Be aware these greatly hinder flow so size your throughput(s) accordingly>>
I think I will have problems with the second method because the pumps will not be equal.
Can I control this with ball valves?
<<No - at least not for any length of time. Even should you seem to find a balance here the differing head-heights/pressures and just the build-up of bio-film within the plumbing, will create differences in flow rates on a continuing basis'¦a sure recipe for disaster.
What are you opinions?
<<You've got 'em'¦>>

New Tank/Marine Set Up/Plumbing 12/8/10
Good morning to all,
<Hello Matt>
First I want to thank you for all your help in the pass <past>.
<You're welcome.>
I have been searching your site as well as the net but have had no luck find any information about what I would like to do with the new tank I am trying to set up. So I guess I need to ask the experts here. The question that I have is about using duel sumps on a 200 gal / Rimless (63" X 32" X 24") tank with duel corner overflows. Each overflow has one 2" hole and one 1-3/4" hole for the return. My plan was to use some old equipment that I have left over from previous up grades to my other two systems. I was planning on using two separate sumps one for each overflow, each sump would have its on inlet and external pump for return. The first sump that I have 36" x 16" x 16". I would use a vertex 180 skimmer in this sump with a Pan World 100 PX-X rated at 1200 GPH external pump for return flow. The other drain line would flow into its own separate sump which is also a 36" x 16" x 16" which I would use a Vertex 100 skimmer
an a Pan World Pan World 100 PX-X rated at 1200 GPH external pump for return flow. My question is do you think this type of set up would work?
Any help or commits would be much appreciated
<Not a good idea Matt, having two sumps will be risky. If one pump should fail, and/or a drain line plugs up in one of the overflows, one of the sumps will likely overflow if you keep the sump level too high. Other problems can arise also. Most in sump skimmers operate best with a recommended water level. An increase in the level will cause the skimmer to overflow putting all the muck back into your tank. Would be much better to tie the two sumps together with 2" bulkhead fittings and a short piece of PVC pipe.
That will allow you to still feed each sump with its own drain without any problems.
A local glass dealer should be able to drill the holes for the bulkhead fittings. If they cannot accommodate you then drill bits are available here and are rather inexpensive.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re New Tank/Marine Set Up/Plumbing 12/8/10 - 12/9/10

Thanks for the quick reply
<You're welcome, Matt.>
I was just hoping that one of you may have tried this system before.
<Mmm, never used two individual sumps for reasons addressed in the first thread.>
Both sumps are acrylic so I can drill them my self, in fact both are all ready <already> drilled on the return ends of the sumps each one is drilled for duel return pumps, which I all ways <always> use on my systems. I understand what you are saying, do you think that two holes would be enough flow through
the sumps or would three be better?
<Are you saying connecting the two sumps with two 3/4" PVC lines?
I would also need to know the gph of your return pumps.>
I normally do not use the return lines as my main flow through
<Through or to?>
the tank so the return flow rate is not that big of a deal to me.
<You're losing me here, I'm believing you are using submersible power heads feeding directly to the tank??>
Thanks Again
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

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

Pump Selection for 180 Gallon Reef 12/1/2010
Hi Bob and Crew,
<Hi Casey!>
I've torn down my 180 gallon single overflow acrylic tank and am setting up a 180 gallon dual overflow glass tank (1" drains, 3/4" returns) with a 50 gallon sump/refugium. The new tank is going in the same location as the old. As of now, the fish (a Regal Tang, Foxface, Pink Spotted Goby, Mandarin, and a pair of Ocellaris Clowns) and the corals are divided among a 90 gallon and a 55 gallon plus a Yellow Tang, a Coral Beauty, a Tail-Spot Blenny, and a Bicolor Blenny are finishing their quarantine in a 29 gallon and 10 gallon. My house looks like a fish store. Kind of smells like one too!
Anyway, I am questioning my choice of pumps. I would like a pump that is reliable, quiet, and appropriately sized. Energy consumption is also a factor. I have already purchased from a fellow reefer an unused Blue Line 40x External Pump that is rated at 1,270 GPH while using 130W. I got the pump for less than half retail price, but I'm second guessing my choice.
Maybe I want to go with an in sump pump instead of external, and I hadn't taken into consideration the energy efficiency when I bought the Blue Line.
Here are my questions:
1. Is the Blue Line pump appropriately sized for my tank with dual 1"
<Yes. easily. You will get nowhere close to 1200 GPH with 2 x 1" drains>
2. Is it a quality, quiet pump?
<No direct experience with one, but they are supposedly made designed by the same engineer that designed the Iwaki pumps, which have an excellent reputation. I have not heard any complaints either, which is more than I could say about other pumps.>
3. From an energy perspective, how much money would I be saving by going with a more energy efficient pump?
<That varies depending on how much power costs in your area, but the savings can be significant To figure your power consumption, take the wattage of your device, multiply by the number of hours you are going to use it (8760 for 24 hours\day 365\year) then divide by 1000 That gives you your Kilowatt hours. Multiply that number by your cost per kilowatt (on your electric bill) to get the yearly cost of operation >
4. Should I re-sell the pump to purchase one of the following pumps that I saw recommended in the WWM FAQs? Ocean Runner 3500 900 GPH at 65W or Eheim 1292 900 GPH at 80W or Tunze 1073.040 792 GPH at 42W?
<Matter of personal preference, in my opinion, you cannot go wrong with an Eheim.>
Basically, if this were your tank, would you keep the Blue Line, and if not, what would you use that would be appropriately sized, quiet, reliable, and energy efficient?
<A very subjective question, so I will give you my opinion. Unless I need to move a huge amount of water, I prefer submersible pumps. In my opinion, most external pumps are noisier, as well as requiring additional bulkheads and fittings, which, to me is just another potential for leaks\failure.>
Thanks for your help. I am successful with my aquariums mostly because of WWM and The Conscientious Marine Aquarist.
<Glad you find it useful.>

Re: Flow to sump question 11/7/10
I got the photos of the tank. I just haven't had a chance to upload them yet. I will soon. I was leaning towards a Reeflo Snapper 3600, and using one of his old Little Giants for his circulation.
<ReeFlo makes great pumps. Just be sure that the overflow on the tank can deal with that much water movement. Refer to the bulkhead sizing information on the last link I sent you.>
The Little Giant is like 15years old and at one time was putting out like 1325gph but I highly doubt it can still put that amount out now. I was hoping to get like 4000 gph total in circulation. I mean he owns a puffer the size of my head if not bigger and that thing eats like one pig. So I figured you almost have to treat this tank like a reef with a fish that big in there. How many watts and gallons is a Tetra A27 UV Sterilizer rated for?
<I'd Google that one. If you can't find it there, call the manufacturer.>
I saw that is what he has on there. I personally would like to throw that thing in the trash and get him an Emperor but its his money and not mine.
<UV units are useful, but not completely necessary if the tank is well kept. Replace the bulb often, and run it slow so it kills parasites.>
<Scott T.>

sump setup question, pump/flow 11/5/10
Hello all,
<Hello Barry>
I'm getting ready to purchase a sump for my 240g reef tank and would like to know if one of my Iwakis would be good enough for the return. I've got a MD 30RXLT and a WMD 40 RXT. I've got 2 corner overflows with Dursos and what I believe are 2 inch bulkheads. I'd like to do a slow flow through refugium sump, maybe 2-3 times flow per hour for the refugium. Would one of these pumps work, or should I get an MD 40 RLT?
<For a slow flow through if it is getting water up from your sump and to the display and back then it is enough, providing you have enough in-tank flow provided by other means (preferably propeller-style pumps/ powerheads) in the display>
<No problem, Simon>

Refugium/Sump Return Pump -- 08/19/10
Hello crew.
<<Hiya Dave>>
I tried to figure it out on my own but I just couldn't resist after a night of searching so I figured I'd bother you again with another few questions.
I have a 75 gallon tank with a 38 gallon sump/refugium. The first question involves my return pump from the sump/refugium to main tank. I cleaned the return pump for the first time yesterday, the sump/refugium has been up and running almost three weeks now and when I removed it out of the tank to put into a bucket of siphoned water that I removed while doing a water change I got a ton of junk that came out and fell down to the bottom of the return pump section of the sump. I siphoned out as much as I could of course.
<<Very good--routine removal of accumulated detritus in this area will help much with your water quality>>
When I opened the return pump to clean the internal filter
there was loads of junk in there.
<<I would not use 'any' type of 'pre-filter' on the return pump. Aside from quickly fowling, this filter prevents the migration of much of the beneficial biota from the refugium to the display>>
I removed the filter sponge on my overflow box because it was slowing my flow down big time and I had to throttle back the return pump a lot with a ball valve.
<<Indeed'¦ If you feel the need for some type of mechanical filtration here I suggest you employ a filter 'sock' at the termination point of the return drain(s)--cleaned/exchanged 'at least' weekly>>
I have a four to almost six inches depth of sand bed in the 75 and 4.5 to 5 inches of depth in the refugium, 65 pounds of live rock, AquaC Remora with MaxiJet 1200 pump, and a bag of carbon as my filtration. After about two weeks I had TONS of little critters crawling around in the refugium.
Do I need this filter that is inside my return pump?
<<Nope, is not beneficial--in fact is quite the opposite, in my opinion>>
It seems it will cause more harm than good as it gathers all the junk inside it.
My second question is one that I have seen a thousand people ask you; but you know every tank/setup has its own capabilities.
<<Tis true>>
I have a coral beauty, purple flame goby, watchman goby with pistol shrimp, flame hawkfish, bristletail file, blue/green Chromis or damsel (seen them called both), and a 15 inch snowflake eel. I'm looking to add another 15-20 pounds of live rock to fill in the emptiness since I removed my H.O.B filter and moved my heater and protein skimmer to the sump.
<<Do consider whether you really need to add this additional rock vs. the loss of swimming/growing room. Perhaps a rearrangement of the existing rock would be a better alternative>>
Will a yellow eye tang or chevron tang be ok to add?
<<Likely yes--but all the more reason NOT to fill the tank up with too much rock, for the reasons just stated>>
The other question is I'm running a ton of flow in the 75 and I have one spot in my sand bad that is 3 inches in depth, any problem with that?
<<Nope--though you may want to research and consider employing a 'gyre' type flow system rather than a 'chaotic' flow system. Aside from being more natural, a gyre flow system with a 'top-down' style (water pushed along the top and rolling/flowing down at the end of the tank and then back across the bottom) is gentler on deep fine sand beds and thus much less likely to rearrange same>>
It is what has caused me to have a section that is 6 inches in depth.
<<Well do I know'¦>>
Thank you soooo much for all the help you guys
<<And gals!>>
have given me and the information I've needed to teach my girlfriend on the reasons why I need to spend more money on things.
<<Hee-hee! A pleasure to assist with (all) your dilemmas. Umm, is this where I'm supposed to say you need a bigger tank? [grin]>>

Re Flow Rate Question 5/30/10 - 6/1/10
Sorry, I didn't think to include the drain size.
<Not a problem.>
The aquarium I am looking at comes with a 2 1/2" drain, but I have not ordered the tank yet, so I have options to have more drain holes, bigger drain holes, etc. I was contemplating going with 2 corner drains, either capable of all flow in case of a blockage, any input on this subject would be welcome as well.
<A very good idea having two drains for just the reason you mention. I would suggest two corner overflows with 1 1/2" drains. Each drain would be capable of about 975gph not including restrictions such as elbows, strainers, etc. I'll now go down below to your original query to answer your concerns.>
Flow Rate Question 5/30/10
Dear team,
<Hello Lang>
I once again seek your expertise, thank you for all you have done.
<You're welcome.>
I read through WWM almost daily, tons of great info!
<Thank you.>
I have looked into the SeaSwirl units I have seen recommended a couple of different times by your team, and I have to say, looks good, I'm going to be getting 2 for my upcoming 90.
<They are a good dependable device.>
My question is on overall flow of the aquarium. I currently have a Mag 9.5 for a return pump in my 75g, and I have a Koralie <Koralia> 3, and a 4 providing additional circulation in the DT. I want the 2 SeaSwirl units to replace the power heads in my DT, but am concerned about the amount of flow I will be getting. I calculated the new plumbing using the Mag 9.5, and I will be getting approximately 568 gph at 7.8 ft of head, so split in 2 that comes to 284 gph for each SeaSwirl.
<The Sea Swirls will also create some head loss so do allow for that.>
I've seen comments related, that state 10X-20X for a reef tank is ideal.
I was thinking of a couple options, was hoping for an opinion of the best course.
1. Upgrade to a Mag 18, which will give me 950gph.
<This won't do it with the head loss from the tee, two ball valves, and associated plumbing. It will be
difficult to provide equal flow to the Sea Swirls without using a ball valve to regulate/balance flow.>
2. Add a 2nd Mag 9.5 as just a return to the DT.
<My choice would be adding another Mag 9.5 and power the Sea Swirls with individual pumps and
eliminate the tee which adds additional head loss. This set up allows you to shut down a pump for maintenance
and still keep the system running. Should you go this route, do order the 3/4" model Sea Swirls which are rated for
850gph. Do incorporate true union ball valves on both sides of the pumps to facilitate maintenance. See here if
you are not familiar with this device.
uct_Code=BV05T-TU&Category_Code=Valves >
3. Scratch the 'no powerhead' idea and use the SeaSwirl in addition to the current powerheads I have.
<Two Mag 9.5's driving two Sea Swirls should provide you with a very good flow rate for your 90 gallon tank without the use of any powerheads.>
4. Mix and match of these options, maybe option 1, with a second Mag 9.5 providing straight return to the DT.
<Lang, before I can input, I would like to know the size of your drain(s).>
Thanks for any help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Separate Sump and Fuge Conception... "... flows downhill, payday's on Friday" lesson unfolding 5/26/10
Hello hello!!
Ok so, first of I'd like to say that marine aquarium keeping and scouring your site is my new full time obsession! I have to say I've work diligently at kicking habits throughout my adult life that I considered addictive to the point of causing me to neglect my life's other necessities.
<And then came marine aquariums, we know>
Then along comes a ready and running 20 gallon marine aquarium that was in need of some major TLC and now I'm hooked big time! Thank you very much for giving me a guilt free reason not to mow the lawn, do the dishes and
vacuum the carpets etc. I love you guys/gals man!
<Do slip in those other tasks... good to keep the blood flowing... will make you more alert for important activities... like your aquarium interests!>
Alright enough with the fluff. I'll give you the basic run-down of what where I'm at and where I'd like to go with all this joyful craziness! I won't bother you with many technical details as I know I can find those in The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, Reef Aquarist and WWM among other sources. Basically I'd appreciate some broad advice as to how I should start/continue my thinking about my overall design which will probably take over a year to finally realize.
About 4 months ago I acquired a 20 gallon marine aquarium with about 20lbs of live rock covered in a straight stringy algae or plant (I have yet to fully identify, but I feel is of little consequence since I trimmed it back replaced the CFs and is no longer growing), a clown fish, CPR Bak-Pak skimmer, coral life 24" CF light fixture and a single Rio pump providing additional flow. Since then I moved the whole setup in a 26 gallon bow front, added 40lbs of Ocean Direct "live" sand (I mixed 20lbs of fine and 20lbs of less than 1/8" coarser sand), upgraded to and modified a Maxi-jet 1200 (beautiful results), replaced the bulbs in the fixture, added a Zoo-Med PS-40 for additional flow and introduced a Spotted Toby and Tailspot Blenny.
All my readings look great (nitrate <5 an hour before weekly water change),
the live rock looks healthier and everyone is feeding well and getting along. Despite the excitement of all this and the hours tallying up to weeks I've spent learning about this hobby I've already decided to dream bigger and add more challenges to my marine endeavors So here's the scoop. I recently purchased a Perfecto 60 gallon cube aquarium to be used as my display tank which is sitting in my basement itching to fulfill its destiny. I also just stumble across two Aqualight 150 Watt MH lights (one slightly used, on new) for $150 total (Woohoo)!!
I plan on "fabricating" a coast-to-coast overflow system in this tank incorporating this exact pipe design:
<Have read... Wish the words "fail safe" were omitted>
I would like this to flow into a 20 gallon sump (using a 30 gallon aquarium)
to house all my hardware (skimmer, heaters etc.) and possibly a DSB. From there I would like to pump the flow up to a displayed 40 gallon fuge which will be used to raise Phytoplankton, Zooplankton, possibly some shrimp for a larval food source along with some Chaetomorpha and small mangroves (for visual appeal mostly).
<And this refugium overflow via gravity into the cube I take it>
Do you think this is too much to be raising in one fuge or should I consider using the Chaetomorpha in the sump?
<Either way>
Regarding the overall design, what level compared to the main display should the fuge be at considering that I would like to add a smaller display directly off the fuge to house seahorses in the distant future.
<A few inches... more important is the size of the overflow through-puts>
My thinking is that it should be above the display so I can simply have an overflow back into the display tank and when the time comes pump up from the fuge to the seahorse tank which would be set just above the fuge. Am I safe to assume that setting the level of the fuge overflow merely 6" above the display tank water level will provide enough height for the overflow to function at the required rate or am I asking for a flood?
<No flooding as long as the overflow system works, the sump pump functions, and there is no back siphoning from the refugium... I would test "shutting down" the power with all filled up about where you want... and make a permanent mark for height of water in the sump below... for as high as you'll ever want to fill it... the transit volume is of concern here for when the sump pump quits or power fails... Understanzee?>
Would I need to go higher than
this and could the seahorse tank be set at the same interval above the fuge?
<If the seahorse tank is set near the same height, the flow rate should be quite small... again, mainly the transit volume issue... all the water over the height of the drains in all upper tanks will need to be accommodated in the sump below>
The idea is to eliminate the need for a step ladder to view the seahorse tank if you know what I mean. Also I've been getting the sense from my readings here at WWM that I should look at "trying" to match the flow rate into the sump with the quantity of water my skimmer will be able to handle and/or 10X the volume of the sump (200gph).
<Better to provide more "in tank" circulation with pumps in those systems... As you will find here, having multiple tanks/systems serviced by one lower reservoir (sump) requires that it be of good size/volume, and/or have greatly reduced (read this as "piled up") volume of water above it>
Should I look at devising a way to slow the flow into the fuge or am I safe since the fuge is twice the volume of the sump and will equate to 5X the volume of the fuge?
<Is one approach, yes>
If I use a high quality pump from the sump to the fuge that is advertised to pump 300gph and is pushing vertically around 4' with minimal horizontal flow how many gph can I really expect approximately (math equations I can use)?
<Would have to look at a/the performance/demand curve for the particular pump/motor, plumbing diagram... but summat less than likely stated. In actual practice, a good idea to plan on a variable resistor (valve) on the discharge side of the pump to regulate>
Whew, I hope that wasn't too much, but I've been trying to visualize this whole concept and before I go about making sketches and the like I really just wanted to know if this is feasible or if I should be rethinking this whole thing.
Thank you so much! I better go cut the lawn ;)
<Oh yes! Bob Fenner>

Lost pump question, sel.... 5/10/10
To Crew,
I recently sent you a question concerning the correct pump. My email messed up and I lost everything. I searched your site and could not find it. I hope you can help. I have a 150 gallon tank with the 1" overflows/returns.
I know it will drain 300 gph each. I got two Tidepool 2's from a friend, and now just need the pump. my LFS is trying to sell me a Mag 1800. I think this is to much but I think the 9.5 would be too small thus leaving the 12.
Would this be a good choice or would you recommend another? I also have a powerhead at 3200 gph. Thanks again.
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/pumpselmar6.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Precision Marine Skimmer, "balancing pumping"... Not! 4/29/10
Hi All,
I am getting my octopus tomorrow and am adding a larger protein skimmer to my tank. I have gone to different forums asking peoples thoughts but so far the only place I have found any reviews about the PM skimmer is on Marine Depot. I have a choice between a Aqua C Urchin Pro and a PM Redline 200.
<I for one am a fan of PM products as a whole.>
My tank set up is a 55 gallon with 20 gallon refugium. Now if I get the PM I would have to add a sump which would add about 20 more gallons if not more to the system which with most fish/octos is never a bad thing. Though
with the urchin I trust the company completely and have never heard anything bad. I just really need some guidance here as I need to make the decision today.
<The Urchin will require a sump also, the Remora is the same thing in a HOB version. I would add a sump either way here.>
Also if I get the PM how would I run it to the main system? Because my cabinet is full I would have to set up a tote (kind of like the storage totes from Wal-Mart) on the side. So my thought was to have 2 hoses/pumps, one pulling water from the refugium to the sump and then the other back again. Is this a good plan?
<NO! This is total disaster, read: water on the floor, waiting to happen.
Not weeks, months or years down the road, but after a day or two at most.
The balanced flow between two pumps just cannot be sustained.>
Or if not could you please direct me in this matter or point me to where I might find what I am looking for?
<You will need to set up a proper overflow. Take a look at the offerings from CPR and Glass-Holes.com. Also do read through http://wetwebmedia.com/SystemPIX/PlumbingPix/Oneinchart.htm and the linked overflow FAQ's above.>
Thank you so much for your help.
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Pump recommendation...Scott v..? 4/21/10
Attn: Scott v...
A while back I asked for your recommendation for return pumps on my 125 gal tank with 1500gph glass holes overflow...returning through 2 pacific coast eductors...you suggested 2 Eheim 1262's ...
well the Eheims are great, silent and reliable...however I do not think I am even close to maxing out the capacity of the overflow...
I'm guessing I am netting about 500 gph each return with the 2 1262's...
I have a couple ideas I'd like you to opine on to increase net flow output replace the 2 Eheims with :
2 Mag drive 9.5 (higher head)
<The Eheims will outflow these.>
new Sicce return pumps (no info)
coral vue water blaster pumps (no head info)
if you have any feedback on the above...please help..
you also suggested the Aquamedic pumps last time but I am not a fan of those
noise is an issue....that's why I suggest the Sicce?
<The Sicces are great pumps, but so are the Eheims. I would consider supplemental flow here, either through a closed loop or powerheads. Say you are actually only getting 500 per pump, very possible with plumbing.
The 1500 kit uses two 1.5" bulkheads, safe to 1500 gph MAX. Flowing it at 1000 does leave you a bit of margin for safety should something find its way into one of the lines and partially block it.>
anyway, Thanks in advance for any info/suggestions...
<If you do want a larger submersible pump I would go back to the Oceanrunner 6500 you refer to above. They are actually very quiet and reliable pumps. Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: pump recommendation...Scott v..? 4/23/10
thanks Scott...the eheims humm a little...the sicces are almost dead silent...the model 4? sicce I believe is rated at 950 gph with 12.5 ft of head..the eheims are rated at 900gph with 12 ft of head...do you think I
will gain a little with the sicce.?
..for me the quiet is worth it...
just don't know if u can trust the head numbers of the sicce yet...not enough reviews...I've seen a video of the sicce compared to a mag 5 ...you couldn't detect a sound on the sicce... any experiences with the sicce ????
<Oh yes, these are fine pumps that have been sold under other labels for years.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Pump Inquiry/Plumbing/Pump Selection, wet-dries 4/5/10
<Hello Dawn>
My question is concerning the return pump. I have been reading your site and am still not sure I have the answer. I have a 150 gallon with 2 corner overflows. The pre-drilled holes are 1". The info on the tank states 700 gph circulation. I'm not sure if they mean for a total of both sides or one side?
<That would be the maximum gph, both sides with no restrictions such as elbows, etc.>
I have two Tidepool two wet/dry filters plumbed for an external pump. I was looking at the Little Giant 3 mdqxsc <MDQX-SC>. I have read the little giant is noisy and puts out 1000 gph at 3' head.
<I run the same pump and I do not feel it's noisy. There are no pumps that are noiseless.>
If mine is 700 gph for both sides total, would this pump the water out of the tidepools to quickly?
<I'm guessing your two Tidepool 2 wetdrys are plumbed together, so if I am correct in thinking this, these sumps together, should handle a total of 700gph max since their intake is also a 1" line. You will need to install a gate/ball valve on the pump outlet to match/adjust the pump's flow with the sumps intake capability. It's best to use a true union ball valve on both the intake and outlet of the pump so if need be, you will be able to disconnect the pump for maintenance and/or replacement.>
If I am understanding the pumps correctly, it is the pump that determines the gph being pumped?
<Yes, providing the incoming water flow is capable of keeping up with it, and is why the ball valve on the pump outlet is needed as it's best to go with a higher gph pump than necessary to allow for any head loss.>
I was going to use one pump to return the water, would you please advise me on the gph and a good pump?
<As long as both Tidepool 2's are plumbed together correctly, I'd go with a pump of at least 1000gph to allow for head loss due to return line length and plumbing components. As far as pump choices, I need to know whether you prefer using an external pump or an in sump (submersible) model.>
Thank you-
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Pump Inquiry/Plumbing/Pump Selection 4/5/10 - 4/6/10
Yes, both Tidepools are plumbed together with 2" pvc. Just as explained in the Tidepool Manual.
So I would be using and <an> external pump. I borrowed a friends pump, but don't know the gph. It works, but does not seem to have a strong water flow in return. What are your recommendations? On a Coralife Turbo Sea 1100 P? or Mag Drive 24? Compared to the Little Giant?
<I probably would not choose the Coralife because of it's current draw, 170 watts. The Coralife 1100P is also a pressure pump, more for use with pressure type filters. For your needs I would look at circulation pumps such as the Mag Drive which are considered pretty reliable pumps.
The Mag Drive 24 is a little overkill for your system and this baby draws 265 watts. I'd lean more toward the Mag Drive MD18 @ 1800gph with a 145 watt draw.
You may want to place this question on one of the BB's where you will get input from actual users of the pump(s) you have in mind.>
One last question, the overflows. One side is working perfectly, while the other has a gurgling sound.
The water level keeps dropping to the hole in the pvc elbow for the intake, then filling back up. There are also some small bubbles. Is this due to this side overflowing faster than the other since the tank is not exactly level?
<No, but without seeing a picture of the drain system, I'd say you have trapped air that is causing this gurgling. Durso type stand pipes work very well in eliminating gurgling/noise.>
If I make the line to the Tidepool a little longer on this side, would it fix this problem?
<No, but be sure the drain hose is not rising up and then down to the Tidepool. Do read FAQ's here and related articles posted in header. May also want to read "Plumbing Marine Systems" also found in the header.>
Thank You again.
My fish appreciate all your help to make their home a better place.
<Glad to be of service. James (Salty Dog)>

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

Dual Pumps Needed In Sump For 180?/Plumbing 2/12/10
Dear WetWebMedia Crew,
<Hello Wendy>
We will be setting up a 180 gal acrylic reef tank with 65 gal sump (containing a 24" refugium). We've never setup a sump before, and have been told we only need 1 return Mag pump, but are thinking it would be safer to have 2...... Your thoughts?
<As in beer, two is always better than one :-).
<<Actually, RMF would rather have one good/decent bier than multiple crappy ones>>
Redundancy is always a plus, should one pump go out and/or require maintenance, your system can still operate. Do install dual true unions and ball valves at the pumps
output. This makes it very easy to remove a pump for replacement and/or maintenance and the ability to control the pumps flow if needed. An example of this can bee seen here.
And if you recommend 2 pumps then what gph should we go with for each?
<If the pumps will be the only flow devices used, then I would go with a minimum of two MAG1200's. Pump selection will largely depend on the size of your drain lines. For your system I strongly suggest installing two 1 1/2" drains to the sump. This will provide approximately 1900gph flow capability to the sump and will be a close match for the MAG1200 pumps. For $20.00 more per pump, I'd likely go with the MAG1800's, the flow rate can always be adjusted with the ball valves. Should one pump fail or need maintenance, the other pump can be throttled to maximum flow, providing a good flow rate to the system.>
Also, haven't found any really detailed books or literature on do-it-yourself sumps, can you recommend any?
<Plenty of information can be found on our site. Do read here along with related articles/FAQ's. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm>
Thanks for all your help, God Bless!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

A question on pump options. 12/30/09
Hello WWM crew!
I am trying to reduce tank/ drain noise as much as possible and have succeeded using two options. The first is to use an Eheim 1250 for my return.
<Good pumps>
The second is to use an Eheim 1260 dialed down using a ball valve to roughly the same level the 1250 puts out (a little less than 3/4 closed).
I own both pumps already so there will be no additional cost to me.
<For purchase... but operation... Better to... Oh!>
I do know that when experimenting with my Kill-A-Watt (my new Christmas toy), the dialed down 1260 draws almost the same wattage as the 1250.
With that being said, which is actually the better option in terms of pump longevity and heat? I am unsure if the 1250 would work harder to keep up with the head loss/ pressure, creating more heat than the dialed down 1260 makes. I understand dialing down pumps is the norm, but most likely not as much I have done with my 1260.
<Better to have "just enough" pump/ing and not dial down anything. I'd be running either just the 1260 or looking for another pump>
Thanks for all of your help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: A question on pump options. 12/31/09
Mr. Fenner,
<Hello again Erich>
I may be confused, but I think I should have clarified that I was wanting to use only one of the pumps to achieve my desired flow. The 1250 works perfectly, as does switching it out for the dialed down 1260 in terms of reducing noise. You recommended looking for another pump if I do not want to use just my 1260 without dialing it down. Is there an issue with the 1250?
<Ah, no. Sorry for the confusion on my part. I would just use the one 1250, save the 1260 for back-up>
I'm guessing that I just wasn't clear and that the answer is to use the 1250 and have "just enough" flow as you stated. My apologies for bothering you again. I know your time is valuable.
<As is yours. BobF>

Return pump size 12/13/09
Good afternoon,
<Hello Bobby.>
I'm in the process of slowly building a reef tank. I have a 75g that will be my display tank and I have a 55g that is my sump/fuge. I'm planning on putting on a 1500 gph overflow kit from www.glass-holes.com.
<Oh nice, lol. I am part owner there!>
I'm trying to figure what return pump to get, this pump not only return water up to the DT but it will be T off to drive the fuge, of course I will have valves on the lines. I want to keep a small number of soft corals, but my reef be made up mostly with combination of LPS and SPS along with a clam or 2. I want to have on the turnover to be between 30-40. So I'm at lost on the return pump, because I want plenty of flow thru the overflow so it would be quiet.
<These can be quiet at low flows too. Don't concern yourself about flow for that reason!>
I know I need a return pump that is submersible. Since I'm planning on having SPS my lighting is gonna be 8x54w T5HO. I think why I'm having a hard time figure the return pump is I'm having trouble figuring the headroom. I know for vertical height 1 foot = 1 foot but when it comes to horizontal and using 45 degree and 90 degree elbows I don't know how to figure those into the headroom.
<Check out this chart, you can actually sit down and figure out frictional loss here: http://www.plumbingsupply.com/flowchart.html.>
Also which is better to use on the elbows on the return 45's or 90's or combination.
<Not a huge difference, though the 45s do come out a little ahead.>
I know I'm gonna run 2 powerheads that push 1200gph each and been thinking 2 that does around 200 or 400 gph each to have the flow in the tank for acropora (the type of SPS I want).
Future Reefer,
<From what you describe I would look into Eheim, Tunze or Oceanrunner models here. Quiet, efficient and reliable! Scott V.>

Re: return pump size 12/16/2009
Thanks Scott, it was very useful.
I do have 1 question. Had this idea last night with powerheads. I was thinking of using timers where the 2 most
strong gph powerheads like Koralia 4's run during the day time hours and say either 2 Koralia 1's or 2's run at night. I know in the wild the ocean current is as strong at night time like it is during the day. Could this be effective and not only energy efficient in my case.
<This works for a while, though there really is not anything to be gained IMO. The downside is that startup is the wearing phase on these pumps, being turned on daily does shorten the lifespan.>

Proper Flow thru the sump -- 11/16/2009
Hi, I have a 56 gal reef tank with a separate 30 gal refugium and 20-30 gal sump (sump and refugium located in the basement). In the 56 gal tank I have 2 powerheads( Tunze 6025=660gal/h and Vortech mp10 that I use it at low speed 500-600 gal/h). Could you suggest me how many gallons of water should flow thru my sump?
<Well, your flow needs will be met with the powerheads, so you don't need much through your sump. A few hundred gph up to about 600 will serve you well on this size sump. Consider what your overflow can truly handle, see:
Thank you
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Refugium Water Flow 9/22/09
When I first learn about them a few years back slow gentle flow was recommended to allow the alga to remove nutrients. Is there a definitive water flow recommendation for refugiums?
<While some may argue still for slow flow through refugia, I do argue for more or at least supplemental flow within the refugium via a powerhead.
The reasons being: you do not want detritus to accumulate there either and Chaetomorpha is far and away the most common macro nowadays and it really should have enough flow to be turned (tumbled) a bit to allow the whole ball to be lit. The argument that slow flow is needed to let the macro absorb the nutrients is, well, false IMO. Plants do not work this way.
Even with higher flows the nitrate and other levels are what they are.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

HOB Dual Filter Converted To Overflow To Sump-Possible? (Not with the two-pump balancing act described!) -- 07/23/09
Howdy again most gracious Crew,
<<Hey Amy! Eric at your service>>
After 4 exhausting days of overflow boxes to sump research every corner of the known universe, I come to this basic question... What is the likelihood that I can balance two pumps (one to my 40g sump and one return to 150g display reef tank)?
<<Umm'¦not likely at all'¦at least for any length of time. Even with the use identical pumps (for reasons of operational likeness) and valves to initially 'balance' flow betwixt the two pumps'¦detritus, bio-film buildup in the lines'¦heck, even gravity'¦will be working constantly to upset this balance. And you can surely imagine what would occur should a snail or similar critter/object clog/slow one of the pumps. My advice to you is to NOT attempt such an arrangement>>
Tank info: 150g, 175# Live rock, 100# live sand, HOB refugium, in-sump skimmer, 40g wet/dry sump, four Koralia #4 power heads, medium livestock load.
<<Whatever 'medium' means [grin]>>
Living in AZ, we experience a lot of unexplained hick-ups in the power supply, usually lasting only from a few seconds to a few minutes,
<<Ah yes'¦I too experience such 'flutters' (often the very abundant squirrel population BBQ'ing themselves on the transformers) in my power supply here in South Carolina. Many is the day I come home to tripped GFCIs or dimmed lights>>
but enough to make it hard to close my eyes at night or leave the house without constantly wondering if the return pump is going to stop while my conventional siphon overflow continues to empty my tank into my sump/living room!!
<<I assure you that your situation is not unique. I can also assure you that a little thought towards the configuration of the overflow will result in a system that will operate with a higher degree of safety and reliability than the 'two pump balancing act' you are considering>>
After much obsessing and researching, I think that I could better live with the likelihood that both pumps stopped and started in unison if the power went out,
<<There's no guarantee of this either>>
instead of trying to balance a conventional siphon overflow with a return pump, which IS going to cause an overflow here eventually.
<<Though I advocate drilling a tank and utilizing gravity overflows when possible (and even this method is not 'foolproof' without thought to flow capacities and transient water volumes)'¦many, many hobbyists operate and get by just fine with siphon overflow systems>>
Also, could I convert a HOB dual filter into a power-driven overflow??
<<Not recommended>>
Understandably, it would move a lot less water than a large gravity feed but would still provide for continuous overflow to sump without worrying about an unexpected break in siphon.
<<I disagree that such a system is 'without worry''¦for the reasons already stated>>
I have seen the CPR self priming overflow but it has some design problems with clogging/blockages. I have two puffers who are messy eaters and I could foresee a blockage quickly occurring in my tank.
<<A pump could suffer the same fate then>>
How can sumps be both so wonderful and foolhardy at the same time???
<<A sump is a wonderful adjunct to a system, and getting water to/from it does require some thought, but is not an overly difficult task and certainly should not be cause for such agonizing as you seem to be experiencing. One solution that immediately comes to mind is to install 'two' siphon overflows but utilize or adjust (with installed gate-valve) the pump to provide only enough flow as if you only had one overflow. This means both overflow systems are operating at 'half capacity' which provides the redundancy for one to handle the flow (during your absence/until you are able to attend to the system) should the other clog or fail. Additionally, it is ideal that both the sump and the display be setup/configured to handle the 'transient water volume' going either way in the event of a power outage/pump failure or siphon overflow failure>>
<<happy to share Amy'¦ If you wish to discuss any of this further, please provide some detail of your overflow system re the type/configuration, the size and number of siphon tubes, the size/flow capacity of the return pump, etc. EricR>>

Re: HOB Dual Filter Converted To Overflow To Sump-Possible? (Not with the two-pump balancing act described!) -- 07/25/09
Hi again Crew (Eric),
<<Hiya Amy>>
Please advise as to the best method of making sure that both the sump and the display be setup/configured to handle the 'transient water volume' going either way in the event of a power outage/pump failure or siphon overflow failure. Should I first fill the display to max capacity, then work with the volume from there? Fill the sump to the volume/height needed for the equipment within (skimmer, etc.)?
<<Ah yes'¦ This all takes a bit of experimentation with running/switching of the pump and overflow and watching how the water accumulates'¦being ready to turn on the pump/restart the overflow as/if needed. The idea is to have enough water in the sump for the ancillary gear present (skimmer, pump, etc.); yet leave enough 'empty volume' to contain the transient water volume from the display when the return pump is not running. How much water volume 'drains down' to the sump from the display when the pump is off is determined by the height (in this example) of the skimmer box on your siphon overflow. Adjusting this also lets you set the height of the water in the display, which will be a factor should the overflow fail and all the water in the sump gets pumped up to the display. Admittedly, this is of less concern to most hobbyists versus the need to contain transient water volume in a power/pump outage. And on systems with very large sumps versus displays, is often not even practical. But with your smallish sump (40g) and largish display (150g), you may be able to find/set a balance. So'¦ Is all this clear?>>
Should I install two conventional siphon overflows,
<<Is the best option, yes'¦and as explained earlier>>
converging to a T,
<<No'¦ Keep these separate. The idea is to not let them influence each others performance in any manner>>
followed by a ball valve,
<<I absolutely would not place any type of valve on the 'drain' side of the overflow system. If flow needs to be tempered for any reason, place a gate-valve on the 'output' side of the return pump>>
then going to the W/D sump. In the sump, water will be protein skimmed, refugium filtered, and then return to the display tank via pump.
<<Sounds fine>>
Should my return to display also have a T, with one going to display and the other a bleed-off back to sump for pump gph flow adjustment?
<<It is much easier to simply add the valve on output side of the pump, as described>>
Please advise, wise one.
<<Ah Grasshopper'¦ I hope this all makes sense to you>>
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>

R2: HOB Dual Filter Converted To Overflow To Sump-Possible? (Not with the two-pump balancing act described!) -- 07/26/09
Oh Eric, sadly, I am afraid we are at the point where I must confess that I earned a C in my fluid dynamics class.
<<Ah, no worries Amy'¦we'll take it a step at a time if need be>>
Who knew I'd need it just to setup a fish tank??
<<Hee-hee!! Remember those 'Why do I need to learn this?' questions we used to ask the teacher?>>
On to stupid question #128...
<<Only 'stupid' if you don't ask it'¦ Okay, well'¦maybe not'¦but go ahead and ask anyways [grin]>>
So should I buy, say, two separate single bulkhead overflow boxes, each rated at 8oo gph (each containing a double set of siphon tubes) and just set them both to gravity feed approx. 1600 gph to my 40g sump (I know that they will actually flow much slower but lets just use these numbers for the purpose of setting ratios).
<<Yes to the first part'¦no to the second part. The idea here is to create a safety margin by setting up a 'redundant' overflow. Buy/setup two identical siphon-overflow boxes, but only flow from the sump as much water as 'one' can handle. Using your example/numbers'¦that would be two 800gph boxes with a max flow rate 'from the sump pump' of only 800gph>>
OR should I buy one double bulkhead overflow box, rated at 1600 gph (containing a double set of siphons) instead?
<<I prefer 'two separate' systems for redundancy. With only 'one' overflow box, should it fail/lose water flow for whatever reason, it makes little difference how many 'siphons' are present>>
These are some overflows I was looking at http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=18358<http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=18358> Will they work?
<<They will'¦ And for purposes of figuring flow rates'¦Allow a 'maximum' of 300gph for each 1' bulkhead drain and about 700gph for a 1.5' bulkhead drain>>
What size would be best?
<<With your smallish sump, I would go with a pair of the smallest here (PF-300) to ease any noise and bubble issues'¦and the use other methods (e.g. -- powerheads) to create more flow within the display>>
In your infinite wisdom, you suggested <One solution that immediately comes to mind is to install 'two' siphon overflows but utilize or adjust (with installed gate-valve) the pump to provide only enough flow as if you only had one overflow. This means both overflow systems are operating at 'half capacity' which provides the redundancy for one to handle the flow (during your absence/until you are able to attend to the system) should the other clog or fail.>
What will keep the overflows operating at half-capacity if they are just gravity fed? (Feel a migraine coming on...)
<<[grin]'¦ Think about mate'¦if you have two overflows capable of handling 300gph each for a total of 600gph'¦but you are only pumping 300gph from the sump to the display'¦then essentially each overflow is only draining about 150gph (half-capacity). Thus'¦ If one fails'¦ The other will be able to handle the flow without flooding your floor. Understanzee?>>
Then from the sump, the water will be W/D filtered, protein skimmer, refuged, and then pumped back to my display. Then should the return be pumped by an external pump, to a T, with one line going to the display and the other a bleed-off re-circulating back to the sump?
<<I find 'submersible' pumps to be entirely efficient (and cheaper and quieter) for most systems'¦and certainly so for yours. And 'no' to the tee and bleed-off'¦not necessary. Simply install a gate-valve on the output-side of the pump to adjust flow as needed>>>>
Taking into account 5 vertical feet plus 3 90 degree turns on the line to the display and then 2 90 degree turns in the line to the bleed-off back to the sump, what size, brand etc. return pump would you recommend?
<<Figure a foot of additional head-loss for each turn/bend (but discount the two for the tee'¦as explained). So based on your data here you have about 8 feet of head-loss. Select a pump that can handle this plus an additional 20-30 percent to allow for mulm buildup in the plumbing lines as well as the'¦'unknown.' So, with two 300gph overflows; to be run at 'half capacity' for a total of 300gph, plus an additional 20% capacity, you need a pump that will push 'at least' 360gph at 8 feet of head. Not all pump manufacturers list flow rates at specific head heights (and who knows how accurate this is anyway), I suggest getting a pump that flows, at zero head, 'about' twice what you think you need at your head height (some pumps are also more efficient at 'pushing' water against head than others)...e.g. -- we are looking for a pump that will flow around 720gph. Don't worry if the pump may be a 'little' big for your needs'¦the gate-valve installed on the output side will let you adjust the floe just hoe you need it. My first choice would be an Eheim pump (model 1262'¦though the 1260 would probably work)'¦but MagDrive (700 or 950) makes for a good second choice here as well>>
I am guessing that I will be pushing about 10-12 head feet with this setup. (Don't ask to see my math)
<<Actually, with your additional two ells for the bleed-off (which you don't need)'¦that's pretty close>>
Also, what size plumbing lines do you recommend I use for overflows to sump
<<Use lines at least as large in diameter as the bulkhead fitting'¦e.g. -- 1' bulkhead = 1' drain line>>
and return from pump to display?
<<Match (or go slightly larger) the output on the pump>>
Sorry to ask so much and know so little.
<<No worries>>
You help is greatly appreciated!
<<Is my pleasure to assist. Do read here (if you haven't already) and among the associated links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm >>
Thanks again,
<<Be chatting'¦ Eric Russell>>

R3: HOB Dual Filter Converted To Overflow To Sump-Possible? (Not with the two-pump balancing act described!) -- 07/28/09
Hi Eric (with nerves of steel),
<<Hey Amy!>>
One last, well probably not the last, ignorant question... Forgive my retardation.
<<Hee-hee! You are forgiven'¦>>
You advised :
*<<Think about it mate'¦if you have two overflows capable of handling 300gph each for a total of 600gph'¦but you are only pumping 300gph from the sump to the display'¦then essentially each overflow is only draining about 150gph (half-capacity). Thus'¦ If one fails'¦ The other will be able to handle the flow without flooding your floor. Understanzee?>>*
NOzee! If I am dropping 600 gph (from two 300 gph overflow boxes) into a 40 g sump, and only pumping back 300 gph on my return to my display, am I NOT accumulating a surplus of about 300 gph in my sump, and on my floor??
<<Okay Amy'¦let's break it down a bit. For the purpose of this explanation we'll use the previous example and say you have two identical siphon overflows w/skimmer boxes installed on your system and each unit is capable of safely draining a maximum of 300gph'¦and'¦ said skimmer boxes are set at the same height near the top of the tank (such positioning also sets the 'height of the water column' within the display). Let's also say you have a sump return pump that is pushing 300gph back up to the display. Now'¦ As the display fills and begins to flow in to the primed skimmer boxes, water will begin to drain down to the sump. What you need to realize here is that with the skimmer boxes correctly positioned (e.g. -- at the top of the water column in the display) the water volume draining to the sump cannot exceed that which is being pumped to the display. Thus'¦ With two identical 300gph siphon overflow setups; positioned at the same height in the display'¦and a sump return pump pushing 300gph back up to the display'¦each overflow setup is essentially running at half capacity and providing the redundancy/margin of safety previously discussed>>
Yes, I know my display is only 150g and at some point in time, which I could probably calculate with high school algebra if I still retained any, the water level in the tank will drop down low enough to break siphon to the overflows.
<<Actually'¦no. The water held in the overflow's skimmer box, though it will drain down a bit, should hold enough to maintain the siphon and allow things to 'restart' once the pump is back on and flow returns>>
HOW do I make these overflows run at half capacity??
<<As just explained'¦ By correctly positioning the skimmer boxes and only pumping as much water volume back up to the display as a single overflow can handle at maximum capacity>>
Aren't they just gravity fed and will each independently continue to drop the water down the PVC pipe into the bulkhead on top of the filter pad side of my sump (which by the way is only a single) at their 300 gph rate of flow??
<<Will only flow as much volume as they are 'fed''¦'up to' their maximum capacity>>
Maybe I should describe my sump. It is a Plexiglas box that has a fixed Plexi cover over the filtration side. The top has a single 1.5" bulkhead in the center. Below the bulkhead, the water falls down over a 12" x 12" filter pad (tray)
<<Do be sure to clean/replace this 'pad' every couple of days'¦is a huge detritus trap>>
then down thru egg crate over about 14"H x 12"W x 12"D chamber of bio balls.
<<Do also research/read our thoughts on the use of this filtration medium in reef systems>>
Then the water flows horizontally through a series of baffles to be protein skimmed, refuged, and then pumped back to display. How should I plumb the two single overflows to go to my single bulkhead sump top?
<<I would recommend drilling a separate throughput for the second overflow drain>>
God bless you for enduring this ridiculous line of questioning.
<<Not ridiculous>>
You are a saint,
<<Hee! Others might disagree!>>
and this should probably be a paid position.
<<Your 'understanding' here will be payment enough. And maybe the occasional WWM partially sponsored trip to the Big Island to do some diving with the Bobster [big grin]>><Let's go! RMF>
I really appreciate your patience.
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Sump And Skimmer Problem 6/30/09
Hello and thank you for taking time to address my questions.
<Hello Roxanne>
I have several questions:
1) I purchased a used aquarium set up. It is a 90 gal corner aquarium that is drilled for a sump. This is my first sump set up but I have been in the hobby for 10 plus years. My problem is that the sump drains faster than it fills. Now I am sure I am missing something obvious here, but for the life of my I can't get it to work properly. I have searched your site and found an article that seemed related, it talked about sump noise and that I should remove the bulb float valve. I did and had no reduction in noise (it got worse) and no impact on water movement. The drain hose is 1" and the return is ¾ .
<Typical, but are we talking about noise now or the sump problem?>
I am using a Rio3100 pump. It takes several hours for the chamber that houses the pump to drop significantly.
<How long is your return line? I'm guessing that the Rio is pumping water out to the tank slightly faster than the drain hose can supply. A one inch drain line is typically good for about 550gph provided no restrictions, bends/elbows, and gate/ball valves are used.
The chart below will give you an idea of what your pump will put out at a given head height. Again, this
is with no restrictions in the return line to the tank.
0" 1` 2` 3` 4` 6` (head height)
900 870 782 700 690 500 (gph)
As far as the gurgling/sump noise, using a Durso Stand Pipe generally takes care of this problem.
See here. http://www.dursostandpipes.com/>
2) My second question is, I need a new skimmer. Ideally I would like it to go under the tank either on or in the sump.
<You will sleep better at night if it's in the sump.>
My issue is that the initial chamber of my sump has a lid on it. The sump is acrylic and has 4 chambers. The initial chamber has a cover that allows for the drain hose to go right thru the lid, but this of course will impede my ability to put a skimmer in that chamber. I read your articles recommending raw water for
the sump, but I can't see a way to attach a sump <you do mean skimmer, correct?>
into this chamber, what is my next best alternative?
<Why not remove the lid if otherwise there is room for a skimmer.>
What skimmer would you recommend for this application?
<I would need to know how much room you have in the sump for a skimmer first, providing you're willing to remove the lid.>
3) Lastly, do I need a light in my sump? What are the advantages & disadvantages to keeping this area in the dark?
<Lighting is only used if the sump is configured as a refugium. Otherwise, no need to light.>
Thanks again for all your work on this site, it has become a site that I visit daily!!
<You're welcome. Sending a couple of pics along of your sump and overflow from the tank will help much here. James (Salty Dog)>

Here we go again.
Re: sump & skimmer problem..... 6/30/09

<How long is your return line? I'm guessing that the Rio is pumping water out to the tank slightly faster than the drain hose can supply. A one inch drain line is typically good for about 550gph provided no restrictions, bends/elbows, and gate/ball valves are used.
<<Hmmm, no, 300 gph max. safely, reliably and without noise. Please read http://wetwebmedia.com/SystemPIX/PlumbingPix/Oneinchart.htm
James, we have been over this time and time again. Please do take the time to actually measure this, you will be amazed!>>
As far as the gurgling/sump noise, using a Durso Stand Pipe generally takes care of this problem.
<<Not if the overflow capacity is being exceeded. Scott V.>>
See here. http://www.dursostandpipes.com/>
And for the actual quantified tests do see:
y-2009/aquarium-bulkhead.aspx too! Scott V.
Sorry about that, too accustomed to seeing false advertising on flow rates of overflows, etc.
I do appreciate the link, just the chart I've been looking for.
Hi Scott,
<Do you have any useful plumbing links you would like to share?
James (Salty)>
Re: Plumbing
I love the email format! Yes, I do: http://www.fishchannel.com/fish-magazines/freshwater-and-marine-aquarium/jul
, though it does look like you have seen it by now! Do realize these are the "best scenario" flows, hence the 300 per recommendation.
Scott V.

Tank Set Up, Return Pump and more 6/15/09
Hello Crew,
<Hello Henk.>
I am setting up a new tank, and am having it made according to following dimensions:
47.2*27.6*27.6 (120cm*70cm*70cm), about 150 gallon.
I chose for these dimensions because I will have a 10cm (4 inch) wooden trim at the bottom of the display tank, and a trim of about 5cm (2inch) on the top.
The bottom trim is meant to cover most part of the Deep Sand Bed in the display tank.
There will be an internal overflow box in the center at the back of the tank, with two standpipes of 2 inches.
The sump will be divided into 4 parts, with one part where the water enters, second compartment with skimmer and Ca reactor, third part actual sump with the return pump, and a fourth part will be a refugium with DSB and macro algae. The refugium will be fed with water directly coming from the display tank, with a means to control the water flow. Water from this refugium will then flow over into the part where the return pump is located.
<Just do be sure to run this restriction off of a T, allowing anything that is restricted by the valve to still continue on from the overflow line to other parts of the sump.>
I am planning to start out with some of the easier LPS, but would like over time to focus on SPS.
Now, for my questions... Regarding the return pump, I read on your site the determining factor for the size of the pump is the flow the overflow can handle, and I have not been able to find how much flow two 2 inch standpipes will be able to handle safely (and preferably without too much noise)?
<A single 2" internal diameter line will handle 1350 gph or so without issues....this does assume there are no horizontal runs in the overflow plumbing.>
Here in Beijing, the German Messner pond pumps are quite popular with reef keepers (seems to be the most widely used import return pump here), but I have not really been able to find any information on European or American message boards or websites regarding the use of these pumps in marine settings, so I am wondering whether or not these pumps are a good choice. I am not sure if you have heard of people using these pumps as return pumps?
<I have never used one, but these are submersible pumps, therefore no "saltwater seal" needed. You will be fine with one of these.>
As for the return into the display tank, I have the option for choosing either 2 or 4 returns, is 4 always better than 2?
<Not always, it can be too large/too many, diffuse flow too much.>
I plan to supplement circulation with 2 Tunze 6105 stream pumps and a multicontroller.
I am just wondering if I choose 4 returns all located at the back of the tank, won't I have too much laminar flow, compared to when I would choose two returns pointed towards the sides of the tank, where the Tunze pumps will be located?
<Oh, no, just place them in the back. You can use PVC 45 deg elbows or a product called LocLine to direct the flow from each output.>
I am currently considering a return pump of about 2100gph. I assume there won't be much loss, the return pump only would need to pump about 5 feet up in a straight line, before either being divided over 2 or 4 returns.
<The loss is surprising, I would go with four 1/2" or two 3/4" returns for the flow you will end up with.>
Would you advise more flow through the sump, since the overflow might be able to handle more?
<No, this is plenty. Other issues arise, such as noise and micro bubble problems with too much flow through the sump.>
Finally, as to the lighting, if I want to keep my options open to have clams and grow SPS in the tank and not only at the top third of the tank.
Will two 150W metal halides suffice for a tank with this depth, or should I go for the 250W lights?
<250s if you want to be able to set stuff wherever you want.>
I have been reading and learning plenty from your website, and I hope I could run the above questions by you, since it is my first marine tank and people here in Beijing seem to implement a method of reefkeeping quite different from what is advocated on your website (usually with non-flood safe overflows, apparently no DSB tanks here at all, and heavy in-sump mechanical filtering with filter padding).
<Heee, too many people here too!>
Henk Naert
<Scott V.>

Tank Configuration 5/5/09
Hello All,
< Hello Ramon and Sons ! >
I have two questions that I need help with,
< Ahh, I thought you might. >
I have a Red Sea Max 65 Gallon All-in one( just cycling for about 2 weeks now) a 29 Gallon that has some Fiji rock 2 inch sand bed and a 10 Gallon tank that I am using to kill off BGA.
I would like to know which would be the best way to connect them all together?
< That would depend on your plans for each tank. >
I can't drill the RSM, 29 Gallon, or the 10 Gallon.
< Can't? >
I have 2 Maxi-Jets 1200s that I can use and buy an overflow for the 29 gallon to the 10 gallon and use the 2 pumps, one would be for the flow to the 29 gallon and one pump for the return from the 10 gallon to the RSM.
< O.K. If I am reading this correctly the plan is as follows:
The 65 gallon to the 29 gallon with a maxi -jet.
The 29gallon to the 10 gallon with an overflow.
The 10 gallon will then return to the 65 gallon with another Maxi-jet.
If drilling is absolutely not possible I would scrap the 10 gallon frag tank and have the 65 overflow into the 29 and then returned. The two Maxi-jets will not pump the same even if they are rated the same. Although
initially this could be corrected with the use of a valve, it is still a recipe for future disaster. You should also check the Maxi-jet with a head loss calculator to be sure it will be sufficient.
http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/hlc2.php >
I was thinking of making the RSM into a reef tank, the 29 gallon into a refugium and the 10 gallon into a Frag tank or do you have any suggestions on what to do with the 29 gallon and 10 gallon?
< You took the words right out of my mouth...or my keyboard. That would be my suggestion as well if drilling were possible. >
Any Ideas would be helpful.
< Please write back if you decide to drill and/or have anymore questions >
Thanks, Ramon and Sons
< You are quite welcome. G A Jenkins >

Re: Tank configuration 5/6/09
Hello Again,
< Hello! >
Thanks for the reply.
< You are welcome. Just trying to be helpful. >
I wanted to let you know that I was going to try the overflow method with the RSM 250 (65 Gallon) to the 29 Gallon
< Great! >
The only thing is, I have two concerns and they are :
1. I want to keep it as a display tank (maybe a refugium with some nice looking micro algae) which it is now
< Sounds very nice. There are a lot of options available for a display 'fuge. Seagrasses ,macros, etc. .. Your imagination and wallet being the only limits. >
2. it is set-up about a foot away from the RSM. As of now I have 3 fish in the 29 gallon that is why I can't drill the tank.
< I can't say that this is a real problem. If you really want to drill the 29 you can move 10 gallons of water and the fish to the 10 gallon while you drill. You could also just put a frag rack in the back of the 29 and
call it a day. Either will work but the 65 gallon reef to the 29 sounds display refugium sounds like a winner. The tank being a foot away also shouldn't be a problem as long as your return pump is rated high enough. G
A Jenkins >
Ramon Ortiz

Sump design/internal overflow 4/20/09
Hi all,
I 've got a situation here. I have a 55 gal Truvu acrylic main tank and want to plumb in a 55 gal sump in my basement about 10' below the main. Now I was just given a Calp4200 return pump which has a flow rate of 4200gph at 0 head. By putting the sump set-up in the basement it reduces the gph to around 2500gph because of the 10' return distance between the two tanks. My idea is to build a internal overflow but don't know how big and I need to know if 2 /1.5" bulkheads will work for drainage.
<You will need dual 2" drains for this flow....more to add some redundancy.>
I also want to add at least 8 3/4" returns four in the back of the tank and four in the bottom all drilled for 3/4" bulkheads. I basically need some advice on how to use this pump in relation to the ideas I listed.
<If you want 8 returns I would go with 1/2" for this flow. Also be weary of putting return lines through the bottom or too low in the back. When the pump is off it will drain/siphon water into the sump. Many people do this and rely on check valves. A check valve WILL fail sooner rather than later in this application; there is just too much in marine aquaria that will end up propping the valve open. Scott V.>

Re: Cyanobacteria/BGA/Sump Return Pump 4/9/09
Hello Scott,
Do GenX, Iwaki, & PanWorld Pumps in the 1100-1500gph range generally have the same 1" inlet height alignment?
<Generally close enough to "get by".>
Is there some kind of standard to that?
I have been switching out pumps to try and get one that is quiet and powerful. So far I tried the Iwaki 70RLT with too much noise, then swapped to a GenX1100gph with a slight improvement but still not quiet enough for the family.
<I bet, big powerful pumps with big powerful noise.>
Then I stumbled across good reviews "quiet & smooth" comments about the PanWorld pumps. I only get a little concerned with height settings as I already have a sump hole drilled for 1", the first 2 pumps aligned ok....not sure if the PanWorld will align... do you know if these are quiet running pumps?
<Generally considered so, but they do still produce some noise. If you are going to run a largish external pump there are a few things you can do to help this out. Set the pump on some vibration dampening material such as a silicone pad...McMaster.com has many options. Also, plumbing the pump with flexible PVC can help.>
The GenX and Iwaki have loud fans on them, hoping for better with these Panworlds for this and future tank setups if you have any experience with them?...
<I do, and although I do feel they are quiet for what they are, they are still not without a certain amount of noise....don't look for a huge difference. For what you are doing here I would look at the Poseidon PS4. They are essentially water cooled rather than fan cooled. This does keep the noise down, but does heat up the water a bit more.>
Thanks again,
<Welcome, if you want to try the PanWorld the manufacture's site has a detailed diagram for the input height: http://www.panworldamericas.com/PS/Inch/B1202554.pdf
Scott V.>

Re: Cyanobacteria/BGA/Sump Return Pump 4/10/09
Yeah I've got a PS4 on standby if the PanWorld is too loud for these folks. The only thing I don't like about the ps4 is that they don't have enough pressure on them to move enough water esp. when going through a 1" SCWD and check valve w/ a few 90's along the way and for a 110 gallon 5ft tank...it also has 3/4" in/out and would need riser/padding underneath to align with sump. Great pump for smaller tanks with chillers, I've got one on my 75 as the return pump, but I had to get a Vortech to get enough flow in that tank. So im hesitant on using the PS4 if I can get away with the PanWorld.
<Ah, ok!>
Some have said it's a hit or miss with individual pumps, some work well, others of the same model sounds like s***...I wish someone would develop a quiet 1" size pump with minimal heat transfer.
<Me too. There is a gap in the pump world between fairly efficient and quiet submersible types for a few hundred gallons of flow and the large Reeflo type pumps. If you want 1000-1500 gph of flow it leaves few options.>
<Do let us know what you think of the PanWorld comparison....like you said sometimes it comes down to the individual pump. Scott V.>

Re: Cyanobacteria/BGA/Sump Return Pump 4/10/09
I installed the PanWorld pump...this thing works wonders man. It's about 95% as good as a Reeflo dart as far as noise goes. Silent operation.
<Wow, good news...I have not used on in a while.>
That GenX and Iwaki pump i had tested were ridiculous compared to this new PanWorld.
<Good to know, thank you for sharing here. This will help countless others in the future.>
<Scott V.>

Plumbing: Adding second sump inline to first. 3/12/2009
Hello Team,
<Hi Rylan>
Thanks in advance for your time. I have a 75 gallon FOWLR with a 29 gallon sump underneath. I currently have 90 lbs of rock in the tank and 5 lbs rubble in the sump with macro algae. With water displacement from the rock, and the fact that the sump only holds 20 gallons when "full," My entire system is probably 85 gallons.
<Sounds about right.>
Knowing that higher water volume is inherently more stable than less and that increased water volume diffuses the bio-load better than less, logic tells me that plumbing a 96 gallon Rubbermaid container to serve as a "bladder" would do nothing but good things for my water parameters.
<It would make the system more stable, larger water volume to dilute any pollutants.>
I would take the overflow plumbing that is currently going from the tank into the sump and redirect that into the 96 gallon container. I would drill a drain hole roughly ¾ of the way to the top so that the water would then cascade (through plumbing) to the sump, where it would continue as normal to the return pump. It seems that this easy addition would greatly increase the water volume in my system (a good thing). Since I know you guys have tried everything once, can you tell me if there are flaws in my thinking? As this is a theoretical discussion, I didn't include water parameters or livestock details.
<What you are proposing is logically sound provided you take some precautions. My apologies, but there will be math involved....:-)
Your discharge hose from the Rubbermaid sump MUST be placed high enough so that in the event of a power\pump failure, the volume of water that will continue to drain from the tank by gravity PLUS the volume of the Rubbermaid container from the bottom of the discharge pipe to the water level in the container PLUS the volume of water in the plumbing MUST be less than or equal to the maximum safe water level in your sump.
As an example, if your sump can safely hold an additional 10 gallons of water before it overflows, and your tank will drain 5 gallons of water under gravity, and your pipes will hold 2 gallons of water, your discharge hose from the Rubbermaid container should be placed so only two gallons can drain out if pumping stops.>
<Do let me know how it turns out.>

Plumbing conundrum 3/1/09 Hi, <Hello Peter> My (FOWLR) main tank is 52x18x22 with sump directly underneath 48x15x18 If my total is 580 litres, (120gl) turnover required to turn 8x the volume would be about 4,640 l/h 960gph (I think). <Should be shooting for 10x combined flow rate including powerheads.> I shall have two 1 inch pipes running from my sump pump, back up to my tank. I have read that the pipe diameter governs that they can only allow 1,000 l/h through each pipe back to my tank. This would leave me needing 2,640 l/h turnover from my powerheads to turn 8x the volume. Is this correct? <Will all depend on restrictions to flow such as use of elbows, valves, length of pipe, etc, but the flow rate will always be lower than the rated flow of the pump. The 130cm converts to 51 inches (my way of thinking) and that alone is going to reduce the flow quite a bit. The maximum head for this pump is 10.5 feet and you are using close to half of that.> I was going to buy the Ocean Runner 3500 but now think this will be to much through the 1 inch pipes. The height from bottom of sump up to main tank is 130cm & plumbing is a simple vertical straight up & down with no 90% bends. Would I be better going for the Ocean Runner 2500. <I'd stick with the 3500, will not be too much. The 900gph flow rate is going to be divided between two 1" returns and you will need a "T" somewhere to do this and it will further reduce the flow rate. You likely will only be getting around 200-250 gph from each return considering the "T" and the 51 inch head.> Also for a tank of this size how many and what size should I use of the Hydor Koralia powerheads. I thought 2x Koralia 2 powerheads would not be too turbulent. <I believe the two Koralia 2's will be just fine combined with the Ocean Runner 3500. These are stream type pumps so you will not get the jet effect. I'm using a Koralia 3 in a 60" tank and it does move a lot of water. Two of these in my tank would be too much. Keep in mind that the Koralia pumps are not designed for Wavemaking devices. If this is desired, you will need to go with the low voltage Koralia's and use their Wavemaking device.> Thanks for your time & help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Peter

Re: Flow and Pump Question 2/28/09 3/1/09 Scott, <Hey Randy.> Thanks for the response and info, but I'm still a bit unsure on the pump size. I have some telling me that the OR2500 will be good for the two 1-1/4 ribbed pool hose lines/drains(running only 10" into sock) from the Megaflow box into the sump and others that say it's not enough. <It is, do realize that most do not recognize that running overflow lines to their limit is a recipe for disaster.> I also hear that the OR 3500 is way to much and I will need to dial it back on the return, also people say that it's to much flow thru the sump??? <Hmmm, it can be managed through the sump, but the lines will not handle the flow.> I am waiting to order my return pump based on these issues? Any more advise will be greatly appreciated!! <The OR 2500 is my 'go to' pump in most applications. Price, reliability and the flow capacity of many setups line up well with this pump.> I am also contemplating on not using the 300 micron filter sock, is it a big help in the full reef. I know it needs attention weekly but I will probably only get to it every 2-3 weeks. Will this be a big issue with the nitrites? <It can be'¦just buy a half dozen or so of the socks (they are comparatively cheap) and swap it every few days. Then just wash the whole lot at once. This make maintenance quick and easy and keeps the nitrate factory to a minimum.> And I have decided to go with the Extreme pro T5's(6bulb) over the Tek for mostly cost reasons and the additional size of the Tek. Thanks again, Randy <Welcome.>

Sump Design 2/25/09 Hello, <Wes.> I've been spending quite a bit of time reading the helpful insights that you have on your site. Excellent!! <Thank you.> I have a new system. 75 gallon sump. Will have it plumbed to 2 tanks. One sump pump for each tank. I have the option of 3 or more drain lines going to different parts of the sump. I will have a collection sock sleeve followed by a small wet/dry Bioball chamber at one end,. Next to it will be about 50lbs of Live Rock and a protein skimmer. Then the water will pass through baffles for a small refugium area and finally overflow into the area with the 2 pumps. My question is this: Will this be too much circulation through the fuge? Should I have one of the drain lines go straight to the Pump area to lessen the flow? <How much flow, what sized lines and what size refugium are we looking at here? See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumpdesfaq.htm> Thanks Wes <Welcome, Scott V.>

Reading through, typo city, resent corrected version. Scott V. Re: Sump Design 2/27/08 Hello Scott, <Hi there Wes.> That was a fast response! <We try our best to be prompt.> Regarding the 75 gal sump. The sump will have approximately 1300+ gph flow coming in from the drains. The 2 pumps are rated to push that much up the 6.5 feet returns, {this is after a minus of an estimate for drag from elbows, unions, valves, etc.} There will be 2 return lines planned to go into the sock sleeve. The return lines will be 1 1.5 drain and 1 1" flex hose drain. <As in a 1' and a 1.5' overflow drain? Those will not handle 1300 gph.> I should be able to baffle off an 18x12" section for the refugium. <Ahh, good.> Alternately I could have another 1.5" drain go straight to the Pump section of the sump {this would draw about 300-400+gph from the main drain line. <I would do this, two 1.5' drains along with a 1' will give you about 1800 gph in overflow capacity'¦.better to have more than less here. If you are still at the drilling stage do consider two 2' drains, this boosts you're your number to 2500-2600 gph capacity. This leaves you some redundancy should one line fail.> thoughts? <Above.> thanks Wes <Welcome.>

Power outage overflow 2/3/09 Hello. Thank you for all the great information on your site. <Happy it has helped.> I have a question regarding power outages and sumps. I have searched my question, but have not seen exactly the solution my husband is trying to use. We are currently setting up (slowly and methodically) a 150 gal. FOWLR tank with a 50 gal. sump. That is all set, plumbed, and running. In order to prevent a flood in case of a power outage when we are not home, he wants to put a bulkhead at the top of the sump (above the normal water level) with piping running out the door, which we could easily do and hide since this set up is in a basement room. What do you think? <It will work, but will of course require the sump be topped off when the power returns. Check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumpdesf8.htm too. James Gasta has a similar solution here.> (and as an aside, thank you for promoting readable messages and grammar on your site - I am an English teacher who spends her days consistently appalled by errors). <Heee, happy to hear from those who appreciate it! Scott V.>

Which return pump? 1/23/08 I was starting a 75 gallon marine tank, I just bought a cpr cs102 overflow that does 1200 GPH. I was planning on buying a MAG drive 9.5 I figured with about 3 feet from sump to overflow and using 1 90 elbow that my flow from the return pump should be about 800 GPH is this the right pump or should I get a pump that does more. <The 9.5 is a good choice. You will not have 800 GPH at the tank from it, but the overflow will not handle 1200 gph either! It is just purely limited by the bulkhead size on the backend! See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SystemPIX/PlumbingPix/Oneinchart.htm The 9.5 will be just right for this.> Thanks for you time and answer. <Welcome.> Sorry if you have already answered this I have researched pumps and overflows and it is a bit confusing to me. <Do consider a second one of these overflows. Should one fail the other will keep the water off your floor! See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/overfloboxfaqs.htm Scott V.>

Re: Which return pump? 1/23/08 Thanks, I'm glad I read that article I'm about to get a 240 reef ready, surely they would make them bigger then one inch, but I'm going to make sure. <You will likely be surprised, most are 1"!> Thanks for the good information. <Welcome, Scott V.>

Head Height and Return Pumps ~ 01/12/09 Hello Everyone. Always a Great Help. <Hello Frank, thank you.> I am currently setting up a 110G 5' long tank that has one overflow box within the tank. I bought this tank used. It had a 1inch bulkhead for the drain and has 3 1/2inch bulkheads on the tank sides for the returns. I drilled a bigger hole to accept a 2inch bulkhead for the drain. <A great move!> I have a 50G tank that I will be using as the sump. I as using 3 Pentair Quiet One 2200 (rated at 581gph) pumps as the return. I am looking at approx 4' head height on two of the returns and approx. 6' head height on the other return. My question is this: Will 1/2inch sized bulkheads be adequate for the pumps to return the max flow they're capable of with that height or will they restrict, or should I enlarge them to 3/4inch or 1inch? <I like to run 250-300 gph through a 1/2" return. It leaves a good flow without blasting anything. Considering what head you will have on the pump you will be just about right with the returns you have.> Thank you for your assistance. Frank <Welcome, Scott V.>

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

Re: Max Sump Flow Capacity and Overflow Redundancy 11/21/08 Thanks a ton for the advice Scott. <My pleasure.> Hopefully I'll be able to leave you alone for a while after this one. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to design the sump and plumbing in a way that allows the drainage to flow at the "ideal" rate into each of my sump's chambers (skimmer and 'fuge) right off the bat. I think the ability to adjust the flow to each chamber after setup will make my life easier. <Agreed.> I'd also like to adhere to your recommendation of 100% overflow redundancy. <Good.> Attached is my attempt at achieving both objectives with the plumbing, but I apologize for my horrible artistry. <Tis better than mine!> Would it be better to use a 3-way diverter<http://www.westsidewholesale.com/index.cgi?pid=975570&CATEGORY=70321&source=ad3>at location "A", or ball/gate valve at location "B" to control how much from each overflow goes to each chamber? Or, do you have a whole different idea on how best to achieve this? <Go with the gate valve option. The problem with a three way is that it will restrict both outputs to some extent unless one is fully open and the other closed. This reduces flow quite significantly on these gravity fed drains. A gate valve placed below a T fitting will allow one of the outputs to always be fully open.> Any other improvements you might recommend would be fantastic. <Looks good.> And if I might shake more piece of fruit from the tree, do you happen to know which skimmer combo would be the quietest? EV-120 with Mag 5, EV-120 with Eheim 1262, or Euro-Reef RS100 with SEDRA KSP-3500A. <All will be reasonably quiet, the 120 with the Eheim will get my nod.> Thanks a lot! <Welcome, have fun setting up. Scott V.>

Need an Expert Opinion--Sump/Overflow 10/20/08 Greetings, <Jason.> First I can't say enough about your website, it truly is a gift. <Thank you.> So, I have a 60 gallon FOWLR with only a few fish (mated tomato clowns and a blue damsel). Also have plenty of live rock (don't know how to estimate weight) and about a 3-4" deep sand bed. Currently I have 2 Hydor Koralia's for circulation along with a BAK-PAK 2R protein skimmer and a CPR Hang on Refugium. My wife and I are looking for a "more attractive" solution. So we've purchased a CPR CY 192 sump/skimmer. Our tank isn't pre-drilled. So, I've purchased 2 300gph Eshopps overflows to flow into the sump via a T into the sump. Then I have a Mag Drive 7 to pump back into the main tank. I guess my question is, what is the appropriate way to set up the flow so that my overflow boxes are truly redundant? <Limit the flow of your pump to what one of these overflows can handle, leaving the capacity of the second for 'just in case'.> For example, if one goes out, how do I make sure the other one can pick up the slack without overflowing. <Limit the return to 300 gph.> Another question, and this one may be stupid, with two 300gph overflows is the effect additive, so the resultant would be 600gph? <Yes, at a maximum.> I know it may not be exactly that given resistance in the pipes, etc. Any other criticism or ideas/modifications would be helpful. I know that no overflow system is 100% safe and that regular maintenance will be needed to keep it running to it's best. So I'm looking for a "safe as can be" system. <A drilled tank is safer, but if you do limit the flow and keep one overflow as a backup you will be fine here.> Thanks and keep up the good work. <Will do, thank you.> Jason Wake Forest, NC <Scott V. Fresno, Ca.>

Max Sump Flow Capacity and Overflow Redundancy 11/18/08 Hi Crew, <Hello.> In my quest to build my perfect sump, I'm now having a hard time calculating how much flow I should be sending through it. <Okay, worthwhile quest.> I've designed my 70g tank with two 1.5" overflows, which I've read have a 600gph maximum capacity each. <A little more than 700 per, you are on the safe side.> I've figured I've got room for a 30g sump in the tank's cabinet. I'm planning on splitting the drainage between the skimmer and 'fuge chambers, both flowing into the middle return chamber. I'm planning on using an EV-120 skimmer (or an Eshopps PSK-150, opinions?), <The AquaC for me.> and growing Gracilaria in the 'fuge. With your vast experience, would you think a return pushing 600gph (after head loss) into the tank would overpower either the skimmer or 'fuge chambers? <This is a reasonable, manageable flow.> I'll be using a bleed valve to control the return pump's output, but don't want to buy a much larger pump than I'll need. <A ball valve on the pump output to throttle it back if you have too much flow is all you will need.> The pump's noise level is a great concern, and I'm reading good things about the Eheim 1262 (and will be using a mouse pad underneath). <As quiet as pump comes.> I'm also wondering just how much redundancy is reasonable in my overflow plumbing to prevent a divorce :) <100%, if not more.> When an overflow fails, does it usually do so (clog) at the inlet? Anywhere specifically in the plumbing? <There are few ways for a 1.5" gravity drain to fail. Usually something covering/plugging the inlet. I have had the misfortune (stupidity really) of floating bags that smother the overflow! Other possibilities are snails, algae, dead fish, etc.> I'm basically wondering if plumbing each overflow completely independently into each sump chamber is recommended or overkill? <I would, it is not overkill.> Maybe just join the two 1.5"drains into a 3" just as they exit the display tank? <Go with the two independent lines. With 600 gph of flow, either of your drains can handle the job without the other. You will be in good shape.> Thanks very much for your time, and in helping me learn from your experience! <Very welcome, Scott V.>

Sump/Refugium Flow Rate Question 10/4/08 I am in the process of setting up a 300 gal. tank with a separate three compartment sump/refugium. I am still in the planning stages (actually, I only have the tank so far) and have read a lot about the benefits of a refugium and DSB. <Many, definitely worth doing.> My plan is to build a 55 gal baffled refugium (L 60' x H 18; x W18; with ~12; high baffles) with the middle 24; being the refugium with a 5; DSB.; Since the tank has duel overflows/returns, I am planning to run two;Iwaki MD40RLXT pumps for the return. <Are these the typical prebuilt overflows? If so do read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ovrflowboxfaq4.htm and the linked files. The industry's 'reef ready' tanks are rather disappointing in overflow capabilities for the most part.> These pumps are rate at 1,200 gph which, I assume, will translate to about 2,000 gph after normal power loss due to the trip to the tank. My question is if this rate of flow will be too much for a refugium in which I hope to keep some pods, macroalgae, cleaners etc? <No, this will be fine for this size and volume. The livestock can handle it.> If so, do you have any thoughts on a better way to do this? <You could run your skimmer and refugium compartments on opposite ends, with each overflowing into a middle pump return compartment. This will allow the refugium to see only half the flow, although I would not worry too much about this criteria. The main advantage to this configuration is that it allows you to increase the water level (and volume) in the refugium area. The downside is a bit tougher plumbing with two external return pumps.> Thanks, Michael <Welcome, Scott V.>

Plumbing, Sump/Closed loop 9/18/08 Hello <Keith> Thank you all for this invaluable resource. I have just finished moving and built the stand for my tanks. I have a 150 oceanic AGA with dual 1.5' overflows sitting above a 180g AGA with a single 1.5' overflow. I am planning on the top tank being my display reef tank and the 180 on the bottom will be a refugium. <Wow, nice!> Since the 180 only has a single overflow I was planning on having one of the overflows from the display run straight into the fuge then the other lead directly into the sump skimmer chamber. The refuge would drain to the sump and join the skimmed water to be pumped back into the display. <This sounds good.> My question is I don't think that the 1' returns on the display will create enough water movement but I would already have to tee the return to get to both sides of the tank would I be able to plumb in a closed loop manifold with this system? <You could certainly plumb a return manifold, a Calfo article discussing exactly this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm.> What pump would you suggest for the set up I have and do you see any problems with it? <You will likely want an external for this, something comparable to the Iwaki MD30rlxt. A few things to note however. I usually do not encourage people to run too much flow through the sump merely due to the difficultly managing the flow in the sump. With a 180 gal sump this will not be an issue. If you do want to run all the flow you may need (depends on what you want to keep) through the sump, you will want to drill for a few more bulkheads, likely 2'. Your two 1.5' bulkheads get you a safe 1500 gph, but that leaves no redundancy. Personally I would not run more than 700 gph through the existing throughputs, this leaves a 100% margin for safety. If you don't wish to drill you can run a true closed loop (water from the tank to a pump back to the tank) or throw in a few powerheads to supplement the flow.> Keith Fontes <Scott V.>

Sump/Overflows 8/29/08 Hello again Guys, thank you so much for all the information you have given thus far. I have learned a lot from reading the FAQs as well. I have some thoughts and would like your opinions. I've decided to build my own sump out of a 15g glass tank; this is the only size that will fit in my stand. I read the info about the use of foam rubber to seal the baffles in place and will try that. <It is a good way to start out, you can adjust if needed.> In your previous response you said to use two 1.5" drains, looking at the Glass-Holes.com site I saw the one rated at 1500GPH. I assume this is the one you were referring to correct? <It qualifies as one. Any 1.5' drain can work, even without a box. It just depends on what you want to see in your tank. Do a quick Google search on overflows, you will find a few to choose from.> It seems to me like overkill for a 46g display tank, which will give it a turnover rate of about 32x per hour. Then again the more turnover the better right? <More flow is good within reason. You do not want to run ANY overflow to the limit. Ideally an overflow will be run to 50% or less of its capacity, with multiple drains. Overflows can plug, having redundancy in place keeps the water where it belongs.> Here's the plan: 1500GPH overflow, 15g DIY sump, skimmer, Knop "C" reactor, plus the return pump and plumbing of course. I was thinking of an Eheim, I need it to match or outperform the overflow right? What do you think of this? Am I missing anything? <Eheim is a great choice, as for flow, see the above.> I'm also going to the LFS to scope out their setups for plumbing ideas. Thanks again guys for all you do. Craig <Welcome, Scott V.>

Protein Skimmer, sel. refugium plumbing mostly 8/13/08 Hello Everyone, <Ramon> I have a couple of questions about a protein skimmer for my system. <Ok> My tank is a 55 gallon (not drilled), with a 2 inch sand bed (adding 2 more inches) and 2 15 gallon Rubbermaid containers. 1 is a refugium and the other is a sump. <Nice> I am planning to upgrade my refugium and sump with two 20 long or two 30 gallon drilled tanks, I also want to know if I stay with my 1 inch gravity return line how large should I have my feed line drilled? <For what you can get practically through this one line, I'd run all consecutively through both sump, refugium... first the 'fuge... I'd make two overflows if you're drilling... run one each independently to...> How far down from the top and should it be level with the return line? <Two inches and yes> the platform is only 18"w by 24"l by 13 1/2"h which the bottom of the platform is sitting level with the tank, it would gravity feed to the main tank, so I was wondering which tank would be my best bet? <The bigger the better> I plan on staying with my 55 for a long time and not upgrading. it will house some fish with mostly button polyps, mushrooms and leathers. I was wondering if the Aqua C Urchin series would work for my set-up? <Of a certainty, yes... a very good choice> or should I get another type of skimmer? It will sit in the sump and budget is tight as always. <Save up...> Thanks Again, Ramon Ortiz Tampa, FL <Bob Fenner, Kona, HI>

Re: Protein Skimmer, actually sump/fuge plumbing 8/14//08 <Howsit?> I was wondering should I have a pump for the fuge and one for the sump or one for the fuge and "T" it to the sump? Or just run a line from the sump to the fuge and then to the tank? <I would definitely run two pumps... but have an "equalizer line" (pipe and through-puts) twixt the two sump/refugiums... lest one overflow or return be/come out of balance. BobF>

Inline vs. Submerged Pump 6/16/08 I'm planning to use a 10G tank as a sump for a 30G display. It will have three compartments: 1. intake + skimmer, with baffles to 2. refugium, with overflow to 3. return area. Most designs leave a substantial return area which typically houses a submerged return pump. My question is: Why submerged? Since it A. adds heat, and B. increases the size of the return area, and so decreases what's left for the fuge. Is there a reason for the popularity of submerged return pumps? <Cost is probably the greatest factor. Submerged pumps are generally cheaper. Also, certain submerged pumps rate as some of the quietest out there (although many of these can also be run external). The other issue is space, a submerged pump can simply be put into a sump without the need for extra space in the stand. If you are designing your own sump this may not matter.> I would rather make the return compartment just wide enough for a pipe feeding an in-line pump resting on top of the sump tank. (I'll also use an auto-top-off.) Thanks --Jan <I totally agree with all the above statements, all are factors for an individual consideration, every application is different. With a smaller return compartment the auto top off is that much more important. Welcome, Scott V.>

Sump Pumps 04/05/2008 Hello. <<G'day, Andrew today>> I have tried looking through the FAQ's and can not seem to get a simple answer to my question. <<Lets see what we can do then>> I have a 500ltr tank running about 90ltr sump. I bought the set up second hand and it has been running well for about a year. At the moment the return pump is an Ocean Runner 3500. The bloke who sold me the tank seemed to know what he was doing so I left it alone. Now I think the pumps is coming to the end of its life and hard to restart after it is turned off. <<Agreed, sounds like its on its last legs>> So to stop blabbing on should I get the same pump, or at least the same rated pump, or can I go for a larger pump for more flow. Ocean runner do a 6000, would this be too much for the sump and sop it working efficiently. The main tank has quite a lot of powerheads to turn the water over but as I keep reading more is better or can you have too much of a good thing. <<The return pump is matched to the speed of the overflow of the tank. In your case, your overflow will be a bout 3500lph. So, you would need to replace with a pump with is of this amount. Personally, i really like the OC3500, used a few over the times, reliable too, and would suggest you replace like for like>> Many thanks in advance. Paul Brindle <<Thanks for the questions, hope this clears it up. A Nixon>>

Sump... ReefCentral calculator inaccuracy 03/19/2008 Good morning crew. How are all of you doing today? <<Good afternoon, Andrew today>> I have a quick question about sumps. I am going to have a 20 gallon sump below my 55 gal show tank (not drilled). I will be using a hurricane overflow box rated at 600 gph. The sump will be about 4 feet below my tank. How do I figure out what kind of pump I will need to get water from the sump back to the tank? How many gallons per hour should I go with because it will be 4 feet below the display tank? Thanks for any help you can give me. <<Use this link to work out the head loss you will experience with your height and pipe work. There is a drop down list of various common pumps in use, so, you can make a choice of which to use. http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/hlc2.php . Ideally, you want a return pump that will provide about 600GPH after all losses..>>
<Ahh, a comment. This model is way off accuracy... some calculations by half... RMF> Your services are greatly appreciated. Matt <<hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Marine Set-Up/Sump And Skimmer Questions 3/12/08 Hello Crew, <Hi Jeff> Thanks for all your help in the past. Great site! <Thank you.> I have a plumbing question I can not figure out. I have just set up an new 72 gal bow front with a 20 gal sump. The overflow splits via a T. One side of the overflow T goes into the first (left) sump chamber where I have an Aqua C Urchin Pro with Mag 3 pump. The other side of the overflow T goes to the third (right) sump chamber where I will have a refugium set up, there is only sand in there now. The middle sump chamber is where the return pump is housed. It is a quiet one 4000. This is the smallest sump chamber. The tank has just finished cycling, well the new tank cycle, and is ready for fish and inverts. Now for my question. The water in the middle sump chamber, with the return pump will get really low every few days, to the point if I do not catch it the pump will not be fully submerged. I assume this is from evaporation but why is only the middle chamber getting so low? <If it happens every few days, I'd have to say evaporation. What flow rate does the manufacturer rate the sump for. The Quiet One 4000 puts out a little over 1000gph at the head. If you just have one 1" hose coming into the sump, it will not supply enough water to satisfy the pump.> The left and right chamber are still full and flowing over the baffles into the middle chamber when the middle chamber is really low. I have tried turning the return flow down a little via a ball valve on the output side but it has not helped thus far and I don't want to have to limit the return flow any further. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. <As above.> I have one more unrelated question. Should I be getting skim mate from my Urchin Pro since the only life in the tank is bacteria and some dying algae from the live rock I seeded the tank with? <You should get some but not a large amount. All depends how cured the live rock was before you added it to the tank.> As of yesterday tank parameters: ammonia 0 nitrite 0 specific gravity 1.024, ph 8.3. It has been set up for about 2 weeks now and appears to have gone through the initial cycling. My collection is filling with a light tan water. This is my first skimmer so I am not sure if this is normal. <Is normal.> I assume there is no or not enough organic material in the tank to get skim mate. <Yep, all new water.> I have been cycling without lights as well to avoid algae growth since there are no cleaners in the tank yet. <Great, lighting could start an algae bloom at this stage of cycling.> Thanks for all your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Jeff

Sump Flow 2/9/08 I'm getting ready to put an in-wall reef tank in my basement. I purchased a 120G AGA tank (undrilled) and a 40G AGA breeder tank for the sump/fuge. I really like the horizontal overflows and I'm planning on using just that for my new tank (the glass-holes.com version). I've a read a lot on your site regarding flow but I'm a little confused and I really want this to be done right. <OK, let's see what we can do to clarify.> I plan on have mostly SPS and a few reef-safe fish. I know I need lots of turbulent flow for the SPS in particular. My confusion comes in with how much flow to put through the sump/fuge. How much flow should I put through a 40G sump/fuge so that it's sufficient but not so high that it just blows away the DSB in the sump? <Anything between 400-800 gph will serve you well in a system/sump this size. You can also put the refugium on one end with a T off one of one your drain lines to get a lower flow through the refugium and yet maintain a higher flow through the rest of the sump.> Glass-holes offers a 1500GPH version of their horizontal overflow (dual 1.5" bulkheads) and they offer 3600GPH version (dual 2" bulkheads). The 3600GPH version is rated to run a Dart pump wide open but that seems to be a lot of flow for the sump/fuge. <Yes, this would be way too much flow through this sump. Not only as far as blowing the DSB around, but you will also likely have micro bubble problems returning to the display. The two 1.5' bulkheads will be overkill for the flow mentioned above, but this is a good thing here.> Everything I've read on your site says bigger is better when it comes to bulkhead size. <Within reason.> For the return lines I was thinking about using two 1.25" bulkheads (one at each top rear corner) which should be good for about a 1400GPH return. <This is too large to obtain a dynamic, turbulent flow in your tank. For 1400 gph I would opt for two ¾', one for the recommended flow above. 1400 gph will be a good deal of water to process through a sump your size, noise and bubble issues.> Based on what you recommend I can obviously adjust the return bulkhead size. <Yes.> One other thing I should mention is that I'm planning on implementing a closed loop so I can get additional flow. <Good plan.> I saw a dual-squid closed-loop design on your site that I thought was cool. <Keep in mind there will be significant flow loss with the use of these; you will want to account for this.> Any guidance you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Also, thanks for having such a great site. I literally spend hours reading all the great stuff on your site. Cheers! <Thank you, you are on the right track. Have fun drilling and setting up, Scott V.>

Overflows And Tank Flooding 1/10/08 Hello, your site is great guys <and gals>! I have a question i <Ah, another broken shift key.> hope you can help me out with. Currently setting up a 125 gallon saltwater tank, with an overflow box sitting on the back to drain to the wet dry filter. My question is, i'm <I'm> assuming my overflow box will eventually lose suction power during a power outage, once the sump motor stops pumping, and water levels drop in the tank below the intake on the overflow box? <With a properly designed overflow, this should not happen.> Won't this cause flooding to occur once my power comes back on, and my pump starts dumping water back up into my main tank from the sump? How can i <I> prevent this ?? <If your sump is sized correctly to the tank, and even if you lose suction in one or more of the "U" tubes, your tank should not flood, it may be close to the top but shouldn't go over. On another note, if your sump is sized too small and you have a power outage, your sump could very well overflow before the water gets below the weirs in the overflow. When using hang on overflows, it's best to use a pump that is designed to run dry without burning up should you lose siphon in the overflow, one of the reasons I much prefer a drilled tank. Might want to read the FAQ's here on the subject. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ovrflosel.htm> Thank you very much for your time, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Kurt Schultz

Thoughts and Suggestions on a Combined Refugium/Sump'¦and Pumps -- 01/07/07 Hi Crew! <<Hiya Doug!>> I've been in the hobby just a few months now, and am excited to step up from my 20G to a 120G! <<Neat! Bigger 'is' better>> I'm planning for mostly FOWLR, but may add more inverts/corals as I slowly gain experience. <<Mmm, then do keep this in mind when making your stocking selections'¦you will want to collect 'reef friendly' specimens>> Here are my current plans: - 120G tank, 48x24x24", acrylic. - Stand 40" tall, 9" canopy. - 2 corner overflows -- each with 2" inner diameter bulkhead at 20" height. <<Ahh, very good'¦I see you've been reading!>> - 2x 1" inner diameter bulkheads for return from sump. For a sump/refugium below, I'm thinking of a standard 55G tank following your diagrams. <<'Standard' glass tanks work quite well as sump and/or refugium vessels'¦and are a whole-lot cheaper than the purpose-built retail alternatives. Add a few baffles, drill and install a couple bulkheads (when/if necessary), and you're 'golden''¦with money saved/ready to spend on other areas. My own system incorporates a modified 55g tank for a refugium, and a modified 75g tank for a sump>> - Skimmer: AquaC EV180 w Mag 7 pump. - Aiming for 15x water flow gives 1800gph. <<Indeed'¦but I expect you will find that trying to process this much water volume through a 55g sump will be problematic>> - Two sump return pumps, internal Eheim 1262s (want it to be quiet),should be about 1600gph at 5" head. <<Very good pumps'¦and the 'redundancy' of two pumps for your return can be a lifesaver, literally. About a year ago a faulty GFCI tripped and shut down the return pump on my heavily stocked 500g reef system (was off more than nine hours before discovery). The ensuing anoxic condition resulted in the loss of more than $1200.00 worth of livestock (fish and corals). Let's just say 'lesson learned''¦ I now have two return pumps on separate circuits for this system>> Questions: 1. Is that too much flow through the refugium? <<Yes'¦ A couple to a few hundred gallons per hour is generally sufficient for a refugium. Obviously, utilizing 'separate' vessels for sump and refugium make plumbing for the differing flow rates a bit easier>> 2. If so, would it work well to use just a single Eheim for the sump return, ~800gph, with an internal powerhead like a Tunze Stream in the tank? <<800gph through the sump would be easier to accommodate (and a LOT less noisy), and some creative work with the baffles could provide a 'raceway' to allow the full force of the flow to circumvent the refugium section on its way from the skimmer chamber to the pump chamber, while allowing you to divert a few hundred gph to the 'fuge'¦if you choose to keep with a single combined vessel. I still like the idea of two return pumps'¦perhaps a couple Eheim pumps of lesser size'¦>> Then maybe reduce the drains to 2x 1.5"ID? <<A pair of 1.5' drains would handle a flow of 800gph quite well, with a healthy safety margin>> Your thoughts and suggestions are very welcome! Thanks, Doug <<Is my pleasure to assist. EricR>> Sump and Tank Flow 1/2/08 Hi Bob and Crew, <Hello Steve.> Like so many others I am in your debt for the advice you have given me so far. <Happy to help.> My new tank is still to hold water as I continue with my quest to finalise the last few (I hope) details of the setup. Current (Dry) setup. Cleair 150gal bow fronted aquarium 3'H x 6'L x 22"D (I know this is a very tall aquarium but the fantastic look is breathtaking). Drilled 1.5" with a weir. Limited under tank height so a max sump size of 1'H x 3'L x 1'D (This gives me the head room I need to lift the skimmer cup (Tunze 9010) out), Unfortunately I am yet to see what the transit volume is so may yet find the max running depth in my sump only covers my heaters and pump :-( so no room for the mud and algae I am hoping for. As a plus I intend to run a 6" DSB in the main Tank and Live rock running the full length and height of the tank. <Be sure to leave enough room for aquascaping and the addition of corals.> I would like to house inverts a few easy to keep corals and a few small fish (certainly no overstocking here, small fish in a big tank is my aim ) but will raise questions on stocking once I get the tank filled as I plan to let the whole thing settle in for many weeks before adding livestock. <Sounds good.> I would like the sump return water to re-enter the main tank with the use of Hydor Flo rotating water deflectors so as to mix up the circulation in the tank. I have two questions. If I am able to run mud and algae in the sump what throughput should I look for in the return pump? I have read many articles but can't settle on the correct figure either for a 1.5" hole or most suitable for a refugium sump throughput, (Of course if the transit volume is to great for the sump I can't keep algae or but maybe Mud so I guess this is less important? <A 1.5' bulkhead will drain about 750 gph gravity fed with a good safety margin, so your return pump can be sized in this range with your head height accounted for. As for a throughput size for the pump it depends on which pump you pick for your return. Most in this range will likely be a ¾'-1'.> Secondly I am working on running a 10 x tank volume per hour movement in the tank i.e. 1500 UK Gal PH (as I feel is recommended in "the natural marine aquarist" " Reef Invertebrates" (a fantastic book that makes me feel gutted I have so little sump room), can I assume that I simply deduct the throughput from the return pump and add the remaining through power heads? <Yes, your total tank circulation will be the sum of your sump return to the tank itself, plus the powerhead flow.> (I would aim to use 4-6 heads to get adequate coverage and not "jet blast" any life)? <Exactly.> The Hydor Koralia range looks nice and discreet. <They are nice.> Thanks once again for your help. Steve H <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Re: Sump and Tank Flow 1/3/08 Hi Scott, <Hello again Steve!> Thanks so much for your reply, I feel that I am starting to get somewhere with this now. <Good, happy to help.> Could you reiterate or advise on one of my points. I understand that a 750 GPH return pump will match my 1.5" bulk head but should I govern this down for the mud and algae (If it works out that I have room for these) ? <If you can have the refugium set up in its own compartment you can split the flow from your overflow line to have only part of it flowing through the refugium.> I believe that refugium should have a much slower flow ? <Yes and no. You can run the full flow through your refugium if need be. Your sump is large enough for 750 gph. This is only 5 times your display's volume. With the mud it will just be a matter of making sure the flow is diffuse enough to not stir anything up.> Thanks again. Steve <You're welcome, I hope this helps you with your setup, Scott V.>

Sump pumps 12/20/07 Greeting, <Hello.> so glad to have a resource like WWM and am an avid reader. I have a couple quick questions today regarding pumps used in sumps. I recently purchased a 110g mixed reef system with a 55g sump. I added a separate 40g refugium that is fed by small pump from the sump with gravity return to sump. Tank is drilled with a 1" and 3/4" opening both of which use Durso stand pipe to drain into sump. Previous owner had it set up with two MAG 12's for return pumps. Both pumps push return water through SCWD's and return into display. Once plumbing line enters display, it y's into two 1/2" outlets. So, a total of eight 1/2" outlets spread across back of display. Reading through your FAQ's about plumbing, I came across a comment that two return pumps are not preferable. Can you give me the rationale for this? What is the disadvantage? <There is no real need to run all your tank flow through the sump. It can be done, just not necessary. Have you tried this set up? The drains you have will not handle these pumps, you will need a closed loop or powerhead.> Also, both return pumps and the MAG 12 pump used to run the AquaC EV240 Skimmer had pre-filters on them. Again, reading through the FAQ's my impression was that this was not always desirable. Given the fact that part of the purpose of the remote refugium is for pod production, the pre-filters would prevent the pods from ever making their way into the display. Also, my understanding is that without frequent cleaning, the pre-filter will trap organic solids that will result in elevated nitrates and that a properly working skimmer would remove the solids anyway. Is this a correct understanding? <Yes, you are correct here.> Would you recommend removal of pre-filters? <I would.> Thanks, Russell <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Re: Sump pumps 12/20/07 Thanks for your comments Scott. <Welcome.> Yes, system was/is set up with two MAG 12's running as return pumps. It does seem a bit odd to me that the pumps don't overpower the capacity of the drains given that they don't have any valves on the outlet side to restrict flow. <Surprising.> I figure I get maybe only 500 GPH through the small drains. <Fair estimate, likely a little less with the plumbing.> I can only guess that there is quite a restriction of flow through the SCWD's. <Yes.> When I do turn off one of the pumps, the water level in the display does drop. <Indicates the overflows are running at full capacity, leaving no room for mishaps.> Again, Thanks Russell <The flow you can safely get through the overflows is enough to support this size tank. You will simply need to employ a pump as a closed loop or add some powerheads for added circulation. Happy reefing, Scott V.>

Drilling overflows in AGA 12/16/07 Crew, <Hello David.> I just ordered an Aquarium Glass Diamond Hole Saw Kit from Diamond Tool King who advertises as one of your sponsors. I already paid for the purchase through PayPal. Do you know if Steve @ Diamond Tool King is legitimate? His prices are excellent, which sort of scares me. I hope his being one of your sponsors, or his advertising on your pages shows he is legitimate. <No worries, the bits will work fine.> Here is why I am ordering from him. I am setting up a reef tank starting with a 120 gallon AGA tank. I keep collecting pieces and parts, and reading and continually Reading and rereading. Sorry to say I did not find out about your site until a few weeks ago. I have now repeatedly read that the bulkheads holes are to small too begin to consider the tank a "reef ready Tank". <Unfortunately the case.> Yes I will, after tank aging, use the tank principally as a SPS tank, with a small scattering of LPS and even less soft corals. To date I have obtained two Iwaki 40RLXT's, Turboflotor 1000 with Ocean Runner 2700 pump for skimming, Aqualight Pro with two 250-Watt 10,000 K and two 96-Watt PC's. I also have a Megaflow Model 4 Sump, which had to be trimmed to even allow for the TurboFlotor. If I had known that drilling bulkhead holes was not such a great task I would have never gotten the MegaFlow sump. I might still replace it with a glass aquarium and place the baffles where they will work best. <Whatever it takes to suit your setup, drilling the glass is fairly straightforward.> I do not plan on using the Bio-balls that came with the sump so it might workout OK. I plan on about 100-150 lbs Live Rock some thing from at least three different areas. Probably large Fiji rock, Tonga shelf and branch rock and some other exotic rock. Now for questions and suggestions. I plan on cutting out the AGA overflow boxes and plugging the small bulkhead holes with plugged bulkheads. Yes I even footed the stupidly high price for two Megaflow overflow kits. Learning can be expensive! <Learning generally costs something, whether it be time or money!!> Anyway I plan on two 3 inch holes for 2 inch overflow bulkheads on the tank's back wall, giving a space of at least 3-3.5 inches between hole edge and tank inner wall. Top of 3 inch holes about 2 inches below tanks glass cover ledge. <Sounds good, perhaps a little bit lower. General rule of thumb is one hole diameter away from any edge. Two inches down should be fine, but three will give you that much more strength in the end. Good choice on overflow size, plenty of capacity here.> The return locations I am not sure of. With the tanks present setting viewing will be almost entirely through front wall of tank allowing me free rein to drill return holes in side wall which I believe would create better turbulent flow possibilities due to the opposing flow from returns at both ends of tank. What do you think? <I am not a fan of drilling for sump returns, at least not too far down due to siphoning issues.> What with live rock, crushed coral, and live sand/gravel (from GARF) displacement eating up probably 20 gallons of space I figured targeting 2000-2100 gph for flow would probably be acceptable. Shouldn't be able to get around there with my two pumps returning through 1 inch PVC pipe and 1 inch bulkheads. <Yes.> I really don't know what would be optimum location for return bulkheads, ie. where on side walls. Middle of front to back? How far from top edge. How did I prevent back siphoning if pump power is loss. <Yes, this is the problem. Some rely on check valves, but these are not to be trusted to work 100% of the time.> I also have two Pan World pumps with 1 inch inputs and outputs that I could use for running circulation loop(s) or possibly throttling down one for use with a AquaC EV series skimmer if the TurboFlotor does not work out. <A closed loop is the way to go here. You will be able to put the intake/return(s) where you would like to optimize flow (perhaps even use the predrilled holes for the intake). This will also allow you to run whatever flow through your sump you desire rather than running the tanks full circulation through.> I also have a 1/4 HP chiller, lots of Maxi-Jets (900'sand 1200's) and two Wave Masters. Think I need to sale some circulation heads and wavemasters. <It always seems like you can never have too many extra utility pumps!> Is there any reason I should even consider putting return bulkhead holes in the tank backwall? <Over the top will be fine. If you want to drill consider putting it fairly close to the top (again, at least one hole diameter from any edge) and use some Loc-Line for adjustability to minimize siphoning.> Opinions and suggestions please, before I start drilling, that is if the diamond hole saws show up. Sorry this is so long, but I only have three weeks before school starts up again and I am really antsy to get started on this tank when I am not working. <Nice project to work on with time off.> Its been over six years since I last had a reef tank and things seem to keep getting better as time goes on. My last tank was a 125 gallon with a "high" turnover rate of 4 times per hour, 2 Maxi Jet 900's, a 20 gallon sump, 3 250-Watt 650 K halide shop lights, and a Kalkwasser drip. No skimmer, auto top off, CO2 calc reactor, hood with double ended halide bulbs, Actinic Power Compacts, LED moonlights. Things do change!!! <Wow! They sure do.> Thanks, David E. Harris <Welcome, have fun with your project, Scott V.>

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