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More FAQs about Pump/Plumbing Noise, Prevention, Abatement and Aquarium Systems... or Save My Sanity, PLEASE! 2

Related Articles: Plumbing Marine Systems by Bob Fenner, Myth of the One Inch Beast (Why Relying on One Inch Overflows... or Overflow! Is foolhardy) by Scott Vallembois, Plumbing Return Manifolds, Refugiums

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

How to Quiet a Noisy Sump?    02/17/07 <Hi Susie, Mich with you tonight.> I am wondering if there is any way to quiet a noisy sump?   <Yes, many.  Would be easier if the source of the noise was determined.  Sometimes a piece of rigid insulation under the sump does the trick. Sometimes just shifting, bracing or padding the pump will help.  Sometimes it's a water noise issue that can be modified.  Figure out the source of the noise pollution, and do a search on WWM, or some of the other aquarium related sites.  There are many ingenious solutions out there.   Hard to say which one might work for you.>   Thanks for  your help. Susie <You're welcome. -Mich>

Inline-Pump noise. Submersible Pump sufficient/practical? 2/4/07 Greetings, hope your day is going well.   <Thank you, Debi. (Ed?) Same to you.> I could use some guidance and recommendations, but first a little information about my set up.  I have a 180 gallon fish only salt tank.   <Put the water inside the tank, NO! *IN*side the tank! ;) > My cycle pump is a Little Giant #4 MDQXSC. The pump performs well, but the noise is unbearable.   <Familiar complaint with the brand. Some quieter pumps include Blue-line, Iwaki... for starters..> I can't put all the blame on the pump, a lot has to do with the location of my tank and cabinet. The tank sits as a central display piece also acting as a room divider. Also, one side of the cabinet has no doors or panels.  A couch backs up to hide equipment from view but does allow most all of the noise to escape.  I tried rubber under the pump and adding panels to help sound proof the cabinet but the rubber did nothing, and the panels sealed off too much air circulation.   <Have you ever heard of Dynamat (Not dynomat, different product)? It can be found in most higher-end mobile audio retailer/installer locations.> Ok, so I'm back to square one.  Not running a reef system may allow a submersible pump to be a good option.    <Not sure I understand...> I understand a submersible will contribute a little more heat than the Little Giant.   <Not really a big issue here. The inline pump may let a lot of the heat it generates off into the air, but a portion does bleed into he water, too.> It is my understanding the pump by itself should not generate enough to be concerned about, <Right...> so my common sense tells me it's the combination with other equipment that may prohibit the use of a submersible. I began testing heat output of my current equipment by shutting off the heater and monitoring temperature. In each 24 hours the tank has dropped one full degree.   <Careful here.> Oddly, my area is not having a typical winter, but I would still want to factor heat output to ascertain if I could anticipate a rising heat problem during summer. You guys have been great and well respected by everyone in this hobby.  Any thoughts? <Without more specific system info to rely on, I can't say whether it should be ruled out, but there are viable alternatives that allow you to keep your existing configuration. Research here or on the WWW re quiet inline pumps and also availability of Dynamat. This product is amazing in how much sound it can cancel. -GrahamT> Thanks Ed Viloria (Debi? Hmm...> <<RMF would definitely look into a more quiet make/model pump here>>

I Need a New (Quiet) Filter - 12/18/06 Hello again :-) <<Hi Donna>> I have 3 tanks, one of which is a 35g using a Penguin 350 BioWheel Filter. This tank is in my bedroom, and my hubby cannot seem to get past the noise of the filter & trickling water sounds. <<Not a "pet-fish" person eh?>> I am also not getting enough water circulation around my entire tank. <<That's not good...>> So'¦I am in the market for a new filter. <<Okey-Dokey>> I have looked at several, but am not sure which one to choose.  Here is what I'm looking at: 1.  Diatom Model D-1 Filter (up to 55g) 2.  A-175 Fluval 4 'Plus' Underwater Filter (up to 57g) 3.  Magnum 350 Pro (up to 100g and includes BioWheel) 4.  H.O.T. Magnum Pro System 250 (up to 50g, hang on tank, BioWheel) 5.  Rena Filstar XP2 (up to 75g) My first priority is noise level. <<Understood>> The filter must be super quiet (including water flow sounds), or basically silent. <<Then you'll likely want to skip any "BioWheel" attachments>> As it would be quite costly for me to buy them all and try them, I'm hoping that I can get some sound (haha) advice from this great group! Thanks so much. Donna <<Well Donna, for bedroom duty I think you'll find the H.O.T. Magnum 250 (sans BioWheel) will serve nicely.  These units run quietly, and since you won't be paying for/using the BioWheel, you might even consider getting/using two on this tank for the additional filtration and flow.  You could fill one with bio-media...and fill the other with chemical media.  Regards, Eric Russell>>

Standpipe Mods...Keeping the Peace - 09/17/06 Hi Crew, <<Hello Tom>> I have a 135G acrylic reef tank, 25" tall, with a built in center overflow.  In the bottom of the overflow there is a 1.5" bulkhead (drains to sump via Durso standpipe) and a 1" bulkhead (return from sump).  I'd like to change the 1" bulkhead to be a 2nd drain directly into a new fuge section, while the 1.5" remains draining into the skimmer section. <<Sounds like the "new 'fuge section" is part of the main sump, yes?  While you can do so, it is not "necessary" to feed raw tank water to the refugium...there will be plenty of excess nutrients that will escape the skimmer section of the sump>> Both sections would combine to the return section with an upgraded 1000GPH return pump...the new sump w/bubble traps should be able to handle the higher throughput. <<Mmm, yes...but will the returns?  I'm gonna guess you'll get about 600gph through the 1.5" bulkhead and about 300gph through the 1" bulkhead before things start to get complicated/noisy.  So you are correct...with head loss (and the addition of a gate-valve on the output side of the pump) a 1000gph pump will be about right>> The old pump is 500GPH.  In the new setup I think I want about 1/3 of the flow to drain to the fuge section, 2/3 to the skimmer section. <<Is about what you will get>> The new return pipe would run up and over the rear of the tank. <<Okay>> All this is pretty straightforward, but I want the drain(s) to remain quiet. <<Indeed>> A 2nd Durso won't fit in the overflow. <<Mmm...>> And the current Durso won't remain functional with another drain in the bottom of the overflow.  How would you go about it? <<Well Tom, I certainly understand about wanting to keep things "quiet", and using plain unmodified standpipes rarely gives this result so you will need to use some kind of "silenced" rig.  Ken Stockman developed a design he calls the Aqua-Silencer (formerly the "Stockman Standpipe") which is purported to be just as or more quiet than the Durso Standpipe, but takes up less space in the overflow chamber (originally developed for use with the smallish siphon-overflow boxes).  Premium Aquatics sells a model to fit 1" bulkheads, and you could easily DIY one for the 1.5" bulkhead (or for both bulkheads for that matter!) yourself based on information available on Ken's site http://home.nc.rr.com/stockmanreef/interest.htm).  This standpipe design also looks to be aspirated, which may give you a few more "gallons-per-hour" if needed/wanted.  So, see if this standpipe design solves your problem...if not, give me another holler if you like and we'll brainstorm the possibilities.  That's how I would go about it...>> Thanks, Tom <<Regards, EricR>>

Overflow Noise/Glass Scratches - 08/15/06 Hi, <<Hello!>> I have a 54G RR Corner tank with a 1" drain and a 3/4" return. <<Sadly undersized throughputs...even on this volume of water>> I bought the whole reef set up used, but I can't imagine how the previous owner tolerated the noise! <<Mmm, indeed...you can't really put much water through a 1" drain before it becomes problematic>> I installed a 1.25" Durso standpipe (1" did not work, now I follow directions, doh!).  I have a 1/8" drilled hole in the top of the T of the Durso.  It was fascinating to watch the relationship between the air hole size, the drain line position relative to the sump water level, and the gurgling and flushing effect. <<Ah yes, you are finding out just how "fiddly" it can be.  I would like to suggest you try enlarging the hole just enough to push some airline tubing through and down in to the standpipe.  This will help with aspirating/releasing air from the drain line and often eases the gurgling sounds.  It will take some experimentation to determine the best length/diameter tubing to insert>> As I slowly increased the air hole from a pinhole up to 1/8", I observed the step by step decrease in flushing effect amplitude.   <<Yes...allowing that air I mentioned to escape more readily>> It started at about a 3-inch oscillation, at 1/8, it was gone completely.  Adjusting the drain pipe position also impacted the flushing effect and required small changes in the air hole.   <<Pretty much all comes down to eliminating the obstructions (air bubbles) to the water flow>>    OK, on to my questions:  I have extensive bubbling/gurgling noise in the sump from the drain. <<From air that is "carried" down the line by the water>> I have read on WWM two things to try: A "T" or "Y" fitting on the drain line, and aspirating the drain line from the top with air line tubing. <<Yes indeedy...though I prefer a 45- or 90-degree ell fitting on the end of the drain line>> I am confused about the specifics of both of these.  For the T or Y fitting, how is it positioned? <<Is of little consequence...just position to direct flow in the direction you desire>> I am guessing that it goes at the bottom of the drain line, with one leg submerged and one leg above the sump water level? <<Mmm, okay...I think I'm with you now.  The purpose of the fitting on the end of the drain line is to "slow" the rush of water a bit.  So...experiment with the position to determine which gives you best results.  Either way you position it, I find that having the end of the drain line completely submerged usually works best.  And do be aware, it is usually not practical to expect a 1" drain to flow more than about 300/350 gph without much hassle and noise, as you seem to be experiencing>> For the aspiration tubing, is the tube supposed to have its own hole separate from the existing air line in the Durso T cap? <<Refer to my earlier comments re>> Or does it simply go down the same hole? <<Yup!>> It also seems to me that the bubble/gurgle would be reduced if I had the water break on some live rock rubble or other irregular surface. <<Can give it a try>> I think I have seen reference to using filter pad material. <<A detritus trap>>   Next question: Even though I only have about a 2-inch drop from the overflow wall to the top of the water behind it, it still makes an annoying, trickle noise that induces the need to visit the bathroom at night (tank is in the bedroom). <<Hee!>> I am thinking of installing some kind of stepladder down to the surface.  Or perhaps a piece of filter pad would also suffice.  How have you seen this done? <<Raise the height of the standpipe to raise the surface of the water in the overflow...it only needs to "fall" a fraction of an inch or so>>    Last, the tank is used, and has a good number of extremely fine scratches that are visible depending on angle and lighting.  I have read that you generally shy away from glass polishing/buffing, but that usually seemed to be because the emailer was asking about significant/deep scratches.  What do you think about using a commercial buffer on an orbital drill pad, and follow with a thorough cleaning? <<I think you'll do one of two things...nothing at all...or make it worse.  Scratches in glass "can" be repaired/removed, but unless you really know what you're doing/have done this before, I recommend you refer to a professional for advice/consultation.  You may find it is easier/cheaper to replace the tank...or learn to ignore/accept the scratches>> Jack <<Regards, EricR>> Live Rock/skimmer noise - 8/1/6 Hi There, <<Hello.>> I was just wondering if you could give a newbie some advice. I have recently set up a new tank; it's a 160 litre tank with about 9 kilo of live rock in it so far (I have to buy it a bit at a time, as it's very expensive!). I have a Fluval 205 external filter and a red sea prism protein skimmer, and it is lit by a pair of Arcadia T5 bulbs, the twin tube Marine Blue Actinic variety. <<Ok.>> As yet I haven't stocked it with any fish, as I have a few concerns with the water quality. <<Best to go slowly and learn.>> At the moment I am still cycling my tank, and performing a few water changes, and it currently stands at PO4 - 0.25 ppm, NH3 - 1.3 ppm, NO2 - 3.3 ppm and NO3  - 70ppm. Now, having successfully kept tropical fresh fish in the past, I know that these are high. <<Yes.>> Does the living rock have any effect on the ammonia/nitrate/nitrite levels? <<Of course, that is one reason it is so coveted.  It contains a lot of nitrifying bacteria, <And denitrifying and habitat/space for same. RMF>and a wonderful place for more to grow.>> My tank is in my room so I have a problem with he amount of noise the skimmer is making, is there any inherent problem with switching off the skimmer at night, or will I have to just put up with it, I was planning on keeping soft coral and anemones, as well as other inverts. <<Earplugs are your best bet.>> There is no way I can move the tank. If you could help, and give your input, I would appreciate it, Many thanks, Chris <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Water Noise vs. Flow Rates - 06/30/06 Hi! I am looking for a solution to eliminate noise from the overflow. <<A very common venture>> I tried everything and I started to believe a silent overflow is a myth. <<Hee! Indeed!  At least at the "higher" flow rates>> Now there is a way and it would be to dramatically reduce the flow rate. <<This is what I always advocate.  There are other things you can do to help...such as aspirating the return lines, submerging/adding ells to the termination ends, etc. ...but reducing flow probably makes the single largest difference.  Few hobbyists (if any) need to push 1500gph or more through their sump.  Much easier to deal with a sub- 1000gph flow rate here...employing other methods for increased flow in the display as/if necessary>> I have reached the point where it's either that or get rid of the sump and install an external skimmer. <<Mmm, let's work on quieting that overflow...>> Right now the skimmer is in the 1st chamber of the sump.  There is already good circulation in the display (15X per hour) from 2 Tunze Stream 6100 with a multicontroller. <<Excellent!  Reducing flow through the overflow/sump should not be an issue then>> I do a 5% weekly water change.  Most of the sump (25 gal) is in fact a fuge for plankton/pod production and macro-algae. <<All the more reason to keep it>> Display is 90 gal reef with 150lbs Fiji LR and sugar fine 5" DSB.  In these circumstances do you see any long term problems involved in having a flow rate from the return pump of only 6X per day instead of 6X per hour? <<Mmm...if I understand you, this would equate to just over 20gph (540gph divided by 24hrs).  This is slower than I like, but I think a flow rate of 200gph-300gph would be fine...and easily dealt with/made quiet>> If I may ask at the same time a bioload question. <<Sure>> I am thinking of some change and would like to know if this is too many fish. <<Okay>> Is this a heavy bioload with my set-up, would I be on the edge? : -2 Ocellaris -5 to 7 Chromis viridis -1 clown goby (Gobiodon histrio) -1 mandarin -1 Tailspot blenny (genus Ecsenius) -1 yellow tang (Z. flavescens) <<This would indeed fill you up.  I would like to suggest you forego the mandarin.  This tank isn't really large enough (refugium or not) in my opinion to be able to provide the necessary nutritional needs for this fish for the long term.  I would also suggest you keep the number of Chromis to 5, until you see what (if any) behavioral/environmental issues develop>> Lastly, would an Ecsenius blenny (like the Tailspot) be helpful to control Caulerpa growth in the display? <<I doubt it...the Combtooth blennies are more "filamentous" algae feeders.  The tang will probably be more useful for this purpose, though there's no guarantee of that either>> And what about a tuxedo blue urchin (Mespilia globulus) for that same purpose? <<A neat critter...and likely a worthwhile addition...but it too will probably go for your hair, and most assuredly your coralline, algae first.  You best bet re removal of the Caulerpa is manual extraction.  If you can manual reduce it enough, the tang might be able to keep it in check for you.  I guess you'll know better than to add this to your display next time, eh! <grin> >> Many many thanks! Dominique <<Quite welcome.  Regards, EricR>>

Re: Water Noise vs. Flow Rates    7/1/06 Thanks Eric! <<You're very welcome Dominique>> The Caulerpa I didn't add to the display and not even to the fuge as I am using Chaetomorpha and red Gracilaria instead. <<Ah yes, much better choices in my opinion.  I utilize Chaetomorpha in my refugium myself>> It just appeared there uninvited and in two species. <<Hate it when that happens...>> Regarding the mandarin I have to say I kept one for 7 months and it was still fat, but it jumped out of the tank. <<Hmm, I've never known/heard these fish to be jumpers.  Would make me think environmental conditions/tank mates were not suitable for it...possibly. Please don't misunderstand my tone here <grin>, but the vast majority of these fish "slowly" starve to death within twelve months.  There's always exceptions, and of course those few dedicated hobbyists (maybe you're one of these!) that strive to provide suitable care/environments for these fish...but for the majority of folks, Synchiropus species are best left in the ocean.  If you're determined/dedicated to keeping this fish, please research all you can re their care/husbandry on our site and the net in general>> This made me place a net in an anodized aluminum frame over the top of the tank so it won't ever happen again.  So to summarize your answer: bioload should be ok (I won't get more than 5 Chromis) and even thought it's not ideal I should not have problems with the 20gph flow rate. <<Indeed...a couple hundred gallons per hour at least.  If noise is still an issue, do write back and I'll gladly address this with you further>> Thanks again! Dominique <<Cheers my friend, EricR>>

Water Noise vs. Flow Rates III - 07/02/06 Mmmm... I am already down to 35 gal per hour now and it is still too noisy. <<Hmm, strange...wish I had a visual of your drain plumbing...a drawing/picture would be of help...and just how noisy is "too noisy?">> I just brought it down to that recently.  The thing is until a week ago (that is for 12 months, the tank has a bit over one year now), I had part of the flow going through a siphon (simply three 1/2" flexible tubings taking water from the display's surface and siphoning down to the sump, i.e. as for a water change but to the sump instead of the bucket...). <<Understood...a siphon overflow without the box>> This was efficient but messy and annoying for many reasons.  One reason being that it clogged frequently... <<...?>> A week ago I decided to remove them and have all the flow go through the real overflow (1.5" pvc and 2" at the intake) and just reduce flow until I hear almost nothing. <<It should be easy for this diameter piping to handle several hundred gallons per hour and remain relatively quiet...starting to suspect other factors are at play here>> So far I didn't notice any change in skimmate production of my skimmer (Tunze). <<Great skimmers>> The tank is a Perfecto with tempered glass for the bottom, so it was not drilled in the bottom but in the back panel about 8" from the surface. <<Ah, okay, this is my preferred method for drilling/plumbing overflows actually...less chance for catastrophic failure as opposed to punching holes in the bottom...but I'm thinking now that aspirating that drain line may be of help.  This involves inserting a piece of tubing (determining length and diameter will require some experimentation...but you can start with simple airline tubing) in to the drain line to allow trapped air to escape, thus reducing turbulence and noise.  Adding a 45 or 90 degree ell to the termination end of the drain may also help with noise...along with submerging the end of the drain line beneath the surface of the water in the sump.  It's difficult for me to say definitively what will work...these issues often require much fiddling/experimentation.  I don't doubt your word at all, but I do wonder how such a small flow rate as you indicate can be so noisy...unless there is something very odd/unique about this plumbing>> So you have the whole picture now. <<Mmm yes, well...as much as my feeble brain power can amass <grin> >> I am not too optimistic about that issue. <<Honestly Dominique, this shouldn't be an issue from what I can see (read).  Is there anything else you can tell me about your plumbing?  Some element you've overlooked?>> I think I will have to reduce flow to 20gph or get rid of sump. <<Keep the sump...>> What I don't understand is why it's an issue to have such a low flow rate if I have good circulation in the display. <<Has more to do with your refugium and skimmer efficiency than the display.  Chaetomorpha and Gracilaria macro algae seem to perform/prosper better with brisk flow rates...some authors even advocate setups/flow rates to keep the alga constantly "tumbling" in the refugium.  Though I must admit I have found that tumbling Chaetomorpha is not necessary from a functional/algae health standpoint, though growth/nutrient uptake may not be as efficient when the algae clump is "static">> From what I read it will even benefit plankton in the fuge and give more time to the skimmer to work on an amount of water. <<All true...but is my feeling there is a certain threshold below which benefit/efficiency is diminished>> I'm a beginner so I am sure I am missing many things here and I trust you more than I trust myself on that... :) <<Well Dominique, let me suggest this...give the reduced flow rate (20 gph) a try if you wish...keeping an eye out for any deleterious effect on your display/refugium...it "is" possible all will be fine.  If it becomes evident you need to increase the flow through your sump, then give my suggestions for quieting the overflow a try.  And in the meantime if you want to send me a picture(s)/diagram(s) of your plumbing system for a better appraisal, I'm happy to do that>> Ok, Thanks again! Dominique <<A pleasure to assist.  Regards, EricR>>

Water Noise vs. Flow Rates IV - 07/03/04 Thanks Eric! <<Always welcome Dominique>> I will eventually send you a picture. <<Great!>> I think I'll wait a few weeks and give you a report on how things are going with my new flow rate together with a picture. <<Sounds fine>> I feel better about it since you told me it is possible it works and not necessarily a dead end. <<Hee hee!  Time will tell...>> I also want to send you a picture and links regarding my tank cover. <<Please do>> I am very pleased with the result and I think some aquarists may be interested. <<Indeed>> Not a new concept for sure, but it's what I found that looks best and is least invasive.  You really don't see it much.  For me it's all the advantages of an open top -even visually- without the inconvenience (carpet surfing...). <<I am interested to see...evaluate its ability for light penetration>> I am also working on a plan for continuous plankton culture integrated to an automated water change system.  Maybe you can tell me if you think it's silly. <<Not "silly" at all...though I would need more info to give an educated response.  My immediate concern would be how the plankton will be "introduced"...new raw seawater can be quite harsh/hard on delicate (and sometimes not so delicate) marine life>> I will be happy to experiment with this but if you think it's not worth it then maybe I won't go there. <<Let's see what you have in mind...>> My sump is drilled and a 1" pvc is going to go from the sump to the apartment's drain.  In the closet I placed a 210L plastic container with new aerated saltwater with a MagDrive on a timer (Neptune Jr.).  I think you follow me: new saltwater comes and excess water goes in the drain... <<With ya so far matey>> Now the new saltwater would go first in a 8L container next to the fuge.  That 8L would contain a phytoplankton continuous culture.  They would be under T5 bulbs like the rest of the sump.  No fertilizer used and I understand it will be a lower production than intensive batch culture.  No contamination, water comes from the new saltwater reserve (sterilized first).  New saltwater would come to this 8L each 4 hours for a total of about 2.5L per day (that is around 30% water replacement). <<But not "daily" right?  This would be a weekly/bi-weekly process?>> That 8L container would cascade partly directly into the fuge and for another part in a second smaller container (4L) that would contain a rotifer culture (Brachionus plicatilis).  That 4L container would itself overflow into the fuge.  So the 4L also gets a 30% per day water replacement rate.  Is it crazy?  Do I need a shrink? ;) <<Mmm, maybe <grin>.  A few things to mention...1- changing 30% of your system water on a "daily" basis is too much, too often.  This would be a continuous chemical/physical/biological shock to the system...2- flooding your cultures with new, raw seawater will likely cause them to crash...3- Adding and draining the water from the same location (sump) will result in much of the "new" water wasting down the drain.  I don't want to squash your creative urges, but do take these points under consideration and perhaps come up with an alternate plan.>> Dominique <<Be chatting my friend, Eric Russell>>

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

Re: Blueline Pump Noise  6/17/06 Hi Bob: <Greg> Thanks a lot for the advice.  One thing I was not clear on...when you say that "<... there should not be such a restriction/ball-valve in front of the pump... this, like most centrifugal pumps made for aquarium applications is for "pushing" not pulling... in other words, you may well have a cavitation issue>", are you saying that the valve should not be there at all or that it should always be fully open? <Ideally not at all. Even if open, there is some induced drag... Some folks do use such "true union" valves as a means of "breaking" a connection for removing the pump, or more distal gear (w/o water spilling everywhere), but better to not have any such restriction/s ahead of centrifugal pumps... only after> In my case the valve is always completely open.  It is between the bulkhead and my quick disconnect. <Ahhh! I see...> I only close it if I need to shut off the water to prevent the sump from draining when I want to disengage the quick disconnect for cleaning or maintenance on the pump. <Yes> Let me know if this is still a bad idea. <Not a perfect one, but should be fine. I would try increasing the pressure on the discharge side to see if this quiets down this pump/application... and even opening/closing this discharge restriction to see if this will "vent" the aforementioned "air bubble" that may be "hanging up" around your impeller... unbalancing same, causing the noise...>   And, if so, how would you plumb this to allow for easy maintenance on the pump? <Mmm, would need to see all... but there are some brands of true union ball valves that are almost "completely smooth" in their bores when fully open that are about perfect for this one issue>   Thanks again for all your help.  You guys are a great resource and much appreciated!!!  Greg. PS:  I was sad to read that you may not proceed with the further NMA volumes...my copy of the first one is falling apart from [over]use!!   <Mmm, this opera's not over... Bob Fenner>

Re: Blueline Pump Noise   6/18/06 Hi Bob (again): <Greg> Mostly I wanted to thank you for your replies.  I still find it hard to believe that you do this. <Heeeee!> I think you must be a marine bodhisattva (and or a really good soul)!! <Now I can't get those Steely Dan riffs out of my mind! "Won't you take me by the fin..."?> Anyway, I have tried some of the things you suggested, with the exception of replumbing the lagoon.  The good news is that my pump is very quiet...when I apply considerable pressure to the discharge side of the pump. <Ah, yes>   Unfortunately, as you will no doubt guess, this considerably restricts the flow (but at least I like my pump again!!)  I am almost resigned to removing all of the plumbing on the intake side. <This will be best> However, I had one more idea.  Do you think it would do any good to have a considerable run (feet) of 1" PVC before the pump intake in hopes of damping the turbulence before it reaches the pump??  [1" is the diameter of the pump intake.]  I am bowing to you in the West now as the sun rises on our coast!!! <laugh>  Thanks Bob!!  Greg. <Mmm, let's see... in general, there is not much benefit from "up sizing" plumbing before or after the volute more than the diameter of their fittings... and sometimes some downside... I would likely change all this to one inch ID if you were going the route of removing the plumbing any who. Bob Fenner>

Noisy Plumbing...A Very Common Issue - 05/04/06 Hello Crew. <<Hiya Joe!>> I have been a long time reader and the information you provide to us novices via this site and Bob and Anthony's books is truly invaluable. <<Thank you, tis comforting to know folks find it of use/value>> After pouring through the FAQs on plumbing and plumbing related noises, I think I have identified the problem and have a couple possible solutions but wanted a second opinion before I started ripping out plumbing and drilling my sump. <<Alrighty>> First some background information.  After running a 29 gallon reef setup for 3 years now with no loss of life (except a flying neon Dottyback who wasn't found in time after a third and final escape attempt) I took the plunge and started putting together a 150 gallon 48X24x31 tank with the assistance of the "experts" at my local LFS. <<Mmm, do I sense some discontent? <G> >> I took the recommendation of the LFS who assured me they had used this exact setup on a couple of occasions and that it was extremely quiet. <<And I'm guessing now it wasn't?>> So of course, I bit, despite better judgment and paid them to set it up with the following recommended plumbing configuration: 2 black acrylic corner overflow boxes approx 8X4X4 each with 2" bulkhead exiting tank approx 1-inch from top then exiting to a tee reduced down to 1 1/2" ID PVC.  Top of each tee is capped with small hole for aspiration. <<Not all that different to my configuration...but you're missing the piece of tubing/small diameter pipe that needs to extend through the hole in the cap down in to the moving/falling water>> Left drain pipe drops 30" into a right-hand elbow which then runs the length of the tank into a tee where it connects to the right side drain pipe. From there, the combined flow then elbows under the tank into the a 40X20X20 4 chambered acrylic sump.  The section that the drain pipe enters the sump is completely enclosed with the exception of the hole for the 1 1/2" PVC pipe and small opening created by first chamber divider about 2" from bottom and one 2" wide at top.  The drain pipe stops about 1/2" from top of water line. <<I would add a 45-degree elbow and submerge the output end>> The four chamber dimensions are 6.5" drain section, 15" for refugium, 5" section with sponge in bottom for baffling and bubble diffusion, 13.5" section for return pumps, skimmer, etc.  Skimmer is located under the tank in a cabinet and noise from the sump is minimal with front doors closed.  The back of the stand is completely open.  Return pumps are 2 Mag 12 submersible pumps.  The first is plumbed via 3/4" flexible tubing to a PVC tee that feeds two return lines that overhang each side of the tank next to the corner overflow boxes and are terminated with flexible ball joint tubing for directional control of flow.  The second pump drives a return via 3/4" flexible tubing to a Squid device that alternates flow to each two more return lines.  These returns overhang the back of the tank just inside the other 2 return lines.  There appears to be a good turbulent flow in the tank and the adjustable nozzles on each of the 4 return lines should allow me to adjust the flow once I start aquascaping. <<Indeed>> Anti-siphon holes are drilled into each of the four heads of the return lines. <<I wouldn't trust these...is best to adjust inlets/outlets such that the sump will handle all transient water flow in the event of a power failure>> Sorry for no diagram but hope I was able to describe it well enough to give you a decent mental picture of the setup. <<I think so, yes>> Problem:  the system is louder than my dishwasher and washing machine combined. <<I'm not surprised...just guessing at head pressure here, but I'll bet you're pushing 1500+ gph through that sump>> We had to turn it off the first night because you couldn't sleep upstairs with the noise downstairs. <<Yikes!  And I thought (in my instance) just not being able to hear the television/carry on a normal conversation was problematic>> The caps with aspiration holes on top of the tees coming out of the 2" bulkheads were installed the day after initial setup and helped dampen some of the noise, but a massive gurgling sound and waterfall effect with a back and forth swishing kicker can still be heard coming out of the left drain pipe. <<Indeed, not really "aspirating at all...needs the tubing, experimentation with diameter/length>> Additionally, you can see the left drain pipe shake at the bottom which I'm guessing is not a good thing. <<Violent water movement...>> Analysis: having the left drain pipe plumbed into the same return to the sump as the right drain pipe is turning two 1 1/2" drain lines into one and restricting my net system turnover rate and my drain lines are not keeping up with the return lines. <<Yup>> Possible Solution:  eliminate the 48" run back to the first chamber of the sump and plumbing the left hand drain pipe directly to the equipment chamber.  This would be the most direct path back to the sump from the left side of the tank, but I would lose the benefit of the rest of the sump and possibly introduce micro bubbles into the system. <<Agreed...nut I think the best solution would be to plumb the drain as a closed-loop...thus reducing the volume of water processed through the sump...and no micro-bubbles>> Was hoping that if I could deal with the possible micro bubble problem by plumbing below the water line that the tank would still turn over enough through the sump with the feed from the right side drain pipe. <<Not a worry...even as little as 500 gph through your sump would be fine...and a whole lot easier to deal with>> Another alternative I was contemplating was to get rid of the tee into the right hand drain pipe, keep the 48" run but drill a second whole into the first 6.5" chamber and retain the benefit of the current sump design. <<Maybe...if properly aspirating/submerging the drain lines takes care of the noise issue>> My concern here is that there is still a 30" drop from the bulkhead to the elbow which may leave me with the waterfall and swishing sounds and also there is quite a distance for the water to travel back to the sump.   <<Where elbows must be utilized, some back pressure/restriction can be eased by using two 45-degree ells to make the turn, rather than a single 90-degree ell>> Do you think I have identified the problem correctly and do you think either of my solutions might minimize my noise problem? <<Is worth a try, though I think utilizing one drain as a closed-loop is still your best option>> As it stands now and assuming that I don't want a divorce in the near future, I may have to relocate the tank to my finished basement and turn it off when we want to watch a movie on the big screen. <<Mmm, "turning off" is not an option in my opinion>> Any comments or suggestions are always appreciated and I thank you in advance for your help. <<Let me share this with you.....I have a 375g display with a 75g sump and 55g refugium.  Water drains from two 1" drains to the sump, and two 1" drains (reduced to 3/4" at the bulkhead) to the refugium, which then in turn drains through two 1" drains to the sump...all six drain lines are submerged with ells at termination.  I utilize a single MAG12 return pump, with about 11,000 gph of supplemental circulation in the tank via six Tunze Stream pumps (as already stated, you could easily employ your second MAG12 in a closed-loop for this purpose).  Now granted, my system is totally enclosed, but the comment I hear most often (and usually from someone's spouse as they glare at their mate) is "Gee, it's so quiet..."  I began with issues very similar to yours...including the very unhappy wife...but I was able to overcome the noise with these three changes...Aspirating (properly) the drain lines, submerging the ends of the drain lines, and reducing the volume of water pushed through the sump.  I guess what I'm trying to convey here re the noise reduction is...it can be done>> Joe H. <<I hope some of this is useful to you.  Regards, EricR>> Noisy Plumbing...A Very Common Issue II - 05/05/06 Thank you very much for the quick reply and the suggestions. <<Quite welcome>> I want to clarify a couple of points you made just so I'm crystal clear about how to start implementing your suggestions correctly. <<Ok>> The first is about creating the closed loop with my drain pipes to the sump. <<This would only involve ONE drain line, you'll need the other for circulation through your sump/refugium...lest you want to install another throughput for this purpose>> With my two drain pipes coming together in a two and then a single 1 1/2" drain pipe into my sump, don't I already have a closed-loop in my current configuration? <<Mmm, no...a closed-loop configuration means the pump is plumbed to receive water "directly" from the tank, and return water "directly" to the tank...with no engagement/interruption from sumps/refugiums/skimmers, et al.  Do have a look/read through here and the associated links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbretfaq2.htm>> I'm a little bit fuzzy on what you were thinking here or more specifically how to modify my existing configuration into a closed-loop if it isn't already. <<Take a look among the link(s) I've provided...and then please do feel free to write back to me if you need further clarification I definitely will implement your suggestion about terminating each drain pipe into an elbow below the water line. <<Ah yes...helped me>> This was real easy for my simple mind to comprehend and more importantly for me to implement. <<Ha!  No worries mate...may take a bit more reading/asking questions but you'll get what I'm talking about here>> Also looking into buttoning up the back. <<Will also help...>> The second question I had was about flow rate.  I have read numerous articles and posts in FAQ's on this site that a flow rate of at least 10 times but as much as 30 times is preferable for a reef setup. <<Agreed>> I was under the impression that it was almost impossible to create too much turbulent flow and the inverse was usually the problem. <<Agreed again>> That being said, you mentioned that a flow rate of 500gph would be ideal for the sump. <<The sump yes, to alleviate problems with plumbing/noise reduction...not for your tank as a whole>> If this is the case and I want to avoid using any powerheads directly in the display tank (create something similar in performance to the Calfo manifold), how can you achieve a 500 gph flow rate through the sump and still create a 10x or 1500gph or greater flow in the display. <<That's where the closed-loop comes in to play>> I know my refugium downstream in the series of chambers isn't ideal, but have read many posts stating any refugium is better than no refugium. <<Or at least not harmful, yes>> Somehow in my head I'm thinking to get 1500 gph in the tank I must create 1500 gph through the sump or I would flood the sump or the tank with an imbalanced flow somewhere. <<No...remember, the closed-loop does not process/flow water through the sump>> I think I need a quick lesson in fluid dynamics and exactly how your Tunze stream pumps are arranged in a separate closed-loop to create an eye popping 11,000gph. <<Ah, another misunderstanding...I'm not using a closed-loop, the Tunzes are a "powerhead" of sort (see here: http://www.marinedepot.com/aquarium_powerheads_pumps_tunze_turbelle_stream_kit.asp?CartId=).  Though it is possible to create that kind of flow with a closed-loop and large/multiple pumps (again too noisy for my living room)>> Thanks again for all your help and hopefully some day I can have someone's wife listen to my tank, turn to her husband and slap him on the head and say "Why isn't yours this quiet?" <<Hee!  It is sometimes funny to watch!>> Joe H. <<Joe...read up on the closed-loop and give me another shout if I can be of further assistance.  Regards, EricR>>

Noisy Plumbing...A Very Common Issue III - 05/05/06 Thanks for the clarification.  A light bulb just went off. <<Ah good, I knew there was hope for you <grin> >> I for some reason was thinking that all flow had to enter and exit via the sump. <<Nope>> Obviously not the case. <<Yep>> I could leave one of the overflow/drain lines plumbed directly into the sump and the other one plumbed directly to an external pump and back out to return lines to the tank.  Finally makes sense. <<Indeed my friend>> Follow up question regarding aspirating the drain lines with pipe/flexible tubing. <<Okay>> I was experimenting with some 1/2" flexible tubing but was unsure how long it should be.  Should it be long enough to go below the bulkhead line and if so, given I have 30" of drop from the bulkhead, how much longer? <<Below the bulkhead, yes...just how far?...whatever gives you the most noise reduction/flow>> Also, how much of the tubing should extend above the end cap at the top of tee? <<A couple inches should suffice...increase this if you find water splashing out>> Trying to avoid creating a sound tube that just amplifies the gurgling and sound of the water flow. <<Not to worry, doesn't happen...in my experience>> Thanks again for all your help. Joe H. <<Is my pleasure to assist, EricR>>

A possible Solution to noisy Overflows... not likely a good trade-off   4/26/06 Hi There, <Howdy> Not a question but maybe a solution.  I frequently see queries relating to noisy overflows and having spent months trying to solve such a problem would like to share my solution.   <Good> My setup is 50 Gallon tank with a siphon overflow box.  I could not get any substantial flow rate without a lot of noise, gurgling and air.  I tried aspirating with airline which made a small difference.  I installed an aquasilencer which is basically a modification of a Durso standpipe for a siphon box, again with some reduction in noise.  However I was still not achieving the rate of flow I wanted. By decreasing pump output you will reach a point where almost all noise disappears but this will be at a less than desirable flow rate, particularly if you are trying to run a Miracle Mud sump for which Ecosystem recommend up to 15 times turnover.  Consider this flow rate the "quiet flow rate" My solution;  Increase output from the pump to as much as the overflow will deal with; ignore the noise and bubbles for now.  You now have the maximum flow rate the overflow can handle.   <...> Take a length of 3/8 or 1/2 inch tubing and run it from the overflow box to the sump and start a siphon.  This siphon is silent.  You may need a second piece or a wider bore tube.  Basically you want the tube to carry the difference between the "quiet flow rate" and "maximum flow rate".  If the tube blocks or loses siphon there is no risk of flooding as the main overflow can handle the total flow rate albeit noisily, and you'll know as soon as you enter the room that something is up. <... what if the pump quits for whatever reason? The siphon will drain the tank to the siphon intake depth... overflow the sump...> It may not be a conventional solution and I have not seen it recommended on WWM before but it turned a noisy intrusive marriage wrecker into a soothing trickle in the corner, so worth a go! David <... I'd think this over a bit... Bob Fenner>

Re: A possible Solution to noisy Overflows   4/26/06 Hi Bob, <David> No , the siphon tube cannot empty the tank as it is draining from the overflow box <Oh... thank you for this> so depending on the size of the box it can only move a few litres to the sump. In a "self-starting" style siphon overflow box ,if the end of the tube is kept above the level of the bottom of the primary siphon tube the unit will not "lose" it's ability to restart in the case of a power outage. <I see/understand. Mis-read> I have this up and running and cannot find a logical flaw in the process.. however there is always someone out there who will and I'd be happy to deal with it. David <Does seem/read as a worthwhile "work-around"... though it would be better to aspirate the existing drain line/s from the overflow or increase this... or add another... or drill the tank... Bob Fenner>

Re: A possible Solution to noisy Overflows  - 04/26/06 Hi Bob, <David> Yes, I agree, drilling the tank would be the best option but not one available to me.  Of the MANY lessons I have learned from setting up this small tank, in advance of my "ideal" tank, one is that you cannot have enough overflows and in fact am looking at the possibility of incorporating a full length weir flowing directly into the sump in my next tank. <Neat> I have tried aspirating the overflow but the results are nowhere near as impressive as the additional siphon. <Thank you for this additional input> Keep up the good work. David <Am trying! BobF> Equipment/Overflows/Gurgling Sounds  - 4/24/2006 Hi guys - <Hello Steve> I just had the above tank set up as a reef tank in my 7 year-old's room, and am brand new to this hobby.  The tank makes a very loud gurgling and flushing sound, which appears to be a quite common issue.  I have spent some time reading the FAQ concerning our noise issues, and there seems to be a wealth of information that is right on point.  Unfortunately, I am not experienced enough to fully understand the intricacies of the suggested solutions.  I am hoping that there is a good resource for a step-by-step description of some of the more promising sounding solutions (Durso Stand Pipe, aspiration lines, discharge tees), so that I can have my service company (that may or may not be as familiar with this particular issue) attempt to cure the problem.  For example, I have read several times that inserting tube into the overflow line will help aspirate, but don't quite get precisely how this is done.  We are running the tank as manufactured (one overflow line (1')) flowing into a custom refugium that had to be built to fit the cabinet.  Mag 7 pump. Please let me know if I can provide further info.  Thanks for your time. <Steve, since you are paying a service company to take care of the aquarium for you, my suggestion is to let him handle the problem.  I am quite sure  he would know what to do. If he cannot resolve the issue, do send a photo of the overflow set-up and we can go from there.  James (Salty Dog)> Steve Starr Re: Equipment/Overflows/Gurgling Sounds    4/25/06 I am meeting with my service guy this morning, but he is not familiar with the aspiration line theory, or how it works.  That seems to be the most commonly successful method to cure the noise.  Can you please describe it in detail? <Steve, aspiration is simply releasing trapped air from within the water column.  This is done by inserting a tube into the water column to release the air.  Experimentation is required here as to depth of the tube and size of the tube.> My tank is apparently already equipped with an Oceanic Durso-style Standpipe.  <In re-reading your query, Oceanic does not make a 54 gallon reef ready.  I believe their smallest is a 58 gallon.  If it is equipped with a Durso style standpipe as you mention, this aspirator tube should be present, and will just need to be adjusted.  Should have been some instructions sent with this system I would think. Other factors can contribute to the noise also, such as pipe configuration, flow rate, etc.  You mention a 1" drain line.  This I believe is too small and could cause your noise problem.  You may want to contact Oceanic for answers also, since they are the people who designed this system. http://www.oceanicsystems.com/   Thanks again. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Re: Equipment/Overflows/Gurgling Sounds    4/25/06 Thanks again, James.   Are correct-- there is  "reef-ready"  corner.  My 54 gallon corner was custom made by Oceanic to be reef ready (to fit our room). They installed the overflow and Durso pipe, but there are no instructions on how it can be "adjusted".  I will call Oceanic as you suggest. My service guy was not familiar with your tube-insertion aspiration theory, and did some reading on your site per my suggestion.  He and I understand the concept, but not the precise application. <Not that precise.> For instance, my guy came out yesterday and inserted a tube inside the Durso pipe, running from the top of the overflow (where the top end is open to the air) all the way down to the end of the drain line in the refugium.  The thought was to relieve some of the air pressure, but I suspect that the tube is simply filling with water to the top water line, blocking 1/2 of the volume of the drain line, and potentially limiting the overflow.  We simply do not have a good understanding of how the aspiration line is supposed to work (i.e., length of tubing, height and depth).  While the gurgling sound was greatly diminished, I am concerned that this is simply due to the tube "forcing" more water to fill the drain line and reducing the flow of water out of the tank (a potentially dangerous situation). <Sounds like the tube was much too large.  I'd start with a piece of rigid air line tubing.  If that doesn't help, go to the next size, etc.> Can you make any suggestions as to how we can insert an aspiration tube to effectively aspirate the drain line and not unnecessarily restrict water flow?  <In my last response, I thought the 1" overflow line was too small, which can also cause this effect as there will be no room for air to escape. Do contact Oceanic and see what they have to say, and, as above, try a smaller diameter piece of tubing.  Sounds like the one you used is too large, shouldn't restrict the drain that much. Do send us a picture of this set-up, I'm curious now.> Thanks. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Steve Starr

Re: Equipment/Overflows/Gurgling Sounds   4/26/06 We are going to try a smaller aspiration line tomorrow.  I will try to get you a photo soon, although I am not sure what you will be able to determine from it. <Steve, never ask a pilot if he knows how to fly.  Sometimes it helps to see what we are trying to correct.  Do send a photo of the under tank refugium set-up also. Regards, James (Salty Dog)>

Overflow Noise - 03/04/06 Greetings crew- <<Hello Penny>> I have emailed in the past, and received a very informative response, so here I go again. <<Hopefully I will live up to your expectations.>> I have read FAQs until my eyes hurt; posted questions on all the forums I'm a member of; asked friends...done all I could before I decided to bug you guys.   <<Not "bugging" us, really.>> Here's my problem:  the water overflowing from my main tank into my sump/fuge is very very loud. <<A common problem.>> I finally got all the other noises under control and I just can't figure out how to get this one down.   <<Let's see if I can help.>> My setup:  I have a 105 gallon Oceanic (does this make a difference?) with a single overflow. <<Depends...how much water are you trying to push through this?>> The over flow uses a 1.5" tube.  The water flows through the Durso standpipe setup that was provided with the tank into the sump. <<Ah yes, the standpipe is 1.5" but I believe the bulkhead/drain are only 1".>> Here's where the noise happens.  It sounds like Niagara Falls.  Then it flows into the 'fuge section, and finally into the return section.  We were using a CA3000 pump, but at 1000gph, were told this was too much. <<Indeed>> We replaced it with a Mag7, which solved the problem we were having with the flushing/burping sound. <<Mmm, still might be too much...depending on head height, you may find a Mag5 will solve your problem.>> The water is returned to the tank through a .75" tube/pipe.  (All 'soft' plumbing).  If you need more information on my setup, please let me know.  Any thoughts on this? <<Plenty...I think you are still trying to push too much water through that single 1" overflow, I recommend you try to turn no more than 300/350 gph through your sump.  Believe me, it will make a difference.  If you need more flow than this in your tank; and you do, use a larger pump to plumb a closed-loop for the system.>> Thanks in advance for your help! -Penny <<Regards, EricR>>

Overflow Noise II - 03/06/06 Thanks, Eric, for the speedy and informative response. <<Welcome...but looks like you didn't need my help after all.>> We cut a little bit off the end of the drain hose, so it's not so submerged in the water, and drilled a few holes in it.  We also turned it a little (it curves naturally) so that it wasn't draining the water directly into the wall of the sump.  Voila...virtual silence. <<Ah yes, didn't think about/consider this earlier...don't tell Bob, we'll just keep this between us...>>   The Mag-7 is about as low as we wanted to go, since we have a tank that is taller rather than longer (48longx18widex28high).  The head height is a little more than if we had a long, low tank. <<Hmm, seems like you have this all figured out...was this a test? <grin>  But do think about installing a gate-valve on the outlet side of the pump as this will allow you to temper flow as/if necessary.>> For flow we're using a Wave2K, which we really like. <<Ooh, neato!  But you didn't mention this before...should be plenty of flow for this tank.>> Any other thoughts? <<Mmm...I think you've made me obsolete.>> Do you think we should still consider a closed-loop in addition to the Wave2K? <<nope>> We're only doing softies, LPSs, and we'll do some clams eventually.  We don't have any desire to get into SPS. Thanks again for the response! _Penny <<Anytime Penny!  Regards, EricR>>  

Ready to drown self in tank because of noise problems and sleep deprivation   12/28/05 Hi there! <Hello Tara> I have been trying desperately to figure out how to reduce the noise on my brand new tank, because ever since I have filled it with water, I have been unable to sleep! And quickly I am becoming sleep deprived. I have tried researching how to fix my tank on the net, and I have found and read your entire FAQ for fixing sump noise, but there are so many things that I don't understand, being a sump newbie, so I feel quite hopeless when I hear people talking about tank parts and I have no idea what they are. I have learned a bit, and have already troubleshot a bit of the tank noise, but  at this point I am getting pretty desperate and need your help! Tank background: 75 gallon reef ready tank with (I think, not sure) a one inch bulkhead assembly for the outflow, and a 3/4 inch assembly for the pump Megaflow all glass sump model 3 (no idea how big it is, it doesn't say) I got one of those MegaFlow overflow kits, and I got the RIO 17 HF pump doing somewhere between 1090 and 840 gallons per hour for the return (I have about 2 feet of hosing so I am assuming that it is about smack in the middle of this at about 950 g per h (see? I have learned something while researching) Everything as of yet is standard (what came with the kits...) Through troubleshooting I managed to fix some of the Durso pipe problems, and the top of the tank now whispers... I also wrapped the pump in some insulative material, so I barely hear it now, so the pump is not a problem...<I'd be unwrapping the pump if it isn't submerged or you will burn it out.  The pump needs to dissipate heat.> OK. Problem: The return pipe water is so full of air, it crashes against the glass on the overflow section of the sump, bubbles into the next section of the sump, and makes a huge amount of noise, kind of like a dishwasher running all night... (thus the lack of sleep). So the question is, how do I fix it? I have read lots of things about possibly reducing this noise, but am not sure what I need to do without completely wrecking my brand new stuff. so: I have thought that this might be because of the pump being to strong? <Possibility> The return drain is corrugated and a bit to long, so I thought that it might be making noise and adding to water mixing with the air? should I shorten it with flexible PVC? <As long as it is not kinked anywhere you should be OK.  I believe your pump is cavitating, that is it is sucking air with the water out of the sump.  If you see a whirlpool of water going into the intake, then you will need to put a gate valve on the outlet of your pump to control the output. Also make sure all fittings are tight, especially on the inlet side.  Did you use Teflon plumber tape on all your threaded fittings?> I have read that some people have suggested putting the return pipe only 2" below the water in the overflow section, but I am not sure if this is a good suggestion for my case, and I am a bit hesitant to change the standard setup (the return pipe is long, and reaches the bottom of the overflow and has 1" wide perforated horizontal lines in it) <The Durso system should work fine, I wouldn't change anything.  Your problem is your pump is sucking air somewhere.> I have also heard some people add a t bracket to the base of the return pipe but once again, not sure if I should be doing this. <Let's correct the cavitation problem and all should be well.> The one thing I know I don't want to do (and I am worried that you will suggest it) is cut a bigger hole out of the bottom of my 3000 dollar tank and try to jury rig something bigger than the current pipe that is draining into my overflow... especially since the best tool I have in my house for this use would be a nail file...<No need to do this.> And if this is your only and final solution, than can someone please tell me why tank sump drains and pipes don't come wider standard anyway?!!! (oh please don't suggest this- I think the tank says tempered glass do not drill anyway.... Thanks for taking the time to listen to my worried rambles, and I look forward to hearing from you!!!!!<You're welcome.  Let me know how you make out.  James (Salty Dog)> -Tara
Re: ready to drown self in tank because of noise problems andsleepdeprivation   12/29/05 Hi James (Saltydog),<Hello Tara> Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. <You're welcome> I am not sure if I have explained my problem well though, as your explanation seems to be referring to the pump itself , whereas my problem is not at the pump side of things, but at the water pipe that leads from my tank into the sump overflow box. (I was calling this the return pipe... meaning the return pipe into the sump, not the return pipe out to the fish tank (see? this is probably why I could not find an answer to my problem in your FAQ! lol) To answer your query about the pump: the pump does seem to be sufficiently under water enough that it is not sucking air, or whirlpooling air into the pump itself, and it is underwater, so it should stay cool with the use of the water. Well, After EXTENSIVE work today on the darned fishtank, 3 trips to home depot, 2 to the LFS, and some home experimenting, we have thus decided: Just in case the pump is too big and this is the reason why we are sucking too much air, we have a pump that is one size lower on order, should get it sometime next week. Flexible 1" PVC does collapse when trying to use it for the intake hose (so obviously we can't use it) , BUT it was clear, so we were able to try an experiment with the tubing itself:  while the pump was running and we could see the water flowing down the hose, we took an exacto knife to one part of it where there appeared to be air (while the water was flowing down the tube) , and lo and behold, we created a bleed hole for air to escape: the blowing air noise in the sump overflow immediately stopped. YIPPEE!  Course, now we had a collapsing tube with a hole in it for our sump return..... We tried to jury rig another bleed valve with PVC from home depot, and almost flooded our living room, so not sure what to do now. We now know that we have to somehow make a bleed valve (unless there is any other way to get the air pressure out of the tube?) Is there possibly a KIT for this? Or should we carry extra flood insurance for the next do it yourself job? Thanks for the input! (In the meantime the fishtank is sitting disabled, and my husband and I are ready to slide it all over the 4th story window...) <Can you go up another floor to make sure everything gets broken?:):)  Tara, have you contacted the dealer or All Glass for their input to this problem.  The Durso pipe (J pipe) is suppose to eliminate air/noise etc. Take a look at this All-Glass link.  Does your set up look like this?  Is the little button on top of the J tube a bleeder of some kind?   http://www.all-glass.com/products/aquariums/index.html James (Salty Dog)> <<These pipes often need to be aspirated... see WWM re. RMF>> -Tara

Re: Ready to drown self in tank because of noise problemsandsleepdeprivation Sorry, I tried sending this this am, and I am not sure if it worked... > Yup, my mega flow accessory kit looks exactly like that one, and as I said, > it flows very smoothly on the top of the tank. I have Pictures! > I have labeled them so this should be pretty straight forward now... > If you  look at the sump intake picture, you will see corrugated hose on  the > left entering the tank. this is the hose that I replaced with clear  plastic > PVC and drilled a hole into it while the water was flowing through it into > the sump. the air bubbling noise in the overflow suddenly vanished, as it > now had an escape valve through the hole I pierced through the tubing. > Course I obviously couldn't keep it that way...we tried to make an air escape > valve using a T intersection PVC, but the water bubbled up the T intersection and all over the floor... > I hope that this helps! And more importantly, that you have a brilliant, > fast and easy solution to my problem so that I can actually turn on the tank ;) > I am leaving for work, so I copied this email to my work email. when you > reply, could you please "reply all" and then I can communicate with you this > afternoon as well, if you have time. > thanks again for your brain work on this matter. > (PS: we tried getting the tank up to the 5th level but it wouldn't fit up > the spiral stairs ;) <Tara, I viewed your photos and to be quite honest, I'm at a loss for words...everything seems to appear normal except your hose feeding the wet/dry.   I would  hard pipe (unless you can find someone to make a shorter hose) the overflow to the wet/dry filter with PVC and install a union for sump removal if ever needed.  I think this may help you since you can't shorten that type of hose.  If you look at the way your hose is "S" shaped, I believe you are trapping air, (similar to a toilet bowl) and I believe it is the reason why the noise goes away when you punctured it.  If/when you hard pipe this, use 45's and not 90's so you have a slope going into the wet/dry.  Other than this, I see no problem areas.  James (Salty Dog)> <<James... this line needs to aspirated... Hello! RMF>> > -Tara

The NOISY areas  

Re: Eureka ... ongoing/solved noise issue 1/1/06 Hey Salty, Just wanted to email you to say that I actually solved the noise issue... Now my tank is purring away quietly in the background... and the solution was quite simple... After a few more trips to home depot and a few hours staring at my tank trying to be smarter than it, I realized that the fundamental problem was the air being mixed with the water as it drained into the sump, so to fix it, get rid of the air entirely... (I know you may caution me at a point in this explanation, so read it all first ;) Here goes: I dismantled the Durso and modified it to be a shaft intake, with a cone sieve to keep debris out of the line. For safety, I got some 1 cm aluminum chicken wire from a dismantled filter (found in the air conditioner filter section of home depot), and wrapped it around the cone sieve, so now the only sized debris that can ever be sucked into the drain hose would be smaller than one cm. <Tara, I'd get some plastic screen instead of the aluminum.  The salt is going to cause problems with the aluminum.> Then I attached a ball valve to the hose under the tank, and throttled it back to a point where it was still sucking harder then the pump was pumping, but the amount of air being sucked in was negligible. WOW! great! Solved the first problem: there was now NO noise coming from the sump, and the noise at the top of the tank was a super small trickle noise, which is quite nice in the back ground, and not invasive at all. OK, for the second problem: using a ball valve still makes me a bit nervous, as even though I minimized the debris size that can ever be sucked into the drain, the weakness to this system is that there is always a slight higher potential of that drain clogging, and the sump continuing to pump, thereby raising the water level and overflowing the tank. SO, I have on order an emergency shutoff valve for the pump: as soon as the water level lowers a certain amount in the sump (pre-flood levels of course) the valve trips a switch and the pump gets shutoff. TADA! Fully foolproof system, and completely silent to boot, and I didn't even need to go get a smaller pump. We are going to keep the one that is overrated for our tank, cause the tank can filter better... Oh, and it is pretty easy to set the ball valve, so part of my weekly cleaning regime will be to open the ball valve fully, (which will drain any potential debris particles that accumulate on it) and then reset it... I actually feel better about this system then I do about the original setup. I feel that I will safely be able to go away on vacation without panicking that the tank will wreck our hardwood floor in the case of a system failure... Well I hope that this helps someone else out there with similar problems to mine. Have you heard of this solution before? I can show picks of the setup if anyone is interested... Cheers, Going to finally buy some cycling fish ! *yippee* <Don't understand why you had to go through all this.  This is a proven system that requires no modification.  I'd contact All-Glass and ask them where you went wrong, send them photos and all.  James (Salty Dog)> -Tara

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