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FAQs About Sump/Filters Pumps/Plumbing/Circulation 2

Related FAQs: Sump Pumps/Plumbing/Circulation 1, Sump Pumps/Pb/Circ 3, 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 PlumbingHoles & Drilling 1, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing NoiseMake 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 FiltrationMechanical, 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

Might that certain someone crawl out/into your plumbing lines, hmmm?

Plumbing question, sump   12/13/07 Hello, <Hello Jeff.> I hope all is well with the WWM crew! <It is on my end, trying to spread Christmas cheer.> I just purchased a used 72 gal bow front. I am trying to get the plumbing worked out and have a few questions. There is a 20 gallon long sump. I have a quiet one 4000 return pump stepped down to 3/4 inch with a ball valve for my return. It has about 4 ft vertical head with 1 90 degree elbow. I used the reef central calculator and get 587 gph as my return rate. My overflow is just shy of 1 inch id, 9/10" as far as I can tell. The bulk head has a barbed connector for flexible PVC so it robs a tiny bit of diameter. <OK> I am trying to figure out how much flow the overflow can handle. I tried dumping water down the overflow and timing the gallons for a minute and I got a flow rate of 240. 4 gallons in 1 minute = 240 gph. I read somewhere in the FAQ that I should get around 300 gph for a 1 inch overflow. Is this the max? <Yes, 240 for this set up sounds reasonable.> I am using a Durso as well. I had the return pump running full blast for several hours and the tank did not overflow so I can not figure out how the overflow can keep up if it only handles 240 gph out but the return is blasting 587 back in. <The pump is likely not actually flowing this amount. Calculators tend to be overly optimistic. Is there an intermittent flushing/slurping noise? Overflows can flow more than specified by creating a siphon, but this cannot be trusted.> I want to add another pump and plumb it up the back of the tank and then T it off to make 3 outflows along the back instead of power heads. I would like to run this pump from the sump as well but I don't know if the overflow can handle it and I don't want a mess on the floor. <The overflow will not handle this.> Is there some error in my calculations? If not should the tank already be overflowing? <If you flow the bulkhead at its absolute limit you will likely end up with water on the floor sooner or later. It becomes a balancing act that you will eventually lose.> Will I be able to add the pump, I am thinking another quite one 4000, to the sump or will I have to draw the water from the display? <Definitely intake from the display.> I am trying to get as close to 1400 gph turnover as I can. I am planning this tank as a soft coral with fish display. I have a 30 gallon FOWLR now but it is not drilled and have no sump. This is my first plumbing project. Thanks for all your help and for your great site. I spend 2 or 3 hours a day reading through it for the past several months steady planning this. Kind Regards, Jeff <Great to hear, keep reading. There is a wealth of knowledge available. Welcome, best wishes, Scott V.>

Question Regarding Two-Pump Sump And Refugium Return Setup -- 12/13/07 Hi, <<Hello>> I can't seem to find an answer to this question in your website and I'm wondering if you can help me. <<I shall certainly try>> I have a 110 gallon FOWLR with a wet/dry sump and an Eheim Hobby 1262 return pump (900gph) that is currently running. <<Okay>> I'm planning to add another sump just for refugium (live rocks and macro algae) and use my Mag-Drive (1200gph). <<Mmm'¦>> Would there be any problem if both sumps (with different pump speed) are running separately into the same tank?? <<Even though you have not provided any information re your plumbing scheme (Number/size of drains, how these vessels will be 'fed' from the tank), I recommend you do NOT try this'¦ Even if the drains are sized appropriately for the flow rates, you will have great difficulty/an impossible task keeping the flow regulated for the individual pumps (and before you ask'¦no'¦valves on the drain lines are not the answer). What is most likely to happen is the flow will equalize between the overflows causing one pump to starve and one pump to not keep up (overflow the vessel). Even if you use dissimilar drain diameters, the smaller will be overwhelmed and surge'¦with the resultant noise and bubbles. Nor is utilizing two pumps of the same flow/manufacture going to work as differences in head-pressure caused by subtle differences in plumbing, even differences in the rate of buildup of bio-film within the plumbing, will still keep the flow from being exactly the same between the two. Your best option is to plumb the refugium to gravity-drain in to the pump chamber of the sump (fed by one of the drains). And there's no reason you can't put both pumps here (the sump) if you wish to have the extra flow'¦assuming your drains can handle the total output, which for the two pumps you have listed I recommend three -- 1/1/2' drains OR two -- 2' drains '¦minimum'¦>> Thank you in advance for your response. Regards, Miguel <<Happy to share Miguel'¦ Do write back if what I have stated is not clear or you wish to discuss further. EricR>>

Flow through sump, des.  -- 10/28/07 Crew, Thank you in advance. <Scott V, glad to be here with you.> I came across something that I had not considered before today and want to run it by you. I'm setting up my 240g with 100g sump. I've done some testing with my return pump and it's giving me about 2400 gph with my current manifold configuration. I have four 1.5" drains along the back wall. <Nice big tank with big sump. Good safety margin on overflow size vs. flow.> Seeing how I do not want powerheads or a CL, this 10X turnover is about right for my planned inhabitants. My only concern is that 100% of this will be through my sump. I am not concerned with the noise aspect of this set up as everything, sans display, will be a through wall set up in the garage. Today I read something about in sump skimmer inefficiency with too much flow through the sump. (I have Euro-Reef RS250) Have you heard of this? Should I be concerned? What exactly are they talking about? Have I overlooked any other drawbacks to this volume through the sump? Any advice is appreciated! Thanks, Ben <The ideal setup would have just enough water coming through the overflow as the skimmer can process, the overflow would skim a thin layer of surface water and it would flow directly into the skimmer. This will give you the highest concentration of the organics you want your skimmer to remove and theoretically give you the highest efficiency per pass (these same compounds your skimmer removes are the most concentrated on surface). The issue you are reading about is the fact that too much flow will dilute that surface water, thus your skimmer sees less of these organics per gallon, technically being less efficient per pass. The flow through the sump and its effect on the skimmer performance is a matter of optimizing, not necessity. Fact of the matter is you have a lot of carrying capacity with your tank, you add to that a large sump and you picked out a awesome skimmer that will still perform great. Have fun, sounds like a nice setup, Scott V.>

Sump/Overflow Question'¦Best Way To Temper Flow? -- 09/01/07 Good morning all, <<Greetings Daryl'¦evening now>> Thank you again for the world of info on your website. <<A collaborative effort'¦we hope you find it useful>> I hope this finds you well. <<Doing fine, thank you>> I recently moved my 55-gallon FOWLR to a 75-gallon aquarium with an overflow. In the 55 I was using a canister filter and skimmer; the 75 is my first venture with a sump. <<A worthwhile change/upgrade>> I am currently using my CPR hang-on skimmer with the 75, planning on eventually using a skimmer in the sump instead. <<Ah good'¦perhaps one from my current fave, Euro-Reef>> The sump is a Megaflow 2, which is sized for a 75-gallon aquarium; my return pump is rated at 950 gal/hr. Sump intake is through a 1 1/4" hose and is output through a 3/4" hose connected to the pump (not split). My question is this: The volume of water coming into the sump tends to overflow the prefilter pad daily; I rinse or change the pad, which quiets things down for awhile, but in about 24 hours I am back to overflowing the pad. <<Perhaps a coarser pad would not clog to quickly>> The water in the overflow bubble chamber is approximately 3/4" above the prefilter tray, which seems (to me) a bit much. <<Why, what problem is this causing?>> What is the best way to lessen the water coming in to the sump? <<Reduce the volume of water being pumped up to the tank>> Am I better off installing a valve on the intake to lessen the flow into the sump, or would I be better off splitting the return to the tank? <<Don't place a valve on the drain line, but rather, install a 'gate-valve' on the 'output' side of the pump to temper flow as needed>> My guess is that splitting the return would be a better option, as I would also increase water movement with a second output, but I would very much appreciate your opinion. <<You can split the return if you wish'¦but do still install the valve for best 'control' of the flow rate>> Thank you in advance for all your help. <<Happy to assist>> All good wishes, Daryl <<And to you in kind. EricR>>

Re: Sump/Overflow Question'¦Best Way To Temper Flow? -- 09/03/07 Sorry to bother again...very quick follow up: <<Hey Daryl! No bother mate>> I have a check-valve on the output of my pump. <<Is a mistake to use/rely on these devices in my opinion. Much better to design/install plumbing such that the sump will handle all transient water volume. The check-valve imparts significant resistance requiring a larger pump (and associated cost/energy consumption) than normal, and will most assuredly fail at some point>> If I install a gate-valve, should it go inline before or after the check valve? I would assume the gate-valve would come first, followed by the check-valve... <<This might be fine (If you are determined to keep the check-valve). Though depending on the size/type of valve and how much you need to reduce flow, you may find that the valve stops all flow before the desired rate is reached if the gate-valve is installed first. This is probably of little concern, but a bit of experimentation will tell>> Thank you again, and all good wishes, Daryl <<Happy to help. EricR>>

Some General Questions On Sump/Closed-Loop Plumbing -- 07/03/07 Hi. <<Hello>> I was wondering if you could please answer a few quick questions regarding plumbing. <<Sure'¦ask away!>> I am setting up a 135-gallon reef with 55-gallon sump. <<Very nice>> Currently the tank has 4-holes drilled in the upper back glass panel that fit 1-inch bulkheads. <<Okay>> I'm planning on using all 4 as overflows out of the tank. <<Do figure only about 300gph per'¦still, 1200gph is a LOT of flow to process through the sump (if that is your plan)>> I was planning on plumbing 2 of the overflows down into the sump where an Iwaki rxt30 <<I think you mean the 30RLXT?>> (19 gallons/minute at 0 head) will return the water back into the tank (approximately 5-feet head). <<Be sure to plumb a 'gate-valve' on the output side of the pump to allow tempering of the flow if necessary>> The other 2 overflows I planned on incorporating into a closed-loop system with another pump similar to the Iwaki with similar flow rate (I don't have it yet). <<Ah! Excellent'¦but you really only need one of these throughputs for this purpose>> Would the two 1-inch overflows per pump be sufficient to minimize sucking and gurgling noise, or should I plumb all 4 overflows down into the sump, forget about the closed-loop and use some powerheads instead? <<If you keep the flow rate for the sump drains in the range I suggested you will likely be fine, although even then sometimes a bit of tweaking (aspirating the lines, experimenting with different configurations of the termination ends, etc.) can be necessary due to the vagaries of system design. As for the closed-loop, a single throughput directly plumbed will be enough to supply the pump (the fluid dynamics are different than those associated with 'gravity' drains). You could use the last bulkhead to supply the sump and be even further ahead of the game'¦or even use it to supply an in-line refugium>> Or even a third option: use 3 overflows for the sump and 1 for a closed-loop with a smaller pump? <<You can do this with you current planned pump. Unless there is something about your design that will restrict the water volume (e.g. -- bushing 'down' the pipe size), as long as you match the bulkhead/pipe diameter to the intake port on the intended pump you should be fine>> What size (flow rate) pump would work ok with a 1-inch overflow to minimized gurgling and sucking noise? <<As explained'¦unless the throughputs are positioned very close to the surface where a very strong pump/flow rate may create some cavitation. But again, be sure to plumb a gate-valve on the output side of the pump>> Also, on the return plumbing from the sump (and closed-loop if there will be one) should I reduce the 1-inch return pipe just before it enters the tank after the T, or should the two pipes putting water into the tank remain 1-inch (the output on the pump is 1-inch)? <<Reducing the diameter as you indicate often makes the return easier to handle/place/disguise, but will also reduce flow/add to head pressure'¦as will that 'T' you mentioned. All the more reason to slightly oversize your pumps and adjust flow with the gate-valve if needed. For the closed-loop, to will need to reduce the terminal ends/nozzles to ½' to achieve a useable velocity'¦and then likely no more than two of these (for closed-loop applications figure about 350 -- 400 gph per ½' nozzle)>> Lastly, should the bulkheads be slip or thread on the outside of the tank portion? <<Is up to you>> I want thread so they can easily be removed just in case, but am worried about leaks. <<I wrap my threaded fittings with several layers of Teflon tape'¦or you could smear some silicone sealant on the threads just before assembly and let it cure before use (this doesn't 'glue' the joint but does help greatly with creating a drip-proof seal>> Your expert opinion would be greatly appreciated here. <<Mmm, don't consider myself an expert'¦but prefer to think of myself as a 'student' of the hobby>> Thank you Jon <<A pleasure to assist. EricR>>

Sump pump calculation  4/25/07  I'm planning for a 375g tank. I want to have a 75g sump/refugium with a Euro Reef RC500 skimmer. It says it comes with 3 Eheims 1262 pumps. It's rated at 634gph. <Okay...> I used the sump and pump calculator and it comes out to 375gph for 5 times over. <Mmm... but you won't get this flow rate... with these pumps, at this head height, through the plumbing... likely more like half this> Do I need to get a bigger sump? I may be able to fit a 100g but it still calculates to 500gph. Is there a way to slow it down or do I just have to live with the higher turn over rate? <Mmm, are a few ways... I see you have gate valves on the discharge side in your graphic...> I wanted to keep the pumps outside the sump but I can save space and make the sump bigger if I put the pumps in. Will it be quieter? <These pumps are very quiet> Will it heat the water more? <To have the pumps in the water? Yes> I have to have the sump in the stand. I was thinking of using 1.5" return and overflow pipes since the RC500 has a 1.5" outlet size. The calculator comes out to about 5ft of head loss with 150gph flow rate for each side. The Eheims 1262 looks like it will pump 700gph with 5ft head loss. I want to have two pumps, one for each return that will split into two. Can I just slow it down or is it better to go with smaller pumps? The next size smaller will pump 640gph together. Thanks. http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a232/pikherchu/Aquarium/AquariumLayout13.jpg <I would set all up as per your graphic, fire over and see what you think... I don't believe you will have a problem here... But you'll want to (very likely) add other circulation... Perhaps Hydor or Tunze internal pumps... maybe a separate closed-loop with an external pump... Bob Fenner>
Re: Sump pump calculation 4/27/07 Thanks, I will go with two Eheims 1262 for the return pumps to match the same pumps on the skimmer. I guess I read it wrong but the website says the max pump output is 900gph, Max Delivery Head: 11'6". <Mmm, yes... this is the stated stat.s... In actuality, magnetic driven pumps "lose" a good deal of pressure/volume-flow in actual application... particularly with any "turns"...> I can always turn it down like you said. <Yes... but likely unnecessary here> Another question, for the refugium I was thinking of adding a 24" PFO LED light fixture. Should I go with the 13,000K or 20,000K? <Lower temp. preferred> I want to prevent heat since it's in the stand and possibly save a little electricity. BTW, I know it was hard to read the diagram since I couldn't figure out how to save the PowerPoint in high resolution but I do have a Tunze Turbelle Stream Kit TS24 and also Tunze 7400/2 powerhead for the return. <Very nice units> Also since this is like the hundredth email I sent, let me know if you want Macadamia nuts or something. I live in Hawaii and I can ship it to you. <Heeee! Just came back from the Big Island yesterday (and am out in Toronto visiting today... some frequent flyer miles now!), but do appreciated the offer... Mahalo for your kokua. Bob Fenner>

Regulating The Flow Through My Sump/Refugium -- 03/09/07 Hi, <<Hello>> I just have a question regarding the flow rate through my sump/refugium; I've done a lot of reading on WWM but can't find the answer I'm looking for. (sorry if I've missed it). <<No worries...let's see if I can help>> I'm just about to start building my sump tank, the first chamber shall house the skimmer, the second will be the fuge and then the return, the whole sump tank is roughly 25 gallons so the fuge shall hold roughly 13 gallons.  The skimmer shall be gravity fed with a 'T' junction before the skimmer taking excess water from the overflow (which can handle 2400 litres per hour) into the refugium. <<Ok...roughly 630 gph, for us colonials [grins]>> Obviously the water from the skimmer also will flow into the fuge. <<Yes>> After a little research I've read that the flow through the refugium should be very low, (max 10x the fuge volume). <<Depends really...a bare bottom refugium with Chaetomorpha macro-algae would likely be fine...but yes...generally, flow rates are 3-10 times the volume of the vessel>> The way I have first planned (above) means that all the water coming from the overflow would go through the fuge (2400 litres per hour) which I now know is a lot.  The problem I have is that I want to use as much flow as possible to help with turnover but at the same time keep the flow through the fuge down. <<I suggest you give it a try and see how it goes>> I did think to bypass the fuge (from the overflow and skimmer) to the return chamber and 'T' off the return pipe with a ball-valve and have some water redirected into the fuge but I still have water from my skimmer going into the fuge which will be around 800 litres an hour. <<And is a mere 210 gph...should do nicely in my opinion>> Would this be the best way to achieve this or am I missing something? <<Not 'missing' anything, I think this will be fine>> I hope that all makes sense. <<It does>> Thanks. Leo <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Sump Flow Rates and Powerhead Opinions - 2/20/07 Hello.   <Hey Pam, JustinN with you today.> I've been combing your Q&A's looking for the answer, but haven't found it yet.   <Ok> I'm getting conflicting advice from my LFS who seems very knowledgeable, and also from one of the most highly regarded forums...also seemingly very knowledgeable reef-keepers. <Often is just a difference of methodology, not necessarily one whom is right or wrong.> I'm buying a my first tank and have been doing a ton of research (books, online forums, LFS) <Excellent, this is the starting point of a successful hobbyist for certain.> I'm buying a 54g corner tank, with a Oceanic Micro Sump (approximately 15g...only thing that will fit in the stand).    <Sounds good> My LFS recommends a Eheim 1260 return pump in the sump (flow is 635gph which is about 11 times my display size) plus 1 power-head in the display, and the reefers on the forum, recommend the smaller Eheim 1250 (317gph which is about 5.8 x my display size) with 2 power-heads in the display.  They're saying the 635gph through a 15g sump will be too much flow through the small sump, causing lots of noise and micro-bubbles. <I would agree with the fellow reefers here, my friend. You could likely come up with a baffling system to negate a deal of the micro bubbles, but chances are you will always be competing with them from that flow, to some extent. Also, there's the factor of having to match your overflow rate to the sump, with the return pump -- at higher flow rates, can be harder to do.> I know from reading lots of your Q&A's, that you are anti power-heads in the display, but do you think the 635gph will be too much going through a 15g sump?   If it's not too much, will that be adequate flow without any power-head in the display at all?  Your points regarding powerheads definitely make sense.   Thanks so much! Pam <I would not say that we are anti-powerheads here, on the opposite side of the coin, I think that we are for the right solution for each individual tank, to which there is no steadfast rule, or specifics. Powerheads are very effective for their purpose, and can be utilized without great issue here. If you wanted to eliminate the powerheads in your tank though, do consider having another overflow and return plumbed into the tank. You could create a 'closed loop' here, utilizing a pump such as the Eheim 1260 and bypassing any excess filtration methods, just draining water from the tank into the pump system, and returning its flow to the tank itself. Both methods will serve your purpose just fine, my friend. Keep up the research, and welcome to the hobby! -JustinN>

Sump Questions, des.  2/19/07 Hi Crew, <Hello> My current setup is a 30 long display tank with 30lbs of live rock, 2 Aquaclear 50 powerheads (turning the water about 18x), sponge filter, so I am ready for quarantine, Prizm skimmer (I know these skimmer aren't the best). <In my opinion, they are a good skimmer for smaller tanks such as you have.>    There are no fish in the system yet, just Turbo snails, Nassarius snails, Red Striped Hermits, and tons of copepods.  It is my first saltwater tank and it matured very quickly due to the 100% cured live rock from my LFS.  My only regret is I wish I had bought a larger tank. <Always best to go with the largest system you can afford.> I am thinking about adding another 30-gallon long aquarium and converting it into a sump/refugium underneath <Whoa, if you should lose your siphon, you will pumping more water into the display tank than it can hold.> to really increase the copepod population and filter nitrates.    The reason I want my sump/refugium so large is because I will probably be upgrading to a much larger tank as soon as my 30 gal display is full, and my thinking is that if I go ahead and setup a 30 gal sump/refugium now, I won't have to setup a new one for a larger tank when I buy it.  Here's where I am getting stuck, by reading the refugium FAQ's I have determined that the flow through the refugium should be around 3-6x. I can accomplish this with an Eheim 1048 (about 150gph) but I cannot find an overflow box rated lower than 300gph, which is almost twice the flow of the Eheim 1048.  What should I do here? <Tee off the return line to feed the refugium.> The design of the sump/refugium would have the overflow box feeding into a skimming chamber, where I will incorporate the skimmer, bubble trap going into the second chamber that contains the refugium, baffle going into the return chamber.  I've got the design preliminarily worked out, but how do I figure out how large the return chamber should be?  I want to maximize refugium space but not at the cost making the return chamber too small. <Here is a link that will give you formulas to all your questions. http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/hlc2.php  Look at the left sidebar, a list of calculators available is listed.  James (Salty Dog)> Re: Sump and Return Pump Questions   2/14/07 Thanks for your prompt response.  I have a couple of additional questions.  I'm not great at math, so I would like to know if there is a way to determine how many gallons will drain from the (2) 1 1/2" overflows versus how much flow I will get from an Iwaki 100RLT (or one of the quieter models you mentioned....what pump would you recommend?). <Mmm, there are useful approximations... much can/does affect such... issues of added plumbing, horizontal runs in particular... There is a semi-useful "calculator" posted on Reefcentral.com... In practical applications, providing for excess... occlusion... is wise. Our collective evaluations of pump choice are posted... here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Do you see the links?> How much of a turnover would you recommend? <... also posted...> I will be creating the reef with walls on the ends and an open swimming area in the middle.  Would I be better with 4 returns versus 2?   <More than less> I will drain each overflow separately.  Concerning the refugium in the sump, would you recommend that I place a piece of Plexiglas with a few holes in it so reduce the flow rate through the refugium?   <Actually another bypass arrangement would be better... again...> Do you have any additional suggestions? <Heeeee! You're not joking I take it... sorry, just struck me as humorous>   Would you recommend any wavemaking devices? <Mmm, no... more gimmick than of use in most (small) hobbyist set-ups> I would prefer not to add powerheads because I used to have a 150 gallon reef and every time I used a powerhead, it would run for a day or two, then the motor would burn up. <There are better quality units... Look into Tunze here...>   I sincerely appreciate your feedback.  I would much rather get things right PRIOR to establishing the tank.   It will be much easier to do things right the first time than to correct them later.  Thanks again. <Am in total agreement... Read... the Net, books, perhaps conferring with other hobbyists... a club? A guru there? BobF> Scott

Sump Flow/Return Pump Selection - 12/07/06 I would like to add a sump to my tank and take off the canister filter. <<A fine idea>> I'm a little hesitant, due to the so called "flooding" in a power outage. <<Easily managed/avoided with careful placement/positioning of overflow/return plumbing>> My question is regarding the return pump. <<Ok>> My setup would be as follows for a 75 gallon FOWLR tank: 2 - Continuous siphon overflows (due to a non-drilled tank). <<The redundancy is smart planning>> 600 gph w/1" outlets & 100 gph Venturi lift pumps. <<I would only plan/expect to flow about 300-350 gph through a 1" overflow>> 1 - 12x12x24 tank for the sump divided into three compartments. 1st for the AquaC Remora Pro skimmer, heater & Chemi-Pure. 2nd for some live sand and rock with a compact light. 3rd for the return pump (here's were I am not sure). My pump has to pump more than 1200 gph? <<Mmm, no...the two 1" overflows will only handle about 700 gph combined before they become very noisy/a hassle to "tune">> Do you prefer one kind over another? <<I generally prefer a "submersible" pump for reasons of noise attenuation>> Could you recommend one? <<For your setup I would probably use a MagDrive 9.5 with a gate-valve installed on the output side of the pump to temper the flow as needed>> I want to make sure I get the right pump the first time and not get one that might be under or over powerful. <<I think the MagDrive (with installed gate-valve) would serve you well>> Your help would be most appreciated. <<Is my pleasure to assist>> Would you recommend a spray bar, power head, or just the return flow on the end of the return lines? <<You "could" use a spray bar along the upper-back of the tank, but I would probably just adjust/position the outlet pipe near the surface (to preclude back-siphoning too much water when the power is off) and pushing water along the length of the tank.  You could then position a powerhead on the opposite end facing the pump return for some random turbulent flow>> If using one of the above, would I need the use of additional powerheads for circulation in the tank? <<Additional flow is almost always beneficial>> Maybe one or two on the bottom? <<Wouldn't hurt>> Thanks in advance for your advice. <<You're quite welcome>> I think your site is wonderful and I've learned a great deal in such a short amount of time. <<Thank you...is a collaborative effort>> I would love to get your book. <<Bob has several, but 'The Conscientious Marine Aquarist' is a great addition to any marine hobbyist's library>> Dawn <<Regards, EricR>> Sump/refugium   11/24/06 Hello, <Hi there>             I have a question regarding a sump/refugium.  I have researched the site but haven't found any information on exactly what I would like to do.  I currently have a 55g with 55lbs of LR.  I have a 2.5in sand bed and I am slowly adding to it to increase the depth to acceptable DSB levels.  I have 2 Seio M620's and 2 MaxiJet 600's for powerheads, a Remora Pro, 1 blue damsel, 2 percula clowns.  I have decided to add a sump/refugium before adding more livestock but they both have to be upstream.  Here is my question.  I purchased a 29g tank and I was originally thinking that I would divide the tank in half.  I would put a 6" DSB, LR, and Chaetomorpha in the left half of the tank drawing water from the main tank through a mini jet 404. (I have tested this and I can get almost the full range it says on the box. I don't have to pump up more than 8 in.)  This would gravity feed through a 1" bulkhead back to the tank.  The other half would be the sump where I would store the Remora Pro, heaters, activated carbon at times, and a Magnum HOT at times, with baffles to reduce micro-bubbles.  I was thinking of a sock filter or something to catch larger stuff from entering the chamber. <Best to situate/place this on/over a fitting inside the first chamber line on the inside... fed by the pump/powerhead> I would also use a pump to draw from the display tank and a gravity feed back through a 1" bulkhead. <?... as a totally separate process I take it... a "return manifold" to use the parlance. NOT in association with this upstream refugium> I have read that a 1" bulkhead is realistically good for 200gph.  I will figure out what size pump to buy for that but here is my question.  Would it be better to design the sump/refugium like I explained above so that the fuge and sump are fed separately at different flow rates or would it be better to incorporate the fuge into the sump using 1 pump and 1 gravity feed back to the display? <This latter... one pump... not two here> Your site is incredible and filled with an unbelievable amount of good information.  There would be many aquarists who would have given up if it wasn't for your website and the time your crew has spent in answering questions. Thank You Paul Kelly <A pleasure to serve, help you in your successes. Bob Fenner>

Small Bubbles from Sump Return Pipe -- 11/01/06 Hi Eric, <<Hey Ken>> I have an annoying dilemma. <<Uh-oh>> Would you have an opinion as to what is causing small bubbles coming out of my return pipe into my tank? <<Sure...I have opinions on most anything <grin>.  It is likely you either have a very small plumbing leak that is 'sucking' air...or the return pump is pulling bubbles from somewhere in the sump>> It has been like this since the first day. <<A very common issue>> I was told last week by someone that it was probably because it was new sea water in the tank. <<...!?  I don't think so>> However it is still occurring.  As you know my tank is a 90-gallon AGA mega-flow tank which has the internal skimmer box. <<Yes>> I put saltwater in it 8 days ago.  6 days ago I added about 120 lbs of live rock.  I have a 48' MTC Beckett style skimmer coming off the other side of my sump which has two baffles. <<Have you checked to ensure the baffles are keeping bubbles away from the return pump?>> When I look closely at the return to tank side of the sump, I really don't see any bubbles to speak of so I do not think that this is the reason. <<Ah...ok>> Also when I shut the pump off and turn it back on, a lot of large bubbles come out of the pipe going into the tank. <<When the pump is off the return line drains, yes?  The 'large bubbles' would be the air that is pushed back out the pipe when the pump is turned back on>> Is there air in the system? <<Possibly from a small (pinhole) leak at a connection/union>> The water flow from my sump to my tank is as follows: ¾' pvc flex tubing into ¾' union >>> Blueline 40 pump >>> 3/4' flex tubing  >>> bushing to increase to 1'>>> 1' ball valve >>> 1' union >>>1' ball valve >>> Bushing to decrease to ¾' >>> ¾' PVC >>> two 90 degree ell's into my chiller >>> two 90 degree ell's from my chiller >>> ¾' flex PVC into the bottom of the tank for the return. <<Lots of joints...you need to check each one of these (that is 'out of water') to determine if one is 'leaking' air in to the system.  You can smear Vaseline around each joint, though this must be 'cleaned carefully' to keep the petroleum component from deteriorating the plastic (Bob does not recommend this method), or you can get a silicone grease for doing this.  Seal each joint one at a time, waiting a few minutes each time to see if the bubbles stop>> The other problem (and maybe related) is that when I put my hand in front of the return line into the tank, I hardly feel any flow.   The Blueline pump is rated at 790 gph @ 5' head.  I used a head loss calculator and I should have at least 560 gph. <<Did you also take in to account the turns/valves in the plumbing?  Each 90-degree ell adds a foot to the head height, and I would also add a foot for each ball valve in the line...the unions and the chiller will be adding some additional resistance to flow as well  All in all, you will likely find the pump is less adequate than you thought for this installation>> I am not sure what that feels like against my hand, but it has to be more than what it seems. <<Only way to know for sure is to direct the output in to a container of known capacity and time how long it takes to fill>> I appreciate at any idea someone may have. <<Hope I've given you a few>> Thanks, Ken <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Small Bubbles from Sump Return Pipe -- 11/01/06 Hi Eric, <<Hello Ken>> Thanks for the quick reply. <<Welcome>> When I get home tonight I am going to shut-off the skimmer and see if that is the culprit or not. <<cool>> With regards to your other idea (pin hole leaks etc), I need to re-do some of the plumbing as I exchanged my chiller and I will have the new skimmer on Friday.  I think I will just re-do all the piping instead of playing detective. <<Okay>> Is there any problem with gluing PVC and then running the system with the live rock?  Any toxicity issues? <<Give the solvent an hour to cure and you'll be fine>> I used a head-loss calculator when I came up with my numbers. <<So you mentioned...>> It asks how many feet vertical/horizontal.  Number of valves, unions, 90's, 45's, etc.  It also lists all of the pumps that are used.  Pretty neat calculator. <<Sounds like it...if it is accurate <grin> >> I guess I have to get out my 3 gallon bucket, and see how long it takes to fill, and then multiply by 20. <<Mmm, not sure I follow...  I would time how long it takes to fill the bucket, divide that number in to 60 (minutes in an hour), and multiply that number by 3 (capacity of the bucket).  The result should be the GPH of the pump with the current plumbing configuration>> By the way, I ended up with an H&S A150 - 2001.  I heard H&S is supposed to be good. <<As have I.  I have seen this make of skimmer in action and it was impressive...it also looked to be well made/engineered>> It is similar to the Deltec AP-600 but rated a little larger than the Deltec.  In your opinion do you think this should be more than enough for a 90 reef? <<Should be more than adequate>> Thanks, Ken <<Cheers, EricR>> Major Micro-Bubbles in the Sump -- 10/23/06 I have a micro-bubble problem that has kept me up late at night for the past two weeks trying to solve!  I have narrowed down my source of the bubbles to the water draining into my sump. <<Not uncommon...often caused by trying to 'maximize' flow>> My system is a 215G aquarium which I purchased with just the factory drain holes.   I'm only trying to push about 700GPH combined through these holes with the use of two submersed Mag-Drive 7's. <<I see, but how large are these throughputs...how many?  Have you 'measured' the flow from the pumps or is this a guess?>> My sump consists of two 30G Rubbermaid containers joined a few inches from the top by two bulkheads.  I have four other containers cut out at the bottoms and tops to act as baffles.  Water enters from the drains by two separate pipes (1 pipe for each overflow drain) and into the skimmer container on one side of the first 30G container, and exits by the pumps from the totally opposite end of the 2nd 30G container, this is a good 4 1/2 ft of travel. <<Hmm...makes me think bubbles generated from the tank drains is not the issue here>> I have managed to cut out 97% of the bubbles that appear to be in the first container from reaching the pump intakes.  However that extra 3% is a good number of bubbles that I would love stop reaching my display, and I can see them just being pushed  along the baffles and getting drawn down into the pump intakes. <<Interesting...I would think with a good baffle system; and considering the distance of travel/the relatively slow water flow, that the bubbles would be easily dispersed.  I wonder if there is any other equipment along the way that could be generating more bubbles?  Maybe the skimmer?>> I'm thinking that I need to reduce the number of bubbles that escape the very first container, it is approximately 12'x14' and 12" deep and I can hardly see the bottom due to the number of bubbles. <<Ahh, okay...wow...that is a LOT of bubbles!  Sounds like you have a major air entrainment problem>> I have a plan to perhaps take out this container so that water is entering into the next container which is a good bit larger. <<From what you describe I don't think this is the best plan of attack>> I'm thinking I would have room to build a manifold system similar to those built for aquarium returns but have the water drain into it where it can be slowly released from a number of smaller exits as opposed to just the two 1" pipes. <<Not sure I follow this...but a series of 'over-under' baffles in the first container should have been able to deal with many of the bubbles>> Do you see any potential problems with doing this? <<Not 'problems'...just don't see it resolving your issue if you have as many bubbles as indicated> Do you suppose it would work? <<Dunno>> I can't figure out why it wouldn't but I don't want to build this thing if someone else can quickly tell me why it would fail. <<Can't do that without better 'detail' of what you plan.  But try this...throttle back the flow from the pumps and see if the bubbles decrease significantly.  Measure your true flow to the tank (time the filling of a container of known size) and adjust to about 300 gph per each 1' drain (175 gph for ¾' drains).  Most drain calculators/schedules will tell you these drains can handle twice this flow, but it is my opinion/experience that reducing by half is much more practical/less problematic to deal with and the flow will still be quite ample for the sump.  Also, make sure your drains are all absolutely at the same height.  If one is a bit lower than the other the flow through this can be significantly higher; causing the excessive bubbles.  If flow is not the issue, then look in to aspirating the drain lines and/or adding an ell to the termination point of the line in the sump.  The former will help release entrained air in the drain lines while the latter helps to guide bubbles away so they don't rise back in to the line blocking flow/creating more turbulence>> Thanks, Kevin <<Happy to assist.  Eric Russell>> Sump/Manifold Plumbing - 09/13/06 Hi again folks. <<Howdy Jim!>> I am smack in the middle of setting up my new 150XH reef (I know, it's a tall tank, but there were reasons), with a 40G Breeder sump/refugium. <<Cool!>> This was a very hurried job after my 72G bowfront sprung a major leak, <<Yikes!  Been there myself mate>> but now that the fish and corals are all (relatively) happily settled in their new home (instead of Rubbermaid tubs in the middle of the living room floor), I am considering how to redo the current temporary plumbing into something more permanent and helpful. <<Okay>> The tank is a predrilled/overflow tank from Perfecto, with one corner overflow (I had anticipated two) which has a drain and a return fit with 1.25" bulkhead fittings. <<Mmm...better than the usual 1" I suppose>> My original plan was to run the 1.25" drain through a bushing, down to 1", and directly into the input of my Poseidon2 Vortex Venturi skimmer sitting in the first 9" compartment of the sump, probably without even using a pump--just let gravity drive the skimmer.  Assuming I manage to achieve the right flow rate, which, based on the pump that came with the skimmer, should be 700-800 GPH, does this make sense, or is it a crazy idea? <<You will never achieve 700-800 gph with a 1" (bushed) gravity drain my friend...expect something closer to 400 gph.  But from what I can tell from a quick scan of the NET, this skimmer is not a "recirculating" and thus won't work by simply feeding water to the skimmer body.  This skimmer needs to pull water from the sump through the venturi pump to operate properly>> I was hoping this would assure 100% skimming of the incoming water, but I can just run the drain into the compartment and use the Via Aqua pump that came with the skimmer to drive it, if that makes more sense. <<This is what you will have to do>> Then through triple baffles/bubble trap (the idea for movable compression baffles was a huge help) into a 20"x18"x12" lighted refugium compartment with live rock, DSB, and macro-algae, then into a 7" return compartment with a MAG-12 return pump and a float valve for automatic make-up water. <<Sound fine>> I was then planning to run the output of the MAG-12 into a SCWD (by way of a union and a ball valve), and run one side of the SCWD into the pre-drilled return, adding an over-the-wall 3/4" adjustable return at the other end of the tank to achieve some random/surge circulation. <<I would use BOTH throughputs to feed the sump...one "may not" handle the flow from the MAG-12...at least not quietly>> I was then also planning to add a couple small powerhead driven circulation devices in the back, using a design I found on Reef Central that uses PVC to keep the powerhead up out of the tank and in the canopy where it doesn't add heat and can be maintained (strainer and PVC up to the powerhead, then PVC back down to the location where circulation is desired). <Hmm...have not seen this...>> Now that I've done some reading about plumbing on the site, I am questioning the entire plan. <<...?>> First, I am wondering if this would be enough circulation.  I figure the MAG-12 should be pushing about 900 GPH at 6' head. <<Will be quite less after the SCWD...but still possibly more than the single return will handle efficiently/quietly>>   Adding a couple 200 GPH auxiliary circulation devices would bring my total to 1300, or 6-7 turnovers per hour.  Given what I have read, that doesn't sound like a lot. <<Maybe go with some 400 vs. 200 gph powerheads>> Of course, I know it's important to consider what I am keeping, which is all LPS, mostly Euphylliids, Caulastrea, and various brains and Fungiids, none of which particularly like very strong current, correct? <<Not really...they will appreciate some good flow...but not being directly blasted.  It will likely take some finesse on your part>> Furthermore, it sounds like the SCWD would seriously reduce the flow rate of my return, and I don't think I want that. <<Indeed...maybe as much as 20%>> But the present, single laminar return is definitely not working.  I was considering running my return into a manifold, but it sounds like the return wouldn't begin to have enough flow to drive a decent manifold, so I would need to install a second, closed loop system. <<Agreed>> I don't have any intention of taking the tank down to drill additional holes, so would it be possible to run a closed loop manifold without drilling? <<I wouldn't>> An internally positioned pump? <<Love those Tunze Stream pumps>> I can't imagine an overflow would work to drive a manifold! <<Not recommended>> How can I achieve decent, non-laminar flow with the present tank system?  Any advice will be appreciated! <<Why not use a "smaller" return pump (returned over the top) and use one throughput for the sump drain, and the other throughput to feed a closed-loop?>> Jim Jensen <<Regards, EricR>>

Pump choice for sump   8/19/06 Hello Crew, I am setting up a 180 gallon FOWLR system. The tank has two internal overflows each capable of handling 2000gph. <... really? These would have to be a minimum of two inch internal diameter...> I will be running the plumbing into the wall at the base of the wall, running it across my basement ceiling aprox. 50 feet, and dropping it down aprox 3 feet into a 50 gallon sump by a sink in the washroom. <Mmm... trouble with the "run" here horizontally, and the transit volume/sump ratio... need a larger reservoir, big plumbing for allowing for water in play>    My question is, if this were your setup, would you go with 1 or 2 pumps, I am a little concerned about the noise level of two, and what would be your choice of pump ? Thanks. <One good pump... if you have funds for this, a back-up copy should there be trouble with the first. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i2/External_Pumps/External_Pumps.htm and the linked files below. I'd go with a Baldor-motored Sequence series pump here. I've installed hundreds of these around the world... dependable. Bob Fenner>

Re: pump choice for sump   8/20/06 Hello Bob, <Devin... scape>    I guess that the manufacturer was exaggerating a little bit. The bulk heads that they supplied are 1 1/4 and 3/4 ID. <... not surprising> So now I am wondering what exactly the overflows can handle . <A few hundred GPH maximum... there are a few factors to take into account, but likely 2-300 per... you can/could "bench test"...> This obviously will also change the sump size required. Is a 50 gallon still too small ? <Yes... the transit volume, the water in play... will overwhelm this should the power, pump fail... Can/should be tested for as well, and the sump marked with a "Maximum" water line... not filled beyond this mark.> And I was estimating the run at 50 feet, rounding up for "good measure" . After reading your reply I took out the tape measure and it is actually 35 feet. Is the run still too long ? Thank God you guys are here to help us amateurs. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/overfloboxfaqs.htm and the linked files above... Educate yourself... you'll soon know... Bob Fenner>

Closed-Loop...No Manifold - 06/12/06 Hi Crew - <<Hello!>> Need some advice please. <<I'll see what I can do...>> After reading the FAQs on circulation I have decided to install a closed-loop system w/o manifold on my 92 gal corner FOWLR. <<Okay>> I have a decent amount of circulation with out it - about 12X.  I think that's OK for a FOWLR but just want the extra flow and had extra parts, e.g.- pumps, etc. <<I see>> I plan to use a Quiet One 4000 pump and a 3/4-inch Sea Swirl wave maker.  My intake would be the intake tubing from an old canister filter. <<Mmm, as in a siphon tube?  Is this large enough?  Should be the same diameter is the intake port on the pump>> Because of space limitations I would like to place the pump in the sump with my return pump.  It will still be a closed-loop since my intake will take water from my display and will return it through my Sea Swirl powered by CL pump.  Plus if the pump leaks it will be in the sump. <<Agreed>> Are there any draw backs to this approach, e.g.- increased bubbles? <<As long as you don't have a loose/leaky joints air bubbles shouldn't be a problem, but starving the pump (too-small input line) may cause issues>> Will I still get the minimum head loss associated with closed-loops? <<At least, yes>> Finally does it really matter if I use Spa Flex, i.e.- Flexible PVC of flexible tubing instead of regular PVC? <<For the application you describe...should be fine>> Thanks in advance for any insight. <<Welcome, EricR>>

Plumbing Setup for New 135   6/10/06 Hello Crew,    <Scott>   I sent a question a while back and did not get a response, so I thought I would re-send in case it did not get through. <Thank you> I am about to purchase a new tank and was hoping to get some advice from you folks before I made a big mistake specifying hole sizes and locations!    <Okay>   The new setup is a 135 gal acrylic with a Ecosystem 3612 mud filter (with a rated flow through the system of 1000-1200 GPH). Based on advice from this website (which is an awesome reference tool!) I would like to be able to recirculate a higher flow (about 2200 gph) but the maximum allowable flow through the system is limited by the mud filter. <Yes. Best/better not to exceed this flow rate... if you want more movement... bypass this filter with it> Powerheads are an option to get the additional circulation but I would prefer not to use them, if possible.    <Agreed>   (FYI - Overflow system is sized for 200% flow (in case one somehow plugs) <Good> - I am planning to use two 15"x 5" trapezoidal pre-filters, each equipped with Durso standpipes and 1-1/2" ID drains.)    <All-right... may want to aspirate these just the same... to reduce gurgling noise...>   My LFS store where I am planning to purchase the tank suggested using the internal overflows as a "sump" for a separate (parallel) 1100-1200 gph recirculation loop. In other words, cut a 1" hole about halfway down the back of the tank behind each overflow, then feed a separate pump which returns to the display.    <Good idea>   I can't find this flow scheme anywhere in WWM and really don't have the experience to evaluate this - would you please advise your thoughts?    <Just another sump... perhaps best serviced by one of the two overflows... and these better up-sized to two inch inside diameter... but tying the two... mud and non-mud sumps together with an equalizer line to prevent flooding>   Also, my current thinking is to run the return connections through the back of the tank at three locations - near the top of the tank next to the overflow boxes. Does this sound OK or would you run the returns through the overflow boxes?    <I'd fun these either very near the top/back or over the top itself... equidistant from the sides... with nozzles on them to direct flow>   Lastly, I thought it might be a good idea to locate one or two of the returns lower in the tank, say behind the LR, to improve agitation - good idea or just another location for leaks?    <I would NOT do this... if the pump/s fail, even with check valves in place, this could be a disaster>   Thanks in advance for your reply.      Scott <Glad to proffer it. Bob Fenner>

Re: Plumbing Setup for New 135   6/11/06 Hello Bob, <Scott>     Thanks again for taking time to comment on my new 135 gallon set-up. I appreciate your comments and will definitely incorporate them into the design.      I was however a bit confused about your suggestion to "tie the mud sump and non-mud sump together".  Just to be sure that I communicated this to you properly, please allow me to clarify as follows.    <Let's see... what I'm suggesting is a pipe-line connecting these two sumps (that in turn would hopefully be about at the same level), to allow for a possible, likely real difference in overflow/return to each... An "equalizer" of sorts that would prevent too much water from going to or returning from either sump system...>   Regarding the second (non-mud filter) recirculation loop, my LFS guy suggests using the overflow box (or boxes) as the sump <?> for the second pump. The reasoning used is that there will always be a water column in the overflow boxes due to the use of the Durso standpipes.    <Mmm, not useful here... this pipe will have air mixed in... if you're referring to drawing water from the sump itself, this will work>   Does the above suggestion have merit or do I need to utilize a separate sump (same level as the mud sump with an equalizer line between the two) as you described?    <Mmm, if you're considering a "closed (pressurized) loop" separate from the sump (second), I would drill another through-put for its sole intake use. I would NOT run/drain water for this device through a non-water-filled overflow line. Bob Fenner>   Best regards,      Scott Re: Overflow rates ... and... sump plumbing period  - 04/19/06 Again thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. <Yikes... if pertinent, pls include prev. corr. We have no way of easily tracing who you were chatting with, about...> I have a 55 gal. reef that I am setting up a 10 gal. refugium (small I know but necessary due to space constraints, and I figure some is better than none). I have a CPR overflow box that is rated at 600 Gph. It comes with a 1.250 bulkhead fitting. I want to use flex tubing for the drain line to the Ref. What size pump should I use for the return? <... a "small one"... Providing perhaps three to five times turn over maximum... a need to be cautious here due to the small size of the sump itself... the real possibility of it overflowing with transit volume should the pump fail> Should I put in some kind of valve in order to help balance the overflow with the return? <A good idea... though better if the pump were "about right" w/o valving> Can I just install the overflow w/1.250 flex tube and a clamp and run it to the refugium and then .625 or .750 flex from the pump back to the tank? Thanks. <Mmm, yes. Over-the top... I do encourage you to read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm Particularly the linked files at top on Design, pumps/plumbing... Bob Fenner> Jay W. Thom

Set-Up/Water Flow  04/17/2006 Hi Guys and Gals <Hello Ian> I have spent many enjoyable hours reading the FAQs yet trying to find a definitive answer to my specific question has alluded me so far. All I want assurance on is whether I have the correct number and size of pipe entering and leaving my tank. It will be a 2500litre tank (roughly 600g?) with a 600litre sump. I plan to have 4x 50mm overflows cut into the back of the tank leading directly to the sump. A 28000lph pump with various tee offs en route ( frag, chiller, refugium,)  will hopefully deliver about 20000lph back to the tank by way of  1x 50mm pipe split into 2x 50mm at the inflows. I will also have 2x 18000lph closed loop systems each with a 50mm exit from back of tank and returning with 4x32mm to various points in the tank. All the 50mm exits are at a similar level which is just below the full water level. Should I have a 50mm emergency overflow above this level leading to sump? I am not sure if I will/can even have an overflow problem with this setup and the only place I was planning on having one was from my sump to drain to accommodate my water changes. <Sump should be sized correctly to avoid overflow problems.  I have posted a link with all sorts of useful calculators to help you configure your system correctly. http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/sump.php> Have I missed anything here? I take it that the closed loops will not drop the water level. <No.> How critical is the positioning of the exit holes to sump relative to the closed loop exits? <Not critical, just keep holes a safe distance from each other to avoid weakening the acrylic, no less than six inches from hole edge to hole edge.  Better yet is to have the tank builder set this up for you.> Thanks in advance for any input you may have. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Cheers Ian

Sump Plumbing Confusion - 04/01/06 Hello, <<Hi!>> I'm sorry I couldn't find my answer anywhere (I think everyone else is so beyond me!). <<!>> I have spent months trying to get everything just right for my new 90 gal. reef tank and I am finally ready to go (thanks to "the Conscientious Marine Aquarist" , "Reef Invertebrates" and your website). <<Excellent!>> My problem is that everything has been a learning experience and now I am afraid to add the water! <<Really?>> How do I fill the tank? <<?>> I am scared it will just overflow the sump.  I have read everything here about keeping the water at certain levels but I have no clue how to do that. <<Ah, I think I understand now...>> I have a Megaflow #3 sump with a PM bullet 1 inside with a Sedra 9000 pump.  My tank is a pre-drilled 90 gal. all plumbed to sump with a Mag 9.5 return pump. <<Hopefully you have at least two 1" overflow drains?>> Quarantine is in basement ready to go.  I'm afraid my question is so ridiculous but I had to ask, it could make or break the weekend! <<No worries Jill...fill your tank and then fill your sump to just cover the pump housings.  Turn on your pumps and add more water to the sump as necessary to keep the pumps from sucking air.  Now, turn off your return pump and watch to make sure the sump does not overflow.  If all was sized/installed/positioned correctly, the sump should be able to hold the transient water volume from the tank when the pump is off.  Next, with the return pump still off, turn off your skimmer pump and make sure the sump can handle this volume as well.  At this point, if all is well, you can add water to bring up the level in the sump for the added volume/evaporation capacity.  This will be the maximum amount of water your system can hold when the power is off.  If you your sump won't hold the transient water volume from your tank then you have issues.  You will likely need to change/adjust the height of the overflows but I'm only guessing at this point as I know nothing much about your setup.  Hopefully this will be helpful to you but if you are still having problems/don't understand do please write back in and we'll get it figured out together.  Don't want to spoil the weekend! <G> >> Thanks so much, Jill <<You're quite welcome.  Regards, EricR>>

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