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Old 03-03-2005, 07:27 PM   #1
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help- plumbing!!!

so im looking into finially putting a sump into my 46 gallon corner tank. since the tank is already established, i dont want to drill or anything (plus this is my first attempt at plumbing) so um... how would you suggest i do it? im a total beginner at this whole plumbing thing. how high should the gph/ tank turnover be? i read that it should be 6-10x the tank volume per hour- so 270-460 gph? is that correct?

also what should the rating of the return pump be? what exactically is a "closed loop"? sorry for all the questions, im so clueless.

so i was planning on having the sump be just like a 20 or so, nothing huge, just someweheer to throw the skimmer and heaters and stuff and increase circulation. sorry but im so clueless here, ive been reading around but im just having a lot of trouble understanding everything. TIA!!!
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Old 03-03-2005, 07:37 PM   #2
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Size your pump based on the Overflow you buy. I assume since you are not drilling, you will add a HOB overflow. For a 46, I would guess a mag 5 or 7 would be ok unless you want alot of flow. Mast overflows will handle those pumps easily. Could go bigger though.

Closed loop does not use a sump. It just uses a big pump tp circulate like a PH.
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Old 03-03-2005, 09:21 PM   #3
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thanks for the reply ellisz, so i guess closed loop is not what im looking for.

ok so do i have to match the gph of the overflow exactly to the gph of the return pump? accounting for head pressure or not?

what about power outages and an overflow- how would i tell it to shut off if i loose power so it doesnt flood everywhere?
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Old 03-04-2005, 12:14 AM   #4
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If you use a J tube overflow (Can't speak to others, its what I use) ,when the power goes out your water level falls below the level in the skimmer box. Thats the box that is on the inside of the tank that water pours over into for transport to the other side by the J tube(s). When this happens, balance should be achieved in the overflow and water stops passing from the inside box through the J tubes to the outside box. I say should, mine always has, but your milage may vary. A little balancing act (Thank you physics!!) occurs. There is no flow into the skimmer box to push water (build up pressure actually) to the other side so an equilibrium is achieved. Water in the skimmer, water in the tubes and water on in the collection box. (That is, the box on the outside that the drain attaches to) When the power comes back on, your pump restarts and begins to push water back to the tank. The tank level rises and begins to fall into the skimmer box again and like magic (What goes up must come down..) the water starts to move from the skimmer box through the J tubes and into the collection box for draining into your sump.
Now what I described above is the ideal situation. Something to watch for is siphoning. This happens when the pump in your sump (Dr Seuss anyone??) shuts off. Water then falls back (theres that physics thing again..) down your return tubes that would normally feed the return water. When this happens, it creates a natural siphon and again like magic, your have a gravity fed siphon draining your tank through your return nozzle/hose(s). This will only happen until the water level in the tank drops below the return nozzle. Once that happens, air enters the nozzle and POOF breaks the siphon. In my case, I only run the sump about half full (Or half empty, depending on your state of mind..) and it can handle the amount of siphoned water with ease. What some folks do is drill a small hole in the return nozzle/hose just below the water line. This way when the siphons starts, it drains far less water until the hole begins to (heh) suck air. This in turn, again, breaks the siphon. In this scenario, you don't have to sweat the amount of water siphoning back into your sump.
Another gotcha..If your sump pump restarts and your overflow box siphon stalls, you get x gallons of water pumped into your tank. 2 ways to approach this that I am aware of. 1 - Run your sump like I do and expect the worst. My sump can handle the back siphon and the tank can handle the extra sump water at the level I run my sump. Its close and I have come home to find my drain in the overflow with a crab in it and the water just *itching* to flow over...but it didn't. 2 - place your sump pump on a 'riser'. I have not done this personally, but it stands to reason that if you raise the height of your sump pump, then it will only pump back into the tank x gallons of water before the level in the sump falls below the intake of the sump pump which is now on riser or some rocks or whatever. Some folks freak if their pump runs dry for a few hours, but most pumps (at the hobby level..RIO, Dolphin, etc) will probably be just fine. Higher end pumps (Iwaki, the 'pro' grade Dolphins and other external pumps) do not tolerate running dry (Though some can be purchased that will run dry, depends on how much $$ your willing to part with..) Besides, if your siphon stalls, your not only going to have to potentially replace a pump, you get the happy happy joy joy feeling of pulling up carpet, steam cleaning or (God forbid) coming home to the fire dept adding some fresh water to your tank (salt water + overflow tank + electrical wires = ..well you get it..)
Now I don't mean to scare you off from using overflows. However, most 'pros' would not recommend them. I disagree. Course, I don't have 12 PHD's, one in marine biology with $$ to burn either, so, overflow I go..er, you know what I mean.
Matching the flow from the tank with the flow of your pump is not hard. You have a 46 gallon tank plus )lets just say) a 20 gallon sump = 66 gallons x 10 (thats 10 times per hour, I wouldn't shoot for anything lower) = 660GPH @ head height. (Typically 4' , but I do not know how high it is to the top of your tank, though if I did, wouldn't that be weird??) Most good pumps will show the rating at various head heights. (Dont shoot me, its just as an example..) http://www.marinedepot.com/md_viewIt...product=TA3160 If you look at the link, at 4' its rated at 690GPH. Not bad. Now you should find an over flow rated for around 800GPH or so. The only examples I could link to off the top of my head were not J tube over flows. Sorry, but I stand by my tubes..heh. When you install the pump, you should make sure you have a valve in line with it. Most folks use ball valves, though others may use something else. Anyway, with the ball valve in line with your return pump, you can limit the flow of the return. This will allow you to ease back on the return flow should you out pace your overflow. (Its also where you would adjust the water level in your display tank if your over flow is not adjustable) Its very simple. The over flow should at least be able to keep up with your pump. If you find the water level too high in the display tank, ease back on the return with the ball valve. This in turn slows the return flow to the tank and lowers the level (Because you are letting the overflow run shallow) If the water level is too low in the main tank, simply open the valve more and allow the water in the display tank to rise. (Because you are letting the overflow become over whelmed a tad) In my case, I have a dual outlet overflow only one side of which is plumbed. I use a RIO 3100 with the valve wide open. The level in my tank stays at about 2 inchs or so from the rim of the tank. I will say some folks complain of 'gurgling' or bubbleing sounds from the overflow. I don't have this issue personally, but there are a couple ways to ease that too if your not into the natural sound of Niagra Falls in your living room..(Or wherever)
The balance between overflow and pump is achieved naturally. Your tank will run at a certain level with pump wide open and at another level 1/4 closed. Just depends on how you want it. I will say (As mine is setup) that some add a ball valve to the overflow line. This should never be used to restrict water flow into the sump. Lord help you if you end up with something caught in the ball valve. However, it is very handy for cleaning the sump imo.

HTH

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Old 03-04-2005, 12:37 AM   #5
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I'm new at this so bare with me, but I thought I'd add this. My friend just got just got a sump for his tank with a hang on the back overflow box and once we got it running we were kind of worried that his living room would flood if the power went out. so we decided to turn the pump off and see what happen and what PC said above happen. No flood once we turned the pump back on everything went back to normal.
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Old 03-04-2005, 01:46 AM   #6
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thank you PC for taking all that time to adress my questions!!! and thank you huey112 for that bit of re-assurance

wow i have learned a lot! so with the ball joints and whatnot, im assuming you think that rigid tubeing is the way to go? is there a ball joint type attachment for regulation with flexible tubeing? i ask this because of this site: http://www.melevsreef.com/sump.html where they used flexible tubeing. is there any clear advantage or disadvantage of rigid over flexible, other than the ease of bending?

also, where did you get you j tube and skimmer box? the ones i have seen online run for around $70- not good for a student on a budget! just looking for different resources, and theres always DIY...

im at school, so i dont know exactically the head hight but i too would assume around 4'. i have heard mag pumps are good- the mag 7 is rated at 480gph at this head height, and the 9.5 (next level) has a gph of 800 at 4' head height. i assume more is better? and i can always modify with the ball joint, right?

a couple more questions- ive heard horror stories about livestock jumping into skimmer boxes and getting sucked up, just wondering if there are any ways to combat this?

now with that ball valve in the return line- it seems to me if you are restricting the flow to the tank, it is going to be much like a hose with a kink in it and there will be an explosion. is there a certian point that you shouldnt turn the ball valve past?

also, does this require auto topoff? i assume so, but id like that confirmed before i go through unnessescary work.

im at school, so this will probably be a summer project... what a lot to look forward to!!! this will be after the new stand that has to be built to accomidate a sump underneath... oh all the work i have lined up for myself... i can see i will be spending spring break at home depot!!!

thanks agian for the help guys, you dont even know how much i appreciate it. this whole plumbing thing is beyond me.
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Old 03-04-2005, 02:28 PM   #7
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Some pumps don't like to be restricted but supposedly Mag pumps can be. With a HOB overflow, I would think a 9.5 would be fine. Just make sure the overflow can handle more than the pump. The size of the pump really does not matter as long as the overflow is rated for more GPH.

Livestock could jump into the surface skimmer box and go into the sump but most would survive the trip to the sump

With a sump, the tank water level will stay the same and the sump water level will go down. An auto topoff would be great but you could have one now if you wanted. If the sump gets to low though, the pump could be ruined. I use 2 floats to regulate fresh water top off to my sump.

As for tubing, I think flexible is nice to decrease head height associated with 45's and 90 degree bends. If the sump is under the tank, flex tubing or vinyl for that matter would be so much easier to work with and cheaper too.

An overflow box can be had at a few places but keep in mind some of the ones on ebay have to be assembled, from the stories I have heard anyway.

Good luck.
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Old 03-05-2005, 12:33 AM   #8
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The plumbing is cake. If I can do it..The system I have uses flex tubing with the ball valves plumbed in. There are larger setups that use PVC pipe, but I honestly cannot imagine having to tear apart a bunch of PVC to get at something or to clean. Anyway, http://www.marinedepot.com/aquarium_...ex.asp?CartId= This is some plumbing parts to give you some idea, though I highly recommend visiting Home Depot, Lowes, or the like to get better pricing on some pieces/hose. Overflows..
http://www.aquacorals.com/ShopOverflows.htm

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Old 03-05-2005, 01:44 AM   #9
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A couple of things I'd like to point out. First, there is nothing wrong with using flex tubing...it works just fine. However, the fittings are much more restrictive than PVC fittings so you'll lose some flow. If a PVC system is set up correctly with unions where they need to be, breaking it down for cleaning/maintenance is no problem. If it's not set up correctly, you'll have to saw it apart.
Overflows run best when they are close to their rated capacity. If you go with a Mag 7 pump, I'd probably get an overflow in the 600gph range. If you go too large with the overflow, the inside box will stay about 1/2 way down. This causes lots of air bubbles to be pulled into the siphon tube as the water pours into the box from the tank. This air can build up and cause the siphon to be lost. If the overflow is running close to its rated capacity, this won't happen as the internal box will stay close to full.
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