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Old 10-25-2004, 07:28 PM   #1
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Tank Re-Aquascaping: PH placement and an overflow

Hello, haven't been around in a while...really busy. My tank has been experiencing some flow problems though. The cyano comes back in all the low-flow spots, and I don't like the setup. So as much as I had hoped to avoid it, I'm redoing the aquascaping. The large 80gal rubbermaid will become the temp (a few hours?) home for the catchable fish and the more delicate corals. I want to do this right, so I'm plotting it out.
I've got 2 ZooMed power sweeps...one still sweeps, the other broke and just pumps. The sweeper is denoted by a traingle output in the attached image. The other is a cheapo Pengiun powerhead (which I need to invent a better way to mount) and I have a MaxiJet 1200. I'm going to be getting another 2 MaxiJets for the remaining powerheads.

1. I was wondering what flow rate you'd recommend for them. More 1200s, a 900, a 600, combination of?

In the pic, Red denotes near-surface PH, orange is mid-level, and blue is deep/bottom. The black one will be under/in a live-rock cave of sorts.

2. Placement look good for adequate flow? I also need a slow/moderate spot or two for the clam and bubble coral. Was thinking clam under 1 and bubble just south of 2.

Lastly, I'm looking to increase the flow through the spray bar. A Mag12 currently powers it, toned down by a ball-valve. The overflow just can't handle it all. I need a syphon, but I don't see the need for a syphon box (they're sooo expensive) ... so perhaps a modified "Z-Flow" PVC overflow will work? I'm terrified of the power going out, it losing syphon, and the basement flooding. With potential snow storms coming, I'm adding a check-valve to the pump line to prevent sump overflow, and I'm worried about that syphon. Any suggesstions? Thanks a TON!
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125 gallon saltwater: 55gal sump, 4 Blue-Green Chromis, Purple Tang, True Perc, Firefish, Royal Gramma, 5 Ricordea, Bubble Coral, 15 Pulsing Xenia, Green Star Polyps, Deresa clam, Green-Tip Torch Coral (about 11 "heads"!), Orange Montipora Cap, Purple M. Digitata, Green Slimer Acro. Yongei, 3 Orange M. Digitata, Pink&Green Acro. Millepora
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Old 10-26-2004, 06:37 AM   #2
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Maybe I just don't see it because I need more coffee, But could you label the drawing? What are 1 and 2?
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Old 10-26-2004, 06:57 AM   #3
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1 and 2 are his clam and bubble specific powerheads.

I like the overall layout, it should look nice once it's all put together. The only downside I see is having all the powerheads visible. Have you considered going to a monster pump in the sump and directed flow returns? It will let you keep all the plumbing more or less out of view and able to aim your flow at different points. Mine is pretty simple, a pair of bars with 3 outlets each, one on each side of the tank running through a sqwd. You can vary pressure and volume by changing the diameter of the outlet pvc.
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Old 10-26-2004, 07:33 AM   #4
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Hi indy,
Yeah, I've got a Mag-Drive 12 in the sump. It's pretty huge. It comes into a spray-bar that goes the length of the tank. My only problem is the overflow cannot handle all the water from a mag12. I need to add a syphon overflow, but I'm terrified of the power going out, coming back on, and the overflow having lost syphon. I'm still working on a few designs in my head to keep that from happening.

The powerheads were to be connected to a switching outlet, and for additional and supplemental flow. It sucks, but it doesn't really bother me seeing them, as I'd much rather see a PH or two as opposed to cyano all over. I was going to use a small rock to hide the one in the front-left, the back left will be concealed by the left rock structure, and #2 will be concealed by the middle rock structure. I might be able to hide the blue one on the right, but the red and orange are kinda tough to work around. If I can increase my spray-bar, I might even be able to eliminate the orange-right one. Thanks for your help! Any suggestions on PVC overflow?
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125 gallon saltwater: 55gal sump, 4 Blue-Green Chromis, Purple Tang, True Perc, Firefish, Royal Gramma, 5 Ricordea, Bubble Coral, 15 Pulsing Xenia, Green Star Polyps, Deresa clam, Green-Tip Torch Coral (about 11 "heads"!), Orange Montipora Cap, Purple M. Digitata, Green Slimer Acro. Yongei, 3 Orange M. Digitata, Pink&Green Acro. Millepora
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Old 10-26-2004, 06:45 PM   #5
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An overflow box is the only reasonably safe alternative to drilling for another overflow that I can think of. Going with just a straight siphon tends to be an ongoing balancing act that never quite works right. On the other hand, how much additional flow to your sump do you need to keep up with your mag12? If its not too much, you might be able to do a straight siphon from within your current overflow chamber. Not one large enough to do the whole job but enough so that combined with your current overflow you'll be able to flow a little more than your pump can deliver. Seems to me your overflow would be able to maintain balance between your sump and display. But with a straight siphon, if it did fail for some reason it would not start back up.

I really do think either having another bulkhead drilled or going with an overflow box would be the safer route. With the U tubes trimmed right, the odds of losing siphon are pretty slim, and with a dual tube you'd have to lose siphon to both for it to fail. Ebay has usually has some for pretty cheap.
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Old 10-27-2004, 03:03 PM   #6
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You're right, some decent prices on ebay. Thanks!

I'm going to be doing away with my spray-bar. It's ugly and doesn't really seem all that useful. So, there's a hole drilled in the back of the tank for the return line. I'm thinking I'm going to have it make a 90¬į angle right towards the bottom of the tank. Once hidden behind the rock structure, I'll have a T-fitting. One side will run (looking from front of tank) directly to the left, to promote flow in the back, behind all the rocks. The other side will hook directly towards the front of the tank, sitting right on the sand. The outlet will go under the rocks, and output right at the front of the rocks near the front of the tank. By hiding the actual PVC under the rock, you won't see it, and the output will just BARELY be behind the front-most part of the rock. This should eliminate the need for powerheads on the entire right side of the tank. With 1200 gph flowing through it, it should be more than adequate, and I might even add a second T-fitting where it comes out to have movement at the surface as well...to keep flow going to the rest of the openings, I can always downsize the diameter by a fraction. I think it'll not only look a lot nicer, but it will accomplish the flow of 3 powerheads. Wutcha think? I'm gonna gear up to go to the hardware store. Thanks for your help and advice, indy!
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Old 10-27-2004, 04:15 PM   #7
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how about this:

Forget the extra overflow. let the current setup do its thing ( if its working well).

Place another inlet tube in your tank and run it to a large extrenal pump which would then head back to your tank through several returns.

I think 3 returns would work fine if the flow is high enough. put a wavemaker in the middle and 2 regular returns on the sides facing the middle.

7 powerheads would look pretty bad IMHO.
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Old 10-27-2004, 05:21 PM   #8
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Well, it's not working well, which is why I'm redoing it. The flow from the Mag 12 is severely limited. Because the one overflow doesn't carry enough volume. So a second overflow really is a must...not only from a flow standpoint, but from the filtration standpoint: not enoguh water passes through the skimmer/sump as it is.

Now, that said, can I use a few of PVC overhangs on the back of the tank, which will undoubtedly look better than a bunch of powerheads? Of course, and I think I will now. The aforementioned setup on the right, and another outlet or two on the left should do fine. For whatever reason, I completely forgot about my friend PVC. Thanks for the help everyone!
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125 gallon saltwater: 55gal sump, 4 Blue-Green Chromis, Purple Tang, True Perc, Firefish, Royal Gramma, 5 Ricordea, Bubble Coral, 15 Pulsing Xenia, Green Star Polyps, Deresa clam, Green-Tip Torch Coral (about 11 "heads"!), Orange Montipora Cap, Purple M. Digitata, Green Slimer Acro. Yongei, 3 Orange M. Digitata, Pink&Green Acro. Millepora
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