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Old 06-11-2003, 07:22 PM   #1
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Mostly sump plumbing...

Hi everyone,

I'm a newbie here, but not new to the hobby. I am, however, starting my first reef setup and am looking for some seasoned advice on a few matters.

I'm setting up a 55 gallon tank with a 15 gallon sump run "ecosystem" style. My first question concerns sump plumbing. I bought the main tank used and it has been drilled about 4 inches below that I imagine will be the waterline. The hole is about 1.25 inches in diameter and came with an overflow that consists of a vertical PVC pipe (the interior diameter about .75 inches in diameter) with a strainer and an elbow that runs perpendicular to the back of the wall via a bulkhead. My main concern is that this hole is not large enough to permit enough water to exit the main tank for the aquarium contents to circulate a sufficient amount of times (e.g., about 10 X). I know that the tank will only drain as much as water as the sump returns to it. I'm running a Mag 7 which I estimate is getting 500-600 gph with the head. So basically, the PVC strainer must be able to handle at least that. Should I change the diameter of the PVC overflow? If so, how large should it be? I have also heard that the draining line must have a larger diameter than that which leads from the sump to the tank. But how much larger? Of course, I could just install a ball valve at the output of the sump pump. But, I would like to get as much flow as possible. Morover, does the pressure built up behind the ball valve affect the pump at all?

My second question concerns protein skimmers. Taking advice from other ecosystem sump enthusiants, I initially decided not to use a protein skimmer. But now, I think I want the insurance it provides. Trouble is, I don't want to spend a bunch of money. Is there an affordable but effective in-sump skimmer on the market for less that $100? Do I REALLY need it? Furthermore, if I do get one, should I run it as soon as I begin to cycle the tank, or should I wait a while? How long?

And finally, back to the sump. Most of my equipment is DIY, and I beginning to realize the problems posed by my sump having the same width as the main tank. That is, it's hard to get it comfortably into the stand. Could I get away with a 10 gallon sump? It wouldn't be a problem as I really enjoyed making the first one, it was inexpensive, and in retrospect, there are some changes I wouldn't mind making.

Anyhow, I guess that's it. Sorry for so many questions. I really appreciate anyone and everyone for their time and attention to my inquiries. Please feel free to respond to one or all of the above questions. I appreciate it all and look forward to hearing from everyone.

Best wishes,
Michael
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Old 06-11-2003, 07:25 PM   #2
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I have no idea how that alien got into my post...
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Old 06-11-2003, 08:59 PM   #3
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what alien? do you mean this one 1 ?

if so it happens then you type 10 and X with no spaces.
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Old 06-11-2003, 09:04 PM   #4
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LOL, sorry, I edited the post to remove the alien dude.
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Old 06-11-2003, 09:07 PM   #5
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One way to calculate the flow would be to measure how long it took your overflow line to fill a known volume. For example if it took 5 sec to fill 1 gal volume then your overflow would be processing 720GPH.

You could add a second overflow. You could add a closed loop system where plumbing takes water out of the tank thru a pump and back into the tank with no sump inbetween. Many people with larger tanks use closed loops to provide extra circulation.

If your pump is not rated as a 'pressure' pump then adding something that will restrict its flow could lead to early pump failure. Now the pump might run for weeks/months/years but the idea is it will fail before it would if there was no artifical restriction.

As far as a skimmer under $100 asides from a DIY skimmer that you might build the only retail units I know of are the Red Sea Prizm and the Seaclone.

Only problem with a smaller volume sump is that you have less room for error when power fails and water starts to sypon down the pump lines into your sump. You will need to make double certin that you have somthing to break the syphon so you dont flood your floor. Also you will have to add water more often to the smaller sump since the water level will go down quicker. Also have less room for your skimmer, heater and anything else you want in the sump. Aside from those items i see nothing wrong with a 10 gal sump vs a larger sized sump.
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