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Old 10-18-2011, 09:54 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlyTono
Welp, i finally settled on a design - Thanks to everyone for your feedback. I ended up incorporating a few of the suggestions and tweaked the overall design.

Primarily, i moved the pump to below the water line and simplified the sump designs a little bit.

I sent the design off to get built a few weeks ago, and received my new sump tanks on Friday. Over the weekend, i did a "Dry-run" run by mocking-up the system on a workbench with a small 8 gallon tank to serve as a stand-in for the actual tank.

I ran the system for about 2 hours and everytning seems to work as expected - you can see the video here:
Custom Split Sump & Refugium System (First Test) - YouTube

The position of everything is placed and measured according to how they will fit inside the stand with the exception of the sumps, which are flopped (they'll face the other direction when actually installed).

All the plumbing is only dry fit for now - I'll be gluing the pieces later in the week and may actually add water and start cycling it by the end of next weekend .
So nice and clean looking,...got my fingers crossed for you that everything works according to plan once it's rigged up for the big tank,...very innovative ,... Don't for get to incorporate a ATO into the system.
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:16 AM   #32
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LOL - my fingers are crossed as well. The first test put me at ease though, since it functioned just like I thought it would.


there are a few parts missing from the mock-up that will be integrated into the final system. namely, There will be:
  • a check valve on the return line
  • a few quick-disconnects between the system and the main return pump - should i need to remove and/or replace the pump at some point.
  • a couple of directional returns
  • heater and pump saver water level sensor
  • and eventually an Automatic Top Off. Initially I'll the top-offs manually
  • protein skimmer for the Skimmer sump. I already have it, just didn't use it for the mockup.
  • I'm also going to add a quick disconnect between the two sumps and a few ball valves throughout the system, so i can shutdown one side if needed for maintenance without having to shutdown/drain the entire system.
I should start gluing later this week - so we'll see how it goes. I'll be sure to post a few pics of my progress
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:36 AM   #33
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... The real test will be shutting off the whole system ( power shortage ) to see how everything reacts as far as flooding etc once it's plumbed into your main tank,.. Once power is restored double check that all levels return to normal and that your skimmer handles the changes in water level without flooding etc ,also....as mentioned earlier,..it's a balancing act,..but it's sure fun trying to figure everything out.
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:59 AM   #34
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... The real test will be shutting off the whole system ( power shortage ) to see how everything reacts as far as flooding etc once it's plumbed into your main tank,......
I ran that test with this mockup - I shut the pump off and it functioned as as expected. When i turned the pump back on, the water levels returned to normal and everything balanced out again. But your right - the real test will be on the actual tank.

Not sure about the skimmer though - if the sumps where to fill to capacity, the water level will be just at (or a little below) the bottom of the collection cup.

Between the two sumps i calculated about 7.5 - 8 gallons of reserve capacity. I'll need about 2.3 gallons of capacity per 1in of water drop in the main tank ( (11.5 x 48 x 1) / 231 = 2.3gal).

The mock up tank is an 8gal tank and I was able to drain more then 3/4 of the mockup tank without overflowing the sumps.

It'll be cutting it close, but as long as i don't have my returns lower then 2 inches blow the water line I should be fine. I'll also have a check valve on the return, to help with this potential issue.
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Old 11-06-2011, 08:14 PM   #35
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Plumbing the Tank

I finally got an opportunity to plumb the tank. Had to put this away for a few weeks because work got in the way

Anyway - everything is cut, measured and glued! Just need to let it cure overnight and I'll fill it will water for a quick leak test. heres a few photos:
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:17 PM   #36
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"Work got in the way". I hate it when that happens. Nice job. Looks extreamly clean.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:57 PM   #37
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I personally wouldn't use a check valve in the return as they can get blocked,just a few holes drilled in the return pipe just below the water line in the dt.As for the skimmer sump water level when power goes off or turned off,I wouldn,t worry too much as long as the skimmer is in the sump if it overflows due to power cut.other than that the setup looks good.
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:27 AM   #38
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Well, i leak tested the system last night. The good news - it worked just as expected. the bad news... it leaked.

Lucky, it did this in the garage as apposed to in the living room and, all the leaks (there where 3 of them) where all on threaded pipe connections, which should be pretty easy to fix.

All the glued joint, and there's a lot of them, held up perfectly - no leaks.

I used the pipe seal tape, but maybe i didn't use it properly, or maybe i dint use enough.

I'll give it another shot later this evening.
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:35 AM   #39
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I personally wouldn't use a check valve in the return as they can get blocked,just a few holes drilled in the return pipe just below the water line in the dt.....
I added it just as a little extra insurance against backflow, and it seemed to work last night but, ya, I see your point now that i see how it works. it could easy get clogged and stuck open.

I'll likely leave it in place for now since it will be easy to monitor once everything is install, and easy to either replace or remove from the system should it get in the way.
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Old 11-11-2011, 05:18 PM   #40
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tracked down and fixed the 3 leaks, and ran the system through it's pases. I ended up using the Oatey Great White Pipe Compound to seal up the threaded connections. Works great - in fact i replaced all the tape-sealed connections with this stuff.

if you're interested, here are a few videos posted to YouTube of the Split Sump system in action:

Leak Test - Custom Split Sump & Refugium System >>

Overflow Test - Custom Split Sump & Refugium System >>

I'll be draining the system tonight and moving it into the living room. I'm going to try and get it fill this weekend with water and rock and get it cycling.

I don't have the lighting yet. but I've read you don't necessary need any exotic lighting during the cycle period. is that true? I have the cheapy stock lamps that came with the aquarium - is that enough?
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