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Old 08-14-2009, 08:44 AM   #1
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DIY above tank refugium

Hello all,
I need some help with my above tank fuge. The basic set up is that I took a cheapo 5 gallon desktop aquarium I had laying around the house and drilled it for return and drain lines similar to a HOB fuge.

The whole thing sits a few inches above and to the side of my display thank, but the distance between the pump and the bulkhead is a rise of about 2 feet with a run of about 4 feet. The problem I'm having is that the pump (minijet 606) pushes water in a little bit faster than it drains out. The kind of odd part though is that the water level builds until it forms a true siphon and then pulls the water from the tank faster than the pump can push it in until the siphon breaks, thus draining the tank in one fell surge. At first this was pretty cool (aside from the flushing sound that makes my wife giggle). The problem is the amount of micro bubbles this flushing is creating.

So far I've come up with three ideas of how I might be able to reduce the bubbles and still get the benefits of the surge without the bubbles. The first idea is the simplest, just a ball valve on the input side to try and reduce the flow to keep it from building up to the flush. The second idea is to install an overflow baffle in the fuge itself to limit the amount of the flush (right now it pushes out about an inch of water from the fuge). The final idea is to take something like one of the long smart water bottles, drill some holes in the curve at the upper part to allow air to escape and either have no bottem, or a few openings around the bottem to allow the water, pods, etc to escape.

Anyway, I could use a little feed back from you DIY gurus as this is my first real attempt at anything like this. Thanks!

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Old 08-14-2009, 11:26 AM   #2
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Do you want the surge & flush to continue??

The problem is that your return line is too small for the pump flow, so it needs to develop a full siphon to handle the flow, but then that is too much, and the tanks drains down to break the siphon, giving you that flushing sound. <And it might be fun at first, but the flushing will drive you nuts after a while!! When I set up my HOB overflow, the flushing was so loud I can hear it in the next room ..... Sounds like someone flushing the toilet every 3 minutes ....>

Anyways, your solution one will work, but choking off the pump like that will reduce its life. It is better to put a T in the line, have one line going back to the tank. You put the ball valve on the diverting T & control the flow to your fuge with that.

Other solutions:
1. Put in another return line so it can handle the pump flow.
2. Choke off the return line so it is running always in a siphon. You put a ball valve in line & adjust it so that the siphon flow is just balanced with your pump. This will be nearly silent. However, you must have a safety overflow installed (ie another hole & return line higher than the 1st). This is because the 1st line will need priming to work properly, and during priming (done automatically as the water level rises), the water level will go up higher than set. The safety can drain the water out so there is no flood. Also, with the return line choked off, any critter that gets caught in it will result in a flood, and a safety will take care of that as well.

#2 is what I settled on. This is one write up on the system:
BeanAnimal's Bar and Grill - Silent and Fail-Safe Overflow System

He uses 3 standpipes (more redundancy!) The original post at reef cnetral is only use 2 (primary & safety), and that is what I have.

80 gal FW with 30 gal DIY wet/dry/sump.
9 fancy golds, 1 hillstream loaches, 1 rubber-lip pleco (C. thomasi), 3 SAEs, small school of white cloud minnows, planted.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:57 PM   #3
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jsoong thanks for the link I like that set up.
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diy, refugium, tan

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