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Old 01-02-2011, 01:21 AM   #1
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Multiple Tank Sump Setup

Here is a design, Ive been playing with, for hooking up two display tanks to one system still being able to shut each tank off individually. Im sure theres threads with this same kind of thing but I dont have much to do, plus I could use some imput. Also if anyone was wondering how to do it here may be some ideas.

This is the setup with just a sump. You can use any tank for any of the three. Im planning on fashining my own custom acrylic sump and using a 55g for one display and a 30g or 46g for the other. You can completly customize these to whatever setup you have, I want mine to have the display tanks back to back but in diffrent rooms seperated by a wall and the sump in the basement. The important thing is to have two seprate return pumps to each tank so you can work on one while the other is still going.

The second is with a refuge or a frag holding area, which is what Im most likely going to use mine for. That will be the setup Im planning on completing within the next year or so. Last is just an outline of the acrylic sump I plan to make and use. Any ideas or suggestions would be great.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:29 AM   #2
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I like it. But I would use the first pic then add fuge to middle. Using a pump to fill side fuge area isn't necessary. More water volume is always good.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:39 AM   #3
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Yes that may save a little power good thinking. There really is no need for the extra fuge area. Unless I had a surge of frags ha. Thank you good advice.
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:42 AM   #4
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i had something similar, but i didn't have to go a whole floor down. mine was a 195 in wall display, and what ended up being 3 coral tanks all plumbed into a common 125 gallon tank which was set up as a sump with refugium.
here's an early shot with a 26 gallon acrylic tank suspended from the ceiling (i eventually replaced that with a 30 breeder)

here is the 125 sump. i think the refugium is about 50 gallons or so.


then i removed 2 of the breeder tanks and added a 150 gallon shallow coral tank-


please excuse the wire mess...it was a work in process, and quite functional.

i used a mag24 for the return on the 195, and assorted pumps for the returns on the other tanks. quiet one 4000 was used for that shallow 150 and smaller mag drives for the breeder tanks.
i always wanted to build a pipe system with valves so i could redirect the water whenever i wanted, and use a single pump for all. i found the multiple pumps to be a big P.I.T.A.

btw, i would never have used HOB overflows for this setup, and i suggest you drill those tanks also. if something happens, it's going to happen big. say one of those HOb overflow boxes loses siphon. that whole sump will be on the floor of the room behind it.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:05 PM   #5
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Wow, very nice setup. Even with the cord mess it looks like a genius work. Very good idea with the overflow box. I never trust them anyways, the one I use now usually has an air bubble in the syphon everyday I wake up. I got to open the valve on the return pump then close back down to get it out. Can't figure what's causing it.

So mrX, how many tanks you have in that setup and what are you using them for. I feel like your the one to talk to after seeing your setup. I am impressed. Did you ever get anywhere with your one pump plan cause seems like the way to go.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:01 PM   #6
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Another consideration, especially since you're going up from the basement, is to drill for external return pumps. Having all those large pumps in that sump are going to create a large amount of heat.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:11 PM   #7
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i agree. that's another thing i forgot to mention. i wish i had drilled that 125 for an external return pump.

i had the 195 and the 3 coral tanks running simultaneously, and then removed 2 of them for the shallow tank.
i used the system to sell livestock on a large scale. it started out as a hobby, but quickly turned into a business.

no, once i had the submersible pumps running, i put the piping idea on the back burner. on my next system i'll have a single return pump though. i'll be sure to put up a build thread.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:05 PM   #8
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Very cool. I would really like plans on the single pump setup. So what's your business name, I would love to give you some! Are you online or out of location?

external return pump, great knowlage. Defiantly going into design.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:09 PM   #9
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it was Marine Life LLC. i have closed the business for now. i have shipped a lot of livestock, and also sold some local.
i'm not sure i'll be doing a full scale store in the future. i'll keep you posted.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:15 PM   #10
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I like the sump and fuge idea. Only thing though, and maybe my limited plumbing and water flow knowledge is kicking in but...

Looks like that design never really allows the water to flow thru the fuge area. Looks like both tanks empty then flow directly into the return pumps. Is it just me, again not undersatnding that well?
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:17 PM   #11
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Ya let me know if you have anything for sale, all the lfs around me have the same thing, and I don't really like to order online from places I don't know. I can see you know your s#%t and can defiantly be trusted.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:48 PM   #12
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the third pump all the way to the right pumps water back into refuge and the refuge overflows into the same return chamber as the rest of the tanks. I was thinking about switching the first and last pumps to split it up a little bit.

not having refuge may save some weight too. I want to do setup now, but im still renting a family owned apartment. Its old, been here since before 1955 (threre was a big flood in 1955 and this house survived) and the support seems to be a little less then normal lol. Right now I have 55g 20gal fuge and 12g frag hold. I got it all jammed in the corner where I think has best support. All of my friends want frags of what I got so recently I've imbarked on all the new setups. But I feel any more weight and im gonna be in trouble. Its a small two family and im on the 2nd floor. Downstairs tenats may be getting boot so by spring i hope to have a basement to work with.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:00 PM   #13
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I want to drill my 55. With what you said mr.x about the hob overflow, I have been worried ever since. If that fails my 12 Will keep running and water on the floor is unavoidable. I was looking into it and I read that you can't drill temperd glass.

How do I tell if my tank walls are tempered or not?
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:21 PM   #14
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well, you can call the manufacturer and ask them. there is a date sticker on the tank somewhere. most tank bottoms are tempered, but it's not common to have tempered side panels. i have heard of some companies tempering them recently though.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:59 PM   #15
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Its the basic 55 from petco. They have sales every now and then for $1 a gal on tanks. I'm going to go to there website and see.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:54 AM   #16
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possibly aqueon. they claim the bottoms are tempered in some of their tanks. the website doesn't say anything about the side panels. here is their number.
M-F 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM CST @ 1-800-255-4527
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:49 PM   #17
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Thank you, very much. Did all the work for me.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:13 PM   #18
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I like it. But I would use the first pic then add fuge to middle. Using a pump to fill side fuge area isn't necessary. More water volume is always good.
Or you could use the right hand sump ,remove the fuge pump and add a T into one of the pipes from either DT then plumb in a new pipe with a valve to the fuge, adjust the valve to adjust the flow.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:19 PM   #19
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Wow, very nice setup. Even with the cord mess it looks like a genius work. Very good idea with the overflow box. I never trust them anyways, the one I use now usually has an air bubble in the syphon everyday I wake up. I got to open the valve on the return pump then close back down to get it out. Can't figure what's causing it.

So mrX, how many tanks you have in that setup and what are you using them for. I feel like your the one to talk to after seeing your setup. I am impressed. Did you ever get anywhere with your one pump plan cause seems like the way to go.
I use a syphon overflow on my tank and the only time I've ever had an air bubble is when the filter on the pump or the impellor needed cleaning, another reason could be your return pump isn't man enough for the syphon,if there isn't enough flow going through the syphon air bubbles won't be forced through it and they accumilate until the syphon breaks.
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:56 PM   #20
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A buddy and I did a couple multiple tank set-ups for a LFS here in town. The first one was six 20gal longs plumbed into a single custom acrylic sump (about 10 or 12 gallons). First chamber in the sump was LR rubble, second was the fuge w/ external skimmer, and third was the return pump. We used a QuietOne 4000 highhead as the return pump. Each overflow and each return line had a ball valve so that individual drain and refill rates could be controlled, as the tanks were stacked 2, 2, and 2 above the sump. As a result returns were almost fully open on the top two and shut down quit a bit on the bottom two. Getting everything working correctly was a big P.I.T.A. to start with, but once things got worked out it was no big deal. Make sure you put some type of strainer on both the returns and the overflows - the LFS owner had issues with snails and fish in both.

The second one was two 55gal tanks plumbed into the same size custom actylic sump with the same set-up. They were also stacked, so again each line (overflow and return) had to have individual ball valves to control the flow. This one was nearly as difficult to adjust initially as the first one. Flow however was an issue in both of these - If I were to do it again, I would use an external return pump for this set-up; even a QuietOne 6000 didn't truly give enough return flow for this tank.

And I agree with Doug, I would drill not relie on external returns, especially not multiple external returns.
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