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Old 03-31-2004, 01:34 PM   #1
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Some DIY ZFlow Observations

I decided to install a sump into my stand and used the z-flow setup mentioned in this forum. It turns out that there are some unmentioned variables in the z-flow setup. The vacuum release hole size is very important in controlling waterflow. The height of the tee in relation to the water surface is also critical.

Vacuum release hole:

this is the hole in the cap that keeps the system primed and allows air to travel with the water into the sump. When a smaller hole is used, the flowrate increases drastically. Going from a 1/4" hole to a 1/16" increased the flow from about 110 to 500 gph. The reasoning for this is tendancy towards a true siphon all the way to the sump. The relative height is now 3 feet instead of 3 inches from the water surface to the water outlet. The greater the height differential, the greater the pressure drop, the higher the flow....up to the maximum for that diameter of pipe. You have to be careful that there is a high enough flow of water back into the tank though or else the overflow could suck air into the system and kill the siphon.

Tee Elevation:

The elevation of the tee will determine the level of the water that is in the overflow. Too high, and the flowrate will be very small. If it is too low, the overflow will pull air into the system. Preferably you will want the bottom of the horizontal portion of the tee to be at least an inch above the lowest elbow inside the tank and also about 3" below the water surface. Which is roughly 2.5" below the surface of the overflow cup.

Combing this knowledge with the post by BillyZ should result in a good functioning Z-flow with no problems. Being on the careful side, I'm in the process of installing a floatswitch in the tank that will shut off the main pump if the waterlevel gets too high.


Jim
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Old 03-31-2004, 02:51 PM   #2
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Thanks Yak! I actualy performed some tests of my own recently and was a little dissapointed in the results as well. With this additional information I'll probably update the Z-Flow post after I've had a chance to make some more modifications and test again. I think the fact that I used 90 degree elbows causes extra "friction". I've picked up some 1 1/2" u traps and will see what kind of increases i get with that plus your observations.

Did you use 1" pipe for your z-flow yak?

Does anyone have any thoughts on how to prevent the suction of air into the syphon if we use a smaller vent hole?
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Old 03-31-2004, 03:08 PM   #3
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Air will pull into the pipe if there is a vacuum. The vacuum is relieved from the hole in the cap. But since it's drilled very small, the airflow is not very high and it is unable to eliminate the suction as fast. If you listen to the hole while in operation, you can really hear it sucking. We need air to rapidly enter the stack when the water level drops in the collection cup. Short of a level switch and a solentiod, i'm not sure.....

I'm going to try something when i get home.... ..Stack height. The higher the stack, the longer it takes to dissapate the vacuum. A very short stack could eliminate this. Or preferably a very narrow stack. since the taller the stack, the quieter the operation.

I'm using 1" pipe in mine. I have the middle portion of the tee facing upwards to the stack. The outlet of the tee uses 2-45's instead of a 90, which i think decreased pressure drop and made it a little quieter.

Preferably, after the collection cup, the pipe would travel to the bottom of the tank, and then up and over the edge. The deeper this goes, the lower the chance of getting air into the system. I got air in it last week and got 6 gallons on the floor and into my basement. Salt water and cast iron do not mix well. I have my woodshop right under the tank.

I've made 3 so far. Changing the design each time. My tank is so full of rock that it's a PITA to remove the air from the z-flow without tapping a coral. But right now i have my quiet one 3000 pumping full bore into the tank without a problem. I think i'm getting just under 500 gph this way.


We'll see what happens...


Jim
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Old 03-31-2004, 03:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
I got air in it last week and got 6 gallons on the floor and into my basement. Salt water and cast iron do not mix well. I have my woodshop right under the tank
8O ack! god i'm sorry about that.

However, you did just give me a brilliant idea... going to make another horrible sketch, but it should make it pretty clear. THere's a very easy way to maximize the flow while still providing a vacume release... (pay no attention to the pathetic use of "MS Paint" )


basicaly, the red line represents a piece of air line tubing or perhaps something even a little thicker. When the water level in the collection cup is normal, the red air line draws water due to the vacume produced at the Tee. However, if the pump fails, the water in the collection cup will drop as the syphon continues. As soon as the water level drops below the end of the red air line tubing, that tubing then draws air. If the tubing is thick enough this should provide for a fast air break in the syphon at the tee.


Thoughts?
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Old 03-31-2004, 04:05 PM   #5
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That could work out quite well. Currently, my water level is about 3/8" above the collection cup, so anything below the ledge could work. This should be a secondary air intake, otherwise you will get the constant flushing effect that'll get annoying really quick.

Sounds like we've both got something to do this weekend

Jim
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Old 07-05-2004, 02:53 PM   #6
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How is your Z-Flow performing these day Jim?
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Old 07-06-2004, 12:43 PM   #7
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I ditched it and bought a CPR. I couldn't get it to perform with continued success. I also had a problem with snails filling the pipe and causing overflow of the tank. My cpr has been up and running without problem for about a month and a half.

how about yours?
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Old 07-06-2004, 02:37 PM   #8
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how about yours?
Still sitting in the bucket

My new stand and in general my plan to move my tank has been delayed significantly so I've had no driving factors in experimenting/testing more.

I think it was a decent concept but had a few fatal flaws. :|
At least it was a cheap experiment... unless you count water damage... sorry about that
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Old 09-10-2005, 08:32 PM   #9
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So, the general conclusion is that this is a failure? Now I don't feel so bad. To bad I had to go re-invent the wheel before finding that I really needed a hovercraft.
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Old 09-10-2005, 08:58 PM   #10
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I think yaksplats observations could be used to help you tweak your design.. by putting a cap on your vent and drilling a small hole you will increase your GPH considerably.. being careful of the other variables mentioned about the height of the vent and the devises tendency to create true syphon.. much like tuning a durso standpipe.. HTH

edit.. http://www.dursostandpipes.com/ check out the building your own durso standpipe frame.. it explains the vent.. HTH
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