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Old 04-05-2010, 02:47 PM   #1
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Tweaking my sump/refugium plumbing

Hello.

First, here's a picture of my current setup. It's kind of an old picture, but the plumbing is still the same.

http://www.adamhorton.com/files/flog/newrefugium.jpg

Water comes down from the overflow and in through the top on the left. It then goes through that ugly U-tube into the 20G-High tank on the right, and the pump in there sends it back off to the display tank. Relatively simple and cheap, which is the way I like it because I'm a guy.

Here's my thinking, though. I want to get a protein skimmer at some point, and I want to put it down there, which means that the water level of at least one of the tanks needs to remain constant, which isn't the case right now. I'm thinking of making an adjustment, but I want to run it by the geniuses on this forum first because I don't really know what I'm getting into here...

Define: "sump" = the tank on the left; "refugium" = the tank on the right

I want to drill a hole in the sump towards the top, and stick a short piece of PVC going from there into the refugium. I imagine I could use PVC between 1" - 1.5" in diameter for this. This should make the water level constant in the sump, and also the PVC setup there would be less likely to fail than the ugly U-tube thing that's in there right now. Also, I think I might end up being able to keep more total water in there than I have now.

I do have some constraints, though. I realize that I could be doing a lot better by making some relatively major changes. Though I'm not opposed to making major plumbing changes at this point, the time for that will be in about a year when I move, and I will more than likely create another thread when that time comes. I'm not willing to take the display tank off the stand at this point (it's 150G), so basically that means I'm stuck with the sump and refugium that I have under there, and they can't be taken out from underneath the stand.

So my first question is: is this idea sound, or should I scrap it and/or try something else?

Next a few logistical questions:
-What can I drill the sump with that would make a nice round hole like I need? I'm assuming it's made of acrylic (it's part of an Eshopps wet/dry filter). I'm guessing I need a special drill bit for this, but I have no idea what to look for.
-Is there some type of PVC joint or something that would go over the hole and make it water-tight? How do people attach pipes to drilled holes so that they don't leak water?

If I'm missing anything or if maybe there's something I haven't thought of (or something you think I might not have thought of), please let me know. I think this is simple enough for me to do, but I don't want to screw it up.

Thanks for your help. :butt:
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:44 AM   #2
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Drilling is an option, but have you thought about just using an external overflow? It would be similar to your U-tube, but would keep the water level in the sump constant.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:52 AM   #3
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Well that's a lot less permanent, so it seems like it would be harder for me to screw that up. What are the advantages/disadvantages of doing it that way?

If I do that, I'm trying to think of what my considerations would be: the only thing I can think of would be that the U-tube I would use for that overflow would have to be at least 1" in diameter to make sure that it can keep up with the flow from my pump. Am I missing anything?

Also, I don't trust myself to build a proper DIY overflow box, so I would have to buy one...
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:29 AM   #4
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I don't like making any permanent modifications to my equipment unless I'm absolutely certain that that's the only way I'll ever need the equipment to run. That's one reason I'd go with an overflow box. The other is there's less chance of leaks. I don't think I'd trust PVC unless it's bonded to the sump and I don't know if you can glue PVC to acrylic.

Melev's Reef has detailed plans to build a simple overflow box if you're curious about the DIY route. Haven't tried it myself, but it doesn't look too hard. If you're worried about keeping up with your pump, make sure you buy a box that's rated for more flow than your pump.
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:53 PM   #5
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YouTube - New sump/refugium plumbing
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Old 04-11-2010, 01:48 PM   #6
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Sweet sump setup dude.
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamHorton View Post
-What can I drill the sump with that would make a nice round hole like I need? I'm assuming it's made of acrylic (it's part of an Eshopps wet/dry filter). I'm guessing I need a special drill bit for this, but I have no idea what to look for.
This link is what you would want. They also sell bulkheads.
Glass Hole Cutters - Glass-Holes.com dope aquarium stuff
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:13 PM   #8
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Zero - thanks. It turned out better than I thought it would.

An added benefit that I didn't really see is that it increases the flow in the refugium towards the left side, making it a lot easier to get the chaeto tumbling and keep it that way.

jmurr, thanks for the link. One day when I become more confident in my DIY abilities I will probably use something like that. I imagine there's a similar thing for acrylic?
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:27 AM   #9
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You can use the diamond coated hole-saw like the one from glass-holes, but you need to be careful, because if you go to fast you can melt the acrylic, and then it will grab and crack.

Supposedly, you can use something like a hole saw for wood or metal since acrylic is pretty easy to cut through. Or you can use a plunge router, if you know what that is. But uhm.. they're kind of expensive for like a one time use for cutting a hole through acrylic lol. So i would go with the hole saws. If you can't find one for wood or metal, just go with the ones that are used to cut through glass. Should be really easy to cut through the acrylic, but like i said, don't go too fast because you don't want the acrylic to heat up.
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Old 04-14-2010, 02:53 AM   #10
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Nice job..I saw that....tumbling chaeto.......
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