Taking a Poll for 1 return pump or 2 return pumps

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1 return pump or 2 return pumps?

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Aquarium Advice FINatic
Nov 15, 2010
Houston, TX
Taking a Poll for 1 return pump or 2 return pumps

I have a dilemma here so I am creating a “Poll” need your opinions and reasons why you would choose one over the other..

I was told to get 2 return pumps incase if one should fail you still have one running the system till you can get the other fixed or replaced.
Then I was told to only get 1 return because 2 will use more electricity…..
So I would like to get a poll going here to see which would be the better choice:

1 Return Pump
2 Return Pumps

Hope I did the poll thread correct....
One. Big pumps put off heat, use more electricity, and more than one pump will make the sump vibrate more. Lol
I have two in my 125. I have a mag 9.5 and a mag 12. More return pumps makes for more chaotic flow and no need for PH`s in the tank IME.
Thank you guys. I think I will be only getting one but will get a second one later as for a backup.
That is the same size tank I have now. A 125 reef ready getting ready to start setting it up. What about the space in between the two overflow boxes "dead space" if you have two would it help with that area as well?
As you have a reef ready tank,go with as many pumps as your overflow pipe will handle,as mel has said it means less power heads,as for the cost of running them I dont think that should be an issue as you need good water flow through the tank,if you use one pump then you'll need powerheads,so go with two pumps and no powerheads
I use 2 out of necessity. I could not find a tee that would fit the pump I was using. I use a pump for each overflow. And MP40's for powerheads.
I would use a single pump. Keep a second as back up if you wish, but there will be less space taken up in the sump, one cord to deal with, one pump to clean/maintain, one impeller to replace.....
I use 2 pumps. Space wasn't an issue, and I feel 2 smaller pumps would draw close to the same amount of power, as 1 larger pump. I felt 2 would offer a little more redundancy, if 1 fails I've still got filtration until I realize it or get home.
Sump and refuge are tied by bulkheads for this purpose.
How would you realize it, if one of the pumps was running? Do you check every day to see if both pumps are actually working?
mr_X said:
How would you realize it, if one of the pumps was running? Do you check every day to see if both pumps are actually working?

Probably by glancing at the return pipe to see if flow is coming out
With only one running, level in sump is higher, and water doesn't flow through sump normally, side with failed pump is more full.
Really very easy actually.
Or just look at the return, see current? It's on! Lol
If I were gone for a week and my pump failed, only having one, my tank is probably gone. With 2 I still have filtration till I get home. And I still have a tank to come home to!!
The sump is higher because the pump that's off is back siphoning now? You have the return pumps in different compartments?
Backsiphons a little up to vent hole that I drilled.
Sump rides couple inches higher than normal.
I have a 30" sump and a 30" refuge. Drains flow to middle, refuge to right with return at end, sump to left with skimmer, and return at that end.
Two are Better than One:)

I installed two pumps. Only one runs at a time. I swap them out with each water change.

My opinion is that two is the way to go if you can afford it. I live out in the country and it would take several hours for me to obtain a replacement should the pump fail. Having two plumbed into the system gives me the backup that removes any worry.

Hope this helps you make a decision.
I vote to use one pump with a spare on the shelf. Pumps fail in the middle of the night sometimes and finding a new one in a rush can be a real problem.
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