drilling overflows, placement of said overflows and sump questions

Discussion in 'Fish Tanks' started by dswofford, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. dswofford

    dswofford

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    I found a 135 gallon for the dirt on craigslist to replace my current 135 that has bad glass but like my current tank, it is not drilled for an overflow. I was originally going to use a siphon overflow box but everyone has told me to drill it instead and the more I read about the siphon overflows, the more I am thinking of drilling. Again I will reiterate that this terrifies the living hell out of me :) and if I could find someone to drill it for me I would gladly pay them, but no one will touch it. Soooooo as they say no balls, no babies. Screw it I'm going to drill it myself.

    I need some advice on overflows in regards to placement, size and flow.

    I have been looking at the following kits:

    1500 gph flow kit. Would this be sufficient? If so, where would the best placement be? Center? Corner? 1500 gph complete kit - Glass-Holes.com dope aquarium stuff

    Or, would two 700 gph kits be better? 700 gph Overflow complete kit - Glass-Holes.com dope aquarium stuff Again, where to place them? I assume I would have one in each corner.

    I have also been contemplating building my own sump, but I'm not sure what size tank to use. I have seen some articles saying a 20 gallon tank is sufficient while I have seen others that say you have to have a 55 gallon tank. I will also be running a berlin triple pass skimmer and a uv filter as well. However I have been looking into buying a sump as well and was considering this unit WET DRY FILTER 200 GALLON REEF TANK AQUARIUM - eBay (item 380194205264 end time Feb-03-10 07:17:12 PST) I'm trying to find a happy balance between cost and quality so I can have money to splurge on live rock.

    Thoughts, suggestions, alternatives?

    Thanks in advance!
     
    dswofford, Jan 17, 2010
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  2. dswofford

    d2mini VIP Member

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    If my tank was up against a wall, I'd do a coast-to-coast with 3 holes drilled on the back glass for a BeanAnimal Failsafe setup.
    BeanAnimal's Bar and Grill - Silent and Fail-Safe Overflow System

    For a pre-built sump, look at Precision Marine.
    You don't want all those bio-balls in the one you listed for a reef tank. They can be nitrate factories.
    And you need to be able to fit your protein skimmer.
     
    d2mini, Jan 17, 2010
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  3. dswofford

    Rcpilot

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    This gets kinda complicated. You normally want to run somewhere between 10x the tank volume and you could run all the way up to 30x or even 50x for a high flow tank.

    The only way to get that much water through a sump without it looking like a white water river is to have a HUGE sump. Can you imagine running 2700gph through a 30g sump? 2700gph is only 20x turnover for the tank, but thats a whole lotta water to push through a sump.

    Typical sump design says you should run the flow between 3x - 5x the tank volume. So if we say you'll go 5x the tank through your sump every hour thats 675gph to move through the sump. Even with a 30g sump - that'll be moving pretty fast. With a 50g sump it would slow down significantly.

    But can you imagine running 2700gph through a 50g sump? :shock: Again - the water would be literally ROARING through it.

    So whats the answer?

    I think the answer is a 50g sump turning over 5x the tank volume per hour. And a closed loop to handle your flow requirements.

    With a closed loop, you'll be drilling a LOT more holes in the back. But you said you were tired of being scared - so if you're gonna drill the tank then you might as well go for it and drill it till she looks like swiss cheese. :mrgreen:

    Run a Mag 9.5 on a 50g sump with 2 smaller overflows and 1" bulk heads. That setup would never overflow from the pump being too strong. By the time you calculate head pressure and pipe losses the pump would be slowed down to 700gph. Dual overflow boxes and 1" bulk heads will handle that with no problem.

    For the closed loop, I'd drill for 3/4" bulk heads and pipe. This will allow you to use the line-loc plumbing pieces and direct the returning flow around the tank to get the random flow we all seek. How much flow you want in the tank? At 20x turnover you'll need a 2700gph pump. There are no calculations required for head loss on a closed loop. All the pipes are under water and the system is sealed. No head pressure. The pump will deliver the rated capacity at zero feet of head.

    I know it's more complicated, more expensive and more work. But you DID ask..... :mrgreen: Thats just my opinion. Whatever you decide, we'll help you where we can. :Cheers:
     
    Rcpilot, Jan 17, 2010
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  4. dswofford

    dswofford

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    Closed loop system = more reading and studying. My brain is starting to hurt from all this lol.

    While we are on the subject of sumps and flow I have yet another question. Aside from cleaning the pump and filter and keeping pipes from being blocked, what and how do I need to set this up so that it never overflows in power outages. We get some nasty ice storms out here and can lose power quite frequently.
     
    dswofford, Jan 17, 2010
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  5. dswofford

    Rcpilot

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    A closed loop is simply a method for increasing the flow in the tank without having to push it through your sump. Again, pushing that much water through your sump is going to look like foam. It'll be rushing through the sump so fast the water will look like it's boiling.

    All the holes for a closed loop are UNDER water. There is no air in the system. There is no head pressure. There's just as much water pushing on the suction side of the pump as on the outlet side of the pump.

    Think of it like a hot tub. All the drain lines and all the return lines are under water. They just push water around. There's no filtration taking place. It's just water movement to create the random flow we need.

    There is no danger of a wet floor with a closed loop. All the water lines are sealed. It comes out of the tank - into the pump - and back to the tank. Nothing can spill or overflow unless you have a catastrophic plumbing failure such as a busted pipe or a split 90* elbow. Highly unlikely.

    Essentially it's 2 different pump and 2 different systems. The closed loop is for your water flow in the tank. The sump is your filter that runs at a much slower water speed. You keep your skimmer and return pump in the sump. Maybe section off one end for the fuge? But the sump/fuge/return pump is a completely separate system only flowing between 600-700gph. The closed loop is the high flow system running around 2700gph.

    If you're only going to push 600-700gph through the sump you could get away with 1 overflow box rated at 1000gph and a single 2" bulk head with a Mag 9.5 pump.

    Here's a couple pics I threw together. First one is a side view. 2nd pic is a view looking at the back of the tank. These are just basic pics to give you an idea how it works. You'd need to modify it to suit your particular needs.

    LOTS of holes though.

    If you decide to go this route, I can help you size the pump and plumbing.

    If anybody sees a flaw in my math or thinking please speak up. I've never done a closed loop and I'm not an expert. This is just the direction my mind goes when we start planning the layout on large tanks like this.
     

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    Rcpilot, Jan 17, 2010
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  6. dswofford

    bwaller76 Love my tanks!

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    couldnt you even just run the returns for the closed loop up and over the back of the tank? I have seen it in pics and they plumbed it quite nicely. Probably be better with drills tho
     
    bwaller76, Jan 17, 2010
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  7. dswofford

    dswofford

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    Yeah, that's ALOT of holes! I'm not sure if my nerves can handle that many holes.
     
    dswofford, Jan 17, 2010
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  8. dswofford

    Rcpilot

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    Man, drilling holes is EASY. Have you seen my videos yet? Like cutting through soft butter with a hot steak knife. You can practically zip through a hole in 30-45 seconds.

    Just don't wobble the drill and you're good. Use 2 hands and hold on tight. Control the drill. Start a little off angle to get a groove started on one side. Then slowly stand it up until the drill is vertical. Drill STRAIGHT down and hold onto that drill good and solid. Let the weight of the drill do all the work. Don't press down. When it gets close to drilling all the way through - you should actually lift up on the drill to take the weight off. Don't let the hole saw come crashing through the back of the hole and blow out the glass. Hold up on the drill and let it creep through nice and easy. It's like sanding a hole with a rotating cylinder. It's REALLY easy. Just have solid control on your drill. Be steady and don't force nuthin'

    Use plenty of water. You can make a round dam around the spot and fill it with water. Or you can just run it under the hose. Or have an assistant pour water over it if you have a floor drain or can drill it in the bathtub to deal with the water running everywhere.

    Lemme know if you want to see video of drilling. Or you can check you tube. PLENTY of videos on you tube. Search for drilling holes in glass or drilling glass.
     
    Rcpilot, Jan 17, 2010
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  9. dswofford

    daugherty part time reefer

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    i will say from what i have been told by some people with closed loops is that they are not all they are banged up to be. you can pm ryanG and he can tell you all about them.


    Rc you have made some good plans.

    just like rc said you are going to want around 10x turnover through the sump and that will be a good flowthrough
     
    daugherty, Jan 17, 2010
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  10. dswofford

    Rcpilot

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    I know Ryan doesn't like his loop. But I never understood why. Maybe I missed the part where he listed the cons of the setup? Hopefully he'll return here and let us know. The closed loop seams like the way to go on big tanks like this but I've never done it. I'm not aware of the cons in a setup like this.

    I was thinking more like 5x through the sump. I got that number from Melevsreef. He says 3x up to 5x the tank volume through the sump.

    For turnover or flow in the tank I like it at least 20x. My display is around 30x for the 30g tank and I like it. The frag tank has about 10x turnover and it's too slow for the tank but I don't want to push anymore through the sump because the sump is only 20g - thats about 15x through my sump - and it's too fast. Thats the rub - by the time you get the water moving through your tank fast enough - thats too much for the sump. I want my water in my tank moving around 20x. That would be 600gph in the tank. Can you imagine moving 600gph through a 20g sump? And it's really only about 12g because the sump only runs about 1/2 full under normal conditions.

    So you do a closed loop.......... or.......... you run the sump around 5x the tank volume and then use powerheads in the tank for the rest of the flow you need inside. I absolutely LOATHE powerheads in the tank. To me they are a big fat :pooh: sitting there all the time.

    It boils down to personal choice though. Each tank is different. We all do our best engineering job and put forth our most creative efforts to get our tank just the way we like them. I haven't done one perfect yet. There's always something you forgot or don't like when it's done. Ryans closed loop for example - he doesn't like it. My 29g frag sump - I don't like it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
    Rcpilot, Jan 17, 2010
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  11. dswofford

    daugherty part time reefer

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    i am not either but i am just going by what he has said.fatman loved it on his tanks. i ust think the reason is that the pumps are spendy and that the flows are hard to control either you have to much n the wrong places of just not enough flow. i just wish i knew more about them to give a honest opinion
     
    daugherty, Jan 17, 2010
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  12. dswofford

    Rcpilot

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    We just need more experience. The frag tank was my first sump project. It's okay but it's not perfect. I live with it because the cost and time to tear it down and re-do it aren't worth it to me. I do remember fatman loved his loop.
     
    Rcpilot, Jan 17, 2010
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  13. dswofford

    daugherty part time reefer

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    you did a great job with your frag tank. i just think you can get great flow with some good powerheads at less that half the cost of a good closed loop pump and everything else that is needed to set one up and that is my honset opinion. yes the power heads may look like crap in the tank but you have more control over them
     
    daugherty, Jan 17, 2010
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  14. dswofford

    Rcpilot

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    No doubt the powerheads are much cheaper than the closed loop. Probably 1/2 the cost of a closed loop.

    Thanks for the compliment on the frag tank - I just don't like it. I broke one of my baffles stuffing the Aquatraders skimmer into the compartment that I made - which was too small because I built the sump without knowing which skimmer I would use. I need another baffle on the right side to keep microbubbles from the fuge away from the return pump. I need a bigger skimmer compartment.
     
    Rcpilot, Jan 17, 2010
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  15. dswofford

    dswofford

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    RC
    So from what I can tell on your drawing there is about 8 holes. Are those 50/50 draw and return or would it be 2 draw holes and and 6 returns?
     
    dswofford, Jan 17, 2010
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  16. dswofford

    Rcpilot

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    I'd use 2 drains for the closed loop. If you set it up with a 2000gph pump - and you plumb it back in with 3/4" lines - you'll probably need 6 or 8 of them to get all that water back into the tank.

    I kept saying 2700GPH on the loop pump yesterday. Not really necessary unless you want to get into the 30x turnover. If the sump is going 600-700gph then you only need about 2000gph on the loop to get into 20x turnover. The sump counts.

    You'd have to build distribution manifolds out of larger pipes and then reduce them down in side to go back into the tank.

    I once saw a closed loop that a guy had hooked up to a controller. He had solenoid valves on the the return lines from the loop pump. The controller would turn the solenoid valves on and off. This created all kinds of random water movement.
     
    Rcpilot, Jan 17, 2010
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  17. dswofford

    dswofford

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    Would you place the returns at the top, middle or bottom of the tank? How would you set up which direction they shoot water? I have been looking for designs on the web without much luck.
     
    dswofford, Jan 18, 2010
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  18. dswofford

    Rcpilot

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    My thoughts on the returns for the closed loop would be just try and place them evenly across the back wall. You may want to drill 8 holes and run 4 of them a few inches below the water line and 4 more maybe 1/2 way down the glass.
     
    Rcpilot, Jan 18, 2010
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  19. dswofford

    dswofford

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    I've been looking at designs here and there for a closed loop system and want to run this past everyone.

    2" bulkhead drilled in the center part of the tank to feed a 1500 gph pump, which will run to a SCWD unit then to something like this for the return lines PbH2ORet this way i can change flow direction or add extra outlets if I have to. Thoughts?
     
    dswofford, Jan 20, 2010
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  20. dswofford

    Rcpilot

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    Thats cool IMO. You can go over the top if you want so there is no drilling on the return lines.
     
    Rcpilot, Jan 21, 2010
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