Plumbing a Sump for Dummies
Ok, so I am using a Mag Drive 1800 pump in my sump. The aquarium is a 180 gallon tank with 2 internal overflows.
Lets talk PVC. Now, realize, you are talking to a man who could not find a spark plug under the hood of his car. I sit behind a desk all day. I am not a "handy" person.
So, lets talk PVC. Be careful, or you will speak a language I do not understand. When you say "bulkhead", you better assume I have no idea what you are talking about.
This is what I know. I plan to split the return to have 2 returns, 1 for each overflow. The basics have me lost. How do i attach the PVC to the pump? Does the pump come with an attachment? I assume I need a PVC glue... what type? Do I need "teflon" thread? How do I ensure an equal water flow to both returns? Or do i? How do I keep a tight water seal where the aquarium glass is drilled?
Like I said, I understand exactly how the sump works, but I am clueless on putting it together. I did a You-Tube search and found almost nothing useful. I need to know EXACTLY what to buy when I go to Lowes.
Pasfur- Great idea for a great thread. I'll be following this one. I'm really glad you've given the instructions to post in "desk" language.
PS. BTW, in my language a bulkhead is the seat on the airplane where no one sits in front of you so you can kick your feet up :lol:
mags are actually good stuff i own two mag 9.5s and a mag 24. the only issue i see with them is heat generated but granted your going to have a decent size tank its not going to be a problem.
a bulkhead will seal between the glass with a gasket or o-ring or rubber fitting (which ever you best understand )
i dont know how you plan on setting up the sump, but i personally have skimmer/ return pump / refugium in that order. im going to guess that the 18 is 1 inch line. running the pipe up and splitting it in the center of the tank to go to either side should be sufficient. if its split as close to the center of the tank as possible flow will be pretty much even on either side. regular PVC glue will do the trick. its 2 parts. the first application is usually clear or purple and cleans the pipe then the glue which dries very fast so you will have to apply then practically shove the to peices of pipe together. i strongly suggest dry fitting every piece of your pluming prior to glueing to ensure everything adds up. teflon tape is good for threaded areas, it wouldnt hurt to put it on the mags threads but isnt needed as the water that leaks (if any) will just go back into the sump, they make a piece of PVC that is important. it is threaded on one side (so it screws in) and smooth on the other (so i slides onto PVC) your going to need this to screw onto the mag and glue into PVC. the reason this piece is good is so your pump isnt permantly glued or attached to and rigid piping and can be removed for cleaning/maintnance/ upgrading/selling or anything reason. threaded bulkheads should also see some teflon tape. your also going to want acrylic to build baffles, that is if your building a DIY sump yourself. theres prob. more but thats all i got at the moment.
Mag 18... I respect Steve's opinion greatly and I was leaning toward the mag pumps.
I'm ok on the sump design and construction. My brother and I will build it out of glass. Lets talk more PVC.
Anything I need to know about making bends and turns?
Back to the bulkhead. Where does the o-ring go? Which side of the glass?
Inside the overflows, what type of fittings? The water height inside the overflow will obviously be determined by the height of the exit PVC pipe. Should this pipe be tall enough to reach near the top of the overflow to help make it more quiet? Should it loop around with the opening facing down, or should the water flow over the opening and fall back into the PVC?
Any tips on keeping this operating quietly would also be appreciated.
Just a personal observation here Mark. I started out using PVC, then switched the lines to Flexible Sump Hose, and finally switched over to Vinyl hose with PVC hose barbs (available at Lowes). Ive had the least amount of noise with the vinyl hoses. Linda C, a local friend, and member of the Board of Directors For MACNA, actually complimented the quiet nature of Both of our systems.
That doesnt go to say that there arent problems with the use of Vinyl hose as well. The clear hose allows light to penetrate and algae to grow within the tubes. The flexible nature of the hose makes running from point A to point B easy, and eliminates headloss due to PVC elbows and 45's, but it also opens the possibility of pinching.
Bulkhead o-ring goes on the inside. :)
The tank should come with the overflow plumbing. Make sure they have Durso Standpipes for the drianage. That'll help with noise reduction. If the tank does not come with the overflow plumbing, It's far cheaper to make it yourself then to buy it seperate. Let me know if need be and I can walk you through it. If you give me overflow dimensions, I can even give you the measurements you'll need for the pipes.
Oh, yes, and definitely go with the "Center Return" sump design as OF2F suggests. 1200 GPH is far too much flow for a fuge.
I'm playing with some sump designs and really having a difficult time getting the volume of water I would hope to have. The sump will sit in side the cabinet stand, so space is limited to what fits. Questions...
When the power goes out, do I need to have enough empty space in the return pump area to acomodate for the back flow of water? Or will the water flow backwards around the bevels and fill all sections of the sump prior to overflowing the sump?
With one inch of backflow on a 180, plus a few gallons in the plumbing, i would need an extra 10 gallons of space in the return pump section. Add on 5 gallons of evaporation water and 2 gallons for the pump to sit in, and I am looking at a 17 gallon area just for the return pump. Given that the sump should remain at a 16'' height to allow room to work with equipment, this doesn't leave much room for an adequate refugium.
For example. Consider a 5 foot long, 16'' tall, 14''wide sump. The simmer area takes up 12'' of length. The return pump needs 24'' length to make a 20 gallon area (using 14'' tall bevel walls). Take away an additional 4'' for bevels on each side and you only have an 18 gallon refugium. The total gallons of water in the sump would only be about 30 gallons running.
This is disappointing. Am i overestimating the space needed for the return pump to accomodate evaporation and power outages?
Mark, Send me the dimensions of the tank, and the sump. And are you planning a DIY sump from another tank?
And to answer your question, No, you do not need to reserve space in the return section alone for the drainage from the tank/plumbing in the event of a power outage.
You should get a good estimate on the needed space for the drainage, and design the sump accordingly. Then once the system is set up, with all power off, fill the tank until it begins to drain into the sump (make sure both overflows are full) and fill the skimmer to capacity. Then you will fill the sump to about 1" below the top of the sump. This will be the level of the level the sump will attain during a power outage. Now start up the system and oncee the return section levels out, mark the level on the sump with black marker or other means. This will be your full normal operating level (fill your top-off to this level)
Mark, If you can get me those dimensions, i'll do some figuring on what you should be looking at for your section dimensions, and I'll try to explain my calculations so you have a better understanding on what you're looking at.
Thanks Steve. The 180 is 6' x 24'' x 24''. We will be building a glass sump, dimensions at our desire. My brother works at a glass shop and has a lot of experience making aquariums of similar size.
At this point I can still make the decision of an iron stand or a cabinet stand. The iron stand will allow much more flexibility with the sump, but will require some cosmetics to be attractive in our dining room area.
Go with the Cabinet stand. It will muffle out noise from the Skimmer and waterflow.
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