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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Living in Sulawesi, Indonesia I'm in the planning stage for an approximate 300 gallon square aquarium with a square overflow in the center of the tank. I settled on the style so that all sides can be viewed and can be set up differently with plants and open space. It will also give a full 2 meters length of weir hopefully keeping the "waterfall" noise down.

I am able to use a very large semi in-ground tiled concrete and glass external sump with plumbing running under the floor inside. I would run fans on the sump to keep the water temperature down here in the tropics and I can set up an automatic water level system running well water into the sump.

I've decided to use the BeanAnimal's Bar and Grill - Silent and Fail-Safe Overflow System style overflow plumbing for quiet operation and fail safe peace of mind when I am away at work. The image below shows the basic layout of the tank and plumbing.



The tank is 1.5 meters square with the overflow 50 centimeters square. The overflow is 55 centimeters deep while the outer tank has 60 centimeter high panels. The three 1 1/2 inch standpipes form the Bean Animal overflow while there are two 3/4 inlets splitting into a total of four 1/2 inch bulkheads. The tank side of the inlet bulkheads will be fitted with Loc-Line inlets so that they can be individually directed for flow.



The above image shows the layout of the standpipes. The one on the right is the full siphon with the one on the left acting as the open channel while the one in the middle is the emergency drain in case of blockage. I plan to set the water level in the overflow so that the open channel runs about half full provided that the flow is quiet at that level. That will be about 1 1/2 inches down from the top of the weir. It would be nice to run it a little higher so that the water flow over the weir into the overflow might be laminar and noiseless but I'm not sure how high I could safely go. I might just have to buy some extra pipe and male adapters and experiment a bit.

All of the standpipes will use the flat pancake style of strainer to keep out fish and to minimize any vortex action which would introduce air into the siphon and create noise.

The full siphon is set a bit lower than the open channel so that it has more chance to start a siphon before the water level goes too far over the top of the toothless weir. The lower level of this means that if there is a power outage the water in the overflow will drop a little more but my sump will be larger in capacity than the tank so no problem there. Once the water reaches the height of the weir the open channel breather tube will be shut so that it can form a full siphon and the emergency is just barely higher than the weir.

:-? The problem is that I have never used this type of overflow set-up before and nobody else has a write-up on the web showing anything like my planned build.

If anybody can see any dumb mistakes in the design please let me know so that I can make alterations in the design before ordering all of the equipment as a lot of this stuff needs to be imported.
 

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Welcome to TFK! This is a fascinating design. Extremely advanced beyond most aquarists in design. I use a durso standpipe in my overflow of my 90 gallon tank that my husband made. That is to reduce the sucking noise the built in overflow would create. I can ask my husband if he would look at this design. He may have an idea about it. I look forward to your progress.
My only concern would be there is no way to cover this tank, which could lead to fish jumping out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your kind comments. This is not actually my ideal tank. I would have one of the infinity edge tanks in a heartbeat but the system for drainage would probably be too difficult to build out here.

I didn't plan to build an unusual tank but with my work taking me away from home for up to two months at a time having the extra water capacity to keep parameters more stable and the ease of water changes with a huge sump allows me leeway.

On jumpers I have been very lucky so far with my smaller tanks. An open twenty gallon has provided my only loss to this when a newish Pakistani Loach decided the grass was greener on the other side of the glass. None of my other fish have ever made the leap. I'm hoping to be lucky with this tank as well but there is the option to build a cover with 8 separate square panels if I put supports in the corners of the overflow. The only thing then would be to source monofilament mesh for the panels.

This will be a long term build as getting Starphire glass for the outer ring, the large base and then smoked glass for the overflow panels is an import job which can take some time. Two return pumps (for redundancy) will also need to be sourced outside as the locally available types are generally smallerl capacity and usually cheap Chinese types. There are some pond pumps available but I don't know how long they last under continuous service. Bulkheads and street elbows will need to be on the same list.

Another headache is building a conduit under the floor for the plumbing to the sump. I'm currently looking at using 10 inch PVC and probably going with flexible pies through that to the outside. I have to think about rat proofing on the outside end as well because there are some big ones here with mostly open storm drains. I once tried expanded aluminum mesh normally used on a satellite TV antenna to block them but they chewed right through two layers of that.

The big advantages that I have here are cheap labor costs and very cheap plants and fish. My LFS provides about 8 different types of Sulawesi shrimp and several types of indigenous plants to the country's capital and he lets me have first dibs at crazy low prices.

My biggest technical concern with the build is that the overflow works properly and keeps the water depth as close as possible to the weir height without making a lot of noise. It would be nice not to have the tops of the standpipes visible but I can't see any way of doing this without having the water fall a lot further down the overflow and making a lot of noise in the process. I've seen some Bean Animal overflows that don't use tees opting for two elbows instead so if the "waterfall" is quiet enough then that may be an option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lighting will be a ceiling mounted hanging system with eight square heatsinks, each with a silent type cooling fan. I look at the shape of the aquarium as being pretty much like 8 50 centimeter cubes and will cluster the LEDs accordingly. A square frame of aluminum angles will tie them all together allowing just four hanging points. I'm also considering putting in cross beams to the middle of each side of the square allowing a mount point for the LED DC drivers. The 48V power supplies will feed into the drivers from up in the ceiling or maybe from a ceiling mounted ladder frame.

Clustering the LEDs close together should give good shimmer, especially with the four inlets angled to give surface agitation.
 

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How do you get any sleep with such a mind working overtime? :lol: So fascinating and intriguing. I cannot wait to see it set up and wish you the best at finding the answers you seek. It may be out of the husband's league as well. While he is a smart guy, he has not been active in any projects like this in ages. Too busy with our business....;-)
 

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More questions I have if you don't mind~ What will you be utilizing for filtration? Poret foam? Ceramic rings? In the sump? Or more of a sandbed trickle type?
This thread is going to keep me riveted. Please keep us updated!
 

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Ok..my husband looked at this and while this is way beyond me this is what he said~ he says both the left and right pipes need to be about the same height, with the end extending down further. He also said the one on the right should also be vented like the one on the left. He said the 1.5" standpipe is going to handle a lot of water. He said otherwise you are going to see a constant rise and fall inside the overflow. Beats me, not sure if any of that makes sense, but hope it helps.:)
 

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He also said none of this should be glued in place. So we are only talking about PVC here right? That is the inexpensive part of it anyway. Maybe give it a shot but keep in mind modifications may need to be made as it progresses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sump capacity will be 1200 to 1500 liters with industrial type fan for cooling.

Water level will be maintained using a dual float electrical switch as used in local storage tanks to start a small well pump.

Initial filtration will be:

Filter sock x 2 (cant see how to get three pipes into one so the emergency will have its own which may never be used so)
Small ceramic rings or something plastic like Eheim Mech under the socks to catch what the
Coarse foam block as used in pond filters so available here
Floss (a lot of it in a separate compartment)
BioGro or BioHome Ultimate (claimed good for nitrates as well)

The largest penultimate chamber will have:
Surface plants (maybe)
Lava rock for nitrates
Algae turf scrubber with 66onm LED lighting

The outputs from the pair of pumps in the final chamber will have a tee valved with a hose barb so that water change disposals can be used on the garden.

My wife will take care of feeding duties and monitor the aquarium. She likes the fish and plants but not the noise of fans etc. Because she is not overly technical the power for the lights will be set up redundantly and there will be a couple of emergency 10 watt eBay LED panels ready for use in case of driver or LED failure. I'm using just two of these on a CO2 injected 55 gallon and they are dimmed to about 60 percent because of algae growth if they are run flat out.

My LFS guy will also be on call for anything she can't handle but he is more into aquascaping than the technical side of things. He can improvise if necessary and a single point failure on lights or a single pump failure will not be catastrophic. The overflow (if it works as I hope) is fail safe and will provide ample audible warning should there be a blockage in the full siphon because the siphon in the open channel should make and break causing plenty of gurgling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Your husband makes sense for twin Dursos but he hasn't studied the Bean Animal overflow system.

The full siphon channel has a gate valve to adjust the flow rate. It should be adjusted so that the water level gives some flow to the open channel. After stopping and then restarting the pumps the full siphon channel will self establish once the air bubbles clear the pipe (usually 1 to 2 minutes) and the level will come back to that set by the gate valve. The beauty of the system is that you get a variable siphon flow rate allowing the level to be set so that the open channel is silent as well. Power loss will do the same thing when the power comes back on.

A blockage in the full siphon means that the water level will rise so that the air bleed line in the open channel eventually gets blocked by water and it will try to be a full siphon. The large pipe size means this won't be possible except for very short periods with the water level rising and falling as your husband described and the noise will alert us to a problem.

The emergency standpipe makes sure that there is even more redundancy. If the open channel for any reason can't keep up with the flow rate then it will pick up the slack. I'm thinking about raising the emergency as having it too low may interfere with the open channel establishing a full siphon. You could use a gate valve on the open channel as well and if the full siphon was completely blocked it would work as before, silently but with a higher water level, but the variables in possible blockage size in the full siphon makes this unreliable and we want to know if there is a problem in any case.

The design is very elegant and works superbly in full length overflows, internal or external on conventional tanks being largely self tuning and recovering from power outages or deliberate shut downs by itself. If there is a slow build-up of slime in the pipe of the full siphon it needs to block the gate valve orifice to make a difference in water levels. Once this happens the water levels rise and the open channel starts working as a full siphon part of the time (due to dropping water levels) and the noise alerts us.

I just stumbled onto it by looking for overflow silencers when I started planning the tank. Bean Animal deserves any credit for mind work, I'm just trying to adapt his system for a strange application.
 

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The filtration sounds good. I have recently stopped using the bags of ceramic rings in my sump due to nutrient build up. I have gone with a simpler solution of two large custom cut pieces of Poret foam{made in Germany} I also use a large filter sock at the inlet to the sump, swapping it out with one I keep in a bucket with bleach to clean weekly. The filter sock is great for catching larger debris, and keep that from blocking the foam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I love reef tanks but there are a few issues with this. The first is the maintenance involved. With the work I do I am away for extended periods so that puts reefing out of contention.

The second issue is that the way people here collect specimens is a long way from sustainable use. MY LFS guy provides Sulawesi shrimp and indigenous water plants to several channels but he makes sure that the way that these are collected is sustainable. It's not so much a moral issue for him so much as financial. He's a young guy and wants his business to be long term. That said he has stopped some lines because he found that the people collecting the specimens were doing so irresponsibly.

The final issue is the equipment availability. Reef equipment needs to be reliable and what is locally available can be less than ideal in that respect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The filtration sounds good. I have recently stopped using the bags of ceramic rings in my sump due to nutrient build up. I have gone with a simpler solution of two large custom cut pieces of Poret foam{made in Germany} I also use a large filter sock at the inlet to the sump, swapping it out with one I keep in a bucket with bleach to clean weekly. The filter sock is great for catching larger debris, and keep that from blocking the foam.
Interesting that the rings would cause problems moreso than the foam. Or was the issue that the rings were used as biomedia? I have found that many of the locally available ceramic rings have poor porosity after soak testing with precise weighing before and after. I will be using them mainly as mechanical filters to catch the bits that bypass the socks. I'm also planning on using the foam (probably not Poret as the locally available stuff looks and feels okay) and the biomedia will be expansive. Hopefully the algae scrubber and some floating plants along with the lava rock will keep nitrates under control.
 

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Well I have to thank you for taking my husband and I away from more stressful thoughts for an evening.:) We had fun discussing your plans, and mulling over it's potential for success, or not....
My husband wonders if the central part, the smoked glass you said will be used for it, will be slotted or flat? We seem to agree that whether this works or not depends on that area and it's capacity, vs the amount of water being pushed through. I printed the bean animal page and the graphic pics of the design for him to read while we visited when he came home from work. He thinks the bean animal design works/stays quiet because of the water being choked down so it hugs the walls of the one standpipe. And he mentioned the fact that it also utilizes the Anthony Calfo style wide overflow. We agreed we wouldn't use any type of strainer that could potentially get clogged. Any fish or debris would just go into the sump, or the filter sock. We have had many a fish go over the overflow into the sock.
Once we had a 65 gal tank with a small puffer and some of those huge black and white snails from Belize. One of those decided he needed to clean off a pipe and so for a while he was totally blocking the pipe. I remember standing there freaking out on what I should do, as the water sheared over all 4 sides of the tank. Hubby handles emergencies way better than I do, but he wasn't home at the time....:p
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The flood problem is one of the main reasons I am looking at the Bean Animal overflow. The thought of 1200 liters of water going inside the house while we are sleeping upstairs is not a pretty one. I'm glad your husband got away from thinking about the stresses of everyday life for a bit as well.

His ideas on the overflow are almost right but he is still thinking more along the line of Dursos. I also had problems getting my head around the principles as a restricted pipe running full siphon didn't make much sense. Then I thought about the times when I have had a snail in an outlet hose and realized that it didn't break the siphon, simply reduced the flow.

The full siphon is completely full of water all the time when things are working normally. That, along with a minimal flow in the Durso open channel, is what eliminates the noise. The beauty of the system is the added air hose on the open channel allowing for it to become a full siphon if the water level rises. Simple adjustments to the valve on the open channel set the water height in the overflow and then we just need to set the height of the air bleed on the open channel accordingly.

I originally thought about a toothed overflow but fish still seem to get over them and snails go anywhere they want anyway. Smooth weirs create less noise, especially with full radius on top. I have thought about going to a smooth slot but having them laser cut is pretty costly in Singapore, the nearest place I can get that sort of work done. I'm still considering making a box, complete with a thin base, out of acrylic and using the bulkheads to tie things together and then the slots could be easily cut here.

Another thing I am waiting on is information about the DC pumps now available. With electronic controllers they can be set to a lower flow and this might be good for redundancy as I could use two larger pumps at reduced flow rates and in the event of one failing the other could be opened up to pick up the slack. My only concern is that in the event of a power outage they may not turn back on at the previous setting with the electronic controllers.

The other way to go is use two large standard pumps with ball valves controlling the flow but then we get more heat output and use more electricity all the time. I may simply have to set things up so that one pump runs and have valves set for a spare one installed alongside to take its place in the event of a problem.

This is going to be a slow process due to ordering parts in from outside. Customs here can take ages.

If you want to see a good build for an Indonesian reef tank here (mostly in Indonesian but lots of pictures) take a look at My Dream Tank : 255 x 120 x 90 Starphire® Ultra Clear Glass | Indonesia's Saltwater Aquarium Hobbyist Community

The guy who did this really went all out with a large bank of batteries and inverter to take over during even extended power outages. Looking at the gear he bought was another reason I'm sticking with a planted tank. Local substrates are fine and once the glass, pumps, a few fittings like bulkheads and such, heatsinks, power supplies and LEDs get here the rest is just job work. That is until I decide to set up light controller but my wife has yet to approve that. Once she sees how much I spend on the rest she may never do so.
 

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Well..hubby had a lot to say before he left for work on your idea of using DC pumps.He majored in electronics btw, and our business is repair and maintenance of large/ industrial trucks, trailers, pumps, A/C, engines, transmissions, lighting, etc...and we do it mobile from the back of an International straight truck. It's basically a full shop on wheels.
We do deal with DC pumps. He said they are not as efficient, are costly, and need rebuilding quite often. They are not made to run 24/7. We recently had to purchase brushes for a good Leeson motor, and they were $200.00 and to rebuild it was $500.00. The pump itself cost $1200.00.{wholesale} He said on average he gets them rebuilt every year or two, and they are only running several hours a day.
 
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