DIY PVC overflow with dual siphons
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:31 PM   #1
lochaber
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DIY PVC overflow with dual siphons


I'm planning an overflow for a 40B (that I hope to make a paludarium out of eventually...)

Right now, I'm thinking of going with something really similar to what's described here:

http://dramaticaquascapes.com/PVC_Overflow_11.html

but with a few minor modifications - I'm thinking of using a bit of vinyl rain gutter for the outer chamber (will fit in the corner of the tank nicely, and it will be easier to cut a sponge prefilter/fry guard to fit inside it), and using two Ts to drain to the sump, with a ball valve on the lower one.

I'm considering using two siphons, maybe at a smaller diameter (I think a single 1/2" pvc should handle more flow rate then what I need, and twin siphons should only increase that), mostly for the sake of redundancy - if one of the siphons is compromised, the other should still work, etc.
pvc flow rates here:
http://flexpvc.com/WaterFlowBasedOnPipeSize.shtml

also planning on using an aqualifter to prime the siphons/remove bubbles, and maybe have it run to a drip wall (or maybe not, I haven't quite planned that far yet)

I'd mostly just like to hear suggestions/advice/etc., as to what types of disadvantages there would be to having a dual siphon, or if using two 1/2" pvc is a really bad idea, etc.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:55 AM   #2
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So, I recently picked up some PVC fittings, and was playing with them, and just wanted to see if anyone had any info/advice

any bad experiences with a dual siphon system? -I'm assuming I'll need a separate venturi/aqualifter for each one (I'm guessing that if I just tee them together, it will primarily draw from the 'easier' one, and if one siphon is broken, it will likely be easier to pull water off the intact one, as oppposed to drawing up the water in the failed siphon)

Any bad (or successful) uses of 1/2" PVC for an overflow/uptake? does anyone have any input on the figures on that chart? - reliable, inaccurate, not suitable to my purpose?

Thanks for reading, and again, I'd really appreciate any/all advice/info.
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:28 PM   #3
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I'd stay with the 3/4" pipe. I've got 1/2" in 12 of my drilled tanks and yes it can keep up. But there is very little margin for error.

I like the design of this overflow. My nephew built 2 for his 125 last year.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:49 PM   #4
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Thanks for the response.

If that chart is correct, the two 1/2" pipes should be able to handle more flow then a single 3/4" pipe, or is that chart taking other factors into consideration/not applicable to aquaria?

Also, I haven't made any flow measurements yet (I'm considering putting in some flow meters on the tank plumbing, but not sure if it's worth it (I may just do some timings with 5 gallon buckets)), but I'm guessing I'll probably have a flow rate from 200-300 gph

Did you have any specific problems with 1/2" pipe, or is it just too close to being maxed out in normal use for you?

Thanks again for the response, and I appreciate the input.
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Old 10-01-2013, 12:06 AM   #5
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I'm all for redundancy. If you're willing to build 2 overflows for 1/2" pipe then do it. Just use 3/4" instead. Money wise it's almost a wash.

1/2" was too close to maxed out. But I have no choice in that. The tanks were bought used and drilled. But I only paid $4.00 each for all 12 tanks. Same footprint as your 40B just 10" tall is all. They're breeder tanks.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:16 PM   #6
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I ended up buying a bunch of 1/2" fittings and pipe and played around with it dry fitting pieces together and such.

Between the pipe's wall thickness and the fittings, I'm pretty sure building it out of 3/4" pipe won't actually be significantly bigger, so any space I expected to save would be almost insignificant.

I'm considering skipping the outside tube in that plan, and just putting a mattenfilter-type chunk of filter foam across a back corner. The flow rate will be wrong for a mattenfilter, but I mostly just want something to keep critters out, and leaves and stuff out and serve as a prefilter.


Thanks GraphicGr8s, I appreciate the input.
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:24 PM   #7
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Don't skip the outside tube
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:44 PM   #8
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Maybe I'm missing something here, but I was under the impression that the outer tube (the 3" one) was primarily to keep the smaller critters out of the overflow assembly?

the middle tube (1.5") seems to prevent a siphon from breaking on the tank side, as well as limiting the minimum tank water level.


If I were to have some other method of keeping critters out (like a small corner mattenfilter style chunk of foam), I could just use the 1.5" tube to regulate tank level and skim off the surface water.

Is there some other aspect of the outer 3" tube that I'm overlooking?

Appreciate the input, it always helps to hear from someone who's actually used something, as opposed to just speculating.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:23 PM   #9
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If you skip the outside tube you're only drawing from the surface of the water. The outside tube has holes lower on the pipe in addition to the top cuts. Gives a little more movement on the lower levels. Yes, I know drilled tanks don't have that. But I like it.

One note, that's not standard 3" pvc. It's more of a foam type pipe. It's at Lowe's.
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:10 PM   #10
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Oh, yeah, I had thought about that a bit, but I'm mostly concerned with drawing off the surface water. eh, I've still got a lot of planning and building to do before I get anywhere near needing the overflow built, so I may leave that go until I have a better idea of what the layout will actually be...

Didn't know about the foam pvc pipe, I may head over to Lowe's today and take a look and see what they have, so far I've just been playing with the narrow diameter pipe and fittings.

Thanks for the bit about the foam pipe, wasn't even something I was aware of.
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:16 PM   #11
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One is happy to be of service.
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