side by side refugium and display
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:59 AM   #1
NateBell
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side by side refugium and display


So, long story short, I have a couple of old bottom drilled 60 gallons I picked up a while back for basically free (I think $20 each lol), and I wanted to do something with 'em.
So I started thinking:
I already have a 75 gallon wave front tank, unfortunately the stand is impossible to put a sump underneath without substantial modification, so I started thinking of ways I could plumb one of the bottom drilled 60's as a massive refugium next to my 75 gallon display. (both on stands) I'll be using an extra Rena XP2 I have basically as an external pump only... (no filter media inside) to circulate the water through the system.

Basically, I'm asking if this concept will work:
(just a quick drawing, please feel free to ask for details)
any and all input is greatly appreciated, thanks!!
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:22 AM   #2
gus6464
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I don't see why not but that seems like quite a bit of head pressure for that canister to push through which I don't think is up to the task. You will be better off going with a proper dry pump like an Iwaki.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:54 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
I don't see why not but that seems like quite a bit of head pressure for that canister to push through which I don't think is up to the task. You will be better off going with a proper dry pump like an Iwaki.
I may have some wet pumps laying around I could use... basically the same design only placing the pump inside the display not exactly ideal... but I may be able to hide it...

My only concern is that if I go to too high of GPH... that the overflow system wouldn't be able to keep up, is this a valid fear? I am completely new to plumbing auxiliary tanks

The top of the refugium tank is currently 8 inches higher than the top of the display, so there is some room for adjustment (I can easily shorten the legs on my DIY stand)
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:13 AM   #4
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...actually I'm not too sure head pressure will be an issue, If i keep the canister elevated to the point it won't have to fight gravity pumping water up into the tank, then the only resistance it should face would be from the horizontal length of the hose.

(Which will actually be as short as possible haha I apologize for the diagram, I drew it that way so it'd be easier to read)
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NateBell View Post
...actually I'm not too sure head pressure will be an issue, If i keep the canister elevated to the point it won't have to fight gravity pumping water up into the tank, then the only resistance it should face would be from the horizontal length of the hose.

(Which will actually be as short as possible haha I apologize for the diagram, I drew it that way so it'd be easier to read)
Ahh ok then that should be fine then. Try it and see what happens. If the canister cant handle it and you go with a dry pump you can always control flow rate with ball valves. Any pump should work really as you stay within spec but I just mentioned Iwaki because it's what I've used in the past and they are very reliable.
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:47 PM   #6
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My concern is the draining of water from the refugium into the display tank if there is only 8 inches difference. I think there will be alot of difficulty to tune this so the drain is in sync. Trial and error though.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:37 PM   #7
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I may not be seeing everything here, but the issue I see is the return water from the refugium to the tank. The height of the refugium tank is irrelevant, only the water height matters. In that diagram, there is not enough water height to get the water pressure alone to move water from the refugium overflow to the main tank. I don't see a problem with the rest of it. It looks like an overflow setup, so you can't go by the water level in the tank, only by the water level inside the over flow. You would need the overflow level to be higher than the water level in the main tank. I would think much higher to effectively work in the fashion you are looking for. I'm guessing the overflow height would need to be at the same level as the highest part of your return line into the other tank, since it's not a siphon.

I don't know if I've adequately described what I see as the problem. Basically if you take it just like you have it drawn, but raise the entire setup on the right to raise that water level to the highest point of the return tube farthest to the left I think would work the way you envision it.

edit:
I think that raising the water level higher in the refugium will give you the movement from the refugium back to the main tank, but at that point I do think you might have some trouble with the head pressure on the canister moving the water back the other direction.

Last edited by Bandit1200; 06-24-2014 at 08:44 PM.. Reason: add-on
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:34 PM   #8
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The more I look at that picture, the more I think that a true siphon return would do what you want.
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Old 06-25-2014, 12:49 AM   #9
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That will work. The tubing from one tank to the other is closed. It will only hold water, and will keep the water level the same in both tanks.

Google a few ideas to see proof.

I have done this with hard piping, with clear tubing across the top between 2 tanks, then a 90 deg bend into each tank. As long as the openings stay under water the siphon is maintained. Fish would swim through it. To keep a water flow through this I had a small pump in one tank (does not matter which one) and small tubing (3/8"? 1/2"?) between the tanks, just clipped to the tanks so it would stay in place.
Google 'Hamster Tube' and 'Aquarium' or 'Fish' in the same search.

The soft tubing idea is used in construction, and is called a 'Water Level'. If you have seen any episodes of that crew that builds tree houses you have seen them using a water level. No matter what the tube is doing (wrapping around the trunk or branches, or zig-zagging among you tanks and stands the water in the tube will be level. When both ends are under water (in your aquariums) then the water in the tanks will stay the same.

I did a water change on one tank, and this drained the water out of both tanks. Then I refilled one, and they both got filled.

I think the filter will work better if it is lower, but try it and see what you find out.
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:04 AM   #10
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Update: It works!!! I experimented with a 5 gallon bucket getting the water levels/ GPH dialed in, and then moved my 75 gallon next to it. I'm not sure how many GPH the Rena XP2 is running at... it's full of bio media and sitting on the ground, I'd guess around 100 GPH?

but the simple overflow system is surprisingly quiet... literally almost no sound at all, only the minimal noise coming from the canister filter.
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