Splitting flow from return pump? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Splitting flow from return pump?

Is there a recommended best way to split the flow of a return pump from my sump? I have 2 return lines, each 3/4", and I also want to split off a separate line for my CO2 reactor that feeds back into the final sump chamber. I figure that will let me control the flow into the tank and keep CO2 bubbles out of the main tank.

So essentially I need to split the return into 3 separate lines.

My overflow goes down into a 1" bulkhead, so that sets the limit of my return to ~300gph or about 150 gph per return line. The CO2 reactor can take any additional flow.

I haven't picked out a return pump yet since I wanted to figure out the plumbing first so I know how much head I have. My idea was to split the line with a T, put a ball valve onto the CO2 reactor line to control the flow that goes into it, then use a Y to split the other line again and reduce it down to 3/4" at that point.

Would something like that work? Should I put a ball valve on both lines to get better flow control?


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 01:01 PM
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I would do PVC off of the pump, ideally 1" or larger. Then a T. One side of the T has a ball valve and goes to the CO2 reactor to control flow through the reactor. The other side goes to a T OR a Y ideally. Then you have two more ball valves to control the return flow through each of those. This setup will require mass tuning, but gives the most control. Remember to use many unions in your design. I do suggest running a 6-12" section of braided tubing off of the return pump prior to all the ball valves so the vibration from the pump is not transferred. Furthermore, I suggest going large on the pump. With all these fittings, assuming you use 45s instead of 90s and some tubing if possible, you have major head height. I would go with a DC pump, this one:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SQX5CEW/ref=twister_B00SQX5CFG?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
(link may not work, it is the 1065gph DC Jebao return pump, $62)

30w is a small amount of power, so continuous running will be cheaper than some pumps. Also the 1000gph is fully adjustable at the pump because it is a DC motor. This will give you plenty of flow at your head height (assuming this is a below tank sump and not a basement sump). You can tune the return pump, each return and the flow through the CO2 reactor. Do note that closing the valve going to the CO2 reactor will increase the pressure to your other returns and vice versa. You'll have to adjust them in stages several times.

Ball valves work well but gate valves will give you a more true control. In the case of a return, it is a minimal advantage.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 01:35 PM
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why not go with 2 pumps?
each on its own return, or maybe a separate (smaller) pump for the reactor if there is enough space to fit them
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 02:03 PM
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I would definitely have a valve on each line. Depending on the way you plumb it, water will pick it's preferred path. You will want to control each line separately to get it running how you like.

If you can, I recommend trying the reactor inline with one of the returns to see if a simplified scheme would work. I had initially planned for two pumps on my setup, then a single pump split to feed my reactor.. I tried it inline on the return and it ended up working great.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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I'll give the reactor a try inline and see how it works. Good call on the flexible tubing, I had made a note of that before somewhere but I completely forgot. I'll see if I can get gate valves for better control and put one on each line. If I get a DC pump I can just throttle it back to get the flow I want, I didn't realize they had come down in price so much. I'll have to look into my options there.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 02:46 PM
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I would set up a fairly formal manifold. Attach it to the tank stand or sump for stability, and to be able to turn the valves without twisting or straining the manifold.
Pump to manifold: 1" (larger is OK if the pump is set up that way)
Manifold: 1" tee (return to tank), 1" tee (return to tank), 3/4" elbow (to CO2 reactor) you can further reduce this if the CO2 plumbing is smaller.
After manifold: gate (or ball) valve on each pipe.

Try to minimize sharp turns, if possible. Flex PVC in arcs, long sweep 90s, or double 45 degree fittings take up more room, but they are a lot less head loss, where they will fit.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Are there any issues with upsizing the pipe from the output of the pump? It looks like most pumps in the range I am looking have a 3/4" output. Is there any reason I couldn't use a 1" PVC for the majority of the plumbing?


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-12-2016, 05:04 PM
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Nope. No reason you can't. It is suggested to use a bushing to upsize the return. So your pump has a 3/4" outlet, it is widely suggested to go up to 1".
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