In the middle of an all-night tank overhaul... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2004, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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ARG...

Anyway, I've successfully stressed out my plants, fish, and wife tonight. After a long day at work, I decided to "tackle" my recently neglected tank.

For the longest time, I had a very awkward sump and overflow setup. In the past month, I ordered a new pump and gathered some tubing and fittings...and tonight, I finally put them to use. I'll spare you the story about how I ended up spraying water all over the living room and I'll cut right to the questions (its late and I'm pooped, afterall):

1) What's a good way to decrease the gph of a pump? I tried cutting the intake down to half its size without much of an effect.

2) What would you suppose is wrong with my sump/overflow setup if the new pump pushes more water than the overflow can drain? I assumed I wasn't getting a good siphon, but then I used a pump to ensure a good, clean siphon. Think the tubing is too narrow or the strainer too restrictive?

3) Will my poor fish survive? In the process of doing all this, the sump (and thus filtration) was out of comission for a while. The fish survived on a bubbler for a few hours. I tested the water quality and it seems alright...

4) I stirred up a lot of mulm while uprooting my plants. Unfortunately, I planned this poorly--some of the uprooting took place while the sump was offline. Also, the tank light was on for...err...several hours after the usual shut-off time. Think I'll get green water?

Thanks...wish me luck.

^iMp^
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2004, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
1) What's a good way to decrease the gph of a pump? I tried cutting the intake down to half its size without much of an effect.
Place a ball valve on the output side, better yet a gate valve.



Quote:
2) What would you suppose is wrong with my sump/overflow setup if the new pump pushes more water than the overflow can drain? I assumed I wasn't getting a good siphon, but then I used a pump to ensure a good, clean siphon. Think the tubing is too narrow or the strainer too restrictive?
More detail is needed on design of overflow, incl pipe dia. as well as return piping and pump info.

Good Luck

gnatster
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2004, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
What's a good way to decrease the gph of a pump?
You cant, a pumps rating tells you what its "designed" to pump in gph... that is why there are so many different sizes on the market. Using valves will help but its not good for the pump, they work "harder" and the pump will not last as long.
Its sort of like a vacuum cleaner, if you put your hand over the end of the hose cutting back on the intake, the motor rev's higher...not good for the motor.
I have burned out a water pump by restricting its flow before...they overheat and get damaged. :evil:
You may have to breakdown and buy a smaller pump for your setup if there is a drastic difference in what you need and what you have..
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2004, 12:13 PM
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You cant, a pumps rating tells you what its "designed" to pump in gph... that is why there are so many different sizes on the market. Using valves will help but its not good for the pump, they work "harder" and the pump will not last as long.
I'm not sure that is correct. Placing a Ball Valve at the output of the pump is equivalent to making the pump push water up to a greater height. For example, pumps that push 600 gph when the water needs to be lifted up to 3 feet, might only push 300 gph when they lift the water up to 9 feet.

For most pumps there are charts available as to how much gallons they are able to pump at which height of water column. SInce the height of the water column just increases back-pressure on the pump, adding a ball valve should be just as acceptable. If you are good at math and physics, you can figure this all out. Usually, a pump will tell you up to which back pressure they are rated.

So, in my opinion, as long as you don't want to cut down the water flow to a ridiculously low level, adding a ball valve to the output is just fine.

"Save me Jebus! And I don't even believe in Jebus!!!" Homer Simpson
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2004, 01:39 PM
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Right, the ball valve on the output acts like more height for the pump to overcome to get the water back up to the tank. It is an acceptable form of resistance for a pump. Don't put the valve on the intake to reduce the flow.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2004, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Attached is a little diagram of my setup.

The tank is a glass paludarium, if that helps explain the placement of the overflow. The water level is very important--too high and the water drains into the land portion of the tank, too low and the fish don't have enough room to swim about.

Some details:

Tank to Overflow siphon (1/2" pvc): The output end is in a little container that I can adjust up and down to adjust the water level in the tank. A strainer is placed on the input end (a piece of pvc with holes drilled in it capped with a cap with slices cut into it).

Overflow to sump drain (3/4" tubing): The intake end is kinda setup as a durso standpipe (except that it drains to the side rather than straight down). The output is above the water in the sump. When the new pump is in operation, the drain makes a horrible gurgling noise and periodically "sucks" all the water out of the overflow (its weird--suck...stop...suck...stop...etc) Leads me to believe that my tank to overflow siphon can't keep up.

Return A (1/3" tubing): A small pump (AquariumSystems Mini-Jet 606) supplies a waterfall. No need for a check valve. The pump is operating at about a 3' head (max is ~4'). Max flow is given as 82-153 gph, so I approximate the flow rate to be about 82-100 gph. The pump is a little old, so I'm approximating on the low side. I'm approximating because I can't find a flow vs height chart.

Return B (1/2" tubing--not shown in diagram): The new pump (Rainbow Lifegard Quiet-One 3000) supplies a stream in the tank. This one has a check valve. Quite frankly, I have no idea what I was thinking when I purchased this model. At a 5' head it delivers 500 gph. I'm not sure what the true head is--3' height, about 7' in tubing/piping, 4 pvc elbows, and a pvc cap (full of small drill holes) at its end. The link provided has a flow vs head chart.

So that, in a nutshell (coconut?), is my setup. I'm really kicking myself for not getting an acrylic tank and not thinking of a sump setup beforehand. This is/was my first project, so I didn't even know sumps existed when I started the thing...oh well.

Any help would be appreciated! I'm planning a trip to the hardware store, time permitting. The tank is currently running with the setup shown...but only the waterfall pump is operational.

^iMp^
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2004, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Forgot to note: There is currently a 3/4" difference in water levels between the tank and overflow.

I also forgot to note: I attempted to bypass the overflow altogether by creating a siphon from the tank down into the sump. It worked well but was still insufficient. Is there any way to tell if a siphon created is a good, complete siphon? That is, how can I tell if large pockets of air are limiting flow? I'll try to find some transparent material...but I'm currently using white pvc.

Current plan of attack: I strongly believe that my strainer is to blame...I'll try making a new one later this week. That, in combination with a ball valve at the new pump output, will hopefully do the trick.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2004, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ^iMp^
Forgot to note: There is currently a 3/4" difference in water levels between the tank and overflow.

I also forgot to note: I attempted to bypass the overflow altogether by creating a siphon from the tank down into the sump. It worked well but was still insufficient. Is there any way to tell if a siphon created is a good, complete siphon? That is, how can I tell if large pockets of air are limiting flow? I'll try to find some transparent material...but I'm currently using white pvc.
You should try posting this on reefcentral.com where there are more people that use sump setups.

It sound's like your pump is either too powerful for the overflow or like you said there may be a large air pocket that collects on the top of the PVC that prohibits the flow.

One solution is to drill a hole on the top of the PVC where you believe it is forming and silicon an air hose in to the PVC. Have the air hose run higher than the water level (good idea to put a water check valve on it) which will allow the trapped pocket of air to escape.

If you want to restrict some of the flow from the pump, perhaps you could tee it off and have one line back to the tank, the other back to the sump. However, I would definitely be looking at trying to fix the overflow problem rather than limiting the pump.

hth.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2004, 10:57 PM
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Absolutely 1000% you can add a ball valve or gate valve on the OUTPUT side of the pump with no adverse effects to the pump. You can safely adjust the flow this way. You cannot put one on the suction side. THIS will damage the pump.

Ken
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