Sanity check on new tank and layout design - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-30-2020, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Sanity check on new tank and layout design

As some of you know, my family and I currently have a 75-gallon tank, but we want to move to a 200~230 gallon tank. My wife and I have been thinking of redoing our living room where the tank resides and with the advent of her approval to move the tank to the back wall I now have a golden opportunity to relocate all of the equipment to another part of the house, about 24 actual feet away but about 45 actual feet of water piping.

Here are my thoughts, I am hoping if someone could tell me if this will actually work or not.

The tank itself will be sitting on an open frame and we want no visible equipment or plumbing under the tank. I have a room where I want to install a sump (currently utilizing an FX6 and 406 canister filters), a chiller, UV light, RODI system, heaters, pumps, CO2 reactor, etc.

I am thinking of two 1" pvc lines running from the tank, through the wall and then into the other room. Again, the physical distance is only 24' but the way I have to run the piping is going to be about 45' for each leg.

So I guess my first question is whether or not this setup will work with a sump being 25' feet from the actual tank and most likely elevated, not higher than the tank, but not well below it like normal sumps are done. Part of the question has to do with the fact that I had wanted to run a coast-to-coast bean animal style setup on my new tank but in reading everything it seems like it requires a siphon to work as opposed to a pump which I am sure is what I am going to require due to the distance and setup. So I think that the c-2-c/BA is out of the question and that I would need to stick with a 1" inlet pipe and a 1" return which should give me roughly 35 GPM which is way more than I think I need.

Conceptually I am thinking that I am going to need two variable speed pumps on the same electrical circuit and make sure my sump itself is high enough to prevent a siphon in the event of an electrical failure to my two pumps. Provided all of that works, is there any reason why I cannot have my equipment in separate rooms?

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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-30-2020, 10:33 PM
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Good read and a lot of good engineering: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...tribution.html

My initial reaction: Ouch! The very first consideration of all sump and filter designs that I am aware of is preventing the main tank overflow. In your case, the gravity is your enemy and the only bullet proof solution I can think of is your main 200g being able to take in extra ~75g from the sump.

You might be comfortable with a 90% approach: put ATO sensors on the main tank that would shut off everything (+ I would add at least a couple of solenoid valves on the mains). In other words, the sump design in reverse, where your sump is significantly larger then your main tank. That's just for starters. How to keep the water level in the main tank relatively constant is another bag of worms.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-30-2020, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by OVT View Post
Good read and a lot of good engineering: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...tribution.html

My initial reaction: Ouch! The very first consideration of all sump and filter designs that I am aware of is preventing the main tank overflow. In your case, the gravity is your enemy and the only bullet proof solution I can think of is your main 200g being able to take in extra ~75g from the sump.

You might be comfortable with a 90% approach: put ATO sensors on the main tank that would shut off everything (+ I would add at least a couple of solenoid valves on the mains). In other words, the sump design in reverse, where your sump is significantly larger then your main tank. That's just for starters. How to keep the water level in the main tank relatively constant is another bag of worms.
I have already seen and read about Ken's setup, truly an amazing setup for sure but thanks for pointing it out to me again. He is not really doing what I am thinking at all since he has a sump at the tank itself and I am trying to design my system to have my sump 25' away from the tank! I am not really sure that can be done in a manner that provides enough failsafe for overflowing the tank and/or sump which is the primary reason for my post. As Ken's setup shows me, people on this forum have thought all of this through and I want to learn ahead of time about pitfalls, not after the fact!

The one thing about the way I am thinking of doing it is that gravity won't have to play a part at all since I can have my sump be at the same level as my tank intentionally so in the event of a power failure they seek the same level. However, having two pumps is certainly a problem in the event either one of them fails without a way to stop the other one. In this case, having a single pump with my sump below the level of the tank would work provided (like in any sump setup) my sump were large enough to take the overflow from the main tank if the power/pump fails. But that is the case with pretty much all sump setups, I wonder if I could design my tank with some type of modified bean animal provided I had enough of a drop between the two tanks, even if it were 25' away, would something like this work...?

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-30-2020, 11:22 PM
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The first build that came to my mind when you asked about putting the sump in a separate room was this build
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...nted-tank.html


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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Immortal1 View Post
The first build that came to my mind when you asked about putting the sump in a separate room was this build

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...nted-tank.html
This is exactly what came to mind when I started reading too.



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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 02:04 PM
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Having a sump in another room is not a big deal. Its annoying to run the plumbing, and it means you need a bigger return pump but other then that it's exactly the same as having it below the tank.

What IS a big deal is having the sump not being fed by gravity. This is a disaster waiting to happen and you absolutely should NOT do it. Why? Because even if you build your tanks to have the empty capacity to absorb the excess water (probably about 4" of lost height in your main tank btw if you have just 30 gallons of water in your sump and your 200 gallon tank is 24" high) you will not have both pumps working exactly the same capacity... probably ever.

Slight differences in the effectiveness of the pumps will change over time. One will wear differently and become less effective. Differences in the slime coating on the inside of the intake vs return pipe will occur. Maybe a snail gets infront of the intake, etc etc. When that happens your filtration stops. Maybe its the sump or maybe its the main tank, but once the sump runs dry it will just sit there continuing to run dry till you come and manually fix it. This assumes you have the capacity for the excess water and you don't have a flood on your hands as well. If your sump runs dry all your beneficial bacteria will die in a few hours/days. Then you get to have the joy of recycling your tank while its got fish in it. etc etc.

Basically what you are making would be a herbie overflow powered by a pump WITHOUT the dry emergency intake that a herbie design calls for. So you would need to make an emergency intake as well, but... that can't be done reliably without the use of another pump... and pumps fail..... So yea don't do this.

Instead you should either 1) make sure all the plumbing from the main tank to the other tank runs down hill, or 2) give up on the idea of the stand having an open bottom and just put the sump under the tank.

The first option requires a bit of engineering work but it is potentially doable. This is how all bathroom sewer lines are run. No matter what you decide you should definitely plan on having at least 3 holes drilled in your tank. One for the return, one for the intake and one for the dry emergency. If you don't mind another hole and line then you can do a proper bean animal by adding the durso overflow.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 02:56 PM
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maybe power the pair of pumps through a float switch each, one cutting out if the sump is too full, the other if too empty
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Grobbins48 View Post
This is exactly what came to mind when I started reading too.
This is a great build for sure, but all of the system I have seen (including this one) have the sumps below the tank, whereas I am trying to get mine on the same level as my tank, just in another room..

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Having a sump in another room is not a big deal. Its annoying to run the plumbing, and it means you need a bigger return pump but other then that it's exactly the same as having it below the tank.

What IS a big deal is having the sump not being fed by gravity. This is a disaster waiting to happen and you absolutely should NOT do it. Why? Because even if you build your tanks to have the empty capacity to absorb the excess water (probably about 4" of lost height in your main tank btw if you have just 30 gallons of water in your sump and your 200 gallon tank is 24" high) you will not have both pumps working exactly the same capacity... probably ever.

Slight differences in the effectiveness of the pumps will change over time. One will wear differently and become less effective. Differences in the slime coating on the inside of the intake vs return pipe will occur. Maybe a snail gets infront of the intake, etc etc. When that happens your filtration stops. Maybe its the sump or maybe its the main tank, but once the sump runs dry it will just sit there continuing to run dry till you come and manually fix it. This assumes you have the capacity for the excess water and you don't have a flood on your hands as well. If your sump runs dry all your beneficial bacteria will die in a few hours/days. Then you get to have the joy of recycling your tank while its got fish in it. etc etc.

Basically what you are making would be a herbie overflow powered by a pump WITHOUT the dry emergency intake that a herbie design calls for. So you would need to make an emergency intake as well, but... that can't be done reliably without the use of another pump... and pumps fail..... So yea don't do this.

Instead you should either 1) make sure all the plumbing from the main tank to the other tank runs down hill, or 2) give up on the idea of the stand having an open bottom and just put the sump under the tank.

The first option requires a bit of engineering work but it is potentially doable. This is how all bathroom sewer lines are run. No matter what you decide you should definitely plan on having at least 3 holes drilled in your tank. One for the return, one for the intake and one for the dry emergency. If you don't mind another hole and line then you can do a proper bean animal by adding the durso overflow.

Well, that is the reason I asked and I think this is a wise answer, so I am going to give up on the idea of two pumps and trying to make all of that work and go back to gravity fed.

So I guess the question becomes, how much lower does the sump have to be than the tank to make all of this work with gravity as opposed to two pumps. Obviously in a 'normal' setup, the sump is what 3' directly below the tank? So if my sump in the other room were 3' below the level of the main tank even though it is 25' away, would it still work or would I lose something in all of the piping? Obviously the piping could never end up higher than the tank itself and that I can make happen, I just don't know how far down I can get the sump below the level of the tank. And at that level in the tank? The level of the overflow or the bottom of the tank.

And one other quick question since I am going to have to drill my tank anyway, how the heck do you do a water change with an overflow/bean animal setup? You can't just take the water out of the sump as eventually, the level of water in the tank would drop below the weir and you would only get water out to that point. I assume that you either manually drop in a pump in the tank or have a separate line that goes down in the tank to the low point of your water change (in my case about 60%) and have another pump...?

Am I missing something...?

Thanks


***EDIT***
So I did some measuring. If my sump sits on the floor where it is going, from the bottom of my tank to the bottom of the sump there is a 24" drop over the 25' between the two. If I measure from where the bottom of the overflow would be (which I assume is the correct spot to measure) then the drop increases to 3' 3" (assuming a 6" overflow from the top of my existing tank). However, I am guessing that I would have to raise the waterlines high enough to get over the top of my sump. Assuming that I go with a standard 50-gallon tank (36 x 18 x 19) and assuming that I measure from the bottom of my overflow instead of the bottom of my tank, I would have a net drop of 20" from the bottom of my overflow to the top of my sump.


Is this enough of a drop to make all of this work?

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 04-04-2020 at 07:27 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 06:50 PM
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Bear in mind that I've never built a sump myself (I've resarched them a bit though) and I might've missed something completely elementary here, but wouldn't this work with only one pump, without risk of flooding, if both tank and sump top surface is level?


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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Bear in mind that I've never built a sump myself (I've resarched them a bit though) and I might've missed something completely elementary here, but wouldn't this work with only one pump, without risk of flooding, if both tank and sump top surface is level?

It would seem so in my mind, but like you, I have never built a sump. :-)

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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by MD500_Pilot View Post
It would seem so in my mind, but like you, I have never built a sump. :-)
Hopefully someone with more experience of sumps or physics can chime in. Supposedly you could also do a practical test using two big plastic Ikea boxes or something similar.

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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Pardon my rather crude drawing, but this is what I am thinking.....




I just don't know if this is possible since there is not a lot of water column pressure to get the water from the overflow to the sump through 45' of pvc piping....

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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-31-2020, 08:34 PM
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You can easily replicate this with a hose and 2 buckets for test purposes.

Bottom line though is that yes 20" is enough for a gravity fed siphon.

As for water change, its the same as always. Turn off your return pump and the water will drain into your sump till the level is below the point of your overflow. Then the siphon will break. Just use your gravel vac in your tank. When you refill the siphon will restart itself when the water rises high enough in your overflow.



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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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OK, so I am looking at the designs and it looks like I need 4 PVC pipes. Three for the bean animal and one for the return. Five pipes if I want to automate my water changes.

I was watching a bunch of videos (and really trying to understand the Hazen–Williams equation, and this one did a great job of explaining the Bean Animal setup, but at the 5:15 mark, they start talking about the size of the piping saying that for 1500 GPH or less, use nothing bigger than a 1" pipe, but in looking at some flow charts for 1" PVC, that seems like it might be a bit small. This chart says that the max flow out of a 1" PVC pipe via gravity is only 600 GPH and I only need a 9" drop to get maximum flow:



However, this chart from FlexPVC.com seems to show that 1" via gravity will support 960 GPH as opposed to 600 GPH:




This link seems to support the 600GPH limit on 1" PVC as well.


So Rex Grigg suggests here that 5 to 7 times turn over for a planted tank is what we should shoot for. My current tank is a 75, and if I added a 40-gallon sump (that I can eventually use on my 210) I am looking at 575 to 805 gallons-pre-hour I would need to be able to manage. In the youtube video above, he says anything less than 1500 gph stick with 1" but in the chart, it says 1" will only really do 600 gph.

Which is correct?

Given that I will eventually move to a 210-gallon tank, I would need to target closer to 1250-1750 GPH (with 1500 being a good spot based on the pump I want to get) which means that I need to move to 1.25", but going back to the video, they seem to be saying that if you go too big on the siphon line you won't be able to get a full siphon. I guess I really only want to run this piping once and size it correctly all the way around.

For my return, I am looking at the Iwaki MD-100RLT. I calculated my head pressure to be about 21' based on 1' per vertical foot, 1' per 10' of horizontal piping and 1' per 90 connectors as suggested here. With the 100RLT and 21' of head I can get 1500 GPM with a 1" return line:



Does this pump seem reasonable for what I am looking to do?

Lastly, I am concerned about my log horizontal run which in my case will be about 23'. According to this website, it says to avoid horizontal runs longer the 24" or I will have problems pulling a siphon.

Taking @minorhero suggestion, I took a 5-gallon bucket and set it up 20" higher than another 5-gallon bucket and using a 5/8" 30' garden hose I was able to get a siphon going and keep it going with the horizontal run wth no problems, but as I said above, I would rather figure it all out ahead of time before I install a bunch of PVC that does not work!!

Thanks, Everyone!!

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Last edited by MD500_Pilot; 04-01-2020 at 02:29 AM. Reason: sp
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 04-01-2020, 11:01 AM
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I would make a post over on reef central or other very popular reefer site. 200+ gallon tanks with bean animal overflows are practically the norm on such locations and you will get advice from people who have actually done it. I've looked into bean animal extensively for my own purposes but only up to the 120 gallon size. For me I know a 1" is the correct size. I am less sure for you if 1" or 1.25" is the right way to go.



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