Help with Drilling 21 Long for Overflow and Return (and Flow Optimization) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Help with Drilling 21 Long for Overflow and Return (and Flow Optimization)

Hello, everyone. I am planning to drill my UNS 90L for an overflow and returns. The tank dimensions are 35.43 x 11.81 x 11.81 inches. The overflow I am looking at is the eshopps eclipse S or similar units from other companies:

https://www.eshopps.com/overflowboxes/eclipse-s

Regardless of the model I choose, the overflows I am considering are small enough that they can fit on one of the side walls or the back wall. First question, would it be better for flow purposes to have the overflow mounted in the middle of the back (long) wall or one of the side walls? This is going to be an African Cichlid with large rock structures in the middle of the tank (to the extent it matters).

Second question, where and how many returns should I plan for? I'd rather take care of my flow needs with returns than having to have a powerhead in the tank.

Thank you for your input!

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 05:14 PM
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Love the slim overflow

I would probably do it in the middle of the back wall and have 2 returns on either side.
You mentioned the rocks will be stacked in the middle so you could have all the plumbing hiding behind there

The tank is not super tall or wide so I don't think flow will be a major issue if you get a strong enough pump.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 06:53 PM
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Agree, middle and put 2 water returns, one in each top corner of back wall angled about 5-7į towards center so it sets up 2 rotating currents in tank that collide in middle and sweep current back to overflow in the middle.

When water jets hit the front glass at a angle flow will spread out, starting water rotating around in tank but also creating a down-swell along front glass that will give you good high-low circulation and gas exchange.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Agree, middle and put 2 water returns, one in each top corner of back wall angled about 5-7į towards center so it sets up 2 rotating currents in tank that collide in middle and sweep current back to overflow in the middle.
Do you see any issue if the peak of my rocks are centered in the tank? Will they create a dead spot for detritus to settle?

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 07:42 PM
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Do you see any issue if the peak of my rocks are centered in the tank? Will they create a dead spot for detritus to settle?
Kind of depends on shape of rock, big flat vertical face, sure it will slow water down. Gradually inclined towards back wall the current and debris will sweep right up that incline to overflows input.

Is this a sump powered tank and how many GPH are you planning? Even at 15x turnover rate your still only talking about 300gph.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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I do plan to use a sump--I'm pretty excited for it, frankly. I'm not sure about the turnover rate yet, but I'm planning to be in the 10-15x range.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 08:09 PM
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I do plan to use a sump--I'm pretty excited for it, frankly. I'm not sure about the turnover rate yet, but I'm planning to be in the 10-15x range.
Well thatís thing with top only overflows, they only pull from top of tank where only small particulate matter will reach it. All bigger stuff will settle somewhere below itís intake area, it unavoidable. But you just clean that up at water changes, just make sure you have space behind those rock to get siphon in to clean. Youíll find most of your large particulates will settle in along back wall somewhere or in areas where rocks impeded circulation patterns.

Now if your willing to put in multiple return jets (3-4) you can set it up so there are no dead areas for debris to settle into but Iíve found over years most people will opt for fewer returns for aesthetic reason and simply do the cleanup on water changes. The siphoning etc is really one of the therapeutic easy parts in a unplanted/sparsely planted tank that most people find relaxing.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-15-2020, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Well thatís thing with top only overflows, they only pull from top of tank where only small particulate matter will reach it. All bigger stuff will settle somewhere below itís intake area, it unavoidable. But you just clean that up at water changes, just make sure you have space behind those rock to get siphon in to clean. Youíll find most of your large particulates will settle in along back wall somewhere or in areas where rocks impeded circulation patterns.

Now if your willing to put in multiple return jets (3-4) you can set it up so there are no dead areas for debris to settle into but Iíve found over years most people will opt for fewer returns for aesthetic reason and simply do the cleanup on water changes. The siphoning etc is really one of the therapeutic easy parts in a unplanted/sparsely planted tank that most people find relaxing.
Thank you, that makes sense. I like the idea of having the skimming effect without having a big skimmer sitting in my tank. I also look forward to not having to clean lily pipes!

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2020, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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Tank drilling went pretty well. I need to clean the tank more before I paint the back and think about connecting the bulkheads.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-01-2020, 01:21 AM
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Nice work! Your holes look cleaner than the ones they drilled for me at the local aquarium shop.
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