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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone!

I’m working on an idea to try to get rid of my surface skimmer, and need help with a couple of things. First and foremost, it’s important to mention that my tank currently runs a custom loop to power my CO2 reactor and external heater. I’m currently using glass Lily pipes for the inlet and outlet.

My idea is to build an overflow box that would sit only at the top of the aquarium. It would go from front to back, and be only as tall and deep as necessary (any of the prebuild overflows are too tall and deep, and are obviously meant for a drilled tank). I would replace the lily pipe inlet with hard plumbing to pull water from the inside of the box, and it would be hidden from view by the box itself. I could then add a prefilter to this inlet to stop junk from being sucked into the reactor and heater.

My question, is how do I properly size the “teeth” to make sure this is a skimmer? If the teeth allow too much flow, would that reduce the skimming capacity of the overflow? This feels like something that reef people would know how to figure out, but I can’t seem to find any info on the web.
 

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When I built a center overflow for an old anemone tank I used a table saw to do initial cut and widened slightly to 3/16 of an inch with a dremel while rounding off the bottom of the cut. Worked well enough for the 3 years it was set up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When I built a center overflow for an old anemone tank I used a table saw to do initial cut and widened slightly to 3/16 of an inch with a dremel while rounding off the bottom of the cut. Worked well enough for the 3 years it was set up.
I have access to a waterjet, so making it isn't the problem. I'm more confused about the water flow eg. how much I want and how much I'll get. I don't want too much water or it wont act as a skimmer, and I don't want too little or the pump will suck air. What I dont know is how to calculate either how much I want or how the teeth need to be set up to get that amount.
 

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Overthinking it a bit really. The surface oil is just that, surface, and as long as water is flowing through the tines of the overflow it will be drawing the oils off the top even if super spread out, something that is very desirable in saltwater setups with protein skimmers. Too little space does end up drawing air and getting noisy as you mentioned. 3/16 between tines and tine width of about 3/16s to 1/4 inch should do you good and is fairly standard in premade setups. One warning on overflow boxes is making sure evaporation in the tank doesn't cause the water level to drop too much causing the issue with sucking air. Are you looking to silicone this box in or have it be a full box that just clips over the edge of the tank? Flow from the pump shouldn't be a major problem on overwhelming the water flow from the skimming but evaporation can be fun which is why overflows are more common with sumps where the tank water level stays constant and only drops in the sump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The plan is to silicone it to the wall of the aquarium. This isn't being run with a sump, but would be a part of a custom loop I built.

Currently, the order is Lile Pipe Outlet -> Pump -> CO2 reactor -> Inline heater -> Lily Pipe return. I also have a standalone surface skimmer.

The goal would be to have a built in overflow -> pump -> CO2 reactor -> inline heater -> lily pipe return. This would do away with the standalone skimmer.
 
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