Overflow and plumbing upgrades

jtadams

New member
Hello everyone,

This is my first post on RC and hopefully it's in the correct forum.. If not, lemme know where it should be located pls!

Anyways, currently working on a 120 upgrade from a mixed 40 tank we've had for several years now. I purchased the 120 used awhile back and slowly putting it all together.. Took MONTHS of sanding and polishing the get the acrylic crystal clear again (let me know if you want to see progress pics or need any help refinishing!) amongst the other prep work to the stand and equipment that came in the deal. Finally got things moving again and have fallen into a rabbit hole of overflows and plumbing best practices!! Thought it would all go back together as the tank was designed, but it really has several shortcomings that need to be dealt with and improved while the tank is empty..

So here we go:

The original tank bulkheads consist of (1) 1-1/2" at bottom of overflow chamber (single overflow btw) and (2) 1" on the bottom of each side of the display. There's (3) more along the Eurobracing that fit a 3/4" bulkhead.

Thought is, to plug the two 1" holes in the bottom with a bulkhead and plug incase I decide to use again in the future.

Add in 1 or 2 full tank 3/4" drains at the bottom of the back wall to allow for complete draining when the time comes. These would be a 3/4" bulkhead with a slim, low profile, strainer on the inside of the tank hidden behind the rock. Any reason to have two or should one be fine?

Use the Eurobrace holes to have the returns come up and over the back of the tank in an effort to keep all return lines just below water level. I will have 2 Ecotech return pumps in the sump, 1 running a manifold with one return to DT. The other pump will be the main return feeding back to the tank with 1 returns on each side (2 total). This will allow me to use all three bulkhead locations in Eurobrace.

For the overflow, space is sorta limited in the bottom and difficult to get to. Would it be advisable to utilize the Beananimal design by adding 2 bulkheads on the back wall of overflow to act as the partial siphon and emergency drain? If I have a 1-1/2" full siphon (utilizing the 1-1/2" bulkhead on bottom of overflow compartment) and (2) 1" bulkheads for second and third standpipes, will this cause any issues? Just like Bean's drawings, I would use a 1" bulkhead with one 90 up and the other down on inside of overflow then bump up to 1-1/2" on the exterior side of tank and down to sump..

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! As you can probably tell, I have "overthunk" this thing to death 😵‍💫

Please let me know if you need any specs or pictures and I'll be happy to post.

Many thanks everyone!!!
 

reefing102

Who Am I Here?
Premium Member
Welcome to reefcentral! I am of no help for plumbing or drilling, but it almost sounds like this tank was designed with a closed loop in mind.
 

jtadams

New member
Thanks Shane! Yea I think it definitely was, I have no idea how old the tank actually is, but would guesstimate 10-15 years at least.. NO Failsafes considered in the design, for sure!! They way it was setup when I purchased the tank was a disaster waiting to happen.. The returns were both ran into the bottom 1" bulkheads with about 8" of pipe (in a 24" tall DT) and a check valve to hold the water back ☔
 

reefing102

Who Am I Here?
Premium Member
That definitely sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Btw, feel free to post pics of what you’ve done so far, the only limitation is photo size 🤣

But my thoughts, if I drew it out correctly, again far from a plumbing expert, the two 1 inch holes were likely originally planned for closed loop (no drain issue there) and then the return was split into 3 along the back for the 3 holes in the eurobracing.

That said, could it have possibly have had two additional overflow boxes that are now removed from the two 1 inch holes? I think stand pipes would be fine there but that may depend on how concealable they are (I’m thinking rock pillars?)

As for the Bean Animal stuff, I’ll go ahead and tag @BeanAnimal and see if they can help out. I know they’ve been on here and there and may be able to pop on and give some input
 

Vinny Kreyling

Premium Member
My thoughts -- Why add 1 or 2 drains to the rear glass when the bottom has 2 already?
There are quite a few tanks with bottom returns or closed loops.
Who plans for draining anyway? Siphons & pumps work just fine.
Holes in the eurobracing were likely for returns as surmised.
I defer to others for the extra 2 - 1" holes.
 

jtadams

New member
Here's a couple pics of the tank when I first purchased, cleaned and after the polishing 😮‍💨 Also a couple of the stand before and after..
IMG_0150.jpegIMG_0151.jpegIMG_0209.jpegIMG_1171.jpegIMG_1174 (1).jpegIMG_1178.jpegIMG_1275.jpegIMG_1429.jpegIMG_1437.jpeg
 

jtadams

New member
That definitely sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Btw, feel free to post pics of what you’ve done so far, the only limitation is photo size 🤣

But my thoughts, if I drew it out correctly, again far from a plumbing expert, the two 1 inch holes were likely originally planned for closed loop (no drain issue there) and then the return was split into 3 along the back for the 3 holes in the eurobracing.

That said, could it have possibly have had two additional overflow boxes that are now removed from the two 1 inch holes? I think stand pipes would be fine there but that may depend on how concealable they are (I’m thinking rock pillars?)

As for the Bean Animal stuff, I’ll go ahead and tag @BeanAnimal and see if they can help out. I know they’ve been on here and there and may be able to pop on and give some input
From the looks of the stand when I first picked it up, I'm pretty sure he had some water issues going on lol
The tank was likely initially designed for a closed loop judging off what you guys have said so far. I'm certainly not against incorporating a closed loop, in addition to, if there's a real benefit of doing so? I understand there's minimal risk in flooding if done correctly.
I like the rock pillar idea!! Certainly could make that happen on the closed loop (shorter standpipes), would be a challenge on an open system with the returns up close to the water level tho?
Hmm, never thought the 2 -1" holes could have been an overflow at some point, I don't see any indicators that anything was removed previously. I'm thinking it more than likely was designed with a closed loop in mind whenever this thing was manufactured.. 🤷‍♂️
Wish I would've taken a couple pics before I tore it down; I'll keep hunting!
 

jtadams

New member
My thoughts -- Why add 1 or 2 drains to the rear glass when the bottom has 2 already?
There are quite a few tanks with bottom returns or closed loops.
Who plans for draining anyway? Siphons & pumps work just fine.
Holes in the eurobracing were likely for returns as surmised.
I defer to others for the extra 2 - 1" holes.
Thanks Vinny! I have been going back and forth in my head debating if I should drill or use what's there already. My concern with using the two bottom holes, in an open style system, is the standpipes would need to be so high up as to rest just below the water level, the rock would also nearly reach the waterline in order to hide the pipes. This wouldn't be a problem in a closed loop system (shorter standpipes) tho.
Apparently I plan for draining :ROFLMAO: I'm doing my best to automate as much as possible on the tank as I travel quite a bit for work. If I'm on the road and disaster strikes, it's much easier for my wife to turn a valve in order to drain the tank then asking her to hook up a pump or start a siphon.. I originally thought about incorporating a drain into the manifold, but that would limit how much water could be removed at a time.. Easy enough to add in without much increase in cost / time at this point.

Again, all for a closed loop system in addition to the filtration / sump loop. I currently have 2 new Vectra M1's (2000 gph) and a Jaebo that came with the tank. In addition to the return pumps, also have an MP40 and some other wave maker (Maxspect Gyre) that came with the tank.. The Maxspect is in fair condition - doesn't seem to oscillate or move water any direction other than straight down.. I'll need to pull the specs on the Jaebo and report back, but I believe it's somewhere around 2,000 gph as well

Really appreciate you guys' feedback and knowledge!!
 

reefing102

Who Am I Here?
Premium Member
Those pics definitely help! Now that I see the layout, I would agree definitely designed for a closed loop. Those two bottom holes were likely the return and I’m thinking the intakes went through the top of the euro bracing. Perhaps one intake for the closed loop and two returns for the the sump return?

The polishing job looks great too! Tenecor is a great brand and from what I’ve seen (I don’t own one) makes excellent quality tanks.
 

jtadams

New member
Thanks!! 10/10 would not recommend polishing an acrylic tank!! SO MANY GRITS and polishes to get it crystal clear again. Believe I went from 120 through 5000 PLUS polishing! However, if anyone ever needs help or has questions about the process - please feel free to reach out!!

Makes sense about the closed loop, I have zero experience with that kind of setup but certainly open to incorporating into the new build. Do you think it would make sense to have it plumbed like you mentioned and which direction would you face the returns?

Would be fantastic if @BeanAnimal has the time to chime in about the overflow design. Should be okay IMO, but certainly would like his blessing before I Swiss cheese the tank!! Just not sure if the 1-1/2" full siphon, straight down to sump, would pull too much water for a 1" partial to keep up with or if the 1" emergency is sufficient since they both tie into 1-1/2" (each) behind the tank.. Also curious where the intakes on all three standpipes should land compared to the weir / water level in overflow chamber.. Looks like Bean kept them pretty close to the bottom of his overflow, but the coast to coast overflow box seems much more shallow then chamber I'm working with..
 

reefing102

Who Am I Here?
Premium Member
While I can’t help with the overflow design, the returns for the closed loop, from my understanding is they face up the rockwork, but I could be wrong
 

jtadams

New member
Thanks guys, really appreciate the help!! No rush here as this project has already stretched out way too long!! Would much rather do it correctly the first time instead of trying to modify something in a full tank!!
 

jtadams

New member
I thought about my setup over the weekend and was curious of you guys' thoughts.. Do I really need 3 standpipes or would a Herbie (or other design) work just as well? Certainly don't want the overflow gurgling and making a lot of noise, but it doesn't need to be whisper quiet.

Obviously want to do things right, but there's no need for an over-the-top setup either. We're really after the ability to add a margin of safety as well as improve flow and quiet down the full siphon. When I purchased the tank it wasn't very loud that I remember, but I have no idea what amount of flow they were pushing..
 

jtadams

New member
Awesome! Do you have an emergency drain as well or just a full siphon? Super noisy? Kinda liking the idea of a closed loop hybrid setup - could use one of the return pumps dedicated to the CL and the other running the sump and manifold
 

reefing102

Who Am I Here?
Premium Member
Awesome! Do you have an emergency drain as well or just a full siphon? Super noisy? Kinda liking the idea of a closed loop hybrid setup - could use one of the return pumps dedicated to the CL and the other running the sump and manifold
I have just the one stand pipe at full siphon. No emergency drain. It’s not that noisy, but it is in one of my noisier rooms. If I try to restrict it, it gets noisier but the drain pipe into my sump has at least one angle in it (I’d have to look when I get home) and the end sits in the water.
 

jtadams

New member
Great to hear!! Curious if you have the whole thing hard piped or do you have any flex installed? Tenacor responded yesterday and stated the majority of the noise comes from hard piped plumbing.. Asked for a couple details and will post their reply for reference.

I get it, I like the idea of a failsafe - but at the same time, has anyone ever had a clogged siphon (that was well maintained)?? I suppose someone has, otherwise we wouldn't have a plethora of overflow options with multiple standpipes..
 
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