Sump Plumbing/Set Up Questions

goald6

New member
New to the forums, and I had some setup questions. Basically I'm looking for a bit of a step by step because I'm clueless when it comes to the plumbing and everything. I've watched a lot of the videos and read the boards, and I've found myself more confused than anything.

I have a 29 gallon tank, and I bought a 20 gallon long as a sump. Neither is reef ready, but I have someone who can drill the tanks for me.

One video talked about the turnaround being 5 to 6 times an hour. So with 49 gallons of water, that's 294 gallons of water every 6 hours. I was told that ¾ inch fittings would be good enough to handle this flow of water.

My question then I guess is can someone walk me through the fittings (types and sizes) and bulkhead sizes that I'll need. (I have a little 5 gallon, and everything was contained within that, so the sump and plumbing is all new to me, and I wanted to do this tank right).

The stand I'm planning is basically just going to have the display tank above on a top shelf, while the sump sits below (I don't know exactly how far below, but let's say 1 ½ or 2 feet to be safe)

If I don't have to drill the sump that's fine, and in my head it involved the water just flowing into the filter sock (or whatever type of media I plan on using) and then a submersible pump to pump the water back up (does pvc connect to a return pump?).

Also, one guy said it was helpful to plan out what I want my sump to do, so I'll add that.
1. Water from/to tank 2. Protein Skimmer (housing) 3. Place for the heater

If I'm missing any big things, feel free to let me know

Any help is appreciated, thanks! If this has been answered in a million different places, I'm sorry. But I got confused with all of it and was getting myself down.
 

RocketEngineer

Space is big.
You don't need to drill the sump.

For a tank that small, I recommend a 1.5" drain (the plumbing going from the display to the sump). The reason for this is anything smaller tends to be noisy. What you want to create is a sheet of water flowing smoothly down the inside of the pipe. If you try and push too much water through it, the water tries to go into free fall and makes noise. While commercial reef ready tanks use 1" drains, they tend to be noisy.

So, you will need an overflow box of some kind in the display. Now, personally I dislike those you can buy and prefer to just install one myself. In a glass tank it is very easy, you just need two pieces of glass and a tube of QUALITY silicone. The glass pieces form an L across the entire back of the tank. This type of overflow is called coast-to-coast and will give you the maximum amount of surface skimming which means all the oils and proteins that collect on the surface of the tank are what get pulled into the sump.

So, now back to the beginning.

1) Get the bulkhead fitting. If you can, buy the appropriate size hole saw at the same time. I get my bulkheads from BulkReefSupply and they list and sell the appropriate size diamond hole saw you will need.

2) Get the elbow that goes into the bulkhead. I prefer the ones called Street Elbows which have the socket on one side and a stub of pipe coming out the other.

3) Once you have both, you need to figure out where the hole needs to go. You need one hole diameter of glass remaining when you drill for the bulkhead so you will have to be 1.5X the hole saw diameter DOWN. A little lower won't hurt. Once you have the location figured out you can put the elbow into the bulkhead fitting and position it.

4) Measure from the bottom of the elbow to the rim of the tank. This measurement is the "height" of the overflow box. Because you want the lip of the box to be about 1" down from the top of the tank so it hides the water line behind the plastic, and also you want 1" of clearance under the elbow, the measurement you got gives you both at once.

5) Measure the elbow by itself to figure out how much width the overflow box would need to be in order to install the elbow after the bulkhead is installed.

If you can follow all that, I will go into overflows. Otherwise, ask questions now. Notice, we haven't done anything beyond buy some fittings at this point.

PLANNING: One key to longevity in a reef system.
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
It has been asked a million and one times. And the millionth and 2nd time was you. Why on earth would we answer it 1,000,001 times and then not answer you? ;)

The above post is spot on and will lead you in the right direction. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Do try the search feature but when confused or unsure ask away.
 

goald6

New member
Could i theoretically use my bulkhead as the overflow itself. So I drill the glass and I have my 1 1/2 bulkhead then my 90 elbow and piping to my sump. Could just fasten a cover over the bulkhead (silicon it on) and use that as the overflow. The cover allows water and keeps fish out. And I just drill the bottom of the hole where I want my water line to be.
 

mmn

New member
Could i theoretically use my bulkhead as the overflow itself. So I drill the glass and I have my 1 1/2 bulkhead then my 90 elbow and piping to my sump. Could just fasten a cover over the bulkhead (silicon it on) and use that as the overflow. The cover allows water and keeps fish out. And I just drill the bottom of the hole where I want my water line to be.
You don't get any surface skimming that way, which is important for removing surface crap and for gas exchange. That's what the overflow box is for and the coast-to-coast mentioned above maximizes that effect.
 

kottok.motors

New member
Only issue I can see with that, is your waterline will be pretty low, drill to close to the edge and it will eventually crack. I found this video of a sweet overflow alternative using rear-drilled bulkheads.

Edit: you will get skimming with just screens over the bulkhead holes, but the amount of skimming will be much less(only skimming 1" of water at a time vs 4"+ with traditional overflows)
 

RocketEngineer

Space is big.
Only issue I can see with that, is your waterline will be pretty low, drill to close to the edge and it will eventually crack. I found this video of a sweet overflow alternative using rear-drilled bulkheads.

Edit: you will get skimming with just screens over the bulkhead holes, but the amount of skimming will be much less(only skimming 1" of water at a time vs 4"+ with traditional overflows)

I used one like that for about 3 years on my 75g. It is a very low flow setup and the algae growing inside it was a pain. On a small tank it may work ok, just not the best.
 

jon99

New member
Could i theoretically use my bulkhead as the overflow itself. So I drill the glass and I have my 1 1/2 bulkhead then my 90 elbow and piping to my sump. Could just fasten a cover over the bulkhead (silicon it on) and use that as the overflow. The cover allows water and keeps fish out. And I just drill the bottom of the hole where I want my water line to be.

You can. I drilled the back of my 210dt and use 2 up-turned elbows instead of overflow boxes to skim the surface. I don't care for the look or the amount of space most overflow boxes take up. Works perfectly, and 2 overflows handle the flow of the 1140gph return pump. A little gutter guard in the bottom of the elbow keeps the snails and fish out. Here is the same setup on a 40g frag tank also plumbed with this system:

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dkeller_nc

New member
Regarding your flow question, your calculations are a bit off. First off, it's the capacity of your display tank that you do the 3X - 5X calculation on, not your sump+display tank. That's assuming you don't have a really massive sump serving as a coral frag tank, which isn't the case here.

So for your tank, 29gx3=87, 29gx5=145. So your range is 87 to 145 gallons per hour. You'll have some head losses from pumping water from your sump to your display tank, and factoring that in, a Sicce Synchra 1.0 on the low side and Sicce Synchra 1.5 on the high side will work well in your system, presuming that you've placed the sump under the tank.
 
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