WOOHOO! New 55G, need a few questions answered.


New member
So Saturday I picked up a 55g and 20g tank from a guy.

I'm going to build things slowly over time, stand, canopy, yadda yadda.

I have no idea how much flow you need. How many powerheads will I want? What's the rating on a powerhead, gallons per hour?

And what kind of return pump do I want in the sump (the 20gal)?

Bear in mind I'm really looking for an optimization of:

1) Silence
2) Durability
3) Quality

Not necessarily in that order. :D

Any help is, as usual, much appreciated.

(edited for spelling)
Powerheads are rated differently in terms of gph. 2 or 3 maxijet 1200s i think would be fine. could do a wavemaker also or even a closed loop if you wanted to go that in depth.

As for the return pump, you need to know how many gph are going to be going into the sump. Is the tank drilled, if so, What size is the hole, fittings, and pipe going to the sump. If not, are you going to do an overflox box and again what is the gph of the overflox box

These questions will better help others to answer your questions.
Ok, as far as tank parameters go, I was going to do a weir-type overflow that I saw on melevsreef.com. I like the idea of a j-trap to keep the water in the siphon, seemed smart enough to me.

It won't be pre-drilled at all.

I don't know how to calculate gph of the overflow box-- I don't know what's good. Are you asking for total gph turnover? As in a factor of ten?
No, we'd need to know the amount of water you want to push through the overflow. There's a calculator off the RC home page that will help you pick the drain size, etc. The overflow box should have a rating from the manufacturer. Which one do you have?

I was thinking about building my own overflow box. These are the things I'm probably taking for granted. :) I need to know a bit more about flow-- what's optimal and what's not.

I'll play with the calculators, but what's my target? What design constraints am I trying to play with?
Jon, or to anyone else:

I played with the calculator, and I think that 10 x Tank capacity is a target to shoot for when you're looking for overflow, right?

Using the following input parameters
Gallons per Hour = 550 <-- 55 gallon tank

Drain and Overflow sizes are calculated as
Recommended minimum drain pipe diameter = 0.97 inches <-- Makes sense

Recommended minimum linear overflow size = 8 inches <-- ?!

What is my linear overflow size? I'm familiar with all three terms, just not put together like that. :) Does that mean I want one side of my overflow box to be 8 inches wide?
You might want to check and see if your 20 gallon will fit below your 55. I just bought a 55 and my 10 gallon will not fit by less than 1/4 of an inch.

Good luck.

Yeah, you're right. I learned from someone else's mistake to make sure that when I build the stand, I have already purchased everything that would fit under there. :D
I'm a signator of the latest fad of reefkeeping flow. In the old days alot of turnover was recommended through the sump. Now, (and I like this way) it seems only necessary to have enough flow to feed the skimmer. Flow in the tank is done with power heads, tunzes, seios, or closed loops.

So if I were planning: If you are feeding your skimmer with 600 gph, I would have 600 gph circulating through the sump. As long as that amount of water kept your tank temp stable of course since your heaters and chillers will be in the sump. Less flow equals less noise also.

Is flow through the skimmer a recommendation of the skimmer make/model, or is it determined otherwise?

And is the 600gph determined by the return pump, or otherwise?
Flow through the skimmer would be determined by the pump that fed the skimmer. Most manufacturers have a pump recommendation. That pump will have a flow rate.

The amount of flow through the sump is determined as you said by the return pump. The overflow is only going to tale what the return pump sends.
The 8" linear size means a 4" by 4" corner box (two sides handling the water) should be fine. That's my interpretation. That sounds like a fine size, although I'd probably go with 300 gph flow through the sump and used a close loop or streams pumps for the rest of the flow.
So Jon,

Linear size could also be interpreted as perimter? If I have a box with 3 sides skimming the water with teetch carved into the acryilc, and each side is 3", then I've got 9" linear, right?