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Picture Schematic of Tom's 180 Gallon Starphire

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by rusticitas, May 6, 2008.

  1. rusticitas

    rusticitas Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have been working on creating a nice-looking, informative schematic of Tom's 180 Gallon Starphire tank. It is still a work in progress, as I am touching up details here and there as I get more input and corrections from Tom.

    At the moment, it is a large 22x17 in. PDF. I have made a temporary "smaller" version at 12x12in. Acrobat Reader and other PDF viewers typically make it simple to zoom and move around, as well as scale prints to other paper sizes.

    Again, this is a work in progress. Hopefully this will help answer a lot of questions! I know I learned a lot by making it, as it forced me to read through the many postings more carefully and piece together the information.

    Let me know what you think! I want to continue this diagramming idea for the other ideas I am not understanding well such as "sealed sumps/wet-dry" (to prevent CO2), more detailed diagram of mazzei or other CO2 diffusion methods, etc etc etc.

    Hopefully pictures will speak thousands of words. :)

    Attached to this message is a scaled-down PNG of the larger PDF files.

    The PDF files are here: Full Version, or the Scaled Down Version

    [​IMG]
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    That's really neat! Aren't there valves in the two parallel filter lines, which allow adjusting the flow between the two? And, what extra plumbing allows reverse flushing the filters?
     
  3. rusticitas

    rusticitas Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm not sure about the other valves. If given a detailed list, I will add whatever is missing. I would like to make it complete and clear.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Vaughn, no there are no valves to direct flow between the filters.

    The reason being, that I wanted the flow to naturally switch over due to backpressure clogging in the mechanical section(I can also monitor the pressure via a pressure gauge). This also maximizes flow rate.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. rusticitas

    rusticitas Lifetime Charter Member
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    Does the Iwaki pump essentially "push" the water through the filters, heater, CO2, etc, and back into the tank?
     
  6. rusticitas

    rusticitas Lifetime Charter Member
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    Sump?

    On my lunch break here, I was just going over the 180 Starphire thread, and realized there was mention of using a sump with an add-on overflow, and that I do not have that represented in the schematic.

    1. Is this a sealed sump to prevent CO2 escape?
      • If so, is this a commercially available sump? If so, what is the make and model?
      • If not, is this d.i.y., or just (heavily) modified commercial model?
      • (I am looking to get an image so I can draw it at some point.)
      • (How does one seal a sump anyway and have air/oxygen for the bio media?)
    2. Is there a separate pump for the return?
      • If so, what is the make and model?
      • Where and how is the water returned to the tank?

    No rush... :)
     
  7. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Jason,

    If you didn't ask these last questions about the sump, I was going to ... thanks for saving me the trouble. :)

    Very helpful diagram, by the way...
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yep.
    I'm not really worried about flow, just getting good filtration, good CO2/heat etc, then the EcoTech MP40 will mix the tank's water well.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I have a simple design for the sump.
    It's got a lid on the "wetdry" section like most.

    However, I do use the bioballs here.
    I remove then and add some egg crate to support the ring on a sock filter.
    This provides a sealed area to reduce off gassing.

    Then the water exits below, very well filtered by the sock filter into the sponge/lava rock, zeolite, denitrifyer, carbon, CO2, heater, whatever you wanna put there.

    This(sealed section) keeps anything that's sucked down the pipe in the water and not degassed.

    You can DIY with some tape or rubber sealant, foam insulation etc, use lock down pressure clamps like on those jars they use for food storage etc.

    Then you snap them open, clean the sock and return.

    I typically keep several socks on hand, a 1 mic, 5mic and 20 mic, then a set of 50 and 100 microns.

    I'll add the 50 and on the outside of that, a 5 micron.
    After they start over flow and by passing the sock, I replace with a new set and soak old ones in the bleach water for a day then rinse and dry for the next time.

    Inside this sealed chamber, you can add biomedia also, do not waste the space.

    Since you prefilter the water well with the socks, then the sponge and other biomdeia does not foul much if at all and rrely needs cleaning, which is what Nama nwas eluding to in another thread about biodynamic aquariums.

    Check out that thread, Naman left soem excellent discussing points and some great links to sumps and over flowes, Grugle buster is great.

    I think having gone this route, one I rarely do, I've learned a lot.
    Not so much theory, rather, practical use.

    I think in general, I prefer wet dry sumps(without the bioballs, and replace with the socks).

    I'll have to live with the built in over flow, and plan on adding them to most of my tanks in the future.
    I'll stillr etain the pressurized loops and the OC mechanical filtration, those are hard to beat and use them at the end after the sump for the return.

    So the over flow=> sock filter in sealed chamber, biomedia=> CO2/heater =>sump bulkhead=> Main return pump => OC 325 etc(I can add two of these in parallel by buying another pleated cartiage) => return to tank.

    I like surface skimming a lot. Evaporation losses on larger tanks are a bit of a PITA, and the flow and O2 levels are higher/better with the sump configuration, thjey can handle higher fish loads.

    You also have plenty of CO2 options without nearly as many issues and all equipment is out of the tank other than the over flow box.

    I have the full set of CPR over flows for all my tanks, bu I like the built in the over flows more, even if it does take up space inside the tank, I think the trade off is worth it over all.

    I have both systems independent on several tanks for clients.
    I wanted to see how this one would fair compared to the sumps.

    I think I like the sumps more.

    So when I move or break down a tank, I'll add the built in over flows and make them as thin and small as possible. I'll drill new holes as well so I have a pair for a return and for the drain.

    I can still use all the same filters etc, I'll just add the sump and sock.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr




    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tom,

    If you are drilling a hole for the sump return, it sounds like you are sending the return in thru the bottom of the tank. How do you stop the sump from overflowing when you turn things off? Is there a ball valve just under the return bulk head? I would imagine that ball valves can leak, if not cleaned occasionally. So, do you have a valve above the ball valve too, so you can remove and clean the ball valve occasionally? I'm thinking long-term maintenance and also not flooding my room with 100+G of water. :)
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The sump is protected due to the over flow box inside the tank, only if there's more water in the tank itself, can the water over flow down into the sump via the overflow box.

    As the water leaves the sump, goes to the pump, through the canister filter, it goes back up through the over flow box(or you could have a siphon tube outside come up and around) and you drill a small anti siphon hole to prevent back siphoning.

    Always funny to read about folks forgetting about the anti siphon hole.:mad:


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Jason,

    Thanks for doing this. It has answered some questions that I had posted earlier.

    Tom,

    I like the idea of the two OCs and the way they are split...........
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The power of the OC filters are really evident.
    You have a meaty good mechanical filter+ meaty strong pump.

    Note, this system can add a wet/dry type sump in here and have the pump placed after the sump for the return with the OC's.

    You just have an over flow instead of the bottom mounted bulk head.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Yes I have a wet/dry with bio balls (twin tower type) and sump and I want to add an OC (or 2 now???) to the mix. I like the idea of 2 of them along with my wet/dry sump, I think I will be good to go on my 180.

    Thanks for sharing all of this great info!
     
  15. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I see ... having the return come up thru the overflow is something I didn't think of. I found a picture of exactly that on the internet and now understand it.

    In the picture, it looked like 3/4" pvc coming up thru the overflow with some Loc-line connections going over and into the water. I guess you can just drill a little hole in the top of the elbow and that will break the siphon (there wasn't one in the photo I saw).

    There was also what looked like 2" pvc coming up fairly high in the overflow in this particular photo that was capped with a threaded cap. I really couldn't tell how the water was flowing into the sump after going over the top -- and I had no idea what that capped 2" pipe was doing there, though I'm sure there are some holes in the bottom of it to allow flow into the sump. I would guess you can just put a basket over the bulk head in the bottom of the overflow and let the water go to the sump thru that. What's a decent (and quiet) way to have water go to the sump thru the bottom of the overflow? Is just a basket good enough?

    Here's a link about sumps, in case anyone is interested (Figure 6 is the picture I was mentioning): Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sumps, Part I by Greg Taylor - Reefkeeping.com

    My next tank will definitely have a sump. I'm trying to decide right now between a 120G and 2 side-by-side 60G cubes -- I could play around a little more with 2 smaller tanks.
     
  16. rusticitas

    rusticitas Lifetime Charter Member
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    Is what you're describing what I highlighted in yellow in the following image?

    [​IMG]

    Now I just need to decipher your previous post and figure out what that sump looks like. :)
     
  17. Mooner

    Mooner Lifetime Charter Member
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    I run with and without overflow/sumps. I definitely prefer the overflow/sump. I use CPR overflows and they work well. Although, when I do another tank it will have internal overflows. I agree with Tom about the slight loss of tank space is worth it. The CRP's are a great product, but they are hard to clean. To get the crud out of the internal part you must nuke them with clorox which is a one/two day deal. Also the CRP's require a vacuum pump to work at full capacity. The CRP has never broke a siphon even without the vacuum pump, but they will stop skimming effectively.
     
  18. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Jason,

    I think that is correct with the sump. Not sure if his pump is IN the sump or outside it.

    Very nice job BTW. A pic is worth a thousand words, and the hardware specs/technical detail is great info.

    Ted,

    Yes. My tank came like this and is very nice. The 3/4" return plumbing is right alongside the 1" drain pipe. I see many tanks at the LFS built this way. Smaller ones have one overflow in the middle of the tank.

    I do not have this feature but will add it. Since my returns are UNDER the water, if the pump stops, water will drain back through the returns to the pump. My twin returns (I have twin overflows, 1 at each end) are fed from a single pump with tee. I have a LARGE CHECK valve on this that stops the water. This valve has a replaceable seal and works very well.

    I didn't realize the vacuum would cause this issue and the first time I shut the pump off and the sump kept filling, I totally panicked until I figured out what was wrong, lifted the returns out of the water, and installed the valve :)

    I think adding the siphon release hole will help alleviate this possible issue.

    My return has a large sponge filter at the top of the overflow. The water goes through that down the 1" pipe into the sump. The water is then distributed over the bio balls in the towers. This is where Tom places his sock filters, rather than the balls.

    I will try this idea as well. I have two returns, so two towers and two sock opportunities. Or I could leave one as bio-balls.

    What do you guys think?

    My 180 is built just this way, but the return pipe looks different.

    Great links and thanks for posting them. I wish I had read them 8 years ago when I first got this tank lol.

    Sumps are great and I definitely like them.

    Have to watch the degassing of c02 in the overflows, but there are ways to handle that as well. I extended the 1" PVC pipe on my return by 2" and this really helped a lot. Went from a 4" drop to about 3/4=1". Or a DURSO standpipe will work as well.

    You can use the CRP overflows like Chris (mooner) did and add a sump now. No need to switch tanks or empty and drill your current one.......

    I had one of the old siphon tube overflows into a wet/dry sump on a 40 gal breeder and it worked well for years with no issues and kept the tank very clean and sweet.

    Good luck.
     
  19. rusticitas

    rusticitas Lifetime Charter Member
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    Sump example

    Is this Eshopps sump an example of what is being described? It has the filter sock. I cannot tell from any photos on the web whether it is covered (or coverable), the photos are not detailed enough and only show one angle, typically.

    Also, would this particular sump be usable in the application described here? (I know this is a small one, but I mean this design, model or brand in general.)

    -Jason

    [​IMG]
     
  20. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thanks, Gerry. You helped my understanding of sumps. One thing I just learned from you (if I understand correctly): I was assuming that the water ran all the way down the overflow box walls to the bottom and out down there. It sounds like from your description that the overflow box is fairly full and the water level must come up pretty high to get into the sump pipe. That makes a lot of sense, especially if you're trying to reduce CO2 loss and noise.
     
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