2 return pumps one return line

Discussion in 'Bulk Reef Supply' started by Mrx7899, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. YumaMan

    YumaMan Active Member

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    I like the idea of redundancy in aquatics because if something can go wrong, it will eventually go wrong. I'm tempted to add a second pump with a check valve in parallel with my main pump (which has a check valve already), and using a controller to switch the second pump on only if the first pump fails. This extra precaution might just a reef, and I will have one less thing to worry about. Hmmm...
     

  2. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Reef Tank 365 Article Contributor Partner Member 2018 Partner Member 2019 North Alabama Reef Club

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    It just recently had this happen to me. It was a fairly new Sicce Pro. The rotor fractured in half while running. Working fine when I went to bed, woke up to it not working.

    After experiencing this I would have designed my new tank a little differently. I currently have a single return but I should have drilled 2. One pump for each return. That way if a single pump failed I would still have 50% flow. No messing with check valves, flow unbalances or other issues from running pumps in parallel.
     
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  3. michaelrc51

    michaelrc51 Active Member

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    You’ll still need a check valve so that when the 1 pump stops pumping the other pump won’t push water towards the not working pump.
     
  4. pluikens

    pluikens Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Would you still consider check valves on each return? In the second scenario, the return for the failed pump would still be submerged in the DT siphoning water down into your return section of your sump. The second pump running would be pumping up a mixture of water that went straight from the DT down your first return pump plumbing and also any water that went down the overflow and through your sump. I don't know what you had planned for pumps so I don't know if the one running pump would have enough flow to get water over your overflow if it's also being siphoned down the one return where the pump isn't running. What about having two pumps plumbed as you described but running them at 50% so one could be ramped up if the other failed or using simple check valves on each return plumbing to keep a constant siphon from occurring?
     
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  5. pluikens

    pluikens Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    If I read correctly, the two pumps plumbing would never intersect so no one pump would push back through another.
     
  6. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Reef Tank 365 Article Contributor Partner Member 2018 Partner Member 2019 North Alabama Reef Club

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    True. I should have been more clear. You wouldn't have to worry about the flow from one pump forcing the check valve shut on the other pump.

    I always run check valves on my return. Even though my sump has room I prefer not to have that water backflow into the system when I do maintenance.
     
  7. pluikens

    pluikens Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I like this idea then, especially if most tanks are going to have more than one bulkhead used for returns. Were you thinking of using AC or DC pumps or a combination? I think this could be more redundant meaning no difference in flow rate through the sump if two DC pumps were used that were individually capable of the total desired flow and just run at 50% of that when running together. So if via flow meter, power usage, or other methods you noticed one pump no longer functioning, the other pump could be turned up to give you the same total flow through the sump. I know the cost would be greater and 50% flow would likely be sufficient for a few days (esp. if you were targeting something like 10x display volume on a good day) for you to swap out a new, smaller AC pump but do you have thoughts on that?
     
  8. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Reef Tank 365 Article Contributor Partner Member 2018 Partner Member 2019 North Alabama Reef Club

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    I hadn't given it enough thought but I would probably do 2 AC pumps. Just not a fan of DC pumps for return applications. Variable speed has its advantages, but I'm not sure a return pump is one of them.
     
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  9. Mrx7899

    Mrx7899 Well-Known Member

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    Just picked up a 225 I'm going to run 2 return pumps one on each return line.
     
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  10. tdunmore2

    tdunmore2 Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    What is this piece of plumbing called?
     
  11. JoshH

    JoshH Swimming in the deep end... R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  12. RSDeano

    RSDeano Member

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    I’ve been planning on running 2 return pumps
    T off each just after leaving each of the pumps.
    The straight section continues to the tank
    The t heads to a manifold down each side of the stand and join in the middle at the opposite end of the stand with a gate valve.
    I would keep that gate valve closed unless one pump died.
     
  13. HolisticBear

    HolisticBear Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Reef Tank 365 Partner Member 2018 Partner Member 2019

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    Most of this thread is about handling return pump failure, but what surprised me is that most people with controllers don't appear to have alerts set up.

    Alerts + sensors can fail, but getting notified that a return pump potentially failed is my primary mechanism. I can then deal with it and if on vacation, send a trusted buddy.
    • High water sensor in sump triggers if return pump stops
    • Low water sensor in sump triggers if a) overflow stops b) ATO fails
    • My ATO pump fills slowly, so if overflow stopped, the ATO can't keep up with return and low water sensor would fire
    • You could use powerbar energy monitoring
    • You could put level sensors in your overflow box
    • You could use flow meters
    I added low/high water sensors to my Profilux and it's provided a big piece of mind. It's a narrow window between low/high in my return section, maybe 1.5 - 2 inches. The water level shouldn't change in my sump.
     
  14. KStatefan

    KStatefan Active Member

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    I think using a controller for alerts is a good idea.

    Some of the ideas in this thread seem to add failure points to the system instead of making a more robust system.
     
  15. Engloid

    Engloid Valuable Member VRJ Member

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    DC is going to be more efficient, even if you don't need the variable flow. I use a Vectra L1 to pump up through 1.5" pipe, from my basement. It works great.
     
  16. Engloid

    Engloid Valuable Member VRJ Member

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    DC is going to be more efficient, even if you don't need the variable flow. I use a Vectra L1 to pump up through 1.5" pipe, from my basement. It works great.
     
  17. Sarah24!

    Sarah24! Valuable Member

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    Hello,

    So I currently run two return pumps, and I have dual returns. Now I’m not the best at piping and plumbing, but I’m really good at physics, and math. If you run two return pumps on the same line, you will have some problems.

    First, as some others stated, it’s going to push water through the other pump. Even if both pumps are running, the one that has least resistance will still have backflow water pushing against the water it’s trying to push out. Your going to make the second pump work three times harder and it probably will fail. It’s not designed to do what your doing.

    Have you thought of some simpler ideas but more effective. Example, yes I have two heaters in my sump and I need flow to keep the tank warm. However I have a back up that you can’t see. There is a third heater next to my over flow placed horizontally. It’s set at 75 as my main two are at 78. Now in doing my rock work, I am able to see the little light that comes on etc through the rock, but not much of the heater.

    Secondly, well my hands and arms are pretty small, so yes I can always move and reach the heater if it fails. Plus I have four wave makers in my tank so it will still get flow somehow to the heater.

    Another idea is to run one return pump like designed to. Then run the second pump but you could try soft plumbing and run it has its own line to the other side of the tank. I have seen large aquarium tanks do this as well. Their tanks only have one overflow but they need more flow. So they run a separate pump and line.

    I run twin return pumps but they each have their own dedicated line. So if one fails, yes I have another one running. Yet, that’s not why I did it in the first place lol. I did it because it increase flow and pressure in my display, and gave me more options for flow and I could run the pumps at minimum. They do not have to work so hard to move that much water.

    But, people are correct, return pumps don’t fail, if that’s your main worry your fine. Simply conceal a back up heater in your display tank, and you will have flow since you have wavemakers. You have a good idea, it’s just physics will work against you, and probably win.

    Good luck in what you decide to do.

    Sarah
     
  18. pluikens

    pluikens Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    If you're just going to adjust the valve to either open/closed, you're fine to use a ball valve as the precision if a gate valve is unnecessary.
     
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