Are overflow boxes reliable?

Water Dog

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Here’s the thing... these disasters that people have read about are, as with anything, a direct result of improper set up. Over the years, I have helped many a reefer troubleshoot their HOB overflow issues and it always seems to be the two issues I noted above, valving back the single drain to try to quiet it down (huge no no) or the clogging of the prefilter sponge. I’ve also read a bunch of issues through the years of problems with the aforementioned CPR overflow which requires an Aqualifter pump to maintain it’s siphon... what a terrible design! Stick with the U-tube style HOB overflow.

I ran an HOB overflow for almost a decade in the late 90s and early 2000s without issue. Back then, we only had single drain Durso reef ready setups or HOB overflows available to us. If you are unable or unwilling to drill your tank, there is nothing wrong with an HOB overflow, as long as it’s set up properly. In fact, I still have my old Amiracle HOB overflow box with Stockman standpipe on the ready should I ever need it.
 
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Mical

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Overflow boxes are as reliable as long as the return pump your using is adequate. Both of my tanks use dual drain overflow boxes and have never lost siphon, never clogged and never overflowed. Early on I went cheap on return pumps and had fluctuations in the sump due to TOO small a return pump. Upgraded pumps to Mag12 & Mag 18 and never an issue. On a side note, if pump is adequate, overflow boxes are actually pretty quiet.
 

rusty hannon

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Would it be safer to just stick with a canister? If so any way to optimize it so I don’t have to clean as often? And also is there a better canister anyone recommends maybe with a heater in it?
There are several canister's that don't seem too bad out there. I've been reading on the g4. Overpriced probably but does a few things that are cool.thought about incorporating one on a fish only. Plus if you aren't happy at some point w it, fill it with live rock to help w filtration that way.
 
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gizzo12

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Here’s the thing... these disasters that people have read about are, as with anything, a direct result of improper set up. Over the years, I have helped many a reefer troubleshoot their HOB overflow issues and it always seems to be the two issues I noted above, valving back the single drain to try to quiet it down (huge no no) or the clogging of the prefilter sponge. I’ve also read a bunch of issues through the years of problems with the aforementioned CPR overflow which requires an Aqualifter pump to maintain it’s siphon... what a terrible design! Stick with the U-tube style HOB overflow.

I ran an HOB overflow for almost a decade in the late 90s and early 2000s without issue. Back then, we only had single drain Durso reef ready setups or HOB overflows available to us. If you are unable or unwilling to drill your tank, there is nothing wrong with an HOB overflow, as long as it’s set up properly. In fact, I still have my old Amiracle HOB overflow box with Stockman standpipe on the ready should I ever need it.
Would the PF1000 be too much for my tank? And what pump is a good choice? I’m lost here lol
 
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gizzo12

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Would the PF1000 be too much for my tank? And what pump is a good choice? I’m lost here lol
And what are good brands for skimmers? Is Reef Octopus any good?
 
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Water Dog

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Would the PF1000 be too much for my tank? And what pump is a good choice? I’m lost here lol

I would think so... it is rated for a 1000gph flow rate. That’s too much flow for a 40 breeder. With a overflow box rated at 1000 gph, and say a flow rate of 200 - 300gph through a 40 breeder, you risk the flow being too weak through the U-tube. With too weak of a flow through the U-tube, bubbles will form at the top of the U-tube and you will risk breaking siphon. As someone mentioned earlier, take a look at the PF-300 rated for 300 gph. I would then get a DC adjustable pump like the Tunze 1073.050 rated at 792 gph. Once you factor in friction head loss from your sump up to the tank, and the pump‘s ability to dial in the flow rate, you will easily be able to get 250 - 300gph up to the tank.

What is your budget for a return pumo?
 
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gizzo12

gizzo12

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I would think so... it is rated for a 1000gph flow rate. That’s too much flow for a 40 breeder. With a overflow box rated at 1000 gph, and say a flow rate of 200 - 300gph through a 40 breeder, you risk the flow being too weak through the U-tube. With too weak of a flow through the U-tube, bubbles will form at the top of the U-tube and you will risk breaking siphon. As someone mentioned earlier, take a look at the PF-300 rated for 300 gph. I would then get a DC adjustable pump like the Tunze 1073.050 rated at 792 gph. Once you factor in friction head loss from your sump up to the tank, and the pump‘s ability to dial in the flow rate, you will easily be able to get 250 - 300gph up to the tank.

What is your budget for a return pumo?
Around $150 preferably less but I want something that is reliable and good quality.
 

Water Dog

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Around $150 preferably less but I want something that is reliable and good quality.

AC or DC?

With your pricing parameters, if AC, I would look at the Fluval SP2 or the Sicce 3.0.



If DC, I would look at the Jebao DCP 4000. At its price point, you can buy 2 and have one as a back up.


Add another $50 to your return pump budget and I’d get the Tunze DC controllable 1073.050.


In both cases, you will want to install a ball valve on the return line up to the tank so that you can precisely dial in your flow rate.
 
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gizzo12

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AC or DC?

With your pricing parameters, if AC, I would look at the Fluval SP2 or the Sicce 3.0.



If DC, I would look at the Jebao DCP 4000. At its price point, you can buy 2 and have one as a back up.


Add another $50 to your return pump budget and I’d get the Tunze DC controllable 1073.050.


In both cases, you will want to install a ball valve on the return line up to the tank so that you can precisely dial in your flow rate.
Would you recommend pvc or soft tuning for someone new to sumps?
 
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gizzo12

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Any good skimmer for a small tank like mine?
 
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Mical

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Would the PF1000 be too much for my tank? And what pump is a good choice? I’m lost here lol

It would be excellent just make sure you have a large enough return pump. Re: skimmers Reef Octopus or Bubble Magus Curve series (5) would be a good choice.
 

Cory

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The eshopps i have (two tube design), is good there are only a few concerns i had but i believe its the best choice on tbe market. One is algae growth in the tube slows the flow and needs cleaning. Two is the nylon screws that hold the box on are cheap and hard to unscrew to adjust without taking the whole thing apart. Three is i had one bulkhead slowly drip and build up salt crust. The problem is a plastic line on the flat side that channels water out of the bulkhead. I tried sanding it and it doesn't fix it.
 

Water Dog

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Would you recommend pvc or soft tuning for someone new to sumps?

When I ran my HOB overflow, I used the flex tubing that came with my overflow and sump kit. It worked fine.

FA2CF5F1-DAE1-455E-9E6F-1EA97660A1CD.jpeg


I have my current drilled ghost style overflow setup hard plumbed with PVC pipe, yet my return plumbing is still flexible vinyl tubing. Do what you are most comfortable with.
 
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gizzo12

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The eshopps i have (two tube design), is good there are only a few concerns i had but i believe its the best choice on tbe market. One is algae growth in the tube slows the flow and needs cleaning. Two is the nylon screws that hold the box on are cheap and hard to unscrew to adjust without taking the whole thing apart. Three is i had one bulkhead slowly drip and build up salt crust. The problem is a plastic line on the flat side that channels water out of the bulkhead. I tried sanding it and it doesn't fix it.
How the the two tube design differ from the one?
 

malacoda

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I ran a Marine Depot HOB (invert u-tube) overflow on my 24g for 4 years (they're very similar to the Eshopps HOB overflows). Loved it. Yes, it was a little loud from the gurgling compared to a bean animal. And yes, I had to clean a bit of GHA out of it every 3-4 weeks until coraline encrusted the inside (as mentioned, a black u-tube would resolve this). But properly maintained, it worked like a charm. And it was a great solution for a tank I didn't want to drill.
 
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gizzo12

gizzo12

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I ran a Marine Depot HOB (invert u-tube) overflow on my 24g for 4 years (they're very similar to the Eshopps HOB overflows). Loved it. Yes, it was a little loud from the gurgling compared to a bean animal. And yes, I had to clean a bit of GHA out of it every 3-4 weeks until coraline encrusted the inside (as mentioned, a black u-tube would resolve this). But properly maintained, it worked like a charm. And it was a great solution for a tank I didn't want to drill.
great to know thank you everyone!
 

clifg

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Would it be safer to just stick with a canister? If so any way to optimize it so I don’t have to clean as often? And also is there a better canister anyone recommends maybe with a heater in it?

Hey, I'm running a canister and a HOB overflow so I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in. I use the CPR overflow box, I've seen some negative things said here but I love it. You really need an aqualifter to run it through so that it's in a constant siphon. That goes down into my fuge which has a hang on skimmer so I can't really help ya with the rest of the parts for your sump. In the fuge I have macros, biomedia, miracle mud, and crushed coral. Also, an arrow crab that I've always wanted but been too afraid to put in the DT :) The return pump is a sicce 1.0 for a CS50 overflow, which matches up perfectly. I have ZERO noise from my overflow only from my returns because I like lots of disturbance on the top of the water. The canister I use as my "sump." Right now it just has two stages of filter floss plus one stage of purigen . I like the versatility because if something spikes I can easily add carbon or phosban or whatever else I need to by swapping out some of the floss or purigen. I do clean it once a week, but since I have the different stages of floss it's normally just replacing one of those stages at a time. 55 gal tank and 10 gal fuge by the way.
 
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