Beananimal Plumbing Issues

tdunmore2

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Hello All!
First post here, but have been reading for a while.
I'm struggling with the beananimal overflow plumbing.
I had a spare 30gal and 10 gal tank in the basement and decided I wanted to set up a quarantine tank and practice (read:learn about) the beananimal system and fluid dynamics as I have a new 120 gal tank coming from Reef Savvy in a few weeks and plan to use the same drain system.

I bought an eshoppes Eclipse L box, drilled, installed and leak tested the tank, set it up on its stand, plumbed (not neatly I may add) to the 10gal sump, placed and sealed acrylic panels in the sump, and run the tubing for the return.

The past two days I've been beating my head against the wall trying to figure out why I cant get the infamous "silent drain" form this setup. When I start the pump, the overflow fills, submerges the full siphon drain, and 2/3 submerges the open drain. Never makes it to the emergency drain. And that's how it runs.
Now, if I start turning the gate valve to adjust, the change in flow of the water causes the full siphon drain to (not surprisingly) pull a full siphon. Then I can dial in the gate valve to get the open drain quiet and all is well.

Until I shut off the pump, that is. When the pump is off, the water drains to practically nothing in the sump, and is lower than all the drain heads. When I start the pump, same thing happens as described above. No full siphon n the full siphon line, and the open channel is happily (and noisily) draining the overflow.

Am I doing something incorrectly that is prohibiting the full siphon drain from purging the air? I've let it sit as long as overnight to see if it just took a while to purge, but alas, no luck. When I look up into the underside of the overflow and the full siphon drain pipe, I can actually see the air pocket that is causing the problem.

I'm wondering if my return pump may be undersized.

Pictures are below.
20170618_114738.jpg
20170618_114747.jpg

20170618_114802.jpg
20170618_114913.jpg

A few notes:
1. I messed up and drilled both u pipes. I plugged the one with caulk which is what you see hanging out on the top of that pipe (left most).
2. Both full siphon and open drains are submerged in the sump abut 1" (a little more when the pump is off)
3. I have no valve on the open channel or emergency drain, only a gate valve on the full siphon line.
4. I'm using a Sicce Syncrasilent 1.5 as the return (357 gph) http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/sicce-syncra-silent-1-5-pump-357-gph.html
5. All the drains are pitched down at every point (no place for an air pocket to get caught)
6. 1" PVC is used for all drains.
7. All piping inside the overflow is friction fit except the U pipe which is a 1" elbow and 1"x3/4" reducer elbow glued and caulked for airtightness.

Any thoughts/help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Brew12

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You need a "straw" out of air hole in your partial drain that ends at the same spot as the emergency drain. Otherwise both drains will attempt to go full siphon at too low of a level.
 
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tdunmore2

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I've seen the 1/4" RO tubing used on many installations. my understanding was installing that and setting that at the emergency drain level was to allow the open drain to go into a full siphon by stopping the airflow when the level surpassed the airline opening.
Given where the levels are running in the overflow (over the siphon drain, but lower than the vent hole for the open channel), how would inserting a straw into the open channel change the dynamics of the system?

Would it give an increase in head pressure on the full siphon drain that would allow the airlock to break on startup?

Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to understand.

Thanks!
 

Brew12

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I've seen the 1/4" RO tubing used on many installations. my understanding was installing that and setting that at the emergency drain level was to allow the open drain to go into a full siphon by stopping the airflow when the level surpassed the airline opening.
Given where the levels are running in the overflow (over the siphon drain, but lower than the vent hole for the open channel), how would inserting a straw into the open channel change the dynamics of the system?

Would it give an increase in head pressure on the full siphon drain that would allow the airlock to break on startup?

Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to understand.

Thanks!
Nope, good point. Missed that you said it was only going up 2/3's of the way up the partial drain. You may just not have enough flow to make the system work like normal. It sounds like 2 partial drains are enough flow to match your pump flow. This is preventing the water level from getting high enough to force the air bubble through the system and start the siphon.

You might have some success if you raise the level of the partial drain.
 
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tdunmore2

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I will give the raised partial drain a shot. Have a larger pump on order. Thanks for your help!
 
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Sleepydoc

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The 'typical' Bean setup has the air hose to the open channel set so it's just above the level of the dry emergency. If it is too low, then the open channel converts to a full siphon when the end of the tube gets occluded and rapidly drains the overflow box, keeping the siphon from fully developing.

Normal startup sequence:
  1. Water rises in the overflow to about or just above the emergency drain level (but below the air hose to the open channel) and stays there. At this point both the open channel and siphon channels have air in them.
  2. The flow in the siphon channel should clear the air fairly quickly. At this point the flow in the siphon channel increases and the water will drop to its steady state level.
Things that can keep the siphon from starting properly
  • Drains submerged too far in the sump (1" should be fine, but if you have very low flow it may be an issue - see below)
  • leaks in the siphon system. Possible for you - friction fit connections can leak and pull air in, but if you can manually get the siphon going and it doesn't suck air then this is likely not the problem.
  • Too little flow relative to pipe size - 1" isn't terribly big, but your pump is pretty small too. 357 GPH is the 0 head flow. That pump has a maximum head height of 6 feet, so I wouldn't be surprised if your flow is under half that. For comparison, a 1" pipe with a 4' drop can flow in excess of 2000 GPH.
From what you've described, it sounds like the flow is too low. How big is your return pipe? Have you measured the flow at all? You can use a headless calculator to get an idea approximately what it is. I'd start with a bigger pump (borrow one if you can). Honestly, a beananimal overflow is kind of over kill for a 30 gallon tank. You should be able to get it to work, but you could probably get a plain Durso to work well, too.
 
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tdunmore2

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Sleepydoc, thanks for the info!
I agree with your assessment. I believe the flow is too low. I have measured the flow (using a neat find https://www.amazon.com/Orbit-56854-Hose-Water-Meter/dp/B0187BOFD6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497841233&sr=8-1&keywords=orbit+meter). I'm at a bit over 2.5gpm (~150gph). You're calcs were right on. I've got a larger pump coming this week I can sub in to see if that makes a difference.

I also agree. the beananimal setup is overkill for that size tank. I have a larger tank coming and wanted to get my hands around the way the system worked as a test run. I played with the idea of dual durso's, but I' want to see how the beananimal works with all my options exhausted first.

I do want to play with the amount of water the drains are submerged in the sump per your advice.

Thanks again!
 

Rybren

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In addition to having too little flow, I believe that your emergency is too high. As per Bean's original design on his website, the emergency should be flowing water on startup. This will reduce the flow in the OC and will help the siphon purge.

If you want this to be a test for your bigger tank, then also add the air line to the open channel. As Sleepydoc mentioned, it should terminate higher than the emergency. This way, you can put the Bean through its paces by blocking each of the lines to see how it really is failsafe.
 

Sleepydoc

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The emergency doesn't necessarily have to flow at startup - the water level just needs to rise high enough and stay high long enough so that the air flushes out of the siphon pipe to start the siphon. (That's why the air tubing from the open channel should be above the level of the emergency pipe, so the open channel doesn't covert to a full siphon and drain the overflow box before the siphon gets established.) I've seen several reports of systems for which the water never actually rises to the level of the emergency drain. The real concern with the level of the emergency drain is that it's far enough below the rim of the tank to handle the water flow if something happens to the other standpipes.

One other thing I do notice in the pictures is that the opening of the down-turned elbow for the siphon channel is very close to the bottom of the overflow box. I can't see how close, but it appears that it is close enough to restrict the flow.
 
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tdunmore2

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You guys were all correct! I changed only one thing at a time.
Started with the standpipes. Added the JG fitting and air hose. Didn't do the trick (but its allowing me to understand the system dynamics. Raised the full siphon line. Didn't do the trick either. Changed the pump for double the flow, and magic happened (more like fluid dynamics). I also had to raise the open channel, as there was to much water draining to fast, not allowing the full siphon to happen (low head pressure).

Because the box I have doesn't have a ton of head room, I ended up raising the open channel to a height such that the JG fitting will become submerged just above the emergency drain (about 1/4"). This acts the same as having a tube put in place.

Thank you all for the help!
 
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Sleepydoc

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I've seen the same thing happen before. Basically, you need enough flow in the system to be able to flush the air out if the siphon tube. If the flow is too small relative to the size of the pipe, this can't happen and it won't start up properly.

Glad to hear you got it worked out!
 

Brew12

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You guys were all correct! I changed only one thing at a time.
Started with the standpipes. Added the JG fitting and air hose. Didn't do the trick (but its allowing me to understand the system dynamics. Raised the full siphon line. Didn't do the trick either. Changed the pump for double the flow, and magic happened (more like fluid dynamics). I also had to raise the open channel, as there was to much water draining to fast, not allowing the full siphon to happen (low head pressure).

Because the box I have doesn't have a ton of head room, I ended up raising the open channel to a height such that the JG fitting will become submerged just above the emergency drain (about 1/4"). This acts the same as having a tube put in place.

Thank you all for the help!
Glad you got it going!
 

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