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Wrigley&Ivy17

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Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all of those that served and those that didn't come back! This gives me my freedom so I can surf R2R this morning and get advice/help. It doesn't go unnoticed. That was not political, just appreciative to the veterans and families out there. Let me start off my saying I just got back into saltwater in Jan after being out of it for 12 years. I' Here we go. The 24g AIO tank I set up in January was already full with coral so I needed to spread out. I'm currently building a SCA star fire 50g cube I purchased from another local reefer. Tank was leak tested came with sump and plumbing. I ordered a Vectra S2 at the other owner's recommendations. Wow, what a pump! Sand/live rock were added last night, tank was filled. I'm finding I'm having difficulty balancing the flow back into the sump. It is normal for a drop every 30 sec to come out the emergency? I haven't had a tank with a sump like a said, 12 years so I'm learning. This feel like a balancing act to get it right. I did add a bottle of Dr. Tim's for good measure as well. The loc lines were pointed down towards the sand last night, my rookies mistake so my sand got moved around and the tank did not clear at all overnight. Oops. I'm not sure how long it will take for the tank to clear. I used the fine oolite sand because that's easier on a goby. Any Ideas, thoughts are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Suohhen

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Happy Memorial Day to you as well! I am not sure I totally understand your issue with draining. In the picture it looks like one of the drains just ends at a coupling. Looks like you have a Herbie Overflow setup? Is the flow not saying balanced and causing noise or what?
Sand blowing around can be annoying but it will get much better over the next day and eventually everything will stick together pretty well so blowing will be far less of an issue.
 
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Wrigley&Ivy17

Wrigley&Ivy17

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Yes, it's a Herbie. Sorry, it tends to after awhile "suck air" and then I've noticed that it will drain more then 1 drop every 30 secs out of the emergency. That's the short one that looks like the coupling. Then I have to slow the return back to the sump. That's what I mean about "balancing" is that normal?
 

Suohhen

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It isn't really possible to get complete balance. I have never heard about dps as a measure. Usually you just want to have a smooth flow that isn't causing noise which can be much more than dps and if you're hearing an air sucking noise it is because the drain with the value is letting too much flow pass and needs to be tightened just a bit.
Edit: Also with higher flow through that pipe it is probably a good idea to add another pipe that reaches to just below the surface of the sump water about 1in to prevent splashing and minimize noise
 
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Wrigley&Ivy17

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The return back to the pump is under the water, you can't see that because of the skimmer being in the way. I've included a better pic. Ok, so nothing really to worry about in your opinion? Assuming sand in the bottom of the sump is normal too because of the blow around?
 

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Suohhen

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I didn't sleep well so it is possible I am confused, or being confusing ;Droid
A herbie setup has 2 drains with a valve on the main. It looks like that straight pipe with a coupling on the end is your 2nd drain which is the pipe I'm referring to. Is that not correct?
Sand on the bottom of the sump isn't necessarily an issue but you can siphon it out if it bothers you. Kinda the nature of a sump in general, some of us let it turn into an utter mess and others go full on Monk OCD.
 
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Wrigley&Ivy17

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Yes, that short one is what I consider the "emergency drain." Shouldn't drain unless there is an issue. I'm getting like maybe a drop every 30 seconds out of it, which is why I was wondering "is that normal" and thinking I had a balancing act problem.
 

Suohhen

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I have used the herbie setup for years and I always set it to a steady flow. I wouldn't say drips per minute but rather a steady stream. You have a pretty good amount of leeway before that 2nd drain starts making noise but like I said it could cause an issue with splashing so it is always best to tuck that drain below the surface of the water which has the added benefit of acting as a silencer. Another thing you can do if the drain is still noisy is add a silencer to that 2nd drain if there is space.
 
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Wrigley&Ivy17

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Okay, sounds like the emergency drain isn't an emergency in your opinion. It's normal to have flow thru the main drain and some thru the emergency, I guess. Noise isn't an issue because just the constant flow from the main tank into the rear box is noisy enough (like a little water fall) that I don't even notice a few drips or light stream. I just thought it should balance where all the flow was thru the main sump drain, but I can't get it there. Seems like a constant adjustment to the valve on the main sump drain, which is painful and time consuming. Literally every few hours its a fine tune turn to the right or left depending on what the flow is doing.

Does anybody out there think that the drain back to the sump should be smaller than the return lines? I received it all with 1 inch PVC. Would moving to 3/4 inch on the return help with balancing gravity feed on the sump drain and pump pressure on the return line? As I said, we have a 1400 GPH pump, which should be plenty to keep up with the gravity, but it's not. All it's accomplishing, in my opinion, is blasting the sand around the tank.

Thank you so much for the help, Suohhen.
 

Suohhen

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You definitely always want drains to be larger than return lines as the pump has pressure to push water and gravity is weak and can be slowed much more significantly by bends and anything else creating turbulence. Balance is achieved with the ball valve.
As for noise there are two factors to the overflow noise. One is flow, at 1400 gph you're pushing a lot of water through that overflow so it is going to be a bit noisy no matter what. I am a firm believer that less flow is better to the point where you're beyond whatever min requirements there are. Here is my breakdown of flow pros and cons.
slower: Overflow surface skim ratio, noise, heat, electricity, disturbing sand
Faster: Heater, aeration & dead zones, filtration
The other factor is the distance the water drops in the overflow box which can be adjusted by changing the riser height but you want to leave a safety margin which it is likely already setup as.
The 2nd con is easily overcome with powerheads and the filtration is hard to generalize as there are so many different types of filtration employed in this hobby and they have vastly different needs.
 
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Suohhen

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I should probably explain the emergency bit as well. That is a function of that 2nd drain, in case the main drain were to clog it can handle the full flow but it isn't there only for emergencies. Just kind of a generalization in terminology.
 

Suohhen

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Pods are generally able to go right through a return pump just fine but it is also one of the benefits of having a refugium in you sump to provide a constant source of pods for your display.
 

What is the best "cleaning product" or home recipe for cleaning reef tank equipment?

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