QUESTION OF THE DAY Dual return pumps for redundancy! Good idea or just a waste of money?

Do you run TWO return pumps for redundancy and to be safe? (check all that apply)

  • Yes I run two return pumps..

    Votes: 160 21.3%
  • No it's a waste..

    Votes: 96 12.8%
  • No but I would like to..

    Votes: 185 24.6%
  • No but I have a spare return pump...

    Votes: 355 47.3%

  • Total voters
    751

Crotalus

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If you have DC pumps it isn't a waste of electricity. I have two over sized pumps and I run each at 30%.
 

mehaffydr

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I run 2 pumps. I have been reefing for over 15 years and have never had a return pump failure but its just good piece of mind knowing if one goes out my system will not suffer. I think its well worth the money.
 

csb123

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I, on the other hand, have had 2 return pumps fail.

Lessons learned: buy quality, have a back up, and plan on having crashes while you are away.
 

andyman

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What I do is simply have a spare pump, put a shutoff valve and union on both sides of the pump (as close to the pump as possible) so that I can remove the pump for service or swap. Another thing that certainly helps that this thread doesn't talk about is just getting a really over sized DC pump.. That way its built like a tank, and you run it at half its duty cycle. That way the electronics don't get hot, the pump stays cool because your not really pushing it, and it should last forever.
 

P.kapp

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Reading through this thread has really helped me decide what I want to do for the tank I’m working on. I couldn’t decide whether to do one bigger pump, or 2 less big pumps and run them at a lower setting. Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts and experiences!
 
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Crotalus

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Another thing that certainly helps that this thread doesn't talk about is just getting a really over sized DC pump.. That way its built like a tank, and you run it at half its duty cycle. That way the electronics don't get hot, the pump stays cool because your not really pushing it, and it should last forever.
That's what I did. I bought 2 - 12000 liter DC pumps for my 215 DT gallon and run them both at 50%. This turns my tank over 5 times an hour even if one pump fails. I also have a spare in a box that can be swapped in 5 minutes.
 

Taylor t

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Problem is when your main pump dies and you come home after 12 hours, you cant just swap the pump.

Your biological filtration down below is all dead and your reactors foul.
12 hours
Not! If this is even possible, your system is hours away from disaster everyday! Not if, but when! Yikes!!!

First off, this is misinformation at its finest, no offense, but it’s not a one size or situation across the board, FOR ANY SYSTEM.

I don’t use reactors... they collect dust the past few years...

Every system is different, set up and built different, stocked different, different biological limits, different stocking limits...different equipment...
Ya get my point...

I have a powerhead run in my sump to prevent settlement... my return could fail for a month... nothing would happen (biologically speaking) in MY system (now if my salinity stayed in balance is a whole other issue!) I also have LR in my sump. I really don’t NEED a sump, but it keeps the surface nice and clean. :) My critical systems are all on battery backup, and last time I tried it lasted 30 hours, and now I’ve got more backup space and less equipment, so just a gut, guessing backup on my tank is in the 5-7 day range on battery only before the generator starts


But I do agree, biological die off is something to consider, but it’s not as fast die off as you portray, and some systems won’t have any die off... like mine.... :)

Bottom line, we ALL need to keep an eye on our reefs, every reef has a different “weak link”, we all got one. Return pump ain’t mine, and I only got one!
 

Sleepydoc

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Timely question - I was performing a water change a few weeks ago and went to turn my Cor-20 pump back on only to get a red light on the controller. After spending a bunch of time trying to figure out what my Apex was doing wrong I finally figured out that the power supply brick had actually failed. Fortunately, I had my old Varios-6 on the shelf, ready to swap and in 10 minutes my system was back up and running.

There are really 2 uses/purposes here - running dual pumps simultaneously which keeps your system running if you’re not around to fix it, and having a backup on the shelf. Ultimately they both serve as backups but function in different capacities.
 

Scolymite Is My Name

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I run a u-tube overflow box, so unless i want 2 return pumps running max, 2 returns doesnt really work for me. Otherwise if i ran 2 at medium, 1 failing means the u-tube might lose flow due to the return not being enough gph. /shrug
Tbh my tank could probably last a while if the return failed, as my climate is pretty temperate and i’ve got good flow
 

TheOne

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Well my Vectra M1 Return Pump power supply bit the dust today. Thank Goodness I have a couple of Jebao DC return pumps for backup. One is on my mixing station and the other I picked up at a nice discount from an amazon customer return.

Apex sent out an alert and within a couple of hours I have them swapped out and back to business as usual. I did have to do a little plumbing work but luckily I have plenty of extra pvc fittings, cutters and glue already.

I guess on the bright side I was planning to upgrade to the COR20 and now I have an excuse too. :cool:
 

BZOFIQ

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12 hours
Not! If this is even possible, your system is hours away from disaster everyday! Not if, but when! Yikes!!!

First off, this is misinformation at its finest, no offense, but it’s not a one size or situation across the board, FOR ANY SYSTEM.

I don’t use reactors... they collect dust the past few years...

Every system is different, set up and built different, stocked different, different biological limits, different stocking limits...different equipment...
Ya get my point...

I have a powerhead run in my sump to prevent settlement... my return could fail for a month... nothing would happen (biologically speaking) in MY system (now if my salinity stayed in balance is a whole other issue!) I also have LR in my sump. I really don’t NEED a sump, but it keeps the surface nice and clean. :) My critical systems are all on battery backup, and last time I tried it lasted 30 hours, and now I’ve got more backup space and less equipment, so just a gut, guessing backup on my tank is in the 5-7 day range on battery only before the generator starts


But I do agree, biological die off is something to consider, but it’s not as fast die off as you portray, and some systems won’t have any die off... like mine.... :)

Bottom line, we ALL need to keep an eye on our reefs, every reef has a different “weak link”, we all got one. Return pump ain’t mine, and I only got one!
This is how I read your post....my system is different, nothing can go wrong, I advise against a redundant pump - It's my way or the highway.

Generally speaking it's an upgrade to have dual pumps. I recommended dual return pump system WITHOUT knowing specifics of each person's system.

I've run tanks on tap, skimmerless, without water changes, with DSB, etc, etc, etc, etc. Each approach had its limitations.

Would I go around the web and tell everyone tap is great or ditch your protein skimmer and water changes without knowing their specific approach/system and their goals - big fat NO!

Would I recommend a dual return pump approach to just about anybody - without reservation.
 

Sleepydoc

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This is how I read your post....my system is different, nothing can go wrong, I advise against a redundant pump - It's my way or the highway.

Generally speaking it's an upgrade to have dual pumps. I recommended dual return pump system WITHOUT knowing specifics of each person's system.

I've run tanks on tap, skimmerless, without water changes, with DSB, etc, etc, etc, etc. Each approach had its limitations.

Would I go around the web and tell everyone tap is great or ditch your protein skimmer and water changes without knowing their specific approach/system and their goals - big fat NO!

Would I recommend a dual return pump approach to just about anybody - without reservation.
I suspect one big drawback for many people is space. My sump is already crowded. Could I make another return pump fit? Probably but it would be *really* tight and probably cause compromises in other areas.

one other advantage to having a backup pump -i do periodic pump maintenance by soaking my pump in citric acid to get rid of scale. By having a second pump I can just swap in my spare while I do the soak and clean process. I don’t have to stress about time and my tank doesn’t know the difference.
 
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GoldeneyeRet

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I prefer to use a proven and reliable single pump. I like things to be simple as I feel simple is more reliable.

I have had two pumps over the course of 25 or so years. I replaced my original pump about 5 or 6 years ago just to be safe. It now runs my fountain in the front yard, and is still a capable backup.

Although a pump failure is possible, many other causes of tank disaster are more probable. I rest easy know my AC pump is on the job.
 

Taylor t

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This is how I read your post....my system is different, nothing can go wrong, I advise against a redundant pump - It's my way or the highway.

Generally speaking it's an upgrade to have dual pumps. I recommended dual return pump system WITHOUT knowing specifics of each person's system.

I've run tanks on tap, skimmerless, without water changes, with DSB, etc, etc, etc, etc. Each approach had its limitations.

Would I go around the web and tell everyone tap is great or ditch your protein skimmer and water changes without knowing their specific approach/system and their goals - big fat NO!

Would I recommend a dual return pump approach to just about anybody - without reservation.
Gosh, thanks for bringing this to my attention. NOT how it was meant to be taken.

Not at all! It’s NOT my way or highway, not sure how the heck anyone could come to that conclusion. Just saying it’s not a one size fits all. I have several returns waiting on the shelf, but for me, running 2 is pointless for several reasons. To some, running 2 is a great idea!

Suppose I read posts the opposite end of the intent, making it sound like I’m an idiot for not having 2 plumbed and running.
 
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BZOFIQ

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Suppose I read posts the opposite end of the intent, making it sound like I’m an idiot for not having 2 plumbed and running.
You sir are not an idiot - you're a person with an opposing view.

Happy Thanksgiving :)
 

Sleepydoc

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You sir are not an idiot - you're a person with an opposing view.

Happy Thanksgiving :)
Forums like Reef2Reef are great for sharing experiences an information but I think we all tend to forget how much communication is non-verbal, making it all too easy for people to either write or read a post in ways that were not intended. One of the things I like about R2R is it's a very friendly community - thanks for keeping it civil!
 

wsoldier

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Lots of great info guys, thanks everyone! For me I have my COR-15 in and a Sicce on backup (the former seizing up after only a month of use due to high calcium precipitation and the latter seizing up due to buildup after almost a year. Luckily I was there to clean them both, but I do travel for 2 weeks at a time and the idea of having a 2nd pump plumbed in ready to be turned on via Apex seems like a necessity for me. I don't want to rely on my tank sitter to have to disassemble and or swap a pump.

Dude, I do the exact same thing but I use check valves. No need for anyone to turn a valve. Trust me, much easier and worry free.
Can you link us to a check valve online for purchase? All I can find are poorly rated ones or outdoor metal ones. Thanks!
 

Sleepydoc

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Lots of great info guys, thanks everyone! For me I have my COR-15 in and a Sicce on backup (the former seizing up after only a month of use due to high calcium precipitation and the latter seizing up due to buildup after almost a year. Luckily I was there to clean them both, but I do travel for 2 weeks at a time and the idea of having a 2nd pump plumbed in ready to be turned on via Apex seems like a necessity for me. I don't want to rely on my tank sitter to have to disassemble and or swap a pump.



Can you link us to a check valve online for purchase? All I can find are poorly rated ones or outdoor metal ones. Thanks!

Checkvalves are notorious for failing - either leaking or clogging - and have a bad reputation in the hobby. This is probably one of the better, lower risk uses for them, IMO.
 
https://www.omegasea.net/

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