Herbie overflow troubles

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Nmetzger7

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Hey all, I'm sure this question has been asked 1000 times but here I go again anyway.

I just finished setting up the biggest headache of a project that is my new 40 breeder reef.

Got the tank finally filled and started the pump (which is noisy and might need to be replaced in itself). Got the overflow started and tried tuning it with the gate valve I have on the main drain pipe.

The problem I'm having is I cannot get a full siphon no matter how high I adjust the water level. The drain hose is still 90% empty at any given time and is quite noisy. I've also struggled getting the overflow "waterfall" noise to be minimal and have had some success there, but still no luck with the siphon.

Is it possible that my pump just isn't providing enough flow to achieve a full siphon? Any help appreciated!
 

Spinal Compass

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Hey all, I'm sure this question has been asked 1000 times but here I go again anyway.

I just finished setting up the biggest headache of a project that is my new 40 breeder reef.

Got the tank finally filled and started the pump (which is noisy and might need to be replaced in itself). Got the overflow started and tried tuning it with the gate valve I have on the main drain pipe.

The problem I'm having is I cannot get a full siphon no matter how high I adjust the water level. The drain hose is still 90% empty at any given time and is quite noisy. I've also struggled getting the overflow "waterfall" noise to be minimal and have had some success there, but still no luck with the siphon.

Is it possible that my pump just isn't providing enough flow to achieve a full siphon? Any help appreciated!
You answered your own question. You need a bigger pump. Your main overflow tube is allowing more water flow than the pump can provide to produce an excess to build up in the overflow. This build up will allow the water level to then reach the secondary taller tube. The goal is to close the valve on the main shorter tube until just a trickle of water reaches the taller secondary tube. You keep closing the main tube little by little until the water rises in the overflow reaching the taller tube. Yes, it is incredibly loud when it is sucking air but once the shorter tube is adjusted then it won't suck any air and goes silent. The taller tube cannot suck any air because it only has a trickle of water going through it.
 
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Nmetzger7

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You answered your own question. You need a bigger pump. Your main overflow tube is allowing more water flow than the pump can provide to produce an excess to build up in the overflow. This build up will allow the water level to then reach the secondary taller tube. The goal is to close the valve on the main shorter tube until just a trickle of water reaches the taller secondary tube. You keep closing the main tube little by little until the water rises in the overflow reaching the taller tube. Yes, it is incredibly loud when it is sucking air but once the shorter tube is adjusted then it won't suck any air and goes silent. The taller tube cannot suck any air because it only has a trickle of water going through it.
Thanks for the input. I was worried about the pump being too small but wasn't sure.

I knew about tuning them but it seemed no matter how open or closed I set the gate valve I just wasn't getting enough flow down through the outlet pipe.

I'll look into upsizing the pump and see if it helps. Worst case scenario I just remove one of my circulation pumps and just rely on return flow more.
 
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Water Dog

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It's a sicce syncra 2.0. Chose this one on the recommendation of a fellow hobbyist.

Yeah, after head pressure loss, it won’t be pumping that much flow up into the tank... get a bigger pump. Remember, any 90 degree elbows will add an additional foot in head pressure.

FB8ECD0B-9850-49CA-AC17-C52669F61E9F.jpeg
 
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Nmetzger7

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Yeah, after head pressure loss, it won’t be pumping that much flow up into the tank... get a bigger pump. Remeber, any 90 degree elbows will add an additional foot in head pressure.

Thanks for the info

Yeah, after head pressure loss, it won’t be pumping that much flow up into the tank... get a bigger pump. Remember, any 90 degree elbows will add an additional foot in head pressure.

FB8ECD0B-9850-49CA-AC17-C52669F61E9F.jpeg
Oh dang, well thanks for the info! Helps out a lot!
 
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Big E

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If you have a valve on the output line from the overflow box to match the pump you should be able to dial it in. The key is getting the siphon going. You may have to pre fill the output tube then turn on the pump and work back from an almost closed output.

I agree it would be easier with a stronger pump as you have more leeway.

300gph is plenty for a 40 breeder
 
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Water Dog

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Also, where is your gate valve located on the primary full siphon line? Is it right after the overflow box or is it right before the sump? Typically, you’d want the gate valve right before the sump as it makes it easier to purge all the air from the primary full siphon line. If the gate valve is nearer to the overflow box, it will be much harder to purge the line of air, especially with a weak pump. It also helps to have the full siphon line into the sump no more than an inch beneath the water in the sump. The deeper it is, the more it has to fight back pressure, making it hard to purge.
 
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Water Dog

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If the pipe for the full siphon isnt below the water in the sump air will enter from the bottom and it will never start.

Correct, though like it said, you really don’t want it any more than an inch below the surface of the water in the sump. The deeper it is, the more difficult it is to purge the line due to increased back pressure.
 
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Nmetzger7

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Also, where is your gate valve located on the primary full siphon line? Is it right after the overflow box or is it right before the sump? Typically, you’d want the gate valve right before the sump as it makes it easier to purge all the air from the primary full siphon line. If the gate valve is nearer to the overflow box, it will be much harder to purge the line of air, especially with a weak pump. It also helps to have the full siphon line into the sump no more than an inch beneath the water in the sump. The deeper it is, the more it has to fight back pressure, making it hard to purge.
Unfortunately I installed the valve about 6 inches below the overflow box. I'm not sure if I can correct that problem without replacing the gate valve as it is glued in now. I will check on the hose placement later. I need to troubleshoot an issue with my pump this week before I can look into that fix.
 
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Water Dog

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So with the gate valve being closer to the overflow box than the drain, it is really important to get a stronger pump so that the line can have an easier time purging.
 
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Big E

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Also, where is your gate valve located on the primary full siphon line? Is it right after the overflow box or is it right before the sump? Typically, you’d want the gate valve right before the sump as it makes it easier to purge all the air from the primary full siphon line. If the gate valve is nearer to the overflow box, it will be much harder to purge the line of air, especially with a weak pump. It also helps to have the full siphon line into the sump no more than an inch beneath the water in the sump. The deeper it is, the more it has to fight back pressure, making it hard to purge.

Yup, these little things matter....................most setups have the valve just above the sump discharge and this is one reason. Another is simply ease of access.

You can add another valve with a small piece of flexible hose at the end........it's an easy fix. Just leave the other one wide open.
 
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Nmetzger7

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Yup, these little things matter....................most setups have the valve just above the sump discharge and this is one reason. Another is simply ease of access.

You can add another valve with a small piece of flexible hose at the end........it's an easy fix. Just leave the other one wide open.
Awesome idea. The parts aren't too spendy I may just order what I need, cut out the old parts and and do it right now that I have better info to work with. This is a better start than going all in for a more expensive pump right away.
 
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