How big of a return pump do I need?

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jdloftness

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I am planning for a 150 gallon tank. Since return pumps should be 5-10 times per hour, I would search for a 1,500 gph pump. If I wanted to plumb in a manifold for three future add-ons (reactors, etc), do I need to increase the return pump gallons per hour for the requirements of the add on? Let me know if my question is poorly worded and I'll clarify.
 
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I believe 3 to 5 times tank volume is more common today but even if you want to go with 10 times this applies. Yes, you'll have to plan for additional head loss if you're going to drive a manifold (or anything off the return line, reactors, UV filters, etc). How much is that? Depends on your manifold design (number of outlets, devices, pipe routing, etc). DC adjustable speed pumps are excellent as they can cover a range of flows. AC pumps, go with extra 1 or 2x tank volume over your desired and put a valve on the output to throttle flow.

For more advanced stuff... you can (and should) also look at the manufactures pump curves that will show head loss due to height (and shut off head). Not all pumps that are rated for a given flow, have the same flow loss response to head loss. A high pressure pump will have less flow loss with back pressure, but will have lower flow over. And vice versa.

Lastly, make sure your return line and manifold supports the equipment. Some equipment is not best run off a manifold - for example UV filters may require much different flow rates (higher or lower) than your return.
 
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jdloftness

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I believe 3 to 5 times tank volume is more common today but even if you want to go with 10 times this applies. Yes, you'll have to plan for additional head loss if you're going to drive a manifold (or anything off the return line, reactors, UV filters, etc). How much is that? Depends on your manifold design (number of outlets, devices, pipe routing, etc). DC adjustable speed pumps are excellent as they can cover a range of flows. AC pumps, go with extra 1 or 2x tank volume over your desired and put a valve on the output to throttle flow.

For more advanced stuff... you can (and should) also look at the manufactures pump curves that will show head loss due to height (and shut off head). Not all pumps that are rated for a given flow, have the same flow loss response to head loss. A high pressure pump will have less flow loss with back pressure, but will have lower flow over. And vice versa.

Lastly, make sure your return line and manifold supports the equipment. Some equipment is not best run off a manifold - for example UV filters may require much different flow rates (higher or lower) than your return.
While I often feel like I'm significantly intellectually challenged in this hobby, I'd rather admit it than fake understanding. Your middle paragraph is way over my head. Can you either dumb it down for me, or I will attempt to educate myself on flow loss vs head loss. Thank you.
 

Uncle99

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I am planning for a 150 gallon tank. Since return pumps should be 5-10 times per hour, I would search for a 1,500 gph pump. If I wanted to plumb in a manifold for three future add-ons (reactors, etc), do I need to increase the return pump gallons per hour for the requirements of the add on? Let me know if my question is poorly worded and I'll clarify.
Yup, add some gph for each reactor.

You really can’t push water through your system faster than what is being drained and this directly effects the max gph we can run through our system.

My guess is your going to need between 3,000gph and 4,000gph, DC IMM always best as they are so easy to tune.

Just keep in mind size of the area in your sump for the pump.

In the sump, fast is not necessarily better. I like more contact time between water and media so my flow is like 3-4 times.

CF6C466D-E4FC-49E6-9DE6-786854409D58.jpeg
 

Quietman

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While I often feel like I'm significantly intellectually challenged in this hobby, I'd rather admit it than fake understanding. Your middle paragraph is way over my head. Can you either dumb it down for me, or I will attempt to educate myself on flow loss vs head loss. Thank you.
Sure - a pump you'll use for a return pump can only push against so much resistance. At a certain point, the resistance is so high it will prevent pump from moving water. The pump curve will have height vs flow and you'll see flow arc down to zero as the height increases. So head loss is just a measure of this resistance. However, it's not only height, it's also the resistance to flow by pipe size, bends in the piping, valves and nozzles. All that add up (as you already realize) to needing a bigger pump that just the maximum flow advertised (which is usually based on 0 head loss).
 
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jdloftness

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Yup, add some gph for each reactor.

You really can’t push water through your system faster than what is being drained and this directly effects the max gph we can run through our system.

My guess is your going to need between 3,000gph and 4,000gph, DC IMM always best as they are so easy to tune.

Just keep in mind size of the area in your sump for the pump.

In the sump, fast is not necessarily better. I like more contact time between water and media so my flow is like 3-4 times.

CF6C466D-E4FC-49E6-9DE6-786854409D58.jpeg
DC IMM?
 
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jdloftness

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Sure - a pump you'll use for a return pump can only push against so much resistance. At a certain point, the resistance is so high it will prevent pump from moving water. The pump curve will have height vs flow and you'll see flow arc down to zero as the height increases. So head loss is just a measure of this resistance. However, it's not only height, it's also the resistance to flow by pipe size, bends in the piping, valves and nozzles. All that add up (as you already realize) to needing a bigger pump that just the maximum flow advertised (which is usually based on 0 head loss).
If no one has ever told you before, people like me really appreciate the advice and mentoring that people like YOU provide. I hope to one day be a good mentor too, but now I am the mentee. Thanks for explaining.
 
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I have a 150-gallon that runs off a cheap Jaebo 8000 from Amazon for the return pump (also powering the skimmer), and a second Jaebo 5000 dedicated to a Pentair 40W UV sterilizer. My overflow grate is 24", and I have more than enough flow with the Jaebo 8000 to handle messy-eaters like a large Clown Trigger and large Emperor Angel. ;)
 

Quietman

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To make this LOTS easier - don't worry about all the pump theory but it's good to know IMO. Just listen to someone who's running a system close to what you want to run and see what they (@Uncle99 , @JumboShrimp ) recommend. :)

If want a different brand of pump or cheaper or whatever then just compare their pump to the one you want and adjust up or down in model.
 
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To make this LOTS easier - don't worry about all the pump theory but it's good to know IMO. Just listen to someone who's running a system close to what you want to run and see what they (@Uncle99 , @JumboShrimp ) recommend. :)

If want a different brand of pump or cheaper or whatever then just compare their pump to the one you want and adjust up or down in model.
^ This

My general rule of thumb for all of my tanks is double the size I think I'd need just for the tank. Gives a ton of overhead for running reactors and whatnot. And even if I'm not running the UV or reactors, I'd rather run my pump at 50% or whatever instead of wide open. Helps the pump last longer as well.
 

Uncle99

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I have a 150-gallon that runs off a cheap Jaebo 8000 from Amazon for the return pump (also powering the skimmer), and a second Jaebo 5000 dedicated to a Pentair 40W UV sterilizer. My overflow grate is 24", and I have more than enough flow with the Jaebo 8000 to handle messy-eaters like a large Clown Trigger and large Emperor Angel. ;)
Cheap Jebao!
From Amazon!
YAH!
I use everything Jebao!
I built my entire tank from Amazon.
The only pump that ever failed me was the name brand in a real nice box.
 

jgirardnrg

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Cheap Jebao!
From Amazon!
YAH!
I use everything Jebao!
I built my entire tank from Amazon.
The only pump that ever failed me was the name brand in a real nice box.
Or a coral box pump from Reef Breeders if you want the same pump with a longer warranty
 

Dom

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Throughout this entire thread, I've only read one mention of head hight.

Pump selection will depend on the total distance your water travels and the height of your stand.

When you select a pump, look at the specs. a pump rated at 1500gph may only have a rating of 1200gph when the pump has to push water vertically back into the tank.
 

jgirardnrg

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Throughout this entire thread, I've only read one mention of head hight.

Pump selection will depend on the total distance your water travels and the height of your stand.

When you select a pump, look at the specs. a pump rated at 1500gph may only have a rating of 1200gph when the pump has to push water vertically back into the tank.
Indeed.. @Quietman delved into that and included example charts. No sense in rehashing what he already pointed out.

You are 100% correct though... head height DOES matter. In most cases with the sump in the stand it is a minor loss. However, once you start connecting reactors or a UV the losses start adding up quickly. Like 150gph through a UV plus the assumed head loss from the extra piping, fittings, etc... then you add a reactor or two. Then, before you know it, you're buying an even larger pump.
 
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