Red Sea Reefer water return mod

Ecotech Marine

Angrywalnut

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At the top of the water return pipe there is a pinky sized pipe that forms an elbow and connects the eyeball return to the pipe. The water return pipe is 28mm O/D. The elbow is approx. 10mm O/D.
WHY? I heard the XXL tanks are larger but didn't confirm, and I don't believe the return pipe would fit the smaller tanks from the bit of info I could find.

I modified it by removing eyeball assembly with the elbow. That leaves a metric male thread exposed.
A 3/4 FPT 3/4 slip elbow fits on thread loosely. A bunch of wraps with Teflon tape and the elbow screwed on securely lining up with the EYEBALL hole.
A close 2 inch piece of 3/4 pipe, and a gray 3/4 45degee fitting and I had a new return.
You can even drill the inside corner of the elbow for a siphon break that wont make noise
due to the water level in the overflow.

Disassemble the eyeball where it passes thru the trim plate. The standard 3/4 pipe fits a loosely into the trim plate and can be reinstalled so you don't have a big hole at overflow.
I angled the 45 toward the surface.(I guess a Y could be fitted as well) The water coming out is very gentle even at 530gph according to Apex.

Not here to debate sump flow rates, just save a bit of power for cheap.
I realize I need roughly 3 to 5x flow thru sump, which I can achieve at min 3x flow 35 watts(278) . 5x flow 75watts to get to 450GPH I use a Jebao 12000 pump with 1-1/4 to a 1-1/4 T to reactor, down to 1 inch at flow meter. 1 inch slip to 3/4 MPT wrapped in Teflon to stock return pipe.

After all that crap(if your still reading) the net gain was 123GPH at 50 watts power. That's with the reactor also at 30-40gph.
Before 35watts =278 after mod 410
Before 50 watts = 410 after mod 530

I couldn't find much info on this mod so I figured I would post. But I have seen posts where Vectra and other pumps struggled with noise from back pressure. Save some juice, noise and heat.

Your results may vary! try at your own risk!

Enjoy!
 
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TilmanBaumann

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I bought a XXL plumbing set to test that. No it's all the same.
Crazy.

I found one extreme mod. If you take 32mm step drill and a reamer or sandpaper, you can widen the bulkheads with their non standard large thread and stick a 32mm pipe through it. Plenty wide for most tanks.
I haven't switched my tank to saltwater and Triton, so I don't depend on high flow yet.
But soon enough I will probably do that mod.
There is probably a way to do that in inch pipe.
Once I'm back from holidays I can post pictures.

Alternatively, you use the overflow box in a proper more 21st century bean animal configuration with three drains and run the return(s) over the tank edge.
 
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Angrywalnut

Angrywalnut

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I would be very afraid to touch where bulk heads pass thru.
Thanks for confirming the XXL pipes are the same.

Alternatively, you use the overflow box in a proper more 21st century bean animal configuration with three drains and run the return(s) over the tank edge.

This is a decent idea, but to do it and maintain the clean look would be difficult without a canopy.

Here's the pics. The silicone extension on the emergency drain pipe seems to help with the adjustment sensitivity and voltage GPH fluctuations that cause
drain pipe noise. Its at least longer between adjustments.

0714181312_HDR.jpg


0714181310_HDR.jpg
 
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TilmanBaumann

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Photos of the max diameter I got out of those pipes. Probably what I will use when I switch to Triton. (Or ditch the tank)

IMG_20180730_090304.jpeg
IMG_20180730_090306.jpeg

Drilled and reamed to 32mm. Stepdrill works well for that.

IMG_20180730_090320.jpeg

This is a 32mm pipe.

Drastic mod. But maybe worth it. I'm still looking for suitable fittings I can use at the bottom. Your classical union would not fit through the hole in the tank making removal impossible without a saw.
Perhaps I can find some method to tap a thread on the pipe. Or some compression slip fitting.
 

TilmanBaumann

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My silencer.

25mm bends shortened to make them more compact.
Simple air hole would do to prevent Syphon.
But I added a short piece of flexible pipe bent down that blocks the air when the water level rises above a certain level forcing a syphon. That makes it louder when it overflows too much and increases capacity a little. It's a fine balance though. (Not yet installed when the pictures where taken)

I cut about a cm off the standpipe because the water level got increased by a bit by this bend. But that is optional.

The main point of this is to allow a higher level of flow through the overflow before it becomes loud.
IMG_20180409_234235.jpeg

IMG_20180409_234137.jpeg
 
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Angrywalnut

Angrywalnut

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I haven't tried Tilman mods. But I did remove the big skimming pipe over the main drain tube, it kept slurping at 450gph+. Doesn't with it removed.
Very happy with increased return size.
 

TilmanBaumann

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Ah, I got rid of that too. But mostly because it kept sucking critters into my membrane regulator and blocking it.
I slipped a traditional filter a screen on it.

I'm still happy with my mods. But I don't leave the Syphon overflow on while on holidays. Too risky with no 3rd failsafe, and nobody cares if it gets loud, nobody home.

I'm very happy.
 
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Jay1982

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Hey, @Angrywalnut, thanks for this. I have a 170 and want to do something similar since my Vectra is generating a lot of noise from backpressure. I just had a few things to ask:

By eyeball, are you referring to the the nozzle piece?
What is a FPT? Not familiar with plumbing terms.
If I am reading correctly, you used teflon tape in order to make up for the looseness of the 3/4 pipe - are you not worried about that coming loose eventually?
Judging from the pictures, you ditched the nozzle completely and are using a pvs pipe? Or is that lighting making it look like a different pipe? If so, did you have to do any cutting to get the pipe to fit past the plastic surface skimmer?

Would you be able to share a few more pictures of the setup?
 
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Angrywalnut

Angrywalnut

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1008181407.jpg
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By eyeball, are you referring to the the nozzle piece?
Yes the part that rotates around. See pic.
What is a FPT? Not familiar with plumbing terms.
Female pipe thread. Post should have read 3/4 FPT x 3/4 slip elbow.
If I am reading correctly, you used teflon tape in order to make up for the looseness of the 3/4 pipe - are you not worried about that coming loose eventually?
I was worried at first. It had a bit of play but it screwed all the way down and bottomed out. It didn't pop off when made fairly tight. I wrapped it a few more times and its solid. Not worried now.
Judging from the pictures, you ditched the nozzle completely and are using a pvs pipe
PVC pipe yes. 3/4 approx. 2 inches long passes thru the trim plate. Gray 45 degree elbow for nozzle. No modifying or cutting of factory hole. Completely reversible mod.

I attached a couple more photos.
The pass thru showing the hole that remains after the pipe is put thru. (45 nozzle elbow is cut on backside ignore that)
The nozzle assembly removed.

I find it to be one of the best things I've done to the tank so far.
Klir filter might be next.
 

Jay1982

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Nice! Yeah, I'm topping out at 440 GPH with my Vectra m1 on full blast. As a result the pump is extremely loud. I think I'll do this - so what I need to get is a 3/4 FPT (non-threaded?) and 3/4 elbow. The elbow obviously replaces the small elbow in place and the FPT goes over the pipe? Do I get a 3/4 pipe to go from the elbow to the aquarium?
 
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Angrywalnut

Angrywalnut

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1- 3/4 Female pipe thread(ed) x 3/4 slip 90 degree elbow.
1- Small Piece of 3/4 pipe. You will need approx. 2 inches. You want 45 degree elbow to but up against plastic when installed.
1- 3/4, 45 degree elbow for outlet.
Teflon tape.

Take off stock elbow/eyeball and disassemble. Put aside weir pass thru trim.

Wrap pipe threads in overflow with Teflon tape(curse if required) 7-10? wraps.

Optional: Drill small hole on inside bend of 3/4FPT x 3/4 slip elbow to act as a siphon break if you have the outlet too far under surface of water.
The elbow I used was from another tank and had the hole in it already. When the water gets low in overflow it will make some noise. At normal water level it does not.

Fit elbow, if wiggles to much for your liking add more Teflon tape. Screw down elbow till it stops or lines up with hole in trim(for eyeball) do not go crazy and overtighten just snug.

Install trim. Measure and cut length of 3/4 pipe so 45 degree outlet elbow just touches trim plate when installed.

Install 45 degree elbow and angle approx. 45 degrees from horizontal toward bottom. You want the elbow slightly under the surface 1/4 inch. adjust to your liking.
The new flow volume will suck air from the surface if too close, and spit when pump comes back on.

Push the parts together snugly while bracing the 90 degree elbow. The stock return pipe will flex backward when trying to fit the pipe and 45.
I didn't use any glue on the parts so I can remove or change if desired. If you push them together too hard you will need pliers to get them apart or to adjust nozzle.

I always brace the elbow when I move the nozzle. (don't want to antagonize it into coming off) I have pulled hard on elbow and wiggled while pulling I cant get it to POP off.
I guess if your nervous about it you could temporarily weight down the overflow cover with a brick until you trust it. I thought about this but never did do it.

I have had my pump maxed out at 80 watts and get 690gph from it. Ran it maxed out for testing. I normally run 40 watts and get 4.8x turnover.

Let me know how it works for you.
 
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saltybadger

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This is great, my Vectra was humming like stupid when hooked up to my reefer 350.

I took your idea and expanded on it a little to keep the original output fittings - it's really made a big difference to the humming on my Vectra. not perfect but I can't hear it with the cabinet doors closed anymore!

You'll need...
2x 3/4 FPT 3/4 slip fitting
1x 3/4 elbow
The large threaded cap that holds down the stock elbow to the return
Teflon tape
A hacksaw/pipe cutter - your choice

I needed to trim down all 3 pieces to line up with the stock outlet, I'd say around 5-10mm on each one (it was trial and error).

59285700_2264871070430951_4951231675989229568_n-2.jpg


before you put one of the FPT fittings on, slide the stock threaded cap on so that it sits behind the ridges (this is how it'll compress to the o ring on the return
59485981_403295950509851_2048522829791494144_n.jpg

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And the final result...

59556931_808401796198384_8812173031871873024_n.jpg
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I'll post up some videos of the before and after so you can hear the sound difference.

Thanks for the inspiration @Angrywalnut!
 

brandon0921

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Looks like Red Sea recognized the issues and updated the nozzle assembly. Here’s the new one which comes with the Reefer 350 v3a next to the same elbow off the v3. There is also an updated emergency which had a larger diameter pipe.
Hope someone finds this helpful. I was able to cut my return pump way back after installing this and my Vectra stopped humming.
Just an fyi for any one interested, you need the entire stand pipe to fit this elbow.
AEE1BF5A-97DE-4998-8077-85BD39517467.jpeg B4B3A3DF-071C-485A-BD4E-58539526EF87.jpeg
 
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