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- Jan 24, 2020
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Hey Broadfield,Well, I turned my 450 back to a reef... I couldn't take it any longer lol. If any of you ever hear me mumble that I am going to shut my reef down and turn it into a freshwater planted setup.... SLAP me! Not that I didn't enjoy the planted setup and what I created, but it's no reef... not by a long shot.
I am going a different route this time, because why not. In an effort to maximize flow through the Red Sea return stand pipe, I ditched the bottleneck elbow at the top of it and came up with a 100% legit modification. I will also be doing a straight shot from the return pump... just a high quality Georg Fischer check valve and a Neptune 1" flow sensor. No manifolds/reactors or any of that jazz attached to the return pump. A custom Bashsea sump with a 6-24 twisted skimmer in the sump. I moved all of my Apex gear to the basement below the tank. So that frees up the entire right side of the cabinet for externally plumbed Bashsea reactors etc. I am using a COR-20 for the return and a COR-15 for the skimmer. I had them, so I might as well use them. Then I'll run a Sicce pump for each reactor and so on.
Here is what I did for the return pipe. If this mod has been done already, I apologize. I have not kept track of this thread for the last year or so. I skimmed over the last year real quick and I didn't see anything like what I have done. If anyone wants to attempt this, I have all of the measurements for the length of the two new PVC sections; one to connect the elbow to the union and one to connect the elbow to the bulkhead. Also how much to cut off one side of the elbow and the backside of the bulkhead. Lastly, the part #'s for the bulkhead, elbow, union and Loc-Line adapter.... as those need to be exact parts in order to work with my measurements etc. Most importantly, always remember to seat your PVC all of the way into the socket when gluing and hold it there, with a lot of pressure for, for a good 20 seconds or so... longer when gluing to the ABS bulkhead.
DISCLAIMER: I do not know which tanks this will be an exact fit for. I have a 450... so I assume also the 425, 525, 350 and maybe the 250. Don't quote me on any of this though. Maybe more, maybe less!?!
- 3/4" PVC Elbow: LASCO 806-007
- 25mm x 3/4" Union: LASCO 8697-025
- 3/4" Bulkhead - THREAD X SLIP: Bulk Reef Supply 202947
- NPT Connector for 3/4” Modular Hose - Loc-Line: Bulk Reef Supply 202807 You can then attach whatever Y fitting, segments, nozzles etc. I am currently using a 3/4" to 1/2" Y... as that's what I had on hand. But I will be switching it out for a 3/4 Y and 3/4" segments/nozzles for unrestricted flow. My flow sensor will tell me if it makes any difference.
As seen in this first image, there's a huge bottleneck on the Red Sea elbow compared to a 3/4" PVC elbow.
IMG_1421 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
I went with a 3/4" bulkhead that is THREAD x SLIP. That way you can thread in a 3/4" Loc-Line adapter:
IMG_1413 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
The first thing is to hog out the Red Sea saddle that locks into the top of the weir. There is a lip around the front edge that needs to be removed. I used a 1" sanding drum attached to a die grinder. Just keep sanding a way until the bulkhead slips through the front.
IMG_1411 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
IMG_1412 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
You will also want to grind down the backside to remove the threads... this is so the bulkhead retaining nut threads on far enough to clear for the 3/4" PVC elbow.
IMG_1415 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
Next up is cutting a 1/2" off of the back of the bulkhead and a 1/2" off one end of the PVC elbow. Then simply gluing a small section of 3/4" PVC to the bulkhead to attach the elbow. You want the elbow and bulkhead to touch when glued. This should be a 7/8" long piece of 3/4" PVC... but you can double check the depth of the bulkhead and elbow, then add them together. But it should be really close to that or everything isn't going to line up in the overflow. NOTE: remember to thread the bulkhead nut on before you glue the elbow on:
IMG_1416 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
IMG_1417 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
IMG_1420 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
I sourced a true union that is 3/4" x 25mm. Glue the union to the elbow assembly with a 2.5" length of 3/4" PVC pipe.
IMG_1424 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
You will cut the Red Sea return stand pipe down to 15-7/8", measuring from the base of the pipe:
IMG_1418 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
IMG_1419 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
Finally, glue the 25mm side of the union to the fresh cut standpipe. NOTE: Don't forget to slide the union nut onto the standpipe first!
Then behold your new, high-flow return pipe!
IMG_1425 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
IMG_1427 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
IMG_1428 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
IMG_1431 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
Lastly, I used that same 1" drum sander to make room for the larger elbow that now sits under the overflow cover:
IMG_1434 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
IMG_1433 by Toby Broadfield, on Flickr
Was wondering what kind of increase in flow you achieved from the mod. I've wondered about the bottleneck effect from the factory RS equipment. I have a 525 and I choose to do the same and dedicate my cor-20 to the return only and want to maximize the flow.