Sump and Return Pump GPH?

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Brooke24

Brooke24

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I am in the process of starting a 90-gallon reef tank as well (currently un-drilled but planning to drill). I am new to the marine hobby, but I am an engineer, so I have been planning my own plumbing.

One recommendation that seems common for returns from sumps is to buy a pump with higher capacity than you think you need to make sure you have enough to overcome head height and flow loss through plumbing. Usually, a pump will show a rating based on a head height of zero, which means your selected pump would pump 750 gph if you were just flowing the water right back into the sump. As you raise the height of the outlet above the pump, flow is reduced since it takes more power to lift the water.
I cannot find a flow chart for the Hydor pumps that shows the flow at specific head heights, but it will be lower than the listed gph by the time you lift the water 3-6 feet from the sump up to the display. I would guess the Hydor 750 would actually pump about 300-400 gph if the top of the display tank is about 4 feet above the pump in the sump (purely a guess based on my research).

One reason to buy a bigger pump is that you can reduce the flow up to the display tank until it is the desired flow rate. This can be done either with a control on output (which it looks like the Hydor pumps have) or with a split off the return line that dumps part of the flow back into the sump instead of up to the display and utilizes a gate valve to allow for adjustments in how much is bled off back into the sump. If you can run a pump at lower pressures than it is capable of producing, it will probably lengthen the life of the pump.

Another thing to consider is that it may be helpful to utilize more than one return pump in case one fails. This requires more understanding of plumbing, though, since each pump still needs to be checked for flow rate at head height since they cannot simply add to each other. I am planning to run two return pumps with independent return lines up into my display.

When considering overflows, over-the-top overflows seem like a simple solution to an un-drilled tank. The downside is that they require a siphon to continue. If the siphon is lost (either by the display tank running too low for the overflow until the return catches up or by loss of power on the return pump), you have to re-establish the siphon or the pump may burn itself up running dry or overflow the display. This is why drilling the glass is the better option for overflow control, since it is not dependent on a complete siphon. I plan to drill my tank, but there is a risk of breaking the glass on the tank while drilling. You would need a drill and a glass hole-cutting bit of the right size for your bulkheads as well as an appropriate overflow. Bulk Reef Supply stocks overflows that come with the appropriate glass hole-cutting bit. You need to make sure the overflow can handle the same flow as (or better if much more than) the return system to not restrict the flow and overflow the display tank. There are many videos of how to drill glass. Look it up if interested.

I can explain more about any of this if you have questions, but this may already be an overwhelming text wall, so I will leave it for now.
Yes, the plumbing is 100% the most confusing thing for me. I know everything there is to know about the tank, fish, sump, and all that but the return pump plumbing is so confusing. What about a 1000 GPH hydor?
 

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welcome to R2R!
As you get ready to set up your aquarium, slow down. you have some of the big pieces. study your options and game out the different designs that you hear about. when you hear about flow there are different ways to support your animals. all of your flow does not need to come from your return pump. all of the data you need is not found in one place.
I visualized what i wanted, then figured out what i needed to make that happen, i changed my mind a cople of times before i finally found where i put the tanks. i changed from a DIY hang over design to a drilled Eshopps overflow. i was able to put my sump in my basement instead of in the stand.
Enjoy the strategy phase it creates a more personal result.
 

dbowman5

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Yes, the plumbing is 100% the most confusing thing for me. I know everything there is to know about the tank, fish, sump, and all that but the return pump plumbing is so confusing. What about a 1000 GPH hydor?
are you looking at a single speed pump or a variable? i have the Hydor Seltz 2400 and i am very happy with it.
 
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welcome to R2R!
As you get ready to set up your aquarium, slow down. you have some of the big pieces. study your options and game out the different designs that you hear about. when you hear about flow there are different ways to support your animals. all of your flow does not need to come from your return pump. all of the data you need is not found in one place.
I visualized what i wanted, then figured out what i needed to make that happen, i changed my mind a cople of times before i finally found where i put the tanks. i changed from a DIY hang over design to a drilled Eshopps overflow. i was able to put my sump in my basement instead of in the stand.
Enjoy the strategy phase it creates a more personal result.
Oh, I have a strategy in mind, it’s just overwhelming with the prices. I expected it to be a lot, but I’m 16, and work at a pet store.(I guess that’s good because I get 20% off everything haha.) I want my flow to come from a return pump, and my tank to be drilled. I just don’t know how much that costs. I will soon upgrade the return pump, but as for now I think I like the sound of the 1000 GPH hydor. My dad knows a lot about plumbing stuff, so he will be a factor in that too.
 

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Yes, the plumbing is 100% the most confusing thing for me. I know everything there is to know about the tank, fish, sump, and all that but the return pump plumbing is so confusing. What about a 1000 GPH hydor?
If you can afford it, I would probably get the 1000 gph Hydor, since you can control it down if it is too much flow. I still do not know what flow is recommended, since some will say 10x water volume per hour or greater while others say 2-4x water volume per hour. I recommend watching this video from Bulk Reef Supply about return pumps.
 
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If you can afford it, I would probably get the 1000 gph Hydor, since you can control it down if it is too much flow. I still do not know what flow is recommended, since some will say 10x water volume per hour or greater while others say 2-4x water volume per hour. I recommend watching this video from Bulk Reef Supply about return pumps.
Yes, I’m for sure doing the 1000 Hydor!!
 
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yes, the Hydor DC 1000, i have seen the chart on the side of the box posted at BRS. I just can't read it. i bet they could supply it to you.
when a pump pushes fluid vertically that is head pressure. each type/size of pump has a rating for how much flow is diminished for every foot that the fluid is lifted. so 1000 gph is how much water will be pumped through the pump output. when you lift the water about 4 feet which is the average height of the top of the display tank the flow will drop some gph. additionally any change of direction will slow the flow a 90 fitting will add a virtual foot of head.
 
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yes, the Hydor DC 1000, i have seen the chart on the side of the box posted at BRS. I just can't read it. i bet they could supply it to you.
when a pump pushes fluid vertically that is head pressure. each type/size of pump has a rating for how much flow is diminished for every foot that the fluid is lifted. so 1000 gph is how much water will be pumped through the pump output. when you lift the water about 4 feet which is the average height of the top of the display tank the flow will drop some gph. additionally any change of direction will slow the flow a 90 fitting will add a virtual foot of head.
So should the 1000 seltz be fine for my 90 gallon? I uploaded some pics for everyone to help me a little more lol
 
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nice tank!
Thank you!:) I’m so excited, it will just take a while for me to get all the money:) I wanna be a vet, I love animals so much, I wanna make sure it’s PERFECT. I have a beauuutiful green cheek Conure, a crested gecko, and a ball python I take care of already so I want enough money for them all. Especially working at a pet store helps, since I’m only 16
 

dbowman5

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So should the 1000 seltz be fine for my 90 gallon? I uploaded some pics for everyone to help me a little more lol
as i mentioned i could not read their chart. Dc pumps are adjustable and have good performance as long as you don't have to lift very high. this is something that you will want to research.
 
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nice tank!
Thank you!:) I’m so excited, it will just take a while for me to get all the money:) I wanna be a vet, I love animals so much, I wanna make sure it’s PERFECT. I have a beauuutiful green cheek Conure, a crested gecko, and a ball python I take care of already so I want enough money for them all. Especially working at a pet store helps, since I’m only
as i mentioned i could not read their chart. Dc pumps are adjustable and have good performance as long as you don't have to lift very high. this is something that you will want to research.
i researched it, I just don’t understand. Do I have to measure how long it will be from the bottom of my sump to the overflow or whatever? I will just order the pump today, since BRS has it 10% off for today only lol. If it doesn’t work out I will return it or buy a new one.
 

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Thank you!:) I’m so excited, it will just take a while for me to get all the money:) I wanna be a vet, I love animals so much, I wanna make sure it’s PERFECT. I have a beauuutiful green cheek Conure, a crested gecko, and a ball python I take care of already so I want enough money for them all. Especially working at a pet store helps, since I’m only

i researched it, I just don’t understand. Do I have to measure how long it will be from the bottom of my sump to the overflow or whatever? I will just order the pump today, since BRS has it 10% off for today only lol. If it doesn’t work out I will return it or buy a new one.
easiest way is to measure from the bottom of the sump to the top of the display. if there has to be changes of direction like to go over the top and back down into the tank, add a foot for every 90 degree turn. that will be your total head. look at my build thread for an example or read the articles in the forum
 
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easiest way is to measure from the bottom of the sump to the top of the display. if there has to be changes of direction like to go over the top and back down into the tank, add a foot for every 90 degree turn. that will be your total head. look at my build thread for an example or read the articles in the forum
Ok thank you so much:)
 
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