Sump & Refugium Advice

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by choss, Nov 17, 2018.

  1. choss

    choss Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I would love advice on a design I am considering for a new build. In my current build I have a smaller sump (ruby cube 20" Trigger sump) and run the refugium in the section next to the skimmer along with some live rock for good measure. What I don't like about this setup is 1). its tight and hard to get at equipment - for example I have the heaters sitting below an egg crate platform that holds the live rock, 2). the light spill allows algae to grow in unwanted places - skimmer, probes etc.

    For my new build I have room for a much bigger sump (going 36" long this time) and I have a cabinet directly next to the main display cabinet that can hold a 20" cube.

    My plan is this - I want to run the refugium in the cube cabinet in parallel to the main sump. The distance between the two would be roughly 10" or so, and they would be at the same level (about 2" off the floor).

    I realize that connecting two sumps this way is introducing points of failure but I have plumbed multiple tanks into a single sump in the past and it has been fine.

    My plan is to run a 1" return line between the two tanks (at around 1" off the bottom of both sump and fuge) , with a second 1" emergency drain going from the top of the fuge over to the sump. I would feed the fuge off a manifold using 3/4" connection for moderate flow. There will be a baffle in the fuge to eliminate bubbles and keep algae in the fuge (egg crate to ensure adequate protection against algae)

    Here are the main questions I have:
    1). do I need 1" wide tubing between the systems or would 3/4" be enough?Any advice on best bulkheads to use to avoid leaking (BRS?).
    2). where in the sump should I return the water too? I'm concerned about going back in too near the pump as I don't ant to draw water too aggressively from the fuge.
    3). Hard or soft tubing for the lines between the tanks? I plan on also using union ball valves so I can disconnect the systems easily in the future.
    4). does the main line from the fuge back to the sump need to be exactly at the same level? Are there any considerations I need to make that will ensure success and avoid some plumbing failure I am not considering.

    I'd love feedback and if anyone has some similar systems running, I'd love to see your designs or photos.

    As always thanks n advance for your input.
     
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  2. Fin

    Fin Tank Status: Still Dry R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Louisiana Reef Club Hospitality Award

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    Hey Choss,

    I think that if I were doing this, I would like the remote refugium slightly elevated above the sump. I think a 1" drain would be ok with a backup drain, but I would maybe look at possibly using a 1¼" drain back to the sump, if it were feasible. I would use hard PVC, if I could, but nothing wrong with SpaFlex. I would drain back to the return section of the sump.

    I had a similar sump to what you are describing with a remote refugium, made by LifeReef. It had a 1" drain and it worked out ok. This is the way it was set up.

    LifeReef Sump.JPG

    LifeReef Sump2.JPG

    Good luck with the project. Should be fun! :)
     
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  3. Subsea

    Subsea Valuable Member R2R Supporter

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    Don’t go down from 1” pipe. You will have 10” of head pressure pushing through 3/4” pipe. What level difference will be tolerated between refugium & sump? Reducing equalizing lines between refugium & sump will increase level between the two. In time, this line will decrease in size due to bio growth.

    If you are using union ball valves or a compression coupling, hard piping works well.

    Depending on micro inverts in your refugium, I would not run sock filters as detritus is a source of food for detrivores which will cycle larvae to feed filter feeders in the tank. With that thought, I would not allow refugium output to be processed by protein skimmer as it would strip bacteria and larvae from feeding the display. If you have the room, I would put two independent pumps to return flow to tank.
     
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  4. choss

    choss Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Yeah I agree about 1" - better safe than sorry. Fin thanks for sharing the picture of your life reef sump/fuge. The design that they use these days is basically what I was thinking of in my build. I plan to drill a Mr Aqua 18" cube for the fuge section. Here is what I was thinking. BAsed on the existing cabinetry, I would be able to raise the fuge only 2-3 inches max if I decided I needed height for a different design. So summary: sump is 16" tall, Fuge is 18" with 2-3 to go up if needed.

    [​IMG]

    I have never connected tanks below water level so that is first area I'm new to. I do want this system to be super quiet and super safe. The main tank used a bean animal overflow so super safe/redundant.
     
  5. choss

    choss Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    sorry double post
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
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  6. choss

    choss Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I realize the copy is a bit small. Green is skimmer, yellow is rock/heater section, blue is return pump with pipe back to fuge (will have unions/valves etc.), and the pipes from fuge (brown outline) to sump (orange outline) are the two black boxed in sections in the drawing.
     
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  7. choss

    choss Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    anyone else wan to weigh in?
     
  8. Gregg @ ADP

    Gregg @ ADP Well-Known Member

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    As long as you can ensure...and I mean absolutely ensure...that the line going from refugium to sump cannot be blocked in any way, your original design will be fine.

    You could also just drain into the refugium and set it up as a flow-through and eliminate the step of pumping into the refugium.

    Another note: I always go bigger when connecting sumps. If I can put a 1” bulkhead in, then I can put a 2” bulkhead in. It’s all about making life as easy as possible.
     
  9. Gregg @ ADP

    Gregg @ ADP Well-Known Member

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    Also, it’s really easy to connect two sumps with one bulkhead and eliminating the connecting pvc line.

    Have your two holes aligned and cut. Place the bulkhead with the gasket under the flange through one hole. Put another gasket over the bulkhead on the opposite side (so, gasket sandwiched between the two sumps), put the bulkhead through the hole for the other sump, push them together and then put the bulkhead nut onto the bulkhead in the 2nd sump and tighten.

    Viola! No need for 2 bulkheads or pvc connecting the sumps.
     
  10. choss

    choss Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Unfortunately I will need to bridge about 10-12" between fuge and sump so my thinking is two bulkheads, two union ball valves, and then a short stretch of flex tubing. I think I can assume the 1" line won't get blocked and I plan a second 1" line at the top of the fuge as a safety in case something dos go wrong. The other question I have is whether I need the two connecting holes to be parallel or could I for example have the line leaving the fuge be at say 5" and the line entering the sump at 4"?
     
  11. Gregg @ ADP

    Gregg @ ADP Well-Known Member

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    You are going to have a very difficult time having offset bulkheads if you use rigid PVC. And there’s no benefit to doing so.
     
  12. choss

    choss Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I'm using a combo of rigid and flex
     
  13. Gregg @ ADP

    Gregg @ ADP Well-Known Member

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    Still no benefit. Only do it if you have to, and if you do have to, just use flex the whole way.

    You’ll be surprised at how little flex a 10” piece of flex pvc has.
     
  14. Fin

    Fin Tank Status: Still Dry R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Louisiana Reef Club Hospitality Award

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    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  15. choss

    choss Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Fin I like the flex option but need to attach a union ball valve so I can occasionally disconnect the fuge . That is why I was saying I'duse some hard plumbing connected with some flex.
     
  16. choss

    choss Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    @Fin I decided to try a design similar to this life reef sump design. I'm going to run a 1" pipe as here - upturned elbow, some grooves cut into the pipe and then over the top return into sump. I will have a second emergency drain as well 1". A few questions for you:

    1. Why return to the return chamber ?
    2. How far below water level in the sump did the return line from the fudge go down? Does it matter?
    3. How noisy is this system?
    4. Is the T in the return line (with air opening) necessary or can I use a 90degree elbow and drill an air hole in the top of the elbow?
     
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  17. theMeat

    theMeat Valuable Member

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    Personally would not drill the bottom hole to connect tanks. The top pipe is fine. If you do decide to drill and connect use 2” with spa flex.
    Instead of bottom pipe to connect the fuge use a pump. So you know and can control the amount of flow. Also safer.
     
  18. Fin

    Fin Tank Status: Still Dry R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Louisiana Reef Club Hospitality Award

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    This is simply the way that Jeff at LifeReef built the system. The drain from the refugium ran to the return section, but could just have easily drained on top of the sponge filter to catch any chaeto pieces that made its way out of the fuge. It came with the T installed, I assume to allow air to escape and not gurgle as it drained back to the sump. I suppose a 90° with a hole drilled in the top may do as well. None of the drain was cemented together, so you could play with it some more to get it where you like it. The pipe was a couple of inches below the waterline. You can see where the waterline was by the Hi & Low decals on the sump. It ran quietly, but I believe the pump to the refugium was just a Maxi-Jet 1200, if I remember correctly. Not a whole lot of flow through it. I did run across that slotted pipe this morning while I was sorting out some PVC fittings. I can post better pics of it, if you want me to.
     
  19. Fin

    Fin Tank Status: Still Dry R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Louisiana Reef Club Hospitality Award

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    Well, I figured I would take pics, before I store this thing again. Note also that Jeff uses the thin walled PVC pipe, because it has a wider inside diameter. Same pipe was used in my old LifeReef skimmer.

    SlotPipe1.jpg

    SlotPipe2.jpg

    SlotPipe3.jpg

    SlotPipe4.jpg

    SlotPipe5.jpg
     
  20. choss

    choss Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    sound advice
     
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