View Full Version : Help With Tank Design Please

11-10-2003, 11:10 PM
Please review the attached drawing and comment. I need input on the following:

1. Overall setup and flow rate of filtration system
2. Opinion on manuf. of equipment listed in drawing
3. ALL suggestions and hints

Thanks in advace for your help!

11-11-2003, 01:34 PM
First let me say, awsome setup image!
As for the products you are using: I have read great things about the Ocean Clear filter, and know one person who also uses a Blue Line pump in their setup and says it works well. That is as far as my input can go. I don't know anything about the brand of Wet/Drys you are intending to use, but can tell you that it is an excellent means of filtration in any tank, especially on of that size. It is great to see how much thought you are putting into this before you get the fish! Best of luck with it!

Hopefully some of our current and former salt water keepers will chime in since they are infinitely more qualified that I to judge such a system.

11-11-2003, 11:28 PM
Thanks Merlyn.... I hoped that the drawing would make sense to everyone.

11-14-2003, 11:52 AM
Let me say you are wise to be so prepared. That is the key to really enjoying this hobby! Have you purchased everything yet? I have some experience with such systems, and I could make some suggestions.

Firstly, is that an overflow box hanging on the tank (the tank doesn't looked to be drilled)? If at all possible, you need to drill the tank. There are many reasons for this, but they all are for fail safe purposes. No matter what someone tells you, overflow boxes can go wrong (and always eventually do)..... Result: burned out pump and/or water everywhere.

Let me know about that arrangement, and I can further help you with modifying the overflows.

I am not familiar with the pump you are showing, but if it is only 1100 at 0' of head it will likely be undersized for the system..... especially when utilized in a pressure situation (i.e. forcing water through the Ocean Clear). You need to account for the six feet of head you show (vertical head) and also any friction loss due to elbows, etc. (at least one additional foot of head per 90 degree bend.... at least). I imagine you will ahve at least 8 or 9 feet of head to contend with. Then it is wise to oversize just a bit more due to expected (but difficult to calculate) factors which will further limit flow (e.g. the micron filter will allow maximum flow only when sparklingly clean; you will see flow reduction accelerate each day until cleaning).

All that said, I generally shoot for a 10x total tank volume flow rating (AFTER head has been figured)..... at least. Ten times is not even close to too much flow (I generally stretch for 20x in big tanks), and yur system will be much more efficient as particulate waste will stay in suspension longer (better chance to be sucked into the filter).

Also (and, again, I don't know if you've purchased everything yet), it is not wise to take a chance on pumps just to save a little money. Iwaki is the way to go IMO. You'll have it for 15 years at least. Go for the Japanese motors though. There are a few others that are less expensive that you could choose that may work. Dolphin is one. Again, make certain the pump is pressure rated to be appropriate for running the Ocean Clear (e.g. Iwaki makes a circulation only model and a pressure rated model).

I am assuming you are buying at least two cartridges for the Ocean Clear as you'll need to have one in use while the other is being cleaned (usually bleached).

It is wise to plumb your system in such a way as to allow easy disconnection for maintenance, modification, etc. That usually means you need to install unions before and after each component or major connection. I am constantly finding ways to improve my system, and unions allow that to be quick and easy. Also, go for threaded connections if possible. Cover the threads with aquarium safe silicone during construction. That will improve the connection yet still allow them to be broken down if need be.

Your water return should tee off (perhaps into a manifold type apparatus) so that you can return water into several areas of the tank.... not just one area. Good to use ball valves there tio control the flow from each outlet.

A good general rule in plumbing is to use as few 90 degree bends as possible. Flexible tubing may even be better. At least try 45's first. They'll slow down the flow less than a 90.

Oh, yeah...... (there's so much to think about, but don't worry!).... the pump can only send back what is brought in from the overflow. Most setups (all you buy in stores) cannot drain enough water for the pump to stay at full power unless a siphon is started (and that can be very, VERY noisy)........ So, tell me more about the tank (purchased yet?) and the overflow setup..........

11-14-2003, 02:07 PM

Thanks for the input. First, this tank is for a family memeber, I'm just trying to help him get set up. I must say its just as fun as setting my own tank up! The only items that have been purchased are the tank and stand. Everything else is under investigation at this point.

I have attached another drawing to look at. It has three options that I am considering. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Also, the overflow is made by CPR and is rated at 1400 GPH. Drilling into the tempered glass would void the warranty and I'm not versed in doing such a task, any mistakes and it becomes a 220 gal flower pot.

Thanks for all of the input thus far. Keep it coming!

11-14-2003, 02:13 PM
Here is option #2

11-14-2003, 02:15 PM
Option number 3

11-14-2003, 02:17 PM
and option number 4

11-14-2003, 09:56 PM
hmmmm.tough decision.Im not sure what option to go with.

11-14-2003, 11:24 PM
you are telling me..... it is very hard to know what is sufficent, what is over-kill and what is just plain junk and should neve be considered.

11-19-2003, 11:52 AM
Options 2 and 4 are closest to best. Still, keep in mind the need to have more water draining to the sump than the pump can possibly return....... much better that way than to have your pump starving for water.

My experience with overflow boxes has shown me that their capacities are generally overstated. I feel like a 1400 gallon/hour rating is more like 900 in actual practice. I'd just go with two boxes if you can't frill the tank, but, let me say again, drilling the tank is clearly the best option. It eliminates many dangers and offers many benefits.

You say the tank is tempered, but I bet that it's just the bottom pane that's tempered. You should be able to safely drill the back pane very easily. Drilling becomes easier the thicker the glass gets, and on a 200+ gallon tank there is generally very little (VERY little) risk.

If you were to drill three or four 1 1/2" to 2" hole at the water line on the back of the tank your options would multiply. I wouldn't think of having a large tank without drilling it. It's a common practice among reefers and marine enthusiasts.

11-19-2003, 06:58 PM
Thanks. Are there any sites with instructions on how to drill the tank?

11-19-2003, 08:52 PM
At a minimum you need 700gph loaded.

I agree on drilling, I had an overflow and they are more pain than they could ever be worth.

Secondly, don't forget a protein skimmer and UV sterilizer.

11-19-2003, 08:56 PM
Here is something to look at for ideas.

11-19-2003, 09:01 PM
Originally posted by RDsciba
Thanks. Are there any sites with instructions on how to drill the tank?

OK, I suggest you tank the tank to a glass house to get it done. You need a diamond bit hole saw.


11-20-2003, 11:07 PM
Agreed on getting someone else to drill it. It isn't worth buyng the drill bit yourself.

Is this for freshwater or marine. If freshwater a protein skimmer won't function efficiently enough to justify including it.