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Plumbing question...

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I'm new to the saltwater tank hobby.  When I get a tank, I'm going to have to run new plumbing. Are there any diagrams or reading material that is geared to the beginner? As always, your help is greatly appreciated. Michael

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I don't have any resources, but if you can diagram what you're thinking others can help. Planning ahead will help you determine what to buy instead of dealing with something you purchased. What size tank are you thinking. What sump are you considering? Think about the stand you are getting, or are you planning to build one? Are you planning to buy a reef-ready tank or will you drill it yourself?

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First, I don't know what to diagram as I only have beginner knowledge of what goes in the tank.  I am purchasing a use 105gal reefer tank, sump, skimmer and return pump. So, the tank is already drilled.  I don't have the foggiest clue as to what flows where and how.  The only thing I can figure out is that the DT will have an overflow that will somehow flow to the sump.  I don't know where the skimmer is placed in the line of flow.  And I assume the return pump will push the water back into the DT.  That's it for my knowledge. LOL

 

What about calcium reactors, top off capabilities, other devices that add to the chain?  That's what confuses me so far.  I did locate a source that may work.  If anyone can check it out for accuracy and comment, I would appreciate. 

 

Michael

 

http://reeftankresource.com/reef-tank-plumbing-designs-diagrams-sump-overflow-return/

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I skimmed through that reference and it is a reasonable start. I would personally skip the check valve and just ensure that your sump can hold any water that drains back in a power outage. If you keep the return lines shallow then the back siphon will break soon. You can turn the power off to simulate a power outage and test.

 

I wouldn't worry about a calcium reactor at this point, but you can plan for it if you go that route. Typically you can install a manifold for these types of future additions. A manifold is just a series of extra outlets that you can plumb to equipment as needed.

 

IMO the best way to learn is by visiting a nearby reefer and checking out their tank. This way you can ask lots of questions. I'm currently renovating my basement, but if you're near Gaithersburg 20879 on some weekend you are welcome to swing by and take a look and discuss setting up a tank.

 

Knowledge goes a long way in this hobby. I would start looking at equipment since I know that is one area I have spent lots of money going through different options until I found what I liked. Have you keep any aquariums before? If not, then there is a lot more stuff to learn then just equipment and plumbing.

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Our sponsor, Marine Depot, has a few diagrams that you may find useful. I'll insert them below:

 

main.jpg?yocs=a_d_&yoloc=us

 

Expanded views and explanations can be found on this page.

 

The diagram in the upper right is fairly basic, but it shows you the essentials and a common sequence for how things flow: Water enters the sump at one end and leaves at the other. (Even this can be subject to debate as some will put the drain in the middle and split flow in two directions to put a refugium at one end and a return pump at the other end. Return pumps can be internal or external and, in most cases - especially if you're a newcomer - the return pump is more likely going to be an internal (submersible) pump.

 

What I see missing from the MD diagrams, though, is an Automatic Top Off sensor and system. Actually, it's shown in the "Advanced" diagram, but I'd contend that it should be at the intermediate if not the entry level is it is probably going to be the single, best chore-relieving add-on you'll add to your system. ATO's are used to automate the replenishment of fresh water that evaporates off your system from day to day. Replacing this lost fresh water is essential to stabilizing salinity. Placement of the level sensor should be made in the sump chamber where water loss shows up. Most often, this will be in the chamber where your return pump is located. (In MD's "Advanced" diagram, you'll see a thin gray line moving horizontally over the water level and then turning down toward the water. This is the ATO sensor part.)

 

While the basic diagram shows a single valve, missing are any plumbing unions or checkvalves. Strategically placed valves and unions can give you the option of changing your plumbing in the future should you decide to add or to correct things. Often times, aquarists will install a one-way check valve in line with the return pump to prevent water from siphoning back down into the sump (and overflowing it) should the power or return pump fail. (Some believe in checkvalves and depend on their reliability, while others steer clear of them and, instead, design their sump system so that it can't possibly overflow in the event of a power loss or pump failure.) 

 

There's a whole lot more that can be added here, but start with the MD diagrams, researching and reading about each, and try to understand what's going on with them. Then, feel free to ask questions. Things can seem overwhelming to start, but don't let that stop you from moving forward. You're going to make mistakes and learn and even change your mind as you advance in this journey. It's normal. Learn from others's mistakes and sucesses, but realize, too, that there is more than one path to success in this hobby and many more to failure. Start simply with an eye towards developing good husbandry habits - that's going to be the greatest influence on whether you succeed or not. 

 

Good luck!

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Thank you. That is some great advice. I may take you up on your offer to see your setup. I’ll be going to MACNA next weekend. Then I’ll see what my schedule is like. I’ll PM you.

 

 

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Thank you. That is some great advice. I may take you up on your offer to see your setup. I’ll be going to MACNA next weekend. Then I’ll see what my schedule is like. I’ll PM you.

 

I'll be in Vegas for MACNA starting tomorrow. Several of us are there working the show. Stop by the MACNA 2019 table and say hi. I'll probably be there helping sell booths for next year's Orlando show.

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Tom, it was great meeting you at MACNA. I learned a lot those three days. I also took a number of photos of tanks to get a better understanding of the plumbing. I look forward to seeing you and meeting others from WAMAS in the future.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Tom, it was great meeting you at MACNA. I learned a lot those three days. I also took a number of photos of tanks to get a better understanding of the plumbing. I look forward to seeing you and meeting others from WAMAS in the future.

 

+1. Thanks for remembering to swing by. I hope that you enjoyed MACNA. (I got home early this morning - about 1 AM.) This MACNA actually broke all records I think. That includes attendance records in DC. I'm guessing that the room-nights sold might have surpassed us as well. I've got to believe that Disney/Orlando for MACNA 2019 will be even larger than this year.

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