500 Gallons Project, Help Needed With Overflow And Sump

magedsabri

Hello Everyone

I'm not new to fish keeping in general but this is my first time trying a very large aquarium and sump system, I really need your thoughts about this project to modify anything if needed.

About the project:

500 Gallons freshwater "Planned for Severums mainly" it will be made as in-wall aquarium viewed from both sides, filtration will be based on sump system below the main display, drilled two holes on the side for the overflow pipes which will be moving the water down the pipes to the sump and 2 water pumps feeding a spray bar will be returning the water back to the tank.

* I have attached photos for the work in progress build.

Help and advise needed:

You can tell from the photos that my water level of course will be at the overflow holes level. What if because of water evaporation the water level went below the overflow hole, what will happen to the system, and if you have any advise on how I should setup my system in general please guide me.
 

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Donthemon

That's a beauty! Not sure if evaporation in the tank is effected because the sump pumps out the same amount of water so I believe the water in the sump will go down-need to be topped off. But that’s just what I figured from my research of planning a salt water tank.
 

magedsabri

That's a beauty! Not sure if evaporation in the tank is effected because the sump pumps out the same amount of water so I believe the water in the sump will go down-need to be topped off. But that’s just what I figured from my research of planning a salt water tank.

hanks a lot , auto top off system is part of the plan I will have another small tank beside the sump to be a new fresh water container which will be filled by a 3 stage filter from the water source with an air-stone to make sure water is chlorine free before it is added to the tank, but I'm still not sure yet shall I put the sensors in the sump or the tank and should I pump the water from the new freshwater container tank to the sump or to the main tank, since I'm new to such systems I'm still lost in a lot of thoughts
 

aussieJJDude

Yep, the last compartment that contains the pump (in the sump) will be affected by water level. So it's best to have a sensor on that. As to whether it's best to pump directly into the tank or sump, I'd say sump. A lot less tubing required and you don't have to worry about extra clutter from distracting your main display.

I'd actually reccomend on installing a weir on those overflows, as your water level is likely to be low and also will help reduce noise. Setting up one drain so the intake is constantly submerged (90 degree elbow facing down, with a ball valve in line to adjust flow) and the other line having a small trickle of water as an emergency backup should keep the system relatively quite. Current setup will be quite noisy.
 

magedsabri

Yep, the last compartment that contains the pump (in the sump) will be affected by water level. So it's best to have a sensor on that. As to whether it's best to pump directly into the tank or sump, I'd say sump. A lot less tubing required and you don't have to worry about extra clutter from distracting your main display.

I'd actually reccomend on installing a weir on those overflows, as your water level is likely to be low and also will help reduce noise. Setting up one drain so the intake is constantly submerged (90 degree elbow facing down, with a ball valve in line to adjust flow) and the other line having a small trickle of water as an emergency backup should keep the system relatively quite. Current setup will be quite noisy.

Thanks for advise , I will not worry much about noise level since a wall will be built on one side and a wooden wall with cabinet like doors on the other side to access the system, so I assume noise will be reduced a lot, here is a photo for the 3D design of the same area which is now a work in progress.
 

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aussieJJDude

Even with doors and wall, sound can still travel far enough to drive someone crazy. Would reccomend trial run with tap water, see how loud it is, and then make adjustments if needed.

That way, it's a lot easier to fix.
 

magedsabri

Even with doors and wall, sound can still travel far enough to drive someone crazy. Would reccomend trial run with tap water, see how loud it is, and then make adjustments if needed.

That way, it's a lot easier to fix.

Thanks for the advise, I will try this.
 

coralbandit

You're looking for NavyChief20 to get you on track .I'll be watching from the side .
Nice set up ...
Welcome!
 

magedsabri

You're looking for NavyChief20 to get you on track .I'll be watching from the side .
Nice set up ...
Welcome!

Thanks I'm looking for guidance to complete my dream setup, all help is much appreciated
 

NavyChief20

Thanks I'm looking for guidance to complete my dream setup, all help is much appreciated
Ahhhh this looks right up my alley. What all do you want to do and what's your vision?
 

magedsabri

Ahhhh this looks right up my alley. What all do you want to do and what's your vision?

Please guide me

This will be a setup for American Cichlids mainly severums, I will have sand substrate with driftwood and rocks, filtration will be a sump system below the main tank, I had two holes drilled and plumed with pipes as overflow which should move the water down to the sump and 2 water pumps returning back to the tank through a spray bar, another smaller tank will be beside the sump as freshwater storage for the auto top up system which will be filled through a 3 stage filter to remove most of the chlorine and circulated with an airstone to help remove any remaining chlorine completely, water will be pumped from the storage tank to the sump when water lever drops, now that is what I understand and trying to do, since I'm new to such size and to sumps and overflow in general I need a lot of guidance if this is the right thing to do or should I do something in a different way, I can since how experienced you are and really appreciate any guidance for my project
 

NavyChief20

Please guide me

This will be a setup for American Cichlids mainly severums, I will have sand substrate with driftwood and rocks, filtration will be a sump system below the main tank, I had two holes drilled and plumed with pipes as overflow which should move the water down to the sump and 2 water pumps returning back to the tank through a spray bar, another smaller tank will be beside the sump as freshwater storage for the auto top up system which will be filled through a 3 stage filter to remove most of the chlorine and circulated with an airstone to help remove any remaining chlorine completely, water will be pumped from the storage tank to the sump when water lever drops, now that is what I understand and trying to do, since I'm new to such size and to sumps and overflow in general I need a lot of guidance if this is the right thing to do or should I do something in a different way, I can since how experienced you are and really appreciate any guidance for my project
So my credentials first:
20 years active duty Navy Chief Petty Officer.
I am a Nuclear Machinist Mate
Navy and DOL certified Quality Assurance Inspector
**** in Nondestructive testing
**** in Chemistry
Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State

I currently own 12 tanks from 55 gallins to 550 gallons. My 350 and 550 I built. I have built 4 500 gallon plus tanks for people. Every tank I have and have built is on a sump system.

So the bonus tank you are using for fill water is basically a day tank. You are filtering cl and other gasses off there then using an auto top off to charge your sump correct? Good idea and it works. If you have potable plumbed to the day tank on auto fill it will be even better. Why are you using dual pumps to return water to the display tank and what pumps are you using? At that size tank an over flow on each end is a must. Otherwise you need to have a current generator in there. Ecotech makes some good ones. The purpose there is to ensure good circulation ratio. The CR (circulation ratio) comes into play with both thermal mixing and maintaining a relatively homogeneous chemical environment. If you don't maintain the CR then you can easily have pockets of water which are at both a slightly diffrent density and chemical makeup.

One thing I just noticed on the picture. Your overflow pipes are close to the wall without sound damping material. Put some foam pieces on the vertical sections and that will remove the rattle noise they could very well produce. Overflow pipes can rattle and it can be annoying. I have mine mounted with rubber sound isolators (u bend pipe mount and rubber).
 

magedsabri

So my credentials first:
20 years active duty Navy Chief Petty Officer.
I am a Nuclear Machinist Mate
Navy and DOL certified Quality Assurance Inspector
in Nondestructive testing
in Chemistry
Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State

I currently own 12 tanks from 55 gallins to 550 gallons. My 350 and 550 I built. I have built 4 500 gallon plus tanks for people. Every tank I have and have built is on a sump system.

So the bonus tank you are using for fill water is basically a day tank. You are filtering cl and other gasses off there then using an auto top off to charge your sump correct? Good idea and it works. If you have potable plumbed to the day tank on auto fill it will be even better. Why are you using dual pumps to return water to the display tank and what pumps are you using? At that size tank an over flow on each end is a must. Otherwise you need to have a current generator in there. Ecotech makes some good ones. The purpose there is to ensure good circulation ratio. The CR (circulation ratio) comes into play with both thermal mixing and maintaining a relatively homogeneous chemical environment. If you don't maintain the CR then you can easily have pockets of water which are at both a slightly diffrent density and chemical makeup.


Impressive credentials then I'm in safe hands for sure.

I'm using dual pumps because I live in Egypt and I have to do with whatever is available in my country , we don't have very large pumps so I will be using 2 Sunsun HGB5000 to give me enough power for the size of the tank, I can't have overflow on both sides based on my setup and space availability and the tank will be visible from both sides, but for sure I will be using wave-makers, actually I'm planning to use 2 one closer to the top and pointing to the surface at the side for the return pipes the other one will be closer to the bottom pointing towards the top on the side of the overflow drains, Ecotech will not be an option for me since it is not available in my country and also It is magnet mounted max thickness is 26mm and my glass thickness is 30mm so I need to find an option that connects with suction cups maybe Sunsun or Jebao not sure yet, also wave-makers along with the return spray bar will be my oxygenation method since I don't like the looks of airstone bubbles in the main tank, I will have an airstone in the sump and day tank only.

so what do you think about that, will that work fine or shall I consider a different way?

One thing I just noticed on the picture. Your overflow pipes are close to the wall without sound damping material. Put some foam pieces on the vertical sections and that will remove the rattle noise they could very well produce. Overflow pipes can rattle and it can be annoying. I have mine mounted with rubber sound isolators (u bend pipe mount and rubber).

will do that.
 

NavyChief20

Gimme an hour or so I have meetings but ill get back to you.
 

PheonixKingZ

I have never seen a tank that big! I might just want to watch this thread form the side.....
 

magedsabri

I have never seen a tank that big! I might just want to watch this thread form the side.....

Wish me luck, my first time trying such setup.

Gimme an hour or so I have meetings but ill get back to you.

Thanks for your attention, much appreciated.

Gimme an hour or so I have meetings but ill get back to you.
Forgot to mention that I'm planning to have an algae scrubber as well not yet sure is it going to be in the sump or on top of the aquarium.
 

NavyChief20

Ok so quick reply then off to another meeting. Keep the airstone in the day tank its better there and you won't see it which is good since they are ugly and detracts from the natural look. Your spray bar you need to make sure it spans a good distance into the tank since your return line and overflow are on the same end. The current generators are excellent especially if you go with diffrent depths in the tank. As you know this will enhance your CR and that is the goal. I suggest use of a weir on your overflow. Helps with surface skimming and that is a must with cichlids. The sump is a good location for your algae scrubber. The main section with the highest water volume is a prime candidate. This is generally a good spot for the heaters as well.
 

AJE

Cool! Can’t wait to see how it turns out!
 

magedsabri

Ok so quick reply then off to another meeting. Keep the airstone in the day tank its better there and you won't see it which is good since they are ugly and detracts from the natural look. Your spray bar you need to make sure it spans a good distance into the tank since your return line and overflow are on the same end. The current generators are excellent especially if you go with diffrent depths in the tank. As you know this will enhance your CR and that is the goal. I suggest use of a weir on your overflow. Helps with surface skimming and that is a must with cichlids. The sump is a good location for your algae scrubber. The main section with the highest water volume is a prime candidate. This is generally a good spot for the heaters as well.
Actually the return pipes are on the other side of the tank didn't plump it, what is in the picture both are overflow drains, not sure how to do the weir and I am not familiar with surface skimming, don't want to take much of your time, once you have some time kindly guide me if possible.

Actually the return pipes are on the other side of the tank didn't plump it, what is in the picture both are overflow drains, not sure how to do the weir and I am not familiar with surface skimming, don't want to take much of your time, once you have some time kindly guide me if possible.

check this conceptual design and let me know if it makes sense, not sure this weir design works or not.
 

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AJE

check this conceptual design and let me know if it makes sense, not sure this weir design works or not.
Looks cool! What are you going to stock it with?
 

magedsabri

bigdreams

You are in goodhands with NavyChief20 helping you out.. here are some articles that may help with sump concepts:




Toothed weir vs smooth .. (and another variant is called coast to coast)


Hope that helps
 

NavyChief20

check this conceptual design and let me know if it makes sense, not sure this weir design works or not.
So that weir should work well. It has to go along that whole side and the pickup tube for the overflow can be adjusted as needed. The drop from the top of the weir to the box basin should be 1-2" so the overflow lines will pick it up there. The spraybar make sure it is above the waterline so it agitates the surface. You will get aeriation and it will disrupt surface tension. Are you doing one return or two? With dual pump either is achievable but if you put pumps in series it adds some complexity depending on the pumps.
 

magedsabri

So that weir should work well. It has to go along that whole side and the pickup tube for the overflow can be adjusted as needed. The drop from the top of the weir to the box basin should be 1-2" so the overflow lines will pick it up there. The spraybar make sure it is above the waterline so it agitates the surface. You will get aeriation and it will disrupt surface tension. Are you doing one return or two? With dual pump either is achievable but if you put pumps in series it adds some complexity depending on the pumps.
Thank you, I will have the 2 return pumps feeding the same spray bar from each side and I will have it above the water level like a waterfall, sorry I didn't understand the point of the top of the weir drop to the box basin, I was planning to make it like the conceptual design I shared.
 

NavyChief20

Thank you, I will have the 2 return pumps feeding the same spray bar from each side and I will have it above the water level like a waterfall, sorry I didn't understand the point of the top of the weir drop to the box basin, I was planning to make it like the conceptual design I shared.
Make sure they are the exact same spec pump so they don't fight eachother on flow. What is the overflow inlet section looking like? Is it just a hole or a mesh?
 

magedsabri

Make sure they are the exact same spec pump so they don't fight eachother on flow. What is the overflow inlet section looking like? Is it just a hole or a mesh?

Return pumps are identical, the overflow are 2 hoels.
 

coralbandit

I use Jeboa DC pumps in all my sumps and for flow .I use the cross flows for circulation .They work great for wide tanks .
 

magedsabri

Checking the articles shared by @bigdreams I think I will go with a smooth weir as they explained that it is much better for surface skimming and I will make it cost to cost on the side.

Can I kindly ask for feedback on my conceptual design overall, placement of spray bar, weir design, Weir box basin width and depth recommendation, placement of wavemakers, any other advise I should consider.
 

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coralbandit

You don't want the circulation to hit each other .It is preferred if they create a circular pattern .I would point the bottom one towards other side of tank not the surface.
 

magedsabri

From the 2 options below which sump design I should go for

Design A

Sump_Design_A.jpg
Design B


Sump_Design_B.jpg


You don't want the circulation to hit each other .It is preferred if they create a circular pattern .I would point the bottom one towards other side of tank not the surface.

Thanks for the clarification
 

NavyChief20

Pics aren't showing. I'm mobile on the pier though so might be the problem.
 

magedsabri

Pics aren't showing. I'm mobile on the pier though so might be the problem.

Attached again here.
 

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NavyChief20

Attached again here.
So design 2 you will need an airstone for the K1. That will add noise btw but it is an effective media. Both are good designs. I don't use carbon in any of my tanks nor do I put it in any system I build. It serves only a few purposes and its usefulness is overly exaggerated.
 

magedsabri

So design 2 you will need an airstone for the K1. That will add noise btw but it is an effective media. Both are good designs. I don't use carbon in any of my tanks nor do I put it in any system I build. It serves only a few purposes and its usefulness is overly exaggerated.

Yes I will add an airstone with the K1 media, so which design do you recommend for more efficiency regardless of the noise, I can also on both designs reduce the amount of carbon or remove it and add lava rocks and Seachem Purigen
 

NavyChief20

Personally I like design A better. Larger open bay for modular addons
 

magedsabri

Personally I like design A better. Larger open bay for modular addons
Thank you, I was leaning towards it as well but wanted an expert opinion

Now final peace for my setup will be lighting, I'm not planning to have any live plants, I was thinking to go for 5 20W floodlights, 2 white 3 RGB, something like the design in this pic, what do you think about that?


Tank_Design.jpg
 

NavyChief20

Now final peace for my setup will be lighting, I'm not planning to have any live plants, I was thinking to go for 5 20W floodlights, 2 white 3 RGB, something like the design in this pic, what do you think about that?


Tank_Design.jpg
So you are not doing plants at all? That should work. The Terror tank I made recently (1500 gallon) was all led. I did submerged led as well because she thought she might want plants. Turns out she does. Use led bulbs since its cleaner light and will support plants later. Otherwise it looks good!
 

magedsabri

Thanks a lot everyone for your contributions, and a special thanks to NavyChief20 for his attention and advice.

I will update you with the build progress and looking forward to share some photos when all is over.

Here are some photos for the work in progress, first water test and drain pipe plumbing to the sewer
Fish_Tank_6.jpeg
Fish_Tank_7.jpeg
Fish_Tank_8.jpeg
 

NavyChief20

Here are some photos for the work in progress, first water test and drain pipe plumbing to the sewer
Fish_Tank_6.jpeg
Fish_Tank_7.jpeg
Fish_Tank_8.jpeg
Excellent. Plumbing a waste line in like that is invaluable. I have one installed for my banks of tanks and it makes water changes and draining so very easy.
 

magedsabri

I have the below old filter, I was thinking about filling it with a media like Seachem Matrix and use a low flow 40 or 50 GPH pump to build a DIY anaerobic bacteria reactor in my sump, I understand that this can help in controlling the nitrate levels, I'm not planning to do less water changes but I though this might increase the quality of the environment overall, and it won't cost much.


Old_Filter.jpeg
 

magedsabri

Project Update...........system is almost ready, I'm very excited

Fish_Tank_9.jpeg
Fish_Tank_10.jpeg
 

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