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Quieting Overflow Skimmers


  1. New to marine/reef in NoVa
    by "Matthew D Nguyen" <> ()
  2. New to marine/reef in NoVa
    by "Matthew D Nguyen" <> ()
  3. metal halide loss
    by "Michael J. Ostaffe" <> (Thu, 24 Aug 95)
  4. RE: Wet-dry standpipe size
    by Wilson <> (Mon, 15 Apr 1996)
  5. Noisy Overflow
    by Laura and Mark <lauramark/> (Wed, 10 May 2000)
  6. Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #30
    by George Booth <booth/> (Sat, 15 Jan 2000)

New to marine/reef in NoVa

by "Matthew D Nguyen" <>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 1995 08:41:01 -0400 (EDT)

here's my setup..

  || |||^^^^^^^^^^water level^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
  || |  (A)                              (B)   |
  || |   \\                              //    |
  || |    \\                            //     |
  || |     \\                          //      |
  || |      \\                        //       |
  || |       \\        150 gallon    //        |
  || |        \\       tank         //         |
  || |         \\                  //          |
  || -------------------------------------------
  ||             \\              //
  ||              \\            //
  ||               \\          //        BV = Ball Valve
  ||                \\        //
  BV                 BV      //
  ||                  \\    //
  ||                   \\  ||            A = drill hole 1
  ||                    \\ ||            B = drill hole 2
  ||       W/D           \\||
  ||                     ||||            all pvc pipe is 1" thick
  ||     |               |||| |
  ||     |    \ trickle| |||| |
  ||     |    |--------|      |
  ||     |    |bio ball|      |
------   |    |        | water|
|pump|---|    |--------|      |
|----|---|      water  |      |

   my dilemma is that water intake from A & B is much faster than what my
   pump can handle (running at full steam) -- in fact its probably much
   faster than what the w/d can handle -- i can see the water overflowing
   into the sump before trickling over the bio-balls (the wd/ is rated for
   200-300 gallons).  my pump is supposedly able to pump about 1200gph for
   3'.  my pvc work is a little bit more elaborate than what i drafted so
   it has some right angles and turns so i am probably getting a little
   less than rated.  i place the Ball Valves (BV) in so i can regulate some
   of the water (intake) to match my pump but it's difficult to do so.  each
   quarter inch turn causes massive changes in the water levels (up or down!)
   I have at my bulk heads (A & B) a sort of intake filter that looks
   something like this :

   |      ||||\  head
   |      ||||/
   |   |--////
   |   |
---|   |---- (back of tank) -- tank glass --------------

   there are some slits in the head that suppose to do some filtering --
   obviously larger objects.  I can swivel this "filter" in a 360 degrees
   and that was what i thought you had originally meant by adjusting the
   bulkheads in the tank. if this isn't too clear, then i'll try again.
   thanks for your help.  btw- this w/d is commercial (ie NOT DIY).

   now i've tried rotating the tead so some of it is exposed to the air,
   however it makes this LOUD sucking noise (like went my pump is gasping
   if the water level is too low) which is quite intolerable.  any

   also I have heard MH are expensive to operate, one guy claimed it jumped
   his electric bill up 20 bux a months for 1 bulb (i would probably need
   3!).. also the 6ft VHO i was talking about are standard lengths at any
   electric store.


New to marine/reef in NoVa

by "Matthew D Nguyen" <>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 16:07:21 -0400 (EDT)

{To eliminate the sucking sound...}

i found the solution by replacing the elbow fitting with a larger one.

thanks for all your help

Date: Sun, 27 Aug 1995 20:29:37 GMT
Lines: 120

    In article <41g3d6$>, Matthew D Nguyen
    <> wrote:
    >here's the look of my tank :
    >    ---
    >   //-\\
    >  || |||^^^^^^^^^^water level^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^|
    >  || |  (A)                              (B)   |
    >  || |   \\                              //    |
    >  || |    \\                            //     |
    > ...
    > my dilemma is that water intake from A & B is much faster than
    > what my pump can handle (running at full steam) ...

    OK, the basic problem is that you're letting gravity control the flow
    rate.  You want to harness gravity to do work for you, but you don't
    want to let it run unchecked.  As you have your system set up now,
    there's nothing to regulate the water level in the tank, or control
    the flow to the sump (except your ball valves which, as you have
    found, are not a consistantly reliable way of doing this).

    > I have at my bulk heads (A & B) a sort of intake filter that looks
    >   something like this :
    >   -------\\\\
    >   |      ||||\  head
    >   |      ||||/
    >   |   |--////
    >---|   |---- (back of tank) -- tank glass --------------
    > i've managed to balance my tank by rotating the head so some of it
    > is exposed to the air.

    Ah -- you've discovered the solution.  What you need is a way of
    fixing the water level in the tank.  You want any water that tends to
    raise that level to drain off into the sump.  This implies that the
    flow rate of the filter system is determined *only* by the rate of
    water flowing into the tank (i.e. the rate of your sump pump).

    Water levels are typically fixed via stand-pipes, which are attached
    to a hole in the bottom of the tank, or overflow boxes, which are
    emptied by a siphon tube or a drilled hole.  Quick examples would be:
                                                         /  ___  \
       |                       |    |                    | | | | |
       |~~~~~~~~~~~| |~~~~~~~~~|    |~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|     | | | | |
       |   stand   | |         |    |   overflow   |~~~~~| |~| | |
       |   pipe -->| |         |    |   box ------>|_________| | |
       |           | |         |    |                        | | |
       |___________| |_________|    |________________________| | |
                   | |                                         | |
                 to sump                                     to sump
    As you can see, any water that gets pumped into the tank will cause
    an overflow into the stand-pipe or box and be directed to the sump.
    The water level level in the tank will stay relatively fixed no
    matter how much or how little the flow from the sump pump.  Water
    levels in the sump will vary a bit with flow rate, evaporation. etc.
    For that reason, some folks add to the sump a low-water switch that
    will turn off the pump (and thus keep it from burning up) should the
    sump run dry.  Note that the siphon on the overflow box is actually
    a more complicated mechanism than that shown.  It should be built
    with an external box to preserve the siphon at all times, but I
    wanted to keep the picture simple.

    The top edges of the stand-pipes and boxes are often machined with
    short vertical slots which form "teeth" through which the water can
    overflow.  This acts as a very coarse mechanical filter that keeps
    animals and other large objects from being sucked into the filter
    system.  Another option is to line the edges with a short fence of
    coarse plastic mesh.

    I can think of two ways that you can modify your current system to
    operate as I have tried to explain above.  The first would be to buy
    or build two small overflow boxes.  You would need them to have three
    sides and a bottom.  Use silicone rubber caulk to fasten one of the
    boxes over each input bulkhead fitting (A & B) with the open side of
    the boxes glued to the tank wall and the top edges even with your
    desired water level in the tank.  The second way is just an extention
    on the idea of your existing "filter heads", and consists of building
    a pair of modified stand-pipes.  Glue a short piece of PVC tube into
    each bulkhead.  The these, add a 90-degree PVC elbow with the other
    end facing up.  To this, add a piece of PVC pipe long enough to break
    the water surface at whatever level you want that to be.  Since
    you're using 1" pipe, you might want to use an adapter to bump the
    final size up to maybe 2" pipe or so.  The two methods would look

        |                     |        |                    |
        |~~~~~~~~~~~|         |        |~~~~~~~~~~~|     |~~|
        |    #1     |~~~~~~~~~| A&B    |    #2      \   /   | A&B
        |           |        _|___     |             | |____|___
        |   box     |        ___  \    |   stand      \_______  \
        |           |_________| | |    |    pipe            | | |
        |                     | | |    |                    | | |
    With either option you will want to either cut slots or use the
    plastic mesh.

    > however when this happens I get a LOUD sucking noise (comparable
    > to when my pump does not have sufficient water to pump) and is
    > quite intolerable.  anyway to soften or remove that noise problem??

    Yeah, the noise is a problem.  Folks have had various levels of
    success with adding a few bio-balls to the intake tubes to break up
    the water gurgling, or with putting a piece of airline tubing part-
    way down the tubes to vent air.  You might try laying a thick piece
    of sponge over the open top of the box or stand-pipe.

    Hope this helps.

    -- Keith

    | Keith Brummett            Ofc: 614-860-3187         AT&T, Room 3B202 |
    |      Fax: 614-868-4106        6200 E. Broad St. |
    |         R,DW,HAHB!          Columbus, OH 43213 |

---- Begin Include Message ----

SUBJECT: Electical loss in a metal halide ballast.

>From Fri Aug 25 00:48:09 1995

metal halide loss

by "Michael J. Ostaffe" <>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 95

The loss on this ballast is around 20-35 watts.  Call the 
Advance Technical holine at 1-800-372-3331 for information on specific products.

Mike Ostaffe 

Subject: [Q][G] Metal Halide current draw
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 95 15:41:00 -0600

Subject: Re: [Q][G] Metal Halide current draw
Date: 31 Aug 1995 23:43:04 GMT
Organization: Columbia University
Lines: 35

In article <>,
Thomas M. Sasala <> wrote:
>In article <41tns0$>,
> (Craig Bingman) wrote:
>> In article <>,
>> Thomas M. Sasala <> wrote:
>> >
>> >   Does anyone know how much current a 175 watt metal halide lamp
>> >draws?  Not in theory, but in reality.  I would like to compare this 
>> >to a 110 VHO lamp (which I need data for as well :) ).  Thanks.
>> The ballast loss is about 50 watts.  So roughly 225 watts.
>       Someone from quoted about 25-35 watts loss.  Is
>50 a worse case or more nominal than 35?


Either the old Grainger catalog I looked at had a typo, or I have a 
memory leak.  (distinctly possible)

The ballast loss for a 175 watt F-can ballast is about 30 watts,
60 watts for a 400 watt ballast.

I always *thought* it should scale more or less directly with the
wattage of the ballast, so was perplexed by those older numbers.

Sorry if anyone junked their 175's...

What did Gilda Radner say?  "Nevermind."


Subject: [Q][G] Metal Halide current draw
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 95 15:41:00 -0600
Distribution: world
Reply-To: (SYSOP)

There are 2 places that current flows in the lamp circuit.

Primary - which is simply the input side of the 110 v &....
Secondary - which is the output of the transformer.

My primary on my MH is 115v -at- 1.2 amps .... I have never tested the
output voltage. I have just never been that curious about it

Walking under light after light in the night in the streets in the suburbs...
	sounds reach my ears as yawning lawns settle for sleep.
In the glow of a lamppost alive with the dance of the glass-tapping beetles and
moths, I see the number...
As I uncurl the page that I tore from the telephone book, I'm growing number.
Not a moment for a second look; I'm growing number.

			"The Affordable Floors"
			_walk into the night_

RE: Wet-dry standpipe size

by "Jon Wilson" jwilson/ (updated)
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996

>From: Todd Smith <>

>I just filled my soon to be planted 75 gallon aquarium and the 
>3\4 inch standpipe is making a horrible sucking sound. My pump puts out 
>350 gph at 4 foot head. is the pipe too small or large? 
>What size should I use? TIA.


 Since I took the day off, I have time to answer this :-)

In my never ending search to quite prefilter standpipes, I have
found the diameter can seldom be optimized for the flow.

So... I took another approach.

By using a center breather pipe, you can regulate the "cone"
the water forms as it goes down the pipe. By ensuring that the
water flows smoothly, the noise goes away. The trick is in 
controlling the waters flow. 

Basically, the water crosses the overflow into the prefilter
area and runs through a "blue" filter floss, 
prefilter sponge (Aquaclear 300 sponge fits most prefilters,
and eggcrate (eggcrate just adds support). In this way, the
filter floss rests above the water level in the prefilter
and the water is buffered by the sponge. The breather pipe
allows you to regulate the air being displaced as the water
goes down the pipe. 

You will find that a setup like this results in steady water
height and virtually no noise. You can also rotate the fine
filter when the "dirt" reaches the breather pipe in order to
effectively remove it from the system since the water goes down
at the first clear area. (You are keeping the prefilter nitrate
farm clean, aren't you :-)

The breather

(beware: crude ASCII drawing)
                    | |                   |
                    | |                   |
overflow            | |                   |
|                   | |                   |
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~| |~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~| |~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~| <- filter floss
|-------------------| |-------------------|
|                   | |                   |
|                   | |                   | <- prefilter sponge
|-------------------| |-------------------|
|###################| |###################| <- eggcrate
|               |   | |   |               |
|               |   | |   |  <- standpipe |
|               |         |               |
|---------------|         |---------------|    
                |         |

Hope this info helps... Don't worry, the breather
works with a pretty broad range, just push it past
the sponge slowly until the noise goes away. The
sponge should have enough tension to hold it in place.

Jon Wilson


Noisy Overflow

by Laura and Mark <lauramark/>
Date: Wed, 10 May 2000


If you have the All-Glass with the built-in Twin-Flo
that All-Glass puts in their aquariums I can help you
with the noise. I just set up an All-Glass 90g with
the Twin-Flo and Rio 2100 pump. The first thing my wife 
said after all my hard work, that sure is noisy!

Make sure the hose coming out the bottom going to your
wet/dry is a corrugated hose (I can get the name from my
LFS if you don't). It should go straight down with a trap
just like a sink drain. 

The biggest improvement you can do to quiet the noise is,
buy some blue bonded filter pads, the one that comes in 
one big sheet 312 sq. in. . Cut a piece that will line the
inside of the Twin-Flo where the water drains with the float
that goes up and down. Start at the top and go down 1 inch
below the water level. This will cause the water to soak into
the pad and release below the water line, which will cut most
of the noise and also stop alot of excess co2 loss from the
water splashing down. Another improvement is to place some 1/2
inch styrofoam under your sump tank to quiet down the return
pump from vibrating. Also if you want to lower your water level
a little, which skims the top better, remove the rubber strip
which sits on the top of the overflow. I was told that by All-

If you have a different overflow, let me know and I can give
you some other suggestions or send you pictures of mine.

BTW, mine went from a sink gurgling to I open the door to see
if everything is still running because it's so quiet.


Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #30

by George Booth <booth/>
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000

>Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2000 13:20:27 -0800 (PST)
>From: Chester Wong <>
>Subject: Noisy overflow
>Point well taken.  However, my biggest concern is slurping noise. 

We've taken some steps to make our overflows very guiet. 

1. Put a bioball of the right size in the fitting that returns water to the
sump. This small amount of restriction will raise the water level slightly,
keeping too much air from getting into the return and slurping. A Dupla
BioKascade works great for us but they are hard to find.

2. Fashion a strainer from needlepoint backing (plastic mesh) so that water
from the siphon chamber doesn't splash into the return/filter chamber.

3. Cut a small piece of open pore sponge to fit on top of the strainer to
further spread the water around. Basically turn the filter side of the
overflow box into a drip plate instead of a waterfall. 

4. Cut a piece of 1/2" extruded styrofoam (you can find pieces downwind of
construction sites :-) to fit into the top of the overflow box, blocking
any leftover noise from getting out. And, perhaps, keeping CO2 inside the

George Booth, Ft. Collins, Colorado 

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