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Thread: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

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    Platinum Member ODwyerPW's Avatar
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    Default 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    Folks,

    Want to get opinions. Plan is to put 8 20L tanks (2 levels, 4 on each level) on one system. Filtering will be via a 2-part sump... 1st part is 20L full of prefilter floss and Poret Foam Blocks, 2nd part is a 15L where probes will reside, dosing will occur, floats for water level control will be installed and an additional heater will reside. The two parts will be connected by a 3" diameter PVC Pipe... This is necessary because the sump arrangement will actually stagger two separate stands. Return pump will sit outside of the 15L. on the bottom shelf of the other two stands will be dosing equipment, CO2 equipment, and a UV sterilizer. My drawing omits the other equipment.

    I will have each tank drilled 3X (water return, water exit, and drain). Note: my drawing does not show the water return going to bulkheads for each tank, but they will.

    The idea is to hide the plumbing along the sides between the vertical support members and make the tanks appear to be floating (I already de-rimmed them).

    Ok. So here is where I could use help. Will this thing be really loud? Each tank have a 3/4" bulkhead. The water will fall through a 1" line down to the sump (will be 4 1" Lines... My drawing shows 2, but it will be 4). Each line will return the upper tank and the lower tank. Hence, the lines are slightly bigger than the bulkheads.

    I know there is the risk that a plugged screen on a bulkhead could cause a tank to overflow.. unless I install additional overflow protection (e.g. a 4th hole slightly higher up). Just trying to avoid installing overflows and lots of extra down tubes... but maybe that's unavoidable.

    Note: there will be ball valves on each drain line and each return line. The overflows, being sized larger than everything else will just carry what they receive down to the sump.. I mention this because I didn't draw the ball valves... It's late... my old autocad skills are rusty after 11pm.

    8 x 20L.jpg
    Last edited by ODwyerPW; 05-28-2019 at 03:10 AM.
    Peter
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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    I would post this to a marine reef tank forum. Those guys are much more knowledgeable about complex sump systems. I do know that ball valves probably aren't going to cut it and that you might need to go with gate valves in order to have more precise flow control. And as far as loudness, you should look to something as simple as a durso setup or go to a bean animal setup which is more redundant. And you could look into ghost overflows along the back of the tanks to further reduce noise and cut down how many holes need to be drilled.

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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    For a single, non-siphon overflow, you may want to bump it up to 1" bulkheads with 1-1/4" to 1-1/2" drain lines (this will comfortably handle 6x/hour turnover). It won't be silent, maybe not even quiet, but lower turnover rates will most likely be quieter depending on how the drain lines enter the sump.

    What gators111 said about the more redundant overflow systems is true, but it does significantly increase cost on a multi-tank system like yours. Ball valves are fine for non-siphon overflows, but gate valves are something of a requirement should you go with something like herbie or bean animal overflows.

    Finally, I'd strongly suggest not using floss or socks if the sump is running blocks of Poret (or swapping the foam with cheaper media if floss is mandatory).

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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    Gator and Adam, thanks for the responses.

    I won't use floss. the horizontal lines in my diagram just represent a mesh screen to quiet things down a little. However, I may have two 400u Nylon socks as a prefilter… nothing more.

    Regarding..redundancy of overflow systems... its more of a function of space, then costs. I will do something. My horse sense tells me I'm asking for trouble to rely on a sole 1" bulkhead that can plug. Noise will need to be secondary to overflow/spill prevention.

    I think I need to take one of my 20Ls and build a small section of the stand I have and start visually mocking things up. Although I will use iron wood, mesquite, and palo chino for the finished product... I have enough pine lumber kicking around to mock something for one of the 8 tanks... then I can drill on that 20L and see how it works.... I have a cracked 20L that I haven't repaired yet so I can make that the guinea pig.
    Peter
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    Platinum Member ODwyerPW's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    When I take my system as a whole, I'm looking at about 153 gallons of water.

    8 X 20L tanks w/ 16.25 gallons per aquarium (accounting for 1 1/4" fine gravel, and a total water height of 10.75" once I factor in margin of safety for drilling of bulkheads at the top) is 130 gallons
    1 X 20L PartI of sump w/ 12 gallons (normal operating height of 8" of water, but with the potential to absorb another 7 gallons if system shuts down) and 1 15L Part II of sump w/ 9 3/4 gallons (normal operating height of 8" of water, but with potential to absorb another 4 1/2 gallons if system shuts down).
    Equipment. Let's say between the CO2 reactor, UV sterilizer and plumbing I have 1 gallon of water.

    I'll be utilizing a Mag5 w/ a spec flow of 425 gallons at 3' head and 325 gallons at 5' head. The 4 tanks at the topmost shelf will have almost a 5' head, and the 4 tanks on the middle shelf will have an almost 3' head.. So I'll split the difference and say 350-375 gallons. That means I'd have a turn over of about 2.25X to 2.5X per hour on the whole system. Roy Schneider might suggest "You're going to need a bigger pump". Bummer, as I own two Mag5s.. Maybe with my manifold and 4 parallel lines sending a 1/2" line to each rack (1 top tank, 1 mid tank), my performance might be satisfactory. Perhaps I could put the two Mag5s, with check valves, in parallel to the manifold.. That would give me pump redundancy.. If I lost one, I'd still have half of my flow. Or, if need be, I could go to a different pump and deploy my Mag5s to the RO/Tap water storage for water change and top-off duty.

    That's said, the last time I operated a Mag5 was on my 120gallon discus tank w/ a 20gallon sump (about 16 gallons... it ran very wet), so 140gallons total... the 120 had a 5' head. Honestly, by the amount of water pouring into my sump, it felt like it was circulating much as much water as you'd ever want. I had a CO2 reactor and a 25W UV sterilizer on that one too.

    Now drawing my attention to each of the 8 tanks. if I divide 375gph x 8 tanks in parallel, each tank will be moving about 46.875gph through itself, so 46.875/16.25 is really a water turnover through each tank of 2.88X (let's call it 3X) per hour. That's what my tank overflows will see. I've messed around with some models and I think a 3X turnover of my tanks will be good. I have slightly oversized filtration, am employing a 3/4 RO 1/4 Tap for Water, and will utilize a 15-25W UV sterilizer (have not purchased this part yet).

    So, because I will be taking ~48 gph from each tank, or .8 gpm, that's what I need to size my bulkheads for... I'll add a safety margin of 3X to future proof it (two Mag5s in parallel or 1 bigger pump) and account for debris on the screens..... so 144 gph gravity fed volume. A 1/2" bulkhead is good for 2.5gpm or 150gph. I'm considering drilling 3 of them. Each of them would have an independent line to the sump. This is a theoretical evacuation capacity of 450gph... for each tank... which is well beyond the ~48gph I'm shoot for.

    This size allows me to use Quick Disconnects and fit the 3 bulkhead in the 5 3/4" space I have between my the primary support members of my stand design.
    I'm looking at something like this:
    https://www.gamurdock.com/ga-murdock...0-bag-r0820829

    Screens for the bulkheads will be tricky, but perhaps I can work something out... (Researching that now)… I like the idea of the same style fittings for everything (each tank will have 5 bulkheads under this desing… 3 for overflow, 1 for pump return, 1 for water changes).

    If I scratch that idea, perhaps I can try to see if I can get a few more of those (I have 8, so I need like 34 more).SCAquariumBulkHeadFitting.jpg

    Back to the noise discussion... 3 1/2" bulkheads attached to 3 separate 1/2" lines... that join to 3 1" lines for 4 tanks.. and 3 1" lines for 4 tanks... and all 6 1" lines flowing very slowly to the SUMP..... would it be NOISY?

    I'm waiting on another 1 1/8" glass drill bit (Ruby hole bit) as I've misplaced mine. So I can't mock it up yet. I suppose I should at least do an autoCAD drawing to illustrate.
    Last edited by ODwyerPW; 06-09-2019 at 06:08 PM.
    Peter
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    Registered Member Cove Beach's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    As an ex-reefer, don’t forget about head loss for every elbow,union, and valve you add. I think you will find the Mag 5 will not cut it. The head numbers they list as max are pretty generous . You will want a pump that your head falls into the middle of its range. This gives you the ability to tune the system. And yes gate valves are the way to go. Ball valves are best left to on or off settings and are often hard to turn. A good source for fittings is Savko.com . Also if you are looking for quiet drains, I ran all mine in spa flex. I ran the emergency in rigid plastic as it is empty normally and I want to hear a problem.
    Also another thought might be to divide the tanks into two separate 4 tank systems, each with its own sump. The reason I suggest this is if you end up with somebody sick you won’t be spending as much on meds, like the old saying, not all your eggs in one basket. As far as overflow styles, are you planning on weirs, or bulkheads with strainers? Five holes in a small space is a little scary to drill, especially in thin glass. You might consider a spray bar that is over the back to save some drilling and bulkhead costs. One more thought if you are going with a multi tank system plumbed into a central sump. Have you thought about just getting a 125 gal tank and partition it off with perforated dividers or solid ones which would allow individual sections to be drained and cleaned as needed?
    Just thoughts from a saltwater guy of 20 yrs.

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    Platinum Member ODwyerPW's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cove Beach View Post
    As an ex-reefer, don’t forget about head loss for every elbow,union, and valve you add. I think you will find the Mag 5 will not cut it.
    after further research I'm beginning to conclude the same. So I have two options:
    1. Buy a bigger pump and use the 2 Mag5s for the water prep area (RO unit and 2 60gal totes)
    2. Place the 2 Mag5s in parallel, each supply 4 tanks a piece.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cove Beach View Post
    Also if you are looking for quiet drains, I ran all mine in spa flex.
    If I go with standard bulkheads I will look into that (leaning towards SCAquariums bulkheads as they have a strainer and a 90 bend.. all for about $6.50). However, if I go GAMurdock quick disconnect, then I'll be using LLPDE tubing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cove Beach View Post
    Also another thought might be to divide the tanks into two separate 4 tank systems, each with its own sump.
    I have my heart set on using 1 controller, 1 set of sensors (pH, temp, ORP, Conductivity, DO), 1 set of dosing pumps, 1 CO2 system and 1 UV Sterilizer, 1 TopOff/ Auto Change setup. If I go two systems, I have to duplicate all of that stuff. I have two 10 gallon tanks for quarantine and I'm a patient fishkeeper.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cove Beach View Post
    As far as overflow styles, are you planning on weirs, or bulkheads with strainers? Five holes in a small space is a little scary to drill, especially in thin glass.
    Considering 3 1-1/8" holes for overflow on one end (so 3 holes w/ 1 1/8" between them.) and the other end will have 2 1-1/8" holes, 1 for water return, 1 for drain. The long spans will not have holes. Just received the drill bit today, so will drill one of them shortly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cove Beach View Post
    Just thoughts from a saltwater guy of 20 yrs.
    I certainly appreciate your responses. I've always wanted a multi-tank system. But I don't want it to look like a factory or fish hatchery. So form is as important as function. Fortunately, with the 20Ls... their smallish footprint, small volume and reasonable weight gives me some license to try a few neat things with the design.
    Peter
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    Registered Member Cove Beach's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    I would go with the single larger pump and use the mags for other duties. Something that concerns me with your plans, is that you will have more water coming back to the sump than it can handle due to the bulkhead returns that will siphon back till the water level gets even with the bottom edge of the opening, not to mention all the water in your lines and drains. It all adds up. So be careful, siphon break holes will help a lot. As an example, I’m running a single 245 gal display with a basement sump. The display uses a weir with 1.5” drain and 1” safety. The returns are two 1.5” outlets on a teed spray bar. Both have siphon break holes which stops them quick but the weir allows about 30 gallons plus the volume of the plumbing to come back to the sump when I power down for maintenance. The sump is 180 gal acrylic DIY running at about 125gals which gives a comfortable margin of safety. Something to try maybe is to mock up one tank in the highest position from your sump, use a mag 5 and see how much drain back you get, that will give you real amounts for water and noise before you make Swiss cheese out of 8 tanks.

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    Platinum Member ODwyerPW's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cove Beach View Post
    Something that concerns me with your plans, is that you will have more water coming back to the sump than it can handle due to the bulkhead returns that will siphon back till the water level gets even with the bottom edge of the opening, not to mention all the water in your lines and drains. Something to try maybe is to mock up one tank in the highest position from your sump, use a mag 5 and see how much drain back you get, that will give you real amounts for water and noise before you make Swiss cheese out of 8 tanks.
    That's a good suggestion. I was imagining the potential to have 1/2" at each of the 8 tanks that might make it's way back... plus what's in the lines. Realistically, I could have 8 gallons coming back. I'll only have 11 1/2 gallons of extra capacity between sump partI and partII to absorb that during a shutdown/power outage. W/ 3 lines to the filter and 1 line back to the tank... per tank.... that volume could add up.

    Calculating .. a pipe w/ 1/2" inner diameter and 1' length gives a water volume of 0.0102 gallons for that section . So if I add up all of the feet for everything... I'll get an idea. Back of hand calculations is 2 gallons in all of the 1/2" plumbing. 10 gallons it total.. That's cutting it close to my 11 1/2 gallons of excess capacity. Maybe I'll make both part 1 and part 2 out of 20Ls just to give me more excess capacity. It means relocating the fertilizer bottles... I'll figure it out..
    Last edited by ODwyerPW; 06-16-2019 at 04:14 PM.
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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    The original plans have been dialed back just a bit. Initially the system will be built for 4 X 20L. Careful review indicated that I owned what was needed (i.e. led lighting, cable heaters, bulkheads) to complete 4 tanks, but that 8 tanks required buying much more stuff and changing some equipment as some of it is not available anymore (ie. ecoxotic stunners, hydor heating cables). Existing Mag5 pumps will be enough for 4 tanks as well, so that eliminates a pump purchase too.

    Everything will remain sized (e.g. 25W UV sterilizer already owned) for adding the other 4 later (2 to the left, 2 to the right, like in my original drawing). Sump layout has changed, it's bigger now so it's overkill for the 4 20Ls, but sufficient when it expands to 8 20L. The revised design eliminates two stands for the moment so those two lower holds are no longer available, which means finding a place for CO2 Tank, CO2 Reactor, UV Filter, Dosing pumps and nutrient bottles, etc... I'll figure that out.... maybe most of it will all just go above the very topmost shelf... it's not accessed that frequently anyway and it's not ugly stuff.

    Basically, this was a huge money saving measure. Less than half needs to be expended now, moving forward with just stocking for 4 tanks (plants / fish) and building two sections of the stand. There are very few other purchases necessary as almost everything else has been previously acquired. There are 8 tanks available, but only 6 will be used (4 tanks, 2 sumps).. There is no immediate need to repair the cracked one right away (see other thread on de-rimming) and a fully ready spare will be retained.

    It also gives room to locate the water storage and RO Unit right next to the tanks if desired. Previous plan was to locate that about 30 feet away in a bodega off of the carport that houses the water heater and is adjacent to the laundry room. That may still be done (it was a really good plan and it keeps all of the 'industrial looking' stuff away from the aquariums).


    It will have some reduced flow so perhaps the initial concerns over noise won't be that great. The system will have the following characteristics. Total water volume for the system is 65 gal (tanks) + 24 gal (sumps)+ 1 gal (UV, plumbing, reactor), so basically 90 gallons. The dual chamber sump has the ability to take on another 9 gallons for that system, definitely a good margin of overflow safety.

    There are advantages to having the first sump chamber holding only filter media separate from an almost empty second chamber holding the return pump, aux heater, level switches for auto top offs and water changes, dosing lines, and probes/instruments. This is looking like a nice system to maintain.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by ODwyerPW; 07-27-2019 at 05:31 PM. Reason: grammer
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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    Sounds like a very manageable system. If you were to build a closet to camouflage the water barrels that also may be an option. I hid a calcium reactor and co2 cylinder in a cabinet so as to keep a saltwater tank in the bedroom with wife’s approval lol!

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    Platinum Member ODwyerPW's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cove Beach View Post
    Sounds like a very manageable system... I hid a calcium reactor and co2 cylinder in a cabinet so as to keep a saltwater tank in the bedroom with wife’s approval lol!
    Having 6 linear feet dedicated to the sump is a luxury that I intend to exploit to make the system manageable.

    A tank in the bedroom.... That is dedication to your craft. lol!

    I am leaning towards utilizing an existing closet to make space for my setup. Our modest 2 bedroom/ 2 bath home literally has 7 rather large closets and 2 external bodegas. The 3 X 8 closet off the end of my office/den (itself only 11' X 8') could be sacrificed to place my rack. The original concept was to have the 8 X 20L arranged as a U in this space, which would require removing the closet and reducing my office/den parts to 9'6" X 8', while the fishy parts inhabit about 4'6" X 8' of the end of the total 14' x 8' available space.

    However, The 4 X 20L setup can fit without any demolition/construction work to the closet. The closet door is wide and nicely centered along the 8' width, so removing it would make for very nice access to the area. Again a cost saving measure.
    Last edited by ODwyerPW; 07-28-2019 at 02:52 PM.
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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    The number of bulkheads seems pretty excessive. You have essentially a 10x margin of safety for this system, I just can't see it ever getting to that point. If I were doing this I would have two bulkheads, one set higher than the other and if you ever see the high bulkhead receiving flow then you need to clean the screen of the lower bulkhead.

    I use these on my tank: https://www.amazon.com/Lifegard-Aqua.../dp/B00HFEQVHU unobtrusive and fit directly into the bulkhead meaning less piping in the tank.

    Having even flow through the tanks will also be a challenge, essentially trying to get four different pipe lengths and head to run at the same flow rate I assume you'll have a gate valve on each. As an alternative you could have the tanks flowing into the next but this would make for fairly high flow.

    I'm excited to see this setup complete! Should look great!

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    Platinum Member ODwyerPW's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    You have essentially a 10x margin of safety for this system... If I were doing this I would have two bulkheads.

    I use these on my tank: https://www.amazon.com/Lifegard-Aqua.../dp/B00HFEQVHU unobtrusive and fit directly into the bulkhead meaning less piping in the tank.

    ...I assume you'll have a gate valve on each.
    James... each concern you brought up is valid.

    I've decided to go two 3/4" bulkheads for the water exit on each tank (instead of 3 1/2"). They'll have screens. I like the ones you linked on Amazon... I'll try a few.
    The water entry will be one 1/2" bulkhead for each tank.. each will have a gate valve.... I think I can get pretty even flow into each of the 4 that way.
    (The other 1/2" bulkhead you are seeing is for water changes and attaching a vac.... So, I'm down to 4 holes a tank... )
    Peter
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    Default Re: 8 Tanks, 1 Sump, Direct Bulkheads, Too Noisy?

    Looks like you have everything sorted! Can't wait to see what this project looks like!

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