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Old 09/19/2005, 04:23 AM   #1
ReefMeister2
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Modified dual "Lifereef Overflow" (slimline model) 2,000 gph and TOTALLY silent!

Well....
I've had some unbelievable luck lately with my customized systems (see "The Lazy Reefkeeper" series) so I want to continue sharing my experiences as they are presented, tested and proven in battle. Though I don't think this thread justifies the title of "Episode IV" of the Lazy Reefkeeper series, (because of its specialized nature) nonetheless, I do know that alot of people out there are still having major overflow noise issues; so I want to help by showing the modifications that worked for me.

Issue #1:
I wanted more flow capabilities than the stock Lifereef overflow(1400 gph) was designed for.
I am running dual Quiet One 6000 pumps, each rated at 1500+ gph. I estimate an approximate net flow (after head loss) of around 2,000 gph, in aggregate, when both pumps are wide open.

Issue #2:
Noise suppression

So... please allow me to present some modifications I have done to my overflow to combat these issues. Yes, I have considered both the "Durso" and "Stockman" devices, but neither of these mods would address issue #1 above.
Ironically, I found that the more flow that I was able to achieve, the quieter my overflow became. Eventually I was able to fine-tune the device to the point where it is now ABSOLUTELY SILENT!

Sooooo, here we go:


Here is a standard view showing the overflow box as it is seen from the front of my reef. Notice that the drains are completely stock with the lifereef risers provided by the manufacturer. There was no need of any type of noise suppression device.




Here is a top view showing the first obvious modification: I Added a second pair of U-tubes to the filter to accomodate faster water transfer from the inner box to the outer box. Only three tubes were neccessary to provide the results I was looking for...the fourth tube is a redundant backup. I am a HUGE believer in redundancy!


Here is a close-up view showing the overflow with all four tubes in action. Notice the white bulkhead-looking device in the upper left corner. This is the second modification that I added.


This is a closeup of the drain/vent that I created for the outer box. Remember how the "vent" in a standard bathroom sink or tub drain works?: not only does it increase velocity by venting the drain, thus preventing a vacuum effect, but also provides an axilliary overflow should the water level rise to a dangerous height. Same exact thinking is incorporated here.


And here is the backside view of the overflow showing 1-1/2" ABS pipe and fittings that were used to create the vent/auxiliary overflow drain. This is attached to the bulkhead-type fitting seen in the previous photo; it then merges into the manifold going to the sump


This is a lower view showing the third and final modification: a common manifold constucted from 1-1/2" ABS fittings. The lifereef comes standard with dual 1" drains glued to the bottom of the outer box. I adapted these drains to attach to 1-1/2" ABS which then merges into a single 1-1/2" drain heading out to the sump in my garage. The ABS sweeps completely eliminate any sharp 90s and elbows. Any potential backflow is greatly reduced by these fittings, (as opposed to using standard white PVC parts: Ts, elbows, etc).


And this is another regular view showing the dual Lifereef Overflow box doing its job....
only better!:




Last edited by ReefMeister2; 09/19/2005 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 09/19/2005, 01:15 PM   #2
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(copied and pasted from an adjoining thread)


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Cliff
Great idea, I have a question. What did really help your noise suppression? Is it the drain vent?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Yea, now that I read my own writing...
that was the main theme of my post (noise suppression) but I didn't really elaborate the final conclusion very well. LOL, That's what I get for posting at 3 a.m. sorry about that.

There are a few contributing factors, but THE most important key (for my application anyway) was in maintaining a particular water level in the outer box. For the Lifereef, I found that maintaining the water level at the 2/3 mark in the outer box was the "sweet spot" for complete silent operation. Ironically, this means to INCREASE the flow to get to this sweet spot.
The height of the water eliminated any turbulence that is normally created when water and air both rush down the same hole.
This is where the "other" factors play a role: the vent modification, the large diameter manifold, and 2/3 high water level, all work in concert allowing water to simply "slip" down the throat (at 2,000 gph no less!) in complete silence, instead of creating a vortex situation.

Think about it: When the water level in your sump falls (particularly the pump compartment) you get all kinds of turbulence, bubbles, and NOISE that you don't really pay attention to because it is down in the bottom of your stand. What do you do to eliminate this problem? Your raise the water level back up and it eliminates the turbulence. The same logic applies to your overflow. The only coveate to this solution is that you obviously have to have a large enough pump to reach this target water flow, AND the DESIRE to have this much flow in your main tank in the first place. Of course not all applications are going to require 2,000 gph. A combination of factors will dictate what your particular "sweet spot" will be, such as size/brand of overflow box, # of U-tubes, diameter of drain pipe, etc.

I also found that The level of the "inner box" is also important (though to a lesser extent) to prevent a trickle-sound effect. In fact, the photos in my thread were taken BEFORE I fine-tuned the inner box, and as you can see, water is rushing past the teeth and droping a few inches into the cup....this causes Noise! To completely silence it, I simply lowered the inner box (Lifereef is adjustable) about a half inch to eliminate this little water fall. Water now easily transfers into the inner box at nearly the same water level and eliminates even the slightest noise.


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Old 09/19/2005, 03:47 PM   #3
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i have an overflow, if not the same, very simular.. good ideas for my upgrade


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Old 05/02/2006, 04:14 PM   #4
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just a bump to the top, for those who haven't seen this thread yet.


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Old 05/02/2006, 05:54 PM   #5
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This mod kicks some serious ***! I imagine that a 90 on that stand pipe could help if you do get any noise at all.


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Old 05/02/2006, 06:00 PM   #6
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Very nice! I really like the vent ...

You mentioned having the outer box 2/3 full of water as being important to keeping the overflow quiet. Is it the water height relative to the box that's important? IMO it may be the height of the water column relative to the top of the outflow riser tube that makes the difference. If you were to put in a shorter riser I'd imagine that the optimum water level would go down. Then again, maybe not ... Just speculating here.

After seeing this post, I'll have to go and read your Lazy Reefkeeper series ...


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Current Tank Info: 37g (24"x18"x21") - Eheim 1250 Return Pump - Deltec AP600 Skimmer - 250w MH & 2x24w T5 (Maristar) - 2 MaxiJet 1200's (for now) - Tunze Osmolator ATO
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Old 05/03/2006, 02:47 PM   #7
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Thanks guys for the compliments.

xchrisjb,
you may be correct, I can't refute that threory. I've not yet experimented with pinpointing the "source" of overflow noise, but my guess is most of it is attributed to the "gurgling" sound that is produced when water and air are forced down the same tube. Raising the water level within the overflow box prevents air from entering the drain in the first place.

Think of it as your bathtub drain....you hear absolutely nothing when the tub is draining while partially filled with water, but as soon as the water level reaches a certain point (where air breaks the surface) a great deal of noise is produced. The same thing happens with our overflow drains.

That being said, however, I know there are multiple "remedies" to mask the noise (stockman, durso, reefmeister, etc.) they merely attack the same problem from different angles. My method of raising the water level within the outer box is simple, but only if you have adequate capacity from your pump (GPH) and overflow box; as you can see, I had to modify my overflow to accommodate the latter issue.

I don't think I posted the links to my "lazy reefkeeper" series in this thread, so here they are if you haven't already read the three:

Water Mixing Barrel system:
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...hreadid=575416

Two-minute water change:
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...hreadid=579223

RO/DI for Dummies:
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...hreadid=619925

Oh, and I almost forgot. this one is not part of the LRK series, but definitely a humorous thread nonetheless (well...at least I can laugh about it now):

Reefmeister's guide to catching a fish:
http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...hreadid=714821

Please feel free to post comments on any of these threads so that they'll be bumped back to the top (current) for others to read.
Thanks



Last edited by ReefMeister2; 05/03/2006 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 07/28/2006, 11:59 PM   #8
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Nice work. I like the backups on this plan. Especially considering the main drain is at at full capacity! It looks like you've don't clean detailed work as well. I'm pretty safetly minded and it's nice to see some good ideas in this areas. While reading the post, I orginally had some reservations on the redundant U-tube. But after thinking through all the failure scenarios. I think it's a great idea. Kudos.


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Old 07/29/2006, 10:32 PM   #9
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Awesome mod! ... Except for the ABS. ABS is highly recommended not for us in aquariums as it is used for "waste water" and is very commonly treated with chemicals when created. Just FYI.


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Old 07/30/2006, 11:50 AM   #10
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Rokle,
This has been proven to be completely false. MANY threads here on the subject. Its black so it looks better, and is almost 1/2 the cost of pvc to boot


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Old 07/30/2006, 12:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by H20ENG
Rokle,
This has been proven to be completely false. MANY threads here on the subject. Its black so it looks better, and is almost 1/2 the cost of pvc to boot
Many threads to prove it's true as well. We'll have to agree to disagree. Just wanted to make that point, do with it what you will.


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Old 07/30/2006, 12:29 PM   #12
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"Many threads to prove it's true as well. We'll have to agree to disagree"

Fair enough. Got a link to those? (Not being sarcastic, I just have not seen them)
I and many others have used it for years without incident. I have not read any posts where it was proven to be bad. I could see if it had microbial inhibitors in the material, but such a "feature" would most surely be emblazoned all over the stuff and used as a marketing tool to mark up the cost

RM2,
Sorry for the brief hijack, but have you experienced any problems from this?


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Old 07/30/2006, 01:18 PM   #13
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All the waste water thing means is that it is not tested/approved for the pressure that is required for bringing water into the house.


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Old 07/30/2006, 07:10 PM   #14
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Once again ~ that’s an ingenuitive and original mod!

Here is a good site to read up on different types of plastic plumbing materials. It doesn’t end any controversies, but it does state the uses of each type of plumbing. All it boils down to is, for every type of plumbing job there’s a specific type of plumbing material that is tested and approved for that specific use. Just because ABS is recognized as acceptable for use in sewers doesn’t mean that it is not ‘safe’ for use in other applications (like aquariums). ABS plastic pipe/fittings are just not listed as ‘tested and approved’ for potable water and reef safe because that’s just not their primary use. I believe many aquarium products are constructed of ABS and sold for aquarium use because those individual products were appropriately tested and approved for those uses.

In order for a product to be used for containing drinking water it must be ‘NSF approved’. This type of testing is not cheap and must be done each and every year in order to maintain its certification. If a company made a certain product that also happened to come in 3 different colors; all 3 colored products must undergo the identical testing each year. This is why most materials/products are not listed as safe for different uses even though they are. Each use has a different certification (pressure, heat, cold, flexibility, etc…).

There are many types of paints/coatings that are safe for reef use, but just aren’t specifically listed as ‘reef safe’ or potable water approved because their primary use may be for flooring and roofing because that’s where the most money is (large square footage). ABS it ‘targeted’ for big linear footage of ‘sewer use’.


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Old 07/30/2006, 09:21 PM   #15
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What do you think about a single lifereef overflow, not the dual that you have? How many tubes do you think might be needed, 2 or 3?

rich


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Old 07/31/2006, 12:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by RandyStacyE
Once again ~ that’s an ingenuitive and original mod!

Here is a good site to read up on different types of plastic plumbing materials. It doesn’t end any controversies, but it does state the uses of each type of plumbing. All it boils down to is, for every type of plumbing job there’s a specific type of plumbing material that is tested and approved for that specific use. Just because ABS is recognized as acceptable for use in sewers doesn’t mean that it is not ‘safe’ for use in other applications (like aquariums). ABS plastic pipe/fittings are just not listed as ‘tested and approved’ for potable water and reef safe because that’s just not their primary use. I believe many aquarium products are constructed of ABS and sold for aquarium use because those individual products were appropriately tested and approved for those uses.

In order for a product to be used for containing drinking water it must be ‘NSF approved’. This type of testing is not cheap and must be done each and every year in order to maintain its certification. If a company made a certain product that also happened to come in 3 different colors; all 3 colored products must undergo the identical testing each year. This is why most materials/products are not listed as safe for different uses even though they are. Each use has a different certification (pressure, heat, cold, flexibility, etc…).

There are many types of paints/coatings that are safe for reef use, but just aren’t specifically listed as ‘reef safe’ or potable water approved because their primary use may be for flooring and roofing because that’s where the most money is (large square footage). ABS it ‘targeted’ for big linear footage of ‘sewer use’.
I completely agree. Nice thought process. It's not a perfect science here. Your going to have to use your head on this. NSF certification deals with food safety. That means among other things, that the materials can't harbor bacteria. Anyone in the reef world worried about that? Hardly! Also NSF certities many materials for different uses. Many of them deemed safe for wet environments would not be safe in a reef environment containing metals etc.

Even if you were to convince yourself that NSF is the only way to go, your options become severly limited. You have to live in a very cramped (or expensive) world of choices. Are you sure it's worth it? I have also used ABS for years in various tanks. I can't say for certain that it has no harmful effects, but my coraline completely coveres it. Apparently coraline loves it. It really can't be that bad.

It's good to be a little paranoid to protect your investment. Just don't go overboard.


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Old 07/31/2006, 12:48 AM   #17
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Hi everyone,
Sorry for the late reply but I am in Alaska at the moment and only have periodic e-mail access.

thanks for the compliments/concerns and other information.
I have not heard of any concerns regarding ABS plastic. I can only say I have used it for about 4 years now with no ill effect.
I really like to use the sweeps and various shapes that are available in ABS (but not in PVC)
I am highly skeptical that harmful chemicals would be used in the manufacturing of this material. It simply would not be good business.


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Old 08/06/2006, 03:30 AM   #18
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Hi everyone,
I'm back home and back in the saddle again
The sad thing is... I actually missed my garage! LOL
"Tinkerers never sleep"

OK, well, I don't know why I didn't think of this before but...many (if not most) light-duty bulkhead fittings (designed for aquariums) are made of ABS plastic! Granted, there MAY be different "grades" of ABS used in the manufacture of different products, but I doubt this is the case.
I really think this material is safe, safe, safe!

H20ENG,
You are one of my RO/DI mentors! "highjacking" would never come to mind....your posts are always awesome!

GROSSR,
I have no experience with the single LifeReef overflow, but I suspect it could handle significantly more flow with a second U-tube...perhaps somewhere approaching 1,000 gph. The limiting factor would be its single 1" drain. There is enough room to retrofit a 1-1/4" drain in its place, but, I've just not gathered the nerve yet to try dislodging the existing PVC fitting that is glued in place.

RokleM,
While I am skeptical of your ABS concern, I ABSOLUTELY respect and appreciate the feedback! Since I have not formally researched the issue, I cannot difinetively refute what you say. I'd sure hate to steer people the wrong way if you are indeed correct. Please keep us posted if you find additional information on the subject.

Thanks everyone for the support ...

Reefmeister2


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Old 08/17/2006, 06:49 PM   #19
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Reefmeister,
You mentioned here and on the Calfo overflow thread that white-nut bulkheads are useful because of the particular threading compatibility they offer. YOu never said where to get them, and I've hunted everywhere I can think of and seen no sign of them. Can you share the source of these white-nut bulkheads?


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Old 08/17/2006, 08:38 PM   #20
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I am trying to understand why you would need that much flow through your sump, How much flow does your skimmer handle ? and not very much contact time in your fuge at that rate


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Old 08/18/2006, 12:14 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by spence15610
I am trying to understand why you would need that much flow through your sump, How much flow does your skimmer handle ? and not very much contact time in your fuge at that rate
The skimming concern with fast flow is one of the most wide-spread fallacies in this hobby. (right up there with the "closed-loop fad", but I'll save that argument for another time)
Think about fluid dynamics for a moment. What goes on within the reaction chamber of a skimmer is mutually exclusive to whatever is going on outside the skimmer. In other words, water flow can be whizzing by at lightning speed through the sump and it still wouldn't have any relevance to what's going on inside that $600 acrylic tube. X-quanity of water is sucked up by the skimmer pump and Y-quantity is expelled at the skimmer outlet...simple as that. What goes on "inside" has nothing to do with what's going on "outside". Things that DO matter are the velocity of the skimmer pump, efficiency/impeller design, air volume, etc.

Now to answer your original question:
I have that much flow going through my sump....because I can!
I hate the look of powerheads in a display tank, and I loath the concept of closed-loops on small/medium sized tanks even more.

No really, if you were to stand directly in-front of my sump, you would not possibly guess that there is that much flow going through there. The tranquility is due to two factors:
1) my drain splits into two outlets with the bulk of the flow going through the filter sock and the other going to the fuge (all gravity fed) therefore alot of the velocity is "shared" so to speak; they then converge again into the center pump compartment for the return.

2) Just plain 'ole sh_ _ house luck! when I originally designed my sump I had absolutely no idea about what I was doing! I just did what seemed logical at the time.

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...hreadid=579223






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Old 08/18/2006, 12:30 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by cabin
Reefmeister,
You mentioned here and on the Calfo overflow thread that white-nut bulkheads are useful because of the particular threading compatibility they offer. YOu never said where to get them, and I've hunted everywhere I can think of and seen no sign of them. Can you share the source of these white-nut bulkheads?

Unfortunately, I purchase them at local fish stores (which means rediculous mark-ups) because I hate to rely on pictures; and even then, most websites only give you a b/w sketch.
Here is one website that shows a full color picture, though I haven't ordered any bulkheads from them yet.
http://www.customaquatic.com/customa...dexid=pf-ta-t3
this is a very good vendor for almost any equipment.


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Old 08/18/2006, 04:28 PM   #23
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ReefMeister2 - thanks for the reply to my question, I understand where you are coming from now


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Old 08/18/2006, 04:30 PM   #24
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Nice sump/fuge set up by the way


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Old 08/18/2006, 04:49 PM   #25
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I second that.

Custom Aquatic takes their customer support very seriously. Good company and most of their prices are cheaper than most.


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