View Full Version : Tank On Tank Action -Surge Tank/Refugium-

12/17/2009, 02:43 AM
I've been thinking of adding a Surge/Refugium tank above my current 225 gal aquarium but have been looking at a few ways to build a surge device and I wanted to get your opinions.

First off here is a photo of the tank and where it sits-


I measured it out and I could easily fit another tank of similar size above it. Along with that on both sides of the tank there is about a foot and a half gap between the wall and tank so I could run steal legs down it and build a support structure above my current tank. Sound confusing but needless to say, I think that part would work.

As for the surge devices (haven't decided what rout to take yet) here is what I've drawn up. I show 3 different possibilities. Let me know what you think-

This is the Borneman Surge Device w/ the whole system-


This is the Carlson Surge Device (Close up on the right side of the surge tank)-


And one that I'm calling the Orvis Surge Device (thats me!) using a solenoid and float switches.


I think the last two have a good chance of working. As for the Borneman, I think there might be too much pressure on the toilet flapper and that could create some problems.

Anyways, these are all just rough drafts so feel free to criticize.


12/17/2009, 05:03 AM
Ah those all suck!!
There, my criticism for the day. :blown:

Now then, you seek the holy grail I see.

I have made literally dozens of the auto siphons. Clear up to 6 inch. One ran in a LFS for years. However, they are very finicky and can drive you crazy trying to "get it right".

You should definitely do lots of testing while trying to get everything just like it would be installed somewhere out on the lawn.. Often you will get it to work then find that you need to, say, put in an elbow so you don't hydro-mine the bottom of the tank. You put in the elbow and now the water skips across the surface douching the wall. So.. you put the elbow underwater. Now the siphon never breaks so you never get any more cycles.

If you can get them to work the way you want them then they are certainly cheap and durable.

The toilet plunger style also has issues. It's very hard to set them up so a float opens them and then they close on the draining. They often hang up and don't close completely or at all. Also if you get them to close smartly and reliably they often slam shut with all the shock and noise of your typical toilet going through its normal cycles.

Straight electrical valves often make loud clicking solenoid sounds unbecoming of a home display.

It always seems to me that a better way is to either use a motorized ball valve to gently open and control the flow and shut quietly or to use a VFD and a three phase motor. See Stu's very recent active thread.

One other point is that a second tank above will seriously impede your access to the lower tank.

You might be better off with the VFD route. You certainly would have more control and can actually push vastly more water than gravity would typically allow. The overall system would probably cost much less than a second tank scheme.

BTW Nice diagrams.

12/17/2009, 06:04 AM
User "Kent E" on fingerlakesreef.com has (or had, don't know if they're in operation any more) two very large surge tanks on his 1,000g plywood tank. Might be worth tracking him down over there - don't think he's active here much. Here's his (~65 page) build thread:


12/17/2009, 06:40 AM
There is a great LFS in Terre Haute, IN that has surge devices of all kinds operating in both their show rooms and in the back where they cultivate and breed. This is a LARGE operation and not your typical LFS. Inland Aquatics is their name. I wont begin to say that they are silent, but they are incredibly effective and natural in cadence.

I dont think they show any devices on the website, but they might be worth contacting since they have vast experience.

12/17/2009, 07:31 AM
Inland uses dump bucket ATS/surges. I have one of the original ATS250s. The giant units they use in the back were not designed to be silent. The smaller on tank units can be quieted but are never really silent. There are a couple of pictures on their website, one of the black ATS250 sitting on a DT (http://www.inlandaquatics.com/images/ats_on_ecot.jpg) and one that shows 3 of the giant units (http://www.inlandaquatics.com/images/warehouse_UJ-2J.jpg)in the back (big white boxes on the left).

I have photos and videos of my ATS250 posted in my thread here (http://reefcentral.com/forums/showpost.php?p=16206190&postcount=7).

12/17/2009, 11:53 AM
Thanks insane for closing the loop on my post...

Nice setup

The AtS250 that they have in the showroom is really nice except when the inside mechanism resets to refill. It makes a clunking sound as it pops back up. Other than that it works perfectly.

12/17/2009, 04:15 PM
They use sponges under each end of the bucket and if they are not kept up on they get flattened out over time and start making that clunk sound.