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Old 03/25/2004, 09:44 PM   #1
Herbie
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NEW plumbing method for an ULTRA QUIET REEF TANK!!!! LONG !!!!

Hey all,
Well I came up with this mostly by accident but it works VERY well with no inherent dangers of overflowing or starving the pump of water! Note: I am not, by any means, an expert on plumbing reef tanks or fluid hydraulics/dynamics. I am just an average reefer on a quest to make my tank perfectly quiet or as much as possible! I am a complete layman and you are to use any of this info AT YOUR OWN RISK !!!! This modification will only work with built in overflow boxes with 2 bulkheads drilled in them!!!
If you are Tired of a loud noisy in tank overflow and that annoying bubbling gushing noise in your sump, then read on........
I was tired of that too!!! My Oceanic 58 RR tank is in my living room so I was very concerned that it MUST be VERY quiet! I was on a mission to solve this problem.
I started with the Standard Reef Ready tank with 2 drilled holes inside the built in overflow chamber.One for the return and one for the pump. This is how most if not all Reef Ready tanks are made. The 2 drilled bulkhead is KEY to this whole method!
The tank came with the perferated stand tube, the one with a "million" holes in it! As you all know the water "fell" about 20" to the bottom of the overflow with a LOT of noise and splash!!! NOT ACCEPTABLE!!! So, I set out to make myself one of the "Durso" stand pipes (GREAT idea by the way!). I was able to mostly quiet down the overflow to acceptable levels. It was very hard to even notice the difference in noise because the water "crashing" into the sump was overpowering at that point. I tried everything I could think of to quiet it down. Different lengths of plumbing under the water level, air bleeds offs, slowing or speeding up the main pumps flow.........I tryed everything I could think of!
I eventually started to play around with the ball valves that I had plumbed in line when I plumbed the return system. NOTE: This was a last resort move just to see if it would quiet it down, and I had NO plans to run the tank with the return plumbing restricted.
I was able to get the tank COMPLETELY silent when I matched the return water from the overflow to the pumps output when running at max pressure running in the tank. RISKY right???....................READ ON !!!
I quickly noticed that the "dorso" at that point was not doing anything as I was able to set the height of the water in the overflow box with the ball valves on the return! So out came the "dorso pipe". I also know how touchy this set up was as far as maintaining the "perfect balance" between pump and return. Or so I thought ..............as most people do! So I set it and watched it for hours, marked the water level in the "open" stand piped overflow. Marked it with tape so I could see how the water level moved around.........it didnt once it stabilized.
Then I started to play around with the flow rates into the overflow box without touching the ball valves for adjustment at all. I pumped in more water with another small pump to simulate a return line starting to be restricted. The water level came up in the overflow box and STOPPED at a higher point with more flow and no adjusment on the ball valves!!! That is because at a slightly higher water level there is MORE head pressure pushing the the water down the return at a higher rate. WOW...........That is HUGE !!!!! The water level is somewhat self leveling ....to a point! Now you cant completely close off your return line and expect not to overflow beause it WILL. So I came up with a VERY IMPORTANT SAFETY FEATURE!!!!! I took out the rigid pump output line inside the overflow box and set it up as a higher (just below the intake overflow box "teeth") safety return plumbed directly to the sump, above the water a little bit. It should be empty at all times unless something is out of wack with the main return line! I just plumbed my pump output over the top of the tank like you would on a canister filter on a tank with out the built in overflow box.
So here is my final setup...........
On the main 1" return bulkhead in the overflow box I have a 1" piece of solid pvc that goes up to approx 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up inside the overflow( glued to the bulkhead). It must be sealed at the bottom or glued. (this is to keep the water IN the overflow box when power is out so you dont flood your sump.) I also have a 1" coupler on top of the pipe so I could insert that perferated pipe so that it is WAY above the water line and capped of so snails and large particles can not clog it.( I have about 10 or 12 inches of perferated tube so it will be next to impossible to stop the flow of water. Anything that will clog this would have clogged a "durso pipe" a long time ago!)
On the 3/4 bulkhead I have the solid tube (glued to the bulkhead) about 1 " below the teeth of the overflow box with a strainer cap on it (or I could have used some of the perferated pipe with a reducer bushing). The return for this goes directly to the sump just above the water line. It will only flow water in the event of a restriction in the main return line.........I kept this "emergency return" above the water level in the sump in case it was draining water I would be able to hear it! This tube should never have water flowing through it unless there is something wrong in your main return or someone fooled with the adjustment of the ball valves. It should probably be tested from time to time to be safe.
I ran the pump out put that used to go through the 3/4 plumbing in the overflow box, directly to the tank and over the rim. Like a normal tank running a canister filter. I am planning on adding a sea swirl where I can hook up this line to in the future. Make sure you dill a 1/8 " or slightly larger hole in the output line about 1/2" below the running level of the tank water to prevent a back siphon in the event of a power outage.
I feel that my tank is completly safe running like this and I have run it through all kinds of test scenarios. The only thing that could go wrong is if the main return gets completely shut off for some reason. The smaller emergency return would have a hard time keeping up. But anything under complete blockage of the main return........the emergency return could handle. ( You have just as much chance as completely blocking a normal or "durso" return as a this slightly restricted return.).
If the water level in the overflow gets to high (for whatever reason) , the emergency return will "kick in" start flowing water and you WILL know it because its return is above the water level in the sump and it will be a loud crashing return of water into the sump. It could even run like this for quite some time athough it will be the loud splashing bubbling noise that you will want to fix ASAP.
If the water level drops in the overflow it will just bounce back and forth to above and below the main stand pipe as the pump continues to fill the overflow box, also making lots of noise but continuing to run. You Will know it.
I keep the water level in the overflow box about 6" below the teeth of the overflow, although the main standpipe is about 6-8 inches below that water level. That is the KEY. to keep the AIR out of the return line! So it doesnt create a siphon and pull air it in. Making for LOTS of noise and bubles in the sump.
The "Durso" standpipe works GREAT for quieting down the overflowbox but is very hard to set it up to keep the sump quiet. This is most of the problem I have read from most people complaining about noise!Myself included.
With my tank set up like this my 58 RR flowing about 500 GPH is running COMPLETELY SILENT with just a slight hum of the pump! My 16 G bowfront with an Aquaclear 300 is slightly LOUDER than my 58. This is NO JOKE. I am very honest about this!
O.K. now its time to rip me up about this !!!!!!! Let me know any problems anyone can see with this setup or improvements that could be made. I am sure I have leftout some impotant info as I am getting tired of writing now! But feel free to ask me any questions or concerns you may have about this modification. I will see if I can take some pictures this weekend and get them posted as well because I am sure some of this may sound confusing!!!!
I hope this can help a few other reefers out there who cant sleep ,watch t.v., or even hold a conversation next to there tanks because they are to LOUD !!!
O.K. let the complaints and questions fly !!!!!!!!
HTH...........Herbie


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Old 03/25/2004, 09:53 PM   #2
nysbadmk8
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Pictures would help.


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Old 03/25/2004, 09:54 PM   #3
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Lets see some pics.


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Old 03/25/2004, 09:56 PM   #4
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O.K.
I WILL post some pictures by the weekend, if anyone is interested in seeing this plumbing set-up.
Later..............Herbie


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Old 03/26/2004, 12:15 AM   #5
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The intake strainer on your emergency 3/4" drain pipe could slow the water flow down that pipe unless you make sure there is enough open surface area on the strainer to exceed the cross-sectional surface area of the 3/4" pipe.

You could consider a float switch that would cut off your return pump if the water level in the overflow box got too high and threatened to flood over the top of the tank, this would provide redundancy to your emergency 3/4" pipe.

You might consider a gate valve instead of a ball valve.

But I would just use a standard durso setup and work on reducing your sump noise by other means. For example have the water enter the sump at just about water level with a T shaped pipe to allow air to exit upwards to avoid bubbling and gurgling. Also if noise in the sump is a real concern (also including pump and skimmer noise) maybe look into foam sound-deadening insulation inside your stand.


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Old 03/26/2004, 01:05 AM   #6
JimmyY2KW6
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That is what I am looking for. I always wanted a large tank in my bedroom but I hate the noise. Looking forward for your pictures.

Jimmy


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Old 03/26/2004, 09:26 PM   #7
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Hey,
Just a slight update to this new plumbing method. Today I went out to HD and picked up some plumbing fittings. I changed the "emergency" return "pipe" from 3/4 to 1" pipe. I just got a 3/4 threaded to 1 slip adapter and installed a 1" stand pipe on the 3/4 bulkhead as the emergency return. I figured that this may give me slightly more head pressure and greater flow in an emergency situation. I also installed some perferated pipe with a cap instead of an intake strainer on the pipe. The optimum way to use this system is to get the emergency bulkhead to accept a true 1" bulkhead but it is NOT needed..........READ ON!
I did a test today replicating a complete failure of the main standpipe return.......completely clogged scenerio!!! I closed off the ball valves (I am running 2) completely. I wanted to see if the emergency return could handle the entire flow of the tank. And...........IT DID, WITH NO PROBLEM AT ALL !!!!!! IT made quite a racket of splashing noise, which is great as this would tell me I needed to check into this problem asap. BUT.........This could continue to run like this indefinately!!!!!
I would like to put in Gate valves instead of ball vaves but that is just about all I would change so far. I dont really like or trust float switches. The "emergency return" method is a completely non- mechanical saftey override!!!
Good bye to the loud, noisy, spashing ,gurgling sump and tank overflow! No more "durso" stand pipe to playwith or air holes to fiddle with.
My tank is SO quiet now!!! You can barely even tell that it is running and there is almost no way that the tank or sump can overflow!!! I am Happy!!! I Trust this set-up completely now, after testing it in almost all scenerios of failures! It passed with flying colors!
I am working on a few pictures. I just have to play around with Irfanview a little to resize the pictures to acceptable levels. I will post pictures of this whole set-up ASAP!!!!
I hope this can help others out, as much as it has worked for me! Lots of brainstorming here!!!
Any question or concerns ???
Later..........Herbie


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Old 03/26/2004, 10:32 PM   #8
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Lookin forward to the pics definately interested in this one.
Could even please the little woman!!


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Old 03/26/2004, 10:41 PM   #9
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Excellent idea Herbie. It's good to see an idea like this whether it works out or not in the end, we would never make any progress if it weren't for people like you willing to take risks and innovate.

Just wondering, what pump do you have, I am looking for a quiet system too and I'm considering a Velocity pump or perhaps "The Quiet One" pump.


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Old 03/28/2004, 01:14 PM   #10
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SOS (Silent Overflow System)Pictures !!!

O.k. Here are the pictures I have promised. I just put them all in the pictures section instead of loading up this thread with them. Just click on the link at the bottom for pictures and slight descriptions. The main Description of this DIY return plumbing method and theorys on why it works are in this thread...read them here.
Note about the pictures: I am still in the testing phases of setting this tank up, so the tank,sump,refugium are empty. Just running with fresh water untill I get my plumbing perfect first. I plan on removing all of the vinyl hose after all tests are complete!
On the sump pictures, the PVC is the main ball valved controlled returns to the sump/refugium. I am looking for gate valves to replace these with as they should offer a more precise control over flow rates that will not "get stuck" like ball valves.
The Grey vinyl hose is the return from the "emergency" return to sump. I will replace this with 1" pvc pipe like the main return as soon as I can figure the best place to "dump" it into the sump.
The clear vinyl hose is the output from the pump(just a RIO 2100 for now) to the tank. Just an over the rim type of return with safety holes drill in it to prevent a back flow to the sump in the event of a power outage. I will eventually like to plumb this to a Sea swirl type of rotating pump return.
Note: ALL the pictures are at full operating flow rates, approx. 450 -500 gph. Do you see any air bubbles in the sump???? This set-up is EXTREMELY QUIET. It is right next to the TV, and the DVD player,when its running, makes more noise than this tank does when its running. THIS IS NOT A JOKE! I am completely honest about this. If you cant stand all the noise your overflow/sump makes, you should give this a try!
I will gladly answer any questions about this or try to offer any help in set-up if anyone needs it.
Any questions or comments????
Later Herbie
Silent overflow system pictures.


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Old 03/28/2004, 06:13 PM   #11
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I'm still not 100% clear on what you're describing- are you simply restricting the durso return to only what your pump is pushing anyway, and then using an emergency return that's above the durso uptake level?


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Old 03/28/2004, 07:28 PM   #12
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ckhorne,
Did you look at the pics? No Durso here. No air valves or holes to drill in that durso style standpipe. Durso's almost always introduce air into the stand pipe leading to a noisy sump. The durso setup does make the overflow quiet, however the sump is the next in line as far as noise goes. This Mod is just an open standpipe that sits well below the surface of the water to prevent air from being sucked into the standpipe. No air in the standpipe and return lines = silent overflow and sump.
Yes the basic idea is to restict the return flow to the flow of the pump so you can set the water level higher in the overflow chamber above the standpipe. The second "emergency" standpipe is just incase the main becomes clogged or you dont have the Valves in the main return dialed in right, preventing a flood when the water level raises. Its really very simple.
HTH.........Herbie
SOS - Silent Overflow System


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Old 03/28/2004, 10:20 PM   #13
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looking at the pictures explains alot, but I still don't understand why you ran the return line thru the back instead of thru the overflow. Is it strictly as a safety catch for clogging? The rest is just placing a valve on the intake to the sump by dialing it to match the output of the return pump after the water has risen to the lvl you optimally want.. correct?
Couldn't the people who are currently using a durso etc just place a gate/ball valve on the current line and have the top submerged by adjusting the flow rate? and/or while suberming (if not alrdy) the pipe to the sump in the water?
How often has your saftey catch been set off?


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Old 03/28/2004, 11:34 PM   #14
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Return

He is using both holes in the reef ready overflow for drains. His return is over the back. The second drain line is what he is calling his emergency drainline, in case one gets plugged up. Which will probably happen if the screens are not cleaned periodically. Still an interesting look at something different. I don't really see the need for the ball valve though. You could in essence use a higher velosity pump and throttle it down with the same set up, or may not have to with the dual drains.


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Old 03/29/2004, 09:29 AM   #15
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A durso style standpipe is not needed in this application. A durso (with the little air hole at the top) will always introduce air into the drain line making for loud splashing and bubbling noise in the sump.
The single overflow main drain when matched to the pump output with a ball valve in the drain line will work fine for some time. Eventually the drain pipe screen,and ball valve WILL start to become resticted with algea,detritus,sediment etc. The water level will then start to rise in the overflow chamber up to the point where the "emergency" drain will start to flow some of the extra water. The Emergency drain is a failsafe, some insurance that will give you piece of mind that your tank WILL NOT OVERFLOW! The "emergency" drain is positioned in the sump so if it is flowing water you will hear it and you will then need to flush out or clean the main drain system.
A higher volume pump will not work by itself per say, because the overflow "teeth" will be able to flow much more water than a 1" standpipe..... allways! You would not be able to set the water hieght in the overflow box with out a valve in the drain line. We are trying to keep the Air OUT of the drain line preventing any noise, because we are flowing "clear" water.
Later..........Herbie


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Old 03/29/2004, 10:43 AM   #16
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Quote:
to keep the Air OUT of the drain line preventing any noise
How do you figure? The air will enter through the mesh above the waterline. Without air the water won't flow - period. You doubt me? Plug the vent behind your toliet & flush - be ready to run.

I'm guessing it's silent because you've dialed the pump way back.


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Old 03/29/2004, 11:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by ErikS
How do you figure? The air will enter through the mesh above the waterline. Without air the water won't flow - period. You doubt me? Plug the vent behind your toliet & flush - be ready to run.

I'm guessing it's silent because you've dialed the pump way back.

The overflow is getting air into it....its open. You are not talking about a closed box. Take a milk jug fill it up and turn it upside to drain. Air gets sucked in to drain. Now cut the bottom off a milk jug, fill it up upside down, and let it drain....where is that other hole that is needed? It’s the cut off top. No air is being sucked through the drain till it gets close to the bottom. So now which one does and overflow most resemble?

Back to the thread….

I like it and it is pretty simple. Now the cool think would be to set it up with just one pipe with a 100% plastic/pvc valve, in the overflow, and an extra tee and elbow below the valve, with a riser up above. A problem is with space on smaller internal overflows etc.

Restricting the drain line to tune a stand pipe is not new. Adding a safety overflow is the new part that I have not seen.


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Old 03/29/2004, 11:54 AM   #18
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Erik,
Maybe you had better go back and read the whole post. I know it is long but it explains everything in detail (maybe to much detail). My pump IS pumping at FULL FLOW. The "mesh" is just to keep large particulate mater out of the drain line (and snails). I just match the flow rate of the pumped water into the tank with the ball valves on the drain line. This way I can set the water level at what ever level I want to in the overflow chamber. I set it a few inches over the standpipe to PREVENT air from being "vortexed" into the drain line, which makes noise and tons of bubbles in the sump. See Picture! It is really very simple!
Have you ever done a water change before and used a hose to siphon water into a bucket? No air in there, is there? If there was, you wouldnt have a siphon at all. If the end of the siphon hose is held under water on both ends, there is no noise right? AND the water would still flow at the highest rate because there is NO AIR in the line!
Yes I do doubt you because we are talking about two totaly different systems. Our sumps are open........meaning that they DO NOT NEED TO BE VENTED! A houshold plumbing system is completely different as it is a sealed system. The built up air pressure in the septic tank would eventually overcome the gravity of the "toilet" flushing and you would have a flood.
All I know is that this is working GREAT for me. Maybe its one of those things you have to see(and HEAR!) to believe.
Later...........Herbie

Picture of standpipe with mesh screen with NO AIR being "sucked in.


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Old 03/29/2004, 12:04 PM   #19
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endymion,
Thanks for the support on this one. Good example with the milk jug. It really is VERY SIMPLE but effective plumbing method. It is just kind of hard to explain! I know that a lot of people may want to restrict the drain line to quiet down there system but may be afraid of overflowing the tank! ME TOO! Thats what got me thinking about putting in an "emergency" overflow drain. You wouldnt believe the piece of mind it gives! I sometimes go away for extended periods and this makes me feel very comfortable, AND solves my noise problem. Its a win-win!
Thanks.............Herbie


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Old 03/29/2004, 12:34 PM   #20
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I only see that working for low flow systems. Anything large like 2000 gph would work


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Old 03/29/2004, 01:10 PM   #21
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Quote:
Have you ever done a water change before and used a hose to siphon water into a bucket? No air in there, is there? If there was, you wouldnt have a siphon at all. If the end of the siphon hose is held under water on both ends, there is no noise right? AND the water would still flow at the highest rate because there is NO AIR in the line!
That's exactly it, an overflow IS NOT a siphon. The speed of the water through a siphon is limited by the size of the pipe & the distance of the drop. In the case of an overflow you are actually forcing the water through the pipe - this requires air. If you're running the water at the speed of a 1" pipe dropping 2' then you're not running much water through the system (which is exactly what I said)
Quote:
Restricting the drain line to tune a stand pipe is not new. Adding a safety overflow is the new part that I have not seen
I'll agree on that one, restrict the overflow, reduces the amount of air required, reduce the noise. As long as you don't dial it back beyond the amount of water coming into the tank life is good. The emergency isn't a bad thing, if the main gets blocked then it will take over.
Quote:
The overflow is getting air into it....its open. You are not talking about a closed box.
No, I said that the system IS getting air (it has to or it won't function). He's the one that said "no air", which is not possible.


It's apparent you undertand neither physics or plumbing. It's not better than a stockman or duso, all that going on is slowing the speed at which the water hits the sump = okay for low flow.


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Old 03/29/2004, 01:19 PM   #22
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Correct me if I'm wrong but, I think it will work as long as the pipe is large enough to handle the flow.

I would not feel comfortable restricting my overflow unless there was a backup drain line.

Herbie, have you tried just using a durso? The reason I ask is because I use two in my 120 and I can barely hear any water noise.


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Old 03/29/2004, 01:28 PM   #23
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Exactly, I think I'm also misunderstanding where all this noise is really coming from. My durso drops water maybe a couple inches at most ... no gurgling there.

Not to doubt your gurgling drains at all ... just wonder why one of the more common fixes couldn't do it. My durso is pretty darn silent [a lot quieter than my pumps and for sure the skimmer!]


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Old 03/29/2004, 02:15 PM   #24
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I also don't get it. If you look at your standpipe in your overflow box, it looks like the water level is about 4 inches below the teeth of the overflow. That alone would cause some splashing sounds.

I think everyone agrees that the durso will successfully silence your overflows. The issue here is silencing your sump.

I've managed to do that just by how trilinearmipmap stated above. The water from my overflows drops down in my sump below the water level of the sump. I have a Tee fitting that elbows upwards which is exposed to the air. When the water (full of air from the durso) comes rushing down the overflow pipe, it enters below the water line in the sump. The Tee which is incorporated into the plumbing bleeds off that extra air into the atmosphere. The tank is dead silent (both at the overflow and at the sump) and i didn't even have to drill a 2nd bulkhead in my overflow.


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Old 03/29/2004, 02:46 PM   #25
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mrsandman,
I looked at your site to look for how you silence your water coming from the tank to the sump. I think Im doing the same thing as you with the T's but wanted to make sure. I just have my pvc lines running below my water line and then a T on the end of the line...

Herbie
I too do not really understand this idea. I say kudos to you for having an idea and sharing it with us but I dont see how you do not have noise in your overflow with the water falling over the sides...I run dursos on my tank and dont have air problems. I did at first but it takes some work to get them where you want them. I think the stockman standpipe is a great idea too and will probably try that stand pipe on a new prop tank I will have up soon to see how it compares with the durso.

again thanks for taking the time to explain your idea to us and if it works for you thats great. I hope you can see where we are all coming from and hope you understand.


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