Marc's ADA 60P build

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by Marc, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. Marc

    Marc Guest

    So I'm back! Couple years ago I was starting up a 33 gal oceanic cube - Life happened and the tank never got set up. My daughter is now almost 2 and I'm here for a second try! I got a couple more months before life happens again lol so I guess I better get this thing up!

    Here is the tank - Its a high clarity ADA tank that I got from Boun (also a member here)
    Drilled the back for two 3/4" bulkheads

    Here is the back - Does it look okay?

    Inside the cabinet - Sicce Pump, Cobalt heater, CAD lights skimmer I got from IBN and Aquaeon sump. As you can see the sump fits snugly in the stand- doesn't seem like I can fit anything else in there...

    My main concern with this tank at the moment is noise. Since Ive never had experiences with drains, I'm hoping this one doesnt make too much noise. I still need to drill a hole on the cap as well.

    Also from what I understand I need to drill a siphon break on the return? Where do I drill that? Do I need it?

    Couple things on my mind...Apex controller, mp10 or alternative and dosing. I come from a heavy planted tank background so NPK is my norm!

    More to come!
  2. Marc

    Marc Guest

    Oh also please let me know if I'm doing something completely wrong or could be doing better - This is my first salt tank so any suggestions are welcome.
  3. iCon

    iCon Supporting Member

    Looks great! I'd consider some sort of grill to go over your bulkheads in the tank. Snails, fish and other things have found their way to plug them up!
  4. Apon

    Apon Volunteer

    I don't think you can do a siphon breask without an overflow box. Nice tank though.
  5. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    During a power outage the tank will drain till the drain bulkhead is dry (tank level is below drain) and the return sucks air. You can't put a siphon break on the drain but you could put an 'ell' on the drain with the open end up, thus reducing the amount of water drained till it reaches 'dry'. This will also improve surface skimming.

    Before adding a siphon break to the return, test it. If the sump can handle the water volume till the return sucks air, you don't need a SB.

    SB, like check valves, are a maintenance issue. Easy to forget to do basic cleaning and then the big power outage hits and it's flood time! Marine systems grow a lot more 'crud' than a FW tank. Small holes like the SB fill with life or mineral deposits. Surfaces like the seal of a check valve get little bumpy growths that prevent proper sealing.

    With only one drain you are going to have a hard time getting it silent or even quiet. As the drain gets closer to capacity the noise will get louder. Think toilet flushing! The only solution is to keep the turnover rate low so you are not close to the capacity.

    Fill that baby with fresh water. Test it for power outages and tune the return so the drain noise is not driving you (or others) nuts.

    It's a beautiful tank but it needs water and life! Get to it before 'life happens' AGAIN! :)
  6. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Yeah, first thing to do is fresh water test it just to make sure 1) no leaks and 2) things work as you expect.

    From what I see in the pictures you have 2 bulkheads in the tank one for drain one for return. In the case of a power outage the tank water will go down that level. This is a good way to test if your sump is large enough, which is something that would be my first concern just from looking at things but I can't really see how high the water level will naturally be in the sump it could be that the baffles in there will keep a relatively low water level and you will have enough overflow room.

    You do not need to drill a siphon hole because you won't have a siphon, siphons are when you your water through pipes goes higher than the natural tank water. Water will basically flow downhill and since all your pipes are "downhill" everything will drain to the bottom of the bulkhead. You could use some loc-line or something and make a bend so that the water return is actually higher in which case you help out the potential return issue, and then as John mentioned an Ell (special slip fit 90°) could help out the drain side.

    Other issues is your drain, it probably is going to be noisy. While you could try and choke the drain with that valve you have on there and raise the water level in the tank by draining slower, but I don't think I would do that because you don't have an emergency overflow. Imagine you get it set up exactly perfectly... then one tiny piece of algae or something gets stuck in there, now your drain is a bit more restricted even if it's a tiny bit... well that tiny bit will compound and bite you in the butt when your fancy tank turns into one of those infinity overflow tanks ... except no one in the house will be happy about it :D. Either way I'd be careful of having snails in the tank as it stands, they WILL crawl in that hole and they will clog things up.
  7. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    Hi Marc, your feedback on my RO/DI thread was golden and lead me to make some changes to my plans so I owe you thanks there :)

    So I would put in a second drain and an overflow box over both bulkheads, since I'm at work right now & keeping it short so I'll just share with you my thread on the topic of overflows, feel free to check it out;
    Are you familiar with Herbie & Bean Animal overflow? these were the designs discussed on my thread. I would be happy to share more info & links if needed.
  8. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    Looks like a great start. You may want to do some research in durso overflows if your overflow turns out to be too noisy. I put my durso on the outside of the tank, you might be able to do the same.

    You'll probably want to put making a mesh top on your list of things to do. I put off doing a lid for my ADA for a few months when I first set it up. I didn't want to ruin the clean look and people on "other boards" kept telling me that you could just choose fish that don't jump. Turns out just about any fish can jump at any time.
  9. Marc

    Marc Guest

    Yeah I definitely need one.
    Thank you!
    I definitely gotta get water in this glass box. I guess its the only real way I'm going to know whats going on. I REALLY hope it doesn't sound like a toilet flushing! Wife's not gonna like that. I'm going to see if the sump can handle the extra water once everything drains into it.

    So it sounds like I have a couple issues going on here...

    1Q) I have a problem with the drain side, specifically if a snail crawls into the hole.
    1A) So a screen will fix this issue?

    2Q) Return Issue?
    2A) what specifically is the issue with the return? Lets say I put in a loc-line return fitting, Am I good? Why does the return line need to be higher than the bulk head? So to prevent back siphon and flooding my sump? So if i get a lock-line return I'm guessing it needs to have a curve of some sort so its above the water line?

    No problem man! I hope you get it running and lose the trip to the water store!

    I'm hoping I dont have to drill a second drain or put in over flow boxes. Mainly because the tank is so small IMO, I would hate for the box to take attention from the fish and coral. With planted tanks, we try to scape the tanks so nothing sticks out to the eyes so everything looks natural. I'm just afraid that more BHs and boxes will disrupt the natural look I'm going for.

    I'll take a look at your thread tonight - I'm working late and just taking a little break.

    I'm glad you saw my thread! I've been looking at your journal and I think your tank is awesome! Definitely following your journal!

    So I thought my drain was set up durso style? Did I goof? The only thing I havent done yet is drill the cap and get some valve/airline to it. Do you have a picture of how your drain and return is set up?

    I was concerned about a top as well. I still have the clips that ADA gives you for a top. I thing I'm going to use them to hold either a glass or acrylic top. One thing I did notice is, I believe the clips are metal and not stainless - they will probably eventually rust.

    Question about the sump - Ive never used one so..... Where does the water level in the sump have to be? is there a "natural" level where everything settles to? I'm guess it can vary depending on how much water I put in there? Can I leave it low enough so I would never have an overflow in the display if the drain clogged?
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
  10. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    The one I'm building is only 3"x3"x however long I decide to make it, I too hate big obtrusive boxes in the tank which is why I'm not drilling the bottom or doing any kind of conventional design so that's where I came up with the idea of building a very slim design box. If you leave it the way it is you will be asking for trouble, the odds are really against you when there is nothing to keep critters/algae/whatever from entering the bulkhead. A small box is no big price to pay vs. a soaked floor.
  11. bluprntguy

    bluprntguy Webmaster

    So when overflows are noisy, it is usually because water actually runs down around the sides of the overflow and leaves a clear open air space in the middle. As the water hits the sump, that noise echoes up through the center of the overflow tubing and into the tank. A regular durso just submerges the overflow pipe under some water to muffle the sound. I built mine more like a "p" trap so that there is always water in the the bottom of the loop, which blocks the sound. Here's an old pic (I've since replaced the upturned elbow with something a bit more visually pleasing):

    Unless I'm missing something, I think your water line will probably leave a little of your overflow exposed to air and you might get some noise. Only one way to find out, fill it with water and switch that pump on!

    I also set my screen top into the tank using the ADA clips. I also expected them to rust in a week or two, but it's been two years or so and they are holding up. The only thing is that when you take off your top you will inevitably knock one of the clips into the tank, it will wedge itself in a rock, and you will spend 15 minutes trying to get it out. I ended up super gluing the clips to the screen frame to avoid that. Seems to work, I just have to occasionally re-glue them.
  12. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    A screen can prevent a snail from going in yes, something like a plastic gutter guard or egg crate. However what still could happen is that a snail could park itself right on the screen and partially block your drain, especially if algae starts to collect on it (which is likely), then you almost have the same issue.

    Your return issue is basically the same issue that would happen with your drain. Because there are no pipes where water will flow higher than the bulkhead opening gravity will drain the tank to the bottom of the bulkhead if the power ever goes out (both drain and return holes). Easiest way to imagine what would happen is lets say you drilled your return at the bottom of back pane of glass instead of the top. What happens when the power goes out? The water will drain all the way to the bottom of the hole and unless you have a massive sump you're in trouble, you're also in trouble due to the fact your display tank will be empty of water and most critters in there kind of need that water :).

    Now your whole tank won't drain the way it's set up. My concern is the amount of water that will drain and whether or not your sump could hold it all. I can't really tell just by looking at the picture, I'm just making a guess based upon the volume of water that will drain from your tank to how full your sump will be. This is why we've been saying give it a water test with freshwater (don't waste expensive salt!) so you can figure out these problems before you put rocks and what not in there. What a loc-line will do is it essentially raises the height of the bottom of the hole, a locline is simply a flexible type of multi-connector pipe, you can get away with 2 street ells as well, you don't need to get it above the water line you simply raise it a little higher in the water so that the lowest point water can get to will be higher than your bulkhead. Your issue is not siphon related, if it was siphon related that would actually be easier to deal with.

    However even if you do something to raise the output pipe you still have the same issue with the drain pipe, gravity will pull water down to the lowest point that water can get to, and as pictured that is the bottom of the bulkhead which looks to be about the same as your return pipe, water doesn't care which hole to go down :). This is why people typically use overflow boxes, I mean it helps with surface skimming but what they also do is physically isolate the water from the main tank so if the power goes out the drain can only drain as much water as is in the overflow box which is considerably less than the rest of the tank. John also mentioned using a street ell which would have the same effect as the loc-line solution you simply raise the lowest point water can be.

    If you still can't visualize it let me know and I'll whip up a quick sketch that might help. Either way, I would suggest doing your water test just to see if you will have those draining issues in the first place.
  13. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    thought I'd ad a visual to elaborate on my description Marc;


    This is pretty much the concept I described in my thread, 2 bulkheads hidden behind a small overflow box attached directly to the back of the tank, this in my opinion is the sleekest way to have an overflow (aside from an external box but that involves much more complicated cutting of the back panel) and I'm actually doing one the same way as pictured, no weir & no teeth which makes it look even cleaner in my opinion. By the way, I'm opting to use blue acrylic so you don't see the pipes inside the overflow box.

    You can do this with your setup as it currently stands, you just need a second bulkhead & some acrylic or glass panels to stick together.

    Here's another image showing the plumbing through the overflow box;


    Granted this is a full blown "coast to coast" overflow but the box does not necessarily need to go all the way from one end to the other, it can be shorter but not super small. Pay attention to the drains, yes there are 3 but the third is just overkill you can do this with 2 drain pipes, main one runs full siphon (the one turned down) and the emergency (the one turned up) through which water will only trickle so naturally that is going to be your max water level, this design is also absolutely inarguable dead silent since it's at a constant full siphon. Of course this also entails running gate valves to control the flow etc. but I wanted you to see this because this is basically the most aesthetic & fail safe way of plumbing of most options out there.
    Marc likes this.
  14. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Nice pics, Fidel. When it comes to quiet I don't think you can beat the BeanAnimal style. Since you can get the most flow at full siphon, the pipes don't have to be as large as those for the durso style. It also has the extra 'emergency' drain. Spare drainage is a life saver when that snail decides to go for your OF!
  15. Marc

    Marc Guest

    okay back with my report. Filled it with water today.

    I did a couple test.

    Leak test - PASS
    Sump over fill - PASS
    Tank over fill - PASS.... sort of

    Addison the inspector making sure everything is running smoothly and checking for leaks.

    Here is the tank and sump with everything running.

    Here it is with power failure simulation.

    I didn't get a picture of return blockage simulation but I do have the potential to overflow my display tank as you all mentioned depending on how much water I have in the section where the pump stays. With the water levels you see in the picture above in the sump, the display tank filled almost to the rim - about 1/4" of glass remaining when I shut the drain valve off.

    A couple observations when I filled the tank and maybe you all can tell me what it means.
    1) the durso style return pipe. I have a hole drilled on the top. When I put my finger over the hole - the return is very silent. But when the water level falls below the BH opening - its SLURPS
    2)When I remove my finger from the durso "hole" it gurgles but the slurping stops.
    So - is the hole either not big enough or I need to keep it blocked.

    Are you using the screen from BRS? Good to know about the clips not rusting. I'll try the super glue trick!

    Thanks for your explination - when I filled the tank- it did everything you described.

    how do you achieve full siphon? Is the second drain/BH needed or is it really just for emergnecy? If I decide to put in the second drain. Where should I put it, higher or lower than the mian drain?
  16. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    When you covered the durso vent you made a full siphon. Then it emptied the tank enough - ran faster than the return - to lower the tank level below the BH. This broke the siphon and SLURP!

    What a herbbie or BeanAnimal do is one drain is full siphon. A valve on it is used to tune to keep it from running past what the return can do. The second drain is used to take a very small amount of the OF because it's just about impossible to match the return EXACTLY. Since this second drain is not carrying much water it is pretty quiet.

    When the durso hole is open it adds air to the OF, making some noise and lots of bubbles in the sump (salt creep from the spray, yuck!). The capacity is no where near what a full siphon can do.

    You do need a second drain (herbbie) because it's too hard to get an exact setting for the full siphon. If you only had one drain on a herbbie, you'd either get the silent then SLURP you experienced or you'd get a flood!

    The BA system adds one drain as a true, emergency only, drain. It's only wet during blockage to the other two. When it's being used the drain makes a LOT of noise that hopefully spurs the owner into maintenance action! :)

    And I almost forgot!

    Cute kid. Love the penguin hoodie!
    denzil and Marc like this.
  17. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Me again. Reread your post and wanted to add...

    If you do add another BH, consider doing a weir type overflow box like Fidel showed above. Easy to make with dark glass and some black aquarium sealant. This is a great way to get excellent surface skimming.

    All this is FULLY covered in the BeanAnimal thread on Reef Central. There are more posts in that thread than Gimmito's build thread! :)
  18. Marc

    Marc Guest

    Okay I don't have a really problem with a second drain for emergency, it will probably be better because I can fill the sump with slightly more water.

    My follow up question - do I still need an over flow box? Can I simply stick a slip street elbow on the second drain and stick the opening up and put a screen on the main original drain? And if this does work, it sounds like I have to plug that durso vent closed?

    Also where is the optimal location for the second drain? Same level or higher than the main okay?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  19. HiFidelity

    HiFidelity Guest

    I would put the second hole next to the existing one and same height then adjust the PVC height wherever you want the water level to be, of course the overflow box here would have to be at the right height as well, beauty with doing this on glass is you can redo the silicone if you get it wrong the first time.

    An overflow box in this context would be a very very strong recommendation because with this design now you will be staring at PVC plumbing sticking out of the back of the tank without the box. To answer your question more directly yes it can work without the overflow box but it can not work without the PVC 90 elbow & piece of straight PVC pipe sticking up from the BH, that's the emergency pipe, the full siphon pipe would have to be a 90 elbow pointed down, some people point them facing downward at a 45 degree angle because when the pump comes back on it will achieve full siphon more quickly. All of which would be visible without a box.

    The durso part of your drain would have to go, you would have 90 elbows on the inside & outside so essentially your full siphon tube is doing an upside down U through the back panel.

    I'm drilling mine as high up as I can go that way I can have the shortest overflow box possible, I'm going to try to pull off 3" from the surface & 3" from the back.
    I too plan to angle my full siphon elbow at 45 since the bottom of it will practically touch the bottom of the box :)
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  20. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    The reason why your drain slurps is that it is not large enough for the flow. Both your return and drain pipes are 3/4" however your return has a pump that's forcing water through it, the drain however only has gravity so what happens is the water level rises until there's a little be a pressure over the bulkhead allowing it to force water through the pipe faster. As John said plug the hole a siphon gets started and it really pulls water in, however if you keep the hole plugged the siphon will pull water faster than the pump will put it back until the siphon breaks when the water drops below the hole level and you'll hear a huge slurp/burp when it does so, then the process starts back up again.

    I would suggest a second drain, however if you do might want to go up a pipe size or two. Your inverted ell will work instead of an overflow box, you might get some gunk build up on the water surface though because there's really not much surface area to skim from.

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