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Damned micro bubbles...

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AW2EOD

Former Squid
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
51
Location
Southern Illinois
When I installed plumbing into my 200, I didnt think to add a larger drain and a smaller return line. So, I used 1.5" PVC for both.

Right now, I'm running a 1200gph pump, with 2 ft. of head back into the 200 from the sump. The drain, I guess, cant keep up with the return pump...the pump is basically empyting the sump and I'm getting millions of micro bubbles back through the return line.

Technically, could I cut out the return line plumbing and replace it with a smaller diameter...like 3/4" or something and that resolve the problem? That way, the drain (1.5") would be taking in more water and there would be more pressure on the return to push the water back into the tank.

Right now, the sump is only 30gal. and it's hard plumbed to the drain. One other problem I see if that the drain line is parallel to where it enters the sump. Could this be part of the problem?
 

Scooterman

Administrator
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
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Location
Louisiana
Careful when reducing the return, the pump shouldn't be overly restricted, the actual pump should have data sheets to help figure this out but normally you don't reduce it, depending if it is pressure rated or not. You can reduce in cases where your splitting up flow & cases of the sort, in effect your still keeping the required diameter of the return. Easy fix it to tee off the return at the sump somewhere add a ball valve and supply a skimmer or other equipment in effect reducing the gph returning inside the tank, thus allowing the sump to catch up. You can also just return off the Tee & ball valve back into the sump, this is like a recycle valve; you use the ball valve to adjust the flow rate. This is one of many ways to solve your problem; it all depends on several things like your pump for one. Pictures always helps, in designing, now I suspect the bubbles is coming from the suction because the sump runs empty & your sucking air or cavitating, this isn't good long term for the pump, now if it is micro-bubbles otherwise then we need to look into it a little deeper. You could use that big pump for a closed loop & get a smaller pump for your sump return also, this is another option but eventually you will probably need supply & skimmer, etc

Just a few thoughts.
 

AW2EOD

Former Squid
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
51
Location
Southern Illinois
The bubbles are coming from the cavitation...

Someone else just told me to "T" or "Y" off back into the sump for the recycling effect. I'm going to do that.

My only other option would be to drill the 200gal. again, and that's not happening. lol

I'm setting up a 240gal. soon and the plumbing is going to be WELL planned out before I start it.
 

big t

tankless
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
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Location
Denver
Your problem sounds like your sump is not big enough to handle the tank. Try this... get your tank running and to the point of where it is drawing micro bubbles. Then add 15 gallons to your sump and see if that fixes your problem. If it does then the problem is nothing to do w/ your plumbing, it is to do with the small size of your sump for a huge tank. It seems to me that your tank drains off soo much water that your sump cannot handle it w/ out drawing air when it is at running level. If that does fix your problem, get a new sump asap, and don't let it run this way becuase it will flood big time as soon as you switch the power back off. So if you do try that, make sure that you siphon the 15 gallons back out before you shut down the power.
 

Scooterman

Administrator
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
10,943
Location
Louisiana
Yea, Big t that could be the problem but a pump that sucks in more than the sump can handle would also be the cause, you can go either route with this, Oh yea remember this, the drain will only drain as much as water is being pumped in or less, in this case not fast enough because of the large pump.
 

AW2EOD

Former Squid
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
51
Location
Southern Illinois
Well, I think by this weekend, I'll have the micro bubble problem worked out.

Went to Home Depot today and bought enough pipe and fittings to reduce everything from 1.5" down to 1" and then down to 3/4". I bought 10 foot lengths of 1.5" PVC, 1" PVC, and 3/4" PVC plus ball valves for everything.

Also....I stopped by my friends fish store today and got a hell of a deal. He sold me a 65 gal. Oceanic pre-built sump for $80. He was selling them at $275 each and only had 2 left. I was tempted to buy both but didnt.

Now, onto the bad news. Usually, when I open my basement door, leading downstairs, I can hear the pump from the 200gal. going. Well, today, I got home, opened up the door and heard no pump. I freaked out....ran down the stairs...and found out my pump had stopped for some reason. The 30gal. sump was so full that if one more drop of water wouldve gone into it, it wouldve overflowed. lol

For some reason, my lighting tripped the wall outlet and turned everything off....pump, lights, heaters, powerheads, etc. I'm just glad it didnt overflow.

So, now, tonight....I start working on the new plumbing, installing the new sump and figuring out why my lights are tripping the wall outlet.
 

Scooterman

Administrator
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
10,943
Location
Louisiana
Sounds like your going to have a busy weekend. If you have your lights on a GFCI, try and plug them into a none GFCI outlet. If this isn't the case try and locate a separate circuit to plug the lights into, if you can use a heavy duty power cord. Also before doing all this check your lighting thoroughly, grounds etc.
 

big t

tankless
Joined
Oct 21, 2003
Messages
1,914
Location
Denver
I don't know if you tried what I suggested to try, but I think that you should before you go and replumb the whole thing w/ different plumbing. It dosn't really matter what diameter piping you use for your return pump line going back to the tank. You are probably better off leaving the 1.5" line because it is less restricted and is less work for your pump and will make it last longer. I think that the real problem is how you plumbed your drain, or simply the size of sump itself. Just so as you know a 1.5 drain plumbed properly w/ a standpipe can drain over 2000gph, so that is why I didn't think the drain was your problem and rather the sump size.

I have my system setup w/ a 1.5 drain and it easily handles 1200gph, I have not pushed it further, but I do think that it could handle 2000.
 

DonW

R.I.P.
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
Messages
8,753
Location
Tacoma, WA
I'm with Tom. Your problem doesnt really make sence. What goes up must come down. If not you have a flood. I'd recheck the drain and overflow size. 1 1/2 should be plenty for 1200gph.

Don
 

AW2EOD

Former Squid
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
51
Location
Southern Illinois
I'm not going to replace all the plumbing. Last night, I redid the sump, with the new 60gal. Oceanic and plumbed that to the pump and the pump to the return line on the main tank.

I'm going to finish that tonight, and start it up. If it works, I'll leave it like that. If it doesnt work, I'll have to figure out what else I can do to fix it.

This new 60gal. sump should work perfectly though.
 
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