Spray Bar -- Part of Closed loop system or Main sump return ?

Help Support Reef Frontiers:


Feb 8, 2004
Tampa, FL
1) Do you prefer spray bars to be part of the closed loop system or sump return from the main pump?
a) Any disadvantage or advantages to either?
b) I have a L-shaped tank with a motorized ball valve for flow direction to each side in my closed loop plan.

2) I undertand you can go over the tank with an air brake if you are returning from the sump. I saw the diagram in
one of the posts in Reef Frontiers. But can't you drill directly on the bottom of your tank and connect the spray
bars through with bulkhead fittings. Are there any problems associated with this?

3) Do you run your closed loop system at night (24/7)?

4) Do I need bio-balls for my reef setup? When I bought the sump I bought bio-balls along with it. But most of
the tanks I see in the different forums are not using any kind of bi0-filtration in the sumps other than live rock.
Any suggestions.


Well-known member
Jun 27, 2003
Mukilteo, WA
I prefer a spray bar on the closed loop because during a power out, it is all self contained. If returning from the sump you have to have a break someplace or you will drain your tank. To have bulkheads hard plumbed in the back of your tank means you really need to be careful if you lose power.

Bottom line a spray bar on a closed loop is a very safe route. A spray bar on a return from a sump is a bit more complicated to ensure you don't drain your tank in the event of a power loss.