View Full Version : Return line plumbing/ tank flow question

01-13-2016, 01:14 AM
Planning on keeping a mixed reef with mostly LPS, def want a nem at some point. Have a 90G DT and a 20G sump, Fluval SP2 950GPH sump pump with a 1in return line coming off of it….

Should I T it off at the top of the tank so I have water output from two areas? Or keep it as just one line entering the tank?

Worth it to get “Innovative Marine AUQA Gadget Spin Stream - Return Nozzle” / “SCWD Wavemaker - Switching Current Water Director”/ something to change up the flow patterns of the tank on the return?

I also have a Hydor powerhead (estimating it to be 850gph based on size, label is obscured since its second hand). Should I get an additional powerhead? Put the two powerheads on a wavemaker for alternating the flow patterns? Then I wouldn’t have to worry as much about the return and probably would just do a simple single line.

So many choices! :sad:

01-13-2016, 08:22 PM
I have had a 90g and I used the SCWD. At the time, I used it for some water movement in the dt. In my opinion, it is not necessary. It helps add a little random flow, but I feel that powerheads work better. They can be added or removed as needed. You can change direction of water movement by adjusting the heads. I now use controllers with powerheads to create the random flow. I see the return pump as a mechanism for water exchange between the sump and DT. It controls the rate of water through the sump where all water quality work takes place (e.g. skimmer, heaters, reactors, etc.)

01-19-2016, 01:44 PM
Let's talk about that pump first. That Fluval SP2 is 950 gph at 0 foot head height. At 4'6" head height (which I assume is approximately the highest point of your plumbing) the pump will only deliver 290 gph (assuming I'm reading their weird flow chart with tiny writing properly), plus the more plumbing you add (tees, elbows, etc) the more the head loss will be affected. Return pumps don't usually have that much head loss. This is a fairly weak pump! So if you have a 90 gallon tank, and 20 gallon sump that will be about half full, you're looking at about 100 gallon total system volume. So this pump will deliver only 2.9x turnover not including the piping, so probably closer to 2.5x. Imo, that's really pushing the lower limit of what your return pump should be. If you can return that pump and buy a new one, I'd probably recommend that. The SP4 will be too big.

I'd suggest either a Quiet One 3000 (not as quiet as the name suggetss) for your tank which would deliver about 580 gph minus piping, so about 550 gph or 5.5x turnover which is right about perfect imo, or an Eheim Compact 5000 (quieter) which would deliver right around 600 gph minus piping.

Now, to the question about the outlets. For a 4' tank, I prefer to keep it simple and just do a single line with a single outlet. 500-600 gph is not a lot of flow, and splitting it into two and you could probably pee harder. Those SCWD are great on closed loop pump, but not return pumps imo. The little Hydor gadget is good for AIO nano tanks like BioCubes, but imo it's not that useful.

Use powerheads in the tank for waves. That said, most of the powerheads that will do varied speed are pricier powerheads. For your tank size, a couple Tunze 6055 or one Tunze 6105 plus a controller, or one EcoTech MP40 (built-in controller). Some people buy Jebao powerheads - they are very cheap and come with a controller, but if you buy one, buy a spare because it likely won't last 2 years. Or, just don't worry about waves for now, and buy the cheaper, not controllable powerheads. You'll need more than just the one you have though. Look for about 2500-4000 gph total combined flow between 1 or 2 powerheads.

01-19-2016, 05:33 PM
Thanks for your reply! I got the return pump with the tank and stand off someone online and didn't think to look at headloss so figured 950gph would do fine... Obv not and I'll have to upgrade that soonish. Decided to go one outlet since I don't need to pressure decrease off that small pump by splitting it.

For power heads I'm actually really interested in the Jeabo rw ones. I like the variability to control them and I don't mind the shorter lifespan for the price point- since I'm new at all this I think in a year or two I'll know so much more about my tanks needs and what I want for it I can at least make an educated decision on if I should be spending that much on a power head.

01-19-2016, 05:44 PM
The Jebao DC series pumps are actually quite good. I've had my 9000 going for over two years, never cleaned it and never had an issue. Huge flow and low power.

01-19-2016, 10:33 PM
For power heads I'm actually really interested in the Jeabo rw ones.

The Jebao DC series pumps are actually quite good. I've had my 9000 going for over two years, never cleaned it and never had an issue. Huge flow and low power.

Mark's talking about the Jebao DC return pump, not the powerheads. However, if you're into the Jebao, then their return pump might be a good option for you too. From what I've seen, their return pumps seem to be better than their powerheads. I was even giving the return pump some thought for my own tank, and I'm a total Jebao snob. :lol:

01-20-2016, 12:55 AM
Coming from a Jebao snob that means a lot! :lol: