Elite Reef | Herbie Overflow

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Articles and How To's' started by mikejrice, Feb 4, 2011.

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  1. mikejrice

    mikejrice 3reef Affiliate

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    After running many different types of overflows and getting really annoyed by their noise level and lack of safety features, I began to wonder why the water can’t just go down the plumbing in a quiet and orderly manner. Enter the Bean-Animal-Overflow. The Bean-Animal truly is the best system I’ve ever seen, and I seriously doubt that it will ever be topped.

    The Bean-Animal

    A Bean-Animal-Overflow has three holes drilled in the back glass of an aquarium near the top. Through these holes run three, yes THREE, overflow lines. The first of these lines in a sealed PVC line that offers no place for air to get in making it get full siphon. As we know full siphon pull water down at the max capacity of the plumbing and in a big hurry. To keep this line from siphoning too fast and creating noise there is a ball valve placed in the plumbing down below to tune it back. The second overflow plumbing line looks the same as the first but without the ball valve. This line catches the small amount of remainder flow that the first does not. It also has a airline attached to it that allows air into it and starts full siphon if the water level gets too high. The third and final overflow line is only a back-up line. It is set higher than the other two, so it will start working if the water level gets too high.

    This may be hard to grasp with my limited description of it, but this article truly is not meant to describe it in full. To sum up the Bean-Animal, it is the quietest and safest overflow there is, but it requires three large holes to work which many tanks simply don’t have.

    With that said, let’s go through a common situation for a new reefer. You’ve just started getting equipment for your tank and putting it all together. Naturally, the tank was one of the first things you purchased, and because you did you research, you purchased one with a built in overflow so you could have a sump. The thing your research didn’t yield was the designs of the amazing Bean-animal-overflow, so what do you do now? You don’t want to take your tank back, but it only has one large hole and one smaller hole for overflow and return. You’re also fairly new to this and don’t feel comfortable drilling a tank or installing a Bean-Animal. The answer is a system called the Herbie.

    The Herbie Overflow

    The Herbie is a system designed to use both the holes in a standard overflow to work as the first two stages of a full Bean-Animal. Follow these plans, and you can expect to have a system whose noise level and safety are second only to the true Bean-Animal.

    Remember that first stage of the Bean-Animal? We will be using the larger of the two holes in your tank to replicate this stage (Right of diagram.) The key to this one is for it to get silent full siphon. The plumbing for this one should just be a strait pipe inside your overflow that only reaches about half way up. On the bottom side of the tank plumb in a ball valve so you can tune it back and be sure to run the plumbing all the way down into the water.

    [​IMG]

    The second stage of this system is where it starts to diverge from a Bean-Animal (Left of diagram.) This stage will catch all extra water that the first doesn’t, so you want it to be up higher in your overflow housing. I like for the top of it to be about three inches below the top. The plumbing for this one will come straight up and turn 180 degrees back towards the bottom. This makes it so the open end where the water is flowing into the pipe is submerged and thus silenced. On the bottom side of the tank, there is no ball valve needed, but be sure to also plumb this one into the sump water.

    Now as most of you have probably already noticed, this system takes away your return line hole. To get around this, simply plumb your return line up and over the rim of the tank.

    A couple more tips:

    I like to use bulkheads that are slip on one end and threaded on the other. This way you can thread the upper plumbing into the bulkhead and be sure it seals well but is also removable.

    Always glue your plumbing! It can be very annoying to take apart and glue later, so just do it now and avoid salt creep colonies created by plumbing drips.


    If you have any questions about this system feel free to send us an email, and we will get you on the right track

    Happy reefing!

    For more marine aquarium articles, visit the Elite blog at:
    Elite Reef | The Marine Reef Aquarium Source
     
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  3. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting write up Mike

    this is something that a video of the thing working would be ideal

    on you tube for the majority
    in photobucket for me LOL

    Steve
     
  4. SkyFire

    SkyFire Clown Trigger

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    Good idea for those with pre-driled tanks.

    I'm fortunate enough to have stumbled across the BeAn Animal style overflow early in my research into SW tanks.
     
  5. mikejrice

    mikejrice 3reef Affiliate

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    I had to correct myself on this one. This one has been around for awhile named the Herbie overflow. I edited the article, but can't seem to get at the title. If any mods can change that for me, it would be great. Sorry for any confusion.
     
  6. SkyFire

    SkyFire Clown Trigger

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    Go to edit your first post.... then click "go advanced" and then you can change the title.
     
  7. pja24

    pja24 Bristle Worm

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    I'm pretty new to reefing. I have 55 gallon set up for about 10 month's. I am interested in the herbie setup. My question is I am up grading to a 120 gallon with two built in overflows how do i set that up with herbie??? Sorry also using 40 breader for sump/refugium.
     
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  9. Annie3410

    Annie3410 Teardrop Maxima Clam

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    i dig it, BUT i think gate valves are essential to running a herbie. i make such minute changes to mine that i would never be able to make with a ball valve.
     
  10. wfb2270

    wfb2270 Corkscrew Tentacle Anemone

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    i use this method also. i had a third hole drilled in my corner overflow for the return.

    also agree that a gate valve is a much better choice then a ball valve. sometimes i only turn my gate valve by about 1/8 turn to fine tune. very hard to to with a ball valve.

    Bulk reef supply use to have a video on a full siphon type overflow. same idea.

    i generally have just a trickle running down the back up drain. no really on purpose just happens to be that way when i a adjust the water level
     
  11. Powerman

    Powerman Giant Squid

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    That's my experience. Ball valves will be a headache.
     
  12. Powerman

    Powerman Giant Squid

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    When you have dual overflows you have to tie them together. I didn't have duals, but those that have had a heck of a time trying to adjust 2 seperate overflows because they effect each other.

    You need to tie the two drains together.... say you have 1" drains... tie them into a tee with a 1.5" outlet... you ned to tie the two lines into a larger single and then place your gate valve. The emergency drains don't matter and can still be run seperate to the sump.