Nice Cheap DIY Overflow

Discussion in 'I made this!' started by Covey, Feb 4, 2005.

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  1. smoothrigoletto

    smoothrigoletto Plankton

    May 3, 2011
    one thing that i'm weary of is the power dying and the HOB over-flowing water into the sump. So I ended up getting myself a built-in tank, and as I got home, I missed that there was a sticker saying, "do not drill tank, tampered glass" but the guy had it drilled and running, so IDK what to think as of now
  2. Click Here!

  3. Seano Hermano

    Seano Hermano Giant Squid

    Apr 7, 2010
    Northwest Ohio
    Was the tank already drilled with an overflow installed? If so, these tanks are called "reef-ready," meaning they have an overflow/return lines already making them ready to be used for a sump (normally had for a reef tank) - these drilled and are tempered on the bottom(done during manufacturing after drilling).
  4. flipmode

    flipmode Plankton

    Jun 12, 2011
    worked perfectly and found that if u put a cap with a hole over the tupe coming from the t connection it helps the gurgle noise
  5. duoc9119

    duoc9119 Coral Banded Shrimp

    Apr 12, 2011
    I will have to try this. I have a 40 breeder with a Mag 7 as a return running a bit over 400gph. What sized plumbing would I need? 3/4 of 1 inch?

    Also, can someone explain to me how this works? haha I watched the video a few pages back and still cannot seem to figure out how it works.
  6. Todd_Sails

    Todd_Sails Giant Squid

    Jul 3, 2011
    A Texan in S.E. Wisconsin
    siphon starter

    I kept this thread going, mostly because I'm going to make a new DIY overflow to replace the one I have working now- with ideas for mods I picked up on this thread. One with more flow also.

    Is 'Covey' (thread starter) still around?
  7. Todd_Sails

    Todd_Sails Giant Squid

    Jul 3, 2011
    A Texan in S.E. Wisconsin
    My overflow 2.0

    after researching for a few weeks, and builing a DIY version, I now have my DIY overflow 2.0 up and running. It's all borrowed ideas, etc . I take no credit from having pioneered this.

    After a lot of reading, and my first one that worked, but had a power off DT water level issue, I decided on this design:
    Again, this is not my photo, drawing, etc. Thanks to someone...

    I decided on 1.5 inch diameter. pipe thru out.

    My overflow intake (much like the wall in many 'reef ready tanks), is a
    a 4 inch piece I got for free from a neighborhood plumber. ( I called him and asked him for a 'scrap')

    The bend you see on the tip with the plug serves 2 purposes.
    -mainly, to hang the intake straight on the side of the tank.
    -second, for the air vent to maintain the siphon in power out situations.

    The larger 4 inch intake only lets the level fall to the top of the holes in the tube. Siphon is still maintained, and starts up again at full flow after power outs.

    The 1.5 inch, handles all the flow of my 'Marineland 5500' return pump. UP to 1000 gph @ 4 ft head.

    See my picture of my overflow. There is no 90 bend inside the larger tube on mine.
    Also, the part in the tank is painted with Krylon Fusion- black.

    I have plenty of room in my DT for this. It's now in the corner, with rocks covering 95% of it.

    Attached Files:

  8. Click Here!

  9. Stinger68

    Stinger68 Plankton

    Nov 17, 2010
    can u post a video of your design with it running on your tank ? ive built one of these about 3 or 4 mo ago i think and havnt had time to install it i used 1" for my 75 gal fresh water chiclid tank no more than 4 ft head presure i dont think also built a spray bar with a back flow valve so my tank wont empty i think i posted pic on here a while back also built one out of 3/4 for my 29 gal goldfish tank trying to figure out what size pump to use on it anyone with ideas let me know gonna try to hook my 75 gal up sunday will post video if it will let me
  10. Todd_Sails

    Todd_Sails Giant Squid

    Jul 3, 2011
    A Texan in S.E. Wisconsin
    This is my Overflow 3.0, with new, advanced 'intank skimmer' like a RR tank comes with.

    The best, quiet, dependable diy overflow and sump- for non drilled tanks


    I started with a Craigs list buy of multiple equipment from a single seller; Everything had been dry for over 3 years. Including a 125 long tank and stand, HOB filters-2, and a HOB protein skimmer, a HOB overflow and a wet/dry sump, small. They got it used b/c they said they never used the Overflow and wet/dry sump.

    Eager to get started, after everything was rinsed, It was in my living room, with water and the HOB filters. After a month, I added some fish from another CL buy, and began to use the HOB PS.

    I researched, (a little late), and wanted to go with a sump, etc.
    You may realize by now I'm a DIY kind of guy.
    I didn't want to remove my filled and running tank from my stand/nor cut the end out to get a sump in the stand.
    Instead of the wet/dry, I got alot of ideas from many threads, mainly this one: sumps

    I wanted to try my stand instead of plumpbing to my basement, so that I'd have more flow/less head for the return.
    So I opted to try and squeeze a 50g Rubbermaid 'Roughneck' in my stand for my sump. With some grunting and bending (ain't goona happen with a glass/acrylic sump) I got it in the stand via one of my doors.

    I then put a smaller tub so the water level would stay constant(also bought at Menards). the sump cost about $15, and the smaller tub for the PS, aobut $3-5.

    I bought a Marineland 5500 pump 1385 gph @ 0 head. I tried using the 1 inch HOB overflow, but it couldn't keep up, and I had to also build a bypass into my return lines to keep from overflowing.

    I needed more return!

    I read many threads on HOB overflows. Most used a smaller intake near the water level. For a small tank, low flow, virtaully no surface skimming, this would be OK. Not for my application however.
    I took alot of ideas from this rather long thread starting in 2005, by a 'Covey':

    At this point, I added a second return, an inferior designed DIY HOB overflow out of PVC- it was 1 inch, with no surface skimming, etc. The 1 inch HOB, and the 1 inch DIY together could barley keep up.

    I think it was on this thread that I saw/learned about a design that used a larger upright intake in the DT, to work as as overflow- so that it skimmed the surface, and would shut down in a power outage. (very important)- more on that later.

    Then there's this one, but again, it has a small potential for the intake, might be fine for a Fish only tank, maybe:
    DIY Overflow Using Only PVC Pipe (DIY OVERFLOW PROJECTS)

    From these designs however, I did get my knowledge of:
    1. how to maximize flow
    2. how to NEVER loose the siphon, even in power outs
    3. the ideas to DIY a large volume, surface skimming 'intank overflow'- the same as a drilled tanks vertical intank overflow. Except mine uses a DIY siphon to go over the tanks side, above the waterline.

    My current (final) design is 1&1/2 inch thru out. It has an 'intank overflow', that skims only the surface using about 21inches of surface skimming, at about 900 gph.
    It ALWAYS keeps the siphon.
    It's so large, it will not fail! (sounds like the banks and the TARP bill ;-)
    What I mean is that the flow is so fast, that air won't trap and stop the siphon. To be redundant, I added an Aqualifter to the air valve used to start the siphon- and it always pulls water thru it also from the top loop on the siphon. This is where you do not want air building up.

    1- Is of the Rubbermade sump, fits perfectly in my stand.
    2- It's in! under my stand- still enough room to put in a PS, work on it, etc.
    3- A side shot showing my 1&1/2 inch outflow into a filter bag. It's now a reverse durso, into the filter bag- for sound suppression. the water then flows into the blue tub that keeps the water level for my PS- also seen. I cut slots at the same level on three sides so that the water flows out into the larger tub.
    Then past my Chaeto basket- now nearly triple the chaeto.
    You can see the 'bypass, which I now only 'tickle' back into the chaeto backet.
    4- The early chaeto backet, and the Return pump. Return is all 1 inch.
    5- My DT with the doors open showing the sump system.

    In the next post, I'll post the pics of the HOB DIY overflow, with
    'intank overflow' skimming.

    So, my intank overflow skims surface only, about 21 inches of water, at a constant 900 gph on my 125. Pie (3.14) x D (6.75)

    The price of Weir types, etc. to get that would be big!
    The price of all my DIY stuff is very low.

    If you can drill, then go the BeanAnimal, Herbie, et. al. type of overflow.
    But if you want a nice, quiet, reliable DIY = inexpensive, large flow, large surface area skimming 'intank overflow' like the reef ready tanks have, build something similar to mine.

    The Basic Design (modified alot by me), is from this nice thread:
    DIY Overflow Using Only PVC Pipe (DIY OVERFLOW PROJECTS)
    Thanks to the creator of this thread.

    EXCEPT- mine is 1&1/2, not 3/4, and mine has an 'Intank Overflow'
    so that when the power/pump is off, it only drains to the top of the overflow, like a reef ready tank does!

    1- The basci design for my 'intank overflow'. I don't use the 90 bend in the bottom of the intake. Disclaimer- this in NOT my diagram- taken from the web.
    2- A shot of my 'intank overflow' during the build.
    3- My PVC DIY HOB overflow. It's 171/2 inch thruout.
    It shows the vent arm also going up, which 'hangs' the tube on
    the tank for you. It also shows the one way air valve used for
    priming/starting the siphon.
    4- 'Intank Overflow' in operation in my DT. Notice the 'cone' of water
    flowing into the intake. It falls about 4-6 inches inside, at all times
    to where the step down to 4 inch is.
    5- A shot of my 'reverse durso' and filter bag, with the PS beside it.

    I hope you enjoy, and use any or most of these ideas if you need to modify, or start your own for a non drilled tank.

    For me, this was the optimal option, for the least price.
    I even have a local plumber that has given me most of the tubes for my build out of discarded scraps.
    The remainder is not very expensive. Look for the non schedule 40 PVC, thinner, much less expensive, and more than thick enough for a project like this.


    In this post, I found that the creator of this overflow did a few simple, but important things wrong, at least for a high flow overflow:
    DIY Overflow Using Only PVC Pipe (DIY OVERFLOW PROJECTS)

    While my final design is very similar, the Yellow portion in his pics with the 90 bend that goes down to the sump is too high! He had to do it this way, so that in his power offs, the water level would only fall to there. This leads to very low flow volume.

    On my overflow, the 'intank surface skimming' tube takes care of the water level dropping very little. (On my 125, I calculated only ab out 5-6 gallons drain down before it stops in power outs.)

    With the 90 going to the sump lower, gravity is your friend, and provides great flow. The higher this bend to the sump is, the lower the flow- hydrodynamics, physics, etc.

    IN power outs- water stays in the bottom of the intank overflow and the bottom outer loop, because the upright vent loop with a small 1/4 inch hole in it vents it down to where they equalize inside- the loop and the intank overflow.

    I power it off all the time for water changes, cleaning, etc. It's been off for hours, and when the return pump quickluy fill the tank level back up, the water flows into the intank overflow, and immediately drains/returns at full flow- every time!

    In the post above, the size of my HOB over flow has a typo, and is one and one half inches. (1 & 1/2)-plenty of reserve.

    125 FWLR & soft corals and sps; 50 gallon DIY sump w/DIY overflow;
    SC150 Protein Skimmer; Coralife 18W turbo UV filter powered by an empty cannister filter with carbon in it;
    Koralia 1050gph, Maxi-Jet 900; and a few smaller powerheads; Lots of LR, chaeto basket in sump; Marineland 5500 return pump

    Royal Blue Tang; Yellow Tang; Ocellaris Clown; Black Sebae clown, Pink Spot Watchman Gogy; Orbiculate Cardinal;
    Strawberry Basslet; Yellow Damsil, Yellow-tailed Blue Damsel

    Skunk Cleaner Shrimp; Royal Urchin; Choclate Chip Sea Star;
    Various types/sizes of Hermit Crabs; Variuos types/sizes of snails

    Mini Maxi Carpet Anenome
    Striped Dicoma Mushrooms; Kenya Trees; Green Star Polyp; Protopalythoa;
    Purple Encrusting Gorgonian
    LPS: Blue Trumpet; Green Trumpet; Maze Brain
    SPS: Sunrise Monti frag; 'tyree' monti flower; green picillipora; Pink Birdsnest frag

    Current Tank Info: 125, with 50 gallon DIY sump.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  11. 99taws6

    99taws6 Plankton

    Sep 2, 2007
    My only question is if you have to prime it to get it started how does it not overflow when the power is cycled?

    I want to do this but worried I'll flood the house.
  12. Todd_Sails

    Todd_Sails Giant Squid

    Jul 3, 2011
    A Texan in S.E. Wisconsin
    Yes, you have to prime it, that's easy by filling the outer borttom loop with water, then submerse the inner intake underwater and vacuun out the air bleed valve on the tip loop, then, it doesn't loose it's siphon, unless you let the air bleed valve get air in when it's not running.

    Do it right, even in a power out, no floods. I turn my return off nearly every day for a feeding, turn it back on, siphon starts right up again.