the VanSiphon

Discussion in 'I made this!' started by scadsobees, Nov 25, 2011.

to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.

  1. scadsobees

    scadsobees Fire Shrimp

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    Messages:
    325
    I know drilling tanks is the ultimate way to go. But if you are like me, time, money, and the already set up aquarium really put the kibosh on that. So I had to come up with some kind of overflow/siphon.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There's the hang-on-back overflows. Expensive(more than $50 is expensive for me ;D ) or hard to make, bulky. I only have a few inches to spare behind the aquarium, so that would be tricky.

    I tried one DIY "W" siphons - it just didn't cut it for me.

    After thinking about it, I finally came up with a simple DIY siphon. Won't lose siphon, only needs 2" of space behind the aquarium (both ways), can siphon up to somewhere between 400-500GPH (gardenhose bucket stopwatch test), can use existing bulkhead or not, will scale to pump size, and is simple to start.

    Oh...and you can build it for less than $15, and in about an hour, depending on your tools(miter saw!) and how pretty you want to make it.

    I've been running it for around 9 months on my seahorse tank. 40 gallon tank, 7 gallon sump. I have a mag 5 and an aquaclear 420 pushing water back up around 3-4 feet, the box says that's 300gph, but my inaccurate bucket/stopwatch test puts me closer to 150 gph.

    The only problem I've had was when I was on vacation and my topoff failed, my pump was blowing bubbles into the tank and somehow over the course of a day or two it lost siphon. But that was the only time.
    [​IMG]

    3 seahorses with 90% soft coral, just getting into a few less aggressive hard corals. The only thing you see of my siphon is the pillar on the right (1.5" PVC), and that is smaller than most bulkheads.
    [​IMG]

    Want the details? 8)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2011
    2 people like this.
  2. Click Here!

  3. SnooknRedz

    SnooknRedz Vlamingii Tang

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,869
    Location:
    Melbourne FL
    Im interested, looks pretty neat.
     
  4. Stercus Accidit

    Stercus Accidit Feather Duster

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Lakeland, FL
    I'd be interested as well...curious even.
     
  5. scadsobees

    scadsobees Fire Shrimp

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    Messages:
    325
    Concept is just like an overflow box. But crammed in a 2 inch pipe.
    [​IMG]

    I'm sure this can be scaled to smaller(or larger) pipes, whatever can fit 2 inside a larger PVC pipe.
    I use 3/4" pvc fittings, and cut them down so that there is only about 1/2" contact with the pipe:
    2 elbows
    4 3/4 to 3/4 joins
    3 small peices of 3/4 inch pipe (about 1" to 1 1/4")
    several peices of 3/4 inch pipe

    2 2" caps
    1 section of 2"PVC that will need to be notched
    [​IMG]

    A hole needs to be cut in each 2" cap. I used a 1" holesaw and then wided it with a drill bit so I could fit the 3/4 pipe through. It will need to be close to the sidewall, but far enough away that a pipe can fit through snugly with a connector on the inside.
    A 1 inch piece will go through the hole on each cap with a connector on each side. The connectors should be snug against the cap on each side.
    [​IMG]

    A pipe will go in each connector piece, once togather inside the 2" tube they need to overlap by at least an inch.
    I don't know if there is an optimum size, but my first one I cut my 2 inch tube to 11", the second to 7". At 11" the inside 3/4 PVC pieces have to be at least 6" to overlap properly, at 7" the inside PVC have to be around 4".
    Whatever size, the 2" PVC will need to be notched so it just fits around the connector inside the cap. It just needs to be sealed.

    Then add the neck to go into the aquarium, the tube inside the aquarium to feed the siphon, and then a ballgate on the tail end of it.
    A small hole will need to be drilled in the top cap of the main body of the siphon, and an air spigot and airtube added. Make sure that the air tube extends above the level of the aquarium.

    Dry fitted tube:
    [​IMG]

    I dry fit everything and wet test it that way several times first.

    To start the siphon, put the aquarium side in water, close the ballgate, and suck the air out using the tube. When the main body is full, open the ballgate and the siphon is started.

    To use it the way I described, a bulkhead is required. I just used a 1.5 inch tube that I capped and cut notches to the level I wanted in the aquarium.

    Use lots of glue around the connectors, especially if you have gaps. You may want to get some clear 2-part epoxy to seal the connectors to the caps, that's where I anticipate leaks.

    Paint everything black and you will hardly notice it there!

    Disclaimer: this isn't a paint by number project as I've described it. There are probably a lot of little things that I missed or didn't describe well.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. norg.

    norg. Kole Tang

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,766
    Location:
    Muskego WI
    Great idea. Thanks for sharing. If for some reason I couldnt drill a tank Id definitely give this design a shot.
     
  7. SnooknRedz

    SnooknRedz Vlamingii Tang

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,869
    Location:
    Melbourne FL
    I may do this today for my 20... seriously ingenious design. Im thinking of using a 3 or 4" instead of the 2" you have, that way you can have more room to work with.
     
  8. Click Here!

  9. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2000
    Messages:
    13,466
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Wow. Compact design and great name. I love this. Nice work. 8)

    matt
     
  10. Stercus Accidit

    Stercus Accidit Feather Duster

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Lakeland, FL
    Nice! Maybe we'll give this a shot on the 20 or the 55
     
  11. scadsobees

    scadsobees Fire Shrimp

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    Messages:
    325
    Thanks! It was a lot of fun, and hopefully others can use it to avoid some of the frustrations I went through.
     
  12. Jodah

    Jodah Feather Duster

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
    223
    Location:
    CT
    Got a vid with sound? Seriously interested in this depending on how loud/quiet it is instead of drilling my 20H...