Deadmeats farewell - The magic 'siphon overflow box' - how??

Discussion in 'Protein Skimmers, Mechanical Filtration' started by deadmeat2016, 7 Jul 2013.

  1. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Wouter

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    Hi Reefers

    In light of me leaving the hobby, I'm sharing what knowledge I feel everyone should have, and not the basics you get continuously drilled into your skull by anyone who thinks they know what they're doing which seems to be everyone lol, no personal insults meant but we are programmed to be confident and defensive with our intellectual property, even if it does seem........illogical. This first part here is a bit of what I am trying to do as a farewell to the hobby and attempting to pass on knowledge and experience I have earned, gained and deduced in my marine reefing experience/adventure.

    I do explain how I think and what my final points I try to conclude with are, along with how I feel things in this hobby should be explained to better benefit the hobbyists and the ecosystem they are working with. You can never learn too much and if your mind is too closed to other ways, methods and opinions, it will rot!! so stay fresh

    The technical tricks I have developed to overcome some of the technical hurdles which stand in the way of success I shall include! well sort of........ but in threads ill reveal some of my success stories and FUBAR things ive tried with the results and guide on how you can also try these stupid things! Slowly but surely and clear, in the same way that it is informative!

    I'm describing some hardware aswell which has helped me most and that some people have never heard of.

    Such as my Fluval heater some of you now know about cus of my thread, 'a simple heater.....no', its a great bit of kit SA needs. but that's an example of what I shall share. thread per thread and the more questions, the better, the more enthusiasm, who knows?

    Upcomming threads include my experiences with; 'Overflows', 'Skimmers and what you get for your money, its as simple as skimmate', 'Salt mix and its applications opinionated', 'the role and services of Cape Town's most successful active conservation movement and why you should know what they can do for you(and why you should feel good about paying an entrance fee); its not just a aquarium/public attraction' and 'Whats the point? an overview of the marine hobby in my salty tear filled eyes and why the hobby changes our lives'.

    Any ways this thread is about the siphon overflow box, what it is, why its used, pro's and con's, tips and tricks and the overall lesson we can learn in the physics which make us smart :).

    Not everything is going to be helpful to everyone and some reefers even know more than I do! So I shall divide sections, which one can skip if its........shit. And I'm not writing a textbook of guidelines here that are set in stone so don't be pedantic and take in everything with a pinch of salt(1).

    Combined with logical thinking to bind the salt like butter(2), leading to deductive reasoning which will result in a good buttery salty mixture which represents a carefully and intelligently thought out and tasty opinion! (3)!!

    Not eveyone gets taught or learns in the same way and some people just have experience which can't be bought by money or put into a book or writing to be repeated and distributed, which is why no one can be thought of knowing it all or to a greater extent understanding it all. Which is the attitude towards the siphon overflow box,

    as an example, one of the senior aquarists at the Two Oceans aquarium who has saved several endangered marine animals, given conservation speeches, has to know long biology words, feed the most exotic animals and build exhibits that would make the average reefer produce some poo, that shoots out very fast and creates a big mess!

    But when challenged with a single tank of dirty water containing a valuable animal and no means of processing the water or changing it due to whatever reasons, is stuck because he has never heard or knew it was possible to create an artificial overflow!! - the siphon overflow box

    So don't interpret my writings ever as being insulting or referring to you on a personal level.

    I try to include everything and not waste a reader's time by over-informing or just plain confusing, that's how I'd like to be treated as a reader anyways!!

    You could read everything I have ever written about informatively and know it all! except one sentence which could be a potential bombshell. That one sentence, is what I hope I can provide at the least for a reward for reading my thoughts, and not have one searching forever to find it amongst a mass of organised letters and enigmatic, yet creative, font variations.

    My point I try to communicate.........

    If I had a cent for every time I felt insulted by some written piece which assumed I had to be reminded of ridiculous things like gravity being present and that its why you should not walk off a large cliff.

    Or at the other extreme, assume that ur some genius who is completely incapable of social interaction or lack history thereof, who sits around memorising textbooks on quantum relativity! and huge tables of values for wavelengths of light produced by a firefly!!!

    I try to avoid these types of........assumptions......about you reader :) and although I have myself made the mistake of including both these frustrating combinations of text based, slap in the face, insult inducing suggestive phrases in a single sentence.

    I do not seek out to insult or dismiss whatever level of creative knowledge you possess. I write assuming you know what I do and make it clear we are thinking on the same wavelength, with any misunderstanding, itself, clearly understood and the word 'mis' removed from the word, with everyone understanding what was misunderstood and wiser from the experience, make sense?

    I'm not a perfect liturgical artist but I know what is, and is not entertaining to read on a normal level.

    Also the simple detail that; 'will it teach me anything?' or potentially 'confuse me to the point of psychosis?'

    Earning my Bsc hons has forced me to read alot of geological papers, who some titles cannot be pronounced by 29 out of 30 people and to an even lesser extent, understand what anything on the paper means or the point.

    Enough of my drabble, which I hope doesn't contradict my intentions and wasted your time!

    The point of this installment is to remove the fear of not knowing when someone mentions an artificial overflow or siphon overflow box.

    Its a simple yet immensely intriguing approach to a problem I think many people are sitting with and are looking for a solution but don't understand the concepts.

    Some of you are familiar with the concept and understand it, great! remember to apply it to your everyday reefing routine which is geeky but as many can agree, reefkeeping is a scientific process with a scientific methodological approach required for success and balance. You do not need to know everything here but I can reccommend reading the tips section just incase.

    I guess there are categories of reader here so who are you? and what will you gain from the reading? i.e;

    The noob Reefer - Make sure you understand how an overflow works and why its used, then you will benefit from my preaching - have a read of my shit here and the topic should never puzzle you, you should learn one of those nuggets of info that build the base of your reefkeeping knowledge pyramid.

    The enthusiastic, average stereotypical, logical, intelligent, open minded but sometimes overhasty reefer - This is most of us, or at least I hope to think so. Who have heard of this 'siphon overflow thingy' or know what it does and why people use it or are even a lucky owner!....well special owner:tt2: If you are one of the many who have heard of but never took a closer look at the.....technique.....method...whatever. Or even better and never heard of this overflow, have a quick read and ask a question or 2

    The master reeefer - Know the boxes, used the boxes, have stories and emotional memories from using the boxes and probably tried to make ur own? - skip the start reading or provide constructive criticism, glance over the tricks I think i developped, you should be familiar with everything and thank you if you read :thumbup:

    The actual stuff is being written!! will be added asap
     
    Last edited: 8 Jul 2013
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  3. LCornelius

    LCornelius Moderator

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    Bud, great read and good info.

    Are you leaving 2Oceans as well?
     
  4. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Ok, the overflow, an important concept that puts reefkeepers on a much higher level of technical filtration ability and separates the keen from unkeen reefkeeper while furthur sub-dividing the keen into the simple or complicated reef setup depending on the experience, dedication and patience of the reefer.

    Noobs, read all, smartasses, skim and note my experiences.

    The advantages of having the option of DT overflowing into an overflow pipe and down to a sump for the filtration and water processing are so numerous one would be considered a.......well, not very smart person, for not thinking or considering the overflow sump option as its efffective, visually impressive as well as visually aiding by hiding hardware, but most of all its relatively simple which anyone could understand if presented with the concept, whatever can be pumped into the the DT from the sump, will simply enter a well prepared and thought out system of sequencial steps and chambers which mechanically force the water to flow in a desireable way to maximize the processing of undesireable compounds in a closed system

    Which is better to be in the categories described? well if you are not a keen reefer, why have you bothered to fill a tank with saltwater as opposed to freshwater and expect to enjoy the hobby if not keen, or do not even care between salt or brackish water? If you are in the unkeen group or feel ur going that way, stop reading, go pick up a crayon and draw your house with nice big doors and windows! you will have spent your time better :p

    ok, that's sorted out, now 'simple' from the 'complicated'. What do I mean by these terms? most would agree that the terms can be interpreted very differently and from different points considered relative.

    Personally, I distinguish based on the sump setup and whats plugged in. as an example, our simple setup has a sump with the first chamber for incomming water, next is skimmer, then the classic DSB, maybe some media at the end for phosphate or even biocubes at the start for nitrate etc. simple flow, simple design, goes from A-B and easy to label what the sump chambers process and benefit it results in. Right, its easy and importantly simple, and its functional and works as its supposed to while the plugs are occupied by pumps and a heater, possibly a chiller if the money is there and a light for some algae.

    Complicated setup is where you start really playing around with the flow through the sump, routing it from the incomming to split to diff parts of the sump, having several different sumps in larger systems, having a single sump for several systems, and don't even get me started in the wide array of reactors, monitoring and dosing devices, osmotic regulators, ozone and I could go on for days as well as different locations for the return pump.

    Which is best, simple or complex? straight off the bat I would say how long or fat or strong is a piece of string? the simple sump is the best option for the reefer who likes thought of keeping marinelife and appreciating the hobby with no ambitions of stocking exotic SPS or fish worth more than a car. The complex route can lead to one giving up the hobby as it can provide the false image that to keep an amazing reef, it has to have as many automated and high tech 'stuff' as you can afford, putting gadgets before family, quality of life and other important stuff like your car etc.

    The more things added, the more can go wrong, so if one opts for the complex route without the correct research or experience, its a disaster waiting to happen and the hobby is given up with the reputation that its a overly complicated and non rewarding hobby.

    Complex is great and wonderous systems can be put together which would amaze an architectural engineer and impress even the most skilled of industrial lab technician so don't think im blasting the more involved approaches, just giving a interpretation of what ive seen and the amount of ex-reefers I've helped clear tanks of where the 'the wife complained about the money/smell/lack of attention/obsessional behavior and unrewarding attention' the hobby requires and causes.

    An example i could provide is that of a Ph probe, which is great, Ph monitoring on the go and a little machine which displays a number you could try and explain to guests in a way to make you seem clever, a good warning system to monitor if there is something bad wrong before death starts to occur etc if you actually understand what its showing you, awesome stuff, you want one?

    Not everything is perfect, this probe is not exactly the price of a pump or heater nor is it an easy piece of hardware to install and maintain so not cheap. Depending on the accuracy of the probe, its works in a way to give a reading depending on the probes response calibrated from a standard so it can always give a reading, which is great, but if not calibrated then........well, hmm, alot of money for a incorrect reading, if you dont take the time and effort to calibrate. so more complex = more time required + risk of error of reading and risk of interpretting incorrect reading for a correct one with a reaction that is not helpful such as overdosing Kh! If appropriately planned and understood however, the slight complication can be a massive piece of mind.

    Conclusion - getting that one extra gadget can be awesome if used and maintained properly which will benefit the reefer, providing experience and confidence while most importantly of all, provides a more efficient, safe environment for pets........

    but then the next toy comes along...........the reefer must maintain the correct attitude and not let the further addition of equipment hinder or cause less attention to be available to the already existing framework and maintenance routine.

    The overflow is an important consideration, process and is commonly excluded from the routine maintenance schedule which most people never notice but there are some simple but key parameters that a overflow affects and must be monitored for efficiency, blockage and even the way the water flows as to recognise how your overflow is 'supposed to work' and notice if something is different. But is this really that important?? yessssss..... reasons with experiences

    1. the overflow volume per minute or sec etc is defined by the amount of water the return pump moves, the water passing through the return plumbing to the DT and falling/proceeding through the overflow piping or irregular overflow box at any point in time of operation could be considered dead-volume.

    As the total system volume in an operating tank should be measured with the filtration/overflow active, which creates the effective volume of water with constant water level and the dead-volume is being occupied, thus taken into consideration making the manipulation of water volumes in the system more accurate and realistic as the filtration flow should be active the whole time ideally therefore making the system volume when filtration is off, effectively meaningless.

    But still.....overflow in the maintenance schedule? Oh yes, if you have an overflow currently, add a bit of mesh or similar filtration to slightly retard the flow of water through the overflow or one of the overflow pipes if there are more than 1. Carefully watch the water level in the sump......what do you notice? as you add or even just manipulate the overflow's....flow, and making it take a different route can affect the overflow efficiency, thereby messing with the efficiency of the overflow volume balance(as an overflow pipes efficiency of allowing water through to fall varies depending on the water level height above the overflowing water over the open end of pipe, im not sure what level of water does what but too high a level of water for the overflow does not allow it to suck any air freely, this ends up in a venturi effect every couple of moments, very noisy, or simply reduced efficiency), overflow volume balance is something I labeled which is a volume of water, comprised of dead-volume water used in the cycle, return pump output and the volume of water actually being moved. so the balance is acheived when the dead volume is occupied and all areas involved with the overflow process are at operating level and nothing is causing the dead-volume required for overflow or the efficiency of the overflow plumbing to change or fluctuate giving a perfect balance of required dead-volume occupied and force required to maintain the pressure to pump the water against gravity continuiously.

    Change in sump level? is this important? If you have read the question and can't think of why this is important then remember the phrase I have always kept in mind that someone on MASA used but I cant remember who. SPS - most difficult corals but the phrase 'stability promotes success' has always reminded me of the most important parameter values we should aim for - stable ones.

    Change in sump water level = level of protein skimmer column which should remain constant and 'tuned' by reefkeeper to stay efficient
    The salinity is greatly affected as the total water volume in a overflowing system is monitored by the sump level as all dead-volume is compensated for and the DT should be at operating level, I.e fairly high as the water is overflowing at constant rate, so changes in the efficiency of overflow, example making it less efficient, will not let the returning water to the DT overflow as fast as usual or as more common, the flow route has been altered, requiring more dead-volume for overflow and resulting in a decreased sump water level - affecting skimming, stability and if you have a auto top off, the decreased observed level in the sump does not actually mean that the water is gone, its simply being used to take up dead-volume but the ATO will compensate by adding RO water to a chemically balanced system which unbalances it, dropping salinity and Ph which causes stress for captive animals in the system if it happens too quickly. I.e not promoting stability but disrupting it instead and messing with the osmotic pressure some corals and sensitive inverts directly as the RO water mixes while in contact with the animals. Not good.

    Have you thought about everything?? the heater is often overlooked

    Even worse which I have seen several times, The temperature of a system is a fairly basic thing most of us don't worry about unless theres a reason such as winter or a scortching summer. As the water level decreases in the sump, bear in mind ur heaters, most are long and need to be mounted upright and we all know what they look like and they have a minimum operating depth.........with a decreasing sump level, is ur heater ok?

    Why the heater? its fairly simple, they should be mounted upright as the thermostat and circuitry is at the top to allow for measuring the temperature without interference from the actual heating element at work, but what happens when the top of the heater where the sensor is, is not submerged? you get a heater reading the air temp which could be far below what the heater is set to in winter.....eg set to 26 with air temp 17, it will keep heating the water until its literally steaming, I have seen this and am surprised most reefkeepers are not familiar with what 26 degrees feels like, its shouldnt be as warm as a bath but actually hardly warm at all, in the winter you should be able to feel its warmer than the surroundings but should not be warm enough for you to want to swim, it should be at the tip between nearly luke warm and cold for 26 degrees, 27 should be milder as the red sea is around 27-28 as i have been there and measured personally. so watch that heater depth and dont be surprised at how strong some heaters are, I had a pal with a 300W Eheim who took his tank to 45degrees before popping its glass case and steaming his livestock.

    What most people also fail to notice is how long water takes to cool down, my 1000L system would go up to 29 in the hottest days of summer, to combat this, I airconned the room at a nice 21 for 4 days until it dropped to 27, and again to heat up, 4 days of 30degree+ weather and 2 300W metal halides took it back to 29 which demonstrates my observation, water can hold alot of heat and we must remember that although it can conduct heat relatively fast, on a time scale of what we perceive, water is actually pretty resistant to change of temp which really becomes clear with larger volumes. If you would like me to run through the calculations for the heating up of a specified volume or mass of water, PM me and I shall thread it without making you embarassed :thumbup:

    Solution to conclude, keep ur overflows clean! especially taking care of the pipes open area which is a awesome living space algae and sessile creatures as the oxygen constantly being added and water-flow strength is perfect for their growth without them needing to move. great for them, bad for our system overflow efficiency and keeping the overflow volume balance in tact. It may perhaps be minor in a 200L system with a smaller sump, but imagine a 1000L system with a 200L sump like mine i had, 5L of water is evaporated everyday which equals around a cm in water level of sump. Without an ATO unit, every 3 days, 15L of water would have to be replaced, this is not excessive but If I am busy for the whole week, thats 7cm and for a skimmer working in 30cm+- such as a ATI powercone, 7 cms of water level drop cuts skimming to 30% efficiency as opposed to 100% in 30cm water, which results in more algae, higher salinity, more stress, more waste buildup which is a good example of how a small factor easily overlooked can provide a huge array of problems if not kept in check.

    I could relate this to the snowball effect where once the ball of catastrophe starts, its only gets bigger and faster if you dont step in and fix it, and with a marine aquarium, nothing can be done quickly unless you are really careful and know what you are doing. so keep that overflow clear and working like it should to keep one of those possible small snowball starters at bay.
    As most RO units are fairly slow unless a holding tank is fit, do not let the evaporation get you, if you want a better idea of the impacts of evaporation, take a cup of tank water, leave it for 2 days in the sun and note the amount of salt, its alot, so promote stability and you will have success

    Moving onto the principle of the artificial overflow.......................
     
  5. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Afraid so bud, they gonna have me digging up those useless stones they call diamonds for debeers in sierra leone or angola. I have pleaded the two oceans for a temp job offer for a year just to hang on a bit but doesnt look good, one must work for money, our passions cant take us through life financially
     
  6. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Still here?

    Hopefully I have been informal enough to keep you reading while being formal enough for you to follow my train of thought.

    Just some more on my first experiences and mistakes i was lead into. Also the common first animal buys which I have seen happen

    We have seen that an overflow should be checked occasionally and cleaned of any obstructing growth such as algaes or inverts like limits or snails who simply love the high flow and addition of air in such a nice spot where they can sit and thrive. that's great but we are maintaining a aquarium for the benefit of all the animals and the overflow blockers are simply taking advantage. If you are not heartless enough to end their little reign of inconvenience for good, just scrape them loose and let them overflow, they will be fine and find somewhere else to sit and annoy you.

    I saw this problem many times at the Two Oceans with the overflows of the frag holdings green 'builders warehouse' jobbie mesh covering the overflows became simply clogged and so overgrown it was no longer a mesh but a small little patch of rigid algae which only obstructed things but was argued to be very bio-diverse in defense, upon simply moving the mesh up a little bit to reveal some fresh unclogged mesh, the sump level went up 9cms and the holding tank in question, suddenly stopped having a suspicious leak near one of the corners, its now referred to as 'performing a wouter' wherein the overflow is serviced and the mesh replaced as required upon weekly inspection. Simple solution that solved a expensive problem which caused the destruction of several electronic appliances around the holding tank and made a inconvenient mess which was now checked out and solved.

    Isn't there always something that needs to be done in a home reef?

    Getting a bit more back on track, the overflow is a simple concept, drill a hole, attached a bulkhead with pvc as per usual and away you go, the tank will overflow in a directed manner, without fail and mechanically, awesome and reliable but is it that easy?

    If you are a noob and have just started with the adventure but have been so excited and just want to get going, you fill that existing freshwater aquarium with salt and do everything you are advised by the MASA gurus but then you hear of this overflow business, which as you were hasty you did not read about this before starting.

    No problem, enthusiasm is not bad and getting excited about the hobby is what makes it.......well exciting, producing your own little ecosystem and learning whats what and really just growing with knowledge, its not a sin to get carried away or over excited but as long as you keep sensible and not do anything stupid like top your tank salinity up with iodated table salt cus the petshop isnt open at 8 at night and you want stable salinity now! it might seem a good idea at the time but some things you have to learn the hard way, which is what I did and had a hair algae bloom to deal with and unsuitable tank parameters until 50% of the water was chnaged. so a little R15 bag of iodated sea salt(I think) caused the furthur cost of 500L RO and alot of new proper salt. Snowball effect? Oh yes

    In our haste however we do learn to slow down as we learn and condition our excitement, as I say, difficult things you have to learn how to do wrong before you can do them confidently right. It's not something which is difficult to do or understand but to admit thats what you are doing and that you are learning is the most important thing and no matter what happens in the line of failures and disasters and painful lessons, you should always remember that you are attempting to do something fairly complicated and no one ever said it is easy, I did say it can be simple and uncomplex to an extent, but you will always have to learn one way.

    After learning and recognising ones mistakes, you should always take a step back and realise its not your fault and you did not do it on purpose, its a step you have taken and have maybe paid for it but gained the one thing that helps most, experience, its part of the learning process and in this hobby and its difficult to predict. Or I would even call it illegal in my opinion to try and predict or say what a tank will look or mature like or what is needed to make it look a certain way because every tank is unique and as nature is unpredictable we can be lucky or unlucky or worst case scenario, a human disaster magnet where everything you try to keep dies.

    Remember Occam's Razor which usually applied to most topics and questions in biology, the simplest solution to the problem with the least amount of complexities or variables, is usually the correct answer. So you should always remember that things happen for a reason logically and you always have the power etc required to find that reason even if you request or get some help, just don't blame it on anything illogical and trust that you have learnt for the next time round. I have no really admitted it till now but I had to go through 5 ocellaris clownfish to finally realize you need to spend more than R30 on a salinity measuring device as it was horridly inaccurate and the clowns were dying of hypersalinity at 1.035 value. problem found correct and retried.

    One of the many mistakes I made when starting and not having a decent sorce of help, I made many mistakes I would never share with anyone, with the worst of all being Lied to and having faith in a petshop who are so good at lying to you, they will convince you of buying a disctionary with the word gullable in.

    It all depends on a variety of factors in this hobby and learning to recognise potential biological hotspots and knowing what is considered to be a healthy environment are just things one picks up as you progress and is similar to playing a electric guitar, you start off knowing nearly nothing and later can tune the whole thing by ear and no assistance. But sometimes.......risk is a game we love playing with and gambling with. Its in our nature, so you should never feel guilty for taking a risk in the hobby but should be as sensible and careful as possible and know the limit!! especially with livestock, we want to have it becasue its a animal you have never heard of but do not think far enough as to how much we actualy know and our ability to accommodate said animal.
    It is one of those things we have to learn and even as I can try to warn or inform with words and pictures, you will be in the position one day, if you are passionate about the hobby and stick with it, that a animal will be for sale which you do or do not have experience with and have only heard about, the money in your pocket and the risk taking part of your brain will not let you leave without said animal.

    As this is a common occurrence and I have experienced this, aswell as seeing others experiencing it, it usually goes 2 ways. good or bad, lets get the bad out the way.

    Firstly as an example, the most common animal bought due to visual appearance and lack of information is the humble anemone, particularly carpets who tend to be fairly common in the medium to large sizes, have nice colouration usually and.........Nemo! yes everyone wants Nemo and after several years in the hobby you hate that name, you really loathe it as you understand the actual fish. The carpet though is within price range and your tank is empty and needs something now so you can feel satisfied and rewarded, not a bad thing, again human nature.

    The more than happy petshop assistant is happy to sell this piece of stock which he knows nothing about and seems to know everything of this 'A-ne-moan' once you turn into a source of profit and easy sale, its suddenly easy to keep and jus fed every now and again, simple habits, simple everything, oh but buy some iodine and calcium as it will help, they like it he says.......?!!? now it begins

    You get home and do your best to introduce the animal to your setup which goes OK after a 45 min acclimation and all seems fine and you seem proud of your new carpet anemone and see it doing some weird stuff and moving, interesting. you read a bit more on this strange animal and see that it is difficult to keep, aggressive and requires strong lighting. crap ok learning, go back to shop and ask about lighting and skimming etc O you could add this - small t5 unit is shown with 'special growth' bulbs, perfect for it, the A-ne-moananne' and very strong light, as strong as you ever need.......he says.

    Couple of days pass and the time comes when this goes the usual bad way, or if you are lucky like I was and it turns out you made a correct intelligent guess with the help of a sudden and unexpected experienced reefer being the first knowledgeable and genuine person you meet. This turned out to be Johan Du plessis from NAAC, new approach aqua culture, not sure where they are now but should be on here as sponsors.

    The bad way continues with the animal reacting negatively, disppearing and dying without even you knowing until the day there is a cloudy appearance to your tank and it stinks of death with a bit of rotten fish kak to add to the aroma, you realize you have wasted ur money and perhaps try again trusting the advice from the pet store clerk who perhaps on the off chance guesses right and gets the anemone to survive long enough for you to be happy and content, ok scenario but as mentioned, much more likely to end badly unless a source of better info is available.

    The good way it ends.....Meeting Johan he filled in on what the hell an anemone actually was and what real tank conditions are and what anemones require as far as stability and light and filtration goes with some options for me available such as a metal halide with free bulb and a decent skimmer, but I would need this overflow and sump thing???

    This is why it goes ok, or good. You start not planning your tank for what you wanna keep but what you wanted once off is now there and you plan the whole tank around keeping this one animal, not ideal but if you were me and wanted to keep an anemone and a big one, I accepted the idea and the tank was built to house this newst anemone which was my 3rd attempt and cheapest R120 'brown base anemone' which I later rigorously identified as a Malu and was the size of about 2 tennis balls.

    This was in my tank of 1.2meters and 200 or so liters which had been running for 5 weeks on tapwater and an unnessary cocktail of additives which were not helping at all. plus a pathetic hang on boyu skimmer which was overpriced and in my limited experience was pleased. The first metal halide I had seen and owned looked amazing and did the trick with the nennie, it was growing and still alive, switched to RO.........But I had to have this overflow thing!!

    I
     
  7. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    The technical brainstorm

    Start reading here if you are not interested in my first experiences in the hobby but would like to know how the overflow experience started.


    Alternatively, skip the writing, check the pics and skim, not trying to waste ur time but check my tips at the end incase.


    At this point I think it was 2008 and my Malu anemone was happy, I had taken a gamble knowing very little about the animal, aquired more info and correct hardware for said animal which was turning into the focus of the hobby for me even though my tank had been only up for under 2 months, I had won the gamble and got the reward for the risk as everyone was telling me the anemone shouldn't survive.

    This does come back to stability promotes success, I had a nice metal halide which was in the exact same position etc everyday which the anemone was positioned exactly under and took full advantage of the light, having a auto top off unit Johan again put together for me at a negligible price, and quality additives which I used correctly and had perfect water conditions as the anemone was the only real animal there apart from some zoas.

    I had the chance to go furthur and what I saw in Johans shop on the shelf gave me hope. To go ahead I needed better filtration, more water volume and just more so a sump was my goal. but I need this overflow thing to cycle the water, so I did my research and not having the slightest clue of the physics, tried several strange things

    including trying to actually create a siphon to hypothetical sump and attempt to balance the siphon with a return pump, I clearly was being un logical but as I said, stupid things I did from sheer enthusiasm and lack of proper guidance and thinking. I learnt very good lessons and made mistakes I will never forget.

    The initial discovery
    I realized for this to work I was gonna have to drill my tank and now understood the whole process better as nothing but the return pump should influence overflow speed and this marine aquarium stuff is complex even for a Bsc student but with the aid of physics and a sane mind, I found the answer in the form of a siphon induced artificial overflow which creates an overflow box with no drilling or modification but used physics witchcraft to allow a undrilled tank to have an overflow that worked like the real thing.

    I was confused, how the hell?? a siphon keeps going until the source which is elevated has been emptied or the siphon breaks, you cant rely on the speed of a siphon to be calibrated rah rah rah......how the hell?

    I think a simple diagram showing the physics and behaviour of an actual siphon is required to grip this concept as It's possible and its what I saw at NAAC made by this octopus company, I have to make one and understand how it works to feed my marine aquarium addiction so did some research and after a long time sitting and thinking and putting 1 and 1 together to grasp the method which is actually simple as black and white.
     
  8. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    The concept

    I had realized and decided that his is the safest way forward but need to DIY this because that reef octopus thing was R1000 but I never had a good look. To explain the concept the overflow uses, I shall present the following simple diagrams showing how a fluid behaves in a siphon between 2 vessels and the way the siphon reacts to the different gravitational potentials in fluids which is defined by their height.

    Ok, scenarios, buckets A and B are both the same in every way and the fluid is just plain water or seawater if you prefer.

    Scenarios described have a siphon made in the bridge tube between the containers which for theoretical reasons is instantly applied whereas in real life, you need to stick an airline tube into the large tube where the siphon is desired while both ends of the bigger tube are submerged in separate containers at the same elevation, the larger tube will fill with water upon manually sucking out the air trapped between the 2 submerged ends of the tube and this creates a siphon between the two bodies of fluid which is broken if air is re-introduced into the larger bridge tube.

    Scenario 1 is at rest where both containers are at equal elevation, the siphon is applied and is in equilibrium with both fluids not moving

    scenario 2, everything is set up as in scenario 1 but after siphon is applied, vessel B is raised above vessel A, resulting in the fluid contained in B gaining more gravitational potential energy than A and the siphon starts to reveal its usual and predicted action but true ability is examined.

    The siphon acts as a connection almost between the fluids in the 2 vessels, as no air is separating the contact between the 2 fluids in the bridge tube and the air pressure has been removed making the tube able to only have the effect of the water column produced gravitational potential force acting through the tube. So basically the gravitational potential force of the water in both tubs is equal for both tubs with same depth of water at same height.

    If a tub of water is raised, the water will have a higher gravitational potential energy content as the potential energy given by gravity is defined as density X gravitational acceleration constant of 9.81 X height, greater the height, the more the energy is multiplied by, simple, more height, more energy.

    But how does this affect fluid behaviour?

    Water is always going to fall on the floor if you pour it whatever way right? it wants to loose its gravitational potential and ideally hav no energy at the centre of the earth

    The gravitational energy can be calculated and expressed by the pressure it creates in a situation, its defined as the amount of force acting divided by the area its acting on to be expressed as force per unit area and the higher the gravitational energy of a given fluid, the more pressure it will exert than at a lower height.

    Energy or any theoretical object with energy stored, will want to release the energy by specific means and a general rule is energy or any material with a diffusional property will always transfer from areas of high energy to low energy to favour a less energetic state. So water in B would have more potential energy than water in A, making B want to flow down if possible towards A, the siphon creates the ability to let the water pressure act between the 2 bodies of fluid and join them to share the water pressure equally given the siphon is maintained.

    This results in the potential force of the fluid in A, a product of the height dimension produced by said body of water in said container, must be equal to the potential force of water B for there to be equilibrium and no net water exchange.

    If B is raised resulting in more potential energy thus pressure, the siphon will want to equalize the force and energy will flow from high concentration to low, the water will flow due to pressure gradient and the physics is clear.

    Ok, I know all of this will happen as its common sense, why go into this much detail? is a siphon that exciting?

    no, but hold on, gimme 3 more mins of your brain's exercise routine and get to the damn point

    siphon 1.png

    siphon2.png
     
    Last edited: 8 Jul 2013
  9. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Ok, I know all of this will happen as its common sense, why go into this much detail? is a siphon that exciting?

    no, but hold on, gimme 3 more mins of your brain's exercise routine and get to the damn point

    The concept is solid and the physics clear and testable so ill suggest scenario 3, exactly the same as scenario 2 but A is raised and you have to be a pure genius to predict the result..........not

    But then you have shown this, how does it apply? or how can I show this better?
    We need to play around with the jugs a big and change their size for certain demonstrations but the point is fairly simple im trying to get at.

    For the concept of the whole siphon overflow, the siphon is made between the two hypothetical vessels A and B which maintains the same pressure at both ends of the said tube used to create the siphon and will transfer water in an attempt to equilibrate pressures if they are varied from their balanced and equal state.

    Ok but am I not just repeating myself trying to get you to understand? umm I hope not and will use my amazing graphic designing skills again for scenarios 4, 5 and 6 which involve starting in the same setup as scenario 1 and setting a siphon, then changing the height of B with respect to A and emphasising the fluid level with respect to the linked containers.

    What is observed is the water level of both containers that the siphon links, stays the same, I.e the water acts as if it is in one single container which obviously would only allow all fluid to rest at a certain horizontal level with no fluid having greater potential energy, i.e at a greater height than any other part of the fluid and it all acts as a single body. So the amount of gravitatinal potential energy exerted by the fluid bodies at either end of the siphon tube must be the same otherwise the water will flow in a way to minimize the difference so that all the fluid is gravitationally equal in potential energy.

    OK now that is starting to repeat but I hope that makes sense as it is simple but the words need to be associated with the right meanings but the drawings....scenario 4, the fluid is much more in both containers to emphasize the equilibration and after initial starting conditions, B is only slightly raised with respect to A, and allowing for equilibrium.

    Notice the level of fluid, all potential energy is equal with no discrete divisions of smaller fluid bodies at different gravitational potential producing positions but only one discrete body that shares its potential energy equally.

    siphon4.png

    siphon5.png

    siphon 5-2.png
     
  10. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    note in the amazing technical drawings, that in scenario 5, as water is added to B, making it more energy rich compared to A's fluid as it has more height so more pressure causing disequilibrium and forcing water to the lower energy A from B to attempt to maintain equilibrium which it does so successfully, otherwise if the siphon was not present, the fluid could not be shifted and B would simply fill up and have more energy or pressure exerting as the height of its water column will be more with respect to A.

    I hope this makes sense and that if you fill one container with more fluid it directly affects the amount of fluid pressure in the said vessel, causing a disequilibrium and a movement of water away from the more potential gravitational energy rich side to the lower energy side to maintain the most identical pressures possible across the siphon at the 2 open ends.

    If this does not make sense please let me know as I am typing how I think so don't want to loose anyone.

    Lets put this all together though, 2 vessels can be made to have the same water level as each other by introducing a siphon between them which maintains the equilibrium of pressure between the 2, directly connecting a change in either ones water level or potential gravitational energy to a reaction which transferrs water to the side of lower pressure from the higher pressure side to equalize the pressure either end of the tube used as the siphon.

    which I hope is making sense and comming together which is aided by scenario 6's schematic, we can imagine that the 2 containers A and B are actually connected back to back with the siphon between them and B in the tank, A outside the tank. Please say if this is confusing so I can reword.........
     
  11. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    there are my technical drawings which are very accurate :p

    But that sums it up with every detail and tit bit of info which you can ask anything on.

    But the jist is as simple as shown with no magic, as the tank level rises and causes the pressure increase in B, which is related to water level producing more weight and pressure, causing the siphon between A and B to act in a way to reduce the pressure at B by transferring the Water to A, wherein it overflows through the intended overflow pipe. Bobs ur uncle, an overflow, driven by a siphon which works as good as the real thing and no fuss

    My tips and tricks are to follow

    overflow1.png

    overflow 2.png

    overflow3.png
     
    Last edited: 8 Jul 2013
  12. Smirre

    Smirre

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    Very good read thanx bud:thumbup:
     
  13. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    Hope you have extracted the useful info from my ramblings and not feel i was too basic buts its my start.

    As far as my experience using the reeftek overflow box is a rewarding and insightful experience as now I can critisize other peoples views and methods of using the overflow box with a fair amount of confidence as I used it for an overflow for 3 years with no serious incident or reliability issues.

    Granted it started off slow without me knowing how to use the bloody thing but as all relationships go with hardware, you learn things only a practical user can including the most subtle flaws or imperfections one could only appreciate, understand and work with as the time of owning the thing increased along with the dependance I developped for the assembledge of perspex to aid in my artificial ocean construction.

    You hear many complaints about people finding the device or concept unreliable or not safe enough to rely on but I say poppycock. I started priming the device manually with my mouth sucking on the tube, not pleasant as you understand why Daniel Craig drinks saltwater to induce a vomitting reacting in casino Royale, it works so well I wish I could have found more use for the effect.

    I did have to monitor the buildup of air on a daily basis while sometimes leaving it until I finally came to remember that I had to keep it maintained, by which point the device was minutes from loosing its siphon.

    This is the primary weakness to the concept, if that siphon which enables the whole pressure equalization and water transfer fails due to air buildup from the inevitable array of bubbles and air pockets which gets ocasionally pulled through flow and trapped in the most crucial and vunrable part of the device until one services the thing and sucks out the trapped air.

    Surely I must have gotten tired from the effort and sick of the worry that I could find my precious marine pets one day in a cage I built with the goal of keeping animals alive, dead and suffering due to my lack of maintaining one simple thing...................

    You can't expect me to use the thing for that long and not have thought up safeguards from the common things that could possibly go wrong with this device I rely so heavily on? I refer to the image attached of the reeftek overflow box I used and got to know so well.

    The tube which is provided uses the same push fit fittings an RO unit does which makes the connection simple to remove and clean for maintenence but also a convenient tool free attachment of the desired hosing and apparel. Its not hard to see why people try to DIY the siphon overflow box as it is quite a simple device and function to emulate but after owning the reef octo/tek box, and investing the money in it to avoid the risky process of drilling a hole in ur glass box. I would definitely use the method again as I shall explain and why it worked for me in the way I was using it.

    As mentioned, the box never let me down with the only faults in its use were because of my lack of care and attention as a novice reefer. Yes a drilled tank takes the worries and risks away but if one were in my position where the process of drilling a hole would endanger the health of my exotic and loved pets which simply is not worth the risk of loosing all, when the worst sacrifice you will have to make is the little corner of your tank being occupied and your wallet filled with a receipt of a useful and extremely functional bit of hardware, you will never regret owning and having the option to convert any glass case into an overflowing marine habitat that is as reliable as the real mcoy drilled hole.
     
  14. deadmeat2016

    deadmeat2016 Thread Starter Wouter

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    What was my secret to avoiding disaster and keeping free of worry? I can only tell those who have cross the line of eternal...........OK, again occams razor, simplest solution is the correct.

    The risk is having the siphon broken by the air taken in with water as the overflow works, one has to watch the air buildup which starts to degrade the efficiency of the box to pass water effectively and as soon as this starts, it means the box cannot keep up with the volume of return water to keep it all flawless, what does this mean? :(:(:(

    Tank overflow, sump nearly empty, auto top off has gone wild and just not a scene you want to ever be greeted with when arriving home after a rough day and having your animals lives slipping out of reach because its late and theres nothing you can do or any reefers available for an emergency livestock transfer.
    This scared me so I did naturally experiment with various methods;
    I tried getting the siphon priming technique to start a siphon on top of the overflow siphon to keep the crucial siphon in tact but this did not work as the majour weakness to a siphon is introduced air, the main box's siphon could handle a bit of air for a couple days before giving in but the siphon which was attempted to keep the main siphon going kept failing upon any tiny bit of air so was definitely not the direction.
    I tried preventing the root of the problem but trying to stop the bubbles or air pockets entering the overflow by using filter floss, egg crate, mesh, perspex divider and some other weird things like a nori clip and a hairbrush which is how strange I was resorting to after the normal ideas ran out. Nothing worked and if anything it decreased the overflow efficiency resulting in possible worst case scenario mentioned.

    I was so tired and fed up that I was even considering just cracking a piece of DT to DIY a 'accidental' overflow design attempt but saner ideas prevailed as I was not letting this hurdle dampen my enthusiasm or ambition for success in the hobby.

    The answer came to me as a rather strange event as I was busy with maintenence and found a small 39l/hr pump I had, which is tiny, the thing is about as big as a matchbox and have no idea what could use a pump with such tiny......well balls. which is when it hit me, all i need is a small, ever so small venturi pull on that siphon priming line to keep a siphon active and free from bubbles building up. Its so simple its stupid.
    The little pump actually worked and I felt on the way to safe piece of mind.

    On the way but not quite there, I was happy with my creativity but not as confident as I wanted to be with the functionality so my mind was kept open but I was inspired to find a solution which again led me to the simplest and well founded theories applied to the process of deducing biological processes and examining natural funtions. Occams Razor, The answer is simpler than I am aware and right infront of me, you want to put more money into piece of mind, there is no limit as piece of mind and security from potential, anticipated events of potentially devestating unforseen magnitude.
    Simply put, I put R80 into a bigger pump and check valve which I installed and tested to the edge of reason, deliberately cutting the power, sabotaging it as if the power had failed and someone had decided to close the valve or evil forces tried to inflict as much damage on my marine habitat by moving and disturbing the equilibrium.
    The pump was able to produce enough negative pressure by venturi so prime the whole box and make operational by the time the power was put on and before the return pump flooded the DT. I considered myself covered as far as the overflow was concerned. But life did continue with profound success, but did it let me down eventually? actually no, even though it took me a while to work out a method and suffered months of worrying, tuning, exprimenting, watching, waiting, observing and finally acting in a way as to not be deturred by possible disasters or paranoia of failing to plan for an obvious but overlooked failure of hardware such as a heater or a return pump?
    My advice would be to watch ur system and play around by actually trying to induce the biggest disaster possible, as strange as this sounds, you notice small changes and refinements which would aid in the prevention of a disaster, while not averting it completely, you can say you have done what you can to safeguard your personal animals you care and have chosen to involve in your life, with their exotic nature and maintenance profile, ownership of a artificial marine ecosystem is a hobby you can feel proud to practice and remember that this hobby keeps your mind intellectually stimulated far more than any other recreational activity involving personal animal companions or husbandry care of of a non human organism.

    One thing everyone can relate to in life whoever they are, is the mystery of the sea and its endless forms of life which are always evolving and facinating us, in this hobby to you it is no longer a mystery but an adventure of wonder and discovery only made possible by first opening that glass window in your living room to a form of life that is intriguing enough, to change the life of the intrigued.

    Gonna neaten some of this crap up and hope its good enough to read and entertain and hope it reads aswell as I enjoyed the all night documentation of my brainstorm.

    If you hate this and don't like me wasting your time or energy or space on your computer screen, don't worry, I'll be in warzone next month digging out useless and shiny stones for a company who has more money than sense, still takes advantage of local labour and controls an their international commodity via an organised and well arranged monopoly of supply and demand regimes. Guess who?
     
  15. jclaas

    jclaas

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    I am entertained by this thread, thank you and may i add that it is sad you have to leave this hobby behind.
     
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  16. Midnight Reefer

    Midnight Reefer

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    rahh, what a patient dude
     
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