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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently picked up this set up from craigslist.
I have no experience with bulkheads or tanks with two returns.

There are 2- 2inch overflows with diy bulkheads in each corner.

There are 2- return holes for 1/2 inch returns, with 3/4 inch holes.Large hole in center is covered and patched with acrylic.

The stand/sump has one 1 3/4 inch hole for the return pump, for a 1" bulkhead

I have a new Marineland nj-5500 maxijet for a return pump. Im estimating 700+ gal/hour.

The only access to under the tank is a 8" panel opening along the front of the stand via an piano key type acrylic cover

Here are my questions:

1- Is my pump going to be large enough for this tank. /and or will my flow rate trough two 1/2 returns be enough?

2- I want to do diy bulkheads to save money, but can i even do them with .75 and 1.75 inch holes? What pipe size would i have to use? I know standard bulkhead hole size/pvc pipe ratio, just dont know if i can do diy bulkheads. Also i dont understand the best option(s) of slip/threaded, threaded/threaded or slip/slip bulkheads. Which is best if i am planning on doing some sort of spray bar for the returns

3-I originally wanted to run the pump submerged and hard plumbed inside the sump to reduce noise and help with heating, Then i started to think about that the only access to the sump is via an 8" opening along the front of the tank, encase something went wrong. Should I do external? This also got me thinking about using 1" tubing for plumbing with barbs and clamps on the bulkheads. Would this be better than using PVC?

4-What can anyone tell me about my return system i have sketched out?(BLUE holes would be spraying vertically) It would be using 1/2in pvc.

I have no experience with spray bars or underground jets. Will this lay out work well? Will it be hard to keep it covered by sand or a crushed sea shell substrate?

I hope someone can help me out and steer me in the right direction I would rather not learn things the hard way when im dealing with 300gal of water.

66 Posts
1) If the pump is rated for 700gph it will not come close to being enough for a system that size. You need at least 1000gph on top of that 700.

2) Not 100% clear on your drawing, but it is not wise to submerge the return lines. I know your sump is huge but your display tank will back siphon back into the sump to the first siphon brake/ first place air can get into the return line.

3) Can't help on the diy bulkheads, I have always bought bulkheads. Slip or threaded is a matter of preference and how you want or need to plumb your tank. Plan it out first, don't use threaded if you don't have room to twist a fitting+piping into it. You need to pvc cement on slip and teflon tape threaded. Use unions where you know you might need to remove piping and such.

Nice set-up, slow down, ask questions, you will be happy you set it up right the first time.
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