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custom aquarium question


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I'm designing a new 30 gallon but I don't know if it's better to go with an overflow or just an external filter. See, I do not get this whole overflow piping thing. Could someone explain it to me?

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What an overflow does is draw water over the wall of your tank at the same rate the water is being replaced. It relies on a siphon, but dividers in the box prevent the siphon from ever being exposed to air, which would break in in the event of a power outage. Also, water level in your tank will not change with evaporation, your sump level will. The sump is a box made to store water and a pump so you can return it to your tank. It is also can hold your heater, probes, skimmer, possibly macro algea for nutrient export, and also you can run media such as carbon or a mechanical media there. I am guessing you know something about sumps, so i wont go on here.


The overflow box has a few main parts. A box with a strainer of some sort to let water in. A U tube, that you have to fill with water by putting airline tubing in it, filling both sides of th ebox with water, and sucking the air out of the tube. And a box on the back that has the drain, and the baffle to keep the water level above the other side of the u tube. Only the water going in, can push water out, which keeps your overflow box from draining your tank. I would buy a Lifereef, or an Amiracle overflow, they are essentially the same, but are the best deisgned.

Heres a website to look at


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If you are gettting a custom tank built, you might consider having them install an external overflow or "weir" box. This is a great way to do what Simms142 talks about without having a visible box in the tank or an unreliable "U-tube" setup. They are prone to siphon breaks due to air bubbles getting trapped in the tube...then the tank overflows.


An external weir box would have a strainer/slot/hole in the back of the tank where the water would spill over into a small box permanently attached to the back wall of the tank. From there, it goes through your plumbing down to a sump/filter.


Similar to the internal overflow partitions in "reef-ready" tanks, but again- no box in the tank taking up space and (maybe) looking ugly!

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I'd like to jump in here with a question.


Fungia, can one rig an overflow without the box on the back? A wier box with out the box so the water just flows straight down to your sump? I would guess that noise might be an issue, but I've read of ways that could reduce the slurping. Also, if you have an over flow like this (say 1" diameter) will this creat a sufficient amount of surface skimming to keep down the scum? Thanks, and I'm hoping Wolfpac might want to know the same things.

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