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  1. #1
    Junior Member gonzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Closed loop. Is that the way go?

    I am going to finally upgrade my 55g system for something bigger. I'm not sure the exact size yet as I want to go as big as I can afford. My plan is to have a relatively shallow tank that will house SPS and nice clams, with a large invert colony and minimal fish.

    I currently use a siphon overflow that runs into a DIY 20g sump. I will soon be picking up a 55g sump, with a fuge set up. My new tank will be drilled for sure and my big question is this.............

    How many holes? What is the advantage to a closed loop system? I think a closed loop system allows you to provide lots of flow, without having multiple power heads hanging in your tank, but are there other advantages.

    I appreciate your input and welcome any suggestions as to what I should do with my tank. I will document the set up for all to see.


  2. #2
    ijo is offline
    Join Date
    May 2011
    I would go with a 90 gallon... drilled for a closed loop(4 returns) setup on a oceans motions 4 way(the squirt). Have a mak 4(or some other pump in the 1000 gal/hr area) power it.

    Some of the reasons why I like a closed loop system
    -one pump for all the flow.
    -chances of flood is slim to none
    -no pumps in your main tank
    -can increase/decrease easily
    -mush more reliable

    I also like the idea of low flow return from the sump for the following reasons
    -low cost for the pump
    -low/no mico bubbles(no need for baffles)
    -can easily turn part of the sump into a refugium
    -lower chances for a flood
    -Smaller drain(looks better)


  3. #3
    Senior Member Seahunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    I just went with a closed loop on my new tank and will never ever ever go with one again.

    My reasons are:
    - Plumbing to much of a hassle and it takes up WAY!! to much space on the outside of the tank!
    - Once you drill the holes in the tank there is no changing them later on...
    - Micro bubbles!! I’m still trying to figure out exactly where they are coming from.
    - The outputs still take up place in your tank
    - many more…

    With pumps like vortex out now there is absolutely no reason to go through all the hassle and headaches! My 2 cents.
    225g SSB display, World Fish Custom Sump/Fuge/Filter, H&S A250-2X1260, h&S sulphur reactor, Reeflo Dart 3600g return on a wavy sea plus, 4X Tunze 6101, Deltec PF600, Octopus 3000, Aquazone Ozone 100,
    Lights: 2X250W 10K XMs, 1X400W10K XM, 6XT5s Al lights controlled by AC Jr.

  4. #4
    Moderator mike536's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    seahunter got Ivan got good points.
    Seahunter once you figure out the microbubbles you'll love it. Myself I'd go with the drilled close loop. Mak 4 is an awesome pump. I have one in my basement and i'm still getting lots of pressure from it.
    Mike Philpott

  5. #5
    Former Moderator a4twenty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    i am planning on having a closed loop in my next tank for the same reasons IJO said. mostly, lots of flow from one pump and no powerheads in the tank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seahunter View Post
    Micro bubbles!! I’m still trying to figure out exactly where they are coming from.
    bubbles are introduced in the suction side of the closed loop. i would check the o-rings in your true union ball valves and any threaded / tefloned connections.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seahunter View Post
    With pumps like vortex out now there is absolutely no reason to go through all the hassle and headaches! My 2 cents.
    those vortech's are cool but very expensive.

    120S RR tank with 60G basement sump / fuge

    Return Pump: Little Giant 4-MDQX SC
    Water Movement: MP40W, Seio 1500, (2) Hydor K4's
    Lighting: 400W SE MH with 10K Venture
    Skimmer: Euro-Reef RS250 with gate valve
    Other: RODI, RDSB, PO4/AC reactor

    My Gallery

  6. #6
    liv is offline
    Former Moderator liv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    I like having the closed loop because i don't like seeing powercords in the tank. I also think its less power consumption. my little dart takes 160w max and does 3600 at no load. my jbj's 500gph at no load and take ~50w each. i'd need quite a few to produce the same flow. and unless controlled by a sequencer which kills those little powerheads then i'd have no way to control the water like i currently can with my 4way. another fun thing is if I need more flow, I can always just upgrade one pump. I setup all my stuff to use true union ball valves. so it literally takes me less then 1 minute to remove the pump from the loop to clean it up or repair if needed and put it back online.. no fidling with sucsion pumps, no brackets..etc.

    I like it .. but the choice is very personal again as both systems work great if done properly with the proper equip.

  7. #7
    Sponsor - Wicked Frags 220G's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    I have both a closed loop and 2 tunze powerheads. There are advantages and disadvantages to both really. Depending on the size of the tank you go with, you could incorporate both like as I have.

    I have utilized my closed loop for general circulation. No wavemaking device, 2 intakes, 4 returns. I would never run a tank my size without a closed loop personaly. Main positive - looks great (looks like nothing!), also failproof if well designed. Main negative...buying true union ball valves!

    I use 2 tunze 6100's for specific circulation higher in the tank, generally in the direction of the corals. Main positive - these can be moved as corals grow, main negative, they are obtrusive and ugly in the display ( you set use to them though).

    I also bring alot of water through my sump and return via 2 - 1" sea swirls.

  8. #8
    Senior Member groupie02's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    I went with a closed loop on my 65g. Have a look at my old post. I went all the way on the number of holes.

    I don't regret it at all. I do have micro bubbles but they are coming from my return pump. I have a couple of options for removing them. For a long time, I've had plans to add baffles to my sump. I have all the hardware required, I just need some free time.

    Good luck with your setup.
    65g - 80lbs LR - 4x36" 39W T5 HOs (2x10000K,2xActinics) - CSS125 - 25g sump - Mag 7 return - Blueline SD-1100 Closed Loop with OM Squirt * 2x Amphiprion ocellaris - 1x Paracanthurus hepatus - 1x Zebrasoma flavescens
    29g - with stuff ;-)
    Coming Soon - 120g with more stuff

  9. #9
    Junior Member gonzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    I would have to say the answer is pretty clear. Thanks for the speedy reply. I will go with a closed loop system.

    Groupie2, Your setup is the reason I even considered this as an option. I think you've done an amazing job. It looks intimidating because of the plumbing but the final outcome looks very natural. Where should I get the tank drilled and does anyone recommend a particular brand of tank (oceanic, perfecto etc.).

    Groupie was your tank acrylic or glass? I will probably have to go with a glass tank.

    Thanks again.

  10. #10
    Moderator mike536's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    You could always drill the holes yourself. A dremel and some diamond bits and your good to go. I might make a sticky to show people how easy it is to do (as long as your glass is not tempered!!!!). There was a thread that I did a while ago when I drilled the three holes in my 75 gallon. I worst part of the whole thing is the first time the bit touches the glass. It's the worst noise you'll ever hear but it's ok once you get use to it.
    Mike Philpott

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