4 Canisters, 1 Drain

Jon M

Polypterus
MFK Member
Dec 18, 2010
1,252
151
96
Port Saint John, FL
Okay, so recently i had my Sicce Green Reset 100 canister pretty much explode on me. To this day, myself, nor the people I've spoken with about it can explain what happened. I simply unplugged my pump for a moment to drop some waste off an in take drain that was being held onto the drain screen (which I've done numerous times), and immediately as soon as the pump was unplugged the canister literally started bursting at all seams. I disassembled the entire thing, reassembled, hooked into the plumbing, and every seam, again, started to spew. So, that's on the back porch for now and I'm really not concerned with that canister atm. I'll never use Sicce again, however I've heard nothing but great things about their products.

Onto the new. The one thing that never sat well with me was having one canister filtering my whole 560. It was simply setup like this when I bought it. So, when the Sicce blew, I locked all my ball valves and removed it, went and got two FX6's on sale at my LFS and ghetto rigged the intake and return onto my in tank loc-line with zip ties, Dr Tims the BB and everythings fine for now. It's a temp fix. I was going to buy another large canister like an ultima 2000, then I decided, I already have these two FX6, and boy were they a breeze to setup and user friendly, so why not buy two more and run 4 together? I could easily clean them by alternating and never worry about nuking bb, and if one fails 3 are behind it.

So the issue is the proprietary nature of my tanks build. It has a SEALED chamber in the center of the tank since it's an island build. The chamber has 4 3/8" water returns at the top with loc-line inside, and 2 1.5" screen drains at the bottom towards the substrate to always get any messy waste that wants to sit on the bottom. It works well.

The plumbing was fairly simple. the 1.5" drains were merged into 1 1.5" using a T and elbow, then ball valve, then to the Sicce external pump. Then pump, to canister, and canister out had a 1.5" adapter that split into 4x 3/8" to the returns at the top of the chamber. Honestly, a really unque adapter. I'll post a picture of it from my phone once I post this from my PC.

My idea is this. The canisters on the fx6 are either 3/4" or 3/8". Honestly, I'm not positive on that but I'll go buy 2 more today and go to my hardware store and figure that out. That's pretty easy. If I need to get a reduced to size them properly who cares. So the returns would each have their own hookup to the tank via the chamber. a. to return, b. to return, c. to return, and finally d. to return.

The part I'm unsure on is the drain. I only have one 1.5" drain below the tank since the 2 1.5" have been merged into one that went into the pump. Replumbing this all the way back to the bulkhead is kind of out of the question since the ball valve is past the merge, and the drains reside so low I'd have to almost drain the whole tank and it is fully stocked. This doesn't seem like a huge problem tho. As far as I understand 3/8" (the FX6 drain hookup here) x4 = 1.5". So essentially I'm not reducing anything to restrict flow right? So my idea is use this 1.5" x 4x 3/8" adapter I had for the return, instead for the drains, and have the 1.5" drain split into 4 and going to each canister. Obviously I'd install their own separate ball valves to individually control them for maintenance, and I figure I make each line the exact same length to have even flow.

Does anyone see any issues with this I'm not thinking of?

4 FX6, each has it's own return to tank, all 4 on the same 1.5" drain split by 4.
 

Jon M

Polypterus
MFK Member
Dec 18, 2010
1,252
151
96
Port Saint John, FL
Few updates after speaking with someone about the plan. Firstly, the air line is 3/8", my water returns are 3/4". FX6 is 1". So for returns 1" to 3/4" reducers. Easy enough, done. This adapter is called a manifold I guess. Makes sense I couldn't find it anywhere cause I wasn't looking up the proper name. So this one is 2" because it went to the large external Sicce pump. So I could reduce this but seems silly when I can just buy a proper fitting one. I'll buy 1.5" to 4x 1" manifold and connect that to the union after the 1.5" ball valve on the drain. Boom, done. Anyone see any issues? The person I spoke with seemed confident that it should be pretty seamless.

20231010_104958.jpg
 
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M1A1

Piranha
MFK Member
Jun 10, 2013
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MN
Your math on the pipe size comparison is off and that leads to the only potential issue I see which is whether canister filters can be restricted on the input side. Generally it is a bad idea to restrict the input/intake side of a pump though and that's basically what a canister filter is. So you may just be limited in the number of filters you can run at one time without starving the pumps and damaging them due to cavitation or overheating. Looks like 2 filters is safe while 3 filters might be a problem.

The math is off because you have to look at the area of the pipe, not just the diameter. The 1" pipe on the FX6 has an area of 0.785 square inches and the 1.5" manifold pipe has an area of 1.767 square inches. So 2x FX6 is 1.571 square inches which is less than the 1.5" pipe area, it can handle it, but 3x FX6 is 2.356 square inches which is more than the 1.5".
 

Jon M

Polypterus
MFK Member
Dec 18, 2010
1,252
151
96
Port Saint John, FL
I see. So I've been pondering it extensively and speaking with a LFS owner and he's given me a lot to think about. At first, I decided maybe it'd be the right move to drain the tank very low, below the drains, and split each 1.5" to 2 and 2. Tonight I had another idea. My LFS owner pretty much mentioned if he did it from scratch he would make sure it was one in and out for each canister. The returns are that. So here was my newest idea. (even though I already spent 40$ on this nightmare manifold adaptation, lol)

Reduce each drain to 1.5" to 1" and run to canister A. and B. THEN, bring a line up the chamber for C. and D. and build a nice clean looking piece to wrap around the top and back in towards the inner tank chamber, and down. So essentially how the canister would be hooked up any other tank, except I'll just need to make a nice clean cut into the lid, and have the adapter wrap around the top lip so it doesn't look ghetto. This way the in tank drains can also be on the opposite sides of the chamber that the inner tank drains are in. All drains being used, gives me the low and some higher in tank drains, and each canister has separate in and out. What do you think?
 

jjohnwm

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Mar 29, 2019
3,618
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Manitoba, Canada
I'm still trying to get my head around that weird failure of the Sicce filter. What the...?

Regarding your well-thought-out solutions, I'll comment that any time you reduce the size of a drain line, as opposed to a return line, you run the risk of some obstruction that is small enough to enter the larger-diameter drain but not small enough to easily pass through the smaller-diameter one. Been there, done that...and it was not fun to correct. This is, of course, in addition to the potential problems caused by insufficient bore diameter of the reduced-size lines with respect to the demands of the pump. I'm not 100% certain that I am interpreting your description correctly, so if this doesn't apply to your situation and proposed solution then I apologize.

You mentioned the difficulty of repairing/replacing the plumbing under the tank that lies between the drain bulkhead and the ball valve. Is there no way for you to temporarily seal up those bulkheads from above, allowing you to fiddle with the plumbing at your leisure while the tank remains full? I always use bulkheads that are threaded both inside and out, and then I make up externally threaded covers which can be screwed into the bulkhead on the inside of the tank, effectively sealing them up so that I can monkey with the outside plumbing and stay dry. Failing that, possibly a simple rubber stopper could be found or made that would do the job in a pinch. It would depend upon the style of those drain bulkheads.

Looking forward to hearing about this issue; good luck with whichever way you decide to go. :)
 
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Jon M

Polypterus
MFK Member
Dec 18, 2010
1,252
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Port Saint John, FL
Finally got all 4 hooked up. All with individual drains and returns. Not 100% done yet, but they're all up and running finally. Next step I'm going to build a small setup to come out of the chamber at the top, wrap around and in to the center chamber for the two drains that aren't using the built in lower substrate drains. I'll post a pic to show what I mean.

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