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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone here built their own livewell? I built one out of an old cooler and installed a thru-transom aerator. I also installed a PVC overflow that drains into the back of the boat to be discharged by the automatic bilge pump. This is where my problem lies....

The overflow will not drain fast enough to compensate for the aerator. Does anyone have any suggestions? After the livewell (cooler) gets full, the aerator will overflow it instead of the water draing out the overflow! Larger PVC? Larger opening in the top of the overflow tube? I'm at a loss right now as to what to change.
 

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I'm not completely sure I follow, but I think I do. The water is being forced into the cooler, but then relying on gravity to exit. Gravity (output) can't keep up with the input. If you want them to work together, output must equal input. Once the gravity fed overflow water reaches the bilge pump, it will probably work, but by then it's too late. I think your going to need another pump in the cooler.
 

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I'm not wild about dumping this water in your boat.

How about cutting a valve in your supply line to slow down supply.
 

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Reducing the supply would only add stress to the pump. I see now I misunderstood the overflow somewhat.
Once the gravity fed overflow water reaches the bilge pump, it will probably work, but by then it's too late.
This was incorrect. I didn't realize it was falling into the back of your boat. Regardless, you still need to increase output, by a bunch.
 

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Snobal,

This is the one I built this winter, it's 125 gallons, It's a Delta truck box, I use it to keep catfish during the Duracats tournaments alive in. On the left at the bottom is the recirculation intake, in the middle is the pump in portion that goes to the back of the boat, I can fill this one from the dash, to the right is the pumpout pump, I use it to change the water out or after a tournament it is used to pump the livewell dry. There is a hose that goes from that pump out to the rear of the boat and dumps the water into the river, both pumps are 500 gallons per hour Mayfair pumps, in the bottom are four airstones supplied with two pumps putting air into the system at all times. The recirculate pump pulls water from the Live well and pumps it up to the sprayer bar, this picture shows 7 nozzles but I have changed that to three to get a better spray pattern. This thing is awesome never splashes water out and rides well in the boat huge but our main concern is to keep the catfish livelier than they were when we catch them and it does the job well.

I think I would refrain from dumping water into the bilge of the boat but instead dump it using a pump instead of gravity, but here is mine to give you an idea............Doc

 

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Well.. If you don't like my supply valve.

How do you feel about a delay switch on supply pump?

Right now we have 2 pumps running and were flooding the back of the boat.
 

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A delay will just slow things down, not fix anything. Im guessing that the goal here is a constant supply of fresh water. If so, output MUST equal input. Like Doc said, you need a pump to pump out water at the same rate it's coming in. There's no way around it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone! DOC - That is an awesome set up you have! I wish I had room for something like that!

I know the input and output should be equal. I guess what is confusing me are the factory set ups on bass boats. I know someone with a small BassTracker and the livewell overflow in it is a straight tube that goes out the bottom of the boat. It has no problems with overfilling. I just can't see where my set up is any different :confused: . I don't really have the room for another pump anywhere.

If I do end up installing a second pump, can I run both pumps off the same timer switch?

Thanks again for the input so far!
 

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Don't dump that water into the bilge as all the others have said. Sounds like one of two problems to fix the problem. Limit the inflow via a valve to match the overflow. Or increase the size of the overflow to match the inflow. Like Magis is saying ========:D
 

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Defensor Fortis
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If you have a line running out to the back, what size is it? If it is smaller than 3/4" I would make it at least 1"-1 1/2". Buy a through hull fitting and run it through the transom. Make sure you use a good quality marine silicone.
 

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MOD SQUAD
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I know someone with a small BassTracker and the livewell overflow in it is a straight tube that goes out the bottom of the boat. It has no problems with overfilling. I just can't see where my set up is any different
i'm sure those trackers have recirculating pumps like others and are not continuosly pumping water in.
 

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This is tough for me to visualize, but are you filling the livewell via the aerator till it goes out the overflow then the aerator is overflowing the livewell? If that's the case then lower the overflow tube to allow more water to escape because it sounds like the pump can overdrive the capacity of the livewell.

In my opinion the dumping of the water back into your bilge area could be a major disaster at some time, if the bilge pump fails then your going to overload the back of your boat, seems that leaves,rags, fishing line,fish scales or anything else works there way back into that area no matter how hard you try to keep it clean.

Shoot some pictures of the set-up, pictures can really clear up a lot of things........Doc
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That would be correct. I htought of lowering the overflow but that would mean losing valuable water in the livewell. It's only about a 48qt cooler! I have a 500gph aerator pump running 3/4" flexible PVC into a 1/2" solid PVC spray bar. The overflow is 1/2" solid PVC. I think I'm going to try and run larger overflow on the outside and see if that helps first. The timer switch runs 1 min. and then is adjustable off for 3 - 6 min. It only takes about 2 min. to fill the livewell!!

I'd like to run the overflow out of the boat rather than into the bilge but I'm not sure where i could do it. Would it have to be above the water line? If so, I think I would definitely have to install a second pump which I think is out of the question due to space limitations.

I'll try to get some pics up. What are you looking for in the pics?
 

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It only takes about 2 min. to fill the livewell
So you have to determine how large of overflow you'll need to empty it in two minutes. I suspect it's going to need to be much larger than you want. A 500gph thru hull pump in your cooler should take up very little room.
 

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your problem is the overflow is to small.
since the water is forced in thru a 3/4 line, your gravity overflow should be at 1 1/4 or larger so it can keep up.
This is how my livewell is set up in my boat and I never had any issues.

Dave
 

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Another idea would be to mount the pump out pump on top of the cooler with the pipe going down thru the top, most of these pumps are self priming, then you can pump it anywhere outside of the boat.............Doc
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
OK!! I have the problem half solved. I cut the top off the overflow tube (about an inch) and now the cooler fills to the top but doesn't overflow.

I think I am going to change the line outside the cooler to 3/4" and leave the 1/2" inside. Will this help it drain any faster?

Also, if I put a thru-hull fitting in the transom for the overflow, does it have to be above the water level? I'm thinking below would work since the water in the cooler will be above the water line but thought I'd ask for a second opinion.

Thanks again!!
 

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I think I am going to change the line outside the cooler to 3/4" and leave the 1/2" inside. Will this help it drain any faster?
IF I understand right, no, it won't help.
I suppose you could put the overflow under the water line, but I can't imagine a good reason why you would want to. If that fitting ever breaks or comes loose, guess what you have. ;)
I'm not so sure I'm picturing what you have correctly. Any chance of some pictures?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I suppose you could put the overflow under the water line, but I can't imagine a good reason why you would want to. If that fitting ever breaks or comes loose, guess what you have. ;)
I'm trying to avoid a second pump, switch, wiring, etc. if at all possible. I really would like to keep the overflow gravity fed. Therefore, the outlet will have to be below the top of the overflow tube inside the livewell.
 

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Defensor Fortis
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Keep in mind where ever you mount your livewell line out, it has to be lower than the livewell in order for gravity to fully drain the water out of it. So you may have to go below the water line. Once you pull the overflow tube and the boat moves it will act as a vacuum to pull the water out. If your worried about anything breaking, just buy an extra plug for the transom fitting. If you use a good silicone and with new fittings and new line you should be good to go for a long time though.
 
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