Why Choose Exotic Marine Systems?

We specialize in producing high quality overflow systems and DIY sump kits for all types of saltwater aquariums.  We feel that our systems offer the best combination of aesthetics, performance, and value.

In regards to our sump kits, we are really the only company out there making DIY systems that have all the features found on fully acrylic sumps.  Dual and triple drop in filter sock holders, adjustable height skimmer sections, and variable flow refugium baffle all make ours a one of a kind offering at less than half the price of a comparably equipped fully acrylic sump.

We stock overflow systems that work with standard sized “off the shelf” aquariums, as well as any rimless tank over 28" wide.  Typically we recommend they be used on anything from a 29 gallon all the way to the 300DD.  They can also be used on almost any sized custom aquarium up to around 400 gallons.  They offer a wide performance envelop as well.  They can be used to produce flows from 1 GPH all the way up to and over 3000 GPH.


Here are several of the key features that we feel set our systems above the competition:

Longer Weir Box

Most overflows only draw water from one or both rear corner(s) of the tank.  We offer overflows up to 47" long, so that you can have a weir the travels a longer length of the aquarium.  This will skim the entire surface of the water to move more proteins down to the sump to be processed by your protein skimmer.  Our weirs are designed to be at least a foot or so shorter than most popular sized tanks.  This will leave room on either side of the overflow for your return lines or a closed loop to be drilled through the back glass of the tank.  Plus, when viewing the tank from the side panels, you won’t be looking into an unsightly overflow box.  We feel that our longer length weirs offer a good blend of performance and aesthetics.


3 Drain System

All of our systems accept the very popular 3 drain system.  Popularly called the “Bean Animal” drain system, after a popular forum member, it utilizes a siphon, open drain and dry emergency channel.  It allows you to flow very large amounts of water while being almost completely silent, and not introducing any bubbles to your sump system.  Using up to 1.5” bulkheads, you can flow up to 3000 GPH safely, allowing 2 of the 3 drains to fully clog before having to worry about overflowing a drop of water. 

Designed for Rim or Rimless Tanks

Most of the slim overflow systems today are designed for rimless tanks.  Two things are required to make a system acceptable for rimmed tanks.

First, the water level in the tank must be high enough to be above the lip of the rim. Our systems all use a 1/2" thick slot, and has a maximum water level of 1" below the top of the weir box.

Secondly, the external box should be offset from the back of the tank, so that it can sit at the same level with the rear of the tank.  Most overflow manufacturers produce the boxes so that the external box sits down lower than the water level in the tank (we assume they do it to insure that it will not interfere with the rear rim of the tank).  We feel that this is a mistake.  During startup or in a drain clog situation, the external box with fill very rapidly.  Because it only holds a few gallons, it can fill and overflow within seconds.  Our systems add an acrylic spacer surrounding the holes for the bulkheads.  This allows the box to sit approximately 1/4" off the back of the tank.  This provides clearance for the box to be raised up to sit at the same level as the rim of the tank.  What happens is during a clog, the external box will fill rapidly to the point that the level in the box reaches the same level in the tank.  At that point the box will only fill at the same rate as the display.  This will give much more time for the system to either purge its clog, or to engage the emergency siphon.  Although it can't stop all flood situations, it adds another layer of safety, giving the system more time to correct any drain issues.  At the very least, it will limit the amount of water that floods out of the system if ALL 3 drains simultaneously clog.  Another advantage to this is it allows you to run the water level higher in the front box, cutting down on noise because the water has a shorter distance to fall after entering the overflow.  If the rear box is lower, like on many other systems, the running water level is dangerously close to the top of the external box.  Ours will have the water level running at least 1" lower in the external box, while still allowing you to run the water level higher in the internal box.

Slotted Weir

Our slotted weir allows for large areas of smooth water flow.  By using a longer smooth weir, a thinner sheet of water will flow down to the sump.  This is important because the proteins that are processed by a protein skimmer, settle on the top of the water.  By only removing the thinnest possible layer of protein rich water from the top of the display tank, our overflows provide more proteins to you skimmer to make them perform better.  Why not just use a completely smooth weir?  Because, a smooth weir has only one downside.  They are susceptible to “jumpers”.  If a fish slides over a smooth weir it can get caught in the drains, or die in a filter sock.  Our design adds another layer of protection, by extending about an inch above the water level.  Our boxes are not completely fish proof, but a fish will have a harder time sliding through our 1/2" slots, than just jumping over into the weir box.  We feel it is the best blend of performance and safety for your fish.  Plus, it is easy to clean.  Just a simple swipe with an acrylic safe cleaning pad and your back to enjoying your system.

Superior Construction

All of our products are made from quality cell cast acrylic.  Using superior equipment and construction practices, we provide construction quality that is higher than the industry standard, and on par with the best of the best.  By only assembling our boxes in a climate controlled environment, we ensure consistent bonding results time after time.  Our internal boxes are reinforced with several horizontal braces along the top to provide support to keep the longer boxes from bowing under pressure.  Our external boxes are made from a smoked acrylic.  This will block most light from entering the box, and will hide the unsightly plumbing when seen from the side of the aquarium.  However, it will allow you to see the water level in the box to make sure that it is performing properly and nothing has clogged they system.  Unlike most other manufactures, we provide a full euro-brace with large radii along the edge to relieve any stress points on our external boxes.  Along with the euro-brace, our external boxes come with a lid.  By providing a tight fitting lid for the external drain box, not only are you sure to not have any saltwater splashing against your wall, any noise is further reduced to a whisper.

Ease of Installation

What is the use of having an amazing overflow box, if you can’t install it and have it look like it was done professionally?  With our system, we provide you with almost everything you will need to get the job done quickly, easily and with the results you would expect from a professional custom tank builder.  The only things you will need are an electric drill, a glass drill bit, a marker, some water (preferably a water house), and a few small spring clamps, or a friend.  We will provide a clear acrylic template that not only has the exact placement of the holes to be drilled through the tank, but it also shows the placement of the front weirs, a center line and a level line.  By placing the etched weirs on the template where you want the water level to be in the tank, you can be assured that your overflow will be perfectly aligned and at the proper height.  Also included in the kit are two CNC cut acrylic wrenches that will fit the two sizes of bulkheads in the kit.  Because the bulkheads are inside the box and can be hard to tighten by hand, the wrenches will help you to assure that you have a water tight seal against the aquarium.   Within about 30 minutes you will have a perfectly installed system that is ready to use immediately.


All CAD drawings produced by NextGen Metrology.