Building a sump?? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-27-2009, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Question Building a sump??

I'd like to try building my own sump for a new tank setup, but I'm a little fuzzy on the details. I get the part about sizing the outflow pipe to match, more or less, the pump flow rate, but how do you actually control and balance it?? On the one hand you essentially have an open pipe siphoning water into an open box, the sump, where your filter material is located and then your pump pushes water back up into the tank. Obviuosly the flow rates have to be balanced or the thing won't work. That's the part I don't understand. Since the siphon and pump aren't connected, they're working independently. How do you get the siphon rate to match the pump rate?? What happens as the media begins to load up and your return rate from the pump to the tank drops? The siphon isn't connected to the pump, so the siphon rate isn't going to self adjust to match the lower pump flow, is it??? It sounds very simple to set up and I know thousands of people use them, but I don't see how you get the thing to balance input to output flow?!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-27-2009, 02:26 PM
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The flow back to the tank must be less then your flow down to the sump. Your water level should be set so that when the sump is full (the max you want it to at), the water should not be at the overflow level in the tank. This prevents the sump from overflowing. When the sump pumps water up, the sump level drops, the tank level raises and your flow down to the sump starts again.

Ideally, the flow up and down should be similar.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-27-2009, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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How do you know what size to make the overflow pipe?? I'm sure there's a thread someplace, probably several of them on this subject. I'd really like to try this to give me more media capacity and flexability, plus keep the hardware out of the tank...It's a 40 breeder, so it won't take much stuff in-tank to detract from things appearance wise.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-27-2009, 04:25 PM
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Sumps are much more often used in saltwater setups so that's where there's a huge wealth of information. The first place to start with which may help with a lot of questions (and of course, you'd have to accomodate this to a freshwater application) is in three parts:
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-27-2009, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Avi. I'm going there now. The whole thing looks so simple and I love the idea of getting stuff out of the tank, increasing the water volume and media capacity. I just need to figure out the fine print....the devil is always in the details!! LOL
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-27-2009, 05:16 PM
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Iíve thought about how to answer your question and really canít. Mine is a bottom drilled tank with weir boxes. The weirs only allow the water to drain from the tank down about 1Ē. My pump volume runs behind the tank drains so the pump doesnít run the sump dry. There are several calculators on SW sites but not sure that will get you there either.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 02:49 AM
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Use ball valves on your inlet side of the sump. You can control the amount of water entering your sump. I have a 2" inlet to the sump and a 500gph pump on the outlet side. It has 3/4 pipe out of the pump and I allso put a ball valve on it as well. One thing to make sure is if you loose power where is all the water going to go? You will have back siphon when it happens. In my sump I have a 3/4 bulkhead tee above the normal water line of the sump draining outside. Or you can use what the salties use is a overflow box.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2009, 03:06 AM
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A sump without a pre-drilled tank is not for the faint of heart!
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