Sump/overflow/return design question
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:07 PM   #1
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Default Sump/overflow/return design question

Sorry in advance for the long/complex post, I will try to be clear...

I did some searches, but didn't come up with anything concrete, especially with regards to a heavily planted low-tech/low-light/non-CO2 tank. Fish bioload will probably be small-medium.

* First off - I would like to state that filtration/plumbing overkill is fine by me if it leads to reduced maintenance/next-to-zero chemical usage.
* Second, I am sure 30G is oversized for a 55G's sump, that is fine - help me use the space - the tanks are already bought (well pretty much).
* Third, I am new to aquariums, but always like a challenge - I have sufficient experience in plumbing/fabrication - the effort involved to set it up is not an issue (I am doing MTS, after all!).

Here is the proposed design:
* 55G display tank w. 'coast-to-coast' overflow box & BeanAnimal drain system, MTS/gravel substrate, heavily planted
* 30G sump (filter sock -> foam -> pot scrubbies -> refugium? -> return (pump(s), heater(s))

The drain system, if you haven't googled it yet, incorporates two primary drain tubes and an emergency drain, yet gives a system with no water noise.

The two pumps I have are the Marineland NJ1800 and NJ3000, and a variety of 50w and 200w heaters.

My questions:
  1. The overflow box (rough dims. (length of tank)x3x3")will not have teeth (glass panels), can I expect issues with floating plants/plant matter? (intakes will have grates)
  2. With dual return pumps, guessing I need separate dual return lines?
  3. What is the best placement of return jets in a heavily planted tank?
  4. Is a filter sock a valid replacement for the foam pre-filter?
  5. Will a refugium help or hinder filtration? (possibly used to breed shrimp)

I do understand this is a somewhat unorthodox configuration - if you see glaring errors, please let me know. Again, the idea behind the sump tank is to aid in reducing maintenance cycles (once a month water changes, ideally - I have read of a number of people going much much longer doing low-tech/heavily planted). Also note that I am still in the design phase, so changes are still possible.
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