Two issues I have with using a sump...
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:51 AM   #1
canlax
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Two issues I have with using a sump...


1) I find the overflow is unable to properly clear the water column of debris. I have 2 power heads going and wrapped them in filter floss in order to get a nice clear water column. This worked really well but the filter floss is visible and clogs up so would need to be changed regularly. Currently I am running only 1 return pump rated for 1000gph so is turning probably closer to 600gph at the moment through the sump.

2) Achieving good water circulation through the tank without blowing stem plants 45deg or making it look extremely unnatural for fish to maneover around the tank. The sight of powerheads is a sore one as well. I am shooting for heavily planted but how do people keep them concealed and without blowing plants over once the tank is heavily planted? Or should I be trying to get more flow through the sump instead and make use of a spray bar, multiple returns etc.?

Tank is 7feet long, 210 gallon.

I tend to think canister filters that pull from midway through the tank might be better but I want to make use of the sump since I have put a lot of time and effort into setting it up.

Got any suggestions for me?

Thanks,
Kyle
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:52 AM   #2
steven p
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DIY a super long low flow spray bar... A big pump with a big pond foam prefilter could be a nice way to power it...

Or set up a spray system with the powerheads you own.
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:11 AM   #3
HD Blazingwolf
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Well it sounds like ur sump a. Does not have enough mechanical filtation and b. Definitely does not have enoug flow.
My 75 gallon has about 680-700 gph through it and the sump. I have no blown plants or fish unless they stray in front of the outflow. And i have clear water.
I only have. 1 mechanical pad, the rest is bio. I think ur issue is flow rated.
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:17 AM   #4
Kathyy
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My 8' 180 gallon tank didn't have much flow through the sump. I was concerned about that as I planned the build and devised a double vertical [improved set was even clear acrylic!] spraybar on the opposite side of the tank from the HOB overflow box. One was supplied by the sump return, about 400gph and the other by the old sump pump [rio 1700] placed directly under the HOB overflow box. Worked just fine, the horizontal pipe ran under the substrate so wasn't visible. Klutzy me would pull them up though.. I still didn't have that 10x tank volume water movement though, maybe 5x. The hairgrass near the spraybars leaned toward the bars instead of away but I got some water movement in that dead spot under the HOB overflow box. I liked the way it worked pretty well. A big tank makes it easy to hide stuff like that.

Then I happened upon my current tank, a 6' 180 gallon with a large overflow box built into one end. I was so pleased with more water movement in the 8' tank I tried to get 10x in this tank. I have all the returns coming from the same end as the drain and the flow has ended up being very strong near the surface, hits the far end of the tank and goes down and across back to the drain with all sorts of swirls in between. If I feed the fish slightly soaked flake near the middle some food always gets into the overflow box after hitting the opposite wall and traveling through some of the plants. I am using a Laguna MaxFlo 1500 for the main pump that is divided into two returns and the old Rio 2500 that powers the cerges CO2 reactor. The Brazilian pennywort and P. gayi flow gracefully in the current but the pennywort does get beat up a bit. Java fern is in the direct flow and seems to love it and looks very nice. I don't think I have 10x but sure can see an improvement over the old set up. I have open pipes for maximum flow but not the velocity you get with nozzles.

If you have one or two good sized powerheads to spare I would place them low on the same side as the overflow box with pipe placed to duplicate the current return. That way you will get more water moving low under the overflow where it is likely not moving much now and the swift current is near the top where it won't bother the plants. The ugly powerhead is low where it is easily covered up! Play with the direction the returns face, they don't have to go straight to the other side, maybe point them to the opposite corner on a diagonal. Do have them parallel to one another so they don't cancel each other out.

Your skimmer teeth look even more restrictive than the ones on my overflow box. Mine couldn't handle all the flow through the sump so I cut most of the teeth off it and now can run both pumps wide open. If you want to put the other pump in the sump you most likely will have to do the same. Reef tanks don't put much water through the sump and use lots of powerheads in the tank for water movement. That is supposed to be best for biological filtration but my sump seems to be working okay even with too much flow through.

New set ups do have more debris floating around, something to do with a mature biological filter. Why that is I don't know but it will get better. The debris gets caught because of the algae on the plants, help out the plants by removing dying leaves and wiping down and/or knocking the stuff off when you do a water change.
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Last edited by Kathyy; 03-07-2013 at 05:16 AM.. Reason: Back at the computer after finishing the water change!
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:20 AM   #5
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Thank you for the feedback. While I have good mechanical filtration through the sump it sounds like my flow through is sump is definitely lacking. I will take your advice and put in place more flow and more returns to get better distribution of flow in the tank. I will keep using my current pump for my cerges reactor and will look into getting a pond pump.

Kathyy, thank you greatly for the advice regarding putting the powerheads lower in the tank. For some reason this didn't even occur to me! I did a water change tonight and set up the large power head beside the overflow about halfway down the water column and like the results so far. I hid it behind a piece of driftwood so the flow disperses and doesn't affect the plants too much.

As stated the tank is relatively new at this time so each water change I try to do a better job of clearing out some of that new tank debris. I am slowly getting rid of the algae growth as I get my nutrients and co2 tuned in so that will help with keeping the water column clear.



Regarding feeding when using a sump - what is your best advice to avoid having uneaten food make its way down the overflow before fish are able to get to it? It is such a waste.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:52 AM   #6
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What are u feeding? That can make a big difference!
Flake foods? If so put a ball valve on the return and cut things wayy down. But any food that is a little heavier and will sink if its agitated will be fine. I leave mine running to feed bloodworms, mysis shrimp, and dried wafers which i crumble
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:26 PM   #7
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I always have a couple of surfers in the box to eat food that floated in there, maybe that is why they go over in the first place they are certainly plump enough when netted out. Pellets sink fast enough though. I have gotten annoyed and just turned off the pumps for a couple minutes as well.
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Old 03-08-2013, 08:55 PM   #8
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I like using a filter sock in my sump. I use a device to attach the filter sock to the side of the sump.

You can find a wide range of mechanical filtration microns to clean up the water.

Your return can be split to both sides of the tank in order to create flow without need for the power heads. I like using the Line-Loc products to adjust the flow to my liking.

As stated before, you may find that you need to increase the size of your pump to make up for the restrictions in flow that will occur from using line-loc, or other spray bars. Just insure you don't overdrive the overlow you are using.
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Old 03-09-2013, 02:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathyy View Post
I always have a couple of surfers in the box to eat food that floated in there, maybe that is why they go over in the first place they are certainly plump enough when netted out. Pellets sink fast enough though. I have gotten annoyed and just turned off the pumps for a couple minutes as well.
Can we see a pcicture of ur surfers? that's pretty cool!
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:02 PM   #10
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I just hear slurps and when I turn off the pumps to change water there they all are. Frisky corydoras like going over the edge or maybe they are looking for snails to eat. I think otos are sure there are diatoms in there and platies are just not too bright. The prefilter sponge probably has a lot of good stuff to pick at though.
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:56 PM   #11
HD Blazingwolf
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LOL

i didn't know cories ate snails??

otto's? eah i've seen mine jump my overflowbox.. lots of yummy stuff inside. the issue is i don't have a prefilter sponge so i have to pick them out of my drip pan when they do!
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:35 AM   #12
canlax
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Well I set up the second return for the second pump this morning. It has no restriction from a cerges reactor or anything so I am loving the increased flow! Excellent surface agitation and better flow through sump. I have extra PVC in case I decide to go with a DIY spraybar if I ever upgrade my pumps - for now I think I am happy.
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:43 AM   #13
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HD, I didn't either but a while back I caught a large peppered corydoras pulling a snail out of its shell! When I set up this tank there were snails all over the place before the fish went back in and once fish were in the snails hid.

Canlax, that is good news! How are the plants taking the extra water movement?
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