Very small sump for surface skimming and evaporation buffering? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Very small sump for surface skimming and evaporation buffering?

The last few days I've been turning an idea around in my head and wonder if anyone has any comments on it.

I've been thinking about putting in a very small sump (on the order of two gallons or so) for the specific purposes of surface skimming and buffering evaporation. As currently set up, my tank looses about a gallon or so a week to evaporation, so the size is about right to buffer the evaporation. I do currently have some mild issues with surface film build up, and as this wouldn't be moving very much water it would mainly be filtering that surface film. Main filtration would still be a job for a real filter, of course.

I had in mind to build a small overflow box and move the water back to the main tank with an Aqua Lifter type pump. The advantage I see with the aqua lifter, is that it wouldn't eat itself if the sump somehow ran dry. The challenge I see is that thirty inches might not be quite enough height for my needs, since my tank is twenty-four inches tall.

The thing I'm concerned about with the small overflow idea is the potential for clogging. It would require balancing overflow size with clogging prevention.

Obviously, there are plenty of details to work out on the idea, but I wanted to see if someone else might see some show-stopper issue I'm not seeing that would make the whole notion pointless.

I won't be able to actually do anything on this idea any time soon, so it's very much a pure intellectual exercise for the near future. If it were to turn out to be viable, I see it as a possible way to add a couple of sump related benefits (skimming and evaporation buffering) to a canister filtered system, without adding some of the potential downsides that come with sumps (space, CO2 loss concerns, noise, etc.).
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 05:59 PM
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You would need to move a decent amount of water if you want the sump to be of any use as a surface skimmer otherwise you may as well jsut intall an ATO system. I know I add about 5g every 2-3 days in my tank and I just top it with RO Di from my unit.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, if 3.5 gph won't cut it, what should I be looking for to get the desired effect?
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 06:23 PM
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I run a RO feed to my tank that runs to an overflow for auto water changes and I mve 12.5 gph and it only clears the film in a small area. You would probably need 1-200 gph in order to get enough suction from teh waters surface via overflow to kill all teh scum.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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That is exactly the sort of deal-breaker issue I was concerned I might not be seeing.

Thank you.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 06:56 PM
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Yep, you could just go full out sump.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 07:28 PM
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Why not get one of these:

surface skimmer

I have one in my tank and it works great hooked up to either a powerhead or the intake of a filter.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 08:15 PM
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Natch... ur gonna lose your co2 by surface skimming on that large of a surface....
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 08:43 PM
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I see just about no benefit from this. You have to buy a pump, all the plumbing, and build some sort of overflow. For the effort and cost, you might as well spend a little bit more and build a real sump, fill it with pot scrubbers, and kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

Just my opinions, do with them as you please and good luck.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-18-2012, 09:20 PM
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another thing to consider is the size of the sump. if the power fails, it's gotta be able to accommodate all the water that will drain until the overflow is reached (in addition to it's nominal water level). 1.25gal of water in a 12" x 48" tank with overflow .5" below the surface will drain into your sump in the event of a pump failure (no power, broken pump, etc.).

having adequate surface flow helps in keeping the scum at bay.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 04:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
The last few days I've been turning an idea around in my head and wonder if anyone has any comments on it.

I've been thinking about putting in a very small sump (on the order of two gallons or so) for the specific purposes of surface skimming and buffering evaporation. As currently set up, my tank looses about a gallon or so a week to evaporation, so the size is about right to buffer the evaporation. I do currently have some mild issues with surface film build up, and as this wouldn't be moving very much water it would mainly be filtering that surface film. Main filtration would still be a job for a real filter, of course.

I had in mind to build a small overflow box and move the water back to the main tank with an Aqua Lifter type pump. The advantage I see with the aqua lifter, is that it wouldn't eat itself if the sump somehow ran dry. The challenge I see is that thirty inches might not be quite enough height for my needs, since my tank is twenty-four inches tall.

The thing I'm concerned about with the small overflow idea is the potential for clogging. It would require balancing overflow size with clogging prevention.

Obviously, there are plenty of details to work out on the idea, but I wanted to see if someone else might see some show-stopper issue I'm not seeing that would make the whole notion pointless.

I won't be able to actually do anything on this idea any time soon, so it's very much a pure intellectual exercise for the near future. If it were to turn out to be viable, I see it as a possible way to add a couple of sump related benefits (skimming and evaporation buffering) to a canister filtered system, without adding some of the potential downsides that come with sumps (space, CO2 loss concerns, noise, etc.).
Co2 loss is an easy remedy for sumps, all my aquariums have sumps FYI...and plenty of CO2........:idea:

Must be a 1/2 dozen of my tanks in the tank journal section.

Go whole hog and do it right.

Sump/wet/drys consistently produce higher O2 levels and there's nothing else except a skimmer and a return in the tank and the filter is so much easier to clean than canister:






Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-19-2012, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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I'd far rather do a full-fledged sump system, and plan to on the "next" tank, but it's just not feasible on the current one. I could probably squeeze a 2.5 gallon box in the present stand, but it would be very tight. The next tank I hope to have a larger footprint than 30"X12", and thus a larger stand to work with.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-02-2014, 11:46 PM
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I'm toying with the idea of a sump but I do have a few questions. One of which is that if you have a hang on overflow with rigid piping, how do you remove it to take pictures?

Regards,
Robert

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2014, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
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One of which is that if you have a hang on overflow with rigid piping, how do you remove it to take pictures?
Before I went to a drilled tank I had a CPS overflow box, it came with a threaded bulkhead fitting. Go down to the hardware store and get a 1" NPT to 1" Barbed fitting, tape the threads and install on the bulkhead. You can then use 1" vinyl tubing down to your sump.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 02:23 AM
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I see. That's kind of what I anticipated. Thanks for the info.

Regards,
Robert

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