Sealed Sump Ideas - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-18-2006, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Sealed Sump Ideas

Ok, because a conventional sump makes me too nervous when combined with hardwood floor, stairs and carpet I'm trying to figure out a way to build a sealed sump for below the tank. I'm thinking this for the following reasons:

1. Spill proof
2. Remove EVERYTHING from the tank, except the inlet and outlet
3. Use a cheaper pump for high volume circulation

I'm thinking of doing the following things in/around the sump:
1. CO2 reactor
2. Heat
3. Water changes
4. Water quality monitoring (pH, TDS)
5. Dosing

Challenges:
1. Sealing cords into and out of the sump reliably (read, leak possibility)
2. Sealing the opening to the sump (ie, O'ring seal or something reuseable, so we're not putting silicone on every time.
3. Keeping the sump from air locking.
4. Reliable water tight connectors for water changing (automated or not?)

I still forsee a standard canister doing the filtration for the tank, its possible they could be hooked up in serial or parallel. My little giant pump has a far greater rate than does my rena xp3 so I'm not sure about assembling them in serial.

For some reason the best material I can think of is acrylic, I can see a pretty robust sealing mechanism being built with it. However, I'm sure there are some other water tight ready manufactured units that could be adapted nicely.

Anybody have any ideas?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by original kuhli View Post
Ok, because a conventional sump makes me too nervous when combined with hardwood floor, stairs and carpet I'm trying to figure out a way to build a sealed sump for below the tank. I'm thinking this for the following reasons:

1. Spill proof
2. Remove EVERYTHING from the tank, except the inlet and outlet
3. Use a cheaper pump for high volume circulation

I'm thinking of doing the following things in/around the sump:
1. CO2 reactor
2. Heat
3. Water changes
4. Water quality monitoring (pH, TDS)
5. Dosing

Challenges:
1. Sealing cords into and out of the sump reliably (read, leak possibility)
2. Sealing the opening to the sump (ie, O'ring seal or something reuseable, so we're not putting silicone on every time.
3. Keeping the sump from air locking.
4. Reliable water tight connectors for water changing (automated or not?)

I still forsee a standard canister doing the filtration for the tank, its possible they could be hooked up in serial or parallel. My little giant pump has a far greater rate than does my rena xp3 so I'm not sure about assembling them in serial.

For some reason the best material I can think of is acrylic, I can see a pretty robust sealing mechanism being built with it. However, I'm sure there are some other water tight ready manufactured units that could be adapted nicely.

Anybody have any ideas?
Buy a standard canister filter. All of the above can be accomplished with one and you benefit from a team of people who learned how not to build a canister. In addition you have recourse if something does go wrong.

Otherwise section of an end of the tank for a sump (Hamburger Mattenfilter!) or mount the sump at the same level as the display.

Villa Hoppel - Informationen rund ums Haustier

Moved to Tucson.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 01:54 AM
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What about getting an inline syste like the ones from Pentair or getting a small pond canister and using a strong pump? How about an XP4?

I hate to say this, but this place is getting to me. I think I'm getting the fear.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 02:30 AM
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I assume that you are worried about the sump overflowing. (please forgive me if not...)

If you take the water out of the tank using a gravity system (continuous suction overflow or drilled bulkhead) the flow into the tank cannot exceed the amount being pumped out. Make sure that you place a check valve on the return line in case power to the pump is cut off. Also, if you are planning on using a canister filter, the intake can be placed into the sump, and you will not need a second pump. I have been using a set up of this nature for over a year on my 20g. with no problems.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 04:41 AM Thread Starter
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Blue Ram, how can you accompish everything in a canister? I'm aware that heat and water changes can be added, please elaborate?
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 05:24 PM
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Blue Ram, how can you accompish everything in a canister? I'm aware that heat and water changes can be added, please elaborate?
Scolley has the best example of this type (Ehiem, Reactor, heater, UV, in line pH probe etc) So you might PM him where to start. I think a sump would have been easier for him but now that he has an auto change system I would agree that cans work for him. Please post your design if you do build the sump as these problems are old and solved. In particular:

*Use an external overflow box with a "U" tube or reef ready "RR" tank. The key is that the siphon of an overflow box does not break (a good thing to test). Keep this part VERY simple!

*A canister filer is intended to have the in and out lines at approximately the same level. Operating with one end in the sump will effect the performance and potentially drain the tank into the sump.

Moved to Tucson.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 06:41 PM
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Seems like an awful lot of work for not much return.
Your time may be better spent engineering your system so that it won't overrun onto the floor. A check valve in the return line and properly designed overflows will eliminate any possibility of the sump overrunning.

David
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-19-2006, 10:27 PM
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I agree with AquaDave. I don't think a sealed sump, if such a thing would even work, is the direction you should take.

You can eliminate the possibility of a sump overflow by doing two things: 1) keep your return line at the water level of the tank, and 2) make sure that the operating water level in the sump leaves enough room to handle the volume of water contained in the plumbing to/from the tank.

If your return line returns water below the water level of your tank, you should do two more things: 1) install a check valve in the return line, and 2) drill a couple of siphon break holes in your return line at or slightly below the waterline.

You are actually more likely to overflow your ~tank~ than your sump in a sump-based system. If your drain line to the sump is blocked, or if you are using a siphon-based HOB overflow and it breaks, you'll continue to pump water from the sump until the pump runs dry. I can think of two ways to address this. First, use dual overflows, each capable of handling the entire volume of water returned from the sump. Second, you could install a float switch or level sensor in the sump to stop the pump if the water level drops too far in the sump. Depending on the level at which you place the sensor, this might not completely prevent a tank overflow but it could prevent the entire contents of the sump from being emptied and a pump burnout/fire.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-20-2006, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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While I respect and value skepticism, it isn't my objective to proove that this can't be done. I am looking for IDEAS on how it could be done. Hell, I'm even willing to put some effort and expense into testing the ideas to share with everyone.

The good folks @ Eheim, Rena and Hagen have made excellent sealed sumps and closed circuits for years so its a pretty solid indication that it can be done.

What I'm looking for is a reliable, safe solution and ideas in that direction.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-20-2006, 04:51 PM
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I think what everyone is saying is, why try to reinvent the wheel? A sealed sump IS a canister filter, albeit a cube instead of a canister. There is no way that you could engineer a solution that is reliable and tested as what is in the market already. It would just be a shame to see a nice tank drained when you come home from work.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-20-2006, 05:12 PM
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What I'm looking for is a reliable, safe solution and ideas in that direction.
While DIY is fun and cheap, it can hardly be called safe and reliable. Ie this:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/di...t=paint+filter

If I was going to "put together" a closed filter system it would be look like:
Red Sea Ocean Clear 318 Polystrand 50 Micron Bio-Filter at Big Al's Online

On a personal note, the member Scolley built a FANTASTIC filter (and the tank too) and put a lot of time getting it right. Them BAM he gets hit with thread algae and other woes. So the best in filters out there does not make a trouble free tank. If/when you do build your own be sure to take pictures!

Moved to Tucson.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-20-2006, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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I like the looks of the Ocean Clear filters...mega capacity!
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-20-2006, 11:05 PM
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Depending on the placement of the overflow and if you do not overfill a sump, the sump will not overflow into your floor. A failed canister filter has more chances of draining majority of the water out of your tank than a failed sump. Look at where most of the intakes for a canister filter is at, probably about 5" from the bottom of the tank. So if you have a leaking canister filter, the intake would keep sucking the water out until the water cannot reach the intake.

A sump uses an overflow. Excess water from the overflows into the sump, through gravity. Most overflows are designed to sit a few inches from the top of the tank. So the only amount that overflows is the amount of water that reaches the overflow box. Once the water gets too low, no more water overflowing.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-24-2006, 02:20 PM
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Ok, because a conventional sump makes me too nervous when combined with hardwood floor, stairs and carpet I'm trying to figure out a way to build a sealed sump for below the tank. I'm thinking this for the following reasons:
1. Spill proof
2. Remove EVERYTHING from the tank, except the inlet and outlet
3. Use a cheaper pump for high volume circulation
I'm thinking of doing the following things in/around the sump:
1. CO2 reactor
2. Heat
3. Water changes
4. Water quality monitoring (pH, TDS)
5. Dosing
Challenges:
1. Sealing cords into and out of the sump reliably (read, leak possibility)
2. Sealing the opening to the sump (ie, O'ring seal or something reuseable, so we're not putting silicone on every time.
3. Keeping the sump from air locking.
4. Reliable water tight connectors for water changing (automated or not?)
I still forsee a standard canister doing the filtration for the tank, its possible they could be hooked up in serial or parallel. My little giant pump has a far greater rate than does my rena xp3 so I'm not sure about assembling them in serial.
For some reason the best material I can think of is acrylic, I can see a pretty robust sealing mechanism being built with it. However, I'm sure there are some other water tight ready manufactured units that could be adapted nicely.
Anybody have any ideas?
I am using a setup similar to the one you are describing. You will want to research the sump setups on the reef sites. They will give you the best advice on your setup. The goal to avoid flooding is accomplished by carefully planning the entire system before you start. I put months lot of thought in to my tank setup to make it bullet proof.

With a syphon overflow you run the risk of the syphon somehow being broken and your top tank overflowing. To eliminate this risk I used a tank with pre-drilled overflows, gravity is all that is needed and the syphon is not necessary.

To prevent a syphon on your return line back thru the pump in the sump from overflowing your sump when the power goes out and the pump is off, you can put a tiny hole in the underside of where the spraybar attaches.

Remember when the pumps are off all the water in your pluming and the water above the overflow or the spraybar hole will drain back to the sump, so leave room for it when filling the sump.

As a secondary and part of my auto water changer, I have an overflow drilled into my sump tank that is connected to my house drain. This prevents me from over filling the sump.

Here is a link to more details of my setup:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/di...play-tank.html
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-25-2006, 06:52 AM
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I think it would work. A plywood box that is fiberglassed. 2x4 frame around the top to bolt the lid to. Big o-ring on the lid. Plenty of bulkhead fittings available designed to handle pressure for cables/wires. You would need to find out what kind of water pressures you are dealing with.........DC
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