Building a Weir and Sump...Any advice? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-21-2007, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Building a Weir and Sump...Any advice?

Hi guys,

I'm new to planted tanks and have been a keen hobbyist for the past 2 years. I currently have a 70 gallon and 10 gallon tanks doing nothing and have been considering turning the 10 G into a sump tank for the 70 G.

I have seen many different ways of getting the water from the main tank to the sump, a lot have been pretty complicated using different types of pipework with complex bends and elbows.

I just want a simple system where the water drops from the main into the sump and is pumped back into the main tank. I have come up with a simple diagram to illustrate what my intention is.

I have two major questions which have been on my mind for a while,

1) Will this work?!
2) How do I go about drilling a big hole in the bottom on my precious tank!

I don't think I'd feel too confident about cutting into glass but I think this is the only way I can get my system going. What tools do I need to drill a decent sized hole into the base of my tank?

I'd be grateful for any advice, suggestions, alternatives etc on how to do this.


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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-21-2007, 09:56 PM
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I haven't done one my self but i have looked into it.

First: yes it will work. Plenty of people have done this kind of thing sucessfully.

Second: in order to drill your tank you need to find a diamond hole saw. here's a website i found while on the net: . It's important to do some reading on the technique required to drill a hole in glass before you jump in to it because if you aren't properly prepared you could ruin your tank

you'll also need a good bulkhead to make sure you don't have leaks!

Alternatives: find a canister filter that is big enough for a 70 gallon or just run two smaller canisters. I think this is done more often than drilling tanks but you'd be looking at a much higher cost.

I just came across this thing:
It'd be an alternative to drilling but still would use the sump setup. It uses a siphon to effectively move the hole outside of the aquarium.
Hope this helps

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-21-2007, 10:06 PM
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1) Aquariums larger than 30 gallons often have tempered glass for the bottom. Tempered glass will shatter if you try to drill it.

2) If the seal breaks around the diagonal piece, there is nothing to stop the entire tank from draining.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-21-2007, 10:09 PM
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use an over flow so you dont have to drill the tank
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-22-2007, 04:52 AM
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Ransom is right, a lot of larger tanks are tempered, so you may have no choice. If you feel confident that it's not tempered, you can pick up those diamond hole saws on ebay for dirt cheap. I bought some a while ago and love them. Cutting glass is a lot of fun, just make sure you use lots of water. Submerge the piece you are cutting, or keep a constant flow of water running over it. I've never had a problem, and even been able to cut some rather difficult holes using just a hand drill and a bit of patience.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-22-2007, 08:11 AM
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I've never tried doing my own drilling yet so I can't comment there, but if you were going to do as you say then I'll make some points: if you dont have some kind of standpipe in the wier than your basically making a large water fall. If this is in a fish room no big deal, but if its your living room or bedroom you probably dont want to hear niagara falls all the time. The long drop and splashing will also outgas a ton of co2 if your thinking about adding co2. Another problem I've heard with it is that the water flowing down the drain will often make a flushing noise, again not very appealing. Using something like a durso or stockman standpipe really isnt hard at all. And it can also prevent your tank from draining if the weir were to fail. And the over the tank PVC overflows do save you some hassle rather than drilling, and arent permanent.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-25-2007, 10:43 PM
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If you browse over to and visit the DIY section, there is an article on how to build a very reliable wier from PVC pipe. This one fellow has created a super simple wier and you can use any size PVC, only depends on your tank and sump size. Check it out, worth the time.

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