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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2015, 05:42 AM Thread Starter
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Overflow and Sump questions

Hello everyone 1st post in the DIY section since I think this will be the best place to get some help/questions answered.

I just got a new 29 gallon aquarium for xmas and I want to put my guppies in it. I want to use the 20 gallon that they are currently in as a sump for the 29 gallon. The 29 gallon is not drilled and I don't want to drill it, (when I move I want to buy at least a 55gal and that I will be willing to drill). From what I read online I'll need a HOB overflow but they can be loud and literally overflow the display tank or sump if they fail (a risk I'll have to take unless I decide not to have a sump). I would like to have a planted sump, and chamberless if that is possible.

I looked at the herbie method since it is supposed to be silent but do I have to drill my tank to use this method? Everything post I looked up had to do with drilled tanks.
If I cannot use the herbie method is there any other things I can do to make the overflow quieter?
I read a few things to prevent overflow such as placing the return pump on a pot in the sump so it will burn out before it pumps all of the water from the sump to the display tank (or just buying a return pump with a auto shut-off) and making sure the sump can hold all of the water that my drain from the DT to the sump through the return lines if the pump loses power. Any other recommendations that can make sure I don't destroy a floor?
I also have duckweed in my tank, and would like to get more floating plants in the future would the HOB overflow prevent this, if so I'll leave the floating plants in the sump but I would prefer to keep the floating plants with the guppies for fry cover.
Also how much room does a HOB overflow take up intank?
Any recommended brands anyone can name for me to look at?

Thanks in advance everyone sorry for the large amount of questions.


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29g~ Guppies, Blue Pearl Shrimp & 2 Nerites
~ Amazon Sword ~ Anubias Congensis ~ Red Ludwigia
~ Duckweed ~ Dwarf Water Lettuce ~ Moneywort
~ Egeria Densa ~ Java Moss ~ Corkscrew Vals
~ Marimo Moss Ball ~ Salvinia ~Java Moss ~Pearl Weed
~ Red Sword Plant ~ Anubias Petite ~ Phoenix Moss
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2015, 06:44 AM
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You can modify an HOB overflow by either buying one with 2 drains and running one low and full and the other taller and dry or adding a bulkhead on the side or bottom and doing the same. There are various ways to muffle the drain sound as well, durso comes to mind but that's just one kind.

So long as the U tube runs fast enough that bubbles blow through the siphon isn't likely to be lost. I've never had a flood from a lost U tube siphon as the bubble develops slowly and I noticed the rising water level in the tank fast enough. I always cover the drain pipes with prefilter sponges and they can clog quite quickly and slow the drain enough that the tank threatens to overflow as well.

I've always drilled a small hole just below the water surface in the return line. When power goes out water level drops in the tank and that hole will break the siphon. If that hole is too high it draws in air so that won't work! If that hole sucks in a plant it won't work either but either I've been lucky or it is unlikely.

Floaters tend to collect at the overflow and can block it. One time I happened to place the return at just the right spot to keep the floaters moving away from the box, another time I made a loose fitting 'slipcover' of window screen mesh to hold the plants away and allow water to flow through lower down, worked but was a pain to keep cleaned up. It just needs to be an inch wide right at the water's surface, perhaps rigging something from stainless steel mesh would work.

So long as you cover the pump intake you can have a completely open sump with plants and critters. A black neon tetra fry grew up in the drain area of my 40 gallon sump, surprised me that it wasn't too much water movement for him. Silicone in dividers if you like but the pump area is where evaporation takes place and a nagging sump pump is not fun so the larger that area is the better. I like Poret sponge, a couple sheets could divide the drain from the refugium and the refugium from the pump area and there's your filter media as well.

The overflow seller will have the dimensions listed. I've had Eshopps and something that looked like an Aqueon and preferred the not Eshopps as it was difficult to get fish out of it. CPR is the other dominant type of HOB overflow and needs a small pump running to keep the siphon primed.

I wouldn't have a tank unless I had tile floors, too big a klutz. So many minor spills over the years but I probably have dripped more during plant pruning and rescapes as I have with uh ohs with the sump. The oopsies happen rarely but I remember them well and there are weekly mop ups no matter how little I do. I do think all my sump overflows have happened when I was right there working on the tank too. Definitely user error every time.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2015, 07:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Kathyy I'll look into overflow boxes with 2 drains so I can have one set up as the emergency drain. I saw a couple of different ways people try to muffle the drain on youtube, many of them seemed to work well so I'll play with that after I have one up and running.
I read a couple of people saying they drilled holes in the return line just in case, some people did 2 in case a rogue snail or something blocked one.
I didn't think about rigging the return to blow floaters away from the overflow, I like that idea and I'll probably try and set up some type of screen for the determined ones that still make it to the overflow.
I like the sponge idea to divide up the tank, more area for the BB and it will catch deterius floating around and give my shrimp something to munch on (not sure if shrimp are going in there but I would like some type of clean up crew).
I heard good things about Eshopps and Lifereef. So far all I seen about CPR is they are good but a lot of people recommend running 2 in case 1 fails. Should I do that no matter what brand I buy?

I wish I had tile floors, now I'm just extra careful ever since I dropped a 5 gallon bucket of DIRTY turtle water onto my floor. Needless to say I spent a lot of time trying to dry that quickly so I wouldn't mess anything up luckily one of my friends shampoos carpets for a living and had one of those giant floor dryers on hand or I would've been there for hours with a hair dryer. Live and learn and now I make sure not to buy cheap flimsy buckets and I do not fill them all the way up.

Thanks again for all of your help. I'm headed back to google/youtube to learn some more.

Now my next problem do I want to start buying things for the sump/hob overflow or improve my lighting first... decisions decisions.

EDIT: One more question while looking at Poret foam I see options that say PPI 10, 20, or 30. What is PPI? My guess would be pores per inch? If I'm right does that mean the bigger the number the better water flow, or does it have something to do with the size of the pores?
I see that the company recommends using it in order 10 first then 20 and so on so from that I'm gonna guess its the size of the pores and the higher numbers catch the smaller contaminants.


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29g~ Guppies, Blue Pearl Shrimp & 2 Nerites
~ Amazon Sword ~ Anubias Congensis ~ Red Ludwigia
~ Duckweed ~ Dwarf Water Lettuce ~ Moneywort
~ Egeria Densa ~ Java Moss ~ Corkscrew Vals
~ Marimo Moss Ball ~ Salvinia ~Java Moss ~Pearl Weed
~ Red Sword Plant ~ Anubias Petite ~ Phoenix Moss

Last edited by Drewet88; 12-28-2015 at 07:34 AM. Reason: Poret Foam Question
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2015, 10:49 AM
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PPI does refer to the pores. 40 PPI has smaller holes than 10 PPI. You basically guessed the whole thing correctly.

I have a baffle-less sump in my 75g thread. If I were to do it again, I'd use some cheap 1/4" plate glass from the hardware store and make baffles. It makes cleaning it easier in my opinion.

I would go with a Eshopps style overflow. The curved nature of the tube flows better than the blocky designs from what I have read. Also, relying on a pump instead of a siphon is a surefire way to have a malfunction, again IMO.

Your HOB overflow doesn't have to take up a lot of space in the tank. You can definitely watch some videos of them in action. You can also make plant catches so you can have floaters in the tank. I'd use some sort of gutter guard and make a larger barrier. It worked OK in my tank. I'm sure there are better ideas out there.


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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-28-2015, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
PPI does refer to the pores. 40 PPI has smaller holes than 10 PPI. You basically guessed the whole thing correctly.

I have a baffle-less sump in my 75g thread. If I were to do it again, I'd use some cheap 1/4" plate glass from the hardware store and make baffles. It makes cleaning it easier in my opinion.

I would go with a Eshopps style overflow. The curved nature of the tube flows better than the blocky designs from what I have read. Also, relying on a pump instead of a siphon is a surefire way to have a malfunction, again IMO.

Your HOB overflow doesn't have to take up a lot of space in the tank. You can definitely watch some videos of them in action. You can also make plant catches so you can have floaters in the tank. I'd use some sort of gutter guard and make a larger barrier. It worked OK in my tank. I'm sure there are better ideas out there.
I was right That doesn't happen that often.
Still not sure about the baffles, but easier cleaning does sound nice. I think baffles have to be kind of waterproof and I learned that i'm bad at building stuff like that with my turtle tank. I can get it done but it won't be pretty, but how many people will see my sump lol. But I think I might go the poret foam for now, realistically this will not be the final upgrade. Also my 20 gallon is currently housing my guppies I'll need to completely empty it and dry it out if I wanted to silicone some glass panes in there right?

Another vote for Eshopps I think I know who might win this race, I just wish I could see one in person so I could know what I'm getting myself into. I will not be getting an overflow that needs a pump instead of a siphon. Everytime I have something that requires a pump I feel worried everyday if I don't have a backup on hand at all times and I'm running out of room to store my backups for everything...

So far I've been looking at the Eshopps PF-1000 (the smallest dual they have) but their website recommends the PF-300 for my tank. I'm guessing that won't be a problem as long as I get a pump thats rated correctly for my tank right?

Gutter guard, thanks I'll keep that in mind. I'm reading through your 75g journal right now, looking real good (i'm only on pg 3).

Thanks for the help
~Drew~


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29g~ Guppies, Blue Pearl Shrimp & 2 Nerites
~ Amazon Sword ~ Anubias Congensis ~ Red Ludwigia
~ Duckweed ~ Dwarf Water Lettuce ~ Moneywort
~ Egeria Densa ~ Java Moss ~ Corkscrew Vals
~ Marimo Moss Ball ~ Salvinia ~Java Moss ~Pearl Weed
~ Red Sword Plant ~ Anubias Petite ~ Phoenix Moss
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-29-2015, 11:11 AM
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The beauty about the sump is that the baffles don't have to be pretty or perfect. I used thin acrylic that I had lying around to make a couple small baffles. The baffles don't have a lot of pressure on them, so they don't have to be the highest quality (like a tank build would require).

I like eshopps because the U-tube is basically full proof. As long as you don't neglect it for an extended period of time. I would make a black cover for it, whether that is a cut up T-shirt, cardboard, or custom smoked acrylic. Just something to prevent massive algae growth.

As for the overflow box, you can drill another hole so don't get hung up on that too much! In my opinion, and this really is an opinion, it is easier just to buy the smallest dual drain setup they have if you have the budget for it. You'll be able to make a herbie overflow (a full siphon with gate vale and an overflow pipe). Their suggestion is probably based on flow rate for your tank size.

Also, on the baffles in the sump. By having individual sections, you can have your bio media submerged in water and still drain the area where the pump or heaters are to clean out the build up. I had a lot of build up pre-mechanical filtration (duh me) That was hard to contain without baffles. It just made cleaning a bit more tedious.

Note on the pump thing you mentioned: Yes, basically. There are some minor things such as air bubbles possibly getting trapped in the u-tube because the water isn't flowing fast enough, but that rarely happens and can easily be cleared out. But as long as you size the return pump correctly, you'll be fine. For the return pump, I do suggest a DC pump if you can get one. They are quiet and have controllers to select the speed. AC pumps are usually all or nothing and require a ball valve inline with the return to dial back the flow for control. With a tank your size, you'll most likely be limited to AC pumps though since DC pumps are normally larger. I was looking at a 3,700 GPH DC return pump and most of the videos and reviews I had seen were promising. A click of a button slowed the speed and it was quiet!

Just some more stuff to look into. Thanks for reading my journal. I hope something along the way helps.


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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-29-2015, 11:27 AM
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@Drewet88 I have an Eshopps pf-800 with a single drain that I used with a "gurggle buster" on my 46 gal bow front. Had noise and blockage issues with this setup. Breaking down my 46gal and installing a new 65gal. I am converting the Eshopps to a Herbie style overflow today (have to drill a couple of holes). Will post progress pics as I progress.

If you are not up to drilling, Amazon has the pf-1000 for about $65.00 - fantastic price considering I paid about $60.00 for my pf-800 about 6 months ago.
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-29-2015, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
Quote:
The beauty about the sump is that the baffles don't have to be pretty or perfect. I used thin acrylic that I had lying around to make a couple small baffles. The baffles don't have a lot of pressure on them, so they don't have to be the highest quality (like a tank build would require).
I'm willing to give it a shot, Petco started their $1 a gallon sale near me so if I mess something up at least I can replace it for cheap lol.

Quote:
I like eshopps because the U-tube is basically full proof. As long as you don't neglect it for an extended period of time. I would make a black cover for it, whether that is a cut up T-shirt, cardboard, or custom smoked acrylic. Just something to prevent massive algae growth.

As for the overflow box, you can drill another hole so don't get hung up on that too much! In my opinion, and this really is an opinion, it is easier just to buy the smallest dual drain setup they have if you have the budget for it. You'll be able to make a herbie overflow (a full siphon with gate vale and an overflow pipe). Their suggestion is probably based on flow rate for your tank size.
I'll most likely get the smallest dual set up (the PF-1000) and make it a herbie overflow just to feel safe. When I get it I'll also make sure to cover it to prevent algae growth, I don't want anything extra trying to sabotage my drainage.
I think it is based on flow rate, I got a couple of pumps laying around here from projects on my other tank. When I get my overflow I'll play around with different pumps until I find a good gph for my tank (300 gph?)

Quote:
Also, on the baffles in the sump. By having individual sections, you can have your bio media submerged in water and still drain the area where the pump or heaters are to clean out the build up. I had a lot of build up pre-mechanical filtration (duh me) That was hard to contain without baffles. It just made cleaning a bit more tedious
.

I didn't think about the bio media when draining and cleaning, I'm glad you pointed that out. I'll have to put at least one baffle in there so I don't kill any of my BB during cleanup.

Quote:
Note on the pump thing you mentioned: Yes, basically. There are some minor things such as air bubbles possibly getting trapped in the u-tube because the water isn't flowing fast enough, but that rarely happens and can easily be cleared out. But as long as you size the return pump correctly, you'll be fine. For the return pump, I do suggest a DC pump if you can get one. They are quiet and have controllers to select the speed. AC pumps are usually all or nothing and require a ball valve inline with the return to dial back the flow for control. With a tank your size, you'll most likely be limited to AC pumps though since DC pumps are normally larger. I was looking at a 3,700 GPH DC return pump and most of the videos and reviews I had seen were promising. A click of a button slowed the speed and it was quiet!
I tend to check on my tanks more than necessary so if air bubbles are collecting I should notice before the need for the emergency drain arises, but just in case...
I looked at DC pumps before for a few projects (was trying to do a all solar aquaponics set up before I realized how much solar panels were). I'll look into them again and see what I can find.

Quote:
Just some more stuff to look into. Thanks for reading my journal. I hope something along the way helps.
Thanks for the reply and all of the info. I finished the journal it was awesome, I learned a lot from it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ppp View Post
@Drewet88 I have an Eshopps pf-800 with a single drain that I used with a "gurggle buster" on my 46 gal bow front. Had noise and blockage issues with this setup. Breaking down my 46gal and installing a new 65gal. I am converting the Eshopps to a Herbie style overflow today (have to drill a couple of holes). Will post progress pics as I progress.

If you are not up to drilling, Amazon has the pf-1000 for about $65.00 - fantastic price considering I paid about $60.00 for my pf-800 about 6 months ago.
Did you figure out what caused the noise and blockage issues?
I don't trust myself drilling anything that has to be water tight (maybe one day when its my floor that gets destroyed if I mess up), so I'll have to look into the pf-1000. $60 seems like a good deal for me, hope they're still that price on the 7th.

Now that I think about it I'm going to get some acrylic tomorrow from tapplastic I wonder if they'll drill for me...

Thanks for the reply. I look forward to the progress pics.


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29g~ Guppies, Blue Pearl Shrimp & 2 Nerites
~ Amazon Sword ~ Anubias Congensis ~ Red Ludwigia
~ Duckweed ~ Dwarf Water Lettuce ~ Moneywort
~ Egeria Densa ~ Java Moss ~ Corkscrew Vals
~ Marimo Moss Ball ~ Salvinia ~Java Moss ~Pearl Weed
~ Red Sword Plant ~ Anubias Petite ~ Phoenix Moss
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-29-2015, 01:02 PM
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WAIT. Is your new 29g an acrylic aquarium? If it is, drilling is SUPER easy and almost anyone could do it for you. Not that drilling glass is really hard, but acrylic is sooooooooooooooooo easy. It is like drilling wood. You may have been talking about drilling the overflow box or something else.

Side note: Most 55g aquariums are all tempered panels and cannot be drilled.

For your tank, I would look for 150-300 gph. 150 gph of actual flow through the sump is quite a bit and is around what I was running (4-5x tank volume as flow rate). A cheap ($2) ball valve inline with the return will let you dial it back to your liking, so any pump you have should work. I dialed my '750 gph' pump down to around 350 gph with a ball valve.

There are some really basic sump ideas out there, so look into that. Some hardware stores (Lowes in my case) will cut the plate glass for free, so just take your measurements with you if you want some easy baffles. Just make sure to measure the inside dimensions and take a little bit off (1/8" is enough, I think?) so you can get it in place.

Also, as long as your bio media doesn't dry out completely, you'll be fine. I've drained my sump to wash it out and my media was fine for 45-60 minutes with the excess moisture it had.

I think PPP had a single drain overflow which is notorious for being loud since it is handling the full flow rate and sucks down a bunch of air with it. That is why you really want to go with 2 drains. A full siphon is silent because there is no air present and the small amount traveling down the overflow pipe is quiet because it sticks to the wall of the pipe and doesn't trap any air.


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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-29-2015, 02:36 PM
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@Drewet88 - Not trying to hijack your thread but just wanted to keep it all in one thread instead of posting to one I started earlier.

Pictures of about 30 mins work. Basically used a 1 inch spade drill bit to drill two holes in the overflow box. If you can use a drill and drill holes in wood, drilling in acrylic is easy!! I used a spade drill but I have seen stepped drills bit or saw hole drills being used too. Then used a dremel like rotary tool to clean out the edges. This also helped the 3/4 inch adapter to slide in more easily. I did not use bulkhead fittings. Instead got the idea of using 2 adapters and an "O" ring from Joey "The King of DIY". Leaked tested and had no issues.
Now the hard part - installing all this on the tank - tank sits in a fitted cabinet with very limited access!!!
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-29-2015, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
WAIT. Is your new 29g an acrylic aquarium? If it is, drilling is SUPER easy and almost anyone could do it for you. Not that drilling glass is really hard, but acrylic is sooooooooooooooooo easy. It is like drilling wood. You may have been talking about drilling the overflow box or something else.

Side note: Most 55g aquariums are all tempered panels and cannot be drilled.
I actually do not know if the tank is acrylic or glass. I'll check and see how to tell the difference and get back to you. I was actually going to ask if the plastic shop could drill the tank, I talked to them about making a sump and they even said they would help me with the baffles if I really wanted them too (not for free of course).
This is the same place that helps me with custom things for my turtles so they're used to me asking for weird things. If I get into the 55 gal+ aquariums I would definitely want it drilled, but I'll go ahead and see how I fell about the sump idea before upgrading to a bigger tank again.

Quote:
For your tank, I would look for 150-300 gph. 150 gph of actual flow through the sump is quite a bit and is around what I was running (4-5x tank volume as flow rate). A cheap ($2) ball valve inline with the return will let you dial it back to your liking, so any pump you have should work. I dialed my '750 gph' pump down to around 350 gph with a ball valve.
Ok so 300 gph is the upper end of what I'm looking for I already have a Rio+ 1700 that says it can do 350 gph at 4ft head so hopefully that one is enough.

Quote:
There are some really basic sump ideas out there, so look into that. Some hardware stores (Lowes in my case) will cut the plate glass for free, so just take your measurements with you if you want some easy baffles. Just make sure to measure the inside dimensions and take a little bit off (1/8" is enough, I think?) so you can get it in place.

Also, as long as your bio media doesn't dry out completely, you'll be fine. I've drained my sump to wash it out and my media was fine for 45-60 minutes with the excess moisture it had.

I think PPP had a single drain overflow which is notorious for being loud since it is handling the full flow rate and sucks down a bunch of air with it. That is why you really want to go with 2 drains. A full siphon is silent because there is no air present and the small amount traveling down the overflow pipe is quiet because it sticks to the wall of the pipe and doesn't trap any air.
When I was browsing Home Depot I didn't see any plate glass so I might try Lowes later today. I prefer glass to plexi for my aquarium top, and if they'll cut a baffle to size for me even better. You talked me into it, I'm going to have to have a baffle or 2. My only other idea was to buy a mini aquarium (like a pet keeper 2 gal) and fill that with bio media inside the 20 but that seemed like a quick way to mess some things up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ppp View Post
@Drewet88 - Not trying to hijack your thread but just wanted to keep it all in one thread instead of posting to one I started earlier.

Pictures of about 30 mins work. Basically used a 1 inch spade drill bit to drill two holes in the overflow box. If you can use a drill and drill holes in wood, drilling in acrylic is easy!! I used a spade drill but I have seen stepped drills bit or saw hole drills being used too. Then used a dremel like rotary tool to clean out the edges. This also helped the 3/4 inch adapter to slide in more easily. I did not use bulkhead fittings. Instead got the idea of using 2 adapters and an "O" ring from Joey "The King of DIY". Leaked tested and had no issues.
Now the hard part - installing all this on the tank - tank sits in a fitted cabinet with very limited access!!!
Not hijacking at all, I'm glad you posted it here. So now you upgraded your overflow and hopefully gave yourself some silence.
Let me know how the install goes. I feel your pain on the limited access behind your aquarium. I didn't think that far ahead when I set up my turtle tank I didn't give myself anywhere enough room for any real maintenance.

Please let me know how the new and improved overflow works for you.


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29g~ Guppies, Blue Pearl Shrimp & 2 Nerites
~ Amazon Sword ~ Anubias Congensis ~ Red Ludwigia
~ Duckweed ~ Dwarf Water Lettuce ~ Moneywort
~ Egeria Densa ~ Java Moss ~ Corkscrew Vals
~ Marimo Moss Ball ~ Salvinia ~Java Moss ~Pearl Weed
~ Red Sword Plant ~ Anubias Petite ~ Phoenix Moss
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-30-2015, 11:06 AM
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Your 29g aquarium would weigh less than the 20g glass aquarium if it were acrylic.

Glass lids are super easy! I made some sliding lids for something like $10 for my 75g and I LOVE them. I forget where I found the write up, but I can pull some pictures out of my journal if you are interested. There is some weird flooring track at Lowes/Home Depot that you use with plate glass to make simple, cheap, sliding tops. I ordered replacement handles for glass lids from my LFS for $2 ea I believe.

Your return pump will be fine! You'll likely want a ball valve inline with the return so you can dial it back. You'll likely find that 10x the aquarium volume in flow is quite a lot!

Credits to the artist, but I found this online:



That is a simple 2 baffle sump. You put your mechanical filtration (Foam pads, filter floss, etc) under the drain pipe. Then there is a baffle. Then you have your bio media. Then the water flows inter the heater/return pump chamber. Very simple and helpful. You can drain the return pump area when you want to clean it if there is build up. You'll want something like light diffuser or 'egg crate' (I hear it used, no clue what it really is) to keep the media off of the bottom of the tank. You can use little bits of cut PVC or couplings to space it.

Do you know what you will be using for mechanical filtration? I found some 12"x24"x2" foam mats on the devil bay for my tank. You should be able to find something like that if you are interested.

I know I showed a submerged sump, but trickle tower (wet/dry sumps) are just as easy to make. You can basically take something like this:



and then place it inside your 20g sump. You space it with some PVC pipe or couplings on the bottom and then you can even go with a sump without baffles. The media in this filter design is outside of the water and your sump will probably only be 1/4 full of water so the pump is submerged and the heaters are submerged.

The reason I don't like the wet/dry is evaporation would seem to be more of a risk for the pump since there is less water in that design (The pump isn't submerged as much).


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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-30-2015, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Your 29g aquarium would weigh less than the 20g glass aquarium if it were acrylic.
The 29 gal is glass, I looked into it after the last reply. I got smart and googled aqua culture 29 gallon lol.

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Glass lids are super easy! I made some sliding lids for something like $10 for my 75g and I LOVE them. I forget where I found the write up, but I can pull some pictures out of my journal if you are interested. There is some weird flooring track at Lowes/Home Depot that you use with plate glass to make simple, cheap, sliding tops. I ordered replacement handles for glass lids from my LFS for $2 ea I believe.
I am interested if it wouldn't be to much work but no rush. I almost bought glass lids today but they didn't have the size I needed. Good thing.

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Your return pump will be fine! You'll likely want a ball valve inline with the return so you can dial it back. You'll likely find that 10x the aquarium volume in flow is quite a lot!
Good to know, one thing I don't have to buy, besides the inline ball valve I would want the ability to reduce flow if needed.

Credits to the artist, but I found this online:



Quote:
That is a simple 2 baffle sump. You put your mechanical filtration (Foam pads, filter floss, etc) under the drain pipe. Then there is a baffle. Then you have your bio media. Then the water flows inter the heater/return pump chamber. Very simple and helpful. You can drain the return pump area when you want to clean it if there is build up. You'll want something like light diffuser or 'egg crate' (I hear it used, no clue what it really is) to keep the media off of the bottom of the tank. You can use little bits of cut PVC or couplings to space it.

Do you know what you will be using for mechanical filtration? I found some 12"x24"x2" foam mats on the devil bay for my tank. You should be able to find something like that if you are interested.
Yup, after a few videos that's the design I was going to go for, I just hope I can make it quiet. I have plenty of egg crate, got a bunce a while ago when I had to make an emergency tank divider. It has come in handy for lots of small random projects since then. Its aquarium safe and pretty strong. Lithonia Lighting White Eggcrate T12 Troffer Replacement Diffuser-L2GT PLTS R5 - The Home Depot.
As for mechanical filtration I was thinking about ordering the Poret Foam or something similar that was suggested by kathyy.
Then could I put gravel under that?
Or do I need something a little more porous?
I'm not sure where I would go if I couldn't use gravel, bioballs are kind of expensive, I've never seen bio bale in person but I heard its a good alternative to bioballs.

Quote:
I know I showed a submerged sump, but trickle tower (wet/dry sumps) are just as easy to make. You can basically take something like this:



and then place it inside your 20g sump. You space it with some PVC pipe or couplings on the bottom and then you can even go with a sump without baffles. The media in this filter design is outside of the water and your sump will probably only be 1/4 full of water so the pump is submerged and the heaters are submerged.

The reason I don't like the wet/dry is evaporation would seem to be more of a risk for the pump since there is less water in that design (The pump isn't submerged as much).
That one scares me. I picture myself somehow knocking out one of the drawers accidently. Plus I don't want extra evaporation, I lose enough water as it is. Who would've thought I'd lose more water during winter than summer
Thanks again you've been super helpful.


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29g~ Guppies, Blue Pearl Shrimp & 2 Nerites
~ Amazon Sword ~ Anubias Congensis ~ Red Ludwigia
~ Duckweed ~ Dwarf Water Lettuce ~ Moneywort
~ Egeria Densa ~ Java Moss ~ Corkscrew Vals
~ Marimo Moss Ball ~ Salvinia ~Java Moss ~Pearl Weed
~ Red Sword Plant ~ Anubias Petite ~ Phoenix Moss
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-30-2015, 01:33 PM
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Bio balls don't work well completely submerged in water, they are ideal for wet/dry filters because of the oxygen enriched environment. I would never recommend them though because there are better alternatives.

I made a quick diagram for your sump that should help explain how everything will work together.



Water drains from the main tank through an overflow or a drilled tank. You want the pipe to drain about 1-2" below the water's surface as this will eliminate splashing sounds. Then, a few inches lower, you have your porous foam mechanical filtration. After the water flows through that and under the first baffle, it flows up through the bio media. The water flows over the second baffle and into the return pump area where the water passes over the heaters. The last section of the sump is where you will notice the water level lowering due to evaporation since the water height will always be the same in the display tank (at the height of the overflow) and in the sump's first two chambers (due to the baffles forcing water over them at a certain height). The return from the pump should have a ball vale and at least a section of braided tubing. The tubing will reduce/eliminate vibration which would potentially make noise. In the event of a return pump failure, the sump will overflow into all chambers before any water would overflow onto the floor.

To answer some of your questions:

Here are my lids:



They are made up of two pieces that overlap slightly in the center of the tank. The channel on the side is 'F' shaped. One piece goes inside of the 'F' in the rear and is stationary. The top piece sits on top of the track and slides with a simple tape on handle.

I would skip the gravel. I know it works well for some things, but foam will be enough mechanical filtration and scrubbies work well as bio media and are usually cheap.

The trickle tower doesn't make more evaporation, or at least that wasn't my point. The water level in a trickle tower sump is just set lower than in a submerged sump. So, for example, say you lose 1 gallon of water to evaporation in a week. In a submerged sump, you may have 4-5 gallons in the last chamber and at the end you would have 3-4 gallons, plenty to keep the pump submerged. In a wet dry filter you may only have 2 gallons in the last chamber since you want your media above the water line. After that 1 gallon, you may be close to the pump sucking air. That's the concern I was voicing. There are ways around this, but the idea worried me when I was planning my sump.


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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-30-2015, 02:01 PM
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Not hijacking at all, I'm glad you posted it here. So now you upgraded your overflow and hopefully gave yourself some silence.
Let me know how the install goes. I feel your pain on the limited access behind your aquarium. I didn't think that far ahead when I set up my turtle tank I didn't give myself anywhere enough room for any real maintenance.

Please let me know how the new and improved overflow works for you.
Finally finished the install after a couple of trips to hardware store. Will post pics later. Basically used a gate valve with rigid PVC piping for the main drain. For the emergency and back up drains I used flexible PVC pipe for ease of installation.

First time I turned on the return pump, the drain was noisy like a flushing toilet!! Initial reaction was total disappointment. But after a little while things settled down and I played around with the gate valve to tune the overflow. Although it is a lot quieter than my original setup, it is not 100% quiet - still hear some gurgling. Hopefully more tuning of the gate valve will help.

Another positive: This morning pH dropped by 1.0 in about 1 hr. Before it took almost 90 mins to drop that much in a tank 20 gals smaller. I can only attribute this to the Herbie and reduced air in the siphon as I did not change anything else in my set up.

Sump: I bought my glass at Lowes - they will cut it for you to size. Just remember to size the baffles a little smaller (about 1/8th inch) so that you can silicone them to the tank body. My sump is very similar to the drawing posted by @Freemananana. 20g Petco tank and Lowes glass baffles. I tired several media options and settled on multiple layers of sponge filters and red lava rock for bio filtration. I have 2 pumps in the sump. A Mag 7 for the main return - good pump but noisy - I would recommend a DC pump. Also have a Rio 1100 feeding my Cerges reactor. This is a dead quiet pump!!
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