DIY Sump Design - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 06:46 AM Thread Starter
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DIY Sump Design

Hello all, I'm thinking about building a sump into my next tank. I came up with a very simple design to run past everyone. Will this work? The idea is for it to pull water from near the substrate to help remove debris from the bottom. I would love any feedback on this, especially if you notice any glaring flaws.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 08:26 AM
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I'm assuming you are doing planted tank. Water flow close to the substrate will cause an erosion / pull dirt into your filtration. Also often time overflow are used so it can skim the proteins that float at the top. Just thinking out loud, never built a sump myself.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 10:14 AM
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It will probably work, but for the water flow near the substrate you will need a proper pre-filter in order to prevent clogging of your filter material.
I've seen a build here on this forum of a 800gallon tank with the same concept for an under/overflow system into a sump
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 04:52 PM
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1. What size tank are you starting with as that would determine flow rate as well as the space necessary for the return well & pump.

2. Bio-balls are not really a suitable material for anerobic (with out air - wet systems) filter, you'd probably want to go with ceramic media, lava rock, or even just a large stack of foam.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 04:59 PM
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All evaporation loss will come out of the last two chambers. Is there enough volume in there that you won't have to top off too often, or will you have an auto top-off system?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 05:36 PM
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I think it will work just fine for what looks like a sump inside the main tank. I think most folks who run sumps (myself included) have the sump outside the tank. I think the only problem you may run into may be the type of substrate you are planning to have. The grain size may need to be substantial enough not to move around in the current. Have you given any thought to running a matten-type filter? TC

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 05:58 PM
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I have an internal sump on my cube. I would recommend watching the king of diy's video titled how to: build a full aquarium - building the tank and filtration 1/3. In that video Joey builds his tank in a similar manner but with a overflow style inlet. I would recommend the overflow, if you are having issues with buildup on the substrate put a power head in or put a loc-line style return in, so you can aim the return.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 06:06 PM
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I personally wouldn't recommend it because it forces you to maintain a specific substrate height. If you have enough water flow to push detritus into and up the "underflow", you could probably have pushed it into an overflow anyways.

If you want to pursue this system I would just drill holes for filter gratings in the baffle.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 07:27 PM
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I think you would need to add something to hold the substrate in place. Either a small lip or something else. Otherwise it would eventually erode away and clog up the intake with substrate. Other than that it should work.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2016, 08:10 PM
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Marineland and Aqueon Megaflow overflows have double water entrances but the bottom drain area is near the middle of the tank. I'd have that double wall with the low opening close to the middle of the tank but have surface skimming as well. We aren't pulling protein off the water surface exactly but we do want it clean for gas exchange purposes. Since this is DIY you would just cut that first wall out if it doesn't work to your satisfaction. It would be even easier for fish and other critters to get through so I'd put a smaller mesh/teeth/sponge? over the low cut out area. I'd do test runs with your pump to be sure there is room over the top baffles in case something gets clogged up.

I have been amazed with how good the overflow keeps the tank bottom though. With adequate water flow it really does pick up most stuff. The stuff that collects under the overflow is so heavy I cannot get pick it up with the siphon! So annoying.

Otherwise go for it. I'm planning a mattenfilter rather than AIO for my proposed nano cube. If I change my mind and do an AIO I'd place a double layer of foam in the media area so I could rinse the top layer weekly. I'd have a bit of suspended eggcrate holding the foam off the bottom of the media area for best flow through the sponges and have the heater lying down in that area and I wouldn't have bioballs at all. I don't think I would do a double intake as you propose but I do think it will work. Do research how people like them for sure.


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 02:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback everyone, very helpful. I hadn't even thought about substrate erosion, but now it seems obvious that it would be a problem. A skimmer seems like the best idea now.

@Bratmanxj - I'm thinking about trying to set this up in a 20 gallon long. Good thought about using some different filter media, I like the idea of using lava rocks for their high surface area. Maybe stack some coarse foam above it to catch the big stuff.

@tippeecanoe - I had never heard of matten-type filters. After some research (ok I googled it) I found what this guy calls a Hamburg Matten Filter> Hamburg Matten Filter
Sounds like the Germans use them for their shrimp tanks? It's a really interesting and simple design, and it would be so easy to hide things like heaters and CO2 behind one. My only concern is the noise.

@Kathyy - Thanks for the pointers, it's good to hear you can keep the bottom plenty clean with an overflow. You mentioned the matten filter as well for a nano cube. Do you know if there's a tank size limit to what those filters can handle? Would it work to build one into a 20 gallon long? And how noisy are they, anyways?

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 10:53 AM
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I would just take out the first baffle and call it a day. You'll have a coast to coast overflow, pushing minimal flow (only 20gs worth of tank) and it will be quiet if it spills onto filter floss or foam. I would go with pot scrubbies or shower scrubs over the lava rock. They have a higher surface area and compact much nicer.


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2016, 04:41 PM
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The mattenfilter is traditionally run with air but you can use a small power head and that would only be as noisy as the powerhead.

There are a few journals on this here. Sewingalot's journal is terrific, she and Hoppy started mattenfiltered tanks about the same time. It's long and full of great info and photos. Apparently if you follow the guidelines strictly there isn't likely to be enough flow to the far end of the tank and you need a powerhead as well. You would definitely have debris buildup in the tank too.

I want to try the mattenfilter as my proposed tank will be stocked with shrimp and shrimp adore picking at foam. When shrimp were in my sump they picked the bottom and foam clean so I am hoping debris won't be an issue. I want the tank to be as open as possible so the corner filter makes sense [a corner AIO would be really cramped!] I can always take it off and make the tank an AIO later if the water doesn't stay clear enough or tank gets dirty. It won't be a big deal to temporarily rehome the inhabitants for a week at the most as my nano is only 8 gallons.

I might be tempted to try a 2 level overflow but I wouldn't do just a low one. Surface skimming is really nice.


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