Building a sump soon, questions. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Building a sump soon, questions.

I will be doing a tank build in the next few months. 55g with a 20 long sump. I just want to be sure this is the right choice vs a canister filter. I want tons of space for any kind of filtration media. I am also looking for easy maintenance. I don't want to have to turn something off and take it apart like a canister filter so i feel like a sump is the right choice. I want to be able to reach in and grab a filter sock or sponge while the thing is on, pull it out and clean it.

My biggest question is about detritus pickup. I have always used HOB filters, which have an uplift tub. A sump typically just uses an overflow. Will this cause a problem with detritus accumulation at the bottom of the tank or can good flow solve this? I figure it could be more of an issue in fresh water than salt water because in salt water things float easier and could get to the overflows easier. In fresh water, fish poop/uneaten food etc always seem to sink.

I am 100% i am over thinking this because people use sumps in freshwater all the time. I just want to be sure before proceeding. Thanks everyone!

20g high and 10g planted low tech tanks.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by smishgibson View Post
I will be doing a tank build in the next few months. 55g with a 20 long sump. I just want to be sure this is the right choice vs a canister filter. I want tons of space for any kind of filtration media. I am also looking for easy maintenance. I don't want to have to turn something off and take it apart like a canister filter so i feel like a sump is the right choice. I want to be able to reach in and grab a filter sock or sponge while the thing is on, pull it out and clean it.

My biggest question is about detritus pickup. I have always used HOB filters, which have an uplift tub. A sump typically just uses an overflow. Will this cause a problem with detritus accumulation at the bottom of the tank or can good flow solve this? I figure it could be more of an issue in fresh water than salt water because in salt water things float easier and could get to the overflows easier. In fresh water, fish poop/uneaten food etc always seem to sink.

I am 100% i am over thinking this because people use sumps in freshwater all the time. I just want to be sure before proceeding. Thanks everyone!
Super-Simple Sump Setup...that's way to many S! I think people WAY overthink freshwater sumps.

20g long with 3 sheets of 2" thick Porret Foam from coarse to fine: 10 pore-per-inch, 20 ppi, 30 ppi. Every 4 months I take out ONLY 1 sheet and rinse the buildup out of it, this keeps 2/3 of the beneficial bacteria alive. Every 2 months I vac the mulm off the bottom of the sump. I also have a continuous water change system (fresh water drip and overflow from the sump to the house drain) that that is ALL the maintenance I do to the tank.

I had healthy breeding groups of Lake Tanganyika Cichlids for a few years with no issues, but that was with 600+ gph turnover on a 75g tank. Now that I have dwarf SA with more plants and wood there are nooks for detritus to collect, I'm also running 1/2 the flow as before. I'm vaccuming the tank once a month; I have pool filter sand, so its a quick vac when I need to.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 06:24 PM
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Man, I'm also really drawn to the benefits of a sump...my main concerns have been 1) I'm very un-handy 2) potential for disasters and 3) noise, as my tank is in my living room. The noise issue has some options, notably the bean-animal and other designs from what I've read. Canisters can have disasters too, and there are sump designs that seem pretty fool proof (where neither sump nor tank can overflow the other). So really I'm mainly concerned that I'll screw it up

I have sand so my canister intakes are up pretty high and have pre-filter sponges on them. I have to vacuum once in a while as larger stuff doesn't make it up there (plus my older eheim doesn't really have that much flow). No biggie I figure, I don't see any way at all that sinking debris would ever make it up to an overflow if it can't make it to a canister intake...and I have a bunch of plants anyway that both hide the stuff and make it less critical to vacuum.

Another factor for me is that I already have two canisters so I don't "need" a sump--it would take some amount of $$ to do it right, especially if I buy a bean animal pre-made overflow/kit.

Definitely I'd like to try one for the reasons you stated. Just getting the heaters out of the tank would be great (though of course I could try an inline heater).
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 06:36 PM
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Also forgot that I go back and forth on whether to get a drilled tank vs an overflow. Kind of leaning overflow right now but I've heard arguments for either.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bratmanxj View Post
Super-Simple Sump Setup...
This is exactly what I am after. I was looking at progressive Porret foam just like yours. Only other thing i wanted was to add a CO2 reactor so that i can keep that hidden from the tank and be sure it's dissolved very well before going into the tank.



Stokely,

I am by no means a sump expect considering I started this thread, but I will chime in. I think doing a sump with an overflow box can be a disaster waiting to happen. Many people use them for years with no issues. I think if you can drill the tank though, it's better. Just do some reading and take your time planning it out.

As for having a disaster caused by something other than a failed overflow box siphon. You need to be sure the return pump chamber box volume is small enough that it can be pumped into the aquarium and not overflow. Also, sum water level needs to be low enough so that if the pump is turned off, the sump can take in all the overflow water without overflowing.

You also need to have a main and a backup overflow. Look up the Herbie overflow system, this one can be very quiet i think.

20g high and 10g planted low tech tanks.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by smishgibson View Post
This is exactly what I am after. I was looking at progressive Porret foam just like yours. Only other thing i wanted was to add a CO2 reactor so that i can keep that hidden from the tank and be sure it's dissolved very well before going into the tank.
I have a ceramic diffuser under the drain pipe right now as CO2 was a recent addition to the tank.

I have a Jebao DC return pump and purposely built it as a double manifold, I'll try and get a picture of the manifold tonight. I have the capability of adding a 2nd return that will feed a reactor. I have a 75g so I'll just add a 2nd return line to the opposite side of the tank, in my 1st picture you can see the return line to my spray bar.

75g that has rolled through various incarnations over the years...

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 09:58 PM
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Sumps are cool. Don't go all reef crazy with baffles for freshwater, keep it simple.

HOB overflows would make me nervous. Mine is bottom drilled for reasons that had to do with the build, but I think back drilled is better as it is less stuff in the tank. However, if mine ever leaked at the bulkhead, it would just leak into the sump.

I built mine as a wet sump with a beananinal drain system. Its dead quiet. It is far less of a pain to maintain than my canisters.

Make sure you have plenty of "headroom" to get in and out of it.

Last thing, if you don't own the 55g yet, go for a 75g ( or some other 48 x 18+ tank). Its a way better footprint. I've owned up to 4 55g's at one point. Sold 3 of them and turned the 4th into a sump. I even wish my sump was a 40b for more space above it, but the tank was free.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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Last thing, if you don't own the 55g yet, go for a 75g ( or some other 48 x 18+ tank). Its a way better footprint. I've owned up to 4 55g's at one point. Sold 3 of them and turned the 4th into a sump. I even wish my sump was a 40b for more space above it, but the tank was free.
I don't have the tank yet. I find this suggestion interesting. What is appealing about the extra depth in the foot print? I have a 20g tall now, so i have been visualizing it as 2x 20g talls side by side, then just a tiny bit taller.

Thinking about my tank now, it does seem a tiny bit tight front to back, maybe that just gets worse as the tank gets longer and you want larger pieces to put in it.

I really appreciate the input.

20g high and 10g planted low tech tanks.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by smishgibson View Post
I will be doing a tank build in the next few months. 55g with a 20 long sump. I just want to be sure this is the right choice vs a canister filter. I want tons of space for any kind of filtration media. I am also looking for easy maintenance. I don't want to have to turn something off and take it apart like a canister filter so i feel like a sump is the right choice. I want to be able to reach in and grab a filter sock or sponge while the thing is on, pull it out and clean it.

My biggest question is about detritus pickup. I have always used HOB filters, which have an uplift tub. A sump typically just uses an overflow. Will this cause a problem with detritus accumulation at the bottom of the tank or can good flow solve this? I figure it could be more of an issue in fresh water than salt water because in salt water things float easier and could get to the overflows easier. In fresh water, fish poop/uneaten food etc always seem to sink.

I am 100% i am over thinking this because people use sumps in freshwater all the time. I just want to be sure before proceeding. Thanks everyone!
Thanks for bringing this up. I have a 125 I'm hoping to start and after doing maintenance to two canisters on my 40 this weekend, I would also like to experiment with a sump. I've done a bit of research over the last few days and the consensus seems to be that drilled is the way to go, but this is a new tank and if I drill it I lose my warranty. For that reason I'm going to try and avoid it if possible. Life Reef HOB overflows seem to be consistently mentioned as quality products when it comes to that kind of equipment, and I guess when you're talking about something that can flood your home and potentially kill your livestock if it fails quality is good.

I can't vouch for them myself, only to say they're mentioned regularly, but if you're like me and want to avoid drilling I would give them a look. The site/owner claims the siphon on these will resume after power failure and most of the reviews that I've seen say that it has.

I don't want to derail OP's thread here, but if anyone has one of these or can help me understand how they word I'd be happy to hear from them through PM or whatever. YouTube video's seem to show them in action, but there's no detail and they haven't been that helpful to me.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Get out of here with your hijacking psych. jk, I think this adds to the discussion well. I haven't seen these overflows and they do seem interesting. I didn't consider tank warranty. I still think I'm down with drilling the tank.

After thinking about the sizes of tank more, I think I would go with a 40B before a 55. I am in the process of moving. Once moved in I can see if the space can accommodate a 3 ft or 4ft tank. I'm 99% sure it can be 4ft. If so I'll go for the 75. If 3 foot is max, I'll go 40B.

20g high and 10g planted low tech tanks.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by smishgibson View Post
I don't have the tank yet. I find this suggestion interesting. What is appealing about the extra depth in the foot print? I have a 20g tall now, so i have been visualizing it as 2x 20g talls side by side, then just a tiny bit taller.

Thinking about my tank now, it does seem a tiny bit tight front to back, maybe that just gets worse as the tank gets longer and you want larger pieces to put in it.

I really appreciate the input.
Good info in this thread!

I will chime in with an opinion on the depth. No doubt I would go for a 75g. In fact, a 75g is what I have now and that feels a bit tight! I have a couple large pieces of manzanita and I am limited on how I can place them with only 18". I'm going for a jungle val in the back, driftwood/rocks and mid-level plants in front of those, then sand and shorter plants (crypts/sag/whatever) in the front. I am looking to upgrade to a 120 or (maybe!) a 180 and the depth is the main reason. My focus is as much on the wood, rocks and plants as it is the fish (who sometimes are a bit of an afterthought!) and I love the more square tanks. If you have large swimmers and the fish are your focus then a longer tank is more important (though of course some fish may like a taller vs longer tank).
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 02:27 PM
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Yeah, if a 75 is too big, I think you'd be happier with a 40b over a 55. Lots of nice 40b tanks on here.


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 03:56 PM
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One thing I didn't see anyone mention is to make sure before you attempt to drill your tank that the glass is not tempered. Also, if you have not purchased your tank yet check out pre-drilled tanks. I'm not sure who all makes them but I do know Deep Blue does (not a plug).

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 05:13 PM
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Couple of things,

There is nothing wrong per se with a HOB overflow - had one set up on a 150 for about 10 years, and the only issues with it losing prime were totally user error, and that was only twice. Nice way to try out a sump without spending the money on a drilled tank.

That said, I've moved on to built in overflows on my two larger tanks. As far as I know, all the major manufacturers offer reef-ready tanks, certainly Marineland and Aqueon do.

The only downside of the HOB's may be that they only pull from the surface, but that is fairly easy to overcome with either creative returns, or circulation pumps.

The idea of 3 layers of poret foam in the sump is solid, and the simple approach is wise idea also as it avoids a lot of engineering errors. DAMHIKT.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2018, 08:01 PM
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There is nothing wrong per se with a HOB overflow - had one set up on a 150 for about 10 years, and the only issues with it losing prime were totally user error, and that was only twice. Nice way to try out a sump without spending the money on a drilled tank.

That said, I've moved on to built in overflows on my two larger tanks. As far as I know, all the major manufacturers offer reef-ready tanks, certainly Marineland and Aqueon do.

The only downside of the HOB's may be that they only pull from the surface, but that is fairly easy to overcome with either creative returns, or circulation pumps.

The idea of 3 layers of poret foam in the sump is solid, and the simple approach is wise idea also as it avoids a lot of engineering errors. DAMHIKT.
I started with a HOB overflow as well, I didn't necessarily have an issue with it as a whole but at my original flow rate with my 'Tang Cichlids I couldn't really get it quit enough to be in the living/dinning room. It always left me uneasy hearing horror stories about flooding on a power outage or failed start-up. I had to separate the fish after 6 mo. so it gave me a reason to revamp the overflow. I have a BeAnAnimal 3-drain system and couldn't be happier, its easier to tune and can be kept virtually silent. I also never have to worry about flooding (even though it never happened to me) as this starts up effortlessly every time I feed.

My original sump was a wet-dry with a drip tray, but keeping smaller fish I'd always have a dead tetra sitting in the tray creating an ammonia spike. I then decided to go all wet and started designing baffles and cutting glass and I came across a website FMueller about his 240g Frontosa tank and used it as a model for my 75g N. Tretocephalus (scale everything down, even the fish!). I chatted with Frank via the Cichlid forum a few times and got in touch with Steffen Tanner at Swiss Tropicals back in 2013 when Porret was still somewhat new to the market. It was pricey then but both assured me it made everything in the sump so much simpler. I added the constant water change system and everyone who see's the tank is freaked at how little it takes to maintain and how stable the water parameters stay.

75g that has rolled through various incarnations over the years...
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