How do sumps work? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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How do sumps work?

How exactly do they work? I wanted to make a 10 gallon one for my 75 gallon and wanted to know how the water gets from the display down to the sump. I wanted to hide the heater and other stuff there.
EDIT: What goes in a freshwater sump? And what kind of pump is used for the return?

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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 05:59 PM
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AN overflow box. or drilled tank. if u drill the tank it is still a good idea to install an overflow chamber so if there is an issue the tank doesn't drain completely out

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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
AN overflow box. or drilled tank. if u drill the tank it is still a good idea to install an overflow chamber so if there is an issue the tank doesn't drain completely out
Oh, ok. I could likely make one myself cheaply. I have the necessary tools to cut 1/8th inch thick glass and aquarium silicone so I'm sure I could put one together that would be all glass.

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 06:14 PM
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A ten gallon will not be large enough for a 75 gallon. Your heater and pump will barely fit and will have very little water much less margin for overflow. See when you have a sump you need to do a "power off" test. You turn the power off and your display tank will drain to the sump depending on the height of the overflow. So you may have 3-10 gallons flowing back down to your sump. If you have you overflow too high you will have issues with evaporation so you cant alleviate all your problems by having a higher overflow.

You will also need to install bubble traps unless you don't mind that sort of thing.

Do you use CO2 if you are you will loose a lot using a sump. Not impossible.

I would use a 20 gallon minimum.


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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 06:21 PM
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Sumps are more popular with reefer's and let you have a wet/ dry environment to grow denitrifying bacteria (search "bio-balls"). However, they are inefficient because the falling water has to be pumped all the way back to the top of the tank (and ends up requiring about 10X the energy of a canister to circulate the same GPH.)

A frequent complaint is gurgling sounds from the water draining down. This can be eliminated with the proper plumbing, but it will take some tweaking.

On the benefits side: You can set up a sump with every whistle-and-bell you can imagine. Virtually all the aquarium equipment can be setup and run in the sump and thereby kept out of sight. You also will maintain the exact same water level, regardless of evaporation (until the sump runs dry that is).

For the average planted tank, I'm not convinced it's a good idea:
#1. It requires a drilled tank w/ overflows. (There are aftermarket HOB conversion boxes, but you're at an increased risk of flooding)
#2. The main benefit of denitrifying wet-dry media isn't of much interest: Your plants should be the main consumer of nitrogen.
#3. You will need a fairly husky recirculation pump for this to work right
#4. There's always a risk of flooding the room if your overflow gets clogged.
#5. There's more ambient noise
#6. The splashing water will off-gas your CO2
#7. Increased electric usage, above-and-beyond your heater and grow lights.
#8. Requires a stand capable of storing a sump inside it.

For the only advantage of hiding the tank equipment and having a consistent water level...... I just can't justify setting up sump on my tank.

As per TPT protocol, everyone will now pile on me for being a moron!
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 06:22 PM
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How does evaporation affect the water level in the display? It will only change the water level in the sump.

Op, try googling overflows and sumps. You need to get a basic understanding and pictures will explain it much better than words.


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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proaudio55 View Post
Sumps are more popular with reefer's and let you have a wet/ dry environment to grow denitrifying bacteria (search "bio-balls"). However, they are inefficient because the falling water has to be pumped all the way back to the top of the tank (and ends up requiring about 10X the energy of a canister to circulate the same GPH.)

A frequent complaint is gurgling sounds from the water draining down. This can be eliminated with the proper plumbing, but it will take some tweaking.

On the benefits side: You can set up a sump with every whistle-and-bell you can imagine. Virtually all the aquarium equipment can be setup and run in the sump and thereby kept out of sight.

For the average planted tank, I'm not convinced it's a good idea:
#1. I requires a drilled tank w/ overflows. (There are aftermarket HOB conversion boxes, but you're at an increased risk of flooding)
#2. The main benefit of denitrifying wet-dry media isn't of much interest: Your plants should be the main consumer of nitrogen.
#3. You will need a fairly husky recirculation pump for this to work right
#4. There's always a risk of flooding the room if your overflow gets clogged.
#5. There's more ambient noise
#6. The splashing water will off-gas your CO2
#7. Increased electric usage, above-and-beyond your heater and grow lights.
#8. Requires a stand capable of storing a sump inside it.

For the only advantage of hiding the tank equipment and having a consistent water level...... I just can't justify setting up sump.

As per TPT protocol, everyone will now pile on me for being a moron!
The only point I disagree with you on, it's your preference of not using a sump. I just see it as better.


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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odie View Post
Do you use CO2 if you are you will loose a lot using a sump. Not impossible.

this is a myth. i use one and waste little c02 over my cannister. assuming u already had good surface agitation. matter of fact i use a wet/dry..
i don't run full siphon. u don't need a bubble trap

a well designed sump or wet/dry sump system will alleviate all the problems people are afraid of using them for

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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proaudio55 View Post
#3. You will need a fairly husky recirculation pump for this to work right
#5. There's more ambient noise
#7. Increased electric usage, above-and-beyond your heater and grow lights.
#8. Requires a stand capable of storing a sump inside it.
Assuming the sump is placed in the stand. For example some people drill holes in their walls and place the sump in a neighboring room.
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 08:24 PM
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My comments are in red below.

No one should pile on and call you a moron for sharing your opinion. But some of the inaccuracies need to be pointed out. The main ones are the energy usage and noise. Recirculation pumps have more accurate gph ratings than filters. A pump will not be anywhere near 10x the wattage of a comparable canister and the sound level depends on the setup. There are quiet setups. It's even easier to quiet them when you push reasonable (planted tank appropriate) flow rates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by proaudio55 View Post
Sumps are more popular with reefer's and let you have a wet/ dry environment to grow denitrifying bacteria (search "bio-balls"). However, they are inefficient because the falling water has to be pumped all the way back to the top of the tank (and ends up requiring about 10X the energy of a canister to circulate the same GPH.)

10x is extremely far off and exaggerated.

A frequent complaint is gurgling sounds from the water draining down. This can be eliminated with the proper plumbing, but it will take some tweaking.

Canisters can be noisy with cavitation, HOBs with water falling, etc.

On the benefits side: You can set up a sump with every whistle-and-bell you can imagine. Virtually all the aquarium equipment can be setup and run in the sump and thereby kept out of sight. You also will maintain the exact same water level, regardless of evaporation (until the sump runs dry that is).

For the average planted tank, I'm not convinced it's a good idea:
#1. It requires a drilled tank w/ overflows. (There are aftermarket HOB conversion boxes, but you're at an increased risk of flooding)

Not sure how drilled holes or overflows aren't a good idea. Any device can leak. A canister could put more water on the floor than most overflows.

#2. The main benefit of denitrifying wet-dry media isn't of much interest: Your plants should be the main consumer of nitrogen.

All sumps are not a wet/dry filter.

#3. You will need a fairly husky recirculation pump for this to work right

Pump size depends on tank size and stocking.

#4. There's always a risk of flooding the room if your overflow gets clogged.

There is always a risk of flooding the room when you have gallons of water sitting in your home.

#5. There's more ambient noise

Depends on your setup.

#6. The splashing water will off-gas your CO2

Not all sumps have splashing water.

#7. Increased electric usage, above-and-beyond your heater and grow lights.

Minimal. Worth the trade offs in many cases.

#8. Requires a stand capable of storing a sump inside it.

For the only advantage of hiding the tank equipment and having a consistent water level...... I just can't justify setting up sump on my tank.

As per TPT protocol, everyone will now pile on me for being a moron!


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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prototyp3 View Post
My comments are in red below.

No one should pile on and call you a moron for sharing your opinion. But some of the inaccuracies need to be pointed out. The main ones are the energy usage and noise. Recirculation pumps have more accurate gph ratings than filters. A pump will not be anywhere near 10x the wattage of a comparable canister and the sound level depends on the setup. There are quiet setups. It's even easier to quiet them when you push reasonable (planted tank appropriate) flow rates.
Unless someone has more accurate numbers or better research: the numbers I come up with say sumps are 1/10th as efficient (in terms of gallons per hours circulated) . . .

TPT thread: Power draw on pumps, is this math right? (sump vs canister)
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 08:53 PM
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Pumping water two times higher up requires two times the power(with the same flow), and the difference between ~1/8 of an inch and ~3 feet is huge.

But thats completly ignores friction in tubing, filters etc.
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives, at least in my case. It'd be great to be able to hide all of the extra stuff in the sump and it'd also give me more overall volume. Also, I was actually planning on mounting an extra filter on the sump so it'd be a filter within a filter - filterception! It seems like it'd take some extra research and planning though so thanks for all the info. Keep it coming!

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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 09:13 PM
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 05-03-2012, 09:15 PM
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I have a sump on my reef tank- yes it does add extra noise, adding make up water can be a challenge do to space ( I've drilled a hole on the side of my stand so that a tube can run into the sump tank?). I have only had issuses of overflowing the main tank twice in 10 years because the foam filter came free from the down spout, drifted over and blocked the downpipe. It is nice in that all of the equipment is out of site. However as the water level doesn't change in the main tank, one must remember to check the level in the sump tank often.
In my sump I have bio-balls and a foam insert, as well as the heater, and my protein skimmer.
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