Overflow sump for planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Overflow sump for planted tank

How many of you utilize overflow sump filtration in your planted tank? [It is such filtration system where you have an overflowing water from the tank to a chamber or smaller filter tank on the bottom via a plumbing system (usually by the edge of the tank or inside the cabinet) and using a sump/pump to push back the filtrated water back into the tank].

What do you think about the system in terms of effectivity, cost, running simplicity, maintenance, etc?

Did you find a significant difference in CO2 concentration between overflow sump tank compared to a canister one?

If the difference is huge, what adjustments can be done to the sump system to help overcome the problem?
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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 05:03 PM
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Sumps are typically left on saltwater systems, as a majority of a sump is based on biological filtration over the rocks surfaces. Filtration for planted tanks is much less crucial, as the plants themselves raise the water quality, and a cannister filter is plenty. Basically they are just too much work, and not cost effective. Im not saying it wouldnt work, and im not sure about CO2 loss, though im sure that it would be higher than without a sump. Anyway, you will find very few who use a sump on a planted tank.

Planted tanks are all about shrimp.
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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 07:32 PM
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There are a few with sumps. I have mine mainly to get hardware out of the tank (but there are lot of good examples of running external heater/reactor on an canister.) That said, I run a sump (not wet dry) and it is lit with fish and plants too. My only "filtration" is mechanical with the tiny sponge that shipped with the Mag 7. Do a search for George Booth and turbulence in a sump to see what it does to CO2.

Moved to Tucson.
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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 08:03 PM
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I'd just like to post a view from "the other side"...

I think it would be fair to say I hail from a group of hobbyist that have gone to great lengths to get equipment out of a tank. And if you aren't using a sump, that means massive amount of in-line stuff. And in the case of some extremists like myself, even resorting to bulkheads.

I want to go on the record and say that the in-line route is a major PITA. IMO, people that want to get equipment out of the tank should be giving sumps a harder look.

For myself, the next time I set up a major planted tank, I'm going to be giving sumps a REAL hard look. It looks like a really clean, simple way to hide equipment.

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 12:36 AM
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I set up my 90 gallon with an in-tank sump. About six inches in from one end I installed a sheet of 1/4" plexiglass with a 1/2" deep by 8" wide notch cut into the top for the overflow. (Glass tank, 48"x24"x18") At the bottom of the acrylic there is a small notch for a 1/2" PVC pipe to pass through that feeds back into the show portion of the tank. That notch and the edges of the plexi are sealed with silicone so the sump area is completely sealed off from the rest of the tank.

At first I had a submersible pump at the bottom of the sump that fed into that 1/2" pipe, which in turn feeds two return pipes at the back corners of the main part of the tank. But that never got the clarity or water movement I wanted. So now an external Little Giant sucks out of the sump area and then feeds back into that 1/2" pipe. I also added a separate canister filter.

The main advantage of a sump is that water loss from evaporation doesn't show up in the main tank, the change in water level only shows in the sump. I like the in-tank sump because it is a simplified plumbing project, and also because 36" PC lamps work well over the remaining 42" of tank width.

TW

Here's a fuzzy picture. The sump portion of the tank is enclosed within the cabinet to the right, the right edge of the tank goes all the way to the right of the cabinet. The tank itself ends a couple of inches into the cabinet to the left, the remainder of the left cabinet houses the CO2 cylinder and the electrical stuff. The color of the paint is actually much darker than the flash made this look.

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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 01:40 AM
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I know that my drilled 110 gallon with the external sump is the easiest of the 10 planted tanks I have to take care of. Initial cost of the sump, outfitting it, and tweaking the flow is an issue, I pay nothing to maintain it. I am using 2 sponge filters driven by a powerhead, a uv sterilizer driven by a powerhead, 2-250 watt jager heaters connected to a controller, powered CO2 reactor, PH monitor/controller, temperature alarm, and duckweed to eat phosphate which is all contained in the sump, no equipment is in the tank. I also have 22 extra gallons of water in my tank because of the sump. Some say that you will experience outgassing of CO2 using a sump, I do not. The major factors with CO2 concentration using a sump is tweaking the overflow rate and minimizing turbulence in the sump. I installed a check valve in the return line so I could fill the sump with more water which helps in many ways. As far as adjustments go, you have to see what works for you, my sump is oversized for my tank and all work differently. Since all the fish in the tank are wild caught, water quality/temperature are an issue for me and I like the extra water. I have a T installed on the overflow piping that drains the sump for water changes which is a huge benefit. I change out all the water twice over a one month period, just connect the hose, turn the ball valves and walk away for a while, very easy water changes. Every display tank I buy in the future will have a sump, some of my tanks are being replaced by drilled tanks so I can use sumps on them.
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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 04:41 AM Thread Starter
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Haha.. as I expected many will support overflow sump system in their tank. I'm just curious because this 260gal tank I'm using is an old reef tank that has seen better days. I'm so amazed by the durability of this tank and the cabinet after all this 15 years of mostly salt water and a nasty flooding half the cabinet 5 years ago. Yet it stands tall and unexpectedly do well on a planted setup. Must have been no1 quality of wood used.

Yes gentlemen, I strongly agree with you guys that this kind of filtration system have its points of:
1. Being able to help hiding all the stuff from display. You can put your heater, CO2 reactor, filter, bioballs, chiller, etc you can think out of one's imagination and creativity.
2. lots of extra volume of water. Translates to improved stability on chemistry and temperature. Have that huge tank sump for filter under your cabinet? make another tank out of em! who knows if you have some fry to raise safely yet without further hassle. Also translates to a bit more dose of ferts to water collumn, but no worry if one is using PMDD

@Diablo
That is a nice plan of plumbing! I'd do some modification on my existing plumbing some day. Forget all the spills and pain of waiting and holding hose on top of the tank
By the way, what's your best way to tweak the flow? by adjusting water level/overflow piping height/filter drag/sump pumping rate?

@TWood
That kind of end of the tank overflow filtration with a return line is popular here amongst the budget consious hobbyist who keeps fish (there are so few who dares/suceed in keeping planted one). It does minimize stuff visible all over the sides and top also while eliminating the cost of a canister filter. With all increasing chinese pumps from resun, jebo, etc at an unbelievable price, the system gets popular these days.

@Scooley
Yes I love your tank! please experiment with that ADA style. I'm inspired again by your kahuna tank. Too bad the pricing of 19mm glass sets me back to opt for a rimmed 12mm tank instead for my next tank (because I need a large one). But its going to be polished and beveled all around up to the rims and bones.
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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 10:56 AM
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I would recommend tweaking the return. I have a 1 inch overflow with an oversize Durso standpipe which I would recommend to everyone with an overflow including reefers. Rich is great and goes out of his way to help. My overflow plumbing has ball valves and T's. The outlets 90 degree at the bottom of the sump to minimize turbulence and feed the sponge filters. I had bio balls but they reside in the garage now, would recommend pitching the bio balls, cause more harm than good. Know anybody that needs a few hundred? The sponge filters are branched together and driven by a powerhead kept a couple of inches below the water line. John @ http://www.jehmco.com/ made the sponge filter setup, again someone that went out of his way to help me. I can choke the overflow side with a ball valve but chose to tweak the return instead. The guy that built my tank included a pondmaster 7 pump with the sump. That was way too much flow for my discus, they do not like being thrown around in circles. I opted for a Mag 3 pump which keeps the flow steady. I am constantly tweaking/experimenting with my sump. Next experiment is to Y the return lockline, install 2 diffusers and hook back up the Pondmaster 7 pump. I will also install a ball valve on the return line to choke the flow if needed to keep my discus from being slammed into the tank sides. I would recommend getting as much flow as possible from the overflow and tweak the return using smaller/bigger pump and/or choking the flow. Let me know if you want/need pics.
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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Ah, I see the picture.

1. Get the overflow to flow more/ease the flow by adjusting level, tweaking with the pipe diameter. In this case my next tank would likely to use at least 2" overflow pipe or double 1,5" pipe (which is less preferable for it is messy).
2. Get the return line to pump at a desireable rate. The amount falling from overflow depends on the rate of return. Install a valve to choke (of course using a T for a return and a leak choke to prevent excessive pressure on the pump) or replace pump size as a last resort. Perhaps a 1" pipe will do for this.

Throwing out the bioballs? why? I thought they help contain useful bacteria. Do they block the flow and tend to jam?
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by medicineman
Throwing out the bioballs? why? I thought they help contain useful bacteria. Do they block the flow and tend to jam?
You do not want a wet/dry element to your sump. Planted tanks do not require artificial bacterial colonies (plants are covered in N-bacteria, and plants also consume ammonium eagerly). Additionally, the added turbulence of a wet/dry system drives off CO2 from your tank.

I run a sump system as well.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...9&page=7&pp=15

Ted


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post #11 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-21-2005, 04:54 PM
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On the topic of sumps:

*Drill a small hole at or just below the water line on the return to break the back syphon.

*Run the system for a while and then turn it off an wait ~ 15 min. Fill sump to level you are comfortable with. Make mark. Turn system on and run ~15 min. Make mark. This is your "max vol" line.

*Confirm that the pump cannot leave you heaters high and dry.

*Ball valves on the output side are risky. It sounds like the above poster uses 2 overflows but NEVER underestimate the ability of a snail or leaf of just the right size to come along.

*Prefilters: I do not run one on my durso so leaves, food, and fish take Mr. Toads wild ride.

*Bubbles in the overflow syphon can indicate that the flow is too slow. (Indicator of when to clean the prefilter on my old pump)

Moved to Tucson.
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post #12 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-22-2005, 02:52 AM
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Two things I assumed medicineman was we were discussing a drilled tank with bulkheads (not a HOB overflow) and you have a basic understanding of overflow/sump precautions.

You got it for the return flow, get the plumbing set then tweak it. If you have a 2" bulkhead check with Rich Durso for the size drainpipe to use, I would guess 2.5" but he is the expert. No need for bio balls in a planted tank, I used them because of my fish load (10 wild discus, 12 wild corydoras, 11 wild plecos/cats, and a dozen snails in a 110 gallon which I do not consider to be heavily planted) but opted to use sponge filters instead to cut down on the turbulence, but main reason was to get more water in the sump. A gallon here, a gallon there, it adds up. If you are going to use a 1" return line, let me know how it works.

Bottom line is, sumps are used in planted tanks. One thing I have learned, every application is different and every hobbyist has different wants/needs; be willing to experiment, I'm glad I did. I learned a tremendous amount of useful information about sumps and sump plumbing from quizzing and looking at the setups of reefers I know. Most SPS reefers are either experts in water/sump filtration/flow or have a lot of money.
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post #13 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-22-2005, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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Two things I assumed medicineman was we were discussing a drilled tank with bulkheads (not a HOB overflow) and you have a basic understanding of overflow/sump precautions.

Ah at last I can say the term bulkhead overflow! Yes you are precisely right. Sorry for any misunderstanding. Trying to be a good english speaker here (never comparable to native speaker though).

I'm going to order another tank with bulkhead overflow. I'm discussing the issue because I dont want to mess up for drilling the bottom of the tank when I dont know exactly what I'm doing. After seeing results from people and from my very own 260gal tank, I'm convinced that this is the way I should build my next tank. Btw now I'm going to order it slightly longer length and slightly shorter height, L x H x W measuring at 200 x 70 x 80 cm. Using tweezers at my old tank proves how difficult a 80cm height is.
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post #14 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-23-2005, 08:16 AM
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I hear you about tall tanks, a PITA but I think worth it. Are you going to drill the tank yourself? I was going to get a wider tank but did not like the way the stand looked.
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post #15 of 60 (permalink) Old 11-23-2005, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiabloCanine
I hear you about tall tanks, a PITA but I think worth it. Are you going to drill the tank yourself? I was going to get a wider tank but did not like the way the stand looked.
A PITA.... LOL

Not only worth it... but really a must have if you can stand it with all the maintenance, cost , etc. Everything grows differently when you have the height to let it shows full size.

My old tank : 180cm long, 80cm high, 80cm thick

My next tank (still on order) : 200 cm long, 70 cm high, 80cm thick. All sides including the rims are polished and beveled. Open top. This one is going to be another of my DIY victim
I aim for the same thickness because I can get a nice depth effect and a larger area should I decided to try out carpet and field setup.

Nope, I will not drill it by myself. Its going to be a nighmare if I scew up and having a broken tank in the end. I will ask my fabricator to make the holes for me. Now they are fabricating a solid wooden cabinet with some carvings and air vent grill for the tank to sit on. Nice real solid cabinet like the one I have under my old tank, and foreigners (esp westerners) gotta love it with all traditional carvings and profiles.

Anyway, I'm going to let them know where to drill and how big it is. I'm sure they cannot crew up seriously, for they are experienced for over 20 years in handling tanks with all of the decorations.

Deep inside what I want is a much larger open tank (say 500gal+), but the cost of 19mm glass and the fear of running cost and maintaining it prevents me from having one.

They are charging me a decent price at around $ 800 for the tank, cabinet and plumbing. This is not the first time. We have a long history with the workshop from reefer to freshwater, from maintenance to decoration, from moving to re-stocking. Now for the waiting... must be another 2-3 weeks at least before they finish everything.
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