Low tech 200G +/- planted with fish - to sump or not - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Low tech 200G +/- planted with fish - to sump or not

We've decided to put in a largish tank as a piece of furniture, which means I'm building a fitted stand, and it will be viewable from 3 sides, with a maximum of one end enclosed.

This means no overflows on the long sides or on at least one end, though I could have them at one (only) end.

I've got one small (45G) tank now with a canister filter, and love it -- quiet, easy to clean (at least it seems easy to me). It's a fluval 306, and I'm struggling now with low flow, but I think that's THIS canister not a condemnation of all of them (I think it's a warped impeller cover). Anyway...

So I'm happy so far with a canister filter, but I had no space for a sump before. Now I would have space. I've read lots and lots of glowing stories about sumps, and about multiple canisters. Most are not in the context of planted tanks, in fact most are for salt water. Most that are on target seem more on enthusiasm than specifics.

So for a fresh water, circa 200g planted tank - a couple of good sized canisters (I like redundancy), or a sump (with a couple of pumps)?

Note there is no water or drain nearby, so nothing will be piped in, e.g. topoff, etc.

And low tech - I hope to make it as maintenance free and in good balance between lightly stocked and plants as I can in the long run. That's developing nicely in my 45 Gallon, want it here also.

And -- probably not dirt, probably something more like ecco-complete. As we are new to aquascaping, I expect the first months to be spent moving stuff around, and from all I hear, dirt is great but mostly if you get it right the first time. Not sure if dirt-or-not matters for filtration mechanism.

To sump or not?

I never really mean it but let's ignore cost as a deciding factor, it's more about what works best, maintainable, etc.

Oh... This is a living room - bad smells are not an option here. So if a sump is more smelly... well, that's a deciding factor. Same with noise -- it needs to be darn close to silent (some water movement noise is fine, but no hums; my Fluval 306 is darn close to silent in my opinion, for reference).
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 09:18 PM
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My suggestions and reasons--- which may not match what you see for yourself?

I am not against sumps but they due tend to have more learning curve and do tend to be a bit hard to get right the first try. That is a nice size tank and has real advantages as far as filtering. Extra water does not need extra filtering. It actually works the other way. Any debris that creates extra bio-load for filtering is actually diluted is there is more water. We do need more power to get all the corners of a larger tank moving so that debris is moved on down to the filters.
For reference, I have a 125 gallon six foot tank. Two filters due to large fish but since there are lots of dead spots due to wood and rock, I feel I need two powerheads. Two filters (Eheim 2075 and 2217) make it way plenty of actual filter but not enough to get the stuff moving on around things. Since I don't need more filter, good powerheads are my choice for versatile, easy, setups that are low maintenance as well. Korelia is now my go to for powerheads after years of bad ones. They stay mounted, make no audible noise and have a much better cage system that leaves, etc. don't stop up so that they need less cleaning.
If I were buying for your tank, I would go two 2075's and start with two Korelia powerheads.

To make it work I would go for tubing to all enter at one end with extra tubing/pipes to run one in/out to the far side and build a shallow box cover at that one end to conceal the tubes to/from under the stand. Maybe build in a bar, desk, or something that fits your needs so that the cover looks less like a cover but more like a working feature of the room?
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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To make it work I would go for tubing to all enter at one end with extra tubing/pipes to run one in/out to the far side and build a shallow box cover at that one end to conceal the tubes to/from under the stand. Maybe build in a bar, desk, or something that fits your needs so that the cover looks less like a cover but more like a working feature of the room?
Thank you for the comments on sump/canisters.

As to this latter -- I am worried. I'm leaning more toward a taller tank (30") not because I want to get my face wet everytime I reach into it, but because it lets me build the tank so that for the average adult male (and more even females) they are looking at water, not down at the top of the tank. So I'm thinking of the base resting at 36" (which not coincidentally puts it just at the top of a sofa that will parallel one edge), then extend up to about 66", and some kind of canopy on top of that. I want to actually see it in place first, then design the canopy based on how it looks. I'm thinking more of a cap than a real structure (and having the LED lights resting on the tank trip, not "in" the canopy). The pipes can run parallel to and hidden (mostly) behind the trip along the side to come out a couple places for returns and/or intakes. But all the plumbing will come after the tank is sitting there, so I can experiment (I love playing with PVC pipe).

But making this look pretty as furniture (not just the inside-the-tank part) is a prerequisite of being allowed to put it here.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 10:24 PM
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Been there! Got to go with what works and that includes the wife.
My stand is 40 high, 20 tank and 10 inches of canopy so it does get tall. I would rather not have to get a stool to work the bottom part of the tank but given what I wanted, it seems to fit what I do. There is a closet nearby that gives me room for the food as well as a folding stool to pop up when needed. I agree with wanting people to see into the tank side rather than the top. For everyday feeding, I have small access holes in the top cover so that I can drop food in without opening the cover. With the tall level, these holes are above view for most people but I can drop food in by feeling for the hole. But then I only have short friends!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-19-2014, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Just to put closure -- I bought a 220 Gallon 30" tank, and it's on a 36" stand, so it's pretty tall. The top trim is slightly above eye level for most people.

And it's filling a few drops at a time from my RODI filter now.

I did not put in a sump, I have two SunSun 404B's, and room for a third (I suspect I may want that third, I tried one in a sink and like every filter doesn't seem to live up to the rated GPH).
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 04:56 PM
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Well since you already figured it out, my point is kind of moot, but given your inclination toward a low stocking, low light, and low tech I would probably either do a sump or just put a heater and a powerhead at each corner of the tank. Go el natural in a tank that size and let the gods figure it out. Hide all the wires in your cap. Establish it and run it like an indoor pond. Lots of plants, and a decent size bottom school, and column school.

on a side note, I completely lack discipline for an el natural tank. Always more bigger fish, more light, more tech, more problems.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Well since you already figured it out, my point is kind of moot....
Well, there's a difference in figuring it out, and making a decision...

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on a side note, I completely lack discipline for an el natural tank. Always more bigger fish, more light, more tech, more problems.
Yeah, I get that. Old time engineer, and while we can come up with a simple solution, if it's sitting in front of us long enough, we'll decide to mess around with it, after all a whistle or bell is always called for.

I'm going to need to worry about that.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 08:33 PM
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sump, takes time to setup everything, but it is time saving afterward.

sorry about the all the wires that are laying around, will organize them finish the final layout.



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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 08:38 PM
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 08:47 PM
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Well, one of my next tanks is definitely a sump. I have a coast to coast or bean animal style running right now. This is definitely the way to go. The part I blew it on, though, is that my overfliw box is not deep enough for a standard strainer, so I use window screening. Keeps the little fish out of the sump, but needs to be cleaned 2x per week.
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