Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Cape Coral, Florida
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).