Above tank sump - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2020, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Above tank sump

Hello!
I am setting up an above tank sump with plants in it, and have been trying various methods to move the water. My problem is matching the inflow/outflow. It occurred to me that using something to suck the water through would create better control. Any ideas how this could be performed? I have several submersible water pumps of varying strengths, but I need them to pull the water through the sump. There must be something that does this, but I am having no luck... don't know the right terms?



I have one that pumps the water up into the sump, but getting it to flow out through hoses at a good rate is a fine balancing act.



Any help would be appreciated!!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2020, 07:01 PM
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I have never made an above tank sump but usually I've seen them with a water pump in the main aquarium and then just gravity drain back to the aquarium.

Can you post a pic of your design and include how the water returns to the tank?

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2020, 07:13 PM
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Yep your overthinking it. Pump water into it then let gravity pull water through and out of it. Think of it more like a really big HOB filter
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2020, 07:53 PM
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What they said, but make doubly sure that the amount of water that can drain from the sump down into the main tank isn't enough to overflow the main tank (in case of a power outage).
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2020, 08:45 PM
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Yeah, trying to match two pumps, even identical ones, is a recipe for a wet floor long term.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-06-2020, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capers7 View Post
I have several submersible water pumps of varying strengths, but I need them to pull the water through the sump. There must be something that does this, but I am having no luck... don't know the right terms?
Pump can be either in the main aquarium or in the sump it doesn't matter which. You have intake for the sump on one side and your gravity drain on the other side (with a dry backup). You just put your layers of media in the above tank sump identically to the below tank sump with one exception, you make sure that if layer of media becomes clogged that the water can flow OVER that layer without flowing out of the sump. This way as water is pumped into the sump it will never overflow. The current of water will do the rest as it travels to the gravity drain. Just don't neglect having an emergency backup in case your primary drain(s) clog.


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2020, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all your responses! My problem with previous attempts is that the drains were too small. I was having trouble finding larger hoses that were flexible enough. I finally settled on a washing machine drain hose which is 1" with a 1-1/4" attachment. I have been searching and asking questions trying to find the corrugated black hose that I have seen being used, but was not having any luck. We don't have it in our Home Depot plumbing department, nor could I find it online. I finally tracked down something that should work: "Sump pump drain hose" (who would have thought?) I have ordered some which will be here in a few days. In the meantime, the washer drain hose is working great!
If you see anything that should be changed, or any suggestions at all, I appreciate it! BTW I did trim down the filter material to let it overflow if needed as suggested! THANK YOU!

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Originally Posted by Bunsen Honeydew View Post
Yeah, trying to match two pumps, even identical ones, is a recipe for a wet floor long term.

LOL! Yes, that would be a disaster! I was just looking to have one on the pulling end, as long as the intake hose was in the tank, it would be a constant balanced flow. I had followed a couple of DIY videos that said to use 1/2' drains, but 2 of these were not enough and I ended up trickling the flow so much that it is not at all efficient. But I am nothing if not persistent and I think I have finally learned enough and it seems to be working! Thanks again!
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2020, 05:29 PM
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I had setup a similar plant filter with Pothos back in the day on a turtle tank. Worked pretty well, pothos grew like crazy.

I just had a powerhead in the tank connected to 5/8" hose and 2 drains going back that acted like overflows. Not a whole lot of balancing.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2020, 07:40 PM
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Looks cool! but I'd put an extra safeguard against the flowerpot exit hole getting blocked. Maybe another piece of that eggcrate or something like THIS? If that filter floss covers the hole, it could likely cause an overflow. If not now, definitely when the floss gets dirty. Just a thought... Or do without the latter piece of floss. Is it there to quiet the flow?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2020, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capers7 View Post
Thank you for all your responses! My problem with previous attempts is that the drains were too small. I was having trouble finding larger hoses that were flexible enough. I finally settled on a washing machine drain hose which is 1" with a 1-1/4" attachment. I have been searching and asking questions trying to find the corrugated black hose that I have seen being used, but was not having any luck. We don't have it in our Home Depot plumbing department, nor could I find it online.
To the extent you are still looking for this, check the garden section for pond tubing.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2020, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Looks cool! but I'd put in some sort of safeguard against the flowerpot exit hole getting blocked. Maybe another piece of that eggcrate or something like THIS? If that filter floss covers the hole, it could likely cause an overflow. If not now, definitely when the floss gets dirty. Just a thought...

See what I mean? You folks are full of good ideas! That is brilliant. I just wanted to keep any MORE rocks from going down the tube and egg crate is perfect!! Thank you so much!

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To the extent you are still looking for this, check the garden section for pond tubing.

Thank you. I found this at one point. But was a little rich for my blood. The sump pump drain was $17 including shipping for 24 feet. I later found it for 12.99 including shipping, but I am very happy. I will have to see how this works and I will let you all know. Also, I hate the tan color of the hose I have. The new stuff will be black!

Last edited by Darkblade48; 04-14-2020 at 04:13 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2020, 10:39 PM
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See what I mean? You folks are full of good ideas! That is brilliant. I just wanted to keep any MORE rocks from going down the tube and egg crate is perfect!! Thank you so much!
Also you will definitely need more then one exit hole from the sump. You will want a dry emergency drain. Meaning a hole that is dry all the time unless the first one is blocked and then the water level rises to a point where the dry emergency is no longer dry and instead is in use. If you don't have this and the first hole gets clogged (even partially clogged) the water level rises until your pump empties your tank unto your floor.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2020, 12:49 AM
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I wonder if the sides of the planter would hold up to Uniseals. If so, I'd drill a few holes and hard PVC plumb the whole thing. I have doubts about it, though. The planter walls look pretty thin...


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-10-2020, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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Also you will definitely need more then one exit hole from the sump. You will want a dry emergency drain. Meaning a hole that is dry all the time unless the first one is blocked and then the water level rises to a point where the dry emergency is no longer dry and instead is in use. If you don't have this and the first hole gets clogged (even partially clogged) the water level rises until your pump empties your tank unto your floor.

Point taken! New hole going in tomorrow! Thank you!!
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