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40 Gallon breeder main tank and 40 gallon sump with shrimp tank built in

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This design has been a dream of mine for a while. It was inspired by me initially having a 40 gallon breeder main tank with a 10 gallon shrimp tank below. The shrimp tank did not have enough water volume to keep parameters stable and the shrimp died. From then on I've wanted to have 2 tanks in line, Main tropical planted tank above, sump/shrimp tank below. I also have recently been interested in breeding fish and the bottom tank would be ideal for raising fry because it would be water that had just been filtered.

I am basing the filtration section on a fluval 407, suitable for filtering 80 gallons of water. a 407 has a volume of 1283in3 and my filtration section would be 2016in3, keep in mind the 407 filter has a pump inside and therefore the volume is not 100% filter media.

Dont worry about tank heights/ flow loss just yet I just need to know if the concept would work

I have 2 major questions
-Is this a viable idea?
-Which of my 2 return sections would work the best?

Below are my mock ups of what it would look like. (you can roast my drawing IDC lol)


First pic return side shows normal baffle that would need a strip of filter foam to keep shrimp/fry out
Second return pic is just a large wall of filter foam held in place by glass and egg crate panel.

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The idea is great, but there are several things to consider. Tank heights, head pressure and flow loss are major components to make this work. A sump/refugium as a display sounds like what you want.

Obstacle 1: A canister filter will not work for what you are trying to accomplish. Canister filters rely on a siphon and a sealed canister to achieve an equilibrium for intake and output. A canister filter will not be able to produce enough head height to make this work

Obstacle 2: Shrimp are adventurous and will end up in all parts of the lower tank, especially baby shrimp. You will need a fine filter material as a barrier to keep shrimp where you want them, this may entail cleaning those barriers daily to keep water levels in your lower tank in check and also ensure shrimp stay put.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply.

I am not going to use a cannister filter. I am using the volume of a canister filter (fluval 407) thats rated for 80 gallons to calculate a volume for my filter partition that will be viable.
Fluval 407- 1283 in3
My filtration partition- 2016in3

I agree with your assessment of having to frequently clean whatever mechanism I use to keep shrimp/fry out of the return pump area. In my head and also drawn in my mock up is just a small piece of filter foam.
any other suggestions?
 

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Thanks for the reply.

I am not going to use a cannister filter. I am using the volume of a canister filter (fluval 407) thats rated for 80 gallons to calculate a volume for my filter partition that will be viable.
Fluval 407- 1283 in3
My filtration partition- 2016in3

I agree with your assessment of having to frequently clean whatever mechanism I use to keep shrimp/fry out of the return pump area. In my head and also drawn in my mock up is just a small piece of filter foam.
any other suggestions?
I am sorry I may have misinterpreted your post.

Biological filtration will occur on every surface that is below the normal water-line on any setup. Mechanical filtration and its maintenance seems to be the most important as this removes decaying particulates in the water column and aids in keeping good tank hygiene. No matter how much biological filtration you give any system, the benificial bacteria population will fluctuate with the food supply (waste/ammonia.) Obviously if you have a bare bottom tank with 1 or 2 stones in it and a heavy bio-load, it could be necessary to have more biological media in your filter system. For many planted tanks there is a metric butt-ton of rock/wood/plant surface area for the beneficial bacteria to do their thing.

In my opinion, focusing on SURFACE AREA and ease of maintenance of mechanical filtration is more important than the ammount of volume of filtration.

For example, I have a 500g box of ceramic media in the sump of my 165.6 and I am not convinced I need it for my system. I use some or most of that ceramic media to speed up cycling in other tanks. I use a fleece roller for mechanical filtration to keep waste from decomposing in the water column and keep maintenance low. Easy-peasy.

If you could devise a way to keep the substrate contained, you could probably use poret foam as "baffles" in the lower tank which could also work as mechanical and biological filtration, just be sure to clean them in old tank water.
 
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