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Josh, I'd strongly urge you to reconsider the design - you've left out the 'dry' portion of a wet/dry filter. Everything I've read (on multiple forums, plus professional sump designs) shows that there is a significant and measureable difference in filtration capacity if you have both wet and dry.

One other item of note...your return pump area is tiny. It would work, but getting your hand down in there would be a trick.

My suggestions: compress the refugium area and add in a drip tray with exposed media. Even if you have to do a 'tower' wet/dry setup.


And my thoughts on filter socks - if you have decent pre-mech filtration (gutter guard to stop leaves and whatnot), socks could work in a low-maintenance setup. If you don't do pre-mech filtration, socks will get overloaded every time you trim (my experience).
 

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I think the benefit of wet/dry is that you get two types of bacteria. If you just do wet you miss out on the benefits of the 'dry' bacteria. i.e. aerobic vs. anaerobic. This is what I figured from Tom Barr et al. anyways. He made a good point that any 'professional' sump will incorporate wet/dry.

Canisters are fine, but you are forced to keep up on water changes. The sump is part1 in reducing the need for constant water changes (expanding your volume). The wet portion gives you anaerobic bacteria. The dry portion gives you aerobic bacteria.

I'm not gonna pretend I know exactly what they do, but I know that having both is key for 'best filtration'.

I guess your situation is different since you're breeding, but I've had this tank online since early November and I've done one 25% water change. Water is crystal clear. Fish are happy. Plants are growing. Tank is clean. Just saying that since one of your goals was low maintenance, you'd want to incorporate every asset in the sump arsenal to help.

I look forward to the build nonetheless!


One item I was searching for was the 'silver bullet' of sumps. As of this time, since the freshwater sump seems to be a new concept, there is no concrete answer beyond 'look at what the pros do'. Sump discussion threads like this greatly interest me - thanks for taking the time to diagram and discuss! :D
 

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Either one would work, but the 'force flow through each foam' is better. Just make sure you have enough room above that first baffle for the inevitable clogging. (3/4" is tons, but calculate please)

Huge disagree about the BeanAnimal statement. Dats crazy talk for another thread.

The statement about power outage test is valid, but if he's using a similar internal/external overflow box, the water level in the sump would only rise by an inch or so at most. (do calculate this, please!)


I threw the idea around of doing a writeup on freshwater sump theories, but I really have no credentials to do so. I think it could probably go under three headings:
  • slow growth/low maintenance - you want a tank, but don't want the work - water changes shmwater changes, plants are happy, fish are happy - you need lots of plants and water
  • something in between - ya, you'll probably use a canister - move along
  • fast growth/high maintenance - you are an advanced hobbyist - breeding, dosing, fast plant growth and water quality perfection for dem fry - lots of plants and an automated WC system

I tend to generalize. But it's probably something that'd be helpful, what with the lack of beginner info out there.
 
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