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Pianofish,

I am in the process of completing my own DIY sump built out of 20 gal long. I have inlet filter area, refugium for shrimp and fry and then finally a section for my return pump. If you can hold on for a few hours when I get off work I can post some photos to show you.

In my opinion, a sump for a planted tank should be simple. I respect those that build an extremely complicated sump design with 3 hoses/pipes, ball valves, bean animals, all these sections or areas, but I do not feel the need to do so. All that makes for more maintenance in my opinion. I have a simple inlet, outlet and sump design. The filtration will be more than adequate in my opinion and i even have the option of using a filer sock or blue pads for mechanical. As far as biological filtration is concerned, it is a planted tank. If you keep up on small water changes, do not over feed and rinse out dirty filters/pads every so often you will be just fine. Planted tanks need some nitrates compared to reefs that should be void of them. I would know, I have both.
 

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keep in mind your water levels should not exceed the amount of water that will drain out of the main tank in event of a power failure.

I also agree with some of the other members that it would benefit you to filter the water before it hits the refugium. All your bio media would have minimal effect if the majority of the detritus, mulm etc. gathers in the refugium and never makes it to your mechanical filters.

I sectioned off a corner of my sump tank with silicone and acrylic to filter the water from the inlet. Then I simply will put another foam pad behind the return pump wall.
 

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I think it would benefit you to treat the filter area as "A", refugium as "B" and return pump as "C". Just remember to put a filter pad between the refugium and return to prevent fry and shrimp from being shredded and to prevent any un-caught crap from clogging your return pump.

pics are coming soon.
 

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yessir

Keep in mind your filter area doesn't have to be huge. I made mine as small as I could without sacrificing filter area and large enough to make maintenance easy. I want my refugium to be as large as possible to grow out shrimp and plants such as staurogyne and java ferns.
 

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I do not find it necessary to seal the sump. CO2 loss is minimal.

Here is my sump setup. My second wall is not glued in yet and neither is my second foam pad. But here is the basis of what we have been discussing.

What I have found is that using a glue gun to set your acrylic in place and then using silicone sealant works best. Use a small spot of hot glue on the top and bottom corners. Then seal it.
 

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I forgot to mention, I purchased and eschopps micron bag holder. I didn't want to spend the money but it is so easy to attach my inlet hose too. And for maintenance, I just lift it off and replace whatever filter media I chose to use. In the photos you will see a filter sock, but I will probably just cut a blue fliter pad that fits all the way around in the inside. The water flows out of the top.
 

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(Quote) What size tank did you go with?
Is that rocks I see in with the filter sock? if so, what kind of rock and why/ So I can get a better understanding.(Quote)

It is a 20 gal ong

The rocks are hot glued on to the exterior of the filter area, not the inside. They are simply small pieces of lace rock. I did this for two reasons:
1. To hide the filter media a bit
2. prevent the outflow from causing too much turbulence in the refugium area

I will also try to add some moss in between them eventually.
 

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My main tank is simply drilled in the top corners, one for inlet one for and outlet. The sump is as you have seen. Simple, effective and fairly cheap.
 

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Piano,

I have a guard on my overflow/inlet drain and it collects 90% of all excess plant trimmings/clippings/pieces etc. And the remaining get caught in the filter sock. While I agree that a healthy bacteria population will help, I just believe that water changes and rinsing out filters will be just as effective and you can still have your refugium as like Dprais said.

What I don't think many people realize is that by having a refugium you can easily add another layer of biological filtration via substrates. And in a planted tank, I personally do not believe that the extra biological filtration will be that necessary unless you want to keep discus, rams or have no desire for water changes.
 

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If you do go the Ram route, search for captive bred specimens. They will likely do much better then wild caught as they are more suited for the average tank conditions.
 

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Good discussion all around.

I do not quite understand the wet/dry concept involving anaerobic bacteria and aerobic bacteria either. In general layman's biology terms, aerobic means "with oxygen" and anaerobic means "without oxygen". As a graduate with a biology degree I can discuss what both of those mean in terms of cellular respiration, but along with Crazymittens I do not know exactly how they pertain to aquarium biology filtration.
 

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I have the new Aqueon AQ1700 as my return pump. I was a little skeptical about the brand but I couldn't argue as it was a Christmas gift. But I will say, it is quiet, and the GPH is pretty much exactly how I needed it. Not too strong, not too weak. We'll see how long it performs....
 

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If you are worried about that you can do a couple of things, but I don't think it will be an issue.

First, you can lower your intake pipe/tube towards the bottom of the sump. This way the water will travel in a upwards path into your foam and eventually over the top, but it might not be 100%. If you go this method, be sure NOT to block the water coming out. So make sure to suspend you intake tube about 3 inches or so above the bottom of the sump.

Second, you can simply add a second wall in front (intake side) of your foam. Seal the wall all the way to the top of sump and leave an inch of space at the bottom. This way, the water has no choice but to travel below the new wall and up through your foam and out the top.
 

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Before I put anything in my sump I did a test power outage. I filled my display tank up and put enough water in my sump to let the return pump to run with no issues. I let that run for approximately 10 min to let the water levels in the sump and main tank to stabilize (measure here) (add more water at this point if you feel your water level in the main is too low) then I simply shut it all off. I let the water drain from the main to sump until it reach below the intake where it would not drain anymore. I measured from my starting water level in the sump before the power outage then the level after the power outage. And now you have a pretty accurate idea of how high you can fill your sump.
 

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Basically the only thing that would change would be the addition of the new glass. before the sponges on the right, causing the water to go down first and then up. If I use this configurations, I may invert the sponges horizontally and having it rise through the media, like a canister filter style. I think it would give overall better filtration?I'll just make a basket type system for the bio media on top.
You nailed it.
 

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So I learned a valuable lesson tonight. The Eschopps filter bag holder does not sit very well on the side of the tank when you have the flex pipe attached to it. So I would recommend you hard pipe your inlet with PVC or cut the flex pipe to proper length.

So if Lowe's doesn't have a flex elbow for PVC then I will have to get rid of bag holder and just sit the PVC pipe in my filter chamber.
 

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Let me know how the poret foam works. I am debating on purchasing 30ppi foam for the intake section and then 10 or 20 ppi foam as a barrier between my refugium and return pump. The 30ppi foam in the intake will never be rinsed save for twice a year (maybe). The barrier foam will need to be rinsed once the water flow becomes restricted.
 

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use a utility knife with a brand new blade to cut it. Any power tool is likely to shred the edges.

As you have seen from my photos, my intake is a completely sealed chamber causing the water to flow over the edges. I made a basket for my filter sock to sit in, once the water exits the filter sock, it will come in contact with the poret foam along the interior sides. No matter how clogged the foam gets, water will still overflow the sides down into the refugium area as it was designed.
 
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