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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got my new tank finally and it will probably take me a few months to get everything built and up and running so I need to get the design phase done quick and get the ball rolling. I'll be using a sump, main tank has 2 overflows 1 drain and 1 return line each. My research has turned up many great designs for reefs and wet/dry trickles, but for planted tank my research has found mostly talk and no show. I am not doing wet/dry since I will be injecting CO2. I drafted some quick designs on paper, and I am working up some 3d designs as well.

Here are my two ideas:



The top design has all the filtration in the sump, basically filter floss or filter pad for mechanical, and then some kinda bio material (pot scrubbers?) in the U shaped part. Could always add internal sponge filters and powerheads etc. But I dont know how reliable and easy to maintain DIY like this is, so my next design uses the sump as just a reseviour of water, and the filtration would be modular canisters like ocean clear or lifegaurd (or both since I have two returns) plummed inline with the return pumps. I'll also have two return pumps for redundancy, and will probably be using something like the Quiet One 4000's. There will be more to it that I didnt show, like heaters, co2 reactor, and maybe UV in the sump/return lines as well.

Any suggestions are appreciated, this will be my first experience with sumps, and I cant afford to have problems with as big a tank as this is with the stock I'll have in it.
 

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I also have a dual overflow setup on my 150. I'm using the mega-flo setup from all-glass if you want to see what it looks like. I do mechanical filtration in the sump. I used some acrylic to create a holder for a 12" x 12" x 1" filter pad. The tank is a 29 gal so it is 12" wide. I use the filter pad to separate the area of the tank where the water enters (which is at one end) from the rest of the tank (the pump is at the other end). This forces the water to go through the pad to get to the pump thus filtering it. I also have a hot magnum hanging on the tank at the end where the water enters. This filters out any bigger pieces that make it into the sump and keeps them from clogging the filter pad. I can also use the hot magnum for chemical filtration if needed. I didn't use acrylic to seal all the way around the pad so I get some leak by of detritus into the pump section of the sump that I suck out periodically. It seems to work pretty well, though I would seal all the way around the filter pad next time. I don't do anything specific for bio filtration in the sump. You could probably create some baffles and put some bio media in the sump that the water would flow through if you wanted.

It's a pain if you have to disconnect anything in the return line so I don't know how well the in-line canister would work. It'd be a pain to clean them. I have my CO2 reactor and UV sterilizer in-line and I don't clean them very often. Water always goes everywhere whenever you start disconnecting stuff in the return.

I know DiabloCanine uses PVC for all his plumbing, but I used vinyl tubing. I personally think it's easier to work with and do changes if you move stuff around. I used PVC ball valves and PVC in a couple other places. You just use slip fittings to connect the vinyl tubing to the PVC.

Get pumps much larger than you think you'll need and use the ball valves to restrict the flow if necessary. I still don't have enough flow in my tank. Pumps rarely go out so using two may be overkill, but should work. I have a spare pump that I also use for water changes and other things.

Locline for the return nozzles works really good and you can do all sorts of stuff, but is expensive. Budget accordingly.

One thing with dual over flows is that it's tricky to get the water flow through them even. I have maybe a 1/4" to 1/2" difference from one end of the tank to the other and initially most of the water was going through the overflow on the lower end. I was able to get some rubber pieces from All-glass to stick on the top of the wall of the lower overflow to build it up a little to make the flows match. Just something to think about when setting things up.

I'll try and take some pics of my setup. I just haven't had time to do it.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info AD. BTW, if I do an inline canister, it/they will be mounted over top of the sump tank so any water should just dump back in, and of course I'll have ball valves, check valves, and quick disconnects. I really like having redundancy, so I will probably stick with 2 returns, but your right, probably overkill. The other way to look at it is if I ever wanted to push the max through the overflows, it would be easier with two pumps, unless I was going to put some kind of great big waterfall pump on it or something! I dont remember exactly, but I think the holes in the tank are for 2" bulkheads, on the drain anyhow.
 

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I use an Ocean Clear canister on one of my tanks. I close my intake and return with ball valves (Closed loop system, not a sump, you could just close the return), hook a hose up the spigot on the canister and put the other end in a drain/yard, and open the canister air intake. This drains my plumbing, unless you have loops of pipe or something lower then your canister. I can then play with the plumbing with just a few drops of spillage.

The ocean clears can also be cleaned by closing off the intake, hooking up a hose, and opening the drain valve. This gives you a reverse-flow that is supposed to blow debris out of the filter and out the hose. Others have stated they ran for years only doing this method of cleaning- I've only had mine running for about 6 months, but it appears to do a decent job.

Note that you want to have a low spot to put this end of this hose- To drain the plumbing, it should be lower then your canister. I use my basement sink. Or you can hook a python straight to the drain spigot.

I agree with everything else Aqua Dave says, cept the stuff that is sump specific. I've never had a sump, so I know nothing about them.
 

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Thanks for the info AD. BTW, if I do an inline canister, it/they will be mounted over top of the sump tank so any water should just dump back in, and of course I'll have ball valves, check valves, and quick disconnects. I really like having redundancy, so I will probably stick with 2 returns, but your right, probably overkill. The other way to look at it is if I ever wanted to push the max through the overflows, it would be easier with two pumps, unless I was going to put some kind of great big waterfall pump on it or something! I dont remember exactly, but I think the holes in the tank are for 2" bulkheads, on the drain anyhow.

Actually, I may use your idea for increasing the flow in my tank. I currently use one pump and use a T to split the flow to both returns. I need more flow and was just going to get a bigger pump, but now I may just get a second pump and split the returns. I'll have to think about it to see which way is going to be easier.

David
 

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I got my new tank finally and it will probably take me a few months to get everything built and up and running so I need to get the design phase done quick and get the ball rolling. I'll be using a sump, main tank has 2 overflows 1 drain and 1 return line each. My research has turned up many great designs for reefs and wet/dry trickles, but for planted tank my research has found mostly talk and no show. I am not doing wet/dry since I will be injecting CO2. I drafted some quick designs on paper, and I am working up some 3d designs as well.

The top design has all the filtration in the sump, basically filter floss or filter pad for mechanical, and then some kinda bio material (pot scrubbers?) in the U shaped part. Could always add internal sponge filters and powerheads etc. But I dont know how reliable and easy to maintain DIY like this is, so my next design uses the sump as just a reseviour of water, and the filtration would be modular canisters like ocean clear or lifegaurd (or both since I have two returns) plummed inline with the return pumps. I'll also have two return pumps for redundancy, and will probably be using something like the Quiet One 4000's. There will be more to it that I didnt show, like heaters, co2 reactor, and maybe UV in the sump/return lines as well.

Any suggestions are appreciated, this will be my first experience with sumps, and I cant afford to have problems with as big a tank as this is with the stock I'll have in it.
Welcome to the dark side of planted sumps :) First of all, keep it simple and flexible (ie removable baffles to accommodate a longer heater for example).

*Build Durso standpipes for the overflows. A ball valve on the overflow is a risk which is better controlled with the Durso IMHO. I do not use a prefilter (risk of overflow, pain to clean) on my standpipe so everything including food makes the trip down to the sump. The sump fish take care of that though.
*Build a "P" trap on the return to reduce noise and aeration (under a sink)
*The first baffle drawn is to eliminate microbubbles which is a problem in reefs but not in fresh.
*Like AD I have a 12" foam square in a 29gal sump. Some filth does pass by but the majority settles under the return.
*Make sure the foam is shorter than the tank so it it is plugged, the water cascades over and not out of the sump.
*I run a foam prefilter on my mag pump anyways.
*2 overflows and 1 sump works fine. The load may not be balanced but nothing like 2 sumps and 2 pumps!
*Use check valves and or siphon break holes on the returns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks BlueRam, yeah some of those points you made I was going to do just hadnt mentioned yet... like durso style standpipes, check valves, and anti siphon holes, are all a definate. First I have heard of a P trap though, I assumed the durso would handle that but that should be easy to install. A couple other details like flexable line atleast in the returns will be used to minimize vibration from the pump. If I use any kind of mechanical filter it wont be until the sump (dont want to take chance of clogging the overflow). You keep fish in your sump? I was actually thinking about trying to breed in the sump but I havent given it much thought. So the bubble baffle makes no difference in FW then, I can eliminate it. I assumed there would be some bubbles that make thier way down and not sure if confining the bubbles to a small area would decrease gas off. The only baffles then I would have would then be if I include bio-filtration in the design.

As for the plumbing, is there anything to avoid like straight verticle or horizontal or anything like that? For example since its an 8' tank and the overflows are practically on the ends, there might be a pretty long run from atleast 1 of the overflows, I wasnt sure if I just do a 90* at the bottom of the tank and a horizontal run if thats bad, if I should try to incorporate a small angle or something. Sorry, I'm not a pro plumber!
 

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You keep fish in your sump? I was actually thinking about trying to breed in the sump but I havent given it much thought. So the bubble baffle makes no difference in FW then, I can eliminate it. I assumed there would be some bubbles that make thier way down and not sure if confining the bubbles to a small area would decrease gas off. The only baffles then I would have would then be if I include bio-filtration in the design.

As for the plumbing, is there anything to avoid like straight verticle or horizontal or anything like that? For example since its an 8' tank and the overflows are practically on the ends, there might be a pretty long run from atleast 1 of the overflows, I wasnt sure if I just do a 90* at the bottom of the tank and a horizontal run if thats bad, if I should try to incorporate a small angle or something. Sorry, I'm not a pro plumber!
I have sump fish and sump plants. The planted sump is even visible in the stand! I do not have a problem with bubbles (big, pop at surface) but a baffle is easy to add later (simple, only what you need). The P trap does the same thing as your sink: keep down noise and separate out some air. I believe it also slows the velocity of the water at the return.

In general I find that plumbing starts with A) what fits and B) tinkered with until the undesirable behavior stops. On my pump I use pvc union after the ball valve so I can quickly remove the pump etc. I will add unions elsewhere when I am able. I also do not glue the "wet components" like the durso that can't "leak" for easy cleaning etc. Have fun, take pictures, don't plug it in and then go to bed...
 

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Thanks BlueRam, yeah some of those points you made I was going to do just hadnt mentioned yet... like durso style standpipes, check valves, and anti siphon holes, are all a definate. First I have heard of a P trap though, I assumed the durso would handle that but that should be easy to install. A couple other details like flexable line atleast in the returns will be used to minimize vibration from the pump. If I use any kind of mechanical filter it wont be until the sump (dont want to take chance of clogging the overflow). You keep fish in your sump? I was actually thinking about trying to breed in the sump but I havent given it much thought. So the bubble baffle makes no difference in FW then, I can eliminate it. I assumed there would be some bubbles that make thier way down and not sure if confining the bubbles to a small area would decrease gas off. The only baffles then I would have would then be if I include bio-filtration in the design.

As for the plumbing, is there anything to avoid like straight verticle or horizontal or anything like that? For example since its an 8' tank and the overflows are practically on the ends, there might be a pretty long run from atleast 1 of the overflows, I wasnt sure if I just do a 90* at the bottom of the tank and a horizontal run if thats bad, if I should try to incorporate a small angle or something. Sorry, I'm not a pro plumber!
Yup. Like Mr. Ram says, the plumbing is pretty much make it up as you go along and then go back and fix what you don't like. Try to plan as much as you can, but you'll still have to improvise. I have straight slip fittings screwed into the bottoms of the overflow pipes and returns to which I attach the vinyl tubing. Using the tubing allows curves instead of just 90 or straight. Another reason I like using the tubing.

I would say that the filter pad "holder" in my sump is a baffle. It serves to separate where the overflows dump in from the rest of the tank. The water on the overflow side is a little turbulent from the bubbles while the pump side is nice and sitll. A picture would show you what I mean, but I still haven't had a chance to take one. Maybe tonight.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, do any of you use your sump (with a planted tank) as your only filtration? I mean no extra canisters or hang-on in the tank? For costs sake, I'd like to try this. This tank is going to cost a good chunck of change to get all setup but so far I am looking at saving a few hundred bucks worth of equipment over my original idea and not needing to buy inline canisters will add another couple hundred to that total savings (though in my 150 I am still thinking about using a sump with inline canisters).

So far from what I have gathered, to do bio filtration in the sump folks have used HOT's and sponge filters in the sump tank. I have seem some that use crammed in material squezed under a between baffles likein my first drawing, but dont think that was for freshwater. Anyone do this and have any recomendations? Is there a good media for this? Or should I make some kinda basket and hold regular media like Matrix or something?
 

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Sump as the only filter? YES!

So depending on you filter needs, you can use just the sump. Big blocks of foam take care of mechanical filter, the foam is also a great place for biological (I think my cleaning cycle is ~3 months) and chemical can be placed in a mesh bag.

The big planted tank is only using the stock MAG pump foam prefilter. It does fill up quickly and not the best for small particles. The barb tank is using a bigger piece of foam (keyword mattenfilter) that the water passes through. This sump does a slightly better job of fine particles but the flow rate is low (AC 802 powerhead) so I am also running an AC 500 with 2 big blocks of foam (I have owned smaller aquariums!).

The heater goes in the sump and the reactor downline of the pump. Both sumps are as large as will fit in the stand.

Add on canisters etc might be required if A) need more filtration B) increased flow rate (the flow in the sump is always limited by what the standpipes can carry with a safety factor for when you put your hand in the water.)

As with any DIY project there are risks. If the livestock is irreplaceable use a 55gal with overflow box as a proving ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the pic JT, I remember seing this before, is this a concept or have you actually run like this? I would be surprised of the wet/dry choice as everyone has always said it'll strip the co2 out of the water pretty fast, and wont be able to get the levels high enough. I have some ideas for automation and looking into one of those controllers as well, but I am just worrying about the basic design first. The problem with adapting your design to mine, is that something like an XP3 probably wouldnt like a few hundred more gallons per hour over its rating being shoved into it lol! But thats basically the same thing as what I was thinking when I was thinking of the ocean clear or lifegaurd canisters, just that they arent self powered. And if I do UV it will probably just be in the sump with a powerhead, as the flow rate will be too high on the return pumps.
 

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Thanks for the pic JT, I remember seing this before, is this a concept or have you actually run like this? I would be surprised of the wet/dry choice as everyone has always said it'll strip the co2 out of the water pretty fast, and wont be able to get the levels high enough. I have some ideas for automation and looking into one of those controllers as well, but I am just worrying about the basic design first. The problem with adapting your design to mine, is that something like an XP3 probably wouldnt like a few hundred more gallons per hour over its rating being shoved into it lol! But thats basically the same thing as what I was thinking when I was thinking of the ocean clear or lifegaurd canisters, just that they arent self powered. And if I do UV it will probably just be in the sump with a powerhead, as the flow rate will be too high on the return pumps.
crazy loaches, I am running it. Look at P2 of my thread and you'll see actual pictures of the equipment. In so far as CO2, I do run slightly higher but not so much that I am concerned about the CO2 loss. Indeed I have had my current setup running for almost 4 months and my CO2 tank still reads close to 900lbs and I get exactly to the levels I want. You’re right on the XP3 but in your case you could go with two canisters or maybe one Fluval FX5. With my Rio 2500 I am pushing more than what the XP3 would normally be capable of pushing especially with the inline UV and CO2 reactor and have never seen a problem with leaking. The multistage filtering works great and lets me run the XP3 filter substantially longer than I would otherwise be able to. The sump filters are very easy to change.


JT
 

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my sump

Crazy,

I decided to do a combo of your two designs. I have a 29 gallon AGA I'm using as a sump for a 150 gallon tall with one large central overflow (with durso and loc lin return plumbed in.) I bought a sheet of lucite to cut baffles which will will be movable as they are held in place by pressure from flexible marine grade weatherstripping.

I drilled holes in 2 of these plates and loaded foam blocks from a Fluval 404 to act as the initial mechanical filter. These baffles are easy to slide out of the smp for cleaning.

The main sump after the foam has heaters, CO2 reactor and a fluidized sand filter (Lifegard) powered by a maxi-jet power head. The return pump sits at the far end of the sump.

The return pump goes out to a Lifegard double mechanical 20 micron mechanical filter mdule for polishing.

I'll let you know how it works over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Karlos - did you get the 150 up and runing then? Or have you yet to completely finish it? This flexable marine wetherstripping also sounds like a good idea starting out. I might have to figure out were to get some.

BlueRam - I read that write up from goerge booths test some time ago, and wasnt completely convinced. But perhaps it was from one thing he mentioned that co2 builds up around the bio balls so that it doesnt gas off as fast since the ambient co2 is higher around the bio balls. But if thats true I dont think the bio balls will be as effective as submerged media with no trickle. In any case, I think a lot more testing could be done. So you havent had any problems with your XP with a higher flowing pump pushing it? Many people have said this cant be done (two powered devices in series, be it a pump and canister, or canister and canister), not that I beleived them, but saw no point. But now I see that would help prime the XP3 which probably would have a hard time self priming witout sitting under the tank (I am guessing yours is on the level or even higher?).
 

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I had to buy another tank as my first 150 was scratched too badly. This gave me time to concentrate on the sump though. I'll let you know how I like it.

I'll be starting a journal shortly.
 

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So you haven’t had any problems with your XP with a higher flowing pump pushing it? Many people have said this cant be done (two powered devices in series, be it a pump and canister, or canister and canister), not that I believed them, but saw no point. But now I see that would help prime the XP3 which probably would have a hard time self priming without sitting under the tank (I am guessing yours is on the level or even higher?).
crazy loaches, I haven’t had problems with either the Rio or XP3 the way it is currently setup. I agree that normally you wouldn’t run two power anything inline but I also knew that with the XP3 the flow would be closely matched to the flow that it could normally produce without a load. I think that the Ocean Clear is the best way to go given your approach. Since I already had the XP3 I chose not to purchase anything else. On the otehr hand, I have to admit that I am thinking seriously of moving to the Ocean Clear. In so far as the location of my XP3, I have mine in the stand which is also water tight since it is acrylic.

JT
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think I have decided going all diy on this one. I'll shortly be setting up a 150G tall for a goldfish tank that I think I will do the sump/canister combo on. Since I'll be using an actual aquarium for the sump in this 240G it will be easier to make partitions and build chambers for media, etc. But for my 150 I am thinking of using some other cheaper tank like a tote or waste container (not used) and would be harder trying to build in baffles and partitions. In that case I would use the container as a resevoiur but the filtration would actually be inline with the return.

So if I do this sump all diy, anyone have any opinions on what kind of bio-media to include. I was thinking since space isnt a problem I could probably do something like a large amount of lava rock. I could also use a second media just be sure, like a smaller chamber of Matrix or I have heard something about potscrubbers actually being very good bio media. I'll whip up some random thoughts on paper here in a second...
 
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