The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had an idea for a new tank system using overflow and sump filtration. Most DIYers use an aquarium for the sump. What if you made the sump really oversized, sectioned off one end with the filtration parts, and used the rest of the tank for another aquarium? I am working on some diagrams but my scanner is wacked right now so I'll have to make some 3d designs on the puter.

Some more of the specifics: the tank on top will be the main tank, and for right now lets say goldfish and dojo loaches. The sump tank will be about half the size of the top tank, so the current through it will be greater, perfect for a river tank with hillstream loaches, for example. The sump tank will be somewhat covered up by the stand, so the ends were the filtration is can be hid, plus the top section of the tank will be hid as well, so the waterline will not be visibly until it hits its lowest level (after a weeks worth of evaporation and time for waterchange). I was even thinking instead of taking up realestate in the sump tank for the filtration, the filter media could be in a tall skinny container that the water falls down through between the top and bottom tanks.

Any thoughts? I know this might sound complex but that is of little concern, so long as it works good and the design is not flawed (which is why I posted - to see if I have missed some design flaw). I'll work on a scetch I can upload.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Interesting idea and one that I'd like to see you implement.

Couple of points:

The sump tank will be about half the size of the
top tank, so the current through it will be greater, perfect for a river tank with hillstream loaches, for example.
Size of the sump will have little impact on current. The amount of flow through the sump will be determined by the size of pump, plumbing, and overflow choices you make.

How do you plan to section off the return pump from the "sump fish". As I see it you'd need to have two ends of sump for equipment and the fish in the middle. In this case fish should not be allowed near the return pump, but you need to make sure you can't possibly "starve" the return pump.

In the event of a power outage and subsequent sump level increase how do you keep the fish away from the equipment? Sumps I'm familiar with use baffles and when you have a power failure the water quickly rises over the baffles, but does not overflow the sump.

Looking forward to the drawings!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the pointers. Here is what I was thinking:

Size of the sump will have little impact on current. The amount of flow through the sump will be determined by the size of pump, plumbing, and overflow choices you make.
The flow through the sump will be the same as the flow through the main tank, it is a closed loop system. If I have two return pumps pushing 400gph each the current through the top tank (say its 150 gallon) will be slower than it will through the bottom tank (say its a 75G). 800gph through a 75g tank will be definately a strong current but through the 150 on top will probably be average. I guess what I am trying to say is that the amount of flow is the same (or else one of the tanks would be overflowing) but the felt current will depend on the size of the tank its flowing though. OF course the overlow, etc. will be built/chosen accordingly.

How do you plan to section off the return pump from the "sump fish". As I see it you'd need to have two ends of sump for equipment and the fish in the middle. In this case fish should not be allowed near the return pump, but you need to make sure you can't possibly "starve" the return pump.In the event of a power outage and subsequent sump level increase how do you keep the fish away from the equipment?
Depending on the specifics of the filtration will change the design. But will probably be plexiglass on each end with holes cut into it or similar, with a fine mesh screen covering al the holes (screen door tpye matierial perhaps). These barriers/baffles will go all the way to the top so in the even the pumps stop (power outage, etc.) the water will rise to its design max but the screen will go all the way to the top to prevent fish from swimming into the other sections.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,666 Posts
I have two of these. The first stated with th idea of no prefilter on the overflow (less to clog) so uneaten food was making the trip. Add sump fish, a light (PC) and I also have a grow out tank! The return pump is protected by a large prefilter sponge only as most of the gunk settles out. This sump is visible in the stand.

My second sump uses a foam mattenfilter to divide the fish friendly and unfriendly parts. Again most of the gunk settles with the fine stuff in the foam block. Currently on 3-6 month cleaning cycle (the foam is starting to flex and allow large particles into the other side though). The mattenfilter can also be used for an "in-tank-sump."

As far as current, I find that "blowing" is much stronger than "sucking" (like a box or desk fan is stronger when pointing at you) so what is strong movement in the 60 is not turbulent in the 20 sump. I have a "P" trap on the overflow to cut noise/energy though.

An inline filter on the overflow is not that great of an idea as it will clog (water on the floor) and be painful to clean.

*What if you made the sump really oversized, sectioned off one end with the filtration parts, and used the rest of the tank for another aquarium?

*The sump tank will be about half the size of the top tank, so the current through it will be greater, perfect for a river tank with hillstream loaches, for example.

*I was even thinking instead of taking up realestate in the sump tank for the filtration, the filter media could be in a tall skinny container that the water falls down through between the top and bottom tanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok I whipped up a quick design on the puter (not a lot of detail, just the basic concept and best I can do in a half hour) click for larger pic.


Overflow on right, feeding a compartment with some filter pads and bio balls, draining down into the lower tank. On left side is return pumps. For this example drawing (roughly to scale) I used a 150 tall for the top tank and a 100 for the bottom. I know if I use tanks this big (and not supported in the center) I'll probably be welding up some heavy duty steel framing for the top tank to sit on.

Blue ram - I see what you are saying about the current created by blowing rather than sucking. That kinda depends on how the current is diffused. If I do an inline filter it will be large, like a couple square feet of blue filter foam for example. I have seen this on diy sumps (placed basically on top of the drip tray), but I havent heard much about them, wether they work well or clog easily. In any case I would like to incorporate a water level sensor with alarm in the sump, perhaps setup to shut off the pumps. Lots of possibilities, and nothing set in stone yet.

Edit: just whipped up what the stand and whole assembly would look like completed.


The front and back of the tanks would both be open and viewable, all the filtration and equipment would be concealed in the sides.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,666 Posts
Blue ram - I see what you are saying about the current created by blowing rather than sucking. That kinda depends on how the current is diffused. If I do an inline filter it will be large, like a couple square feet of blue filter foam for example. I have seen this on diy sumps (placed basically on top of the drip tray), but I havent heard much about them, wether they work well or clog easily. In any case I would like to incorporate a water level sensor with alarm in the sump, perhaps setup to shut off the pumps. Lots of possibilities, and nothing set in stone yet.
If you are using the inline filter just make sure there is an "emergency overflow" so that a clog does not gum up the whole thing. If the filter is that large you might also have problems with the volume of water draining into the sump with the pumps off. If you make the right sump side a mattenfilter you solve the clog/overflow/loss of CO2 by splashing all at once. Maintenance would consist of suctioning out settled leaves each WC and cleaning the foam when water flow diminishes. This section might also be a great snail breeder for the loaches.

Just keep it simple :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
I think you'd have major CO2 loss with that bioball/filter setup. You've essentially created a wet/dry filter, which I can tell you from experience will outgas your CO2 very quickly.

What I wound up doing, and what it sounds like BlueRam did in one of his tanks as well, is have the water from the overflow(s) dump into the sump at one end. Then use some acrylic pieces to to create a "baffle" with filter material (foam or whatever) that the water must pass through. I just cut a couple of thin pieces to hold a 12" x 12" x 1" piece of foam block in place. Water has to pass through the foam block to reach the other end of the tank where the pump is located. You could put the bioballs after the filter pad in another compartment if you wanted. It's pretty much like creating a gravity fed canister filter. I even found one design on the Net where a guy had created baskets and compartments in his sump to hold stuff like you'd find in an Eheim filter.

The key is to have the water from your overflows come into the sump under water to conserve CO2. After that it's how creative do you want to get.

It does seem like if you put lots of fish in your "sump" that you'd lose some of the benefit of using a sump, which is extra water volume. If it's mainly full of plants then I could see a big benefit. Pretty much like creating a salt water refugium.

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, first off I never said or implied I was running CO2. If I go with the wet/dry which is what I pictured I will go low-tech with the plants. Though I havent ruled out pressurized CO2 either - but if I did go with CO2 injection I would have all the filtration in the sump under the waterline (not above it) and make sure the tubing comming down from the overflow emptied well underwater.

If you are using the inline filter just make sure there is an "emergency overflow" so that a clog does not gum up the whole thing. If the filter is that large you might also have problems with the volume of water draining into the sump with the pumps off.
Blueram, I dont think it would be to hard to make an emergency bypass incase it becomes clogged, good suggestion. A peice of pipe comming out of the side near the top of the filter module and merging with a T back into the pipe under it, or just right in the sump as it will likely be sitting right on it - that is if I go the wet/dry route. As for the drain back from the volume of water in the filter, shouldnt be a problem as long as I account for it with the water level in the sump. If I go for a tank like the 100g in my example, even if there is 25 gallons in limbo when the pumps shut off thats 4.45 inches of tank hieght in the sump. probably will be much less than that I am guessing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That is the basic concept of what I want to do, except I plan on having a 'second aquarium' in the sump not just added filtration from some more plants. It is more than likely though that it will all be heavily planted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
I made a refugium sump. Works pretty good at keeping the nitrates down. The big difference w/ my setup is in the amount of flow going back into the display tank. I keep the flow down to give the fuge more time to work on the nitrates. We will be tearing this setup down to replace the carpet in that room with hardwood flooring and I intend to go to a larger tank than the 40g breeder we are using now. The plants overgrow very quickly in there with the lights on 24/7.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,601 Posts
I haven't read this thread completely, but I have been developing the same type of idea for a few months now.

I currently run a ~110g system with a 40g main tank + 30g Plant Filter + 40g sump. I have no idea why this cannot be expanded--which is what You are getting at....

I would eventually like to setup multiple Acrochordus tanks, with a 120g Planted Display tank (Plant Filter), a Large sump and a 2'x2' Feeder Fish Holding Tank--All in one system. I have No Idea why it cannot be done and really think that it just comes down to the overflows and a sump large enough to hold the extra water in the event of a Power Failure. Each tank plumbed to the other with 1 overflow to the sump and 1 return.

This isn't exactly what You are getting at, and is even more complex, but I don't see any reason why You couldn't do what You are wanting. Many people have refugiums built into their sumps......

One problem to keep in mind with the tank sizes in Your diagram is Floor support.......! That will probably be the #1 delay for me in pursuing this project.......

HTH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Naja, sounds like were on just about the same track, you may have taken it a bit further with three tanks. How are your 3 tanks aranged? 40 main and 30 planted side by side with sump underneath? Yeah, weight is a big issue the only place I am considering putting this if I have 2 100+ gallon tanks together is in the family room which is lower level (concrete slab floor). I am just not sure if it will work out well though, it would be great as a room divider since all the filtration and parts can be on the ends, so the back can be open and viewable, but with the way my family room is shaped I dont really have a good spot for such a tank. Other issue would be the stand, but I dont mind fabricating something overbuilt out of steel.

Hmm, I fogot there was a DIY section, I probably should have posted it there. But I guess this falls under equipment too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,601 Posts
The Main tank has a 1" DIY PVC Overflow that overflows into the plant filter. The overflow is plumbed down to the gravel, so there is no surface disturbance. The minimum water level is set by the overflow and is about 2-3" below the top of the tank. That overflow is then plumbed down to the bottom of a 30" High Plant Filter that has a simple water level overflow about 2" below the top. So, the water enters the Plant Filter at the bottom and exits at the top--creating an upward flow. It leaves the water level overflow and flows into the sump where it is plumbed about +6" below the water surface. In the sump is the return pump to the main tank.

I don't like the DIY PVC overflow, but it was cheap and overall this has been a Good DIY experience for me. Whenever I tear the tank down for any reason--I am going to drill it. Its acrylic--so its not a big deal.

The current tank is a 40g Br (36 x 18 x 13"). I expect to be purchasing a ~70g Br (48" x 24" x 13) within a few months. If its not drilled then I will drill it. Move the current inhabitants into it and plumb it into the system that I already have setup. Then I'll drill the 40g Br and put it back into the system. I received a Freebie paludarium tank that was found by a dumpster from a Friend--its 30 x 18 x 31"H. Its glass and I am going to drill it and put my Chinese watersnakes into it (provided it doesn't shatter). Take their 20L and drill it and incorporate it into the system above for a baby A. javanicus that I have.

I have 3 more of the Acrochordus snakes on their way and it will all be plumbed together. So, before June I expect the system to look like this:

70g Br, 40g Br, 20L, Plant Filter, Sump--All in one system. I may wind up initially with more than one direction of flow and more than one return pump, but across-the-board functionality is what is important to me at this point. I would like to turn the plant filter into a 120g (24 x 24 x 25"H) anubias-based display tank, but that is further down the road. And even though these tanks all have a large footprint--its still a lot of weight concentrated in one general area. +11' of linear wall space is possible, but a corner setup would be more practical to me. But then I run into the weight being distributed both perpendicular And parallel to the floor joists--again in one general area. Add to the system a 2' x 2' x 13-20"H Feeder Fish Holding tank. Its just a lot of weight all said and done. I can make the funding happen over time, so my main concern right now is the flooring.

Its all in the plumbing, and what you want to do is really straight forward as far as that goes. Refugiums in sumps is very common, so that's not an issue. Just do a little research and You'll see that its already been sorted out many different ways. The Reefer forums would be a good start. If anybody knows aquarium plumbing--Its Those folks!

HTH
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top