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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

So I want to scrap my canister and build a sump for my 75g geophagus tapajos biotope.

First question, how big of a sump tank do I need?

I will be using lifereef overflow.

I want to ensure super clear water, what's some great designs to look at.

Must be quite or silent.

Pump size? Best pumps?
 

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The nice thing about sumps is you can customize them to your hearts content. The worst thing about sumps is that you can customize them to your hearts content lol.

People have all sort of rules and ideals about sump size. Bigger is better, beyond that it is up to you. If you are using a HOB or Canister then you get 1-2g of extra water and a tray or two of filter media. Pretty much any sump you build will be bigger than that. The most pertinent thing to consider imo is the return chamber size. In a sump all evaporation happens in the final chamber where your return pump is. The smaller it is the more often you will need to replace the water. If you only have a 1g return chamber you will need to add water to it once a day. If it is 10g then once a week. For a 75g you could probably get away with a 10g sump, though it will be tight to fit all the equipment and a pump in it. I would go for 20g if you can, some people even use 55g sumps for their 75g tanks.

I don't know anything about a lifereef overflow so i'll let someone else comment there.

Design wise there are a lot of different options. I would just do a google image search for aquarium sump design and look around. I've seen everything from a tupperware container with some scrubbies in it to a custom built acrylic sump with 5 chambers and filter sock intakes with wet dry sections. In general you want a sump to filter your water with mechanical filtration, clean it with bio filtration and remove excess bubbles so they don't get sucked back in and blow around the display tank. How you do that will be up to you.

The noise level will depend on a couple things. The pump is the most obvious, there are some affordable DC pumps out there now that run much quieter than the old AC pumps. The overflow and drain are the only other big source of noise, but again I don't know much about your overflow so I can't say for sure what the best method for making sure it is quiet is.
 

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Bigger is better....always :). If your DT is a standard 75 (48x18x21) I would go with a 40B if you can make it fit under the stand(36x18x16). One of the bigger benefits of a larger sump is more flood protection. When the power goes out the water from the DT will continue to drain until the water level drops below your overflow grate. Also the return line will back siphon until it is exposed if you don't have a siphon break(drill a hole in the return line at the point you want to prevent back siphoning) built in. Some people use check valves to prevent this but I would never trust one to work when I needed it to.

Quiet overflow........well this depends on your overflow design. A herbie or bean animal style can be pretty much dead quiet when dialed in.

Return pump size will depend on your overflow rating. IE if your overflow is rated for 800 gallons per hour that's the most you can have for a pump output. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to buy and 800GPH pump as you can throttle the flow rate with a valve on the output and many of the newer DC pumps are variable speed. I've been happy with my deepwater aquatics BDLC5(dead silent and I've can only run it half speed with my Eshopps pf1200 overflow) but i've only had it for a couple of months so I can make statements about it's long term quality.

The best way to solve the evaporation in the return section is to use an ATO. One of the reasons I like using a shorter sump than DT is it leaves you a little room(a bit less than 12" for you) for an ATO reservoir.
 

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I have a 90 with a 20 sump, running a beananimal overflow. I wish my sump was bigger,because I can only really do 15 gallon or so water changes without disturbing the critters. My stand won't accomodate much while still allowing access, however.

So for sump size, as big as you can while still being able to access it easily for maintenance.
 

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Go with a 40B sump for that size. If you want to use an overflow box, use one with two pipes so that you can set it up as a Herbie style, a poorly setup overflow can be very noisy. I have a Sicce Syncra series pump and have been very happy with it - dead silent. It is much quieter than the Danner Mag Drive that it replaced. Depending on budget, the ultimate in quiet pumps will be to go with a DC pump - these also have the advantage of being variable speed.

For setting up the sump, just setup the baffles in such a way that water goes through all of the filtration media cleanly with little splashing. I use poret foam from Swiss Tropicals, Seachem Matrix biomedia, and Seachem Purigen chemical media, and my water is crystal clear.

-Justin
 

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How do I determine hot much empty / available is needed for extra water in case of power outage and before the siphoned dies out?

How much space is needed between the bottom glass panel and the baffle? How wide should the flow channel be?

I have a 90 with a 20 sump, running a beananimal overflow. I wish my sump was bigger,because I can only really do 15 gallon or so water changes without disturbing the critters. My stand won't accomodate much while still allowing access, however.

So for sump size, as big as you can while still being able to access it easily for maintenance.
How does the sump affect water changes?
 

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How does the sump affect water changes?
I doesn't have to if you don't want it to. You can stop the circulation pump and change as much water as you want.

I was using my tank as a breeding tank, however, and I was trying to minimize the stress on the fish by avoiding making obvious changes to water level etc.

As such, I can run a drain pump that drains my sump to about 40% of full volume while the circulation pump is running, at which point I risk exposing my biomaterial to the air (which I try not to do). I then turn on a tap to an RO line that runs water into the sump, and the fish don't "notice" the water change (other than the lower TDS etc).

No buckets, no muss. I don't do much vacuuming etc either, so I'm not in the main tank very much.
 

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It will work, but is probably more complicated than it needs to be.
You don't need bubble traps (the three baffles next to each other) for a freshwater sump, only saltwater.
Usually socks would be first if you are going to use them, then course and fine sponges, then biomedia.
You don't need to use double baffles to force downward flow - most chambers will work fine with upward flow if the media will stay in place. They way you have it arranged will keep a constant level in all of the chambers except the pump chamber, but is that necessary? Biomedia likes to stay wet, but how much will there really be? If you change the baffle after the biomedia to a single bottom flow baffle (with a screen to keep the biomedia in place) that chamber adds to your variable volume.

Keep in mind that all evaporation for the entire system (and any other differences in water volume) will come out of the pump chamber - make sure that you have enough volume in the pump chamber to account for that.
 

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Why don't you want a bubble trap in freshwater?

How much volume should there be in the last chamber with the pump?

I would like to have as much water in the sump as possible to add to my overall water volume. Large bio load in my DT.

I have all the materials on hand and I don't mind over doing it.


Why would you want socks first? It would get dirty so much quicker. I figure used other mechanical filtration first to remove bigger debris then go through socks for fine filtration.

Good or no.

I also will be using a acrylic sheet as a lid, not a super tight fit or anything but should help with evaporation.
 

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Bubble traps just aren't as necessary in fresh water. I think it has to do with the density difference between fresh and salt water, but assuming your sump is flat and level there won't be many bubbles by the last chamber.

You'll want as much water as possible in the last chamber. There is no minimum but the bigger the tank, the more evaporation, the more often you need to top it off.

The socks will get dirty pretty quick if you have them first. Some people don't mind cleaning them often. There is certainly nothing wrong with the way you have it, it will work. One thing you might want to consider is having another chamber before your filtration. If the water falls directly on the filtration it will create some splashing noise. If noise is not a concern then no need to worry about it, it will filter best that way. But if you want it to be silent then having it empty in a separate chamber below the water line will reduce the noise.
 

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I have my tank in the living room as well. It is a 50 gallon, goes to a bean animal external to a 29 gallon sump.
I just went to the hardware store and had them cut glass to fit across the 29. I then siliconed it in so the water has to go over and under a couple baffles. The highest baffle that the water has to go over will determine your water level. Set it so you have room for power outage.

I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of polyester body scrubbies for the first chamber, the second is filled with pillow polyester stuffing from the craft store.

The overflow and sump are nearly silent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I just realized that I can't silicone acrylic to glass... haven't started cutting yet but this puts a bump in my plans.

I don't know how I will do the 5 filter socks without the acrylic... I can't cut circles in the glass.

Any suggestions how to make a ledge for my 5 filter socks without using acrylic?

Also, how high from the bottom should I leave for water to pass under the baffles? Obviously I don't want to create a bottleneck.
 

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You can silicone strips of glass to the sides and baffle to create a ledge for your acrylic filter sock holder.

Bubbles don't stick around in freshwater as easily as saltwater, the idea with bubble traps is to keep bubbles out of the pump, but that's just not needed for freshwater.

Typically the idea with filter socks is that they are setup to be easy to remove and wash, so you use them to catch the gunk to keep the rest of your sump cleaner. The way you are planning will work, just not typical.

Make sure you have enough surface area to flow through your first set of filter foam - water needs to build up to a certain pressure to get through filter media at a given velocity - your design will have very low pressure at your course foam pre-filter, and making the area larger will reduce the flow velocity through the foam. If it can't get through, the water will overflow into the biomedia chamber and bypass the prefilter altogether. I attached a drawing of the media in my sump (it is split down the middle, so after going through this, the water flows up and over the center baffle into the pump chamber that takes the other half of the tank.

If your sump and main tank are both covered, evaporation loss shouldn't be too bad - my main tank is rimless and topless, so I had to consider it. The consideration is that the water height loss due to evaporation is all in the pump chamber, so if you think you would loose say 1/2" to evaporation in your main tank, and surface area in the main tank is 5x the surface area in the pump chamber, you will loose 2 1/2" in your pump chamber and the main tank will remain stable.

-Justin

-Justin
 

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How much gap under the baffle= Depends on your flow but there isn't any need to push the super high flows that reef tanks typically do so an inch should be enough, 2 if you want to slow things down to let stuff settle.

I could tell if someone answered your question about how much room to leave in the sump to account for how full it gets during a power outage or when you shut the pump down for cleaning. I'm sure there are formulas out there, but I just do it quick and dirty. when you first run the pump add just enough water to keep it from sucking air. Then shut the pump off and let the tank drain to it resting limit. That is as low as it will go. Now you can add water to your flooded sump knowing that that is a full as it can get. Theoretically you could fill the sump to the top at this point but I would prefer to leave a couple inches of insurance in case your siphon break gets clogged and doesn't break siphon immediately. Make marks on the sump for you flooded and running water levels, so when your refilling you won't have to try and remember where it was.

The reason people use filter socks first is so they'll catch everything. Reef tank people usually have extra sets of them and change them every couple of days, or even daily for some. They wash them and then have them ready for use the next day. The idea is that your mechanical filter becomes a nitrate factory as all the particles it collects break down. So you want to harvest and remove it from the tank, not let it remain in your media. So your idea of course/medium/fine/filter sock first stage is somewhat counter productive because it requires you to take it apart and clean on the media regularly. The filter sock only method is more frequent but less work, you just need a bunch of extra socks to keep clean for swapping. A lot of the freshwater sumps you may have looked at that had something that looked similar to what you pictured are actually following a wet/dry filter methodology. But in wet dry filters they have a mechanical prefilter(sponge or filter floss) as the first layer so the rest of the media doesn't get clogged with detritus. In that case though the prefilter requires frequent cleaning or replacement just like the filter socks. It's a case of choose your poison :)
 

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A sealed wet dry trickle filter in the first chamber is the most efficient mechanical filter imo.

Then biomedia in the second chamber and purigen / UV / heating in the third.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Question, for the return to the pump I would like to go with some lock line and some connectors. In case of a power outage, if I have reserved 5g of free space in the sump for back flow, do I still need to use a check valve or similar on the return line?
 

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Question, for the return to the pump I would like to go with some lock line and some connectors. In case of a power outage, if I have reserved 5g of free space in the sump for back flow, do I still need to use a check valve or similar on the return line?
Do the math, when the pump turns off you will drop the tank level by 1-2 inches. Assuming your 75 has standardish dimensions I would recommend closer to 6-8g of free space.
You cannot rely on a check valve to prevent flooding, one snail or a bit of algae is all it takes to cause a disaster.
 
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