The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been running a 39 gal fresh for a few years, and have a 75 gal ready for water.
I’m stalled:
Reading and (over?) thinking.
Started with a kit, hob, and plastic decor,
Now running canister (and another one ready for the 75 too) with a few live plants.
Love the compact, efficient, and simplicity of canisters... but:
Looking to up my game in all areas.
First off, I want auto water changes.
I’m using bucket on the 29, but adding a 75, and with a 45 gal and 50 gallon tank in waiting, I want auto water changes.

considering filtering tap water and running supply & drains (inside walls) to each tank location. With timed solenoids and overflows to perform water change.

but then, I like the idea of a central sump.

if I’m going to open walls and run plumbing; why not run two supplies and two returns to each location?
Then I could use a central sump, in basement, eliminating separate equipment for every tank.
But still have separate water and drain if need to isolate a tank.
Sump provides Central heat, filtering, biological media, water change, CO2, fertilizer, (plant nutrients) and increased water volume for display tanks.
Hang a couple (existing) canisters and hob’s on sump to have biological media and filter to move around at will if need to isolate a tank.

less equipment to run, auto water changes, and ability to add/remove a tank without concern for cycling.

I have 2-canisters and 2-HOB’s but not enamored with HOB or ‘stuff’ in display tank.
I have no CO2 equipment, yet, and am not anxious to buy 4+ CO2 systems.
So the central sump seems appealing.

what am I not considering?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,902 Posts
A couple of things come to mind.

First is logistics. Sumps work per tank because if the tank dumps all the water it can into the sump there is enough space to absorb that without a giant mess. Meanwhile if the sump pumps all of its water into a tank there are safety measures in place (or should be) such that the tank doesn't overflow. If you have multiple tanks going to one sump you increase the chance of a flood. There is also the issue of needing a pretty powerful pump to make this work. This is a lot of head pressure to pump from a basement with enough flow that it filters not just one tank, but multiple tanks.

Second is obviously potential contamination issues. Get a disease/parasite/whatever in one tank and its in every tank, you could kill everything at once.

Third for me at least, is that I don't want every tank being kept at the same temperature. Some tanks need to be hotter and others cooler, it would definitely limit your fish options going forward.

Fourth is risk benefit calculation. If you already running lines in the walls then running a co2 line is nothing. So you get no benefit for that, the only issue is the cost savings of not needing to buy multiple sumps and the maintenance of cleaning multiple sumps. For me that would not be a deciding factor as I would work gradually into such an expansion to mitigate costs and maintenance of sumps is not so bad when you have an auto water change system.

That said, if you go for it, definitely post a journal cause it would be neat to see!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A couple of things come to mind.

First is logistics. Sumps work per tank because if the tank dumps all the water it can into the sump there is enough space to absorb that without a giant mess. Meanwhile if the sump pumps all of its water into a tank there are safety measures in place (or should be) such that the tank doesn't overflow. If you have multiple tanks going to one sump you increase the chance of a flood. There is also the issue of needing a pretty powerful pump to make this work. This is a lot of head pressure to pump from a basement with enough flow that it filters not just one tank, but multiple tanks.

Second is obviously potential contamination issues. Get a disease/parasite/whatever in one tank and its in every tank, you could kill everything at once.

Third for me at least, is that I don't want every tank being kept at the same temperature. Some tanks need to be hotter and others cooler, it would definitely limit your fish options going forward.

Fourth is risk benefit calculation. If you already running lines in the walls then running a co2 line is nothing. So you get no benefit for that, the only issue is the cost savings of not needing to buy multiple sumps and the maintenance of cleaning multiple sumps. For me that would not be a deciding factor as I would work gradually into such an expansion to mitigate costs and maintenance of sumps is not so bad when you have an auto water change system.

That said, if you go for it, definitely post a journal cause it would be neat to see!
Minorhero: Really appreciate your reply.

my experience is limited but my reading and YouTube views are several.
I had given some thought to disease and tank temperatures. Wondering running sump at lowest temp and raising individual tank with secondary heater in each tank? Don’t know how that would work-out.
At this point, my thinking is to run the plumbing, for both central and independent, add CO2 lines per your suggestion and start out segregated.
More thought necessary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,902 Posts
Minorhero: Really appreciate your reply.

my experience is limited but my reading and YouTube views are several.
I had given some thought to disease and tank temperatures. Wondering running sump at lowest temp and raising individual tank with secondary heater in each tank? Don’t know how that would work-out.
At this point, my thinking is to run the plumbing, for both central and independent, add CO2 lines per your suggestion and start out segregated.
More thought necessary.
If you want to run a heater in a tank there is no reason to heat the sump. One big advantage of any sump is not having equipment in a tank. You could try individual inline heaters from the wall port to the tubing in the tank if you make that tubing flexible hose. You will be somewhat limited in doing this if you ever intend for a bigger tank (say in the 120 gallon range) as inline heaters do not work as well here.

Anyway if you are running the lines anyway, the only difference between a central sump and individual sumped tanks would be that your drain would be bigger (to make sure it doesn't clog) and you would need an extra line in the wall for a potential water return. So that means you would need a water line for fresh water, a big drain, a line sufficient to carry the water from the sump to the tank (3/4 minimum, 1" being better), and the co2 line.

Another thought is potential noise issues. An individually sumped tank can be made pretty silent if you do something like a bean animal overflow. If you drain all your tanks through a communal drain to the basement then its definitely not going to be silent. No idea how noisey, but you will KNOW its a fish house when you walk into the room at a minimum. It might be noisy enough to be heard farther away as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
detroit_fan:
That is (?) my goal, [Central Sump] with freshwater, planted tanks. {and a very long term goal of someday duplicating with 1-large 100-150 gallon display saltwater system}
The central Sump appeals to me, particularly for water change, volume, stability, and fish-load. But also to get as much stuff out of display as practical. I really like the idea of being able to go into basement, to do water maintenance, either manually or auto with timers and solenoids. Cleaning mechanical media remote of display tank.
Still need to do tank maintenance at the tank... but that's another thing:

So; I'm still only running a 29. The 75 is all set with canister, light, substrate, new mechanical and bio-media... everything but water, plants and fish/stock. And I'm stalled because I don't want to be a part-time water-boy, bucket brigade. {and because I need to go to school using CO2 first too}

I read, view, and listen... trying to avoid costly (and stupid) decisions. minorhero made some points that sent me in a tail-spin.
Now I have a new theory to test before I start ripping walls open to plumb for a central-sump system.

Instead of an overflow, I may use canister suction/siphon and add a water tight expansion tank between tank and canister.
The expansion tank will house mechanical filter material, a heater and provide added volume to the system without changing the display tank. (ie: an oversized canister pre-filter with heater).

I'm attaching a hand drawing

This almost does it all... without any in-the-wall plumbing. Tank maintenance will enable to use recirculated tank water at-will. With wheels and unions on the expansion tank it will roll to bathroom where the sponges can be easily cleaned, re-filled, (with tap water) and rolled back to aquarium effecting a 25% water-change.
Then, instead of lugging 5-gallon buckets back & forth, I'm just rolling an entire water change out and back in without turning off the canister or lowering the tank level.

What do you think?
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,074 Posts
a sump with water pipe running through walls down to basement, and water pumped back up with some height, I think it is better suit for semi permanent large volume (single or multi tanks) setup.
for a 39G and a 75G, better to use a single right size canister filter for each tank, not taking up much space and more easier to handle. imo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
a sump with water pipe running through walls down to basement, and water pumped back up with some height, I think it is better suit for semi permanent large volume (single or multi tanks) setup.
for a 39G and a 75G, better to use a single right size canister filter for each tank, not taking up much space and more easier to handle. imo.
i’m turning to that conclusion, on the short term. But also have additional tanks to add as I continue over time.
So I was looking at a central sump as lower long term overall cost and easy path to expansion.
Really, what I want is great filtration, stability, and ease of maintenance.
But I’ve let my ‘build a better mousetrap’ mentality become an obstacle to filling my 75 gal tank. With adequate equipment on-the-ready, the thought of lugging 5, 5-gallon buckets in each direction weekly is the underlying reason.
A siphon hose will eliminate the bucket brigade and get the tank going.
Or a water caddy on wheels (to satisfy my inner need to engineer a labor saving) The 75 gallon tank has been sitting ready for 4-5 months; could be well cycled and plants established by now.

Ha, Ha: maybe I’m not a fish keeper, maybe I’m a closet design engineer.
No doubt I’ll someday be using a central sump with all its advantages and components;
But in reality; that should be 1,500 miles from my current home.
It’s really time to be house hunting in warmer climates and positioning this NE property to be market ready.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
484 Posts
Instead of solenoid valves I pump water out of my sump down the drain which lowers the water level in the sump triggering a float valve to open to add fresh water:
How I did bottom returns in my dirt bottom planted 180g...
The pump is on a timer so this happens automatically every morning.

I LOVE my automatic water change system! From what I can tell my fish AND my plants love it even more than I do!

I will never go back to canister filters after having a sump!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Were you planning on running PEX in your sump idea? I can see building a dual pump system with a bypass so you can switch pumps without downtime. I think I'm going to do a sump just to maintain water replacement for evaporation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Were you planning on running PEX in your sump idea? I can see building a dual pump system with a bypass so you can switch pumps without downtime. I think I'm going to do a sump just to maintain water replacement for evaporation.
Yes, for the ‘pressure’ side but pvc on overflow/drain.
2 of each [4 pipes], to each location:
1.) 3/4” PEX from sump;
2.) 1/2” PEX from filtered tap water;
3.) 1.25” PVC to Sump;
4.) 1.25” PVC to cistern in greenhouse.

this will provide for
  • use of central sump to each tank/location,
  • ability to isolate each/any tank at-will,
  • ability to siphon/vacuum & refill each tank without sending to sump.

For now, I am going to continue with canisters. The established tank is fine on canister and will be used to colonize beneficial bacteria one canister at a time and get the three empty tank cycles started.
I was thinking of hanging a second canister on the established tank. But upon further thought, I have decided to swap biological media. Not 100%, but maybe 1-tray of 3 out of the existing Fluval 305.
Then I will monitor (test) water and swap from second tray in a few weeks or months to jump start another. All depends on how the waters test.
I also have a large decoration (castle) in the existing tank. It will be used/swapped to a newer (larger) tank, which will provide a lot of beneficial bacteria to help jump start a cycle...
 

·
Premium Member
75g, 33L, 2g and play tanks
Joined
·
614 Posts
For now, I am going to continue with canisters. The established tank is fine on canister and will be used to colonize beneficial bacteria one canister at a time and get the three empty tank cycles started.
I was thinking of hanging a second canister on the established tank. But upon further thought, I have decided to swap biological media. Not 100%, but maybe 1-tray of 3 out of the existing Fluval 305.
Then I will monitor (test) water and swap from second tray in a few weeks or months to jump start another. All depends on how the waters test.
as far as the canisters you can probably take all but one of your biomedia trays and distribute what's in there to the other filters and set them going. Honestly that will probably get you plenty to kick that nitrogen cycle into gear. you'll have both kinds of bacteria so you won't have the little lag in each stage that may occur. I bet you could put a few fish in by 2 weeks without any worry. you can go a little further, do this then do your water change from initial tank and just put portions of that straight into the new tanks when setting up the canisters for pre-cycling.

I set up a 33 with a canister all from brand new and put fish straight in and had no losses and no issues at all now that I think about it. I pulled 30 gallons (6 buckets) straight from my 75 then added fresh water to fill out the last 3 -5 gallons of tank and canister.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Having had a reef aquarium with all the bells and whistles with a sump, I appreciate the simplicity of things. However, it is fun building and planning and you never know until you try it.

Things to consider which was kind of mentioned is the size of the pump and the max head height. You need to figure out how much gph turnover you want. I'm assuming the tanks would be located in different parts of the house, so that would play a factor. Also you need to think about the heat the pump will generate. I'm guessing you may not need a heater at all. Last is the noise, I remember my return pump would vibrate despite trying to soundproof the cabinetry and using a rubber mat underneath the pump. I ended up switching it it out (mag pump) for an eheim which was considerably quieter. I would focus on the vibration when I would sleep, even though the tank was on the floor below.

The other thing about having multiple tanks on one system is that you have a greater risk of flooding a tank should something happen. In my reef setup I had a 7 gallon tank for evaporation connected via a float switch. I had my main tank empty out a 30 gallon sump and the backup water. Not fun. Get yourself a wet/dry vacuum for oops moments...

Next, I would probably say it will be hard to maintain a good saturation level of co2. In my experience overflows have a habit of degassing co2 really well, great for most fish tanks, not so great for planted aquariums. You'd definitely use more co2 but with a sump you could build yourself a co2 reactor.

Last, best to have a uv sterilizer plumbed in because algae spores in one tank means algae in all tanks. This can create more of a headache.

I like the autonomy that each tank cannot affect the other tank. I also prefer one tank versus the upkeep of several tanks. I tend to focus on the primary and the secondaries get neglected. Sorta like cars, the sport car gets all the attention while the commuter gets sloppy second hand washes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
as far as the canisters you can probably take all but one of your biomedia trays and distribute what's in there to the other filters and set them going. Honestly that will probably get you plenty to kick that nitrogen cycle into gear. you'll have both kinds of bacteria so you won't have the little lag in each stage that may occur. I bet you could put a few fish in by 2 weeks without any worry. you can go a little further, do this then do your water change from initial tank and just put portions of that straight into the new tanks when setting up the canisters for pre-cycling.

I set up a 33 with a canister all from brand new and put fish straight in and had no losses and no issues at all now that I think about it. I pulled 30 gallons (6 buckets) straight from my 75 then added fresh water to fill out the last 3 -5 gallons of tank and canister.
So, I’m thinking, water from existing tank not bringing any beneficial bacteria over... but brings some nitrate (possibly ammonia and nitrite too) to feed and stimulate bacteria growth; particularly if bringing in some bio-media with good bacteria already and n it.
And I’m resigning myself to the idea of manual water changes. And not happy with that. So I’ll be conjuring up some way to simplify the process.
 

·
Premium Member
75g, 33L, 2g and play tanks
Joined
·
614 Posts
So, I’m thinking, water from existing tank not bringing any beneficial bacteria over... but brings some nitrate (possibly ammonia and nitrite too) to feed and stimulate bacteria growth; particularly if bringing in some bio-media with good bacteria already and n it.
And I’m resigning myself to the idea of manual water changes. And not happy with that. So I’ll be conjuring up some way to simplify the process.
I agree there won't be a lot, but there will be some and my main thought process is that this will again be like moving fish and the water parameters will be what they are used to still and can help the transfer. I mean it is a living thing.

I was thinking of your rolling assembly, you can do that, have a syphon to fill it and a pump that can just empty or drain and roll it outside. make it larger than a 5 gal bucket, I'm sure you had a size in mind already. just a little food for thought. This all can get complicated and sometimes in this hobby and step back and a revisit later is best.

Good luck to you!
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top