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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!
I have a project on hand. I recently got this 75 gallon saltwater tank + sump setup which I am converting to a freshwater Discus tank setup. You can see more about that project here:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/...ors-tank-saltwater-freshwater-conversion.html
That is going very slow :frown2:

Anyway, I want to modify the sump before I put it to use.
Here are my goals:

Must haves:

  1. Quiet
  2. Easy to clean mechanical filtration chamber.
  3. Return pump chamber big enough to hold water if pump is turned off.
  4. Automatic water change (AWC)
  5. Automatic water top off (ATO)
  6. Holds CO2 reactor's pump
  7. Holds heater
  8. Dosing pump dumps here
  9. Bubble trap before return pump
  10. Fool proof in case of failures of items like float valve, pump, siphon etc.


Optional:
Tumbling/fluidized K1 media compartment
Not sure if I actually "need" this but sure looks cool :grin2:

Here is what the sump looks like right now. This is how I got it. Water comes in on the left, goes out on the right. Sure that rightmost chamber is super small.






For ATO+AWC, I have done some research and this is what I think I would like to go with:
https://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/...hanges-suck-heres-my-automated-system.500155/
I have access to a utility sink in the next room. I already have a through wall hole, currently used for CO2 pipe on my 60 gallon. Maybe will use a water tank placed near the ceiling in that room and gravity feed water to the sump through the float valve.


I know planted tank guys usually do not use sumps, so the audience for this thread will be relatively small, but still it would be nice to discuss with others in the hobby

Your suggestions - comments welcome!
 

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That auto water change setup is so convoluted lol. Just buy a dual head stenner pump and be done with it. One head takes water out and the other puts it in all at the same flow rate.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks

Thank you for the suggestion :smile2: I did not know about this product, so I did a quick Google search and this came up
https://www.amazon.com/Stenner-170JL5A1STAA-Adjustable-Mechanical-Peristaltic/dp/B003LZ3TFO


At over 700 dollars, this is way beyond my capacity to spend! :surprise:



By the way, that AWC system is the simplest design of all I read.

  1. A pump takes out old water. Volume out is based on run time of that pump, which is on-off using a outlet timer.
  2. Whatever new water is needed, gets filled back using that float valve.
This setup takes care of ATO at the same time (due to float valve).



Am I missing something which is convoluted in this setup?
Just want to make sure my inexperience does not overlook a potential problem.



That auto water change setup is so convoluted lol. Just buy a dual head stenner pump and be done with it. One head takes water out and the other puts it in all at the same flow rate.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
 

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Thank you for the suggestion :smile2: I did not know about this product, so I did a quick Google search and this came up
https://www.amazon.com/Stenner-170JL5A1STAA-Adjustable-Mechanical-Peristaltic/dp/B003LZ3TFO


At over 700 dollars, this is way beyond my capacity to spend! :surprise:



By the way, that AWC system is the simplest design of all I read.

  1. A pump takes out old water. Volume out is based on run time of that pump, which is on-off using a outlet timer.
  2. Whatever new water is needed, gets filled back using that float valve.
This setup takes care of ATO at the same time (due to float valve).



Am I missing something which is convoluted in this setup?
Just want to make sure my inexperience does not overlook a potential problem.
Float switches fail. It's not a matter of if but when.

Also, never go by amazon prices on industrial equipment. I paid $250 for my Stenner 100DMP5 brand new.
https://www.lockewell.com/index.php...id=176&zenid=8ba951184cbaf1b55fb499d8df0def59
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I totally agree with you on equipment failing, Mr. Murphy is the bane of my existence!


I always overbuild or over-compensate for these failure in my designs...I like to be prepared for the worst. I was thinking of having enough capacity in the sump so if (when) that float valve fails and dumps all the contents of the ATO/AWC tank, the sump would not overflow. Say, make that tank/reservoir only large enough to accommodate one day's worth water change quantity.





By the way, do you have a write-up or a thread somewhere which explains how you use this pump to do AWC? Sure sounds very interesting!



Float switches fail. It's not a matter of if but when.

Also, never go by amazon prices on industrial equipment. I paid $250 for my Stenner 100DMP5 brand new.
https://www.lockewell.com/index.php...id=176&zenid=8ba951184cbaf1b55fb499d8df0def59
 

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I totally agree with you on equipment failing, Mr. Murphy is the bane of my existence!


I always overbuild or over-compensate for these failure in my designs...I like to be prepared for the worst. I was thinking of having enough capacity in the sump so if (when) that float valve fails and dumps all the contents of the ATO/AWC tank, the sump would not overflow. Say, make that tank/reservoir only large enough to accommodate one day's worth water change quantity.





By the way, do you have a write-up or a thread somewhere which explains how you use this pump to do AWC? Sure sounds very interesting!
No, I used it on my reef tank and now that I got out of reefing I haven't used it yet for fresh because I haven't setup my large tank trying to decide where to put it.

It's insanely simple though. It's basically a high output peristaltic pump that has 2 heads connected to the same shaft on the motor. Industrial peristaltic pumps will last a lifetime in our uses because they are meant to pass chemicals and are designed to take insane amounts of abuse. The only thing that needs replacing is the tubing which is a $10 part. Since you will only be passing water through it you can easily go 3-5 years before needing to replace.

So you just use regular RO tubing to run to the tank. Have the input of one of the heads go inside the sump with ro tubing and then the output of the other head in the sump as well. Also, one of the beauties of peristaltic pumps is that back-flow is impossible to happen with them.

I would also recommend 2 big blue holding tanks. One for clean water going into the tank and and another for the dirty water coming out of the tank. Reason being is that you can then use the dirty water to water your plants around your house and put it to good use instead of wasting down the drain. Also, unlike a cheap pump a peristaltic pump can push water insanely long distances so your holding tanks can be really far away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
for ATO?

Thanks for the information,,,makes perfect sense. If only this pump was cheaper! :frown2:



OK, you used it for AWC.

What did you do for ATO?



No, I used it on my reef tank and now that I got out of reefing I haven't used it yet for fresh because I haven't setup my large tank trying to decide where to put it.

It's insanely simple though. It's basically a high output peristaltic pump that has 2 heads connected to the same shaft on the motor. Industrial peristaltic pumps will last a lifetime in our uses because they are meant to pass chemicals and are designed to take insane amounts of abuse. The only thing that needs replacing is the tubing which is a $10 part. Since you will only be passing water through it you can easily go 3-5 years before needing to replace.

So you just use regular RO tubing to run to the tank. Have the input of one of the heads go inside the sump with ro tubing and then the output of the other head in the sump as well. Also, one of the beauties of peristaltic pumps is that back-flow is impossible to happen with them.

I would also recommend 2 big blue holding tanks. One for clean water going into the tank and and another for the dirty water coming out of the tank. Reason being is that you can then use the dirty water to water your plants around your house and put it to good use instead of wasting down the drain. Also, unlike a cheap pump a peristaltic pump can push water insanely long distances so your holding tanks can be really far away.
 

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Thanks for the information,,,makes perfect sense. If only this pump was cheaper! :frown2:



OK, you used it for AWC.

What did you do for ATO?
ATO I used a litermeter peristaltic pump with triple redundant flow switches (low, high, emergency water levels). I say triple redundant because if the the low float switch worked that is all that would trigger the pump. The high would only trigger a shutoff if the low water one failed. Then emergency was higher up in the sump and it would trigger a complete system shutoff (pump, skimmer, everything) if that one was triggered.

https://spectrapure.com/collections/litermeter/products/basic-litermeter-dosing-pump-lm3-mpm

This is a cheaper version.
https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/brs-top-off-doser-50-ml-per-minute-1.html

As you can tell I like my peristaltic pumps lol. I also used a cole parmer masterflex peristaltic on my calcium reactor haha.

If I was going to use a regular ato the only one I would buy is the Tunze Osmolator which I also have one of. These things don't really fail.
https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/tunze-osmolator-universal-3155-auto-top-off.html
 

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I have used a AWC setup like this for about a year without any problems. I prefer to have a timer on the inlet and an overflow on the sump controlling the water level, but that isn't always possible due to location.
 

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I built my sump for my 75 from a 40 breeder and it has been working extremely well.

Some thoughts for you:
Mechanical filtration: i bought 3" thick blocks of poret foam to fit the first chamber. Sized to width and slightly higher than the chamber. One block is 15ppi the other 30ppi. My water is ljke crystal. Easy to pull and rinse in a bucket of tank water. Good surface for bacteria.

What kind of drain does the main tank have. If you have a herbie or a beanimal with a full suction drain you can maximize space and skip the bubble traps. I run a herbie and have the drains enter the sump at about an inch below water level. With a tuned herbie or beanimal you get a quiet drain and no need for bubble traps that waste space.

Biological filtration:
I played with the idea of k2, etc and found its simply not needed. The poret has a ton of surface area and i just chucked a bag of ceramic rings where i get flow thru them. I run a very overstocked 75 gallon with big angels and have never measured detectable amounts of ammonia since cycling.

Return section...heres where you get out the calculator. You want to size the return section such that the return pump cant overfllow the display if a the drains to the sump get plugged.

Sump level: again calculate so that if return pump fails or power goes out the amount draining from the tank does not overflow the sump. This water is the water height you run over the weir of the overflow plus leftover in the pipes. Also drill a hole for a suction break just under the display tank waterline. This prevents the display from siphoning into the sump.

If the sump is calculated correctly there is no need for check valves or prone to fail float switches other than something to shut off the return pump if it runs dry. Many dc pumps automatically shut down if they run dry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thanks and an update

My apologies for no response in this thread for such a long time.
Life is so very busy! and with the cabinet refurbisment project going on, I did not get to spend much time with this sump. But now I am re-visiting this.


Thanks for the tips, bigtrout and I will answer your questions in the next post...


Update:
I tried re-designing the sump on paper. This is what I came up with. This design is a couple of weeks old. After watching a few more videos, I think I do not want to go with this design. Still, posting it here, as a design step I took...





Here is what I have in mind:

Go with fludized K1 media as the "eventual" biological medium, but since it takes way too long to establish, more like 6 months, I hear.........lets put Poret foam as a "hold me over" until K1 gets established.

Why K1? I do not know, it looks so cool! LoL :nerd:

This video is inspiring me to go this route:

I am building a manifold for the sump. It will feed two things:
1. CO2 reactor (just an inline diffuser) and
2. Move K1 media with a water jet, instead of using an air stone

More on this idea soon....stay tuned!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I built my sump for my 75 from a 40 breeder and it has been working extremely well.

Some thoughts for you:
Mechanical filtration: i bought 3" thick blocks of poret foam to fit the first chamber. Sized to width and slightly higher than the chamber. One block is 15ppi the other 30ppi. My water is ljke crystal. Easy to pull and rinse in a bucket of tank water. Good surface for bacteria.

What kind of drain does the main tank have. If you have a herbie or a beanimal with a full suction drain you can maximize space and skip the bubble traps. I run a herbie and have the drains enter the sump at about an inch below water level. With a tuned herbie or beanimal you get a quiet drain and no need for bubble traps that waste space.

Biological filtration:
I played with the idea of k2, etc and found its simply not needed. The poret has a ton of surface area and i just chucked a bag of ceramic rings where i get flow thru them. I run a very overstocked 75 gallon with big angels and have never measured detectable amounts of ammonia since cycling.

Return section...heres where you get out the calculator. You want to size the return section such that the return pump cant overfllow the display if a the drains to the sump get plugged.

Sump level: again calculate so that if return pump fails or power goes out the amount draining from the tank does not overflow the sump. This water is the water height you run over the weir of the overflow plus leftover in the pipes. Also drill a hole for a suction break just under the display tank waterline. This prevents the display from siphoning into the sump.

If the sump is calculated correctly there is no need for check valves or prone to fail float switches other than something to shut off the return pump if it runs dry. Many dc pumps automatically shut down if they run dry.
Answers to your questions...

The tank has two holes in it's bottom glass, one is for a durso, other is a return. You can take a look at it here...

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/...ors-tank-saltwater-freshwater-conversion.html

More specifically:





About the return pump chamber... If it overflowed, won't the water first flow into the other chambers first, before overflowing the whole sump?

Wait,,,,you are talking about overflowing the DT (display tank) not the sump...Hmmm....good thought. I never thought about that situation. Thanks for pointing that out. I will do that calculation now.

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In terms of redundancy, I would drill if possible another hole in the overflow chamber area and install a stand pipe slightly higher than the durso. Should the durso somehow back up or plug the water will rise and flow into the emergency stand pipe. If no room in the overflow box than perhaps repurpose the water return. Can always return the water up and over the tank edge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
new design

How about something like this:


This way, I will have poret until the K1 media establishes, then (maybe) I could remove the left side Poret to accommodate more K1. Right side Poret will stay to hold dead / discarded bacteria from K1.


The K1 chamber is starting to get pretty small now :-(



 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
In terms of redundancy, I would drill if possible another hole in the overflow chamber area and install a stand pipe slightly higher than the durso. Should the durso somehow back up or plug the water will rise and flow into the emergency stand pipe. If no room in the overflow box than perhaps repurpose the water return. Can always return the water up and over the tank edge.
Thanks for the tip, I appreciate it.

Unfortunately, I'll not be able to drill more holes. And I don't want a traditional return, don't like that look.

My "redundancy" is this...make sure that if the durso drain clogged up, all the water in the return chamber ends up safely in the DT without overflowing it.

Gotta do some math but I think DT should be able to take an additional 3.5 gallons.

As for the pump running dry, I'm choosing one of those pumps which promise to shut off automatically if running dry.

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Thanks for the tip, I appreciate it.

My "redundancy" is this...make sure that if the durso drain clogged up, all the water in the return chamber ends up safely in the DT without overflowing it.

Gotta do some math but I think DT should be able to take an additional 3.5 gallons.

As for the pump running dry, I'm choosing one of those pumps which promise to shut off automatically if running dry.
Looks like you have thought it through. Only comment I would add is taking the volume of the sump into consideration is good so that it can empty into the DT safely without overflowing, but you need to ensure any automatic top-off for the sump disables somehow should the overflow backup. Otherwise the sump will continue to fill and overflow the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Looks like you have thought it through. Only comment I would add is taking the volume of the sump into consideration is good so that it can empty into the DT safely without overflowing, but you need to ensure any automatic top-off for the sump disables somehow should the overflow backup. Otherwise the sump will continue to fill and overflow the tank.
Totally agreed!

I'm planning to put an AWC system which is supposed to take care of ATO also.

I'll put the AWC's sensors in the k1 media chamber, because that's the chamber most stable water level after the return pump is turned off, temporarily, while the AWC happens.

Still need to iron out the kinks of the AWC system, but according to my correspondence with the system manufacturer's (autotopoff.com ) it is very similar to an ATO system. I am skeptical if it will reliably do ATO, though.

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Got some more ideas

I was looking at the website selling Poret foam (Swiss Tropicals) today and I got super excited coming across their Aqua®Sump design and their Poret®aqua Media! :smile2:

Poret®aqua Media Shop - SWISSTROPICALS




It is very similar to my design. I was going to use K1 in the center of my sump. Now I am thinking of using Poret®aqua Media instead of K1.

I do have a couple of questions in my mind, which I have also e-mailed to the website owner - Stephan. Very helpful guy, by the way!

Mechanical filtration
What would you recommend?
I have two options:
a. Do the mechanical filtration in a separate chamber, like my design shown above, or
b. Just use a vertical Poret, like shown in the AquaSump diagram.


I wonder which would be easier to clean, a large 12 x 13 sheet or a 12 x 6 sheet, hmmm. Of course the latter would clog faster.
However having a separate chamber will allow me to monitor the "clogness" of that horizontal Poret......because as they get clogged, the water level will rise in that chamber...indicating it is time to clean them. But now that I think about it, water level could rise in the open water area on the left of the first vertical Poret in AquaSump also.



Means of moving media
To move K1, I was planning to use a water jet instead of air stones. Will that work for Poret®aqua Media also?

My understanding is that air is not really required for tumbling media, but I could be wrong. If really needed, I could add a small air stone. To move K1, people usually buy a large air pump. That could be noisy and suck electricity also. I plan to make a manifold in the outlet of the return pump with two "take offs", one for the CO2 diffuser, other for moving media. Here is my plumbing design, which I have ordered parts for...





BTW, I love Aqua®Sump's no-baffle design! KISS! But I do want the 2 right side baffles in my sump design. That limits the volume of water which could get into the DT, just in case the durso drain somehow got blocked.


Oh Oh......
I did some calculation, in my 75 gallon tank a 3.74 gallon water addition will make it rise almost exactly 1"
https://www.calculatorsoup.com/calculators/construction/tank.php
Funny coincidence that my return chamber's volume calculates to exactly the same number!! :nerd::grin2:

Correction:
1 inch rise actually will happen by adding 3.6 gallons, so it is even more worrisome! :crying:

I measured the DT carefully, its inside dimensions are actually:
47.5 x 17.5 x 18.5
So a 75 gallon nominal tank size actually holds 66.57 gallons, not accounting for substrate and furnishings.

I went and measure my DT, It should be able to handle 1" water, a little bit will go down the overflow, but the water surface may touch the bottom of the frame. Hmmm......maybe I should make the return chamber smaller :|:icon_eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Another re-design

ok after talking to Stephan over e-mail, I decided to get rid of the horizontal mechanical filtration, and use vertical Porets. They will be held in place by glass strips.
I am still trying to determine the PPIs of the Porets. Those numbers seem ok to me, but what do I know! Ha ha. I sent Stephan an e-mail, asking.

But check out the new design below.



I also noticed that I calculated the volume of the return without the bubble trap. That add volume. So even after I reduced the return chamber's size by 1 inch, it is 12 x 12 x 7 = 4.36 gallons! :crying: Uh Oh! DT will overflow if the Durso drain clogged up. Gotta think about this.

What do you guys recommend?
How do I resolve this problem?




 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
One more design!

ok so I got some tips from Stephan of Swiss Tropicals. (He has been very helpful!).
He says "Choose 30 PPI on the right, 45 is too fine. And do not inject CO2 enriched water into the filter. You want as much oxygen as you can get, so inject that before the pump after all the media."


But here is the problem I am trying to resolve:
The unsightly presence of micro bubbles of CO2 in the DT :-(



The inline CO2 diffuser sends a stream of micro bubbles into the DT. By dumping CO2 enriched water into the front of the filter sump, I was hoping that the micro bubbles disappear/dissolve into the water by the time they flow through the filter.


I thought about it and came up with a modification to the design of the sump. See below. However, I wonder if this will work.:| The hope is that the 45 PPI Poret will hold on to the micro bubbles until they dissolve. Is this wishful thinking?


 
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