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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I picked up a free tank someone was giving away on craigslist.org (my most favorite way to garage sale/dumpster dive!) But, I'm looking at it and it's got... a... sump? I am, in fact, starting a thread just to make sure I've got the right idea about this thing.

Mmkay, this is an acrylic 45ish gallon tank (HUGE for me!) which was previously used for saltwater - as evidenced by the coral chunks still in the bottom and the salt residue/smell pervading the thing. This will require me to spend some time in the bathtub with it trying to rinse the crud out.

Anyway, it's got this filter ... thing... on it... which is like an acrylic cage taking up about five gallons of space against the middle of the back wall. It has little drainage slits at the top - guy I got it from called it a protein skimmer - two holes at the bottom, and one hole near the top that I'm assuming is the water intake. My question is, would I be correct in assuming that what I need to do here so I can use the tank, is to put it on a stand with a hole in it under the... sump? area, run a hose down into a second tank - or even a largish bucket, and run a second hose with a water pump attached to it up through the sump area and then out through the intake hole? It seems to be lined up that way, so... it LOOKS like that is the case - also, the intake hole and the one it's kinda in line with are the same size hole, whereas the outtank hole... or... dump :) is a bit bigger.

Assuming I have it correct in general, I have a couple questions...

1) Do they sell standardized kits for this?

2) If not, does the water pump thing go on the top of the tank?

3) Should I be worried about fishes going through this thing and being caught in the filter media? (I suppose I only should be worried about this if I get fish that are small enough to get through the holes, or if the fish I DO get have babies...)

4) How on earth would such a filtration device clean up the crud on the bottom of the tank? I just can't see it being all that effective.

5) Can I raise guppies in the drain tank?

That should about do it for questions. I'm sure there are ample amounts of folk on here who read this and go: "duh, you just do x y and then z happens and it's easy! I do it all the time!" And you! are just exactly who I want to hear from!

:) Thank you in advance!
Alyssa
 

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Hello Alyssa...

First....the fact that you got this so called 45G for free means that whoever ya got it from didn't have a large enough tank for a saltwater tank. Things prolly started dyin, an he or she jus gave up.

Second...That thing you are refferin to in the middle of the tank is prolly a skimmer. You dont need that! Toss it.

The sump, well I have no idea about this one. Is this tank drilled?? I hope not. Let us know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
yes, the tank is drilled. as I said, there are two holes in the bottom of the tank.

The reason the tank was free is because this guy lived in the part of seattle that lost power a few weeks ago and everything died. I mean, they lost power, with no power they had no heat, everything... died... there were actually quite a few tanks for next to nothing listed due to this tragic power outtage (maybe you heard about it in the news?)

Also, the skimmer is attached to the tank, and would require me cutting it out..... or... breaking it out, maybe. I'd be afraid of breaking the whole thing. I can't seem to get my camera to take a good picture of this thing... It's like a vampire almost.

to be honest, I could probably fill the tank up to below the slits and use it that way, but then it becomes a 39 gallon tank and that's just... it seems like a waste. If I succeed in removing the skimmer, then I also have to remove the pipe holes in the floor and cover it with a piece of acrylic and some kind of... food-safe acrylic adhesive. IF I manage to remove the thing (as was my original intention when I first saw the tank) I will also have to somehow pry the pipes out, which are currently attached to the bottom of my new tank. well, pipe fittings, anyway. I do not have pipes attached to them. Diablo Canine's thread http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/equipment/28332-sumpin-drillin-cannisterin-away.html
actually contains a photo of a tank that has what I'm talking about in the back, center of it. Attached thingie takin' up tank space. My forte` has always been hang over the back filters, so this thing is kinda new to me.
 

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Personally...I am speaking for myself now. I would scrap this 45G, an get a new one.

If you are looking for a nice planted 45G tank, it is better to start fresh, an get what you need. Trying to reserect an old 45G saltwater tank thats drilled will give ya nuthin but headaches. Not to mention tryin to remove this skimmer.

IMO, ya just took someones crap of his hands...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
damn. :(

Oh well, 'twas free anyway. Maybe someone'll give away an AGA 55 for free. :) I've got a car, and a little bit of time on my hands.

This thing DOES hold water, though, outside of the skimmer part anyway. I may actually find a use for it yet... all I need is a table with a hole in it. lol...

(well, a strong table, anyway)
 

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bastalker - I am not sure why you think that is garbage. perhaps Mangala needs to get some pics so we can be sure. And acrylic box with slits in the top and holes in the bottom sounds like an overflow. Using a specially setup sump tank with this overflow would be excellent. It will require DIY though to do properly, if your going to run CO2. If no co2, the design will be less restrictive.

If this does have some kind of integrated skimmer (???) then you could try to sell it back on craigslist or give it away. You could probably seal off the slots in the overflow with some silicon and plastic if you dont want to mess with the overflow. BTW with a sump filter it does not suck up the crud on the bottom, if this is a concern you need to do it with a gravel vac. A overflow will skim off the top of the water. With CO2 you'll need something like a durso standpipe to minimize losses in the overflow.

I have been really wanting to setup this type of tank but none of my tanks have overflows in them and I dont want to mess with trying to cut glass and the tanks too big and heavy to be lugging to a glass shop. So I'll probably have to use a HOB continous siphon overflow.
 

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I wouldn't scrap it. I would sell the tank. YOu can make a good profit from it. Drilled Reef Ready tanks sell a little more compared to regular undrilled tanks.
 

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yes, the tank is drilled. as I said, there are two holes in the bottom of the tank.

The reason the tank was free is because this guy lived in the part of seattle that lost power a few weeks ago and everything died. I mean, they lost power, with no power they had no heat, everything... died... there were actually quite a few tanks for next to nothing listed due to this tragic power outtage (maybe you heard about it in the news?)

Also, the skimmer is attached to the tank, and would require me cutting it out..... or... breaking it out, maybe. I'd be afraid of breaking the whole thing. I can't seem to get my camera to take a good picture of this thing... It's like a vampire almost.

to be honest, I could probably fill the tank up to below the slits and use it that way, but then it becomes a 39 gallon tank and that's just... it seems like a waste. If I succeed in removing the skimmer, then I also have to remove the pipe holes in the floor and cover it with a piece of acrylic and some kind of... food-safe acrylic adhesive.
My two bits. I would love to adapt this aquarium to freshwater.

The Protein Skimmer can be adapted to form a filter with a power head pumping water into it and through foam layers up to the slits and back to the aquarium.
The Protein Skimmer can also be adapted into a filter taking surface water through foam and other pads pulled down to the bottom hole by the suction of a power-head and through spray bars at the rear bottom of the aquarium. You will have the cleanest surface for tour aquarium.

You could use a sump tank under the cabinet of your aquarium for filtration, aeration, heating, putting all hardware in the cabinet out of sight and retuning the water to the aquarium by a pump. You could also add a float valve water supply to the sump and forget about topping up for ever. This way the effective volume of your aquarium would have increased in effect.

Oh! There is so much a DIY can do with your tank. I am drooling with the thought. Any unnecessary hole could be plugged with a piece of acrylic welded with a drop of chloroform between the faces.
 

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It's not a skimmer. It's an overflow box. And you don't need to use a sump with it. You can actually attach a canister filter to those holes.
 

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Congrats on the new free tank!!!!! Out of my 10 tanks, I've gotten 3 or 4 for free!

My favorite way to disinfect a used tank is with distilled white vinegar. Do NOT use bleach to disinfect an acrylic tank.
 

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Go post on a reef forum and I bet you'll get a handful of people with undrilled tanks just dying to trade with you. Overflow/sump systems are FAR more popular in the reef community, and on reef forums there are always a constant stream of threads from people with normal (undrilled) tanks bemoaning their situation, and trying to figure out how to get/make/imitate an overflow/sump system.

Reef Central Online Community comes to mind.
 

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By the way - be VERY careful when cleaning that thing out. Acrylic scrapes very easily, and it sounds like your tank is full of very abrasive material (coral, sand, rock.) Don't use anything abrasive to scrub (or anything sharp to scrape) or you'll wreck it.
 

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Mmkay, this is an acrylic 45ish gallon tank (HUGE for me!) which was previously used for saltwater - as evidenced by the coral chunks still in the bottom and the salt residue/smell pervading the thing. This will require me to spend some time in the bathtub with it trying to rinse the crud out.

> Acrylic scratches very easily. Research what works (vinegar?) start on 'hidden' sides to test

1) Do they sell standardized kits for this?

> my sumps use a 20g and 29g glass aquarium.

2) If not, does the water pump thing go on the top of the tank?

> If this tank has an overflow (box or "reef ready") you have an open system where the tank drains under gravity and is then refilled with a pump in the sump. If you have drilled holes below the water level you have a closed system and can hook up a canister. If you can post a picture we can help identify.

3) Should I be worried about fishes going through this thing and being caught in the filter media? (I suppose I only should be worried about this if I get fish that are small enough to get through the holes, or if the fish I DO get have babies...)

> Depends, if you have a prefilter on the overflow they just get into the box. If you don't (my choice) everything (fish, food, snails) get swept to the sump. The sponge filters on on the pump side so I can grow fish as asked in #5.

4) How on earth would such a filtration device clean up the crud on the bottom of the tank? I just can't see it being all that effective.

> Similar to a canister, you are using a strong current to suspend the particles which get transported to the sump never to return. The advantage is that you can use gallons of filter media.

5) Can I raise guppies in the drain tank?

> That should about do it for questions. I'm sure there are ample amounts of folk on here who read this and go: "duh, you just do x y and then z happens and it's easy! I do it all the time!" And you! are just exactly who I want to hear from!

Again a picture would be very nice. You can always buy plugs for the holes so that the sump can be added later :)

You local fish club (GSAS.org) is holding a large plant and livestock auction next month. Great way to get very healthy plants and fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ah-ha! I knew there would be other opinions. :)

The first step, though, for me to set this thing up is to find: Somewhere to put the dang thing! lol...

I will work on getting viable pictures of it tonight when I get home. I took a few but they looked kinda creepy as everything inside of the overflow? sump? area is reflective and the camera turns it a creepy black and green! but I'll stop teasing everyone about pictures and work on it more later.
 

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To use the correct terminology, the box built in to your tank with the slots at the top and the holes in the bottom is the overflow box, or overflow weir as some call it. The "sump" is the container below your stand that the water drains in to.

Here's a great site to learn about sump basics if you're so inclined:

Melevsreef.com | Acrylic Sumps & Refugiums

Keep in mind that most sump literature is targeted at saltwater reef tanks, so it doesn't totally apply to your situation. For instance, Melev has a flow rate calculator on his site to recommend pump sizes, but the rates it suggest would be waaaay overkill in a planted or community freshwater tank.
 

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PS - I'm suprised no one has mentioned this yet, but if you do use an overflow and sump on this tank, you should plan to either add a LOT of CO2 or only keep undemanding plants in the tank, as an overflow and sump create a good amount of surface agitation that will disperse CO2 into the atmosphere.

PS - hope my posts don't sound discouraging, just trying to point out why that sort of tank is not typically used for planted freshwater applications. . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
considering I have YET to use co2 in my tanks at all... I don't think I'll notice a difference, really, so that doesn't discourage me. the only thing that discourages me is the fact that this tank will definately need a stand. I'm definately excited 'cause I finally found a real aquarium store with a real selection of fish and plants and non-clown-puke substrates and... and everything! I might end up going crazy with this tank. :) I might even TRY to do CO2... or I might just continue using an air bubbler *shrug* seems to work for me.
 

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PS - I'm suprised no one has mentioned this yet, but if you do use an overflow and sump on this tank, you should plan to either add a LOT of CO2 or only keep undemanding plants in the tank, as an overflow and sump create a good amount of surface agitation that will disperse CO2 into the atmosphere.

PS - hope my posts don't sound discouraging, just trying to point out why that sort of tank is not typically used for planted freshwater applications. . .
I did mention it. I said if your going to use CO2 injection the sump needs specially setup, and the use of a durso style standpipe in the overflow box is just about a given. If no CO2 the design is a lot less restrictive. Post#6. Youll note I was the first one who suggested that this tank wasnt just 'someone elses crap... and to scrap it', like bastalker said. I didnt want to elaborate further till we found out for sure what was going on. In a traditional sump there is a trickle or wet/dry part which is usually water cascading over bio-balls above the water line. This will just about strip all co2 out of the water. What most have done is to make the drain with a submerged outflow into the sump, and all the media is submerged. Check out DiabloCanines sump journal for an excellent setup with sump filtration in a planted discus tank: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/equipment/28332-sumpin-drillin-cannisterin-away.html
Like I said, if you really want to use this tank and sump filtration its going to take some DIY.

Edit> not sure why the link isnt working just go to "http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/equipment/28332-sumpin-drillin-cannisterin-away.html"
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Just thought of it: I can use the old "clown puke" :hihi: gravel that I just took out of an old tank to help seed the beneficial bacteria for a new tank, hm? Plus, with the heater in the sump and all the tubes and hoses hidden away... this tank could very well look very very nice. It will never be ADA because... well... I really haven't the time to take care of riccia like that! I mostly just wanted to try a fish that gets bigger than my 2.5" colisa lalias (dwarf gouramis) without resorting to goldfish... and angels are pretty. :) (and they eat guppy fry. I admit to having a certain macabre fascination with the idea of a fish that eats other fish in my tank... It's why I keep snails with my bettas. I keep hoping those boys will just eat the snails and they keep failing to do so. wusses.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Like I said, if you really want to use this tank and sump filtration its going to take some DIY.
Oh, indeed. And a free weekend or two. I agree completely. I actually have a pretty hefty water pump that's currently set up as a sponge filter that I can probably rig up to the right size hoses to be the intake. I think i really just need the sump tank, the hoses and a couple other periferals... this might not be nearly as difficult as I had originally thought...
 
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