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FAQs About Sump/Filters Design/Engineering 10

Related FAQs: Sump Design 1, Sump Design 2, Sump Design 3, Sump Design 4, Sump Design 5 Sump Design 6 Sump Design 7, Sump Design 8, Sump Design 9, Sump Design 11, & Sumps/Filters 1, Sumps/Filters 2, Sumps 3, Sumps 4, Sumps 5, Sumps 6, Sumps 7, Sumps 8, Sumps 9, Sumps 10, Rationale, Construction, Sump Components, Pumps/Circulation, Maintenance, Refugiums, Plenums in Reef Filtration, Marine System Plumbing, Holes & Drilling 1, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing Noise, Make Up Water Systems, Marine Aquarium Set-Up, Algal Filtration in General, Mud Filtration 1,

Related Articles: Pressure Locking Sump Baffles; Welcome to the World of Versatility! By Joshua McMillen, Refugiums, Marine Filtration, Reef Filtration, Mechanical, Physical, Marine System Plumbing, Fish-Only Marine Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Refugiums,

Sump Design, reading, using WWM     9/7/12
Hello,    I am planning on a DIY sump for my 30 gallon saltwater tank.  The sump is going to a 20 gallon tank positioned below the display tank.  I was thinking about dividing the tank into three sections, one for the protein skimmer, one for a refugia area and one for the return pump.  With the return pump obviously last, what should be the first section?
<The skimmer usually>
  Also,  to make sure that neither of the tanks overflow I need to match the gallons per hour of the return pump to the gallons per hour or my overflow box correct? 
<Nah, not, nope. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumppumpcircf3.htm
Or is there other details I am overlooking? 
<... and the linked files above>
I also saw a few sump designs were they put ball valves in the return and incoming pipes with a pipe connecting them so that if necessary the sump and the main tank can be separated.  I am shooting for simplicity here because I feel like the more parts I add the more likely I am to mess something up so I was wondering is this necessary or recommended?
<Not necessary or advised w/ such small volume...>
 I am still doing research on the subject but these are a few questions that have surfaced.                             
Thanks a million,         
<Keep reading. We/WWM has a great deal of useful content on the subject/s.
Bob Fenner>

Sump and Pump (Design…Choices) – 07/27/12
Hi Crew,
<<Hey Kevin>>
I had a couple of questions dealing with my sump design and return pump.
I have a tank that is going to be 72x24x28 and will be sitting on a homemade stand approximately 40 inches tall with the sump located directly below. It will have an internal trapezoid overflow with two 11/2 inch Durso standpipes and two returns coming out of the overflow. I was looking at getting a sump built from the tank manufacturer that is 60x24x15 and divided into three sections: protein skimmer, return, refugium, like the picture shows below.
<<I see this, though something does strike me right-off. I would suggest that rather than having the return pump recirculating back to the refugium, that you instead have one of the returns from the tank feed the refugium. The idea is, like the skimmer chamber, to have the refugium process the “raw” water from the tank>>
The return area would be roughly 17x24x15 as well as the refugium. The baffles would be an inch apart or do you think they should be wider?
<<Wider…say 2-inches. These areas are great for placing heaters, media bags, etc.>>
The protein skimmer section would be about 23x24x15. Do you think this is a good design or is there something better for the space you would recommend?
<<I tend to go simply with the biggest aquarium I can find to fit the space, to use for a sump…and even not worry so much about baffles (often not needed), though you can install these yourself if you’re a bit handy. This is a more economical approach as you might imagine. But saying that… I do think your sump is designed pretty well, and likely “custom” is the best way to maximize this space>>
Is the refugium going to be big enough to make a difference?
<<Bigger is better…but it can/will make a contribution. I would suggest adding a ball of Chaetomorpha macroalgae and lighting the section (doesn’t take a lot…see WWM re) on a “reverse-daylight” schedule. The Chaeto provides an excellent matrix for “critter” production. But if the lighting is not something you wish to contend with, you can certainly go with an unlit chamber of live rock>>
Also, I was looking at getting the Super Reef Octopus 5000 protein skimmer for this system. What are your opinions on this skimmer?
<<My current faves are the skimmers from Reef Dynamics (formerly Euro-Reef), but I think this is also a fine choice>>
I will have a total of about 350 gallons and it will be a mixed reef with fish. My last question deals with the return pump. I was going to use a CoralVue Water Blaster pump. What are your thoughts on this pump?
<<Should serve well…though I think it’s hard to beat the Eheim line of pumps>>
Looking at this pump I was looking at two different models, the 7000 which is 1800 gph with 12 feet max head or the 10000 which is 2600 gph with 16.5 feet max head. Would the 10000 be too much?
<<Indeed… With supplemental flow within the tank, you don’t need to run a big return pump. Going smaller here will also eliminate many problems re bubbles, noise, poor plumbing design, et al… Whichever pump you choose, do plumb a gate-valve on the output-side of the pump to allow you to temper flow if needed>>
I will be feeding the refugium
<<Do reconsider this…as I explained earlier>>
and the two return lines and could dial it down if I had to, but I just want to make sure it isn't too much?
<<It’s my opinion you could get by with about 900gph on the return…even less. The slower flow allows better processing of the water through the refugium (longer dwell time), and greatly eases any issues as mentioned>>
Also, I will be using powerheads for flow as well so it is not entirely dependent on the returns.
<<Indeed… Have you looked in to the many options in “propeller pumps” for this purpose? …versus simple powerheads…>>
Thanks again for all your help!
<<Happy to share! EricR>> 


Adding a sump to an existing setup 5/4/12
Hello to all the helpful people @ Wet Web Media.
<Hello there.>
I have a 300 gallon saltwater system that has been up and running for about 3 years now.
The sump is inside the stand and is a mere 40 gallons. I have recently purchased a 180 gallon acrylic sump that I have just finished the plumbing to connect it to the 300 gallon. I still have the 40 gallon sump running on the 300, but am just about ready to start up the 180 gallon sump, but I am concerned about adding 150+/- gallons of water to my system all at the same time. How would I go about doing this?
<It's not a drastic change providing the pH, temperature, and specific gravity are close to that of the main system.  Your livestock should actually benefit from this increased volume of water.  You may need to upgrade your protein skimmer to process the larger volume of water you will have.>
Thanks in advance and keep up the great work. Take care.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> 

HIGHER LOWER OR LEVEL... sump/refugium placement relative to DT   3/3/12
Bob. Hello,
This is the current build spec.
Big Cube DT 110x110x60cm. Rimless Braceless
Pilkington low iron 19mm glass on two sides, double base tempered glass, with three 50mm overflows and two 32mm return bulkheads mounted on an aluminium stand faced by high gloss mirror panels.
Deltec TC 30/70s external skimmer with self cleaning head Two Deltec E-flow 10 return pumps independently plumbed.
Large sump and refugium
Six Ai Sol 40/70 LEDs
Four Vortech MP40s
DaStaCo calcium reactor
Rowaphos FR 509 reactor
Rowacarbon FR 509 reactor
GHL computer
Odds and Ends
<Better all the time>
My question:
Placement of sump/ refugium . I have three options
1 immediately below DT
2 upstairs spare room 12ft higher than DT
<Not this one if you can avoid it>
3 level with but remote from DT in adjacent utility space
Which of the three is least likely to fail:  all else equal. By fail I mean  flood, drain away or overflow. Yeah, I know probably a stupid question.
<<Mmm, well, all could... #2 the definite worse. I'd place below (1),
unless you really want to observe what's going on (3). B>>
Re: HIGHER LOWER OR LEVEL... sump placement
Thank You so its the conventional directly underneath the DT. Presumably option 2 sump high above tank is the worst because of gravity and head pressure.
<With greater additional risk of plumbing issues, leaks>
Although in your Invertebrates book you discuss upstream and downstream  refugium placement and seem there to be saying that beneath the DT is not as good as level, remote or just above the DT even a floor above. However elsewhere you use the phrase 'gravity always lets you down' So, are you saying that refugium upstream and above is ok but not the sump etc or have things changed and the high above option no longer favoured for refugium or sump or anything else?
<All else (rarely the case) being equal, this is the case. However... you are new to the hobby, this gear being expensive... am guessing that seeing, dealing w/ more of the not-so-attractive aspects will detract from your enjoyment... better to hide the sump/refugium>
A second question I believe you and others skip RO and just do DI or is it the other way round..is that true?
<Almost in all cases RO by itself is fine... going the route to deionization is not worthwhile... as you're adding more ions as salts, foods, dissolving substrates...>
Eveans article in WetWeb is positive about RO
<... get/use your own reverse osmosis unit if your water is questionable.
Thank you.
Sump and refugium immediately below display tank.
Ro only- no DI.
Re: HIGHER LOWER OR LEVEL... and water/ SW use trtmt.    3/4/12

Thank You so its the conventional directly underneath the DT. Presumably option 2 sump high above tank is the worst because of gravity and head pressure.
<With greater additional risk of plumbing issues, leaks>
Although in your Invertebrates book you discuss upstream and downstream refugium placement and seem there to be saying that beneath the DT is not as good as level, remote or just above the DT even a floor above. However elsewhere you use the phrase 'gravity always lets you down' So, are you saying that refugium upstream and above is ok but not the sump etc or have things changed and the high above option no longer favoured for refugium or sump or anything else?
<All else (rarely the case) being equal, this is the case. However... you are new to the hobby, this gear being expensive... am guessing that seeing, dealing w/ more of the not-so-attractive aspects will detract from your enjoyment... better to hide the sump/refugium>
A second question I believe you and others skip RO and just do DI or is it the other way round..is that true?
<Almost in all cases RO by itself is fine... going the route to deionization is not worthwhile... as you're adding more ions as salts, foods, dissolving substrates...>
Evans article in WetWeb is positive about RO
<... get/use your own reverse osmosis unit if your water is questionable.
Re: HIGHER LOWER OR LEVEL, sump placement      3/5/12

Bob, How is this for an attempt to have the best of both worlds. A sump immediately below the display tank with the capacity to contain the volume of a  second  upstairs a floor above which will house one or more refugium, skimmer calcium phosphate and carbon reactors i.e.. all the lower flow items.. With the main sump downstairs able to accommodate the upstairs volume then is that at least a partial solution to the problem. Or not at all Robert
<... not what I would do... too much added likelihood of water on the floor... think re transit volumes, power/pump stoppages>

Help with sump/refugium set-up, FOWLR with coral aspirations 1/24/12
Dear WWM
Hi guys I started my marine keeping journey many years ago as a teenager with low money and aspirations, I have kept alive and have had prosper for two years now a pair of Maroon Clownfish, (they seem to have a whiter stripe than the pics I have seen and have never been aggressive), <Unusual.> a 6 <Six> Line wrasse and 4 Orange Lined Cardinal fish.
Due to lack of funds and planning my tank has built up and evolved over the years, please see my magnificent drawing attached. It is a 4 foot tank with a home made 2 foot sump built years ago, with an extra container on the side to mount my protein skimmer with a pump/return into the sump. I am not sure how much love <live> rock I have amassed as I built it up when ever i <please cap "i's" in future emails> had money but I would say 50% of the main display is rock with a few smaller pieces in the sump
My fish are healthy but i struggle with phosphate and nitrate, and my tank has been an algae ridden mess for the longest time, I aspire to have lps corals survive and thrive in the tank but this has been an issue.
<What is your maintenance schedule, changing water, filters, etc.>
I recently built a 108 watt led lighting system with 3 watt Cree leds separated into batched of 36 watts, 50% blue 50 % white, with one strip 36Watt Blue, one strip 36Watt white and, one strip 18Watt blue/18Watt White.
I fear that the sump is not being utilised to its best potential other than adding water volume, how would you recommend using the sump and is there anything i can do with the black container to take advantage of this space other than a place to mount my skimmer such as adding sand macro algae or some kind of filter media?
<I have no idea how large the "black container" is, and where would you put the skimmer if this container is utilized in another way. Are the drawings to scale?>
I tried reading on sump and fuge set-ups but as i have committed to the equipment I have, I'm not sure how to set it up even though i think DSB is the way to go.
<DSBs can be a double edge sword. If sufficient micro fauna is not present in the DSB, it will become a nitrate factory along with the likelihood of emitting hydrogen sulphide gas. I would much rather see you go with a refugium to help control nitrates/phosphates. Other methods are available as well. One effective method is carbon dosing, but good husbandry also goes a long way in reducing dissolved nutrients in your system. May want to read here and related articles/FAQs found in the header.
I look forward to hearing from you
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>

Sump/Refugium Question. Upgrading/moving 1/13/12
Hello Sir,
I have a question that I hope you can solve the confusion due to different advices I got from various people. I know your answer will put me completely at rest. I have a 130 gallon reef tank with the sump/refugium (S/R) and tomorrow it is going to be replaced with a 210 gallon tank. My question is:
1. Must I need to upgrade to a larger S/R to accommodate a larger tank?
<Not necessarily, no... Larger is better, but if yours can at least handle the greater transit volume (the water in play while the pump is running), you will likely be fine w/ the existing S/R>
Some people had told me No because the increased volume is not enough to cause an overflow should the power is disrupted and some had said that a bigger S/R is needed to accommodate a larger tank.
<Mmm, well... I would not trust this statement w/o testing it yourself... DO fill the tank up, with the S/R about half full... turn the pump on... fill the S/R a bit as the water is drained down... and turn off the pump... see how far it refills from the tank above. MARK the level in the S/R as to maximum operational depth of water>
A person told me to use what I have in the mean time and in the future, a bigger S/R can be installed.
2. If I use the current S/R that I have. How difficult is it to install a new S/R in the future without dismantling the tank?
<Not hard at all usually... unless the S/R is built into the stand, otherwise hard to reach, one can just drain down the main/display tank, empty the present S/R, remove, and fit the new one>
One person said that I need to drain off most of the water
<... no, just below the overflow mechanism/s>
but leave enough for the fish, then slide the tank from the stand then insert the new sump. He said this could be done without removing the sand and live rocks.
<If you have help perhaps... better to remove most all>
But then another one said this approach is impossible because it will be too heavy!
I eagerly await your replies.
Dai Chinh Phan
<There you are. Bob Fenner>

New tank build 12/30/11
Hay crew!
I'm planing <planning> a new tank / revamping my current system. I have a new 55 gallon tank that I'm starting, and I plan to tie it into my current 20 gallon nano system, with a 10 gallon display tank and a 10 gallon sump.
<Mmm, this sump is too small... the transit volume (water in play... "running" downhill should/when the pump, power fails, will overwhelm it... and if the power comes back on, the 10 will be pumped dry, burning out the pump likely>
I'm going to keep my 10 gallon tank, and use my other 20 gallon tank as my new sump
<Oh!? Much better>

and just connect all 3 tanks together. I was thinking about putting in a 5 gallon bucket RDSB within that system for nitrate removal.
<Mmm, worth trying>
I was curious if you have any opinions on the use of RDSB.
<Oh yes. Have seen these in place in small hobbyist systems to huge commercial/industrial. Can/do work... But do require watching (so they don't over-clog) and periodic back washing/rinsing/cleaning>
I was also planning on a cycle less set up of the 55 by just adding dry base rock to the new tank and seeding it with a few pieces from my small tank.
<Sounds good>
Thanks for your fish tank wisdom!
<Mmm, maybe knowledge... am still waiting/hoping for wisdom... and I better hurry!>
Best regards.
<And you, Bob Fenner>

sump design 12/1/11
<Hi there!>
I am turning my old drilled 120gal aquarium into my sump for my 220. I just want to make sure the design looks correct and I am not missing anything.
This is the first time not using a premade acrylic. I tried to draw the set up as best I could. Sump will be gravity fed from 1st floor (sump in basement). Refugium will be fed by my Phosban reactor. The bubble trap panels will be 17" tall I forgot to put that in the drawing. The tank is 3/8" glass what thickness glass do you think will be good for the panels.
<1/4" would be my choice. Strong enough to not break while cleaning. No need for thicker here, the panels are not really supporting anything and 1/4" is cheap enough. Two things of note here. First, check to see if your particular 120 has a tempered bottom (I assume it is glass since you are using glass baffles?). Many do, you will not want to drill this! Also, no reason or desire to move water from the sump back to the tank from anywhere but your return chamber. Your refugium will flow to that chamber and moving water from the skimmer chamber directly back to the tank makes for a power costing trip for nothing!>
I don't want to use more than I have to. Thank you Chris
<Welcome, Scott V.>
Oops, didn't see your top view attachment! All looks and will work fine.
No need for the four intakes for the pump unless you want to!
Scott V.

Upgrade... Tank size... sump and lights too? 11/29/11
Hello Sir,
I currently have a 130 G reef
<Mmm, small for Acanthurus leucosternon>
with sump and MH lights. I am considering upgrade to a larger tank so my corals and fish have more room to grow. I am thinking of either 180 or 210 and that being the case, do I need to replace my sump?
<Not necessarily, no>
Also my MH light strip is 72" long and do I need to replace this as well? Thank you! Dai Phan
<Depends on the position, species of photosynthetic life... and your appreciation... BobF>

initial setup, dsb refugium advice -- 10/07/11
Hello, folks! I am in the beginning stages of setup for my newly purchased 180g. I am planning on making this a nice reef tank and am researching/acquiring my gear.
I bought the aquarium and stand only.
I am currently making final decisions on my filtration setup. I have planned to use a 7-8" deep sand bed refugium and have read many of your FAQ's and information on this topic. However, I still have a question regarding the volume of the sand bed with my three possible setups. I know you say the bigger the refugium the better. I'm just not sure how big to go. My three setup options....
The tank will have about 250-300 pounds of Liverock,
<Mmm, I'd start w/ less... avoid a/the "Great Wall"...>
probably T5 or T5/LED combo lighting (trying to avoid MH this time), several Tunze turbelle powerheads for brisk circulation, and a substrate of sand...
Refugium 1) built in the 2nd chamber of this Pro Flex sump;
<Mmm, even the Model 4 is small in many ways... though w/ plenty of nice features. I'd keep looking... maybe fashion your own... Do take a look at friend Marc Levenson's site/offerings: http://www.melevsreef.com/allmysumps.html
Write him for input if so inclined>
Very convenient but a little on the small side. Given the dimensions of the sump, I could easily get a 6-7" deep sand bed in the 2nd chamber (since I won't use bio media there) and place the skimmer in the 3rd compartment. The dimensions of this dsb would be approximately 7" high, 9-10" wide, and ~ 12" deep. Kinda small, huh?....
<Yes; too much so to suit me>
Refugium 2) Use the available space left next to my sump (beneath tank and in cabinet) to build a stand-alone DIY dsb refugium. After the sump is installed, I will have an area ~2.5' long, 2.5' high, and 22" deep left for this. I am considering having a custom tank built to fit in that space so I can maximize the benefits of a dsb while still keeping gear hidden in the stand/cabinet beneath the aquarium.
<A nice idea/possibility>
Refugium 3) Use either my 55 or 75 gallon aquarium (currently not in use) to make a much larger DSB refugium according to your DIY threads/FAQ's. I am willing to do this, but will likely have to build a wall or similar to hide this and not detract from the tank. My better half probably wouldn't want this size of a refugium sitting in our living room....
<Can you fit it underneath... hidden in the stand? Or through a wall elsewhere out of sight?>
Do you think the benefits of #3 would be worth this amount of effort and time (would build wall to hide), or could either of the 1st two options provide plenty of benefit themselves?
<I do... the best of the three separate possible plans>
This will be my first reef tank, and only my second saltwater tank.
All my previous experience was freshwater, primarily Discus. My only concern is getting this setup right so I don't have regrets later.
<I understand>
The knowledgeable LFS owner is going to help me with the installation as soon as I have my gear in order.
<Ahh, very good>
Options are wide open as this guy can do about anything...
Your site has been immensely helpful. I have also frequented some reef forums and sponge info from my LFS, as well. I don't want to bug you,
<Not a bother>
but you might hear back from me with my list of gear and the exact setup to make sure I am making the best decisions for my future inhabitants. Thanks!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: initial setup, DSB refugium advice -- 10/07/11

Thanks for the link, Bob. Marc's 80g sump with the large refugium in front looks perfect for what I need and I would like to contact him.
<Do please say hello for me>
However, I am having trouble using the Microsoft Outlook email link he has as contact on his website. Would you by chance have his email so I can contact him without going through Outlook? Thank you!
<S/b: melev@swbell.net

General Sump Questions...on the verge! 9/17/11
<Hello Dustin>
Ok, guys, I'm finally about to pull the trigger on this thing and lay down the cash for the parts I need. My 40 gallon breeder has a 1" bulkhead, 1" schedule 40 PVC (Durso standpipe configuration). I know this should give me roughly 300-400 gph of draining (enough for the 40?). The stand is 30". Any suggestions on a quality return pump that won't die out in a year?
<I've been using the Mag pumps and they never gave me any problems.>
I'm planning on using a single return line, and powerheads on timers to make up the rest of the water flow and add some "random" current (unless there is a way to accomplish a similar effect with return plumbing. Anything that clutters the tank less is appreciated).
<Might want to check into the EcoTech programmable powerheads. The MP10 would work well for your tank.>
I'm also rethinking trying to recycle my CPR SR3 for the skimmer in this sump, as I'd prefer something that can really try to process the water more on its first pass.
<Best to get a quality skimmer that is rated for twice the capacity of your tank.>
(The 20g sump plan is to empty into the skimmer...not sure if I'll utilize a filter sock or not. From the skimmer over baffles into a 5" DSB with some Chaeto, then through more baffles to the return.)
Thoughts? Links? Endorsements?
<What you are doing sounds good so far. We do not endorse any products although we can
recommend/suggest. James (Salty Dog)>
Re General Sump Questions...On The Verge! 9/19/11

Much obliged for the suggestions, James! I had read too many stories of people getting sub-par pumps and powerheads, just to have them break down on them after less than a year.
<Like anything else, you get what you pay for.>
I clean mine out every 4 months or so, so hopefully maintenance in combination with a quality product will lead to a longer life span for this gear.
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

New 540LTR Tank with 280LTR Sump (Opinions...You Bet!) -- 06/03/11
G'day Crew,
<<G'day Rick'¦ It appears your email may have been lost in the shuffle somewhere and has only just landed in my box. Apologies for the delay (or if I'm piggybacking someone's earlier reply)>><Yes Eric... apologies. I found it, and placed it to you. B>
I'm looking for opinions on the design, plumbing and pump capacities of my new build.
<<Happy to offer my opinions>>
I've got myself a new tank to combine the several Nanos I've been running around the house for 5 or so years.
<<I see>>
The Sump I've built is based on Mr. Garrets' design over at Reef Eden (whom I hope is ok as he hasn't replied to any of my emails over the past several months). Some info on the Display Tank: Reefer 520, 540 liters (roughly 142 US Gallons), 3 x 120 Watt banks of custom built LED lights (each include 42 x 14000K, 21 x 5500K, 42 x 454nm and 14 x UV)
<<I like the combination of 14000K and 5500K here, though I would prefer the number of LEDs for each be 'reversed' for reasons of better output and more usable wavelengths'¦but still, this will likely serve you fine>>
all individually controlled by a custom designed PIC controller that replicates Sunrise through sunset and a 29.5 day moon cycle.
All of which have a built in random 20-50% dim to simulate cloudy days and nights)
<<This is a nice feature'¦ I'm still a MH guy at the moment (not yet convinced the LEDs match my MH lighting for overall appearance and intensity), but admit the 'controllability' of the LEDs has me intrigued>>
I will be running 2 microprocessor controlled wave pumps (4800-10,000 Lph ea.) on random settings at each end of the tank on the base near the front. A 19,500 Lph wave maker (Variable) at the top on right side of the tank to provide surface movement and also encourage flow from the surface to the weir (situated back Left of tank). I am also considering a closed-loop circulation pump on the bottom of the tank (4000 Lph) with outlets at the rear facing the base of the live rock to force collected detritus to the front where it will be picked up by the bottom wave pumps. Do you think I'll need this as well?
<<I am a fan of A LOT of flow, but I would not bother with the/a closed-loop'¦too much pump/heat/energy/engineering involved for the benefit realized. I would stick to the propeller pumps of your choice for providing water movement'¦and do consider/research utilizing a 'Gyre' type flow pattern>>
I'm starting to think all my fish will end up pushed up against the glass of the tank with this much flow......
<<You would be surprised what they can tolerate'¦indeed'¦what they require and enjoy! And with a Gyre type flow system/pattern you can provide an enormous amount of flow yet the fishes still have areas of varying flow strength to choose where to 'dwell.' And though not necessary, I do also like to set my pumps to provide a lesser flow rate during 'lights out''¦maybe as much for just a change, as anything else>>
The Sump:
280 Lt (roughly 72 US Gallons)
Marine Sources Protein Skimmer 900 Lph
8" DSB (CaribSea Aragamax 0.2-1mm Dia)
2FT Double HOT5 24W
Return Chamber houses a 10000 Lph float controlled return pump and a 4000Lph Pump to feed the HC-500A Chiller.
<<Looking at your diagram, I would not use this configuration (two pumps flowing through a single return line). Too complex, and too hard to control flow through the chiller. Either plumb the chiller on its own back to the tank'¦or better yet, use the smaller pump for your 'return pump' and simply plumb the return back to the tank through the chiller. I really don't think you need the larger pump here'¦and will likely have issues with noise, bubbles, etc. if you use this much pump to flow through the sump>>
Water flow- down through mechanical filter
<<Will need cleaning/exchanging a minimum of once a week>>
into Protein Skimmer Chamber,
<<Very good>>
Also a "T" take-off feeding directly into the DSB to provide around 1/6th of total waste laden water for DSB feeding.
<<Also good>>
Output from Skimmer fed directly into DSB to provide oxygenated water to DSB
<<Not necessary, but okay>>
Remainder flows over left baffle and passes under the DSB where it is mixed with overflow from DSB (the Right end of the DSB is lower than the Left and the middle baffle on the right is lower again to prevent flow back into the DSB). The mixed "critter laden water" from the DSB and pre filtered water from under the DSB are mixed and flow into the final reservoir passing through a egg crate grate into the return chamber.
<<Reads as a nice sump design>>
My questions:
Your opinion on total design?
<<I have a few comments as you can see, and aside from the return pump/chiller pump issue as I outlined, this sounds like a fine overall design>>
I have 2 x 500W Titanium Heaters
<<More than enough (300W heaters would be plenty big, in my opinion)>>
- temp is simultaneously digitally controlled and monitored, I was considering placing one in the Return Chamber of the sump and one in the Display tank (any other thoughts?)
<<Keep 'both' in the sump'¦no need to unnecessarily clutter the display here>>
The return pump has 2 outlet size options ID 19mm and ID 38mm. The return pipe through the weir into the Display tank is OD 20mm. The chiller inlet and outlet sizes are 19mm. Would you consider using the 19mm outlet to match the 4000 Lph pump using 19
mm flex into the chiller then 19 mm out of the chiller into a "T" inserted above the return pump? Or would I be better using the 38mm out of the return pump through a 38mm"T" with a 19mm input to the "T" from the Chiller.
<<I would choose the latter just to allow maximum possible flow from the pump'¦but with a gate-valve plumbed in-line right after the pump to allow adjustment when/if needed>>
Considering the return pipe back into the main tank is only 20mm I didn't figure it would make much difference but I'm not the expert here.
<<Don't sell yourself short'¦you're doing fine>>
Is it possible the return pump will create a venturi effect and suck water through the chiller damaging the chiller pump? Or the rate of flow from the return pump flowing back into the chiller?
<<I do think the design is flawed, yes>>
Any Ideas, options, thoughts would be most appreciated before I get too more involved.
<<You have 'em>>
Kindest regards to you and yours,
Rick from Oz
<<And to you and yours in kind. Eric from SC>>
PS. I Have some weird ID pics for you but that can wait for another post. (I have an alien in my marine tank ;o)
And for those who think Mandarins' can't be trained to feed on frozen food or breed in captivity - you are incorrect..... most impressive sight I've seen in the hobby, watching the courting process of my 2 Psychedelic Mandarins :0)
<<Indeed'¦wild-caught Mandarins 'can' be taught to feed and can even thrive, under the right conditions and care'¦but the 'tank bred' offerings coming more available are still the 'much better option' for the vast majority of hobbyists. Cheers'¦ EricR>>

Re Sand/Substrates/Now Sumps, sizing 5/17/2011
Ok I'm looking to build a sump fr <for> a 4foot 2foot 2 foot. All I have that<v>would fit underneath is a 35gal 36 x 12x 18. Is this big enough?
Pump skimmer and live rock going into sump.
<Is large enough. James (Salty Dog)

Sump planning, using WWM 5/5/11
Hello I will finally b starting up my 125gal tank saltwater. Will b using a sump with pump and protein skimmer submersed in it. It's a 40 long gallon tank. Looking to put in baffles. Do I use glass or acrylic baffles?
<Like for like... glass for glass...>
What would b the smartest design?
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm
the second tray...>
I know 1st chamber live rock then skimmer then last chamber return pump.
Maybe leave a space for refugium in future. Can u pls draw me the best configuration? Thanks
<... keep reading. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sump planning
Thanks needle in a haystack endless posts! Looking to c diagrams
<See instructions on writing us, using WWM. Learn to/use the search tool, indices. B>
Re: Sump planning 5/5/11
Interesting I read about using epdm foam stripping on baffles in sump instead of silicone. Is this safe in saltwater environment? Can it b used with glass baffles??thank you
<... some people consider this safe. B>

'Detritus run' feasibility, sump des., maint. 3/17/11
Dear Crew
<Hey Joe>
My current sump is split into three sections: 1) input & skimmer, 2) lit refugium and 3) return pump & heater chamber. Detritus forms in the second section (which has no substrate), and in the third section; in both these sections the flow is gentle/slow enough to allow this.
Following from this knowledge, would it be feasible, in a new sump design, to incorporate a long dog-leg 'detritus run' to allow sediment to settle out of the water, before reaching any sort of skimmer or DSB zone?
<Mmm, likely so. Many folks use a couple of polyester mechanical filter bags (more than one so they can have a spare to be cleaned, drying) over their discharge (into the sump) plumbing lines to catch such "mulm">
Please see the attached diagram, where the blue arrow indicates at what point water would enter the sump.
<I see this>
Is there any way of calculating how long/wide this channel would have to be, as compared to total flow through the sump, to facilitate an effective 'sedimentation' of mulm and detritus?
<Mmm, there likely is, but I don't know this... there are other factors to consider as well...>
Any help that you could provide would, as ever, be highly appreciated.
<I'd use (and clean often) the bags... My fave source "Emperor Aquatics". Bob Fenner>

Sump design 1/25/11
Hi there how far has your day gone?
<Good day Ingrid,>
I have a question regarding the different compartments a SUMP must or should have.
<Have you read all the sump FAQ's here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm >
I have read some people have the skimmer before the return pump, and others have the skimmer right where the overflow falls,
<Having the skimmer in a compartment which has a stable water level is important to skimmer function. Changing water levels affect how the skimmer produces skimmate. An unstable water level would lead to a nightmare trying dialing in your skimmer.>
My question is what is the best way to adjust or set up my sump?
<There is a nice diagram of an option here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marfiltdesf.htm . In all honestly, its up to the individual. Each have their preferences. Read, read, read, and decide what is best for your own setup and desires.>
And what should I add to it apart from the skimmer?
<That is up to you. A refugium after the skimmer but before the pump sounds nice though. Maybe with a BSB.>
Carbon, bio balls, ceramic balls, foam, live rock sand, etc etc ...any other additions or should I remove some?
<Is it FOWLR, or reef? If FOWLR, bio-balls are acceptable. For a reef, Live Rock in the display is best for ammonia conversion. Carbon is nice. And Bob would say Ozone, I think.><<Likely so>>
Thank You
<Best Wishes,>
Ingrid Leija
<Scott T.>

Sump/Refugium Construction 1/9/11
Hello all and sundry,
Hope all is well where ever in the world you are. We just enjoyed about 8cm of snow here in Toronto, quite nice really. Anyways, I've been planning, and thinking, and reading and replanning how I'm going to go about building my Sump/Refugium combo, for my 65g reef tank. I've attached a .gif of my current drawing, and my questions will be based on this. I'm probably not going to be building this until we're swimming in the lake again, so I've got a lot of time for revisions.
<Haha, there are nuts that wait until weather like that to swim!>
The basic idea is, it will be all acrylic construction, exact dimensions are not yet set. Water will leave my tank via an over-flow box (yes I know, due warnings heard, and mostly accounted for in the plan), and enter the sump into chamber 1. This is where my skimmer will be (Red Sea Berlin Triple Pass). From chamber one, water will be removed into my Eheim classic, and returned via a spray-bar into the refugium (green box, I left water out of it for the sake of cleaner lines in the drawing), above chamber 4, where it will pass along happily and back out the bulkhead back into chamber 1.
The refugium will sit on top of the dividers between chambers 2-4, and lifts out. It will contain a DSB, macro-algae, and maybe even some mangroves, if I can get them. The whole thing will be lighted with a 6500k PC on a reverse lighting schedule.
<I would be very hesitant to have the refugium resting on the dividers.>
Chamber 1 overflows into 2, which overflows into 3, which overflows into 4, which (finally) overflows into 5. Chamber 5 is where my return pump is, and is also where I will top-up and dose . With 4-5 gallons of water in chamber 5, there will be enough space in my display tank in case the siphon breaks in the over-flow box, and the worst that will happen is I will loose my return pump. Yes, I would rather not, but replacing a pump is significantly cheaper then repairing the potential water damage.
So now the questions:
In this drawing, I've made chambers 2-4, three separate chambers, which would allow for three different "things", is this a positive/beneficial idea, or should I just drill holes between the low dividers (the ones supporting the refugium) to allow for through-flow of the water, effectively combining them into a single partitioned chamber?
<I would just make it one chamber. Access will be a hassle with the refugium on top and constantly moving it is not the best.>
If not, what could I use these chambers for? I had assumed just lots more live rock, but is there any benefit in using, say, different sizes in different chambers (crumbles, chunky etc)?, or something like crushed coral in one, LR in another, and, I don't know, Oyster shells in the third?
<Either can work fine. Some do this to try and increase pod production. I vote and use just a dedicated refugium.>
Would I do better to move the over-flow holes in the partition between 1 and 2 to the bottom of the partition, so that they are the same water-depth, then fill chamber 2 with something the water would then have to fully flow through? (this is assuming I don't make 2-4 a single partitioned chamber)
Would it make sense to add extra support for the refugium, and add partitions like the drawing Sump-Fuge-drawing2.gif, creating this forced flow-through in all three centre chambers?
<I would do as in figure 2. Not only is the extra support a good idea, but having over/under baffles will help you with microbubbles. Having just over baffles can splash into the next chamber and make microbubbles a problem.>
What do you like/want to see/want to see changed? Have I missed anything?
<Looks and sounds fine. For my time and money I would simply make the middle chambers one larger chamber and put the refugium there.>
Thanks very much,
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Sump Question (not so simple) -- 11/02/10
<<Hey Barry>>
I just bought a used 240g acrylic tank set up that needs a sump and skimmer.
I would like a refugium also.
<<An excellent addition>>
What good brands are there with this combination for this size tank?
<<For a sump and refugium'¦MyReefCreations.com, Glasscages.com, and others to be found by searching the Net. But if you are handy at all, it is much cheaper to DIY your own. A simple search of the Net will find plans for such. For skimmers'¦my first choice would be one from Reef Dynamics (formerly Euro-Reef), but other good choices are the offerings from AquaC, H&S, Tunze, Deltec, Bubble King, Octopus, and others. I do suggest you research all well, and buy the best you can afford>>
Also my return outlets are 5 inches below the water line, so in case of a power outage it would drop to this point.
<<This tank has no overflow skimmer to control the water height? I suggest you don't run the tank at 5-inches above plain open drain bulkheads. Any misbalance between pump and drains will result in water on your floor as the drains will certainly be maxed-out (likely running at "siphon" rate) leaving you no room for error -- plus you lose the advantage of skimming the accumulated "film" from the surface of the water. You will need to either add a horizontal overflow (assuming you are handy enough/can find someone to help with this), or use something like PVC 90-degree ells to raise the point at which water enters the drains. If you have an LFS that provides custom setups/maintains service accounts they should be able to help you with this -- though fitting 90-degree PVC ells to your drain bulkheads (with bushings if necessary) is really quite simple to accomplish>>
The tanks dimensions are 8' x 2' x 2'. I need to know how big I should go with the sump to prevent flooding of the floor.
<<That depends much on what you do re a skimmer (box or ells) for your drains and the resulting water height above them, along with the volume of water "running" through your plumbing -- and also whether or not the refugium will drain down in to the sump as well. But'¦ Using your original assumption of the water height being 5-inches above the drains (and still not recommended), and adding another 10-gallons for plumbing volume (likely more than necessary), you will need a sump configured to handle a minimum of 60-gallons of "transient" water volume should the power go off. If we assume the "working" volume of the sump will be roughly half of the sump's capacity that means you would need a sump with a minimum 120-gallon total capacity. Now having a large sump (and refugium) is great if you have the space, but if this is too large keep in mind you will be able to go smaller once you work out your drain skimmer issue. If you decide to go with a manufactured sump versus DIY, discuss your system with the company and let them help you with finalizing a size and configuration to suit>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Re: The Constant Battle and the Warriors who survive... Now 'fuge design 5/28/10
Bob thanks for the quick response I just had an idea I would like to get your input on. I currently have a rapids pro wet dry filter in use on my system. If I was to place the filter in a Rubbermaid tub and place it under my tank could I modify it and turn it into a full blown sump with a refugium using a grow light from Lowes or Home Depot?
<Mmm, yes... do spray paint the fixture to reduce rusting>
Would that be enough light for live rock and macro algae?
I could also then remove the bioballs in my rapids pro and possibly cut down on some nitrate production by utilizing
live rock and macro in the new refugium.
<A good idea>
Only thing is the protein skimmer and return pump are located in the same chamber and the refugium would be
chamber 2. Would I need to try to dismantle the rapids pro modify it and use the return pump in the last chamber?
<You could>
This concept would give me a full blown sump, maybe result in a lot less nitrate production and then I'm not wasting
money spent on the rapids pro. Also I'd still be getting to use the protein skimmer it came with. What are your thoughts on this? Would it be helpful or more of a waste of money?
<I think this project is very worthwhile. BobF>
Jeremy Wright

Will this sump setup work? 05/07/10
Hello again, Crew. My tank has arrived and it's now down to business of plumbing and setting up the sump/refugium. Due to me wanting to stay happily married it's kind of essential that I keep as much stuff as I can inside the stand, including the quarantine tank (This unfortunately includes a gravity draining refugium above the display tank). I know it's not ideal but it's where I'm at.
The display tank is a 55 gallon (36" L x 17" W x 18" H) with a 6" x 24" trapezoidal rear overflow. The three 1.5" drain lines will feed into a 2" manifold. A "T" fitting with a gate valve will direct some unskimmed water into the refugium section while the bulk of the flow will be directed through a filter sock into the skimmer chamber. Water will leave the skimmer chamber to the return chamber via over/under baffles. A 3/4" PVC line will handle the overflow from the refugium to the return chamber. A Mag 12 pump will feed a 1" return line up about four feet to a "T" fitting and 3/4" closed loop circulation system.
I attached a diagram of what I'm thinking of doing. Each square on the diagram is 1". I'm going to DIY the tanks from 1/4" acrylic and they'll all be 16" deep. I know it looks awkward but I placed the quarantine tank like that so I can pull it out and sterilize it between uses.
My main question is this: Do you think this will work? Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks again,
<This design can be made to work. Am wondering why the refugium isn't located next to the Mag/Sump area, connected by an underflow baffle as well... Bob Fenner>

Re: Will this sump setup work? 05/07/10
Mr. Fenner,
<Hi Stephan>
First, let me thank you very much for taking the time to respond personally. Receiving "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" as a gift and devouring it as fast as I could inspired me to return to the hobby after a
nearly 20 year hiatus. I am enjoying myself immensely and owe it to you and your book.
<Ahh, deeply gratifying to realize I've had a positive effect, influence, helped you>
I guess the diagram isn't as clear as I thought (often a problem for me).
The open space directly below the quarantine tank and return chamber is meant to indicate the cabinet door. The reason for separating it to the other side of the quarantine tank is two-fold:
1. By having separate tanks I can fit more volume in under the stand without having to disassemble the stand to insert them
2. If I use the traditional refugium/return chamber/sump design then I won't be able to remove the quarantine tank without considerable trouble.
<Yes, agreed to both>
Thanks again for your valuable time and input.
<Thank you for sharing. BobF>
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