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FAQs About Sump/Filters Design/Engineering 9

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 10, 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 Woes, The Frustrated And Perplexed Seeking Advice and Help 5/3/10
I have a problem with sumps perhaps you can help me with.
<Will try>
I have a 12 gallon saltwater tank currently. (It is an acrylic Marineland Eclipse 12, bow front type.) It has one 9 watt mini light. The current filtration type is a carbon cartridge Bio-Wheel type. I have a sintered
airstone bubbling in the tank and a submersible UV sterilizer with an adjustable water flow outlet. I am getting an Oceanic protein skimmer (about 8 in. tall or so). I also have a small water pump (capable of
pumping 80 gph) It sticks to the inside of the tank with suction cups. The water pump has a small line going from it to the carbon filter already in place in the tank (this is a small modification I made myself. I did this
in hopes of helping water filtration a little. Let me know if I am wrong on this.
<Mmm, there is such a thing as "over-driving" any such filter functionally, but you're likely fine here>
This modification can be changed or removed if needed). I have reef sand substrate and several decorations and fake plants. (I do not do well with real plants, so the fake ones are a real godsend for me.) I also have 1
peppermint shrimp, 1 Nassarius (pardon if my spelling is wrong here, sometimes I do not spell very well)
<Oh! I learned/improved your spelling greatly over years time by using spell and grammar checkers... Easy to do, even fun>
snail, and 2 fish (1 red head goby and 1 filefish) in the tank. I plan on adding a inertia (again pardon me if the spelling is wrong here) snail and a Cerith (again please forgive me if my spelling is lousy here) snail to help
with an algae problem I also seem to be having. (Let me know if I am overstocking or anything.)
<Firefish species need more room/volume than this. See WWM re>
But my real problem is this:
I have heard sumps are wonderful for marine tanks. I have looked into obtaining one for my 12 gallon tank. I had no luck. All the sumps I found were too large and cost way too much.
<Mmm... you can make one yourself out of most anything that is chemically inert and holds water... Read here:
and the linked files above>
And I do not have room for another aquarium sized tank in my tiny place of residence (even one that is 1 or 2 gallons would be pushing my luck).
<Mmmm, troubles with such small volumes, moving water twixt>
I looked into making one myself ( a DIY style sump). No luck there either.
I tried making one. But all I wound up doing was making a mess. Silicone sealant all over my hands (which fortunately comes off easily, but it is still sticky and gooey, and takes forever to peel off your hands), water
from the tank on the floor (saltwater and wood floors do not mix and the water makes the whole house smell), and the two pumps I bought (cheaply fortunately) did not work together
<!? Don't do this!>
well enough to control the water flow adequately (even with control valves), and not to mention the stress on the poor fish (my red head goby came down with a case of Ich, most likely from all the stress. Poor little
thing!) Anyway, do you have any thoughts on what I might do? Is a sump really something that would help a tank that is only 12 gallons?
<Yes... but am given to suggest you save up, locate a space for a larger system period... perhaps use the existing one for acclimation, isolation,
Do they make sumps small enough for a tiny tank like mine? What could I try that I have not already tried besides a sump or overflow boxes for water filtration? Any help here would be appreciated.
Thank you for your time.
<Best for you to read, learn to search, peruse WWM. Bob Fenner>

Improving Nano tank sump/DSB 2/26/10
Hello Crew,
<Hi Stan>
I have a question about "fixing" the shallow sand bed in my sump, but first a brief system description...
I have a 29g display with around 40lbs of live rock and base rock, with an overflow into a 20g (long) sump. The sump has an Aqua Remora skimmer in the first chamber, then a refugium area that is about 18 inches long, with a 5-6 inch layer of (very) live rock rubble suspended on an egg crate rack over a shallow (1-2 inches) bed of live sand. Water flows over this area, and the live rock rubble is covered with tunicates <Nice!> and small feather duster-like worms. This spills over into a pump chamber housing a Marineland 3000 pump, which goes to a SCWD that I have estimated to be flowing around 450gph. Display is lit by a set of 65w PC bulbs for 11 hours a day. The sump is not lit.
<Really? Your system might benefit from this.. have you read WWM re?>
Primary inhabitants are a single purple Condy (which is large and beautiful), a few Mushrooms, one Gorgonian, a single Rock Anemone, a Green Brittle Starfish, a few Hermits and Snails, and a huge bristle worm. <No fish? Unusual>. I will not add any more livestock other than either some Peppermint Shrimp or a pair of Coral Banded Shrimp.
My question is what is the best course to take regarding the sand in the sump? I don't want to compromise the fauna on the rock there, or risk an event with the sand that's already there. I feel like the shallow depth is a time bomb of sorts, and I am leaning toward adding sand (1mm or smaller) an inch at a time, covering 50% of the bed at a time, until I get it to an acceptable depth (is 3" enough, or should I go deeper?).
<I would either remove an inch, or, better, add several inches, one inch at a time, a month at a time. To a total of not less than 4 inches, preferably 5-8>
If removing the sand altogether from the sump is best, I will go that route.
<I would not. This is a habitat for a multitude of animals>
My display is 1" or less.
Thanks for all your efforts at putting together and maintaining such a super website!
<No problem, although most of the work has been compiled by 'older' crewmembers than me!>
On a personal note, you were very helpful a while back in setting up what has been my favourite tank in my past 20 years of aquarium keeping, and it is looking very much like the Caribbean biotope I was going for.
<That's marvelous news!>
I did cave when I saw the Anemone, but have been resolute in not adding a fish to the aquarium as I feel it would be irresponsible.
<Could indeed be. I am not an expert here, but I don't think this Anemone is easily paired with Clowns, and is definitely a danger to other fishes>
I committed myself to waiting for the tank to mature, and this has made all the difference!
<Patience pays!>
The fun my family and I have watching all the tiny creatures in and around the rock has more than compensated for the lack of fish and heavy coral stocking I see in similar tanks.
<Outstanding Stan! There certainly are several different ways to 'skin a cat'>

Sump And Skimmer Question, des./sel. 1/21/10
Hello, Hope all is well today.
<Is OK now that my annual physical is done with. I think my doctor had a large ring on when he did a particular exam. Yuk.>
I have a 55g FOWLR and a 34g reef tank. I am in the process of upgrading and I have two 135g tanks that are in the planning stages of becoming my new FOWLR and reef tanks. I am trying to decide on what skimmer/skimmer's I want to use before I pick out my return pumps. I've heard that you want the same flow through the sump as the skimmer pumps flow rate, for the skimmer to be at max efficiency. Is there any truth to this?
<Not that I'm aware of. Most decent skimmers do not process that much water per hour, at least compared to what a required pump would put out properly matched with your size tank.>
I am playing with the idea of doing a large stand alone DIY skimmer and have it feed both sumps. I haven't really seen any pros or con's of doing one skimmer for two tanks. So my options are set up both tanks separately, 135g tank with 75g sump each and have two skimmers. One large DIY skimmer stand alone (as mentioned above), or I have an acrylic 180g that I could setup as the sump and plumb both tanks to it, and use one giant skimmer.
One last question, if I did both tanks plumbed separately, could I use the ASM-G1X off of my 55gallon setup on one of the tanks, or do you think that the ASM would be too small for a 135g setup? Sorry for the long set of questions.
<The problem I have with a community sump is that if a disease outbreak should occur in one tank, it can quickly spread to the other tank. I'm in favor of a separate
sump and skimmer for each tank. The other negative factor is if you have a problem with the skimmer, both tanks suffer. The ASM-G1X is rated for a 150 gallon tank and is powered by a Sedra 3500 pump. This should be fine for a 135 provided the tank is not heavily stocked with fish.>
Extremely thankful for your time,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Sump design thoughts 9/2/2009
Dear Crew,
Thanks again for having such a wonderful site. Perhaps one of these days when I stop buying aquarium equipment I can make a donation =).
I have been considering a better way to improve my filter system in my 125g reef tank. Right now it has a 2"-3" live sand bed, about 60lbs of live rock in the display tank, (working on getting another 70+lbs when I can...here and there) and a 30g aquarium baffled out with one empty chamber (water input also gets siphoned out when waste accumulates), one chamber for the skimmer, and one chamber for a refugium (about 13" long with a 3 - 4" live sand/miracle mud mixture planted with various Caulerpa, mostly prolifera, lit 24/7). It has been working....though I don't think my wife's stocking ideas are helping matters any (sometimes its frustrating to come home and find a new "tank mate" swimming/crawling around....especially when its a CC Star in a reef tank!!) .
<Ah no... Perhaps taking your spouse about when you both can visit LFS, even to local to regional meetings, a conference...>
We have enough outside sources causing issues in our tanks...one could always do with one less...but I don't really want to get rid of my wife...
<Ah, no... better to incorporate, amalgamate your interests, values, goals... by far. Elements of your relationship>
so I am hopeful things settle down as she learns. So I went on a mission to try and put something better together to help augment my wife's habits until one day she figures it out.... hopefully soon.
<Maybe she could/would like a system of her own?>
Anyway, I came across some excellent deals to start my new filter system:
1 Little Giant 4-MDQX-SC $2.00 (not a typo...actually $2.00. It even still works and looks brand new)
1 Oceanic Trickle Filter 250 sump $20 (going to require me to install baffles, since it is basically an empty tank, but surely worth every penny, since it has the bulk heads already factory installed, and glass for my baffles with cost me a fraction of a new $300-$400 sump) so naturally I started planning everything out in my head, and wanted some input, and I thought "who better to go to than WWM?" So, I really hope you guys can give me some input.
Question #1. Now I have been spending a lot of time here, and decided in my new sump design to stay away from the bioballs due to the negative response in most cases (of course my brother argues left and right that they are the staple in any quality wet/dry system, or they wouldn't be there....yadda yadda...I told him to go read =).
Anywho, my question is: can I/should I use something else in it's place?
<I would, yes>
Something along the lines of refugium rubble/smaller chunks of live rock, SeaChem's De-Nitrate, or Eheim Substrat. Will these still lead the designated chamber to an eventual "factory"?
<Mmm, no... these materials are different than the two dimensional material called/labeled "balls" in being 3-D, having small spaces that are hypoxic-anoxic where organisms that live in low to no oxygen "do" the opposite reaction series: denitrification>
I plan on having a filter sock on the water input to the sump, as well as building a shelf (egg crate with some finer mesh to stop the media from falling through the holes) for said media to rest on with a powerhead underneath to push water up in the hopes that the added flow will continue to keep more of the particulate matter the sock might have missed, suspended in the water column to be either be skimmed out or removed via a Lifeguard mechanical filter on the return line after the sump.
<Do plan on frequent disassembly, cleaning of the cartridge... at least weekly... with a substitute cartridge to clean, let air dry twixt cleaning cycles>
I don't remember coming across anything addressing this, but I am prone to mistakes, and maybe I just over looked it. With an additional 70lbs of LR am I going overboard with bio filtration?
<Indeed, not>
Question #2. I am planning on getting a few additional components from Lifeguard systems - the mechanical and chemical modules.
<Mmm... I would interject a comment: I am not a fan of this line... for a few reasons I'll state: For one, their design is flawed in making water flow through two 90 degree turns per module, requiring a good bit of pump pressure; two, they're limited in volume for inserting/using media... lastly, they require too much time, effort to service... I would instead just rely on the filter sock, and place other media in area/s of your new sump, in Dacron bags, that can be re-used>
I want to run a ball valve in between the mechanical and chemical module, so that when I run the carbon, I can turn the valve on and off (really to use it on an "as needed" basis, while still allowing whatever particulate matter missed (from the above mentioned) to be filtered out through the mechanical filter. Am I taking this concept to far, over thinking, and actually causing myself to have more headaches, or is this somewhat of a good idea, and worth investing the money?
<I wouldn't go this route>
I guess I am just not a fan of "filter socking" carbon, and I feel much more at ease when I know there is virtually no water bypassing any step of the filtration process.
<Enough flow can/will get through if such media is bagged, placed in a flow area twixt baffling...>
Question #3. Should I just forget about question 1, and build a larger version of the one I have, with 1 chamber dedicated to skimming, and the other for the refugium (though this time I think I will stick to Chaeto), ensuring that none of the water passing into the fuge makes it past skimming?
<Could, but I wouldn't necessarily>
Thanks for taking the time to read/respond. I just really needed some other outside input, before I can fully justify it to my myself....and my wife (she always thinks I am doing something wrong...lol). I am sure if there is a flaw in my plan you guys will certainly let me know.
Thanks again,
<Enjoy the process. Bob Fenner>

DIY Sump: A novel idea, but with a few pitfalls. 8/28/2009
Hi guys
<Hi Mike>
I'm looking to construct a new reef tank. I've decided to sump it rather than use canister filters as I have done on my much smaller reef tanks.
<Sounds good..
My tank is going to be well stocked and about 200 litres in volume.
<53 gallons for our readers challenged by the metric system>
I have enclosed plans for a sump I've designed, I wondered if you could look over it and see if it has any shortcomings?
<It is a novel, space saving design, but I can see one glaring problem and three that could be either serious or an annoyance, depending upon your view: A top down view would have been very helpful in this case to help visualize as well.>
1. As you have drawn it, with water entering the top skimming area and then dropping down a sluice to a refugium, there is going to be a fair amount of suspended weight which could deflect or fail at some point
without additional reinforcement or thicker acrylic than you may have planned for.
2. The sluice between the skimming area and the refugium will be extremely difficult to clean, as will the live rock area.
3. It may be difficult to get the proper amount of light to the refugium.
4. I don't see this as something that is going to be easy to assemble
Cheers guys
<My pleasure.>

Baffled about baffles 6/23/09
Hi friends.
<Hello Jason.>
I am delving deeper into my inconsistent skimmer production. A year ago I bought a 125 gallon tank with a 30 gallon sump. It has a nice Euro-Reef skimmer. Off the top of my head, I can't remember what model it is and I don't want to pull it out of the sump to check as that would involve a bit of monkey business. I know it's rated for my 125 anyway as the fella I bought it from knew his stuff pretty well I'm sure. Anyway, the sump is rigged according to the way he laid it out and I'm not sure it's baffles are in the right place for the water line to stay level for the skimmer. I know the skimmer is supposed to be sitting in about 6-8" of water according to what I have read from your posts.
<About right for this skimmer, yes.>
But as it sits now, it's in about a foot of water which is equal to the "max fill" line in my sump for the water I tried to find a diagram for my particular skimmer to see how the baffling should be but haven't found any help. I will explain how mine is set up.
From left to right, the skimmer is first, which also has the drain water coming in from the tank.
The first baffle is glued to the bottom of the sump and is about 6" tall.
Then there's a gap and the next baffle is about a foot tall and has open space at the bottom for water to flow through. Then another gap and the next baffle is like the first, glued to the bottom and about 6" tall.
Then it's the return (Mag 18) pump. At this point we're in the middle of the sump. From here on I'm not concerned as it's my fuge on the other half of the sump, which has drain water coming in as well and trickles down to the pump.
I've always tried to keep my water steady at the max line for the sump that he had drawn with a marker. I thought he said that's where it should be for the skimmer to work best. But at this level, the water is well over that first baffle. Also, the water level goes down equally in the skimmer chamber as well as the pump chamber. I'm certain the water line needs to stay constant for the skimmer to work best. At least in the skimmer chamber.
<The water line needs to be consistent for the skimmer's performance to be consistent.>
I drip Kalkwasser at about a drop a second in the sump to compensate for evaporation and to keep water line consistent. This works great and beats buckets for sure, but I'm not sure my sump is configured properly to begin with.
<To keep the water level in the skimmer chamber from fluctuating with evaporation
you will have to keep the water level in the pump chamber below that of the first baffle,
6". If you wish to run a higher level than this you will need to extent that baffle up to whatever
level you want to run.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Many a questions for you.... Reef sump... skimmer sel. Qs 6/1/09
Hope all is well with everyone. I have a few questions for you. I have a 180g reef tank that I would like to retro fit a sump to. I want to add a HOT overflow box to the tank and would like to know:
1. What kind? I am thinking a CPR overflow, but what size?
<As large a model that you can fit, ideally two for redundancy with the return pump only flowing what one can handle. You can not have too much overflow capacity!>
2. How big of a sump?
<As large as you can fit in the space.>
3. How big a return pump? I would like to have an underwater pump. The distance from the sump to the tank is about 5-6 feet.
<See above.>
4. What skimmer do you recommend? I am looking at the Bubble King, the Royal Exclusiv Alpha 170 or the Vertex IN-250? I don't know if you have any experience with these but I would love you opinion on which you think is the best for the money.
<The Vertex hands down for the dollar. Both are fine skimmers though.>
Thanks for your help in the past and on this question.
- Jeromy
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Algae Scrubber Question
Dear Mr. Fenner,
Thanks for your reply! Well, I took the plunge so to speak and installed a sump. I have a hang on overflow from TOM going, nifty little item that uses a powerhead to keep air out of the siphon. I know some of the people you have manning this site are not big fans of these overflows, but this is a temporary stop gap (max 2 yrs) until I can get a bigger tank going.
<I hope it works... till then>
It's a simple job, just a 10 gallon glass tank with 3 panes of glass 1 inch apart (middle one is 2 inches off the ground) to act as a bubble trap.
<Good idea>
I have a small amount of extra live rock in the make shift refugium area, and I moved my protein skimmer and heater down there as well. I have some purple algae, Ochtodes I think, growing in the main tank that I'll move mostly to the sump. Beautiful Algae! Hopefully that will help with the red hair algae menace. Failing that I'm thinking of using Chaetomorpha. I also have a light rigged down there on a reverse photoperiod, it's just a cheap clamp on reflector and 60W plant growing light I got at Home Depot. No discernable effect on temperature so far! Thank you for your encouragement, plumbing the sump has been a real education. The tubes that came with the overflow were kind of flimsy (and ribbed, just begging for something to get clogged in there like algae), so I opted for some of my own tubing from Home depot.
<You are/were wise here>
The drain pipe is 1" ID, and the return is 3/4" ID. I installed ball valves on both of them so I can control the flow rate to and from the tank. I have a 475 GPH pump for the return, and a Koralia 1 Powerhead in the tank. Too much flow for Zoanthids, mushrooms, GSP, a couple LPS and a small finger leather?
<Mmm, no... not if blasting them directly>
I'm actually thinking of getting rid of the leather, he sheds almost once a week, and only open up 2-3 days per week. He might need a new home I think.
Possible allelopathy etc.
I tested the tank with a bunch of conditions, (power-outage, pump failure, siphon break) and it started right back up again with no overflows. No unwanted siphons etc, just need to make sure everything is clean. It sure makes water changes easy. My only concern is that the water has gone a light milky white color since the sump was installed... bacteria? dust from new live rock? micro bubbles from a bad plumbing job?
<All possibilities>
not sure there. All the water parameters check out...
pH -8.0
Alk - on the low end 1.9ish, so added some Seachem buffer.
<Mmm, see WWM re... needs to be added to the new/make-up water, not directly to the system>
Calcium - has always been highish at 400-450.... can't get it down even with weekly 25% water changes.
NO2, NO3, NH4 are all undetectable.
Magnesium is at 1250ppm
S.G. is stable at 1.026
That's my other worry, is that with the high calcium I started a precipitation storm.
<Yes... very likely the high Ca is responsible for both the diminished alkalinity AND the dust in the water>
But I'd expect that to look different than just milky water.... with actual crystals forming. I'll try to get a picture of the setup so you can see for yourself, my fiancé just got a new camera that she's learning to use. Thanks again for all your help, it's a privilege to get information from someone with as much experience as yourself. Cheers!
<And you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Tank Configuration 5/5/09
Hello All,
< Hello Ramon and Sons ! >
I have two questions that I need help with,
< Ahh, I thought you might. >
I have a Red Sea Max 65 Gallon All-in one( just cycling for about 2 weeks now) a 29 Gallon that has some Fiji rock 2 inch sand bed and a 10 Gallon tank that I am using to kill off BGA.
I would like to know which would be the best way to connect them all together?
< That would depend on your plans for each tank. >
I can't drill the RSM, 29 Gallon, or the 10 Gallon.
< Can't? >
I have 2 Maxi-Jets 1200s that I can use and buy an overflow for the 29 gallon to the 10 gallon and use the 2 pumps, one would be for the flow to the 29 gallon and one pump for the return from the 10 gallon to the RSM.
< O.K. If I am reading this correctly the plan is as follows:
The 65 gallon to the 29 gallon with a maxi -jet.
The 29gallon to the 10 gallon with an overflow.
The 10 gallon will then return to the 65 gallon with another Maxi-jet.
If drilling is absolutely not possible I would scrap the 10 gallon frag tank and have the 65 overflow into the 29 and then returned. The two Maxi-jets will not pump the same even if they are rated the same. Although
initially this could be corrected with the use of a valve, it is still a recipe for future disaster. You should also check the Maxi-jet with a head loss calculator to be sure it will be sufficient.
http://www.reefcentral.com/calc/hlc2.php >
I was thinking of making the RSM into a reef tank, the 29 gallon into a refugium and the 10 gallon into a Frag tank or do you have any suggestions on what to do with the 29 gallon and 10 gallon?
< You took the words right out of my mouth...or my keyboard. That would be my suggestion as well if drilling were possible. >
Any Ideas would be helpful.
< Please write back if you decide to drill and/or have anymore questions >
Thanks, Ramon and Sons
< You are quite welcome. G A Jenkins >

Freshwater to Saltwater Sump 4/11/09
Hi guys, and girls, I'm back with another quick question.
<Hello! I hope I can be of some help.>
I found online the Marineland model 4 new sump that a guy had been using for 6 months in his freshwater tank. What do I need to do, as far as the bio wheels having freshwater bacteria compared to saltwater bacteria, to make it work in my 125 gallon reef ready saltwater tank that has been going for 3 years. Can I rinse off the bio wheels in saltwater and let them sit in my sump for a month and let new saltwater bacteria grow on them.
Plus what do you think of the new Marineland acrylic sump model 4, and also the Marineland pro 300 skimmer...??
Thanks for all your past, present and future help.
<Aaron, I would not reuse the bio wheels. They are fairly inexpensive so I see no reason to expose your tank to possible contamination. Especially since you do not know the current owner and have no clue as to what he/she may have dosed.(medications, additives, etc.....) The model 4 looks a bit expensive to me considering the price of a glass aquarium with a similar footprint. Building your own with a new or used aquarium, acrylic and some time could save you a nice bit of those hard earned dollars. It would also give you a bit of room for a refugium. Here are a couple of links with good refugium DIY info and ideas.
After doing a bit of research on the Marineland skimmer it seems to be pretty good bang for your buck. You should also consider The Reef Octopus Extreme 200. Very nice skimmer for the price. I think you should be fine either way. Adam Jenkins>

Sump Design 2/25/09 Hello, <Wes.> I've been spending quite a bit of time reading the helpful insights that you have on your site. Excellent!! <Thank you.> I have a new system. 75 gallon sump. Will have it plumbed to 2 tanks. One sump pump for each tank. I have the option of 3 or more drain lines going to different parts of the sump. I will have a collection sock sleeve followed by a small wet/dry Bioball chamber at one end,. Next to it will be about 50lbs of Live Rock and a protein skimmer. Then the water will pass through baffles for a small refugium area and finally overflow into the area with the 2 pumps. My question is this: Will this be too much circulation through the fuge? Should I have one of the drain lines go straight to the Pump area to lessen the flow? <How much flow, what sized lines and what size refugium are we looking at here? See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumpdesfaq.htm> Thanks
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Sump/refugium design 1/22/09 I've been working on this build of my 150 gallon reef ready tank for some time. At first, I thought I was limited to the under the cabinet space as there is no room for anything next to the tank -- a wall on one side, and a hallway on the other. After some measurements however, it appears as though I can drill through the back few inches of one of the walls and get through to a very large walk-in storage closet. <Great! Nothing like a bit of demolition work to get things going!> I already have everything I would need for this setup, but just wanted to send my plans your way for input on to whether this would work well or not. <Ok> Now the 55 refugium on the left would actually be turned 90 degrees, as in from the front we would see the short side; it was just easier for illustration to draw it this way. My main concern is height and gravity. I know the top of the 55 would have to be lower than the bulkhead on the 150 so that it would drain downwards towards the tank. <Yes.> Then it would flow either out of a drilled hole in the 55 or an overflow (leaning towards a drilled hole, just haven't done this yet) and would have to continue downhill into the sump below. The refugium would output into its own chamber in the sump that is separated from the skimmer so to allow all the beneficial stuff from here to have a clear path into the pump and back into the display tank. Could it become problematic that I am only technically skimming the water that overflows from the right side of the tank? <No, you will still skim plenty.> I had also thought of splitting the flow from the left to be 50% into the refugium and 50% back into the skimmer section. This would both slow the flow through the refugium as well as increase the amount of water through the skimmer section. Do you foresee any problems with this setup or the splitting the left overflow idea? <I would not split the flow, just how it is diagramed will be fine. Do keep in mind most 'reef ready' tanks use 1' throughputs on the overflow good for about 300 gph safely each. With the long horizontal run you will have I would plan on about half this flow through that line.> Thanks for all your help as always! Josh
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Overflow Redundancy For Sump 1/13/09 Hi Bob, Many of the in-sump skimmers require water levels of 6 to 8" to operate efficiently. Once installed, most or all of the remaining capacity of the sump is reduced which will then overflow the sump should a power outage, pump failure, etc. occur. I've attached a pic of what I have done to remedy the problem. The components used were about 10 bucks. Pretty cheap insurance for protecting your flooring material. Regards,
<Good idea. BobF>

Re: Overflow Redundancy For Sump 1/15/09 I just wanted to throw another idea out regarding the email below that doesn't involve drilling the sump or using up more space within the stand. <Please do> To maintain a consistent and high water level within a sump for the skimmer without having to keep the water level high in the sump as a whole (and no glass cutting or silicon handiwork), we did the following: * added a 2.5 gallon tank inside the sump, raised with a PVC shelf * moved pump for skimmer into 2.5 gallon tank * pointed overflow drain pipes into the 2.5 gallon tank <Ahh, I see> Doing it this way maintains the water level that the pump is in (for consistent skimming) while allowing the water level in the sump as a whole to deviate without any issues (assuming you don't allow so much to evaporate that you have salinity shifts!) and you can maintain it as low as your other pumps and equipment will allow. As long as your overflows move more water then your skimmer takes in, it works fine and the excess water goes over the edges of the 2.5 gallon directly into sump. If your overflows aren't draining properly, you've already got bigger problems on your hands (or floor...) I'm beginning to suspect this hobby has a larger range of potential solutions for individual problems then any other! Hopefully this will inspire others to come up more ideas to share! David <Thank you David... did you See James'/Salty Dog's recent related piece re this? Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sumpdesf8.htm Requires dumping the water back in by hand... but a good/worthwhile stop-gap measure for keeping water off the floor in many cases. Bob Fenner> Overflow Redundancy For Sump 1/13/09 Hi Bob, Many of the in-sump skimmers require water levels of 6 to 8" to operate efficiently. Once installed, most or all of the remaining capacity of the sump is reduced which will then overflow the sump should a power outage, pump failure, etc. occur. I've attached a pic of what I have done to remedy the problem. The components used were about 10 bucks. Pretty cheap insurance for protecting your flooring material. Regards, James <Good idea. BobF>

Re: Overflow Redundancy For Sump 1/15/09 Yes, James has a very innovative idea! <Well thank you and this is James.> It's actually what inspired me to pass along the changes below that allowed us to maintain drastically lower water level in sump (I tried to find a non-drilling/cutting solution because adding a large bucket in the stand would be challenging, and knowing my luck I would probably crack the sump while drilling the overflow hole to drain into the bucket!) <I just used a hole saw available at Sears or other hardware stores. You do have to drill at a relatively slow speed to keep the acrylic from heating up. Using a dull hole saw will make things even worse.> I meant to mention in the original email (per advice from a LFS)... I've gotten into the habit of also laying an oversized piece of pond liner in every stand to keep the water up during clumsy maintenance! <A good idea also along with applying a few coats of polyurethane to protect the wood if need be.> Reading through the responses you post really is a highlight I look forward to every day. There is so much more time to enjoy the hobby when we do not have to constantly deal with problems. <Amen.> I'm confident our tank would be a maintenance and emergency nightmare without the wonderful stocking, equipment, and maintenance advice the entire crew has made readily available. Thanks again for the incredible public service you provide. I'm looking forward to reading the next round of responses posted from your awesome team! <Why thank you David, and another thank you from the Crew at Wet Web Media. James (Salty Dog)> David

Sump Design 1/12/09 Comments or suggestions? <Looks fine, the water will flow downhill! Scott V.> <Bob, I reattached the images as .jpg files.>

Re: Sump Design 1/12/09 Is it going to be posted on your site? <They are as I write.> Then I will be famous. <Heee, in a way!> Further FYI it is for a highly modified AP 24. I could provide detailed photos if interested. <Feel free to send them along, limited to few hundred Kb.> Dan
<Scott V>

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