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FAQs About Sump/Filters 2

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A EuroReef Sump set-up at All Seas Marine, wholesaler in L.A.

Polystyrene In Sump? - 08/30/05 Do you folks think that a piece of polystyrene or Styrofoam under a Euro-reef skimmer and its pump sitting in the sump would be ok?  I'm curious if you think this is likely to leach harmful chemicals, etc.? <<I wouldn't expect it to do any harm...might start to "come apart" after awhile though.>> The idea here is to make the skimmer a little quieter by reducing vibration? <<agreed...does work>> Other, better ideas?  Seems like I've read/heard of mouse pads being used for this purpose, or under pumps. <<I use the blue "fan-fold" insulation sold at Lowe's or HD under my ER skimmer/pumps.  It is thin, easily cut to size/shape, and much "sturdier" than ordinary Styrofoam.  EricR>>

What is (a) the sump? Hi I'm Brendan  <Hello Brendan!> I wanna know where the sump is....  <Cleveland if you are a Pittsburgh Steelers fan... HA! Awww... lots of love to my friends in Cleveland... really a nice place now that Art Modell moved to Baltimore :)> don't think I'm dumb but I'm a beginner.  <not a dumb question at all my friend. An honest question. The sump is simply a reservoir like an empty aquarium that sits below the main aquarium which has an overflow that drains into it. This lower pool/sump/aquarium catches the drained water and a "sump pump" like a large power head returns the water back up to the main tank in a big continuous loop. Some sumps are empty, some sumps have filters in them and some even have live plants or animals in them. There are many benefits to a sump> I have canister filters and is the container part of the filter where the bioballs, carbon and sponges go the sump???? <I'm not sure if I understand that part of your question. A canister filter does not perform in any way like a sump. It is a separate component> thanks Brendan <best regards, Anthony>

Sump Design I have a 120gal tank, which will be set up fish-only for now. I want to add a 20 gal sump. This is my plan: Water from overflow 1" pvc into the sump tank. Then a skimmer.  <stop right there my friend... all sump model skimmers need a VERY stable sump level and essentially a skimmer box that catches all raw water from the display before overflowing on to the variable sump well/portion. This may be a sealed baffle on one end of the sump or a proper box with a drilled overflow hole. Necessary by any measure> Then over a baffle through carbon into the return pump area which will pump through 3/4" pvc through a UV sterilizer back into the tank.  <save your money on the UV sterilizer. You don't need it for disease control when you have a proper QT tank (which is better and much less expensive than a UV), and UV's operate within a VERY strict range of parameters (heavily chemically filtered water/ultra clear water, killer prefiltration, bulbs changed every 4-6 months, chambers cleaned 4-6 times yearly (bacterial slime impeding UV, etc)). The list goes on. Hobbyists don't need UV... commercial aquarists do where new fish without quarantine go in and out weekly. Even then, UV is hardly foolproof. Really, my friend... you (and all of us) simply must quarantine all new livestock before putting them in our display tanks. No UV necessary> The overflow box is rated for 800 gph and the return pump is rated for 529 gph at 4' head. I figure I will have little over 4' head loss so my pump will pump aprox. 500 gph. Is this enough? I also have another 500 gph flow in tank with power heads.  <1000 total gph in a 120 is modest... perhaps reasonable. Add more flow if it looks like you are accumulating detritus and getting nuisance algae in the tank. More flow is generally better. Necessary if the tank goes reef> Does this design seem ok?  <looks simply and effective, yes> should my return water from the skimmer be pumped back in with the water coming from the tank or should I pump it directly over the baffle right on to the carbon? <it can simply continue on a downstream path in the sump as you have it> Should I use a bigger pump?  <that would be preferable to having powerheads in the main display... powerheads have many disadvantages> If you have a better design suggestion please advise.  <the following illustration has many ancillary options for consideration. Really most all are for reef keepers but shows skimmer placement and gives food for thought: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm> Thanks in advance for the help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mike <best regards, Anthony>

System Hardware Hi Anthony, <cheers, Chris> I am attaching a rough drawing of the sump configuration that I originally spoke of with you. This was conceived when we were told the turnover in the refugium should be no less then 2x's. Taking that into consideration we thought to raise the refugium up slightly off the sump floor to allow the excess filtered water flow unrestricted to the return pumps. If the refugium could handle the full flow of the water coming into the sump then we would have all of the filtered water flow into it and over the other side to the return pumps. The skimmer in the picture is installed this way to have a way of supplying water to the refugium without an additional pump. Looking at your drawing I believe we have the theory down but a different configuration.  <agreed... although I noticed the comment that water coming into the skimmer from above is pre-filtered. As with the earlier explanation.. we do not want any kind of filtering of raw tank water en route to skimmer (or refugium for that matter). A skimmer can export raw waste... a refugium can consumer raw waste... but a pre-filter is only going to trap and nitrify raw waste which contributes to nitrates and robs the refugium> Pre filtering media will be placed at the entrance area of the water coming in from the tank as well as a sponge media at the bottom of the LR chamber to assist in filtering any debris that may be present. <hmmm... it may be easier to simply have a large course foam block on the pump intake that is regularly (weekly) rinsed and reused. It will help reduce fouling of pump and help to maintain long-term delivery of consistent high flow. Else, mulm and slime allowed to buildup in a running pump over months time increase the chance of a pump not restarting in the event of a power surge or failure> Your explanation of the "why" the skimmer should be first explains the reasoning. When you talk to people they are all in agreement that LR should replace the bio balls because of the increase of nitrate buildup over time but the "cause" of the build up has not been discussed and of course replacing the bio balls with LR will solve the problem. The fact that the debris will still be entering the LR and then skimmed, you still have the situation of the "cause" still existing. I guess this is where you go to all of us "duh!":-)Here again I show my novice mode--your suggestion of drilling a hole in the box of the sump slightly above the mfg suggest water level makes sense too. Having the proper level in the skimmer will keep the skimmer at maximum performance while having excess water overflowing out. (Can you see the starting of the light bulb in my head getting brighter?)  <heehee... yes my friend :)> I think here is where I will inject a double thanking you for communicating with us and helping up improve and becoming (to paraphrasing Bob's book title) a conscientious aquarist! <quite welcome! pass along a good word about WWM to a friend too:)> You are correct in being frustrated with Caulerpa being used in refugiums. I myself was going to have it in my refugium because whenever a discussion of a refugium starts Caulerpa is the first macroalgae mentioned.  <ughhh... Eric Borneman and I were just discussing this (he dislikes Caulerpa for most applications as much as I do!) In a phrase... we would say, "ANYTHING but Caulerpa!!!" I'll be writing a detailed article for aquarists detailing and citing the many "whys" very soon> Reading through the Q&A's I came upon your disagreement of having it available. If my memory serves me correct I believe you did not believe there was a benefit but in fact it robs the coral of necessary nutrients. After reading your response is when I thought I better get your book and read up more. <yes... there is a staggering list of "why nots" for Caulerpa. Nutrient robbing is one of the least. Noxious shed compounds, risk of vegetative wipeout (inevitable in time), growth inhibitors, etc> The Hidden Reef located in North East PA is where I purchased my LR. They have a nice setup on salt water fish and corals.  <ahh... yes. I haven't been there yet but will likely see them soon> In NJ there is a place called Aquarium Discount Pet Center. I mention them because their prices on tanks are the cheapest in the area. Not only that the sales person we spoke to seemed knowledgeable and when I mentioned your site and the mass of information on it he asked for the URL.  <very reassuring to hear! Kudos to them for not fearing information as alas too many shops do> They have a small selection of corals and fish. I will say both places when I mentioned my "wish List" either said wait until I have my 180 and the tank matures (regarding fish) or wait until I have the proper lighting (regarding coral). To me that showed responsibility to their livestock and not the sale. <Very much agreed... this thanks and due recognition will be posted on the daily FAQ page... 6,000 unique ISPS daily :)> Once again thank you for your time and input. If you would be so kind as to review our drawing and make any suggestions/alterations on how to improve it would be greatly appreciated. <it looks very fine overall... just omit the prefiltered water to the skimmer and we are in agreement. Best regards, Anthony> Chris

Sump Building Hi, I have some limited space in my stand underneath my 75 gallon tank. I want to have a sump of 20 gallons for the reef tank--is that an adequate size? <A little small for my tastes, but definitely workable especially if you already have a spare 20 laying around.> I figured a 10 gallon might be a little small. <Agreed> Are in-sump skimmers capable of skimming water fast enough to feed the main return sump (I have a mag drive rated at 920 GPH)? <Skimmers are designed to be able to hold the water they are currently processing in the body of the skimmer until it is adequately cleaned.> I'm concerned that the skimmer will not be able to keep up with the water being siphoned from the main tank and then feed it to the return pump (basically slowing everything down). <The skimmer should not feed water to the return pump. Take a look here for some clarification of layout and design, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm> My second question concerns putting live rock in the main sump area. If the tank is a reef tank isn't the water being "filtered" in the main tank by all the live rock, thereby negating the need to have live rock in the sump? <Yes and no. There is no need in most reef tanks for additional live rock for nitrification, but there are other benefits; refugiums for plankton production, reverse daylight photoperiod for pH stabilization, cryptic zones for sponge and feather duster growth, and many other applications.> Is there an advantage to having live rock in the sump? <See above and further reading on www.WetWebMedia.com.> I'm sure I'd have room for some, and I have my leftover 10 gallon fluorescent light I could use. Just curious. Thanks, Mike <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Sump Building Hi, So the best way to do this would probably be to have the skimmer "sump" section of the sump have a lower piece of glass to separate it so the water not caught by the skimmer will just overflow into the refugium/main area? <I think I get what you are describing and your answer is yes.> Or should that piece have a bulkhead drilled into it? <Either or. The bulkhead gives you more adjustment.> And could you do the same thing to separate the refugium from the pump (my pump will be submersed). <Yes exactly.> Thanks, Mike <In summary, a section for your skimmer, that overflows into another compartment for your refugium (if you want to refugium in the stand instead of above the tank), that overflows into the last part where the return pump is located. -Steven Pro>

Liverock & Large Predators IV (sumps, removing bioballs, nitrate) Greetings Steven Pro, I hope all is well. A quick follow-up. As I am about to add a 2nd sump, change pump, etc., I am faced with a space challenge in my 72" stand. My tank is in my living room so all the plumbing must be hidden in the stand. My sump #1 (a converted wet/dry) is 24 inches long, followed will be followed in series by approximately 8 inches of connections to sump #2 which is 24 inches also. This leaves only about 16" for connections to my pump and the pump itself. I can fit it all in, but this limits my potential to add another item in series (I'm contemplating a small refugium someday). <Before you add on yet another vessel, I would urge you to buy one big tank/sump and use it for all your needs; sump, refugium, protein skimmer box, etc. Much safer than all these connections/potential spaces for leaks.> I believe I have read somewhere that you cannot place an elbow before the inlet to a pump such as the 1200 gph Iwaki I just purchased. Can you confirm that this would be a bad move? <It will restrict the flow.> If I could use an elbow it would allow me to place my pump sideways and free up some extra room. <You are going to be using some additional powerheads or something else too anyway, as your 180 will need more circulation than the Iwaki can supply alone. If the elbow helps you, go for it and just compensate with the additional added flow.> Thank you for your advice. BTW, you guys have been giving me great tips. I am preparing for the addition of a lot of live rock in the next month or so, and have been slowly testing the biological capability of my "dead rock" that I've had for years in the meantime. I'm now down to 1/4 of the bioballs I originally had in my wet-dry, and my nitrates have steadily dropped from 40 to now 5 this week. The only thing that dropped further was my jaw when I re-checked the latest test. I've never had such low readings before. And all this before adding the live rock and a Euro Reef skimmer I just ordered. Pass on my thanks to all -- more good news to come I'm sure! Steve. <Glad to hear it! -Steven Pro>

DIY Sump Hi everyone- I was hoping someone could help me figure a few things out. I have a 125 gallon AGA with 2 corner overflows, FOWLR tank. I made a sump out of a 20 gallon tank. I drilled it for four 1" bulkheads. Two in and two out (to the pumps) and placed a few baffles in between. It is a glass tank and it was recommended that I use a drill press with the diamond edged hole saw. But then I could only drill the holes about halfway down the side because if interference with the press support beam. So I drilled them about halfway down the side of the tank. It seems now, that I have to keep the water level fairly high in the sump so that the pumps will not cavitate. <By cavitate you mean run dry/suck in air?> Should the pump inputs be positioned at the bottom edge of the tank instead of the middle? <That is generally where I place them and most commercially manufactured W/D's and sumps are made.> The water level in the last compartment gets too low and the pumps cavitate before there is enough time for the overflows from the main tank to start working unless I keep the water level higher. The water level in the main tank is also a bit above the row of slots in the overflows. This seems a bit high. The scum on the top does not drain into the overflow because it is a bit above the slots. It seems like it should be a bit lower. Is this because I have to keep the sump level high? <No, more likely your return pump is too large for your overflows.> Or put another way, if I can lower the level in the sump (by lowering the pump inputs), should the level in the tank drop a bit? <No, that seems like two unrelated problems if I am envisioning your setup correctly.> I have recently successfully drilled holes for a 1" bulkhead in a practice tank (already broken) with a hand drill, and I am considering plugging up the two current pump supply holes and drilling new ones along the bottom edge. <That should fix one problem, but maybe not both.> I shut everything off after running for a few hours and the sump level stopped a few inches from the top. So I think I am ok size wise. Any help would be appreciated. Have a great day. Dennis <Thank you. -Steven Pro>

Sump Set-Up Hello all, and good day! I was just wondering, my display tank is only 55 gallons, <Only 55 gallons? That is all I have for the time being.> but I would like to have a large refugium, as I think they are beautiful, as well as doing a lot of good. <Agreed> Plus, I would like to set up a little plumbed mangrove vase, is this possible? <anything is possible.> Pumped with a powerhead or something perhaps? <Sure> Anyhow, I was hoping to use a 33 gallon for my refugium, and then on top (in addition to, not physically on top) of this have my sump. <Ok> I was/am thinking of using a large chest freezer that I can get my hands on, it is 25 cubic feet, but I highly doubt I will have it filled to the brim! <Rather large and unsightly.> My thinking was, it can't be too terrible to have huge water volume, <True> but then I remembered how much extra it would cost me, liverock, substrate, salt, bigger skimmer etc... <And true> Okay, this email is getting a bit random, as I am just blurting out thoughts I have had, sorry. <I was beginning to wonder where we were going myself.> Would it be conceivable to use the large area of the freezer to create some kind of tidal areas? <Sure, just be sure to take the door off for safety.> I could have low and high tides with some kind of pump on a timer that fills a garbage can and then siphons back in when full (hopefully a 12 hour cycle) I could even have a beach area with some type of surge device, so it would be like a shore...maybe this would increase the variety of critters I could keep happy. <Anything is possible with the right equipment, money, etc.> Anyhow, just to simplify everything down, other than monetary, are there problems with having a total system volume of 200 gallon and only having a 54 gallon display tank. <None what so ever.> And on the flip-side are there any major benefits? <Greater dilution, more stable environment.> Thanks, Chris <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Sump for Eclipse System12 Bob, <Steven Pro here with the follow-up.> Thank you for your help. The project went well! The Eclipse 12 tank is drilled, plumbed, and my new CPR SR2 is already producing some high quality "gunk". <Great!> I do have another question though. My drain line seems to develop some sort of "air lock" which is limiting flow. My 3/4" drain as plumbed right now is as follows... a strainer connected to a slip coupling to a 45 degree elbow (entire assembly can be rotated to adjust the tanks water level) to a bulkhead fitting to the bulkhead's elbow to flexible tubing which drains open ended into the sump. Oddly enough, the water level in the sump effects how the drain line "behaves". When the open end of my drain line is above the sump's water level, the discharge valve of the return pump (Rio 1700) must remain throttled down for the drain line to keep up. However, when the open end of my drain line is below the sump's water level, the drain line is able to drain the pump's full capacity (noisily though as the strainer slurps air from above the tank's surface). Although I would love to understand the actual fluid dynamics relative to this problem, I am most eager to find a fix. Ideally, I will be able to utilize the pump's max flow rate in my tank and drain the water back to my sump quietly. Although I probably could modify the cut in my tank and upsize my drain line to 1" to solve the problem, I suspect there is a simple way to eliminate the problem by modifying my in tank drain line plumbing? <Yes, remove the bulkhead elbow on the outside of the tank and replace it with a T assembly. You will need the T, two short (1-2") sections of PVC pipe of the same size, a slip to female thread fitting, and a male thread to barb fitting. Assemble these pieces such that you can insert the T so the side part goes into the bulkhead and the straight part is up and down. This will allow air to escape from the drain line and for the water to flow down quicker.> Also, I can't find where my original question is posted on your website, can you tell me where it is? <They all get posted on the daily page for one day. Then get filed under one of the FAQ's. Your previous question could have been filed in the FAQ's for plumbing, skimmers, sumps, etc. I am not really sure. You could try searching for it using the Google tool. Try the key words Eclipse, skimmer, and any other words that stand out to distinguish your question from all the others we get.> Thanks again for your help. Corey Marker Lynbrook, NY <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Chest Freezer Hello Crew, I finally made the commitment and started plumbing a sump for my aquarium in a different room, the only problem is the only room to plumb to was the garage. Needless to say, this room does not have the best insulation, and since I live in British Columbia, the temperature can get low during the winter (which is coming up soon). I know a lot of people have trouble keeping their temperatures down with all their pumps/lighting running, but I assume I will have some problems keeping my temperature up during the winter if a large volume of water in the sump and refugium is kept in the cold garage. <Yes, I suspect this will be a real problem.> I was wondering perhaps if it was possible to use a small chest freezer (or a less filled larger one) whether it works or not is of no consequence since I was just hoping it would provide added insulation to the contained water. Would it? <Perhaps, but you could just as easily insulate your sump using Styrofoam insulation on the bottom and sides. This may help but not completely solve your potential heat loss and subsequent electrical bills heating the water.> And if all the heating was remoted to this location, plus the powerheads and return pump, and the lighting on the main system, would my chances of keeping temperatures stable be good? <I have no idea how cold your garage is going to get. If under 70 degrees, I suspect you will have a real problem.> I have a couple other concerns. Are the plastics that freezers are made from non-toxic? I assume they should be since we keep food in them. <Yes, they should be safe.> Also, would running the freezer with the lid closed (with a light mounted inside or on top with a cut-through) kill my air transfer, or would the volume of the air inside the freezer be plenty? <If you cut it out for your light and mount a small fan, you may still be ok. I think you have more serious problems related to temperature instead of aeration.> Anyhow just a thought, other than using a trusty Rubbermaid. Thanks, Chris <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Sump Flow Dear Bob et all, I have been working out the bugs of my new set up (180 gallon / Dual Overflow) - thanks again for previous help, you guys have been great support. I am in the process of removing the "scrubbies" and pre-filter media from my overflow chambers, they were put in there for added filtration and to quiet the water as it pours into the chamber. After much reading through the site & FAQ's I realized that this was a serious design flaw... perhaps would explain why my skimmer has never really produced dark skimmate? <Yes, quite likely.> Anyway, I have assembled a "Durso Standpipe" which has taken care of the overflow noise however the design allows for air to be "sucked" down the pipe, allowing for self priming and to prevent a siphon from occurring - the difficulty from me is that the air causes the plumbing further down the system to generate allot of noise and to produce an extremely large amount of bubbles in the sump which eventually get pumped back into the display. I have a ball valve on the drains which I could close enough to restrict the flow thus backing the water up enough to prevent the air from entering the drains however, I don't believe this is good practice. <Agreed, a bad idea.> Do you have any advice? <You could use baffles or vent the air from the drain lines.> I have read a lot about using baffles to help manage the air bubbles - can you refer me to a diagram or picture that shows how to design such a baffle system? <Anthony had a very nice drawing done that has been posted here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm> Respectfully yours, Mike <Good luck. -Steven Pro>

Nitrogen Cycle <<Greetings,>> My reef tank has been established for a little over 6 months. I am using a Wet/Dry filter without the biomedia for my sump. It has a sponge prefilter to prevent detritus from getting into the main area of the sump. I would like to replace this sponge every so often because it is losing its effectiveness. Will this cause any sort of disruption in the nitrogen cycle? Is there nitrifying bacteria living in this sponge? <<There is some nitrifying bacteria in the sponge, but by Reef Tank, I'm guessing you have a good quantity of live rock in the tank and in the sump? This would house the majority of your biological filter. Pre-filters should be changed/cleaned every week to two weeks maximum.>> Thank you, -Eric <<You are welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

Wet dry filter (as) with sump Hello, <<and hello to you,>> I am taking your suggestions and using a 24x10x18 sump instead of a wet dry filter. <<ok>> I am going to add live rock, but should I also add live sand? <<Your choice, if you run without, it would be much easier to vacuum out accumulated detritus.>> With the live rock in the tank do I need to feed that sump any or just have lights? <<Some people just leave out the prefilters, and that would 'feed' the sump. Also your call on the lights. If you leave them out, the sump and live rock will grow more cryptic items, not always seen - would be interesting.>> If you suggest to add live sand, should I put sand sifters (Nassarius snails, etc) in the tank and again should I feed it? <<If you decide to run sand in the sump then by all means, some Nassarius snails would work well.>> Thanks, Daniel <<Cheers, J -- >>

DIY Sump Robert I don't mean to bug you but I want to make sure I am following you. The rubber maid container is the sump...right?  <Yes... these can make great sumps/refugiums, storage containers> If your pumps are external then does the rubber maid container have to be drilled?  <Yes... some of the "trough-size" ones come with a through hull fitting in them, otherwise there is a flush area on the lower sides for this purpose> Can you send me a drawn diagram of what this should look like if I don't get this? Thanks again!!!! <Mmm, maybe I can find a photograph... take a look at the container... and the "marine plumbing" areas on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Sump Plumbing Questions Hi Bob- <<Actually, not Bob but JasonC... >> I am hoping you can send me in the right direction again. If you folks were not here I think I would have just sold off a few of the fish instead of upgrading. You guys/gals can instill confidence (in me, anyway) with your words of wisdom. As you suggested several months ago, I am moving up from a 55 salt to a 125 AGA with two 1" overflows and two 3/4" returns in bottom and 135 lbs of live rock. I have tank and some equipment but am still in planning stage. My Tangs have grown like weeds over the past 4 years (especially "Clyde" the Naso) and they are getting a little cranky/cramped. <<Can't say that I blame them... >> I am planning on staying mostly fish only (can I still say that now that I am planning on having live rock?). Do you think the tangs will eat everything off of the live rock? <<I feel like the magic 8-ball - signs point to yes.>> I also have quite a few small red and blue leg hermits. Will they eat everything off of the rock? <<The hermits? Not with the tangs competing with them, though they will eat some.>> The main area of confusion (among several) is... We have a crawlspace under the house and I have a good size closet that is in another room about 10 feet away, that I would like to use as an equipment room. I was thinking I could run some pvc pipe down thru the floor, over and up into the closet. keep all the skimmer, pump noise isolated (happy wife). Is this a sound idea? <<Until it leaks under the floor, I think so, yes.>> Any drawbacks you can see? <<Well, where I live, those pipes would surely freeze without any other precautions. Well, OK, it's salt water so it might not freeze, but the low temperature would wreak havoc on a tropical reef. Do you live in a four-season location?>> I was thinking I would place the sump at the same height as the main tank and the refugium above the sump. Then splitting off of one of the overflow lines from tank (T and valve ) before it gets to the sump and running it up into the refugium. <<You mean with a pump?>> Then just let gravity bring it back to the 1st chamber of the sump. <<I'm not sure gravity would get any water into the refugium with this design.>> Would this be a good design? I thought I may have to have a valve on inlet to sump so I can create a little back pressure and push water up into refugium above. <<Ahh ok... this will never work.>> Or should I just drop a little pump in 1st chamber of sump and pump it up? <<This is a better scenario, although the refugium will in essence be a separate system which shares the sump with the tank.>> Should I just have sump and refugium on the same level and run in parallel? <<Why not combine the two, so that your refugium is also your sump?>> I bought a 20gal long glass tank for the refugium and drilled a few 1 1/2in holes for bulkheads in it. I was planning on sand and Caulerpa of some kind. I also bought a 20gal regular? for making a sump. I am still learning about how to design that. If the sump is at same level as main tank , the water level will not rise when power is out, correct? Running the pipes down under house and back up again 10 feet away will not effect things in some odd unforeseen way will it? <<Well check again... there is no way without pumps to make water go up having already spilled out of the overflows on your tank.>> I picked up two Magdrive12 pumps thinking that the extra bends in the pipes will slow the flow down and I may need some extra push. <<This is true, but not a significant amount. Two Mag12's will be a lot of circulation for this tank.>> I have read that circulation should be at least 10x in the tank and 2ish for a refugium. Is this accurate? <<This is a good rule of thumb, sure, but it is also possible through design to combine a sump with a refugium and still maintain a good turnover rate.>> If so, will all of that run through the sump or is some tapped off and just makes a loop? <<You could make a separate circulation loop for the refugium, fed from the sump, and flowing back into the sump.>> The tank has two 1" bulkheads for overflow and two 3/4" for return. I have read that a 1" bulkhead will handle approx 300 gph. <<I think it's actually closer to 600 GPH.>> If this is true, how is one supposed to have a 10x turnover(1250gph)? <<Drill more holes.>> Use all four for overflow and run new returns? <<Or that... >> Sometimes I just think I am not getting the big picture with the whole plumbing thing. <<I think you are sweating the details a little too much. You are on the right track, and only a little of course with the planned placement of the sump and refugium.>> Thank you again for your guidance and help. If I lived closer I would take you all out for dinner. <<Well... you may live close to me!>> Bob- I am diggin' your book!!!! <<He'll be pleased to read this.>> Confused in Atlanta-Dennis <<Oh... not that close. Oh well. Cheers, J -- >>

DIY sump question Greetings! A big thank you for the knowledge you guys pass on every day! Much appreciated... I've read through the material on sumps and visited OzReef (another great site...thanks for pointing it out) and decided to try to save a few bucks and make my own. The sump was purchased at a local home hardware store and is made of an opaque polypro material...fairly rigid but not difficult to work with. My question revolves around using silicone to attach a couple of baffles. The inside of this box is very slick and the baffles don't seem to secure very well w/ silicone. After curing, they either fall out on their own or w/ very little coaxing (much less coaxing than the water pressure would deliver). The silicone is attached very securely to the baffles themselves (acrylic) but peels very easily off the sump. I'm becoming convinced that I'm going to have to select something else...unless you have suggestions? <Two suggestions. For a completely different sump that you can silicone baffles in use a glass aquarium. They are very easy to work with. If you want to try to work around the plastic storage tote, use another tote. You could use several totes of various sizes to create the same effect as baffles.> Thanks for your time. Andy McClure <Don't mention it. -Steven Pro>

Everything into the sump? Hello my friends at WWM, <cheers> I spent the last 2 hours rearranging my power heads (AGAIN!) so they don't show. Very tedious job to say the least. After cleaning up my mess and getting the rock back into place, I went to WWW.WWM.COM . <hmmm... this is a site for world wide media (?!?)... you should have come to www.wetwebmedia.com> I was at this link about sumps etc, when one of you guys said you don't like powerheads in the main tank at all. Really? What about the importance of water flow? <Pam... I have said that many times here on WWM and in my book... and almost always with an explanation why. Please note that I do not say that I do not like/recommend "water flow" (?) but merely powerheads in the tank... hence, find an alternative like a larger return pump to provide flow in the main display. Having multiple powerheads rather than one large return pump generates too much head, provides that many more places to clog/trap/kill fish an invertebrates, they add so many ungrounded plugs, they are generally poorly made and have been known to fail (read shock/electrocute aquarists), create unnatural and perhaps stressful noise in aquaria, can impart stray voltage, may influence HLLE and the list goes on.> Back to the drawing board for me I guess. Talk about taking one step forward and three back! You know, I have had a box sitting on my porch now for about 2 weeks with a Kent Nautilus skimmer and pump inside. I have been recommended by more than one of you at WWM to invest wisely in this very important part of my reef tank. So, I haven't opened it yet, because if I decide to return it, policy says, "it must be unopened".  <I personally think that is a wise move... have you got feedback yet on the message boards for this brand/product?> I wanted to go for the real "beast of a skimmer" , EUROREEF , but it seems you need a sump for that model,.... I don't have one.  <then consider an Aqua C hang on model or a Tunze rail or clip-mount model> Which brings me back to powerheads. You guys say that you put your powerheads in the sump. <I'm not sure what that statement means/who said it. Instead of say 4 powerheads... one might use a single dedicated return pump like an Iwaki 40, Little Giant, Gen X, Oase, Mag Drive, etc> Well now, I guess I'm buying a sump.  <and you plan to have your tank drilled for an overflow? I hope because a siphon overflow is generally a bad idea (check archives on this topic)> I wonder if I will ever get this right!  <is there a local aquarium society near you my friend? Such fellowship puts many such questions to rest with visuals and visits to local aquarists> This is what I have now: 1) Tank 55g. ( I have this) 2) LR 70lbs. (and this) 3) Sand 4 inches deep (this too) 4) Kent skimmer (so far, I still have this) <sorry> 5) 6 powerheads <sorry again> 6) Heater <two small heaters are safer than one large. Titanium instead of glass) with a remote thermostat is the best IMO> 7) Sump (don't have, yet) a) powerheads>>>>> into sump? <no idea why?> b) skimmer>>>>>into sump? <depends on model and path of raw water. If in sump, make a skimmer box with a standing water level to improve performance. Threads in the past week have covered this with diagrams> c) heater>>>>>into sump? <usually a great idea> Is a sump very necessary for a healthy system,  <not necessary... just convenient> or can I cut this expense from my budget? I am willing to upgrade to the Euroreef, but if it needs a sump, Hmmmm, where do I go from there? My head is spinning! Thank you to all of you for sharing your educations! <do keep reading/learning and know that no one person's advice is gospel. Take all in and make an informed decision based on an intelligent consensus> Pamela <best regards, Anthony>

Re: everything into the sump?  Okay I admit it, I haven't been studying like most people that go to your site.  <no worries, dear.. my apologies for messages that come across abrupt. Some days mail traffic is much heavier than others and in an attempt to answer all... message can be brief and appear curt. We have the very best intentions for our aquarium friends. Just a little business and human factor on our part.> I have never read the message board, I never even knew you had one. <if you have the time... such boards are great laces to meet aquarists from all skill levels and get an intelligent consensus from a wider selection of people. Not just the opinion of an expert or LFS> Maybe I am not your average "reef keeper". I'm starting to think that by what I read from people that write you, very knowledgeable bunch.  <rest assured my friend that we have mostly beginners, and without even categorizing... we all indeed are learning or beginners in some fashion... likely most <smile>> I, have 3 kids, a grandchild and a very busy life. I don't know about the latest or best products in reef keeping.  <that honestly sounds like an advantage <G>!> I know very basics, that's it. I NEVER knew how involved this undertaking was/is!  <and a beautiful journey of education... biology, physics and appreciation for life at large> I saw many beautiful pictures of mini reefs, and being a keeper of fresh water aquaria for about 30 years, I decided to go for it. And to tell you the truth, I haven't got a clue of how to get this thing all together. Not a clue.  <not a crime at all not knowing... but indeed we owe it to are selves if not our charges to be confidently armed with information before taking live animals into our care.> When I set my tank up I was taking the advise of my LPS, now I know it wasn't worth the salt I put in my system. <it certainly is at least good to read some books/literature by people who are not trying to sell you something... if only to concur/reassure you about your LFS> I realize that you guys at WWM are bombarded with question after question every day and I'll bet that some of these questions are a bit annoying, and I can just hear you saying, ("I wish these people would do their homework"!! ) So, to conclude this letter, I will say, I'm sorry. I'm not the sharpest tack out there, and at times I don't even know the questions to ask. But please be patient, okay? Sincerely, Pamela <very well stated, my friend. We should all aspire to know great patience. Thank you. Anthony>

Sump overflow I am trying to size my sump overflow pipe. I will be using a Rubbermaid (tm) 100gal tank, and will cut an opening about 6 inches from the top of the tank using a bulkhead fitting. The aquarium is 200 gal. with a projected 1000 gph flow. Is 2 inches enough? Thanks. Charles Jones, Franklin, GA <if I understand you to be asking if a 2" PVC sized overflow from the main display down to the sump will handle 1000 gallons of water gravity overflowing: Yes. A 2" pipe will handle the flow, although likely noisily. And for what it is worth... 1000 GPH circulating through a fish only tank is dangerously weak flow (likely to allow detritus to accumulate and feed terrible algae blooms down the road). If the tank is also going to house invertebrates... then it simply will not work at all. The old ratios of 4 to 10 X turnovers were dramatically understated we know now... and even by those standards you are on the lower end. Adding extra powerheads in the display top compensate adds heat, excess risk of shock, clogging, failure... they are less long lived, and so many more complaints. The best is to have a good strong external inline sump pump running most of the flow. Best regards, Anthony>

New Sump? Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> Well I have a leak in my sump. Maybe time to replace.  <or start your own mangrove swamp!> Currently have a 50 gallon with live rock. The workhorse is a large protein skimmer in my sump. A have a few bio-balls, some carbon, and some of that blue filter media. It works great. Water has been pristine for over 2 years. But, I was thinking of buying a Tidepool 1 and transferring the protein skimmer to it. Do you think this is a good idea? Or would you just go with a new sump?  <may not be necessary depending on the bio-load. If you have small/light fish/feeding and lots of live rock, I'm inclined to just have an open sump> What is your overall opinion of the Tidepool product? <like it reasonably well... can be quite useful in some applications> John <best regards, Anthony>

Sump/Filter Design Hi Bob, <Steve Pro here right now.> I'm in the process of setting up a 50 gal. reef. It has a built in over flow. I'm trying to decide how I want to set-up the sump. Here are my two ideas. 1. Have a partitioned sump, with floss, and a protein skimmer. Similar design to my other reefs in the past with good results. <Berlin style, what I use myself most often.> 2. Also a partitioned sump, but the return water going to a larger compartment via a spray bar/diffuser that has a DSB, live rock, and multiple types of Caulerpa, and 24hr light cycle. On this version there would be no protein skimmer. There would also be another compartment to separate Caulerpa filter from my return pump. <You lost me a little here. The return pump runs to a larger compartment. Is this compartment above the main display and the water from there gravity drains into the main tank? If so, this is the best design for a refugium to maximize planktonic life making into the display. I would also keep the skimmer.> These are my 2 ideas for this tank. I think idea 2 will work pretty well, but I have never tried it. Will the Caulerpa remove enough unused nutrient? <Yes, will remove nutrients but can add other noxious compounds, why I like to use in combination with skimmers and activated carbon.> I've heard with Caulerpa you can use NO cool white fluorescents, is that possible. <Yes> I plan on using a Iwaki 30 on this system, will the flow through the Caulerpa filter be too fast for it to work properly. <The RLT model does 500 gph @ 4 ft. The RLXT 950 gph @ 4 ft. Either would be good for your overall setup. The higher flow if housing stony corals, the lower for fish-only, soft corals. As far as flow to the refugium, probably best to T it off and allow a slower flow to be diverted there while the rest goes straight into the display. Please try to get gate valves for their finer control.> Thanks in advance for the help. Mike <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Sump/Filter Design Hi Guys, I'll clarify my previous post. If I use the Caulerpa/refugium set-up, I would use this as my sump. It would be located underneath the main tank. The compartment I was talking about for my return pump, is actually the last part of the sump separated from the compartment holding the Caulerpa. This is the reason why I question my idea. Would this be too much flow for the Caulerpa to be effective. <Maybe... it would be better to either place the Macrophyte/s in a separate "refugium" type sump with much more limited flow, or to build in a "bypass" or separate low-flow area for the Caulerpa in the present sump design> The reason I was thinking of not using a skimmer was the benefit of not skimming (coralline algae spores, less heat, plankton, etc), and the skimmer would out compete the Caulerpa. As far as the noxious compounds go, I thought that the 24hr light cycle is supposed to keep those compounds from forming. Thanks again for the help. Mike <The 24 light regimen does indeed do this. I am a fan of using at least "partial skimming"... either alternating time (like one day on, next day off) or a much-undersized unit for the application... rather than no skimming at all. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sump/Filter Design Hey Guys, I will implement this design. I will have a sump made to the specs described in my posts(36LX24HX18W). You can have custom made glass sumps done in Canada quite inexpensively($60 USD). I'm curing my rock and DSB right now, nitrogen cycle almost complete. Ammonia is .1ppm, and nitrite is 1ppm. I will not add snails or hermits till both ammonia or nitrite are 0ppm, although I have a hitchhiker pistol shrimp and small limpet that seem to be doing okay. I just got a digital camera so I will send some pics of my rockwork and set-up once I get my lighting set-up. Thanks again for the advice, Mike <All sounds good. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sump/Filter Design Hi Guys, <cheers, my friend> I really don't have enough room for a dedicated refugium, would the set-up I'm talking about (24hr light, Caulerpa, DSB, undersized skimmer). Would there be any benefit to this design with the flow being the return from my tank, or should I just go with the standard sump (floss, protein skimmer) set-up I've used in the past. Thanks in advance, <the skimmer less/light versus aggressive skimmer dynamic of the question cannot be fairly posed without knowing what animals would be kept. Animals that are highly dependant on feeding by absorption may benefit by light skimming... but these animals are less common. In agreement with Bob, speaking to the masses and likely livestock/setup... my strong vote is for a traditional sump and aggressive protein skimming. Do consider the in tank refugiums though and many other forms of alternate aquarium concepts (in-tank mangroves, raceways above sump, seagrasses... all outlined in my Book of Coral Propagation if you like). Kindly, Anthony Calfo> Mike

Wet/Dry & Sump Question I've read through as many of the WWM FAQs as I could before asking, and apologize if I overlooked the answer. Basic Info: My tank: http://www.palmisanonet.com/images/aquarium/equip/008.jpg My wet/dry: http://www.palmisanonet.com/images/aquarium/equip/003.jpg The left of the wet/dry image is the water return, and just out of view is the pump. The hole for the water to get to the pump is at the bottom of the sump area. The last time I added sand everything clouded for a few hours and settled right down. Quite a bit of sand, though, made its way into the sump area right in front of the pump opening. Now, when I remove the sponge for cleaning the sand there gets kicked up and the pump sucks it right into the tank, clouding everything back up again. What is the best way to remove this sand? <Siphon it out from the area> Every time I disturb the water in the sump I'm left with sand in the display tank for an hour. I've also read a lot lately about how live rock and/or Caulerpa is better in the sump. Does that mean removing the bio balls (over time) and sitting the LR on the plate, or even on the bottom? How do I keep things from getting sucked into the pump that way? Know of any diagrams/pictures that involve this sort of setup? <Yes. Please read through our site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium1.htm and beyond> Many thanks. And the site is wonderful, so much learned (and left to learn). <I as well. Bob Fenner> Salvatore <Ah, my father- and brother-in- law's name>

Filter/Sump/Refugium Bob or Team Fenner... <I like the sound of that, "Team Fenner". We should all get jackets that say that. Steven Pro answering a few questions this afternoon.><<Better "Team Pro"... RMF>> Good morning. My name is Paul Cvar and my cousin Chris Slabe recently emailed you some questions about a refugium that he wants to build. He forwarded to me your response to his email and it was very interesting. I myself are considering building a refugium and I am going to take your comments into consideration. I have a 125g reef with high nitrates so I am going to switch over to a refugium. I'm like Chris where I simply have a wet/dry sump (trickle) with a protein skimmer in the sump. I have two questions for you. One, let's say tonight I remove my trickle filter and add a refugium. What effects will I see? Will my tank be prone to spikes or should I be OK? <You may very well have a bad ammonia/nitrite spike. Better to remove a few at a time.> Second, do I still need to have a protein skimmer? <Yes, frequent production from a skimmer is one of the best ways to lower nitrates.> That is all. I certainly do appreciate your time. Take care. Paul <Have a nice night. -Steven Pro>

Sump and powerheads Dear WWM Crew: Hello.  <Greetings, Samantha... Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob travels Australia and shows the Crocodile Hunter how its really done! He's only been there a week and already he has thumb-wrestled a wallaby into submission and gave a koala a nasty brush burn.> I am in the planning stages of setting up a 60 g Tenecor tank and I'm looking for a little advice. I'd like to place a sump in the stand (the tank has a bottom-drilled hole) but space is fairly limited. I would also like to keep things simple (I just really want the sump as an out of sight place for the skimmer (AquaC Urchin), heater, and possibly some occasional chemical filtration. I realize that there is a ton of information out there regarding DIY sump plans, but I'm having some difficulty finding basic plans/photos/ideas to get started with. My question is whether you could direct me to any good articles or links showing simple sump setups? (I'm sorry if this is a rather redundant question). <no worries at all on the nature of the question. Although you may want to peruse the WWM archives with appropriate keyword searches through the engine on this site. The type of sump that you set up really depends on your needs/preferences. Based on what you have said, a simple sump that acts as a reservoir for filtration equipment only has no real design. It is as easy as you might guess and my preferred type of sump (I prefer to have refugia above my display instead of under as many do). So I'm wondering now if you can and are willing to drill through the floor to the next room downstairs to put this sump for your tank with a cramped stand. This will require a larger pump to handle the head, but give you more control with heat issues and more room to work on a larger sump. With a drain nearby you could even have a standing overflow drilled into the sump for automatic water changes or at least have a thin water line run to a float switch on the sump for automatic water changes. I have a diagram of an automated system with this sort of set up in my book. If I can figure out how to convert the AutoCAD drawing into a jpeg I'll post it <wink>.> A second question that I have is regarding powerhead placement, not in as much as it relates to good flow since that will be a top priority, but as it relates to aesthetics and how to camouflage the powerheads. <my preference is to have absolutely no powerheads in the main display and drill the tank with an adequate overflow so that you can have a big enough water pump on your sump to take care of most all your circulatory needs. PHs are poorly made, throw heat, short lived, aesthetically detractive, etc. A large external water pump is my strong preference> Ideally I'd like to minimize their contribution to the aquascape since they can be distracting and unsightly at least until they become covered over with coralline algae. Any ideas you have would be greatly appreciated. Finally, is Lorenzo still part of the "Crew"? He was very helpful about a year ago when I wrote in with another question. <yes. he is a very important part of the crew! Bob can't get rid of him <smile>. With Jas, they are slaving/developing a whole dimension of the WWM site...coming soon! Much more too.> Thank you for your time. <very welcome, my dear. With kind regards, Anthony Calfo> Samantha

Best Substrates for a Sump <<JasonC here, Bob has jaunted to the tropics to dive>> I'm a bit weary of products such as these, but since there is a link from the WWM site, I thought I would inquire about this. <<keep in mind that the "link" is a paid advertisement, and so I can't really just lambaste them now, can I? We like people who help finance WetWebForrays. But in any case, they are certainly not infallible.>>  Does this work? <<I'm sure this product does some of what is advertised. The question perhaps should be, "Is it really the best choice for you?".>> I was thinking of seeding the floor of my sump with this product if you could recommend it. My tank is a 100G FOWLR with a Turboflotor 1000, 30Gallon sump and 100lbs of live rock. <<in this case, you would do so much better with a deep sand bed and more live rock in the sump. Would go a long way to remove nitrate a more natural way, keeping alkalinity and pH consistent. Give the following URLs a read:  Bob's thoughts on Marine Substrates http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm Bob's thoughts on dealing with NO3 [Nitrate] http://www.wetwebmedia.com/no3probfaqs.htm FAQs on Deep Sand Beds http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dsbfaqs.htm You'll see some common themes. Cheers, J -- >>

Settling Chambers in Sump hi: I used to have discus, and I found this in a discus page  http://www.dphnet.com/sub-article/cat-02/centralfilter.shtml I was wondering if this is suitable for a marine tank, and if it needs any change. <This looks like a great design for a settling chamber. If you leave out the filter media and airstones, the design will allow for detritus to settle and be easily vacuumed out. If you have liverock and live sand in your main display and add a protein skimmer into the first chamber that receives tank water, you should be all set. -Steven Pro>

Getting Rid of Bubble from the Sump <<got my seat-belt on...>> Part III Thanks for part 1 and 2 'I just want to get rid of the bubbles and use the overflow to its max.' <<what bubbles? I'm not sure I understand where those are coming from...>> When the water flows down the intake pipe it is connected (under the tank) to a 25/34 mm Eheim hose. This hose drops in to my sump tank When the water flows out of the hose it has thousands of bubbles. The sump is a Amiracle wet/dry (no bioballs) - I took out the flex hose and the adapter and just slid the Eheim hose through the hole (as I indicated I don't do acrylic plumbing yet). <<ok, got it.>> I now have all of those tiny bubbles in my sump. They flow under/over baffles ten through some foam (which helps very little) and then to the return pump Rio 2500 - These bubbles (which are about 25% less then started with due to baffles and foam) get shot back into my tank. - Those are the bubbas that are making me lose sleep. <<you lose sleep over this? These are not the type of bubbles that can harm the inhabitants of your tank. In any case, I think it is very hard to get rid of EVERY bubble, no matter the set up. I would not worry about these little things so much and be concerned more about what's good for the animals in your tank.>>  Since you have the same tank - what is the max flow it can handle - any other tips on the tank?? <<If I recall, that overflow is designed for six or seven hundred GPH. Tips on the tank... you mean like don't throw a brick at it?>> Yes you have answered all of my other question very well - thank you. The reason I ask about the Rena is b/c the air holes on the outside seem to have melted and this has almost stopped my skimmer from working. <<interesting>> Ironically not enough bubbles :) I don't have a fan under my tank so this may have caused it, not sure. I have called and sent Rena an email but no reply from them yet.  Thanks Brad <<Cheers, J -- >>

More on Getting Rid of Bubble from the Sump Sorry to keep bugging you. The bubbles do drive me crazy - they make the tank look cheap and ugly. And yes I do lose sleep over them :(  <<ok>> Can you just give me a few ideas/suggestions of things that might help. Do you have bubbles - if not please describe your setup <<I have a Tidepool 2, my 75 is a Fish-Only with Live Rock. The Tidepool sump has an AquaC EV-150 sitting in it. This is all returned to the tank, with small bubbles in it, however... I've never thought that it made a tank look cheap and ugly. You could look/shop around for a different sump arrangement that perhaps lets water stay in there a little longer, settle-out, etc. I recall that you mentioned your sump is an model from which you have removed the bioballs - I bet if you put the bioballs back in the problem would go away to an extent [which might leave you with a new problem]. Why? Design... this is the way it's made. Perhaps it's time to start learning about cutting/gluing acrylic. Or at the very least saving for a new reef-appropriate sump.>> <<<If I recall, that overflow is designed for six or seven hundred GPH. >>> If the flow rate is 600/700 then I should not have to scale my Rio back right - which I am doing now. <<You should run it full bore, yes.>> If I put it full throttle then I get 5 times more bubbles :(  <<You gotta get over that... there are still some things left for you to try, replace, but I think no matter what, you will always get some bubbles back into the tank.>> Thanks Brad <<You are welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

Sump Flow Robert & Friends, (180g with 40g sump) I have two Mag 9.5 running the returns to the main tank, this puts a lot of flow through my sump - not sure if this is a big deal but the drain pipe (1.5") sure kicks around the water in the sump... often not allowing the small bubbles time to rise up to the surface. Is there a pro / con to allot of flow through the sump?  <not the sump per se, but generally the more the better through the system if appropriate for their species (laminar for many gorgonians or random turbulent for most other reef inverts)> I have read through many of the FAQ's on your site but can't seem to get a good understanding. I designed it this way so that I could avoid the use of powerheads in the tank  <excellent!!! I recommend this to most everyone... powerheads have soooo many disadvantages> (both return lines are tee'd to provide 4 returns at the top of the tank, two are positioned in the front corners facing the middle/bottom of the tank and two are at the back of the tank directed across the top to the front) do you think this is enough circulation for this size of tank - eventually building a reef set up. <look for dead spots where detritus accumulates but overall it sounds good. Without wave/surge action (fairly inconvenient) most aquarists can have a fine display with very dynamic random turbulent current such as this> Thank you in advance for your help, Regards, Mike <always welcome, my friend. Anthony>

Sump Flow II Anthony - this is the third time I've contacted you and I am still amazed - you guys are awesome, keep up the good work! <wow... that is so relieving to hear after the entire WWM crew just got giant "S"'es tattooed on our chests... and one of the crew members is a lady <wink>... I wonder if Barb is paying attention?!> One more piece of advice regarding the returns (I am sure I will ask more in the future),  <was that a threat? .hehe> in your opinion would it be better to send the returns on the back of the tank aiming straight down - this way it would force water down along the bottom (through the rock), across the bottom and up the front of the glass. <there really is no possible rule for this application as it is influenced by the dynamic of each unique rockscape. Generally, converging paths (as with from opposing nozzles... i.e., Back left aiming to front right and vice versa) will produce a reasonable good random turbulent flow in the tank. Do consider tees and nozzles that are adjustable to tweak the flow after your tank is set up. This will help avoid dead spots (where detritus accumulates) and allow for necessary changes as rocks are moved or coral grow. I discuss the idea of a single pump on a manifold at length in my Book of Coral Propagation. If you have a local aquarium society, I wouldn't mind donating a copy of the book so that you/they don't have to pay to hear me ramble <wink>. E-mail me hear or at the book's web page (www.readingtrees.com) with an addy or link to their site> Currently, I have it plumbed across the top so it hits the front glass and travels down and across into the rocks - perhaps I am working myself up over small details  <yes.. a moot point as the flow with be adjusted many times over the months/years> but I originally thought that it may be better to agitate the surface but in hindsight the overflow boxes will likely do that... It may be better to pass the water down, through the rocks, to the front so it would essentially push the crap out instead of pushing it in... What's your thoughts? <it is very important that detritus be kept in suspension and that lower water is always raised to the surface for gas exchange> Increasingly grateful for your services! Regards, Mike <increasingly nervous with all of these ducks around here... Anthony>

Live Rock to Sump Addition Bob and crew. No question this time surprise! I did however want to let you know the outcome of some of your sage advice. Briefly I have a 250 gallon fish only show tank (48" tall and a cylinder) that was fitted with decorative insert like you see in some of the commercial aquarium displays. Spectacular but, form over function since it allowed for limited addition of live rock.  <And no ease of access for working on it... or catching livestock, yikes!> I was doing 50% water changes monthly to maintain 40-80 ppm nitrate. I was blessed with a fairly large sump (wet/dry with bio balls) and inquired about adding live rock and lighting. You thought that would help. I was a little nervous since there are some rare fish in the tank. I was able to get some 125 lbs or so of well cured live rock in the sump and eliminated the bio balls. For another reason (copper treatment for velvet which is now gone I hope and another story) I have not done water changes for 4 months. The Nitrate level only moved slightly above 80 ppm the entire time. I am not recommending going this long since water changes do other things but I am happy to report the addition of live rock with lighting to the sump has indeed reduced my nitrate accumulation by a significant amount. Per your advice also I have now turned off the fluidized bed and if ammonia levels do not spike this should reduce Nitrate levels even more. <Should be fine> Thanks a ton. Well worth the effort.

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