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FAQs About Sump/Filters 3

Related FAQs: Sumps/Filters 1, Sumps 2, Sumps 4, Sumps 5, Sumps 6, Sumps 7, Sumps 8, Sumps 9, Sumps 10, Rationale, Design, Construction, Sump Components, Pumps/Circulation, Maintenance, Refugiums, Plenums in Reef Filtration, Marine System Plumbing Holes & Drilling 1, Durso Standpipes, Overflow Boxes, Bubble Trouble, Plumbing NoiseMake Up Water Systems, Marine Aquarium Set-Up, Live RockLive Sand, 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 FiltrationMechanical, Physical, Fish-Only Marine Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Plumbing Marine SystemsRefugiums

Gravity return sump image by Skip Attix

Filtration (LR amount in sumps) O.K. I have going over your site but I have not found my answer, so here we go. Is there a certain ratio of liverock per gallon of water in a sump for filtration, <Not really, the more the better.> (for a fish-only tank that I don't want liverock in, just synthetic corals and such) <Perhaps use some base rock and place/attach the synthetic corals to this rockwork. It will look more realistic and serve as additional biological filtration.> and is it best to have livesand and liverock in sump and if so should I keep them separated for sand siphoning or just throw the rock on top of the sand? <I would use both and keep them together.> Thanks again, josh <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Help (mainly sump) Jason, <Bob this time> This Hexagon tank actually does not look at all like the normal tight boxed hex shapes. It would looks more like my long 72 bow front, just a lot bigger. I do have the live rock stacked in the middle. I will enclose a picture, take a look, I really think this 135 + 20 sump would accommodate an angel and a tusk along with my tang and puffer with enough swimming room for all. <Do test the sump for the likely eventuality of a power loss, pump failure... start the whole system with the pump off, the sump as full as you want... then turn on... leave running a few minutes and mark on the sump tank the level of the water... this is the highest you'll want to run it...> I hope you can see the depth and longitude of this tank from the picture. Tell me what you think if you can see from the pic? Also, why would you not have a purple tang and a puffer in the same tank?? <Easily done> P.S. Lexi, my black Puffer insisted that I also send you a picture of her, so you could see how adorably beautiful she is!! <A beauty! Bob Fenner> Thanks,

Sump questions Hello WWM crew, <Hello> I was just wanting to know What is the biggest tank you can run with a 125 gallon sump ?<perty darn big> I was just wanting to know because I got one for 50 bucks at a sale but they had 2 left and they gave me the other one for free also <score!>? Could 1-2 125 gallons run a 800 -1000 gallon fish only? <Should be fine>I see on the guys website with the 4000 gallon reef uses only 2 200 gallon sumps so is it like a 100 gallons of sump for every 1000 gallons of tank or is this not right? <It is not necessarily the size of the sump that is important, but how you use it. However, bigger is better. The components of your sump (built in refugium, protein skimmer, biomedia, pump, etc) will be what determines the efficiency of the entire system and the size of the tank you should go with. Check out the "Gear/Components" and "Filtration/Circulation/Aeration" section of the link below for a plethora of information on this topic> thanks for all your help, Harry <Thanks for making me feel that my sump is inadequate, Gage (-_-)>

New Setup Hi Bob, I'm in the planning/dreaming phase of setting up either a 120 gallon or 180 gallon setup. Is there any benefit to buying a wet/dry filter and removing the bio-balls versus buying an empty aquarium to act as a sump?  <Yes... generally a bit more expensive than just making a sump out a tank, rigging your own overflow... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm> If you buy a reef-ready tank, submersible return pump, and in-sump protein skimmer I don't see the need for an expensive wet/dry filter. Do these units help control water flow or reduce bubbles? <Some do... with baffles, overflows, intake filters/pads of various sorts... you can arrange all this yourself as well> Also, have you had any experience with E.T.S.S. or Precision Marine for protein skimming? Are they similar in quality/performance? <Have had exposure to both lines. Our opinions on skimmers are posted on WetWebMedia.com> On a side note... I would like to thank you for your advice and quick responses to my questions. Your advice has definitely made my fish/inverts happier animals. It's also nice being able to see them thanks to your advice on algae control. I used to have a SEVERE algae problem, but was able to reduce phosphates and raise calcium/alk. Now my tank is being overwhelmed with coralline algae. <Great to hear of your successes> Thanks for your time and excellent advice, Jeremy G. <Bob Fenner>

Sump Bryan here. Craig thanks for fast great information. <Steven Pro here with the reply.> Do have a few quick questions today. Using a Rubbermaid container for the sump. I am wanting to add some baffles. Reading thru F&Q's and found where Bob mentions he has put in acrylic sheets in Rubbermaid containers, but doesn't explain how. How would you silicone an acrylic sheet onto to a Rubbermaid container to get it to stay? <It is far easier to merely use several tubs of various sizes to create a baffled effect. One flowing into the next. Rubbermaid tubs are nice and cheap but bow considerably making siliconing baffles difficult.> Last thing, about the valves again. A check valve helps to prevent backflow/siphon. A gate valve acts to even out unequal pressure. What does a ball valve do and is it different than a shut off valve? <Similar> Thanks for all your help. Bryan <You are welcome. -Steven Pro> Sump/frag tank setup for dummies ? Bob, Anthony, and Steven, <cheers, Jeff... Anthony here> 1st, Melinda and I enjoyed meeting all of you guys at MACNA....We were very impressed with all of you (yes, even you Bob !) and greatly appreciate the time you spent with us discussing some of our ideas, and all of your work....Your openness to discuss these things is very helpful and we thank you. <our business and pleasure. Especially when you bring your charming wife <G>> Anyway, while we still play with potential ideas for a biz startup, we wanted to setup a mini op in our basement.... <a very good idea to start with a small model. Easier to extrapolate expenses from there. Go for it bubba> We have 3 100g Rubbermaid stock tanks available...I was thinking of just setting up 2 right now, with the ability to later add the 3rd.... <OK> Tank 1 would be the "grow out" tank, with about 5-6" sand, then raised acrylic racking above that (similar to the harbor tanks at MACNA)....lighting it, I think, will be a 36" MH/pc combo with 2x175w MH 10000k and 2x55w pc 6700k or 7100k...oh yeah, 2 sea swirls too <all very nice but it would be better to use equipment that will ultimately be used on the larger scale too... to work out the "bugs" so to speak. SeaSwirls are way too expensive to buy and operate in a commercial endeavor. Instead, use airlifts as much as possible and support with cheap recirculating pumps. Power heads are almost never to be recommended in commercial applications. The halides are very fine. The pc's are entirely unnecessary unless you just want them here for aesthetics. All halides have more than enough blue in their spectrum> Tank 2 would be the sump, or maybe, sump/refugium....here's where I need help..... <its not the only place you need help...heehee> I am thinking about an in sump bullet 1 skimmer, driven by the sen900 pump...a Gen x Mak 4 pump for the actual system flow...I'm planning on maybe 100lbs or so of LR in there as well, at the very least, and perhaps additional sand... <OK...cool> My problem is that I really have no idea on how do actually do all of this...I've never done anything like this before and want to do it right.... <no worries... the journey to enlightenment will be great fun here> ?'s are (other than "how do I do this ?!?!? ") can it all be plumbed with 1" line, or do the sump-tank and tank-sump lines need to be sized differently? <all one inch is likely fine... do check skimmer specs> 1 or 2 sump to tank pumps and lines, 1 or 2 returns ? <one pump and one return feeding a teed closed loop manifold. Did we discuss this at MACNA or do you need a crash course? If so... call by phone (number in my book) and we'll chat at length about this> what's the best/easiest way to return water from the sump to main tank (overflow) ? < a single dedicated pump to a manifold as per above. Simplest and most economical> how do I separate the skimmer area in the sump from the LR area....the problem is that the tank is not of uniform dimensions from top to bottom (the bottom footprint is smaller than the top footprint).... < a bucket or small inner vessel for the skimmer to catch raw water first is recommended> Does a refugium in the sump tank make any sense ? if so, how do I incorporate it ? <yes... its fine. Although I like an upstream refugium much better> Obviously, I am completely new to this, so be gentle with me please !!!!! <way too many jokes for that last comment... we'll let that one slide <G>> Again, it was great meeting all of you... Thanks for your time, Jeff Yonover Flossmoor, IL <our pleasure... be chatting soon. Do call if you need to. Anthony>

Refugium and Pond question Dear Bob, <<I'm not Bob, but I play one on TV... JasonC here.>> I am working on the addition of a refugium to my 300 gallon (96x30x24) reef tank. I have obtained a 250 gallon container and plan to locate it and all my other hardware in an adjoining "fish room". I have researched your website and read your book (both excellent!) and have a couple of questions: 1. Is it ok to have the new "refugium" act as my only sump as well? <<Sure.>> If yes, do I need a separate area for the water to crash into from the tank overflow? <<In a container that large, probably not... but it wouldn't hurt, it would just need engineering and construction in advance.>> 2. My tank is currently turning over at about 8 times per hour, and I am planning on increasing the flow as part of the new plumbing (larger pump). Will a flow of about 10-12 times per hour be too much for the refugium to function properly (nitrate removal, oxygenation, transfer of pods and other critters to feed main display)? <<In this case, you may want to baffle the water coming into the sump/refugium just so things don't get completely swept away.>> My other question is regarding ponds. I live in southern California (near the foothills in San Bernardino County). My wife has always wanted to have a saltwater outdoor pond. <<I would think this is do-able, but not without many issues - right off the top of my head would be constant top-off to deal with evaporation.>> Is these do-able with local animals (maybe leopard sharks, or rock wrasse, etc) or is it possible to do something with tropical livestock. <<Not with local livestock unless you also invest in a LARGE chiller... tropicals would be easier, but you'd still need a pretty large heater to make sure the temperature didn't drop too low on that one day a year when it gets chilly.>> Any insight you have on either subject would be appreciated. <<I say do as much research as you can... this isn't impossible, but will probably test the limits of your financing.>> Thanks, Bob McCook <<Cheers, J -- >>

Sump materials & cleaning Good morning! A couple of sump building questions. I recently purchased a 70 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank to use as a sump for my 135 gallon reef. I have cut some acrylic sheet which will serve as a baffle. What can I use to glue the acrylic sheet to the plastic stock tank?  <very little will actually make a chemical bond. The Rubbermaid has some nylon or polymers in it that don't receive glue well or at all> Could I use POXY MARINE (a waterproof epoxy)?  <that seems like a good choice> I tested some silicone sealant to see how well it would adhere to the stock tank but it peeled right off after it cured so I'm afraid it may not hold the baffles in place.  <exactly... silicone adheres to neither> Also, will acetone bond the acrylic to itself or do I have to use Weld-on?  <no idea... some experimentation here in a small spot> And lastly, the stock tank and water storage tank (plastic also) are new and seem to have slippery almost oily feel to them. I assume this is the mold release used during manufacturing.  <likely> Can I take both to the carwash and use soap and water to clean them, as long as they are well rinsed? <well rinsed... ya, but still makes me uncomfortable. A good scouring with cooking salt will do the trick nicely> Regards, Gerardo Gomez <best regards, Anthony>

Sump I am suffering from information overload! Please tell me the best setup for a fish and coral sump. <Your confusion is in trying to determine "The Best" sump for any given setup. There really is no such thing. There are many, many, many different sump configurations. It all depends on what in particular you wish it to do.> I already have about # 150 live rock and a DSB with about #100 OF LIVE SAND over #200 of aragonite. I need something to act as a sump to return water back to my 160 gallon tank. <If that is all, a simple Rubbermaid tub would work just fine.> Yes I am using a good skimmer (precision marine # 626). I don't know what to put in the refugium that will be beneficial and keep my nitrates at 0. <Ok, if you are having nitrate problems, we can address that particular need. First off, I would begin to use purified water (RO or DI) if you are not already. Also, double check your salt mix for nitrate. If your source water and salt mix are nitrate free, check your feeding and dosing. Make sure that everything you add is being consumed (both fish and invert foods). Make sure your skimmer is functioning properly, operating in a stable water level, receiving raw (un-prefiltered) surface skimmed water, and producing a cup full of dark skimmate daily. If you are currently doing all of this and still have a problem, then you are probably overstocked, but you can employ a refugium to help. If your focus is nutrient export, use Caulerpa, but know that your corals may suffer in the long-run. You can use many other macroalgae or seagrasses. They all have their pluses and minuses. I did want to point out that too many hobbyists associate refugiums with Caulerpa or really any plant life. A refugium is merely a place of refuge for certain plants and animals away from the predators in your tank (fish and corals). A refugium could be a dark area with liverock and sponges, ala Steve Tyree and his cryptic zones. Or it could merely be a live rock rubble area that is focused on copepod, amphipod, and Mysis shrimp production. There are of course the Caulerpa and Miracle Mud refugiums or the seagrass beds with deep fine aragonite substrate or mini forests of Mangroves or any other design you can imagine. Merely identify what you want out of your refugium/sump and think of a way to deal with your particular needs.> Thanks, Lance Roark <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: sump My objective is to remove all the nitrates, and provide a good environment for corals. I am doing all the things you hit on already, but I believe my trickle with bioballs is a nitrate factory !! <agreed> What would you suggest to add to a refugium to get me to this point ? I am thinking maybe a live sand bed with some mangrove, or reef rubble. How about either one of these ideas? <the mangrove is very cool, but does little for nutrient export. The rubble will help generate plankton. A very deep fine sand bed is the key to nitrate reduction. 4+ inches at least. 5-6" would be nice> Can I use a sump and just use the live rock and live sand bed to get there? <you could... but that would reduce the safety reservoir in the sump (power outages, etc). I'd advice a DSB (deep sand bed) inline refugium between the display and the sump, or above the display (to prevent the need for an extra pump)> Thanks for responding Lance Roark <best regards, Anthony>

DIY SUMP Setup Bob, I have been perusing WWM for a week now. I can not fathom the amount of time and energy that you and the crew put into maintenance, and then to answer all of our email, I am rather awestruck. <Thank goodness for good (knowledgeable, friendly, outreaching...) friends... and the accumulated technology which is the internet> I apologize for asking yet another sump question, but after reading all of the FAQs I was and am still left somewhat unsure of how to proceed. I tried to connect to OZ Reef but it appears to be down for maintenance currently, so I'll just dive into my questions following a little background. I currently have a 55g Marine setup. I have a Wet/Dry HOT, a Sea Clone 100 Skimmer, and a Powerhead (805). I have since learned that the HOT Wet/Dry was a mistake and doesn't work worth a darn.  <You might benefit from converting this to a refugium...> I have about 3" of mixed substrate to include Crushed Puka Shell, Crushed Coral, and a mix of a few others that were left over at the LFS. I have about 30lbs. of Live Rock, and my chemicals stay quite perfect to my surprise. Fish in the tank include a Yellow Tang (4"), a Koran (4"), a Paddlefin (6"), a Volitans Lion (4") and a Snowflake Moray (12-14"). <A lot of life...> I know that my tank is overstocked and I want to do something about it. I went and looked at tanks this weekend, and I think I have chosen a 135g that is 72Lx24Hx18D. I was going to order it predrilled with Qty. 3 of 1" Overflows Spread across the back. I was going to use 2 for the Overflow, and 1 as a return from a 2g Sump. <Would like to see larger holes for the discharges from the tank... and I'll assume you meant a "20" gal. sump> Does this sound ok?  <Mmm, okay... but a larger sump will be more useful by far... the transit volume alone (practice, imagine turning the pump/s off, or the power going off... about ten gallons of water will drain into the sump... so you'll have to operate it about half full... to avoid overfilling accidents.> I plan on moving the Lion, Koran, Paddlefin and Moray into the new tank, and use the 55 as a small reef setup. Does this sound ok or am I mental?  <Sounds good to me> I get these ideas and the LFS tells me otherwise so I tend to do them anyhow. <An important lesson: One must think, and in final syntheses decide for themselves> I also have a 10g tank with 2 Green Chromis, 2 Damsels and a Coral Banded Shrimp, only because I was told that it couldn't be done. These tank have all been established about 6 months. My reason behind all this is also somewhat double edged in that first off I know my fish are over crowded, and secondly I want some corals and other types of aquatic life as well as some Clowns and Jelly Fish and what not. <Not Jellyfish> If my plan sounds feasible, then great I can continue, otherwise what do you suggest? Should I add or change the holes that I plan on having drilled?  <Yes... make the overflows 1 1/2" diameter... and add another discharge or two... one at either back end, one in the middle...> Where else can I find more DIY Sump Information.  <Do you have Anthony's Coral Propagation book? Many good ideas there> I same your 1 diagram here on WWM but I was and am unclear on what is what and how the trays and what not work. I think I some what under stand the idea behind a bulk head in it's use for eliminating bubbles from eh system, but what else is there too it? What do I do for actual filtration, and what do I use to pump the water back up? <Many things... keep studying, drawing all out, gathering information until you understand what your options are> Thanks for all of your help and keep up the good work, if not for us hobbyists, for the well being of our innocent fish! ;-) <Indeed... our principal goals exactly. Bob Fenner> --Phillip

Happy sump day Bob! Happy birthday Bob!!! (where is the cake??) <no cake in San Diego... they celebrate by sticking some candles in a chalupa...or a carnita... or any one of myriad of tasty Mexican dishes> Anthony: <Si...> I'm planning to modify my sump, because I design it without the proper knowledge and experience. My actual sump is fed from the main tank with a siphon (I know you don't like it, just apologize me, maybe in the future I'll modify it)  <agreed... do drill the tank for a gravity overflow when the opportunity is available> it does not have a special chamber to receive the raw water to feed the skimmer. So my new tank will have a special chamber for the skimmer, feeding directly from the main tank, also, reading your FAQs and now, your book, I will put a DSB in the sump to achieve the nitrate elimination. Please see my raw plan, and give me some advice... my tank is 200 liter.  <the design looks very nicely simple and effective: raw water enters the skimmer section first, then passes over DSB then returned to display. You may want to add some chemical filtration down here too (submersible carbon filter or even just a bag of passive carbon)> another question, the sump area does not have illumination, and if I can avoid it, I rather stay without light in there... there is any problem with that? <no problem at all... there is no need for light when this refugium is meant to denitrify and to produce plankton. Arguably, it may even work a little bit better without light for these purposes> Regards Carlos
<kindly, Anthony>

Sumps????? Hi! I'm gonna set up a sump and put a skimmer in it. I have an old fish tank (10 gallon) that I am going to put on the stand underneath the saltwater tank (4 foot). I do not have an overflow yet but is it ok to put some pipe into the saltwater display tank and siphon water into the tank underneath (sump) then return the water to the main tank via a pump? <No, my friend, siphon overflow systems are not that simple.> I have found many DIY sumps that the overflow just works by siphon with a cap so that if the power goes out it won't keep siphoning. I do not know if this type of overflow will work but if you know of any type of reliable overflow piece of equipment which works by siphon could you please tell me about it or where I go to find the DIY plans! <Check out the projects on www.ozreef.org> Thanks very much, Brendan P.S. Could you also tell me how you would do it because I'd rather take advise from a pro than some 15 year old kid like myself who would try anything! <I strongly prefer to have the tank drilled with a bulkhead fitting. -Steven Pro>

Sump Room Hi again, I had a new thought on the sump. How about just placing the skimmer pump in the sump and have tubing run to the skimmer which then overflows partly into the return sump and partly into the sump where the live rock will be? <Ok...> Are there any major disadvantages to having the pump in the water and the skimmer outside of the sump? <If you make an error in adjusting the skimmer and the cup overflows you can have a flood in your house. With the skimmer inside the sump, any overflow merely returns to the sump.> Thanks, Mike <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Happy sump day Bob! Happy birthday Bob!!! (where is the cake??) <Mmm, there's a collective one tonight, and another couple tomorrow night... and a host of Fire Marshals...> Anthony: I'm planning to modify my sump, because I design it without the proper knowledge and experience. My actual sump is fed from the main tank with a siphon (I know you don't like it, just apologize me, maybe in the future I'll modify it) it does not have a special chamber to receive the raw water to feed the skimmer. So my new tank will have a special chamber for the skimmer, feeding directly from the main tank, also, reading your FAQs and now, your book, I will put a DSB in the sump to achieve the nitrate elimination. Please see my raw plan, and give me some advice... my tank is 200 liter. another question, the sump area does not have illumination, and if I can avoid it, I rather stay without light in there... is any problem with that? Regards Carlos <Anthony responding...>

Rubbermaid Sump Hi, After a failed attempt to buy a 20 gallon tank (which didn't fit in my stand, so I broke the bottom and side and bought two pieces of glass and resealed it--which didn't work as well as I wanted), I was thinking about some sort of Rubbermaid-type sump?  <Yes. One of our favorite makers, line of products> What can you recommend? And is it possible to divide this type of sump like you would an aquarium with sections of glass?  <Possible, yes... you could build divider-holders, attach with silicone for such a small sump> Would you recommend this type of sump if someone is going to put live rock in? HELP! <Yes... please read through the sump, refugium, marine plumbing sections on our root web: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm there are actually hundreds of FAQs concerning just this sort of arrangement. Bob Fenner>

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