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FAQs About Sump/Filters 5

Related FAQs: Sumps/Filters 1, Sumps 2, Sumps 3, Sumps 4, 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, Marine System Plumbing Fish-Only Marine Set-up, FOWLR/Fish and Invertebrate Systems, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Refugiums

"Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble... " how can you prevent over-bubbliness?

New reef set-up questions I just saw another design  for a sump/refugium, which makes better use of the sump's space as a refugium. <true... but they illustrate the very thing that I despise about downstream refugiums... they consume a significant portion of the sump proper. Without the reservoir of a large sump area (where the return pump is) you will be a slave to evaporation for fear of burning out your sump.> I am attaching both designs. My target is to have a DSB in my sump (I'll go without the plenum), which will be able to keep my nitrates as low as possible, with some live rock in it as well as some macroalgae (I do not yet what king of macroalgae my LFS can provide me). Can you please comment the pros and cons of these designs? Thanks Thanassis <Thanassis... I want to help you my friend... but it seems like I'm answering the same question over a bit. In the last two e-mails regarding your sump plans/designs, I have referred you to what I feel is the best and most direct/simple yet effective sump design ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm). This depicts a primary chamber that receives raw overflowing water first and then a  large sump reservoir. The refugium can be treated in a downstream application (but separate small vessel) from the teed line off the return pump under the stand... Or... it can be fed (as an upstream refugium) above the display from the termination of the return line. Alas... I cannot state any more passionately how I feel this is best. Kind regards, Anthony>

Sump design Hi.....sorry for disturb your time.... I am not speak English very well but I can see a lot of post about sump design and implementation. My question: I have a 55 Gal reef tank and I want to make a good design sump...I understand that the sump have many chambers (skimmers, and other implements, etc), but my question is how many chambers I need for use correctly. 2 or 3 ...and how can I connect all chambers....I really appreciate your help on this matter or if you can give where I can find this, I appreciate too......thanks a lot.  Your friend. Daniel Castillo <Hi Daniel, search on "sump" at WetWebMedia.com and go to Anthony's article on sumps and reef set-ups. There are several examples under "marine set-ups" at WetWebMedia.com  They will help as would Anthony or Bob's book.  Craig>

Re: Marine Set-up: Sump Design It is me again asking those silly questions. Thanks for the last reply it will help much. I have another question. Do I need to partition the live rock, skimmer, heater and activated carbon in a special way? <Not necessarily...see marine set-ups and sumps at WetWebMedia.com, much more there.> I know the skimmer needs to receive the first of raw water. <Yes, this is better, see skimmer boxes at WetWebMedia.com for additional info. Also DIY sumps as well. Too many options and plans to present here!  Craig>

Sump Skimmer Box To Whom Is On Tonight: <Craig today> If I am redundant, I apologize. You previously answered my question concerning placing my Aqua-C EV180 into my sump. You indicated that preferred is "raw" water so skimmer works best, and I indicated I would section off  into two sections. Siliconing Plexiglas to separate. Plexiglas siliconed so first section is water tight. First section with skimmer, second with heater and return sump pump.  My question is if the Aqua-C is utilizing a Mag 7 to run, and I am currently running a Mag 9 for my return sump pump, would I not run out of water in the second section due to the first section pump with skimmer could not keep up with GPH of water compared to the return pump? Thanks for the response. Regards, Mendy <The main overflow flows into your first compartment (containing the skimmer) at the same rate as the return pump....a Mag 9. The skimmer runs separately from the overflow and return pump, it isn't in-line with the return pump, so has no effect. You will likely need a spillway, holes in the divider, or raise the skimmer to keep the first compartment water level at the proper predetermined level for the skimmer. If it isn't at WetWebMedia.com under skimmer boxes, then it's in Anthony's book which I highly recommend.  Craig>

Sump Baffles Hi All, <Hello> I have a sump question.  I read an old FAQ about an acrylic sump a guy was making and he wanted to attach a few acrylic baffles in it.  Bob mentioned that as long as they are not structural, you can avoid using the Weld-on product and just use silicone rubber, the type you find at the hardware store.  I got some stuff from Home Depot, 100% aquarium use silicone, I assume this is what he meant? <Yes> Also, since I will be adding two baffles, one for the divider of the first chamber to the second which will go from the bottom up about 9 inches or so with water overflowing over the top, and another smaller one a few inches high in just in front of the bulkhead to the return pump to prevent bubbles or whatever else, I assume these are not going to be structural in any way.  They should be able to hold back the weight of the water without any problems, using only the silicone.  Is this correct? <Correct. Give the Silicone a day to cure before filling the sump. Bob Fenner> Thank you Paul

- Silicone Help - GREAT SITE!!! <And good day to you! JasonC here...> I was wondering if the is any specific technique to applying silicone to seal pieces together? <Don't skimp on the silicone, and the neatness of the whole thing is up to you.> I'm planning to put in Plexiglas baffles in a 10 gal. all-glass tank (being used as a sump) and also contemplating on building a corner overflow out of Plexiglas (not to mention drilling a hole in the bottom of my 55 gal. all-glass tank). <Well, you might want to investigate overflow designs first, and make sure you have all the tools you need - a router comes to mind. Next, spend some time at this link: http://ozreef.org/diy/#OVERFLOW - this will get you on your way for building an overflow. As for drilling the tank, I'd take that to a glass shop and have it done there.> I don't want to jump in and just do it, without professional advice, and end up having a leaky tank... or worse. Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated. <As long as you're asking for advice, see if you can cram a larger tank in there - a 10 gallon tank is ok, but likely it will only add about five gallons to your system volume... more water is always better.> Also, any recommendations on better/cheaper/sturdier material or material combinations (other than Plexiglas) would be nice. <Any sturdy acrylic will work - color is probably not important. Consider finding and visiting a large plastics shop where they often have a bin of cut, scrap pieces which can be had for pocket change. Will save you from having to buy a sheet of material.> Thanks a bunch in advance!!! Loyal WetWebMedia surfer Iona
<Cheers, J -- >

Jumping Into A Sump! OK Scott: My protein skimmer is back on track and I see the Cyanobacteria (the copper colored stuff) disappear one day and reappear the next.  I am doing a 5% water change with DI water every 3 days.   <Good! Keep staying with this- you'll win in the long run...make sure that the water you are using is of high quality> Since our last talk, I have been doing a lot of reading on sumps.  I am trying to answer a few questions: 1) For a 29 gal tank (that does not have an overflow) that will - hopefully - soon be housing coral, would a sump be beneficial? <I certainly am a big fan of sumps, if for no other reason than they offer a lot of flexibility, with regards to filtration and water treatment options...Not mandatory, but very useful, nonetheless> 2) If I do get a sump, should I move my BioWheel 330 wet/dry filter to the sump?  I know that the heater and skimmer should go to the sump, but I haven't heard much about the filter.  Or, do I leave the filter in the tank since the sump works as a filter itself? <To be quite honest, I think that once you get the sump up and running, you won't need the outside filter...Sure, it can provide some extra mechanical filtration, but you can accomplish the same thing with a "filter sock" (cleaned and/or changed out very frequently) or other mechanical filtration media in compartments within the sump> 3)If I do a sump, it will most likely be DIY (I'm thinking about using a 10gallon aquarium). <The aquarium should work just fine- especially with a 29 gallon tank> My next question refers to the skimmer.  I have the Prizm hang-on-tank skimmer.  When I move it to the sump, should I engineer a way to ensure that all the water flows through the skimmer (See Plan B.jpg), or would that overload the skimmer?  Should I do that or just let the skimmer pull water through the main chamber of the sump (See Plan A.jpg)? <I'd place the skimmer where it will receive the most "raw" water from the display tank, to maximize skimmer efficiency> 4)I know Macroalgae is good, but what about the other algae (hair and so on). Should I let it grow in my sump so that it will eat all the nitrates and stay out of my tank? <I think that, if regularly harvested, and an appropriate species is used (such as Gracilaria, Chaetomorpha, or Halimeda), you can definitely realize some benefits. Light a section of the sump and you can utilize macroalgae quite effectively> 5) Since I do not have an overflow chamber in my tank, should I trust gravity to siphon the water from the tank (I'm worried about this option since it would be pulling from the top of the tank), or will I need to get a pump to pull the water from the tank?   <Lots and lots of possibilities...Gravity generally does the trick, but you have to make sure that the return pump can handle the flow> 6) If plain old gravity is the way to go to siphon water from the tank, how strong of a pump should I get to pump the water back in? <You'll have to experiment with that one...Several factors, such as how many feet of head you are working against, how much flow you want in the tank, etc. come into play> I think that's it (for now, anyway).  Thanks again!-Kenneth <My pleasure, Kenneth! Keep learning and having fun with the upgrades to your system! Good Luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Sump Question - Hello Crew, <Good morning, JasonC here...> I have a sump question for you all.  Its a 29 gallon sump, 30 x 12 x 18.  It will contain my Aqua C EV-120, heaters and some carbon.  My question is in the construction of this sump.  I wanted to make 3 chambers, the first chamber being about 6 inches wide.  This is where 3 1.5 drains will empty into from the main display.  The skimmer pump will be located in here.  I was going to make a baffle about 8 inches tall.  Then the second chamber would have the skimmer and would be about 12 inches wide.  Then there would be a baffle, again 8 inches tall, then going forward about 1 inch with another baffle coming down from the top to the bottom leaving about 1 or 2 inches of clearance from the bottom, then going forward again about an 1 with another 8 inch tall baffle which would leave the last chamber about 4 inches wide that has the bulkhead to the return pump.  Does this seem like a workable design. <I think so... the design sounds similar to many available commercially.> Should the baffles be taller? <I would experiment with these, perhaps with acrylic panels in a glass tank... just to get an idea of how all the pieces work together.> I still have 10 inches of height till the top of the sump, so it might not be a good use of space. <Well... you need to be able to hold the water that is in transit to/from your tank - if the power shuts off, most of that water will go back to the sump, so you do need some amount of reserve space.> The main tank has 3 1.5 " drains that have elbows curving upward leaving about 1 inch from the top of the tank, so if the power shuts off, it will stop draining into the sump pretty quick.  Maybe the baffles should be higher to use more sump space.  What are your opinions. <I would experiment... get a working model going so you can test some cause/effect relationships.> many thanks Paul <Cheers, J -- >

Sump question Hello Crew, I have a sump question for you all.  Its a 29 gallon sump, 30 x 12 x 18.  It will contain my Aqua C EV-120, heaters and some carbon.  My question is in the construction of this sump.  I wanted to make 3 chambers, the first chamber being about 6 inches wide.  This is where 3 1.5 drains will empty into from the main display.  The skimmer pump will be located in here.  I was going to make a baffle about 8 inches tall.  Then the second chamber would have the skimmer and would be about 12 inches wide.  Then there would be a baffle, again 8 inches tall, then going forward about 1 inch with another baffle coming down from the top to the bottom leaving about 1 or 2 inches of clearance from the bottom, then going forward again about an 1 with another 8 inch tall baffle which would leave the last chamber about 4 inches wide that has the bulkhead to the return pump.  Does this seem like a workable design.  Should the baffles be taller?  I still have 10 inches of height till the top of the sump, so it might not be a good use of space.  The main tank has 3 1.5 " drains that have elbows curving upward leaving about 1 inch from the top of the tank, so if the power shuts off, it will stop draining into the sump pretty quick.  Maybe the baffles should be higher to use more sump space.  What are your opinions. Many thanks, Paul <Hi Paul, My own choice would be to use as much of the sump volume as I could, as long as it would accommodate all water during an outage. The baffles can be as tall as you wish (for those that flow under the baffle) and held off the bottom as needed to accommodate flow for those that flow over.  You might consider using the first compartment as a skimmer box that maintains a specific water height (overflows into second chamber at specific height) so skimmer has proper depth water according to manufacturer. This helps skimmer efficiency/consistency, and puts the skimmer first in-line for waste ladened surface skimmed water. Don't forget siphon "breaks" in your return lines, they will siphon just as your drains will. Have fun!  Craig> INVERTS ONLY tank & Anthony's BOCP1 Anthony: Thanks for the reply.   <always welcome my friend> Sorry, but I was really referring to everything except corals in your "Non-Vertebrate Life" website section.   <ahhh.. very good. No worries though, not much different. There are plenty of non-coral inverts that are planktivores to keep microcrustaceans in check (as if it was a problem <G>... they will be limited by the food source at any rate)> So, are you implying that without corals there would be an imbalance?   <hard to predict without knowing what your invert selection is and what they eat... still, unlikely you will have any problem> As far as your book, BOCP Vol.1; I read on this web page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumpusefaq3.htm someone wrote "Where else can I find more DIY Sump Information" and Bob replied : Do you have Anthony's Coral Propagation book? Many good ideas there".  While I obviously did not buy your book for DIY Sump ideas, I happen to be considering that notion at the moment, and since my book arrived today (YEAH!),  I figured the timing was perfect.  To the question: where is this information in your book?   <a sump is simply a reservoir, of course, and is defined by what you do with it. There is no "variations of a sump" chapter, alas... but what Bob is referring to, I suspect, are the permutations of the concept in the second chapter "Concept Aquarium Dynamics" like the downstream lagoon (p18) or the automated system (p 59) and other variations in between> I don't see it indexed or in the contents.  Thanks, keep up the outstanding job you guys do!!!  Rich. <thanks kindly, my friend. Best regards! Anthony>

Noisy overflows Greetings to all I have been searching all over for information on quieting sumps down and would like to know if there is anything else I can try.  I have a 55 gal corner bow with a 20 gal sump.  I had 2- 1" bulkheads put in. On the inside of the tank there is a 1" service elbow pointing up with a coupling on top with slots in it. (that is my makeshift strainer)  On the outside of the tank I have a Tee attached with hose running down to the sump.  In the top of the Tee there is a short piece of pvc with a cap on top.  The Cap has two holes in it.  One is to vent the line and the other has a piece of 3/8" clear vinyl running down to the bottom end of the 1" line to vent the bottom.  The hoses are just under the surface of the sump water when it is running.  I tried having them above the water, but the noise and splashing were extremely loud.  I have an Iwaki md30rxlt pump returning water to the main tank. <Look at Durso pipe overflows to figure out how to vent these quietly. I don't think the 3/8 line helps. may hinder venting. Also, run water over splash plate w-filter pad in sump to quiet bubbles and splashing.> The two noises I am trying to deal with are the constant waterfall noise from the water running down the hoses and the hum coming from the pump. The waterfall noise has me pulling my hair out. The Iwaki is mounted to the bottom of the cabinet and has a piece of 3/16" rubber under it.  It is lagged down and I think that the cabinet is amplifying the hum. <Yep, bolting down to cabinet makes it part of cabinet....and it's larger vibrating hum.> Any ideas? <As per your new post, you moved it downstairs for noise and heat. 10 degrees increase in heat isn't good.....is the pump too big?> One more totally unrelated question.  We have put in a Deep sand bed and I am going to purchase a detritivore kit as well as 44 lbs of live rock to reseed the rock I already have.  Which should I add first?  The rock or the critters? Thanks Bryan and Dana Flanigan <I would add the rock first.  Hope this helps!  Craig>

Overflow (good kind) and overflow (bad kind) with sump Hi folks! I've been reading here furiously on sumps, 'cos I want to add one to my 37g FOWLR, but I have two questions I can't find answers to. The tank has - for better or for worse - an Eclipse hood, and is not drilled. I need a hang-on overflow to get water out to the sump. Now, the primary reason for the Eclipse was that it is quiet - my wife doesn't like the living room sounding like a babbling brook. It also minimizes evaporation, which helps keep this small system stable. Is there a quiet, effective solution to feeding a sump, or am I SOL (highly technical term ;-> )? <Not the best option overall, but in your case show on of our sponsors for overflow boxes, either U-tube or CPR. These require a venturi powerhead to pull the air out of the overflow in the event of a power failure, etc.> I've already taken out the bio-wheel, so the hood is now relegated to providing mech/chem filtration and light. Am I going to have to pull it off altogether in order to put a hang-on overflow on the tank to feed the sump?  You may have to get out the Dremel tool and cut a space or ?> Secondly, what happens if a hang-on overflow loses its siphon and stops refilling the sump? How does one stop the return pump from pumping the contents of the sump over the living room carpet? Do I put a partition in the sump to create a fixed, low quantity return section? I think I'd rather lose the return pump than my head ;-> Thanks! <No problem, see above. You may find yourself moving out of your Eclipse and using the existing tank as a sump! Have fun!  Craig> Sumps Hello all you Wonderful WetWebMedia Warriors. <Hello, just finished up an attack on a Corallimorph.  Next stop the LFS for battle royal.> Er, OK. Why would you attack a Corallimorph? I can understand why you'd want to do battle on the LFS ;-) <Because I am greedy and want more. "Radial cuts on corallimorphs from or near the mouth outward with a sharp scalpel or razor blade forces fission and produces a second, fully formed polyp within weeks" -Anthony Calfo's Book of Coral Propagation.> Thanks for the response on the UGF. There is only one riser pipe, and I knew enough to keep the depth consistent so as not to allow short-cuts and dead-spots (all those years in engineering school finally useful for something ;-) <Ha, good to hear> I really want to reserve new floor (and tank) space assignments for my new love of the past five years - salt water - so as long as nothing is really wrong, I'll continue making sure the environment is as congenial as possible for the unusual mix of fish. Which brings me to a salt water question, if I may .... <please do> I have a 4 yr-old 37g FOWLR, also under an Eclipse 3 hood (1 Power-Glo, 1 Marine-Glo actinic), and 1/2 inch black sand. It's getting a little over-populated now, with the phenomenal growth of a huge green brittle star (now over 13" dia). The white (with coralline coloring) long tentacle anemone has been around for three years with his tomato clown buddy. The tang and the Koran angel weren't wise choices, I'm sorry, but I'm wiser now. <As long as we learn from our mistakes.  These fellas need a much larger tank.> The humbug damsel is also growing, and a bit of a pest, occasionally. The coral banded shrimp is huge too. There's about 25lbs of healthy looking LR, and stats are good and stable. I can't afford a bigger tank yet, but want to do something good in the mean time, like a sump in the bottom part of the stand. I've been reading a lot on the site, but I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the options. I know I should put in a protein skimmer, and will need the sump for that, because it won't fit under the Eclipse hood. <Not without cutting the hood.> Could you advice on the contents of a sump (or direct me to articles and/or FAQs) ? I was thinking of partitioning a spare 10 gal tank I have, if that makes any sense. <A 10gal may be a little cramped.  Rubbermaid makes some good sumps ;-) , maybe they have one that will fit under your stand and allow for a larger sump.  A sump can contain many things, or nothing. It Could just be a way increase your volume of water and hide your heater.  You could incorporate a deep sand bed, refugium, or more LR.  Definitely aim to keep the skimmer in the first chamber so that it receives raw surface water.   Here is some good reading http://wetwebmedia.com/diytksfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dsbfaq2.htm http://www.ozreef.org/diy/sump.html > I always thought I should keep the LR away from the glass for water flow reasons, but I don't dare stack any more in, lest it fall on somebody in the tank, but I've learned from reading here that I really should have at least 1lb per gal. Is it OK to stack it against the back wall? <Water flow can be achieved in other ways (power heads or a manifold of some sort from the return pump in the sump), I would add more rock and lean it against the tank.> Would it be good to replace the black sand with aragonite for its buffering qualities? <Yes> Should I pull out the bio-wheel with the addition of more LR? <Yes, with all the LR the bio-wheel is not needed.> Any other recommendations? <A larger tank, or possibly using the big boys for trade in value.> Many thanks again, and thank you on behalf of us ignorant beginners for protecting us from ourselves !!! <We're here to help, thanks for giving us the opportunity. -Gage> Julian.

What's In The Sump? Thanks for the advice but need some more please..... <Sure...> I also forgot to mention that I'm adding a 20g sump to my new tank. Should I add bio balls or just use my existing crushed coral with some carbon? Should I add lighting to my sump? Thanks guys. Werner Schoeman <Well, Werner, I like to think of the sump as sort of the "water treatment center" for the system...As such, I'd personally omit the bioballs, and let the sump work as sort of a settling basin for particulates, which can be either captured in filter pads (which I don't like, because we tend to neglect their regular maintenance- by "regular", I mean "daily"(!)...) or simply siphoned out during regular maintenance. If you are interested in using the sump as a sort of "mini-refugium", you could put in a thin (like 1/2") layer of crushed coral to encourage amphipod propagation (they seem to like coarse substrates), float some macroalgae, like Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria (my two favorites!), and throw on an inexpensive power compact light...Easy and effective. As far as carbon- I won't personally run a system without it! You can keep it in small filter media bags in a section of the sump that gets some flow, for passive application. Be sure to change carbon on a regular basis (I like to do this once or twice a month). You should also consider using a Poly Filter pad in there. It's a great product, and has an affinity for removing lots of the undesired substances that make us hobbyists cringe (phosphates, nitrates, etc.). With a little though, and some creative application, you can create a great addition to your system with this sump. Good luck, and have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Sumps for sale? (03/05/03) Hi again everyone! <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I've begun the journey of setting up a FOWLR tank this year. It's a AGA 30L. <I've got a tank that size... a little small for a fish-only with live rock tank, but will do for a start.> I've read CMA, along with a few others, and I've read tons and tons of FAQ's on this wonderful site. Thanks for your dedicated service! <You're welcome!> My questions are these: According to WWM's popular opinion, there is not much need for a wet/dry trickle filter, the best bet would be a sump with LR. <You can always put live rock *in* the tank, too... and use part of the sump as a refugium.> I've looked at OZ's reef site and this is over my head. Does anyone other than Lifereef (very expensive), sell a sump that I can just purchase pre-made? <Hmmm. It's actually not that difficult to build your own -- it doesn't need to be as complicated as some of the ones you've seen. Do check out the WetWebMedia chat forums; we have a do-it-yourself forum, which includes several discussions about building these. All you really need is a tank, a few custom-cut pieces of glass and some aquarium silicone. Some of the forum members even have pictures of sump plans on their web pages.> Question number two - I have a 30L as stated above... I know this is small now, but I didn't learn of this until after acquiring the tank, and hand building a stand and canopy. <You can still make this a nice little tank.> I've e-mailed before, and was told that a yellow tang would be too crunched and that even a flame angel (my original must have fish!) would find it an uncomfortable aqua-closet. <I'd considered turning my 30L tank into a marine tank, but decided not to when I found it would be too small for any of the small angels.> I think a yellow headed Jawfish would fit, but can you list a couple interesting fish that might be comfortable? <The other fish I was considering at the time... One (or a pair) of the smaller clownfish, like ocellaris or a "true" percula, would be fine. And they are very entertaining. A royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) or Brazilian Gramma (Gramma brasiliensis) is another possibility. There are a few other fish that would do okay in this tank, but I would be wary of keeping them with the Jawfish.> I'd like to research these before I buy anything else. <Yay!> I should add that I plan to move up to at least a 75Gal in the next year, but that's a long time to be stuck in a closet! <Yup... though if you want a tang and a flame angel, you might consider an even larger tank.> Thank You in advance...you at the crew are lifesavers! --- Dave Adams <You're quite welcome. --Ananda>

Re: Ick & new tank, should I replace gravel? Bob, thank you for your quick reply !     I have taken the water volume into account. My LFS mentioned I could drill a small hole under the bend at the 90 where the return enters the tank, and this will stop the siphon, are you familiar w/ this method? does it work? <Yes, and generally> my sump holds 12 gal & the tank is 48 x 20 x 24, when I had my 80 gal & took about 8 gal out for water changes it usually brought the h20 level just below the return. Any other thoughts on this ? <Yes... start the system pump/s with the sump full and mark how low the water level is drawn to... and do not fill the system beyond this mark. This will save you from overflowing the sump in the event of a power outage or pump failure.> PS - Thanks to you I now use a QT after years of not knowing these idea's. I got into the hobby back in the very early nineties, pretty much before the internet became SO popular & books were not nearly as informative. Boy isn't technology great ! Thank you for your contributions to our hobby ! Darrin Mack <Agreed and thank you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ick & new tank, should I replace gravel? Hello Mr. Fenner,       Thank you for your reply. I did just purchase the "weld-on" cement for the acrylic. I am adding 8" of height to my bio ball unit. I am worried that it still may be to small 9 x 9 x 20 w/ balls, is this sufficient for a 100 gal, while using a EV-120 skimmer? Thanks again,        Darrin <Can be. Do make sure to allow for "transit volume" should your pump or power give out. Bob Fenner>

Skimmer Setup And Sump Configuration Dear WWM Wetheads: <That has a much nicer connotation than "Dead Head", huh? Scott F your "Wethead" tonight!> I'm planning a saltwater 75-gallon-tank+20-gallon-sump setup that I'm trying to keep technically simple, both to minimize electrical requirements and to simplify maintenance (the usual Holy Grails, in other words). <Yep- nothing unusual here! LOL> In my case, I plan to run a SKIMMER-ONLY "reef" tank+sump, heavy on the live sand+rock, with only rare use of a filter system. No macroalgae, sump illumination, wet/dry filters, bioballs, GPS, ABS, fender-skirts, and so on. <Ahh...a "stripped down" version, huh?> Well, probably a float-valve to add distilled water as needed. <Well- you have to make some concessions to practicality, huh?> I intend to use an AquaC "Urchin Pro" skimmer. My understanding so far is that the sump would normally have one downstream external pump returning water back up to the display tank, and separately the dedicated, smaller pump submerged on the in-sump Urchin Pro. MY QUESTION: is it possible to set up an Urchin Pro with just ONE (presumably oversize) external pump simultaneously powering the skimmer and also circulating water back up to the display tank? <Interesting idea...but I'm not sure if that will work...> There are several obvious risks (like under- or over-pressurizing the skimmer). Have you seen such a setup work? <No, I can't say that I have...I'd contact Aqua C, and talk to the owner, Jason Kim. He's a great guy, and is always eager to help his customers...Maybe he has tested the Urchin in such a manner...The web site address for Aqua C is www.proteinskimmer.com  I'm sure that Jason could help you here...> My instinct is that, with variable or self-regulating(?) valves, the output flow from a more-powerful external (not submerged) pump could be split into, for example, 20% for the skimmer and 80% for return to the display tank. The obvious question here becomes "Why put the skimmer within the sump at all if it no longer gets its water input from a submerged pump at its base?" Probable answers: no-brainer direct outflow of water from skimmer back into sump; better sound/vibration muffling; safer setup in case of leaks/spills; less space occupied by machinery under tank. <Probably all of the above...However, there are many skimmers that are designed to be located in the sump that get their water from a dedicated pump, which draws water from...the sump!> My projected plumbing setup would have: dual rear overflows in the display tank (no siphons, just wide slotted boxes and two 1.5" bulkhead drains at surface level), <May be kinda noisy...but should work fine...> with flow directed down to the skimmer's small compartment #1 in sump; then overflow from compartment #1 would move to larger compartment #2 (containing live-rock & rubble, intake+return for hang-on filter, and well-protected large intake leading to external pump). The external pump would send most of its output up to the display tank, and a much smaller flow to the skimmer input. <Ahh...here's the problem...A skimmer needs to receive its source water directly from the aquarium itself...raw, "unprocessed" water contains the most organic material for the skimmer to work with. If you supply the skimmer form the final compartment (i.e.; the return to the tank), the water has been "processed", and much of the organic material that the skimmer could have removed has been dispersed throughout the sump, and back into the tank...Not too efficient, IMO> My assumption is that I could direct the skimmer's output flow so that it falls entirely into compartment #2. Note that the skimmer's input would not come from where it sits in sump compartment #1, but from water which has passed through compartments #1 and #2 and then the external pump; however, that water would almost never be "filtered" before skimming. <Well, I think that it would...remember, a proper skimmer setup draws from the top inch or so of the aquarium, where most organics are present...by letting the water circulate within the sump before it's fed to the skimmer, you've essentially "processed" the water, as outlined above.> I can easily imagine doing this setup with down-draft/airstone or venturi skimmers, but I'd prefer instead to hook up an AquaC Urchin Pro in my sump (very efficient, quieter, doesn't need air-pump, tiny footprint, low maintenance, etc, etc....). The AquaC skimmers just need pressurized incoming water to run their "spray induction" systems. <Yep- great products...they do the job!> I have Cc'ed the AquaC folks in case they see good reason to shoot this fantasy before takeoff (or maybe they're game and will sell the Urchin Pro with a recommended external pump instead of the "stock" submerged Rio or Mag?). I will forward to you any input I get from them. Thanks in advance!! Bruce Mewhinney <Yep- see what Jason has to say...Should be of interest to our readers! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Bioballs vs. LR in sump My reading here has lead me to start removing most of the bioballs from my wet/dry.  I'm doing it slowly and only have a little left.  Is it ok to replace them with live rock? <Yes> They would be under the drip place and not totally submerged in water.  Does LR need to be submerged? <Better if so>   Is there a difference between types of LR? <Yes. You can read about this on WetWebMedia.com> Isn't this what a sump system is about? <Mmm, don't know if I'm following you. You can also see our input re sumps, refugiums posted on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thanks......Mike

Sump Design I am concerned about the evaporation reserve that my sump will provide. I am setting up a 75 gal RR. 60 gallons of water after a 5"DSB. I plan on using a drilled 20 gal tank as a sump (30x12x12). External return pump. Turboflotor 1000 and 2 Ebo-Jager heaters. I plan to install 3 baffles to create a skimmer box and bubble rising obstacle course. The baffle height will be 12.5 cm, the recommended skimmer constant water depth. The skimmer w/pump footprint will make it 14" long; the heaters will "lay" on the bottom parallel to the pump/skimmer, and be about the same length; the skimmer will have a second feeder pump shoehorned in, and an air pump (which I understand will work best if it is not actually in the water). The overflow will go directly to the skimmer box (without passing go). The skimmer will discharge into its own box to contain the bubbles. The skimmer box will have the deepest water depth, 5", gravity being what it is. So, 30" of tank minus 14" of skimmer box minus 2'' of baffles. The return pump will pull water from a 14" by 12" area with a max depth of 5". This is four gallons of water reserve! Less if you figure that the top of  the 3/4"  bulkhead is an 1" from the bottom. So, is my math wrong? Will less then 4 gallons really protect my pump from running dry? Is there a way of keeping the skimmer in 5" of water while I stack more water by the pump inlet? ;-) Can I put a 60" long sump in a 48" long stand? Plumbing the Iwaki external pump in-line with a true union ball valve instead of at 90 degrees makes the footprint even longer . <Not to worry my friend! Build the skimmer box to sit the skimmer off the bottom of the sump. The overflow from the skimmer box (that controls the skimmer box water level for the skimmer) should be the highest desired water level the sump can hold w/o overflowing (like about 1" below the top of the sump). Now you will hold some water under the skimmer box and raise the sump water level as high as possible (while pumps are off). As you know, the baffles are simply pieces of plastic or glass that make the water flow down and then up over to release any possible bubbles. You likely will not need them with a 30" long sump 12" wide. The water will be moving slow enough and over a large enough area to not need them When you fill your sump you can then fill it to 1" below the top (not running), and have a larger reserve. You won't evaporate too much! Craig>

To Sump or Not to Sump Hello. <Hi, Don here today> the question I have is that I a lot lost on the type of filtration I should use. I love sand because of the species of gobies that need it and the beauty that it  has in a saltwater aquarium .But any way what would be a good filtration in a tank for a person who loves live rock and sand? I currently have a 75gl with 125lbs of live rck,75lbs of sand and 1 huge maroon clown, various mushrooms, fox face coral, cabbage leather, 2small damsels, 2 Chromis, various snails, reef safe hermits and 2 Tigertails. In the next month I will be setting up a 135gl,and I really need help on a better filter. The canster(fluval404)is a drag when it comes to maintenance .I heard a sump is good, and a then a wet dry but I am afraid of releasing nitrates back into the water, and I know a ecosystem is out the question because I like  sand .I plan on doing fish and live rock and just mushrooms. I look all over the site and cannot get a strait answer on sump or wet/dry. Please steer me in the right place, and are there any good book on building a sump the few diagrams that I have saw are not to good on the internet. Thanks..... <Personally, I would use a simple sump with 3 chambers in it. The first would house a skimmer and the drain from the tank would empty here. Next a chamber to help remove bubbles and a place to put sponge, carbon, etc. The last chamber would provide water for the pump to return back to the tank. See here for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm, Don>

Sump Circulation and Aqua-C Skimmers How much tank volume should I run through my sump on my 125 gal reef?  I run a mag 5 unrestricted, do you think this is enough? Regarding the size of aqua c to use, they say the ev120 or the ev180 will handle the 125 gal tank which do you recommend and where can I purchase one?  Thanks for your quick response. <Flow through your sump is irrelevant, it is tank circulation/volume/flow that is the issue. Reefs require 10X to 20X times total tank volume turnover, or 1250-2500 gph for a 125, so a Mag 5 (500 gph) is completely inadequate. The recommendations of the manufacturer are accurate, I like a larger skimmer myself, plus the 180 can be set-up for ozone. You can find them at several of our WetWebMedia.com sponsors (Quality is one) and you can also find out more about them at the Aqua-C link on the marine section of WWM.  Craig>

Fact, Fiction, And Nutrient Export... I am in the process of setting up a new tank. A 135 gallon Floribbean biotype. <That should be cool! I'm envisioning the "eye candy" in this reef already! Scott F. with you here today!> Not necessarily a full blown reef in the true sense but their will be a fair amount of gorgonians as well as whatever life comes on the gulf rock. Is 90 lbs. enough rock for bio filtration or do I need more? <I think that this is enough rock, for the most part. If you maintain a deep sand bed, this will provide significant biological filtration/denitrification, as well> Now to my main questions. Their seems to be a lot of contrasting opinions and conflicts as I reed through your FAQ's. <Well, much like in the hobby at large- everyone at WWM has their own interpretation of many aspects of reef husbandry...You have to take any and all advice with "a grain of salt", and draw your own conclusion in the end...> 1) Sand bed: Bob Smith said he prefers a 1/2" shallow sand bed. Yet others swear by 4-5 inch bed with a plenum. I would rather save the time and expense and use a 1" bed. But would this provide significant denitrification as well as enough depth for some of the Caribbean wrasses I intend to keep? <Actually, there really is little disagreement and a lot of fact on this topic. The rule of thumb with sand is 1/2" or less, or 3" or more. One half-inch of sand is not enough to provide denitrification; neither is anything less than three inches. Sand beds between 1/2 inch and less than three inches are more or less a biological "no man's land", not deep enough to reduce nitrate, but too deep to be aerobic. This will result in the formation of the dreaded "nutrient sink", which has the potential to create long-term nutrient accumulation and the resulting nuisance algae blooms that accompany it. My advice- Go with a 4-6 inch bed>   2)Sump: Do your prefer an "in line" Ecosystem type setup, or leaving a standard sump in place and using the refugium in a separate closed loop? <Actually, in my opinion, a refugium should be supplied with raw water from the aquarium or sump, so you certainly could have a dedicated pump just for the refugium...many ways to accomplish the same thing...> 3) Size: Bob Fenner has made reference to the largest sump possible. Yet when I look around many configs. Most only have a mud area the equivalent of 10-15 gallons. What gives? <There are so many variables here... I'm not going to try to interpret what Bob meant (well- yeah, I am!), but he correctly points out that a larger sump gives you many benefits, among them the ability to create larger "mud" chambers (if you're into the "mud" thing), provide room for protein skimmers, mechanical/chemical media, and simply add to the overall system volume...Think about it: A 100 gallon tank with a 30 gallon sump is essentially a 130 gallon system (well- almost, because you wouldn't run a sump "filled to the brim" at all times..), so you get the picture here...As Anthony likes to say- "Dilution is the solution to pollution...More water is a good thing!> 4) Plants: I recently read a published article stating that mangrove filtration is not as effective as first thought. <Mangroves really grow to slow to be considered an effective, rapid means of nutrient export in closed systems. they offer other advantages, such as their leaves contributing to beneficial microorganism growth and their roots offering shelter and spawning areas for a variety of different animals. A cool addition to a display, but I would not view them as a viable nutrient export system> On the other hand their is now information that Caulerpa produces chemicals that can be harmful to corals. <Very true...Caulerpa does produce a number of substances which can create problems for corals in closed systems, has a propensity to "go sexual" (releasing it's reproductive products into the water column, degrading water quality), and is just plain "aggressive", often overtaking and smothering more desirable animals with it's rapid growth. That's why my personal favorites are more "purposeful" macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha and Gracilaria. They are more "stable", grow rapidly, are not overly invasive, and are easy to harvest. All in all, they are much better macro algae for nutrient export purposes> As you can see about the only thing I can find clarity on is a flow rate of 3 - 5x mud sump area. <Well, like I said before- everyone has an opinion...What works for me may seem absurd for you...But you need to be able to sort through "facts" and "opinions"...never an easy process, but all part of the fun of this awesome hobby of ours!> I am hoping you guys can help make sense of this as you always seem to do. Forever grateful, Ken <Hey Ken- I'm glad that you turned to us...Feel free to contact us again any time! Can't wait to see how your system turns out! Regards, Scott F>

Adding a sump I have a marine tank with an external filter. Recently I have seen a system with a sump tank that I would like to expand to. I have wondered about the filtration system how good, what it incorporates and the equipment needed to run such a system <Yes a good/preferred design. Many good reasons and designs. Start here on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumprffiltfaqs.htm Many DIY solutions on other websites as well, Good Luck, Don>

Sump arrangement hey bob, After re-reading the FAQs and finding some nice DIY tips online, trusting your judgment I'm going to can that whole idea w/ the Fluval/refugium and build a 20H gal gravity fed refugium. <Much better> I will still be using my mag5 pump to bring the water from my tank to the refuge.  I moved my dresser so that the 20g will be right beside my 65g and a couple inches higher than it.  With the mag5 at the bottom of my aquarium (24") do you think this pump should do the trick for running the whole thing?    <If you have the plumbing set-up to return the water, sure... w/o a good deal of difference in height you'll need a large diameter return line.> just a note: at 3:37am yesterday morning I experienced a spectacular display of bioluminescence.  Bright blue specks lit up across the tank.  Dude, what an experience. <Life is amazing at times> Thanks, Jason-Surfs up! <Not here. Bob Fenner>

Establishing cycling through an existing sump hey crew, I have a quick question.  my mother want me to help her setup a marine fish tank.  Is there any way that I could mature a sump use my existing system. <Yes. Neat idea>   I know a guy that owns a glass drill bit and was wondering if I put a corner overflow in my sump could I run another sump underneath to mature it.  If so would I need to do anything else to kick start it or make it mature faster. <Not necessarily>   How long would I have to leave it? <Likely a few weeks> Is it even a viable option? <Sure> If it did work could I just connect it to my mums tank and immediately stock it with corals, rock and fish. <Not immediately. Please see here for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm and the linked FAQs (in blue, at top) beyond> Thanks heaps in advance, Regards Amon <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Best way to add a sump? Thanks Bob for the URL's I have read through them , but what would you recommend is the best ( tried and tested way ) to add a Sump that wasn't designed to have one ? Werner Schoeman <"Best" would depend at least on what one is starting with, your plans (it's intended function/s), and probably budget. If it's not too hard to drill the tank for overflow/s I would do this, barring hang-on overflow boxes... Place the largest sump/s possible under, to the side, above the main/display tank... have them pump, overflow back to the main. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sump / Protein Skimmer questions Hi guys thanks again for your help last week , My set up is as follows : 404 Fluval filter , 300 Litres , 2 x 150W MH , Internal Skimmer with power head . Is there any way that I can add a sump to my tank without starting from scratch , my tank has been up and running for 1 year now and I feel I need to add a sump . <Yes, see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the linked (in blue, above) FAQs files on sumps and refugiums> Also what are your thoughts on a sea clone skimmer ? <A gimmicky junk product. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimselfaqs.htm and read the linked skimmer selection FAQs files till you're convinced of what your alternatives are, what to select for. Bob Fenner>

What's In The Sump? Everything!   Hello and good morning. My question today is about my sump. I have 500-600 gph recirculating between my 65g tank's Durso overflow and my 29g sump (only 85% full). <Nice flow....> I have 5 sections (bare with me and I'll try to explain): (1) Water enters the first chamber (3" wide) of the sump from the Durso overflow and flows under the first partition (1" clearance from the bottom) to the second chamber. (2) The water from the this second chamber (1" wide) then flows over the second partition (~8" high) to the third chamber. (3) The third chamber (~11" wide) housed my EuroReef skimmer, ~5" of sand and about 5 pounds of live rock rubble. This was meant to be a refugium. The water from this third chamber flows over the fourth partition (also ~8" high) into the fourth chamber. (4) The fourth chamber (1" wide) flows under the fifth partition (1" clearance from the bottom) to the fifth chamber. (5) This fifth chamber (4" wide) houses my return pump. I have a 20 watt light that operates opposite my main aquarium lighting. <Wow- that's a very sophisticated system! A thought here...an ideal setup for the skimmer would be to locate it in the chamber that receives the most "raw" water from your system, to maximize its skimmate production. Is it possible to relocate the skimmer?> I want to grow macro algae in the refugium portion to aid in algae control and to feed my tang. I can lower my water level in the sump so that the refugium's partitions is the highest water level, but the high flow through the system will still pull the macro algae over the wall (I think). I also don't want to reduce the total volume in this system by lowering the level if I don't have to. The more water in the system the happier the fish/corals are. How can I keep the macro algae in the refugium. 1) Egg crate? But how? 2) Restrict the pumps return to the main tank? Not a good idea IMO. 3) Bypass the refugium? Put a tee in the overflow line and send equal water flow to the first and 5th chamber? Again, not a good idea IMO. 4) Bypass the refugium? Install a siphon from the first chamber to the second. Initial priming would be difficult, but it would never beak siphon after that. 5) Bypass the refugium? Buy a pump to move half the water from the first chamber to the fifth chamber. More energy = more heat. Tank is already at 80F at the end of the VHO on cycle. I don't think my design for a sump is very good, and I can take it "off line" for a day to redo the partitions. Help? Please? <Frankly, some of the best sumps that I've seen only have 3 compartments...one for the skimmer, a center "baffle" to hold bags of carbon, and a this compartment that can hold some rubble and/or macroalgae. Simple is best, IMO! If you are reluctant to rework the whole thing, my idea to contain the macroalgae is embarrassingly unsophisticated, but we did it in a friend of mine's sump who had the same problem: Use a small plastic kitchen strainer to hold the macroalgae in the compartment. It's easy to access for harvest, won't overflow into the other compartments, and won't take up too much room. You'll have to check out the kitchen gadget department of your favorite Wal Mart, K-Mart, Target, etc. for a strainer of the right size...but it will work. BTW- as an aside for fellow fish geeks- these discount stores are DIY heaven! You can find all sorts of plastic containers and stuff that can be adapted to fish-keeping needs. You may even want to haunt the local Tupperware parties once in a while....Ok- well, maybe not- but with creative thinking, you could find lots of stuff that can get the job done! > Thanks, Jeff <Glad to help, Jeff! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Using Hot Glue - To Whom Is Every Covering: <It's JasonC today, greetings.> I am setting up a new sump and was informed that the skimmer should obtain as much raw water from tank as possible. <As much as is practical, sure.> I am in the means of sectioning off a 29 ga. for my sump for the 90 ga. tank above. My question is: Can I use hot glue to secure my  1/4 inch acrylic section to the tank? <You could.> Will it leach out anything harmful? <No.> And do you think it will hold? <Not really, no.> I do not know the amount of pressure 1/3 of the water will exert on the acrylic section. It is the easiest, I also have epoxy polyurethane, as well as silicone available. <Silicone is probably your best bet.> Thanks for your response. Regards, Mendy1220 <Cheers, J -- >

Skimmer questions... sump level Hello Anthony, I am going to go with the Euro Reef CS6-1 on your recommendation. I am happy you speak the truth and have the most respect for you. <thanks kindly, my friend. Its a pleasure for us to serve the hobby> I have roughly 24" clearance in my stand and the CS6-1 stands 20" will this be a problem? <I have no idea, bud> What about leveling for optimal performance. <a dedicated box to catch all raw water from above first for the skimmer is critical. Do not simply place a skimmer or skimmer fed pump in a fluctuating sump... it ruins skimmate performance. You always need a static water level> I only ask you this before I buy it a realize I can't raise it high enough to perform. Can it be mounted on the outside of the sump? <not sure regarding your sump design> With all of these reasons in mind. One last comparison. Aqua C EV-120 only 18" in height Can this be mounted on the outside and I believe I read on this unit if the water is no more than 9" it doesn't need to be leveled. I am sorry that I ask so many questions, but this is a lot of money and I want to do it right. I stepped up from the Turboflotor because what you are recommending me.... so I trust your input. <I'd like to help, bud... but none is clear enough to give good advice here without seeing the set up. This is where fellowship with a good local aquarium society is crucial. There is nothing like seeing local installations of friends tanks in person. Do research at a local club... friendly local stores too that will show you their filtration. Reward their kindness by buying the skimmer through them> Either way you help me I am going to send a e-mail to the manufacture of "our" choice stating the help I received from you and this site... Thank you and I just about done and ready to purchase my skimmer. <thanks kindly... they deserve the recognition too> Just one of these two. The Aqua C EZ-120 doesn't come with a pump, but a Rio 2100 is recommended. I have one of these laying in my heap of filters! Do this power heads slow down after time of is it just the impeller getting magnetized? <I believe that all pumps wear appreciably in time> The Euro Reef comes with a pump.... so either way I am spending $300. Is the water level in the sump important to make a skimmer more efficient? <it is critical!> Thanks and this is it..... after this e-mail I am on my own and I can call the manufactures if I have problems setting up. I have read that Aqua C has great service and very good directions. <Aqua C is famous for their outstanding customer service. It improves the value of their product ever more> Thank you on your input about ETS skimmers and the Turboflotor, I believe in my mind you helped steer me away from the wrong skimmers for my need... thank you Paul <best regards, Anthony>

Sump Modifications (Cont'd.) Hey Scott, <Hello again!> I like the rubble idea that would be easier would you suggest live rock or something like Caribbean sea's sea floor in a bag.   My second question is as far as lighting would a 4' flo with a plant bulb be sufficient. <Should be fine. Remember, it's situated pretty close to the water, so wattage is not super critical here, unless you're trying to grow mangroves or other high-light requiring plants> Thirdly where can I get this macro algae you speak of? <Well-there are a number of places on the net that you can obtain various macroalgae species. Places like Inland Aquatics and Indo  Pacific Sea Farms (my personal favorite) offer several different varieties. You can also put a post on the WetWebForum to see if any fellow hobbyists have some available to sell/trade/give> Will this type of set up reduce the nitrate level in the tank?   <If you pay close attention to good husbandry practices, incorporating deep sand beds, removing plastic media, utilizing live rock, and macroalgae harvesting and water changes for nutrient export, this will definitely bring down nitrates, IMO> This is my main reason for the conversion the bio balls as you guys know just won't let em go down no matter how much water I change, they of course will subside but give em three days there back over 100 <Yep- I think that you'll notice a major reduction in nitrate once you adopt some of these changes. Also, don't forget to use quality source water to start with. This helps, too! Good luck in implementing your changes! Regards, Scott F>

What Lies Beneath? Sump Configuration Hey Guys, <Scott F your guy here!> Hope your having a good day I have reviewed several drawings of tanks on DIY, and have yet to see what I was considering doing. <Ain't it always that way? :)  > I have a 3 year old 90 gallon all glass reef ready system. I am in the process of taking out the rest of the bio balls in about 2 weeks so far all water parameters are good I have 200 lbs of keys live rock and 200 lbs of keys live sand about a 5" bed.  My wet dry has three sections the first holds the skimmer the second is my bio ball chamber their is a trickle tray with a second level of egg crate, then bio balls then a third layer of egg crate which then flows through a sponge into the sump area where a Rio 2500 returns the water through the UV back into the tank. <If you're gonna use the sponge (I wouldn't, myself), clean that bugger a few times a week, as it will become an amazing nutrient/detritus trap that can degrade water quality over time> What I am proposing is to take the egg crate out put the trickle tray on the bottom where the third stage of eggcrate used to be add crushed coral for a buffer 2 jars of M2 Mudd and a layer of ruble on top.  My concern is that I don't know if this is viable or if it will become a water clogger? <Potentially, yes. I'd just go for the rubble, and make it easy on yourself!> Your thoughts please. Frank <Well, Frank- you've got the general idea here! I'd keep it as simple as possible...Rubble is a good choice. It will help you propagate amphipods and copepods, and maybe even some cryptic sponges, when kept in the sump. An amazing natural filter. Throw in a bag or two of activated carbon, a Poly Filter pad, and you've got yourself a great, simple little sump set up that will do the trick! If you want, you could consider sectioning off part of the sump and lighting it, and throwing in some "purposeful macroalgae", such as Chaetomorpha, Gracilaria, or Halimeda, and harvest the stuff regularly as a means of further nutrient export. Easy. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Sump questions...Flooding? I e-mailed you a few days ago with skimmer questions and have since ordered an AquaC Remora for my 72g bowfront. <<good move in my experience/opinion. I have the pro on my 75 and works very well>> Thanks for the tips! Now I am interested in setting up a sump/refugium for this tank. I have a 29gAll-Glass that is not being used and would like to use this as the sump/refugium. I would like to do this without drilling the tank and have some ideas but I'm not 100% positive that they'll work and am still at a loss on a couple of things. I've checked out all of your sump FAQ's and have also checked http://www.ozreef.org/diy/index.html but none of the designs there look like they'll work and they don't address my concerns. I've attached a drawing of my basic design, this is a front view at approx measurement of a 29g. I'm figuring on just using a tube with gravity siphon to get the water from my tank to the sump which will be located in the stand below my 72g. This way the siphon can be set so that if the water in the tank gets too low it would drop below the end of the tube and would stop the siphon. << What about when the pump comes back on??? >> The first section would be 6" wide and is where the water would enter the sump. It is also where I would place the heater and possibly the skimmer but I ordered a HOT type skimmer so am not sure if it will work here. << YES put the skimmer here, it needs to be the first to 'touch' the raw water from the tank>> The first divider would be glass or plexi positioned 3" from the top (this is to provide an overflow in case the water level gets too high) and3" from the bottom of the tank. The second section would be 3" wide and would be a place for filter floss/carbon/etc and would have a plastic mesh top at a height of 8-9" to prevent the filter media from overflowing into the refugium part. The second divider would again be glass or plexi but positioned flush with the bottom (sealed) and 9" from the top of the tank. The third section would be 15" wide and would have a sand bed with liverock and Caulerpa. The third divider would be the same as the second in position and composition. The fourth section would be 6" wide and would be the area for the return pump. <<You could make this smaller, just big enough to house the pump (if you are going to use a submersible) So far, does this sound like it would work? Are there any things I should change? My major stumbling block is what to do about a return pump. I'm not sure how to do this without risking the pump pumping too fast and overflowing the main tank. <<A simple gate/ball valve on the return line and you can adjust the flow. Never put a valve on the overflow line >> Any suggestions? Are there any pumps on the market that have an auto shut-off so that it would shut itself off if the water in the return area dropped below a certain point? << Not that I am aware of, that doesn't mean they don't exist though ;) You can get float switches that turn off the electricity when the level gets so low (or so height)>> Thanks for all the help! I look forward to hearing/reading your thoughts on this. <<Ronni, I and I think most here, would never rely on a siphon overflow. It is not a matter of if it fails, but when. Then you have 60+ gallons of water to deal with. Ruined carpet, drywall/plaster, and it gets worse from there. Have the tank drilled and sleep easy. BTW, your picture did not come through but you might check here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumprffiltfaqs.htm Somewhere in this set of FAQs there is a 4 chamber diagram that is very similar to your design. Don >> Ronni I am a nobody, and nobody is perfect; therefore I am perfect....

Lighting up my sump? Growing more bugs? Anthony: attached is a picture of my 3 chambered sump (20g aquarium with glass partitions).  As you can see (I hope) there is sand and LR in the 2nd chamber, along with the EV-120 skimmer (pump is in 1st chamber, outflow into 2nd), which is elevated above the sand on PVC legs you can't see in the photo. <OK> The sump has been colonized by many tiny snails and various bugs, but I am wondering if the situation would be better (more food) if I lit the sump with a 32w PC I have just sitting in a closet.  What do you think?   <no help at all. If your goal is to cultivate plankters like amphipods and copepods, etc... then what they need is a dense matrix to colonize and a good food supply (likely plenty flowing through the sump). Just hanging a strand of spun polyester fiber pads in the sump (like clothes on a clothes line except stacked together) will accomplish this very well. You other option would be to cultivate a dense living matrix like Chaetomorpha spaghetti algae which then of course would need light. But the light itself will do you no good here> Would this just make a mess - algae and all?   <neither with good skimming and nutrient control> Would it be a positive?  Or would I just be rolling the dice? FYI, 72g: 78 degrees, pH 8.30, Alk 3.42 meq/l, Ca 440 ppm, Iodine 0.06 mg/l, NO3 1.0 mg/l, PO4 0.03 mg/l, Mg 1350 mg/l, Sr 10 mg/l.  2x175w MH + 130w PC actinic. <all good> Thanks! Ed Marshall, Austin, TX <best regards, my friend. Anthony>

SUMP SIZE Greetings: I have a 55gal FOWLR.  The only sump I can fit under my stand is 10 gal. This means approximately 5 gallons of water, right?  Is this size a waste of time and energy?  Is any size sump an advantage over none?  Thanks. <Mmm, still worthwhile, but... have you considered possibilities of locating the sump/refugium next to the tank, above it? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the linked files (at top, in blue) for much more input on what you're about here. Bob Fenner>

Re: SUMP SIZE FOLLOW-UP A Sump next to the tank or above it is grounds for divorce! <Yikes! Sleeping with tanks is no substitute for a spouse>   A couple of follow-up questions, If I may: 1) Can you "daisy-chain" sumps? <Yes... can be tied together via gravity, fittings, pipe> 2) Would that be considered one sump? <Or two partials?> 3) Could I maybe fit a couple of plastic containers and put pipes to connect them (water overflows from tank, to container #1, which overflows to #2)? <Absolutely. Bob Fenner> Thanks a million, Rich.

Re: SUMP SIZE FOLLOW-UP II Okay, so I couldn't find a long and narrow enough single plastic container for under my stand.  Instead, I will daisy-chain 2 or 3 plastic containers for my 55 gallon FOWLR. <Neat> So, I'm thinking, skimmer in the first one, the heater and return pump in the last one, and maybe, if I am feeling really brave (or insane), a DSB/Refugium in the middle one.  I may go with an external pump, but you get the idea.  These are 5 gallon containers, and are 14" high. 1) Would/could this work? <Yes> 2) If so, I drill holes, connect bulkheads and pipe them together? <Okay> 3) With two 1" bulkheads for overflow, what size bulkhead(s) for the chains? <1 1/2 or 2" are ideal... look for the less expensive thru-hull or bulk-head fittings used for spas> 4) At which height should the chains be? <Between sumps 1 and 2 about 3-4 inches down... and down about another inch for between sumps 2 and 3> Any information or point of reference you can give will be immensely appreciated.  Keep up the fabulous work!!!  Rich. <Mmm, maybe take a look through Ozreef.org> Ps to Bob:  I finally can put a face to the name; saw your picture in a current aquarium magazine article! <Yikes! Wish those folks would just stick in a puffer pic... maybe they did!~? Bob Fenner>

- Re: Sump Conversion - Dear Jason: Thanks for you quick reply. <My pleasure.> I think I am going to purchase a wet/dry filter rather attempt to make one. I have the Maxi-Reef 300 in mind made by Amiracle and use a Rio 2500 pump, however I have also seen but never heard of is the Aqua Clear Aquatics brand. The model I was looking at was rated for a 200 gal tank and used a CAP2200 pump. I have not heard of this brand pump either. <I have.> Since either one is not a cheap investment (though it seems not many things are in this hobby:) ), I want to make the right decision the first time. I think, but am not sure, the overflow tubing on the Maxi-Reef is 1 1/4" and the Aqua Clear Aquatics is 1". From reading the numerous FAQ on WWM it seems the 1/4" is a considerable difference and the larger tube is better. Looking forward to your comments. <I don't recall the size of your tank, but the 0.25" difference will not affect things too much. I think you'll be fine with this setup.> Thank you again for your time and knowledge. Gene <Cheers, J -- >

Re: OVERFLOW & SUMPS Good day: Now that I have read all about the perils of siphon overflows, I want to get a tank with an built-in overflow.  However, now I am reading that a pre-drilled 55 gallon All-Glass, for example, has 1 overflow, which is rated at 600GPH, but actually flows only 300GPH in reality?!?  WHAT IS WITH OUR $%#%$# SOCIETY THAT EVERYTHING WITH A RATING IS ALWAYS OVERRATED?!?  WHERE ARE THE CONSUMER WATCHDOGS?!?  Ahem, sorry.  Okay, so I only have a FOWLR at the moment, but I want a tank that can handle the future possibility of a reef.  Your site says 20X flow for corals is good, right? <The more the merrier generally>   What about just FOWLR?  Will the 300gph (5.45X) be enough? <Likely so, yes> If I have to drill, I can't on the bottom because of the tempered glass.  But I don't want the back drilled, because I need to have the tank against the wall for lack of space. Can I special order 2 overflows from the All-Glass (or other) factory? <Contact them and ask.>   Do I want a tank without a tempered bottom? <... not really>   It does not sound like a good idea. And what's with sumps "rated" for a certain flow?  I am going to take a wild guess and say that they are overrated flow-wise too, right? <I suspect these ratings are "generalizations" as the physical restriction (for transit volume... the amount of water pumped up to the main/display tank) will be a matter of how fast the pump is able to pile water up above... in the surface area, drain configuration of the system>   Why can't they handle as much as you push through? <Think about this... the water accumulates "on top" of the tank being pumped to... if/when the pump/s go off... that water will flow back down to the sump/s... It's a good idea to have as long, wide of sumps as possible, and to "practice" with filling all with the pumps turned off, turn them on, and mark the lowest level of the sumps achieved, mark this on the sump/s and never fill them more than this... to provide for the inevitable power, pump failure. Bob Fenner>   anyway, thanks for being there!  Rich.

Re: sump conversion Dear WWM Crew: <Greetings, JasonC here...> Thank you in advance for what I know will be a most helpful response. I have reviewed the info on your sight but have a couple of questions regarding converting my existing filtration set up to a sump set up. Currently I have the following: 1)110 gal (NON Drilled) fish only set up 2)115 lbs of various Carib Sea sand (special grade & pink) at a 4     inch depth. This I just installed about 6 weeks ago. 3) 40lbs Tonga Branch 4)2 Aqua Clear 500 power filters containing foam block, Cellpore block and either Chemi-Pure and/or Polyfilter. 5) Lifeguard Fluidized bed filter 6) 15 Watt UV 7) CPR Bak Pak Skimmer <I know you didn't ask about this, but this skimmer is drastically undersized for this system.> I want to eliminate the unsightly filter look in my tank and use a sump set up. I was thinking of purchasing a wet/dry filter (Amiracle model MR-300) was recommended with a RIO 2500 pump. This was recommended primarily for its overflow box which, from what I understand is one of the most important features of these type of filters. I was also looking at the Tidepool but I am not sure if the BIO wheel filtration is the way to go (I was thinking of replacing the bio balls in the AMiracle with live rock). The other alternative was to use a 20gal long tank that I have and use that as my sump. I would have to purchase the over flow box and pump not sure which brands would be good here). <CPR, I suppose - they use a powerhead to create a vacuum in the siphon tube to make sure it starts after a power failure - that is if the powerhead starts.> The difference I see here is that with the other wet dry's there is a foam block/pad that can be used for mechanical filtration. I assume there is some way to incorporate some mechanical filtration in the glass tank? <You might need to add some additional baffles and similar devices to hold a sponge.> I like the mechanical filtration performed by the AquaClears. Do I even need the mechanical filtration? <Unless you are planning on making this a refugium where the raw water would better used, mechanical filtration would be good for your system, pumps, etc.> These seem like some basic issues but before I proceed I wanted your thoughts. Maybe I should keep what I have? Am I leaving out any important information that could help with your response.? <Not really.> Your time and knowledge is priceless! Thank you, Gene <Cheers, J -- >

Working On His System Hi guys killer site... <Glad you like it! Scott F. with you today!> Just got a 180 gal tank with 2 overflows a custom aquatic wet dry a ts-8 Euro reef skimmer and 1/8 horse sequence pump. <Excellent skimmer!> 1st question: Its a FO, might convert to a reef later. Is live rock in the sump better than bio balls and if I use live rock in the sump does it need lighting above the filter? <I like live rock in the sump...it certainly adds some more natural filtration in your system. Lighting certainly does not hurt, but if you leave the sump unlit, different animals will 'pop up" on the rock than if it is lit.> Does it need the same trickle action the bio balls need? Or should it be under the water? <I've seen it done both ways...I'm partial to keeping it under water> If I use live rock instead of bio balls will it cut down on algae in the aquarium? <Well, bioballs are incredibly efficient at converting ammonia and nitrite to nitrate...and letting it accumulate! I'd avoid bioballs, if possible, and incorporate more natural materials, such as...live rock and a deep sand bed!> Or is there something else you would put in the sump? <Frankly...I like the live rock and sand in the main display, nothing in the sump but carbon and/or PolyFilter. I think of the sump as the "processing center" for the system water. You can also grow some "purposeful" macroalgae, such as Gracilaria, Chaetomorpha, or Halimeda, which can be harvested regularly to help remove nutrients from your system!> 2nd question want to get ozone looking at the Aqua Zone Plus 200 mg-hr ozonizer with controller and ORP probe also has air dryer...is there a better one you would recommend? I would like an ozonizer that's complete do you know if the aqua zone plus is complete? <The unit that you are describing sounds fine...Just make sure that it's properly sized for your system.> Thank you for your help...Scott... <A pleasure! Regards, Scott F>

What's In The Sump? Whatever He Wants! Hi Crew!  I am looking forward to receiving your new book that I just pre-ordered! <That's gonna be a cool read, my friend! Scott F. with you tonight> I have a sump setup question(s) I hope you can answer. <Sure, I'll try!> My tank setup is a 37 gal, 70lbs of live rock, 25lbs live sand + 10lbs crushed coal substrate, 2 Ocellaris Clowns, Coral Beauty, Six line Wrasse, Yellow-tail Blue Damsel, Neon Goby, various mushrooms, Brain Coral, Plate Coral, Star plops, Bubble Tip Anemone, 2 serpent stars, snails, and crabs. I also use an Aqua-C hang on protein skimmer.  All residents are doing well and I am not considering any more additions. <Good- I think your tank has a nice bioload at this point...I would enjoy the animals present> I have a 10 gallon tank for use as a sump that will fit in the display tank cabinet.  Other additions are a Lifereef Prefilter/Siphon Box, Aqua-C Urchin Pro to replace the hang on skimmer, and a Mag 5 pump to return water from the sump. I will add the heater to the sump for cosmetic purposes. <That's where I like to put them, myself> Now to my question(s)...  Should I attempt to section the sump at all?  I have thought about creating a section for another sand bed and some macro algae.  If I did this, I should place the water input from the tank coming into the sand bed (left), then put the Urchin Pro on the second side (right) with the pump hanging into the input side (left) of the sump to draw the water over correct)? <I'd let the incoming water go into the side where the skimmer is located-you want the most nutrient rich water to go right to the skimmer for maximum efficiency. As far as compartments are concerned, it's purely subjective. Sure, you can partition off for some sand and maybe some macroalgae (please- NO Caulerpa! Use Chaetomorpha, Ulva, or one of the less "noxious" macroalgae. Of course, you will need a light in there if you're gonna try to grow some macroalgae...> Then the Mag pump would return water from the right side to the display tank. I would also place the heater on the right side of the sump. Suggestions?  To much for a ten gallon tank / sump? <A sump can be as simple or complex as you like/need. I prefer the simple approach- no compartments, unless you need to hold some carbon or baffle out excess bubbles from the skimmer, etc. Keep in mind that a sump is really supposed to be a "processing center" for your tank water, so it can hold as little or as much equipment and partitions as you want...It's your call! My original plan was just to use the sump for the skimmer and heater. Thanks for any advice! Bryan White <Have fun with this! Read up more on sump configurations and setups on the wetwebmedia.com site. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

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