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FAQs About Sump/Filters 7

Related FAQs: Sumps/Filters 1, Sumps 2, Sumps 3, Sumps 4, Sumps 5, Sumps 6, Sumps 8, Sumps 9, Sumps 10, Rationale, Design, Construction, Sump Components, Pumps/Circulation, Maintenance, Refugiums, Plenums in Reef Filtration, Marine System PlumbingHoles & 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

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High flow rate and bubbles 18 Aug 2004 Thanks for taking the time to read this...<Gladly Anthony, MacL here with you today.> question is in regards to the super high flow going through my sump I am running 2 BlueLine 200(iwaki70 equivalents) the only way I was able to stop the bubbles from crashing into my sump and making it through to the return pumps was to throw a couple hundred bioballs in the part of my sump where the overflow drains into...they are all submerged and only a handful hit the surface of the air...<I understand> when used in this way do the bioballs still have an effect on nitrates or will this be okay...<Nitrates generally build up on the ones that aren't submerged but you will get some effects simply because of the organics and detritus that will build up on the bioballs.>   the tank is a 120 with 65 gallon sump and is going to be set up for a SPS reef.... just working out the kinks right now... <Sounds good but you can use live rock instead of bioballs and other material as well to help with the bubbles. MacL>

How much light do I need to grow algae in my sump? Hello.     I currently have an eclipse 3 gallon tank that I was interested in turning into a mini refugium that I could simply grow macro-algae and let various critters naturally flourish.  I have no desire to put any fish in this tank.  The Eclipse 3 has a 6 watt fluorescent light, and I was curious if you thought if this was enough light to support macro-algae growth? << Hmmm, I'll say no.  It may, but I love light and I don't think you can ever have too much light.  Also, for like $30 you can get a Lights of America light at Home Depot and then you're set.  So I would recommend something like that, before struggling with something else. >> Thanks, Bob L. <<  Blundell  >>

Sump capacity and tank stand capability 8/16/04 Good evening.  I have a few general questions about a sump for my 55 gallon FOWLR tank.  I currently have a Fluval 304 and a Aqua C Remora protein skimmer as my filtration with 50 lbs of LR to help.  I have been reading hours worth of info on your site about sumps and was wondering how to trade LR for bioballs in a wet/dry filter?   <Hmmm... really not so. Its a matter of having enough live rock in the display tank (towards 2 lbs per gallon) to displace the need for bio-balls in the sump... but LR is not optimal if used as trickle media> Do you literally place LR in the chamber and only have the water draining into the first chamber of the wet/dry dribble over the rock, not submerge it or am I missing something.   <as per above> I also saw in some old facts on your site about how to calculate gallon capacity of a rectangle by dimensions in inches and was wondering how do you know the capacity of a wet dry as water doesn't fill the entire thing?   <just measure how high/full the sump is in inches and multiply L X W X H and then divide my 231 gall. to get gallons> I was somewhat confused about the difference between a wet/dry box without the bioballs and a sump (such as Oceanic Systems Sump) as the Oceanic Systems Sump looks just like the wet/dries I have seen.  Is there a difference?   <little difference from displacement by bio-balls> and my final question on sumps; Is there a way to use my Aqua-C Remora hang-on tank skimmer in a sump/wet/dry filter with LR in it instead of bioballs?   <yes... feed the skimmer from a divided well in the sump, or another otherwise primary vessel that catches all raw water first> My main goal with the sump is to increase water flow to get more oxygen and also to get my heaters and Fluval tubes out of the main tank. <all good reasons> On a second topic which is probably easier, the 55 gallon tank I am using is a Perfecto aquarium with the standard size of 48X13X20, could I put this tank on an Oceanic Systems oak stand?   <ahhh... what size Oceanic stand? That bit of info would help <G>. Well... do make sure the tank/any/every tank is completely supported by a stand of the exact same dimensions> As I view the 55 completely filled as a substantial bit of weight, I didn't know if I would be able to use an Oceanic Stand or if I will have to purchase an Oceanic 55 gallon tank? <no worries if the stands are the same size> Thanks for your help as despite my efforts to find my answers in the archived facts, sometimes I still need help interpreting the facts! Have a great evening, Amy <best of luck! Anthony> How much flow should I have for my sump? Hi Crew, << Blundell here this afternoon. >> I hope this finds you well.  I just completed a move that has me a bit down now – 180g reef tank with many fish, corals, LR and sand… I NEVER want to do that again!  But now to my current issue… Prior to adding mandarins to my aquarium, I added a 20g refugium with Gracilaria, Chaetomorpha, DSB and live rock.  The intent was to gain NNR and a healthy ‘pod population.  The result was a Cyanobacteria outbreak like I have never previously experienced.  My main tank has never had Cyano nor hair algae (tangs probably keep the latter in-check) but the refugium was out of control.  I could siphon out all Cyano, only to have it re-appear within 2 days.  To make matters worse, the 20g refugium was kept in my tank stand so I had only about 3 inches of clearance to work with when cleaning so each cleaning required a few hours. << The key here is to increase water flow in the refugium.  That will take care of Cyano most of the time. >> In my new house I have drilled holes through the floor beneath my main tank stand to route plumbing to a 50g refugium / sump / trickle filter in my basement – which should greatly facilitate maintenance as well as move the main leak risks out of the main floor.  My dilemma now is the flow rate through the refugium / trickle filter.  You see, I had initially thought (and read) it would be wise to have a very slow flow rate through the refugium since plants’ uptake rates and the rate of NNR from a DSB is very slow. << True, but in this case it appears to slow.  Also, the pH benefits of a refugium are increased if you increase the flow. >>  I originally had about 100 gph flow through the 20g refugium.  Bob had commented that this was probably even too much flow for this size refugium. << He's right if your goal is to grow pods. >>  As Cyano overtook my red Gracilaria, I wrote to WWM asking for advice in battling Cyano and keeping Gracilaria alive in my refugium.  The responses I received indicated I needed to increase my flow through the refugium to eliminate Cyano and to keep the Gracilaria gently tumbling. << Awesome!  That means I'm giving you advise that matches that of my fellow crew members. >> I increased the flow to 240 gph but this did not help with the Cyano problems. A WWM crew member advised that I needed to increase the flow further and that the Cyano problem would eventually pass.  Well, the Cyano problem remained until I finally added isolated the refugium from the main tank and erythromycin to the refugium for a week.  This kept the Cyano at bay for a few months but it was even beginning to return again just before I moved the tank. << It isn't really total flow through the refugium that will help.  It is flow within the refugium where the Cyano is that is the trick.  So you don't need to increase flow pumping water into the refugium, but just add a powerhead in the refugium along the bottom area where the Cyano is. >> Now that I am setting up a new refugium and incorporating my trickle filter in the same 50g container, I want to do all I can to avoid such problems again (while still creating an effective algae scrubber / NNR / ‘pod source).  Since I think a large source of nutrient for the Cyano was due to detritus settling in the refugium, I am going to first pass all overflow water through a 5’ height of 4” pipe.  Water from the 1” overflow will enter near the bottom of the 4” pipe and flow upward through the pipe to exit the top.  My hope is that the low flow rate through this large pipe will allow gravity to settle much of the detritus to the bottom of the pipe.  I will then open a valve at the bottom of the pipe as needed to flush-out the settled detritus. << Good Idea >> I am also considering making this pipe also function as a skimmer by either adding limewood airstones (and reversing the flow) or adding a Beckett venturi to the inlet water.  These details still need to be worked out.  From this “settlement chamber”, water would then flow over bio balls from my trickle filter and into the 50g container.  The 50g container would contain about 5” of aragonite sand and macro algae (probably begin with Caulerpa until I am comfortable that nutrients are low enough that I am not going to have another Cyano outbreak, then replace with Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha). With this setup, the flow rate through the refugium / filter will probably be around 2,000 gph.  I will be using a Mag 18 in series with a Mag 36 to overcome the 10’ height from the sump to the main tank.  This meet the tank circulation requirement of at least 10 tank volumes circulated per hour but I do not know if this flow is too much for the refugium.  Maybe this is a good way to avoid Cyano or maybe this is too much flow to allow effective NNR. << Should be fine. >> On the other hand, even if water does not remain in the sump long enough to fully react with the DSB and plants, since this water is being returned to the sump many times per hour, possibly the net effect is the same – little nitrate is removed on each pass through the sump but, after so many passes through the sump, as much nitrate would be removed as if the water would have remained in the sump to react with the sand and algae during the same time period?  Does this make sense? << Yep, I say just go for it. >> I apologize for the lengthy email but hopefully this explains why I am questioning the “correct” flow rate to use.  If this is too much flow for a refugium, I guess the refugium must have to be separate from the trickle filter, since I understand the trickle filter should process at least 10 tank volumes per hour. Thank you for your advice!  I will be working on this setup in the morning so I could really use your guidance. --Greg << Trial and error.  Not what you wanted to hear, but it is my best advise. (oh yah, and the more water motion the better)  Blundell >>

What is a sump overflow? Hi, I am currently setting up a 240 gallon fish only with live rock tank. I plan to buy the stand and canopy also. Though, I am confused what a sump is and what goes in the sump and is there protein skimmers and pumps that you can buy that go inside of the stand so they don't hang on the back? << Absolutely.  Many large skimmers (like you will want) sit inside or beside the sump in the stand. >> Also when I see like this black thing in the corner of the aquariums at some pet stores and the guy told me that was for a sump. Is that thing needed to run a sump? << Well it isn't needed, but they sure are nice.  Basically, you need a hole in your tank, so your tank can leak.  I know that sound odd, but you do.  Then your leaky tank drains water down into the sump, and it is pumped back up into the tank.  The black plastic piece you see is a great way to make a filter allowing the surface water to skim over and flow down to the sump.  They are worth the extra money.  I'd buy one. >> Maybe you can direct me to a page that can tell me everything I need to know about a sump. << Just keep reading here, and visit some tanks in your area.  You can learn a lot by seeing a friend's tank. >>Thanks <<  Blundell  >>

- Custom Overflow Question - I have a plumbing question for you. <Ok.> I have a 29 gallon aquarium that was purchased at Wal-Mart for an emergency when my 46 gallon bow-front cracked and leaked (freshwater), which has been replaced.  I now want to turn the 29 into a marine aquarium, I have been reading and reading since the first part of this year, mostly this site and books.  I can usually find answers to 90-95% of my questions, however I would like to ask this one(s). I had originally wanted to use a HOB siphon overflow, CPR to be exact, but my reading shows this not to be best.  So I shall have it drilled.  This tank comes (I think) with the bottom glass tempered, which can't be drilled?  If so, then I will have the back glass drilled to the left lower corner (facing from the front) and silicone a sheet of acrylic to act as the overflow box. Is this design acceptable since it doesn't drain directly from the bottom? <Yes, this would work.> Do the dimensions of the overflow box matter a great deal? <Not too much, but you wouldn't want to make it any smaller than your largest diameter of plumbing.>  Can it be triangle in shape? <It could, yes.> The overflow box will have a 1 inch (inside diameter) return fitting, should it be larger? <For a tank this size, 1" will be more than sufficient.> Will a 90 degree elbow fitting inside of the overflow box with a stand pipe work? <I think so.> Or could this restrict flow? <Again, we're only talking about a 29 gallon tank here.> I plan (famous last words) on a 10 gallon sump below the tank and a Mag Drive 7 pump rated at 700gph max to provide the return. <Probably a bit much for such a small box of water - would consider dropping this to the Mag 5 and then making up for the change with a powerhead or two in the tank.> With my rough calculations,  ~3+ feet of head and all the bends and nozzles, the end out flow will be around 500gph (maybe even less). <Yes... still a lot for a single point source. Consider the Mag 5.> Thank you in advance, Phil. <Cheers, J -- >

- Two Sumps? - Hi :-) <Hi.> I just got a used 75g reef ready Oceanic that I’m trying to plumb up. Unfortunately, the sump/skimmer that came with it is extremely small CPR CY192(14x8x14.5) That’s only 4gallons!!  I still want to be able to use this for its built-in skimmer (and easy carbon bag placement) so…. Can I add another sump (Rubbermaid) to hold my DSB/ algae? <Sure, why not?> I have  1” and  ?” holes in the overflow( I want to use the ?” hole for a drain too) The return pump is a Little Giant rated at 640 at 3 ft. (1”discharge and return) Option#1 :  use the 1” hole draining to the Rubbermaid which then gravity feeds( through 1” bulkhead) to the CPR sump’s final chamber.  The ?” hole drains directly to the first chamber in the CPR sump (skimmer chamber) All returned by 1” intake little giant.  Another possible problem: the outlet of the CPR sump is 3/4” –Do I have to drill this out and replace with a 1” bulkhead to fit the pump intake? It would seem like everything would bottleneck here at the sump exit. Option #2 : keep each sump separate and use another pump too (I have another Little Giant with ?” discharge/return and 400 at 3ft.) 1”drain to Rubbermaid returned by big Little Giant :-) ((hee hee hee “BIG” little Giant)) sorry, I’m feeling a bit goofy! ?” drain to CPR returned by little little Giant Which option would cause less problems? <I'd just run the CPR above the Rubbermaid sump, with it's own pump, and a gravity feed back into the sump where the sump's return pump would return water back to the tank. Simple and trouble free.> Thanks for all your help, Jennifer <Cheers, J -- > - Two Sumps? Follow-up - Hello again :) I still have a problem- my stand is too short!! <Ohh... that does complicate things.> I have room side by side in the stand -but not enough vertical room in the stand to raise the CPR CY192 enough to get a gravity feed to the big sump. The outlet to the CPR is at the bottom (center of hole is 2.25" above CPR base) The most I can raise it is 6" and still have room to remove skimmer collection cup. My (sump is 16" high) and the (CPR is 14.5" high plus another 6" to access cup) The interior height stand dimension is 26" Does this mean I could only fill the big sump at the most 5" ??! That's pretty pointless- there must be a better way. <How about mounting the refugium on the wall above the tank itself?> To rehash everything I have a 75 g drilled tank with overflow box: 1"drain and 3/4" drain( yes I'm using the return hole as a drain also to get more flow) The 1" hole will go to a 29g DSB/algae sump and the 3/4" hole will go to the cy192. My problem is connecting the two sumps to the pump (external little giant rated at 650gph at 3' with 1"intake and return) If the sump outlets are at the same height (sump outlet =1"hole, CPR outlet= 3/4" hole), can I just connect the two outlets at a "T" and run them to the pump?? Will I need ball valves at each outlet before the "T" to regulate sump water levels? <Think this setup will have more problems then it will solve. Would be better for each to have it's own pump.> In your opinion, is this pump going to handle the flow? <Probably too much in one or the other sump.> If the CPR fills too fast, will it help to raise this sump a few inches-gravity help? (can only raise it up to 6"-stand dimensions won't allow for raising the CPR enough for gravity feed to the big sump) <Not enough to make a difference.> Wish I had more room in my stand to gravity feed one sump to the other - that would make things easier!! Oh well it won't be perfect but will it work? <I think it will work poorly.> Is there an easier way I'm just not seeing? <I'd really like to encourage you to use two pumps.> Thanks for your help- I'd really like to use this CY192 if possible. -hope you have better luck brainstorming than I am! Jennifer <Cheers, J -- >

Home Improvements (System Modifications) Hey Scott, Well, I was successful at converting my wet/dry into a sump! <Cool!> I placed live rock from my tank along with a deep sand bed about 4 inches deep with about 96 watts of light above it, also went to local pet store and purchased some micro-algae (various red and green stuff). Does it ever need to be changed? <Well, I would harvest small amounts regularly. By doing that, you're actually permanently exporting nutrients from the system. Besides, you can always give/trade/sell healthy macroalgae to your fellow hobbyists!> And is more the merrier the way to go? <Sure, IMO!> I also bought about 20 more pounds of live rock to replace the rock now in the sump. I also had to place some poly filter as a means of mechanical filtration before the return pump because I was getting a lot of garbage back into the tank.   <Wait a second...You mean as "chemical filtration", right? The brand "Poly Filter" pads are chemical media, which are excellent at absorbing dissolved organics. If you mean a polyester media for mechanical filtration, that's different (and a lot less expensive!).> My levels have all stayed very good and matter of fact the nitrate went down to 50 already from 100 in only two days of operation. <Excellent! Glad to hear that!> Also went out and purchased a RO/DI Kent Marine MAXXIMA 35GPD! <A great unit, IMO! Is use the "High S" version myself with great results> I got tired of lugging distilled water up the stairs! The phosphate from the unit is measuring 0 like I would expect but the silica is measuring about 1ppm. I was thinking it should be zero seeing this is a RO/DI unit. Maybe the cartridge needs to be broken in a bit more or is that level not that bad? <Well, I would have purchased the high silicate removal model for this problem. Do contact the tech department at Ken Marine and see if they can recommend a retrofit...> The tap water was very high in silica, I'd say 5 to 10. Should I worry about 1ppm, because I saw a response to a persons question and he said 1ppm is not bad. <Well, "not bad" is relative. Zero is better! Even fractional percentages can result in diatom blooms, so I'd look to limit silicates as much as possible> Thanks for all you help I am nearly there!!! Jim <Jim- sounds like you're really moving in the right direction! I'm stoked for you! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Plumbing a Sump for a 180 gal. Well, I have found someone about an hour from me who drills glass aquariums. So, I want to drill a 180 gal tank for use with a 55 gal sump. It will be a FOWLR set-up, so I guess I'm shooting for a 2000-3000 gph turnover right? << That sounds fine. >> How many 1.5" bulkheads do I need to do this? << I would say four. >> Is it ok to just plumb the overflows with a basket inside the tank and 90 deg. elbow on the back of the bulkhead? or do I need to build some sort of box to collect water right from the surface for better skimming. Is it possible to have too much overflow? << You can't have too much overflow, because it will be controlled by your pump.  I don't think you need a box, but I like them.  However, I like to have the box on the outside of the tank, but it does prevent optimal skimming.  I guess it depends on if you are willing to put up with seeing the box in the tank (which most people do and would recommend to you. >> I want to keep the set-up as simple as possible. I am planning to have the return water plumbed to go up over the tank, and not drill return holes in the tank and weaken the glass any more, is that ok? << Yes, I too would have the return lines run over the top. >> I thought about using 2 big Sea Swirls for the returned, but I'm not sure it's at all necessary in a FOWLR? << That is tricky, because you need to have the return lines return right at the water surface, or at least have some sort of hole drilled there.  Otherwise in a power outage those return lines will become siphon lines. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Sump Configurations       Hi Crew <HI there! Scott F. here tonight> Thanks for the info on my Sump / Nitrate problems. I filled the first 2 compartments of my sump with Aragonite (5'). Also Added a 18 " tank with DSB and some Macro Algae. I got some of the rubble in the Live Rock Containers from our LFS to help seed my DSB. These guys seem to think A DSB will become live by itself so that’s the only places where I got some critters. <Well, it's a start!> I would like to setup 4 3 foot tanks as tanks for breeding pairs of clowns, I'd like to run them all off 1 sump This time I'd like to start of right so I'm looking for some help again. <Will try!> Each 3 foot will have a DSB, some Macro Algae and will house only one pair of clowns. Still deciding what to put in with them as a host (Anemone etc..). <well, if you're dealing with tank-bred Clowns, they may have never even seen an anemone, so you may not even want to add one. Not at all necessary> I'm not sure which sump to use but was thinking in the line of these 2. I want as little problems as possible with Ammonia, Nitrites AND NITRATES.       Option 1      Will use another 3 foot tank for this design       Light      Wool                Siporax                      Space or chemical filtration (Activated Carbon)                           Deep sandbed      Can plant Macro Algae      Live Rock      Power heads to Tanks       Option 2      Here I will use 2 3 foot tanks to get more water volume and to have more space for live rocks.       Light              Space for wool &           chemical filtration (Activated Carbon)                       Space for heaters                         Macro Algae                          Live Rock                        DSB            Tank 1                Tank 2      Over flow to tank 1      Tank 1 to hold power heads to main tank       My Questions are : Will any one of these sump setups work? <Sure, they will both work> Can I leave out the Siporax in any one of these setups or should I leave them for a trickle? <If you want zero nitrates, I'd ditch the Siporax or any other mechanical/biological filtration media. Why fight the work that you're trying to accomplish with a DSB by including media that can accumulate nitrate. Just do it the easy way. Trust me. A DSB is fine, either in or out of the sump. I'd simply have a large sump with ample space for some live rock and a great protein skimmer, as well as some bags of activated carbon. That's about it...Really easy...> What type of lighting should I use and must the lights stay on 24 hours a day? <Some people do, but you can effectively run the sump lights on a "reverse" schedule with your display tank> When Cycling the tanks when do I add the live rock? <I'd cycle 'em with live rock> Should I use a Protein Skimmer? <Absolutely. Get the best one you can and maintain it well. An essential piece of equipment, IMO> Can any one of these be used for my main reef tank? <Absolutely. Just consider what I suggested about keeping things really simple> Hope you can give me more info. Regards, Gustav <Well, Gustav, your plans look fine. I didn't want to disappoint you by giving some rather general information here, but I'm just a big one for keeping things simple. There are some great sites on the internet (ozreef.org comes to mind) that can help you design a great sump. Do a little more research, then go for it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Sump/Nitrates part II and breeding Clownfish 8/3/04 Hi Crew,  Thanks for the info on my Sump / Nitrate problems. I filled the first 2 compartments of my sump with Aragonite (5'), Also Added a 18 " tank with DSB and some Macro Algae. I got some of the rubble in the Live Rock Containers from our LFS to help seed my DSB. These guys seem to think a DSB will become live by itself so that’s the only places where I got some critters. <The rubble should help, but exchanging some sand with fellow aquarists will help too.> I would like to setup 4 3 foot tanks as tanks for breeding pairs of clowns, I'd like to run them all off 1 sump.  This time I'd like to start of right so I'm looking for some help again.  Each 3 foot will have a DSB, some Macro Algae and will house only one pair of clowns.  Still deciding what to put in with them as a host (Anemone etc..). <Host anemones are definitely out for a breeding system.> I'm not sure which sump to use but was thinking in the line of these 2. I want as little problems as possible with Ammonia, Nitrites AND NITRATES. Option 1  Will use another 3 foot tank for this design: Light, Wool, Siporax, Space or chemical filtration (Activated Carbon), Deep sandbed.  Can plant Macro Algae, Live Rock, Power heads to Tanks Option 2  Here I will use 2 3 foot tanks to get more water volume and to have more space for live rocks. Light, Space for wool & chemical filtration (Activated Carbon), Space for heaters, Macro Algae, Live Rock, DSB Tank 1, Tank 2 - Over flow to tank 1 Tank 1 to hold power heads to main tank My Questions are :  Will any one of these sump setups work?  Can I leave out the Siporax in any one of these setups or should I leave them for a trickle?  What type of lighting should I use and must the lights stay on 24 hours a day?  <Breeding systems have some special requirements, and I would not recommend a refugium for filtration.  Both of the systems you describe (Your diagrams did not come through) would be fine for a display system, but not for breeding.> When Cycling the tanks when do I add the live rock?  Should I use a Protein Skimmer?  Can any one of these be used for my main reef tank?  Hope you can give me more info.  Regards, Gustav  <I always recommend cycling with live rock, since it is the rock itself that needs to cycle.  A skimmer can be used for breeding systems.  If you are considering breeding Clownfishes, please find a copy of "Clownfishes" by Joyce Wilkerson. It is an excellent guide.  Best Regards.  AdamC> Sump Configuration 7/28/04  Hi Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> This is Dave G here from England. Firstly great site, so much info from you guys and the rest of the world, PRICELESS. I have had my 50G FOWLR for a couple of years and am looking to upgrade to a 120G with 60G Sump once I move house.  <Sounds pretty cool!> Sump is basically 3 sections, one overflow from tank to skimmer, second overflow to live rock (with lighting) and then third section will be return pump and heaters. <Good configuration> My main question is, I plan on having 2 overflows and I figured that 2 x 1 1/2" (ID) overflows will give me 1000 - 1200gph (based on what I have read on your site) but I have seen conflicting info saying 1" overflow would give 500 - 600gph. Which is correct? <I think that the 1- 1/2" overflows will do a better job> I also plan on using a T1000 as it is readily available over here. I have read that the overflow needs to go directly into the skimmer but the inlet on the T1000 is just over 1/2". Do I reduce the overflow pipe at the skimmer and put a valve on to control flow into it or do I T off just before skimmer into the LR section of my sump.  <I'd keep the flow going at its "natural" rate, without reducing it. You want a constant water level in the area from which the skimmer draws, for maximum performance...> This is my first time so please be gentle. <No problem! You sounds like you put a lot of thought into this system!> By the way Bob I would be useless without my copy of CMA, I also have Reef Inverts essential guide on the way. <I'll pass the compliments on to Bob!> Many thanks and keep up the good work. Dave G in sunny England - NOT ;) <Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Sump and bioballs Once again I would like to thank all the great people at WetWebMedia for the great advice and wonderful website. I have been reading a lot on your site about Bio-Ball and have come to the conclusion that I would like to get rid of mine. I have a 55G tank that has about 60 lbs. of LR and a 3" live sand bed. My water levels look great but as the standard bio-ball role my nitrates are rising and making my anemones and polyps look very bad. I have been using Reef Vital DNA and that has seemed to turn my anemones around to where they are getting their color back and opening up a bit more. I have a medium sized Maroon Clown, 2 Percula Clowns, and a Royal Gramma in my tank. I have a lot of hermits and snails in the tank also with a lot of brittle stars living in the LR with a really huge Red Brittle that roams around my tank. I want to add a few more fish to me and more coral but not until I remove the Nitrate factory from my setup. I was wondering if I could put crushed coral into my sump to replace the bio-balls. << Sure.  This is how many sumps and refugia started, was by people converting over their bio-balls.  I like this idea and would fill it about 4 inches deep with crushed coral. >> The crushed coral would be totally submerged in the sump. Please advice on what would be a good think to replace the balls with. The full listing of my tank are as follows: Custom made stand and canopy PC retrofit in the canopy with 2 65W 10K and 2 65W actinic Pentair Quiet One 6000 (return pump) AquaClear 125 Sump AquaC EV-120 skimmer with Mag 5 pump 60lbs Live Rock 3" Live sand bed 55G glass tank SCWD tied into return to custom made return tubes in tank I have attached a picture so that you can see what my sump basically looks like. The only difference between the sumps is the marked area is not present in mine. Though that separator could be added into mine. << I think seeing other sumps of friends may help.  Always best to know what you want before you start making it.  That can save some future headaches.  Good Luck. Blundell  >> 

Sump design or "Someone never learned the KISS principle" Here's a long one so take your time... I wrote a few weeks ago with questions about a new tank that I'm setting up in my Dad's office.  He will have to take care of the tank when I leave for college after the summer.  The following is an explanation of the sump system.   I've tried to attach a diagram and key as JPEGs (each under 100KB) but the mail was "undeliverable."    The goals of the new tank are to: *Simplify topping off to a weekly valve turning << Float switches are loved by many. >> *Simplify water changes to a monthly valve turning *Increase biological nutrient export << Go with an algae refugium. >> *Eliminate the possibility of a wet floor << You mean decrease the odds right?  Because you can't eliminate possibility, it will happen eventually. >> I appreciate any suggestions.  Thank you very much. The tank is a 55-gallon All Glass Aquarium with a built in Megaflow overflow. The overflow runs in 1 flexible PVC pipe into the sump in the basement below.  The water runs first into a 30-gallon Rubbermaid tub with an 8 Southdown sand bed.  The tub has an emergency overflow a few inches above an overflow into a 45-gallon, 2 by 2 clear acrylic refugium with a 65-watt compact fluorescent bulb above.  The refugium has a 5 sand bed of CaribSea Seaflor Special Grade Reef Sand with a 1 plenum.  It has an emergency overflow; a bulkhead to the return pump, an Iwaki 30rlt rated for about 300 gph at 12 ft head; and a drain with a ball valve for water changes.  It has three float switches: high, low, and top off.  High and low both turn off the return pump and keep it from running dry, keep the main aquarium from overflowing, and prevent problems in the case of many different leaks or malfunctions.  The top off switch activates a dual channel peristaltic pump that pumps equal amounts of top off water from the two 4-gallon reservoirs: calcium and carbonate.  The calcium reservoir contains fresh RO water with the calcium part of a two-part dosing additive.   It has an emergency overflow in case the bulkhead from the reservoir above leaks.  The carbonate reservoir contains fresh RO water and the carbonate part of a two-part additive.  I will probably use Seachem's Reef Builder and Reef Advantage Calcium. << Be careful not to add these until you have a coral load requiring them.  Test first, add second. >> We fill the two reservoirs weekly from the RO reservoir above and add the appropriate additive.  An air pump keeps the water in the reservoirs fresh and mixes in the additive.   The 10-gallon RO reservoir on the top shelf also serves as a saltwater mixing container.  It has an air pump and a titanium heater.  Usually this 10-gallon reservoir is filled with freshwater “ it is emptied weekly to fill up the 4-gallon top off reservoirs and then fills to the top until the shutoff valve stops the inflow from the Kent Maxxima RO/DI unit.  Every month, we add a few cups of salt to the reservoir, let it mix for the day, empty ten gallons of aquarium water from the refugium and then add the freshly mixed ten gallons.  Then the reservoir fills up again and we use it for freshwater.  There is an electronic float switch near the top of the reservoir that turns off the heater as the water level drops to keep the heater from overheating when we empty the reservoir. The return pump returns the water to the tank via inch PVC.  There are true union valves on either side of the pump for maintenance.  There is also a ball valve on the piping from the aquarium overflow and on the return line.   There is a pipe between these two lines that is usually closed with a ball valve.   However, in six months we will be moving the tank for a few days while we renovate the office.  This pipe will allow us to run water through the sump system and deep sand bed while the tank is disconnected. The tank itself has a wave2k unit for circulation, a hang-on Remora Pro protein skimmer, a titanium heater, a very shallow sand bed for appearance, and manmade concrete rock that is currently curing in a stream behind my house. << Be very careful with this.  There are lots of success stories, and lots of horror stories regarding stream cured man-made rock. Sounds like you have things well thought out.  I say go for it, and fix the problems as they arise. >> <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Sump design? 6/12/04 I am putting together a 155 gallon Bow Front All-glass Aquarium with 2 Mega-Flow Overflows.   <is this is a siphon overflow (not a drilled tank) let me offer my running half-serious joke, " I would not sleep in a house that has a siphon overflow." They can/will fail in time. Many possible ways to do this... especially with the heavily aerating and aspirating devices that go on reef tanks that throw fine bubbles in the tank which rise, overflow and build up top break a siphon after days/weeks> I got a main system return pump that is a Dolphin with a nominal rating of 1200 gph.  I am using two Tunze Turbelle Stream pumps inside the tank for wave/flow.  I have a CPR Aquafuge Pro for one Refugium underneath and am planning to have the flow from one overflow come down, T into two equal halves, and put one half into the protein skimmer chamber of the Aquafuge Pro and have the other half go into the last chamber to go to pump suction.   <too complicated, poor design (avoid using tees... really bad habit) and never steal raw water away from a skimmer (allows for mineralizing faculties to handle organics that you'd rather export)> I am trying to decide what kind of sump I should have for the other overflow to come into; I am trying to decide between an Ecosystem (possibly the one that is 30 inches long and is rated for 800 to 1000 gph or the one that is 24 inches and rated for 600 - 800) and a greater volume large box type sump that just acts as a place to dump the water, <yes... the latter. A simple, large open sump would be best IMO> have a level controller for make-up water from the Kalkwasser reactor to account for evaporation, put the submersible pump to feed my EVA 180 protein skimmer, and provide a place for my Calcium Reactor to interact.  If I did have an Aquafuge Pro and an Ecosystem sump, do you think there would be places to put all of the other gear?   <a valid concern... indeed part of the reason for my recommendation. Do keep it simple, open, large and stable> And, what are the benefits to having just a larger water volume in the sump instead of the benefits of the Miracle Mud system?   <stability, plus no baggage from the use of Caulerpa with mud systems (see our archives detailing these challenges in the FAQs)> I would like to take suction with the main system pump out of both of the sumps; do I do this with a standpipe arrangement in the middle with a T? <again... avoid using tees always.> Please let me know what you think would work best.  I also have a 24" CPR hang on the back refugium.  I would like to grow enough copepods and amphipods to support in about a year a mandarin dragonet, <mandarins only eat copepods my friend... do encourage them with fine deep substrates in the refugium. Read our extensive coverage of this topic (refugiums, plants and algae) in "Reef Invertebrates" Calfo and Fenner 2003> one of the rock slinking blennies, and I really like the sand sifting goby but I have heard it is hard to keep them well fed which is part of why I am trying to have so much Refugium capacity.  But, the Aquafuge Pro only holds about 12 gallons of water during normal operation and the Ecosystems do not have very large volumes and I read in one of my reef books that to do any good you should have a minimum of 20% of the main tank volume which would be 31 gallons; what is the sump of my dreams? <indeed larger is better here. 20% minimum to be sure... 40% would be nice> If I could figure out how to design it Precision Marine would build it but I am not sure what it should look like.  About half of the space in the cabinet under my tank is now full of the Aquafuge Pro. Thank you, Laura <do check out the illustrations and FAQs we have on this topic in our marine plumbing sections of the wetwebmedia.com archives  best regards, Anthony>

- Sump Filter - I have been doing salt water tanks for a year and a half. I starting with a sump filter unfortunately my electricity went off and came back on. I came home and my tank had almost overflowed all over my floor. We have a large house and occasionally our electricity goes out. I decided to put a Tetra Tec and Fluval on and ditched the sump. Recently I bought a new wet dry system. I am wondering how I prevent the sump from overflowing. I heard I need to drill a hole in the u tube then I heard I need to drill a hole in the input tube and I have also heard of a t valve. I am wondering what I need to do to fix this before I set it up again. Help! I may have to buy an automatic overflow box <This is what I would recommend - this or some form of built in overflow box, or even a new tank with a built-in overflow. Feeding a sump or a wet/dry filter with just a U-Tube will almost always lead to a flood when the power cycles.> Thanks Alicia <Cheers, J -- > 

-Water level control- Hi there crew. <Heyyy, Kevin here> First I would like to thank you for your help in the past. <On behalf of whomever may have answered your questions, you're very welcome!> I have a question and have trawled <I don't know if I've ever trawled the site before, sounds dangerous... ;) > the site but cannot find an answer. I am building a sump and a refugium (separately) and a pod producing tank. My question is this. How do I control the level in each tank using baffles? <Hmmm... You can control various water levels in a single aquarium with baffles, simply make the baffle as high as you want that section of the tank and once the water rises above the baffle, it will spill into the next compartment. On a completely separate tank that is to be tied in to your main, you'll need some sort of an overflow. If the tank is acrylic or you're comfortable drilling non-tempered glass, you can easily install a bulkhead or two with some PVC to make a standpipe for draining. If the tank is large enough, you can buy a hang-on overflow box for it. I hope this is what you mean!> just how does this work? I do not wish to make a complete hash up of this system so any input from you guys would really be very much appreciated. Your advice in the past has bee. second to none and I plan to build a display using the deep sand bed and algal scrubber system plus a sump without any bioballs or canister/power filters at all. I will use carbon and PolyFilters. <Sounds cool! -Kevin> Thank you, Simon. 

Don't Dump The Sump! (The Benefits Of A Sump Setup) Hey all, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> Thanks again for having a GREAT website. <We're glad that you enjoy it! We sure have fun bringing it to you!> Unfortunately, my question is both so simple, yet too complicated to spend many hours scouring your website.  My dad, an avid saltwater enthusiast, is getting a 220 gallon dream aquarium (after much bargaining/arguing with mom). <All right, Dad!> The problem is, he wants to get an UGF for simplicity reasons only. I know that they are functional, but I was hoping that you could recommend a different kind of filtration system that is both EASY to do maintenance on AND reduces the messes caused by salt creep. I've tried to talk him into something else, but sometimes he is as stubborn as Aiptasia! Best Regards, Eric Rayman <Hmm.. Well, Eric, I am very partial to a simple sump setup for a variety of reasons. First, in a tank of this size, a sump offers a tremendous amount of flexibility. Sumps are really an easy place to put chemical filtration media (such as bags of carbon, Poly Filter pads, etc.), heaters, protein skimmers, and other essential, but unattractive items. The plumbing scheme for a sump could not be easier. Additionally, sumps also give you a place for macroalgae and other beneficial life forms that may not do well in the display. Sumps also have the added advantage of providing increased water volume for your system, which leads to greater stability. Maintenance is a snap, because all that you will normally need to do is replace chemical filtration media, clean your protein skimmer, and remove accumulations of detritus from the sump. Salt creep is generally not to much of a problem, if you don't have a lot of splashing of water down there. In the long run, the added expense and slightly increased complexity required to set up a sump system will pay dividends with stability, flexibility, and utility. Do a little reading about sump setups on the WWM site, and I'm sure that you'll be able to convince your dad of their benefits. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Descent into the Maelstrom - Hi <Hello.> Need some advice to solve the age old noisy problems associated with having a sump.   Quick description of tank, sump and plumbing: 4ft*2ft*2ft tank with 3ft* by 12" sump (made from old aquarium). The return pump I am using is a Rio 2100 (2500litres per hour I think), the base of the tank is drilled with a 1 1/4" pvc tube fitted, so that the water overflows into it.  The waste pipe under the tank is then put through a spray bar into the sump which doesn't slow the flow at all (big holes and many of them drilled). The Rio2100 return pipe is 3/4" which is standard Eheim type flexi-pipe (that's just what fits on the pump easily). I haven't fitted any pre-filter on to the down pipe yet or anything - it acts like a whirlpool and is very  very noisy - advice please? <Sure... this is not an uncommon problem. At the very least you could try the Durso Standpipe - a device that's been around for a long time, but some fellow slapped his name on it and now that's what everyone calls it - just put those words into your favorite search engine. Your other option, which is just as easy to execute is to take a chunk of air-line tubing, roughly 3/4 the length of your overflow plumbing - that's from the top of the standpipe to the place where the water exits the plumbing into the sump. Insert the air-line into the overflow plumbing and leave a six to ten inch bit sticking out the top - secure in any way you see fit. You'll find the noise goes away almost instantly.> I haven't slowed the flow down anywhere yet. thanks Meirion <Cheers, J -- >

- Sump Questions - Good day crew, I am wondering if you guys could give me some pointers on my new tank and sump. <I can try.> I am going to have a reef tank (size 46" x 25" x 28" wide) which will be drilled and my sump will be in the cabinet underneath, I am going to install a Deltec TS1060 skimmer in the first compartment and then in my biological compartment I would like to put in some live rock with higher algae on and have it lit. <Sounds good.> I will also be putting live rock in my tank as well, as I want to concentrate on SPS and not so much LPSs and softies (as I have at the moment), I will have plenty of movement in the tank but my quandary is the sump, I was initially looking at putting a remote DSB in the sump but after reading up on your site and others I am slowly going off the DSB idea, what do you guys think, <I think a deep sand bed is useful, but would be better served in the tank and not the sump.> also what about the lighting period in the sump should I have them on 24/7 or reverse lighting or same time as the main tank. <I like reverse lighting... helps keep pH stable and most algae, with the exception of Caulerpa, don't do well under constant light.> All the best Paul, Manchester, England P.S. I am coming over to Florida in may for my hols, do you fellas know of any good aquarium shops in or around Orlando. <Hmm... do know there are a couple of large scale types, like Sea World and the Living Seas exhibit at EPCOT. Would grab the yellow pages upon arrival. Cheers, J -- >

Sump size 4/13/04 Dear Crew, <cheers> I've built a 525 gallon aquarium which I'm planning to set-up as a reef tank.  My question is, how big should the sump be?   <larger is better. Public aquariums go for a 1:1 ratio of display: sump... for home aquariums, 20-40% will be good enough> In the past, I've always used canister filters so this time I've decided to give a sump a try after researching the topic.   <wise choice> Do you have any advice on what I should or should not do?   <so much to say/learn here... please do take the tie to help/educate yourself in our archives at wetwebmedia.com. Browse the plumbing articles and FAQs for starters> I've looked everywhere on the web but can't seem to find any information on recommended sump sizes. Thanks in advance! <you might be interested in a fine book called "Aquatic Systems Engineering" by Escobar. Anthony>

Sump or not? 4/20/04 In reply to your message about the sump in my 100 gal Rubbermaid fuge should I divide it and make half a sump or can I just use the whole thing as a settling tank? <without a well, partition or somehow separated vessel for your skimmer, skimmer performance with any brand will be worse/poor if left in an open sump. A bad habit> Do you think that I should get a bigger skimmer, my CPR BakPak is only rated for like 65 gallons? <I would agree... another or a larger skimmer would be ideal. Do look at Euro-reef and Aqua-C brands for best values> Also, I cant drill my display tank and have to get an overflow box that can have a pipe put into it and run over the side due to lack of budget/tight a$$. Chad <I would not use or recommend a siphon overflow box under almost any circumstance. They are patently unreliable. Do read through our archives on the reasons why. I'd sooner see you work without a sump than use one with a siphon overflow. Anthony>

- Sump Formula - I am curious if there is a place on your website or somewhere else.  I have been reading just about every FAQ and I am sure that I have seen it before just can't remember where.  My question is, is there somewhere that I can find out the mathematical equation for a sump setup. <There is/are none that I am aware of other than 'as big as possible'.> I am planning on getting a 240 gallon tank, and constructing my own overflows (2) for the sump. <Please don't - if you have not yet ordered this tank, just order it with the holes, overflows or whatever you require in your design. You will be much more pleased with the results.> I am planning on the sump being about 30 gallons. <Seems very small for such a large tank - would recommend at least double this - most sumps don't run at their full volume, so even with a 60 gallon tank as a sump, it will likely only have about 30 gallons of water in it when the pumps are running.> For additional circulation I will have a closed loop system so I am not worried about that. I know you and others have read a lot to answer this.  What size pump would I need? <Whatever suits your needs - we typically recommend between five and ten times the tank volume for total circulation - so this will fall between your closed loop and the recirculation pump. There is no hard-set rule as to which pump you should use.> I know, I know there are lots of variables so I will try and include them all.  About 6ft head and one 90degree turn total.  I just don't want to get an undersized pump and have it overflow. <It won't - the tank will only overflow water at the rate at which the water is being pumped in.> I really do appreciate your time in answering this.  I have been reading your website for months now trying to build, in my mind for now, a tank that I can be proud of.  Thank you again, Rob <Cheers, J -- >

Setup Revisited Hello and thank you for the great advice your site is great for information. <You're welcome! Ryan with you again> And of course I have a couple of questions. <No worries> 1. How many stage RO water filter system is good. I figure the higher the better but what would be sufficient? <You can get away with less if your source water is better- and vice versa.  I use a 5 Stage RO unit, and paid less about 150.> And do I need the Osmosis Deionization DI)? Is there a difference between the Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Systems vs. the regular water systems? The 4 stage drinking water systems are much cheaper then the 4 stage water filter systems. <I believe that the difference is in the actual filters used- I use one that is good for drinking water without any problems.> 2. Is there a difference between using a glass fish tank for my sump vs. a Rubbermaid container? I heard I could use either but are there pros and cons to each or which is better? <Depends on the application used- Glass tanks will need to be drilled for bulkheads, Rubbermaid's can be drilled at home.  Glass is easier to clean, Rubbermaid requires less cleaning.  I would use whichever will allow for more volume.  See ya, Ryan> Thank You, Jason

Genicanthus, sumps and slime algae - 3/22/04 Hello, I have a few questions for you, I have a 60 gal reef tank about 2 years old (40 gal Q tank) 2- 55W fluorescent 2- 55W actinic, Magnum 350 with carbon and a BioWheel on the return, CPR BakPak, powerhead (528 gph) with rotating arms, I have 3 clams, 2 anemones LTA, a brain (debatable), an elephant ear sponge, a colony of buttons, frogspawn, and a hammer 100 lb LR, we also have 2 cleaner shrimp and a lawnmower blenny and crabs and snails. <Wow, you can keep corals with that little light??>  We have recently purchased a 4x65 (2 white 2 actinic) pc fixture and are awaiting delivery. <I would have personally went with all four bulbs at 10000K with no actinic but you config will be fine.> We would like to go to a sump but don't know where to begin, I am currently looking through your sump info. <The best place to begin. Develop questions then email them in> Our skimmer used to produce a good amount of waste but now has backed off a bit. <Need to clean the dickens out of it and be sure the cup is about 1/8 of an inch under the water line. Also as tanks age, they sometimes seem to go through changes as more waste is used by animal and processes.>  Our water readings are: Am 0, Ni 0, Na 20 ppm (big concern?) <Nah> Ph 8.2, Cal 440, Alk around 3 and KH around 10 (or vice versa, problem switching these two)  We feed BioPlankton about every other day, Mysis and brine- occasionally to use it up. <Sounds like a good regime to me.> I also add Kent Marine Essential Elements approx every 2 weeks and directed on the bottle. Everyone is happy in the tank and growing. Unfortunately our ballast went out on the light & only two work and we are rotating between white and blue and the new one wont be here 'til Friday so we are hoping to get through that, if its not one thing it's another (second time in 3 months so new one was in order- Helios brand). <Cool. I hear ya though, reefkeeping can be a hassle sometimes> My question- finally- is this an acceptable system? <Sure. Why not? Two years is a new tank for sure. I would upgrade the light though. If you plan on any more light needing inverts like the clams> would a sump be a good idea? <If the fish load is high.>  also we seem to have recently developed a problem with black and red slime algae I don't want to go throwing stuff in to get rid of it unless there is no other recourse, <Check out our site for more info on this>  we did upgrade the powerhead from a PowerSweep 228 (approx 295 gph) to the stronger one (528 gph). <Good idea but be aware of dead areas in the tank. Powerheads have very laminate flow. Meaning a straight and narrow scope of water output> I read the following in regards to the slime algae and would like some more info "investigate and solve the root causes of this problem... Poor circulation, poor aeration, too much nutrient due to: Overfeeding, poor filtration, poor maintenance, lack of competing organisms for light, nutrients" <What's to say here? More water changes, less food, more water movement will most times solve the issue.> Also when feeding the BioPlankton should I turn off the skimmer for awhile?  <Yes.> I have been investigating angels and reef and found that many places recommend the family Genicanthus as "reef safe" due to be planktivorous, what are your thoughts on this? <Genicanthus angelfishes in general are "Reef Safe"... best to start small (3" maximum), keep in large (hundreds of gallons), fully-established reef systems with plenty of healthy live rock, flourishing refugium for foodstuffs> I really appreciate your time and help so that we can make our tank the best we can within our means. <Thanks for being part of it all ~Paul> Thank you Melissa Recla

Sump Options Hi there!! <Hi! Ryan with you> I'm busy setting a 190 litre reef tank, but have one problem. I intend using a sump to house all the necessary equipment. Is there anyway of circulating the water from the main tank to the sump without actually having to drill a hole in the main tank?? N.B. Had a very bad experience on a 1000 litre tank, trying to sump it by drilling the main tank!!! <Hi, what you need is called an overflow.  They're easily available from all aquatic e-tailers.  You can read more about them here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbfaqsmar.htm. Have fun, Ryan> Hoping !! Shaheer

Sump Dynamics Hello <Hi! Scott F. with you!> I have a 90 gal set up with about a 25 gal compartmented sump. In the first compartment, I have an EV-120 skimmer and some carbon/Chemipure. In the second (largest) compartment, I have about 4" of sand , 10# live rock and some macroalgae. In the 3rd (smallest) compartment, I have the return to the tank and some more carbon. My question is, will it be more beneficial in the long run to load up the live rock in the first compartment and use the larger compartment for my skimmer and more live rock and a calc reactor ( in the future)? <Personally, I think that you have it right. The skimmer functions best in the first compartment, where it will receive the most "raw", unprocessed water from the display.> Because now, the skimmer barely squeezes in there and the refugium section is about 15 gallons which may be too small to be truly beneficial. <Personally, I feel that any sized refugium is a good thing> I can't squeeze a larger refugium under the tank because I have a cabinet with 2 doors and a center brace ( can I cut that out? ) <No...Don't do that!> I want to do a reef tank <I think that you're on the right track here. I'd be inclined to keep things as they are. If you're not satisfied with the results, you can always re-work sections 2 and 3. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Sump Ponderings - Ah. To make that clearer, with a tank that has a sump, as water evaporates, the level in the sump falls. This is because any effort by the return pump to fill the main tank beyond a certain point causes a rapid increase in water flowing back into the sump, effectively "freezing" the main tank level. <That's certainly one way to look at it - another way would be that there is a hole in your tank... there's no way to fill the tank beyond the hole without covering the hole first.> Conversely, changes in sump level have almost no effect on the rate of water returned to the tank. Hence, water in the sump that is available to the return pump acts as "buffer" capacity against changes in the level of the main tank. <I don't see it this way... or perhaps the term "buffer" is overloaded. If we are agreed that the water level in the tank cannot change because there is hole in it, then the sump is simply a reservoir.> The difference between the amount of water in the sump at maximum system capacity and when the pump begins to suck air is the "buffer capacity" of the sump. (This is, of course, ignoring any reserve volume allowance for back drainage when the pump shuts down.) <Yes... "buffer capacity" is overloaded, and in conjunction with marine tanks can be a source of confusion. Buffer capacity typically refers to the alkaline reserve in the system, and not how much water the sump can hold. We merely differ over terms.> Thinking of the above, recently, was what caused me to ask how much buffer capacity a system can tolerate. I tried calculating what happens and found that a 10% drop in system volume from evaporation results in about a 0.2% change in SG. That is, in a system that is at 1.024 to begin with will climb to around 1.026 (all other factors being equal.) A 5% change runs half that much. So, now I know how large to size the buffer section of my new sump and how much capacity is available for a refugia grow some Gracilaria for my Zebrasoma scopas. <Fair enough.> Of course, just when I get it all to my liking I'm likely to need a bigger tank for the tang. But that needs negotiation with "She who must be obeyed." <Cheers, J -- > - Sump and Skimmer Improvements - Hi folks, I have a Turboflotor 1000 in my sump that works fairly well on my 55G, but it won't suck air and has to have a boost pump to function well. Right now I get reasonable amounts a coffee colored skimmate that would make a skunk blush. I suspect the problem with the venturi is that the skimmer is getting too much inflow head from the overflow and the needle impeller simply cannot generate enough head difference across the venturi jet to pull in any appreciable amount of air. I haven’t tried it, but it seems reasonable that a bypass valve would be a better fix. <Agreed.> Had the pump, not the valve on hand. However, a bypass dumps even more garbage into the sump tank to rot - even with the skimmer pulling gunk out there is still some debris that gets through. Installing a pre-filter that would fix that, but at the price of increased required maintenance as well as somewhat defeating the skimmer. <Only somewhat... most of the stuff that a skimmer would take out will make it through a micron bag or sponge filter.> A better solution is needed. Am I correct in thinking that I could improve system health and skimmer performance if I converted to a sump that dumped overflow into a “pre-filter” refugium? <Well... you haven't convinced me that either your sump or your system is under-performing.> The idea came from distilling your FAQs and reading my personally autographed copy of “Reef Invertebrates” - You sign ‘em, I’ll plug ‘em. :-) Is this better than installing a bypass valve and feeding that and skimmer discharge into a refugium and thence to the return pump buffer tank? <Don't know that there is a 'better' in this circumstance - will be enhancements and drawbacks to all designs.> I can engineer the sump to force a constant head to the skimmer input pipe from the refugium and dump excess flow as well as discharge into a buffer tank feeding the return pump. Space and access considerations suggest that I can build and install a two piece sump of about 13 to 15 G of static and about 10 G of evaporation loss buffering capacity (Hmm, when do I get in trouble from the side effect of salinity shifts from too much buffer capacity?) <Salinity shifts from too much buffer capacity? I'm just not sure I follow you here.> Regards, Charlie H. <Cheers, J -- >

HA in Sump/Refugium I have a sump for my seahorses that I also use for a 'refugium'  There is some LR and a few pc.s of macro algae, one red type algae and a Caulerpa SPS (spelling)  I know the Caulerpa is questionable and will eventually try to eradicate it... my problem is hair algae..... I was told that it is good nutrient remover and to let it go..... it just looks horrible and it's interfering with my pump......<I would trim it back....I would not allow the algae to interfere with the powerhead/pump>  I would like to keep the majority of the critters that have taken to residing in my sump but rid the HA... any suggestions? <I would just take small amounts of it out...and make sure there are not any pods or other little critters hiding in the algae.>  Shall I not worry too much about losing some critters as I am sure it is bound to happen....BTW it was also suggested that I keep detritus in the sump as it feeds the chain so to speak...kinda goes against a lot I read???? <I would leave some but not an awful lot> My sump is a 20g with about 10g water in it with some LR , an urchin and a 20 w 6700 bulb.... how do I turn this around into an awesome macro algae refugium?<I would search the WWM site and read the FAQ's that are similar to yours, you should probably find some interesting ideas on how to turn this refugium around, Good luck, IanB> THANKS Denise

- Remote Sump - I am in the process of constructing a small fish/equipment room in my basement below the display tank which will house my QT, RO/DI unit, top off water, supplies, etc.  Another reason that I was anxious to make this move was that I wanted to expand upon my sump and add a refugium.  There simply is not enough room in the cabinet as it is.  I'm assuming that this will help cut down on the noise as well. <Yep.> My first question is, how do I figure out the size pump I will need to push the water back upstairs (probably 8 feet vertical)? <Probably more than that - the normal head height for tanks placed on stands is five feet - then you've got the distance from the floor of the main tank to the floor of the basement tank - I'm guessing that will end up being at least 10 feet, if not more.> The mag pump that I have now with the sump was provided by the LFS when I purchased the tank does a fine job but I'm sure that it won't be enough for the new design. <Probably not.> I am currently doing the necessary research to set up a good refugium but need help with the pump. <Add that to the research - you'll need something that can deliver whatever circulation you want/need at the head height resulting from the basement installation. Would take the time now to figure out roughly what that will be.> Current set-up:  105G RR with sump (40G?) below.  In the sump, all I have is a heater, sponge filter, and skimmer.  The mag pump is mounted outside of sump but I do not know the size.  Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

- Remote Sump, Follow-up - Thanks for the response.  You're right about the head height.  Mine will probably be around 11 feet since the sump will be installed on a work bench about 3 feet off the basement floor.  The pumps that I have looked at indicate the GPH based upon the height.  How do I figure out what rate of circulation I need? <Take the volume of your tank and shoot for 10 times that in recirculation - is usually a good goal to aim for.> Is there a standard calculation? <Five to ten times the tank volume turned over per hour is pretty typical.> Are there pumps that you can adjust the flow? <Probably, but there are also valves... will accomplish the same thing.> Mark <Cheers, J -- >

Sumps I am planning my first marine tank, a 72 gallon bow-front.  I understand most every aspect of keeping such an aquarium.   As you can tell by the email, I don't fully understand it-- <Well, we're all still learning so much everyday!> Is a sump supplemental filtration (and water volume) to an existing filter system (I'm thinking about a Life Guard system), or can the sump be the total filtration? <A sump is a remarkably flexible "tool" for your system. Sumps provide everything from increased system water capacity to primary filtration, and everything else in between. The potential uses for a well thought-out sump are almost unlimited! Most important, a sump can be the nexus of your water "treatment" system. Do a key word search using "sumps" on the WWM Google search feature, and you'll find tons of information on our site to keep you busy!> How does the water get to the sump without the risk of siphoning if there was power failure? <Well, ideally, you'd use a drilled overflow/standpipe combination, but there are many other possibilities> Is a 72 gallon, with a moderate amount of equipment( an adequate filter, 260 watts fluorescent, a skimmer, a UV, and other understood equip) a good way to try doing a reef? <It certainly is, but I'd consider trying a sump-based setup from the start for its simplicity and versatility.> As usual, your site is very informative, I only ask these questions because I couldn't find an answer.   Thank You, James Pruefer, Providence Rhode Island <No problem, James. Do use the aforementioned search feature for a lot of good information on sumps. I think that you'll find that using a sump really is the easiest way to go! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Sump Design... Howdy again, <Hey there Scott F. here today!>      I have asked you a couple of questions in the past and the advice was extremely useful. I feel like I have read novels worth of information on your site as there is so much info out there! <So true! And more to come! We sure have fun bringing it all to you- glad that you're enjoying it!> Anyway to my question. I have a 75 gallon main tank that will be set up as a reef tank. I purchased an overflow box that I think has 600 GPH flow rate on it. First of all is this enough? <Well, it depends on a variety of factors, such as the size of the pump you are utilizing, the desired flow rate through the sump, and what type of animals you intend to keep.> This is going down into one of two acrylic display tanks I modified to fit under my stand. They are about 20 gallons apiece. Here is what I had in mind. Please tell me what you think. It will come from the overflow into tank one that will have enough bio balls (according to the box) to filter a 60 gallon tank. This is just to get the water filtration process started. From there it flows under a partition (how much space should be left from the bottom of the tank to the bottom of the partition for water flow?) into the area where I have a Euro Reef C-6 protein skimmer. <I like it...But I'd lose the bioballs and rely on live rock/sand for your biological "filtration" in the system. Good that you have the skimmer will it will receive "raw", unprocessed water from the tank> I will then have the water flow through  the middle part of my stand through 2 1.5" bulkheads into tank #2 (should water free flow into them and how high up should the bulk heads be place on the side of the tanks as I am not sure how full they will ever be)? <Free flow seems fine, but you will have to experiment a lot to get the right bulkhead positioning, unfortunately> In tank # 2 about 3/4 of that will be my refugium with live sand/rock etc. Then I plan on overflowing that via a partition into the area with the return pump. How high should this wall be? <Well, again- it depends on the water depth and flow through the system...One of those things you will have to play with once more...> And last, but definitely not least, I was planning on using a Sedra 750GPH return pump. Is this sufficient for the proper amount of water turn over? I realize I am restricted by the overflow box but can make that drain larger if necessary and use a larger return pump. Whew...thanks for taking the time to listen and hopefully that all makes sense. You guys are great! Sincerely...Butch <Rich, your plan does seem to make sense, and is well thought out. I'd contemplate a larger return pump, as you could always dial down the flow with ball valves, if required. Do check out the impressive (and useful!) DIY site, ozreef.org for more ideas on sump/refugium design and configuration. Have fun, and make sure you keep a lot of towels handy! Regards, Scott F> - System Planning and Plumbing - Hello crew! Thanks in advance for your help here.  You guys and gals are great.  So I have a few unanswered questions that I haven't been able to pinpoint on the FAQ's.   I have been planning a 150 gal. custom reef tank for about 4 months now.  Constant reading.  I plan on having LR, some fish and eventually go reef.  40 -50 gal sump with skimmer.   1.  I want to buy a Kold Ster-il ? water filtration system for my setup. I know that you shouldn't plumb the FW refill top off directly into the sump without letting it age and correcting the PH and temp, but this filter claims to not lower the hardness of water.  Can I put the Kold Ster-il water directly into the sump without aging it, or should I have some sort of reservoir? <I'd go with the reservoir, but am aware that many people do plumb their RO directly into their sump.> 2.  I have been purchasing a lot of books about reefing and SW tanks.  I also have been looking online everywhere.  I want to find a good book/site that includes plumbing ideas with pictures.  More on the big schematics of where pumps, sumps, others go in the big picture. Do you have any good references/sites? <No, I'm afraid not... do think this is a place where the recent Paletta book, Ultimate Aquariums falls flat on its face. This information should have been included.> I like the sites that explain what kind of problems individuals encountered. <Yes... much cheaper to learn from other's mistakes.> 3.  Is it better to have a refugium as part of the sump or two separate entities (a separate sump and a separate refugium)? <In larger tanks, it's probably better to have the two split, but an all-encompassing sump will work just fine.> 4.  If I wanted to do a water return manifold like the one described by Anthony Calfo, does that need a separate pump? <Can be powered off the return pump.> Is that a closed system? <Doesn't have to be, but would work as one.> Is there anything specific needed when I get my tank made and drilled to know upfront so these plans will work? <None that I can think of... measure twice, cut once.> 5.  I want to have a water turn over rate of 10 -20 times the tank size per hour.  If I have the tank drilled to turn over 10x's, will the return manifold provide the other turnover or is that something totally different? <Is up to you... certainly moving that much water though a sump will complicate your desire to combine a sump with a refugium. Do consider having addition circulation in the tank that would supplement the main return pump.> Or should I just have the tank drilled to turn over 20x's per hour? <A viable option.> I know water movement is important, I just haven't gotten the whole concept. <As much as possible is a goal worth shooting for.> 6.  If I have a refugium in the sump will the high water flow be ok for the refugium or does the refugium need to be separate?  (same as ? above) <Based on your stated plans, I'd separate them.> I know these questions are kinda vague, but I have been reading so much and I want to get it right before I buy the tank and equipment.  I have built the stand and I am currently running the electrical now.  I'm a little lost on the plumbing but I'm sure that will come.  Thank you again for taking your time and helping me.  Have a great day.  Dan <Cheers, J -- >

Sump Secrets! Hello, <Hi there! Scott F.  here today!> I have a 75 gallon All-Glass with one mega-overflow. I am building a sump and wanted to run it by you to see if it will work.  I have a 220/3 Tunze skimmer and will be using a Mag 950 for the return.  I was going to put valves on both the down flow tubes and the return tubes in case I needed to balance the flow.  Is this necessary? <Probably not- but I suppose it is a potentially useful feature...> I was going to use a 20 gallon long 30x12x12 for the sump and am going to cut four pieces of glass for the baffles.  The first chamber is for the Tunze with the first baffle being placed about 2-4 inches? from the tank bottom and the second baffle 2 inches over from the first and bonded to the bottom of the tank.  The second chamber will be a refugium.  the third baffle will again be bonded to the bottom of the tank and the fourth will be 2 inches over from it and placed 2-4 inches? from the bottom of the tank.  The last chamber is for the Mag 950 return.  I don't want to drill any bulkheads and am hoping that I can do everything within the sump.  My questions are:  Are two baffles necessary for dividing the chambers or could I just place two baffles bonded to the bottom of the tank? <I would use two baffles to divide the chambers, myself...> How high should the baffles be? <Say, 4 inches or so...> How far apart if I use two to divide the chambers?   <Depends on what you're gonna put in there...You may have to look at some DIY sump plans, like you could find on the DIY site ozreef.org. You'll probably find some good plans there!> It is my understanding that my overflow allows for 600 gph. The output at 5' for the mag drive is a little more than that.  How do I make sure that the pump doesn't drain the sump dry?  Can I use the valves for that? <Ball valves can help> Is the 20 gallon large enough, if not what dimension? <Should be adequate, but I wouldn't fault you if you went larger...> I'm going two AquaClear 4000 powerheads in the tank. Is this enough water turnover for SPS and clams? <Probably not...You might want to look into external powerheads, like Geminis or Tunze Turbelle Classics...They move a LOT of water!> One of my main concerns is the sump either running dry or flooding.  How does the water from the overflow stop draining if the power goes out or the pump dies? <Well, generally, it will drain no lower than the bottom of the "teeth" in the overflow box. You may have to do some rough calculating to see how much "drain down" you'll get when the pumps are off. You'll get an idea of how many gallons per vertical inch will drain down...> I know that there are a lot of questions and I appreciate you addressing as many you can.  Thank you. <You're quite welcome! This is not an exact science, unfortunately, but it is kind of fun-and frustrating-at the same time! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Jumping Into A Sump? (Benefits of Using A Sump) Hey crew, <Scott F. your Crew Member today!> Thank you so much for the help so far, I feel bad for asking some of these questions.  I have a 90 gallon tank with a Sea Clone 150 skimmer plus ~40 pounds of live rock....which I'm slowly adding to (I was told to have 1 lb of live rock per gallon of water, but as you add rock the volume of water decreases....just curious if the "rule" is 1 lb per gallon of tank volume or volume of water in the tank?). <Well, adding rock certainly does decrease the water volume in the tank, but it does provide some good benefits, such as increased biodiversity, biological filtration, and hiding spaces for fishes! On the other hand, less live rock does provide more open space in the tank (creating some intriguing aquascaping possibilities), and gives corals more room to grow...It's a worthwhile experiment, IMO> I was just curious as to what a sump does and if it is needed.  I was told by my local aquarium store that I don't need one...all it is useful for is to reduce the number of water changes and remove nitrates etc. <And beer is just good with pretzels! LOL. Seriously, a sump provides numerous benefits, such as increased system water volume, room to place your heaters, skimmers, and other unsightly equipment. It also gives you a place to function as the "nerve center" of your water filtration/processing efforts. You can place various chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon or Poly Filter in high flow areas of the sump. Other ideas include using the sump as a place to grow macroalgae, place additional live rock, or even live sand. The other possible ideas and uses for a sump are endless!> I also read this in Barron's: Clownfishes and Sea Anemones.  My levels are all good and was just curious what benefits a sump would provide. <As above...Also, check out the WWM FAQs and articles and do a key word search using the word "sump" with the Google search feature we have on WWM. You'll find more than enough information to keep you busy for some time!> Also I was wondering if there was an inexpensive way to make a sump as the stores around here are charging about $400 for a 33 gallon sump...little pricey. <Tons of ideas out there on the net. Check out the excellent Australian DIY site, ozreef.org for many of them!> Secondly I know that water flow is essential.  I don't mind having powerheads in the tank, but if I have a sump will this create enough water flow in the tank? <Depends on the overflows that you are using, and the capacity of the pump that pushes the water through...The sump itself does not provide flow, but it does help make the process of moving more water through the system a bit easier> Enough to support the corals and anemones that require random flow? <Again, there are lots of techniques to increase flow in aquariums...> I don't have any corals or anemones yet...I was told that you have to make sure the corals aren't stung  by the anemones, but I'm mostly doing a fish tank so don't want to many corals. <Well, anemones don't generally "sting" corals, but there is a certain amount of "chemical warfare" that occurs in this type of unnatural animal mix. Choose one or the other..> I would like to have one anemone for my clowns...maybe a couple of corals and that's it. <Nothing wrong with that!> Thank you so much for the help and sorry for all the questions, Todd Hawman <Hope I was helpful, Todd. No need to apologize for the questions! That's why we're here! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Circulation and Sumps -  Hello Crew at wet web.  Can someone answer a question or two for me? <I can try.> This is my plan. The aquarium is 280gal empty fish only with live sand, maybe some live rock. I have a dolphin amp master 3000 with a head pressure of seven feet. With displacement I should be able to turn the tank water over 10 time an hour. I have ordered an aqua C ev400 skimmer. I plan the following: water from display into a sump to a compartment which may house activated carbon if necessary, then to skimmer, then to live rock, then out to display powered by the amp master. Will the water flow be too much for the live rock resulting in nitrates which I do not want? <I don't think so... good water flow over the live rock is what you want/need.> Will water in have too many bubbles for the skimmer and if so, is that OK? <Hard to predict - may be a lot of bubbles, but this will likely not adversely affect the skimmer.> Is this series of events logical? <It's not illogical.> The level will hopefully be around 8 inches. This is what the EV 400 needs. <As long as it stays consistent, you should be all set.> Lighting for the live rock will be a fluorescence like Doro- Test Vita light. What wattage should this be? <If you're looking for Vitalites, then you're committing yourself to 40 watts.> Is this lighting sufficient for the live rock? <Probably... live rock really can go unlit, but the coralline algae will likely die out if so. The amount of lighting is really up to you.> I intend to turn it on when the display lights are off at night. Did I say two questions??? I could try - in a few more!  Once again - Thank you  Chris  <Cheers, J -- >

Refugium/sump  After reading through the FAQ's, it seems that you should have either a sump OR a refugium. My question is, can you utilize both? I have a sump for my 72g, but it does not have enough room in it for much rock or a DSB b/c of my skimmer and the way my sump is laid out. I do like the idea of using a refugium, however, for harvesting macro-algae and other beneficial organisms. Such as the ones by CPR that hang on the back of the tank and utilize their own light and powerhead. Is this still a possible/good idea?  <Hi Brian. You certainly can have both. It's just that most folks find it more convenient to combine them or don't have the space for both. Sounds like a great idea as long as you have the space and tolerance of your spouse! Best Regards. Adam>

Jumping Into A Sump! Hello. <Hi! Scott F. at your service today!> Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. You guys have helped me tremendously so far. Your FAQ section is tremendous. And Bob's book is a must-have for all aquarists. <Glad that you find all of the WWM resources useful! I'm very lucky to work with some very talented aquarists here every day on WWM!> I currently have a 44 gallon pentagon tank. I would like to add a sump eventually, so changing water would be easier. I'm not looking to have any type of sand bed in the sump as I have a nice HOT fuge. Just something to add more volume to my tank, increase circulation, and allow myself to make easier water changes. Could you recommend a pump of some sort? Sumps are foreign to me and I don't know what sort of pump I should be looking for. Thanks in advance. Bill Paterno <Well, Bill- an effective sump can be something as simple as a 10-20 gallon aquarium with a submersible pump or powerhead for the return. Of course, you'll need to have some sort of overflow to feed water in to the sump. Do look on the WWM FAQs using a keyword search "sump" with the Google search feature. Also, you may want to check out the terrific DIY site, ozreef.org, for tons of good ideas on how to design and construct sumps. There's lots of good information out there for the taking! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Sump Questions - I have a 90 gal reef system. There is a 20 gal Amiracle sump.  Coming into the sump is 1 1600gph CPR overflow and 1 800gph CPR overflow. Also coming into the sump is a 3/4" return from a chiller. Leaving this sump is 1 3/4 inch line feeding a little giant md2 pump, 1 1" line feeding a little giant md3 pump and 1 1" line feeding a little giant md4 pump. I did this to try and increase, on a intermittent basis up to a 2000gph flow. The problem is with this size sump (there is also a protein skimmer in this sump) when I have everything running it generates way to many bubbles getting back into my tank. I do not have enough room directly under my tank for a bigger sump. What I want to do is to take the 2 1" lines that are feeding the little giant MD 3 and 4 pumps and have them feed into a 30 gal sump about 10' away from my current 20 gal sump. From this new 30 gal sump I would have 2 1" lines coming out and feeding the md3 and md4 pumps which would then feed into my main tank. My questions are: would this eliminate my bubble problem as all the overflow and turbulence would be going into the 20 gal sump while all the tank return would be leaving from the 30 gal sump? <Probably.> The second question is: would the 2 1" lines between the 20 and 30 gal sumps allow for: the same level in each sump and would the 30 gal fill up quick enough if both pumps where on and taking water from the 30? <That part is harder to predict - I'd consider a single two inch line between the two - need a margin for error.> Thanks for your help <Cheers, J -- >

Macroalgae-Or Not...? Hi Scott <Hey1> So do you recommend me adding some Caulerpa to my sump of Siporax or should I not bother. <I'm not a big fan of Caulerpa in many cases...I'd pass> Remember that I do have live rock in the display as well? Thanks Ziad

- Return Pumps and Water Level - Hi and thanks for the quick responses to my questions, you do provide a great service to us hobbyists.  I am currently setting up a 60 gallon FOWLR.  The tank has a built in Overflow and it came with a 10 gallon sump.  The sump is divided in half via a baffle.  One side has the protein skimmer (Euroreef CS6-1) and the second side has the return pump/heater.  My question to you fine people is that there is not enough H20 overflowing into the sump to completely submerge the P.S. pump (maybe 4-6 inches), thus the skimmer is not operating properly.  What can I do to fill the sump with more H20? <Put more water in the tank... it will find its way to the sump.> Do I need to purchase a better pump? <No.> The tank did not come with a pump.  So could you recommend one (maybe in GPH). <I'd shoot for something in the 600 GPH range, more would be better. Cheers, J -- >

-Low sump?- Hi, If my water is low once I have the system up and running, What are my options to get the water level to rise.  I am using a 40 gal sump (36"L x 16"W x 17" H). <Trick question? If the low water level is caused by evaporation, simply add purified freshwater until the level is where it is supposed to be. If you desire to permanently increase the sump water level, add aged saltwater until the desired level is obtained. If you're worried about stirring up the sand when you pour the water in, drop a saucer on the sandbed and pour the water on top of that. I hope this helps! -Kevin> - Splitting the Sump & Refugium - Howdy again! (I know WAY too soon for ANOTHER question!)  Thank you so much for the very quick response to my other question and as always, your sight and advice to everyone is extremely helpful!  I have a slight dilemma brewing with my what will end up a 75 gallon reef tank. I built the stand out of 2 24" base cabinets (prior to knowing about sumps and refugiums) so now I have limited space under my tank lengthwise, height and width are okay. I was originally going to use a wet/dry filter with protein skimmer combo but after much more research and advice I opted against that and on advice from the WWM crew I purchased a Euro-Reef C6-1 protein skimmer and am going to go with a sump/refugium if I can. I can build  a sump 21"L x 17"W x 18" D (almost 28 gallons) but since the footprint of the protein skimmer is 8.5 x 10 there would be very little room for the refugium part of the tank. So what I was thinking is that I could use one side of my stand for the sump side and drill holes through the middle wall (cannot get rid of it, it is structural) and plumb into a refugium tank and return pump. This way I would not have to worry about space and I would actually increase the surface area of my water. Please give me your thoughts. <Sounds like a workable solution to me... make sure the bulkheads you plumb between the two [yes, you must have more than one] are at least an inch in diameter, I'd shoot for 1.5" each. Should work fine.>   Thanx...Butch <Cheers, J -- > Sump-thing Special! (Sump Options...) Hi guys, <Scott F. your guy tonight!> I'm going to be running a 75 gallon reef ready tank with corals and clams.  I have dual 175 watt MH for the lights and I'm now looking for the filter.  I was going to go with a traditional Berlin sump with the new Euro-Reef ES-2 (I think, one size smaller than the CS-6). <A sweet choice...> My question is that I saw the CPR AquaFuge pro refugium/Skimmer with a Rio 600 running the skimmer.  My question is, are they any good?  I would be spending about the same for either filter system, but I want to know if the skimmer on the CPR refugium will skim anything. <CPR makes good quality products, IMO. They have been around for some time, and I like 'em. The skimmer that comes with the AquaFuge may be adequate, but I find that "throw in" skimmers (i.e.; ones included with a filter system) are usually not as effective as one that you'd buy separately. Not sure on this particular one.> Are refugiums beneficial or more of a gimmick? <Nope...A valuable addition to any system, IMO!> Would I be better off getting a sump with baffles that allow me to have a refugium and have foot print large enough to have the Euro-reef skimmer? <Well...Since you asked...I'd go for a custom-made sump and accommodate a Euroreef...They are phenomenal skimmers, IMO> I just want to do it right the first time. <You can't go wrong with the Euroreef, as far as I'm concerned!> Thank you! <You're quite welcome! Good luck with your system! Regards, Scott F>

Sump/Refugium Placement Hello wet web media,  wow what a site ! one of my daily web stop visits. I appreciate your service greatly. <Thanks.> I have  a 90 gallon  tank with some soft corals  and 60lbs of  live rock. I recently closed off a section of my basement to serve as a maintenance station for my tank. I am getting tired of lugging  buckets upstairs to do my water changes. <I bet, you must be getting buff.> I am in planning stage to move my sump to the basement, I currently have a tide pool 2 sump, but would like to have a bigger sump, possibly a refugium included. my question is , can I tie in a large Rubbermaid container after my tidepool? or should I just use a larger Rubbermaid container. I wasn't clear on where and how one could place carbon in a DIY Rubbermaid container. thanks in advance for any info provided. Rob <Hey Rob, you could do any of the above and still have good results, the placement of the refugium depends on what you are using the refugium for, nutrient export, pod production, etc.  I would place the fuge after the sump, that way any of the goodies living in the refugium will be pumped directly into your tank.  You can use a smaller rubber maid type container, or a length of large pvc, or just about anything to hold carbon, just make sure it is readily accessible and easy to change.  I have used short lengths of PVC to raise small plastic containers (drilled with holes) to hold biomedia in my DIY sumps.  I currently have one container sitting upside down in a sump with large holes drilled all over the place, then another container of the same size sitting right side up on top of that one, it is filled with biomedia and puts my media at the right height above the water. I am thinking of adding carbon to the setup by putting a shelf of eggcrate (plastic grate material in the lighting section of your local home improvement store) to hold a bag of carbon.  If your tank is draining to a large sump in the basement you may need to rig some baffles or something to reduce noise/splashing/bubbles/etc.  With DIY setups there is a lot of trial and error see what you can get at the home improvement stores and experiment.  Ozreef.org has some good DIY plans, check it out.  http://www.ozreef.org/ Best Regards, Gage>

To Sump or not to Sump (12/19/2003) Hello, WWM crew. <Steve Allen at your service tonight.> I love the site.  Bob should put the Amazon Honor System link in a more prominent place.  I bet there are lots of us lurkers who hadn't noticed it. <I'll pass this on.> Anyway, I've been thinking of doing a saltwater tank for about 15 years now. <It took me ten to get up the nerve.>  Now that I'm in a place I plan to stay for the next 25 or so years <hopefully>, I think the time is right.  That, plus my three year old has been urging me to "bring the fishies home".  I had a fair bit of freshwater experience as a teenager (science nerd type that I am), but haven't had an aquarium in 20 years, and never have had a saltwater tank. <It's about time for an adventure!> 've read Michael Paletta's book, and have asked for CMA for Christmas, along with other fishy things.  (My wife is a lot reluctant to buy any of this.  "You want $200 worth of wet rocks for Christmas??") <They just don't understand, do they? I told my wife that every middle-aged man needs an expensive hobby. Offered the choice between at $25K Harley faux-diamond studded leathers like the neighbor or a $4K reef, she chose the fishies. Of course, now Bob is trying to talk me into taking up scuba. :)> I was planning to get a 48 inch long tank, probably a 75 gallon <Good starter size, that's what I started with>, and do a FOWLR setup, probably with 110 watts of PC lighting. As time goes on, I'll probability want some Corallimorphs, then possibly move on to soft corals or LPS corals  I'd like to do things right from the beginning, but I will still have to keep the expense under control, so I will economize where I can, but not at the expense of the fishes health.   <Standard fluorescent strip lights are fine for FOWLR--spend the $ on a good skimmer instead. Upgrade lights later when the coral bug bites.> So, I'll be DIYing it where I can, but will still spring for the good skimmer. Anyway, everything I read on your site (and I suspect in CMA, when I get my hands on it) suggests that I should include a sump & refugium in my setup.  However, "The New Marine Aquarium" and my LFS suggested that a sump is too complex for beginners. <PHOOEY! You're a science nerd, right? Believe me, you can handle it. It's plumbing, not nuclear physics.> While I don't have any experience in maintaining a saltwater ecosystem, I do have a good bit of DIY home renovation experience, and a sump is just plumbing, isn't it? <Yup> I realize that it's going to be a certain amount of work to construct and troubleshoot, but once it's done, it should just be routine maintenance from there, shouldn't it? <If you build it right.> If I don't get the factory drilled tank and go ahead and set up a sump, I'm afraid that I'll regret it, <Absolutely. Every time I've taken a short cut or bought second best to save money, I've been sorry and had to go out and buy the best later. Better to save up the money and get the best from the start.> maybe not today or tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of my life.  (Sorry, I just had to use that line.) <forgiven ;)> Also, the LFS guy suggested that I should get a wet/dry <not if you want corals--he just wants to sell you a nitrate factory>, and should get the 90 gallon tank <well, bigger is always better>, though I'm not sure I want to trust a guy that has a nurse shark in one of his sale tanks. <Don't> I was originally planning to do a DSB in the refugium, but not in the tank.  Would I be better to get a 90 rather than a 75 and put four more inches of sand in it?  It certainly increases the cost, if just for more sand and base rock. <Matt, you're a scientist (perhaps part engineer, too?). You can do this yourself. I had my sump custom made by a local aquarium service guy because I didn't have time. (Too many patients, not to mention my own kids.) If you want to see what people are capable of, check out WetWebFotos and take a look at the awesome DIY skimmer that "Roseman" in Wyoming made. Also, go to ozreef.org for DIY plans for all sorts of things, including sumps. If it's not too much more, you will never regret getting the bigger tank. Pre-drilled is easier, but custom drilling often yields better flow> <To save money on sand, see if your local Home Depot carries Southdown Caribbean Play Sand. This is aragonite and you can use it for your entire DSB. then seed it with LS from the LFS or someone else's tank. Check out Bio-Spira Marine as another way to quickly get the bacteria you need.> <Do the sump. You won't regret it. You can put your heaters and your skimmer down there. Check out skimmers from Euro-Reef and AquaC. Put a refugium in the sump or consider an upstream refugium. (learn about this on WWM) I suggest you ask Santa for Bob and Anthony's "Reef Invertebrates" book. The first 100 pages are an excellent discussion of algae, DSBs and refugia. Much research and planning yet to be done. Enjoy it--as the clich?goes--getting there is half the fun. Just remember that patience is a richly-rewarded virtue. Take the time to do it right the first time.>

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