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FAQs About Sump/Filters 9

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Looking for large (enough) sump for a EuroReef skimmer  11/14/05 Hi, I have a problem with my fish tank. I currently have a 215 gallon tank, I bought AquaC-180 skimmer and I was very dissatisfied with it, anyway I already tried everything even spoke to the owner of AquaC. But that's not my question, I traded it in for a EuroReef skimmer, and now the footprint is way too big for my sump, <...> much larger than AquaC. I have an Aqua-line 300 gallon sump. The space for filter media is large, but the sump space is not enough. Could you please suggest a brand of wet/dry filters commonly used for EUROREEF skimmers. <I would write them re... or contact the suppliers of such re dimensions...>> I read about a lot of people building their own sumps, but I don't have time or experience to do that. I'm sure there something out there I can buy. I would really appreciate you time to answer my question. Thanks. <We don't possess this information. Bob Fenner> 

Sump Re-Design Project 11/4/05 Hi, <Hey there! Scott F. at your service today!> I would like to convert my wet/dry into deep sand bed under my cabinet. I have measured about 4 inches from the bottom egg crate where the Bioballs used to sit to the bottom of my sump. Can I add the sand there? <You could, provided that it's easy to access for maintenance (often overlooked in sump designs, BTW), and that the sand won't be distributed all over the compartment, potentially damaging your pump.> I currently have 2 overflow boxes that flow into the drip plate. Does this drip plate have to be removed? <It doesn't have to, but I probably would. On the other hand, if you are ultra-dedicated to maintenance, you could leave it in place and use some sort of prefilter pad on the plate. Remember, however, you need to change it or clean it several times a week, or it will become a source of excess nutrients and affect water quality.> I have no bioballs and no prefilter in the wet/dry. My other question was how do I separate the sand and the pump chamber where my skimmer and return pump reside? Currently the only barrier between the 2 chambers is a foam block. Can you can guide me towards what modifications have to be made? <Ahh.. That's the issue I mentioned. Glad you're considering this. You have two potential things that you can do. You could create a baffle out of a piece of acrylic, glued into place. Or, you could use one of those "tank divider" plates, positioned in that area. Do a little experimentation here. I'm not a big fan of those foam blocks, but they can be effective particulate and even biological, filters if kept clean. Look at some commercially-made sumps and see how they position baffles and make compartments in their sumps for some more inspiration.> The point to all this is to reduce my nitrates down from less than 20 ppm. for my reef tank. <An admirable goal.> My current residents are 1 Torch Coral,1 Hammer Coral,1 anemone, 2 Blue Damsels,1 Freckled Hawkfish,2 Cleaner Shrimp,1 Coral Banded Shrimp and 1 Protoreastor nodosus with approx. 150 lbs. of live rock in my 125. Thanks in advance. You guys are great! < Thanks for the kind words! Sounds like a neat population you have there! If knocking nitrates is a goal, do also consider growing some "purposeful" macroalgae, like Chaetomorpha, in the sump, where it can be harvested regularly to assist in nutrient export. Also, do employ (passively) some chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon or Poly Filter, as these media are also a valuable source of nutrient control. Make sure that your skimmer is working optimally, too. Good luck with your project! I'm sure things will work out well for you! Regards, Scott F.>

Adding A Drain For A Sump...Should I? - 10/27/05 Hi Guys, <<Howdy>> I currently have a 4-foot system, slightly higher and wider than your standard 4-foot aquarium. I have a DSB with lots of live rock and currently only two fish. <<Bet the fish are lovin' it...>> I use activated carbon and a protein skimmer (Jebo) which u can't even call a real skimmer. <<Mmm...>> It is very ineffective and of poor quality compared to the skimmer I plan on adding. <<?>> I am giving some considerable thought to having my tank drilled and a sump added to the bottom of my cabinet. <<Sounds good>> I probably will only get in a two-foot sump, in the sump I plan on storing all my equipment as well as running a DSB with Caulerpa, which will be permanently lit for nutrient export. <<Tis a good idea to light 24/7 with Caulerpa species.>> I am also going to add a new quality skimmer, which I will plug directly into the sump. To do this I will basically have to strip the entire tank and store my live sand and rock. My concern is what would the impact be on drilling my tank? <<Nominal, if done correctly.>> My LFS is going to assist me with this process and I am quite keen on going with them as I have seen some of the setups that they have done. <<ok>> I don't want to have the tank explode on me once the water is filled and the tank replumbed, once the tank is drilled how long should I wait before putting everything back together again? <<You can begin immediately.>> I am pretty sure I will get huge benefit from adding the sump and new skimmer, please advise me on your opinions and if u think my plan is a good one also if there is anything else I need to consider. <<If you like the LFS and trust their work then no need to fret... press forward with your plan and enjoy the benefits.>> Thanks, Ziad <<Regards, EricR>>

Sump water proofing  10/21/05 Aloha, <And you>          Hello, my name is Chris I'm an amateur aquarist in Hawaii. <Am out at our place this month mauka of Kailua-Kona... in Holualoa> I have a 240 gallon aquarium that needs a new sump. I have one octopus, six spiny lobster, one Hawaiian reef lobster, three convict tangs, three yellow tangs, one triggerfish, one stripey, one jack, one barracuda, three sea hares and various other inverts. <Neat... likely all self-caught> I'm running a Mag drive 24 for my return which is also used for circulation as well as two power heads. My filtration consists of two homemade fluidized bed filters, two plastic containers filled with blue bonded filter pads and a finer polishing pad at the bottom for mechanical filtration as well as a gallon or so of carbon which I have water flowing through very slowly and finally two Berlin skimmers. Inside the tank I have live rock, live sand, and its filled with real ocean water. The system has been running four months now and my last check revealed unreadable amounts of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. (I'm just proud of my set up, doesn't really have anything to do with my question). Basically the stand I made has left me with little room to work with and most commercial sumps will not fit, I've opted to construct my own. I'm really just curious about polyurethane coating. You know the kind they spray on the beds of trucks... rhino lining etc.. Most importantly if this will leach anything dangerous to aquatic life into the water, and if this type of coating would even hold water on a long term basis without cracking or delaminating from the sump walls. <This material... the sprayed-on type is toxic for quite a while... not really suitable for underwater use... there are many other better choices> I have already contacted the company with regards to these questions. Although they told me their linings will not crack and would not release any harmful chemicals into the water I really wanted to get a second opinion on this since this really isn't the normal applications these people deal with. <Take a whiff about the area where they're applied... check the rigs the folks wear while applying...> I already have a sump I made in use, I coated it in epoxy that I got from aquaticeco.com. It doesn't work well, It has repeatedly cracked time and time again even though I measured the ratios carefully and followed their directions to a tee. On the other hand, acrylic is pretty expensive in comparison to polyurethane coating. This is why I'm exploring other options. Sorry if you guys covered this topic already, I did check but didn't see any info on this subject. Anyway thanks in advance for any advice given and wanted to mention my collection habits. I live right next to the beach and catch all my tank occupants myself. I typically keep them six months or so until I get bored of looking at them, then I release them back into the wild. Am I the only person that does this? <Mmm, nope... you've got lots of company> I don't know but works pretty well for me and is so much more fun to get out into the water and catch them yourself! Anyway, great site, the best place to find info. Thanks again. <I would look into fashioning your custom sump out of "used" glass... a lot of glass places re-sell this... quarter inch/triple-strength will do... you/they can easily cut, drill if you like, and not hard to Silicone together... A hu'i ho! Bob Fenner> Mahalo nui loa  -Chris

Sumps?? What's that?? Hi guys and gals, <Clare> I was wondering if you have any links on how to set up a sump.<Aside from the ones here? There are thousands.> I have a 75 gallon tank with a wet dry filter which is where I plan to put the sump. <Is/can be the sump.>  I have the skimmer in the wet dry, and I was just wondering where to place the sump, <..?>  where the bio balls are, or where the skimmer is? Also do you need lights above a sump, and what are the best things to put in there? <The best thing to put into any tank is research. Think of it like this, a sump is really just an external reservoir adding to total system volume. Your wet/dry can be converted to full "sump" but essentially is already a sump with funny ball thingies. Please do search the site as directed before "throwing in the towel" on your own understanding. - Josh> Thanks, Clare  Answers, or links are greatly appreciated <Clare, I do apologize for my attitude just now. My bad few hours should not be yours and I can't forget that I've been where you are too. This site is actually a great resource. Check out our system set-up section under the marine aquarium articles. Links would be to many to include so I'll forget those. Again I am sorry for the poor first response. - Josh>  Sump question 10/13/05 Hello, Thanks for this wonderful resource. I have a question regarding the sump setup for my 75 gallon pentagon reef. I originally was set up as a fish only tank, but over the past year I have made it a reef. My sump was originally set up as a wet/dry, with a spray bar that came from the overflow onto a filter pad with bioballs below. I have recently removed the bioballs, and from what I gather should remove the filter pad as well? This would allow the my Turboflotor to skim "raw" water which I have read is advantageous. My concern is that food particles or other matter could clog the skimmer pump.  <Yes>  Is this a real concern or should I go ahead and remove the filter pad?  <I would use the pad and change/clean weekly.>  Also, just yesterday I added a spaghetti coral to the mix, and it has become droopy and limp. I have read that the first couple of days for any newly added coral requires adjustment to the lighting and water quality. Should I be overly concerned at this point?  <No>  Again thanks for all the info on the site, as well as the incredible books many of you guys have published over the years. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> 

Dual Sump - 10/05/05 Hello, and thanks for all the useful info. <<Evening...and glad you find the information helpful.>> I recently moved and am in the process of re-setting up my 110 gal. tall tank. I previously ran FO with dual canisters and powerheads moving around 1000gph.  I am planning on going to FOWLR utilizing a sump but due to my stand dimensions/layout (I can't get anything larger than a standard 10gal through the doors) my best option is to make 2 smaller sumps (15 gal each) and join them in the middle in order to have decent volume. <<Excellent!>> I was thinking that since I will have 2 separate areas I could have a Berlin setup on one side (live rock and a skimmer) and a refugium/DSB with macro algae on the other.  Do you see any downside to combining the two styles? <<Absolutely not, great idea...very similar to my setup...go for it!>> Also I am using a 4 bulb PC light with 2-65w actinics and 2-65w 12k bulbs, would I be OK adding some polyps or anemones down the road as this tank is fairly deep (about 30in)? <<Mmm...maybe some corallimorphs...and then not at the bottom..."NO" to the anemones.  Regards, EricR>>

Megaflow sumps  9/19.5/05 Hey, <Hey to you> I am just starting to put together a 75 gal reef tank. I have a MegaFlow tank that is predrilled, and am now looking into sumps to buy ( not quite a handy DIY kind of guy). I saw that someone asked about the Megaflow Sump systems. I was wondering if you guys would recommend this to anyone or if you have other favorites in mind. <Haven't heard any feedback from this sump.  The choice is yours to make.  Just be sure it's large enough to handle your tank.  James (Salty Dog)> Casey

Marine Setup, sump diagrams, instructions... 9/5/05 Hi, I am just about to replace my current tank and have decided to buy a drilled tank with a weir. I am trying to understand about setting up a sump system and wondered if you could point me in the direction of a good book with maybe a few clear diagrams. <Mmm, wish I could... the site (WWM) has about the most complete set of ideas, methods... but is not well-organized. Ozreef.org has a good deal of useful DIY input here... and Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" is worthwhile as well...> Also can you suggest any good out of the box sump systems for a 150 gallon tank. <Don't actually know of any I would endorse... better to build your own, really... out of individual "components"... e.g. quality skimmer... that won't come in a packaged deal> Any help would be much appreciated Kind Regards Darren Adams <Do keep studying, keeping good notes... not hard to filter, synthesize down what is better, best for such set-ups... just not easily straight-forward... Perhaps involvement in a reef/marine club, enlisting the help of a "guru" there will be of use. Bob Fenner>

Sumps, Wet-Dries Hi Bob Thanks for your advice re below.  I have read the bio-ball FAQs and am a bit confused? <Okay> 1) If I take the bio-balls out then what is the point of having a sump? Is it just to remove the ugly site of skimmer and heater? Could I have then just purchased an external canister filter and put in some filter floss, noodles and activated carbon? <Mmmm, all you list is of value, plus added volume, aeration, another isolated spot to separate livestock... Canister filters not nearly as valuable> 2) If I slowly take out the bio-balls and then add some live rock and increase the volume of water - I could probably submerge a few pounds of LR. Can I mix both bio-balls and live rock during a transition period? <Yes> Wouldn't I get a massive build up of detritus in the bottom compartment where the heater is sitting? <Mmm, not really, and not a real issue/problem... some of this mulm, which is mainly beneficial, can be siphoned out every few months> 3) Is there a point in having a spray bar any more? What should I do to now to replace this? I guess it could also have the added benefit of reducing noise? <Drip trays are far better than spray bars... don't clog, restrict flow, and never break down> Thanks Simon <Bob Fenner> 

Eclipse sump? Does anyone know how to get an overflow and sump setup to work with an eclipse hood? or a way to modify it to work with it? <Yes... this is described on WWM, but even better shown by one of the regular contributors on our BB, WetWebFotos.com I'd go, search this there... with the terms: Modifying Eclipse Hoods. Bob Fenner>

Sump Noise... Hi Bob and friends, Thank You for this site...and your efforts.  I have set up a 135 gal reef tank with two 1 1/2 overflows and two 3/4 returns. Glass tank. The protein skimmer is an Aqua C EV 240 with a Mag 12. My sump is a BS2 - 14x18x30 run with a Mag 24. The skimmer isn't running yet though the Mag 24 is keeping us awake at night, very loud. I'm trying to put some sponges around it. The plumbing is primarily tubing. The space in the sump is jammed with the skimmer and pump on one side, and larger pump on the other with approx 2 feet of coiled 1" tubing running to the output and up to split into a tee and into two 3/4 returns. Any advice for the noise.? Also, one overflow is moving twice the amount of water, so we have more excess noise from the overflows and then the noise from the intakes on the sump, back suction and water splashing... HELP! Signed, White water >>>Hello Andrew, I'm sorry but I don't have enough information to really help you. Can you place a piece of rubber under the pump? Do you have room in the bottom of the stand for insulation? You need to think about insulating that area, as you can only minimize the noise that the equipment makes to a small degree. Also, use Durso standpipes on your overflows, they are easy to make and SILENT. Jim>> 

Jumping Into A Sump! I have a 75 Gal saltwater tank. I have had very few problems with it over the years. Partly because it is well established (original water was started 19 years ago) and partly because I have a number of filters on it, including a Fluval 403 (Canister), Emperor (Dual Trickle), Undergravel (I know it's outdated technology), a wavemaker (sponge powerhead) and a Skilter. <Hey, the undergravel works...can't argue with success! You sure have lots of different systems on board this aquarium!> My Skilter after many years of faithful service has died. I am looking for an upgrade, but want to be cost effective ($100 - $200 USD range) and prefer a hang on type, since my stand has the Fluval and lots of storage stuff and has no room. It should be built well and easy to set up and use. What 2 models would you recommend and why? What is the best value, in your opinion? <Hands down, I'd suggest the Aqua C Remora Pro and the CPR Bak Pak. My rationale is simple: Both are well made, proven designs that are easy to understand, easy to service, and are very efficient.> Second question is...am I better off eliminating all those filters above and going with a trickle sump style filtration system? <In my personal opinion, yes. I am a big proponent of sumps (particularly without bioballs or other filter media). Biological filtration is definitely the way to go; you won't regret the simplicity and flexibility that sump-based systems offer. Mechanical filtration systems are good, but if service intervals are neglected, you'll end up with organics accumulating in the media, degrading water quality over time.> If so, what 2 models do you recommend and why using the same criteria, easy to set up and use, built well and the best bang for the buck? I don't want the most expensive, nor the cheapest, if it is junk. I am looking for your expert advice on the "Best Value" for both the Protein skimmer and the sump filtration system. <Well, with regard to sumps- there are some designs that are better than others- many can even be made by the hobbyist with glass or acrylic aquarium, some spare acrylic, and a little bit of effort. If you prefer, you can certainly purchase on pre-made, either "off the shelf", or custom built to your specs.  Try some of the larger e-tailers, such as Dr. Fosters and Smith, Premium Aquatics, Champion, etc. to see what they offer. If you want something custom, search the web for places like SoCal Creations, which can build custom acrylic sumps to fit your needs. Lots and lots of choices out there. Also, check out the brilliant Australian DIY site, ozreef.org for lots of DIY plans and information on sumps.> Do you have a recommendation for a mail order place that has great prices and good service? <Any of the above will do fine, IMO!> Please email your reply to my work email address so that I get it right away and can order one in the next day or two. Thanks for your help and expert advice. <Glad to be of service! Regards, Scott F.> 

Conversion of 30 gallon fish/ soft coral to Sump for 120 gallon Hi, I've been reading your posted articles for the past year or so, thank you for the plethora of information. I cannot find specifically what I am looking for here or at my local aquatic stores, maybe you can help me. I recently inherited an 120 gallon aquarium drilled in the back with two holes.  <Mmm, of what diameter?> I have 30 gallon aquarium "souped up" with compact lighting, hang-on protein skimmer, and live rock, live sand all that. It's running currently, with a couple soft corals, 4 fish and some hermit crabs and shrimps ( peppermint, cleaner and my cursed pistol shrimp). Is there a way to convert it into an under the tank sump for our 120 gallon. Is it a good idea, or would it be too labor/ cost intensive for the end result? <Is possible, likely worthwhile> I want to do this one right the first time. Thank you -Crista <... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm.  Scroll down to the sections on Refugiums, Plumbing... and take good notes... Write back re specific concerns if you have them. Bob Fenner>  

- Sumps, Pumps, and Plumbing - Hello to all the staff at WWM! <Hello.> First off, MAD PROPS and HUGE THANK-YOUs to the entire crew! I wouldn't want to think what the hobby and industry would be like without you folks!  Late in 2003, and early 2004 I spent some time building a very nice custom stand, canopy and sump for a planned 90 Gallon rig. In 2004, I was laid-off and my expensive project was put on hold and I settled myself by enjoying my then current 40gal tank. Recently, I moved from one state to another and destroyed the old 40 gallon tank before moving. However, all the life, rocks and some sand from that tank are currently living in my new home office in a Rubbermaid container awaiting their newer, nicer, roomier home.  I figured it is only fair since I got one. At this point, I have 200 pd.s of very fine sand, have re-poly'd my tank and canopy, looked at integrating the 440W VHO light system into the canopy, have the custom sump leak-tested, have 88lbs of Tonga Kaelini LR curing in the garage (Thanks Walt and ReeferMadness.us!), and am currently in the ordering process for the tank (90 Gallon Acrylic). I posted some pictures in my user profile here of the rock on receipt. I also plan on adding pictures through-out the whole project. Anyways, I can't seem to get a solid opinion on the boards and I am at the scary part (for me) which is the plumbing and pump selection. This seems to be the hardest area to research in tank construction due to the overwhelming number of configurations. I was hoping someone might answer a few questions and tell me If I am on the right track. Ok, here goes! <Ok, I'm wearing my seat belt.> I have already purchased 2 -- 2.0" diameter bulkhead fittings for the tank output to the sump and 2 -- 1.5" return bulkhead fittings. In your opinion is this a little bit overkill for a 90 Gallon or is my planning sound in that I wanted to run 1000gph (quietly/ish) to the sump through the outputs and that I thought that the larger the size the better in terms of clogging, noise levels, etc? <It is a bit of overkill, but not something that will cause you trouble - just takes up real estate.> Due to the stand and sump design I created, I have now figured out that I will have to mount those fittings high up on the back pane of the aquarium as my sump does not allow much in terms of extra holding capacity (the internal walls are high relative to the total height of the exterior sump walls) and I don't want to take a chance of flooding.  I won't make that mistake in design again but I still want to utilize the existing sump, darn it! It is, relative to the tank, at least, a high capacity sump (45 gallons filled) and I custom built it to the stand so that when the main door is open you will be looking at the refugium area of the sump. Considering this do you have any recommendations or suggestions for placement of the bulkheads on the back pane?  <Evenly spaced along the back wall.>  How close to the top can I safely go in the standard 1/2 Acrylic they use in 90 Gallons?  <On acrylic, you'll be fine fairly close to the top - you do realize that with the two inch bulkheads, you'll have a noticeably low water level in the tank - the outer diameter of that bulkhead will determine its placement on the back wall, meaning the lowest part of the inner diameter will be almost three inches from the top... you may want to reconsider the use of these bulkheads.> Since I will have to use the back pane I planned on using a weir built around the strained bulkheads to control the maximum amount of water that can evacuate the tank.  <Ahh yes... this would help, but how would this work with the returns?>  Also, I plan on using an anti-siphon run in my return line in conjunction with check valves to avoid flooding! Does that sound pretty bullet-proof?  <I'm not familiar with "an anti-siphon run"... but the check valves should help with this issue.>  Did I mention I have a fear of flooding?  <Think I noticed this theme, yes.> Besides the sump I also plan on building a closed loop incorporating a SCWD or similar on the system for circulation, so as to avoid powerheads and provide a higher turnover rate and a healthier environment for future denizens. Do you have any favorite devices in that arena?  <SCQD is a fine device. SeaSwirls are also widely used but much more expensive.> Since I am at the point that I need to look at ordering the pumps, I had hoped for some further input. What 2 pumps (matched if possible) would you use to drive the 90 gallon system while achieving a 10x turnover in the sump (900+gph) and a 10x in the closed loop (900+) given that: A. The sump return would be pushing 2 1.5" diameter lines to the tank with each having at least 3 90's in them and the runs would be at least 4-5 feet. --Would that roughly equate to 11 to 12 feet of head pressure?--  <I think much less... 6-7 I think.> B. The closed loop would feature 3-4 1" lines with approximately the same number of 90's and length in runs. -17 to 18 feet of head?-  <Think you're giving too much credit to those 90's - I won't deny that they are an impediment to direct flow, but I don't think they knock off even a foot for each bend.> Would 2 Iwaki 30RXLT or 2 Dolphin Ampmaster 3000's be appropriate?  <The AmpMaster would be a significantly larger pump than the Iwakis. Depending on where this tank is placed in the house, you may prefer the AmpMaster for its quiet operation, but you could likely do fine with the 2100.>  Would you use two different spec pumps? Do you have a favorite between those two or any other favorites with the newer manufacturers that might be a little less hefty in price?  <Both are excellent, I use Iwaki pumps, but they run outside in the garage where I don't have to hear them. Have many friend who use the AmpMaster and am impressed by its silent operation... is supposed to be kind to your electric bill too.> Also, for pump output plumbing, where is the appropriate place to go up in size in pipe diameter to match the return bulkhead size if the outputs on the pump is smaller? (for example, say if 1.5" bulkheads and 1"output on pump)?  <Right after the pump.> For the plumbing itself, should I use a ball or gate valve directly connected to the bulkheads or should I have a slip union between each plumbing device in the system?  <Ball valves only - and slip unions everywhere there is a device you might want to remove from the chain for replacement or maintenance.>  From what I have been able to research on my own (assuming a union between each) does the following sound ok?  Tank Output side: strainer/tank bulkhead/union/ball or gate valve/union/pipe-run/sump Sump Output: strainer/sump bulkhead/union/pump/union/manifold or tee/return pipe-runs/union/check valve/union/ball or gate valve/union/tank return bulkhead <Unions around things like pumps, check valves... not so important directly after bulkheads unless you think the connected item might have to come out at some point in the future.> In closing, I want to thank you so very, very much for all the help and at the same time apologize for having so many questions on specifics. Having someone trusted, and willing to answer some questions is so very appreciated. I promise to continue to buy at least one of each book! Thanks so much! The Drunken Monkey <Cheers, J -- > 

Adapting a HOT skimmer for in sump use I have a CPR Bak Pak 2 which has been operating in my 55 gallon reef with a recently added 20 gallon sump.  First question is the water in the sump is too low to just hang the CPR skimmer on the back and have it operate? Is there a way I can adapt this skimmer to work in my sump? <Yes... most easily by building a baffled area of stead water depth... hanging it over the side of this part...> Second question is right now I am using a siphon setup to feed the water into the sump covered with a pre-filter sponge to keep the fish and snails from getting sucked in. I was wondering how bad this is and if it's essential to get an overflow instead (I'm on a tight budget that would limit me from getting a coral or fish). Thanks in advance for the advice. - Ryan <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm See the area labeled "Set Up?"... go there, scroll down to "Filtration".... read the parts on plumbing, overflows... Much you need to know... BTW, please have someone proof your writing... companies product names are proper nouns (capitalize)... i's are capitalized... your spelling will improve with the use of a spell checker. Study my friend. Bob Fenner> 

Sump and Closed Loop Manifold 3/2/05 Bob, I have read thru countless Q&A's on wetwebmedia.com, but still I can't figure out the best way to set up my new tank plumbing. Hopefully you can help.  <Adam here today. Thanks for looking through the FAQ's first. I hope I can help!> I have a standard 75 gal rectangular aquarium and I want to set up the closed loop manifold system (No powerheads!). My glass has not been drilled yet, so we have flexibility here. My tank is going to be a reef tank with soft corals, fish, and inverts, but I would also like to design for some future flexibility if I decide to add more advanced corals later on. I need some guidelines for my system setup....Please help! 1) What GPH range do I need going through the sump? <If your sump is just a sump (no refugium or sand), then the range can be from zero to infinity. The limits are really determined by what your drains can handle.> 2) What GPH range do I need going through the closed loop manifold? <For reef tanks, I generally recommend at least 10x the tank volume, so at least 750gph.> 3) What bulkheads overflow sizes would you suggest for me? I was thinking (2)-1.5"s for the sump and (1)- 2" for the closed loop. Or, would (1) 2" bulkhead work for the sump? <The number and size of drains depends on the flow through your sump. A single 1.5" drain will handle about 750gph. For the closed loop, you want to make sure that you distribute the "suction" of the inlet widely enough not to suck up fishies! For a 750gph flow, a single 1.5" inlet with a large strainer should be sufficient.> 4) I still haven't found a site that tells me the max GPH for the range of bulkheads...can you help a little more with that? <We get that question so much, I may go make a WWM page! For drains, I would guess about 300,750,1000 gph for 1", 1.5" ,2"  bulkheads. I would make a similar suggestion for closed loops as long as a large strainer is applied.> 5) How many outlets do you recommend for the closed loop? Is 3-4 enough? <At 1/2" each, that is probably too many unless you provide more flow. If you use too many, the flow will be too slow to be effective.> 6) What GPH range per closed loop manifold outlet do you generally shoot for? <This again depends on the size. For 1/2" outlets, I would try to get about 300gph each.> Thanks in advance for your help. -Cody <Best Regards! Adam>

Re: New 75G tank setup: Sump and Closed Loop Manifold <Don't know where Adam's gone off to, so am responding> Thank you for your quick answers to my setup questions. After reading through your answers, I now have a few more questions about the same setup (75Gal): My local reef guy can drill holes up to 1.5" bulkheads.  So I plan to use 2 holes for the overflow (sump) and 1 hole for the closed loop manifold (all holes being 1.5" bulkheads). <Okay... the return does not have to be this big... just the size of the plumbing/fitting from the pump discharge... likely no more than 1" diameter> 1) If I do include a refugium in my sump, then what should my GPH (in the sump) be and why would it be different than not having a refugium? <Good question... how to state this... it's actually better to have the flow here "running in parallel" rather than series... that is, to have a much slower (a few, like a handful) turnovers per hour in the refugium itself> 2) If I try for 750 GPH through my closed loop manifold, and each one 1/2 inch outlet should have about 300GPH, then I am basically only going to have 2 outlets (returns) in my closed loop manifold (375 GPH per outlet)...is that correct? <Mmm, the math looks about right... but I would make more discharge points here> 3) If so, then would it just be better to split the flow with piping instead of plumbing a closed loop manifold? <If all you were hoping to do is discharge the water from two points, yes> 4) Assuming I have 750GPH in my sump and have 750GPH through my closed loop...both will be split into 2 returns each for a total of 4. Is 4 returns of 375GPH each enough to cause a sufficient turbulence in my 75G tank without the use of any power heads? (assuming I use modular piping and nozzles to accelerate the flow) <Yes> 5) Any other corrections / or comments about my suggested setup would be appreciated. 6) I have read in other Q&A's that you only want to run overflows at half their possible flow rate to cut down on noise. Is this true? <Mmm, practically speaking this is not a real concern... as you will find> 7) I assume since there will be no air introduced in a closed loop, I would probably be able to max out the flow through the bulkhead, and not use the "half" rule talked about in question #6...Is that correct? <Yes> 8) What are the best all-around pumps (brand) in your opinion that combine reasonable cost, low noise, and reliability? (please consider my proposed setup in pump selection) <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pumpselmar.htm and the linked files above... You will find there is some sort of consensus re manufacturers, the rationale for such... Bob Fenner>

Refugium, Sump, Closed Loop, and Overall Tank Flow With your generous help, I've been planning my new 75gal rectangular reef with a regular 31" tall stand; however, when considering adding a Caulerpa refugium, I have ran into a bit of a snag. My plan was as follows: To get 20x of overall flow without the use of powerheads. I planned to use (2) 1.5" bulkheads as drains for the sump and pump this 10x (750GPH) of return up over the top of the glass and into the system. A separate 1.5" bulkhead was going to be used as an inlet for a closed loop which also went over the top of the tank and in for another 10x (750GPH)---4 return nozzles total. (Bob agreed that this was a good setup). <Still do> But now I am considering putting a refugium in my sump and possibly grow Caulerpa. The max flow rate that you suggest for the sump/refugium is only 2-4x instead of 10x (that's a big loss in flow!) Bob also suggested that running the sump and refugium in parallel was a better way to go.   <Is... or possibly adding another sump/refugium altogether> I was set on running an all in one refugium/sump like the picture shown in Get Thee To a Refugium, but if I do that, now I've lost 6-8x of flow which I must make up for somewhere else. It seems like I need 2 separate sumps one with a refugium and one without which means I need yet another pump I guess. <Possibly... or a plumbing manifold... with valving... and one pump> The problem is that I don't have room in my stand for two of them to run in parallel nor have I found any sump designs that show parallel flow like you suggest. <Could one (sump) be run above the main tank? Outside of the stand area period? Doesn't need to be just put under...> 1) What are my options to have a single sump/refugium but not limit my flow down to 2-4x? 2) Are there any links that would help me design such a parallel flow system in such a limited space? <Maybe Ozreef.org...> 3) I guess if I was only running 2-4x through my sump/refugium, I would only need (1) of the 1.5" bulkhead drains (running half max flow) and I could use the other (2) 1.5" bulkheads to feed 2 closed loops? <Could... but one loop would be fine...> 4) Is there anything wrong about running a sump refugium at 10x ? Thanks in advance. -Cody <The contents might well get swirled about like being in a Maytag! Bob Fenner> other dialogue provided below for reference <Thank you for this.>

Re: Refugium, Sump, Closed Loop, and Overall Tank Flow Bob, Can you explain this further? I'm not sure I understood what you meant. A plumbing manifold in the sump? What does this look like? <Possibly... or a plumbing manifold... with valving... and one pump>  <<Like a "gang valve" for air distribution... you can "tee" off the discharge from the one pump... and use two valves to regulate water flow>> And by the way, I cannot put a refugium on top of my tank.. Everything  has to be within the cabinet below. <<Okay. BobF>> 

Sump/trickle filters Hi Bob, <Trevor> Your site is excellent, and I have read so much at this stage I don't think I'm retaining more than 10% at the moment. I am presently moving from a Juwel 180 tank to a 60 x 24 x 18. This has a sump/trickle filter in it, but I am not greatly happy with the design. I was thinking of re-designing it and have spent days looking through all varieties of site to purchase one in the UK - not many available here. <Why not build your own? The components to put in it can be purchased...> some sites suggest that trickle filters are not good for nitrates though, and what I want to keep is a community carrying maybe around a dozen fish 2 percula clowns, scooter blenny, domino, some tangs and couple of others that would hopefully be harmonious with these which I already have. These I want to also live around about 20lb of live rock - not quite a reef. Would re-designing my filter be beneficial to me or would I actually be better with 2 or 3 canister filters instead ? <Mmm, likely the re-design will work out much better... more steady, easier to work with, more flexible> You guys are pros so I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather ask - including my LFS ! Thanks for taking the time to read this, Trevor in Blackpool England. <Do keep looking about, keeping good notes... your system's filtration will "gel" with consideration. Bob Fenner> 

- DIY Sump/Refugium - Crew, I am in process of building my own sump/refugium. <Cool.> I currently have a 38 gallon tank for this.  I wanted to separate the chambers with baffles.  I planned on having them 1" wide 10"high.  The tank is a glass tank.  Should this be done with acrylic or glass? <I'd go with whatever you can get your hands one - either will work fine.> What thickness? <1/4" Would be fine.> And what type of glue, mainly for bonding acrylic to glass, but also glass to glass if that is suggested method? <100% silicone adhesive - should contain NO mildewcides. Can often be obtained at your local fish store.> Thanks in advance. Jay <Cheers, J -- >

Sump and Refugium Hello Guys, <Gary>             I have a 200 RR aquarium and I am using a 75-gallon tank as the sump and refugium, under the 200-gallon aquarium. The aquarium will be FOWLR, mostly angels and triggerfish. The protein skimmer I am using is the Euro-Reef's CS 12-1, with the two Sedra pumps. I will be using two Mag-drive "18" pumps to return the water from the refugium to the aquarium. My concerns are the heat associated if all of the components are housed in the 75-gallon aquarium and the space that will be devoted for the DSB and live rock, which is about 20" and 17.5" wide. Is this enough space for the sand bed? <You'll see... depends a good deal on the amount of livestock, foods/feeding...> Should I set the skimmer in a Rubbermaid container outside of the 75-gallon aquarium? <If you have room, I would... if not... in the 75> If so, how do I get the water from the container to the refugium? <Best to cut a good sized "equalizer" line, with through hulls twixt the two sumps... allow gravity to move it over to the 75> If I am to use the Rubbermaid container, should it also have a sand bed? Thanks, for you help. Gary <I wouldn't place sand there, no... best to keep sand/substrate away from, out of the Sedra. Bob Fenner> Re: Product plug I put the incorrect dimensions in my email the refugium is actually 24"Lx12"Wx14"H.  If you can correct this typo before posting, I would really appreciate it.  Below is the entire email with correct dimensions plus your comments.  Thank you. <Real good. BobF> Product plug Hi Bob! I don't want to violate proper Wet Web Media protocol so I felt it best to ask first.  Is it okay to put in a plug for a product on the forum? <Certainly. Please do.> I recently purchased a refugium kit on EBay.  This is a 24"Lx12"Wx14"H kit that comes with the pre-cut pieces of 1/4 Plexiglas, bulkheads, baffles, glue, and instructions.  I just finished mine and it is awesome at a fraction of the price of a pre-made refugium.  I only paid $89.00 for this kit from the vendor's eBay store, http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZusa_aquariumQQhtZ-1 . I feel that others out there may want or need a refugium but the price of a pre-made one is too restrictive.  I know it was for me.  Also, the owner Bill Heil, quickly responds to emails regarding his products and is very helpful and friendly. I ask permission because I love your website and so not want to be banned for making a forum mistake. <Heeee! We have never banned anyone... nor ever will> Thanks as always, Mike Henry <Thank you for this. Will post. Bob Fenner> - Sump Setup, More Follow-up - Morning again Jason, <Morning.> BTW wanted to share my minor brainstorm regarding my re-plumb efforts... Am going to reverse flow in one loop of my plumbing setup, one set of my tanks returns, at the moment, flow up thru the overflow box. I'm going to cut the 3/4 inch pipe ( formerly the upflow line inside the overflow box) below the display waterline and convert it into a emergency overflow/respirator for the new 1 inch outflow.  Since original LFS design didn't include a second overflow (which I discovered early on, when I overwhelmed the overflow after installing a restrictor to inhibit noise.... doh! Many many thanks for the feedback.  Have a beautiful day! <You too.> Spencer <Cheers, J -- >

Basement Saltwater Pond Dear Wet Web Media, <Brad> I have a small saltwater pond in my basement using a cast fiberglass container with powerheads for circulation. I also have a display tank on the first floor, which currently has a small sump in the cabinet below it. <Wish I had a basement> I want to buy an in-line pump (such as Blueline, Iwaki, etc) and use the pond as a large sump for the display tank. I am not trying to let aquatic life to travel between the systems. Water from the first floor aquarium would provide flow for the basement, and I only need 1 set of heaters, skimmer, calcium reactor, evaporation replacement, etc. Also, I would have no noise on the first floor. <Okay> The biggest problem I have is how to add an overflow to a fiberglass container, I am afraid to drill it since it doesn't have flat sides. <Mmm, this isn't actually as big a deal as you might think... perhaps an extra gasket, or just a "fatter" one... and a good dollop of silicone on both sides of the throat of the through-hull/bulkhead fitting... a day to cure... and no worries> I am more than willing to replace the container (I want a bigger pond!) but anything else I can think of (such as pond liner and wood) has the same problem. <Mmm, there are really neat (though most have metal fasteners that you'll have to switch out) kits made for vinyl liner swimming pools that you can use if you'd like... I would just fit schedule 40, but eighty is better... though more money... through puts through a hole/s... through the liner, wood... I have done this... many times... Or... the fabulous Rubbermaid troughs... that have a gorgeous flush area, and often ready made threaded fittings...> Has this been done before? Am I crazy? Any ideas? Brad <Yes, don't know, plenty. Bob Fenner>

- Sump Design Questions - Good afternoon! I have been trying to get this email to go through for approx 3 weeks with no luck. I can send you text with no problems, but don't seem to be able to get the attachments to go. Thought I'd try again. <Made it through this time.> Anyhow, I know you must get tired of looking at peoples drawings, and I have been all over your site but haven't seen one quite like I am planning. Have a minute for a quick critique?  <Of course.> The main questions I have : 1) Will the refugium work as drawn?  <Yes, I think so, although I would make a couple of changes - I'd reduce the height of the baffles/weirs on the left side of the sump so that when the sump is full, it doesn't flow back into the refugium. Rather, make the baffle on the refugium the highest one so that it can exist as a singular entity in this shared space.> 2) Are 2 pumps needed or am I "over killing"?  <Two pumps are actually wise, and very few people do this - if one fails, you won't be stuck trying to find a replacement while your tank goes idle.> 3) Do you think this setup is going to be loud? (Keep in mind the sump is in the basement and the tank is on the first floor)  <Not necessarily... certainly not more loud than any other sump.> 4) Is the sump portion going to be able to handle the water turnover?  <I think so... if this is in the basement though, why not double all the dimensions?> 5) Should I scrap the idea and try to put a separate fuge in and use the entire 55 for sump?  <Nah... I like the idea, but again I'd try and encourage you to build this in a custom size to get better performance from it.> Thank you so much for your time and willingness to share your experience(s). You have the patience of a Saint! Tom (The Tool Man)
<Cheers, J -- > 

Correct sump for tank Hello I went to my local fish store looking for a sump for my 55 gal reef tank.  They recommended and I bought a 10 gal tank for sump, Rio 2100 pump(400 gph at 4ft.)and a over flow box. <Mmm, well... I would have tried to fit in something much larger... at least a twenty> I also have a AquaC Remora protein skimmer with MaxiJet 1200 pump hang on the tank type, 2 penguin 550 power heads and a H.O.T. Magnum canister for carbon and cleaning up (not running all the time). I currently have 125 pounds of live sand (about 4.5 inch deep sand bed) and 60 pounds of live rock.  I have a few questions: 1.  Is the 10 gal big enough for sump? <Not likely... among other challenges, think about "transit volume" issues... you dare not fill the ten too full... lest (and this will happen) the power or pump fails... You want to make "minimum and maximum" marks for water level on the sump... fill up, turn the recirculating mechanism on... see how far the water goes in the sump (with the water "piling up" in your main tank)? This level is your MAXIMUM...> 2.  Can I add live sand or crushed coral in the bottom of sump or will the pump suck it up? <Depends... on the type, placement of pump... I encourage you to consider building, placing a barrier... a wall of glass or acrylic to back up the sand into a separated section...> and if so should I keep a light on it (kind of like a refuge) <... depends, on whether you will keep photosynthetic organisms there... or how often you'll want to look, see...> 3.  How many fish can I keep in my 55 gal reef?  I currently have six small fish.  Neon goby, 2 perculas, coral beauty, damsel, tri color blenny.  I think I'm at the max now with corals being added slowly now and then. <You're about there> I'm just trying to figure out the idea of a sump if its to have more water volume I cant see 5 gal helping out that much cause you have to leave room in the  10 gal sump for water in case of power failure. Thank you help would be appreciated!! Andy <Good point. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm see the sections on Marine Plumbing, Sumps, Refugiums? Study my friend. Bob Fenner> Ideal sump and low PH I have a 75E tank with a 20 gallon sump I built myself using a 20 gallon high tank with Plexiglas baffles. In the first section I have the water from both overflows going into a sock filled with carbon. <Good> In the same area is my SeaClone 150 skimmer and a Red Sea bubble skimmer. the water then goes over a partition thru a drip plate and over 2 gallons of bioballs. then under a partition and over a partition to a Quiet One 3000 pump and up to a closed loop manifold. I have had the tank for about a year and my water log ranges are: temp 78-80 ph 7.4-8.4 sg 1.023 ammonia 0-0.25 nitrite 0 nitrate 0-10 calcium 380-500 alkalinity 3.09-4 phosphates .03-1 <All but the phosphate looks fine> I have a devils hand, yellow polyps, button polyps, Nephthea, galaxy, Favia, colt and Montipora. they are all doing well. for fish I currently have 2 clowns, dwarf lion, and a yellow tang. who are all doing well. I have lost a yellow tang, Niger trigger and Volitans lion all around Christmas for no apparent reason. and I just lost a copper banded butterfly from a bacterial infection.  I also have about 70 lbs of live rock and 260 watts of compact fluorescents and 80 watts of regular fluorescents.  My questions are: 1 what is the ideal setup for my sump? <Mmm, well... if the occasion presented itself, I would ditch the two less-efficient skimmers for either an Aqua-C or Euro-Reef unit... this would greatly improve your water quality...> Remove the bioballs and replace with live sand? <Mmm, I would NOT do this... as the water flow would likely be too much in this size, type sump... Now, if you have room, could add another sump next to this... make it into a refugium, with a much diminished water flow rate... THERE I would place LS...> put carbon last before the return pump? <Matters little in this scheme where the carbon is placed... becomes exhausted, more of a biological filter media within hours...> I want to re-do the sump but I want to be sure to do it perfect this time so I don't learn more and find I am doing everything wrong and have to do it again. <Sounds good> 2 My pH keeps dropping and I would like to keep it stable without buffering it. I do water changes weekly but it doesn't seem to help enough. Is buffering pH a normal part of reefs? <Mmm, good to great question... yes is the short answer... along with enormous dilution (currents, the sea), photosynthesis, wave action... the recycling, making, un-making of carbonates, bi-carbonates...> Thank you for all you do, Paul <You appear to be a "perfect candidate" (in a sensitive, receptive period) for considering a refugium... addition. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the linked files (above, in blue)... and consider your options. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ideal sump and low pH Bob Fenner, Thank you for your quick reply, I am still working on my plans for the sump. I have read on your site a lot that bioballs create high nitrates and most people are removing them to replace them with live rock. Is this a good idea? <In many settings, yes> Would live rock and bioballs be better? If so should I also add macro algae?  <... this is all posted on WWM> If I remove the trickle effect of the bioballs will the water get enough oxygen from the protein skimmer or other sources? <Yes> If I put heaters in my sump can I remove the heater from my tank? <Also posted...> I have a second pump rated at 125 gph at 4 ft can I add this to my closed loop with my Quiet One 3000, or should I give it its own return? <Up to you... I would run it separately> Would the pressure of the quiet one push back on the smaller pump causing problems? <To some extent> Is a refugium better to be separate or in the sump? <Separate> If it is better separate I will use the small pump for the separate refugium. How much live rock is ideal in my tank? in my sump? <Posted> Should I remove the carbon if it does not last long at all?  <...> Is it safe to temporarily remove the center support from my pine stand that came with the tank to insert a larger sump (the vertical board that is between the 2 doors. <With the tank empty only> My new tang is doing well and eating "seaweed salad" as well as flake food I have been scraping all the tank clean from algae. is it better to leave the back and sides growing for him to eat? <Up to you> Is it better to leave the algae for any other reasons? <Yes> I have a good amount of algae on my sump.  Sorry to ask so many questions but I want to know everything I can to make my tank a happy environment and I value your ideas. I stay up late every night reading your site for hours. Thank you for a fish obsessed insomniacs best past-time. Paul <Take good notes, consult other sources... study, and enjoy the process. Bob Fenner

Cyano in sump - why? 1/19/04 Been having a minor Cyano issue in my sump. It's 2 part both about 18x15, first plenum+4inch - layer of red slime on sand, second mud and Caulerpa - on the surface caught on the branches. Don't get it anywhere else in the tank. <a simple matter of lack of flow... you need more flow my friend: 20X turnover recommended> Water parameters pretty good though phosphate maybe 0.03ppm (hard to tell with kit!) <yikes... too high. Do look at Phos-ban or the like> and nitrate about 10ppm. Sump light is a marine white reversed 12 hours. Tank is about 650l and sump (150l) flow is about 3000l/h, fed by gravity overflow, skimmer, and staged weirs so wouldn't think circulation or aeration is an issue. <I see... perhaps then too diffused. Cyano typically grows in areas where detritus collects> Read the info pages and searched FAQ and found that it's presence is not ideal, but not sure what is causing it, or more specifically, how I can get rid of it, other than lying on the floor for 15 minutes every few days, pulling it out with a fork! Thanks in advance! Peter <just increasing flow and skimming more aggressively (getting daily or near daily full cups of dark skimmate?). Anthony> Proper Skimmer installation - sump 1/19/04 Recently, I had asked your recommendation on a hang on protein skimmer for a 55 gallon system, because I have an AMiracle hang on wet/dry trickle filter with a built in protein skimmer that I can't get working properly. <Aqua C Remora skimmers are the best by far in this category!> Before going out and spending the money for another skimmer, I started reading some more of your articles, and found one where you indicate that the AMiracle skimmer is a good one that just needs adjustment. <not bad... but really too tedious for me, and not as reliable in the long run. If you have more time and patience, it can be made to work well>> I've tried everything to adjust airflow, but no luck at all. It collects about a quarter inch of "dirty" water every month or so, but never foams. <wow! any decent skimmer should be able to yield at least several full cups of dark skimmate weekly> Bubbles just swirl, without ever rising into the cone. Any suggestions? <installation flaw perhaps... like a skimmer sitting in an open sump (as opposed to a first stage vessel or partition which catches all raw water first in a standing/static level.... unlike the turbid and daily fluctuating sump)> The filter came without instructions, and the LFS where I bought it has nobody there who knows anything about it. Any idea how I can find out if It's set up properly at this point? <do see the diagram posted under marine plumbing in our archives> I've had no luck searching the web. The tank has been operating for about a year, with a clown, two other damsels, a Pseudochromis, some hermits and a feather duster, with about 15 lbs of live rock, and I'm wondering if the whole AMiracle set up was a mistake. Can you give me your thoughts on it? Is it adequate, or just a poor filter/skimmer in general. Thanks! <do consider its installation and insure a raw water feed first. Anthony> 

Sump Question Hi! <Howdy!>    I am looking to buy a sump soon.  I have a 75 gallon FOWLR with a hang on protein skimmer and a canister filter, 80 pounds of live rock and about a 6 inch DSB.  I am thinking about using a wet/dry and removing the media.  I am also looking for one with a skimmer built in.  What do you think you be the best brand? <One you make yourself, or have made... to the spec.s... size, baffles... you want to have to fit the gear you intend> I have looked at the ProClear Pro 200 and the CPR Cyclone CY 194.  What are the pros/cons of each of these?  Are there any other brands that you would recommend for around the same price?  Last question  :-)  Is it possible to make either of these into a refugium? Thank you for your time! Dent <Both, either could/can be made into a refugium... If you have space, you could have both... side by side, one above/below. Bob Fenner> Sump questions Good Evening from Alaska, <And to you from not-so-sunny Southern California> I would appreciate a bit of clarification on some issues.  I have a 46 gal bow reef tank.  It is primarily live rock, corals w/ smaller fish.  I have had this system on a DIY 20 Long sump similar to the one pictured in Get Thee to a Refugium -- <Love that title> although I have been using a small submersible Quiet One Pump.  I have a siphon overflow at 300 gph.  I have felt very happy with the function of this system.  I now want to change design a little because I got a new stand I want to use and my sump's "footprint" space is smaller and has been reshaped. <Okay> I want to use a DIY 15 gal high sump for my heaters, <Do set these lying down on the bottom> return pump, protein skimmer etc.  Instead of the dual baffle system I previously used, is it practical to place my pump higher in this new sump (w/ pump shelf or live rock "shelf")?   <Yes... can be done... my usual admonition to test fire all for level... with the power off, fill the sump about all the way, turn on power, see where the water level goes, mark and never fill the sump higher> I want to incorporate Anthony Calfo's Water Return Manifold into my reef system.  For this to be practical, I need to upgrade pumps.  I've selected another Quiet One Pump, but a larger one that will provide 780 gph.  Quick math question - If my system is approx 50 gal, the pump would provide approx 800 gph at 10'.  Does this mean my tank's system water will be turned over 16 times an hour? <Mmm, possibly... in actual practice, folks mileage varies, generally lower> Would I be better served to go w/ 1017 gph at 10' turning the system over approx 20 x/hr?  (Not thinking of wattage here, but extra flow). <Wait! What about the overflow box flow limitation?> If my pump has 1" fittings, can I use 1" piping/pvc up to the tank and then adapt down to 3/4" around the tank because I like the way it looks better? <Yes> Or will this create too much back pressure on the pump?  If so, wouldn't I be able to combat this by adding more outflows? <Should be fine> Does the 10' max head pressure mean just the height from the pump in sump to the top of tank where the structure lies (approx 4') or would it include the distance around the water return manifold also? <Actually it is theoretically the difference in water levels... between the sump and the tank... plus some calculation for induced drag in your plumbing, turns...> In order to accommodate the new pump, am I correct in assuming I should upsize to a larger siphon overflow box that could accommodate more gph drainage than the pump can produce? <Yes... or better still, to two boxes (can be tied/teed together as one discharge into the sump)... If one fails (happens all the time) this safeguard/redundancy may save your livestock, much of your gear, your sanity> I am very excited to rid my beautiful tank of power heads. Thanks so much for your time, the great site and information! <Thank you for your kind words, thoughtful query. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sump Question Thanks so much.<You're welcome> I am glad my plan is up to specs, so to speak. The local LFS ppl seemed to think it would work. One tried really hard to push the Ecosystem instead of a regular refugium...I may consider it, but I don't really think there would be any clear advantage over a regular one with live sand, with proper trace element and supplement additions. Here is the LAST last question. The part I left out was mechanical filtration. I have had 2 different things suggested. The first was to periodically utilize a HOT Magnum to first vac out detritus, and then to run reef carbon for a few days.<The good thing about the HOT Magnum Pro is that it comes with a gravel/substrate cleaning attachment.  The bad thing is that the media canister cannot hold media like Chemi-Pure.  Most carbons do contain phosphate regardless of what they tell you.  Part of the processing system is a phosphoric acid rinse.  I feel personally that Chemi-Pure is one of the few carbon based resins where the phosphate content is extremely low. I have switched to activated carbons only to see an increased growth of algae.> The other was to run a Fluval canister constantly, with only the foam (with weekly rinsings, monthly changings) and some resins,<I like this idea better.  With a Fluval or Filstar (Rena) you can used media such as Chemi-Pure or Bio-Chem Sorb.  Incidentally, Drs. Foster & Smith has a great sale right now on the Rena Filstars.  I believe the XP-1 can be had for around $57.00.  These sell at LFS's for around $130.00.> also with regular changes<10% weekly ideal and recommended> to keep it from "going biological." My instincts tell me to run the Fluval with occasional periods of reef carbon use constantly (nice water polishing and water movement, very little space taken up) & to use the vac feature of the HOT Magnum periodically as well. Would you agree? <Yes, if money is no object, go with both.  James (Salty Dog) Now, I'm set, and pretty much awaiting equipment on the UPS truck. Thanks again. Bill

Sump flow ins/outs <Hello Brian> Thanks for the help with my last question.  I would like to use a spare 10 gal aquarium as a sump for my skimmer, heater, etc.  I am stumped with regard to how to get water to and from the sump and how to maintain a water level in the sump.  I have a penguin bio wheel filter (2 bio wheels) and read somewhere on the web that you can drill bottom of back chamber <you don't mean drilling the back of the Penguin, do you?> and plumb to sump.  I also have read using a pump to supply the sump is not so great.  Any suggestions? <Most sumps are gravity fed.  It incorporates the use of a skimmer box or a standpipe mounted in the tank.  A visit to www.drsfostersmith.com will show you the types available.  A pump is then used to return the water back to the tank.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks! Brian W. Durica Nitrifying bacteria in Sump Dear Bob and WWM crew. Thank you for the best online resource around related to anything remotely wet and in a tank :) I'm a new with marine aquariums and been at it only 7 months and have recently suffered a devastating wipeout in my 180L(uk) tank in the last 4 weeks, due to disease, bad maintenance, incorrect kit, overstocking and bad luck. I have identified where I went wrong, and am now more determined than ever before to try again and get it right. Most of my problems are that I'm walking a tightrope with only a 180L tank, and I figure the more volume I can get the easier it will be to maintain and water manage, so as a result I'm getting a larger tank about 400L (UK) I have also had a bright idea for getting a large plastic water drum i.e. 200L to act as a sump as I have no space to put a proper sump, my idea would be to keep live rock some sand and filter material in the drum to hold more water and increase the nitrifying bacteria in the tank, I'm not sure however if these bacteria require light as this will be a closed lid drum a gigantic filter really connected to my tank via a overflow and powerhead. would adding live rock and sand be beneficial, is it wise to have no light in the sump, I can add light but this could greatly complicate matters, does it make any sense at all or am I looking for any easy way out where none is available, any praise comment and criticism would be welcome. thank you Tristan Anderson <The container would work but don't use a lid.  CO2 cannot escape and proper oxygenation of the water won't take place.  You would want a light over the live rock.  You say you don't have room for a  sump?  There are several hang on the tank wet/dries available. Jim Gasta (Salty Dog) >

Re: Sump Question Thanks for the quick response. You had said the live rock in the sump needs to be under a light...I thought it didn't need to...<any algae on the rock needs light to do its thing> In any case, I had also looked into using a CPR AquaFuge Pro.<excellent idea> It includes a sump with a chamber with a built-in skimmer, followed by the main section, followed by a chamber for the return pump. Any opinions on this unit? I don't imagine the skimmer included is as efficient as an Aqua C. However, the refugium idea is intriguing...I just don't know if I can find anything that would be sufficient to filter my tank that would actually fit underneath it along those lines...it's  a bowfront.<CPR makes a sump model Refugium> James

Saltwater Sump setup I have a couple of questions about setting up a sump for my 55 gallon reef tank.  I decided to get a 20 gallon long tank, with live rock instead of bio balls.  Should I use the live rock or bio balls. <The former> Also in using the live rock will I have to get a small light to place on top of the sump for the live rock. <Not necessarily... though there are "arguments" for using light here>   Also my sump will have 4 chambers one water from tank and live rock, 2 chamber unknown (maybe a carbon or floss), 3 maybe some type of live sand and algae or fluidized bed. 4 return pump to tank.  What would you recommend be the best items or ways to setup the 4 chambers. Thanks, S. Montgomery <I recommend you read the materials posted on our site, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and on to the numerous Related FAQs and Related Articles (linked, in blue, at top) to explore, understand your options and their rationale. Bob Fenner>

Sump review/tutorial I am in the process of adding glass baffles to a 30 gallon aquarium to serve as a sump for my 55 gallon FOWLR tank. I have spent countless hours sifting through the archived FAQs on sumps, circulation, pumps, filtration, etc. and have a few last minute questions or ideas to rum by you before I put my plans to action.  My sump will have three compartments with the first being raw system water for my Aqua-C skimmer to process, the next to serve as a refugium, and the last compartment will house the return pump.  I unfortunately have to say my tank is not drilled so I will have to go the route of a hang on the tank CPR overflow.  I understand from the archived FAQs that it is hard to have too much flow in a system and have seen acceptable tank turnover rated from 10-20 times per hour.  Should I go with the CPR overflow box that has 1 one inch drain rated for 600 gallons an hour or the CPR overflow box that has 2 one inch drains and is rated for 1400 gallons per hour? <I would go with the larger... much more unlikely to fail> I would like to use a Supreme Mag drive pump for the return pump and was thinking of going with the Mag 9 for the one drain overflow or the Mag 12  for the 2 drain overflow. <Either would do... I would likely choose the larger not seeing how you intend to plumb all, and provide a mechanism for throttling, diverting flow if it proves to be too much> My tank sits on top of an Oceanic stand so the head for the return pump should be about 3 feet making me think the Mag 9 and Mag 12 would be matched to the overflows stated above with a valve plumbed on the outlet side of the pump for fine tweaking if needed. <Oh. I should read all before making commentary> I read that it is good to have more than one drain line in case it becomes clogged but didn't know if 1400 gph of flow would lead to a noisy situation. <... if necessary, adding an overflow, aspirator/s, making a "splash down" area with foam... can help here> I also read in the archives the Mag pumps can add 4 degrees to the tank temperature.  Is there another pump out there in the same price range that is better for heat output or is the 4 degrees about standard for a submersible pump moving that volume of water? <There is a wide range... with Eheim's pumps being near the low-heat end of the spectrum> And I like Anthony's idea of the closed loop manifold for circulation where you have pvc piping along the entire perimeter of the tank with various outlets via 45 degree fittings and was wondering if the Mag pumps mentioned above would be able to be plumbed that way or if they are not strong enough. <They are both volume and pressure "strong enough"> The Mag 9 and 12 state the outlet to be ?".  Should I plumb all the way from the return pump back to the tank in ?" and then make the nozzles smaller to increase the velocity of the water being shot into the tank or just use ?" 45s on the return manifold? <I would make all three quarters> As  I would like to get away from using powerheads in the tank, will I have sufficient flow if all 4-6 of my return nozzles off of the manifold are just under the surface of the water or will I still need to add powerheads to stir the water on the bottom of the tank? <Likely not> I know there were a lot of questions crammed in here but I want to make sure I purchase the right components the first time top make for a positive upgrading experience. <No worries.> My main goal was to see if the CPR overflows were matched close enough to the Mag pumps to prevent the overflows from being noisy or having the pump make the sump go dry all the while having enough flow to eliminate powerheads all together. Thanks, Amy <It is obvious you have studied, thought about this... I would go forward with your plans, install, and work on ameliorating noise if this occurs, is a concern. Bob Fenner>

How big of a pump for sump? Hi Bob, <<  Blundell today. >> First of all I would like to thank you for the advice u gave me for transporting the rocks. I have finally got the rocks and I have kept them for curing.  I am planning to built a reef  tank with the following dimensions : - Display Tank  : Length :  72 Inches Width : 24 Inches Height : 24 Inches and a sump Length : 48 Inches Width : 24 inches Height : 24 Inches. I am thinking of buying a powerful powerhead / submersible pump  to pump the water from the sump to the display tank. But I am unable to choose the best. The distance ( in height ) between the sump to the display tank should be around 4 feet. Can u help me in suggesting a good  pump. << Any little giant pump or mag drive pump.  I'd say around 1000 gph (250 lph) is what you are looking for. >> Regards Rajesh <<  Blundell  >>

DIY sump   Hi Crew, I've been a big fan of your web site for years. <Glad to hear!> A quick question...are the black livestock feed tanks reef safe? I want to build a sump with rigid walls to be able to install baffles/dividers and the Rubbermaid containers bow too much to do this. The stock tanks are cheaper than having someone make an acrylic sump for me.  Keep up the great work.  Sean <These stock tanks are widely used as sumps without any problems.  Best Regards.  Adam> Sump I am turning my wet dry into a place for sand and live rock instead of bio-balls. I've seen on your site that a sump under 20 gallons would not be worth it. <Not sure why that would be...it would still function perfectly fine.  If you have a large capacity aquarium it might be impractical, though> My sump even if I modify would only hold 10 or more gallons top. <Perfect for a refugium!> Will it still benefit me or just leave empty. <If you have it, use it, I say - nothing wrong with more water volume.  M. Maddox> Sump Question I now have all my bio balls out. <Great.  Ryan with you.> I ordered 10 pounds of live rock rubble. Besides putting that in there should I also put sand under the LR. And should all the live rock be under water? <Yes, it should.  Can't filter the water if it's not locally exposed.> I have a 72 gallon display with crushed coral on the bottom about 1 inch thick. I also have a hang on refugium with a 4 inch sand bottom but that is only 18" long and 4" wide. I have about 80# LR. in the show tank. Please Help. <Help with what?  I can't seem to find another question in your email.> Your web site is great. I have learned a lot. <Great to hear.  Please write us back with specifics if I've missed something.  Ryan> Rodney Reible

Setting up a 135 Hello all. How are you all doin?  Good I hope, I'm good myself and excited. We just set up our 135 reef, got the sand and water in and are now going to Vancouver B.C. to get all our supplies. You guys have helped me with all my countless emails and I really appreciate it and just wanted to say thanks. Now one last question (there's always a catch) Here's my question. I have a 40 gallon sump and am wondering what substrate to put in? I don't want to put sugar sized for the fear of it getting blown around, would Florida crushed coral work? << Crushed coral is my favorite. >> I would like to have about 5 inches would this Function as a NNR? << Sounds good. >> Also I have 400 watts of PC lighting do you think this will work for some of the lower light LPS? The tank is 18 inches high << I do think it will work.  That is a lot of pc, I'd consider switching lights out, but if you already have that many pc bulbs then just keep them. >> Thanks a lot Sharon <<  Blundell  >>

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