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125 gallon basement sump upgrade for 150 gallon display

Reefs and Geeks

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I've been meaning to start a build thread for a while, but haven't gotten around to it. So I have some catching up to do. This is my first build thread, but the build has been in progress for a few months. Moving along slowly but surely.

To start off, I currently have a 150 gallon display that was a DIY build in my dining room. That started off as a leaking tank that I resealed, and build a wooden stand and canopy for. Currently I have a 20 gallon sump that was converted from a wet dry in the stand for my skimmer, biomedia, and return pump. The sump is packed full and I've always struggled to find room for equipment I'd like to run. This, along with me having gotten into fragging this year has made me decide it's time to upgrade. I am now planning out a DIY sump from a 125 gallon glass tank. The tank was bought as part of a bunch of aquarium stuff I bought together and was leaking when I bought it. I've since resealed it, but haven't tested it for leaks yet.

The plan is to separate the sump into 3 equally sized 40ish gallon sections. First section will have a filter pad, and be filled with live rock for bio filtration. I have a few hundred pounds of dry rock that I've bleached and dried sitting ready to add once the sump is ready. The second section will be my first refugium which I plan to house a variety of macroalgae. The third section will be for the return pump, skimmer, and any other equipment I decide to run in the sump. The sump will be located in the basement almost directly under the display tank.

In addition to the sump, I have a 30 gallon deep blue tank that I plan to set up to house my frags to keep my display tank frag rack free. This frag tank will be tied into the same sump as the display to allow one easy system to maintain and to bring the stability of a 300 gallon system to a 30 gallon frag tank. The frag tank will also be in the basement next to the sump with room to add additional frag tanks in the future.

The build started with me having to make some fixes to my yard and basement, which is what I'm currently working on. Not the funnest, but the build has forced me to make some home improvements which I should have done anyways. My gutters overflow and spill alot of water next to my foundation, and the ground is sloped towards the house. All of the water seeps into the walls and leaks water all over the basement when we get a heavy rain. To combat this, I've installed a french drain across the front of the house, and re-graded the gutters to keep them from spilling over. One gutter was actually tilted the wrong way and basically dumped all of the water from the roof right into the foundation. After this work was done, the basement still leaks some, but is about 90% better. I am going to now have dirt delivered and slope the ground near the house away to push rainwater out. I am also painting the basement walls with drylok extreme as a final measure to block any remaining water away to keep it from getting into the basement.

Once I finish with sealing the leaking water from the basement, I can start the fun part of finishing the sump, installing it, tying it into my current display tank, and setting up the frag tank. I will post many more pictures once I get to that part as I'm sure nobody wants to see a bunch of pictures of me simply working on my house to get it ready.

For the frag tank, I plan on setting it up as a sort of hybrid between a tank that has amazing filtration, and a tank that can be used to take to frag swaps. To do this, I plan to build a short platform for it to sit on that the plumbing can be housed in and capped off with a union when I want to take the tank to a frag swap. Then when I get back, simply put the tank back in place, connect a couple of unions and go back to my usual filtration.

I will get some better pictures to add once I get a chance. You can see my display tank, current sump with my son helping, french drain being installed with my dog helper, 125 gallon tank to be used for sump next to a 225 gallon, and a picture of what the dry storage side of my stand currently looks like. I'll be looking forward to doubling the amount of dry storage under my stand as well so it doesn't keep getting so cluttered.

current sump.jpg display.jpg display2.jpg french drain.jpg stand storage.jpg sump.jpg
 
Fragtacular Sale

ndrwater

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Awesome!! Keep the updates coming!! This might just motivate me to get a French drain around the back of my house going. Been threatening for years...
 
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Reefs and Geeks

Reefs and Geeks

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Awesome!! Keep the updates coming!! This might just motivate me to get a French drain around the back of my house going. Been threatening for years...
Will do, I'm going to try to update weekly at least if I'm able. Hoping to get to the more exciting stuff soon.

The french drain works great. I don't regret doing mine at all. Mine was about 40' long and cost me less than $100 in supplies. Worst part of the whole thing was digging up a stump that was in the way. After that, digging the trench itself seemed easy. I just worked on mine a an hour or two every other day when the weather was decent and got it done in a couple of weeks.
 

Flippers4pups

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I have a 125 gallon as a basement sump. If you would like you can look through mine for ideas if you would like:


 
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Reefs and Geeks

Reefs and Geeks

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I have a 125 gallon as a basement sump. If you would like you can look through mine for ideas if you would like:


Very nice! I've just skimmed so far, but will be looking more into your build thread for ideas and inspiration.

How do you like having your sump on such a high stand? I was thinking of doing maybe a 12-18" tall stand so I'm not bent over to work in it, but also not having to reach my arms up to get in the sump to work on it.
 
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Reefs and Geeks

Reefs and Geeks

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I was lucky enough to get a suprise babysitter yesterday, so with no other plans I was able to cut my baffles for my sump, and finish the first coat of drylok in the basement. I drew on the side of the sump where I'm planning to put the baffles.

From right to left the first chamber will have a filter pad 24" X 18" and drain into a bunch of rock and biomedia. I have maybe 5-10 gallons of rock/media in my existing sump, so will add however much more I'm able to fit from my dry rock to this section. I'll probably end up selling most of the dry rock after I fill the sump. Being that I have about 300-400 pounds of rock I have way more than I need.

The second section of the sump will be the middle third, and will be a refugium. The first baffle will be about an inch above the bottom, so flow will come into this section after it flows through the rock, then over the top of the next baffle. The refugium section is 40 gallons, but with actual water height will be closer to 30 gallons. Once everything is done, the whole system will be about 300 gallons or so, so refugium will be about 10% of the total system volume.

After the fuge, the water will flow over the next baffle, and under and additional baffle to the skimmer section. I plan to put a course foam block between the baffles to keep macro algae out of the skimmer section, and to reduce noise. There will be a 7ish inch drop in water level from the fuge to the skimmer section, so I feel like there needs to be something there to muffle the noise. For the fuge, I plan to start bare bottom, but may add a single layer of rock if the macro algae needs something to tie onto. This will be my first ever fuge, so will be a bit of a learning curve. I had originally planned on cheato only, but have been thinking more I may do a variety of algaes.

The skimmer section will be 9" deep and also house my heater. There will be some extra room in this section in case I want to add something later. The skimmer will only take up about half of the section. I will be using my Bubble Magnus Curve 7 for the skimmer, which I currently have stuffed in my 20 gallon sump. Right not it's in 10" deep water, but would like to be able to skim a bit dryer, so I think 9" will be good.

The last baffle location is blocked by the 4x4, but will be a fairly small section to hold the return pump(s). For this I have a Jebao DCP-18000 since it needs some head pressure to pump the water up to the next floor. I know Jebao has a reputation for being less reliable than the name brand pumps, but with it being so much more affordable than the name brand pumps I have to give it a try. I think having 2 of those in there for redundancy would be better than a single name brand pump, so I'm going to leave room in the return pump section so I can add a second pump once I have more room in the budget. I've been slowly paying for this upgrade 100% by selling frags and buying/selling some reefing gear. It's awesome to finally be at the point that the hobby is starting to pay for itself. It's been alot of fun getting into fragging as a whole new part of the hobby and has me more hands on and in tune with my tank than ever before.

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ScottW

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Looks great so far. I am in the process of finishing my basement/sump room myself. I swear no matter how much I get done, its never enough. Keep up the process and look forward to the finish!
 
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I found some good weather so I siliconed in my baffles for the sump, starting to feel like a sump now! I let it cure outside for a few days so there was no smell in the house before I brought it in to paint. Not sure if most people paint the back of their sumps black like a display tank, but I think it will give a cleaner look. Going to paint the back, bottom, and one side.

One thing I forgot about when putting in the baffles was how I'm going to mount something to hold the filter pad. I'm open to suggestions for this. I was thinking I'd get some eggcrate to hold the filter pad, and hold up the eggcrate with some siliconed in pieces at the corners, but not sure how strong that would be. I'll have to think about that one while I get the tank painted, then will have to take it back outside to finish that part up. Wish the silicone didn't smell so bad while curing. The whole house smelled like vinegar when I resealed my display tank in the basement, and lasted a few days.

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Reefs and Geeks

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I'm happy to say that I have my sump in place and online! I now know why it takes months and months for many people to complete their tank builds. Just getting the basement ready for a sump was a huge project. It only took 2 french drains, and 8 coats of paint to stop water seepage into the now sump room. Now after about 3 months of work, the sump is connected to the display and running beautifully.

I'm running a Herbie style overflow which goes into the first chamber which is full of rock and has (2) 300W heaters. The water then goes under a baffel and into the fuge chamber. The third chamber is for my protein skimmer and I also have a bag of carbon between the baffles. And finally, the return pump section. The back and left side of the tank have 2" insulation to help reduce heat loss from the water in the sump, especially in the winter when the basement can get quite cold. When it does get cold, I'm thinking I might put some kind of thinner removable insulation on the front that I can remove to see how everything looks when I work in the sump. Not sure what I'll use for that.

I don't have a picture right now, but I don't have an overflow box in my display. Instead, the plumbing for the drains comes straight through the drilled holes and works just like tanks with an overflow box, but without taking up much room in the tank. Of course the downfall is I love 3+ inches of water height from the display when the return pump shuts off, but my sump is large enough to handle that with plenty of room to spare. I've 3D printed an attachment for the trickle drain line of the overflow to increase surface skimming which works well. I had a 3D printed part for the full suction line which looked great, but required the water level to be a bit higher than I wanted to start a full siphon, so im not instead just using a screen plugged straight into the bulkhead to prevent clogging. Seems to work well.

I'm currently running 800gph through the sump, so about 5.3X turnovers of the display per hour. 8 times faster than what I was doing before at just 100gph. I'm loving the extra flow, and the coral seem to like it to. I have actually noticed a nice increase in coral calicifation rate since ading the sump as my current 2 part dosing amount is not keeping up. Without changing dosing, my alk dropped from 9 to 7 in a week, so I'll have to find a new 2 part daily dose.

Future upgrades to the sump include a frag tank, a manifold or separate pump for reactors and such, more insulation, and eventually a doser.

IMG_20191027_210212.jpg IMG_20191102_200413.jpg
 
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Reefs and Geeks

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With my sump having been online for a few weeks, I've seen my alk and calcium consumption has tripled! I believe it is mainly due to the large 40 gallon fuge, and partly from the increased flow to the display. I put a 65W horticulture light, and a 150W 6500K floodlight on the fuge. Since my last build update, the macro has grown from a 1/2 gallon ball, to now something that would easily fill 3 full buckets, maybe more. Sadly, the chaeto grows way faster than the dragon's breath algae, but I guess that's fine. I also had my birdsnest colonies spawn recently, so they are obviously happy with the upgrade :) Not sure how well it shows in the picture, but you can see hundreds of tiny green balls floating around.

Since the sump has been up and running, I'm finding myself in a weird place where I don't have a big tank project going on, so I'm tinkering with building a dosing pump for 2-part. I'm also getting plans ready to add my first frag tank to the basement, which will tie into the existing sump. I've gotten so used to working on the tank/sump for an hour a day that I don't want to stop just because the sump project is done.

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BirdGuy21

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Thanks! Been sort of thinking it through and planning for years. I've been very happy with it so far. It's almost fun to work in the sump now haha
I have an AIO tank right now so I’m jealous of the sump, haha. A 40 gallon fuge should help keeps nutrients under control and support a nice copepod collection. I love the variety of microfauna that lives in our tanks. I’m looking to upgrade to a larger tank with a sump partly for the diversity of life that can be housed. For the sump baffles- did you cut the glass yourself or use someone local?
 
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Reefs and Geeks

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I have an AIO tank right now so I’m jealous of the sump, haha. A 40 gallon fuge should help keeps nutrients under control and support a nice copepod collection. I love the variety of microfauna that lives in our tanks. I’m looking to upgrade to a larger tank with a sump partly for the diversity of life that can be housed. For the sump baffles- did you cut the glass yourself or use someone local?
Sump if for sure the way to go if you can do it. Can fit more equipment, easier to work on, and potentially adds alot of water volume for stability.

For the baffles, I used 1/4" acrylic sheets, and I cut them myself. I'd have preferred glass, but I had the plastic sheets on hand. Has worked fine for me. Strong hold and seals well. I did put thick silicon on each side and roughed up the acrylic ends first. Wasn't too bad to do.
 
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Been a little while since I've updated my build. I don't think I'll ever truly be done as I keep adding on, and have a seemingly endless list of things I want to do to upgrade my tank. My current upgrade is the addition of an 8' x 30" fragging table with a 24"x24"x12" frag tank connected to my existing system. Table is built from 2x4s and has a melemine top. Stand is painted with dryloc paint for extra moisture resistance as well as all cut edges of the melemine. For now, the extra space on the table will be used as a work area to prepare frags. When I have the need for additional frag tanks, I am able to fit up to a 48" tank in that area. I'm excited to be getting the loose frags out of my display tank and into a dedicated space. Will also be nice when local hobbyists come to pick up frags as I won't have to worry about bringing my dog in, or my 2 year old trying to grab everything in the display stand while I get frags ready. They can just park in the back and come in the basement to the frag tank room.

I'm still finishing up the plumbing on the frag tank, but nearly there. I will need to pick up a gate valve for one of the drains at some point for the herbie style drain. If I haven't gotten one yet, it'll just make some noise in the basement till I get one. I will feed the frag tank with a dedicated pump from my main sump, and will have a UV sterilizer inline with the return. Goal is to have the frag tank up and running soon so I can make up enough frags to fill it for the Pittsburgh frag swap in early May. Been planning this frag tank and build out with that goal in mind since last April and it seems like it's going to work out well. I'm pretty excited. Will post pictures of the frag tank once I have it up and running. Can't wait to fill it up with frags :)

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Finally have my frag tank filled with water and currently filling with frags! Took a while to get up and running because the light I had bought for it needed to be used as an emergency replacement for a light that went out on my main display tank. Turning lemons into lemonade, I ended up going with a different light than I was planning on originally and have really been liking it so far. Instead of the viparspectra black box lights, I went with a noopsyche K7. Not a premium brand named light, but I can at least ramp up and down the lights, and program the 5 channels individually to get the exact color I want.

I just have black eggcrate as my frag rack for now, but have some zen reef racks on order for when I take the tank to frag swaps. The frag tank is tied into my display tank's filtration 99% of the time, and will be removed by disconnection a couple of unions when taking it to a swap. I have an inline UV for the water being supplied to the frag tank just to aid in water clarity some. Seems to work well as I'm using very low flowrates of about 80gph for the tank's return pump. The frag tank has it's own dedicated return pump separate from the main display's. Frags are looking very good so far in the tank. I'm working a little at a time getting the colonies from my display fragged to fill the frag tank up to prep for my first frag swap as a vendor in May. I'm very excited :)

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Reefs and Geeks

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Hadn't realized how long it's been since I've updated. Since my last update, I've got some custom frag racks built by a local hobbyist @Carz and love them. I've been able to trade lot of my frags for new coral, which are mostly growing out in my display to eventually be fragged. Also have a new addition to the family, a now 4 month old girl, who loves watching the fish just like her big brother.

I've taken my fuge offline and instead have been using vibrant to help control some algae in my display since I don't have much CUC (trigger attacks just about any invert). Seems to work well, but I do miss my fuge and have gone back to vinegar dosing for nitrate control.

My diplay tank has filled in nicely over the last few months and for the first time ever I'm starting to feel like I don't have room for much more coral. I still somehow find room though haha. i've been addicted to trading my frags for almost any coral that other locals want to trade for. It's been alot of fun spreading the joy I get from my coral with others, and at the same time, I have been given many new coral that I have really had alot of fun watching grow out in my tank.

I've sort of out grown my frag tank setup already, but don't have the funds to expend just yet. I always under estimate how many frags I get from a chunk of coral and have a tendency to fill my frag tank with too many of just a few types of coral instead of more variety. I like to think the answer to that is another bigger frag tank :)

i'm really hoping to get to try being a vendor at a frag swap soon. This year has put a damper on those plans, but still hopeful for CORA in November. Time will tell if that event works out or not.

I did decide to join the 3RMAS this year, but haven't been fortunate enough to attend any of the meetings yet. Even without having gone yet, it's still nice to support the local group. With any luck, I'll be joining the group meetings next year or later this year.

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The Camaro Show

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Hadn't realized how long it's been since I've updated. Since my last update, I've got some custom frag racks built by a local hobbyist @Carz and love them. I've been able to trade lot of my frags for new coral, which are mostly growing out in my display to eventually be fragged. Also have a new addition to the family, a now 4 month old girl, who loves watching the fish just like her big brother.

I've taken my fuge offline and instead have been using vibrant to help control some algae in my display since I don't have much CUC (trigger attacks just about any invert). Seems to work well, but I do miss my fuge and have gone back to vinegar dosing for nitrate control.

My diplay tank has filled in nicely over the last few months and for the first time ever I'm starting to feel like I don't have room for much more coral. I still somehow find room though haha. i've been addicted to trading my frags for almost any coral that other locals want to trade for. It's been alot of fun spreading the joy I get from my coral with others, and at the same time, I have been given many new coral that I have really had alot of fun watching grow out in my tank.

I've sort of out grown my frag tank setup already, but don't have the funds to expend just yet. I always under estimate how many frags I get from a chunk of coral and have a tendency to fill my frag tank with too many of just a few types of coral instead of more variety. I like to think the answer to that is another bigger frag tank :)

i'm really hoping to get to try being a vendor at a frag swap soon. This year has put a damper on those plans, but still hopeful for CORA in November. Time will tell if that event works out or not.

I did decide to join the 3RMAS this year, but haven't been fortunate enough to attend any of the meetings yet. Even without having gone yet, it's still nice to support the local group. With any luck, I'll be joining the group meetings next year or later this year.

IMG_20200703_121625.jpg IMG_20200721_170014.jpg IMG_20200811_005442.jpg IMG_20200811_155322.jpg IMG_20200812_181944.jpg
We hope to see you at a meeting soon! I love my racks from @Carz as well!
 

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