DIY 20G Long Sump Gone Wrong... Please Help

GuildedGravity

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Help! I'm new to sumps and I built one in my 20G long tank. I just ran a closed loop test before beginning to plumb it to my tank and it went badly. I forgot to get a picture before I emptied it and started making changes, sorry. The sketch attached was my plan for building the sump and it essentially looks like that. I also attached a photo of the sump before the test. There are 7 chambers separated by alternating baffles. the first six chambers are all 4" wide and the last chamber is 6" wide and houses the return pump, a Fluval SP4. Its hard to see in the pic but the water flows into the first chamber, then flows over the first baffle and then alternates after that going under the next baffle and so on. All baffles are 8.5 tall and the higher ones are only raised by .5". I forgot to mention, this sump design seems dumb because it is designed for my freshwater aquarium. All that's going in there are various sponges, filter pad, and biological media.

So for my test I just ran flexible plumbing from my pump back to the 1st chamber of the sump. It went very poorly. Both of the last 2 chambers were super empty and the water crashing over the baffle into the 1st emptier chamber was like a waterfall. Additionally there was not enough height difference in the alternating baffles and water was going over the baffles that it is only supposed to go under.

My two theories are that
1) the space under the baffles wasn't enough to handle the flow (its only about .5")
2) my pump is just too powerful for this small sump. I plan to adjust the pump's flow rate with a gate valve once I plumb it to the tank, but for this test at practically zero head height with no elbows or valves my pump could allegedly be pushing 1600 GPH or higher. I have a fluval SP4.

Right now I painstakingly cut out the three high baffles and plan to raise them to at least 1.25" from the bottom surface. Do people think this will work? are there other glaring issues?? Should I shrink the last 4" chamber and just make the the pump chamber bigger?

PXL_20210510_032543488.jpg IMG_20210508_202206_01.jpg
 
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AS

F i s h y

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Your baffles do not have enough space under or over them in my opinion. The number of chambers shouldn't really matter so long as the flow through them is sufficient to get the water to your pump as fast as it is being pumped to your first chamber. The fact that water went over when it should have gone under tells me it's not flowing through fast enough. I recommend raising your baffles to at least 1 inch.
 

monkeyCmonkeyDo

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I think ur pumps too big.
For what ur trying to achieve with the media and the high flow. U would need holes or slots drilled in the bottoms of the baffles. This and the larger spacing between and below the baffles between the baffle and sump bottom will allow more flow through the sump and your water will stay level vs crashing and trying to jam the water down ur chambers like im thinkings happening. Hths. Sry for my long wind talk. Lol
D
 
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GuildedGravity

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Yeah I already have those three baffles out and have cleaned them. After I regulate the pump I am targeting about 600 GPH so I think that should be better.

Is 1.25" under the baffles a good height? I could do 1" if that's better.

Thanks for the input everyone.
 
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One last note. Your evaporation from your system will show in the final sump chamber. Meaning the smaller this chamber is the more water level difference you will see when evaporation occurs. If the chamber is to small and you don't top off enough you risk burning your pump out.
 

F i s h y

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Yeah I already have those three baffles out and have cleaned them. After I regulate the pump I am targeting about 600 GPH so I think that should be better.

Is 1.25" under the baffles a good height? I could do 1" if that's better.

Thanks for the input everyone.
If you can go 1.25 do it.
 

Reefing_addiction

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Help! I'm new to sumps and I built one in my 20G long tank. I just ran a closed loop test before beginning to plumb it to my tank and it went badly. I forgot to get a picture before I emptied it and started making changes, sorry. The sketch attached was my plan for building the sump and it essentially looks like that. I also attached a photo of the sump before the test. There are 7 chambers separated by alternating baffles. the first six chambers are all 4" wide and the last chamber is 6" wide and houses the return pump, a Fluval SP4. Its hard to see in the pic but the water flows into the first chamber, then flows over the first baffle and then alternates after that going under the next baffle and so on. All baffles are 8.5 tall and the higher ones are only raised by .5". I forgot to mention, this sump design seems dumb because it is designed for my freshwater aquarium. All that's going in there are various sponges, filter pad, and biological media.

So for my test I just ran flexible plumbing from my pump back to the 1st chamber of the sump. It went very poorly. Both of the last 2 chambers were super empty and the water crashing over the baffle into the 1st emptier chamber was like a waterfall. Additionally there was not enough height difference in the alternating baffles and water was going over the baffles that it is only supposed to go under.

My two theories are that
1) the space under the baffles wasn't enough to handle the flow (its only about .5")
2) my pump is just too powerful for this small sump. I plan to adjust the pump's flow rate with a gate valve once I plumb it to the tank, but for this test at practically zero head height with no elbows or valves my pump could allegedly be pushing 1600 GPH or higher. I have a fluval SP4.

Right now I painstakingly cut out the three high baffles and plan to raise them to at least 1.25" from the bottom surface. Do people think this will work? are there other glaring issues?? Should I shrink the last 4" chamber and just make the the pump chamber bigger?

PXL_20210510_032543488.jpg IMG_20210508_202206_01.jpg
Holy filter media!
 

Reefing_addiction

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Figured the more the better and I wanted to make my first sump as a personal project. Learning a lot.
I applaud you. Let us know how well this works out I may have to design a new sump! Lol
 
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GuildedGravity

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Dude. I have 2 diy sumps. They are not bad and i am holding on to them to this day. 1 is a 50B with return in the middle and the other is a 29g tall with 1 big section and a return.
They work. U got this!
D
Thanks! Just panicking because I have now invested in all the plumbing equipment as well haha. but I have faith it will work after these changes.
 
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GuildedGravity

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Success!!

Tested the new configuration this morning and it worked so much better and is nearly silent! Thanks for the help everyone :)

This picture is the steady state while the pump is running
 

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