Modifying Waterbox Sump to use Filter Roller and Create a Reugium

AI Nero 5


Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Nov 9, 2020
Reaction score
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Hi guys,

I decided to modify my waterbox sump which I got with my 130.4 aquarium. I thought I would share the steps in case it helps someone else.

Took me a couple of days to modify the Waterbox sump. Basically, I didn't want to use the filter socks. I never had them in my all-in-ones and from what I have read everyone hates them and I want the tank to be as maintenance free as possible. So, I decided to remove the filter sock holders and baffles.

I decided to go with the Clarisea Gen3 SK-5000 filter roller which doesn't fit in the first chamber even if I remove the baffles so then I had to make the first section a little bigger (and make the skimmer section a little narrower). I also decided to use the ATO section as a refugium so I had to make some modifications for that.

Removing baffles:

I used a thin guitar string, blades from my algae scrapper, and an X-acto knife. Even with gloves managed to cut myself three times lol (nothing major). Just go slow and try the guitar wire first as far as you can go. However, sometimes the gap between the glass panels is too small to even fit the guitar wire, then switch to the razor blades (from my scraper). That only goes so far because the blade is thin and it bends and is dangerous. Finally use the exact knife. As you cut more, you can apply some pressure on the glass panel. This allows you to get a little deeper to cut some more and then bend more to get deeper.

Removing Silicone:

Once you get all the baffles off, scrape off the remaining silicone with a blade. However, that still leaves a thin film of sticky residue on the glass. I used alcohol and a scrubbing pad to get most of it off but some of it is too stubborn. Then I used a dremmel with felt pad (dipped in alcohol) to get the rest of it off.

Creating a Refugium:

I decided to make the ATO reservoir into a refugium. First of all I would like to have a bigger ATO. The one they have built is probably 4-5 gal. I would like to have a 10-gal at least. So, I would either use an external reservoir hidden in a piece of furniture or run a fresh water line to my garage.

I also wanted to run a refugium for nutrient control and also because I like to have a mandarin in the future.

So, I drilled a few holes in the wall between the ATO and skimmer chamber. I decided to use the sock silencer that comes with the Waterbox sumps as a weir so the stands of algae cannot float down to the skimmer chamber. I drilled four holes and the size of the holes perfectly fits the sock silencer to hold it in place. I got some scratches from the drill when making the first hole as I didn't have the correct technique for drilling. Oh well, its in the sump so no big deal. The trick is not to jam the drill straight down when starting the hole. First, hold it at an angle to get a little bit in the glass then slowly straighten the drill otherwise it will not stay in one place.

Using the guitar wire


Dremmel with felt pad and alcohol to get the slime off.


the tools I used. Guitar wire, blade from the scraper (take it out of the scraper), X-acto knife, scrubbing pad, alcohol, dremmel with felt pad


After I removed the baffles and cleaned up


Reattaching glass panel to make the first section wide enough for Clarisea Gen3 Filter Roller (SK-5000)


Drilling holes for the refugium and using Waterbox sock silencer as a weir



Last edited:
AquaCave Logo Banner


Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Mar 25, 2021
Reaction score
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Sydney, Australia
Thank you so very much. I'm waiting on a roller mat to install in my sump (Aqua One 326) which has built in sock holders and have been trying to think it though.

Your advice is priceless.

I just need to figure out how to do it on a running system

AI Hydra

Have you ever torn down a tank over an issue you couldn't seem to beat?

  • Yes! I have. (Tell us about what issue you faced in the thread.)

    Votes: 172 24.2%
  • No. Thankfully, I haven't.

    Votes: 368 51.7%
  • Nope, but it almost happened. (Share your experience in the thread.)

    Votes: 52 7.3%
  • Not yet, but I'm almost there. (Tell us what you're dealing with.)

    Votes: 59 8.3%
  • If you reef long enough, this will eventually happen to you.

    Votes: 47 6.6%
  • Other

    Votes: 14 2.0%
noopsyche New Year 36% off