Need help with a Sump layout

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (DIY)' started by JoshuaRock, Jan 11, 2018.

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  1. JoshuaRock

    JoshuaRock Member

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    Hello everyone! My wife and I have a 55 gallon aquarium that we started down the salty road with about 5 months ago. We dont have a lot of stuff in it and have been aquiaring equipment and things slowly.
    The tank was given to us and a stand with it too. We wanted to do a sump under it and had some fun times trying to find something to fit under a stand for a 55 gallon aquarium. We ended up using 2 10 gallon Rubbermaid totes connected together with a pipe and union. It works but not ideal. So we have been planning for future upgrades and expansions and because of that I have built a new stand that will hold a 75 gallon aquarium and allow for a 40G breeder under it for a sump. Yay! So our plan is to put the 55 gallon tank on the new stand and hook it up to the new sump-to-be, until we can afford a new tank to go with our sump. (Poor preacher here) So we are moving really slowly and we like it that way, but I have been trying to figure out how to layout the sump. I was able to get a nice deal for a protein skimmer on Black Friday and also used some pal rewards and 50% off for a 40G breeder tank from petco for the new sump. Wanting to keep it simple for now we were going to make the sump like the pictures below. In the “refugium” section I was going to put some live rock that the wife doesn’t like in the Display tank and a ball of Cheato.

    So my question is will the flow that I have drawn out work ok? We don’t plan on having any sand or critters in the refugium.


    D1D00F6E-D695-428F-9D1C-B361F20FCCB3.jpeg 5F976932-3294-4973-A693-1B2D2BB0517D.jpeg

    I sure love this forum. I really can’t believe how nice everyone is and helpful. I also appreciate that I don’t have to worry about if kids are looking over my shoulder because it’s clean. So I do want to give a big thank you to everyone for making this an amazing community.
     
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  2. Fudsey

    Fudsey Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Looks good except you don't need the 1st weir in your triple just use 2.

    I have a 40B sump but skipped the fuge part.
     
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  3. redfishbluefish

    redfishbluefish Stay Positive, Stay Productive R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor NJRC Member

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    That looks just fine. Make sure you can get your skimmer in and out of the sump once under the stand. I'd also put that drain section towards the rear of the sump so that your skimmer is easy to get at. Also make sure you have sufficient volume in your sump for "back flow" water once the return pump is turned off.

    One more note....with these newer skimmers and having the refugium between the skimmer and return section, I'm not sure if three baffles are need for bubble control. I actually run no bubble trap in my sump.....Filter sock/skimmer on the left, return in the center, and refugium on the right....note two drains in each back corner of the sump.

    Sump with Biopellets.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
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  4. Big G

    Big G Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Plan looks very similar to most commercially available sumps. Should work just great. :)
     
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  5. Fudsey

    Fudsey Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    [​IMG]
     
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  6. JoshuaRock

    JoshuaRock Member

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    Thanks! The only reason I was thinking about this way was just because I wanted to force the water down. I’m sure it is a fault in my thinking but I just figured if that part wasn’t there then the water would basically skim across and not really “interact” with the stuff in the refugium. My thinking is probably just a result of newbie clueless-itis.
     
  7. JoshuaRock

    JoshuaRock Member

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    That’s beautiful. Nearly exactly what I want to do.
     
  8. JoshuaRock

    JoshuaRock Member

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    Awesome! Thanks for the input. My thinking on putting the drain part in the front was to make it easier to grab the filter sock/filter floss depending on what I use there. My skimmer is a Reef Octopus 152-s so was thinking about using the cup drain to an external “catcher” that i can grab from the back. But maybe I need to rethink it.
     
  9. Mark Derail

    Mark Derail Active Member R2R Supporter

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    My sump is a converted DT that is 48" x 24" x 16"h, with four sections

    My advice:
    • Make the sump as big as possible, but height-wise 16" is plenty.
      I see so many sumps being only 20g or 30g. I really like mine being long & wide, holding 40g - even though my current DT is only a 50g (48x12x20h)

    • You'll probably love using magic mud & growing chaeto, my section is 18" x 24", it's perfect. Many make a refugium on top of the sump, so unfiltered water goes to the chaeto, and it overflows into the sump. Like a small 5g tank. So you would plan the refugium to be imbedded inside the sump, but above. Resting on the baffles.

    • Make room for plenty of live rocks

    • I've decided to stop using filter socks, since my skimmer (reef octopus) is rated 200g and my total water is 90g (upgrading eventually to a 6' DT from the current 4')
      I wish the "section" for the large filter sock was not there, I could stuff 10-15lbs of live rock in there.

    • Filter socks, consider a "hanging" solution. IOW, hanging in the air, attached to the incoming pipe, the "tail" end being a few inches below the sump water line. If you plan on 1.5" solid black tubing, and it's solidly held to the stand, it can "hold on" to the filter sock. (using 3 or 4 screws)
      Swapping socks will be easy, and, you don't dedicate a sump section for the sock(s), that can be used for something else if you change your mind.
      Or,
      Make the sock section "floating" not glued / siliconed to anything, just held in place by gravity. Mine is a PITA to undo, so I won't.

    • I use two return pumps, one goes "up" to the DT, the other recirculates back to front (smaller gph than main).
      This is so I can "turn off" the sump for hours or a day, but there will be water circulation in it.

    • Baffles, don't make them too restrictive. Mine have 1/2" gaps and I wish they were 0.75" or 1.0". For cleaning or stuffing filter floss or gfo bags, etc.
      Also for "holding on" to flexible tubes, most are 3/8" OD

    • Make the baffles strong! Glass would be better than acrylic, but extra thick acrylic is easier to handle.
      Also to support the weight of anything you'd like to put on top. Like the refugium. Or a small aquarium for extra live rocks.
     
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  10. Mark Derail

    Mark Derail Active Member R2R Supporter

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    Some pics from a few months ago. The white tub inside is for the skim-mate, it just floats there. Doubles up to carry the skimmer head to the kitchen sink.
    My cheato grows like crazy with the red/blue led bulb.
    There's also a white led high lumen output so that algae grows below it, and not in the DT.

    I would totally redo the flex pipe for the incoming water, going into a dedicated section, for rigid 1.5" piping.

    20171210_134852.jpg 20171210_134905.jpg
     
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  11. JoshuaRock

    JoshuaRock Member

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    Those are great ideas! I really appreciate the experience shared. In my drain section I was going to use egg crate in it so I can put a bag of carbon or something if I want to and filter floss on tope of it. And it would then drain out the bottom back pannel to the “skimmer” section. I do want to make the skimmer section just big enough to hold the skimmer and maybe the heaters so the refugium can be as big as possible. My other concern is evaporation from the return section and how big that part should be. Not sure how to incorporate an auto top off yet. One of the local fish stores by us has inverts and things in there refugiums and have them displayed under the big tanks. So that could be fun. We are learning that this hobby can quickly take over the house. :)
     
  12. Mark Derail

    Mark Derail Active Member R2R Supporter

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    I never bought the sexy marine blocks, because I had access to lots of live rocks.
    I "merged" two Kijiji sell-outs that were selling all, so ended up with too many rocks, two tanks, etc, etc.
     
  13. JoshuaRock

    JoshuaRock Member

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    I like the idea of using lots of rocks because that way I can have some for new tanks too. Can I grow Chaeto and live rock in the refugium area?
     
  14. Mark Derail

    Mark Derail Active Member R2R Supporter

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    Thanks. The egg crate thing with filter floss, they end up being nitrate sinks, just like filter socks. Great when you change them often, as-in, daily or every 2nd day. Thing is, when everything is cycled, critters eat it all, and the skimmers do an awesome job.
    I clean the skimmer at least twice a week.

    My heaters (two) are in the sump, one in the fuge section, other at the return pump section. Yes, if I redo the baffles, I would make the fuge section larger, the skimmer/live rock section as small as possible.

    So if you have the input water falling down a 1.5" tube into the sump, and a sock tied to it (design it easy to remove), then the sock & skimmer can be side-by-side.

    Evaporation... I lose one gal per day (out of 90g total). My next buy will be an ATO, with an optical sensor. The RODI water tank will be in the extra cabinet I built that is right next to the aquarium stand. My original stand was 4.5 feet long for a 4 foot DT and 4 foot sump.
    Now I want a six foot tank, so those extra 2 feet, that's the ATO water supply and tool shed.

    I have lots of critters in the sump, that hitchhiked the live rocks (bought live). Every now & then I spook one.
     
  15. JoshuaRock

    JoshuaRock Member

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    My local fish store is really helpful with helping people get into the hobby. He does a lot of trading and if he has something he got on trade and you need it he will give it to you. He gave us 20 pounds of live rock and a yellow tang for free when we were starting out. Was quite nice.
     
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  16. Mark Derail

    Mark Derail Active Member R2R Supporter

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    Yes, look at my pics. You see some rocks right by the glass (where the red light is).
    Also rocks in the return section. I actually have the return pump sitting on a big live rock, so that it is suspended halfway up. Like that it can never pump too much water into the DT, should the DT return be blocked.
    These days it runs dry within two days if I skip not manually putting 1gal RODI water in daily.

    I also have a UV sterilizer in that section, and an algae (white) grow light there. Eventually I want to make a DIY green slime algae reactor with it. It's actually doing it right now, but on those rocks. I remove some manually every other week, also well as chaeto. It really grows when phosphate is present.

    The square marine blocks are way sexier, and can host way more bacteria per volume.
     
  17. JoshuaRock

    JoshuaRock Member

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    You are absolutely right I need a bigger tank :) let me tell my wife the grand wisdom of the internet has spoken and we need a 6 foot tank.
     
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  18. Mark Derail

    Mark Derail Active Member R2R Supporter

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    If you are more reef-oriented, a 48" x 24" x 24" is great. We are mixed and want some fish that need space to swim, like a tang and some angels.

    I've reserved a 72 x 18w x 20h. It's annoying that the rocks are "in the middle" in a long line, however, a great fish playground.
    The current DT is 48 x 12w x 20h. A foot of width is awful.

    I was planning on 54 x 24w x 18h (custom build), but, it's way easier to make a stand bigger. Honestly the six foot tank, being used, is half the price of even a DIY glass build.
    Can't argue economics. Two-by-fours and 2" screws are cheap.
     
  19. JoshuaRock

    JoshuaRock Member

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    Yeah I live near St. Louis and so we have lots of glass shops around. I just priced out having a tank that’s 36”x36”x18” and will only cost me $160 for the glass. My wife likes having room for fish to swim around. At first I didn’t like the idea of these cube style tanks but now having my 55 gallon with it being so narrow, we really want a bigger tank for some 3 dementional swimming.
     
  20. Mark Derail

    Mark Derail Active Member R2R Supporter

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    My "used" 120g six footer is (Canadian $) 340. Building my own, just the glass, I was over 500.
    You need to make the bottom extra thick - see "phantom bottom" - and still use a foam base between the stand and the DT.

    I'd say look at Kijiji. Every month or so, I see someone getting rid of their entire setup for 1/3 or half the cost of new. You just need a trailer rent a moving mini-van, lots & lots of Brute Rubbermaid trash cans, some help, and in a day, you have a working system.

    I combined two such Kijiji buys together. Got Ich at some point, treated for it, all is well. I've saved easily 2k$ so far.
     
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