No SUMP? No problem! You don’t need it. What else do you not need?

BRS

Have you ever had a reef tank with no sump and how did it go?

  • YES and it was just fine

    Votes: 412 57.9%
  • YES but it was difficult

    Votes: 126 17.7%
  • NO

    Votes: 160 22.5%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 13 1.8%

  • Total voters
    711

exalectric

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Its only 3 months old, but we have a 40 breeder with a Fluval 207 canister filter and HOB skimmer. Do a weekly 25% water change, and top off every couple days. The tank has a glass lid so doesn't evaporate too quickly and keeps the cat fur out. So far the corals and fish seem happy and healthy.

Hubby has a biocube 16 of about the same age, but I'm not sure how we classify that system.

And I have a whittle Biorb 15 with a tiny canister filter. It was running with no extra filtration - just live rock for a while. I probably could have kept it as such, but I added a peppermint shrimp and was worrying about doing 50% water changes instead of the 90% ish I'd been doing before. And then I decided to add a hungry little NPS coral.

I do enjoy the decluttering aspect of a sump tho, and am building a DIY sump set up for the 75gal predator tank. Mainly I want a refugium section, filter socks and room for a large skimmer to accommodate the anticipated heavy feeding and messy eater (Ahem... Mr. Puffer)
 

Irene

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I ran my first reef tank without a sump for a long time and some of you may have as well. I also ran my first successful reef tank without a ton of gadgets and gear and had a pretty nice reef! Sumps are great because it gives you more water volume, conceals equipment and gives you more options but the fact is you don't have to have it. Today let's talk about stuff you don't have to have to keep a successful reef aquarium.

1. Have you ever had a reef tank with no sump and how did it go?

2. What other items, gear, equipment or gadgets do you NOT NEED to have a nice reef tank?



Sumpless reef tank image via @myzislow
zoanthids825-1.jpg
 

vabben

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I have a 20 gallon AIO, defiantly do not count the back as a sump. More of just a clustered ditritus trap. I cannot wait to ditch this tank, at first it was ok. But is such a pain to work on and clean.
 

Dragon5704

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I have a 75 gallon tank with an FX-4 filter, Emperor 400, Octo-1000 HOB, Hydor Koralia 1150 wave pump, 2 Aquatop 300 watt heaters, Current Orbit LED's. It's been running since late 2020 with no issues. At present I have a Coral Beauty, 2 Clowns, Royal Gramma, Diamond Goby, Yellow Coris Wrasse, Blue Spotted Puffer, Chocolate Starfish, Pencil Urchin, Nassarius Snails. Also had 4 Emerald Crabs and some Mexican Turbo Snails amongst others, but seemed to have slowly disappeared since adding the "Puffer", he seems to be a late night grazer!
 

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Dolphins18

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Not sure if you guys would consider this a sump - or just a tank extension.
It's essentially two tanks plumbed together, but one has a bowed baffle with 2 sections, one for returns and one as a bit of a fuge so to speak.
Here are photos. PS: I didn't plan on the baffle being curved but my measurements were a bit off....lol.
1627063400931.png

I plan to install a light on the ceiling to allow the mangroves to grow very tall.
1627063429104.png

1627063458843.png

I've got a 30 gallon AIO as well but I guess that kind of counts as a sump in the back. Also its tough to keep nutrients down, i'd never run SPS without a sump.
 

NowasReef

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I have for the most part only run sumpless tanks over the last 20 years or so. Usually pretty fully stocked mixed reef. Always use a lot of live rock, a fairly deep sand bed and have a lot of flow.
HOB protein skimmer and large HOB filter that I can run different media or pads in for polishing.
Current tanks are a 75 gal mixed reef - 4yrs
55 gal mixed reef 2 yrs
75 gal hex FOWLR that I've started adding sofites in as they grow large in other tanks 1 yr
Best trick I have found over the years is leave them alone for the best results.
-I'm 6'6 and hated having to get basically on the floor for the tank I did have with a sump, which I believe was my third reef
 

01xp

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My first attempt was with a canister that I brought over from my fresh water system. It was difficult because of work and life but doable. I then went to a sump and just like the look of less stuff in the tank better
 

adittam

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Yep, my tank now is a 46g sumpless bowfront (check out my build thread for pics and videos!). I run it with a lot of flow, rock, and fluval 407 canister filter with biweekly cleanings and water changes. Works awesome. The only thing I wish I had a sump for was to hide some things like the heaters and UV, but that's not enough to make me switch to a sump on my next tank. I'm upgrading to a 90 soon, and will still be running with a canister filter, but will probably add a HOB filter as well so I can pull water from multiple areas of the tank and customize my filtration a little more.
 

timlyg

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55 gal tank.
I have a sump, but I think my nitrate just can't get any lower (40+ppm using color strip test). 78-80F, pH 8.2, Ammonia & Nitrite close to zero, salinity 1.025. Fluval Marine Reef 2.0 lighting giving 50-150 PAR.
Turbo snails in hibernation mode. chocolate chip starfish, Frags and corals keep dying until I give up buying them, unless I see improvement in snails activity.
Water changes 10% per week or 2.
Just put in Chemi pure blue. Considering buying resin and activated carbon and put all these in my sump somehow.
Really don't like doing water change. Don't really want to get canister filter nor protein skimmer.

But wish to hear some advice. Thanks in advance.
 

MnFish1

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1. Have you ever had a reef tank with no sump and how did it go?

YES identical to with a sump except there was equipment, wires, etc - that were unsightly. IMHO - the ONLY benefit to a sump - is that it adds more volume to the tank - which will tend to make it more stable overall (temperature, etc)

2. What other items, gear, equipment or gadgets do you NOT NEED to have a nice reef tank?

Most coral supplements. Except for certain corals, IME, most thrive without being fed - or they take pieces of whatever is being offered to the fish.
Colored plumbing (looks nice but function?), or PVC plumbing at all - to me flexible silicone tubing works just as well - and can be easier to take apart when you need to (though it looks nicer and more organized).
Alot of the modules that go with the apex (Does anyone NEED an ORP), etc - mainly if a product comes with it's own controller/app - thats fine with me - I can still control it, and IMO it usually works better. I see the slight advantage of everything. being controlled. by the apex but IMHO, not 'necessary'
 

UK softy bloke

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I ran my first reef tank without a sump for a long time and some of you may have as well. I also ran my first successful reef tank without a ton of gadgets and gear and had a pretty nice reef! Sumps are great because it gives you more water volume, conceals equipment and gives you more options but the fact is you don't have to have it. Today let's talk about stuff you don't have to have to keep a successful reef aquarium.

1. Have you ever had a reef tank with no sump and how did it go?

2. What other items, gear, equipment or gadgets do you NOT NEED to have a nice reef tank?



Sumpless reef tank image via @myzislow
zoanthids825-1.jpg
Never had a sump in 35 years of keeping a reef, all I have is an internal skimmer, external filter and small wave pump.
 

radiata

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(1) YES, and it was just fine.

(2) OTHER - you stand a chance of electrocuting yourself if you use glass heaters and you like to rearrange your rock work. It wouldn't be the first time it happened...
 

MnFish1

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PS - some of the answers here might be skewed - based on method of reef keeping. For example, some using Triton, or who has a 400 gallon tank would be hard pressed to 'not' have a sump. Someone with a 20 gallon - not as much need. I.e. there is no way you could get a big enough skimmer, etc etc - without a sump
 

Real

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I ran a tank with a canister filter but I suggest you use two of them and bridge them like an Amp that with make less cleaning more water and better cycling. Make sure you lights aren't to close to the water or to high.
 

MnFish1

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I ran a tank with a canister filter but I suggest you use two of them and bridge them like an Amp that with make less cleaning more water and better cycling. Make sure you lights aren't to close to the water or to high.
Interesting idea - can you make a diagram, etc - of exactly what you mean? I have an idea of what you mean - but I don't see any advantage - and perhaps a disadvantage of just 2 separate filters?

I assume you mean you have water coming into the first filter - then the output is connected to the intake of the second filter - then the output goes back to the tank? If so - this will be (IME) more cleaning (of the first filter) - and less efficient.
 
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