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

Double monti 61

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I have no sump no filter material just two small hang on back filters filled with small ceramic tubes and colonies of small tube worms and one small power head the tank is only 15 gallons and I do a two gallon water change once a week never clean the glass or vacuum the sand.
 

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Jedi1199

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SO I have 3 tanks and 3 completely different setups.

First, on my 55 mixed reef I run canister and HOB skimmer.
My 32 is a Bio_Cube AIO.
Finally my 180 is a 180 FOWLR with sump.

So the 55, which is by far the most stable system, had run on an old Rena filstar XP3 canister (350 GPH) and a Coralife 110 HOB skimmer since I set it up back around the first of the year. Last week I installed a Fluval FX6 canister (400 GPH). I did not need the extra filtration, but the Rena is discontinued, and Petsmart had the Fluval on sale for over $100 off, so I pulled the trigger. I will be moving the Rena onto the 32 this weekend I think.

The 32 is an AIO. but I have the back chamber set up as a sump. I use the manufactured carbon/floss cartridges in the top, Below that is a bag of carbon, a layer of fine filter floss and a layer of carbon filter floss. in the very bottom is rock rubble and bio-balls that I had on hand. This tank is healthy, but I have algae in there like the coming of the dawn. Despite my best efforts, I have yet to get this under control.

The 180 is a FOWLR system. I have a sump because it came with the used setup I got. Same basic setup as the 32... Water flows into a layer of floss, then 2 layers of fine floss and carbon, then rock rubble.. skimmer in next chamber and then back. I actually have a lot of wasted space in this sump. I believe it was really designed for a much smaller tank as a skimmer for a 180 will not fit into the "skimmer chamber"


OK after all of that... Here is my opinion on this topic. A sump is nice but not at all necessary. If you have one, great, if not so what!! Just based on the results of this poll 3-1 in favor of no sump says it can very much so be done!! (its just more work)

Edit: I am going to add this... Since I installed the Fluval canister (which has 6 stages of filtration) My skimmer has collected exactly ZERO in waste. It simply pumps in a ton of micro bubbles which it hasn't done in a long time. I Shut that off a few hours ago and will be watching to see if it is even needed. I suspect it does help, but is it "necessary"? We shall see.
 
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ExoS

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I am starting my first tank and its sumpless. I don't think its been a problem at all. I still have a skimmer, refugium, and filter media. Its just visible instead of hidden. So aesthetically its a minus but functionally its working just fine. My main driver for going sumpless was money to be honest. The sump would have added several hundred dollars in cost I didn't have starting out.

Here's a copy of my build thread if anyone is interested:
 

Sunny in Miami

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I have a 29 gallon reef tank with live rock and sand ,2 clown fish ,1 spotted mandarin, 1 royal gramma, a skunk cleaner shrimp and no sump. Plus I have 6 or 7 corals. The tank is over 1 year old and without a skimmer as well. I have an Aquatop CF 300 uv canister filter running with Seachem matrix some bioballs and Phosguard or Puregen carbon and sponges.This filter also has a surface skimmer that does a great job at keeping the water clear. I will say that I was really frustrated in the beginning with the green hair algae and the cyano later on. So I purchased a nano skimmer thinking it would help with the cyano and had it running for 1 week but being my tank has a lot of surface evaporation due to my home airconditioner, the skimmer was just taking out more water than I could manage (no ATO) . So I took it out. I am happy at this time to say that everything is under control with 25 % weekly water changes. I test my water weekly with Salifert tests but I will say that you really don't need a sump or skimmer. Yes ,it is only a small tank but I imagine it can be done with a larger one which I am contemplating in the near future.
 

JRAD

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I currently run a sumpless reef with minimal equipment. Only uses 5 plugs (Light, MP10, Tunze 9004, Inkbird, Doser).

It’s actually an Innovative Marine 25 Lagoon that I ripped the back chamber out of.
How hard was it to rip that out? Thinking of doing with IM 30. Not happy with all the detritus that accumulates!
 

nicksreefs

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To be honest I’ve run all my tanks sumpless! Simply run a canister with pimped media a UV steriliser air pump and power head. Never had any problems - thinking about an auto doser as I want to go on holiday when the madness ends other wise no issues!
 

-XENOMORPH-

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If I had, had room, I would have gotten the IM sr-80. Aio in back. No sump.
But I only had one spot to put a new tank and ended up with a sumped tank. W.Box X90. Both styles work. Gadget wise.... ??? I have learned to dislike HOB's and anything other than lights up top. I do not want to see equipment if possible. I want it hidden. I think picking one item. I don't "NEED".... I'll Say a skimmer is not mandatory. But.... i use one because of the nasty junk it pulls out of the water. I don't have a bunch of techno gadgets. My sump is.. 2 heaters, a/c pump, and skimmer. Sometimes I turn off the skimmer for a day. I don't want to completely strip the water. I completely understand a lot of the posts with the gadgets. They are truly beautiful and probably worth it. I get it. I do. I just don't want it. Too many chords. Control board. More money. Hahahahha. Hahhaha. To each his or her own.
 

sghera64

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The trend on this thread seems to be smaller tanks run fine with out a sump. I don't see a lot of large systems with out one. That last observation is probably due to the price-point. Those with the money to install and stock a large system either want to stick to contemporary methods or/and have the money to add anything that might be an extra convenience (e.g. Apex).

One thing I'm learning from this for those of us who do have sumps: Your sump might not need as much flow through it as we used to think. If systems can run with no sump, then sumped systems can likely work just fine with merely a 10% system passthrough per hour.

I like having a sump for:
  1. Harboring pod population
  2. Macro algae
  3. Filter socks
  4. A very flexible area to plumb in things like Ca reactor, CO2 reactor
  5. Hiding heaters
  6. A natural low point for detritus to settle
  7. A cross-connector to multiple tanks on a single system
  8. More "invisible" surface area for sand, rock, etc.
In the 1960's Lee Chin Eng kept reef tanks with no heater, lights or filtration. But daily natural sea water changes were all that was needed. So, I'm not surprised that with good lighting, surface area, synthetic sea salt and recirculation, small tanks can do just fine sumpless. If they run into trouble, a few 30% water changes should be all they need to get back on track.
 

Homebrewer

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65 G Oceanic running for 15 years on a canister only. Tried a few brands, my favorite is the PennPlax Cascade. Have a top-line ReefOctopus HOB skimmer and if I could only have one, I’d probably pick the skimmer.

As it stands though the combo keeps my water crystal clear and my nutrients ultra-low (which is preferred for me). Have no problem with growth of LPS and most softies, but I do struggle a bit with zoas, though I do have a few that thrive.

Started reefing this way because I didn’t know much about sumps when I started and I was afraid of a flood while one the third floor of a condo. Now in a single-family home, my next tank will definitely have a sump, mainly for appearances (i.e. keeping equipment out of the display).
 

Jgerm

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My first tank was a 30g tall with a canister filter. With regular water changes and ceramic filter media I had a healthy reef of softies and a frogspawn. Ran it for 2yrs before jumping to a 75g oceanic with a sump. That was back in the late 90s. Was a fantastic learning foundation.
 

DeniseAndy

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You can certainly have a reef without a sump. I have kept a few just fine. My 6g does not have on only a HOB filter. The key is maintenance if you do not have a sump to filter out stuff.
Now, I prefer a sump as this is where you can hide all that equipment you do not need if you do large water changes or dosing. :)
I hate heaters in my main tank. These I always place in HOB if possible or obviously the sump.

Now what other equipment is good. I really think it will depend on animals kept and maintenance schedule. Then, of course, what you in reality will actually do. heehee

I love my calcium reactor because I am lazy. Love my large protein skimmer because I am a bit lazy. Love my UAS guess what? I am lazy. Plus, I want it to be more balanced by itself without too much effort on my part. I do love a chiller to keep consistent temps.
 

Gup

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You can certainly have a reef without a sump. I have kept a few just fine. My 6g does not have on only a HOB filter. The key is maintenance if you do not have a sump to filter out stuff.
Now, I prefer a sump as this is where you can hide all that equipment you do not need if you do large water changes or dosing. :)
I hate heaters in my main tank. These I always place in HOB if possible or obviously the sump.

Now what other equipment is good. I really think it will depend on animals kept and maintenance schedule. Then, of course, what you in reality will actually do. heehee

I love my calcium reactor because I am lazy. Love my large protein skimmer because I am a bit lazy. Love my UAS guess what? I am lazy. Plus, I want it to be more balanced by itself without too much effort on my part. I do love a chiller to keep consistent temps.
I keep 2 Cobalt heaters in my sump. 2, just for security sake.
 
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