To Sump or not to Sump...

TheWackyWiz

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Hi All,

Still fiddling with what I want my filtration system to be like on my first reef tank (20g High). Right now I am running an Aquaclear 70 HOB that I modded into a refugium but I'm not wild about it. Cheato inevitably gets into the DT, I'm not really doing anything for protein skimming and I've had almost constant cloudy water (even with weekly water changes, purigen, low lighting etc.)

My question is which route should I go for additional filtration and nutrient export? Here's what I am trying to decide between.

  1. HOB overflow box intro a 10g below tank sump/fuge
    • Pros: More water volume, dedicated fuge area, additional protein skimming
    • Cons: Expensive, concerned about what happens in a power outage/siphon break
  2. HOB Fuge + Canister filter
    • Pros: Fewer additional parts, more filtration
    • Cons: Doesn't solve the chaeto in tank question, Concerned about power outage- if the power stops will a canister filter reverse siphon?
  3. HOB Fuge + HOB mechanical filtration
    • Pros: I have a bunch of HOB filters from past freshwater tanks. Fuge takes care of nutrient, HOB filter takes care of protien
    • Cons: Cluttered, additional noise, doesn't solve cheato in tank
What else should I be considering?

Thanks!
 

NeonRabbit221B

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Drill baby drill.

But to answer your other questions, HOB overflows you have several other concerns regarding if you lose siphon then you overflow the display. Canisters won't siphon because its a close loop so it can't overflow. You need to change out floss frequently. HOB fuges work just fine it just clutters display.
 
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brmreefer

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Personally, I would go with the Sump/Fuge using the overflow box. Less visible equipment and cleaner looking DT.

I started off with HOB skimmer, HOB Aquaclear 110s, and canister filter. I graduated and currently have a large sump/fuge being fed with an HOB overflow box (U-Tube style). Later when I upgrade again to an even larger system, I plan on having internal overflows because these would be ideal.

HOB overflows can work, but have plans in place to catch potential issues that could arise (mainly broken siphon). I've had my HOB on my system for over 1.5 years, paired up the return pump with an Autoaqua Smart Level Security to kill the return pump if DT's level touches the sensor.

Just a reminder, ideally an internal overflow is the safest way to go, so if that is an option go that route. Hope that helps.
 
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TheWackyWiz

TheWackyWiz

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Drill baby drill.

But to answer your other questions, HOB overflows you have several other concerns regarding if you lose siphon then you overflow the display. Canisters won't siphon because its a close loop so it can't overflow. You need to change out floss frequently. HOB fuges work just fine it just clutters display.
Thanks! My only concern is drilling a glass tank that already has fish/corals in it. Maybe the answer is just getting another tank and drilling that one?
 
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Fish man

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I ran a hob overflow with a sump on my 55g for a long time without any problems. Then I made this. Works very well. Something that does a better job of scrubbing the water like filter socks will help with the water clarity issues. I've made more then one sump using old aquariums I had. Buy some glass panes from home depot, a glass cutter and some silicon, Watch a few You tube videos and make it how you want it.
 
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Spieg

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My go-to answer is usually to get the biggest sump you can fit in the stand, but with a 20-high tank, it's probably not worth the effort. So my official recommendation would be to get a larger tank :eek: and turn the 20 gallon into a sump.
 
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TheWackyWiz

TheWackyWiz

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Here's a new thought that I'd love ya'lls take on. With a high quality canister filter, is a fuge/sump strictly necessary?

My thought is if the fuge is primarily for filtration and nutrient export (via the Cheato) and the live rock/sand are home to the nictrifying bacteria, would a canister filter be enough to manage mechanical filtration and nitrate capture?
 
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TheWackyWiz

TheWackyWiz

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I ran a hob overflow with a sump on my 55g for a long time without any problems. Then I made this. Works very well. Something that does a better job of scrubbing the water like filter socks will help with the water clarity issues. I've made more then one sump using old aquariums I had. Buy some glass panes from home depot, a glass cutter and some silicon, Watch a few You tube videos and make it how you want it.
I've been thinking about going this route to be honest, I just need to get over the aesthetic aspect.
 
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NeonRabbit221B

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Here's a new thought that I'd love ya'lls take on. With a high quality canister filter, is a fuge/sump strictly necessary?

My thought is if the fuge is primarily for filtration and nutrient export (via the Cheato) and the live rock/sand are home to the nictrifying bacteria, would a canister filter be enough to manage mechanical filtration and nitrate capture

There are a 1000 ways to run a reef tank. A sump/fuge offers a few benefits of nutrient export, additional water volume, baffles to have a precise ATO and areas to run skimmers.

Canister filters often run a fairly high flow rate which is more ideal for mechanical. Have you considered a chaeto reactor? I built one out of an old skimmer and some controllable LEDs which really reduces my N and P.
 
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Aqua Man

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None of the above! My 20 tall
D30C2C34-517C-40E0-98B0-D19D2E27803D.jpeg

hob filter, power head and heater. Done
 
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TheWackyWiz

TheWackyWiz

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There are a 1000 ways to run a reef tank. A sump/fuge offers a few benefits of nutrient export, additional water volume, baffles to have a precise ATO and areas to run skimmers.

Canister filters often run a fairly high flow rate which is more ideal for mechanical. Have you considered a chaeto reactor? I built one out of an old skimmer and some controllable LEDs which really reduces my N and P.
I haven't considered that. Do you have a walkthrough on how to build a cheato reactor I could check out?

Thanks!
 
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NeonRabbit221B

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I haven't considered that. Do you have a walkthrough on how to build a cheato reactor I could check out?

Thanks!
TBH I don't but you can search through the forum here and a cheato reactor only requires a pump, LED light strip (RGB or RGBW) and a canister body. I guess I just had a moment of creativity. You can see what I did here


Heck a used berlin classic is probably very cheap on ebay :)
 
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Aqua Man

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TheWackyWiz

TheWackyWiz

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I ran a hob overflow with a sump on my 55g for a long time without any problems. Then I made this. Works very well. Something that does a better job of scrubbing the water like filter socks will help with the water clarity issues. I've made more then one sump using old aquariums I had. Buy some glass panes from home depot, a glass cutter and some silicon, Watch a few You tube videos and make it how you want it.
I've been checking out his updated build and I think this is the direction I am going to go. Wondering if there are any directions on the length to cut each piece of PVC? I'll do some digging around in forums here.
 
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Joeg

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If we're talking about a normal rimmed 20 gal tank that's sold at Petco, I'd buy a new one and drill the hole for a low profile overflow, such as one from Modular Marine which will come with the drill bit, template, and instructions. Go slowly and let the drill to the work and you'll be surprised how easy it is....and if you crack a 20g from Petco, it's cheap to try again. Having a sump just opens up so many doors that it will always be my preference and I'd also suggest getting the biggest one you can fit in the cabinet. I went with a 20 long for my 60 cube, mostly because I wanted to keep my 10g auto top off container out of sight but you'll be surprised how quickly you may use the space in the sump. I ended up buying a FijiCube HOB fune that is hanging off my sump.

I'll also toss out another idea in case it might be of interest. FijiCube makes a kit to convert some common tank sizes into AIO tanks. With a bit of silicone you could convert a 20g tank to have back chambers where you could hide the heater, circulation pump, some filter media or skimmer plus use a chamber for a fuge.

Good luck!
 
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