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DIY FW Sump + Refugium (for fin nippers)
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jsuereth
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Joined: 22 Aug 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA

PostPosted: 2010.12.16(Thu)20:52    Post subject: DIY FW Sump + Refugium (for fin nippers) Reply with quote

We'll be moving to a larger house and I'm already researching how to upgrade my tank Smile.


I'm still researching which tank will go best in the new house, but there's the perfect room for a fish display area. What I'm thinking right now is to try to set up:

* A 55G or 46G Bowfront main display community tank
* A DIY Sump under the main display
* (Future) A 30G long 'refugium' for extra plants and fin-nippers (probably tiger barbs)

I'd like to try to set up the 55 and Sump over this winter. I'd like to set up the sump so that it could handle the filtration for, possible 85 gallons of tank water. What kind of dimensions should I be looking at for a sump?

My current plan is to pick up a 30 gallon rubber maid container and place one of those plastic shelving units. I would drill hole in the top and place the overflow from the aquarium into the top of the shelves. The top shelve I'd put some kind of sponge/mechanical filtration device. Under that would be a bunch of those scrubby pads for dishes, or maybe bioballs if I can find em pretty cheap. The last shelve I'd leave open for chemical filtration if needed, but I might need to rig up something for this. I was planning to cut out the bottom of the shelving unit to let the water flow into the rubbermaid container.

The rubbermaid container would also have a pond pump to send water back to the main display aquarium. I want to install an automatic cut-off valve if the water in the sump drops too low as well as a second automatic cut-off valve in the main tank that would turn the pump off if the overflow stops working or is clogged.

Does this plan sound like it will create a powerful enough filter to handle ~80 gallons of water? Is there anything I can do to help prevent bubbles making it into the pump area of the rubbermaid?

Thanks for any and all advice!
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Marcos Avila
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Santo Andre (Brazil)

PostPosted: 2011.01.04(Tue)15:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

The typical sump volume is 10% - 30% of the main tank volume, but what really matters will be the amount and quality of the filtration media that goes in there, and the water turnover of course. One of the major advantages of sumps is that they're very flexible and you can easily adjust the media and circulation to the particular demands of your tank & population.

From your description it seems like the bioballs would be underwater. That's not how they're meant to be set up, they're only efficient when water falls through them in open air.
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jsuereth
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Joined: 22 Aug 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, PA USA

PostPosted: 2011.01.04(Tue)21:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I was looking at making something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk6YmsjgJ4s&feature=related

Notice that the shelving unit stands pretty high and so the bioballs should be above the waterline and hopefully easy to clean since you can pull out the shelf.

I think I just described it poorly. If I were to make a DIY sump, I'd probably also have a sponge filter for the extra (backup) filtration in the return pump chamber.

I also thought having a sump would be a fun place to try out an auto-top-off/waterchange system. I'm still toying with ideas, but if our rainwater turns out to be healthy for fish, I was thinking of doing a gravity fed rainwater auto-top-off system along with a valve that will drain water from the aquarium/sump for water changes. This all of course, assumes that my plumbing experiments prove succesful. Step one is plumbing a wet bar.
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Dusko
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Joined: 13 Feb 2006
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: 2011.01.05(Wed)2:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second Marcos about the BiopBalls being above the water.
You can use this article to make a nice Wet Dry (Trickle) Filter;
http://newaquariuminformation.com/aquarium-information/aquarium-filters/wet-dry-filter.htm

Quote:
Is there anything I can do to help prevent bubbles making it into the pump area of the rubbermaid?



Look back at the wet dry filter pic in the link above and you will see a blue sponge between two glass partitions. This is to prevent detritus and bubbles to enter the return pump chamber.

Sounds fun this project of yours.
Try to photograph it and maybe contribute an article here on Aqua Hobby Smile

Friendly D
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