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FAQs About Sump/Filters Design/Engineering 11

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DSB Transition      12/5/16
Aloha Bob, I followed your tip and remove all the black cinders from the first stage of my sump.
Together with installing a GFO reactor I have gotten the phosphates down from 5 to <.25. Here's a pic of my DT, which I may keep shallow and vacuumed then install a DSB remotely.
<Very good>
Do you like the idea of a giant Rubbermaid tub DSB\Refugium as part of this system.
<Yes I do. These are MIGHTY fine products... sturdy, easy to modify, chemically inert... and cheap per volume>
Looks like Cyano keeps creeping in .
<Time going by here... Patience!>
Still no coralline with 12KDH. Using RI water now with lots of water changes. Only has come down from 14- high KDH is still a mystery.
<Time here as well>
I plan to add a few inches to my sump, regardless. In the next image you can see my current second chamber of my outdoor sump. There are some layers of cinders in there and lots of life.
<I see>
My main question is do I remove all that sand pictures in my sump, since it may have trapped phosphates- then leave a little bit to re-seed the coral sand? Or do you feel it's safe to just place new sand atop this and not stir things up too much?
<The latter is the route I'd go>
Keep in mind I have plenty of room outside to plumb in a new sump or remote DSB. Would you replace the 20gal sump with a 36-90 since I have the room?
My DT is 100g. Mahaloz!
<I would ALWAYS make sumps, refugiums, DSBs... As LARGE as possible>
Sky Kubby
<Bob Kubby>

Too view of sump.      12/5/16
This goes with my last two emails for perspective....
Sky Kubby

DSB replacement cont...      12/5/16
Here's a couple more follow up pics show the close up of the layer of black cinders in the sand bed. Remove or safe to cover with more sand?
<Safe to cover>
Also note the precarious positioning of my sump on the ledge. This is why I'm thinking of replacing it with a long larger sup against the back with a proper base. Do you agree or think this will suffice? Thanks!
<I'd replace w/ larger w/ proper base for sure. BK>
Sky Kubby

Re: DSB Transition      12/5/16
Perfect, thanks! Since I’m solar powered I’m going to gravity drain from this sump into the RubberMaid via a 2” pipe, or something, so as not to add an extra pump and possible failing system.
<You are wise here>
Or better yet, use this sump inside the (250g?) RubberMaid, as a pump return chamber! ;-)
By the way I see you replied Bob Kubby. Is this a typo, or a long-lost relative!? LOL!
<Just pulling your fins, BobF>
In Radiant Health,
Sky Kubby

HI Solar Powered Aquarium: RDSB      12/7/16
Bob, here's a pic of the washed crushed coral sand. Are you sure you'd still recommend this stuff after see the grain size? I bought a bunch of bags of this stuff.
<Yes I would; and good pix>
After reading so much more I am surprised how many people say Crushed coral sand will be a detritus trap and how many people have taken their systems down after installing such a bed.
<Mmm; yeah; well... all systems require "some" maintenance; and such beds REALLY s/b periodically (partially; like half each interval) "stirred" (shades of James Bond!), and/or vacuumed>
I could see however that the superfine particles in this cc sand would be perfect and probably settle to the bottom. Then the life in the sand would eat up the detritus, right?
<Yes; most all... depending on... foods used and amounts, circulation, relative amount of bed, biomass... You and I could formulate a model describing eh?>
I plan to have the DT drain directly into the far end of the Rubbermaid tub. Then gravity drain into my sump via a 1 1/2" pipe for a clean return.
<I'd use a 2" ID, likely two such pipes...>
My total system now is about 150 watts. So it will be slow flow in the DSB.
Here's almost what it will look:
Except the sump will be turned facing the wall. Am I on the right track here?
<Appears so>
I'm going to get bulkheads and other fittings to connect the sump and Rubbermaid now.
<Schedule 40 will be fine. No need for the extra expense of 80>
Have it drain over or drill both containers?
<Either... if there's gravity, drop distance the former>
I've read a lot and this is the best I could come up with. Any ideas on how to make no bettah?
<Not so far... just waking here though!>
<Por nada amigo. BobF>
Sky Kubby

Re: HI Solar Powered Aquarium: RDSB. Sump des; substrate/DSBs f's   12/9/16
Bob, in reference to my Rubbermaid RDSB and 20g. sump, you said:
<Either... if there's gravity, drop distance the former>
Jut to be clear- that would mean the Rubbermaid! I was planning the water entering the DSB then gravity feeding into the sump, this dropping the sump level, not the RubberMaid.
<Okay... >
Are you suggesting I plumb it the other way around? I didn’t want to suck sand into my DT.
<No; what you have in mind is fine>
Also, the test washing of the sand seems futile- it’s like 20-30 washes in a 5 gal bucket (1 bag of sand) seems to still be producing a never-ending supply of murky tan sediment.
<Likely dissolving as you go. What you've sent as a photo is fine. I'd rinse, swirl 5-10 lb.s at a time... rinse maybe a dozen times per batch... This too will clear>
Even settling overnight, it’s still cloudy. Do I want to keep some of these fines and let it settle on the bed- almost like mud?
It will be low flow in there so I could see that possibly working.
I read where you said to wash another substrate in 5# increments, I think. Is it better to wash this stuff like that, or all at once in the RubberMaid tub?
<The first here>
For the latter, give as good of rinse as possible in the RubberMaid all-at-once, then let it sit?
What about using some of those packets for clarifying the water that came in a couple bags of CaribSea sand I got?
<Mmm; you could>
The CaribSea I got for my DT was “Supernatural”, was really fine (maybe .25-.50mm). It doesn’t say on the bag or on the site whether it is silica-based or not. But it “ seems” like tiny white crystals. So did I blow it if it is silica based?
<Not necessarily... at least if "some" of the material you're using is carbonaceous... the "cinders" are practically all silicate>
Here’s the link at Petco: http://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/caribsea-super-naturals-aquarium-sand <http://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/caribsea-super-naturals-aquarium-sand> It stays on the bottom of my DT but the powerhead, if misdirected blows it everywhere. It does make a good mat and all detritus stays on top.
<No worries, redirect powerhead/s, pumps, discharges to blow horizontally along the surface; just below water level>
All good to put some of this crushed coral sand atop that to bring my DT sand bed up to “Deep” levels and keep it from stirring up too much?
<Sure; though it will be mixed in a few days, weeks... w/ coating by biofilm/s et al., most all will settle down. You'll see>
Or would that just be a detritus trap like everyone says? I know we’ve been over this before and as you say it will probably all mix together anyway but just want to make sure in this unique situation.
<You're obsessing....>
Here’s a pic of the CaribSea sand in action, and, at the end, the coral sand after about an hour of washing LOL!:
Some friends gave me some frags finally- yay!
You can see a pile of sand excavated by a common local crab. I need to get him out if I want to have a DSB in here, right!? Mahaloz!
<The crab will be fine... good to have some digging, tunneling here>
In Radiant Health,
Sky Kubby
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Re: HI Solar Powered Aquarium: RDSB      12/11/16
I'll hunt Pimpled Basked Snails in sandy tide pool areas with some meat. In "Hawaii Sea Creatures" (Hoover) it says they can kill small crabs and shrimp. But my coral banded shrimp should be good, right?
Drupes seem too predatory. If I can't find snails for my DSB am I doomed?
<Not doomed... worms, small crustaceans and much more can/will come to "do the job">
I'll keep the sea stars to the sump for detritus and remove the DSB in the sump to inoculate the Rubbermaid DSB.
I just added more crushed coral sand to my DT. Yes it's clearing up nice and fast with the bio-magnet clarifier but I have to say some of the sand chunks do seem rather large, like 1/4".
An old aquarium friend told me different sized substrate is good for growing different types of life.
<This is so>
I'm confuse why so much info in the DSB FAQs say only to use fine sand.
<Non-divers, non-studiers of bio.... perhaps sellers or stock holders of fine sand companies!>
I just stirred the front of my glass to make it look nicer i.e., different levels of sand and colors of algae. See pic.
Is this good practice, say quarterly?
I'll substitute the basaltic non-porous rocks for my calcium-based rocks when they're done curing. But are they worth keeping in my RDSB?
<Worth keeping>
Or just get rid of them? The do make good platforms to build aquascaping upon....
Lastly, about that crab... He's a common rock crab with black pincher tips. I'm finding pieces of bristle worms everywhere and think he's pinching them in half. Would this be grounds for expulsion?
<Close to it>
It seemed to coincide with when I added sand. I kept finding dead worms. Maybe the layer of sand just killed them?
<Likely a contributing factor... the crab will not be able to find, consume all>
<A hu'i hou! BobF>

Re: HI Solar Powered Aquarium: RDSB      12/11/16
I may not have mentioned that the drain line to the Rubbermaid from my DT is only 1”.
<Mmm; I don't think so; or at least very much hope I didn't miss this. "It" won't work... >
Do you still recommend that the overflow from the Rubbermaid to the sump be dual 2” bulkhead to bulkhead? Or will dual 1” suffice?
<It will not. PLEASE READ here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SystemPIX/PlumbingPix/Oneinchart.htm
and the linked files above... incl. the FAQs files, detailing the trials, travails of folks who've had too few, too small drain lines. I'd have two-two inch at a minimum>
Also, there’s a layer of sediment on everything in the DT now that the sand settled that won’t blow away swishing my hand over it. I brushed lightly- hopefully goes away over time. It’s really clinging to the hair algae making it more pronounced, though. Do you want to shy away from completely scrubbing live rock? Of is this a case that may call for it?
In Gratitude,
<I'd lightly vacuum it away; a bit every week. B>
Sky Kubby

Re: HI Solar Powered Aquarium: RDSB     12/12/16
Sure enough, as the article stated, I just calculated my flow through my 1” pipe to be 300gph. I did this by the container filling method. However I’m not experiencing the issues outlined in the link you gave me. Yes, I have a lot of noise coming from my overflow box but it’s not because the water line is rising above the box, or creating siphoning issues. The noise is because the water falls so far. It flows in flex tubing out that wall and into the sump. So it seems I don’t have an issue with restricted flow out. Perhaps that will change when I run the outflow the length of the RubberMaid to dump in at the far left side.
<Sky; mate... When, not IF this one inch line become occluded... a snail, some gravel... Do NOT trust this line>
I’m not sure what you meant by:
"<"It" won't work... > "
The RubberMaid RDSB addition or my whole system?
<The plumbing here. PLEASE send along a diagram of your whole system. The going back and forth with bits/pieces is very easy for me to make mistakes here>
If I’m just having softies and want minimum wattage from a return pump so as to not tax my solar system, will the 300gph flow suffice?
<For how large a system? I'd have several volumes changed/recirculated per hour>
Or do you just mean that to you mean to have 2” overflows from the Rubbermaid to the sump won’t work.
>.... ALL through-puts should be over-sized and redundant<
Is the idea to keep it uniform diameter throughout? Since I have 1” pipe, I thought I’d be able to proceed with two 1” bulkheads from the RubberMaid to the sump. Or do I really need to I re-plumb the stock fitting that came with my 100g tank to 2” for my RDSB to “work”.
<ALL TWO INCH is the route I'd go>
The other issue is that I probably cannot fit two 2” bulkheads on the far side of my sump which is the curved part.
<Use the flush area of the Rubbermaid>
Maybe one with silicone. I understand the need for redundancy with the second bulkhead. The RubberMaid tub needs to be pushed up flush with the house to provide room to walk on the sidewalk around it. This kind of eliminates the bulkheads to go where they are supposed to (on the flat front and back sides).
<I'd sacrifice the sidewalk space>
I was hoping to plumb from the far R side, opposite to where the inflow would be on the L, to create a flow of current accrues the DSB.
<..... this makes no sense. Id est, I have no idea what you're referring to>B
Maybe I shouldn’t be hung up on this though the concept makes sense. I can re-plumb with 2” for better flow, but I wanted to make sure we were on the same page as I’m not shooting for growing SPS in high flow system. Of course, that would be cool if you think I could still manage with my little LEDs and supplemental natural sunlight.
Of course in the Rubbermaid is a different story. It get Full sunlight so I could probably grow some SPS there. But we already talked about this and you said it would be good as low flow. Tanks.
In Radiant Health,
Sky Kubby

Remote DSB About to Integrate!      12/23/16
Aloha Bob and Crew, Here’s the final plumbing on my remote DSB, and hopefully my final questions:
1. I’m waiting for the water cloudiness to go away and I will hook up the line where the blue shut-ff valve is. Better to T the valve if I need to remove the RDSB for any reason, diverting the flow directly to the sump?
<.... Sky, mate... I've asked you to make, send along a diagram... I really can't tell clearly from your pix OR descriptions what you're referring to. I do agree however with plumbing that allows turning off elements, isolating them>
2. I only have one drain now, gravity feeding into the sump (below the long pipe). I will add another as you recommended. Is there anything else I should do before adding this to my display loop? Besides water parameters being the same?
<... can't tell from here, this>
I got some Ogo Limu and put it in a sump. It was from the store. Is it dead or will it grow?
<Hopefully the latter!>
If not, I contacted NELHA but they didn’t know Gerald. Do you have a direct contact?
<It's been years... Heslinga doesn't deal much with the public; but he has a website: IPSF.com (I better check this; yeah, it's good) Would be GREAT if he had more liking for visits; for you to get on by there at NELHA and have a chat>
My Live Rock is almost done curing. I cured in full light for part of the day, like you suggested and it definitely grew algae. Can I give it a good scrub before I put it in the display or will it kill off too much bacteria?
<I'd leave the algae on it>
Looping back to my RDSB question: Since the sump will be in full sun for part of the day (when it’s not raining) I could have some major temp swings. Do I need to be worried about this? Am I going to need a shade cloth over it?
<I would definitely shade it; maybe even from the rain... temp. wise, August and September can be brutal on the W. side, even at moderate elevation>
Finally, here’s some pics of my overflow system so you can see how the whole system is plumbed. These two pipes flow in and out of the two pipes coming out of the wall in the first pic.
<? Can't make out>
The floss, I just re-added because I couldn’t get rid of the gurgling noise without it. Change that out monthly, you think?
<As frequently as it's dirty... maybe every week... better to get/use sections of foam that you can rinse, dry, re-use>
I also have a sponge filter in there next to the overflow box which was sold to me by the same guy who suggested I use cinders in my sump. I don’t see too many reefers using those- is it time to let that one go?
<I would hold onto it... for a few reasons; as long as it's not a major contributor to NO3 build-up>
<Cheers! BobF>
In Radiant Health,
Sky Kubby

Re: Remote DSB About to Integrate!      12/23/16
Okay Bob, here’s diagrams over images to be more clear.
<VERY nice; but didn't get the SumpDiagram... you sent two copies of the OutsideWallDiag.>
Water is still a little cloudy but I’m ready to hook up the line from the DT to the DSB.
I’m a little worried about the temp swings and another algae bloom but trusting this is the best course for overall stability. It will be nice to get some yellow tangs in there to eat the algae in be beautiful, plus I can expand LR, frags, etc.
<Yes; and there are friends (Pablo Tepoot down in S. FLA comes to mind) who do situate their filtration et al. outside; tied in w/ plumbing to the main/display inside their homes....>
I left the sponge in the middle of the sump so it may pick up particulate and so as not to let the Limu through to the return. There’s a big space in the middle of the sump if I remove the sponge- about 2-3 inches that would definitely let stuff through.
<I see>
Any last minute suggestions before I hook it up?
<None really. I'd fire it all up and see>
The green line here should actually be blue- coming from the outside, however blue on blue wouldn’t show up well.
<All right>
The overflow from the DSB gravity feeds into the sump.
<I see this; now....>
In Radiant Health,
<And you, BobF>
Sky Kubby
Re: Remote DSB About to Integrate!
Sky! The upload brought up all three diag.s when refreshed. Thank you again. B

Re: Hawaii 150G Remote DSB      12/23/16
Bob, I can see now with a test run that, it may be best to use the overflow line out from the Rubbermaid to the sump as an INFLOW from the DT. That will make better gravity flow from the DT as well as shorten the distance. It’s the highest portion on the RubberMaid. If I go up and over the Rubbermaid I’m fighting gravity a s depicted in the picture/diagrams I sent in the last email.
<Ahh! Again, drawing all this out ahead of actual construction (with elevations) would likely have alerted you (anyone) to this issue>
Then I can boost the diameter of the overflow pipe <s>
to 2”, come into the Rubbermaid a couple inches below the existing overflow, but on the apposing side (also the wall side), then plumb the 2” pipe in and up at an angel, so there’s better suck/draw/siphon.
<.... you're soon to know... AND realize the value of over-sizing (esp. draining) plumbing and having redundant lines....>
Then I’ll drill another 2”bulkhead into the sump at water level to deliver the flow into the sump. Sound like a better idea?
<Try it and see... DO know that when the system is up and going, the "transit volume" is going to "stack up" in the tank, and the volume be lowered in the supply (Rubbermaid)... You WILL NEED to be careful re NOT overfilling the Rubbermaid...>
The part that I cant figure out is how I would do two 2” pipes since I only have the one side of the Rubbermaid. Did you say before I could T them into one or is that a bad idea?
<Better to run separately; yes; and at slightly different levels... Going forward, and had we had this conversation from the beginning/planning phase/s, I would have STRONGLY encouraged you to do most of your circulation INSIDE the main tank itself... Too much risk in relying on outside gear IME>
Thanks and Happy Solstice/Holidays.
In Radiant Health,
<And you Sky. BobF>
Sky Kubby

HI Solar Powered Aquarium: RDSB      12/7/16
Bob, here's a pic of the washed crushed coral sand. Are you sure you'd still recommend this stuff after see the grain size? I bought a bunch of bags of this stuff.
<Yes I would; and good pix>
After reading so much more I am surprised how many people say Crushed coral sand will be a detritus trap and how many people have taken their systems down after installing such a bed.
<Mmm; yeah; well... all systems require "some" maintenance; and such beds REALLY s/b periodically (partially; like half each interval) "stirred" (shades of James Bond!), and/or vacuumed>
I could see however that the superfine particles in this cc sand would be perfect and probably settle to the bottom. Then the life in the sand would eat up the detritus, right?
<Yes; most all... depending on... foods used and amounts, circulation, relative amount of bed, biomass... You and I could formulate a model describing eh?>
I plan to have the DT drain directly into the far end of the Rubbermaid tub. Then gravity drain into my sump via a 1 1/2" pipe for a clean return.
<I'd use a 2" ID, likely two such pipes...>
My total system now is about 150 watts. So it will be slow flow in the DSB.
Here's almost what it will look:
Except the sump will be turned facing the wall. Am I on the right track here?
<Appears so>
I'm going to get bulkheads and other fittings to connect the sump and Rubbermaid now.
<Schedule 40 will be fine. No need for the extra expense of 80>
Have it drain over or drill both containers?
<Either... if there's gravity, drop distance the former>
I've read a lot and this is the best I could come up with. Any ideas on how to make no bettah?
<Not so far... just waking here though!>
<Por nada amigo. BobF>
Sky Kubby

Re: HI Solar Powered Aquarium: RDSB     12/10/16
Just made another donation! ;-) Keep up the great work!
<Thank you>
Okay, okay so I may be obsessing a little bit, but that crushed coral sand was so cloudy I wanted to make sure we got this right. Just a few more points to clarify and I will be on with my RDSB addition. Here’s two scenarios for plumbing. Please tell me what you believe to be most advantageous:
1. Drain from the DT to the far end of the Rubbermaid, into a capped PVC with holes drilled to diffuse bubbles. The water flow across the bed, with two 2” pipes skimming the surface at the other end, T’d into one pipe, draining into the Sump- dropping onto the first chamber creating aeration and tumbling Limu. No filter bag to keep life hopefully making it back to the DT. Here I could drop the pipe in, or plum horizontally bulkhead to bulkhead. I think you said this doesn’t matter. But please clarify if what you said two 2” pipes, do you mean separately, going into two bulkheads or two T’d into one as just described?
<I'd run the two independently... So many times that one pipe has become occluded, overwhelmed for what ever reason>
2. Or I plumb a pipe from existing bottom 1 1/4 drain bulkhead on the bottom of the Rubbermaid over and up to the middle, just above the DSB, where I’d cover with live rock so all flow passed by it. In this case, I would cut out the length of the run of pipe from the DT down from 8 feet or so to about 2 feet, if that is even significant.
<I'd go w/ plan 1.>
Lastly, do I remove the sponge dividing the sump, to allow copepods and such to make it back to my return pump?
<Yes I would>
Good to hear I don’t need to take my crab out (I've tried twice!). I think it’s easier to catch in the wild because more rocky. But in my tank he seems to just disappear under the sand. The only thing I was worried about with him was making my aquascape tumble from tunneling. Guess it would be good to prop rocks up on cut out PVC rounds stood on end, then?
Two more animal-related questions: Since I can’t order any of the snails mentioned that are good for DSB. out here in Hawaii, then what Hawaiian snails can I collect from a round here if any and from where?
<Yes... I do have some ref.s here re Gastropods of HI.... I would look for, hunt some that were out by night... Small/ish; that are apparent burrowers>
I know there are two different sand stars that are good and bad. How about the commons that are under just about every rock out here. Good or bad?
<They're predaceous; but if kept in the sump should be fine>
Seems like they’d be good under the rocks to eat up detritus. Just making sure these aren’t the “Sand-sifting stars”.
<They are not... the blackish ones most everywhere...>
This brings up the controversy that some people think there should be absolutely no stirring of the DSB. It makes sense that little bits at a time are fine. After all, it’s all about balance, right? But if you added a bunch of sand sifting creatures to a toxic unkempt system, that’s when you could have trouble. I think that’s where people get hung up on shying away from DSB, can I get and AMEN Bruddah!? ;-) MAHALOZ!!
In Radiant Health,
<I'd stir half every maintenance cycle... with a large wooden dowel; and even vacuum occasionally. Bob Fenner>
Sky Kubby

Questions about Sumps and glass tank seams and chips      10/11/16
Dear WWM Crew,
<Hit it Eddie>
It’s me again, and I have a lot more questions to ask you. The test fill went great. The tank and the stand did fine. I’m still working on the siding for the stand, so in the meantime, I’m trying to finalize my filtration plans. The plan all along has been to have a sump and a refugium/DSB, but I had to wait until the stand was built so I could know exactly how much room I would have.
<I see>
The 75 gallon tank has the typical overflow with the 1” drain and ¾” return.
<Ugh; a one-inch through-put is too small... DO plan on doing most all your water (re)circulation inside the main tank... with submersible pumps, powerheads...>
However, I intend to use both holes for drains and run the return over the back of the tank.
<Mmm; well, the 3/4 inch won't do much good. See HERE:
The plan is for the drains to empty into the skimmer chamber of the sump.
<Mmm... better later... in a chamber that has about constant level>

The skimmer is an Aqua C EV-180. Then there will be the typical baffles to the other chamber of the sump that will have the return pump. Also in this chamber will be a power head that will pump water to the DSB/Refugium, and the water will then gravity feed from there back to the return pump chamber of the sump. That’s the general plan. Now to the specifics and the questions . . .
I have had a difficult time finding two containers that will fit together in the stand to use for the sump and the DSB/Refugium. I know I can use either smaller tanks or plastic storage containers. For cost reasons the plan was to use storage containers (trying to do this on a budget), but I can’t seem to find the right size.
<Mmm; even online? Container Store, Amazon...?>
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I went by a LFS in a nearby city (hour and a half away) that was going out of business. They had a stack of 20 gallon glass display tanks that they were selling for $5 each. They were each drilled with a 1” bulkhead about ¾ of the way up the back, and were painted blue on all three sides. Because they were so inexpensive, I picked one up, thinking it might work really well for the DSB/Refugium—since it was already drilled I thought I could use this throughput for the gravity feed back to the sump. I took it home and put it in the stand and measured the remaining space for the sump.
Then I made a vain search for a plastic container that would fit with the 20 gallon tank, but couldn’t find one. That left me limited to using a 10 gallon aquarium for the sump.
<Too small; I'd use the 20 for the sump, the ten for the 'fuge>

(The space is too small for a 20 Gallon. Is there a common 15 gallon size? I’ve never seen one.)
<Oh yes; 24" X 12" X 12" if memory serves>
I happened to have an old 10 gallon that might work (see below), and if it doesn’t they are not expensive. So the plan is now to put baffles in the 10 gallon dividing it into two chambers. The water drains into the skimmer chamber and flows through the baffles to the return chamber. In the return chamber are two pumps—the Mag 7 pump
May well overdrive your over-flows.... Again... I would NOT drive this much water through.... IF one of the too-puny overflows becomes occluded... water on the floor>
which will return the water to the display, and a power head which will pump water to the 20 gallon DSB/refugium. From there the water will gravity feed to the return chamber through the 1” drain. To make this work I will have to build a platform to elevate the 20 gallon tank several inches, but I have plenty of vertical room in the stand.
So, now here are the issues/questions:
1. I am test filling the 20 gallon tank, and there are some bubbles in the seams (see pictures
—these are from the two front corners. The back corners also have bubbles, but not quite as many). I have no idea how old the tank is or how long it was used as a sales tank by the LFS. In my purpose it will not be full at any time—only up to the drain, so about ¾ full—but it will contain a 5” DSB and perhaps some live rock. In your estimation is it safe to use for this purpose? I can continue to test fill for as long as necessary. Also, in test filling it I have filled it over the bulkhead (by turning the elbow fittings up I have filled it a couple of inches higher than it will be in normal use). So it has a couple of inches more water in it now than it will have normally.
<I wouldn't be concerned w/ these air bubbles>
2. If the 20 gallon tank is safe to use, what GPH should I look for in the power head to feed the water to it?
<Small; as in 3-4 turns per hour>
3. In regard to the idea to use a 10 gallon tank for the sump, will this be large enough to handle the amount of flow and excess water in a power loss?
<Not likely NO. For SURE you want to "test" here... FILL the tanks up, turn on the pump/s and then turn them off... see how much water "runs down hill", MARK the sump as to MAXIMUM depth (with a permanent marker, tape) and DO NOT fill it any more than this>

I know the 1/3 display tank size rule for sumps, but I am counting the 20 gallon DSB/Refugium too, so that puts me at 30 Gallons.
<Mate; ALL the water above the overflow of the main tank PLUS refugium will have to be accommodated in the SUMP. USE the twenty or keep looking. You've configured a disaster in the making here>
Also, I am going to put a valve on the return line so that I can throttle back the return pump if necessary.
<Not a good idea really. Just get/use the size (pressure, flow) pump that will be on full all the time>
Most circulation will be accomplished through circulation power heads in the display.
<Ah, good>
4. If a 10 gallon tank will work, how much minimum space needs to be between the baffles?
<About... Oh, see this below. Yes to gaps that allow getting a siphon, cleaning tools into>
I did a WWM search and found somewhere that someone put 1.5” to 2” between baffles. To fit the skimmer in the sump I need less than 3” between the baffles, but the EV-180 can be put outside the sump if necessary. I have space behind the sump, just not lengthwise.
<I'd place this IN the sump for sure>
5. Finally, the 10 gallon tank I have has a small chip in the glass (see picture). It is a seashell shape with no cracks, but it is at the very bottom of front panel on the edge. Under normal operation, it will be half-full or so. Is it safe to use for this purpose, or should I pick up another 10 gallon tank?
<I'd at least fill in the chipped area with Silastic. Won't help strength-wise, but will save someone from a nasty cut>
Thank you SO MUCH for continually answering my questions. I don’t want to be a pest, but I don’t really have many other people to ask for advice.
<We're happy to assist your efforts>
I live in a small South Alabama town, and I know of no one else here who is into saltwater aquaria.
<Perhaps a posting on CraigsList? Starting a "Meet Up" group in your area....? Easy, fun to do>
I have a friend who owns a LFS, but he is almost 2 hours away. I trust your judgment. I have CMA and have read it twice. I read WWM FAQs constantly. Yet often my questions are so specific I feel I need to consult the experts. I just hope that it’s not TOO often.
Thanks again,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Questions about Sumps and glass tank seams and chips      10/12/16
Hi Bob,
<Hey Ed>
Thank you so much for your answers. I’ve never done a drilled tank with a sump before so I have no practical experience at all—just what I’ve read or seen looking under display tanks at LFS’s.
<Better, best to read... than trial and many errors>
So, I’m kind of flying blind—especially when it comes to what happens when the power goes out. As the expression goes, that’s why I asked. You said some things I thought you would say, and some things I didn’t expect. Either way I’m grateful, but I also have some confusion, some clarifications, and some more questions.
First of all, I’m abandoning the 10 gallon sump idea. I don’t want to cut it too close, which is why I asked in the first place. It seemed too small to me.
However, one thing that you said that confused me is that the sump has to hold all the water above the overflow of the main tank PLUS the refugium.
<It does mate... think... what happens when the power goes out, or the main/sump pump stops>
The 20 gallon tank I was thinking of using as the DSB/refugium has a one inch drain in the side near the top (a couple of inches down). I hadn’t anticipated a lot of back flow from it because if the power head supplying it was three or four turns per hour (60 to 80 gallons per hour in this case), wouldn’t that keep the water level pretty close to the level of the drain, and thus not add much to the sump?
<.... you can calculate this for all surface areas... or just try it in real time>
I have tried to find plastic containers online, but the problem is the listed dimensions on the website for them are for the outside rim, not the area of the bottom (usually a good bit smaller). Whether I’m looking for a sump or a refugium I need to know the area of the bottom so that I can know whether I’ll have room for my pumps and skimmer (in the case of the sump) and so that I can have as large of a DSB as I can (in the case of the refugium). I want to be able to see the container first hand so that I can put a tape measure to it and know what I’m dealing with.
<Meh! Life's a series of compromises... the slope isn't all that great on such containers. Set the ten sideways on top of the right of the twenty...>
You suggested using the 20 gallon as the sump. The problem that I see with this is the 1” drain hole. This drain hole will limit the amount of water it can hold as a sump, unless I plug it. How would I go about plugging it?
<Silicone and a bit of plastic sheet or glass>
I have another option for the sump that I didn’t mention before. I have an old acrylic wet/dry that is 23.5” X 10” X16” (16 gallons or so). Would it be big enough to be a sump?
<Maybe... if very slow flow>
If I use this W/D, I can’t use the 20 Gallon for the DSB/refugium too, because it is a half inch too long (Don’t you just hate it when that happens!). If I go with this option, I’ll probably try to find the biggest plastic container that I can fit into the space and use it for the DSB/refugium. Regarding that possible set up:
1. Option 1 would be drilling the W/D and gravity feeding into the DSB/refugium and then putting the return pump in the DSB/refugium container (basically a straight line—W/D with Skimmer, gravity feeding into DSB/refugium container, flowing through it to the return pump—walled off with baffles or similar). That wouldn’t leave a lot of space for the DSB.
2. Option 2 would be drilling the plastic container and going with a power head in the sump to pump water into the DSB/refugium and then gravity feeding it back into the sump. Question/concern with this option is can you drill a plastic container and use a bulkhead fitting?
<Most, yes. NEED two gaskets, Silastic and tightening the nut just so>
The slanted sides and softer material would seem to make this difficult. I prefer option 2, but I wasn’t sure about putting a bulkhead in a plastic container.
<Have done so many times>
I’m also confused in regard to what you said about the Mag 7 pump. Reason being, when I was considering buying the used pump I emailed you with some questions about it, and you OK’d me using it in the way I described. Here is the text of that email (I highlighted the pertinent part).
-------- Original Message --------
From: "Eddie
Sent: Saturday, February 14, 2015 5:45 PM
To: crew@WetWebMedia.com
Subject: Re: Pondmaster Mag Drive Pump

Hi Bob,
Thank you for your answer. I picked up some good stainless screws for the pump, but now I have another question about it. In the last email I told you that the pump was a Pondmaster Mag Drive 700. I wasn't 100% certain of that since the label on the side was missing. The guy told me it was a Mag 7, but I wanted to be sure. So I did a couple of tests, and now I'm confused. In the first test I used a two foot section of 3/4" (ID) PVC with an elbow and a 6 inch section of Loc-line at the top. With this set up I filled a 5 gallon bucket in about 40 seconds.
By my calculations this is around 450 GPH. I'm a little new to figuring out head pressure, but after reading a lot of plumbing FAQ's on WWM I think I had around 3 feet of head on this set up. For the second test I used a five foot section of 3/4" (ID) PVC with an elbow at the top (no loc-line this time). With this set up I filled up a 5 gallon bucket in about 51 seconds. By my calculations this is around 350 GPH. I think this set up had about 6 feet of head pressure. I
looked up the head/GPH chart for the Pondmaster series on the internet. At 3 feet of head it a Pondmaster 700 should get 500 GPH, but I only got 450 GPH.
<Aye ya; you're a sharp one... this is close>
At 6 feet of head pressure, it should have get 400, but I got only 350 GPH. Yet, it cannot be a Pondmaster 500. They are the same physical size (according to the specs I looked up), but at 3 feet of head a 500 gets about 375, and at 6 feet of head it gets about 175 GPH. It's got to be a 700.
So, here are my questions . . .
1. Am I figuring the head pressure right?
<Apparently so>
2. Is it just not running at optimum level? Could this be because of age?
(It's used, but I'm not sure for how long)
I got this pump to use with my Aqua C EV-180. If it's not putting out a full 700 GPH though, I don't want to use it for that. I might instead use it for my return pump. Let me give you a few details on my planned set up in that regard. I have a 75 gallon tank (factory drilled with 1" drain & 3/4" return & overflow). I'm not going to drill additional holes. After a
lot of research of WWM plumbing FAQ's, I had decided to use both of these holes for drains and limit my flow to between 300 and 350 GPH (and make up for the rest of what I need through power heads). I haven't figured out all
the plumbing details yet, because I'm still in the planning stages and haven't gotten my stand finished yet, but I know I'll have about 5 to 5 1/2 feet of vertical distance from the sump to the top of the tank for the (over the side) return. I'll have a little bit more head than that because I'll have to move to a little the side to get out from under the tank to go over
the side for the return. I'm not sure how much additional head that will be. If I use this pump, I know that at 6 feet of head it does around 350 GPH. If I use much more than 6 feet of head through my eventual plumbing set up, then it will (likely) get down to or below 300 GPH. Would that be enough flow through a sump/refugium combo?
<Yes; assuredly>
<< More than enough>>
Would I be better off with a more powerful pump (say a new Mag 7) and use a valve to throttle it down if need be?
<I'd stick with/use what you have>
I'm not trying to put the cart before the horse. I'm trying to figure out if I want the pump or not. The guy gave it to me to test, but I haven't paid for it yet. I can give it back to him. I'd like to use it, because it means considerable savings over new one, but if I can't use it for the skimmer or the return, then I might as well give it back to him.
Sorry about the length of this email. Thanks so much for all you do for us
in this hobby.
<You're fine w/ this pump. Bob Fenner>
I had read the article on the 1” drain before (and all the FAQs)—after I bought the tank, of course—and that’s why I had decided to use the return hole as an additional drain and make sure that I had around 300 GPH after figuring out the head pressure. I’m going to have a ball valve above the return pump anyway (to make it easier to remove it if necessary) and I will test the flow before filling the aquarium. IF I am too much over 300 then I will throttle it down a little bit. Is that plan feasible, because I really don’t want to buy another pump at this point?
<<Depends on the sump/.... you do NOT want the transit volume to OVERFLOW the sump>>
So, counting the text of the previous email pasted in, this may be the longest email I have ever sent WWM. Is there a length record?
<<Oh, you're WAAAAY short of this>>
Thanks so much for your help, and for clearing up all my confusion. Y’all are wonderful!
Thanks so much,
<Do you understand here Eddie? BobF>
Re: Questions about Sumps and glass tank seams and chips      10/12/16

Hi Bob,
I have come to understanding (I think) thanks to your patient help. I guess I’ll never REALLY understand until I see it “in action”, but I’m a lot closer than I was.
<Ah good>
The more water you push with the pump (the more GPH), the more water you will have above the level of the drain (and standpipe), and all that’s got to go somewhere if the pump stops working (power outage),
so you need a big enough sump to catch it all (or to use a much smaller pump or bigger drain). And having a longer return line (which lowers the GPH due to the head pressure) ALSO means more water in those lines that will back flow.
So, based on that realization here are the options going forward:
1. Plug and use the 20 gallon tank for the sump. Then I will find as large of a plastic container as I can for the DSB/refugium and put a drain in it & feed it with a powerhead as before.
Would this be a large enough sump if I keep my flow near 300 GPH?
<Mmm; maybe... again, have to actually try out...>
2. Try to find an even bigger tank or container to use as an “all-in-one” sump/DSB/Refugium. It’s hard to find a plastic container that is long enough and still narrow enough, but if I can find a 29 or 30 gallon tank for a reasonable price, then I will get it and divide it up into chambers. I would lose the advantage of the completely separate refugium this way, but I would gain a good bit of extra space to “catch” the falling water. Would this be a better option than #1?
<IF the sump, fuge can't be easily fit in the stand as one piece, better to use two>
If I go with option 2, I can still plug and use the 20 gallon as a quarantine tank—so it won’t be a wasted purchase. To plug the hole should the glass/plastic go on the inside or outside (I would think inside)? How much bigger than the hole should it be?
<The inside; about twice the size of the hole>
Thanks for being so patient with me (and for correcting me again if I still don’t understand.
<Clarity is pleasurable for all of us. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Questions about Sumps and glass tank seams and chips       10/13/16

Hi Bob,
I still have one little bit of confusion. Could you please clarify what you mean in your answer regarding option two: “IF the sump, fuge can't be easily fit in the stand as one piece, better to use two.”
<Fit one (the larger) in the stand first, the other (smaller) on top of the first>
Re: Questions about Sumps and glass tank seams and chips       10/13/16

By building a shelf for the smaller one to sit on or by putting it right on top of the other one? It could hold the weight of the sand and the water?
<It should be; yes>
My stand’s front/center 2x4 is removable.
<Ahh! Great>
I can get a container or aquarium in there that is up to 39” X 16” or even longer if it is less than 12” wide. So if I can fit a 29 or 30 gallon tank in there, it would be better to go with one?
<The bigger the better. T'were it me/mine, I'd be making the sump... from glass/Silastic or acrylic. Not hard to do; and w/ a bit of shopping, not expensive. B> 

Re: Questions about Sumps and glass tank seams and chips. And sump/fuge design f'    11/5/16
Hi Bob,
<Hey Eddie>
I’m back with what I hope will be my last ever silicon/seam question. After our previous exchange about my sump plans, I decided to scrap the plans for separate vessels for the sump and refugium and look for as large a container as I could fit to make into a combo of the two.
<Good; this is what I would do>
I looked around and found a used 30 gallon (36x12x16 approximately) for next to nothing. I had to drive almost two hours to get it, but that’s no big deal. Anyway, the plan is to make this tank my sump with some type of three chamber configuration (skimmer, pump, DSB/refugium). I’m still researching the details on how I want to arrange that part.
<Just saw a really neat new (to me) weir design for sumps et al. aquariums... on Facebook... A sloped bottom to allow easier, greater flow...>
I had them fill the tank when I bought it to make sure it didn’t leak, but in the bright sunlight I didn’t notice some bubbles in the seam at the bottom on the rear left of the tank.
<Some?! Wow; I'll say!>
The section in the pictures runs about 3 to 4 inches up from the bottom frame.
<Wish these were up near the top instead>
I went through the seam FAQs again the last few days and found some that were similar, but I also know that the size of the tank factors in as well as the fact that I’m planning on using it for a sump and 95% of the time it will be around half full.
It looks to me like a bad silicon job (you may can see the excess silicon sticking out between the plates in the picture), but if so it is just on this back corner. The rest of the seams look really good.
The first picture is of the tank full. The second picture is of the tank empty. As you can see there is no observable change.
I kept it full for nearly 72 hours without any changes. Please tell me that this tank is safe to use for a sump.
<Yes; I would use it for such a purpose>
I will make sure that the side with the bubbles is used for the shallower end of the sump (just in case). If it is not safe, can I possibly repair it in some way without resealing it.
<Mmm; not really... or not what I would do. One COULD put/Silicone strips (two or so inches) of glass over the bad corners; overlapping the glass there... on the outside of the tank. I would just use it as is>
Perhaps by somehow putting extra glass around this corner to help support it.
<Oh! Yes; the same idea likely>
Thanks as always for all your help. I would be lost without the kind help of WWM.
<Glad to share with you; aid your efforts. Bob Fenner>


diy sump design        5/17/16
I was hoping you would take the time to look at a sump design I am thinking of replicating from the video in the link provided?
180 gallon freshwater tank with refugium setup part 1 EDIT: To answer the comment below I created the following video; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYczMcW9V-o  Part... 
I've forwarded the video to where the sump is displayed for convenience. I do like the idea of the fluidized moving sand filter in the first chamber.
Your thoughts on this?
<I like it too. I do agree w/ the commentator that the sloping forward wall should be steeper... and I'd look around for other media than sharp silica sand... See WWM re such fluidized beds>
Actually i like the entire setup with the exception of the gravel in the second chamber. I feel it would be hard as far as maintenance is concerned.
Is there anything you personally would consider to use here instead?
<Heeeee! All sorts. And archived on WWM. See Refugium Design FAQs files>
My other concern is the water level in the refugium after exiting the baffles. I feel the water level is somewhat high. Is there a way to reduce this?
<Yes; most practically by making the sump/refugium MUCH larger... I have a real concern here.... make that surety, that if/when the (1,200 gph) pump turns off, water is going to hit the floor>
or at least plain it out?
<Try WWM, reading. Bob Fenner>
diy sump design        5/17/16

I apologize I did not tell you I would be utilizing this design for a reef tank in my previous email. It will be for a 150 gallon reef tank with either a 40 gallon or 55 gallon sump.
<No diff. for marine or fresh, but glad to read of the relative size of the tank, sump. BobF>

A problem with a sump      12/29/14
Hi Crew
Hope your festive season has been great. I need some help. i have just bought a 2m tank plus a sump. Once I set it up and started running the pump, I noticed the return to the sump, is not sufficient so the water in the sump drops to a level where the pump in the last compartment in the sump is exposed to air.
<Far too common an issue... pump too large for sump, for overflow line/s>
How can I fix this problem?
<A few options... replace the pump w/ one of smaller flow (add circulation in-tank), increase the size of the sump, increase the number and/or diameter of overflow lines>

I have thought about changing the size of the pump within the sump to a smaller one.
The other possible solution I have looked at is some kind of overflow box, as there doesn't appear to be any safe way of increasing the diameter of the return to the sump.
<Often entails re-drilling...>
Where I live we have very erratic electricity supplies and I am concerned that if I use an over flow box this may lead to a flooded living area.
<Also a typical issue>
Are there different types of overflow box?
<Several; and like all the rest above, gone over and over (archived) on WWM>
I really do not have much experience with them so would appreciate any help or advice you could give me regarding them, or
dealing with the initial problem.
<Do you need help learning to use the search tool, indices on WWM? Bob Fenner> 
Re: A problem with a sump     /Neale      12/29/14

Hi Bob
Maybe I do need help, because I have looked on wet web and there are literal thousands of pages of FAQs, most are irrelevant to the question I have, some have a small bit of helpful info, but Simple put there is a huge pile and not enough time to sift through everything in the pile.
<<Have you tried using the "search" facility? It's basically a Google search box at the bottom of the front page:
But you can do quick searches right in your browser. Just enter something like the following, without the quotation marks:
"site: wetwebmedia.com sump flow problem" Press enter, and you should get lots of results. Tweak your search by
adding extra words. So for example if I do this search:
"site: wetwebmedia.com sump flow problem leak" I get as my top hit this page:
Not only lots of previous questions and answers, but also links (at the top) to relevant in-depth articles. Your problem (the sump water level drops) isn't particularly complicated. Simply means the pump is pushing water back up to the tank at a FASTER rate than gravity is pulling water down through the overflow. You need to balance these somehow so they're the
same rate. Slowing down to pump would be one solution, and increasing the amount of overflow would be another. If I can direct you to this archive of FAQs...
You'll see balancing sumps and overflows isn't an uncommon problem. That was my top hit searching "sump" and "balance" on wetwebmedia.com.
Hope this helps clear up how WWM can work better for you! Have a good New Year, Neale.>><Thank you RMF>

Sump Setup... Silastic sel.; Using WWM        7/2/14
Hi there, my name is Adam Jones. I currently have a 55 tall saltwater tank.
I have had nothing but algae problems since a bought the tank over a year ago. (Green Hair Algae) is my main issue.
<... typically a matter of imbalance.... too much nutrient, poor conditions otherwise, lack of predators, competitors... You've read on WWM re?>

I am currently running a 48" t5 by Deep Blue Solar Extreme, crap light i know but i didn't know it when i
bought it I'm just trying to save up to get an Aquaticlife fixture. I have a Mag drive 5 return pump, a RedSea Skimmer not sure of the model. All running through a 29 gallon tank. My reason for this email is I'm upgrading to a 75 gallon tank with a 40 gallon breeder tank for my sump. I have read on several sites and talked to several people that you can use the GE *1 100% silicone to put your baffles into place in your sump. This being said i used the silicone and got the baffles in. I spoke with the owner and a
trusted friend of a local fish store (Shaun @ Mountains to Sea Aquariums in Asheville Nc) She informed me that it may not be a good idea to use this product but since she hasn't heard anything bad about it she wasn't sure and directed me to this site to do some research. Since i have not seen any info on this subject I figured an email would be the next best bet. If you could take a moment and let me know if the silicone will work or not i would be very thankful. (Maybe some algae tips)
Thanks again, Adam Jones
<There are other brands, manufacturers of Silicone/Silastic... as long as they lack mildewcides. See this also archived on WWM... the search tool on every page, the indices. Bob Fenner>

75 Gallon Sump Setup – 04/08/14
Kind Crew,
<<Hey Dave>>
Due to a faulty sump pump I ended up with most of the winter thaw (water) in my basement, drying out my basement led to a total dismantle of my 75 gallon tank (live rock in a 55 gallon tank, little coral I had in a 10 gallon, a mated pair of clarkii clownfish in a 20 gallon). I had a deep sand bed which is currently in a few 5 gallon buckets, which from what I read is trash?
<<Not in my opinion…it will no longer be “live,” but you can reuse with a good rinse with a hose…and the live rock will help to re-seed the sand>>
Or should at least be rinsed thoroughly before putting back in the tank.
<<Ah yes!>>
My spotted Hawkfish, (had for 3 years) and orange spotted goby (had for 8 years) were casualties of the break down.
<<A shame…>>
Starting from scratch, in a sense, I figured I'd make the best of a bad situation.
First, drill the tank.
It's a Perfecto 75 gallon, I called the manufacturer and only the bottom is tempered. Searching online I came across the site Glass-Holes.com. I'm about to order the 1500 overflow box complete kit to drill two 1 ½" holes in the tank.
<<You can do this…though I feel a single 1.5” drain would be sufficient for this size tank>>
With regards to the drain lines I was going to use flex tubing to drain into the sump below.
<<Will work…though my preference is rigid PVC, or even PVC Spa Flex versus vinyl tubing. The latter has a tendency to flatten/collapse over time…even when run in a straight line>>
I'm assuming they would stop above the water line in the sump?
<<Better to go “just below” to reduce noise. I also like to use 45-degree Ells on the terminal ends to route away bubbles to keep them from trying to “come back up” the drain line.>>
Just below rim of tank? I figured with the flex tubing I really shouldn't need a shut off or disconnect?
<<Not on the drains, no…all plumbing should be designed/arranged such that when the return pump is off, the transient water volume is contained in the sump>>
I was going to create my own sump and I'm in the process of trying to locate a used breeder tank to convert.
<<Bigger the better…>>
At the moment I have a pump rated at 900 gph for the return to the tank and will connect to a loop manifold (described in Anthony's book) that would be connected below the cover to the tank.
<<If this “loop” has more than just a couple ½-inch nozzles, you will be disappointed in the performance. The 900gph pump will not produce much force/energy with more or bigger nozzles than this. You could size-up the pump, but that creates other issues re plumbing/noise/bubbles in the sump. Were this my tank…I would lose the “loop” in favor of a single return and apply a couple “propeller-style” in-tank pumps for water motion positioned at the tank ends to provide an alternating GYRE type flow on a 3-4 hour circuit, and simplify the drain plumbing with a single 1.5” drain and a return pump of about 600gph.>>
Regarding fittings, I'm thinking I would only need the disconnects to be able to clean the pump or would it be a good idea to include shut off's?
<<I highly recommend including a ball-valve installed on the “output side” of the pump to temper flow if needed.>>
I read pros and cons for bare bottom, deep sand beds, and shallow sand beds. My current thought is to go with 1" of sand in the main tank.
<<Okay… I am a fan of the DSB, but prefer to put this in a separate refugium versus the display.>>
I have a CPR hang-on refugium, also gutted, that I was going re-install and hang on the sump, I figured I would provide a DSB in there.
<<Not much volume…but won’t hurt>>
Any thoughts are greatly appreciated,
<<I’ve given you mine…feel free to let me know if you have any further questions. EricR>>
Re: 75 Gallon Sump Setup – 04/08/14
Thank you for the quick reply, a lot of great info.
<<Quite welcome>>
The one drawback I have is I already have the pump, (still unused) from a previous vision of just creating a loop for water movement, to reduce power heads in the tank.
<<I see…>>
I can reinvestigate, but keeping the cost down is a better sell to my wife,
<<I do understand…>>
still paying to refinish the basement (However I would much prefer to drill one hole.). My original thought was 10x-12x the tank which put me at 900gph.
<<Indeed…but much better to provide this flow with something other than the return pump. You don’t need to cycle this much water through the tank/sump…and not doing so can make life much easier…especially when/if the tank is in an area where people want to gather and talk, watch TV, etc.. Besides…the propeller pumps available today do a MUCH better job of moving water within the display than the sharp jet from the nozzle of a closed-loop (given a big enough pump to provide such.).
Can I still go with the 1500 overflow box and forgo the loop on the return?
According to the Glass-Holes site the 1500 has a recommended continuous flow rate between 500-1000gph?
<<With two 1.5” drains, likely closer to 1400gph or more>>
The 700gph overflow box has a flow rate of 200-500, which drops the pump size below the 600 you suggested.
<<This has a single 1.5” drain…and should be able to handle about 700GPH. Depending on the pumping height/head-loss of your 900 gph pump, and if you install the gate-valve as mentioned in our previous correspondence, you could get away with the ‘700’ model here>>
I figured I would get the overflow from them since I have to pick up the drill bit to drill the glass. I figured even with the 900, I would have an additional power head in the tank on a timer to mix up the current. The future plan is to continually grow it into a reef tank.
<<Okay…but do consider there is a growing belief that “effective” water movement in a reef tank is paramount even to lighting>>
One question forgot to ask, regarding the overflow box in the main tank. Is there any set rule on how far it should be from the top rim?
<<That depends on you/where you want the ‘water surface in the tank’ to be as the position of the overflow will dictate this. I like to position mine so the in-tank water level is about ¾” from the top (less if it is visible below the trim from the outside).>>
Again, thank you for all your help. And answering my basic questions,
<<Always happy to share… Eric Russell>>
R2: 75 Gallon Sump Setup – 04/08/14

<<Hey Dave>>
After reading through Wet Web's FAQ and Articles this afternoon I seem to have a better understanding of the sump idea.
In my previous email I tried to convince myself to go with a pump already purchased. The articles pointed out my own misconception about the sump itself. I was looking at the pump to provide the circulation for the main tank, not to actually do what the sump is intended to do. Skim off my surface water, add water volume to the tank and provide a place to house a majority of my equipment.
If I have it correctly, moving water through the sump to quick would actually hinder the skimmer in doing its job.
<<Different schools of thought here…but I am of this opinion, yes>>
In theory I thought I could get away from all equipment in the tank.
<<Can be done (e.g. - “wet boxes” mounted to the exterior to hold the prop pumps), but for most folks…no>>
It looks like some powerheads would be required for additional water movement.
<<For certain…even in a fish-only system…but do look at the “propeller-style” pumps for this versus simple powerheads. Many to choose from…>>
Thank you again for pointing me in the right direction. The plan is to do it correctly instead of rushing it and not being happy with it.
<<Is the best approach>>
Again appreciate your help, and the all the information provided on the site.
<<Any time, mate… EricR>>

R3: 75 Gallon Sump Setup – 04/17/14
<<Hey Dave>>
I was hoping you could review my attached design with the following notes to see if my fuzzy math works out, or if I might be missing something.
The overflow box is rated by Glass-Holes at 750gph, I need to drill a 1 1/2" hole.
<<Actually I believe the ‘bulkhead’ has in inside diameter of 1.5-inches…meaning you will need to drill a larger hole. Bulkheads can vary a bit, check with Glass-Holes for the correct size hole-saw for the bulkhead supplied>>
The overflow will feed the skimmer section of the sump below with a ball valve controlling 25% of the water into the refugium section at the opposite end of the sump.
The sump is a 30 gallon tank 36"x12"x16" high. Both ends of the sump will flow into the pump section in the center. For some reason my center brace on my stand is off center so I will come straight up with the supply. Additional water movement in the tank will be provided by two Hydor Koralia Evolution circulation pumps 1150 gph.
Skimmer Section of the Sump:
The skimmer section is 12"x9"x12"H for 1296 cubic inches or 5 gallons. My current skimmer is a hang-on Aqua-C Remora, from your FAQ's found that it could be placed directly in the sump. (Because of height clearances I can't be a hang-on.)
<<Should be fine>>
The 9"x12" dimension will allow for a future skimmer, the 12" high dimension works with the outflow of the skimmer.
The Refugium:
The refugium section is 12"x12"x13" high for 1872 cubic inches or 8 gallons, (a little over 10% of the tank volume). The 13" high dimension will allow for a 2" high volume of empty tank above. It will have a 3" DSB, lighting and macro algae. I will need egg crate at the top of the glass panel to prevent macro from entering the pump section during power loss.
The pump section:
The pump section is 12"x12"x 9" high, same 5 gallons as the sump. The 9" water depth will allow for the water flowing into the tank during power losses. The pump is a Mag 7.5. Directly above the pump I will have a quick disconnect and a gate valve.
<<Very Good>>
The fuzzy math:
I guesstimate that I have about 14 feet of PVC, (1 1/2"). The table in the link below tells me for each foot of 1 1/2" PVC I have .103 gallons of water. With 14' of pipe I have to account for 1.5 gallons of water.
Using a 1" deep of back flow from the main tank during a power loss, I need to account for 8.64 gallons of water, which is the same as my empty zone in the 30 gallon sump, noted in the Fuge section above. The pump section of the sump is approx. 12"x12"x12" high, 1728 cubic inches, about 7 gallons, by filling it only up to 9" instead of 12" will account for the water in the PVC piping.
<<Looks fine ‘on paper’…but do simply play around with the overflow and return heights on the display to determine what best will contain all transient water volume>>
From the two schools of thought I decided to go with the overflow water feeding the refugium.
By having the "T" on the horizontal, slightly sloped to the fuge will give me a steady water flow to the fuge which will be controlled by the ball valve. If I decided to go with the pump feeding the fuge it would have to be on the vertical and would rely on restricting the flow to the tank to get water to feed the fuge.
<<“Gravity” feeding water from the display to the refugium is best IMO>>
Hope it makes since, again thank you for your time.
<<It does…but no need to rush…take your time and test your plumbing as you go and you’ll be fine>> Dave
<<Eric Russell>>

Re: the time has come for a refugium - Help... pb recipes for disaster   10/11/13
Hello Mr. F,
How are you?
<Fine, thanks>
As I stated in my last email I have started my refugium " successfully" but I have a big problem : I cannot keep the levels between the refugium and sump balanced.
<... per your drawing... no; this can't be done... without utilizing level sensors, electro-magnetic switches for pumps/pumping... Things I would NOT do>

I included a drawing so you can better understand my system.
<I thought we'd been over this. I would NOT utilize two (different) level sumps/refugiums, overflows... fraught with danger>
The problem is that I cannot regulate with the valve that is on my return pump from the refugium to sump the level.
Sometimes they stay balanced for even 6 hours, then in the morning I find 1-2 cm disbalance, and that influences the automatic top up system that is located in the mid sump and that influences the salinity.
 After trying for several days, the only thing I can think of is that the overflow is not feeding constantly the refugium, even if the level in my DT is always the same. I have 2 Vortech MP 40 plus 2 AquaMedic powerheads  that move the water a lot, and maybe that is what changes.
So I was thinking of an alternate solution described in the drawing : a closed vessel that should take the variations of the
level and feed the refugium constantly from a hole in the bottom.
<Won't work either>
But this is valid only if really the overflow feeds the refugium non constantly. Please tell me what do you think, I am playing a very dangerous game here with the salinity for my SPS.
Thank you very much,
Andrei sbarcea - Romania
<Back to the drawing board... Again, one sump is enough for all of us...
(Police song, from Synchronicity I recall). B>

Indian Ocean sps Zoa reef flat biotope tank: Sump design      9/13/13
Dear Friends and Bob San :)
Would be awesome to get thoughts on the below. Please feel free to comment on any point below.
Am I on the right track?
<... of what? Oh, guess I've got to read below>
Any changes you would suggest?
Anything to be aware of?
What am I looking to achieve?
I just started a new tank and looking to recreate a reef flat biotope.
I wanted to keep the main focus on a Harem of dwarf angels darting between coral heads.
Tank specs
The tank is a custom rimless tank with a sump included in the back side (dimensions and design attached)
<I see this; and have read your small written notes>
Since my previous tank was Aiptasia infected horribly (hundreds of big ones) I decided to play safe and used dry live rock.
<Mmm, where will you "get" the biota from otherwise?>
Basically freshwater dip for few weeks then dry for a week and then freshwater dip again (twice the same cycle)
Finished scaping (a pleasure with dry rock I must say) and cycled for 4-5 weeks.
Here are the equipment specs..
Lighting- 3x Mazarra P modules
3x 24W T5 (2 actinic and one purple plus all ATI bulbs)
Lights are hung 6" above water line
Circulation - 3x MP40W Vortechs with anti sync on slaves using nutrient export mode.
1 return pump of 1700LPH with around 12" head.
<All right>
Deltec 1060TS skimmer rates for 1500 litres.
7" DSB in second chamber of sump (moved the algae to in tank refugium)
<Sounds good>
Bare bottom (hope to get a Zoa carpet)
<Are toxic; for you as well... DO see WWM here>
Using Chemi pure elite 4 bags of 11oz
Changed every 15 weeks (change is slowly bag by bag)
<I'd change one out every four weeks, leaving the newest/newer ones in place>
Husbandry tasks
- water tests every Friday (CA/Alk/NO3/PH4) PH is on continuous monitor.
CA is ranging between 420-450
Alk is 160-170 using Hanna meter
NO3 is <0.5
PH4 am still to start testing from tomorrow :)
- 120 litres ( approx 25-30%) WC on Saturday. Still toying with idea of 15% every 3-4 days
Daily approx half cube size portion of mix of frozen brine, Cyclopes, Mysid, angel formula.
5-7 pellets of spectrum
Vacuuming - every 3-5 days
<Once a week is fine; easier to keep on schedule>
3x 2" African Flameback angels added all together (first fish in tank)
2x true percula clownfish

Can I add a trio of flame angel??
Can I add a group of Chromis (5-7)??
Can I add a mandarin goby pair??
Can I add a group of royal gamma (3)??
Can I add a pair of purple fire fish??
<How large is this tank? 120 liters? I'd stick w/ just the intended/stated 3 and 2 fishes>

Am totally fine to not add ANY more fish other than existing 3 dwarf angel and 2 clown!!
2xmontipora digitata
1x Montipora reniformis
1x Montipora (unknown genus)
6x Acropora species
2x Zoa (multi color colonies)
Planning a group of 3 (cleaner or peppermint shrimp)
<A peaceful Lysmata species is what I'd use>
Other info
No QT possible due to space constraints. So, added all existing livestock at one shot
I dip the new additions using CoralRX.
1- what are lighting considerations based on colour or shape of Acropora?
<See WWM re... You need to learn/use the site; ahead of writing us>
2- can I afford to feed more given current filtration and WC regime?
<I wouldn't be concerned re overfeeding here>
3- should I add more light modules?
<I'd wait and see (a few months) if you like what you have>
<Cheers, BobF>

Sumps, design; joining under/ w/in a cabinet  11/18/12
Thanks for always answering my questions so clearly...
I'm trying to read up on marine set ups there <they're> so cool. I've seen some great threads online and I want to try to convert a Fluval Roma 240 as these are already drilled.
<Ah yes; the aquarium>
One thread I read had a 30" sump in the cabinet which meant the supporting strut had to be removed and a special support cage made. Is there a way 2 smaller tanks could be used somehow running in parallel as a sump so the cabinet could be unchanged?
<Yes... the better choice here to drill fit for one (or two) through puts (bulkheads) of size (1.5-2" ID) and connect the two tank/sumps with a bit of flexible PVC>
Many thanks
<As many welcomes. Bob Fenner>

Sump design and suspended food     10/6/12
Hi All,
It's quite possible I have over thought this until I am back where I started but here goes.
I have been thinking about how to provide a more consistent method of feeding. At the moment I feed a number of times a day with the return pump turned off for 30 minutes or so. I would like to have a more automated system that would dose at night but this would have to happen with the return pump running.
The ultimate goal is to increase the amount of food, available to fish and corals, suspended in the water column at any time.
On the other hand isn't a sump designed to remove as much suspended matter as possible from the water as efficiently as possible?
<Mmm, not necessarily, no>
Once food / waste hits the sump it is either skimmed out or lies there breaking down into nutrient components that are then removed by nutrient export via pellets, Chaeto or DSB.
With the proviso that there is sufficient water movement in the DT to keep everything in suspension would it not make more sense to design a sump where any water not entering the skimmer is allowed to flow back to the DT relatively unimpeded while the outflow from the skimmer is allowed to feed Chaeto or DSB, so allowing the occupants of the DT maximum exposure to suspended food matter.
<Perhaps... some or all>
I'm sure you will quickly point out the flaw in my reasoning, if not, I'm ready to go modifying my sump.
<There are arrangements where the sump is higher than the main/display tank... little or no mechanical filtration... BobF>
Thanks for your help,

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