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Old 04-29-2005, 04:22 PM   #1
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Refugium/Sump questions

Okay, I'm kinda new at all of this stuff, but I've been looking into adding a sump for my system and I have a ton of questions (and I'm trying to do it inexpensively). First of all, do I have to pay my LFS $225 for an acrylic sump that is predrilled or can I just buy a cheap glass 20 gal aquarium and use that? Also, the sumps at the LFS have a prefilter box that is HOB for the main aquarium, so they say there's no pump necessary there because it siphons automatically into the sump. So if I go with a 20 gal aquarium, I would need two pumps, right? One ouf of the main and one back to the main from the sump, right?

And lastly, do I need mud to grow macroalgae in my sump?

Okay, one more....do they make submersible pumps to go back and forth between the two if I decide to go that route? And, if so, what protects against disaster..i.e., one of the pumps going out and overfilling one of the tanks?

Sorry for all the questions, I just really need some answers.....Thanks!
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Old 04-29-2005, 04:59 PM   #2
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You can get a HOB overflow box on ebay for 40 shipped. You don't want to pump out of your main and then back to your sump. That creates a nightmare if one of the pumps fails. Gravity fed is the best way to do this and the overflow on your main will suffice. No need to buy an expensive sump. Just use the 20g tank and install some baffles to provide areas for various things (a low flow area if you're going to put your fuge in there, a place for your skimmer, baffles that will eliminate the microbubbles from getting back to your main).

You don't NEED to grow anything or have substrate in your sump unless you want to dedicate part of it for your fuge. If you do that you'll want some substrate, some rock rubble and some macro (and a light, of course).

I'm using a mag12 (1200gph) to return water from my sump back to my main (which is reef ready so I don't have an overflow box on it). Just make sure that you have enough room in your sump to take the waterfall that back syphons from your return to the main before it breaks the surface of the water.

To protect against disaster (overflow failing for some wacky reason) you could install a float switch in your sump that will shut your pump off if it hits a low water level.

I'm using an ebay overflow for my 30g qt feeding a 10g tank under the stand returning it with a maxijet.

HTH.
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Old 04-29-2005, 06:17 PM   #3
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Phyl.....

Thanks so much for the info! But I do have a few more questions.....first of all, what is a baffle? Is it just a plastic separator thing that I have seen in some tanks?

And also, you said "Just make sure that you have enough room in your sump to take the waterfall that back syphons from your return to the main before it breaks the surface of the water. "

I don't get that. Again, I'm very new, so I don't understand that. Can you elaborate please?

Thanks so much!
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Nate
what is a baffle? Is it just a plastic separator thing that I have seen in some tanks?
Yup. A lot of people will put one from the top down to within inches of the bottom and the next one from the bottom up and then another from top down just before the return. That forces the water to do an under over under thing before it is returned to the main thereby reducing the number of bubbles that make it to the return pump.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Nate
And also, you said "Just make sure that you have enough room in your sump to take the waterfall that back siphons from your return to the main before it breaks the surface of the water.
In the sump is your pump and (presumably) under the water line in the main (again to reduce the bubbles) you have the end of the hose where the water is being delivered to the main. While the pump is running the hose is forcing water into the tank. When the hose stops running gravity will cause the water to be siphoned out of the tank and back into the sump until the end of the hose is above water to break the siphon. Some people drill a hole in the hose just below the surface of the water so that very little water is returned to the sump. It is just something that you have to take into account. My fill line running in my sump for my main is dramatically lower than the fill line when it is off because of the amount of water that is backed down into the sump. This isn't as much in my QT because the amount of water that drops back out of that system is far less.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Nate
Thanks so much!
No problem. There's a DIY forum on here and if you poke around there you're sure to see some interesting and well thought out sump designs. For that matter I think somebody posted an interesting sump/fuge design on this forum just the other day.
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