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Old 06-20-2011, 12:49 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Sump Sizing/Advice on tank build

So the wife and I have been plotting and scheming about a tank, a bigger tank at least. We have a 38gal and 35gal tank, both great but the 38gal not having a sump has made it a real pain to care for, algae blooms, higher nitrates, looks clustered with all the pumps and heaters in the display as well.

So we are looking at 100gal tank no more than 110 as we live on the top level of a 4 plex. Dimensions we are thinking about is 72" long, 18" High and 18" wide which would be about 101gal, or 72" x 18" x 20" which is 112gal.

Now I would like to have a corner overflow on one side and the return on the opposite side.

So what size sump should I be looking at? I have heard that 1/3 is good size min for a sump but thats only 33gal and it seems to me thats almost to small to have skimmers, return pumps, heaters and a small refuge area.

Ideally I would like to grow some macro algae and have a nice size skimmer in there. But I also want a nice quiet tank as the wife is hard of hearing and the more background noise in the room the harder it is for her to hear other things...

Is this possible or am I aiming to high?


Edit: also have concerns from a few local reefers I have this to add about only 18" high

Trying to keep the size down as im worried about to much weight on the floor, the house is from the 70's and with people living in the basement I have no way to support the floor anymore hence why im looking at 100-110gal tank size but I still want the 6 feet long which adds to my problem so 110+55 thats already 165 gal of water which is already 1376.1lbs not including rock, sand, plumbing, pumps etc.

Ideally I would want a 125gal tank with 50-60gal sump but I dont think that is in the cards right now thats 300lbs extra.


The location of the tank will be along an outside wall of the house or along the wall in the middle of the house which divides the top 2 halves of the 4 plex.
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:15 AM   #2
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For a sump/refuge bigger is almost always better. But it sounds to me not like you are trying to find out what the best sump size is (you already know), it sounds like you are asking for structural advice. On that I would say, the people who could help give you an idea of the structural integrity wont because of unknowns and liability, and the ones who do give advice don't really know what they are talking about. If you know an engineer or have access to the plans of the building (often available in public records but can be a pain to get) you might be able to find something out about how much weight it can hold. I always over support so I don't know the limits you face.
I could tell you what you want to hear or I could tell you what you don't want to hear. Either way if you decide to install the tank make sure you have good insurance.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:04 AM   #3
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Well thats just it as well, I know people who have 200gal tanks on the top floor no support in an old house but then some people wont put a 90gal on a top floor without supports and 90% of the people out there will give what you want to hear which says "go for it" they dont have any experience or knowledge to back up the claims.

Sure I want to hear 125gal tank with 60gal sump would be ok but I just dont think thats going to happen.

then again do I go all sump or make it more of a lower flow refuge...I have read on numerous places that 1/3 the size of a display is the base for a sump but on a 100gal tank thats only 33gals which seems way to small to be much help at all...I guess I can always design and plan it out then work out the water weight after I find building plans.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:56 AM   #4
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Ya, like I said I would do my due diligence to find out if it can't hold what I want. If I can't find anything that says it's not good then I would go ahead with it. Possibly overbuilding a stand that could disperse the weight over as many floor joists as would work and stay aesthetically pleasing. Again if I found something that supported what I wanted I would try to make sure the weight of other items in the room are far away (on different walls/joists) Good luck with your build and when you start a new thread with your build, put a link here so I can follow it
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:09 PM   #5
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Can you 'barrow' a dozen or more bags of sand if so you can load the floor one 50 lb. bag at a time, run a string line across the floor this will show any sag. i did this at my home the floor sagged about 1/2 in. with 1500 lbs. on it better safe than sorry.
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:45 PM   #6
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seems like a pretty easy stress test IMO, never even thought of that im sure I can find some weights to test it out.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:37 PM   #7
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A friend of mine used his bladder from his water bed lol built a frame to hold it in place then SLOWLY filled it i stayed outside when did that in a mobile home

PS his 125g sits in it's own bump-out, looks like a fire place from outside lol
Oh and dont try to rent bags of sand they'll think your nutz
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:51 PM   #8
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yah mobile homes have steel frames though, houses are wooden
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:36 PM   #9
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I am an engineer and an earlier poster got it right. No opinion until the drawings are available. Water beds weight at least what a tank does. It is a matter of loading per square foot. The bigger area you spread the load over, the better. Outside wall or over supporting wall is a good idea as long as that load is carried directly to the foundation. I installed a 4" steel beam in my home when I built my 300 gallon with supports that carried the load to the foundation. You could build a big base for the tank that spreads the load against the whole wall. Also make provisions that if the tank leaks, you don't drown the neighbor.

Trailers are strong in the fact that it is easy to put an extra brace in under the tank and take that load to the ground. I had a water bed and 200 gallons of freshwater fish in my trailer for years with no damage (I was in college and broke, but trailer living wasn't bad at all.)
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:00 PM   #10
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Yah I looked into it, its $55 for the drawings to get pulled from the archives but if I cant find out the original builder and get written permission I cant have a copy of the blueprints which sucks because being an Electrician I want the drawings to look at in depth not go downtown and see them for 5 min then back into a tube somewhere.

Maybe talk to the Landlord and figure out if he has copies or can obtain them
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