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Old 08-15-2011, 10:56 PM   #1
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To Sump or not to Sump?

Here is the deal. I currently have a 37 gallon freshwater with a AquaClear 70 HOB filter. I will be collecting pieces (all new) over the next few months to set up a 90 gallon freshwater to replace the 37 gallon. I will be using the 37 gallon as my QT/Hospital tank.

For a tank as large as a 90 gallon, what kind of filtration should I use? I will not be overstocking the tank and even though it will be a larger tank, I still prefer smaller fish. Should I purchase a tank with an overflow and build a sump filtration system or buy a tank without an overflow and use either HOB or canister filtration? What would be best?

While I want the best filtration possible, I don't want to spend a lot of money on it if I don't have to. Buying the tank with the overflow built in and building a sump or two HOBs seems to be the least expensive options while canister or canisters the most expensive. I would either have to purchase two larger HOBs, I was thinking maybe 2 AquaClears 70(?), or one huge or two medium sized canisters.

I also like the idea of being able to add my water change water back to the sump instead of directly to the tank as I'm still using the trident and true bucket method for my water changes. If I were to go with sump system, what would be a good size? To go with? Would a 20 gallon long work or would I need larger?

I would appreciate any advice based on you alls experiences and trials and tribulations. All advice and opinions are of course welcome.

Thanks folks!!!
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:31 PM   #2
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A sump is not necessarily cheap .... additional cost of a drilled tank easily costs more than a canister. That is not counting the return pump - a good one cost $$.

Pros of a sump:
Constant water level in display tank
place to hide all equipment
Larger water volume
Ability to have a fuge (ie place to grow baby fish, plants where they won't be eaten by the adults in the display)
Very good aeration
Very flexibly and generally superior filtration
Can switch (relatively) painlessly to a reef tank

Cons:
Can be noisy
Complicated plumbing
Higher evaporation rate
Risk of floods if not set up properly (& maintained well)
More costly

Personally, I like sumps for big & messy fish (goldfish, big cichlids, etc.) For your typical community, I think canisters are the way to go. I wouldn't do HOB's at 90 gal. I don't think they have good enough water flow for that size tank. <OK - I am used to Goldfish & the requisite 10x water turnover per hour .... People do sue big HOB's in big tanks.>
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsoong
A sump is not necessarily cheap .... additional cost of a drilled tank easily costs more than a canister. That is not counting the return pump - a good one cost $$.

Pros of a sump:
Constant water level in display tank
place to hide all equipment
Larger water volume
Ability to have a fuge (ie place to grow baby fish, plants where they won't be eaten by the adults in the display)
Very good aeration
Very flexibly and generally superior filtration
Can switch (relatively) painlessly to a reef tank

Cons:
Can be noisy
Complicated plumbing
Higher evaporation rate
Risk of floods if not set up properly (& maintained well)
More costly

Personally, I like sumps for big & messy fish (goldfish, big cichlids, etc.) For your typical community, I think canisters are the way to go. I wouldn't do HOB's at 90 gal. I don't think they have good enough water flow for that size tank. <OK - I am used to Goldfish & the requisite 10x water turnover per hour .... People do sue big HOB's in big tanks.>
Excellent advice! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply!

So, now my next question is one large or two medium sized canisters? I'm thinking that two medium sized canisters would probably be better than one large one? I also like the idea of the redundancy also that having the two considers would provide. At least if one fails the other will still be going and one undersized is better than none. I'm assuming that i should aim for the goal to at least double the flow rate so I would want to aim for enough filtration for 180 gallon? I already know that I will be putting dual heaters in the tank for peace of mind.
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:38 PM   #4
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1 or 2 canisters, I think it is a toss up.

You certainly get better water flow & distribution with 2, and there is the redundancy factor. However, canisters tend not to fail, and you can achieve good flow with a spraybar or 2. 2 canisters is more costly, and definitely more work when it comes to maintenance.

Since you already have a decent HOB filter, another option is to use that, and add a good size canister. That would save on cost, although HOB's tend to be nosier than canisters.
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:49 PM   #5
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Just a thought and I'm no expert.

The Penn-plax canisters are a good unit for a fair price, IMO. The cascade 700 flows 185 gph by itself. They run about 80-100 dollars. Just something to think about. I'm really happy with my unit, very quiet. If you could possibly swing the 1000, even better.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:32 PM   #6
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As a thought, if you do go with a sump you don't necessarily need to drill anything in the tank. I have a saltwater tank that I converted to freshwater. It has a wet dry with a 15 gallonish sump. The overflow box hangs on the back corner of the tank and trickles down via a tube to the sump, then pump takes it back up. Wet drys can be pretty pricey, but I have seen some pretty nice DIY's that can be pretty cheap.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:35 PM   #7
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Here you can see a pic of my tank with the overflow box on the top right.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:36 PM   #8
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Sorry! Did not attach pic correctly.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:51 PM   #9
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I would use the Fluval FX5 on a 90.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crick127

Sorry! Did not attach pic correctly.
I like that. So, what is the risk? I hear that if there is a power outage, which we seem to have here with every storm these days, the syphon could be broken and cause tank to overflow when the power comes back on? Or have you figured out some way to prevent this?
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