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Old 07-31-2004, 06:59 PM   #1
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Another "how big should my sump be" question

Okay . . . . once again I appeal to your collectively vast knowledge database. :-) Here's the work in progress:

75-gallon AGA with w/ overflow.
Planning on 100-110 lbs. live rock
Euroreef ES5-3 skimmer
Goal: FOWLR, moving slowing into some easy reefy stuff as I get the hang of it.

I have convinced my husband that he can DIY the sump. (Okay, I know that's not really a verb.) It will house the skimmer and returm pump (mag 950) for now. Here's the plan I've given him:

http://users.rcn.com/reef101/diysump.html

I would like to make the sump out of a 30L, but only one store in this area carries them and they want $90. I can get a 20L for $25. The difference is mainly in length--36 in vs. 30. (I could get a plain ol' 29 gallon, but since the difference is mostly in height that doesn't seem worthwhile.)

What are your thoughts? Is the Creative Reefs plan a good one? Will 20g be "enough" or do I really need to go for the 30?

And one last question: I don't think I've seen it mentioned, but I assume you plumb in shutoff valves on the intake and return so the sump could be removed (for whatever odd reason, like replacing it with a bigger one) without draining the tank?

Thanks!!
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75-gallon SW tank with 29-gallon sump
Euroreef ES5-3
2x Maxijet powerheads
Mag drive 9 return
Coralife 4x65 Lunar Aqualight
120 lbs rock from liverocks.com
1 peppermint shrimp and 1 fire shrimp (very shy)
2 black Ocellaris, Squish and Smudge
3 chromis, too identical to name as yet, in QT
10-gallon tropical
29-gallon with two goldies, Carrot and Orangehead
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Old 07-31-2004, 11:07 PM   #2
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Obviously, the larger the sump the more water it can hold. the more water in your system the better. More water = more stability. Go as big as the space will allow. ust remember that when planning, make sure there is enough room left in the sump for water darinage from your main tank if the electricity goes out. You don't want to over-flow onto the floor. Make sense?
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Old 08-01-2004, 03:09 AM   #3
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Not sure if it will work with your plan, but I know a lot of people use rubbermaid containers for sumps, and they're really really cheap as well.
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Old 08-01-2004, 05:09 AM   #4
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There are 2 advantages to a SUMP, 1 you can hide stuff in it so its not in your display, and 2, added water volume for better stability. For #1, size doesn't really matter as long as it can physically contain your gear and will allow for power outages. For #2, bigger is much better. In either case a 20g will be fine for most people with a 75g display, but as above, go with the biggest you can. (make sure you have room to work on it under your tank, trust me on this one )

Personally, I don't like the setup you posted for a couple reasons. It has has a "filter media" section. This will require lots of cleaning to keep it from become a nitrate factory, or worse, clogging and flooding your floor. It also will be a poor refugium. I know right now you're looking at a sump, but the typical progression (inside your head) goes something like this.

"Wow, what a great tank I have. Too bad I can see my heaters and powerheads... Maybe I should build a sump to hide that stuff." Then, "Wow, that really cleans up my tank! Hey, what a great article on refugiums providing all the benefits of a sump as well as natural nitrate reduction and a constant supply of live food for my fish and corrals. That sounds great, I should convert my sump into a 'fuge!"

So if you're going with a sump, might as well as design it as a 'fuge. You'll probably want it later. It won't cost any more money than a sump, and the diy'er will thank you for limiting his projects. BTW, with a tank or any other straight wall container, you can build one in about an hour, not counting curing time for the silicone.

For your last ?, you can plumb in ball valves and/or check valves to close off the system when you want. Personally I just shut off my return pump and wait for my overflow to stop backfilling.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-01-2004, 01:27 PM   #5
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Thanks, all, for the suggestions. I do know that "bigger is better"--I guess I'm just bristling at having to shell out so much for a 30 gallon tank--3x what a 20 costs? I guess it's a "penny wise, pound foolish" thing.

Indy, thank you for looking at that plan. I have already had the "someday a fuge" thought. Right now, I don't want to mess with the lights under there but it does make sense to design it with that in mind. Two more questions, if I might:

1) So how, exactly, does one design said sump? I've found lots of pictures of working systems but no clear plans--it's probably really easy but I'm not quite getting it get.

2) Without the filter media, what provides mechanical filtration? The guy at our best LFS (who encourages DIY--that's why I like him!) just has (IIRC) a filter bag (a big version of the kind you stick charcoal in for a HOB freshwater filter) over the--return pipe, I guess? He said it was really to reduce microbubbles and he changed it a lot. Or is mechanical filtration just not needed with a skimmer and LR? (I guess I've never really understood that part.)

Thanks again for all the help.
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75-gallon SW tank with 29-gallon sump
Euroreef ES5-3
2x Maxijet powerheads
Mag drive 9 return
Coralife 4x65 Lunar Aqualight
120 lbs rock from liverocks.com
1 peppermint shrimp and 1 fire shrimp (very shy)
2 black Ocellaris, Squish and Smudge
3 chromis, too identical to name as yet, in QT
10-gallon tropical
29-gallon with two goldies, Carrot and Orangehead
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Old 08-01-2004, 04:56 PM   #6
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A 29 might not be all that bad for a DIY sump. After all we are looking to maximize our water volume and you can have more water in a 29 gal sump than a 20 gal sump. Where you thinking of sectioning off the sump into compartments or just have one large sump?
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Old 08-01-2004, 06:30 PM   #7
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Well, originally I was going to partition it with a trickle plate on one side, but as Indy is suggesting that might not be a good plan I don't really know what to do! My Euroreef skimmer says it's best in 6-8 inches of water, so I was thinking that the additional height on the 29 gallon wouldn't be of much use--it would just sit empty?
(the only difference between the 20 and the 29 is the height--12 vs. 18.)
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75-gallon SW tank with 29-gallon sump
Euroreef ES5-3
2x Maxijet powerheads
Mag drive 9 return
Coralife 4x65 Lunar Aqualight
120 lbs rock from liverocks.com
1 peppermint shrimp and 1 fire shrimp (very shy)
2 black Ocellaris, Squish and Smudge
3 chromis, too identical to name as yet, in QT
10-gallon tropical
29-gallon with two goldies, Carrot and Orangehead
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Old 08-01-2004, 09:32 PM   #8
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You cold always elevate the skimmer so it sat in 6-8" of water. You wont want to run the sump full anyway. But the extra 6" will allow the sump to hold an extra 9 gallons of backsyphon from the main tank in the event of a power outage. Basicly it would grant you some additional protection.
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Old 08-02-2004, 09:46 AM   #9
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this site tells you a lot about sumps and there is much to learn here. http://www.melevsreef.com/allmysumps.html
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Old 08-02-2004, 09:47 AM   #10
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this site tells you a lot about sumps and there is much to learn here. http://www.melevsreef.com/allmysumps.html


oops double post
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