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Old 01-20-2011, 02:14 PM   #1
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Sump question

I have a 20 gallon aquarium (tall, not long) that I am planning on using as a sump for my 75 gallon. I plan on having an area for equipment (skimmer, heater, etc) as well as a deep sand bed with macro algae, and a return pump.

The guy at my LFS showed me his DIY sumps and told me to bring my tank up there and he would show me what to do. I know the area for the return pump needs to be as large as possible, also the compartment for the skimmer and heater will probably need to be as large as possible. The design he gave me left me with a 4 inch wide DSB from front to back of the tank. Will this be large enough for the macro algae? And shouldn't the DSB be before the skimmer as far as the water flow is concerned so the "dirty" water goes through the sand bed before being skimmed, or does it not matter?
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:22 PM   #2
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no. you want the skimmer first in the sump. 4" x 12" doesn't sound very large. why not make a smaller return area and use an auto top off to keep it from running dry?

the compartment for the skimmer only needs to be big enough to fit the skimmer. you don't need any extra space in there.
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:28 PM   #3
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I would love to do an auto-top off, but the only place I can have the aquarium is on a wall between the living room and the master bedroom. There is no plumbing anywhere. I would have to set up the RO unit in my laundry room and run the tubing up the wall through the attic and back down the wall. Also, my furnace/ac unit thing sits right above that wall in my attic. I am more familiar with my attic layout after wiring an in-ceiling surround sound system. Haha. I don't think there's a way I could plumb it into walls/attic.

Unless there is another ATO method that doesn't involve such extensive plumbing, I am going to have to manually top her off.


Also, I am not getting a skimmer right away. I am planning on filling it up and starting the cycle and letting that run for a 4 weeks or so while I re-build my funds before I buy a skimmer. So I'm not exactly sure how much space I'll need for the skimmer.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:02 PM   #4
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well, i would be sure before i build and fill my sump. i think you should pick the skimmer THEN build the sump accordingly.
an auto top off needs to just have a container near by that it can pull water from. even a salt bucket would work. do you have room for a salt bucket in the stand perhaps?
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:34 AM   #5
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I built my own stand, and it will have PLENTY of room underneath! I saw a tutorial on how to make one out of a gas can? I think I'd rather go with a bucket though. Something is telling me that a gas can isn't "food safe" and I'd rather be safe than sorry.

I haven't really researched protein skimmers much, and don't really know the differences between the hang on kind vs in-sump. Ideally, I'd like to have it take up the least amount of space while providing adequate skimming.

Also, does the chaeto have a root system? I saw a video on youtube where a guy just attached an egg crate cage type thing to the side of his refugium and it was filled with chaeto. If this is possible then I can go with basically the sump design given to me by my LFS owner.

I'll go open up MS paint and sketch up what he told me to do. It won't be to scale, but should be good enough to give you an idea of what he was saying to do.
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:54 AM   #6
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The only thing I couldn't include on a 2D sketchup was that the filter media part where the water drains into the sump only takes up about half of the width of the tank. And you can't tell from the drawing but the bottom portion of the egg crate is about an inch or so above the water level. He said that he uses this design and doesn't have any problems with microbubbles.

I would like for the sand bed to be larger, but a lot of that will depend on the size of the skimmer and if bubble traps will need to be included.

Also, I know that the use of any filter media is potential to create a nitrate factory, but he sells sheets of the stuff and 15 bucks would last me 4-6 months.

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Old 01-21-2011, 10:12 AM   #7
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no. chaeto does not have any anchoring or root system.
what kind of filter media are you talking about? it better be quite porous to let large amounts of water through without clogging. for instance, if you use a 4" filter sock, it will clog up in just a couple days.

you don't need any eggcrate barrier at the tops of the partitions before and after the refugium. not with chaeto anyway. it seems to hold together in a ball pretty good. even if you want to be safe and have eggcrate after the refugium, you definitely don't need it after the skimmer.

something like this-
Reef Octopus NWB-150 6" Internal Protein Skimmer

or this -
Reef Octopus DNWB-110 4 " Recirculating Protein Skimmer

or even this, would be good-
Reef Octopus Extreme 160 Protein Skimmer by CoralVue* - AquaCave
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