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Old 01-09-2010, 05:53 PM   #1
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Building a sump/refugium

I have a 75 gallon reef tank and I am considering building a basic sump/refugium for the tank. I am completely new to this concept so I was hoping if I posted what my basic plan is those of you with more experience could let me know what I'm missing or what I have completely wrong.

I'm going to head to the local fish store later to price and measure different aquariums to see what will fit but I am planning on putting an aquarium of at least 25 gallons underneath my display tank in the cabinet to serve as the sump/refugium.

I don't want to tear apart my tank so I am going to get a overflow box. Still deciding on the flow rate, I have read everything from 500 to 900 gph on a 75 gallon tank.

The overflow box will drain into one end of the sump. I have read of some people who prefer filter socks and others who say they are just a hassle. I have seen others who put filter media or live rock in the first compartment. Any opinions on what is best to do there.

I figured from there I would add a series of baffles to form compartments. One compartment to keep equipment such as the heater and protein skimmer.

When it comes to the protein skimmer do I want the intake and outtake in the same compartment or would separate compartments make sense to help ensure the dirty water is going through the protein skimmer before moving on in the sump?

I figured after the protein skimmer would be a good spot to put the bubble trap. My understanding is to use three baffles of the same size with the outer ones attached to the floor of the tank and the middle one one inch off the floor with 1 inch gaps between the baffles.

After the bubble trap I am thinking of placing the refugium. It's size will be based on how much space I have left over. I am thinking of putting some live rock and macroalgae in there to help with nitrates.

Then would be the last compartment with the return pump and a check valve in the return line in case of power loss. Am I correct in my understanding that the return pump should have a slightly higher gph flow that the overflow box to ensure that water is constantly being pumped into the overflow?

ok, so overall I really have zero experience with sumps and this is based off of a couple hours research on the internet. If this is completely messed up input would be appreciated before I start working on some of this stuff. I'm sure regardless it'll take a little while for me to figure everything out so I'm gonna wait a little bit before actually starting on this.
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Old 01-09-2010, 06:09 PM   #2
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Here's my sump. Might give you some ideas. From right to left....
drains from tank upstairs into 1st section - no filter socks (just extra maintanence)
1st section/baffles: skimmer and GFO reactor (2 heaters are between the baffles)
2nd section/eggcrate: fuge w/cheato and live rock rubble
3rd section/eggcrate: frag section
4th section/eggcrate: open section for external return pump and ATO float switch
Using eggcrate to divide the sections allows for all 3 sections to be the area the water level drops from evaporation.

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Old 01-09-2010, 10:32 PM   #3
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Thank you, that is extremely helpful, especially since i'm more of a visual person.

What diameter PVC pipe did you use for the intake and return? Some people have advised using different sizes and others have suggested using the same size. I was thinking of just using 1" piping from the overflow and 3/4" piping on the return
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:32 AM   #4
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I used 1" for the overflow/drains and returns.
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