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Old 02-26-2006, 05:52 PM   #1
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considering a sump

I am considering building an external sump for my 55 gallon saltwater tank. does anyone have any suggestions. I was thinking about making it from a 5 gallon tank. My questions are, what pump should i use for the water return? should i use an overflow device to bring water to the sump? I have an undergravel filter powered by 2 powerheads, is there a way to use the undergravel filter with the sump so that i can get rid of the ugly powerheads? can i use a protein skimmer with it? Heater? hangover filter? is it safe? If the power goes out, will my tank siphon even if i have a sealed top on it?
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Old 02-26-2006, 11:22 PM   #2
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I'm a freshie, but if you're gonna build a sump make it as large as your space can handle-5 gallons is a pretty small sump for a 55. I'd aim for 20 gal or more to get the most out of it.

You can def place your heater in the sump. Not sure about the protien skimmer... never see one haha.

You should use an overflow. An overflow will prevent your tank from draining into your room should the power go out, or the pump fail.

I know of no way to use a sump to run a standard UGF. However, if you run it as a reverse UGF (water is forced down under the gravel instead of sucked up) you could, concieveably run the sump's output into the RUGF.

RUGF's are used in FW planted tanks occasionally, but I have no idea of their implications in SW tanks.

Maybe someone else can help you a bit more

Good luck
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Old 02-27-2006, 01:08 PM   #3
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I am actually making a sump for my freshwater 55 gallon. It's not as complicated as your sump would be, but Blazer is right, 5 gallon would be too small.

Making one out of acrylic or using a 20 gallon long would be a good way to go. When I set up a saltwater tank (in a few years hopefully) I plan on definitely building a sump. I would say you should definitely build one for your 55 saltwater.

In the sump, you would need a powerhead as your return pump to put water back in the tank, I believe Mag Drives are best, which one you get depends on the GPH flow rate of your overflow. Unless your saltwater tank is predrilled with an overflow compartment, you would definitely need an overflow box to drain the water as well. I'm not sure about undergravel filters, but you can definitely put your protein skimmer, heaters, HOB filters, etc. in the sump. You can also make a refugium compartment and a bubble trap for your protein skimmer. Your siphon will probably break if there is a power outage, but I think that is somewhat unavoidable. It's not a big deal, if everything is set up right, you shouldn't have any flood/drain problems. Plus, if there was a power outage, all the equipment would stop, so it wouldn't do the tank any good even if the sump kept going. If you're talking about a brief power outage, I think there are ways to get automatic startup of your overflow - I'm just not clear on how that works.

When I was doing research on sumps, I got most of my information from Melev's Reef site. It's very informative. Marc (who runs the website) posts all the plans and details to his sumps. He also has a section called "How does a sump work?" http://www.melevsreef.com/what_sump.html I would read that if you want details on all the components you would need and to get an idea of how to start building one. His main web page is: http://www.melevsreef.com/
You can find links to all his sumps and plans and he even has plans for an overflow box. This is a great site and helped me understand all the intricacies of a sump and all that it involves. My overflow is going to be based off his plans.

Hope that helps!
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Old 02-27-2006, 09:52 PM   #4
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i am planning on building the sump under a store bought stand. is that a problem? should i put it somewhere else? is there enough space? Will a 15 or maybe a ten gallon tank work(ive got both) and does the sump need to be entirely full?
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Old 02-28-2006, 05:28 PM   #5
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Under the stand is the right place for the sump, I'm not sure where else you could put it. There should be enough space, if it looks really small, you can see if the tank will fit in the stand with some room - enough to maneuver around it and get to plugs, equipment, etc. if you need to. I guess you could do a 15, but it's bordering on the too small side. You would have to add water more often, and depending on the size of your skimmer, whether you want a bubble trap or refugium compartment, things could be tight in there; but do-able. The sump is never entirely full, you leave enough space so that in case there is a power outage and extra water is drained but not pumped up, the sump won't flood.
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