I have a 120-gallon tank which will be set up as a FOWLR
, carrying a heavy bioload. I'd been playing with Rubbermaids, aquariums etc for use as a sump/refugium, but due to the size limitations of my stand, off-the-shelf stuff just won't work. I therefore came up with a plan for a 3-unit set of custom-built acrylic containers plumbed together. I received a too-good-to-be-true quote on them from Jen's Saltwater Haven (jensalt.com) and made the mistake of ordering them. When they arrived, I was shocked. In my opinion, the sumps were utterly defective and so poorly built as to be unusable. The edges were unfinished, the corners didn't line up, and the seams were unbelievably bad. Even the best seam was full of bubbles, and many were full of large gaps in the glue. In some spots, the gaps went all the way through! After Jensalt refused to refund my money or even acknowledge the problems, I actually broke them up and threw them away.
You can see all the details on my Jensalt sump horror story site
Since I had wasted $150.00, my budget no longer allowed me to have custom acrylic sumps made. I did a lot of research, and ordered some ideally-sized polyethylene tanks
, which are designed for long-term storage of liquids, are used for aquaculture as well as other applications, and are inexpensive.
The total volume will be about 33 gallons. I have a Mag 9.5 for a return, and a LifeReef
overflow box, which is wonderful.
As you can see in the above graphic, one sump unit contains a filter sock above it for easy mechanical filtration, housed in a Rubbermaid canister with large holes on its bottom and sides. It outflows onto a drip plate atop an eggcrate container of Bio-balls which rises partly above the waterline, providing great air/water exchange. (I'm using this arrangement in my 29-gallon's DIY sump, and it works very well. On it, I have a LifeReef overflow and a Mag 7 for a return.) Also inside the first box will be my Turboflotor 1000 skimmer, fed with an in-sump 600GPH pump.
The outflow from the first box goes to the 2nd box, containing heater, any chemicals, etc and the Mag 9.5 return pump. The return flow is teed through a ball valve, allowing a small flow to the 3rd box, which will be a refugium with live sand and live rock. I've read a lot about how flow rates through the fuge should be lower, thus the tee and valve. The outflow from the refugium goes to the 2nd box with the return pump.
Following my setback with the sumps, I now have the polyethylene tanks in hand, but haven't started plumbing them, etc. Time has been very short lately. I'll post an update as things progress.