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Old 12-18-2009, 03:01 PM   #1
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Please Critique my Sump Design

Hello all, I'm pretty new to this forum and just starting up a saltwater aquarium after a long break. I've been doing a lot of reading online (thanks to many of you for some very helpful links!), and I think I have finalized my sump tank design. I wanted to post it here for you guys to see incase you guys have any suggestions on things to change.

I'm a bit of a noob with this sump design stuff...

What I have:
50 gallon breeder tank (about the same size as a 40 breeder but taller)
A bunch of free plexiglas baffles (max height is 14.5 inches), 1/4" thick.

Here's the image, if I can embed this properly.... This is fully drawn to scale on graph paper, but the graph lines didn't scan in. Plumbing is just approximated for now:



The basic flow is as follows, overflow from the tank flows down, part splits off to fill the refugium. By this junction there are valves for the refugium flow and the sump flow.

Refugium overflows through a couple of baffles (1/2" spacing) into the return tank. The first refugium baffle will have some slots cut into it to block snails from leaving the fuge.

The main flow will go into the intake tank and go over live rock, that is held in place by a short baffle. The skimmer is in here above the short baffle. There is a bubble wall first with a 3.5 inch gap at the base. I will put 2 media bags between this baffle and the small liverock intake baffle containing activated carbon and phosphorus removing media. The water will then flow through this 3.5" gap (put a sponge here for more air bubble trapping?) and through a series of 3 baffles to the return tank. (Baffles are HIGH (With large bottom opening) then LOW (12") then HIGH (1" bottom opening) then another LOW (12") then to the return tank. I'm hoping this baffle design will be able to eliminate a lot of the bubbles. In the return tank I will have an egg crate scaffold with live rock on it.

From the return tank, I have a pump (not yet decided on) that will return the water to the tank. Above the sump I will have a splitter that will allow me to cycle the water back to the return tank (so I have the ability to slow down the return flow without putting stress on the return pump.) and another valve leading to a drain line (that I can turn on to do water changes utilizing the return pump flow).

Any suggestions or comments would be much appreciated. I plan on putting it together with Weldon 40, which I have read will do a decent job of welding plexiglas to glas. And then maybe a coat of silicon over that.

Thanks!

Oh, I'm also assembling a stand (almost done) without any center supports (so open back and front, with a small shelf extending out through the back.) Frame is held solid by gusset plates instead of the normal center vertical support. Very solid. I'm taking pictures and will post a DIY onto the forum once I'm done with it.

rob
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Old 12-18-2009, 08:26 PM   #2
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all i would suggest is a breather at the top left return at skimmer, use a T instead of a 90 and extend it up a few inches, with the returns below the water surface you will get some burping and a flow reduction,dont think the diverter on the return will do anything? just inline a valve if the head is bigger than needed, also with acrylic baffles be sure to make them smaller than the width of the tank, acrylic expands and could cause a crack
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:11 PM   #3
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all i would suggest is a breather at the top left return at skimmer, use a T instead of a 90 and extend it up a few inches, with the returns below the water surface you will get some burping and a flow reduction,dont think the diverter on the return will do anything? just inline a valve if the head is bigger than needed, also with acrylic baffles be sure to make them smaller than the width of the tank, acrylic expands and could cause a crack
The diverter on the return is to allow me to regulate the flow of the return. It lets me return some of the water being pumped back to the sump tank instead of to the main tank. I guess the idea here is to be able to lessen the return flow without putting stress on the pump (which just putting an inline valve would do.) The skimmer outlined in a dotted line is the protein skimmer. I'm a bit confused about what 90 you are talking about replacing with a T. Where exactly are you talking about it? And its purpose is to reduce gurgling? Its just a T and I cap off the top part a few inches above the T? Very nice tip on the acrylic. Maybe saved me buying a new sump tank. Thanks for your input rob
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:25 PM   #4
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pumps can be restricted on the output side with no issues just not on the intake, I believe the extra pipe will be unsteady as per gallonage ie it wil spurt and dribble depending on the outlet pressure at the top.
The T is where the 90 goes down to the rock (near ) the skimmer, it will just assist in the flow, if you look under your kitchen sink you will see a similar setup, so? how big a pump and what size pipe will you use? drilled tank or some kind of overflow?
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:41 PM   #5
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OK, gotcha. If you slow down the intake but not the return, wouldn't you run into problems where the sump return tank runs dry? I figured if you turned one down you would need to be able to turn the other down also. Maybe I'm confused. I just recieved my overflow box that was SUPPOSED to be 600 gph and have an outlet for a 1" pipe. What I recieved looks a little different from the picture, and has a 2" hole in the bottom. I was going to do it all with 1" pipe, so I would have to downsize the overflow box outlet. Any suggestions on pipe size? As for the return pump, I still need to figure out what size I need (found some web pages where you can add in pipe diameter and height to figure out what you will need, I think). rob
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:53 PM   #6
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big is always better for returns, less chance of backup/overflow from blockage (algae,muck,fish etc lol) the funniest things end up in return lines.
OK, clarification, pump in water in sump, pipe and valve to tank, this way you can restrict the amount of water being pumped to the tank, don't forget when the pump goes off its a vacuum and will siphon display water until it finds air, so the deeper in the tank the supply is the more goes back in to the sump (and on the floor) if this isn't clear just ask Ive flooded a few in my time and it can be confusing.
Pumps have several considerations besides volume, heat produced and power consumption, over the life of a pump the energy costs will far outweigh the cost, there are some very loww watt pumps around now, I prefer external pumps because of the heat
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:20 PM   #7
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big is always better for returns, less chance of backup/overflow from blockage (algae,muck,fish etc lol) the funniest things end up in return lines.
OK, clarification, pump in water in sump, pipe and valve to tank, this way you can restrict the amount of water being pumped to the tank, don't forget when the pump goes off its a vacuum and will siphon display water until it finds air, so the deeper in the tank the supply is the more goes back in to the sump (and on the floor) if this isn't clear just ask Ive flooded a few in my time and it can be confusing.
Pumps have several considerations besides volume, heat produced and power consumption, over the life of a pump the energy costs will far outweigh the cost, there are some very loww watt pumps around now, I prefer external pumps because of the heat
OK, gotcha. Good point about depth of the return, didn't think about the syphon during a power outage. Probably would have flooded myself in the short run on that one thanks to seattle's crappy power. So the valve I put in serves the same purpose as an inline valve (ristricting water to the tank.) I just read it is easier on the pumpj, since it diverts water back, but allows the pump to run without resistance pressure. (resistance pressure from the valve restricting waterflow makes the pump crank harder, even though it isn't moving as much water.) Or so I read... I need to start doing research on plumping and return pumps now... You think 1" pipe is decent? Gotta figure out what my overflow box is since they sent me the wrong one. Looks decent enough though. Thanks rob
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Old 12-18-2009, 11:41 PM   #8
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OK, I think I'm going to change the plan and ditch the refugium in the sump. I'll add a separate 5 gallon one to a shelf on the side of the main tank. That will give me a lot more room for the return tank, and overall make my life easier I think. I'll just gravity feed the refugium by diverting water from the main tank overflow on a valve, then drilling the 5 gallon ref and letting it overflow down into the sump.
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Old 12-19-2009, 04:48 PM   #9
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its funny that no matter what size sump you start with its never big enough, not having a fuge involved with it also allows you a time out area for naughty rocks lol
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Old 12-19-2009, 05:43 PM   #10
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its funny that no matter what size sump you start with its never big enough, not having a fuge involved with it also allows you a time out area for naughty rocks lol
Hah, yea, right? So I think my current plan includes taking the refugium out of the sump and having a large return tank (just losing the refugium baffles, leaving the other baffles in place) and I am going to build a second small stand for a 20 gallon (tall tank I think, that I have in my basement) and I'm going to set that up next to my main tank for the refugium. So I'll have a 75 gallon tank, a 20 gallon fuge and a 50 gallon sump tank, probably holding somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 gallons so there is some room for overflow. Keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger... Bolting the corners of my stand together now. Soon will be time for staining and sealing it. Also some great plumbing changes for me in this thread, thanks Hydrocephalus rob
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