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Old 07-27-2009, 08:18 PM   #1
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Rubbermaid sump?

I'm trying to build a sump for a 75 gallon tank out of a 50 gallon Rubbermaid tub. This will be a freshwater tank, and I would like to have some floating and/or emergent vegetation in the sump for nitrate/phosphate removal.

Keeping floating plants out of the pump requires some sort of baffle extending down into the water so water can flow underneath to the pump suction without creating a current at the surface to draw plants in. These will be small plants like Azolla, duckweed or similar. Ideally I would also like to have a baffle on the bottom at the beginning of the sump, so that I can pipe water to the bottom and have it flow up over some biomedia like a pile of lava rock, flowing over the baffle into the planted section.

Initially I used sheets of plexiglass with silicone sealant for the baffles. I'm not sure what I was thinking.

The problem is that water weighs a lot, and once filled the tub deformed significantly and broke my seals to the point where the baffles just fell over.

I've now built a 2x4 frame around the top to minimize deformation and hopefully keep the whole thing reasonably in the same shape once I fill it, but it won't be exactly the same shape and I expect that if I attempt the same plexiglass solution it will still break the seals.

What I need is either an aquarium-safe adhesive that could be applied underwater, so I can build baffles after filling and not worry about deformation, or I need to think of some other rigid material I could use that might be self-supporting without the need for attachment to the tub itself.

Right now my best idea is to use brick for the first one, which doesn't have to be watertight as its purpose is really just to guide flow and retain the biomedia in position. For the second, it really does need to make a near seal with the side of the tub since it needs to retain very small plants to prevent pump clogging. I think I could maybe just use wood that I could screw onto the top frame and hang down into the water. That would be easy to cut into shape and easy to install, but I'll need to find untreated wood and it still won't make a perfect seal.

Any ideas?
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Old 07-29-2009, 12:08 AM   #2
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i would watch craigslist and yard sales for that really cheap if not free 55 gal tank to make a sump out of.
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:04 AM   #3
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What I did was use additional containers. Instead of building baffles, I nest a smaller tub inside the sump.

So for your pump section, you can put in a small but tall container (so it is taller than the water line), drill holes near the bottom & sink it. Put your pump inside this container & it will draw water from the bottom of the sump. Ditto for the biomedia compartment, in this case, you get a shorter tub (or cut holes at the top) so water will flow out the top.

BTW - instead of using a rubbermaid, I use a reinforced tool storage box. This has reinforcements at the top & hold its shape pretty well even when full. <But it is only 30 gal.>
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Old 07-29-2009, 11:24 AM   #4
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I'll second what FishEggs said, but if you're set on the plastic tub, make sure you get one of the clear plastic tubs. They're stiffer than the opaque plastic.
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Old 07-29-2009, 12:09 PM   #5
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I was thinking of doing the same thing that jsoong talked about for my sump. The Petco by me has 2.5 gallon aquariums for about $12. I was going to sink the aquariums and use them as holders to keep other stuff out.
I am using a glass fish tank though and went ahead and used acryllic sheets and silicone sealant. I don't get the deformed sides and so the silicone holds fine for me.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:29 PM   #6
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Ok, I got the materials and it's all put together. Now I just need to get a pump and lighting and fire it up. I thought I had a pump, but I had never actually plugged it in, and now I discover it doesn't work. It's no repairable either - it was an induction motor, and has failed electrically somewhere down inside a block of resin.

Anybody have recommendations for what pump to get? I've been looking around Ebay, but many sellers don't provide enough information, often not even a manufacturer's name. I'm hoping to get around 300-400 gph with about 40 inches vertical lift, but I think all the advertised flow ratings are based on zero elevation gain, and there's not really accessible data to figure out the flow rate for the actual application. Obviously I need one rated for more than 300 gph to have enough water turnover, but I want to make sure I don't exceed the capacity of the overflow too.

A glass aquarium would obviously be easier to set up, but I do watch Craigslist for those, and when they pop up cheap I put fish in them
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:47 PM   #7
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some fish can live in a sump lol
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Old 07-30-2009, 11:17 PM   #8
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There's not much point to the sump if you do that though. I want the sump to house foods. Marmorkrebs, Gammarus and/or Daphnia are the kinds of things you should keep in a sump.
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gzeiger View Post
Anybody have recommendations for what pump to get? I've been looking around Ebay, but many sellers don't provide enough information, often not even a manufacturer's name. I'm hoping to get around 300-400 gph with about 40 inches vertical lift, but I think all the advertised flow ratings are based on zero elevation gain, and there's not really accessible data to figure out the flow rate for the actual application. ....
The manufacturers usu. post the flow rate vs head height charts, so you can google for it. The chart is also printed on the side of the box as well.

This is a page with the tables for many different pumps:
Aquarium pumps, pond Pumps,Rio, Reeflo, Sequence, Eugene Danner, Supreme mag drive, Little Giant

If you are looking at a Mag Drive, for example, you will find on the table (waaaay down near the bottom of the page) that a #5 is what you need.
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Old 07-31-2009, 06:27 AM   #10
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Thanks. I knew the manufacturers would have that, which is why I was so frustrated at the Ebay people for posting lists of ratings but not providing make and model.

Googling "pump" is surprisingly unhelpful. You get the Wikipedia page explaining what a pump is, then ads for old athletic shoes and even less likely products.
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