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Old 01-15-2014, 12:20 PM   #1
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Help with Sump Drain and Return Lines

I just got a second hand tank I'm planning to use as a new planted tank. It has a sump that I'm excited to use. They gave me a big bag of bio balls that they told me to soak half water half vinegar to regenerate then rinse really well? I haven't looked into this yet. Don't want to take their word for it.

But the first issue I have is that they had no hoses going from the tank drains to the sump PVC or return pump. I asked and they just said they'd been using flue hose but that it had cracked and couldn't tell me how they'd attached it. Any help would be appreciated. I've never used this filter method before and I'd like to not make a big mess of it.

Here's a tank view of the tank. I'm assuming it's also DIY. You can see the finger smear in the silicone along the bottom of the overflow plate. I thought I'd read that black silicone shouldn't be used in aquariums?

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Under the tank:

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And the PVC going into the wet/dry:

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The return pump is a Rio 2500. Not the plus version. I might need a new pump, though, they were also running is without the other half of its housing.

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Old 01-15-2014, 01:44 PM   #2
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May I assume you are talking freshwater planted tank? Not that it would change my answers but this looks like an old saltwater tank. If so be sure to clean it thoroughly to remove salt residue and any other debris left behind.

First thing I would do - trash the bio-balls. Many people will tell you they are Nitrate factories. You can get better media unless you just WANT to use them. They will require frequent cleaning. You can put them in the dishwasher (NO SOAP) to clean them when necessary. Be aware though that this will kill off the majority of the bacteria growing on them, which is their true purpose.

Looking under the tank I see your drain and return lines. You can use vinyl tubing for those (available at Lowe's or Home Depot) and hold them in place with hose (radiator) clamps. If your sump is offset from the drain lines you may need something a little different. My drain looks more like a vacuum cleaner hose but any good quality flexible line will do.This important thing is for the line not to kink. The return line from the pump is usually the smaller one. The drain line can go to the trickle filter if you plan to use it or into a filter sock if you go a different direction.

The silicone - Black is probably bad. You want silicone that is 100% silicone like GE Type I or the equivalent. Silicone with colors, mildew inhibitors and other additives are almost always harmful if not deadly to the fish. If there is any doubt I would scrape it all off (and I do mean ALL of it) and wash the areas with vinegar, rinse well then replace it with good silicone. Be very sure to remove all the silicone because new silicone doesnt adhere well to old silicone. Be patient and plan out your steps to avoid a big mess when applying the silicone.

Why do I love fish? Because every time I stare into the little world I have created for them, every problem I have just floats away....
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Old 01-15-2014, 02:09 PM   #3
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Yup. Going to use it for fresh. I'm going to clean it really well. I know I need to silicone at least the front two vertical seals as I was able to peel some of it right off, but not looking forward to scraping everything from the overflow plate. I was really trying to avoid taking it all off, but it might be unavoidable. The people who had it ran it for over a year with this black silicone and it was already used before then. Would it still really be much of an issue? Including a photo:

For the bio balls, I've never used them and haven't researched them. I'm certainly not opposed to parking a big sponge under the drip plate. I've seen that quite a bit looking at pictures of wet/dry set ups. My canister has seachem matrix or and the fluval came with its own porous media. Would that be better, or is sponge plenty? I like using purigen with my smaller tanks, but other than that it's mostly just bio media and sponge. Sorry for my lack of broad research on this. I wasn't planning to do salt, so I didn't look up bio balls.

For the lines, the PVC is 1" and the overflow drain is the same, but the PVC for the sump is at a right angle. I'll probably go with what you suggest. The return should be 3/4", I'll just have to check it for the return pump itself.

I've looked up some guides for the re-silicone job and it seems very easy, I'm just whining hard about the prospect of needing to take it off all around and pull that overflow plate off. It's got a load of that black silicone holding it in place.
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line, return line, sump

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