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Old 10-26-2002, 09:48 PM   #1
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Need advice on settin up sump for african cichlid tank

I'm in the process of setting up a 33-gallon tank for african cichlids. I'm planning on having a 15-20 gallon sump, which will house a heater and aqua-filter. And there will be 2 powerheads and a bubble wall in the tank.

Any suggestions so far?

My main question is the plumbing for the sump - I'm planning on getting 3 holes drilled: 1 just under water level for out-flow to the sump, 1 near the bottom (under gravel) for water in-flow from the sump, and 1 near the bottom (also under gravel) for air in-flow for the bubble wall. How big should the holes/tubing be? What size water pump do you recommend? Are these good spots for the holes? What kind of tubing do you recommend?

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

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Old 10-26-2002, 10:45 PM   #2
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Sounds like you're on the right track by going with a sump...they have many advantages. I don't understand why you want to drill the inflow under the gravel though. I have done several sumps on salt and fresh tanks and, if the tank was drilled in the bottom (one was), I used this hole as the drain to the sump. I think, if I was going to have the tank drilled, I would have it drilled in the bottom in one of the rear corners and use a weir to control the water level. You can make it out of acrylic and install a stand pipe to minimize noise. The stand pipe is a great place for a prefilter too. Bring the water back in at the top and be sure to drill a siphon break in the line so the tank doesn't back flow and run the sump over in the event of power/pump failure. You can provide more current in the tank this way and get better surface turbulence to maximize gas exchange. I think I would use a pump that would give total tank volume turnover of at least 7-8 times per hour. Be sure to allow for head (Height the pump must move the water to) when you figure the pump size. Most pumps are rated at 0' head and will drop off a good bit after 3' or so. Also, some pumps are rated as circulation and some are rated as pressure. I would recommend a circulation type for this application. External pumps are a little more expensive, but will not heat the water as a submersible pump will. I have had good service with both types. I currently use a Little Giant on one tank and a MagDrive on another. The Magdrive is plumbed externally though. If you put a valve on the pump to regulate flow, be sure it goes on the pressure side and not the intake...this can cause a constant stream of microbubbles to be ejected from the return into the tank. You might want to check out the DIY section at ozreef.com for more ideas. Hope this helps some.
Logan J
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african, african cichlid, cichlid, ich, sump, tan

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