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Old 07-09-2004, 01:48 PM   #1
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Do I need a sump?

Hello Everybody,

I am new to this hobby and have spent much time reading and studying it's different aspects. And yes, I do understand the patience is the number one key element to doing this right.

I would like to start a 40-60 g sw tank with fish, live rock and some inverts. I would like to get into reefing but from what I read it sounds like it's tricky. Before I go out and buy my product could people give me a check list as to the hardware I should be shopping for? Also, is it possible to put a sump below the tank in a cabinet? What size of sump tank would I need?

I really appreciate this forum and would love to hear back from some of you veterans? Thanks.
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Old 07-09-2004, 03:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Also, is it possible to put a sump below the tank in a cabinet?
Not to sound smart or anything but yes thats where most of us keep them. Others plumb them from their basement or from behind a wall and into a special fish closet/room.

For a 60gal tank I would have a sump no smaller than 20 gal.

Hardware, Since you said you want to get into reef Ill factor that in.

High output lights. Either VHO, MH or PC. Shoot for 300W of florecent light or 2 150W MH and 100W actinic.
Powerheads (number to be determined by flow patterns around rock and corals)
Heater
Hydromoter
Salt
Test kits for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph, alkinity, calcium
assorted fish buckets
75-100 lbs of live rock
3"+ depth of sand
quality skimmer
Overflow (if your tank is not 'reefready')
Return pump (if you use a sump)
Misc plumbing supplies to connect sump to main tank
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Old 07-09-2004, 03:49 PM   #3
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Fishfreek suggested an overflow if your tank isn't "reefready" I would recommend purchasing a reef ready tank if you haven't gotten a tank already. They cost more but you won't have to buy an overflow and your mind will be much more at ease about discovering water all over your floor!
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Old 07-09-2004, 03:54 PM   #4
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Everyone speaks bad about hang on overflows but I havnt had the bad luck others have. Keepem clean and they run trouble free for years.
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Old 07-09-2004, 04:29 PM   #5
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Those HOB Overflows make me nervous... 8O
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Old 07-09-2004, 04:45 PM   #6
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i dont clean mine and i have never had a problem with a wet floor. i have done power off test and all. still no problems. they just do not look the best.
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A 46 gal bow front (Soft coral) reef tank with a 10 gal sump. And a 30 gal (SPS and Clam) reef tank hooked up to the sump of the 46 so they share water.
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Old 07-09-2004, 06:35 PM   #7
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The only problem I've had with the hang on the back type overflows is the incredible noise they made when I first got the tank running. I looked into the problem and the made some Stockman Standpipes to go inside them and now they are completely silent. Even with the worst possible disaster there isn't the potential for all that much water winding up on the floor. I don't know if I'd go for the reef ready tank if I were to do it all over again...for a 120 gallon tank, the inside overflows do take up a chunk of room and I'm comfortable with the overflows I have now that I know exactly how they work and the limitation on the possibility of flooding.

As far as the sump is concerned...make sure that the one you do wind up getting has enough room for the pump that drives the circulation back to the tank...the pump that drives your protein skimmer....the pump that drives your UV if you chose to get one of those....your heater and some carbon if you decide you want to use that too....The bigger, the better is a good rule of thumb because it gives you more options.
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Old 07-09-2004, 06:42 PM   #8
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I tell you the ones I do not like are the CPR overflows. Those worry me greatly. The U tube overflows are almost fouless.
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Old 07-09-2004, 07:41 PM   #9
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I tell you the ones I do not like are the CPR overflows. Those worry me greatly
Easy fella!



CPR Aquatic ought to pay me as a rep for those overflows. I must "back them up" at least once a month.
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Old 07-09-2004, 09:20 PM   #10
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Biggen...I'm just curious because I don't have that type...I have the more traditional kind of over the back of the tank overflows...with siphons...What do you mean when you say you have "back up" the CPR kind of overflow??
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Old 07-09-2004, 10:23 PM   #11
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What do you mean when you say you have "back up" the CPR kind of overflow??
Not to butt in on Biggen but they are the most prone to trouble and spillage. The "C" type tube used causes constant headaches with keeping the syphon and a small pump is recommended inside the overflow itself to maintain the syphon. If there a problem and the return pump from the sump quites or vice versa, you will definately have a flood.

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Old 07-09-2004, 11:25 PM   #12
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I'll be the first one to tell ya, if I had to buy another overflow, it would be a U-tube type overflow. But only because of their price.

CPR's are great overflows IF you have a good PH (i.e. Maxijet) used to keep the siphon going. The problem is, a lot of people are using cheaper PH's (i.e. Rio's) and don't maintain them properly. Once the siphon breaks on the overflow, the next step is the contents of your sump being pumped to the floor.

I have been running mine for a year and I have had ZERO problems with it. As long as the PH is cleaned regularly, I never will. Even if the PH is turned off, the siphon will still stay intact for a while. It only breaks if air enters the overflow which can only happen if a lot of wave action causes air to be pulled in.

The nice thing about the CPR's is that they can start back up right away in the event of a power failure. I have never used a U-tube overflow, but will their siphon not break if the sump pump loses power?
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Old 07-09-2004, 11:38 PM   #13
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I can tell you that if I cut the electricity off going to my pump....it's a Mag Drive that's in the sump...the siphon isn't broken...The water level in the tank drops, with water going down into the sump, then stopping. When I put the electricity back on, the pump starts, sending water back up to the tank and the overflow starts and along with it, the siphon. Nothing needs to be done.

If there were ever a power outage, the same would happen. The water always remains in the U-tube.
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Old 07-10-2004, 11:40 AM   #14
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back them up as in defend them.

The reason I dont like them is this. They dont use a U tube but instead the entire lenght of the overflow is a channel for water to go up an dover the back of the tank. The isssue is that they have such a bad problem with air collecting in this long "c channel" that they have a hose connection at the top to not only aid in starting the syphon but to also keep air out of this channel. The recommend you attach a powerhead to this line to keep the channel full of water. When power fails and the c channel empties the powerhead will fill it back up again once power is restored in comapirson to the U tube overflows that dont need such assistance.

Should that powerhead fail to power up then you have a flooded floor. I have a friend whom has a CPR overflow and they recommended he run a hose extension down to his sump instead of a powerhead because his sump is in the basement. This works fine and dandy until the hose clogs with algae either at his sump end or at the overflow end. The few times that this drain line has gotten about 1/2 way plugged with algae his overflow has failed or has slowed down due to the amount of air in the channel that he has suffered a flood.

I figured out that it was the algae on the hose and suggested he wrape his clear drain line with dark tape so as to keep light from getting inside the line.
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Old 07-10-2004, 11:45 AM   #15
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I have never used a U-tube overflow, but will their siphon not break if the sump pump loses power?
NO. You could cut the power off and leave it off for more than a day and power the pump up and the syphon will still be there. As long as both ends of the U tube remain under water you wont lose syphon. The outside portion of the U tube is under water because there is a small chamber whos shortest wall is higher than the bottom of the U tube. The inside portion of the U tube is maintained underwater because its depth is lower than the highest point of the outside tube chamber. Since water will naturally find itself a level point both ends stay under water and will remain that way until evaporation causes one of the ends to get air.

The biggest problem with U tube overflow is when people underdrive them. If you have say a 600GPH unit and you put only 150GPH thru it then air bubbles may collect at the top of the tube and overtime break the syphon. If you drive the overflow close to what its rated at you wont have such a problem. The only maintance I do on them is every so often I take the U tubes out and clean them with round brush to remove any algae buildup on the inside.
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Old 07-10-2004, 12:58 PM   #16
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http://www.lifereef.com/siphon.html

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Old 07-10-2004, 04:48 PM   #17
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The biggest problem with U tube overflow is when people underdrive them. If you have say a 600GPH unit and you put only 150GPH thru it then air bubbles may collect at the top of the tube and overtime break the syphon.
This must be what is happening to a couple of the employees of my LFS. The tell me they have to "restart" their U-tube every few days because it breaks. This is why they only recommend and carry the CPR overflows.

I have never had any such bad experiences as a flooded floor that your friend has had with his overflow. I used to run a PH down in the sump and run the airline back to the top of the overflow (like your friend), but I also had algae growth in the line. I since moved the PH into the tank and shortened the line nearly 5 fold. So long as I don't ever pull the airline out from around the nipple on the overflow (which would allow air to enter the channel), my siphon never breaks. I can even turn the PH off and the overflow will continue to perform at the same speed. It has a lot to do with the angle the overflow is positioned at. That is why CPR installed two screws on the inside back of the unit. This allows you to position the overflow at an angle to the tank to keep air bubbles from being trapped inside. You may want to mention this to your friend.

Again, if I bought another overflow, it would be a U-style. Less expensive and a bit more simplistic. I just think the CPR gets a far worse wrap than it deserves...
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Old 07-10-2004, 06:21 PM   #18
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i would add a good book to the list of things to have
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Old 07-13-2004, 10:39 AM   #19
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i have decided not to go with a reef tank, but simply stick with fish and a few inverts. It's a 55g tank with 60 pounds of lr as well as ls. I would like to have a sump underneath.

Do I still need a skimmer for this type of tank? Can I start w/o one? Thanks everyone for your help.
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