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Old 03-03-2009, 01:42 PM   #1
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Adding Sump to 75 Gallon

Hi All,

Looking for some advice for my 75 gallon marine setup. I am relatively new to the saltwater world. Have kept freshwater and planted tanks for years and figured I was ready for a new challenge.

Long story short, I switched from freshwater to saltwater essentially on the fly and 2 years later I realize that I need a sump. There was never a good time to break my tank down and have it drilled and all I have read on overflow boxes scared me.

As it stands....in the 75 I have around 65 Lbs of live rock and an Aquamedic Turboflotor Multi SL protein skimmer hanging on now, but will end up in my sump. It is mainly fish only right now knowing that my water quality could not support many corals. I know my filtration is a nightmare and need to make a move. I am running an Eheim 2213 and an Eheim 2217. Both canister filters. After some research, it is clear why my nitrates can never get below 25 ppm. Sounds like my canister filters are nitrate farms or traps. I don't have the time to clean the 2 filters weekly. I was thinking I may be better off just replacing the media in the canisters with bio balls or something. Or perhaps taking them right out of the equation. I am using a little aquaclear hang on filter with no media to simply agitate the surface to try to avoid the protein layer.

So many questions, here are a few for now:

Am I better off without the canister filters?

What size hole is standard for drilling?

How many holes and where should I put them?

Is drilling something I should attempt myself?

Is a 29 gallon sump a good choice? I think I am looking at moving about 900 gph when the sump is functioning.


Sorry this was so long. So many questions. Looking forward to hearing some advice.

Thanks
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Old 03-03-2009, 01:57 PM   #2
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I have been using HOB overflows for over 3 years now with no issues. My current setup has dual 1200gph overflows on it. Eshoppes very good brand.

I would not put bio balls in the canister filters. Really the best option for you to improve your filtration is to add another 60lbs of LR to your tank. 1.5-2lbs of LR per gallon will give you all the filtration you need. Add the rock and ditch the canister filters. The sump size you selected will work just fine.

Drilling a tank is not difficult you just have to take your time and be careful. I have done it several times. Keep in mind that overflows aren't as bad as you may have heard.
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Ziggy. With my luck I just know that I would have issues with the overflow. I have had enough problems with my hob skimmer. I can't wait to get it into a sump. Also, i really like the idea of hidng everything underneath.
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:06 PM   #4
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+1 on the ESHOPPS Overflows... Although I just added one to my tank last week

They are REALLY well made and not expensive at all. I've tested the failure scenerios like 20 times since it's been installed and the siphon starts up every time. So far so good!! I even Kill my return pump now when I feed.

I think a 29g sump would be perfect. I'd add a baffle and add a refugium with some MAcro Algae.. You'll have those Nitrate near Zero in no time!

I'd also just ditch the canisters. Your 65lbs of LR should provide enough biological filtration... Save the electricity!

You can also ditch the AC filter as your return line from the sump will provide the same surface agitation. I split my line at the tank surface and have two spraybars.

I'm really new to this as well as I switched from FW in Nov08. But I've learned sooo much in this short time! This site rocks
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:48 PM   #5
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This is great. I knew I switched over too fast and took poor advice from the kids working at local stores. I have always wanted a sump so I figure I am just going to drill it to be safe. I think I will sleep better. I figure I am going to drill 2 holes...one in each corner. I like the sump design where the return is in the middle portion of the sump.

With 2 holes drilled. Is it better to have multiple returns to the tank? Or would one be better with the higher volume flowing through it? Also where is the best spot for a return?

With the 2 holes? What is best..internal, external, or no overbox at all (just return pipeline?

I am looking to run around 500 gph. Does that mean I will need 2 smaller overflow boxes that have around 250 gph capacity?

I'll leave it there for now.

Thanks so much.
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:54 PM   #6
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I wouldn't ditch the canisters at all. The key is taking all the sponges out and just using them as big powerheads. You can put LR rubble in the sections for additional biological filtration. They also give you the ability to run selective media based on your day-2-day needs (carbon, purigen, GFO, etc). They would also be a quick way to setup a QT if/when you need one. Just move the can to the QT tank.

While I'm not sure I recommend you go out and but a canister filter given where your going not making use of existing equipment just makes no sense.
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:23 PM   #7
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Thanks for the reply Captain. I like the idea. I agree that the Eheim's would act as great powerheads for the tank. I hope to see a drop in nitrates once I strip the canister. Should I run it with asolutely nothing in it. There is alot of eheim substrate in them. Should I get rid of all that also? I won't need that biological filtration?
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:33 PM   #8
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You def want to take all the sponges out of them. You could leave the ceramic rings , replace them w/ LR rubble or use a mixture. I'd leave at least on compartment open in case you ever want to run media.

If you're going to run it/them empty I'd take the current media out 1/3 per week just to make sure the tank has a chance to adjust to the change. Doesn't hurt to play it safe.

Even if you run it empty, I'd still get on a 60-90 day cleaning cycle for the can itself.

I have a fluval 404 running on my SW. I have LR in 2 compartments, Purigen in one and GFO in another. It also gives me an option on shoving a micro pad in there if I ever need to polish the water or get a sand storm.

There are tons of uses for a running a can.

BTW: A 1" hole is going to get you 600gh. Remember you want 2 holes anyway. 1 for the drain, one for the return. 600GPH on a 75 is standard.
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:46 PM   #9
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LOL... I like Capts advice better
Great point re: media... I'm currently figuring out how to add my purigen sac to my sump.
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:49 PM   #10
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stick a small HOB stuffed w/ purigen in your sump
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:53 PM   #11
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Do you think I need to drill for the return line or lines? i was thinking of 2 drain lines. One in each upper back corner. Is there an advantage to having a drilled return? This is all new to me. I think four holes might be pushing my luck. Could i have 2 drains and one return hole?

Or am I better off with one drain and one return line?

So If I want to run around 500 gph...with 2 drain holes. You say a one inch hole is going to get 600 gph. Would I want smaller than one inch holes than? Wouldnt 2 one inch holes get 1200 gph?

Same as the overflow box capacitites. Two 300gph versus one 600gph??

Thanks again.
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:00 PM   #12
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Me. I'd do 1 @600. Are you drilling the back or the bottom? Mine are drilled on the bottom.

Yes, you can have 2 drains and 1 return. Regardless of the amount, they will drain to and return from the same location.

I like single corner (near corner) drains. It give you that circular flow
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:07 PM   #13
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I will be drilling the back. At least one corner for a drain. With one drain, I would have the return in that same corner?

Would it be better to have the return on the opposite corner? I may be fundamentally missing something here as to how the boxes are set up. Is the return there to hide it also??

It sure would be cheaper to drill just one drain line. One less overflow box and all the fittings will add up. 2 drains might be redundant because I will be getting around 600 gph regardless. Less to see in the aquarium also.

This is so helpful!!
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:17 PM   #14
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1 box, 2 holes. 1 for the drain, 1 for the return. The piping for the return comes up and then over the drain box. That's how both of mine are plumbed. All hidden in one box.
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:35 PM   #15
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Now depending on where the holes are, does this dictate what the actual overflow box looks like?

For example..if the tank is drilled through the bottom the overflow box has to go all the way to the bottom of the aquarium correct? If my holes were closer to the top could I get anyway with a smaller box? It sometimes seems as though the corner boxes take up a fair amount of space.

I just think smaller boxes look better. It seems as though most predrilled tanks with overflow boxes go all the way to the bottom.

Does a tank have to be notched for an external overflow box?
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:38 PM   #16
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They go all the way to the bottom because they are slotted all the way to the bottom. This allows it to draw water from the top middle and bottom of the tank instead of just getting the surface.

To be honest I'm not sure if you can buy half-height/quarter height boxes. If that's your preference maybe the HOB overflow is the better choice?
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:50 PM   #17
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The slotting brings in together for me. Now it makes sense why the boxes go all the way down. So the hang on back versions will only draw off the top primarily. To be honest I want the safest way. I really want to avoid any flooding disaster if possible and perhaps the more in tank equipment the better. Sounds like the internal would probably do a little better job while being safer. And less stuff behind the tank.

Where would you drill the holes if it were your tank? If I am going with internal. I can drill where ever. What is optimal for one drain and one return? I always think that the lower the hole the more potential for disaster. I like that idea of even of the holes being higher up in case the holes were to leak or something that it could only drain the tank that far down.Lol. Im kind of paranoid after having a 150 gallon crack on me. What a nightmare.

Thanks again Captain. Incredible help.
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:57 PM   #18
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The tank is only going to drain as low as the top of the overflow box. What I neglected to point out is that even though the box is slotted, those slots are channeled upward, so the water enters the lower slots and then travels upward in an internal chamber and overflows into the main chamber (if that makes sense). In that way, unless the entire box structure or seal fails the exposure limit is the water level up to the top of the box. If your sump is designed right then your covered. You don't have to worry about siphon breaks and pumping your sump back into the tank and over the edge.

As with anything, there is always a chance.....
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:11 PM   #19
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Makes so much sense. I didn't know that the overflow boxes had like a baffles set up within. It's all coming together. I guess it's not really too critical where the holes are.

It probably depends more on the plans for the sump setup and all the piping to go along with that. I was going to go with the return in the middle of the sump setup when I was thinking about having 2 drain holes. Now I will just run a standard sump with the water flowing from one side to the other where the return will sit.

Is this a typical sump?

Skimmer/refug/return area.

Should I have the skimmer sitting in the first main area in the sump? On the side under the drilled holes? I guess the less piping the better?
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:37 PM   #20
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R-L (for me) , Skimmer, LR/LS/Macro/etc, Return is my setup. Piping is 6 of one, half of another. I prefer my return to be the short end and I'm drilled on the left
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