sump-like project for a 20 gallon?

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Aquarium Advice Freak
Oct 1, 2004
I have been reading over the forms and could not find any info on this type of a project. My question is, can I put a 10 gallon tank under my 20 and put my protean skimmer, filter, and heater in it? I cant drill my 20 gallon. The reason for the 10 gallon idea is to add water volume and hide my protean skimmer, filter, and heater. How would I get the water from the 20 to the 10 and then back in to the 20 again? This is my first sump-like project.

yes, you will need to have the 20 fish tank drilled or get a over flow box. Drilled IMO is the best way to go. Do a search on the site there are already a few posts on this subject. You could use another 20 for the sump and make a nice refugium in the middle adding extra water volume is a +++
Bigger is better for a beginner tank.... Keep doing the research.... If you don't find anything I'm sure others will jump in.
IMO it wouldn't be worth it to drill a 20 gallon. Breakage and price both being issues. We are building a sump/refuge for both our 90 gallons and are building our own overflows according to this post.
There are several good websites about building your own sumps, fuges and overflows from tubs and old aquariums. Research is key. They also have store bought overflows on ebay and several online stores. Again it's only my opinion about the drilling.
It is definitely worth it to drill any tank. All you must do is find out if it is tempered glass(you can't drill tempered glass) you can do this by simply e-mailing the manufacturer. Drilling your tank gets rid of the risk of flooding when the power goes out. If you have the option of drilling your tank then do it! I feel it is quite irresponsible to tell someone not to drill there tank if they can. BTW overflows are not cheap and even if you make your own you can get a glass shop to drill for about 10-20 bucks a hole.
I dont think i would say it's irresponsible!!! This person clearly stated that this was only his opinion. IMO I would'nt drill a 20 gal. either. Why spend more to drill it than the tanks is worth? Thoes plastic over flow boxes ARE cheap!!!
Yes I did say it was only my opinion and it was because a 20 gallon is just not worth much in the reef world anyways. I know alot of people have nano-reefs and they do fine, but most fish simply need more growing space than that. If you are going to spend all that money to drill, setup a sump, and buy lighting for reef life, it would make more sense(in the long run) to go ahead and get a pre-drilled tank in the 30 plus gallon range and use the 20 for the sump. I always state that my opinions are my own and that other people are entitled to take it or leave it. By the way, Firsttimer89, did you check out that website thread that I put in my original answer. We have already built a prototype and added a hole in the top of the return line just above the water in the tank. When you kill the power the syphon breaks and the tank only drains till it is below the holes in the overflow. The hoses in the overflow never break syphon, so when the power comes back on, the system starts back up with no overflowing of the tank or the sump.
Hey k-myers if he's allowed his opinion then I am also allowed my opinion. And I'm sure that he can speak for himself. I get alittle tired of posting something about someone elses post and then someone else jumps in to give their 2 cents. Like I said they can speak for themselves. You figure an overflow is cheaper than getting a hole drilled?
I am kinda beginning to possibly think about maybe a sump for my tank as well. An Idea I came up with was a semi-HOB refugium style sump which uses a powerhead to pump the water into the sump and then the water returns to the tank in a "waterfall" type fashion. The reason I am considering this route is two fold:

1. My system is well underway and so drilling is not an option. (its tempered glass anyway so thats an impossiblity.)

2. With a overflow box, I am fearful of what a power outage or a blockage could do to my tank and my rented carpet in my apartment.
First timer is the whole tank tempered or just the bottom? Most tanks have tempered bottoms with regular glass on the sides. What kind is it..
Where can you buy a overflow box that is cheaper then getting a tank drilled? Most over flow boxes I have seen are $70 plus..
Edmonton Eskimo said:
Dude you totally stole my idea. I have been thinking of a waterfall myself. Do you have any ideas on that yet?

Not anything serious yet. I am still learning. one problem is that the sump would be too heavy for the tank to support, so a seprate stand would have to be built. My tank is in the corner, so there is plenty of room to build a triangle shaped sump.

I really am glad I came up with that idea though. I wanted a sump but hated the idea of an overflow box. we will see what I can come up with!
I like the idea of the HOB / PH refugium.... were you planning on using your skimmer, thermometer etc in the refug????? .... if so I'd like to know where you could get something fairly cheap to achieve this..... I've got a 55 gal and would like to "hide" my equipment..........

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