Sump Plumbing Questions

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an interest in aquariums or fish keeping!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


Aquarium Advice Regular
Feb 10, 2006
Glendale, AZ.
Morning Folks,

I'm looking at plumbing my sump and have a few questions.

I have an Oceanic 75 gallon rr tank and this overflow has a 1" drain and a 3/4" return.
According to the website: This overflow has a maximum flow through rate of 600 G.P.H. per overflow.
My return pump is a Mag Drive 950 (950gph).

I was planning it all out and was hoping you could tell me if any of these three designs were better than another?


Design 1

Design 2

Design 3
Where did you get the idea for the air release? I like it, wonder if it works well. I would put the input line on a 45 degree angle instead of having a horizontal section. And put a true-nion ball valve immediately after the pump so you can service the pump and not disturb the plumbing. and I would dry fit and run the setup to see if you need an excess flow pipe back into the sump, it may not be necessary with the pump you have.

Finally, what program did you use to draw these in?
The idea came from other posts where people mentioned they were getting air into their drain lines and it was splashing into their sumps. I figured this would give the air a way to get out before hitting the sump. At least in my mind it made sense.

45deg angle makes sense. I just thought that having it horizontal and adding the wye fitting would make it easier for the air to escape.

I hadn't thought of the unions. I'll need to add those in or go with flex tubing.

I did the drawing in CorelDRAW.

ok dumb question, im gonna attempt to make a sump and i was wondering whats the grey thing in the middle of the tank?

and in the first little area do you put a rock/sand mix?
Design 2 looks good to me. I think you will have to throttle the pump back otherwise and that is not good in the long run. I dump my display drain around rock as well. It works as a great bubble trap and mine drops about 12ft. I do have a T on the drain line but that was by accident. I just left it open so it could breath. I have capped it and not really noticed a difference.
My suggestion is use something like design 2- However add another section on the right side of the sump and plumb your T-line to that section instead of back into the section with he skimmer or filter.

You can then make the new section to the right a fuge. Add sand and a little LR with some algae. This area will see flwo from the pump but this flow should not be very high and will allow the pump to operate at its design flow but it gives you the additional benifits of a sustem with a fuge and a sump.
All the diagrams have a major flaw IMO and that is the 90 degree angles from the overflow which will greatly reduce your water flow. Even 45 degree angles will reduce it slightly and if you can just use a flex hose with a slight bend or no bend at all then you will get maximum water flow from your overflow.

I use a 1200 gph overflow and my Mag 9.5 is maxed out without having to reduce with a ball valve although I do use one for maintenance. With only 600 gph flowing you will have to slightly reduce the flow coming from the pump.

Personally I section my return partially off to my 10 gal refugium which gravity feeds back into the 20 gal sump and the rest goes to opposite sides of the tank pointed at each other.

If you are worried about flooding then you can get an auto top of switch to turn the pump off. sells them cheap or you could get a Tsunami AT1 unit for just a little more.
I agree with the use of the 45's. You an use 2 45's to make a 90 bend. The idea of the T on the pump will allow him run the tank return wide open. He will have to adjust the ball valve going back into sump so that the tank will not get too much flow. My tank would get about 1000 gph if I did not have a discharge loop going back into the sump. My overflow can only technically handle 600 gph.

The fuge is a great idea but you might be limited on space in the sump. He would have to add another baffle which would make the return section smaller. You will need an auto top off or you will be filling that chamber up alot. The smaller the return chamber the more you are going to be topping it off. The return chamber will be the one dropping from evaporation so a nice return chamber is needed if you don't have an auto top off. This might not be a big deal for some but I lose almost 1.5 gal a day from evaporation.
ellisz, just curious but why do you have an aversion to using vinyl tubing? I like the ease of it personally and flow issues are never a problem. They do have to be cleaned/replaced every so often but for me it’s not really an issue.

Even pvc has to be cleaned periodically and having to deal with cutting/gluing is a pain even though it’s not really hard.

Also I use a separate 10 gal refugium that sits above my 20 gal sump instead of the refugium within the same tank. With a 75 gal being 48” X 18” elzool should have enough room for both.
Tecwzrd: I think I came across wrong. I have no issues with vinyl. I sued it on my previous setup. For my basement sump, I used PVC. I have 1.5" PVC from my return pump and 2" on my drain. I do use vinyl at the tank bulkhead though since my bulkheads have barb fittings glued to them.

On my 75, I had a hard time finding a container to fit underneath. My stand is DIY so I don't have the clearance of the normal every day stand. My statement was soley based on the picture representation. It might not be to scale though :) I am not sure what size his sump will be. I had a 20H under mine and I don't think I would of had room for a refugium. A longer tank maybe but I have never liked the idea of the pump chamber running dry. I loved my old setup which sounds like yours. My current sump is big so I condensed things.
You didn’t come across wrong :) I was just curious on the 45 degree recommendation which would require pvc and was wondering the advantages of pvc over vinyl if there are any.

With a basement setup I’m sure that would almost have to have pvc due to the length of plumbing needed.

For me it’s really just a personal issue with vinyl since I like to make plumbing sumps as idiot proof as possible so more people will try to do them :D

Forgot to mention that for returns if you want to branch out more has excellent pricing for Loc-Line.

I was about to ressurect this post to see if anyone had anything further to say about it. But it looks like marty_wolff helped me with that. Thanks Marty

I've since changed the sump a bit. I had purchased a 20L and was marking it up for making my own but then the lfs called and the All-Glass Megaflow model 3 acrylic sump they had used for $125, they further reduced to $89. So I bought that and am done. No room for a fuge in it. I won't have too much more room beside it. My thought is to find a tall sturdy container(trash can perhaps?), drill it and put in a return connector to go from the container back into the return of the sump. Maybe two returns from the fuge to sump in case one gets blocked.


Any other ideas?

I did the drawing with pvc and then after looking at it a few days figured I'd use flex as I would rather not have all that gluing to do. Hose clamps and I'm good. Then I don't have unions to worry about either.

What would loc-line be used for that tubing couldn't do? Aside from coolness.

Hmm, loc-line looks like it would work perfect for the fuge to sump return.

I have a sink on the opposite wall, so I was going to put the ro/di unit in the stand as well and was looking at this float valve. Any reason to not use it and use something else?
I figured I'd run the outgoing line from the ro/di unit through a sprinkler timer, set it to only come on once a day for an hour, that way if the solonoid fails, it will only leak for an hour.

I figured I'd mount the float in the return area somehow.

Thanks for the input, any more would also be appreciated.
You dont want a 45 or 90 degree angle comin in at all... You should check out It shows how to build a refugium/sump and has several different styles that will give you lots of great ideas that's just right for your needs
Yep melvsreef was the impetus to me getting a RR, and a huge help when it all came together
elzool said:
What would loc-line be used for that tubing couldn't do?
Loc-Line is used for easy placement of return nozzles and for easy adjustment to create the proper currents you want.
More questions.

I set everything in the sump today to start connecting all the connectors for plumbing and realize that the with the intake filter on it, the Mag Drive 9.5 I have takes up a lot of room in the sump return. Am I safe using it without the intake filter?

I went out looking at containers for a fuge' this weekend. Couldn't find too much. Best thing I found was a 21 Quart semi-translucent trashcan. 16.5"H x 7"W x 13"D

Sound like it might work ok?

You know, without this site I'd prolly just have a picture of fish on the wall.. now I'm getting closer to actually getting the tank up and adding water and finally fish. Man I like this place.
I found was a 21 Quart semi-translucent trashcan
Can you not find a tote that will work?
The mag should be fine without a filter. I run a mag 5 without a filter in my sump to pump water to my fuge. There should be nothing in the sump to get in it.
Also locline is good stuff. I have lots in my tank. My next tank will have even more.
Great news!

That gives me more room for my float valve.

Just another 8-10 trips to home depot and I should be halfway done with the plumbing.
Here's a pic of my $5 Walmart refugium. I originally plumbed in a 10 gallon aquarium as a fuge, but the end panel developed a crack leading from the hole that was drilled for the bulkhead. Wish I had went this route in the first place because it was a real mess to get the cracked 10 gallon out of the cabinet. It wouldn't fit thru the door in one piece. When I put everything together, I had loaded it in from the top before placing the tank on the stand.

You can probably find something that will fit the space you have pretty well. If not in the area where they have most of the rubbermaid, then also check office supplies. Lots of this kind of stuff used as file boxes.


  • fuge-fix_988.jpg
    63.1 KB · Views: 21
Top Bottom