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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002

    A sump is good for multiple reasons

    1. The sump adds water capacity to your system. We all know the more water in your system the more stable the water quality. (As a general rule)

    2. Provides a place to put unsightly equipment like skimmers and heaters.

    3. Allows for easer water changes. If you size your sump to a point where when its active the actual amount of water you have in your sump is equal to the size of your normal water changes then you just empty your sump and then put water back in the sump to your water line and "POOF" water change is complete. (You will have to shut off the pumps in the sump prior to this)

    4. Easy way to keep your tanks water level full all the time. As water evaporates the water level in the sump goes down not the water level in your tank. Then just add replacement water to your sump and thus less chance that your tank critters will realize that freshwater was just added to the system.

    One of the cheapest sumps is a plastic tub of some sort. If your tank is not "Reef ready" = drilled then you will need to fashion an overflow. These can be made like Kev made his or they can be purchased. You then plumb the overflow to your sump and then put a return pump in your sump and plumb it back up to your tank.

    Remember when sizing your pump to account for the effect of gravity on the water as it pumps up. Measure the height that the pump has to push the water. This is your "Head Height". Find a pump that pushes the amount of water you want to circulate at the correct head height.

    The overflow uses a siphon to pull the water out of the tank and down the plumbing into the sump. Hang on style overflows use what is called a "U" or "J" tube. This is because of the shape. The tank side of the overflow has "fingers" that strain the water (very coarse items only), these fingers also are adjustable so you can set the water level you want the tank to maintain. Once the siphon is created the water will be pulled up and over the side of the tank via the "U/J" tube. It will then flow down the plumbing into your sump. Your sump pump then pumps water back up into the tank.

    In theory the pump is consistently trying to overflow the tank while the overflow is trying to drain the tank so assuming your overflow can handle equal to greater capacity than the pump can pump you will have equilibrium.


    When sizing your sump do not size it just large enough to hold the additional water capacity. Make sure the sump can also hold any water that might flow back down the plumbing when you turn your pumps off. The siphon will not break if the overflow is designed correctly. You can limit the amount of back flow by putting a ball valve in the return line but these have been known to fail.

    Hope that helps your understanding.
    To Reef or Not To Reef, That is the question

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003

    Re: A sump is good for multiple reasons

    Richard, well said.
    I would like to jump in and comment.
    I have recently built a custom overflow based on a fellow reefers design. (afss)

    There was an 802 power head in the tank for circ.

    As my little mini-jets weren't powerful enought to pump water from the sump to the tank, I stuck the 802 in the sump with 1/2" tubing up to the tank.

    Put 3 mini-jets in the tank to replace circulation.
    I believe my critters and soft stuff are liking the change.

    There was/is an issue with the overflow loosing siphon over night. It may be fixed now, have to test some more.
    Several gallons of sump water spilt all over the floor when that happened the other night.

    My new (first) skimmer is in the sump. on a timer. on for about 6 hours a day for now.

    More to come...
    What the hell...How did you get in here? And get out of my aquarium.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002

    Re: A sump is good for multiple reasons

    hehe trent... I see you jsut joined the "Wet Floor Club". *The safest way to avoid this is to go with a drilled tank but this is not always an option. *Buying a new tank? GET IT DRILLED!! *I also made the mistake like most other reefers, it only happens on your first tank.

    A way to avoid losing your siphon is to drill a hole at the top of your U tube and attach a small pump that throws the water back in your tank. *This will help keep the siphon and get rid of any bubbles that make it to the top of your U tube.

    Hope this helps, let me know if you want more info on the design I outlined. *I could find a few links with pics online.

    On that note... HEY IJO... maybe we could add this documanet to the Aquaria FAQ... let me know.

    To Reef or Not To Reef, That is the question

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