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awflip
12-07-2015, 05:05 PM
I'm looking into a DIY sump project for my 55g freshwater dirted & planted tank. I have drawn a basic design of how I want my sump to work (attached at bottom), and am just looking for advice from anybody who has experience using or building a sump. Here are my questions:
1. I want a snail refugium. I know this isnt necessary for freshwater but what are the pros/cons?
2. Which order should I have my filtration? (Snails -->) Mechanical --> chemical --> biological?
3. Is chemical filtration necessary/beneficial for my setup? If so, what should I use? (55g dirted tank, regular excel & potassium dosing)
4. Best type of mechanical filtration? Currently I'm using some un-cut filter pads in a, Aqueon Quietflow 55 HOB (its blue, you just cut it to size and place it where you want it)
5. What sort of biological filtration would work best? I'm strongly considering using either a trickle filter or a fluidized media section.
6. If this system floods it could cause a lot of water damage, and would be way too difficult to clean up. How can I fool-proof my system?
7. Whats the best way to get water into the sump? Overflow box? DIY pvc overflow? (This really needs to be 100% foolproof, or at least 99%) Also, how can I make sure fish babies don't get sucked up into whichever overflow I have?
8. How big should the sump be? I want a 29g just to make sure I have plenty of flood space, I would probably run it with ~20g. Is this overkill?

Rough Draft sump design: 4520
I know i can't use the sump as a true quarantine for sick fish. This would probably just be the snail section and I can acclimate fish easier with the sump.

HN1
12-07-2015, 06:11 PM
I've never used a sump on a FW system, but have run them on a few reef tanks. I'll try my best.


I'm looking into a DIY sump project for my 55g freshwater dirted & planted tank. I have drawn a basic design of how I want my sump to work (working on uploading a picture), and am just looking for advice from anybody who has experience using or building a sump. Here are my questions:


1. I want a snail refugium. I know this isnt necessary for freshwater but what are the pros/cons?
I've never seen someone run a FW snail fuge. What is the desire for snails driven by? The cons would be added bioload and a need to constantly remove excess snails. Great if something you're keeping is a snail eater though.

2. Which order should I have my filtration? (Snails -->) Mechanical --> chemical --> biological?
I would think you'd need your snails after the mechanical since you'd want significant flow through any media, but that's just guessing.

3. Is chemical filtration necessary/beneficial for my setup? If so, what should I use? (55g dirted tank, regular excel & potassium dosing)
I personally only find value in chemicals for a targeted purpose rather than constant use.

4. Best type of mechanical filtration? Currently I'm using some un-cut filter pads in a, Aqueon Quietflow 55 HOB (its blue, you just cut it to size and place it where you want it)
Depends on sump design really. A filter sock followed by whatever you choose in descending pore size.

5. What sort of biological filtration would work best? I'm strongly considering using either a trickle filter or a fluidized media section.
Not sure what I'd use for FW.

6. If this system floods it could cause a lot of water damage, and would be way too difficult to clean up. How can I fool-proof my system?
There will never be a fool proof system unfortunately. The best you can do is to plan for an eventual flood and take steps to minimize it. Make sure that the sump can still hold the water in your plumbing in the event of a power outage, plumb well, alarm the sump, etc.

7. Whats the best way to get water into the sump? Overflow box? DIY pvc overflow? (This really needs to be 100% foolproof, or at least 99%) Also, how can I make sure fish babies don't get sucked up into whichever overflow I have?
I used an overflow box on a tank for awhile and never found it reliable enough. Have you considered getting a drilled tank or drilling yours (if it is the correct type)?

8. How big should the sump be? I want a 29g just to make sure I have plenty of flood space, I would probably run it with ~20g. Is this overkill?
To be honest I think a sump is kind of overkill on a 55, but it sounds like a cool project.

awflip
12-07-2015, 07:31 PM
1. I want a snail refugium. I know this isnt necessary for freshwater but what are the pros/cons?
I've never seen someone run a FW snail fuge. What is the desire for snails driven by? The cons would be added bioload and a need to constantly remove excess snails. Great if something you're keeping is a snail eater though.
4. Best type of mechanical filtration? Currently I'm using some un-cut filter pads in a, Aqueon Quietflow 55 HOB (its blue, you just cut it to size and place it where you want it)
Depends on sump design really. A filter sock followed by whatever you choose in descending pore size.
7. Whats the best way to get water into the sump? Overflow box? DIY pvc overflow? (This really needs to be 100% foolproof, or at least 99%) Also, how can I make sure fish babies don't get sucked up into whichever overflow I have?
I used an overflow box on a tank for awhile and never found it reliable enough. Have you considered getting a drilled tank or drilling yours (if it is the correct type)?


To be honest I think a sump is kind of overkill on a 55, but it sounds like a cool project.

Thanks for your input! I forgot to mention in my original post that I want a sump for extra water/filtration capacity. My guppies started breeding like hell and once they grow up my tank will be heavily overstocked so I want it to be heavily overfiltered as well. Also it would make water changes MUCH easier. Also it sounds like a fun project and I want to get into SW tanks once I have the funds, so whenever that happens I would either already have a sump ready or know how to build a successful one.
1. I want to breed snails to feed my Assassin Snails, they're slowly but surely decimating my Ramshorns. My MTS are still thriving though..
4. Shouldn't I just go for as porous material as I can? Wouldn't more pores mean more places for BB to grow?
7. How do you mean "never found it reliable enough?" I have considered drilling the tank, but it is full and I have a sprained ankle so moving any tanks is out of the question for a few weeks. I don't have the materials to do it right now and would prefer not to risk cracking the tank. Buying a drilled tank is definitely the safest option here, but it really all comes to expenses.

Tangfan
12-07-2015, 10:11 PM
I've used a sump on freshwater before. Never used it as a referendum but depending on the size you could. It does increase the water volume o the system. Using the most porous material you can get does help with the bacteria. Using a light and java moss might do the same. That way you also get rid of nitrates. I always used media.

Many people pled staple plastic in the bottom part of the stand and bring it up the sides (creating a pond liner if you will) to catch over flows. Doesn't look the best, but is effective.

I have aver typically used a hang on bak overflow. They are pretty reliable, unless your tube loses water inside it. Then you overflow. Drilled tanks are safer for this reason since overflow is inside the tank. Baby fish or small picked on fish can get sucked into either. Sponges typically are used to prevent the fish from reaching the sump.

Hope this helps.

awflip
12-08-2015, 01:49 PM
That "pond liner" idea is fantastic! Thanks for your help

Samong
12-13-2015, 02:08 PM
I like freshwater sumps because they let you "overstock" the original tank if you have peaceful species. Makes keeping breeding fish and goldies easier. : )

I think the chemical filtration depends entirely on what's in the water you use and how your plants affect water chemistry. I haven't used chemical filtration at all since I moved into planted tanks with at least one nutrient sponge plant. That said I also don't keep many fish that aren't bombproof and some livebearer strains are more sensitive than others.

As far as mechanical filtration I just wanted to add that it IS possible to overpack mechanical media more easily than you'd think. I did that and now worry much less about mechanical; if I use reticulated sponges in each basket along with my bio media that's been enough for me. Being good to my snails and using fast growing plants has performed much better on detritus than mechanical.

awflip
12-13-2015, 02:47 PM
I like freshwater sumps because they let you "overstock" the original tank if you have peaceful species. Makes keeping breeding fish and goldies easier. : )

I think the chemical filtration depends entirely on what's in the water you use and how your plants affect water chemistry. I haven't used chemical filtration at all since I moved into planted tanks with at least one nutrient sponge plant. That said I also don't keep many fish that aren't bombproof and some livebearer strains are more sensitive than others.

As far as mechanical filtration I just wanted to add that it IS possible to overpack mechanical media more easily than you'd think. I did that and now worry much less about mechanical; if I use reticulated sponges in each basket along with my bio media that's been enough for me. Being good to my snails and using fast growing plants has performed much better on detritus than mechanical.

How do you mean "nutrient sponge?" Something like java fern or water lettuce that grows rapidly? I plan on having a refugium section with a Deep Sand Bed, maybe with a thin layer of dirt under the sand. Is it better to have a larger refugium or more mechanical filtration?

As far as chemical filtration, I'm thinking something along the lines of purigen or matrix, but I don't actually know what type these would fall under.

What do you mean overpack mechanical filtration? Are there drawbacks to putting too much filter floss in an area?