Converting a standard 33 gallon into a sump

Rbacchiega
Member
If you don't already know, I was going to go with a 33 gallon reef setup, but opted for the larger, showier (is that even a word?!) 90 gallon reef-ready tank with built in overflow and drilled for sump. So now the 33 becomes said sump.

Here's what I think will work (if I'm wrong, slap me with a fish and guide me!)

I'll pick up either acryllic or them white squarish things (egg crates?) and create a few compartments, the water will be flowing from right to left (the return on the tank comes up through the overflow)

1st compartment will house just a basic filter sponge in order to remove some tidbits that might get in there. The water will then move either through the crates or over the acrylic into two smaller compartments with finer filter floss etc., which will then flow over and under a raised piece of acrylic (or just through the crate) into the section that will house my protien skimmer which will go into a built in fuge, which will follow into where the return pump is.

Now, my biggist issue is where to put the heaters? In the fuge or in the area where the return pump is or somewhere else?

Is this a decent plan or am I way off base?
 
agsansoo
Member
There are countless sump designs out there. Here's a few photos as a reference.

Just make sure when you silicone the acrylic baffles in, that you leave enough room for a larger protein skimmer in the future. Also notice the way the baffles are placed in the sump to eliminate micro-bubbles.
 
  • Thread Starter
Rbacchiega
Member
so by the looks of it I need at least 3 larger compartments and then two smaller ones (ie 2 inches each) to trap bubles?
 
agsansoo
Member
That should do it ! I would place the heater in any section, except the return section. That's because the water level fluctuates too much. This is where you add your top-off water !
 
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Rbacchiega
Member
Thanks for all of your help!

So the tank is 36 inches long by 12 deep and 18 high.

When the water comes down from the overflow, I'm going to have a section that is 6 inches wide. In it I'll cut 4 egg crates to make a sort of mechanical filtration sandwich. One crate on the bottom, filter media, crate, media, crate, media crate. Thinking about making it so the water has to go from the bottom up, ie cutting a hole in the middle of said crates and sponges to run the intake tube almost to the bottom of the tank.

Then once water rises past the first piece of acrylic, it'll go into a 10" wide compartment housing the protien skimmer and 2 150 watt heaters (the protien skimmer itself is only 7.5 inches wide (it's the corallife pinwheel one)) Then I'll have two 1 inch sections to trap the little bubbles dividing them with a piece of acrylic that isn't touching the bottom of the tank.

Water will then flow over (and under) into the fuge which will house Ulva Sp (sea lettuc) for micro and eventual food supliment for tangs (not forgetting the light and timer as well) on top, the bottom of this 8 inch section will house one or two pieces of live rock as well.

Finally, the water will move either over or under the las pice of acrylic and into a 10 inch compartment that will house the return pump.

Sound about right?

Today I went to the lfs and got everything I needed for the sump. The connection pipeing yadda yadd to go from the overflow into the sump, the dividers for each level of media, the acrylic, silicone, protien skimmer and the water return pump.

We figured with the lighting system I'm running (see my post on why I love ebay) I'll hold off on the heaters as I might be alittle too warm as it is, so I might need to look at purchasing a chiller instead.

The protien skimmer is a Corallife super skI'm with pin wheel fit for aquariums up to 125 gallons, and the return pump is a Lifeguard Quietone model 5000. With a head of 4 feet (the max for me, more likely 3) about 1000 gph (at three feeet closer to 1150)

Also ordered two koralie (sp?) 3 powerheads. They're designed for 125 gallon tanks but instead of just one nozzel (evena rotating one) it fans out the water (to me it looks like a minI engine from a plane)
 
sgould
Member
Let us know how you like the koralia once you have it up and running...I've been thinking of investing in a couple.
 
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Rbacchiega
Member
So plans have changed. Because the skimmer was wider than I planned (silly me forgot to add pump size *grrr*) I'm going to just convert an aquaclear into a fuge and have that either off the side of the tank (probably not) or off the sump.

Meanwhile, the first two baffles are in place and the silicone is drying. Then in order to get the bubble traps in place, I'll need to stand the sump on end, so I have to wait until the first two baffles have cured. Once that is done I'll post pics!
 
Wolfgang8810
Member
rather than waste an awesome 33 galon tank you can go to walmart and get a storage bin type of container and do the same thing then set up your 33 gallon as something else. Ive heard people use this tub method before and it sounds really awesome. for the filter trays they used a plastic filing cabinet type thing and drilled holes in the drawers so they could use each drawer as a different type of filtration.
 
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Rbacchiega
Member
was going to do that, but it's too late now....first two baffles are in, and I like the tank sump idea....I just feel a little more comfortable with it. Its going to be running a 90 gallon tank, so I worry that a bin might not be what I need? I'll keep that in mind though if I decide to go with a smaller tank in the future
 
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Rbacchiega
Member
just finished adding the last two baffles to make the bubble trap, and well....it's not the cleanest job, you can definitely tell that no pro did this, but it'll work and I made it, so

Will post pics once I can turn the tank right side up again (it's on its side to allow easier access for caulking gun)

Pictures! Like I said, not the cleanest job, but it works...so that's all that matters!

Empty from the side:

201.jpg


Projected layout of sump:
On the left is 4 alternating layers of polyfiber, and filter sheets (might add more, we'll see). Then the Corallife Super Skimer 125. The bubble traps. The return area.

202.jpg


203.jpg


Once the hoses are in place from the overflow, I'll use the remaining white squary stuff to create a sort of lid
 
Wolfgang8810
Member
looks awesome!
 
agsansoo
Member
OK that'll work. I probably would have switch it around. Left side - return section -> middle - refugium section -> right side - Intake with filter sock and protein skimmer section.
 
Wolfgang8810
Member
basicly
 
  • Thread Starter
Rbacchiega
Member
agsansoo said:
OK that'll work. I probably would have switch it around. Left side - return section -> middle - refugium section -> right side - Intake with filter sock and protein skimmer section.
True, but there is only one overflow section on the tank, and that's on the right side. So the water will come in from and return to the tank from the same area. Pics will be posted on Saturday once the whole unit is set up

So I'm having a really hard time dealing with the fact that I couldn't fit a fuge system in there. But then I realized that I have to do some more brain work, but I think I'll place the skimmer outside behind where the fuge is (now the large, middle compartment) and have the water flow through there instead. So:

Top view:
Protien Skimmer
|
Intake -----> Fuge Setup ------>Return

That should work
 

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