Creating a DIY sump

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by Akari_32, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    I need some help with this guys! I want to use this thread as my guide (, but because I don't understand how the thing works, I can't figure the system out at all!

    First thing I need to figure out: Do I need that extra sectioned-off part that is, in that thread, used for the deep sand bed, for a freshwater tank?

    Second: I was thinking a 20 long as well, simply because its an easy size and shape to work with. Does that sound ok?

    Third: I'd like to not drill the tank if I don't have to, so I need to be able to bring the inlet and out put over the back of the tank. I need help with that, as well. I have a Magnum 350 canister that I may not use if I can figure this out, I can use the inlet and output tubes for this, I think. They are one inch in diameter, and the tubing is nice and long, and the U-tubes (the best name I have for them) fit pretty snugly over the frame of the tank. This way, no rigging is needed on that end LOL However, should you guys not think that that will work, or that the tuning is not large enough, we can play around PVC, I suppose. I'll get pics of the Magnum tubing set up asap :)

    Thats all I've got for now, but as things start turning, I'll come up with more questions lol
  2. Mer-maxWell Known MemberMember

    I'm anxiously awaiting a more knowledgeable response because I've looked into this.

  3. chevyguy8893Well Known MemberMember

    1) The sectioned off part (refugium) isn't necessary, but it is a good addition. That main purpose is to load it up with fast growing plants to create a slow moving nitrate consuming area. It also works to acclimate fish without others around. I don't remember where I saw this, but if you add a refugium I believe it is supposed to be 10% or more of the display tank volume.

    2) A 20 long works out really well for a sump IME, I just divided one up a few days ago with a refugium. $20 for the tank new, glass was $2.30 x 3 cut to fit at lowes, and silicone cost $4. It worked out easy to give me more space.

    3) Without a drilled tank an overflow box could be used (eshopps is one brand for example), or it can be a DIY project. Overflows work on a siphon, and when they are made properly they shouldn't lose a siphon even if the flow stops from the water level dropping too low. I don't know about using the line from your canister filter to the sump, but you may be able to use it as a return line depending on the flow rate you are going for.

    Since I don't have my system fully running you may find something that helps in the thread I made when I had all the designs running through my mind :).

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  4. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    I don't plan to or want to have the sump lighted, not even a little bit, and the tank itself will be heavily planted. The tank is 55 gallons.

    I want to get one second hand. I don't want to pay $20 for something that doesn't have to look nice LOL 20 longs are popular here, so they pop up cheap all the time on Craigslist. That'll save me a few bucks lol Where'd you get your glass at?

    I'll post a pic of the tubing and such in the morning (I don't feel like digging the thing out :p). In the mean time, you may be able to find it online somewhere. The filter is a MarineLand Magnum 350.

    Also, what sort of pump should I buy the power the sump? Or does it matter? I can get a nice pond pump for 15 bucks from Harbor Freight... :;nin2

    Ooh, I'll check that out :)

  5. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    You can set the sump up however you want, but basically you want the water from the display draining into one side and then going through various means of filtration (if you use it as a filter) and then pumped back up to the display. The baffles are nice but not mandatory.

    I've never used an overflow so I can't comment on that other than I'd go with a drilled tank over one of them.
  6. outlawWell Known MemberMember

    With not wanting the main part of a sump, what about a wet/dry filter?
  7. matsungitWell Known MemberMember

    Q1: DSB is optional. A healthy DSB will help with nitrates and promote beneficial microorganisms. I have a 10gal sump/refugium and I did not section off the tank. I did it that way since I used pebbles instead of fine sand which is not very effective compared to sand. I may change it soon since I was just trying it out. The main reason for the sectioning is isolating the sand from being blown off by the overflow or sucked in by the pump. The DSB should never be disturbed.

    Q2: Any tank is ok as long as it works for you.

    Q3: I use an Eshopps PF300 overflow and it's hassle free. I even added a Hofer Gurgle Buster inside it so I can increase flow without problems and make it dead silent at the same time. You can create a DIY overflow out of PVCs and the trick is being able to start and stop the pump without breaking the siphon.

    The keys to any good HOB overflow setup are:
    1. It self re-starts. (Stop the pump and the U tube remains completely filled with water)
    2. It has enough flow to push bubbles out.
    3. It is not overpowered by the pump.

    I'm not sure if I'm imagining it as you do. Please explain further if you need to. I don't think what your thinking will work when I imagine it. I'm thinking the siphon will break as soon as it catches air if your pump doesn't keep up. If your pump do manage to keep up then your display tank will overflow or drain the sump. Keeping the overflow and pump balanced out this way is impossible. An overflow design should be able to keep itself primed without being overflowed by the pump.
  8. matsungitWell Known MemberMember

  9. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    I should say that the tubing for the magnum is nicely rigged with double, interlocking valves on each tube. that should solve the restarting issues with the HOB gig I'd like to do, should it not?

    My main goal really is to add some more water volume, so by all means, throw any and all ideas out at me :)
  10. matsungitWell Known MemberMember

    Hmm. How should I explain it. The U tube's job is not to overflow the water. It only maintains the outside and inside "boxes" water level. The outside box is the one that actually overflows and not the inside box. There are actually 2 overflows happening. The inside box receives an overflow from the aquarium and the U tube tries to maintain water level between inside and outside boxes. If you notice the Eshopps overflow, it has a section on the outside box that keeps the U tube end submerged even when there is no flow. Can you picture it? To put it simply, you are transferring the "overflow" action to the outside of the aquarium. The U tube is just there to maintain water level between the inside and outside boxes via siphon.

    Here's a youtube video of somebody's PVC design.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  11. ayladWell Known MemberMember

    Maybe I'm nuts, but that looks like a flawed design (in the video). Seems like the T-fitting on the outside should be much higher. I've even seen instructions to place it at the desired tank water level.
  12. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    Here are pics of the tubing and valves.


    There is a valve on each end of the tubes:


    These other two are attached to The lid of The filter, but can be taken off and I can buy extenders if need be:


    And this is how they connect.


    I'm going to look over that video. Maybe that will get some wheels turning... still don't get any of this LOL
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  13. matsungitWell Known MemberMember

    His design should work but could use a lot of improvement. The outside pipe could momentarily overflow upon strong starts and can use a little bit more length but he did say that. His design may need a gate valve after the overflow in order to prime it.
  14. matsungitWell Known MemberMember

    If you just use that siphon hose as an overflow it would continually drain the tank until it breaks the siphon when the water gets low enough for it to catch air. After that, your pump will overflow the tank causing a flood.

    If your pump is strong enough to overcome the siphon, then your tank will slowly raise the water level until the tank overflows and again cause a flood.

    If you're thinking of using the valve to balance the siphon with the pump then you will perpetually be doing so. You will never be able to leave the tank alone even for a minute.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  15. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    Do you don't think I could use these tubes instead of the PVC?
  16. matsungitWell Known MemberMember

    3/4 inch will flow approximately 165 GPH without a siphon but can flow 490 GPH if siphoning.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  17. ayladWell Known MemberMember

    The PVC overflow shown in the video can't be duplicated with those tubes. I think you've been given good advice -- the only thing is that the video's design needs to be adjusted slightly.

    PVC is super cheap and isn't hard to work with. My freshman year of high school, I helped plumb my brother's house and found gluing PVC to be a pretty simple process.
  18. matsungitWell Known MemberMember

    Flow rates (no siphon effect) straight shot to sump with no strainers. Source: Wetwebmedia
    2 inch bulkhead will flow approximately 1350 GPH
    1-1/2 inch bulkhead will flow approximately 975 GPH
    1 inch bulkhead will flow approximately 350 GPH
    3/4 inch bulkhead will flow approximately 165 GPH


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