Deeply Confused By Sump. Please Help?

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by JulianBichir, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. JulianBichirNew MemberMember


    I found a really good deal on a used 55 gallon TruVu with stand that was everything I wanted. It does, however, have an integrated/built-in sump, and I have absolutely no idea how to make it go. Can someone take pity on me and help me set it up for freshwater? Or link me to a good how-to video? I've attached pictures.

    I have about 20 years experience with other kinds of filters, and nano to 200 gallon systems. I've just never seen a sump quite like this in person before and I don't know where all the bits go. Also, i anyone wants to weigh in on using the included bioballs vs matrix or lava rock, I'm all ears.

    Thanks in advance!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2019
  2. PowerSetNew MemberMember

    At the moment there appear to be problems with images, if you re upload the pictures as thumbnails they should show up for everyone.
  3. coralbanditFishlore VIPMember

    Wow nice set up !
    Just pretend the sump is a large HOB since it is all plumbed in already ..
    Mechanicals then bio ...
    No need for the bio balls in FW .
    I run all my tanks on just sponge for bio but what ever you want should be fine .
    Bio media is the biggest rippoff [almost[ in the fish industry ..
    My 180g has run on sponges for bio for last 10 years in its sump ….My clown loaches are 15+ years with me ...
  4. NavyChief20Well Known MemberMember

    Dont use the bio balls, get some lava rock instead. Bioballs and the like are garbage but chemistry wise you need biomedia in any aquarium.
  5. CichlidudeWell Known MemberMember

    Lava rock isn't that much better.

  6. NavyChief20Well Known MemberMember

    Cheaper than bioballs
  7. CichlidudeWell Known MemberMember

    Still garbage like you say. ;-)
  8. Thedudeiam94Well Known MemberMember

    He says “Uhhh” a lot in the video but hopefully this helps!
  9. CichlidudeWell Known MemberMember

    Here's the one video all should see.

    Media by the numbers on square feet per cubic feet from the manufacturers, the more surface area the better  . Thanks to @Skavatar for finding this video.

  10. LoetjeValued MemberMember

    Here is a good link on a lot of info you may find useful:

    Good luck with your awesome new setup!

    Attached Files:

  11. coralbanditFishlore VIPMember

    Funny they don't even compare sponges more or less a mattenburg sponge by Swiss Tropicals ! o_O
    Humm? Maybe all the fish breeders are just poor and can't afford better then sponge? :smuggrin:
  12. jjohnwmWell Known MemberMember

    @coralbandit ,you took the words right out of my mouth...or keyboard...:)

    I watched that video and immediately wondered where sponge filters would fall in that spectrum. Probably near the bottom...which on the list is at the top...ok, now I'm getting confused.

    So, we are trusting the manufacturers' claims to be accurate, as well as trusting the math skills of the presenter. Both types of sources have been inaccurate many times in the past, but it's a start. He mentions that lava rock has an abysmally low 16 square feet of surface area per cubic foot of volume, but doesn't state the size of the individual lava rocks, which would make a difference. A cubic foot of lava rock, if a solid mass, would offer 6 square feet if the surface convolution is ignored. If that mass were to be broken into 1-inch cubes, again pretending that they were smooth, the surface area is now 72 square feet...if I can trust my own math.

    He also mentions that all the products which don't "claim" to reduce nitrates are actually nitrate "factories". Well, duh! That's what a biological filter is, and is designed to be. Now that everybody knows about the nitrogen cycle (or at least that's what most of the Fishlore profiles seem to indicate), the manufacturers need to demonize those dang nitrates in order to sell stuff to get rid of them as they accumulate in your tank. Since there's no way for them to make money when you do a water change...a method of nitrate reduction which is proven to work...they need to convince you that their media will do all the work for you, so spend, spend, spend!

    It would be interesting to see a chart that compares the ratio of surface-area-to-dollar-cost of the various media.
  13. coralbanditFishlore VIPMember

    BOOM !
    I am not alone !
    OMG $$ per square /cubic foot of something you have no way to effectively measure if it works ! :eek:
    The whole bio media thing is RIDICULOUS !:shifty:
    If you get 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite and whatever nitrates your bio media is working at 100% efficiency .:cool:
    A better media as being discussed here will not change that one bit ..:p
    Did I mention how easy it is to clean sponges ? All bio media needs to be cleaned eventually as @AvalancheDave eludes to in next post ..
  14. AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    More surface area usually means media will clog more easily. In wastewater treatment, which is where Kaldnes media and the like comes from, they try to find a balance between surface area and cleaning frequency.

    Someone on the planted tank forum conducted an experiment and found that a canister filter full of Matrix or pumice could process more ammonia than a tank would ever see. Even with all the media removed, it was still able to process a significant amount of ammonia.

    Now I'd probably want a more professional experiment done but it does make me wonder if surface area isn't a real limiter.

    What if even a low surface area media like bio balls was more than enough? They're certainly less prone to clogging and easy to clean.

    It wouldn't be the first time hobbyists got something completely wrong.

    I think someone here recently removed the filter and found the tank still cycled. What if the bacteria actually prefer the substrate?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2019
  15. coralbanditFishlore VIPMember

    Or anywhere in tank ? Just cause glass is smooth does not eliminate surface area ,just makes it smooth...
    Really side tracking poor OPs original post ..Nice tank hopefully we can help as much as we debate things !
    Sorry man !
  16. CichlidudeWell Known MemberMember

    I think the main point is how much media is needed to obtain the same result. For example Biohome says you need 4 liters per 100 gallons. Matrix only needs 500ml per 100 gallons to obtain a full cycle.
  17. NavyChief20Well Known MemberMember

    Thats cause i cant say the real word here that we both use frequently lol
  18. AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    I have a Sea Clear 125 with an integrated sump. I don't like it but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

    The configuration is similar. Mechanical filtration should be on the left. There's probably a baffled chamber that stays full even when the tank water level is lower. Put your heater there. Bio balls go on the bottom of the largest chamber. There should be a drip plate on top to distribute water evenly. Then the pump goes in the last, right-most chamber.

    Too much water and the bio balls are submerged. Not enough and the pump sucks air. Same deal as with all sumps.
  19. jjohnwmWell Known MemberMember

    It's a marketing nightmare, referred to in terrified hushed whispers by manufacturers as a "fact".

    Manufacturer A: Our product has less surface area; it's easier to clean and less likely to clog up! Theirs is prone to developing anaerobic "dead spots"...very very bad! Trust us, we know what you need...

    Manufacturer B: Our product has way more surface area, and thus allows for de-nitrification to take place! Theirs flows the water way too fast to do that...very very bad! Trust us, we know what you need...

    Hey, I think you're on to something here: flavoured bacterial substrates. That way you can try various different flavours until you find the taste that your own particular strain of bacteria prefers. Call the marketing team!

    Edited to add: Okay, you're right...the de-rail has gone too far when I have forgotten what the original thread was about. :)
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  20. coralbanditFishlore VIPMember

    Sumps have the largest capacity for media then any other filter so the only real reason to use any of those other medias is moot .
    That is according to Dianne Walstad. Well I hate to paraphrase people so I'll share the thread she responded to ..
    Hope the link is OK ?
    My favorite source of all info is The Skeptical Aquarist ..Surprised ?
    The fish industry is corrupt for money ...They can't earn it so they mislead you ...