Homemade Sump Idea?

HarrisonMG
  • #1
So, I have been struggling with pros and cons of my filtration + skimming setup, and my alternatives to it, because I don't have a sump and can't really buy one.

Then, I thought: What if I made my own sump, but not like anything most other people would do?

Here's my idea--
-I put a 10 gallon fish tank under my 75 gallon reef
-I Put my Fluval C4 (HOB) filter on this 10g
-I also put a protein skimmer in the 10g
-I get two pumps; one in closer to the waterline inside my 75 gallon (to avoid disasters)
-One in the 10 gallon that returns to the 75 gallon tank

The concept is this: Water flows from the 75 gallon tank, into the 10g, where it is filtered and skimmed, then returned back up to my tank.

An optional addition is to use smart outlets for each pump--this way, I could have one pump fill the 10 gallon and stop when it is near full, then it would be filtered for a while, and then the other pump would go on and the water would be drained from the 10g, and once that is finished the process would repeat.

My tank is non-drillable, and my internal protein skimmer doesn't fit with my lid, and my filter is loud on top of my tank. That is why I want to do this.

What do you think??? Should I do it? Are there any crucial flaws in my design?

Thanks!

Here's a sketch
 

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TexasDomer
  • #2
DIY sumps are very common. I'd google around and look at some other people's plans for them.

Can you get a bigger tank a 10 gal for the sump?
 
HarrisonMG
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
No, 10 gallons is the best I got, and I am on a really tight budget now.
But to be honest, I wasn't planning on putting in any baffles--just a way to get water in, a filter and a skimmer, and then a pump back up.

My real problem is with the way to get water down. I can't drill my tank, and can't add an internal overflow, but an external overflow is so expensive it defeats the purpose of this. A pump is what, $20? The overflows are that plus a hundred.
That's why I want to use a pump, but I don't know how I could get the surface skI'm with something like that
 
TexasDomer
  • #4
There are cheaper HOB overflows, especially if you can find a used system, and no pump in the 75 required. There are plenty of DIY setups too.

I don't think the sump will work well without baffles or some kind of separation in it. You could make/install your own baffles though.

Do you have the 75 gal already running?
 
HarrisonMG
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Yeah so right now I'm cycling it.
I have the Fluval C4 along with a 20 gallon filter that currently has bio floss and a plant in it, and then a 40 gallon internal skimmer.
My lid doesn't fit with the second filter and the skimmer.
So, I guess if I can get my hands on glass the right size, definitely will put in baffles. And I'll look for cheaper overflows. Any recommendations? Also, do you know if they're quiet?

Now, I am also confused a bit as to how these overflows and sumps work. What happens if the power goes out? What about if the water line goes below the overflow?

Thanks!
 
TexasDomer
  • #6
I'm by far from an expert - I was looking into sumps for my Freshwater setup just so I can get experience with them, but decided to go with a canister instead.

You can do a herbie overflow to help with the noise.

I would google around for DIY sumps and how they work and how to ensure the tank won't overflow if the power goes out. It has been a while since I've looked into details, and I don't want to give you bad info. I found a lot of good info and plans on other forums (we're not a huge Saltwater forum here on FL - Freshwater is more prevalent).

A reef tank isn't a place to skimp and get cheap equipments/cut corners. So if it's too expensive now, it may be a good idea to either downgrade to a smaller tank or save the reef for a future tank.
 
Wild Bill
  • #7
Here’s a good site with lots of info on sumps and overflows.
 
Jesterrace
  • #8
No, 10 gallons is the best I got, and I am on a really tight budget now.
But to be honest, I wasn't planning on putting in any baffles--just a way to get water in, a filter and a skimmer, and then a pump back up.

My real problem is with the way to get water down. I can't drill my tank, and can't add an internal overflow, but an external overflow is so expensive it defeats the purpose of this. A pump is what, $20? The overflows are that plus a hundred.
That's why I want to use a pump, but I don't know how I could get the surface skI'm with something like that


Do yourself a favor and hold off for now. The 10 gallon sump on a 75 gallon tank will be a ton of work and expense for very little benefit. Personally I would never do a sump with a tank that isn't pre-drilled from the factory and the biggest problem with a 10 gallon sump is that it will be very difficult to fit the kind of equipment necessary to give you the benefit of a sump. Standard config is a filter sock (if you chose to use one), protein skimmer, and return pump. that is going to be incredibly cramped in a 10 gallon sump. You are going to have to have an overflow box if your tank isn't drilled and they can be a major pain if the siphon mechanism gets stuck (ie flooding). For your config I would say a 20-30 gallon sump would be more appropriate. Also keep in mind you have to periodically clean stuff and do basic maintenance in the sump. A smaller tank makes the task much more difficult to work in and around on. I have a predrilled 90 gallon with a DIY 29 gallon sump that I purchased used from my LFS. Here is a vid of it so you can see how it works (skip to around the 5 minute mark):

 
HarrisonMG
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Well, I actually just put together my own PVC overflow today, and tested it--works well.
Here is what's going in my sump: a heater, a protein skimmer, and maybe some refugium-type stuff (because I have a light, so why not use it)
My return pump, at least for now if it seems to work well, is a penn play cascade 700 canister filter
By using a can as my return, I don't need any filter media to fit within the sump so I have lots and lots of room left.

I should have it all done in a week or two, so I will come back with how it goes!
 
HarrisonMG
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Update: got a 210gal CoralVue reef octopus 150sss (skimmer) and a 900gph return. The overflow is up and running, matching the flow, but it is loud (although I think even if I drilled my tank it would be like that). I am just not sure, since some salt creep is forming at the PVC joints--should I silicone the outside of the joints, or should I do both inside and outside, or use pvc glue/rubber cement?
 
TexasDomer
  • #11
Is there nothing holding the pipes together now? Definitely do PVC glue to hold the PVC pipes together.
 
HarrisonMG
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Ok....will do.
I just have to keep waiting to do so since I'm still making changes.
 

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