How my 20 long became a sump.

Gozer_1
  • #1
Hello all out there in FishLore land. I just wanted to get this thread started. I'm going to be going through a little sump project and I'd like to take you all along. I'll be using a 20 Gallon long glass aquarium for a 75 Gallon main display. I'll do my best to cover it all. So here it goes.

What will a sump do for me? Why do I need a sump? You need to answer these two questions before you embark on a quest to build a sump. A sump is first and foremost a place to clean your water. Second, it's a place to hide ugly equipment like heaters and skimmers. It also adds to your total water volume. With the addition of a refugium in a sump, you get the benefits that has to offer as well. So, do you need any of those things? Heaters driving you nuts just hanging in that corner? Got a noisy skimmer to hide? Want more water and place for pods to hide? The answer to those questions for me were all a solid yes. Sounds like I need a sump/fuge so I'm going to make one. OK I already made one but it was more of a concept model. Well it is now anyway. It works but I learned a lot of ways it could have been so very much better.

If you too, need a sump then stay tuned. Next time I'll get some photos and talk about the tools I'm using. It'll all be pretty simple. Using a professionally made tank to start with insures you won't have a horrible disaster. Not one single part of what I'm going to be doing should be trusted to hold any quantity of water on it's own. It will work just dandy for inside a purchased tank but not to make the tank itself. Consider that your disclaimer. Don't use my Hillbilly DIY methods to build that 1000 Gallon shark tank you've been wanting.
 
Peterpiper
  • #2
Sounds like fun! But the way ya talking.. the sump sounds more like a drip tray for ya DYI plumbing lol.
I'm tagging along for the ride, only because I am still in the planning stage for mine, and it's cheaper to learn from other peoples mistakes.. (and Gozer_1 may drop some hints for the shark tank)
 
Gozer_1
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
My camera is in Limbo somewhere right now loaded up with photos but here's a little taste I have sketched up in Paint. I toyed around with a few lines and my imagination and came up with this basic design. One side is all refugium and the other is divided in half lengthwise to provide a skimmer compartment and a return compartment.
 
shooter_tx
  • #4
This certainly sounds interesting.....
 
Tavel
  • #5
can a 20L take that pressure??? It was designed to hold a 15" head pressure, but you're making it hold at least a 35" head pressure.

Or am I wrong about what sump is? I'm under the impression that it's sealed up like a canister filter, is that correct?

Also, plexi-glass is hydroscopic and expands when exposed to water. That'll muck your seams pretty nicely. It would probably be easier to use glass, it would be cheaper for sure. (I have NO idea why plexi-glass is so darn expensive!).
 
Gozer_1
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
can a 20L take that pressure??? It was designed to hold a 15" head pressure, but you're making it hold at least a 35" head pressure.

Or am I wrong about what sump is? I'm under the impression that it's sealed up like a canister filter, is that correct?

Also, plexi-glass is hydroscopic and expands when exposed to water. That'll muck your seams pretty nicely. It would probably be easier to use glass, it would be cheaper for sure. (I have NO idea why plexi-glass is so darn expensive!).

A sump has an open top. It's not pressurized. You use dividers to channel the water as it flows through the tank and spillways to allow it to move to the pump section where it is removed back to the display. The tank won't even be completely filled. As for the seams, they aren't structural in nature. None of them are supporting the overall weight of the water. The two thicker pieces will be holding back the most and I only made them thick to prevent bowing. In all reality these seals only need to be tight enough to keep the proper amout of water in each compartment. If a little water leaks between them it's no biggy as long as it's not leaking so much that the water drops below where you want it. I want to get the seals as best as I can, however, to prevent future maintenance. Leaks will get bigger over time and may eventually need to be resealed to keep the water flowing through properly. My novice cutting skills leave my pieces a little short typically so I'm not worried about expansion. Since nothing is really for support I'm not worried about my lacking skills either. I would never ever trust my skills to hold any volume of water lol. ;D As far as glass vs. plexi, plexI is easier for me to deal with. Much easier. It bends, it cuts easier, I can drill, carve, melt, and saw it much easier than I can with glass. PlexI suits the tools I have and is more forgiving. I never was any good at scoring glass. lol Thanks for your concern, but as you'll soon see, all is well.

I found my camera at work!!!!!! Gonna get resizing here pretty soon. I've been itching to put everything together but wanted photos. Pretty well everything is ready to get glued in. I have a feeling this one will be vastly better than the first. Hmm, guess I should put up a photo of that too. It works great but I left myself with a very small refugium and I can't remove my skimmer cup forcing me to siphon out the skimate. YUCK!!! Gonna re-do it in to a sump for my 150 fresh when I pull the UGF later this year. Anyway, need to get resizing so, I can post something tonight.
 
Gozer_1
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Ok, I'm back I know that was quick huh.

I've posted some pictures of the basic tools and materials I'll be using. The first is a picture of the tank I'll be using. Second is the tools minus the Dremel Planer and the OH SO IMPORTANT ear and eye protection. No project is worth your sight.

Here's a tool list:

1 Framers Square
1 Dremel with cutting bit, guide and planer attatchments.
1 Cordless drill just in case I need it.
1 PlexI Knife
1 pair of pliers to snap off the cut pieces if needed.
Clamps
Aquarium silicone
Super Glue
Seam Wiper (also not pictured or needed, a finger will work fine)

That's it I think. lol You don't need much because it's not something that really needs to be absolutely spot on with every seam. It's ok if things are a little rough. ;D Obviously you could use whatever tools you like. This list is just what I use.

I also picked up 2 sheets of plexi. One is 1/4" and the other is 1/8". The 1/4" was 18" X 20" and the 1/8" was 20" X 32". I recommend picking up an extra small sheet of 1/8" Just in case and to practice with.

I got the 20 long at Petco for 40 bucks. That should be everything you need.

Just a note, the lines drawn on the sides of the tank are the remenants of my brainstorming. I'll use the square to draw a ine on the tank so I can line up the divider when gluing.

Sorry all I had too many things happen to really get into this thread but I promise to have something going by this evening. Gotta get the pictures outta back up due to a recent Vista problem. I down graded to XP cause Vista needs more work. Great ideas. I miss a great many features but the bad issues were making me crazy. Anyway that's for another topic.

Just wanted to let you know this thread is alive.

Ok, I'm just gonna jump right in. This time I'll go over how I cut my pieces and Gluing the first pieces. It will finish with the left half of the sump ready.

Ok If you take a look at the first photo you'll see the first piece ready to cut. The straight edge is off set from the line to be cut to account for the cutting guide width. The second picture is the cutting guide lined up and ready to cut. When working with thinner pieces you can easily make this cut with a plexI cutter but a Dremel is more fun. The trick to using the Dremel is to cut in a direction so that the edge of the bit is rotating towards you on the side of your finished cut. So if you are looking at it from the side and the bit spins clockwise, you want your finished piece to be on the right side of the bit. This will help get a cleaner edge. Practice cutting some scraps before you make your first real cut. Once cut you can use a Dremel planer attachment to smooth the edge. Also use a sander or something to round off any corners that will sit in sealled joints of the main tank. You don't want to mess up those seals. That's it. That's how I made all my cuts. The pictures should explain everything pretty well so let's move on to the first pieces.

The first piece to cut is the secondary divider if you will. It will be one wall of the "bubble trap" area. It's an easy one. I will give you all dimensions in correct size. Add as much as you need to account for your personal cutting skill level. I like to leave my self an eighth of an inch extra to play with. This first piece needs to be 12 inches by 12 inches. One of those 12 inch side will vary depending on the actual tank measurements. No two are exactly the same. Mine was actually 11 7/8 inches. This piece is made from the thin plexi. It will have other support and will not need to be thick.

The second piece is the subdivider for the skimmer/return section. It will be glued to the first piece which can be seen in the third picture. This piece will divide the left side in to two sections. It needs to be 14 inches by about 14 inches. That 14 is the maximum height that will fit in your tank. For a 20 Long that will be around 14. It's not important to be exact on the height for this piece. In fact the other 14 inches isn't really key just stay less than 14 1/2. I used thick plexI for this piece but thin will be AOK. The thick stuff was a waste.

Ok, so now we have two pieces. These need to be glued into a tee shape. The next picture shows this. The edge of the 14 inch piece that matches the approximate height of your tank needs to be glued to the center of the 12 inch piece. The edge of the 12 inch piece that matches the width of your tank should be the top and bottom edges. With this section the left edge of the 14 inch piece will sit vertically centered on the side panel of the tank. If you look at the tank from the side you would see only a line. The 12 inch piece will fit front to back in the tank and be glued to the edge of the 14 piece with it's top edge flush with the top edge of the 14 inch piece. So if you look at the top you see a smooth tee but form the bottom there will be a 2 inch gap on each side of the 14 inch piece. I will do a couple simple Paint drawings to show this as well as the photo of the finished piece.

To glue them you'll need two corner clamps, super glue, and some silicone. Start by finding the center line of the 12 inch piece and mark it with a wet erase marker. Now clamp it into the clamps anywhere for now. You'll need to move it again. Now place the 14 inch piece in so that it fits snugged up to the 12 inch piece and clamp it in for the ride. Now unclamp the 12 inch piece and get your super glue ready. I recommend the gel type to help prevent the mess. Run a thin 12 inch line of glue on the edge of the 14 inch piece starting at the corner that will be flush with the 12 inch pieces edge. Now slide the 12 inch piece in to the clamps so the 14 inch edge with glue lines up with the other side of the marker line. Don't glue the side with the marker. Put the marker line on the out side so it can be washed off later. When this is finished and set you should be able to set it upside down and have it sit level. Right side up it should tilt over. I think the paint drawings will explain this so on to sealing it in place.

Run a small bead of silicone in to each corner of the new tee. Smear it with your finger or a tool to make it look like a normal aquarium seal. This technique WILL NOT work for building an actual aquarium just so you know. It's just to keep the water in the right section. When this is done set it in the tank so the flush tee is up and you will have two sections with two 2 inch gaps at the bottom middle of the tank. Do the same with the silicone to each corner where the plexI meets the tank walls. That will be enough to hold it in place and seal off each section. The one I made looks slightly different in the photo. I made some design changes later. The paint drawings are correct.

Now you have three basic sections. Next time we'll get in to the trickiest part, the bubble trap and fuge wall. Hard to glue in place but ingenious IMHO. Then we'll just have a couple baffles and we're done. I'll go over my plumbing and such as well at the end.
 
ThisGuy
  • #8
Gonna re-do it in to a sump for my 150 fresh when I pull the UGF later this year.


What would you use a sump for in a fresh water tank just for heating, filtering and water changes? Is there any other uses for it?

Take a look at my dream hillbilly DIY 1700 gallon shark tank



I have a dream, and it involves sharks
 
Gozer_1
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
A sump is useful for freshwater also. The refugium part doesn't really do much for you though. Certain fresh tanks could benefit but those are most likely fairly specialized tanks. The sump, however, would be quite beneficial. I want one for my 150 fresh. It gives you lots of room to hide heaters and stuff and filter media is easy to access. I use a canister now and hate dragging it to the tub to clean it out. With a sump you'd just have to haul media around. It is true though, that a fresh water tank won't see near the benefit of a sump as a marine tank will.


BTW Sharks are what got me to the point I am now. I wanted a "Shark Tank". Many many dollars and several years later all I have is 2 catfish that look like sharks. lol I now prefer the diversity of a reef over the coolness of a shark tank.
 
ThisGuy
  • #10
Thanks for the info... I really like the idea of sumps and refugiums I was just wondering if there was something I was missing other than the obvious, water volume, heating, filtration...

I came accost this a couple of weeks ago my dream shark tank reefs are cool but sharks are awesome
 

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