Needing some DIY sump advice...

HarrisonAquatics

Member
Hey guys,

I'm working on upgrading my 55 FOWLR to a 125 (or, maybe, a 180...). I own the 125 already, just need to drill it. I do have a juvenile dogface puffer, so I'm considering searching out a 180 and using the 125 as a sump, as I know a 125 display would be pretty minimum for that guy at full size. If I went with the 125 display, I'd probably use my 55 gallon as a sump - or, possible, a 100 gallon plastic bin designed for farm feed. I'm not sure yet! That's why I'm asking.

I've only ever done nanos (or slightly larger tanks running canisters), so a sump is new to me. I have maintenanced a few tanks that had sumps, but it was simple stuff - emptying skimmer cups, changing out media, cleaning overflows, that sort of thing. Never had to work on one, let alone plan on one.

Here are my questions:

1) As I understand it, you want your sump to be big enough to hold however much water it takes from the DT to get the water level down below your bulkhead to avoid an overflow in a power outage, correct? Assuming I drilled the hole at the correct height, would a 55 be suitable for that on a 125? How about a 125 on a 180?

2) What's considered the "best" sump layout? I'd like to have a decent-sized refugium, partially for nutrient export and partially for my own enjoyment and cultivation of pods. But, I know that skimmers take up a lot of room, and that depending on what pump I go with, they can be pretty large as well... Basically, if you were planning this build, what would be some basic guidelines you'd follow when siliconing your baffles into place?

3) Do I need an overflow weir like you see in a lot of reef tanks? I see a lot of freshwater tanks just using a bulkhead with an elbow, or something similar. Is that not a good idea in SW? I don't necessarily mind building one, I just don't have a very good explanation as to why they're needed.

4) When drilling the tank, do I need constant water flow from a garden hose, or would adding water every 15-30 seconds be sufficient? I live in an apartment, so I'd likely have to drill indoors (with PPE and the door open, of course...), but I don't have access to a water hose. Could I simply pour water on the drill bit every few seconds?

Thanks for any help!
 

kanzekatores

Member
I think both the 55 sump for 125g and the 125 sump for 180g would be good.

It’s good if you kind of have a different chamber in the sump for a different system (refugim, protein skimmer, calcium reactor, chemical filtration media). You’ll get a lot of mixed results about the best layout, but it’s good to have things organized and not all over the place.

Something as a precaution in the case of an accident needs to be done. I don’t know about the bulkhead and elbow but something in case a pump malfunctions needs to be there, or there could be a lot of damage; to fish, and to property. I know overflow boxes can be pricy and that’s what swung me towards not doing a sump, but my feelings are that they come as a pair: sump+overflow box.
And I think it would be fine to pour it at a not so constant pace. Water hose is not needed I don’t think
 
  • Thread Starter

HarrisonAquatics

Member
kanzekatores said:
I think both the 55 sump for 125g and the 125 sump for 180g would be good.

It’s good if you kind of have a different chamber in the sump for a different system (refugim, protein skimmer, calcium reactor, chemical filtration media). You’ll get a lot of mixed results about the best layout, but it’s good to have things organized and not all over the place.

Something as a precaution in the case of an accident needs to be done. I don’t know about the bulkhead and elbow but something in case a pump malfunctions needs to be there, or there could be a lot of damage; to fish, and to property. I know overflow boxes can be pricy and that’s what swung me towards not doing a sump, but my feelings are that they come as a pair: sump+overflow box.
And I think it would be fine to pour it at a not so constant pace. Water hose is not needed I don’t think
Thanks for the response!

I'd definitely have it divided out neatly - I'm honestly thinking of having around 1/3 of the total sump area being a refugium, and then dividing the rest of the sump up depending on equipment size. I doubt I'll ever get an absolutely massive skimmer, so I might take an above average size skimmer and size the skimmer chamber for that. And so on..
 

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