Should I build a sump for my 30 gallon freshwater tank?

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by Florian Pellet, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. Florian PelletWell Known MemberMember

    Hey fishlore people,

    I'm setting up a new tank to replace my old. It'll be a 30 gallon freshwater, well lit and planted, with shrimps, a betta, and some rasboras. I'll take down the old tank and I was wondering whether I should use the glass to build a sump. For now my filtration is a Eheim 2213 canister filter.

    If I go that route, for a question of space, the sump will have to be exactly 12 gal, 19" wide and 12"x12" on the sides.

    The idea I have is to build an overflow on my tank (probably no drilling, just with pipes) to bring water to the sump. Use the sump for mechanical and biological filtration, plant refugium / algae scrubber, heating, water changes, possibly drip system, and then use the canister filter for chemical filtration and return pump to the tank.

    Here are my questions:
    Would I benefit from having a refugium? How so? (stocking levels, water stability, ...)
    Where are the flaws in my plan? (canister filter for return pump, overflow without drilling, ...)
  2. Coradee

    CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    Bumping this up for you
  3. TexasDomer

    TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    I don't think you need a sump for that stocking, but you could always build one if you wanted!

    I'm building one for my lightly stocked 44 gal because I'm tired of noisy HOBs and canisters and I want the experience of setting up a sump.

    You tank is large enough that you don't need more water for stability, and your bioload won't be so large either (assuming you don't overstock the rasboras).

    Especially if already have a canister and you're happy with it, I wouldn't add a sump unless you want one.
  4. Justyn SmithNew MemberMember

    What plans do you have regarding decoration/planting/scaping etc?

    One thing I'm learning (so don't take my opinion as gospel!) is that if you fill a third of your tank with 'stuff' then that's a third of your total water volume lost, which you should account for when considering stocking, filtration, dosing etc.

    Adding a sump would compensate for the reduced water volume, if that becomes an issue for you.

    Another consideration is that most canisters are gravity fed. I've never sat a canister beside a tank/sump so I'm not sure how that might effect its function, but I have seen advice to ensure that the canister is always below the tank for that reason.
  5. OP

    Florian PelletWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks Justyn Smith.

    I do have about 15kg of soil and 4 medium sized mangrove roots so you're making a good point.

    My plants are a carpet of dwarf baby tears, a bunch of marimo balls and some elodea for a background (and to tame the return flow from my filter). How is that important?

    Yes, I actually just realised this as I had temporarily put my old aquarium on the floor, the cannister filter really had trouble moving any water at all. I really doubt it'd be able to pump water back up from a sump. That's a real shame, it's going to force me to buy a return pump and just use the cannister filter in my sump.

    One thing I'm thinking though is that, if TexasDomer is right and I have very little to gain from a sump seeing as I am not planning on getting much more fish, I could just install a drip system which might give about the same advantages (water stability, algae control) plus space out my WCs.

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