Sump Explanation, Somebody

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by Hunter1, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    So talk slow and use small words, please.

    I’ve built garages, barns, parts of houses, I just don’t get this technology. I understand the concept and gets you add quantity, remove heaters, filters, etc from your tank. I also kinda understand how the filteration works.

    I’ve googled several times and think I can build my own BUT still have questions.

    So walk me through this. What kind of pump do I need with a 90 gallon tank and a 29 gallon sump?

    What kind of plumbing?

    How do I prevent siphoning out of the main tank during a power outage?

    Would the current be too much for angels?

    And anything else you think a novice might need to know.
  2. coralbanditWell Known MemberMember

    I use Jeboa DC pumps so the flow can be digitally controlled .When you slow the flow you save electricity...
    To prevent syphoning you can keep the return at the surface of water [suggested anyways] not bleow , and drill a small hole on the inside of the 90 above the water level on the return line if possible.
    I use flex hose [for sump pumps] but you can hard plumb it with PVC . Make sure there are no dips or sags in out flow line that crate places where water will need to be forced to get through.
    For fresh water I am not big on any baffles,but that is me..Not many baffles in my marine sumps either. Make the sump as big as possible.You will get a lot more out of a 30l then a 29 due to foot print so I would go with a 30..
  3. bigdreamsWell Known MemberMember

    Something to keep in mind: most filters combine mechanical filtration (make water clear, get floating debris and poop out of the water), biological filtration (convert toxic ammonia to not-toxic nitrates), and optionally, chemical filtration (carbon filter, Purigen, etc) into one package (hang on back filters, and canister filters). This is for "convenience" but isn't necessary. You can optimize for each when you have separate filters for each. (Think boombox vs high-end audiophile component stereo system).

    So, here's my recommendation:
    - aim for 4-5x turnover for biological filtration (i actually have closer to 3x in my setup)
    - supplement with powerheads, HOB filters, etc. for mechanical filtration
    - skip the chemical filtration (i.e. dont bother using activated carbon, etc.)

    For a 90-gallon display tank, this means 90gallons * 5x-turnover = 450 gallons per hour flow. You need to have 450 gallons per hours of flow coming out of your return pipe and into your tank after the pump lifts the water up off the ground (assuming yoru sump is on the ground) and over the display tank's glass wall.. let's call this 4 feet of height for simplicitiy. So you need a pump that can achieve 450 gallons per hour of flow at 4 feet of "head height". Most pumps are rate at "0 head", meaning with nothing attached to it at all! (useful, huh?) So a 450gph with head height of 0, won't solve anything. Now, most pumps are better than that (little bird bath fountain pumps probably dont have much head height... you dont see water shooting inthe air 4 feet, in most backyard fountains, right?), but you want to check out the pump's flow chart and see how it performs.

    You can add an HOB (Aquaclear 50) to help polish the water in the main tank, but I prefer using a Powerhead w/ Quickfilter or do it yourself filter involving a plastic cup and some filter floss. Actually I got rid of my powerheads in my planted tank and simply rely on my sump for everything now, fish poop become fertilizer in my planted tank (going on strong, almost 3 years now).

    In my 29 gallon sump, I kept it super super simple, and use Poret foam as my baffles. I use 2 3"inch thick foam blocks of 20ppi and 30ppi size (number of pores per inch). This is called a Hamberg Mattenfilter sump set up. I haven't cleaned the foam blocks in 2 years. I do ocassionally vacuum the mulm that collects on the bottom w/ water changes, but for most part I just let it be. I have mostly tetras, gourami, corys, guppies, and now @coralbandit 's German Blue Rams doing great in there... basically they dont poop much, hence the long time between filter cleanings. I do clean the pump once every 18 months, but i need to do that more often.. maybe once a year? The point is, if you have goldfish, or plecos, or other pooping-machines, you will need the mechanical filtration in the main tank as discussed, and/or clean the sump more often, but you probably knew that already.

    Lastly, you need to think about "what if my drain line clogs"?? I highly recommend using a Herbie or BeanAnimal design (links below explain what this is). Basically, having an emergency drain line will save you from flooding your home in case something gets clogged. I use an eShopps 1100 overflow box w/ dual drains to achieve this, without having to drill my tank. More details in sump thread below.

    The overflow box I mention below can handle power outages .. it holds the siphon in the U-Tube from the tank into the external overflow box. however, dont expect it to hold the siphon indefinitely.. if you don't turn the power back on for days, the water will evaporate in the overflow and break the siphon.. but i turn off my pumps during water changes and the siphon holds as is. Avoid overflow boxes that require a pump to suck out the air.. that's another point of failure you dont need. if set up correctly, the eShopps overflow box I mention does the job well.

    As for too much flow.. 5x flow is reasonable. You want even higher in a planted tank, that's where circulation pumps and powerheads come in.. you can direct the flow towards dead spots and also use weaker pumps so not to blow your fish around. For example, I use a Koralia Nano 240 in my 55 gallon display for additional water movement. I had a Powerhead 70 (400 gph??) originally that was way too powerful, blew my fish around. I find multiple smaller powerheads can work just as well (if not better) than a big powerhead.. it took me a year or two to "dial in" the right flow for my tank.. lots of experimentation, patient waiting to see how plants and fish responded, etc.

    Here's my sump build out thread, in case its useful: How to setup mattenfilter sump for superior filtration For all the painful details of my 55-gallon w/ 29-gallon sump build check this thread: 55-gallon Walstad Community Tank Build-out

    Highly recommend reading thru this:

    Mattenfilter info:

    Good luck! Sumps are great, require a little research/planning, but a lot of fun to build.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  4. Hunter1Well Known MemberMember


    Looks like I have some reading to do.

    I have a few questions now but hopefully the links will answer them.

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