DIY - Projects & Ideas • removing a built in sump (built inside the tank)

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removing a built in sump (built inside the tank)

Postby Nina_b » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:03 am

Hi everyone,

Would it be possible to remove a sump that has been built INSIDE a tank? The tank measures 48'' by 20'' by 20'', and the inside space of the aquarium is hampered badly by a sump that is too small to really be much use anyway, impossible to access for maintanance, and in general, frustrating.

I'm concerned that the increased water pressure from removing the sump will break the tank, but I'd love to take it out, drill it and put in a nice big sump beneath the tank - where I can get at it!

It's an ugly thing, but here's a picture to give you some idea:
http://www.junkmail.co.za/images/201210/images_lightbox/free201210__20120306_155556_6833859_.jpg

Sometimes, you resqued an Oscar, and you are on one seriously tight budget.
Nina_b
 
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:00 pm
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Postby Deeda » Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:09 pm

That is the 1st time I have seen that particular design!

I doubt there will be an increase in water pressure by removing the sump so I wouldn't worry about that part.

Is there any chance you can post a pic looking down into the tank to get a better view of the sump baffles? Also, how much room do you have to access those baffles to remove them?
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Postby Nina_b » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:30 am

Thank you, Dee.

It's a first for me as well, it's a very, very (VERY), very old marine aquarium - probably about 30 years old.

The tank has no cross braces that run front-to-back at the top, which is what has me nervous. Anyway, back to the sump -

I don't have miles of room to get at the baffles from the top (this is part of why I want it to go - the darn thing will be impossible to clean). There's about 15 cm's there, with some of it taken up by the bracing near the top of the tank. From the front it's much better (there's the whole rest of the tank to let me at it). I do forsee quite a struggle to get that thing out, but a scraper and determination can do many things :lol:
I think it's worth it, though, it would effectively turn a huge 75 gallon into a much more 'space efficient' 110 gallon.

I asked my mother to send me a picture - the tank is at their place for cleaning and fixing (we don't have a lawn for me to spill onto). Sorry for the slightly poor quality picture, this is what she sent me:

Image
Nina_b
 
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:00 pm
Location: South Africa

Postby Mike_G » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:54 am

One of these (or something similar) makes it pretty easy- extend the blade and it'll flex a bit to lay flat against the glass.

Image
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Postby Deeda » Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:30 pm

Thanks for the additional picture, very helpful.

Mike_G has a good suggestion for a razor blade to remove the sump dividers or you can try some fishing line or guitar string. Definitely wear protective gloves in case of glass breakage.

Some more questions for you first.

Does the tank glass look good enough to be worth the effort of removing the sump?

How thick are the glass panes of the main tank? How thick are the sump dividers?

Are you sure of the aquarium dimensions- 48" x 20" x 20" = 83 U.S. gallons and not 110 gallons?

You may need to add cross braces, front to back, depending on the glass thickness. I'm assuming there is also a long brace at the front top of the tank. Cross braces are usually at least as thick as the tank glass. The addition of cross braces would also allow you to mount lids and light fixtures more easily.

You can quote my message and insert your answers where appropriate.
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Postby Nina_b » Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:25 pm

Deeda wrote:Thanks for the additional picture, very helpful.

Mike_G has a good suggestion for a razor blade to remove the sump dividers or you can try some fishing line or guitar string. Definitely wear protective gloves in case of glass breakage.


Thank you, will do!

Deeda wrote: Some more questions for you first.

Does the tank glass look good enough to be worth the effort of removing the sump?


Well, yes and no. I need a big tank on a little budget, so here we go.

Deeda wrote: How thick are the glass panes of the main tank? How thick are the sump dividers?

It's all the same thickness, 10 mm thick.

Deeda wrote: Are you sure of the aquarium dimensions- 48" x 20" x 20" = 83 U.S. gallons and not 110 gallons? ?


The tank is 1200 mm by 650 mm wide, and 650 mm high. I double checked earlier to make sure of this. That gives me 507 liters, which is somewhere around 130 gallons? Eh... my earlier calculations were made of fluff, not good math. I am recovering from a concussion - every day is better - so bear with me.

Deeda wrote: You may need to add cross braces, front to back, depending on the glass thickness. I'm assuming there is also a long brace at the front top of the tank. Cross braces are usually at least as thick as the tank glass. The addition of cross braces would also allow you to mount lids and light fixtures more easily.


Yes, long braces on both the back and the front. I'm definitely adding a cross brace, in the middle. If the sump comes out, there will be a perfectly sized piece that is tank glass thickness.

I'm also going to build a hood, I've lost fish to jumping before. Never again will a tank of mine be without a proper cover.

(edited to remove unecessary HTML code)
Nina_b
 
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Postby Deeda » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:13 pm

Even without a concussion I still have trouble with math. Thank goodness for my handy dandy calculator and the conversion app on my computer. Sorry about your concussion, hope you're back to normal soon!

I think you will be OK with the addition of a center brace but hopefully someone else with real world experience will chime in. If you are thinking of also adding glass lids in addition to a hood, you should consider also adding 2 additional braces, one at each end of the tank to support the lids. This would also help strengthen the 'framing' of the tank.

You will probably have to reseal the interior fillets of the tank when you remove the interior sump panes since are attached to the end and back panels of the aquarium. I would do a complete reseal of the interior fillets since the tank is so old and it gives you a fresh start.

I wonder if it would be easiest to try and separate the 'front' pane of the sump from the dividers first, then the aquarium end panels and finally along the bottom. This would give you more space to reach the sump dividers. Just a thought.

Good luck on the project and keep us posted on your progress.

BTW, what species of fish were you planning on stocking this tank with or am I getting too far ahead on the project?
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Postby Nina_b » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:48 pm

I rescued an Oscar from a bunch of teenagers that were playing cricket with it in a bag. I got pretty badly beaten up for it (I was unconscious when the police came - hence concussion). They're arrested, some are in jail now (it's about 5 days ago). Seems they were high.

The fishy came home with me, and went into my luckily vacant 29 gallon hospital. It was touch and go for a while (fungus reared up, bad bumps and bruises on him), but clean water and a calm environment does miracles for fish. Within a day it was clear he was going to make it.
He's still small-ish (about 10cm long now), and as healthy as any little fishy has ever been. I swear I can see it growing.

My husband named the Oscar 'Wicket'. It's more or less at this point that I realised there won't be any rehoming of the little guy. So this will be a home for Wicket.

This hopefully also explains the pressing need for a large tank, on a budget (it's the things you don't plan for, hey?).

I've stared at this built in sump quite a bit now, and I'm going to take off the front pane, then the baffles, as suggested. I have both a putty knife and a craft knife (as suggested above, thanks!) ready to help, and some gloves in case of glass failure.

Resealing is a very good suggestion.

I feel pretty comfortable about installing the top brace. It's something new for me, but I've read around. It should be fine.


Hopefully this will be done tonight. Tomorrow, after a good scrub, I'll post a picture of the progress.
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Postby Nina_b » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:39 pm

Sump is out, resealed, and I built a canopy while the silicone dries. Tomorrow I'm on the cabinet. I forgot to take pictures, sigh, but so far so good.
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Postby BillD » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:56 pm

If the tank is braced along the top (lengthwise), which it appears to be, the center brace is not needed for strength. It will make it easier to add glass tops, although harder to access the tank.
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Postby Nina_b » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:15 pm

BillD, I'd feel a lot better if it has that top brace anyway. Will adding a center brace somehow compromise it structurally? If it won't do much except soothe my soul, I'm going for it. If it will actually make it less sturdy, well, then, not going there.

Here's where we are after today - Tank from the top:
Image

and from the side:
Image

You can see where the sump used to be, and now, you can see the 3D background that is in there - dry fit. On top is the lid (work in progress, will be painted black). It also still needs a very good clean after the reseal, but one step at a time. As an aside, the planks in front of the tank are actually the frame for a cladding for the ugly stand - I'm keeping the stand itself, it's sturdy, but I'm going to make it look like a cabinet from outside.

The glass is scratched, but not too irredeemable. This tank is going to be built like a tank when I add that center brace.

Thanks so much for all the help!
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Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:00 pm
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Postby Woodworm » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:29 pm

I have a similar setup in an acrylic tank that I'm using as a headboard. I love the one I have, but unlike yours the divider between the tank and the sump is made of black acrylic so the sump isn't seen. I am with you on that it being visible is totally unacceptable.
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Postby Nina_b » Sun Apr 08, 2012 2:14 pm

Unacceptable, and a darn menace to clean - the glass tank has a support brace that used to cover half of the built in sump anyway. On an acrylic tank, without the support brace, cleaning might have been possible - still, reaching 65 cm down to get at the bottom is a bit much of an ask. Anyway, it's gone now :D

When it's all done, I'll put up a picture of the end result.
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Postby Woodworm » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:51 pm

Yup a pain to clean when it is needed, but I will take it since most of the time it is low maintenance, I can have it flush against the wall and I don't have to move the bed to get at anything.
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Postby Deeda » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:13 pm

Looking very good since you removed the sump. Is that a patch covering a crack in the tank bottom?

Adding a center brace will not compromise the tank integrity in any way.
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