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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is the first time I've fully documented a project. Usually I end up taking a pic two months later and try to describe the steps without pictures. This time I took a pic of each step so if its too much let me know and I can edit and take some off.

Materials needed:

Option 1 (will hold a little over a gallon of bio media)
2-2 gallon buckets
1-10 gallon tank
prefilter media
bio media

Option 2 (Will hold about 4 gallons of bio media)
2-5 gallon buckets
1- 29 gallon tank
prefilter media
bio media



Step1: Cut about 1 1/2 inches off the bottom of one of the buckets off. Precision is not necessary. I made a starter cut with a utility knife then get my sawsall in there and turn the bucket while holding the sawsall.



Step 2: Drill a bunch of small holes in the portion of the bucket you just cut off. The size of the holes is dependent on how much water you will be pushing through. You may have to experiment with this step drilling smaller holes then larger. When filtering you want water to stand in the prefilter so it comes out of all the holes, but you don't want it to overflow the prefilter or you get debris in your biomedia.



Step 3: Cut prefilter to size. For this one I found a course prefilter that is washable but I don't know where I got it or what it is formally called. On the other one I did I got a piece of filter felt that was cut to size. Insert the prefilter and the prefilter/drip plate is complete.



Step 4: Drill a bunch of big holes in the bottom of the bucket you did NOT cut in half. They should be as large as possible so that the water flows through the bucket, but small enough that the biomedia doesn't fall through. Pic shows a bioball sitting in one of the holes.



Step 5: Insert bio-media. I use bioballs which is kinda anti-diy but anything with good surface area would work, i've heard of pot scrubbers being used for this.



Step 6: Put the prefilter on top of the biomedia. Level out the biomedia such that the prefilter sits relatively level



Step 7: Drill an overflow hole the same size as the size of your incoming plumbing. In the event that the prefilter is clogged this will keep the water in the sump.



Step 8: Put the bucket in the tank. oriented so that the overflow hole will spill into it.



Optional: If you aren't going to hang this in a tank but are rather going to use a rubbermaid or other container. The top of the bucket you cut apart can be used as a stand for the filter. You would need to cut notches in the bottom (which I didn't) to allow water flow.



Completed project.

Small version:



Large Version:

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
any aquarium sump or pond pump will do. For my big one I use the Mag-Drive 9.5 and on the small one the mag-drive 5
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
TheeMon said:
Assuming brand new materials: 10gal tank $10, 2-2gal buckets $8, prefilter media $5, biomedia $? depends on what you use. For the large version a 29 glass only is $35 and the buckets $5 each
 

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TheeMon said:
i ment for the pump cost
http://www.bigalsonline.com
http://www.drsfostersmith.com

Both of those vendors should carry the mag-drives that tannable is using. There are other pump options both more and less expensive though, depending on your taste and budget.

-Rick (the armchair aquarist, who is planning to use a QuietOne 1200 in his 10 gallon sump, and while it's cheaper than the Mag-5, it also only pushes a fraction of the water the Mag5 should push)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
TheeMon said:
how "loud" is this whole setup?
I haven't installed the small one yet, but the big one is pretty quite. The big one I have is pretty quiet. There are a few sources of noise that I have found:

1. In the overflow: In my big tank I have the all-glass built in overflow and they are very quiet. In a different setup I have DIY pvc overflows and they make some gurgling noise.

2. Where the water hits the prefilter it was really noisy at first. I extended the drop pipe down closer to the drip plate (see pic at the end of post). I didn't glue the last drop pipe so it can be removed when I clean the filter or if I remove the bucket.

3. The pump itself sitting right on the glass on the bottom of the tank made a humming or vibrating noise. I eleminated this by putting a sponge between the pump and the glass.

Overall I'd say mine is very quiet.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think the 10 would be fine with a 400-500 gph pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
On my 150g tank i have a T and twin returns, and each of those has a Y so 4 returns total. On my 55g tank I just have a single return with a spray bar. You could us UGJ's, spray bars, or straigt returns however you wish as long as your pump will support. The only word of caution to make sure you have a sipon break near the tank entrance.
 

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I've been planning to follow your 2gallon bucket in a 10gallon sump example, since I'm planning a 10 gallon sump for my 29 gallon tank. I've been eyeing my pile of empty kitty litter pails lately though, and I'm thinking they may fit into the 10gallon tank in a similar fashion! Must needs to go to Wal-Mart and buy my 10 gallon tank so I can see if they fit!

-Rick (the armchair aquarist)
 

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Very helpful!

A few questions:

1. The bucket looks suspended and held above the bottom of the tank by fitting on the braces of the tank. Is that not too much weight pushing directly down on the sides of the tank?

2. Since you were able to so clearly and sequentially describe the sump any chance you could do that with the materials and step by step putting together of the pipes themselves into a tank with pre-drilled holes and overflow?
 

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cholile said:
1. The bucket looks suspended and held above the bottom of the tank by fitting on the braces of the tank. Is that not too much weight pushing directly down on the sides of the tank?
A 10 gallon tank normally holds 80 pounds of water inside, pushing out on the sides (~230lbs for the 29gallon tank). The glass is actually stronger when pushed on vertically -- I wouldn't be worried about it.

-Rick (the armchair aquarist)
 

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That was pretty much my question. Whether the vertical pressure was problematic since tanks are designed to hold water inside but not necessarily support a lot of weight from above pressuring directly downward on the sides.

Good to know that's not an issue.
 
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