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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

Right now I'm running an old 10g for a sump on my 40g. Basically it's just a refugium with shrimp, a few plants, and some pot scrubbies. The mechanical filtration is all done by a marine land 200 and a filter sock. So to cut to the chase, I want to build an acrylic 20g sump with drip plate over scrubbies and some filter foam with a refugium in the middle. The most important thing is..will the acrylic be strong enough and would I need to put a cross support in the middle? The sump will be built to the dimensions of a 20g long. Also any other thoughts that I forgot to mention or things I should be concerned or suggestions. Thanks in advance
 

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Acrylic is strong, but flexible. Since sumps don't run full, the temptation would be to not brace the middle, but when power goes out, water will drain and fill the sump. It wouldn't necessarily break, but would bulge more than I'd be comfortable with, and adding the brace would be very easy to do, so I would.

1/4" acrylic should be fine. Use cell cast, not extruded.

Not sure what your experience level is, so don't know what other advice to give. Have you worked with acrylic before?
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No but my grandfather has worked with glass and I'm planning on building it with him so his experience should be pretty good. Also watching tons of videos and trying to learn more.
 

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The key is straight clean cuts, routed egde is the best to work with. It is in no way like working with glass though. 1/4" extruded will be fine for a small sump, run a euro brace around the top egde if no cross support/baffles in the middle. I have seen large shallow (15" tall) tanks made from extruded with no problems.

Or catch Petco's $1 per gallon sell and build a glass one.
 

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What you'll get at Lowe's is extruded, typically. I doubt you'll find anything else there. Cell cast would come from a plastics shop, either local or online. Extruded can handle the low stresses of a small sump, but it is more difficult to work with, so for a first time effort may not be a good idea. If I were you, I'd do a lot of research on the different types, pros and cons, and price diffrences before deciding what to use. If you can find some scratch and dent extruded for next to nothing, then I'd probably lean toward that. If I had to pay full price at Lowe's or wherever, I might not. No acrylic is cheap. Here's a link to my blog on my 180 tank project with a section on the making of my sump. 180 gallon tank project. I still have to put up my fish room project. I worked with a cheaper cell cast for the fish room, but regretted it later as it didn't solvent weld as well. It's not all cut and dried when it comes to working with this stuff.

Here's my first sump project. And I really, for the life of me, cannot remember if I used cell cast or extruded. Wish I could.



You're doing right to research it, as it's cheaper than trial and error. The 180 and sump was my first project, but I probably spent months researching and watching the videos like you've done. Feel free to post back any questions. And Dragonetti is right, working with acryilic is nothing like working with glass. If you have someone experienced in glass, then usuing glass instead might be something to consider. Although I don't like to steer someone away from acyrilic. Once you get a feel for working with it, the possibilities are endless.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So I've figured out what I'm doing I have a 20g long that I got in the fall from petcos dollar a gallon deal that I am going to use and I'm getting a sheet of acrylic that is 24"x18" which works perfectly because my baffles are 12x10, 12x9, 12x8. The acrylic is the thicker of the two you can get at lowes. So I'm really happy to get started this week. And thanks everyone for the helpful comments and suggestions.
 

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If you have a local plastics shop they will usually sell you their scrap for super cheap. I bought a 50Lb stack of scraps for $30. Acrylic is expensive.
 
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