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I didn't realize I had never posted this here. Last May, I decided to take a crack at building a custom sump for my 125. I had been using one that was originally built for a saltwater setup as it came with the used 125 I bought from Craigslist. It worked okay for three years but I felt I could do better. I scoured the internet for examples and made the decision to make it completely out of 1/4" polycarbonate. I chose polycarbonate as it's cheaper and stronger than plexiglass. The reason it's not used in tanks as poly starts to get hazy at around 1/2" thick. I went with the basic design below but made some changes to fit my application. Altogether, it took about 13 hours to complete the construction.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Part 2

After getting the construction completed, I took it home and let the Weldon 3 cure for 24 hours. As you can see by the photos below, I had a few leaks. I used Weldon 16 to seal the spaces where it was leaking. Weldon 16 has the consistency of modeling glue so it will fill in the gaps. I gave it another few days to cure and tried again. I no longer had any leaks. However, as a final test, I filled it with water and dropped an 800 gph pump in one end and pumped the water back to the start. I left it running for a solid week while checking it multiple times a day. After the tests, I installed in under my 125 where it's been running for over a year now.

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Wow, that's nice work!
(And, now I'm REALLY a fan boy of your Dad's garage/workshop!).
I like the direct and straightforward execution of your build. That sump looks very purposeful and pretty simple.
Appears to be at least 60 gallons in capacity... have you measured it out?
And, I see in the other thread post with the photos of your stand, (the sump down sited under the 125 gallon tank) that you have placed what looks like a U/V sterilizer on the discharge hose (in-line, electric heater?). Was algae buildup causing problems for you in the 125?
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And, I REALLY like that you have set up a New World Cichlid aquarium! Uaru's are very cool Cichlids. But unfortunately, I don't see them that often anymore.... With the much larger 220 gallon, are you going to change things up a bit, maybe add some more fish to go with those Uaru's?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Auballagh said:
Wow, that's nice work!
(And, now I'm REALLY a fan boy of your Dad's garage/workshop!).
I like the direct and straightforward execution of your build. That sump looks very purposeful and pretty simple.
Appears to be at least 60 gallons in capacity... have you measured it out?
And, I see in the other thread post with the photos of your stand, (the sump down sited under the 125 gallon tank) that you have placed what looks like a U/V sterilizer on the discharge hose (in-line, electric heater?). Was algae buildup causing problems for you in the 125?
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And, I REALLY like that you have set up a New World Cichlid aquarium! Uaru's are very cool Cichlids. But unfortunately, I don't see them that often anymore.... With the much larger 220 gallon, are you going to change things up a bit, maybe add some more fish to go with those Uaru's?
Thanks. I didn't want to over complicate it. I was heading that direction but pulled back in time. It's about 46 gallons total capacity.
It is a UV sterilizer. I was having issue with free floating algae and clarity. I'm actually getting ready to change the piping on that. I purchased a small submersible pump just for the sterilizer so I can slow the flow down and it will work better.

My current stock list is this and people will say it's overstocked but I don't care. My fish don't really fight and are well cared for:

Uaru x5
Oscar x2
Festivum x1
Geophagus Winemilleri x1
Royal Panaque x1
Synodontis Notatus x1
Synodontis Angelicus x1
Synodontis Ocellifer x1
Synodontis Decorus x1
Synodontis Valentiana x2
Synodontis Eupterus x1
Synodontis Nigriventris x1

I may add a Flagtail Prochilodus or 2 after the switch but I'm not sure yet. I would like to add a Gold Severum as well but, I'll see how it all shakes out.
I'm switching out the black sand for a more natural look. I bought playsand and water pebbles to make look more like their natural habitat.
 

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Oh My Goodness! :eek:
I see you are quite the fan of those catfish. :D
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And no... I won't say you're overstocked for the 220G. But then again, I wouldn't add any more fish to that current stock list, either.
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And well, since I can clearly see that you like to build stuff. (And, as your tank is gonna ramp up those measured Nitrate levels pretty fast at those stocking levels). Have you thought of possibly crafting out an above-tank plant refugium for this aquarium? Something in black acrylic would look pretty sweet. And, with some Swords growing up out of it and plenty of Pothos tumbling over the sides - I believe that installing one of those could really add a lot to the look and aesthetics of your tank.
Plus, a heavily planted refugium will seriously EAT those Nitrates out of your water, putting less pressure on you to do those water changes. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Auballagh said:
Oh My Goodness! :eek:
I see you are quite the fan of those catfish. :D
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And no... I won't say you're overstocked for the 220G. But then again, I wouldn't add any more fish to that current stock list, either.
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And well, since I can clearly see that you like to build stuff. (And, as your tank is gonna ramp up those measured Nitrate levels pretty fast at those stocking levels). Have you thought of possibly crafting out an above-tank plant refugium for this aquarium? Something in black acrylic would look pretty sweet. And, with some Swords growing up out of it and plenty of Pothos tumbling over the sides - I believe that installing one of those could really add a lot to the look and aesthetics of your tank.
Plus, a heavily planted refugium will seriously EAT those Nitrates out of your water, putting less pressure on you to do those water changes. :)
I had a large Pothos in the tank hanging out the back at the top a while ago but the Uaru destroyed it. They shred any plants I put in there. I was considering adding to the big chamber on the sump though.
 

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Yeah, totally understand that! Uaru and Severum at least EAT the plants in with them.
Oscars and a lot of other knuckleheads, just tend to demonstrate the modern plant, 'shredded look' or something in their home redecoration efforts. :lol:
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And no, that was why I mentioned the 'above tank' plant refugium, as a possible build project for your aquarium. Have you seen one of those? If done well, (mounted on back wall above the tank) they actually support the visual presence of the aquarium and look pretty awesome! And also that way, you get a LOT of the heavily-planted aquarium benefits, without losing all of your plants to the voracious, plant-eating Cichlids stocked in your tank.
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Also, the play sand you mention using for the new tank gives me pause. In the past, myself and a lot of people have had problems with that very fine sand and have moved onto using Pool Filtration Sand.
This C-f article may help to inform some of the discussion:

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/ ... nd_pt1.php
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Auballagh said:
Yeah, totally understand that! Uaru and Severum at least EAT the plants in with them.
Oscars and a lot of other knuckleheads, just tend to demonstrate the modern plant, 'shredded look' or something in their home redecoration efforts. :lol:
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And no, that was why I mentioned the 'above tank' plant refugium, as a possible build project for your aquarium. Have you seen one of those? If done well, (mounted on back wall above the tank) they actually support the visual presence of the aquarium and look pretty awesome! And also that way, you get a LOT of the heavily-planted aquarium benefits, without losing all of your plants to the voracious, plant-eating Cichlids stocked in your tank.
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Also, the play sand you mention using for the new tank gives me pause. In the past, myself and a lot of people have had problems with that very fine sand and have moved onto using Pool Filtration Sand.
This C-f article may help to inform some of the discussion:

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/ ... nd_pt1.php
Thanks for the tips. I'm actually looking into making a sump above the tank for some Pothos. I've already got ideas on how I can incorporate it into my canopy and not disrupt the plumbing of my normal sump.

I''ll check out the article. Pool filter sand is getting hard to come by in my area. I checked and no one had it around.
 

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Yeah, they used to sell some low-grade Pool Filtration Sand (PFS) at the big box hardware stores such as Lowes and Home Depot. Hard to find any there though these days, and the stuff wasn't all that good to begin with.... You may have to source the PFS out at a dedicated swimming pool supply store.
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The above-tank Refugium actually uses the aquarium as ITS sump. In appearance, it will be a low and long, narrow 'trough' that is typically drilled on one end with either a PVC stand pipe overflow coming up from the bottom or a side mount. Water flow is directed into the Refugium from a simple spray bar on the opposite end. Low/Reduced water flow the Refugium is preferred. Supply water can be provided from a submersible pump located inside the tank - or even a small canister filter. Both will work just fine.
High Quality Plant LIghting is mounted above the Refugium, and is usually LED.
The problem with In-sump Refugiums primarily is that they do not (usually) provide enough PLANT bio-mass to have any appreciable Nitrate reducing effects on the aquarium serviced. The under-tank location of the in-sump Refugium also makes access much less convenient, making it more difficult to perform routine checks and maintenance. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I just built this for about $35 from Lowe's. I'm going to have a small submersible pump in one of the corner weirs that will pump up to this. Then the drain will go into the weir at the other end of the aquarium. Once the canopy is built you won't see the sump. Only the pothos.

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Whew..... :eek:
DIY? That's impressive - Git R' Dun!
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Okay then.... here's some info that I know about a few potential Refugium candidate plants I can share with you.
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- Pothos: Normally Terestrial (potted). Sold pretty much - everywhere. Be advised, sale plants may be treated with a systemic insecticide called an 'Imidacloprid' to prevent the infestation of scale or aphids. Info as follows:
Imidacloprid is a systemic insecticide belonging to a class of chemicals called the neonicotinoids which act on the central nervous system of insects. The chemical works by interfering with the transmission of stimuli in the insect nervous system.
Warning: This plant insecticide may - or may not - be harmful to your fish.
* To safely remove Imidacloprid insecticides from your Pothos, I recommend immediately re-potting them in new soil. Rinse out old soil from the roots and the pot that the Pothos came in, or use new container. Keep and grow as normal for 2 - 3 months in new soil, then completely rinse out that soil from roots and place in refugium.
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- Peace Lily: Recommend sourcing out smaller growing 'dwarf' varieties for purchase and use in the Refugium, as this is normally, a pretty large-growing house plant. (May have to purchase on-line from a specialty dealer). Treat and process for Imidacloprid management and reduction, as per Pothos.
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- Frog Bit: Floating Plant that will require a strong source of high quality light to thrive. When healthy, will grow in rampant, almost uncontrolled fashion! This one WILL eat Nitrates, phosphates and just about any toxic organic waste products created by your aquarium fish. Be careful: when culling out excessive plants, this invasive species must NOT be allowed to escape into your local waterways or ecosystem. Best if used with a divider in the Refugium, to prevent this floating plant from building up around the Refugium overflow area and causing possible clogging or backups.
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Amazon Sword: This is normally an immersed plant in the wild, that can grow fully submerged in aquariums. Well known in the aquatic plant hobby as a 'Nutrient Hawg', this one may require potting up initially in a pond basket or something with potting soil (cover the potting soil with gravel for retention purposes), to sustain initial nutrient growing requirements. In Refugium applications, a healthy Amazon Sword plant will eventually extend roots out of the plastic pond basket in a search for additional nutrients out of it's own soil (Organic waste products produced by your fish). That means, it may take some time for the plant to become healthy, established and contributing to Nitrate reduction in the Refugium.
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I totally recommend keeping a Refugium with the same aquatic, plant management practices that I apply to heavily planted aqauria. That is - utilize multiple plant species to fully exploit the peak growth cycles of the various plant species, and optimize sustained/stable Nitrate reduction in the Refugium.
Good luck with this new DIY project man, and keep sending pics! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Auballagh said:
Whew..... :eek:
DIY? That's impressive - Git R' Dun!
-
Okay then.... here's some info that I know about a few potential Refugium candidate plants I can share with you.
-
- Pothos: Normally Terestrial (potted). Sold pretty much - everywhere. Be advised, sale plants may be treated with a systemic insecticide called an 'Imidacloprid' to prevent the infestation of scale or aphids. Info as follows:
Imidacloprid is a systemic insecticide belonging to a class of chemicals called the neonicotinoids which act on the central nervous system of insects. The chemical works by interfering with the transmission of stimuli in the insect nervous system.
Warning: This plant insecticide may - or may not - be harmful to your fish.
* To safely remove Imidacloprid insecticides from your Pothos, I recommend immediately re-potting them in new soil. Rinse out old soil from the roots and the pot that the Pothos came in, or use new container. Keep and grow as normal for 2 - 3 months in new soil, then completely rinse out that soil from roots and place in refugium.
-
- Peace Lily: Recommend sourcing out smaller growing 'dwarf' varieties for purchase and use in the Refugium, as this is normally, a pretty large-growing house plant. (May have to purchase on-line from a specialty dealer). Treat and process for Imidacloprid management and reduction, as per Pothos.
-
- Frog Bit: Floating Plant that will require a strong source of high quality light to thrive. When healthy, will grow in rampant, almost uncontrolled fashion! This one WILL eat Nitrates, phosphates and just about any toxic organic waste products created by your aquarium fish. Be careful: when culling out excessive plants, this invasive species must NOT be allowed to escape into your local waterways or ecosystem. Best if used with a divider in the Refugium, to prevent this floating plant from building up around the Refugium overflow area and causing possible clogging or backups.
-
Amazon Sword: This is normally an immersed plant in the wild, that can grow fully submerged in aquariums. Well known in the aquatic plant hobby as a 'Nutrient Hawg', this one may require potting up initially in a pond basket or something with potting soil (cover the potting soil with gravel for retention purposes), to sustain initial nutrient growing requirements. In Refugium applications, a healthy Amazon Sword plant will eventually extend roots out of the plastic pond basket in a search for additional nutrients out of it's own soil (Organic waste products produced by your fish). That means, it may take some time for the plant to become healthy, established and contributing to Nitrate reduction in the Refugium.
-
-
I totally recommend keeping a Refugium with the same aquatic, plant management practices that I apply to heavily planted aqauria. That is - utilize multiple plant species to fully exploit the peak growth cycles of the various plant species, and optimize sustained/stable Nitrate reduction in the Refugium.
Good luck with this new DIY project man, and keep sending pics! :D
You seem to really know your stuff when it comes to aquatic plants! Oh, and I was able to get 100 lbs of pool filter sand from a local pool supply. $25 for 2 bags.

I plan on only using Pothos as my wife has a huge hanging basket of it and I can harvest it when needed. I may add bags of ceramic rings or the like for additional biological filtration. The sump is 36" x 6" x 6" so there is a lot of room in it.
 
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