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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I'm new to the hobby, and I've decided to go with African cichlids. I have a 55 gallon show tank that I was given by a friend, and it came with a Fluval 305 canister filter.

So far, I have built my own stand for it. I used 3/4" birch plywood for the entire thing, and it came out quite nicely. I'll post some pictures when I get a chance.

I also just finished building a 3D background out of 1" and 2" sheets of styrofoam and mortar mix. It came out great! When I get home tonight, I'm going to start cycling the water to leach any chemicals out of the mortar mix.

The tank also has an undergravel jet system that I built using 1/2" pvc tubing and a Rio 2100 submersible pump. I have 4 "jets".

My plan is to have a 10 gallon sump under the main tank inside my tank stand. I was going to purchase another pump, but then I got to thinking... Why not take the pump that currently is hooked up to my undergravel jet system, put that in my sump, and pump the water from the sump through the undergravel jets?? Does anyone see a problem with this? I've already done the math using the calculator, and with the head loss I should still be pushing about 350 GPH, which I think should be just fine. Keep in mind, I'll still be using the Fluval 305 for completely seperate mechanical filtration.

Thanks in advance!! I look forward to my future cichlid family!
 

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The only issue I see with the design is the siphon potential....

If the return pump is below the tank & if their is a power outage, their is the potential for your return pump to act as a siphon & empty your tank.

You would have to depend on a siphon break & a check valve in the event of an outage. Both are not fool proof & will fail eventually.

If it were me - I would run two pumps.. One for the UGJ & one for the return from the sump. I would discharge the water from the sump at the water surface where there is no siphon potential.
 

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10 Gal is too small a sump. After you allow for _power off_ you might be operating with 5± gal ... then evaporation and yer pump is cavitating twice a week.

20 Gal sump is doable for a 55 Gal DT. You can put the UGJ on the can and not worry about siphoning back as long as yer can don't leak.

If you use the rio to drive the UGJ's make sure to place a siphon break just below the WL in the DT. Assuming you will be changing the socks/ filter pads in the sump ~once a week you will be aware of any problems with the siphon break if there ever is one if you power off the pump when performing maintenance. TBH though the longest I ever went w/ out checking a siphon break was 5 years :oops: and if I did not have to tear down that tank it would have been longer. :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies!

I was trying to save a little money by running the one pump, but I knew in reality I'd need the second one. And that was a good point about the siphon break. I was going to have one just below the water line, but if they were to clog, I'd be screwed and it'd siphon the entire tank. If I place my return at the top of the tank just below the water line, and my tank siphons, it'll be a lot less water I have to worry about.

And I know 10 gallons is small. Unfortunately I only have exactly 24" to work with, otherwise I would have gone with a 20 gal. The measurements for a 20 gal high tank come out to be 24.25", unless I were able to take the plastic frame off from around the tank. My only other option would be a 15 gal high, because it's the same width as a 10 gallon. Or, I did notice a 16 gallon bow front at PetSmart on clearance, but it was still considerably more than a 10 gallon.
 

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10 Gal is too small a sump. After you allow for _power off_ you might be operating with 5± gal ... then evaporation and yer pump is cavitating twice a week.
He's right. A 10 is tiny for a sump and will never work well unless you're ok with adding water daily. You won't be happy with it. I'd really work on coming up with a way to get something bigger in there. I like sumps a lot, but if all I could do was a 10 gallon, then I'd go with a different type of filtration on a 55.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I suppose I could attack it with my Dremel. If I notch out just enough on both sides of my cabinet, I could slide a tall 20 gallon in there.. That should be better. It's 3/4" birch plywood, so an 1/8" or two shouldn't hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·


Here's a progress pic! The last coat of cement had cured on my background, so tonight the tank sees water! The picture is pretty crappy (iPhone), but it doesn't help that there's all kind of debris floating in the water from the cement.

You can see my UGJ system. The Rio 2100 is in the back left corner, you can see the sponge filter if you look closely. It's on and the water is circulating. It's not much, but just enough to keep stuff from settling.
 
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