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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the following design. Blue arrows show flow of water. Does it matter if sponges or bio media (bioballs or ceramic etc) come first?


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Yes, keep the bio media as clean from waste as possible so after all the other filter media.
 

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Hello Livvie,
Your sump design looks great! Here's a couple things I can recommend,
- Activated Carbon: I only use that stuff to remove medications from the water of the aquarium. Long term use of Activated Carbon has been confirmed as a causal agent for HLLE (Head & Lateral Line Erosion disease) in New World Cichlids, and may be implicated in some problems for African species type Cichlids, as well.
- Filter Sock: Those are great! Be sure to have your sump set up with easy, convenient access to that filter sock. It helps a LOT to control Nitrate buildup and other problems in your aquarium water, if you can rinse the funk out of those pre-filter type things once or twice per week.
- Sump Size: Be sure the sump is large enough in capacity to accommodate tank 'drain down' to the preset cut-off point (anti-siphon pinhole in return pump line), when the return pump is shut off. Plus, a larger sized sump is an easy way to add more water volume for the aquarium, for enhanced stability to the water chemistry.
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Sumps are easy to build DIY-style from old, still serviceable aquariums. My sumps all came super cheap, from reptile owners whose pets had scratched-up otherwise perfectly good aquariums, that had been used as snake or lizard enclosures. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey guyssss so new tank is here, and adding a baffle to the sump it came with i am thinking of this design, and hoping someone could give it a quick check over for me?

Does this look sufficient for a (fairly heavily stocked) African tank?

I've decided to go with a filter floss pad instead of a sock as the Mbuna are always having babies and this way they will prob just end up in the first over flow section and chill in there for a bit (although this is the least important thing here)

Can anyone advise on which power return pump?
Tank is about 550 litres in total so i was thinking either 2000LPH or 3000LPH? Although I might even get a 4000LPH and set it lower. Being mostly Mbuna it will be pretty overstocked, and the return/tank outlet will be split into two - one either end, with the weir in the middle of the aquarium.

Thanks.

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Different design!
I liked the first design much better than this one.
- I DON'T recommend using that 'inlet flow' valve at all. Not needed! That just looks like an interesting way to burn up your discharge pump, or possibly overflow your aquarium!
- I prefer the first design with the heater laying flat on the sump. Bigger, all metal heaters with separate thermostat controllers can be utilized that way. Otherwise, the different filter floss design will work out okay. I just prefer the reusable filter socks. They're easier for me to rinse out and clean, than replacing a wad of filter floss every time. Personal preference I suppose.
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Otherwise, looking good. And, I personally would go with the most powerful discharge pump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Auballagh said:
Different design!
I liked the first design much better than this one.
- I DON'T recommend using that 'inlet flow' valve at all. Not needed! That just looks like an interesting way to burn up your discharge pump, or possibly overflow your aquarium!
- I prefer the first design with the heater laying flat on the sump. Bigger, all metal heaters with separate thermostat controllers can be utilized that way. Otherwise, the different filter floss design will work out okay. I just prefer the reusable filter socks. They're easier for me to rinse out and clean, than replacing a wad of filter floss every time. Personal preference I suppose.
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Otherwise, looking good. And, I personally would go with the most powerful discharge pump.
Okay thank you!
I liked the first design too but i gotta work with what came with the new aquarium.
The flow valve is to get the water level in the weir stable so that the flow of water entering the sump matches the return pump speed, to reduce noise. So it shouldn't affect the flow from the pump right? I will get a pup with different speed settings anyway :) I might have an over flow without a valve anyway just in case.

And yeah i prefer filter socks but I'm going to see what happens, might switch to one any way :)

Thanks for your input!

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I agree with Auballagh on the drain situation for safety. If you search for my posts, you'll find I'm nuts about noise, so I feel the sentiment, but safety first. In my brain, if you only have one drain, you can't do what you're trying to do by limiting flow - you really need a second emergency drain just in case anything goes wrong. If something happens to your drain, you'll wind up pumping your whole sump into the aquarium and onto the floor - scary.

In order to limit this as a possibility, just drill another drain into your aquarium :D

Actually, If I only had one bulkhead, and I were trying to set the level in the weir to reduce noise, I'd go with a single durso stand pipe with a valve in the top to tune the air to allow minimal noise.

I agree on the pump also. Pumps lose effectiveness as they have to lift water. This is called "head loss" and it reduces the effective flow rate of the pump as it's now also working against gravity. A good rule of thumb is to take the published numbers and divide by 2 to get a more realistic flow rate.
So - the big pump is 4000 lph, and your tank is 550l, so 4000/550 is only 7.3x tank turn over on paper. If the pump actually only runs at half efficiency, you get just under 4x water flow through your sump. Most people around here would tell you that 6-10x is a good number to shoot for.

I would personally lay the filter floss on top of the sponges and let the water flow out of the first chamber onto the top of the filter floss. this would be the same way most folks run filter floss with a wet/dry or trickle tower set up.

Here's a thought - no reason the heater can't go on the floor in the intake chamber, right? Best of both worlds!

Here's another thought. What else are friends for? I would scrap the egg crate basket and bio media in favor of a piece of Matala Mat. This is a structurally mostly rigid sheet about 3ish cm thick with an internal structure containing lots of surface area which is often used in pond filtration applications as it allows for lots of water flow and is hard to plug up. It would allow you to set the foam on top and water would still flow through it and out into the pump compartment. I do virtually the same thing in a vertical configuration in my sump. I think of it as my Hamburg Matten Filter sump - your design would be similar if you did not disturb your sponges. I like it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
SenorStrum said:
I agree with Auballagh on the drain situation for safety. If you search for my posts, you'll find I'm nuts about noise, so I feel the sentiment, but safety first. In my brain, if you only have one drain, you can't do what you're trying to do by limiting flow - you really need a second emergency drain just in case anything goes wrong. If something happens to your drain, you'll wind up pumping your whole sump into the aquarium and onto the floor - scary.

In order to limit this as a possibility, just drill another drain into your aquarium :D

Actually, If I only had one bulkhead, and I were trying to set the level in the weir to reduce noise, I'd go with a single durso stand pipe with a valve in the top to tune the air to allow minimal noise.

I agree on the pump also. Pumps lose effectiveness as they have to lift water. This is called "head loss" and it reduces the effective flow rate of the pump as it's now also working against gravity. A good rule of thumb is to take the published numbers and divide by 2 to get a more realistic flow rate.
So - the big pump is 4000 lph, and your tank is 550l, so 4000/550 is only 7.3x tank turn over on paper. If the pump actually only runs at half efficiency, you get just under 4x water flow through your sump. Most people around here would tell you that 6-10x is a good number to shoot for.

I would personally lay the filter floss on top of the sponges and let the water flow out of the first chamber onto the top of the filter floss. this would be the same way most folks run filter floss with a wet/dry or trickle tower set up.

Here's a thought - no reason the heater can't go on the floor in the intake chamber, right? Best of both worlds!

Here's another thought. What else are friends for? I would scrap the egg crate basket and bio media in favor of a piece of Matala Mat. This is a structurally mostly rigid sheet about 3ish cm thick with an internal structure containing lots of surface area which is often used in pond filtration applications as it allows for lots of water flow and is hard to plug up. It would allow you to set the foam on top and water would still flow through it and out into the pump compartment. I do virtually the same thing in a vertical configuration in my sump. I think of it as my Hamburg Matten Filter sump - your design would be similar if you did not disturb your sponges. I like it.
Unfortunately i dont believe there is space to drill another hole, plus i dont think my mother would permit it anyway. The stand pipe has a curved top to it with an open pipe, I'm not sure if its for an overflow or to quiet the siphon?

Yeah I'm wondering if i should put the floss on the top, less likely to block as covering a larger surface?

Sorry I'm still new to this, i dont understand the issue with the valve on the inlet? It would just be to make sure that the weir overflow is not faster than the pump. I have one on my other tank and i can fine tune it so that the water entering the sump is the exact same rate as the pump, so i have a constant water level of about an inch above the stand pipe in my weir - it is practically silent!

Good advice about the bio media thank you!

Thanks so much for replying.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·


This is my stand pipe. Is a very small weir. So, Is the top bit to have an overflow since there is only one bulkhead?
Stand pipe actually needs shortening but that's not relevant right now.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Would this work?


I literally feel so stupid like this is all so new to me still.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Or i could just do this?

Basically what I've done on my marine set up. I really dont think this will put strain on the pump as i will be adjusting the valve according to pump power, not the other way around?

Thanks

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+1 to El' Hefe, who has (as always) provided a wealth of info to you in his response. Read close... he provided a LOT for you to unpack there! :)
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Oh, that sump inlet valve (or, Flow Valve/Tap etc......). It's just NOT good. Did it come with the sump as a sort of kit thing, or something? if so, I recommend leaving well enough alone and just keep that thing in the FULL ON/OPEN position. Heck man, set it open and remove the knob!
Partially closing that valve to restrict flow just gives me the creeps, with the thought of all that backed up water slowly climbing up the inlet pipe.
Backing up into the aquarium.
Overflowing the tank...

:oops: OH MY! ALL OF THOSE BAD THINGS...... :oops:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Auballagh said:
+1 to El' Hefe, who has (as always) provided a wealth of info to you in his response. Read close... he provided a LOT for you to unpack there! :)
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Oh, that sump inlet valve (or, Flow Valve/Tap etc......). It's just NOT good. Did it come with the sump as a sort of kit thing, or something? if so, I recommend leaving well enough alone and just keep that thing in the FULL ON/OPEN position. Heck man, set it open and remove the knob!
Partially closing that valve to restrict flow just gives me the creeps, with the thought of all that backed up water slowly climbing up the inlet pipe.
Backing up into the aquarium.
Overflowing the tank...

:oops: OH MY! ALL OF THOSE BAD THINGS...... :oops:
Yeah i guess if it was slowly rising over time from being set to a tiny bit less than the amount entering the tank… could be out one day or go away or whatever and could overflow.

My marine tank has two stand pipes (one for overflow a few inches above the primary), so i have a valve on the primary inlet to keep it quiet, but the over flow is completely open. This is fine, right? Cause nothing should be blocking the 2nd stand pipe.

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A slice of cucumber. That's what would have done me in. It would have probably flooded my whole living room. Let me explain.

I stole some cucumbers from dinner and stuck the slices to a fork, and sent them to the dark (super bright) abyss as a special treat for my friends, and left for the weekend.

When I got home, my system noise level had changed. Silence is the key to my tank being OK where it is, so I've done what you did. I put valves (gate on main, ball on secondary) on the primary drains. I run a Bean Animal, so it has three drains.

Primary - Herbie style, full siphon, under the water, drains a TON of water. I have a gate valve to slow the water down flowing through this drain, so I can get some flowing through the secondary.
Secondary - Durso Style. This is the one I use to set my water level in the weir. I use this one to keep the water high in the tower and not have a waterfall from the weir to the drain. Keeps it quiet. It's what you're trying to do. This pipe is also my first emergency drain. This pipe has a hole in the top to allow just a little bit of air through it. Too much and it'll gurgle, too little and the drain will go full siphon and flush like a toilet. A drain at full siphon will flow a tremendous amount of water. This is the safety factor on a durso. You run an airline from the hole at the top you drilled to an area inside the overflow, just above the waterline. If the water fills up too much, it should prevent air from flowing into the pipe, cause it to go full siphon and flush the overflow box. This will also be loud, alerting you to a problem.
Third - Second emergency drain. This is a true emergency drain. If the water gets to this level, all else has failed. It will go directly down into the sump and start splashing. There is no valve on this whatsoever, and it cannot be shut off. This is only in case of emergencies.

I discovered that the cucumber had gotten eaten enough that it went over the weir. Then, because it's uncovered, the cucumber went town into the main drain, and stopped at the partially closed gate valve. The one I use to tune my water level.... And it was now partially obstructed. This caused a lot more water to flow through my durso, and some of the safety features were being utilized. It was loud, and clued me into the fact that I had a problem.

If this happened in your tank, the cucumber stops the water at the valve below, then the pipe fills up, then the overflow box fills up. Then the overflow starts overflowing back into the tank, which fills up. By now the water is almost to gremlin's ankles. He's sitting atop the emergency drain at the top of the stand pipe, giggling because even though water can get into your pipe in an emergency, it has no place to go, because, alas, a cucumber (which he put there. He's a gremlin, it's what they do) is blocking the only drain to let water out of the main tank. So, it overflows. And when it overflows, the gremlin gets wet...
 
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