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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm finally going with a 6 foot plus tank, and i'm strongly considering doing a sump (freshwater).

I have a 55 I would use to make the sump if I go this route, but I need a lot of the help in the design and set-up of the system.

I have tried looking at other posts, and pictues of sumps, and one thing that complately escapes me, is how do you keep all of the water from just hitting one spot on the floss? would it work to keep the floss and biomedia completely submerged? or do I need to make some sort of diffuser to even out the water flow?

here is what I was thinking


My assumption is that the height of the baffles in the pump area will determine the water level, so they should be a little lower than the first baffle where the water enters the tank, but above the filter media. is this correct? Would one large pump be best, or is redundency a plus for these things?
 

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There is usually a drip plate to spread the water evenly. Basically just a piece of plastic with a bunch of holes in it on the top of the rest of the media.
 

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It's not a bad design, but I don't see the reason for the second baffle. All that will do is ensure that you're biomedia is submerged all the time and that's not what you want. Also will make it very difficult to clean the sump area under the biomedia. Mulm will collect there.

I like the two biomedia chambers. Each drain can come down into one. No harm in submerging some of your biomedia, but go for low, wide chambers that sit above the water, if you can.

how do you keep all of the water from just hitting one spot on the floss?
You can make a drip tray by just using a platic tray of some sort and punching holes in it. Put your prefilter media in the tray.

I'd go with one pump. If you want redundancy, just buy a second as an on-hand spare. I've never found it necessary though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
if I use a drip plate, would it be best to have the water coming down right on top of it, or use the entry chamber like I have?

part of why I thought about having it completely submered was some comments I've seen from others about the lack of contact with a large amount of the bio media, making a lot of it useless, and since the bio media in my canisters are completely submerged and seem to work well, I don't see why It wouldn't work in a sump.

I figured a single pump would be best. Do you use valves on all lines going to and from the sump? or just the pump lines retuning to the tank?

I basically did the double ended media sections because I have no idea what else to do with a 55 gallon tank, seems like only having one media section would be a waste of space, and it would allow me to keep the length of plumbing even on both ends.

I did plan to make it so that I can remove the bio media once in a while and take out the eggcrate undeneath it to be able to clean underneath it, but I would also stick a powerhead underneath it to make sure water is constantly moving
 

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f I use a drip plate, would it be best to have the water coming down right on top of it, or use the entry chamber like I have?
Coming down like you have it would reduce noise. But then you'd have to arrange things so that when the water overflowed the baffle, it all fell into the drip plate.

part of why I thought about having it completely submered was some comments I've seen from others about the lack of contact with a large amount of the bio media, making a lot of it useless, and since the bio media in my canisters are completely submerged and seem to work well, I don't see why It wouldn't work in a sump.
You're right, it would work fine, but designing one where the biomedia was above the water line and water dispersed over it, or most of it, would make it work a lot better. You'd not only have biofiltration to burn, but keep in mind that the water would become re-oxygenated before hitting the sump and that would benefit the fish. Nitrifying bacteria use oxygen. That's why when using a canister, it's a good idea to use a spray bar at the return. It re-oxygenates. Lots of designs will work. I try to give the water every opportunity before, during, and after running through the biomedia to take in oxygen. That's when you get the full benefit of these systems. And the more/better they do bio, the more oxygen will get used doing that bio. So, it becomes even more important to give the water every chance to replenish oxygen. Also drives off CO2. I can't keep plants alive in my sump system, but my tanks with sponge filters, no problem.

I figured a single pump would be best. Do you use valves on all lines going to and from the sump? or just the pump lines retuning to the tank?
You may not need valves on anything depending on pump output, pipe sizes, etc. It's all in the design. You never constrict the intake to the pump though. You'd only restrict the outflow of the pump if it was pushing more than the drains could handle.

I basically did the double ended media sections because I have no idea what else to do with a 55 gallon tank, seems like only having one media section would be a waste of space, and it would allow me to keep the length of plumbing even on both ends.
Again, it was a good thought. Now think long, wide, and low media chambers with a drip trays that disperses water throughout. And choose your biomedia wisely. I don't like pot scrubbies for above the water line unless you buy so many that you have to squeeze them into the chamber and compress them well. Then they can work really, really well.

I did plan to make it so that I can remove the bio media once in a while and take out the eggcrate undeneath it to be able to clean underneath it, but I would also stick a powerhead underneath it to make sure water is constantly moving
I wouldn't plan to mess with the biomedia. The powerhead is a good idea though. I'd still not use the second baffle. It doesn't serve a purpose. Those are used if you're building a refugium within the sump and need the chamber to keep a certain depth of water. But, then it's not the same as the biomedia chamber. I'd leave them out, and lengthen and shorten your biomedia chambers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
makes a lot of sense

I would think that when you buy a tank, there is only one size drain pipe you could use right? you can't really go bigger or smaller than the hole that's drilled can you?

if you have two overflows, each with one inch bulkheads, therefore one inch pipes going to the sump, I figured the best thing to do would be buy a slightly larger pump than the flow allowed by the pipe diameter, then attach a valve to the return line to adjust flow back into the tank to level off the flow rates in and out of the tank

i guess valves on the drain pipes wouldn't hurt so I could just shut off flow tot he sump if I ever have a need
 

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cjacob316 said:
I have tried looking at other posts, and pictues of sumps, and one thing that complately escapes me, is how do you keep all of the water from just hitting one spot on the floss?
I stopped using floss, felt, poly fiber etc. and went back to using socks and am now considering going to try out poret foam for mech. Drip trays and polyfiber work great but after a few years of tossing floss every other day or washing and cutting new felt pads and/ or cutting polyfiber to fit cuz the last ones can't be cleaned any longer it starts to become old, and costly over time. Socks you just swap em out every few days and off to the laundry mat once a week unless of course the wife lets you use the machine at home .... my wife would kill me.

With a 55g sump you would have plenty of room to fit one or two 7" socks, more than twice the volume needed for bio and then the pump chamber.

With the pump well try to size it so it is not much larger in volume than what it would take to overflow the DT in the event for whatever reason the drain(s) malfunction. This way the pump cavitates before floor gets wet.

You never restrict the intake to the pump as noted before but you will want to oversize the pump in relation to the drains so you can either restrict flow back to the tank or tee off and divert any excess back to the sump. If you under size the pump well you just run what you brung since thats all she wrote and you gets no more.

A good way to silence a drain is to match the drain to the supply. Or close to it, so putting a valve on the drain(s) and balancing them to the supply and then back off some will give good results when tweaking the system for silence.
 

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there is only one size drain pipe you could use right? you can't really go bigger or smaller than the hole that's drilled can you?
The hole is usually appropriately sized. Just go with that size. See the drain calculator. Once you know the drain size, see if it can hancle (both drains together) about 6-7X turnover for the tank. if so, just go with that. You don't say what size tank, but assume a 180, plus sump so 200 gallons of water (to keep the math easy). The drains, if they're 1", will handle 1200 gph, so you're right at 6X turnover. Keep in mind that this is your biofiltration system. 6X turnover is perfectly fine for that. If you want more current, add a couple of hydor koralia's in the upper corners of the tank for surface ripple. That's what I did with imine.

And you'll always hear that these overflow systems don't do mechanical filtration. Don't beleive it. I have to clean my prefilter pads quite often. Don't get tempted to add a plug-in filter to handle mechanical. Just something else to have to clean and maintain.

i guess valves on the drain pipes wouldn't hurt so I could just shut off flow tot he sump if I ever have a need
With everything draining into the sump, there's no need to use valves to do this. To shut off flow, just turn off the pump and the hoses/drains will empty into the sump.

if you have two overflows, each with one inch bulkheads, therefore one inch pipes going to the sump, I figured the best thing to do would be buy a slightly larger pump than the flow allowed by the pipe diameter, then attach a valve to the return line to adjust flow back into the tank to level off the flow rates in and out of the tank
Two one inch drains will handle 1200 gph, so get a pump that'll push say 1500 gph or so at 5' head or whatever the max height is. (I think the manufacturer ratings tend to overestimate, just my feeling) Don't go crazy with oversizing, as they also consume more electricity. Keep that in mind. And there's no reason to tee a pump back into the sump if going with a mag drive. You can throttle it back without teeing off. But again, design it well and you won't have to be installing a myriad of valves to fiddle with. I'd see how it flowed first, and add them after testing, if needed. Valves can restrict and slow flow even wide open.

Be careful with closing valves on drains, so they just handle the flow. If something clogs a drain, even a bit, then you've got a flood. Personally, I wouldn't do this without installing a third emergency drain. But, better to just oversize the drain. With a durso, you won't get noise from the drain.

I use the blue bonded pads for my prefilters. They last forever, are relatively cheap and easy to clean.
 

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A few things will decide the sump levels. Too much pump and low water levels, too much drain and high water levels, clogged pads low level in pump well, evaporation again low level in pump well.

A diverting tee is _not_ needed on the supply but a very good habit is to use one. You can just restrict the supply back to the tank as req'd or ...

tee off a divert line if you upsized the pump one model. Why tee, some might ask since all you need to do is restrict supply? Some like to oxygenate the water whenever one can and this is a good place to do so ... also you could put a UV here ... or mebbe an inline heater ... or a very useful place to get water to the fuge ... mebbe use it to stir things up in the bio chamber ... I have used some and all of these in designs in the past.

To keep it _simple_ a restriction going back to the tank is all that is absolutely necessary.

Durso's make noise, if you do not believe me just google it and you'd be surprised at how many people will make note of this and ask for help quieting the drains to keep their marriage peaceful.

There are many ways to achieve a silent system but you will find that a drain operating at or near its MAX volume is a quiet drain. You should balance the drain to near perfect conditions and then back off some. You can do this by perfectly sizing the pump ... let me know how that works for you ... restricting/ diverting the supply if you followed most advice and got a larger pump than needed, tweaking with the drains, different variations and mods on the durso's, etc.

When you back off "some" you might be amazed at how much you can back off before noise becomes noticeable. A lot more than you would think. BTDT. You can prolly get a year or three before you need to tweak again and by that time the supply has overgrown with algae more than a few times. You will find that you spend more time clearing the pumps impellar and supply line than tweaking on the drains once properly set up.

Just my 2 cents. YMMV
 
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