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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to explore my possibilities with a sump. I have never made ,owned, or operated one. I currently have a 55 gallon tank running HOB's only.
1. Are sumps okay for freshwater?
2.If I were to set up a sump on my 55 how big if a tank should I use?
3.What is put in the bottom tank to filter the water?
4. I have heard of planted sumps to reduce nitrates, Is these easy enough to do with a noob like me?
5. My 55 is on a stand , total height of tank and stand is 48.5", what pump do you reccomend?
6.Saw a thread on a pvc overflow design, could this be worked in to be cheaper?

All info is greatly appreciated
 

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1. Are sumps okay for freshwater?
Yes, they work great with freshwater tanks.

2.If I were to set up a sump on my 55 how big if a tank should I use?
Biggest you can fit in the stand, generally. If you can use a 30, I'd go with that. A 20H would be my next choice. I don't think I'd go smaller. A 30 regular, not a breeder would be ideal. Many use the rubbermaid tubs. Probably a better option as they're cheap and more sizes are available.

3.What is put in the bottom tank to filter the water?
Generally, some type of prefilter pad is put in place to catch large particles before the water runs through some type of biomedia. Many types of arrangements can work. Many possiblities. The DIY forum has many of these examples. I'd do a search on that and see what others have done.

4. I have heard of planted sumps to reduce nitrates, Is these easy enough to do with a noob like me?
Not worth the bother IME. Better to consider using regular house plants with the roots submerged, if you want a nitrate reducer. Easier to do, and inexpensive to try. I've not found it necessary. I just do the water changes.

5. My 55 is on a stand , total height of tank and stand is 48.5", what pump do you reccomend?
I like the mag drives. You want a pump rated to push about 600gph at 4' head. A mag9.5 is rated at 800gph at 4' head. Better to have too much as you can always throttle it back. Assume total volume with sump at about 75gallons, so about 10X turnover. More than you need. 6X works well for me on my systems. I have 9 tanks running with this rate of turnover. You don't need more. You need just enough for biofiltration. These systems oxygenate water very, very well. If you go smaller, you generally don't save that much.

6.Saw a thread on a pvc overflow design, could this be worked in to be cheaper?
I've only used drilled tanks, so I'll let someone else chime in on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the great advice Tim. Like always it appreciated. :)
 

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Just to add a couple things

- I've had a rubbermaid container start leaking on me. Good thing it was just sitting on the floor in the basement and not in my living room under the stand hooked up to the tank yet. I've heard it recommended to stick your head in the rubbermaid and hold it up to a light to look for thin spots in the plastic. Mine was a 55g rubbermaid, you might not have the issue with a smaller one.

- I'll add a suggestion of a rio hyperflow pump. I use a 32HF for my 125, which is much more flow than you need. Heck, its more than I need. A smaller one should do well for you though. i've found mine to be very reliable, and it was less expensive than other similar sized pumps. Downsides are, 1) the noise, it gives off a rather consistent humm, and 2) it adds a lot of heat to the system. On one had that means its innefficient (uses more wattage) but on the other hand that is made up for by your heater using less wattage. The heat can be a problem though if its too much. But I'll stick with the model the next time I need to get a pump.

- I would think the hang on tank PVC overflow would be cheaper than drilling if the tank isn't already configured with drilled holes and an overflow. Getting the holes drilled should be next to nothing from a glass shop, if you can even do it (some 55g tanks have a tempered glass bottom, don't want to drill those). But then you need to buy bulkheads. You'll also need to buy the in tank overflow, or figure out how to make one out of glass or acryllic. You'll want to build or buy a standpipe and in-tank return plumbing. I can't imagine being able to do all that for cheaper than a PVC overflow. Just make sure before you start building, you know exactly where everything needs to be because fixing mistakes can be costly. It doesn't take a rocket scientist, but you have to know how a siphon works and what the water in the system is going to do when the pump is on as well as when its off if its going to work.
 
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