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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sump 1.0



Look at it... good first try, and functional, but quite a PITA. Wires running everywhere, electrical strip in a vulnerable spot, no lighting under the stand, duck tape holding drain hoses into fittings (and they leak...), makeshift buckets that are impossible to remove without draining the sump and removing it from the stand, inaccessibility to plumbing, maintenance difficulties, etc... Thats just a few of the things I can rattle off, off the top of my head, that needs to be fixed.

And I didn't even mention media. And thats because, I haven't bothered to try to change or rinse it yet. Still have flow through my buckets, and nitrates haven't risen, so no need. In each of my buckets, is a bunch of ployfill, and some pot scrubbies at the bottom, with some cut to fit filter pads on either side of the polyfill to keep it in place. For the above reasons, I already cringe at the thought of rinsing or replacing any of the media...

So, sump 2.0 will have no buckets. That way, I can still use the 55g, and not have to worry about the height. There would be plenty room under there, if it weren't for the buckets. I'll install baffles, and use poret filter foam as my media. Sump 2.0 will also get a plumbing upgrade. I'll install some permanant rigid PVC for the drain/return, and find the proper fittings, so no more duck tape :p. I'll install an electrical outlet amd switch box inside the stand above the level of the sump, to clean up all the wires I have running everywhere, and get rid of the dangerous power strip. And finally, I'll install some lighting under the stand to make maintenance a little easier.

Sump 2.0 - conceptual design



This is just a rough idea for the layout of sump 2.0. 2 media chambers at each end to mimic the current configuration of the buckets. Secondary baffles to ensure the poret foam is always submerged, with a little extra water above for any fry which may make it through the plumbing down to the sump. I've penciled in a "low" water level, but it will probably be run with the level in the sump somewhere between the heights of the first and second baffle, to make it quieter. Will be about 30-40 gallons of water in the sump during operation, with a volume of 10-20 gallons left over for back flow during a power outage.

For the foam, I've penciled in 3 layers of poret, getting progressively more dense - 10ppi, 20ppi, then 30ppi. Each layer 4" thick. I don't know if thats necessary. Maybe all 3 layers can be 30ppi. Maybe they each need to be 10ppi with a thin layer of 30ppi at the bottom. Maybe I'll use all 10ppi and put layers of polyfill in between. Its all just a rough idea right now. Each side will have a roughly 1 cubic foot block of foam and other media, which is 2 cubic feet total, or 15 gallons of foam. That should be more than enough submerged media for all the biological and mechanical filtering needs of my tank. To put it another way, its equivalent to the volume of ~4 large canister filters. I've also got enough room so that if I ever wanted to install wet/dry towers above the foam down the line, I could. Don't see the need if ammonia/nitrite always read 0 though.

I'll pause now for comments or criticism. Anything look or sound wrong so far?
 

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i think it looks really good!!!!!! i

curious why you dont used the media you have in the new design? it would save a few steps and a couple bucks
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
bearwithfish said:
i think it looks really good!!!!!! i

curious why you dont used the media you have in the new design? it would save a few steps and a couple bucks
Thanks! :)

I may use some of the media I have, either permanently or temporarily, to make sure the sump is seeded. After working with aquaclear HOB filters for a year, I've decided I really like foam. Its good bio and mechanical filtration, and it can be rinsed and reused almost indefinitely without ever throwing away bacteria.

It is going to be a tricky process to make this upgrade though. I'll have to drain the sump and remove it to install baffles, and those might take a week before the silicone is set, so this won't be a few hour ordeal. I'll have to find a stand-in sump container for a week. I still have the lid from my rubbermaid container I was going to use before it started leaking. I suppose I can get a new container, and hope it will last a week without leaking :?
 

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not soooooo.... you can drain it and set up the baffles and start it back up the next day!!!! it takes 24 hours to cure and then you are good.... in a pinch i have started one up for a tank in less than 4 hours (no bad effects but i dont recommend it) ..
if you have a HOB or two you could run those for the time it takes to cure the silicon and just do a heavy water change after :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Interesting...

My first and only silicone project was resealing the top brace onto this very 55g tank. I used GE silicone 1, and it smelled of vinegar for more than a week before I gave up waiting for the smell to go away completely and filled the tank. Is there a different silicone that cures faster, or does the smell not matter? I thought the smell was the acid offgassing, which is what causes the silicone to harden - if I put water in too soon, won't the acid then go into the water and potentially lower my pH?

If I could be up and running again in a day, that would simplify things a lot. Also keep in mind, I'm not an expert. Even if I think I have everything prepared and ready to go, something may go wrong and it may take longer than expected. Also, I already have 2 AC110's running on the tank in conjunction with the sump. I guess its possible if I just shut the sump off and monitor the water closely, I may not even need to worry about the sump being off for an indefinite amount of time anyways.
 

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Personally I'd follow your last idea - take the sump out of the loop for 5-7 days while you rework it. You've got plenty of circulation going for that week - just do a nice water change before and after.
 

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This will work GREAT... how do I know.. we have already built our sump with this same sponge set up. The sponges are great for mechanical filtration. We also added a bio-ball chamber before the return chamber and have allowed space to put the heater in the sump to keep wiring down to a minimum in the main tank. It all works great. You will like it.

Silicone should only take 24-48 hours to cure - it should never require a week. Keep the humidity in the room down and it will cure much faster.

Your tank will be fine without the proper/normal filtration for this length of time as long as you keep good water circulation in the tank. You can add either a powerhead or a few airstones for the time being.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just wanted to post real quick and say phase 1 of the upgrade has started. Phase 1 is electrical - I'm installing 4 lights under the stand, 6 outlets, and a switch to control the under tank lighting. I've picked up most of the supplies tonight, but I forgot to pick up a couple essentials like electrical tape and wire nuts. Pics of the process to come soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Phase 1: Electrical

The supplies:


One goal of the electrical upgrade was to install lighting. For about 6 bucks, I was able to buy 4 of these little plastic lighting fixtures. I wired them to a switch, so now I have lighting when I'm working under the stand. No more trying to balance a flashlight or anything like that.
Fixture:


Installed:


These fixtures were meant to be mounted to a box in the ceiling, so I had to drill a couple holes and run wires from the screws in the back of the fixture out the front. I ended up breaking one of these fixtures, and had to head out to buy a 5th. They shatter like glass if you drop them, just so you know :?

The other goal of the electrical upgrade was to install some power outlights in the stand and wire them to a single plug, rather than relying on a power strip just lying down next to the sump where water could spill on it. I installed 6 female recepticals and one switch for the under stand lighting. I had to go with 2 boxes, because lowes didn't have any appropriate covers to put all the hardware in one box. Not too big of a problem.
Box 1:


Box 2:


Boxes installed:


And just to show that it was a good weekend's work, here is the aftermath:


All in all, not a difficult project. A couple frustrating moments but no major setbacks. The lights under the stand are going to be a great investment and save me a lot of frustration for many years to come, I can tell already.

Phase 2 of the project will be a plumbing upgrade. I want to install hard return and drain lines that will be secured to the underneath of the stand. I'll only use tubing where I have to, such as attaching to the tank buckheads, and in the return to isolate pump vibrations from the hard return piping.

Oh, and as for the boneheaded move of the day, I must have reminded myself 20 times that I needed to measure the side glass panel of the tank so I knew how wide my glass baffles needed to be. I can't get to the side of my sump while its under the stand, I have to drain it at least so I can slide it to one side or the other. What do I do? I just push it back under the stand and fill it without measurings. :roll:

Anyways, a successful weekend project, but it did take up most of the weekend. Hope you enjoy the pics.
 

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Everything looks like its coming along nicely.

Quick question, why did you decide to go to all hard plumbing? What problems are you experiencing with the tubing? Is it just to clean it up, or will it improve the flow rate?

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
PauloSilva said:
Everything looks like its coming along nicely.

Quick question, why did you decide to go to all hard plumbing? What problems are you experiencing with the tubing? Is it just to clean it up, or will it improve the flow rate?

Good luck.
Mostly the plan is just to clean it up, make it look a little more organized and professional. I'm not worried if there will be a slight drop in flow rate because I already have probably a little too much flow, but I don't expect to get any more. Its the drain that needs improvement moreso than the return plumbing, but switching to a hard return line with tubing running only to the pump and the bulkheads should make everything look nicer and be easier to work with, and give me more room to maneuver under the stand.

Thanks for commenting :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So gosh, 7 months later I'm finally back to finishing this. I'm finally ready to buy some poret foam and reconfigure my sump, but before I can do that, I need to do that plumbing upgrade I posted about earlier ITT. Watch this space, I'm thinking I might track down some PVC and fittings this weekend. Might need some help finding the right fittings if anyone can help me.
 

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Take everything you need connections TO and FROM to the store with you. They looked at me weird, but the plumbing guy said "Great idea!!!"
Like you know, buy 10% more than you need, 'cause you always need it.
Am I right, or am I right?

Great diary, BTW! :thumb:

PS. Is your avatar a Ps. sp. "Dolphin Manda"?
 

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Rhinox said:
Sump 1.0

Sump 2.0 - conceptual design



This is just a rough idea for the layout of sump 2.0. 2 media chambers at each end to mimic the current configuration of the buckets. Secondary baffles to ensure the poret foam is always submerged, with a little extra water above for any fry which may make it through the plumbing down to the sump. I've penciled in a "low" water level, but it will probably be run with the level in the sump somewhere between the heights of the first and second baffle, to make it quieter. Will be about 30-40 gallons of water in the sump during operation, with a volume of 10-20 gallons left over for back flow during a power outage.

For the foam, I've penciled in 3 layers of poret, getting progressively more dense - 10ppi, 20ppi, then 30ppi. Each layer 4" thick. I don't know if thats necessary. Maybe all 3 layers can be 30ppi. Maybe they each need to be 10ppi with a thin layer of 30ppi at the bottom. Maybe I'll use all 10ppi and put layers of polyfill in between. Its all just a rough idea right now. Each side will have a roughly 1 cubic foot block of foam and other media, which is 2 cubic feet total, or 15 gallons of foam. That should be more than enough submerged media for all the biological and mechanical filtering needs of my tank. To put it another way, its equivalent to the volume of ~4 large canister filters. I've also got enough room so that if I ever wanted to install wet/dry towers above the foam down the line, I could. Don't see the need if ammonia/nitrite always read 0 though.

I'll pause now for comments or criticism. Anything look or sound wrong so far?
That's a lot of foam... You probably only need one for each side. I went with the 20 ppi
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
iwade4fish said:
Take everything you need connections TO and FROM to the store with you. They looked at me weird, but the plumbing guy said "Great idea!!!"
Like you know, buy 10% more than you need, 'cause you always need it.
Am I right, or am I right?

Great diary, BTW! :thumb:

PS. Is your avatar a Ps. sp. "Dolphin Manda"?
I would do that but the problem is that the stuff I would bring in is all hooked up and running. I think I can bring in some tubing that fits my bulkheads and pump at least.

And your correct that is a nice male dolphin in my avatar, I love those guys and a couple females are finally about to give me some fry to strip in another week or 2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Agridion said:
That's a lot of foam... You probably only need one for each side. I went with the 20 ppi
That's actually an old layout. The actual sump wil look more like the pic below, but with the pump at the end and with glass baffles in place to make sure the foam stays mostly submerged. I'll probably get a 20ppi and 2 30ppi sheets total.

 

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Rhinox said:
That's actually an old layout. The actual sump will look more like the pic below, but with the pump at the end and with glass baffles in place to make sure the foam stays mostly submerged. I'll probably get a 20ppi and 2 30ppi sheets total.
Rhinox I am currently setting up a sump just like the design you are looking to utilize.
If you cut the foam slightly bigger then your sump the foam will stay submerged and you will not need the baffles in place (I.E. the foam will not float). Now if you are putting the baffles in place to raise the water level to utilize all of the foam that's a different story. I also put a piece of foam (left over) to the left and the right of both of my foam pieces. I found using flexible PVC works so much better then hard pipe... All you have to do is heat it up a little and it will stay exactly in the form you need. Another suggestion buy extra PVC fittings and you can always take them back if you don't use them.
In the picture below I do not have the foam piece installed on the left side yet.

Although I had some noise from the water entering the sump so I had to modify the inlets to my sump using this design. The picture above does not reflect this change. They work wonders!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Now if you are putting the baffles in place to raise the water level to utilize all of the foam that's a different story.
This is the plan. Right now I have high evaporation rates (sump is not covered) and with needing to leave room in the sump for power outage backflow, by the end of the week before the water change the sump is less than half full, which means I wouldn't be utilizing all the foam I'm paying for. So I figured I'd put a baffle between a 1/3 and 1/2 the tank, the smaller half could hold the pump and the bigger half the foam. The baffle will make sure the foam stays submerged, and the water level will only go up and down in the pump side. I'll just have to make sure the pump doesn't run dry. Also, after I change up my sump, it'll have covers to hopefully cut down on a lot of evaporation.

I'll consider the flexible PVC if I can find it. My biggest problem with fittings will be that my bulkheads are barbed, so I'll need to find the barbed adapters to go from tubing to pipe. MAYBE I'll just stick with tubing and just find a way to clean it up - secure it to the underside of the stand maybe with some PVC hangars. I'll just need to buy new tubing that way, and won't have to make it a big project. 1 thing I'm for sure changing is the return tubing - I bought braided vinyl tubing thinking I'd need it for the pressure, but the stuff is so thick and stiff and impossible to route it anywhere other than the curvature thats set into it from being on the roll.

I like your drain into the sumps, I saw it in your thread. One thing I was going to ask is why you didn't just submerge the drain under the water level? Wouldn't that cut down on the noise?

The biggest logistics problem with what I need to do will be shutting down the sump for a week to install the baffle I want to put it. I thought about buying a new 55g tank, installing the baffle in it while the old sump was running, and once the silicone set I could just swap tanks, but alas I missed the recent petco sale and I don't know if I want to wait around for the next one. Craigslist probably isn't an option, everyone around here wants to sell there used petco/petsmart 55g kits and stands with crappy filters I won't want or need for $400 or more :? I'll keep looking for someone selling just a tank and see if I can get one for $50 or less, but probably not. Otherwise, I've got 2 aquaclear110's running on the tank with the sump, should probably be able to keep up with the biofiltration during the switch.
 

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Rhinox said:
I bought braided vinyl tubing thinking I'd need it for the pressure, but the stuff is so thick and stiff and impossible to route it anywhere other than the curvature thats set into it from being on the roll.
I had the same issue with the flexible piping I used. If you can manage to heat the plastic you can remove the bends and set the hose to a new curvature. I used my gas stove for this. Just be careful not to burn the hose. You have to rotate and keep moving the hose a few inches off the flame to add the heat. Remember to use gloves. You could also use steam to heat the pipe if needed. Once it is in the right curature run the hose under water for a fast set or air cool for a slow set.
I like your drain into the sumps, I saw it in your thread. One thing I was going to ask is why you didn't just submerge the drain under the water level? Wouldn't that cut down on the noise?
I the drains under the water in the sump but the relief lines are above water. when I designed the relief lines (incase the silencers get clogged) I built them because I also thought air was being discharged into the sump and wanted a way for the air to leave the sump inlets without having to be discharged under water. Currently the pipes that enter my sump hardly have any bubbles coming out of them.
 
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