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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i am getting ready for an upgrade, and i've been thinking my filtration system through. i was originally planning to run dual canisters as sumps have always been foreign to me, but last night i actually took the time to start reading and understanding how they work and what they require. fascinating!

questions i'm at right now... when i shop for a filter i can read manufacturer specs and get an idea of what i need for my setup. at this point with a sump, i haven't found any guidelines that out right say you should have xxx for an xxx size tank. is there a rule of thumb? i realize bigger is better, but space gets limited and i wouldn't want to knowingly underfilter my tank if i went with a sump.

i'm planning a 120 - 150 gallon tank, 6 ft long.

how do i determine the dimensions for the overflow, and how do i determine what pump i need for the return?

and on the superficial side... do sumps smell? i know my canister is fishy when i pop it open... bleh. :wink:

any help, information, links would be great! :thumb:

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408 Posts

If you are a DIY type of guy, then I would say "TO Sump!" You can also buy commercially made sumps with wet/dry filters if you would prefer. They have a lot of advantages, especially for large tanks. The bigger the better is definitely a "rule of thumb" for sump size.

There are a ton of articles on diy sump with wet/dry out there so you can research it to death if you want.

I'd say the bottom line is if you are into DIY projects then go for it!

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145 Posts
I have a 180gal 6ft tank with the following set up.

-4ft sump - 2 x 1 1/4" overflows/drains (1 each corner).
-Return pump pushes 1250gph at 6ft of height. it has 1 x 1" return pump with a tee piece to adjust flow.

my sump doesn't smell bad but obviously doesn't smell like roses either.

most important thing to remember. need to be able to drain more than you can pump in otherwise you will have a wet floor.

DIY is the way to go if money is an issue. although i did purchase my professional built sump second hand for $40 including all media and plumbing.

drainage calcs below.

1/2 " PVC
3.5 GPM
210 GPH

3/4" PVC
360 GPH

1" PVC
10 GPM
600 GPH

1 1/4" PVC
20 GPM
1,200 GPH

1 1/2" PVC
30 GPM
1,800 GPH

2" PVC
60 GPM
3,600 GPH

2 1/2" PVC
100 GPM
6,000 GPH

3" PVC
175 GPM
10,500 GPH

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1,039 Posts
Sumps are definitely the most effective biological filter there is. I have a sump on every tank in my home that is over 50 gallons. They don't smell. They can be noisy, but there are ways around that.

The size of the sump itself itsn't as important as how much biomedia you can have in it.

You can DIY them cheap and easy. The method I use is here.

If you don't DIY they can be pretty expensive unless you go used.

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7 Posts
I have a 150G tank and I will be running a ~29G sump on it. I think the real issue to deal with is that the sump hold enough water that ic can support pump outages and the heavy flow to and from the tank. I shoot for no less than 1/5 of tank size or 20%.
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