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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can some one explain the proper way to do water changes when using a sump? Do I pull the water out of the sump and add water back into sump?
 

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depends on the size of your sump and how much % water change you would like to do.

Can you please provide
-tank capacity
-sump capacity
 

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I dont' know if there is a "proper" way to do it. Just get water out of the tank and replace it. The only complication is not to let the pump run dry as it wears it out quicker. When the water in your tank gets below your overflow your sump will dump almost all of its water into the tank then run dry.
 

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rolex said:
depends on the size of your sump and how much % water change you would like to do.

Can you please provide
-tank capacity
-sump capacity
I will jump in, not that I want to highjack the thread, but because I am interested as well and can give my specifics if the OP is not to that point yet, but instead researching for the future.
I am setting up a 180g tank and am going to use a 30g sump. I know when everything is completely filled to the max, the pump is off, and tanks level equalized, I should be a couple of inches from the top of the sump and mark that height on the sump to prevent overfowing the sump in the event of a power outage. Once the pump is turned on then the level will drop a specific amount. This will be the level not to fill past when the pump is running...
That said, I would think I could stop the pump, drain the sump and refill with fresh water to the mark I have as a max fill point. then start the pump and be good to go. Down side is this is only a 17% water change (30 out of 180) at best.
More realistically if you combine the 180g tank and add say 20g in the sump (to provide the safety margin) gives you 200g and only changing out 20g at a time for a 10% water change. So you'd have to do it this way 3 times to get the common weekly water change recomendation.
BUT you still have to gravel vac, so depending on what you loose there, maybe 1 sump water change would be enough and you can service your filter system at that time as needed..
 

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I'd like to know this as well. On my new 180 with a 30 gallon wet/dry sump, I basically just start syphoning water out of the tank itself, and when the water gets below the overflows I turn off the pump. I then continue draining water out of the tank, and then refill it. When the water level gets close to the overflows I re-enable the pump. The only downside that I can see this way is that a large portion of my bio balls get fully submerged. Is this going to harm the bacteria buildup at all?
 

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On my 90 gallon tank with 20 gallon sump, I siphon water from the tank, vacuuming up the poop from the sand. I turn the return pump off before I begin draining. When I'm ready to refill, I stage a bunch of 5 gallon buckets full of new water next to the tank. I turn on the return pump and slowly dump my water buckets into the sump, letting the pump fill the tank rather than lift heavy buckets of water up and over the tank to fill it. Once the water flows up and out the overflow in the tank and back to the sump, I'm good to go.
 

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From my saltwater days, I would shut everything down. Doesn't matter if the media is submerged. Better that than it drying out. I had a mark on the tank that I knew if I drained it too, would be filled properly re-filled with one full garbage can of water. So I know that mark is about 60 gallons. So I still follow that mark now that it's a freshwater tank as it helps with adding the proper amount of additives back to the tank.

With the high water in the sump, I take advantage and use my python to vaccum it out a bit as well.

Overall, it's whatever works for you. THere'e no right or wrong method here.
 

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Hoosier Tank,

Just reviewing your post...

To make sure that the operating and max sump level you determined is truly failsafe, you need to simulate the tank not draining. Basically make sure that if at the levels you determined, make sure that the pump is not capable of sending so much water back to the tank itself that it overflows it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
fishyfishyfishy said:
Doesn't matter if the media is submerged. Better that than it drying out.
i have quite a few of my bio balls submerged. is this hindering bio-filtration?
 

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lestatak said:
fishyfishyfishy said:
Doesn't matter if the media is submerged. Better that than it drying out.
i have quite a few of my bio balls submerged. is this hindering bio-filtration?
Likewise. Sorry if this is is off-topic, but I think it somewhat pertains to the thread itself. I purchased such a big pump that it's taller than the bottom layer of bio balls, and when it's filled to the point of covering the pump it eclipses many of the balls:



Is this hindering anything since roughly 1/6th of the bioballs are fully submerged? Is there a way to do this better?
 

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juimmyknuckles:
It's generally recommended to have a portion of the bio-balls submerged. What I see in your photo looks like a pretty good level. You cold even add a bit more water, that is as long as you don't exceed the safe amount where the sump would overflow when you turn the pump off. Bio-balls work best when they have some exposure to air, but they are still effective when completely submerged in water. When I do a W/C, my bio-balls are almost 100% covered with water before I turn the pump on. Once the pump is on, they are about 25% covered.

To the OP,
As others have stated, the process used to change your water will vary depending on you water volume in the main tank vs. that of the sump. I do W/C's 2x a week because I can only easily change about 15-20% of the complete system by draining the sump and refilling it. To be specific, I have a 150 and a 90 running off of the same sump. The sump is a 125 standard tank, but since the filtration system sits fully beneath the top of the tank/sump, I can only fit about 80 gallons in there (while the pump is running - probably 110-120 gallons when its turned off). Also, I use the pump to push the water out of the sump, and since the intake of the pump is about 1-1/2" from the bottom, I can't drain ALL of the water.

So, my W/C's are very easy, since all I have to do is connect a hose and turn a valve to drain the sump - but they must be done twice as often as I used to have to do when I used a Python to siphon water out of the main tanks. (pre-sump)

Another thing, if you have your sump returns and powerheads (UG jets in some people's cases) positioned well, you can get away with almost never having to vacuum your substrate (unless you have gravel). My tank maintenance consists of mothing more than W/C's as described above, filter cleaning once a month, and a little algae scraping. HTH, good luck.
 

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lestatak said:
i have quite a few of my bio balls submerged. is this hindering bio-filtration?
It doesn't harm the bacteria in any way, but the purpose of the wet/dry system is for the balls to be exposed to air and water so that lots of oxygen are available to the bacteria. So no you aren't harming the bacteria, but you will not get maximum bio filtration capacity out of a submerged bioball.
 

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I am yet another who has a sump set up in similar fashion with say an inch or 2 of bioballs under water at all times. This post is making for good reading for all of us. Please keep the suggestions and advice coming.

Cich of it all, where are your sump return and power heads situated? pics would be good.
 

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swamptrout said:
Cich of it all, where are your sump return and power heads situated? pics would be good.
This is an older picture from when it was installed on a 125 (now its on a 150), but this shows my spraybay that runs across the entire front edge of the tank. It shoots straight down and move debris across the sand toward the backl of the tank where the overflow intakes are.


You can't see it with the canopy closed
 

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Mate that is an awesome set up. what is the diameter of your return?

That is exactly how i will set mine up, i have a nice big colonial style canopy that will easily cover the spray bar facing down

gorgeous child too :thumb: :thumb:
 

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I have a sump on my 75g mbuna. I turn off the retun pump, vacuum the sand with my python and then let it just drain out to the halfway mark (I do a 50% change every week). I mix my prime and buffer (I use the rift lake buffer in the library section) and a small amount of water inan old pitcher. I then reverse the flow on the python and begin refilling the tank. As the water starts filling up the tank, I slowly pour the mixed pitcher into the pythons flow. Once the tank is full, I let it add a bit of water to my sump (I have line to mark the correct weekly strating level as i do get some evaporative loss during the week). Every once in a while I also vacumm out the bottom of the sump (below the bioballs) as some debris does make it through the large filter pad. Looks like brown dust, but I know it just increases the nitrates.

Whole process start to finish take about 15 minutes. I do it the same way on the tanks that have canisters, except I don't turn off the canisters, I just never drain the water below the intake opennings) I do all 6 tanks in just under an hour. Add about 30 minutes to that if I am also cleaning out canisters. I rinse out the pads and sponges once a month (2 canisters on the first WC of the month and the other 3 on the 3rd WC of the month).
 
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