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You can use all kinds of things as biological media in a sump. I've personally run everything in sumps from bio-balls,. Seachem 'Matrix Rock', to this stuff,



Called in the U.S. plant and landscape nursery trade, 'Permatil', it's a fractionated-porous (crushed-superheated) slate rock that was cheap ($8 for a 50 pound bag) and worked very well as wet-dry (trickling) biological media, in a 10 gallon aquarium sump I DIY-built. A fluidized media type sump with the K1 media you mention above is something I haven't tried (yet), but sounds very promising.
 

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'Rating' sump bio-media could be kind of hard to do. I certainly wouldn't check any of the manufacturers claims or data on that - they just all want to sell you more product! Senor Strum would have a field day with this one, as he's gotten into all kinds of detailed explanations regarding surface area, particle size, opening sizes in porous material, and most importantly - USEABLE surface area for the beneficial bacteria (BB) to colonize.
Oh, and El' Hefe' does love him some FOAM filtration media for BB colonization in sumps and all sorts of things! So.... Seachem Matrix hmmmm?
It's different when you place media in a sump, than when you use it in a canister filter or something. Basically, when you place that stuff down in the compartment where it will be housed in the sump.... IT STAYS THERE. That means no scooping it out. Periodically rinsing the stuff out in dechlorinated water. None of it. So, you pretty much just guess at how much of the stuff you need (and after rinsing the dust out) just pour it loose on down into the sump. That loose bio media will work great fully submerged, partially wet/dry (trickling) or fully submerged with airstone(s) blowing air up through it.
Oh, and another bio media source you might want to seriously consider for use in the sump (esp. if this will be for a dedicated African Rift Lake higher PH/harder water aquarium), woulds be Lava Rock. Found as bagged aggregate in garden centers or landscape stores In smaller 1/4 inch particle size, Lava Rock is a cheap, quite porous media that will work great in sumps. Some downsides to Lava Rock as follows,
  • Sometimes hard to find bagged up in smaller particle sizes (not everyone wants a loose truckload!)
  • Tough to rinse out. Lava Rock is incredibly dusty stuff! Be prepared to spend quality time outside with a garden hose blasting that stuff out.
  • It will boost up the PH and water hardness of your aquarium water, This isn't (usually) a problem though for the African Rift lake or Central American themed aquarium.
 

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Hmmmmmmm.......

Think of running my uv in the sump also.
A great idea! Sumps are a good place for running all sorts of equipment and technical things down in them, that you would prefer to keep hidden from, 'The Main Event'.
For your UV sterilizer, those things seem to work/kill best when the water current supplied to them is basically - slow and easy. I would definitely rig your sterilizer up with a small-sized/low GPH submersible pump set up in re-circulation mode, down in the sump.
 

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Flow rate through a UV sterilizer is dependent on a lot of things. First and foremost, you should check with what the manufacturer recommends that built the product. Their info might provide most, or all of your answers. But, in general terms at least.... a slower water flow rate through a UV sterilizer is better, as it will give the water more contact time/exposure to the ultra violet light source to successfully kill off free-floating algae and possibly a whole host of other, undesirable micro-organisms.
 

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And well, El' Hefe' has once again - delivered the goods!

I ran detailed calculations for how much biomedia I need. I can tell you that my system will support nearly 10 pounds of fish. I'm happy to share the calculations. The source of the assumptions used was Aquariumscience.org. Whether the initial assumptions will hold water is irrelevant - I didn't "guess":ROFLMAO:
My goodness! I actually meant to just merely inform the amount of media it would possibly take to fill the area in his sump he would be using. You know, a bag of the stuff? Maybe a little more? The detailed calculations of filtration media surface area based off of expected fish load needed to properly, biologically filter the aquarium..... whew! That super-technical calculation stuff, was never really considered. 🤓
 
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