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View Full Version : 240G tank w/ sump



SmokeyCFH
10-19-2010, 08:14 PM
Okay so I've been looking at a 240 gallon tank I found for $300 and I'm hoping to set it up with a sump, my main issue is I dont understand them and I'm not going to do something I dont understand. I do NOT want to drill any holes and there are no overflow boxes built in to the tank. So basically my question is, for a 240G exactly what am I going to need as far as materials, pumps and the size of the sump. I'd like to put everything I need into the sump, heater and all that jazz but my reason for that is that my fish and turtle love rearraging everything and I get really tired of having to fix it on a daily basis. Also I dont want to go buy a 500 dollar canister filter or even a 200 dollar one at that. From the top of the tank to the bottom of the sump measures roughly 5 feet, I was thinking of making an external overflow box but like I said before I just don't understand how all this works without overflowing. I've looked on youtube to see how some of them do it and it seems pretty easy but so do a lot of things until you actually do them. Thank you for your time.

Sarkazmo
10-19-2010, 09:52 PM
You need a way to get the water out of the tank: Overflow.

You need a vessel for the sump, glass, acrylic, whatever's fish safe.

You need some form of filter media, DIY or otherwise.

You need a return pump.

That's all there is to it really. You could use a 100G aquarium or a Rubbermaid tub for the sump. You can buy an overflow or make one from PVC or other materials. You can use filter floss or buy bonded filter pads and cut to fit for mechanical media. You can use crushed terracotta pots or plastic dish scrubbies or lava rock or buy ceramic rings or some such for biological filtration media. Toss your heater(s) in the bottom of the sump. Put in a return pump that flows what you want at a 5-6ft head through a purchased or DIY PVC spray bar(s). Toss a few sponge filters running from an air pump as back up filtration in the sump or to use for quarantine tanks when needed.

It's pretty simple, actually. If you can follow instructions, cut and glue PVC you've already got most of the war won. Sumps and overflows are simple things, really. There's an infinite number of ways to can customize this to your wants and needs, you can do it all DIY or buy a sump and overflow. Whatever you wanna do.

Sark

Crispy
10-19-2010, 09:53 PM
you can buy pre-made overflow boxes or build your own pcv overflow. A quick search for "DIY pcv overflow" will give you plans for that (since you want something cheap).

you'll want at least a 55g sump for that size tank (bigger would even be better depending on your bioload).

The overflow will determine the water level in your tank. If the pump stops working, the overflow will simply drain until the water level is below the overflow and will stop. It would not drain your entire tank. Sumps are a wonderful thing on large tanks and worth looking into and figuring out.

SmokeyCFH
10-19-2010, 11:10 PM
awesome thanks guys. my main concern is what size pump for the return, since it is a five foot difference from top of the main tank to the bottom of the sump. I actually found a guy who made an overflow from two pitchers, it didn't seem like that bad of an idea... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APyJZQWIg-s let me know what ya think about this one, thanks a lot guys.

Crispy
10-20-2010, 12:13 AM
That overflow looks alright if you really wanna do it cheap. I would use bigger diameter of hose to get more flow out of it. 300gph is not enough. Go for at least double or triple that amount. The pcv overflows are also cheap and easy to make and can give you alot of flow.

SmokeyCFH
10-20-2010, 12:33 AM
okay so the gph on the pump really doesn't matter unless it's too little and as long as your overflow can support a heavy water flow? so if i had 1" draining to my sump all should be fine?
And i just used that as an example because thats probably the most simple overflow i've ever seen.

Crispy
10-20-2010, 01:00 AM
I think 1" pcv will drain about 600gph if I'm not mistaken. Your pump would have to be equal or less gph than what your overflow can drain.

domjd05
10-20-2010, 01:10 AM
I would also invest in a quality check valve for the return on the sump, just for peace of mind, so you won't have any back flow into the sump (possibly overflowing) during a power outage.

SmokeyCFH
10-20-2010, 02:17 AM
whats more beneficial, overflow box or to have just a PVC overflow with a sponge in the end going to the sump? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofEHUJtsweY ...similar to this...

ILuvMyGoldBarb
10-20-2010, 03:16 AM
I would also invest in a quality check valve for the return on the sump, just for peace of mind, so you won't have any back flow into the sump (possibly overflowing) during a power outage.

Not a bad idea but I have to respectfully disagree with the idea that it gives peace of mind. lol Check valves fail all too often. Mine failed on my 125, and created a huge mess. The best protection against back flow is actually to create a siphon break inside the tank just below the water line on the return. It is simply a small 1/16" hole. That way, you don't rely entirely on the check valve, and if/when it fails, you already have a backup in place. Almost every reef keeper I know in this area with a large tank that has a sump system uses this method because almost everyone of them has either had a check valve fail, or knows someone who did. One of the main reasons they fail is that the flow through them is actually quite forceful, and it is constant. This frequently leads to them getting stuck in the open position, completely negating their purpose. If you go with SW it tends to become an even more common problem.

Sarkazmo
10-20-2010, 06:20 AM
The best protection against back flow is actually to create a siphon break inside the tank just below the water line on the return. It is simply a small 1/16" hole. That way, you don't rely entirely on the check valve, and if/when it fails, you already have a backup in place.

This is an EXCELLENT suggestion! Kudos!!!

Sark

SmokeyCFH
10-22-2010, 04:01 AM
one more question...if 1" drains 600GPH should I got a pump rated more due to the height that it will be pumping at. I was thinkin a mag drive 9.5, that shouldn't be too much right? especially if I add a ball valve...thank you.

Crispy
10-22-2010, 04:19 AM
yes, you want a pump rated higher than 600gph... most have charts on the box showing gph/head-height. But it's gotta be just less than 600gph after head-height is factored in.

I do not use any ball valves... why limit the flow of your pump? Creates more wear and tear than it's worth IMHO.

ILuvMyGoldBarb
10-22-2010, 10:46 AM
If you do find that you have to limit your flow due to a pump that is too powerful, then the most effective way is through the use of a bypass. On your return line, you simply put a T in the line just above the pump and you run a line back into the sump. That effectively cuts the flow back to the tank in half. When you put a ball valve on the bypass itself, you can then limit the flow going back into the sump. It allows you to "fine tune" the flow going back to the tank so that you have just enough to match the rate of the overflow. Limiting your flow in this way allows the pump to still operate at full capacity and will not create any back pressure issues.

Piscine
10-22-2010, 05:20 PM
If you do find that you have to limit your flow due to a pump that is too powerful, then the most effective way is through the use of a bypass. On your return line, you simply put a T in the line just above the pump and you run a line back into the sump. That effectively cuts the flow back to the tank in half. When you put a ball valve on the bypass itself, you can then limit the flow going back into the sump. It allows you to "fine tune" the flow going back to the tank so that you have just enough to match the rate of the overflow. Limiting your flow in this way allows the pump to still operate at full capacity and will not create any back pressure issues.

It is a good idea to always have much more drain capacity than return capacity. If your drain gets even the slightest bit clogged, BIG MESS. If in doubt, add another drain.

I keep my return output just below the water line to prevent overflow. It is out of water before the overflow grates.

hockeyhead019
10-22-2010, 05:23 PM
If you do find that you have to limit your flow due to a pump that is too powerful, then the most effective way is through the use of a bypass. On your return line, you simply put a T in the line just above the pump and you run a line back into the sump. That effectively cuts the flow back to the tank in half. When you put a ball valve on the bypass itself, you can then limit the flow going back into the sump. It allows you to "fine tune" the flow going back to the tank so that you have just enough to match the rate of the overflow. Limiting your flow in this way allows the pump to still operate at full capacity and will not create any back pressure issues.

ILMGB that's a very wise idea, you get the same effects as putting a ball valve on your main return line but you don't have the side effect of back pressure and extra stress on the pump... thanks! As I'll most likely use this for my up coming tank haha

Piscine
10-22-2010, 07:37 PM
ILMGB that's a very wise idea, you get the same effects as putting a ball valve on your main return line but you don't have the side effect of back pressure and extra stress on the pump... thanks! As I'll most likely use this for my up coming tank haha

Or, you could install a bigger drain or another drain and get more filtering capacity, along with increased protection against flooding. It is such a waste to buy a big ole pump and divert water that has already been filtered, back into the filter. You are spending more for the pump (and more for the power), but you are getting less filtering capacity than if you just added another drain.

Why not just buy the correct size pump or add more drain capacity and avoid the problem altogether? Help me understand your reasoning.

ILuvMyGoldBarb
10-22-2010, 11:07 PM
Piscine, you seem to be assuming certain things about the bypass. First of all, bypass can be setup so that the water is pushed back through the biomedia. In that case, the water would be getting a second pass through the biomedia, thus removing even more nitrogenous waste before being returned to the tank. Secondly, not everyone buys brand new equipment to setup a tank. When I set my 125gal reef up, I purchased my pump on ebay. The pump I purchased was more powerful then my overflow could handle, however the price I paid for that pump was far lower then I could have gotten a less powerful pump for. Furthermore, that increased pump power allowed me to increase the flow inside the sump itself where I had lots of live rock rubble, subsequently, I had a far more effective filter. Lastly, the suggestion for the bypass is only if you end up with a pump that is too powerful for the overflow. The suggestion in no way advocates purposely buying a pump that is too powerful, it is simply a solution in case you do, and the suggestion was given in response to the suggestion of just using a ball valve alone to control flow.

Also, increased flow rate does not automatically equal increased filtration.

Finally, adding another drain to a drilled tank or even increasing the size of an existing drain is not exactly an easy thing to do. Unless you are going to add a siphon overflow, you have to drill another part of the tank, and that is always high risk.

Sarkazmo
10-23-2010, 12:44 AM
The bypass is a great place to install a UV Sterilizer, the dead biological material's then deposited back into the media to be broken down.

Sark

WhiteDevil
10-23-2010, 12:58 AM
I got about 5' of lift on my 210 and use twin 1200gph pumps on it and its still not a forceful current.

ball valves are GREAT because you use them when you have to do any maintenance to the pumps themselves, just close em off and remove the pump for a no mess fix.


here is a link to my pictures of my 210 build w/ sump.
http://tinypic.com/useralbum.php?ua=iRmbPc5viAYxvS3zLqIHPw%3D%3D


you ideally want 4x per hour of water turnover, so your 240g youd want to flow atleast 960gph, I run 3 filters on my 210.

I have a 52g as well that has an Overflow box on it I can snap pics of that tomorrow to show you, on that tank I only use a model 9.5 magdrive pump and get alot of current, no ball valve on that set up so I cant throttle the flow down(I just let me plants grow wild to give alot of current breaks for the time being)

I use check valves because they havnt failed yet, I also test and clean them weekly when I am cleaning my probes, Not always reliable as anything mechanical breaks eventually but you get what you pay for and buy inferior cheaper parts you get breakdowns more often.

I took no short cuts on my tanks. Also for your pumps, shop around, my 9.5 cost 120 bucks new at the fish store, 65 bucks at the hydroponics store.

What is going to inhabit this tank? or better yet whats your vision of this tank?


used/free is great, go for it, I reuse used gear all the time. Just make sure it works like new, no sense in putting a weak part on a tank with that much water damage staring you down.

domjd05
10-23-2010, 01:06 AM
I've never heard of a check valve failing, mine hasn't and I cut the flow to my tank probably hundreds of times.... BUT, I think we can agree they can't hurt, but not relied upon.

Sounds like the 1/16th hole is more reliable/much cheaper lol.

why would a ball valve limit the flow rate? If you fit it to the tubing size correctly it shouldn't limit the flow rate. They are very useful if you need to disconnect the plumbing at certain points- for whatever reason.

I always thought those 2 items were a no-brainer for sump setups, guess not.

WhiteDevil
10-23-2010, 01:08 AM
they were first on my plumbing list.


I also have the original materials sheet for the plumbing as well, if you want it OP, let me know I can email it over, its in excel form.

ILuvMyGoldBarb
10-23-2010, 01:41 AM
I'm not saying that ball valves are a bad thing, just that the should not be used as a flow reducer. I have always used ball valves on sump returns, but I don't use them for restricting the flow of the return, simply for blocking off the line for maintenance on the pump.

domjd05
10-23-2010, 01:46 AM
I agree, I would not and never have used them to restrict flow.

SmokeyCFH
10-24-2010, 07:37 PM
thank you guys so much for all your imput, you're helping a hell of a lot. I've made two overflow pipe systems that I tested in buckets so I could further understand how it works...the first one I made was out of 3/4" pvc with a powerhead 70 (802) as the return ehich suprisingly worked and kept the water level very well with very little suction noise. The second one I made was from 1" pvc with a little giant sump pump as the return with a 20' hose attatched, with that powerful of a pump it raised the water level to around 1/4" above the drain pipe and wasn't able to keep a continuous flow from the drain even after it equalized and it makes a lot of noise as far as suction. If i get a chance I'll post a video. I had troubles getting the water level to stay low enough with the little giant so it didn't overflow the bucket so I made the pipe that drains down from the bucket a hell of a lot longer than I had before and it helped equalize it a bit better but still it was around 1/4" above the drain. I was also thinking (though i'm not sure if this would work or is even possible) for more debris to be sucked up could I add a T between the two elbows that go inside the tank for better results of picking up larger waste materials? thanks guys!

SmokeyCFH
10-24-2010, 07:56 PM
input*** and it's a 50' hose not 20'.

SmokeyCFH
10-24-2010, 08:43 PM
here is a video of the 1" overflow pipe I did. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7l8uYszhbI

SmokeyCFH
10-24-2010, 09:07 PM
Here is the video for the 3/4" pvc overflow pipe... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVuuxr_gngg