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  1. #1

    Default Sump vs Canisters for 300+ gallon FW Tank


    0 Not allowed!
    Hey guys,

    I've reached a dilemma in my planning for my next tank. This is years (probably 3) from the making, but I really enjoy the process that goes into planning something of this size/caliber (plus, I'll have to save for it... and keeping the idea fresh in my mind will help me to hold onto that extra savings for something I don't need, but really want - lol). In the basement of my next house, I'm hoping to find something that could accommodate an 8-10ft long freshwater aquarium (a rectangular wall unit). Without getting into a custom size, I've already found that a 300-375 gallon tank could fit this footprint.

    The question is this: Would it be more beneficial to build a sump (about 75gal I imagine) or use two canister filters (like I'm doing w/ my current 75gal setup)?

    I'm not too concerned with hiding all of the equipment, because the filters can hide inside the cabinet (and they're already quiet enough) and I can install two in-line heaters in the outtake tubing on both sides. Additionally, I could add an in-line UV sterilizer, should I need it, as well.

    A refugium in the sump would be nice... but I love a good, hefty planted aquarium, anyway... so the Nitrates could be kept in check via the plants in the tank, rather than outside of the tank. Again, I already do this w/ a 75gal and my params are nearly always 0/0/0 (I'd say "always," since I haven't had anything above 0 in months... but you never want to push your luck). This is, of course, with weekly 50% water changes (sometimes less).

    There are other benefits to a sump, such as the additional water volume, which aids in keeping the water "cleaner," due to bio-load, and possibly easier water changes, without disturbing the main tank, and an easier time cleaning the filter (which would be the sump).

    So... is there anything I'm missing? What would you do? What would you recommend? I'm all ears!

    Thanks in advance for the help.

    -Kevin

    Edit: Something else to note - this will be a Discus/Angel tank with some compatible & peaceful dither schools and bottom dwellers.
    Last edited by KevinVA; 05-28-2013 at 04:05 PM.
    Adventures in Aquaria - The KevinVA Story

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  2. #2

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    This is my $.02

    Sump wins hands down for a few reasons

    1. I believe.. depending on pump size your energy bill would be lower
    2. As long as you can drill the tank, the water level would be constant
    3. If you have a sump for your basement, or even a drain anywhere there is a few ways you could set up an easy system for water changes
    - Have sump drilled with ball valve and pipe to drain
    - Have water lines ran over to the sump for easy filling
    4. I feel like you would have more room for bio media in the sump
    5. Easier maintenance


    I'm sure there are other pluses but I also think the sump would be cheaper to set up too

  3. #3

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Good points. I absolutely love #3. lol That would be extremely efficient. I'll have to keep that in mind, when I'm looking at homes. Shouldn't be too difficult to accomplish. I would want to enlist the help of a plumber, though, as I don't trust myself with plumbing. Most I've ever done, is change faucets, clear drains and fix/change toilet pumps. lol
    Adventures in Aquaria - The KevinVA Story

    When in doubt, ask yourself... W.W.L.S (What would Lee Say)?

    Have a fish problem? Fill out and post this completed questionnaire in the General Aquarium Forum, when you start a new thread.

  4. #4

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    That sort of plumbing is very easy, you will have higher water on the side of the sump, thus forcing the flow. As long as the pipe is flat, or sloped towards the drain you are fine, and for water it really doesn't matter. Just used PVC glue.

    At least don't pay a plumber, if you have one as a friend sure, but don't waste the money to have one come in and do it.

    #3 is my plan for my future fish wall (even if it keeps changing lol)

  5. #5

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Other than extra water volume (as you have already mentioned) I would think one of the biggest benefits to a sump is that you can custom make a sump to handle a high bioload at a lower cost as compared to multiple canister filters. When done right, you will have tons more biological filter media.

    While you would only have only one pump/motor running, it will be a little more of pain in back side to clean, but you will be doing a lot less cleaning over all. You can also get more evaporation in a sumped tank unless you have lids for your sump.

    I would think that either way (sump or multiple larger canister filters) you have to ensure your choice would fit in the stand that you use/build

    All in all, there can be many other different pros and cons to either option which can be based on how yo set-up the system. You just have to chose the approach (sump or canisters) that is best suited for you and your stocking plans

    Quote Originally Posted by Hardy85 View Post
    2. As long as you can drill the tank, the water level would be constant
    Drilled or not, how well the water level is maintained in the tank and/or sump will depend on how you set up the system and not on if the tanks is drilled or not. The height of your stand pipe is one very good way to maintain a constant water level in your aquarium. It can be a very easy thing to do once you have set-up a sump. The last three of my own sumps that I have set up do not result in any water level changes at all.
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]

  6. #6

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
    Drilled or not, how well the water level is maintained in the tank and/or sump will depend on how you set up the system and not on if the tanks is drilled or not. The height of your stand pipe is one very good way to maintain a constant water level in your aquarium. It can be a very easy thing to do once you have set-up a sump. The last three of my own sumps that I have set up do not result in any water level changes at all.
    True, I just mainly meant sump vs canister that the water level with a sump should remain constant

  7. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    We are currently planning for a tank of that size too. We noticed from fishtanks direct the 350 gallon is less than the 300 gallon. We havent really decided on filtration either. The sump is cheaper and if the return pump dies it is cheaper than replacing a canister. I like the thought of heaters in the sump. But the jumbo eheim 2262 canister gets pretty good reviews.

    Will keep reading here to try and make up our minds.

    Good luck.

  8. #8

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I vote sump... Water level constant... though you keep a heavily planted tank, you also would benifit heavily from a not as pretty plant that would eat more nitrates and house shrimp or fry or other things that you may want to grow out for that tank up top... It serves a good purpose. Then you have an in line UV going back to the tank... You could do a lot with it my friend! Not to mention with a 300 gal or more tank you would have at least a 75gal sump so think of the biomedia and extra volume...
    FW: 1 45gal, 1 40gal, 3 10gal, 3 30gal all community tanks of different species
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  9. #9

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Hardy85 View Post
    That sort of plumbing is very easy, you will have higher water on the side of the sump, thus forcing the flow. As long as the pipe is flat, or sloped towards the drain you are fine, and for water it really doesn't matter. Just used PVC glue.

    At least don't pay a plumber, if you have one as a friend sure, but don't waste the money to have one come in and do it.

    #3 is my plan for my future fish wall (even if it keeps changing lol)
    The physics of the thing makes sense... I just don't trust my water sealing abilities (yet). I'm thinking that I'll probably have to tear up the flooring to send a pipe down to the sump. That part worries me, as I've never done any demolition and concrete repair, etc... Once it comes to it, I'll probably be able to figure it out, but there's no chance for trial at the moment. haha

    I think running a water line through the basement wall (might already be one there - who knows), in back of the tank, and adding a faucet to the inside wall, right behind/above the sump (and inside the cabinet) would be awesome. Just connect a tube from the faucet to the sump, add some Prime, and refill. I imagine the refill inlet for that should be hovering above the refugium.

    @Cliff - completely agree about the cost effectiveness of building a sump vs using canisters. Another good point.

    Same with the biological filtration... I can imagine a portion of my 75gal filled with biomedia. =X That's a lot of biomedia... much more than fits in a canister, that's for sure.

    I'm thinking a custom acrylic/plexiglass lid would be the way to go. Drill some holes for the inlets/outlet and that should minimize evaporation. Good thought, there.

    The one thing that really scares me about sumps, is the back flow if the power is cut, which could then overflow your sump and flood your floor. I've seen that some people use a check valve to prevent this. Do you think that's adequate and would really work?

    Another things I've seen in sumps, is that people drill a couple of holes in their main tank for overflow, rather than just one, and have both outlets drain into the sump. Is that mainly for clogging issues? Do they usually keep both draining or close one and open the other and switch it out if there's a clog present?

    I can't even imagine what might clog these holes... they're large enough for some fish to fit... of course, that could be what does it. haha

    Do you guys recommend overflows or just draining from the holes, exclusively? I imagine the holes could be fixed with filter mesh or something to prevent bigger objects from getting sucked in, but maybe the overflows serve a purpose I'm not seeing/understanding.

    @Lady10godiva: Good luck with your setup! Hope this thread helps answer some questions you might have. =] Another good point on cost of replacement, should anything go wrong with the pump. Much easier to replace one pump, rather than dealing w/ two canisters.
    Adventures in Aquaria - The KevinVA Story

    When in doubt, ask yourself... W.W.L.S (What would Lee Say)?

    Have a fish problem? Fill out and post this completed questionnaire in the General Aquarium Forum, when you start a new thread.

  10. #10

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandz View Post
    I vote sump... Water level constant... though you keep a heavily planted tank, you also would benifit heavily from a not as pretty plant that would eat more nitrates and house shrimp or fry or other things that you may want to grow out for that tank up top... It serves a good purpose. Then you have an in line UV going back to the tank... You could do a lot with it my friend! Not to mention with a 300 gal or more tank you would have at least a 75gal sump so think of the biomedia and extra volume...
    Haha, I was just thinking of the biomedia and edited my previous post. I already go overboard with it in my canisters. I can't even imagine how much of it I'll use in a 75gal sump. I've also been thinking about a lot of the plants I'd use in my refugium, so you make another good point. Frogbit, marimo balls, water sprite, cabomba, anacharis... all great nitrate reducers - and I'm sure there are a ton more I'm not thinking of. Only problem with the cabomba, is that it might shed and get pumped into the main tank.

    I'm so glad I asked this question. I've been going back and forth in my head over the last few days.
    Adventures in Aquaria - The KevinVA Story

    When in doubt, ask yourself... W.W.L.S (What would Lee Say)?

    Have a fish problem? Fill out and post this completed questionnaire in the General Aquarium Forum, when you start a new thread.

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