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DIY sump plans

20127 Views 17 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  snazlord
Hi all!
I am new to aquariums and this site. A friend just gave me an 80 gallon tank, and I want to start a FOwLR system. I am looking for good DIY plans for a sump. Here's one I found, and like because it incorperates a refuge and a live rock filterin one unit. Would this be a good design


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Nice design, I just had one question. If you are going to keep macro-algae in your refugium what will keep the macro from going into your baffle system and being sucked into the return pump? I am asking this question becasue I have a very similar setup. I cut a peice of clear acrylic that fit snuggly over my refugium to keep the macro in, but it let the water out.
I havn't gotten that detailed yet. I am just learning things right now. Honestly, I don't even know what a macro-algae is. All I know is that building a filter system with a refug has been recomended to me. Man this is more complicated than I thought. Looks like I need to do some more studying. I would still like to hear everyones suggestions for DIY filter plans.
Welcome to the TRT!!!

i am guessing the scale is a little off on that drawing. those baffles before the return pump are a little big. they may also be unecessary. those baffles are used to keep small bubbles from getting back into the main aquairum. these bubbles are usually from the skimmer. in that drawing the skimmer is on the other side, like it should be, but the water is already going though a LR barrier. this LR barrier will prolly catch most of the wayward bubbles. this LR barrier is also way small. if you were to put LR in the sump/fuge then i would put in an amount that would do some good. i would prolly make the refuge part and the LR part more equal.

my .02,

I found out what the macro algae is, and in an other post they recomended useing filter wool befor the intake of the return pump.

Yes, I am sure the scale of this drawing is off. I did no design it. It is a borrowed schematic. I see what you meen about making the LR area the same size as the refuge, but I am not sure I understand what you are saying about the water already going through the LR barrier. Are you saying that the skimmer should not be pumping the water to this area?
looking at the schematic again i like the way the LR area is raised above the bottom. this will allow any detritus to fall to the bottom of the sump to be vacuumed up later.

it is ok to have the skimmer before the LR zone. i am thinking that most of the micro bubbles will be taken out by the LR. get caught in the LR. these little bubbles are what can get back up into the display tank. the baffles at the other end before the return pump is also another way to remove these unwanted bubbles.


My concern with the micro bubbles being in tne live rock area is that thay may tend to trap on underside of the rock and join up with others crating little air pockets that will be harmful to the bacteria on the rock unless theres sufficient turbulence to sweep them away . Anythoughts?
good point Doug! if the flow is great enough i would think it would not be a huge concern, but is definately something to keep an eye on when it is running.

I see your point there, but don't I have to have a slower flow in the refuge area. I am thinking that increasing the flow in the LR area will also increase the flow rate in the refuge. Wouldn't it?
Yup, you might rearrange them so the LR area is after the fuge but before the baffles, that should take care of most bubbles I would think.
BTW Doody, welcome to TRT :D
ok, i have a solution for ya. i should make a pic, but it is late for me so bear with me. i know the pic is not to scale but it will work.

move the refuge to far left. put the baffles and the return pump in the middle, with the baffles towards the refuge. keep the skimmer where it is, but extend the output from the skimmer over to the refuge part. the only flow through the refuge will be from the skimmer, not the all of the water period. the skimmer output is where the micro bubbles will come from so the baffles will stop that from that direction. you can then have as much flow through the sump as you want without worrying about the refuge.

make sense?

Geoff, I think I need a visuall. I am kind of confused.
hopefully this will help. my photoshop skills have a lot to be desired.:D



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I thought you wanted all the water to flow through the skimmer. What would be the point of retuning the water to the tank before it goes through the skimmer, then LR, then refuge. That would be just circulating water from one area to the other. Forgive me of my Newbee ignorance. I just want to make sure I understand everything.
it is very difficult to get all of the water to go through the skimmer before it returns to the tank. the only way to do that is to run the return directly from the skimmer. the output of a skimmer is a lot lower than the what the pump is rated at. most of the water in peoples system do not make it through the skimmer before being returned. the skimmer is just grabbing what ever water it can as it goes wizzing by to the return pump.

the biggest drawback to the what i drew is that the water going through the refuge is "clean". there will not be as many goodies for the critters in the refuge to eat. of course this can be fixed by just adding another tiny pump in the sump area to supply the refuge, and just have the skimmer dump back into the sump.

I guess I should research refugs a little more to see what it is I want to keep in there. What are some good examoles?
usually you just have a littel sand and some LR for the halimeda to grab hold of.

this is why it is difficult to make a sump/refugium without some kind of compromises. most will run a refugium seperately with a seperate pump to supply the water.

One issue with combo sumps/refugiums is flowrate. In your 80 gal tank, you'll probably have around 800gph of flow, and all of that flow will by definition be going thru your sump, and therefore (unless you make some modifications) your refugium as well.

800 gph in your main tank may result in a tolerable amount of current, but in your sump/refugium (which typically are smaller than the main tank), 800gph will result in a very brisk current.

While this may not be inherenly bad, it will cause some headaches:
- that much current will make it difficult to have a sandbed (the sand will get blown all around
- that much current will not allow any detretius to settle out and feed the critters in the refugium

That's why Geoff's suggestion to have only part of the flow go thru the fuge is a good one. You can either have the fuge separate with only part of the flow going thru it, or you can have some of the flow bypass the fuge (have the fuge positioned so that some of the flow goes around it)
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