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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As of 2:00 am this morning, my first sump is completely up and running. Everything went pretty much according to plan I think and I'm really stoked about it. I was able to build this whole setup for just under $200. Here are the specs:

10 gallon sump
Mag 5 return
Eshopps PF-300 overflow
PVC plumbing

Everything is functioning correctly and the only leak I ended up with was just because I hadn't tightened down the overflow bulkhead enough, Whew!. All my corals and fish seem to be taking the change alright. They are a bit stressed I guess because of the added flow and such. My xenias are extraordinarily ticked off but It's most likely because I increased the water volume by about 60 - 75% by adding this sump and the water is MUCH cleaner than what they were used to. Oh well, if I lose them I don't really care too much. They were spreading too fast and getting out of hand. So, enough talk. Here's some pictures of the whole setup:



















There it all is. I'll post an update in a few more days after everything has stabalized more and I've dialed in my return flow just the way I want.
 

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Thanks for the pics. Is the pipe on the hose flexible? Do you think it could be replaced with a standard length of hose? I have a 3inch glass ledge on the inside of the tank the overflow would have to pass over. Do you have a protein skimmer?
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, I'm just using standard PVC but you can use flexible PVC just as well with no problems. I just don't have a very good supply of flexible tubing as readily available to me where I live. No, I don't have a protien skimmer right now. Just doing regular water changes to keep things clean and replenish lost trace elements.
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Alright, this sump adventure is going to be on pause for a while. I took the entire system out of commission for the time being. It appears I must have got a chemical contaminant somehow into the sump setup. As of this evening I've been fighting water cloudyness with water changes and my animals have been very stressed and a couple corals are beginning to keel over. My xenias have almost all but melted away (not INSANELY sad about that as they were beginning to take over the rock they are on and move on to other rocks around them), but the one that REALLY saddens me is it appears I've almost lost my pink birdsnest coral due to this insanity. It's lost about 10% of it's tissue and is bleaching out. About 25% of it still has pretty good color though so I'm at least a good chunk of the colony pulls through. I really hope I don't lose the whole thing as I've had it for nearly a year now and it has just about quadrupled in size since I've got it. It was just a tiny one-inch two-spiked frag and now it's a pretty full little colony about 5 inches around. I'm going to miss that little guy if he goes so I really hope he pulls through. My two fish, my ocellaris clown and my blackbar chromis, are just fine. They seem to have been entirely unaffected by this. My two leathers are pretty closed up but look like they are alright. My green striped mushrooms and yellow polyps are all closed up as well. About the only good thing out of this mess is I think that it appears that alot of the hitchhiker curly-cue anemones that came in on my live rock have pretty much died off or are on their way out. I wouldn't mind so much if they go.

So that's it for the sump for now. I'm going to connect it and the plumbing in a seperate loop system with fresh water for a few weeks and run carbon and see if I can't clear out whatever was in there and I'll give this another go in a few more weeks when things have had time to settle out and everyone is happy again. I wish I had more luck with this sump but, oh well, such is life. Hopefully I can clean it all up and the next go around will work beautifully!
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nice work. You should throw that heater down in the sump.
Haha, most definately. I plan on it. It heats the system great but it's hard to make a 12" heater "blend in" to a 20 gallon Long tank.
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have to say, I really like the way it all came out and the whole thing functions incredibly well. Too bad it somehow stressed the heck out of my animals. Oh well, a few good rinsings and some more time ought to do it and I'll have it set back up for round two.
 

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reefer madness
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you know what they say, second times does the trick...
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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2,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have to give mad props to that Eshopps PF-300 overflow there too. That thing works like a charm and holds the syphon perfectly even when the pump is shut off. Very good bulletproof design and for only $40 for a 300gph overflow you just can't beat it.
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update: I ran fresh water through the sump system all last week with activated carbon and did a couple water changes on it too. This week I've disconnected everything again and I'm letting it dry out real good and then I'll rinse it out again good this weekend and connect the sump back into my main system again for round two. It will have had two weeks outside the system getting a good rinse down so hopefully I won't have to worry about whatever freaked out my tank last time. The only loss from the last time ended up being my pink birdsnest coral. It is entirely dead now and just a white skeleton. At least nothing else died though and all my corals are opening up again and happy after a few good sized water changes this last week.
 

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Wow, that's sad and strange all at the same time. Just a question though, what silicone did you use to assemble the sump and was the tank you used new or used? How long did you let the sump sit and allow the silicone to cure after assembly?
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·


This bottle is the kind I used. The tank itself was already put together. It was the 10 gallon I used as my first nano tank for a year. I cleaned it very well before using it for the sump though. Had to soak it in vinegar water and scrape all the coralline off the glass. Rinsed it really well too. I only used the silicone to put in 3 baffles. The bottle itself does say it isn't recommended for aquariums in the fine print on the back but I had already purchased the silicone and many on the forums were of the opinion that it was most likely labled as such only because of the strength of the particular silicone. It doesn't mention any anti-molding agents or anything and says it's 100% silicone. To answer your question on the curing, the silicone cured for 2 weeks before I ran any water through the system. The other thing that kinda worried me is I used purple primer and clear PVC cement on the plumbing. I've heard these are perfectly safe for reef use after they are completely cured. I let the PVC cure for 1 week before running water through it and checking for leaks (there were none, all was good). The smell of the PVC primer and cement kinda freaks me out though. Even now, after the plumbing has all been rinsed out really good and has been sitting out drying for the last few days I can still somewhat smell it inside the pipes. I'm hoping running the system all last week with fresh water and activated carbon will have helped clean out whatever might have been in there if it was a contaminant problem. There's nothing else I can think of that would have caused such chaos. I am wondering though, with the sump I did almost double the water flow in the tank. Could the sudden change in flow be possibly what caused all the tank stress? I know I've heard of flow changes killing off xenia before but I'm not sure if that could have been what caused the death of my birdsnest coral. Any idea? Thanks Tony.
 

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Here's my thing. I know everyone says that GE silicone is safe to use. Read the label, it clearly stated that it contains Petroleum Distillates. While this may not effect larger systems (solution to pollution is dilution) it could have negative effects on smaller systems. For now on, use what the tank manufacturers use. Momentive 108 for clear and Momentive 103 for black, available at Grainger and occasionally available at some of the local hardware stores (other than the big box places).

PVC cement and primer are 100% ok after they have cured. No need to worry there.
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok, another update. I decided rather than spend the time and effort to attempt to remove the old silicone from the tank and baffles of my 10 gallon sump, I would simply build another one. I grabbed another 10 gallon tank for 12 bucks. Picked up a picture frame I could pull the glass out of that would fit it decent (It's an hour for me to drive to a Lowes so it's just not worth it for me to go get a few sheets of glass cut exactly). I managed to find some Momentive RTV108 silicone thankfully. I put the new sump together tonight (decided on only 1 baffle this time because I really didn't have that many bubbles to deal with anyway). This one should turn out much better than the last. I'll post some pics after the silicone has cured and I get it all put together.
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Dang, been busy with work so I haven't gotten around to getting this set back up yet. At least the silicone in the new sump has had a good 4 days to cure now. LOL. I plan on setting this all up tonight if all goes well. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be able to give an update on the setup with some new pictures. I'm crossing my fingers hoping all goes well this time. It should. The PVC plumbing that I put together for this setup is nearly a month cured now and has been rinsed several times and the sump has been entirely rebuilt new with good Momentive silicone. I've double checked my pump that it isn't leaking any stray voltage into the water so I think all my variables are covered and this setup should go MUCH smoother than last time.
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I rinsed everything one more time last night and got the sump all set up. I came down with a bad head cold though and just wasn't feeling to good so I didn't get it all up and running yet. Hopefully this evening, if I'm feeling better, I'll pour some water in that puppy and get her going.
 

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ahh.. take care of yourself first... no need to worry, I will hold the squirrel off for another couple of days :)
 
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