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Discussion Starter #1
Last night I picked up a wet/dry sump that I plan on using with my 130 gallon bottom drilled acrylic tank. I'd like to have things up and running this weekend.

I've never set up a sump before and I want to do this properly (read: no overflowing if the power goes out! :eek:) I'd really appreciate advice, reading recommendations, and guidance on this one.

Who are the sump experts out there?
 

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I'm no expert as I'm just setting up my first sump but the biggest thing to remember is to only fill the tank and sump enough to keep the flow going. Leave as much room as you can so that when you unplug the pump (power outage) there is enough room in the sump to hold all the water that will flow back down into the sump. Once you have it nicely set up and things are smooth, I would mark those water levels so that you know how much water you need to do top ups and for water changes. For my tank, basically the water level was just about half way up the teeth of the overflows, and then in the sump, just enough water to supply the intake to the pump which in my case was right up to underneath my bioball section.
 

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Good to know, I'll figure out where the water lines should be. I'll have to buy a check valve, pump, and plumbing. Does anyone have any recommendations for where to go for plumbing? What about calculating pump size?
 

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if you go to "cichlid forum.com", i think they have the calculators. home depot has a good supply of hard fittings, if you go soft, industrial paints. as for pumps, i have a gen x @ 800 gph and my hob overflow is 1200. i dont know if its the best cuse i bought it off the internet when i was drunk.

bailey
 

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Your maximum down flow will depend on two things mainly: size of bulkhead/pipe and size of overflowbox/teeth.

A 1" bulkhead will handle 600gph. In which case, you get a pump rated for around 500-550gph with head loss and you're fine.

When testing your sump volume, fill up your display and have only a little water in your sump. Mark the water level. Then turn off the pump and see how high the water level in the sump rises. That gives you a rough estimate for how much volume of water you have to compensate for in case of power outage. You can then repeat this test with the sump filled higher, leaving enough empty volume to compensate for the tested volume plus a couple inches extra.

If your return is under water in the display, that becomes your draining point in case of a power outage.
 

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I found Rona to be way better for plumbing parts than HD. If you can't find what you need there, go to wholesalers like Emco. Check valves are ok but don't rely on them to save you from a flood. A properly set up sump should never flood if its designed properly with the right volumes.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here's a picture of the sump. It's full of bio-balls as you can see, but I'm not 100% sure what other media to use. I've got some large filter bags, carbon, filter floss etc...

 

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that looks very similar to the one I am settingup for my 180 gallon. the only extra I will have is a layer of floss at the top to grab small particles as kind of a pre filter for the bio balls.
I am going to be running eheim cannister filters also to aid in keeping the water clear.
 

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You can throw all kinds of stuff in the sump which is what is so great about it. In that baffle in the pic, you can put a foam block in there to trap any particles that get past the top of your sump if you are using filter mat there. I'm going to be putting my heaters in there too. I don't think sumps are that good at mechanical so I'm also using canisters in my setup.
 

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I would recommend putting a check valve on your return line. It means you don't get any back-siphoning when your pump shuts offs. So gives you more leeway on water levels.

I'm using one of these myself, works great:

http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+10090+7900+4076&pcatid=4076
Never, ever trust a check valve. Over time it is almost guaranteed to fail, perhaps not catastrophically, but all it takes is one tiny piece of detritus or a worn out seal to start a leak. Given Murphy's law, that leak will occur when you are on vacation.

It is dead simple to design a sump system that is 100% flood proof simply by having the return outlet at the display's surface thereby minimizing any back siphoning.
 

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yea check valves fail alot on salt i had one and it did that to me
take it from a plumber (me) they teach in school that all mechanical devices will eventually fail for any variety of reasons.
I am using the the water level overflow control that others mentioned here.
 

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i think sumps are GREAT for mechanical. in your case, you can have a pre filter before the bio balls. in the compartment before the outlet, you can sandwich course, medium and fine foam as filter media. remember to leave room for an overflow incase of clogging. after your return pump you can add a canister like red sea or ocean clear with a 300 micron paper filter. cant get better mechanical than that IMO.

bailey
 

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i was told that u put a filter pad or filter floss in the top little slit were the water first goes in. that traps all the bigger junk befor the bioballs.
 

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i was told that u put a filter pad or filter floss in the top little slit were the water first goes in. that traps all the bigger junk befor the bioballs.
Yes, a filter mat before the bioballs works well. After that you can further supplement the mechanical. Filter mat is super easy to clean/ swap out too.
 

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does anyone use the filter "sock" type of mechanical filter before the bio balls? I have seen them in use in some photos.
I'm curious if it works better than a floss mat.
 

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does anyone use the filter "sock" type of mechanical filter before the bio balls? I have seen them in use in some photos.
I'm curious if it works better than a floss mat.
Same idea as floss, but socks are also washable and reuseable. I used to rotate three socks for my sump.
 
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