Freshwater sump. Why not? - Equipment - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 10-08-2011, 07:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Freshwater sump. Why not?

I have been thinking lately. Saltwater tanks have sumps with live rock in it, why not a freshwater tank? I know a lot of these planted tanks have a ton of circulation. What if you were to have a sump with "live rock" of sorts in it? Say, lava rock or texas holey rock or something like that, would it do the same thing? And with that, do you think you could run a refugium with say some stems and moss or something? Does anyone have any experience with this? If you do I would love to hear your take on it and see your setups if you have one.
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Freshwater sump. Why not?

I have a sump on my 75g high tech planted tank and I love it.

Mine serves 2 main funtions.
1. The sump houses equipment so it isn't seen in the main tank
2. The sump acts as my filter. I installed a utility sink in the small room behind my in-wall aquarium. Water flows into the sump, then through a sheet of poret foam, and then a submerged pump pumps the water back to the tank. I also have some bioballs and aquarium gravel on one side of the foam. That is my only filtration on this tank and it has been working great for a couple of years.

Since my sump is a working sink it provides a couple other benefits. When I do a water change I unplug the drain and the sump empties (about 15 gallons). Then I siphon water from the main tank into the unplugged sink until I have removed as much as I want. To refill the tank, I get the water temp correct (I have hot and cold water like a regular sink), plug the sink, and when the water gets high enough I start the pump. When the water level is correct I turn off the water. So no buckets or water hauling are involved in a water change. It is very quick and easy.

There are a couple drawbacks.
1. The sump setup is noisier than a HOB filter or cannister filter. It isn't terrible, but it is noisier.
2. I probably lose some CO2 due to surface disturbance as water goes from the main tank down to the sump.

I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

You could definitely add plants or rocks or other filter material to the sump if you wanted. I don't add plants because I add ferts to get my plants in the tank to grow well. It would be a great idea if you didn't want plants in the main tank for some reason. A large emersed plant would probably be the best for filter purpose since they can grow faster without adding CO2 to the water. I saw a fish room setup on a web page once where many tanks were plumbed together and a sump had a huge emersed plant (probably 4 feet tall) which helped with filtration. I've thought about trying to grow a tomato plant like this, but I've never tried it.

I have pictures of the setup (before the poret foam was installed) in my tank journal below in my signature.
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Freshwater sump. Why not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by geeks_15 View Post
I have a sump on my 75g high tech planted tank and I love it.

Mine serves 2 main funtions.
1. The sump houses equipment so it isn't seen in the main tank
2. The sump acts as my filter. I installed a utility sink in the small room behind my in-wall aquarium. Water flows into the sump, then through a sheet of poret foam, and then a submerged pump pumps the water back to the tank. I also have some bioballs and aquarium gravel on one side of the foam. That is my only filtration on this tank and it has been working great for a couple of years.

Since my sump is a working sink it provides a couple other benefits. When I do a water change I unplug the drain and the sump empties (about 15 gallons). Then I siphon water from the main tank into the unplugged sink until I have removed as much as I want. To refill the tank, I get the water temp correct (I have hot and cold water like a regular sink), plug the sink, and when the water gets high enough I start the pump. When the water level is correct I turn off the water. So no buckets or water hauling are involved in a water change. It is very quick and easy.

There are a couple drawbacks.
1. The sump setup is noisier than a HOB filter or cannister filter. It isn't terrible, but it is noisier.
2. I probably lose some CO2 due to surface disturbance as water goes from the main tank down to the sump.

I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

You could definitely add plants or rocks or other filter material to the sump if you wanted. I don't add plants because I add ferts to get my plants in the tank to grow well. It would be a great idea if you didn't want plants in the main tank for some reason. A large emersed plant would probably be the best for filter purpose since they can grow faster without adding CO2 to the water. I saw a fish room setup on a web page once where many tanks were plumbed together and a sump had a huge emersed plant (probably 4 feet tall) which helped with filtration. I've thought about trying to grow a tomato plant like this, but I've never tried it.

I have pictures of the setup (before the poret foam was installed) in my tank journal below in my signature.
Wow. Thanks for the info man. I am gonna have to read your threads now. I wanna see this bad boy in action.

I never thought about the emersed plants to help with the nutrient export. I know some of the salt water guys use mongrove trees and upon reading a bit further into it, you can use it for fresh water too. I am thinking a planted sump would be better for cichlid owners who really can't have plants in the tank due to them being destroyed by the fish.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Or maybe you could have a sump with goldfish in it to fertilize your planted aquarium! Haha, just playing.
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Freshwater sump. Why not?

Sump in a sink, that is just brilliant!
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Old 10-09-2011, 05:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Freshwater sump. Why not?

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Or maybe you could have a sump with goldfish in it to fertilize your planted aquarium! Haha, just playing.
Lol. That could work if the sump were a pond.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Pond sump...brilliant! That's definitely a 1 upper on the sink sump. Haha. But seriously, the sink sump is truly brilliant.
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Freshwater sump. Why not?

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Pond sump...brilliant! That's definitely a 1 upper on the sink sump. Haha. But seriously, the sink sump is truly brilliant.
This is true.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Freshwater sump. Why not?

Quote:
I never thought about the emersed plants to help with the nutrient export. I know some of the salt water guys use mongrove trees and upon reading a bit further into it, you can use it for fresh water too. I am thinking a planted sump would be better for cichlid owners who really can't have plants in the tank due to them being destroyed by the fish.
Mangroves could work. I have emersed philodendrons (probably the fastest growing and easiest of these 3) and lucky bamboo in an open top tank that also grow with relatively low light. All 3 of these grow fairly slowly, but also don't need much light to grow. You could put a bunch of them in a sump to increase the nutrient removal.

Another plant that would work in a sump, probably better than anything, is duckweed. It grows fast and is great at removing nutrients. I know it is scary to introduce duckweed to a tank, but with surface movement in the main tank it should keep the duckweed from spreading in the main tank. I net out duckweed from my aquariums and compost it. If it ever gets out of hand you could add the goldfish from the pond sump to eat it.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Freshwater sump. Why not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by geeks_15 View Post
Mangroves could work. I have emersed philodendrons (probably the fastest growing and easiest of these 3) and lucky bamboo in an open top tank that also grow with relatively low light. All 3 of these grow fairly slowly, but also don't need much light to grow. You could put a bunch of them in a sump to increase the nutrient removal.

Another plant that would work in a sump, probably better than anything, is duckweed. It grows fast and is great at removing nutrients. I know it is scary to introduce duckweed to a tank, but with surface movement in the main tank it should keep the duckweed from spreading in the main tank. I net out duckweed from my aquariums and compost it. If it ever gets out of hand you could add the goldfish from the pond sump to eat it.
That is what I am looking for. I know of a few plants that this would work well with. And you just gave me a few more. The sump would not be high light at all. But I think it would be really beneficial to have something like this. Especially if you keep cichlids, or have a high bioload in the main tank. As far as the duckweed goes, I think that may be a problem as I am looking at something with baffles in it that would allow the water to flow over them to the next part of the sump. However, if you designed it a bit differently, I am sure that would be an excellent plant to use. And like you said, if it gets too bad, you can throw a goldfish in there for a while to help get it under control again.

As far as the pond acting as a sump, right now that is just a dream for me, lol, but someday, maybe, it will be a reality.
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