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Old 10-09-2011, 08:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Freshwater sump. Why not?

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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