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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think this warrant a good discussion, why noone setup a planted tank with a sump as it will be hugely beneficial (i will explain later). The usual answer is it will have too much surface movement for co2 which is completely false. Lets look at the setup:

Tank with overflow -> sump in the stand with a good water pump. Find a sump with the input and output towards the bottom of the sump, this will completely eliminate any surface movement.

So why do you need a sump?
1) All the ugly equipments can be completely hidden in the sump, ending up with a clean equipment-less tank
-heater
-co2 reactor(you can have as big a reactor as you want for 100% co2 absorption)
-power head (to create some surface movement at night if needed)
-ph controller..etc...
2) Easy automatic dosing: automatic dosing of 3x macro + 1x micro + iron etc.. is very difficult, now it can be easily and safely done by using those drip medical dosing bottles, just install 5 bottles above the sump and set the drip rate, gravity will do the rest. cheap reliable mechanical setup, no fancy electronic to malfunction. Also a constant drip dosing is much more effective.

3) Can have a light and throw some unsightly nutrient absorbers like watersprit / anarcharis in there to prevent excess algae in the main tank.

So the question remains, why noone has done a sump planted tank? is there something i am missing?
 

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I have a sump on my 75 gallon high tech tank. It works very well. For details and pictures check out the link to my journal in my signature.
 

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Hi newguy,

Nowadays I think lots of folks with big budgets who buy drilled (sw) tanks keep sumps. When I DIY'd my first sump in 2003/4?, no one was doing it and everybody felt that was due to CO2, which is silly since even a wet/dry will retain CO2 if it is sealed and not allowed to exchange gas with the atmosphere, and we have no purpose for the baffles and their cost in most SW sumps. Anyway, after you get to DIYing this stuff your creativity takes over. I ended up turning my sump/fuge into an emersed growth paludarium thingy while still connected to a main tank:

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...ulture/9469-emersed-growth-set-up-advice.html

(My old username on APC)

Planted sumps ('fuge moving forward, because it really does help to look at them as SW folks do theirs) are advantageous in more ways than you point out and the obvious (hides gear, more volume=easier dosing/stocking, etc):

1) One can run a reverse photoperiod between the main tank and fuge, keeping dissolved O2, CO2 and pH pretty close to stable.

2) Constant water height in the main tank! This is so huge it needs caps. Super easy water changes by removing the drain pipe leading to the sump, feeding it to some bucket, and then just dumping water into the sump.

3) Fuge is an excellent place for plant, fish, or shrimp growout. Also acclimation.

4) Personally, I think a low tech tank with a wet/dry sump to maintain dissolved CO2 at a level close to atmospheric CO2 may be the NPT of the future.

5) I prefered to dry dose into the sump, which is the prefect dry dosing container, but your drip idea is appealing, too.

Tricky ****:

Using a modified Durso standpipe or other drain can keep noise down while effectively surface skimming the main tank, a big deal for open top folks. I prefer this to your overflow idea because I believe it has less chance for failure (I drilled my main tank myself for this reason), but Durso is also prone to be noisy. You lose more CO2 than you'd think in the baffles of an overflow.

Prefilter on the main tank can be hard. Window screen was the best in my experience.

Leave the return piping so high in the main tank that power outage has minimal return to the tank.

In my time with the above set up, I converted my sump from a sump to a fuge to a planted tank to a paludarium. I think about running a sump again sometimes but if I did it again I'd do it in some super tall tank as a sump and pull it from under the main tank, making it a central point. Like a 24" cube tank would be slick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
that's awesome guys! i am so tempted to setup another larger tank to try out the sump idea! One of the biggest pet peeve i have with planted tank is all the equipments in the back of the tank and also the nutrient dosing, this should solve both problems!
 

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In late 2008, i set up ALL my new tanks with sumps. I never kept a reef tank so it was a learning experience. It just seemed like a great plan for large tanks, but certainly a challenge without having a good model to follow. One of my 3 tanks is discussed here 120g Journal, although details about the plumbing are minimal at this time.

"Wet" did a nice job summarizing the advantages and some of the challenges of using a sump with plant tanks. There may be more folks using them than you think. It would be nice to have a section of APC! Maybe all the old sump-related discussions (including a few of mine) could be linked so they are easier to find than with a search. This may encourage more folks to give sumps a try, including past reefers who already have the setup.

I strongly agree with advantages of "constant water height in the main tank." I also use my sump for extra plants and fish; shrimp are living there too., but i am having problem keeping them from going up to the top tank. I also have trouble keeping fish from going into the overflow. Plastic "skim," helps block the entry, but i occassionally find fry in the sump, which then becomes a grow out tank. I dry dose epsom salt and plaster of paris after each weekly water change (the water flow helps dissovle the CaSO4). I do my other ferts differently, but am reminded that i want to install a drip system for traces and macros. Details please. :)

My 3 drilled tanks are directly connected to the house plumbing, so in stead of playing with the drain pipe, i just turn a valve for water changes. I also have the plumbing configured to slow drip tap water thru a carbon filter to compensate for evaporation (especially during long vacations), but i have not yet taken advantage of the design.

I mostly solved the CO2 loss problem by sealing sump and raising dorso, but am still contempating the modified return that I think "Wet" is talking about. Although i have more mixing with atmospheric gas than i preferr, i currently dont worry about turning off the CO2 at night.

A good topic not yet discussed is filtration. I use 2" thick Poret sponges which also help partition the sump for fish and plants. On my relatively low fish load 120, i have not cleaned the sponges in over a year. Talk about low maintenance. In my other setup (two 90's connected to one 40g sump), i just cleaned the sponges after 14 months and i am suspecting the tanks and oxygen level are benefiting from the reduced load of accumulated organics.
--Neil
 

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I second the notion that there is probably a lot more people using sumps that we are led to believe. I remember seeing some dutch tanks with sumps, but it wasn't in english but I don't think they talk that much about it...

I always see the hang on back refugiums in the LFS and I have always wanted to try one out.

I know that a willow limb is a great way of stripping excess nutrients in a newly set up tank where the substrate is rapidly breaking down. A refugium would be a great place for them as well as being a place that provides fry and young shrimp shelter to grow out before joining the display tank community.
 

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Reasons I've not considered moving to a sump:

1) Noise and CO2 loss - even w/ a "sealed" sump, you've got to feed it tank water, typically by allowing it to flow down a standing pipe. Unless done with considerable care and planning, it will wind up being noisy (compared to an Eheim) and it will allow at least some CO2 loss.

2) Potential for flooding - if you get a nice clump of algae or some leaves blocking the intake for your stand pipe... I know that canister filters can drain a tank as well (despite holes just below the water surface in return lines and whatever other precautions many of us take), but I tend to rate the probability of a flood as being higher w/ a sump.

3) Cleaning - my Eheim is a lot easier to yank out and clean than most sumps are (I'd wager).

If it feels good, do it and I'm happy for your successes, but it still isn't "my cup of tea".
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
hey any of you guys tried something like this for automatic dosing? i am really curious if it works for planted tanks: http://www.marinedepot.com/dosing_pumps_top_off_kent_marine_aquadose-ap.html

you probably want to use medical grade dosers not this one, but same concept.

Squawkbert, flooding should never be a problem ever if you set up the overflow correctly. It's easy to test, just turn off the power with a bucket/cup ready and see if the water level in the sump will go above the max line.
 

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I suspect that in a planted tank, teh most likely spot for a flood is from the display tank, due to clogging up the overflow and having the sump contents pumped into the tank w/o any return.
 

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I suspect that in a planted tank, teh most likely spot for a flood is from the display tank, due to clogging up the overflow and having the sump contents pumped into the tank w/o any return.
In my 1 year experience, i had a small flood. But it was from a seam leak in the sump. I believe that is quite unusual and obvously can also occur in the main tank. I would like to know how often overflow clogs occur.

I do agree one disadvantage to the overflow/sump system is the noise of water spilling into the overflow. This tends to be worst for me when a piece of plant get stuck and creates a new "stream." Otherwise gunk on the inside slows down the water, keeps it dispersed and relatively quiet, but definitely not like an eheim. The white noise of my system however can be quite soothing, and also gives me an excuse when i dont respond to my wife. :)
 

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I've had my sump for only about 6 months. The way mine is setup and flood would be due to long term neglect. If the slats get clogged water will flow over the plastic divider and into the overflow pipe area. My pipe which carries water from tank to sump has one large end hole (1/2" PVC) and 3 smaller holes (designed to prevent siphoning, but water will flow through them). I set the sump water level by turning off the power and checking how high the water gets.

A sump may be more likely to flood than a non-sump tank, but if done correctly a sump system should be very safe.

I specifically asked about this when setting up my system, and the LFS guy (maintains many tanks around the city and is known as "the go to guy" for aquarium setup and plumbing challenges in my area) who helped me set it up assured me it would be safe. BTW he wasn't selling me the sump equipment (I got most of it from home depot and lowes) so he didn't have any conflict of interest.

The water flow noise is definitely louder than any of my cannister filters, but it can be minimized by adjusting the plumbing. I have my tank in the wall which also helps dampen the noise in the adjacent living room.
 

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With a little bit of work you can make it so you have no noise comeing from your overflow. I also recomend adding atleast 1 extra and a higher hight for "emergencys"
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I do agree one disadvantage to the overflow/sump system is the noise of water spilling into the overflow.
wow are you serious, how can you live with the overflow noise it would drive anyone insane! :kev:

check out durso pipe: http://shop.dursostandpipes.com this is the original website of the guy who invented it, but if you google there are many variations now you can buy.
 

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The 1000L GLMT that I am building and posting about in the DIY forum is going to be a planted tank with a large sump. It is my first sump and reasons for having it is very much what you tabulated but the most important reason, I suppose, for my having planned a sump is it would ensure a better and uniform water parameter. Severe pruning operations in a planted tank does play havoc with water parameters - even regular trimmings leave their effect. A large sump filter will go a long way in masking those resultant effects.

I am not worried about CO2 losses. CO2 is perhaps the cheapest running cost input in a planted tank after water.
 

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Sumps are cool newguy, I have one on my largest tank. It has all the equipment in it.

I can see the point there...

unsightly nutrient absorbers like watersprit / anarcharis
But I found it offensive when you said anacharis is unsightly... Egeria najas and Elodea Nuttalli are among my favourite species!
 

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I have to admit, I am very curious why, whenever sumps come up, we can't use a closed siphon. I can think of only 2 reasons.

- restarting the siphon after power failure (if flood prevention is by siphon break)
- balancing the siphon flowrate with the return pump flowrate

Are these insurmountable? It seems like a lot of effort is spent preventing noise, CO2 degas, air entrainment, etc with overflows when a closed siphon would fix this for freshwater sumps.
 

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... The white noise of my system however can be quite soothing, and also gives me an excuse when i dont respond to my wife. :)
Okay, I'm sold!

I've often been told that the CO2 loss was a major reason for not doing it on a planted tank, but like everyone else, I am wanting to take the heater, CO2 dissolution, and other items that gunk up the visual appeal out of the main tank. Is there anyone on this forum that has done a direct comparison (same tank) of with/without sump on CO2 loss? I'm wanting to do a 125 or 150 as my next setup and finding a used S/W setup that is drilled is a relatively easy task on my local Craigslist. In fact, if it does prove out that there is minimal off-gassing, I'm going to be rather upset on passing up a few deals on large tanks.
 

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I had the same concern and I was really pumping the CO2 into my tank to compensate.

Then I got a drop checker and learned a little more about CO2 delivery (Optimizing CO2 thread).

It turned out I was putting way too much CO2 into the tank. When I adjusted the CO2 to an appropriate level I realized how little gas off was occurring.

I left the CO2 off overnight and the pH would drift from about 6.5 only up to 6.7 or 6.8. So in my tank CO2 gas off is really not an issue.
 

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Sumps below the main tank:
Dog drinks out of them, then has a very slightly fishy breath.
On non-drilled tank the automatic self starting siphon is not reliable. I have 2. One restarts about 75% of the time, but not at full volume. The other restarts about 25% of the time. They plug up very easily. Drilled tank restarts 100% of the time, and is less likely to get plugged up. Float switches on the pumps are not reliable.
'Sump' above the tank is a window box growing Heartleaf Philodendron. A fountain pump in the tank runs water up to it. Never any problem. Has run for years. Just gotta clean the media around the fountain pump intake about once a month.
If I could solve the plumbing problems I think I would want to set up more and more creative sumps. For example: A planted sump between two tanks that also have a water bridge.
 
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