To sump or not to sump

By: saltynewbie
February 28th, 2009
8:47 pm

To sump or not to sump

I am facing a bit of a dilemna. My system right now is running fine without a sump but I am hearing that a sump is the way to go. Furthermore, I have a hang-on protein skimmer that looks somewhat unsightly hanging on to the side of my tank. I would like to hide it in my cabinet in the sump. When I bought my tank, I did not want a sump setup because I was afraid of it overflowing if ever the electricity cut out. This has happened to me in the past in my freshwater tank. I find the the whole sump system can be fairly finicky trying to adjust the water line.

Putting in a sump now is going to be time consuming as I will have to do some major work to have a small sump aquarium fit into my cabinet stand. My question is, do I really need one? I suppose I can live with a proetein skimmer hanging off the side.

Right now for filtration all I am running is a protein skimmer and about 120lb of live rock. This seems to be working fine. I also have a fluval 305 that is just circulating water. I've taken out the media. Should I get a bigger filter (my tank is about 135 gallon) to increase circulation?

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6 comments on "To sump or not to sump"

  • unclejed
    March 1, 2009 at 9:27 am

    O.k. Salty, let me address it this way. No, you do not need a sump. Now, a sump has many benefits and advantages. As you may be thinking, it can house the skimmer, a plus for ascetics. The sump is a little easier to add your top off water and is another place for media (if used) and more live rock or other bacteria producing media (bio balls, bio shred etc.) To address your concern for over flowing, if the hang on over flow is set to the correct depth in the tank, not allowing more than the sump can handle, there should never be a problem. Look into Megaflow sumps and I will answer more questions if you have them. I have to go for now, but will stay up on your concerns.

  • Judge
    March 1, 2009 at 10:44 am

    One more thing Salty.On the circulation issue, I would use a couple of #4 Koralias. They give lots of good movement, and you can direct the flow in any direction needed which is something you cannot do using a filter for water movement. I have heard it often said that you can never have too much flow. Another benefit is you are not as likely to have those dead areas where all kinds of undesirable stuff can grow. Movement alone can help tremendously with CB. Just my .02.

  • saltynewbie
    March 1, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I should have mentioned that i do have a #4 koralia (spelling?) in there as well as another pump that is probably twice as powerful as the #4. I have to position this pump in such a way that it hits a few rocks rather than a straight stream in order to prevent it sending the fish flying. Some of them actually enjoy being carried by the current.

    I have done some research and I may not be able to get a sump due to the fact that I have a 8" border at the top of my tank above the water line. It would be impossible to cut to add the overflow.

    I guess I will have to leave the hang on skimmer as is. I have also heard about stand alone external skimmers but have been unable to find how they work. Would it be possible to keep a skimmer in my cabinet below but have the piping go into the tank above?

  • unclejed
    March 2, 2009 at 3:38 am

    Yes, that was going to be my next suggestion. You will have to talk to someone at the place where you got the skimmer and ask what size pump you will need to cover the extra distance up.

  • saltynewbie
    March 2, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Thanks, will do!

  • lostanime
    March 2, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Many skimmers use pressure/resistance/head on the outlet (the part that discharges water back into tank or sump) to control the water height in the neck to the collection cup.

    Simply putting an external skimmer in the stand and plumbing up to your tank may cause your skimmer to overflow (and possibly even siphon your tank's water!)... the neck to the collection cup on external skimmers MOST of the time is above the water level it's returning to (hang-on skimmers have the cups above the tank water, and in-sump/external skimmers have the cups above the sump water level)

    Please let us know if your able to find a way to do this skimmer below the tank in a stand without a sump - would be very awesome!



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