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Old 11/20/2017, 11:42 AM   #1
devildog999
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Freshwater Sump

Putting together a freswater system for a Schouldenti Puffer (Spotted Congo Puffer). Not used to doing sumps for freshwater, though I did have one for a system that was sold that way). What would be a good way to design a freshwater sump (thinking about a 20g tank) or where should I look to replicate a design?


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Old 11/20/2017, 12:26 PM   #2
fishguy306
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What type of media do you plan to use? I did a moving bed with k1, so I have three sections, first is with the socks and probes I'm using, second is with the k1 and air stones to move it, last is with the return pumps and heater. I didn't want to deal with baffles so I'm using malata mat. It lets water through but holds the k1 in place.


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Old 11/20/2017, 02:14 PM   #3
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I did a sump on my freshwater tank using a rubbermaid storage tub and 3 drawer storage bin converted into a trickle filter. DIY king on youtube gives a very easy rundown on how to do it. He also has a how to on moving bed filters like fishguy306 is using.


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Old 11/20/2017, 06:23 PM   #4
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I did a sump on my freshwater tank using a rubbermaid storage tub and 3 drawer storage bin converted into a trickle filter. DIY king on youtube gives a very easy rundown on how to do it. He also has a how to on moving bed filters like fishguy306 is using.
Why I didn't think to just look up a Joey project from the beginning is beyond me, thank you.


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Old 11/21/2017, 02:36 AM   #5
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I've seen sumps on freshwater tanks, but I've never understood why.
Sumps are useful in saltwater tanks because 1) Saltwater is very dense, and more difficult to oxygenate than freshwater, and 2) High oxygenation is very important to keep a high pH, which is necessary in a marine environment. Neither is true for freshwater. I maintained approximately 85 total freshwater aquariums in the field and at my business and never measured pH. I had to do bi-monthly water changes anyway - that's the only good way to "adjust" pH in freshwater. In nature, pH in freshwater systems fluctuates wildly.
You can provide adequate aeration in freshwater through traditional means, i.e. HOB filters, etc.
However - if you want to keep tubing and other unsightly stuff out of the tank, you can't beat a sump. Puffers are famous for biting through electric cords, airline tubing, fingers, etc. And the extra oxygen is always beneficial. Come to think of it, a sump sounds like a good idea for puffers!
You can use a 20 gallon, but I'd keep it very simple - socks/sponges, media (bioballs?) and a good return pump. That's all you need.
Good luck with the Congo puffer. That's one of coolest critters you can keep!


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Old 11/21/2017, 07:13 AM   #6
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I've seen sumps on freshwater tanks, but I've never understood why.
Sumps are useful in saltwater tanks because 1) Saltwater is very dense, and more difficult to oxygenate than freshwater, and 2) High oxygenation is very important to keep a high pH, which is necessary in a marine environment. Neither is true for freshwater. I maintained approximately 85 total freshwater aquariums in the field and at my business and never measured pH. I had to do bi-monthly water changes anyway - that's the only good way to "adjust" pH in freshwater. In nature, pH in freshwater systems fluctuates wildly.
You can provide adequate aeration in freshwater through traditional means, i.e. HOB filters, etc.
However - if you want to keep tubing and other unsightly stuff out of the tank, you can't beat a sump. Puffers are famous for biting through electric cords, airline tubing, fingers, etc. And the extra oxygen is always beneficial. Come to think of it, a sump sounds like a good idea for puffers!
You can use a 20 gallon, but I'd keep it very simple - socks/sponges, media (bioballs?) and a good return pump. That's all you need.
Good luck with the Congo puffer. That's one of coolest critters you can keep!
You hit it when guessing why it would be good for me anyway. That puffer doesn't need to have things with electricity to bite into. That being said, I have a couple other reasons. For one, I'd rather not spend another 300 bucks on a fluval canister filter like I used to do. Going to do a drip box over bioballs and have that then lead to some carbon and filter pads. The other big reason for me is to have a place to breed snails and have them be safe. They may try to breed in the DT but the puffer is likely to make short work of them, which is fine except I'd like to have some self sustainability with snail populations. And lastly, it adds more water volume which just adds to the overall stability of the system. For me, the bigger the system, the easier it is for me to keep things stable.


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Old 11/21/2017, 10:28 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by WVfishguy View Post
I've seen sumps on freshwater tanks, but I've never understood why.
Sumps are useful in saltwater tanks because 1) Saltwater is very dense, and more difficult to oxygenate than freshwater, and 2) High oxygenation is very important to keep a high pH, which is necessary in a marine environment. Neither is true for freshwater. I maintained approximately 85 total freshwater aquariums in the field and at my business and never measured pH. I had to do bi-monthly water changes anyway - that's the only good way to "adjust" pH in freshwater. In nature, pH in freshwater systems fluctuates wildly.
You can provide adequate aeration in freshwater through traditional means, i.e. HOB filters, etc.
However - if you want to keep tubing and other unsightly stuff out of the tank, you can't beat a sump. Puffers are famous for biting through electric cords, airline tubing, fingers, etc. And the extra oxygen is always beneficial. Come to think of it, a sump sounds like a good idea for puffers!
You can use a 20 gallon, but I'd keep it very simple - socks/sponges, media (bioballs?) and a good return pump. That's all you need.
Good luck with the Congo puffer. That's one of coolest critters you can keep!
I think a lot of it depends on the fish you are keeping like you mentioned. Small common lfs fish, I'd have to agree with you. A sump would be way overkill. Then there are some that keep large and messy fish. Personally my guilty pleasure is stingrays. They need a ton of filtration, some HOB and a canister won't cut it. Plus like you mentioned, keeping the equipment out of the tank. My FW tank will never look as good as most people's reef, but looking at heaters and cords still isn't something nice to look at.

For my tank I'm running the water through a couple of socks, followed by the moving bed in the sump, followed by an over sized UV and carbon reactor. Yeah, it is overkill, but I wouldn't be able to do all that with a canister. So there are reasons for a fw sump! lol


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Old 11/21/2017, 10:33 AM   #8
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but I wouldn't be able to do all that with a canister. So there are reasons for a fw sump! lol
And it'll cost quite a bit less than a quality canister filter and be more reliable. The stress of doing a late night water change and having the darn gasket on the fluval 305 go bad so now you have nothing moving the water.


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Old 11/21/2017, 11:16 AM   #9
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The future inhabitant of the tank hath arrived.




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Old 11/21/2017, 11:40 AM   #10
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And it'll cost quite a bit less than a quality canister filter and be more reliable. The stress of doing a late night water change and having the darn gasket on the fluval 305 go bad so now you have nothing moving the water.
Exactly! I hate canisters so much. I ended up putting one on my tank just because I had it, but I keep thinking I'm going to pull it off. It takes up too much stand space.

Cute little guy you got! One of these days I'd love a larger puffer species.


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Old 11/21/2017, 06:32 PM   #11
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Exactly! I hate canisters so much. I ended up putting one on my tank just because I had it, but I keep thinking I'm going to pull it off. It takes up too much stand space.

Cute little guy you got! One of these days I'd love a larger puffer species.
Don't blame you there; if I still had one lying around, I'd likely connect it just because I have it until it died off. But the hassle is just not worth it. Every time you clean the darn thing, you hope and pray that a) it doesn't leak and b) it works properly and doesn't decide not to work.

I'm excited about him. Got him from exoticfishshop.com; the owner there is pretty cool and will keep you informed on fish you are buying... which is important when you are dropping 200 bucks on a fish.


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Old 11/21/2017, 08:51 PM   #12
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The other big reason for me is to have a place to breed snails and have them be safe.
This never occurred to me. I've got thousands of Malaysian live bearing snails in the gravel of my freshwater tanks. They act like earthworms, stirring the substrate and preventing dead spots. They come out at night, disappear in the gravel in day time. With no fish present, they never hide. With a sump, you could easily stock the snails you want and feed the puffer accordingly. Red Rams horns would be great, - big, meaty snails. But you'd need a lighted 'fuge for algae growth. You could take a small dish, place a few pellets on it in the evening, then transfer pellets and accumulated snails to the puffer the next morning. Happy fish!


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Old 11/22/2017, 07:48 AM   #13
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This never occurred to me. I've got thousands of Malaysian live bearing snails in the gravel of my freshwater tanks. They act like earthworms, stirring the substrate and preventing dead spots. They come out at night, disappear in the gravel in day time. With no fish present, they never hide. With a sump, you could easily stock the snails you want and feed the puffer accordingly. Red Rams horns would be great, - big, meaty snails. But you'd need a lighted 'fuge for algae growth. You could take a small dish, place a few pellets on it in the evening, then transfer pellets and accumulated snails to the puffer the next morning. Happy fish!
Very true, though I don't mind putting a light down there and also supplementing some algae wafers and other stuff. I have a feeling my puffer would clear out your sandbed of those snails pretty quickly. Kind of like a Harlequin erasing your nuisance stars.


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Old 11/22/2017, 02:15 PM   #14
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I have a feeling my puffer would clear out your sandbed of those snails pretty quickly. Kind of like a Harlequin erasing your nuisance stars.
Those snails have been in with my fancy goldfish and African cichlids, both of which will devour every snail they find. I've had them for more than 20 years. They are livebearers - no unsightly globs of snail eggs on the glass.

They give birth in the gravel - other species are eaten as soon as they hatch.

While any other kind of snail is quickly eliminated, the Malaysians borrow deep in the gravel at the first sign of predation. Even when the Africans dig up the gravel, the snails survive.

They come out in total darkness to feed and reproduce (I know some people like that!). Malaysians are the only kind of snail I know of to do that - that's why they are so valuable to me.

They would be great for puffers - the puffers would get any Malaysian which didn't burrow quickly enough, or was too slow to get off the glass when the lights came on - and there would still be enough to repopulate.


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Old 11/22/2017, 07:01 PM   #15
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This sounds like a good snail to go after. I will have to talk with my LFS. Thank you for the tip.


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Old 11/22/2017, 10:47 PM   #16
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BTW - For what it's worth - Malaysians don't touch plants.


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Old 11/23/2017, 06:00 PM   #17
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I made a 40g breeder sump for my 150G discus/cardinal tetra tank. It uses Bean Animal overflow to first chamber, over to filter socks, then under,over,under to 3 Siporax chambers and then over to a return chamber with heater, ATO level sensor, pH and temp probes and a 300w Eheim Jaeger heater. Return is via a manifold driven by a Mag18 pump that also powers 3 gate valves for UV, etc. The entire sump is covered by glass to minimize spashing and evaporation. 5G of RO in the ATO typically lasts 2.5 weeks. Unlike the tank this one replaced (2 x Eheim 2217 canister filters with Siporax), I have no algae growth at all in this tank despite 15 adult discus, ~75 cardinal tetras, 6 bristlenose Ancistrus, 10 rummy nose tetras, 6 German Rams and a few Amano shrimp.


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Old 11/23/2017, 10:06 PM   #18
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I have no algae growth at all in this tank despite 15 adult discus, ~75 cardinal tetras, 6 bristlenose Ancistrus, 10 rummy nose tetras, 6 German Rams and a few Amano shrimp.
My discus tanks never had algae either, but that's because I always used soft, acid water for discus. Algae won't grow in water like that.

Over the last few years, discus have become a lot hardier than when I was keeping / breeding them. Used to be you had to keep them at 85+ degrees. I also always ran a strong (25 watt) UV on discus tanks because they were so sensitive to disease.

One day I came in my shop and noticed water in the 90 gallon discus seemed remarkably clear. On close inspection, the water was not clear - it was absent!

The tank sprung a leak during the night. I had a dozen discus & assorted tetras laying on the driftwood and gravel, limp and not moving.

I assumed they were all dead, but out of desperation and habit, I tossed them in a nearby tank. Amazingly, EVERY DISCUS LIVED except one!

On the other hand, I once accidentally drained a tank of koi during water changes. The koi flopped around on the gravel for a minute or two. Thinking it was no big deal, I filled the tank with the same treated water I used on all the other fish room tanks.

EVERY KOI DIED!


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Old 11/27/2017, 06:35 AM   #19
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so can't comment on the sump, i'm kinda looking into one myself for a big tank. but where did you source a Schouldenti i've been hunting for one, haven't showed up on any fishlists since last winter


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Old 12/01/2017, 10:10 AM   #20
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I have a 55g sump on my 120g FW display. But I don't use any baffles, just a single open chamber. I use a bean animal overflow which goes into filter socks. My bio media is seachem pond matrix and eheim susbstrat pro in laundry bags. I also use a "TetraPond Submersible Flat Box Filter" connected to my return, which is a JEbao 6000. I don't worry about evaporation because I use an autodrip system. Never had any issues.


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Old 12/03/2017, 08:50 AM   #21
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I'm not sure why you wouldn't use a sump for a freshwater tank, especially if it is a larger system. Many of the same reasons we use them for marine systems carry over directly - heaters/pumps/filtration out of sight, increased water volume for greater stability, ease of water changes, stable water level in DT, etc. I've only kept one freshwater system since I started keeping marine tanks some 30 years ago, and I didn't even consider NOT having a sump.

Besides - what else do you have planned for all that space underneath???


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Old 12/03/2017, 04:20 PM   #22
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I would do a wet dry type with replaceable fliter pads or filter socks. Have the drain go into a chamber for the mechanical filteration then a large bio filter area, bio balls would work well then a heater and return pump chamber. All you need for fresh water.


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Old 12/05/2017, 07:51 PM   #23
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I️ have a 40g breeder under my 120 freshwater display. Bio/mech filtration is handled by the three tray DIY system mentioned in post #4
Works well but suspended sediment was an issues with
Higher flow thru rates. Just a heads up


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Old 12/06/2017, 12:31 PM   #24
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I'm not sure why you wouldn't use a sump for a freshwater tank, especially if it is a larger system. Many of the same reasons we use them for marine systems carry over directly - heaters/pumps/filtration out of sight, increased water volume for greater stability, ease of water changes, stable water level in DT, etc. I've only kept one freshwater system since I started keeping marine tanks some 30 years ago, and I didn't even consider NOT having a sump.

Besides - what else do you have planned for all that space underneath???
This is a good indicator of the difference between fresh and salt water aquarists. The majority of the freshwater tanks I've kept have two or more aquaria in the same stand. Even with my decreased number of tanks I currently run, I still have:
1) Two 125-gal. tanks, on one stand, one with Africans and one which will hold fancy goldfish;
2) Two 75-gal. tanks, on one stand, Africans and albino bristlenose plecos
3) A 75-gal planted tank and a 40-gal. long on one stand, for breeding livebearers and plecos;
4) A battery of four 38-gal. tanks on one stand for growing out fry, breeding angelfish, etc.
5) Two 38-gal tanks on one stand for the breeding of (freshwater) angelfish.

Sumps are completely unnecessary for freshwater. Sumps did not even exist until reef tanks made them necessary.


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Old 12/07/2017, 10:02 AM   #25
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Sumps are completely unnecessary for freshwater. Sumps did not even exist until reef tanks made them necessary.
Completely disagree. Maybe for smaller community fish, but sumps are not unnecessary for all FW fish. I could stick a dozen HOB filters on the tanks with my big FW predators and they still wouldn't do the job. Small fish, sure, I'll agree with you, but something that is a big and messy eater needs more than a HOB or even a canister can provide.


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