, , , , ,

How To Set Up An Aquarium Sump

Products recommended in this post contain affiliate links. If you buy something through our posts, we may receive a commission at no extra charge to you. See our full disclosures here.

Water is a crucial element in an aquarium and so is its maintenance. While having an aquarium at home, it’s likely that the water will get dirty. Hence, we introduce a water filter or a sump in the aquarium.

An aquarium sump is a piece of equipment attached to the open system aquarium to collect excess water. It houses various aquarium equipment like filters, skimmers, heaters, etc. and acts as a standalone device for all the necessary aquarium procedures.

Here we will discuss how to set up an aquarium sump, we will also dive into the benefits and drawbacks of having an aquarium sump.

Did You Know?


Refugium is also a sump that is used to harbor plants and animal life that is different from the aquarium.

acquarium-sump-installed

How to set up an aquarium sump?

There are many aquarium sump setup ideas and some of the hobbyists are also professionals in building their own sumps. If you are planning to add a sump to your aquarium setup, consider buying one instead of making it yourself.

Most of the commercial sumps come with the ability to customize them according to the user. This enables the user to make the required changes in order to get the best out of the sump.

Now you need to follow some simple steps in order to set up your sump. Let’s start.

1. Purpose

The first thing you need to do is to decide for what purpose you need a sump, it can be for holding equipment like heater, skimmer, calcium reactor, etc.

The purpose of getting a sump can also vary based on the type of filtration like biological, mechanical and chemical filtration. Choosing from these types of filtration methods form a great part of why to set up an aquarium sump. The mentioned techniques vary in case of the elements used for filtering water. Refugium is another type of sump used for providing refuge to fishes from the predator fish.

In the end, the purpose of getting an aquarium sump can also be a combination of the above-mentioned things.

​​Great product - excellent quality
  • The dividers will give the chamber height
  • acrylic dividers for standard 20 long gallon fish tank
  • It does not come with fish tank or silicon glue.

2. Planning the structure of the sump

If you are planning to make your own sump or want to customize the purchased one. The planning of the layout plays a very important role in the process of setting up an aquarium sump.

There are three basic sump tank arrangements which you can implement for making or customizing a sump:

  • Equipment compartment (water enters here) followed by the return compartment (water leaves from here) followed by refugium (water enters here). The refugium and equipment compartment feed water to the return compartment.

  • The return compartment (water leaves from here) followed by refugium followed by the Equipment compartment (water enters here). The equipment compartment feed water to the refugium and after that to the return compartment.

  • The Equipment compartment (water enters here) followed by refugium followed by the return compartment (water leaves from here) The equipment compartment feed water to the refugium and then to the return compartment.

  • Overall this is the way how does a sump tank work in design. While building your own sump, consider using an old tank to save money plus don’t use acrylic sheets with the glass tank. If making a glass sump, use aquarium safe silicone. On top of all, use the largest size sump you can afford or build.
Good looking sump - Recommended
  • Quality construction and aesthetically appealing
  • the skimmer compartment has plenty of room
  • Made of Foam

3. Flow rates

The flow rate of water is also a deciding factor in setting an aquarium sump. After all, the working of filters and skimmers will depend highly on the flow rate. Flow rates can also vary based on various factors.

In the case of a refugium, it is advised to have a lower flow rate so that the natural nitrate gets removed from the liquid along with accommodation of aquatic life in the aquarium.

In contrast to the refugium, skimmer should have the same flow rate as the flow rate of the sump. This enables the skimmer to perform to its best performance.

ideal for mini-reef aquariums - High Value
  • Proven needle-wheel impeller
  • increases air-to-water contact
  • Placement inside aquarium provides quiet operation

4. Planning the sections

The flow rate of water is also a deciding factor in setting an aquarium sump. After all, the working of filters and skimmers will depend highly on the flow rate. Flow rates can also vary based on various factors.

In the case of a refugium, it is advised to have a lower flow rate so that the natural nitrate gets removed from the liquid along with accommodation of aquatic life in the aquarium.

In contrast to the refugium, skimmer should have the same flow rate as the flow rate of the sump. This enables the skimmer to perform to its best performance.

Quality Made In USA- Best Choice
  • polished edges
  • have a lower flow rate

5. Building the sump

In case you have purchased a pre-assembled sump, there is no need for you to assemble the baffles and bubble traps as they will be already there. But on the contrary, if you are planning on making a sump yourself.

Place all the required components of the sump into the tank and make the marks with a marker while taking care of the height and spacing of the baffles. Post this, remove all the elements and make clear markings at the crucial spots. Get the elements cut according to the markings and fit them in place with silicone.

For the plumbing part of the sump, take care of the flow rate, types of material used like PVC, CPVC, PEX, etc. Along with this, you need to keep a close check on planning the setup with all the necessary fittings and adapters. The final step just before testing is the most crucial pillar of how to set up an aquarium sump procedure.

​Highly durable - excellent quality

5. Final Testing

The most crucial and concluding step among all others that will decide how well you have built or customized the sump. In this, you need to assemble everything and check how well the sump works and it performs as required or not. The step is the final foundation of the sump building process.

Did You Know?


Trickle filters are called trickle filters because the water flows down the tower assisted only by gravity.

acquarium-sump-3

Pros and Cons of installing an Aquarium sump

Pros

  • Increased total water volume
  • Stabilizing the pH
  • Hiding the equipment
  • Eases the water changing process
  • Less equipment size limitation
  • Increased oxygenation
  • The increased flow of liquid
  • Safer supplement dosing

Cons

  • Extra consumption of energy in case you have a larger return pump in the setup
  • Adding extra equipment to the overall setup might increase the sources of heat into the water.
  • If you have high flow pumps, there is a chance that microbubbles are produced in the main tank.
  • Having a sump inside the stand may give you a very tough time in handling the maintenance of the sump.

Does the size of a sump matter?

Yes, of course, the size of an aquarium sump matters in the procedure of how to set up an aquarium sump. This is because of the fact that the sump is used to hold the spilled water from the main tank. And especially in case of a power failure the drained water from the plumbing, filters, etc all comes down into the sump, Hence, it should be ready to hold all of it till the power comes back on.

acquarium-sump-2

Preventing sump overflow from the Aquarium

A freshwater aquarium sump design has its own benefits and drawbacks. One of the drawbacks which may lead to damage to your home is also due to the overflow of water. This happens when the sump pump stops pumping due to power outage.

You can monitor the situation by intentionally turning off the power to the sump pump. Check the water level and fill the sump to the maximum normal level. Post this, turn off the pumps and skimmers and check the water level rises, if it goes up to 1 inch below the sump rim, remove water and maintain it at that level. If the water does not rise, then it’s fine. If you are removing water, then turn one the pump and check the water level when everything runs normally. This is the ideal and safe water level which will prevent overflow.

Check out the Hygger Sponge Filter, Aquarium Filter Double Sponge Replaceable Media that enables good overflow.

Easy to use - Best value
  • Changeable filter material
  • Multi-layer design of filter cotton, with a large surface area
  • Suitable for shrimp tanks, betta fish tanks etc.

Video Introduction

Conclusion

The above-described methods will help you easily customize or build your own aquarium sump. You need to take close care of all the points mentioned to get a perfect result. There are many designs that can be made based on the different types of arrangements and materials which at last depends on your choice. I hope this article answers the grand question of how to set up an aquarium sump. Thanks!!

Top Editor's Choice on Aquarium Sump

SaleBestseller No. 1
FREESEA 100W 1100GPH Submersible Sump Pump for Pond, Aquarium, Waterfall,...
Smart control, dry running automaticly cut power.(Principle:Dry running opreation will increase motor temperature, then the pump will automatically shut down, but the motor will restart working after the temperature goes down. Therefore, when the motor automatically turned off we need to cut off power immediately. This function can effectively reduce the damage caused by dry running.)
SaleBestseller No. 2
Hygger 1350GPH Quiet Submersible and External 24V Water Pump, with...
【Demension & Specifications】Input voltage: 100-240V 50/60HZ. Output voltage: DC 24V. Pump Dimension(LxWxH): 7.7 x 4.1 x 6.4 inch. Cord length from the pump to controller is 9ft, the power cord length is 9.9ft. Wattage/flow/head: 40W/1350GPH/13.1ft head. Please look to the size chart for other models
Bestseller No. 3
IceCap 30 Reef Sump
The IceCap 30 Reef Sump was developed and built around the requirements of a modern day reef aquarist
Bestseller No. 4
LiquaGen - 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis and Deionization RO/DI | Aquarium Reef...
This product is great for aquariums, laboratory testing, and other applications where ultra-pure water is necessary. Pre- Assembled system for easy installation. Guaranteed 0 ppm water. No more running to your local fish store!
Bestseller No. 5
KollerCraft TOM RP90 Rapids Pro Filter with UV Sterilizer for Aquariums
Advanced filtration system for larger aquariums (up to 90 gallons)
Bestseller No. 6
Eshopps AZU-100 Deluxe Reef Sump
Dimensions: 24 x 14 x 14
Bestseller No. 7
Bestseller No. 8
Bubblefin Aquarium Sump Refugium DIY Kit for Portein Skimmer Sump - Chamber...
It comes with 3 pieces of acrylic dividers for standard 20 long gallon fish tank
Bestseller No. 9
4" Pre Sump Filter Sock Holder(Mount) and Free Filter Socks 200 Micron - 4...
100% cell-cast acrylic material and Acrylic Bracket Thickness:7.3mm , Designed to be extra sturdy and functional
Bestseller No. 10
Aqueon AAG29251 Overflow Accessory New Kit
All glass aquarium overflow accessory kit- new

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest tips and news of our blog.

Leave a Comment

Previous

How To Soften Aquarium Water Without Harming Your Fish

How To Get Rid Of Snails In An Aquarium

Next