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DIY sump filter skimmer...HOW???


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  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Nov 2007
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    NY
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    Default DIY sump filter skimmer...HOW???

    I recently just setup my 55g to start a reef tank. It has been running for 8weeks now with about 10-15lbs of live rock and 15lbs of base rock, 40 lbs crushed coral, 10 lbs sand.
    I currently only have the whisper 2 large Bio-Bag filter. I have been told this filter is nowhere near enough filtration for my reef tank and that I need a skimmer. I have the lighting setup with 2x54w 10,000k, and 2 x54w actinic bulbs.

    I am looking for a DIY filter and sump. I am a newbie with saltwater fish/reef tanks but good with woodworking, mechanics. What can I do to build a pretty intense filter system for my fish tank? The fish tank resides on my first floor living room, the sump and filter I want in the basement 1 floor below. I can run the hoses down to the sump no problem. I just have no idea what I need to build this setup. Can I build my own protein skimmer? If I remove my biobag filter (which I want to do because it

  2. #2
    Whoyah - Reefkeeper CR Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Grants Pass, OR
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    Default

    A sump can be just about anything that will hold saltwater. Since you are going to house your sump in your basement and are not trying to swedge it in to the tank stand you, you really have a lot of options. Some people use rubber maid tubs, old aquariums, ag tubs. Really the bigger the better. The more volumne you have in the system the more stable you system will be. I will surf around and see if I can find a picture of a basement style sump. Regarding the skimmer, you can DIY the skimmer but I would recommend a store bought first to get you up and running. There is a lot alot of bad skimmers and lot of good skimmer out there and price does not always mean better. I like the Coralife Super Skimmers. Cheap but effective. There are some super cheap mods that really boost up the performance. The 125 gallon version might work well for you. You will need a nice size return pump since you will need to get the water back out of the basement. I like MAG pumps and Ocean runner. There maybe better choice given your height requirement.

  3. #3
    Whoyah - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Here is a good example of a basement sump/skimmer set-up.

    http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-03/totm/index.php

  4. #4
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    NY
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    Default

    Thanks for the info. I have been looking at some pictures of peoples sumps and refuge. What is the purpose of the fuge part? I see that many of these peoples sumps have a refuge but I do not see what they are doing for a filter, I have seen no bio-balls, foam, carbon…etc. How are they filtering there water? I was going this weekend to buy a 30gal tank to convert to a system like this, I am just confused with what I have to do, I see many different ways to put these baffles, yet in many I do not see any filter means in the baffles, while some of them I see foam, carbon…etc between the baffles that go to the next chamber. For the return pump can I use and pump from home depot or a pond pump, just something that has enough head to pump water up to the next floor. I take it that I do not need a pump to push it down stairs, as long as its self priming it will prime the feed line. The skimmers I am confused with all the diff types and which ones are better. I figure I would go with something a good size in case I want to upgrade my tank later I just wasn’t sure if I could build everything from local hardware stores or I had to mail order parts. If you could give me some insight on what to do to make an effective refuge/filter/sump so I can remove these biobags, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks

  5. #5
    Whoyah - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    A refugium (aka fuge) serves a couple different purposes. The first and primary reason for a fuge is that is a natural filter for the system. Macro algae (my suggest is chaetomorpha) is grown in fuge. The macro algae sucks up the nutrients from the food leftovers and poop in the tank causing the algae to grow. Occasioanally the excess algae is harvested (this can thrown away or traded to fellow reefers) removing the nutrients from the system. If the extra food was left to rot or decompose this would foul the water releasing toxins (ammonia, nitrate, nitrite...). If the macro algae is sucking up the leftovers, there will be less for micro algae (picture green slim) to grow with.

    The second reason is to provide a place for the micro critters in your system to grow and thrive. The critters also eat the leftovers thus cleaning the tank. Many fish also enjoy these guys as a snack. Really your creating a whole food chain here.

    The third is that it gives you more places to house live rock and live sand which adds to the natural filter of the system.

    Check out http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...fm?c=3578+4585 and http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_Aquari...ps__index.html for retunr pumps. I know people like Mag and GenX

    Like I said before, stick with a off the shelf skimmer for now. DIY later. You will have enough problems with out building your own skimmer. Check out a Coralife 125.

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    Default

    Thanks for all the good info. So from my understanding if I build a sump/refugium then there is no need for any filter media. All I need is this refugium with some macro algae and that will in turn become my filter. What about carbon, this is not needed anymore. Will it hurt if I build my sump/refugium and in the sump just hang my 2 large biobag whisper filter off the back for carbon filtration, on top of the macro algae. I guess I am learning more and more everyday; I was unaware that you can delete the filtration system after you add this refugium filter. I have seen some build a sump, with carbon and foam filtering, and also add a refugium to it. Does this hurt, or should I just keep it simple where I just grow the macro algae in one side, and add live rock to the system. I do not even know how to grow macro algae. Should I plant this in live sand and live rock, or should this go into a sep part of the sump system. If someone had a drawing on exactly how I should setup a sump with refuge. What stuff to put where, I would appreciate it.

  7. #7
    Reptoreef - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Brigham City, Utah
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    I suggest running carbon( I still do). Stay away from any kind of media like sponges, bio-balls, or wet/dry media as they will become nitrate factories unless rinsed vey well and very often. You will need to get macro starts and grow them out yourself. As far as sump designs, do a google on refugiums or reef tank refugiums. There are several different ways to set yourself up that would function well. Also, an addition to your sump would be a good quality skimmer.
    There's nowhere else I'ld rather be... unless, of course, you're buying

  8. #8
    Reptoreef - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    There's nowhere else I'ld rather be... unless, of course, you're buying

  9. #9
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    Default

    thats interesting, thanks.

  10. #10

    Default

    Tom, I can tell by your questions that you are not only going to succeed, but you will become a fabulous reefer!

    I second the Coralife Super Skimmer - quality at a readonable price - a hard combination to beat!

    I find carbon to be very helpful. Some folks run it constantly and others occassionaly. As your system matures and you settle in to your groove, you will discover what works best for you.

    Keep up the great work! :-D


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