Please critique my sump design!

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Vincerama2, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    Hi guys! Pretty simple. Also, notice that I asked for a critique of Sump Design and not MS Paint ability. :p


    It's a 100 gallon acrylic (scratched up hand me down) that is 5 feet long, and 20 inches high (I think).

    The stand gives only 6 feet of under-tank space, and this monster sump will fill it.

    One criteria handed down my SWMBO is that everything fit in the stand, this is why there is a 1 foot section that is the RO reservoir.

    Yes, I am aware that if the baffle leaks between the RO and the main sump body I will be diluting all the water. I will take extra care to seal it OR I'll stick an air gap between that section and the next with another piece of acrylic so I can monitor any leaks (maybe a 1 inch gap)

    The ATO actually plumbs into a kalk-mixer that must hide behind the stand, but will drip into the return section and it will also monitor the return section, since that is the section that will show a level change. The output of the actual ATO can be anywhere, and most likely I will route it to the DRAIN section (it's just 1/4" tubing anyway)

    The return section is a foot wide. That should be enough. This will be the only section that fluctuates in water level.

    The Refugium section is 2 feet wide for no real reason, but will carry squiggly green lines which is probably chaeto and pods.

    The drain section will contain the skimmer.

    I ran out of space for the CA reactor. It could conceivably live in the refugium section OR outside of the sump in that tiny space, with the tank hidden behind the stand.

    So it's pretty simple. I just want to see if there is any glaring mistakes in it.

    I MIGHT toss in an extra baffle between drain section and refugium, with the baffle at the top, driving the water down to the middle/bottom of the refugium section.

    The baffles will be "toothed" at the top to strain out wandering snails.

    So, what do you think?


  2. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    OK, I said

    "The ATO actually plumbs into a kalk-mixer that must hide behind the stand, but will drip into the return section and it will also monitor the return section, since that is the section that will show a level change. The output of the actual ATO can be anywhere, and most likely I will route it to the DRAIN section (it's just 1/4" tubing anyway)"

    Which is so contradictory. So it's pretty irrelevant where the ATO drips to actually, it could be anywhere in the salty section.


  3. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    I like it! Nice idea integrating the RO in to the sump design.
    I would put an alarm or fail safe on it if it is going to be filled automatically.
    If it overflows it could be a problem.
  4. zeroinverse

    zeroinverse Guest

    You're using a "gravity fed" calcium reactor? Or how does the water get pumped back out? You have to control the effluent and powering it from your "drain" line may not be the best idea since it's not really "pressurized".

    For me, I've always like the idea of putting "dirty drain water" into a refugium or "stagnant" area for the food particles to help feed the microfauna. And then only the "small particulate" water will go to the skimmer. Reality is skimmers can't skim the big particles anyway.

    So you either use
    (1) a filter sock -which I dont' like to use because they clog and require washing/rinsing every 2~3 days - plus all the extra food doesn't get to feed microfauna... & it becomes a nitrate generator since the organics may not make it through the filter sock and get skimmed out.

    (2) refugium, or live rock or chaeto as a pseudo-mechanical filter to help feed critters and their organic waste and any decomposing/dissolving organics flow into skimmer area to get skimmed off.

    PLUS: since your Calcium Reactor will have low-PH due to dissolved CO2, that can also help FEED your macroalgae (in your refugium). So you'll get better nutrient removal before your skimmer helps to re-oxygenate the water before it goes back to return pump.
  5. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    OK, good thoughts!

    I may shift the fuge over to the left or right then and direct flow from drain to fuge to skimmer to return. Thought I'll have to come up with a scheme to tame the drain flow. However, I can also divide the tank front/back as well, so that the actual drain part goes to a sectioned off back part.

    I'll redraw the diagram later tonight.

    The RO is actually just a reservoir, I will fill that manually (either via bucket or an RO line with manual valve with backup float valve), and my Spectrapure Ultimate top off unit will handle the top off. I am very averse to "infinite flood" posibilities with an actual RO line into the tank area.

    Sumps can be pretty simple, but since this will sit under 2000 lbs of water, I won't have a second chance to refine or even remove the sump once it's in place!

    CA Reactor feed. I'm not sure how to feed it, looking at my current tank again (I've de-activated the reactor for a bit of time now due to a leaking line I need to fix) I actually T-ed off the return line, which is a fairly constant pressure. However, using a small feed pump with a control valve is definitely a possibility. THanks for pointing that out!

  6. zeroinverse

    zeroinverse Guest

    Use a separate powerhead for reactors. I've been told it's easier than trying to tapping off return. I wanted to do that at first, but realized I don't get a "constant pressure" control that I want to make sure to control the CaRx EFFLUENT.

    Also, make sure to put check-valve on the CaRx inlet (feed pump outlet). On mine, whenever power went out... CaRx would "backdrain" into my sump. Not a big deal, but 1 gallon of low-pH, dissolved calcium carbonate water could shift your tank parameters if you're not careful.

    Check my tank build thread. I documented "my sump design" using a 40 breeder where I divided up the sections. Maybe you can use that for inspiration & layout design.

    Overflow drained into (A) Frag tank section & (B) refugium section.
    (A) frag tank section overflowed into (C) macroalgae growout section.
    (B) refugium section overflowed right back into (R) return.
    (C) macroalgae growout section overflowed into (D) skimmer area
    (D) skimmer section overflowed into (R) return section.

    (A) frag tank gets excess food that was fed in main display tank (thus helping feed corals).
    (A) frag tank does get slight buildup of detritus.
    (A) frag tank section had a DSB also (not the best of ideas in long term due to detritus+frags get dirty).
    (B) refugium had rock rubble and designed to grow pods.

    (A)(B) splitting flow between A+B is a challenge depending on how you build the overflow drain outlet.

    (D) skimmer section had constant "height section" to maintain controllability for skimmer water level.
  7. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    That sounds like a problem. You may be fine, but if something goes wrong, not sure what you would do.
    You might want to consider 2 smaller sump tanks, connected by a very short pipe. (Basically back to back large bulkheads)
  8. Vincerama2

    Vincerama2 Evil Overlord

    I've considered the two smaller tanks. And in deed could reuse my current sump that sits under my 58, plus just stick in another tank as RO reservoir.

    It's just that ... darnit I have that stupid 100g acrylic sitting there!

    But yes, it might not be wise. On the other hand, the sump under my 58 has sat under there for a decade.

    Food for thought though, yes, as it requires no work to re-use the old sump, except that it too is trapped under the 58 stand. (I had to cut out a piece of the stand in the back and replace it after the stand was in place, and there is no room to take the sump out through the back anyway.

  9. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Sump design looks fine, some finer points

    1) I wouldn't put a 2nd baffle to leave a dry gap between your RO water and tank water, even if it does leak there will be nothing you can do to stop it because the gap will be too damn small. At least when it's against the salt water you can always drain it, and then goop the crap out of it with weldon16. I would however have the baffle for the RO side be as tall as the tank is, just to make sure nothing spills into the RO side.

    2) What do you want your refugium to do? just green stuff? in which case it's good here. I've also had the refugium be upstream, as well as the first area for water to go through, just make sure you have plenty of critters to eat the detritius and other junk.. nassarius snails are pretty good for this if you have a little sand in there. Also note you'll need some lights if you want to grow green stuff.

    3) Lastly, don't make your baffles too high. I know you have a 100g tank and envision a grand sump with tank worth refugium, etc... but if you lose power, you want the entire sump to be able to hold whatever excess. And if you have high chambers, you reduce how much volume you can hold.

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