Wet/Dry Sump

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Wet/Dry Sump

Post by Spwoerful on Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:12 am

Hello all,

I have a quick, and maybe stupid question. Im slowly putting together a DIY Wet/Dry filter. My question is about the drainage hose from the tank, to the sump. I dont have a drilled tank, so i need to have some other sort of option. I was going to just use a 1" clear tube, bend it into a 180 degree bend, and then use suction cups to keep it roughly 1" under the surface of the water. At the end of the hose, id have a hose adapter, pvc valve, and then into my sump.

Ive been looking at all sorts of articles, and these people are making these insanely involved overflows with 1' pvc pipe and all these different "legs" and check valves and this stuff. I dont see what could be wrong with my idea. It is the same concept as a gravel filter uses.... if that tube is full of water, shut the valve off, insert tube into tank, open pvc valve, i dont see the problem. They even have, for $10, a washing machine discharge hose with the 180 degree bend already in it - would only have to just set it on the rim of the tank, and presto!

With the tank being a 110 gallon and the sump a 30 gallon, If i keep the drain hose roughly 1" under the surface, if there happens to be a power outtage, and my pump would stop pumping water back up to the 110, the 30 would hold the addition water, until the siphon is broken with an air break.

Seeems as though these other thoughts are overly complicated, but maybe mine is just overly simplified.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Wet/Dry Sump

Post by Norm66 on Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:34 pm

questions like this one are basically why I bought an FX5 for my new 125 instead of doing a DIY sump. I've found when my idea is simpler than what most people do it's probably because I'm missing something. Good luck though. I'm infatuated with the concept of sumps, just too chicken to try it out on my own. Smile

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Re: Wet/Dry Sump

Post by flukekiller on Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:46 pm

my thought would be that having the tube only 1" submerged could be a problem..

there are alot of things that could happen to cause an air break causing the siphon to stop. and correct me if im wrong,
1. you will need to shut the pump off during water changes and then restart the siphon process when done
2. if for some reason there is an air break that would stop the siphon.
a. evaporation
b. thrashing by fish at feeding time or any other time
this could cause the pump to run dry pumping all the water from the filter into the
tank and possible overflow and burn out the pump.
also the reason for a check valve would be on the return line so if there is a power outage or if you pump just stop working for any reason the water would not siphon back into the sump through the return line.
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Re: Wet/Dry Sump

Post by flukekiller on Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:52 pm

there are many possible problems/situations that can occur with sumps thats why many people who DIY over do it as a safety precaution. if you have never had a tank break or leak then you would not understand what it is like to come home to 220 gallons of water sitting on you floor looks like plus all the losses of fish and housware
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very true

Post by Spwoerful on Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:32 pm

You make many good points.

1. I dont have evaporation with my tank- always have central air on and with my weekly water changes, the water level stays the same. Also, i will do the math and figure out how exactly how many inches of water in my 110 will drop before the 30 gallon sump is full, and i will submerge the syphon hose just above that level to air break before any sort of overflow occurs in my sump. im thinking i will be able to have it submerged maybe 3" as i remember doing my water changes and how much the water level drops.
2. as far as burning the pump itself up, i surely dont want to do that. But, i guess as far as disasters go, if i burn up a pump, thats only a minor one.
3. you make a great point about me losing syphon and the pump emptying the sump into my tank and having 30 gallons of overflow on my floor. If it were the basement, who cares, right?
4. as far as re establishing syphon, with the drainage hose being flexible, i can always close the valve before my sump, fill that line from the sump to the aquarium with water, put my thumb over the end of it, submerge it, and then open the valve. i made my own python gravel cleaner with a valve in it and it works the same.

In my mind, it all seems like it would work, i doubt id lose syphon as long as i would secure that hose correctly.
With me being somewhat handy - i am always intrigued with building my own or making my own things. theres got to be a way to safe guard this thing, where as i wouldnt get water damage in the event of a disaster....

btw - my grammer is horrible, please pay no attention

hmmmmmmm. any thoughts from anyone would be awesome. Open up a little round table here... Very Happy

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Re: Wet/Dry Sump

Post by bulldogg7 on Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:14 pm

A PVC "pretzel" overflow is cheap, and kind of big and ugly, BUT it'll restart by itself when the power comes back on so you don't burn the pump up.
You can get a decent overflow box for around $100(maybe cheaper).
If you don't mind tearing down the tank and not too scared to drill, you can get an overflow kit from http://www.glass-holes.com/ for $50-100

When you go on vacation or have an emergency you won't always be there to reprime everything or top off the sump after a week.

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Re: Wet/Dry Sump

Post by flukekiller on Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:54 pm

@spwoerful...

im not telling you not to do it, just trying to help with all the possible bad outcomes.
i am a DIY guy myself and have made all kinds of sumps and refuges from gravity fed to pumps,
multi-chambers to add meds or extra media. i just look at projects like this as "what can go wrong and what can i build/add to prevent it.
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Re: Wet/Dry Sump

Post by goemikl on Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:26 am

I new here but i would like to add my .02.....I would drill the tank....It is really simple with the proper tools and taking your time....if you ever drill a tank or use a RR tank you will never want to fool with any DIY overflow or U-tube overflow box again......I can post a pic if you like of the external overflow that I made for my 75g Reef tank if you like....even as complicated as it looks it is super easy to do.....I am all for DIY to save some cash....but not on an overflow....to many bad things can happen...and with me probably would....lol

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DIY Overflow

Post by Spwoerful on Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:03 pm

I made one of these pretzel overflows out of 3/4" pvc... literally cost me $3.... im going to make another out of 1" to ensure i have enough gph drain. I set up a couple tanks in my garage, and hooked this thing up. Had it running great, left it for a few hours, and when i went back in there, the "top" tank was overflowing. I thought i had it calibrated correctly, watched it for a few minutes and left it, but something happened to "slow" down the overflow.

i was curious how people get these calibrated exactly right with their pump. my pump has a throttle valve and so will my new 1" pvc pretzel, but still, even 1 gph difference will add up and eventually cause a problem.

My other problem is, seems like i have a bit of a "tornado" effect where my overflow is under the surface of the water. Maybe its drawing in the slightest bit of air, which is slowing down the gph, making the pump then too "fast." im going to get an aqua lifter to erase any air that does happen to get sucked in there.

Do i want to have the intake on the overflow, right at the surface of the water? acting exactly as an overflow would, or do i want to have it about 1" below the surface? i currently have it 1" below the surface.

id love to drill this thing, but
1) tank is up and fully operational
2) well, actually, there's just the 1

Just some thoughts

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Well.....

Post by Spwoerful on Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:46 am

Well, i made another overflow with some 1.25" pipe i had in the garage, and it keeps up just fine. It acts as an overflow that a drilled tank would have. I was concerned that you had to calibrate the pump exactly with the overflow, but with this one, i dont.

im going to use this until i break this tank down and drill it at some point.

thanks to everyone for their imput

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Re: Wet/Dry Sump

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