How to Build a Custom Sump for Your Reef Aquarium
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(fun music) – Hello folks, Robert
from Marine Depot here. Thanks for watching. In this video, we’re
going to build a sump. We’re going to show you guys
how to build a sump filter for your aquarium that’s
not only effective, but also easy on your wallet. (fun music) When building an aquarium, proper planning really goes a long way especially when it comes
to building your sump. So the first step in
building a sump at home is proper planning. When sizing your sump,
you pretty much want the largest tank possible. So measure the space
you have for your sump and choose the largest tank
that will fit in that space. 10% of your tank’s total
volume is considered the minimum sump size for any aquarium. So we have a 50 gallon display tank and we’re going to use this
30 gallon rimless aquarium to build our sump. But the nice thing is any
kind of aquarium will work to build a sump. You can even use regular
old framed aquariums that are really easy to
find and fairly inexpensive. So now we need to think about the baffles. Be mindful of the different chamber sizes and water level when
planning your baffles. I like to take a ruler and a Sharpie to draw on the side of the tank. This helps me visualize
the baffle location and the water level. You can even test fit your skimmer and other equipment to ensure the baffles are placed appropriately. When it comes to water level in your sump, you really want it to
be 4 to 6 inches or more below the top to ensure the sump can hold a little extra water. Using our handy aquarium
calculator, you can easily calculate the amount of
water that will drain from your tank in the
event of a power outage. Just calculate the amount of water in the area inside your tank
that will drain into the sump. Basically the area
between your return pipes and the maximum water
level in your display tank. This way you will know for certain that your sump is large
enough to hold the water and allows you to adjust the baffle height before it’s too late. In this sump, we want a skimmer chamber, a return pump chamber and
an isolated ATO reservoir to hold top off water. Many premanufactured sumps
include a refugium chamber but we decided to use this space for the ATO chamber instead. You want to take careful
note that these two baffles here are positioned close
together in such a way that they will trap bubbles
and reduce any debris from entering the pump chamber which is a pretty common practice and generally referred
to as a bubble trap. Now this should always be placed right before the pump chamber. I found it best to have your baffles cut with polished edges at a local glass shop instead of trying to cut them yourself. Freshly cut glass can be
really sharp and dangerous. By getting it professionally
cut, you can avoid this hazard and ensure the baffles
are cut perfectly to size with straight edges. When sizing the baffles,
you want to have them cut to be about a quarter
inch short on both sides. This makes them easy to place in the tank and gives plenty of room for the silicone to adhere to both the
tank wall and the baffle. Using thick glass for the baffles, one quarter inch or more is best. This helps when gluing
the baffles in place because the thicker edges
give you more surface area for the silicone to bond. So now the hard part which
is working with the silicone and securing your baffles in place. Now be sure that you get 100% silicone that is safe for aquarium use
which is generally available at your local home improvement store. Start with the first
baffle and hold it in place using a few pieces of tape. If you need a gap on the
bottom, you can use some dvd or cd cases, even a 2 x 4 will work in most situations but
the cd cases are nice because they are easy to
remove from tight spaces and give you a little flexibility in terms of getting the exact gap
size you want on the bottom. After setting the baffle with tape, run a generous bead of
silicone up each of the corners and pass over with your finger one time. Do not press too hard with your finger as this can move the baffle around. Using more silicone is
much easier that trying to spread a minimal amount. By only passing once
over with your finger, it will keep it clean
and reduce the chances of your baffle moving around. Once set into place, you’ll
need to let the silicone cure for a minimum of 24 hours. Don’t be upset if your
silicone job is not perfect. It simply needs to hold
the baffles in place and probably will not be all that pretty especially your first time. After the silicone cures, you
can always cut straight edge or clean it up using a razor blade if you’re one for details. Now you will want to dry
fit all of your equipment to ensure that it fits
before using your sump. We’re using the AquaMaxx
ConeS Protein Skimmer along with a couple of
AquaMaxx media reactors. We chose to use the Waveline DC water pump which is new here at Marine
Depot and they’re really cool because they’re apex ready
right out of the box. We also added the CPR
Sock-it Filter Sock Holder which easily attaches to the edge of any rimmed, rimless
or eurobraced aquarium. (fun music) After test fitting your equipment, you want to do a water
test to check for leaks and ensure the water flows
through your baffles as expected. I usually just run my garden
hose into the first chamber and watch the water flow through
the baffles as it fills up. Let the entire sump rest full
of water for 24 to 48 hours then come back and check it for leaks. Now for those of you who might be reserved about building your own sump at home, Marine Depot also carries the very popular Trigger Systems sumps. These sumps are premanufactured and come in a variety of sizes that are ready to go right out of the box with
all the bells and whistles including adjustable
baffles, media trays, socks and probe holders and much more. So be sure to check
these out on our website. If you’re thinking about installing a sump in your tank, our trained
team of aquarium experts are here to help you out. Please like, share and
subscribe in order to help us to continue to bring you guys
more instructional videos just like this and until next time, take care and happy reef keeping. (water gurgles)

26 thoughts on “How to Build a Custom Sump for Your Reef Aquarium

  1. I have 75 gallon display with 40 gallon sump/refugium I just set up as my first tank. Having issues keeping 78 degrees with 300w heater in my sump. Where does everyone put their heaters?

  2. i am thinking about using this same sump idea for my ADA 75p rimless reef build , getting me excited and nervous at the same time. its about a 40g tank

  3. Close captioning would be very helpful for your customers and viewers that are deaf and cannot hear what you are saying.

  4. Hello,

    I am using a 30 gallon Aqueon tank for my sump and would like to know what size baffles I would need. I think I am going to go with a Reef Octopus skimmer but do not know which one to go with. I have a 90 gallon aquarium and was thinking about housing soft coral and a few fish. This is my first sump aquarium and really need some advice. Also, what are the advantages of having a refugium.

    Thanks

    Glenn

  5. Another quick question,

    What section of the sump should I put the skimmer in. I see some people have live rock in one section with the skimmer in the middle and the return pump next to the skimmer. Would that setup be good or would it be difficult to remove the skimmer to clean it? Thanks.

  6. I have a 90 gallon saltwater aquarium, what size sump would work best? thanks

    btw…great videos for this newbie.

  7. Hello Robert! I am new to saltwater hobby, I have 30G tank with live rocks and fish only, do I need the sump for my aquarium and what size is good for my tank. thank you

  8. This channel teach me so much. One question tho. Instead of sump can I use fluval canister filter that I am using for fresh water?? Along with some live rocks?

  9. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've looked at SO MANY videos to find how much of a gap to leave between the baffles and the exterior walls and this is the ONLY video where I've found that detail… 1/4th inch on each side, so have it cut 1/2 short to the internal dimensions! That's what I've been looking for.

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