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Thread: Sump for Goldlfish?

  1. #1
    DIYFK member ypdmd's Avatar


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    Sump for Goldlfish?

    Hi all -
    I currently have a 55g goldfish tank - they are big and need to be in a bigger tank, and I just got my hands on a drilled 75g with built in overflow and kit. The tank also has a 30g sump (30g aquarium with plastic frame) that is not divided.
    I have seen all sorts of options for sumps and everyone always says - "make the sump that is best for you." I would just like to know if anyone has specific advice for what should go in there. The tank is in an area where noise will be a factor, so I guess that probably nixes the fluid k2 type.

    On a side note, I would like to know if it is possible to make a sump without baffles and just sandwich the media between egg crate - If the media goes to the waterline, the water cannot bypass the media, right?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


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    The baffles increase efficiency, no you do not need them but without them a vast majority of the water will take a single path of least resistance potentially creating stagnate areas in the sump... That isn't to say it won't work, it just won't be as efficient at the end of the day...

    I always say keep it simple with sumps, lava rock is cheap and a decent media on a budget... You could probably sandwich a few say 2-3 inch thick walls of lava rock between egg crate material spaced out a bit in the sump and get decent results... You will still need a wall of filter floss to polish the water...

    You could also just fill up the sump with lava rock and flow water across it, but again not efficient as the water will have a tendency to follow a single path...

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    DIYFK member ypdmd's Avatar


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    Makes sense, thanks. For a 30g sump, I think there is enough surface area that I can afford to lose some efficiency, although it means $$$ for more media if I want to use bio balls or ceramic rings. Foam or filter floss goes before the biologic right?

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    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


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    I have stated before, efficiency of the filter system does not matter as long as your filter is doing it's job... Doesn't matter if your filter is 10% efficient vs a 100% efficient one if the ammonia levels are zeroed out in the tank at the end of the day... Most people strive for efficiency because it allows smaller filters and provides a much bigger buffer as water flow decreases due to clogging... Less efficient filters will need more monitoring to make sure they are still keeping up...

    As for the filter floss, you are definitely going to want some before the bio media to trap floaters, excess food and other solid waste in the water, this part of the sump will require the most maintenance from changing every day to changing every week or month depending on how dirty and heavy the tank is stocked... But, you might also want to put some floss right before the return pump to 'polish' the water of any dead bacteria and slime that falls off the bio media... I use heavy (aka high loft) quilting batting from the fabric store, something like $9 a yard normal price but Jo-Ann Fabrics and/or Hobby Lobby regularly has 40% off coupon or similar coupons so I only buy it with a coupon... It's about 3/4" thick floss fabric, easy to work with and cheap, they sell thinner ones but I like the high loft because of it's thickness... You can also use floor polisher pads, they might be nice because if you cut them just a little bit over sized they are stiff enough to stay in place, and they are tough enough to rinse and use over and over again...

    I would avoid bio balls in a sump, they are primarily for wet/dry filter systems, not saying they won't work in a sump, they will but for the cost you might as well just go with all ceramic rings or a $5 bag of lava rock from the hardware store... Do note that lava rock is not as efficient as ceramic rings or other media but it's dirt cheap! You can also get some mesh 'delicates' laundry bags at the dollar store so that you can bag the media vs buying special mesh media bags...

    Another option that just popped in my head if you want to avoid baffles is to take some of the plastic canvas (for stitch work) and build some drop in fit to size mesh boxes, just fill them with media and drop in the tank... You can 'sew' the plastic canvas together with fishing line easy enough and again it's cheap...

    So many options if you have the space for a sump... I was greedy with my new fish racks and didn't want to sacrifice the space for sumps so i cheated and went with all hang on back filters, not the best choice but it allowed me more versatility right now... If I ever get real serious I might put a several hundred gallon sump in the basement and cycle it though all the tanks, but that is a project in itself, but one I have considered as I could then use the water for aquaponics in my basement flower and herb garden room I do for the kids...

    Either way as I said keep it simple, don't think too hard about the sump design, chances are whatever you throw together will be just fine with some tweaks even if it's not what you imagined...

    Also even though goldfish are high bio load fish, if you get a decent filter system working it's amazing what even a small filter will do... Up until a few weeks ago I had my two 5-6" feeder gold fish in a tank with a small Walmart 10 gallon rated hang on back filter... I did weekly 50% water changes and even with that small filter I never had a trace of ammonia in the tank and the water was always clear... Of course I'm diligent in not overfeeding as well, they get several small feeding throughout the day with floating pellets, they literally polish off all the food in about 10 seconds, nothing left floating...

  5. #5
    DIYFK member ypdmd's Avatar


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    Thanks. I'm also considering putting in a wet/dry tower, I'm just concerned about evaporation. Is it much worse with a wet/dry than a submerged system?

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    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


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    If the wet/dry is totally enclosed and mostly sealed the evaporation will not be much more, but if it's an open system, yes it will exponentially increase evaporation... Plus wet/dry will add excess noise to many systems...

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