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Old 04/17/2019, 11:33 AM   #1
kyley
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DIY Sump. Please help a rookie?

Hi All,
I'm new to sumps, having run a Red Sea Max 250 since I got into the hobby nearly 10 years ago. I'm starting up a 120 gallon (4x2x2 bottom drilled with overflow in the back center) and have a 40 breeder sump. I had a guy build my sump and he did a crappy job. He used black silicone and it's all over the place. And the first baffle is 5" higher than the 2nd chamber - won't that create a loud waterfall? What should the height difference be (and still be okay for most skimmers)?

I'm going to remove the baffles and redo the silicone in them and possibly move them. I like having a good amount of water in that first chamber, but should I reduce the height of the first chamber? Does everything else check out okay? Should I make more room in the return pump chamber?

Also, should B and D be the same height? He actually has D slightly higher than B, and I imagine if anything that B should be higher?

Oh, I don't know yet what skimmer I'll be using. I have a Jebao DCQ-10000 DC return pump (which will also be feeding an algae scrubber sitting on top of the sump). Thanks,
--Kyle



Last edited by kyley; 04/17/2019 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 04/17/2019, 12:09 PM   #2
Vinny Kreyling
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Looks OK to me. Most sumps run @ about 1/2 full so 8" is not far off.
The thing with sumps is -- you should have the equipment you need 1st in order to get the baffles in the correct spot. Now you have to make sure what you buy will fit in the space you have. The dimensions however do not skimp in any area, but as you mentioned, that 13" baffle is high, not for any noise but most skimmers have a sweet spot for water level and I don't know any over 9-10" depth.
NOW- when 1st starting up - water levels in the tank will NOT change - it WILL change in the pump section so that has to be kept full until everything settles in.
After that shut the pump off & make sure the sump does NOT overflow.
Try to keep return(s) high to help get minimum drain.
You will need an auto top off or check every day & add water.


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Old 04/17/2019, 12:18 PM   #3
kyley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinny Kreyling View Post
Looks OK to me. Most sumps run @ about 1/2 full so 8" is not far off.
The thing with sumps is -- you should have the equipment you need 1st in order to get the baffles in the correct spot. Now you have to make sure what you buy will fit in the space you have. The dimensions however do not skimp in any area, but as you mentioned, that 13" baffle is high, not for any noise but most skimmers have a sweet spot for water level and I don't know any over 9-10" depth.
NOW- when 1st starting up - water levels in the tank will NOT change - it WILL change in the pump section so that has to be kept full until everything settles in.
After that shut the pump off & make sure the sump does NOT overflow.
Try to keep return(s) high to help get minimum drain.
You will need an auto top off or check every day & add water.
Thanks. Yes, I have an ATO and would put that in the Return Pump chamber (around 6-7"??). I'm also going to use a one way check valve so water can't siphon back when the return pump is off.

I figured the skimmer can go on a stand if the depth needs to be lower. But easier if I don't have to worry about that. Do you think I should cut the first baffle down to around 10" then? Thanks,
--Kyle


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Old 04/17/2019, 12:25 PM   #4
Vinny Kreyling
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The end of the ATO hose should be Above water level to avoid a siphon. There will be minimum noise from the flow.
Check valves are NOT recommended, unless they are cleaned & maintained regularly they Will Fail @ the worst time. Personally I would cut it even if not perfectly to the ends.
Get your skimmer 1st so you can get it close, but 10" sounds OK.


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Old 04/17/2019, 12:46 PM   #5
sfsuphysics
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I had a guy build my sump and he did a crappy job.
You accepted his crappy job? Hopefully you didn't pay him much to do so.

He used black silicone and it's all over the place.
While yeah sloppy is sloppy, with a razor blade maybe you can clean it up? It is a glass tank after all. Also material did he use for the baffles? If he used glass then fine, if he used acrylic then make sure the baffles are not snug to the sides of the tank as acylic will swell slightly and could caused catastrophic damage.

And the first baffle is 5" higher than the 2nd chamber - won't that create a loud waterfall?
Depends upon how fast the water is moving through the sump honestly also if the edge is in any way slanted too. Mine is about 4" higher I think, couldn't tell you how fast my return pump is pushing but needless to say it's not that much, water comes off that first baffle like a glassy sheet that clings to the baffle so no splashing sound at all, in fact if it wasn't for the water bubbles that are created at point of contact I wouldn't know water was moving at all, akin to those zero edge aquariums.

What should the height difference be (and still be okay for most skimmers)?
This is the 64 dollar question, because just about every skimmer I think of will be fine, most operate best in water levels between 7-9 inches (check the specs on whatever skimmer you decide on). So currently you'd need some sort of skimmer stand to raise it out of the water. Now if it were me, I would actually reverse the skimmer and refugium chambers as shown in your picture, the refugium chamber is a perfect height for most skimmers without any sort of stand, and having a bigger refugium area gives you more area for stuff to grow (macro algae I guess?)


I'm going to remove the baffles and redo the silicone in them and possibly move them. I like having a good amount of water in that first chamber, but should I reduce the height of the first chamber?

I think it's fine in general. The big question is how much water will siphon if power goes off, and with a 4x2x2 tank that's about 5 gallons per inch, so overall I think there's plenty of space to hold it all. Anything more will be aesthetics and functionality.


Should I make more room in the return pump chamber?

I wouldn't make it bigger if you have an ATO, the ATO will keep it at the proper height so no need to increase it unless your pump doesn't fit for some reason.

Also, should B and D be the same height? He actually has D slightly higher than B, and I imagine if anything that B should be higher?
B, IMO, should be higher, but with an ATO that keeps the water level in the return chamber constant (and somewhere near the level of D) it won't make any difference at all. The bubble trap should catch bubbles that may drop from baffle A, and what might get squirted out by your skimmer (really shouldn't be squirting any out though). As long as you don't run your return section low you won't have much of a fall from baffle D hence no additional bubbles. If you run a lot of flow through the sump you may get bubbles anyway you cut it though.

As designed I think the sump is adequate, nothing to get too worked up about, maybe clean up some of the silicone with a razor blade making sure you don't scrape too much. This goes back to what is the baffle material, if it's acrylic then the silicone isn't bonding very strongly at all to the acrylic and it's basically making a gasket that holds the acrylic in place, in which case lots of silicone is used.


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Old 04/17/2019, 01:33 PM   #6
kyley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinny Kreyling View Post
The end of the ATO hose should be Above water level to avoid a siphon. ...... Check valves are NOT recommended, unless they are cleaned & maintained regularly they Will Fail @ the worst time.
Yeah, that's not what I'm worried about. I meant a siphon from the display back to the return pump. That's where I was considering a check valve. So that I don't have to worry about too much water flowing back into the sump. Shouldn't be an issue regardless, but just thought it might be helpful as a backup measure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinny Kreyling View Post
Personally I would cut it even if not perfectly to the ends.
Get your skimmer 1st so you can get it close, but 10" sounds OK.
Sorry, cut what? The A baffle glass? Not sure what you meant about "perfectly to the ends." Thanks,
--Kyle


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Old 04/17/2019, 01:54 PM   #7
kyley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfsuphysics View Post
I had a guy build my sump and he did a crappy job.
You accepted his crappy job? Hopefully you didn't pay him much to do so.
First, thanks for the thorough reply!!
Well, it was actually a trade for a pricey fish that came with the aquarium I purchased. So a refund would be tricky. Plus, I need to get this sump setup ASAP. He didn't offer to redo it, and I don't trust that he'd do a better job, so I'm just going to do it on my own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfsuphysics View Post
He used black silicone and it's all over the place.
While yeah sloppy is sloppy, with a razor blade maybe you can clean it up? It is a glass tank after all. Also material did he use for the baffles? If he used glass then fine, if he used acrylic then make sure the baffles are not snug to the sides of the tank as acylic will swell slightly and could caused catastrophic damage.
It's really all over. And where the 3 baffles are together I don't think I could get it off without removing them. And regardless, I can't change it from black to clear.

Yes, he used glass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfsuphysics View Post
And the first baffle is 5" higher than the 2nd chamber - won't that create a loud waterfall?
Depends upon how fast the water is moving through the sump honestly also if the edge is in any way slanted too. Mine is about 4" higher I think, couldn't tell you how fast my return pump is pushing but needless to say it's not that much, water comes off that first baffle like a glassy sheet that clings to the baffle so no splashing sound at all, in fact if it wasn't for the water bubbles that are created at point of contact I wouldn't know water was moving at all, akin to those zero edge aquariums.
I think mine will be pretty high flow. Maybe it isn't worth removing and cutting the glass (that baffle was done with clear silicone, so it isn't too bad). But I'm also starting to worry about water level for the skimmer. How would I prop it up 4-5" and keep it sturdy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfsuphysics View Post
Now if it were me, I would actually reverse the skimmer and refugium chambers as shown in your picture, the refugium chamber is a perfect height for most skimmers without any sort of stand, and having a bigger refugium area gives you more area for stuff to grow (macro algae I guess?)
That's a good idea, but then I'd be a bit worried about bubbles with less flow area for them to dissipate...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfsuphysics View Post
I'm going to remove the baffles and redo the silicone in them and possibly move them. I like having a good amount of water in that first chamber, but should I reduce the height of the first chamber?
I think it's fine in general. The big question is how much water will siphon if power goes off, and with a 4x2x2 tank that's about 5 gallons per inch, so overall I think there's plenty of space to hold it all. Anything more will be aesthetics and functionality.
I was thinking about using a check valve so that I don't have to worry about a siphon from the return tank? And/or I think I can drill a small hole in the underside of the return pipes so that the siphon would break if a lot of water drained? Thanks!
--Kyle


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Old 04/17/2019, 02:17 PM   #8
pisanoal
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A siphone break is preferable. You just need to make sure the hole is big enough to actually stop the siphon (this is dependant on the amount if backflow). A check valve should never be relied upon to prevent a flood, or at least not without a backup, preventative maintenance and careful consideration. Check valves will fail, it's only a question of when, not if. A small grain of sand or small growth on the gasket or flapper that allows water to leak by is all it takes. And thats only one way for it to fail.


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Old 04/17/2019, 02:32 PM   #9
Vinny Kreyling
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Sorry thought the baffles were plexi.


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Old 04/17/2019, 03:08 PM   #10
75mixedreef
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyley View Post
I think mine will be pretty high flow. Maybe it isn't worth removing and cutting the glass (that baffle was done with clear silicone, so it isn't too bad). But I'm also starting to worry about water level for the skimmer. How would I prop it up 4-5" and keep it sturdy?



That's a good idea, but then I'd be a bit worried about bubbles with less flow area for them to dissipate...
--Kyle
If you want to keep it as is then you can make a stand. Acrylic laid on large diameter pvc should be plenty sturdy if it is only 4 inches or so. 4" pvc isn't going to tip over for no reason, or even 3" if 2 4" sections wont fit side by side. A little dab of silicone could hold them in place too. An idea would be to use the fact that silicone doesn't bond well to pvc and make them removable in case you ever needed to re-size them and have the place to put them back without sliding along the bottom.

For the bubbles, you can always just point the output of the skimmer away from the return. That will give them a little time to rise to the surface and pop before going into the return section.


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