Powerhead as a sump question - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-31-2011, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Powerhead as a sump question

Ive asked this question in a few places and got cryptic answers. In my search I keep ending up on reverse flow powerheads but they were designed for that. heres my question I wrote it down so I could copy and paste it as again, no one has given me a difinitive answer of can it has it experience. i read an article that really intrigued me about a sump tank...

Trying to build a sump tank thats higher than my tank. using powerheads to pump water up into the filter (55 gallon tank), gravity fed down ( i can drill side as its not tempered). I know with air pumps sometimes without a check valve (and thats not gauranteed) they can reverse pump if you had a interruption in power, is this also true for powerheads? I understand when the motor turns on theoretically it should push out (impeller should turn clockwise) could interrupted power cause the powerhead to (with a back pressure) siphon? I want to say no, but its not something ive had to deal with before, so i wanted to ask first.
thank you for any answer as i cant go forward without more info.
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-31-2011, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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i meant to say with a check check valve, sorry
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-31-2011, 06:22 PM
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Welcome to TFK, as for the question its not a matter of it being a power head that will cause the back siphon its the flow of water with gravity, any time you have water at a greater height then another body of water and connected together you will create a siphon until air can enter the connection chamber and break the flow of water. Which means the higher tank will siphon out until the water level reaches the entrance of the tube that created the siphon.

A sump on top design is going to be tricky and might even be better suited to keeping the powerhead/pump in the main tank so you can keep the flow of water into the sump above the water line so as soon as you lose power there is nothing to siphon from. There are other ways to counter with an air hole just below the water line like what people do with overflows but the tough part is you will have to reprime the top tank with water before you can get the system going again. Its always much easier and better if the pump/powerhead is at the low side of the water.

Edit forgot to add the check valve should work (theoretically) but I for one wouldn't want to risk such a large flood on a check valve
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-31-2011, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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so i would need 3 tanks for this? this is the article that i liked. I hope it doesnt break any rules. An Improved DIY Sump Filter for My Aquarium. bu Biju Uthup
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post #5 of 5 Old 08-01-2011, 03:51 PM
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Ok so they are doing a behind the tank small style sump, which shouldn't be too much of an issue because the volume of water you are dealing with is very small(an in tank solution is actually a bit more elegant though). Most of the time when we build sumps we use 10-30 gallon fish tanks for the sump as to add the extra volume of water and we put the sump below the tank hiding in a cabinet or something else as its just an over all easier and neater method of doing it.

I recommend you do a good for "DIY sump" or "DIY wet dry filter" to get some ideas on how to create such a system, if you come up with salt water sumps then just remove the saltwater gear and media and just replace it with freshwater media such as bio-balls.

Once you have a design in your head draw it up in paint and post it in our DIY section of the forums and explain the parts of it as you see it, we will be more then happy to critique your design for you and give you some more pointers but the key is to research enough different plans (there are quite a few) to figure out which one will be right for you and your setup.
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