180 Gallon W/3 hole Sump - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 63 Old 12-11-2009, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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180 Gallon W/3 hole Sump

I could use some help and guidance.
I have just acquired a 180 Gallon Tank that had 3 Holes cut in the bottom ( in the middle back )
section of the tank.
I have done some research on this type of tank.. and I have not found a single one yet.
if someone has information about such a set up PLEASE let me know maybe if you have
pictures.. that would help.
I have a 30 gallon tank that I thought I would use for a sump tank, but I am not happy
with the set up that was in it... I really like the idea of these guys using a 3 or 5 gallon buckets
and making a DIY/ filter system... I could see myself doing this and there again these set ups
have used a 2 hole tank were I have a 3 hole tank.
ANOTHER THING.... I have looked online at the types of Sumps and every one that I have seen
had these notches cut out for the water to fall over. MY set up does not have those notches,
which leads me to believe that I have an older tank.
Here I have enclosed some pics
I would like to have a system like the last one but how would I run the third line?
and another NOTE.
the third hose. is flush with the bottom of the tank. ( I dont think thats RIGHT.)
if the power would go out then all the water in side the tunnel would drain in to the Sump
Tank. I am not sure thas the correct way it should be.
SO PLEASE give me some input on this issue I have
thanks all
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 180 G 30 G sump tank.jpg (112.6 KB, 199 views)
File Type: jpg 180 G sump return a.JPG (79.8 KB, 193 views)
File Type: jpg 175 Diy filter.jpg (41.4 KB, 194 views)
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post #2 of 63 Old 12-13-2009, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Well>>> ok.......

I guess either no one seen this post.. or they just don't know much about this setup to help
a guy out. So I have taken some things apart and inspected them and come to realize that
I really need to make a complete rebuild of the plumbing..... not knowing why this tank was
drilled for 3 Holes.. I am just winging it... so I have posted some pics of the new plumbing.
AGAIN... if any one knows anything about this or if they have build one themselves...
throw me some pointers...

I have removed all the old plumbing, ( IT WAS FILTHY ) lol
and started to rebuild with all new parts.
So here is the start with pictures, I am going to build my own home built Filtration system.
I will post pics as I complete more things.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1 Top Return a.JPG (35.7 KB, 183 views)
File Type: jpg 3 Hole Sump 1a.JPG (39.8 KB, 182 views)
File Type: jpg 3 Hole Sump 2 a.JPG (39.2 KB, 183 views)
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post #3 of 63 Old 12-14-2009, 02:21 PM
MoneyMitch's Avatar
looks like your on the right track, im going to assume that the outflow box thingy is alo going to be the overflow? if so i would notch the top of that box so it isnt as easy for fish to pour over into and so that you can also set the water level where you want it.
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post #4 of 63 Old 12-14-2009, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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I have it up and running now...


Thanks for posting... only one problem with your idea... the box thingy.... is made
out of GLASS just like the tank... this tank was made this way .. I still say this is probably an
older Tank ... you know the newer ones have those notches that you speak of...there is no way
I wanted to attempt that with it being glass....

The build the filter system myself... I will be posting more pics here in a while.... I now have the tank
up and running.. I did have some early issues... when I started the pump... I noticed that I did not have enough water comming into the Filter and holding tank, I noticed that I had alot of Air bubbles comming out of the return nozzels... it took some thinking and checking of all the lines to come to realize that all I needed
to do was add more water to the Holding Tank.. ( LOL ) learning lesson... and hour or so wasted..
( LOL ). I went on line and retrieved ideas from others when they bult there Filter..
I used there process but just added my own twist to them to make it mine..

I started out with new plumbing in the Over Flow Box, I ended up driving all over the place to come
up with the right size holding tank. I found a GREAT calculator for what size of holding tank to use
for the filter system. I ( But I forgot to Book mark it ) so now I have to go look for it again so
I can share with everyone...
The calculator came out with me using a 18 gallons of holding water.. I am currently using 22 gallon
it only cost $8.00
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Container in 22 gallon a.JPG (38.9 KB, 180 views)
File Type: jpg Pump in container a.JPG (50.2 KB, 179 views)
File Type: jpg Filter Buckets 2 gallon ea a.JPG (43.4 KB, 181 views)
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post #5 of 63 Old 12-14-2009, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Building the Filter

Here I have included some pictures of the construction of the Filter,
I am using a 2 gallon bucket at this time... ( Might go bigger ) or use another
bucket for the another filter.
I cut the bottom off of another 2 gallon bucket to make a Tray, which will hold
POLY Bio Material, from there I drilled holes in the tray for the water to pass through
to the Pot Scrubbers which will act like ( Bio Balls ) I used pvc piping to hold up the tray
as of right now I have not introduced the Crushed Coral that I have ... testing the
water to see if the SHELLS will act as a PH buffer, if it starts to drop I will make a bag
of Crushed Coral to go into the Sump container.
Now that I have the tank running I am very pleased as to how Quite the DOWN FLOW
Sump filter is I have heard alot of people talk about how loud they are.. but I have to say
More to come...

Attached Images
File Type: jpg filter 1 a.JPG (32.3 KB, 179 views)
File Type: jpg filter 2 a.JPG (34.4 KB, 176 views)
File Type: jpg filter 3 a.JPG (46.3 KB, 177 views)
File Type: jpg filter 4 a.JPG (37.4 KB, 175 views)
File Type: jpg filter 5 a.JPG (26.2 KB, 171 views)
File Type: jpg filter 6 a.JPG (35.2 KB, 173 views)
File Type: jpg filter 7 a.JPG (47.5 KB, 173 views)
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post #6 of 63 Old 12-14-2009, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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More Work on the Sump Filter

Here are some pics of the Filter Running at first I just had the water coming straight in to the
filter... but it was not enough Water flow... so I opened up the second valve and that was
just the right amount of water flow...
I will be still testing out the second Bucket as another filter maybe with another type of
Filter Media, just have not thought to much about that just yet....
Enjoying the way the Tank is looking ALL NEW.... lol.....

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Filter in Sump a 1.JPG (43.2 KB, 173 views)
File Type: jpg Water in Container Running a 2.JPG (46.4 KB, 172 views)
File Type: jpg Water Running in Filter a 3.JPG (31.3 KB, 171 views)
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post #7 of 63 Old 12-14-2009, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Second Valve open

After I realized that the second valve being opened all the way actually reduced the
water flow going to the filer I think the filter is working more effectively.
HERE IS A QUESTION...... does the water flow rate effect the productivity of the
filter doing its job colonizing the bacteria that is needed?

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Water running with the second valve open a 4.JPG (37.5 KB, 172 views)
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post #8 of 63 Old 12-14-2009, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Heaters installed

I have installed a 300 watt Heater located on the tunnel of the Sump,
and another much smaller one in the Sump Container tie strapped were
it is loose and not touching any plastic. So far the temp is steady at
81 degrees.
I am not so sure I really need the one in the Sump Container but I
feel that the added heat there will not allow the water to become
much cooler while transferring back to the tank.
Here is also pics of the Crushed Shells I think its a nice look ...
At this point I am updating this build thread and watching the temp
and check the PH levels.... I really dont want the PH to drop...
this tank will be a Chiclid tank... I have been leaning towards
FRONTOSA'S I really think those are nice looking fish.....

Attached Images
File Type: jpg 180 up running 12-13-09 a.JPG (76.1 KB, 165 views)
File Type: jpg crushed shell 1 a.JPG (55.8 KB, 166 views)
File Type: jpg crushed shell 2 a.JPG (53.5 KB, 165 views)
File Type: jpg over flow Running a.JPG (40.5 KB, 164 views)
File Type: jpg Heater in Sump a.JPG (46.7 KB, 165 views)
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post #9 of 63 Old 12-14-2009, 10:33 PM
MoneyMitch's Avatar
wow really looks like things are coming together for you here. gotta say im going to follow this thread and love the idea of african cichlids since i keep the same thing! your thread is making me want to make a sump for my tank lol 5 Stars my friend!!
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post #10 of 63 Old 12-15-2009, 12:27 AM
onefish2fish's Avatar
first thing that came to mind with the 3 holes drilled in your tank was a closed loop which is pretty common on saltwater tanks. after looking more at the pictures the original tank owner prob. did what you did or something similiar with 2 drains and 1 return or 1 drain, 1 return, and one emergency drain ( sitting alittle higher then the drain )
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