I am setting up my 125 gallon reef tank. My live rock has just finished curing (in a separate tank) and I am about to set up my 125 gallon and the sump. I have a few questions:
(1) Right now I don't have a lot of free time, so I will use a regular 30 gallon tank for a sump. Is it ok that there will not be any "compartments" in the 30 gallon tank (for the time being). Basically all I will use the sump for at this time is to hold the skimmer and the return pump.
(2) In a couple of month, I want to build a new sump. My question is how many "compartments" should it have? Should I have a separate compartment to hold the skimmer, the return pump, the microalgae, and a sand bed, or can I combine somethings into 1 "compartment." Also, can somebody explain how the plumbing would work within the sump itself (I know how the water is brought in and out of the sump).
First, you will most likely want at least 1 baffle for the temporary sump, as most skimmers have an ideal water level at which they function. Deviations from this level may cause decreased foam production, and increased buildup. As long as you are topping off the water daily, the water levels may not fluctuate enough to make a difference, so it may be alright short term.
Your primary Sump will need a total of 4 baffles. 3 to create a bubble trap between the skimmer/inlet section and it's neighboring section (depending on how the sump is designed) and 1 between the Refugium (combine sand bed with Macroalgae) and the return section.
Have you read Understanding Sumps?
Baffles are great to eliminate bubbles coming from the drain. However, if you are tight on resources filter socks will work great to reduce bubbles.
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