To sump or not to sump...HEEEEELLLLP! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-02-2009, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Question To sump or not to sump...HEEEEELLLLP!

This is long but I have many questions and would really appreciate the help. You guys helped me set up my's been a while and I need more info/help. Alright, here it goes...I have a 36 gallon bowfront. I set it up and did the whole live fish cycle and kept very close watch on my 5 bloodfin tetras. Tank has been running for close to three months now and the population is now up to 23 fish. Mostly tetras and 4 cories and 1 dwarf pleco. To this day, INCLUDING the starter fish (bloodfins) I have lost zero fish. I am amazed too lol. Actually I have been monitoring my water and doing water changes once a month. Now here is where the concerns come...I'll give you eyes a break...

Lately I have been noticing my water to be less clear than normal. In the past I had this problem and had to leave for a week long newlywed cruise (yep jost got married last month yay). I did not have a timer for my light (flourescent that came with my aqueo/all-glass aquarium). I did have the fish food disks that you drop in. When I returned the water could not have been clearer.

Fast forward a few weeks and I started to notice the nitrates approaching the not so safe area. Did a water change but was stupid and did about a 50% water change. Fish were happy afterwards but since then...until today my water has never been as cleaqr as that one week I had been away with my light of. It seems as though my pH is around 6.4 ish. I don't know if that is good or bad for tetras but as mentioned I have not lost any yet and they apear healthy and lively.

I recently brought my concerns of the not so clear water to a local pet store. The fish guy informed me I should try adding some live bacteria. Prior to this visit, as in a couple nights prior, I did a 20% water change. This left my water clearer but still cloudy. This is where the fish guy advised me to add the live bacteria.

Today the water looks better but not like it did once before. I have tried to reduce the amount of food I feed my little friends as I feel I was overfeeding them before (feeding them once a day a good finger pinch of food which they all ate up) I do notice when they eat the flake food it seems to break apart into such small particles they don't see it or care to eat it. I am currently running an Emperor 280 by Marineland. I change out the filter when I did my 50% water change a while back which I don't think helped my situation. When I did my recent 20% I washed it in running water (should've used tank water but forgot until after I discarded the tank water).

I have a buddy...well actually has a freshwater tank and the other a saltwater tank. Both have sumps...pretty sure they are both wet sumps. Basically I know you can never have too much filtration so I have decided to build a sump system. I have been researching how to build one, the equipment I need etc. I just can't seem to find concurring information. I don't want live plants and I want my water to be as crystal clear as my friends' tanks. I plan to buy a 20 gallon aquarium to sit below my tank and add a mag drive pump but read up on how to choose pump size but am still unsure. My tank currently sits on top of a 3 foot tall stand and the tank itself is about 2 feet tall. I also don't know how many separate barriers to put inside the sump and whether to build a wet/dry or just a wet sump system.

Arrrrggghhh...if you have read all this I so appreciate it. I have a lot of concerns and questions. Am I headed in the right direction? Any input, comments, concerns....please I'll take it all! ;D
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-02-2009, 09:44 PM
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Cloudy water issue : i would reccomend getting some activated carbon. not the stuff that is built into your media but like a container of it. get a nylon sock and put youyr carbon in there then put the sock of carbon into your filter. that should help with the cloudiness issue as it seems that your tank has already cycled or by the high nitrites is towards the end of its cycle.

Sump: wet dry filters and just wet filters have two very diffrent things they do. wet filters dont have anywhere near the amount of water aggitation as a wet dry does. in other words in a wet filter the waterts surface isnt being broken as much as if it were a wet/dry / trickle filter. which means.... wet drys arent as good for planted aquariums as "wet" ones are. as far as chambers go that is totally up to you. i would definately go with atleast three of them one for the mech filtration and bio balls one for a chamber to house "live sand" and have one more for you pump, heaters and any other equip. i have built three sumps all from homedepot i even made my own overflows and plumbed all of them myself. i dont have them anymore built if you like you can msg me and i will go more into detail about sumps and sump building. Money
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-02-2009, 09:55 PM
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It's great that you haven't lost any fish. Good Job.
But, I think your tank might have gone through a "mini cycle" since you rinsed out the filter in TAP WATER *gasp* (never again!).. hehe On the same day you did a very large water change..
I think you lost alot of beneficial bacteria when you did that and your tank had to go through the ammonia, nitrite , & nitrate cycle.

My 5foot, 56g Tank
2 Madagascar, 2 Bosemi and 1 Millenium Rainbowfish
9 Tiger Barbs
1 Weater Loach, 6 Zebra Loaches
1 Rainbow Shark
1 Raphael Catfish
My 55g
1 Siamese Algae Eater
11 Otocinclus
4 Burmese Zebra Loaches
1 Black Angelfish
1 Banjo Catfish
Lots of shrimp
My 70g
1 Siamese Algae Eater
4 Peppered Corydora, 1 Green Corydora
2 Wood Shrimp
3 Red Eye Tetra
1 Raphael Catfish
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-03-2009, 02:30 AM
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my wet/dry makes my 60 gallon very very low maintenance.

60 gallon
1 black ghost knife
4 black skirt tetras
2 zebra danios
1 algae eater
1 golden killifish
1 bamboo shrimp (MIA)
2 albino cory cats
3 tiger barbs

29 gallon (brackish)
1 Balloon and 10ish babies
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-04-2009, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Well thank you everyone for you input. After posting this listing I searched around just reading up on filters, including the one I am using currently. I have decided not to build the sump yet and give my system a better chance. From what I have read the Marineland Emperor 280 and this series alone is a very nice system. I purchased a bunch of goodies from the "Doctor" to include some water clarifier and some carbon as well as ceramic media. I bought some new decorations and some bubblers. I also read up on lighting and I think I may be keeping the light on too long. All in all I am going to take a new approach to my fishkeeping. I have even started a fish maintenance log to help me along the way. I am in now way even thinking about giving up...I love my tank and the excitement and joy not to mention the relaxing effects it creates. The minimal white noise in my bedroom at night created from the hum of the filter and the water noise helps me sleep at night too. I'll keep you guys posted and when I get all my goodies at the end of next week I WILL have to take pics for all to hopefully enjoy hehe! Cheers guys and thank you so much for the quick and kind responses!
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-04-2009, 11:58 PM
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Np bro i look forward to seeing some pics. about the aquarium log, you can keep one on here in your profile, that way if you run into trouble you can refer everyone to your log and if you keep it up to date its just that much better so that we can all help you with what the problem exactly is. Money
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