Sumps: pros, cons and cost implications - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 2 Old 12-13-2015, 05:40 AM Thread Starter
Question Sumps: pros, cons and cost implications

Hi I'm considering getting a marine tank. So my little bit of research is into is it better to have a sump or not. What will be the benefits to a sump and what will be the difference in price compared to non sump tank.

Also if a sump pump fails does your tank empty?

Thanks for all the wonderful advice I'm about to get.

Whoodst that my steed hath the speed of your tongue.

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post #2 of 2 Old 12-13-2015, 06:55 AM
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I never enjoy when a user simply posts a link in response to a question, however, in this case there is simply no better answer than to suggest you read this awesome sticky thread written by SK Austin, a long time member of this forum who was very experienced with the pros and cons of sumps:

I will also offer up some of my personal experiences. For me, the size of the aquarium greatly determines my likelihood to use a sump. For aquariums under 180 gallons, I would personally not use a sump. In larger aquariums they are practically a necessity.

In my opinion, sumps are difficult and time consuming to set up, are much more expensive, and are more difficult to service. Simply having to bend over or get down on ones knees every time you need to clean the protein skimmer is a real pain. If you need to clean the impeller on the return pump you are talking about a real fun task.

That being said, there are benefits to a sump including more water volume, less frequent replacement of water evaporation, and additional room for filter media (which I don't use or recommend). Personally, for my opinions on how to set up a saltwater tank, I would prefer to use a high quality hang on SURFACE SKIMMING protein skimmer, combined with live rock and aragonite sand. These types of systems are very easy to set up and maintain, with the biggest risk factor being the human element of making bad decisions or rushing the process.

Finally, if the "sump fails" the entire aquarium does not drain. The overflow box or surface skimmer will break siphon and the sump is designed to hold the volume of water than flows out of the tank, usually only 1 or 2 inches from the surface.

Give that link a read and feel free to ask as many follow up questions as you want. Sumps can be complicated, but are a worthy discussion.
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