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Discussion Starter #21
I've read a different suggestion on a hundred different links so I'll ask instead. Every answer seems vague. What size of a return pump should I get ? I

I will have a 54 gallon corner reef tank. With a Coralife protein skimmer in a Berlin sump system. The skimmer is a 125 gallon with a flow rate of 500 gph.
I am considering either a maxi jet 600 or two of the next step down in different locations.

What setup would you suggest? Which power heads and which return pump?

Multiple replies would be great!
 

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You may want a larger return pump but that may depend on a few factors. I personaly don't run too powerful of a return pump as it diminishes the dwell time of the water and the skimmer. It would be nice to know more about your overflow and return system. Do you have any elbows? Whats the diameter of the return, Is it a classic drilled in the corner overflow? Do you have multiple return lines to feed into?
 

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Discussion Starter #25
According to the schematics I've drawn there will be two 90 degree elbows on the inlet. Which would be a 1" ID pipe and there will be two 90 degree elbow on the return line plus the bend at the discharge location. I have no idea what the ID is or should be for this line.

The overflow system is a drilled tank / reef ready portioned tank.

20 gallon DIY Berlin style sump

The head height will be approximately 3 to 4 feet
 

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Discussion Starter #26
In retrospect, this system isn't built yet and the equipment hasn't even been ordered. This is an attempt to acquire information from experienced fellow aquarist as to what to get and how to build this system. If anyone has any input please don't hesitate to do so. Thank you ahead of time and btw... There will be a lot of pictures:-D
 

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I wish I had input, but I'm a freshie just following along for the ride and to learn what I can along the way. . . and, eventually, for drooling over the promised pictures when things start to pull together - and beyond!!! Best of luck to you - this project is going to be a fun one, I think!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #28
20 Gallon Sump Build

After endless late nights searching the Internet for Pre-made Sumps, I decided to build my own. The cheapest I could find for a decent Sump was $200. I need two of them (Twin 54 Gallon Reef Tanks) so this was a minimum of $400 buck and that's with out Skimmers , Socks , return pump , heaters , etc... Some of the Items I will be purchasing and not skimping on but the Sump seems like an easy way to "Save" several hundred bucks. On that note, I started combing the internet for DIY videos , articles , threads and anything that would help me understand the layout of and exactly how a Sump tank works. A nice hidden gem I discovered was on the Aqueon website. When you look at the pictures of there pre-made sump tanks you get a nice 3-D image of what a typical sump looks like. I personally am going with the Berlin Style setup but I'm sure the General Idea of the following steps would apply to any setup.


Please Refrain from commenting or interjecting any posts until the DIY steps are all posted. Thanks , VerdantGrotto :)
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Step 1

Obviously you'll need to acquire a tank from somewhere. Choose a tank size that's appropriate for the size of your DT (Display Tank). I'm not sure which sizes are adequate but I am going with a 20 Gallon for my 54 Corner. When these are full they should be at or slightly less than Half the capacity of the Sump tank. Meaning, If you have a 20 Gallon sump, you should have approximately 10 gallons in the sump or less. This is so if there is a power or equipment failure the overflow shouldn't cause the Sump to over fill before you can get to it and hopefully prevent a flood...

As far as acquiring the tanks there are several options :

(A) One could spend a weekend visiting Garage Sales within a 50 mile radius and maybe come across a tank setup for very cheap... Good Luck

(B) Build a tank. I personally don't have much experience with this but I'm sure there are numerous articles and videos on it. This also seems like an inexpensive way to do it if you have the ability to do so. It would add the additional time and effort to the build though.

(C) Wait for a Sale at a local fish store. Several of my local fish stores frequently have tanks on sale but they're usually the odd ones that don't sell well. They also randomly have a $1 per Gallon sale , which I believe is an effort to keep up with the cheaper PETCO/PETSMART places. Petco and Petsmart frequently have a $1 per Gallon sale on tanks and it always seems to be around some holiday... Labor Day , Thanksgiving , etc... The tanks at Petco/Petsmart are usually the generic 10G , 20G , 30G , 55G and so on... This is the option I selected. (I bought two 20 Gallon tanks, one for each of my 54G Reef tanks).

Tip: Verify that the sump will fit in the space desired. Under the cabinet , closet , etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Step 2

The next step is to acquire all the tools necessary and setup an area to work.

Items I will be using:

(A) Several Dry Clean Hand Towels (I suggest washing these without using laundry detergent and fabric softener sheets)

(B) Coarse Grit Sandpaper (Sponges are Nice)

(C) Quick Grip Clamps (I prefer Irwin soft grip style)

(D) Straight Edge Ruler and Sharpie (Remove all ink prior to tank setup)

(E) Acrylic Sheets (I purchase 1' square pieces from Home Depot $5 each)

(F) Small Piece of plywood or OSB (A little bigger than 1' square)

(G) Hand-held Plunge Router (A sawhorse table will help also)

(H) Easy Peel Blue Painters masking tape (Width of tape at your discretion)

(I) Seamstress Tape and/or Tape Measure (Measure and plan everything)

(J) Nitrile Gloves (Keeps the silicone off of your fingers)

(K) Razor Blade and Alcohol lens cleaning wipes (Use caution with Razors)

(L) Aquarium Sealant (I purchased the aquarium specific stuff from Petco $8)

Note: I've heard that one could also purchase Clear silicone from a Hardware store for much less as long as it's the kind that doesn't have Mildew preventers in it. However, most of these state they aren't designed for below water levels and some even specifically state that they aren't for Aquarium Use. I'm not sure about that but I personally like the piece of mind that the stuff I'm using won't wipe out my livestock down the road. Something about losing 150$ in fish and inverts to save $5 doesn't seem like a wise decision... Which is why I went with Aquarium sealant.
 

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Discussion Starter #31 (Edited)
Step 3 Baffle Walls

The next step would be to create the Baffle Walls.
In a Berlin Style sump, this consists of 3 walls. Two of which are identical.

The first thing you'll need to do is to measure the width of the tank in the ID (Inside Dimension). This needs to be as precise as possible. Scribe this number down because it will be the width of your baffle wall. I actually decreased the number by a 1/16th of an inch for ease of placement but the closer you can get to the actual dimensions the easier it will be to secure them with sealant. These aren't a structural joint. You're just trying to seal the edges so the water has to go through the ports you will cut.

The second step on the baffle walls will be to measure the dimensions and mark them on the acrylic sheets with a Sharpie. Accomplish this by measuring with a tape measure on both ends and then use the ruler or straight edge to scribe the line. This is easier by clamping the ruler to the acrylic sheet and your piece of plywood.

The next step is the water ports. The two identical walls are the ones closer to the ends. These walls will help establish the height of water levels and there lack of turbulence. The middle wall is between the skimmer chamber and the return utility pump. See Images below for what they should look like. The quantities I have below are for (2) Sump tanks. If you are creating just one Sump the quantity will be half of what I have below.

Once all the cut lines have been marked you can proceed to the next step.

Note: The width of your Baffle Walls is depicted by the ID of your Sump Tank
 

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Discussion Starter #32 (Edited)
Step 3 Continued...

Once all of your lines have been scribed you can cut the perimeter dimensions with an Acrylic Knife. Clamp the Acrylic sheet to a Work table with a sharp edge. Rounded edges could cause the sheet to break at the wrong place or irregularly. I found this is easier by sandwiching the sheet between a 1" x 4' and the work table. By using the acrylic knife, score the line where your cut will be. Don't apply too much pressure. You're just trying to score the line as accurate as possible. Repeat the score line over and over. This might seem redundant but if you want a clean line this will take about 50 drags across the line. Don't Rush! You can break the scrap piece off when you're more than 3/4's of the way through the acrylic sheet thickness. I however, went almost completely through the sheet before i applied even pressure along the scrap piece to break it off. It practically fell off for me. Test the fit in your sump tank. It should almost be a snug fit. You'll have a total of 3 Baffle walls

Next you'll cut the ports. This is accomplished by clamping the sheet very securely to your small piece of plywood and the work table. Be sure to allow room for the "footprint" of you handheld Router. First drill a Pilot hole (very slowly so you don't crack the acrylic) and then by using the router travel along the edges of your sharpie mark. Be sure to remove all the ink with the router (Not sure if the ink is toxic to fish).

Image 1: Clamp location
Image 2 : Skimmer to Sponge Filter Wall (Chamber 2 to Chamber 3)
Image 3: Sock Filter to Skimmer Wall (Chamber 1 to Chamber 2)
Image 4 : DONT USE A JIGSAW TO CUT ANY EDGES! THEY WILL CRACK!
 

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Discussion Starter #33 (Edited)
Step 4

Once you have the 3 Baffle Walls cut you'll need to clean the edges. I suggest doing this by using a coarse Sanding Sponge. This will also knock down any sharp edges and prep the perimeter for secure bonding of the Silicone sealant. Don't forget to clean the edges of the Ports.

Scuff the perimeter of the Baffle walls approximately 1/4" to 1/2"
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Step 4

Clean all surfaces thoroughly.

The acrylic sheets can be cleaned by scrubbing them under running tap water with a wash cloth.

The Tank can be cleaned by scraping the glue off with a Razor blade and scrubbing any left over residue off with a lens cleaning wipe or Rubbing alcohol. Once you've got the display sign glue off rinse the entire tank (Inside and Out) with a Garden hose.

Once these items are clean, dry them off with clean dry towels. Making sure to thoroughly dry all areas. Water could prevent adhesion of the silicone.


NEVER USE DISH SOAP OR AMMONIA BASED PRODUCTS SUCH AS WINDEX!
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Tip

Always carry the tanks by the base. Firmly gripping the trim. If the tanks are too large then ask for help. I'd rather ask for help then ask for a broom to sweep up a bunch of glass...
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Tip

By using a razor blade you can get the bulk of glue used to affix display signs off. Finish removing glue with rubbing alcohol (Evaporates quickly). I found it's just as easy to use Lens cleaning wipes like the kind you use for your iPad.

Inspect the Sump tank by holding a flash light parallel to the surface of the glass. This will high-light any residue on the tank.

Be sure to thoroughly inspect prior to rinsing the tank off with a garden hose.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Tip

When rinsing the tank out with a garden hose be sure to do this over soft grass, cardboard or a wood deck. This will minimize the chance of damaging the glass on hard surfaces such as Bricks, Concrete or Rocks. When you think you've finished rinsing it off... Rinse it off one more time (Just to be sure). Don't forget to carry from the base.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Step 5

Once you have the tank clean and returned to the work table, grab a notepad and a pencil. You'll need to measure the length of the ID and record this info. You'll also need to record the dimensions of the equipment you'll be placing in each of the chambers. For my sump, I'll have a filter sock and bracket in the first chamber, a 125Gallon Coralife Protein Skimmer in the second chamber, technically the sponge goes in the third chamber and then the Utility Return pump in the fourth chamber.

Using the scratch paper, sketch the layout of the chambers with the recorded dimensions. This will help you work through any flaws with the size of the chambers.

Keep in mind that you may want to add additional equipment in the future such as Phosphate or Calcium Reactors
 

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