By Blane Perun
by reef guy
One of the easiest DIY (Do It Yourself) projects is the sump.. A sump is the perfect place to hold your Protien Skimmer and Heater.. The sump also provides additional area for chemical filtration (if you require it) like activated carbon, chemical resins and/or poly-pads.. The sump is the best place to dose your supplements (calcium, magnesium, strontium, buffers, trace
elements, iodine, etc.) and makeup water.. By adding your chemicals and freshwater top-off to the sump, they are mixed and diluted much better than if you simply poured them directly into the reef (possibly causing shock to your inhabitants).
1: Choose Tank Size
To begin, you'll have to deside on a tank size (10 gal works fine) the bigger tank you start with the more plaxiglas or acrylic you'll have to purchace for the project.. But a bigger tank will give you more room for error if your power goes out and the syphon (from the return line) should fail to break due to a snail cleaning right on top of the hole that breaks the syphon. :-/
2: The Divider
If the Divider fits snuggly enough you can continue to the next step.. If the Divider moves easily, allow the silicon a few hours to cure before proceeding..
3: Support Plate Strips
Looking down into the sump you'll see a partitioning divider that is 1' to 1 1/2' off the bottom and the support strips 2' off the bottom along the right side, back and the divider..
4: Media Support Plate
5: Trickle Plate
Don't be in a hurry while drilling these holes or you'll break the plate.. I use a filter pad designed for use in pond filters.. 3/4' to 1' thick and cut to size..
6: The Sump Cover
7: Additional Notes
Use a set of overflow boxes (available through any good LFS (Local Fish Store)).. Use 1/2' CPVC pipe and elbows and 5/8' inside diameter plastic hose/tubing for the return line.. Drill a 1/8' hole in the return line at the main tanks water surface to allow the syphon to be broken if the power should fail..
I have my protien skimmer in the left compartment where the return pump is also placed.. I use a separate powerhead for the return and skimmer.. The skimmer doesn't get all the water on the first pass but it does equalize as the water from the tank is mixed with the cleaner skimmed water from the sump and more tank water is mixed in the sump.. The whole set-up equalizes in 15-20 minutes, after the water starts flowing.. The skimmer is simply a part of the system wheather it's located in the sump or outside the tank.