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sump filter for planted tank question

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Generals, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. Generals

    Generals Prolific Poster

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    hi im still starting out in planted tanks... i used to be in the hobby of decorative freshwater fishes (cichlid and koi).
    i have a 36"x18"x20" tank and a sump filter of 24"x12"x14".
    a lot of people say that sump filter is not very good for planted tank due to the co2 escaping from the water because of the water agitation issues.
    but as i've read the posts here, there are some people using sump filters.

    Im using the sump filter since it is my old tank and i just converted it for economic reasons.... im just starting out in planted tanks so i dont want to spend too much since im still getting the feel of it. However i also prefer my tank without the powerheads and other stuff like co2 reactors for a clean look and less maintenance inside the tank...(more of in the sump only).

    Can anyone give me advice as to how to incorporate the sump filter to the tank without losing too much co2?
    i read about the "Dual venturi DIY External CO2 reactor" thread and the " Another method for CO2 diffusion: needle wheel powerheads" thread.
    Im kind of confiused which would work better on my sump filter?
    i'm using a return submersible pump Rio2100.

    Another concern of mine is the water flow:
    1. In a planted tank setup, which would be a better choice? to put the suction from the maintank towards the sump at the top of the water (surface skimmer style) or placing the suction at the bottom of the tank to suckout heavier dirt that would tend to settle below?
    2. how do i make the water circulation adequate and not too much or to low?
    3. Would my return pipe be better positioned near the water surface (but still completely submerged) pointed towards the upper level of the water or be pointed towards the bottom of the tank?

    appreciate your inputs.
    Tom, whats your view on this? I can see that you really know what your doing with regards to planted tanks.:)
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Yes there are several things you can do:

    1. Cover/seal any open areas of your sump to help prevent 02 penetration and c02 loss.
    2. Based on the type of overflow(s) you have, you can possibly raise the level of water in the overflow(s) by installing a durso type standpipe (google it) or similar. The less distance the water falls, the less c02 loss and noise.
    3. Some also cover their overflows.

    A lot depends on your setup, personal preference, and what type of tank you want. Type of lighting etc. Higher light (metal halides, > 2 wpg, etc) will require more nutrients and c02. Both work well. Either method should work well for your size tank. The external reactor would be easier to incorporate with a sump. That is how I do it.

    This can be done in either or both ways. Surface skimming is nice but some people (Tom for example) plumb the sump through the bottom of the tank AND uses overflows at times. Up to you. I have twin overflows with skimming at both.

    You will want to ensure that with the EVENTUAL plant mass you will have that there is good flow throughout the tank. I would recommend at least 10 times your tanks volume turnover rate per hour as a start. If the fish are always pinned to the wall, then too much. A good ball valve will prevent this if you oversize your pump........

    I point my returns down into the tank in opposite directions so there is ripple but not a lot and the water is driven around the tank in a type of circular pattern. You can have a surface ripple, just not a strong surface flow as this will drive out more c02. The more current generally the better. When your tank is fully planted, you want to see every leaf move at least a little. This ensures that fresh nutrients are brought within reach and detritus is washed away.

    You will be amazed at how growth will slow/affect your current. I have added several small pumps just to help in certain areas of my tank.........

    Also, a sump will use more c02, so you just have to add more to your tank to get it where you want it.

    I have a 180 with sump and I can get my c02 to 30-40 ppm. I just use more c02 than someone with no sump and a 55 gallon :)

    Just follow any thread I have started over the last year, and I had tons of these same questions.

    How are you going to inject your c02? DIY or pressurized system?

    Oh, one other thing. You want to get a drop checker (DC) to help determine the amount of c02 in the water. Do a search for this on the site, I don;t have the link handy.

    Hope this helps and good luck.
     
  3. Generals

    Generals Prolific Poster

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    hi,
    im sorry i forgot to post the specs of my setup
    here it is:
    tank: 36"x18"x20" (50gal)
    sump size 24"x12"x14" (15gal)
    return pump: Rio 2100 (per spcification at 4ft head - 340gph but actual as i tested it is only around 225gph)
    co2: DIY yeast type
    co2 reactor: (dont have one yet - still gather info on which type to use)

    note: overflow tube is a hole drilled at the upper rear portion of the tank fitted with a 3/4" size PVC. i just use a pvc elbow to adjust the surface skimming and if i want the suction at the bottom, i place a short pvc pipe around 12" down towards the bottom. (That's why i was asking which suction is better, surface skimming or from the bottom of the tank for heavier debris)

    Return pipe is split into 2, one on each side of the tank (Left & Right) using PVC piping 1/2".

    @Gerry
    If i would use the needle wheel style by drilling holes in the impeller of my Rio2100 pump, and injecting the co2 near the intake of said pump, would it be sufficient for the co2 diffusion as well as being the returnpump at the same time?

    Also, when the co2 bubbles or mist (if ever it will become mist), the return water flow, will flow through around 5-6feet of 1/2" pvc piping before reaching the tank, during that time, will the co2 escape from the water or will it just be the same as having a reactor inside the tank.
    I would prefer not placing any objects inside the tank.

    The other method "Dual venturi DIY External CO2 reactor", im having a hard time finding the parts since these are not readily available in my part of the world (Asia). Any suggestions?
     
  4. Generals

    Generals Prolific Poster

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    oh i forgot my lighting is 8x21w t5's with no reflectors since its not available in my part of the world.

    im planning on 6 tubes daylight and 2 tubes coolwhite.
    is coolwhite beneficial for planted tanks?
    i just thought of it since it accents the color better (i think.. that's basing on the demo's of those who sell lights).
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hey,

    So to me, this would turn over your 50 gallon tank volume < 5X per hour. Based on how you plant/scape your tank and the size/type of fish, this may be sufficient, but if you can get it closer to 10X per hour would be better.

    You can always add a ball valve to control the flow if too strong.

    Neat idea! Would like to see a pic if possible. Could you do BOTH and add a strainer sponge to the bottom as well as skim? You can try it either way for a couple of days, and rinse the sponge before each method, and compare how much dirt rinses out. Very unscientific I know, but at least to give you some idea.

    Yes, I think so. But again much depends on the flora and fauna. That is the basic idea though. I think that drilling the impeller will also result in a slight loss of flow, but I could be wrong on this.

    I think this will HELP mix the co2 as there is more contact time with the water. My setup is the same, with one pump feeding two opposite return pipes.

    Yes. Can you mail order over the Web? Or use the member swaps to post a request for someone to buy these for you and ship them over? There are many web forums for planted tank enthusiasts so take a look for the WTB (Where to buy) threads.

    Where exactly are you? That might help..........


    Oh, and your lighting is very intense. +3 wpg is a lot. You can expect high c02 and nutrient demand right off the bat. With DIY c02, I think you are asking for issues..

    Try getting it to 1.5-2 wpg and see how that goes.

    You may also want to add another yeast bottle so you always have a spare handy. Intermittent c02 levels are a factor in many tank growth/algae issues.

    I see no reflectors, but t5 are pretty bright. You may want to start with less light, as you can always add more back on. Or not have them all on at the same time..........

    I can;t say about the cool white. Sorry.
     
  6. Generals

    Generals Prolific Poster

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    Actually i find it kind of too strong in the sense that the water in my sump will decrease so rapidly that my pump will be left sucking out air partially. (meaning, the overflow might be too slow compared to the pump).

    thanks for the compliment, i wanted my tank to look neat (thus the sump and the plumbing- thus also i dont want to put a reactor inside the tank hehehe).
    Well i tried that actually and it kind of works... it skims partially and sucks from the bottom partially however, i dont know how strong each suction is... and to add to that the main problem with using it for both skimming and suction from bottom is it generates an awful loud noise (somewhat like when your sucking from a straw and the liquid in the glass is below already low, so you tend to suck on air - that kind of sound).
    I dont like that so i had to adjust the ball valve of the overflow .. thus making the flow of water lesser, thus also i had to adjust the pump velocity, to around half....
    If i do only one, skimming or suction from below, it wouldnt generate that noise....that's why im asking which is better, to skim the surface or to suck out debris near the substrate?



    not possible i think, the taxes when the items arrive here would be more than the amount of the items hehehe
    im in the Philippines actually so the more sophisticated items and equipments are not readily available. if they are, it's not a very prudent option to buy since they are too expensive.




    Oh, it's too intense huh... mmm.. that wouldnt be problem since i rigged up 2 switches for the 8 t5's each switch controls 4 bulbs... so i could just use 1/2 of the 3wpg....

    what do you mean a spare yeast bottle, i would mixe the yeast in advance but not attach it to the c02 inlet tube? or do you mean just an empty bottle for spare?
     
  7. Generals

    Generals Prolific Poster

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    guys, which is more important for planted tanks?

    an intake to your sump filter sucking water out from the top surface of the tank (surface skimmer)? or an intake to your sump sucking from the bottom of the tank near the substrate (to suck out heavier debries that sink)?
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I think you have about the right amount of light. With no reflectors you are losing at least a third of the light that T5's normally give, so you effectively have something around 2 watts per gallon or a bit more. One of the biggest reasons that T5 lights are so bright is that they usually have good reflectors that redirect the lost light from the back of the bulb back to the aquarium.
     
  9. Mooner

    Mooner Lifetime Charter Member
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    IMO, this is preferred. Though you will use a bit more CO2 it keeps the water surface clear of scum.


    I have two tanks with skimmers and see no need to draw from the bottom. Also this method doesn't seem viable for a sump. Unless I missed something, this would have to be metered to the sump and this will cause fluctuating water levels. And during a power outage flow from the tank wouldn't stop (tank drained, sump overflow). Say you drill a hole in this for a siphon break, then you would need to restart the siphon or tank overflows when power returns.

    Your overflow may not be adequate (3/4" PVC) to handle the flow of the sump. Additional 3/4" overflows can be added to solve this.
     
  10. Generals

    Generals Prolific Poster

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    oh.. ok thanks... it would be most preffered for my setup to have only a surface skimmer since no tube would go down to the bottom from the drilled hole at the back.



    actually if i would opt for the bottom suction, there would be hole for the siphon break but it will automatically activated when power comes back since the water level will go up as the pump returns the water to the tank.
    And yes the 3/4 pvc is enough for the power of the pump since i already tested it for the bottom suction... (never tested it for pure surface skimming though) and in fact i had to close slightly the ball valve for the overflow since the flow is too strong.....

    btw, what do you mean "would have to be metered to the sump"?
     
  11. Generals

    Generals Prolific Poster

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    oh so the extra lighting for t5s is due to reflectors.... that's sad to hear hehehe
    anyhow, i just painted the inside of the hood gloss white... but not so glossy though... quite like semi gloss....
    how much light do you think that would reflect?
     
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