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Added above tank sump to BC14

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*Copying and pasting from another forum I posted this on*


So I have this extra 10 gallon tank just sitting around in my place and I want to do something with it. Seeing that my little 14 gallon is so little and has such little water volume, and the amount of stuff hanging off the back and stuffed into the rear chambers is ridiculous, I want to add this 10 gallon as a sump.


Here's the catch, the tank is up on a kitchen counter and there is nowhere underneath it to do the traditional gravity fed siphon option. There could be a bunch of room behind the tank though, so I thought why not do a pump water up and let gravity take it down to the tank.


Here's the plan:

• Standard 10g AGA tank elevated about 6-7" off the counter

• Drill a hole in the top corner of it and install a bulkhead. This will be the return

a. Failure point 1, if something blocks this bulkhead, ###### could get really ugly, strainer and religious checking of it to be sure it never gets clogged

• Place a smallish pump into chamber one of the BC chambers and pump it up to the opposite side of the fuge tank. This will be the feed line.

a. Another failure point, if the power goes out and this line is submerged to deep in fuge, the siphon will flood the display. Plan being to keep this line above the water line

b. Label D in the pictures is a pane that is completely sealing off where the feed line ... uhm... feeds so in case something happened the entire sump would not empty out through the feed line


Flow would go something like this:


Feed pump in Chamber 1 of Biocube up to sump -> water spills over first glass pane which covers length of the tank-> zig zags through 3 other glass panes and into flow into main refuge area -> water then flows under label E -> water returns to tank through bulkhead.






I know, my google sketch skills are amazing.




So I went forward with it and put a little something together.


Instead of the glass 10 gallon I got an acrylic 10g truvue.


Drilled out a 1 1/2" inch hole with a hole saw and went to work:




I simulated a power outage, the pump in the display tank turning off, the sump pump only turning off and all tests went well. no flooding and about 3/4 - 1 gallon of "extra" space if need be. The only failure point being the return line getting clogged... It was so easy to drill the hole I'm thinking of adding another 3/4" "oh ######" bulkhead just to be extra safe.


Right now I have a maxi-jet 600 pumping up into it running at about 3/4 power, if I crank it up all the way the water level in the "sump" in the display gets to low. I still have a lot of tweaking to do, I guess you could call this a proof of concept. My awesome neighbor who has a wood shop in his garage built the stand for me in about an hour. I went over to his place looking for some scrap wood and came home with a nice little stand about an hour later.










What's next?


1. Make the stand pretty

2. Get plumbing supplies (instead of using the phosphate reactor ones)

3. Plan how baffles are going to be placed in the tank

4. Plan lighting, I was thinking a couple CFL's for Chaeto

5. Figure out how to fit Tunze 9002 and phos reactor in there

6. Figure out where to drill and/or mount the iceprobe chiller



Did A-LOT of work tonight on the tank.


  • Drilled a 3/4" "oh ######" bulkhead just to be that much more careful (I really don't want to have to use my renters insurance)
  • Bought and installed a 3/4" PVC ball valve, 3/4" TFP to 3/4" barb connectors for the feed line instead of using the phos reactor one
  • Added baffles and used weld on to weld them into place
  • Bought a minijet 400 to use on the phos reactor and hooked it up (perfect flow BTW)
  • Bought and installed a filter sock, had to cut it down to size but it's working very nicely and no more microbubbles!
  • Bought these 2 things, used an old extension cord I had, cut a little piece out of the stock hood the tank came with and made this Fuge light. It actually covers up the phosphate reactor perfectly. I had to score and snap a piece of the stock acrylic cover for the light. The hottest part of the hood gets 135 degrees which is warm to the touch. That isn't to hot is it? If so, I have a little fan I think I could install in there.
    Hood off:
    Hood on:
  • Installed the Tunze 9002 skimmer... It sits a bit below where it should, I need to shave about 1/8" from one of the top braces to make it fit perfectly. I'm hoping that doesn't mess up the bracing, I was just going to take a dremel to it. I planned the first baffle where it is so the skimmer magnet could mount onto it, and to my disbelief I actually did it right!

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Thanks for the writeup, I am thinking of building a similar fuge setup for behind my tank. I hadnt thought about the siphon effect if the pump turns off, you saved me some build time!

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Thanks, glad I could help.


I rent and the last thing I need is a flooded apartment with my crazy landlord suing me. I tried to make it as fail proof as possible.

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Nice work!


The only problem I see here is that the water level in your display will be dropping as evaporation happens, you'll either have to top off a lot or put an ATO in your display (might be ugly).

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WOW, Nice Job. Looks great!

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great idea

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I did a similar thing for my contest tank. I wish I had not put mine so close together. It is impossible to clean the outside of the 2 tanks. Looks good.



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