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Sump setup


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Hi everyone. I'm currently planning sump plumbing for a 15g DT and 10g sump. Got my tank drilled, 2 holes for 1" pipes. Center of holes are 3.5" from top, and 2.5" from side, on both ends of the back panel. As I haven't seen any overflow box I liked the look of, I poured all over the internet to find other ideas...found one I liked, and adapted to my setup.


Here's a crappy photo of a sketch I drew. I have no skill at sketching stuff on the computer, so this is the best I can do immediately.



In case my sketch isnt clear (which is pretty likely) the pvc pipe connects to both bulkheads using 2 elbows at both ends, so I can position it precisely at the waterline. I wrote 90 degree elbows on my sketch (was drawn really fast :P ), but I will actually buy a few different elbows and play with them to see what I like best. Water enters the pipe through slots made with a miter saw. None of this plumbing is cemented, all just slipped in, for ease of removal for cleaning, and for adjustment purposes. I was initially going to use one drilled hole for draining, and the other for return, but using both holes for drainage seems to be the simplest and cleanest way to make my centre drain pipe stay in place where I want it.


I am looking for advice/opinions here. Should I go with the plan I sketched, or stick to my original plan of just connecting that pipe to one bulkhead, and use the other for the return? I have no problem bringing my tank back at the lfs to get a 3rd hole drilled.


And most importantly - probably the first question i should have asked - will this plumbing work? I don't know much about plumbing theory, but it seems to me that during a power failure, as soon as the DT water goes below the slots in the center drain pipe, my sump will stop filling, and all I have to do to break return siphon is drill holes below sump waterline on the return pipe, correct?

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the only concern i have with this setup is when the slot gets clogged up. the display will overflow and you will end up with a flood.

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I guess I will find out. Beauty of it is, I can just whip out another length of pipe and try something different if a slotted design gets too clogged up.

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instead of a slit maybe something like a 1/2" grove? might worry about snails going in and clogging the pipe tho. i guess play around with it. its a pvc pipe, should be easy and cheap to replace

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yeah, I'm thinking I'll try out a few different methods. We're talking about 1$ for each attempt, plus elbow grease.


Another question: Is a Mag 7 a good pump choice for circulating the roughly 20 gallons of water my system will contain?

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If you watch part 2 of the YouTube 65gal build the author talks about the possibility of clogging. He found that it would still operate if 3/4 of it was taped over. Also once it was near fully clogging it would start to make loud sucking noises.



He starts talking about it at 2:10-


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might be a bit too much for 20 gals of water unless you are planning on using this as the only source of flow


That is what I hope to do, yes. Bought the pump, and got a ball valve as well, in case I need to dial it back a bit.



If you watch part 2 of the YouTube 65gal build the author talks about the possibility of clogging. He found that it would still operate if 3/4 of it was taped over. Also once it was near fully clogging it would start to make loud sucking noises.


Yes, I saw that. I got everything put together today, and I plan on trying a few different pipes tomorrow.


What I have going is slightly different than in that video, though. Instead of 2 90 degrees on each side, I have 1 90 and 1 45 degree. And the slot isn't on top of the pipe.


Thanks for the replies guys, will post pics and updates of my progress tomorrow!

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Well, I have it up and running. With temporary return plumbing my drain handles the flow from the mag 7 with the ball valve fully open. Return plumbing is 1/2" ID braided flexible hosing, 36" long from pump to T, then 2 lengths of ~30" from T to tank. Obviously lots of flow lost to head pressure there.


I need to go on tinkering with it though, because I have no margin for error. If I block one drain line, DT overflows. If I block half the slot on the skimmer pipe, DT overflows.




For one, I think I'll cut the entire length of the the pipe then fit a couple "rings" over it, using piping one size bigger, for rigidity. Maybe make another slit at the same height on the back of the pipe, as well. And if necessary, I will look into fitting a bigger pipe onto those elbows.


And on a different sump topic;


I see skimmer designed for specific tanks when I shop online...does that mean they will not work in a regular ol' standard size tank?

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