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Innovative Marine Aquariums

How often do you clean out your sump?

Dave MN Nano

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Dave MN Nano

I have a 20 gallon long tank about 1.5 years old. Pretty good load of fish and softies an LPS. I am still using a Seachem HOB filter. It's oversized. I think I got the one for up to 50 gallons. Thinking about adding a sump, HOWEVER, every 2 weeks, when I change water, I clean out my HOB filter. Gross, dark stuff comes out of there. If I had a sump, wouldn't that stuff just collect there? It seems like a sump would be very hard to clean. How often do you clean yours? Advice??? Thanks much. You guys always give me great advice.


The pic is a fairly recent end shot of my tank. I saved it in all 4 orientations and it totally refuses to show upright here. What am I doing wrong?

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An HOB filter is probably easier to clean out.  One might say that if it's working, why change it up?


You can use a filter sock as mechanical filtration for a sump, to help keep it clean.  Filter socks must be cleaned out at least once a week, or however long to prevent them from clogging (which could be multiple times a week).  I eventually stopped using them.


There are a number of different ways to run a sump.  It could contain a macroalgae refugium, just a skimmer, reactors, or no filtration at all.  Any of these might affect how often you clean your sump (not to mention how much you feed and your tank's bio-load).


I've gone several years without deep cleaning my actual sump before (which only contains a heater, skimmer, one baffle and return pump).  It created a sort of cryptic zone refugium down there.  I've also cleaned it out monthly before.  Either has the potential to be successful.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Like has been said above:


1) tank looks awesome!

2) why change it?


Tinkering, adding to systems is definitely a fun part of the hobby but your livestock sure seem happy as it is!  


I've never used a sump, but to my thinking adding that will alter a flow that your corals seem to love.  Then you have added complications/risks of plumbing leaks, overflows, etc.  


When I used a hang on back for years with my tanks (before I upgraded few months ago to an all-in-one setup) I really never cleaned out the filter.  There was also some detritus, but nothing major.  In my ancient bio-wheel hang on back, there were a few hundred, tiny feather dusters so maybe they kept it clean?  

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