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To sump or not to sump. Just a discussion on preferences.


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Just looking to start a conversation on peoples setups and opinions about sump vs HOB, sponge and canisters. Personally I have used all but sponge. Love my wisper ex70 got it from Amazon for only 35bucks has very high amount of surface area for biological filtration and alot of flow for the cost. A larger tank that has both a sunsun canister filter for fine filter polish as well as a 30g tank for a sump. Always made my own overflows from pvc because I love having the top oil scum be churned into the filter media. My other pros for a sump are that my tank looks cleaner without a heater in the back to be seen and my water level always stays above the bottom lip of the tank top support. Not sure if that last one bothers anyone else but seeing the top of the water line just drives me absolutely insane. So no daily water top ups since the sump level is what will change not the tank level. By will pay someone a million if they can get a protein skimmer to work with freshwater systems lol. 

Did a shared water setup once with a few 55g that was fun. Used a common sump to split water from one tank that had a lonely Oscar and another that was a community. 

Someone give me their weird setup that shouldn't have worked but does.

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On 5/13/2023 at 6:43 PM, madcracked said:

Just looking to start a conversation on peoples setups and opinions about sump vs HOB, sponge and canisters

I tend to run 1 HoB per 1.5-2 feet of aquarium.   One of the biggest dilemmas is honestly the flowrate and media functionality.  I like sponge for mechanical, but I have run into issues not having dedicated biological media.  This is a newer issue as I have ran a variety of sponge filters with a variety of different types of sponge.  It's a difficult one to science out the direct cause without the ability to count types of bacteria under a microscope or something. 

I like the concept of canisters, but there is a plethora of terrible designs.  I specifically like the output options for canisters compared to HoBs.  I want to be able to even out the circulation across the entire length of a tank as opposed to just one small section.  This helps keep particles from settling and it helps keep from having dead spots.  With the fish I keep that is an important feature.  High oxygenation and good circulation.  From what @Mmiller2001 has experienced and reported this is also key for plants and it has personally helped me with CO2. 

Pretty much any tank I have now is going to have some sort of a spread output across the length of the back of the tank.  Right now I have 2 HoBs and a circulation pump pointing at the glass and back on the CO2 diffuser pushing those bubbles across the bottom of the tank to all of the plants. 

Optimally, I would like to have a sump.  I think it works the best for pretty much every aquarium and I would simply reference corvus oscen as a touch point for the reason behind them.  I like that you can setup a sump in a variety of ways and you can add in equipment in that setup.  It's a great way to use a spare tank and it's a phenomenal way to add all of the things you like into your setup without too much fuss.  (heater outside of the tank, controllers, monitoring equipment, dosers, large capacity for biologicals, refugium for algae control, strong biological filtration types, high oxygenation chambers, reactors, in-line diffusers, etc.

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I use a very simple sump for my 50 gallon. Its a 20 high with a 10-15 gallon fill. If you get your calculations right don’t even need an overflow. The tank is your overflow. Cost me all of $100 for everything.

I guess you would call it refugium style setup. I raise shrimp and snails and fry down in the filter. The main tank inhabitants eat the shrimp and snails. 




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