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I need your advise. I want to set up a mostly DIY 10 gallon sump for my 55 gallon tank.


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I only have room for a 10 gallon tank (possible 2 10s) under the stand for my 55 gallon tank. I am finding lots of nice panels from a few eBay sellers that would fit across a 10 gallon tank.  I don't want to drill the 55 tank, so I need to figure out a siphon/overflow to take water out, and a return mechanism that won't flood the floor if the power goes out. and automatic restart for the siphon if the power goes out and comes back would be great. I know I've seen bits and pieces on CARE about it.  I would love to get advise and get pointed to threads and YouTube videos that show how this can be done DYI and done well.  If the first 10 gallon works, I would copy it for a second one. Or maybe lift the added tank up so it could flow into the original tank. 

Please let me know your thoughts. I am also considering an Eshops siphon/overflow if that would be significantly better than a DYI.

All thoughts, pros and cons welcome.

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@PepereI've had canisters with my 120 gallon in the garage. I am 5'2" and retired. Moving the canisters that I had was hard when they were full of gross water. That was in the garage. I would hate to clean up after a canister spill in this old cottage with poorly sealed pine wood floors. With a sump, I could lift out a layer of dirty filler media in the front and insert one at the back. Then clean the filter media and dry it before the next change, not so much heavy careful lifting. If I was bigger and stronger, I would consider canisters. Oh, I forgot to mention that my husband has set up a huge fountain on our dock using a pool pump and lots of plumbing fittings and hoses. He also built a ram pump in our gorge that pumped water up about 200 feet from the stream bed using a water fall as the power source. We probably have most of the fittings on storage already.

@nabokovfan87 the kits on eBay require you to have a tank. I would be interested in none eBay sources as well.

Edited by KittenFishMom
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I have done literally that with a 20H. Which is basically 2 10’s stuck on top of eachother.


if you do math good then you can find what your max fill is in the tank below. I mark it with sharpie. This is in case the power goes out and the outflow siphons water into your sump. It won’t flood.

As for automatic restart that is built into most pond pumps nowadays. As soon as they get enough juice they are back on and pushing water


I can’t remember the ebay seller offhand whom I got my panels from. But they are great! @OnlyGenusCaps told me about them so hopefully he doesn’t mind the ping.


feel free to ask me any questions, this is my preferred filter option. I call it the “poor mans refugium.” And yes I leave my ACO towel exactly like that so all my guests know who I represent 😋








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Whenever I used overflow boxes with lift tubes (years ago), they inevitably ended in disaster.  Air bubbles get into the tube(s), and the siphon stops.  Then, the water goes from your sump, back into the tank, and then on your floor. 😞


Edited by Galabar
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/5/2023 at 4:27 PM, KittenFishMom said:

@_Eric_ We are planning to getting float switches to turn things off if the water in the sump or the tank get too high. Haven't thought it all through. that is why the UGF are going into the tank, to give us time to work out the details.

You should design to have enough extra capacity in the sump so that you can accommodate the water draining to the sump if there is a power outage - or you just turn the pump off for a water change.  The return pump going while it isn’t draining to the sump is what I would worry about.  A float switch could work.

A UGF may not be the best temporary filter solution.  a sponge filter could just be plunked in the sump when you are transitioning.  

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