Can You use 2 tanks for a sump instead of one???

Discussion in 'Fish Tanks' started by garydm, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. garydm

    garydm

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    Im setting up a sump and fuge for my 55gal and I have a 20 gallon already and it is not big enough for me to put 3 compartments into like my skimmer and the fuge and then the pump return to the tank......is there a way to use the 20 for my skimmer and other stuff and then put the fuge in a 10 gallon mabye below it to use suction to keep the water in the fuge full so It will not dry out when the pump is running??? anyone tried it.....also can I or should I put a cerc. pump in the fuge or just the cheato and rocks and mabye a crab or snail??? thanks
     
    garydm, Sep 2, 2009
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  2. garydm

    project5k

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    you sure can, but you have to decide how you want to do it. (i'm doing this exact same thing)

    my sump is just to hold extra water volume, have the skimmer and heater in, and then the return pump to the main DT.

    My Fuge will be in a sepperate tank(at this point it may be a series of tanks) that i'm gonna drill and link together so that the fuge acts just like a mini display tank, in that there will be a pump that pushes water up from the sump to the fuge, but then when the water gets up to the drilled spots, it gravety feeds back down to the sump.

    this way, i can have all the flow i want through the sump/skimmer area, and not have it affect the flow in the fuge.

    (i know that the way i describe things in words can sometimes be confusing, so after i hit post i'll start on a drawing to demonstrate what i'm trying to say above)

    ok, here ya go, feel free to ask any questions you have about how i plan to do this.

    if your not going to use drilled tanks, thats fine to, this same system will work just the same with hang on back overflow boxes, one on the main display tank and one on the fuge... just be aware of the rules about flow rates that go with these syphon type overflows...
     

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    project5k, Sep 2, 2009
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  3. garydm

    project5k

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    you could even to this(this is actually a little closer to what i'm really doing... the verticle layout is kinda important in that the sump is the lowest thing in the system, the fuge and other tanks should be above the sump, and then the DT is the highest thing in the system...

    just remember that when you do something like this, or even just a single tank for the fuge, that you will have to account for power outage space in the sump for all the water that is gonna wanna come down out of the DT(like normal) but you will have to also account and leave room for the water that will continue to trickle down from the fuge, till it reaches the drilled holes or the overflow is depleted.

    just for the record, my plan for now is to use 5.5 gallon tanks for the "fuge loop" if i decide to do all that, and if the pre-drilled 20 i'm supposed to get today dosent do what i want it to do..

    the other thought would be to have each of the tanks in the fuge loop have its own sepperate pump and return path, rather than daisy chaining them together like this.. i just linked them cause i figured why use 3 pumps when 1 will work.
     

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    project5k, Sep 2, 2009
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  4. garydm

    yote Ceritfied Mantis Hunter Moderator

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    I think Project's got this one covered like a blanket on a cold winter night.
     
    yote, Sep 2, 2009
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  5. garydm

    garydm

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    Yep I think ill use the fuge with the hob overflow into the sump and then back to the tank.....Thanks guys
     
    garydm, Sep 3, 2009
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  6. garydm

    dcantucson

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    I think he might have even smothered it! :mrgreen:
     
    dcantucson, Sep 3, 2009
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  7. garydm

    project5k

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    thats kinda what i do, informational overload, thats what i want, if i ask a question, and dont specifically ask for a recomendation, then i want all the facts, and then i can make my own, properly informed, decision.

    I only try and extend that courtsey to others.

    that, and this was an easy one, its just basic physics, water flows down hill till such a point that it reaches an equalibrium and stops moving...

    oh, and just for the record, i tried the drilled 20 i got from craigs list last night, and its too tall to fit where i really wanted to put it, so it looks like i will be going with the multiple 5.5 gallon tanks linked to make the fuge, dsb, fluidized bed, and all that other stuff i've been just chomping at the bit to try.
     
    project5k, Sep 3, 2009
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  8. garydm

    garydm

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    Ok I have gathered my tanks....I have a 20 gallon and a 10 gallon......Im using the 10 gallon as my fuge and the 20 as my sump.....have a question..... what is a DSB and a fluidized bed?????
     
    garydm, Sep 6, 2009
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  9. garydm

    Rcpilot

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    DSB = Deep Sand Bed

    Here's how it works:
    Nitrogen Cycle

    In our tanks, we have oxygen and bacteria that live on that oxygen. These are AEROBIC bacteria. They are like almost every other living thing on the planet and require oxygen to survive. These AEROBIC bacteria live on the outer surface of our live rock. They live on the walls of the tank. They live on the top 1" layer of sand.

    Aerobic bacteria eat the broken down fish waste. They break down ammonia into nitrite. And they break down nitrite into nitrate. But thats as far as aerobic bacteria can take the nitrogen cycle. You're stuck with nitrates. Nitrates are bad in high concentrations. They damage internal organs of your fish and poison your corals.

    So, what to do with the nitrates? How do you get rid of them?

    There is manual removal - i.e. water changes.
    There is nutrient export - i.e. macro algae that you grow in the sump/refugium. These macro algae will absorb the nitrates and use it for food to grow. You simply cut out 1/2 of the macro algae monthly to toss it in the trash. You cut it out - you just exported the nitrates. Thats nutrient export.

    And there is the DSB.

    A DSB has to be AT LEAST 4" deep. I personally think it works better if you go 6" deep. Some people even build remote DSB in a 5g bucket and fill it almost to the top with sand. So there is no set rule for maximum depth. Look at our oceans. How deep is the sand bed?

    How does the DSB work?

    Okay, we talked about the AEROBIC bacteria that live where there is plenty of oxygen. The other type of bacteria are called ANAEROBIC.

    ANAEROBIC CANNOT live in oxygen. It kills them. ANAEROBIC bacteria live way down deep in the lower regions of the sand bed where there is no oxygen. All the oxygen in the water gets used up in the first 1" or 2" of the sand bed. Your aerobic bacteria, pods, worms and other micro fauna use all the oxygen in the upper layers of the sand bed. Thats how they stay alive. So by the time the water makes it's way to the bottom of the sand bed, there is no more oxygen left. This is where your ANAEROBIC bacteria colony will grow.

    ANAEROBIC bacteria LOVE to eat nitrates. Remember, our AEROBIC bacteria can only take the nitrogen cycle to nitrates. They stop working there because they cannot process the nitrates. So this is where your ANAEROBIC bacteria kick in. They do process the nitrates as food and they break it down into nitrogen gas.

    Nitrogen gas is the final step. The nitrogen cycle is complete now. Nitrogen gas is harmless to our fish and inverts. It's harmless to people. After the anaerobic bacteria break the nitrates down into nitrogen gas - it simply gets released from the sand bed in the form of bubbles. Those bubbles rise to the surface of the water where they pop and "off gas" into the surrounding air. As long as your surface water is being turned over and agitated sufficiently, you're tank will have no problems off gassing the harmless nitrogen gas into your house.

    You should NEVER stir a DSB or use a gravel vacuum on a DSB!!!!!!!!!

    Why? Because the sand bed has 2 different regions.

    There is the upper region, where your AEROBIC bacteria grow.

    There is the lower region where your ANAEROBIC bacteria grow.

    Remember, AEROBIC bacteria MUST have oxygen to grow. Without oxygen they will die. ANAEROBIC bacteria CANNOT live where there is oxygen. If exposed to oxygen they will die.

    What happens when you shove a gravel vac into a sand bed? It all gets stirred up and churned over and over.

    Now the top layer of sand is going to end up somewhere else - probably in a place where there is no oxygen. Your aerobic bacteria are going to suffocate and die. When they die, they will rot. Rotting dead stuff produces nitrates.

    And the bottom layer of sand is going to end up on top, or closer to the surface, where there is oxygen. What happens to ANAEROBIC bacteria when they are exposed to oxygen? They die. What happens when bacteria die? They rot and produce nitrates.

    Nitrates are bad for your tank. And a sudden spike in nitrates from a gazzillion billion dead bacteria will produce a BIG nitrate spike.

    You just crashed your tank.

    So, why is it okay to have a sand sifting goby in your tank if you have a DSB?

    Because they only sift small areas of the DSB at one time. When they dig deep down and burrow a hole under a rock, they are stirring the sand bed and they are mixing it up. Bacteria are dieing. But it is such a small portion of your sand bed, that it will not cause a massive nitrate spike and subsequent crash.

    If you introduced 25 sand sifting gobys to an established DSB, I'm betting they would stir and churn it enough to cause the nitrate spike and crash. But just one little goby can't dig down deep enough and he can't dig in a big enough space to cause the huge spike.

    I actually think it's almost a requirement that you keep a sand sifting goby with a DSB. There is some benefit to having the sand bed slowly turned over during a long period of time. Undisturbed DSB will compact over time and calcify into a big lump. Then it stops working because it's no longer permeable to the water. The goby works his way around the tank every couple months and slowly sifts the sand. By doing so, it keeps the bed loose and permeable to the water that must flow through it in order to function correctly.

    Anymore questions, please ask. :Cheers:
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
    Rcpilot, Sep 7, 2009
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  10. garydm

    Rcpilot

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    A fluidized bed is a live bed where you are forcing water through it constantly - (think under gravel filter). Usually a fluidized bed has water flowing through it from the bottom and traveling UPWARD.

    This has a few benefits. It provides good oxygen for AEROBIC bacteria. It keeps the sand bed from collecting detritus or waste because there is always water being forced through it from underneath.

    The draw back is that it cannot grow ANAEROBIC bacteria. The entire bed has a constant supply of oxygen rich water flowing through it. It will take your nitrogen cycle all the way to nitrates and thats where it will stop. Without some ANOXIC region where the water is completely devoid of oxygen, you cannot grow ANAEROBIC bacteria and break down the nitrates into harmless nitrogen gas if you still have oxygen.

    Thats all I know about fluidized beds. Never used one. I personally wouldn't use one because it can't break down nitrates. In case you haven't figured it out - I'm a believer in the DSB. :Cheers:
     
    Rcpilot, Sep 7, 2009
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  11. garydm

    garydm

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    WOW!!! Thanks for taking the time to explain......I now understand alot better.....In my fuge I was going to put sand but now I think Ill put alot of sand and mabye some snails and a goby once its going good
     
    garydm, Sep 8, 2009
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  12. garydm

    Rcpilot

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    Doesn't even have to be live sand. You can put dry aragonite sand in a fuge with a cup of live sand on top. 2 months later it's a fully functioning DSB.

    When seeding with a cup of live sand, simply pour the sand out in a pile. Let it sit there in a pile. Avoid scattering the live sand in a thin layer across the entire top of the sand bed. They will colonize and grow faster from the pile - thats the rumor anyway. I don't have a microscope or the time to study it, but experienced reefers say thats the thing to do.
     
    Rcpilot, Sep 8, 2009
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