Aquarium Sump Plumbing

Detailed Information

A sump is a piece of aquarium plumbing that is used to hold equipment and water volume in an aquaria. It is a common addition to reef tanks and can also serve as a trickle filter, algal filter, or refugium.

The most popular types of sumps are made from plastic, glass, or tempered acrylic. They are designed to hide the equipment and add space for the aquarist to build in a variety of features.

Sumps provide extra space to place filtration equipment such as heaters, protein skimmers, or other accessories instead of cluttering up your main aquarium. Sumps also increase the overall water volume in circulation, which improves the health and stability of your tank.

The size of your aquarium sump plumbing system is critical to the success of your filtration system. It should be large enough to handle the total flow rate that your skimmer can process, but not so large that the pump will have to work too hard.

In general, the larger the skimmer you buy, the smaller the sump you will need to fit it. However, this is not always the case.

The size of your aquarium sump plumbing system depends on the size of your display tank. A small 20 gallon reef tank will need a relatively large sump, while a huge 100+ gallon marine aquarium will need a relatively small sump.

PVC pipe and fittings are common components of many filtration systems in the aquarium hobby, from protein skimmers to filter sumps, refugiums, algae scrubbers, media reactors, and overflow boxes. In this two-part article, I’ll showcase the basics of building a functional plumbing system using these pipes and components.

One of the most important things to remember when plumbing your tank is to use primer on all of the PVC pipe. Without primer, the plastic pipes will not weld together and will be more susceptible to leaks.

Having primer on all of your pipes will also make it easier to connect your equipment to the system. This is an especially important step if you’re using PVC elbows or other fittings that require bends to reach the sump.

Flow Rate
The flow rate of an aquarium sump plumbing system is a key factor to consider when building a system. The size of the drain line and type of pipe will affect the gallons that can be drained from the display tank into the sump.

A good rule of thumb for the flow rate of your sump is to design it around the return pump’s gph (gallons per hour) flow rate. This is a great way to ensure the system is running smoothly and at maximum efficiency.

A common flow rate that is found on most sumps used on saltwater aquariums is 10 times the water turnover in the system. This is a great starting point for most people and can apply to all types of salt water setups.

The sump plumbing system is one of the most important parts of any aquarium. It collects water that comes out of the tank, from pipes and tubes, to carry it to filters or other equipment.

The first problem to solve is how much water the system can hold in case of a power failure. If the system can’t hold all of the water that can drain out of the aquarium plumbing, filters, and other containers then you may run into problems.

This is why it is so important to have your sump sized correctly when you build it, otherwise you will have problems in the future!

It is also worth knowing how your return pump works. It is a siphon-style pump that fills with water then reverses its flow via siphon action when the pump stops running.