For my latest tank, I decided to make a cabinet that was built around the sump. The sump occupies the majority of the cabinet under the tank. It is divided into two sections - the left section has the intake from the tank, the mechanical filter and the protein skimmer. The right section has the pump back to the aquarium and provides a place to keep live rock and organisms that don't need light and might get eaten by things in the tank. In my previous tank, my Cardinal fish bread but the small fry got eaten by other fish. I'm hoping that I might be able to use this part of the sump for allowing small fry to mature before putting them back into the main tank. I've also found that some very interesting things grow in this kind of environment if you provide a space for them.

The sump holds about 60 gallons of water, adding significantly to the total water volume of the system. The higher water volume asks as a buffer against rapid changes in ammonia and nitrates as well as pH, temperature, and salinity.

The plans for my sump are shown in the following thumbnails. You can click on a thumbnail to see a larger image.

sump side view thumbnail.jpg (12466 bytes) Side View

The left side has a shelf with a perforated bottom and a side that goes up a few inches. Filter floss material is placed in this shelf. Water from the tank and protein skimmer dump into this shelf and flow through the filter material into the sump.

Top View

The box shown toward the front just to the left of the middle is designed to accommodate a waste reservoir for the protein skimmer.

The center partition adds strength and allows live rock to to placed in the right side without spilling over to the left.

sump top view thumbnail.jpg (12348 bytes)
sump covers thumbnail.jpg (10109 bytes) Covers

The notch in the upper left of the left cover allows the water to flow in from the aquarium. The hole in the left cover accommodates the top of the protein skimmer. The notch on the right cover is for the return hose to the tank.