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  1. #1
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    Sump size to tank size ratio

    I just got a 24" 60 gallon cube tank but I'm going to put it on a 4' long tank stand and leave 2 sq ft of space as a table next to the tank. Having that 48x24x36 space under the tank allows me to put in a pretty sizeable sump I'm thinking. I've never done sumps before but I hear bigger is better in terms of keeping water stable. I guess my question is:

    1. will a bigger sump mean less frequent maintenance( I.e. Water changes)?

    2. Will my water quality be cleaner/more pure?

    3. Will this mean I can handle a bigger bioload(I.e. More livestock)?

  2. #2
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    I would say it depends:

    1) Most people do 5-10% water changes a week. Bigger sump means greater volume of water change. But that is also realtive to what you have stocked in your display. A larger sump might allow you to get by with a 5% weekly water change where others might be doing 10%.

    2) The only reason it might help with your water being cleaner is that it might dilute the bioload of your display tank over a larger volume of water. It will also give you space for more rubble, macro algae, biopellet reactor, or whatever means you choose to employ for nutrient export.

    3) So in theory yes, you might be able to handle more livestock. But there is more to stocking a tank than bioload. While that is a significant issue, overcrowding is more important IMO. Too many fish in one tank will lead to stress, fighting for territory, and health issues for the fish.

  3. #3
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    More water volume is always better because of less swings in parameters if you are doing a reef. Better for fish too, but if it is a fowlr my recommendation is add the big sump ibut don't assume more fish can be sustained. It can be done, I did it for years, but in the end the fish get too large, and even great husbandry loses in the end.....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by webster1234 View Post
    I would say it depends:

    1) Most people do 5-10% water changes a week. Bigger sump means greater volume of water change. But that is also realtive to what you have stocked in your display. A larger sump might allow you to get by with a 5% weekly water change where others might be doing 10%.

    2) The only reason it might help with your water being cleaner is that it might dilute the bioload of your display tank over a larger volume of water. It will also give you space for more rubble, macro algae, biopellet reactor, or whatever means you choose to employ for nutrient export.

    3) So in theory yes, you might be able to handle more livestock. But there is more to stocking a tank than bioload. While that is a significant issue, overcrowding is more important IMO. Too many fish in one tank will lead to stress, fighting for territory, and health issues for the fish.

    Thanks Webster1234! really helpful insight, I was wondering if it would help me be lazier with my water changes, guess I still got to do them lol. Is there a point where the refugium/sump nutrient export in theory equals nutrient input in a perfect ecosystem. Is it 1:1 in terms of gallons or would my sump have to be bigger than my display tank? No system is perfect but I'd like to create a mini fish utopia if I could �� I'm probably won't have more than 5, maybe 6 fish if I get a clown goby so I think they should be able to live in harmony without having to fight for real estate.

  5. #5
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    I have new sump 36"x18 that I would trade for baby diapers lol. No BS.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_am_poor View Post
    I have new sump 36"x18 that I would trade for baby diapers lol. No BS.
    hahahahahaha do you have pics? I'm still debating wether to DIY it or to buy one.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OHenry View Post
    Thanks Webster1234! really helpful insight, I was wondering if it would help me be lazier with my water changes, guess I still got to do them lol. Is there a point where the refugium/sump nutrient export in theory equals nutrient input in a perfect ecosystem. Is it 1:1 in terms of gallons or would my sump have to be bigger than my display tank? No system is perfect but I'd like to create a mini fish utopia if I could �� I'm probably won't have more than 5, maybe 6 fish if I get a clown goby so I think they should be able to live in harmony without having to fight for real estate.
    There is no real ratio that I know of to suggest one size is better than the other. Just make sure it is able to hold the volume of water that drains from your tank when you shut it off. Other than that, its only real purpose is to house your skimmer, and whatever other nutrient export systems you choose. The nutrient input comes from how much you feed your fish. Not the ratio of display water to sump water. The export comes from how much live rock you have in your display in addition to macro algae, rubble, corals, and whatever else consumes waste. For those that don't have a lot of live rock in the display, they can store additional live rock or media blocks in a larger sump.

    When creating a fish utopia, the most important thing is choosing fish that are compatible. Choose smaller fish that stay small, like cardinals, gobies, firefish (only if you have a lid or screen), flame hawks, etc. I would avoid fish that get big like tangs, or fish that need a lot of swimming space like anthias, triggers, etc. You might even choose one or two fish that live in the lower part of the tank like a watchman goby paired with a pistol shrimp, and then something that stays toward the middle like cardinals, and finally maybe a nem with a clownfish (although they tend to get protective in too small of a space). But carefully planning your livestock will go much further toward creating your utopia than a larger sump would.
    Last edited by webster1234; 03-23-2017 at 04:20 PM.

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