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Hi everyone I'm new to the world of Saltwater. I've had freshwater tanks now and then but never ventured into the world of fish that cost more than my first car. So now that I'm an Old Guy and supposedly have more time on my hands, I've decided to give it a try. I have a 45 gallon acrylic tank that measures 36"w x 24"h x 12"d. It came from a movie set that one of my neighbors built. That was his business.

I plan on having both fish and invertebrates in the tank. I have it plumbed for what is referred to as a Bean Animal drain system (see photo). I picked up a 29 gallon glass tank that had been set up as a sump by the previous owner, although I'm not sure he knew what he was doing. As best I can tell he had a skimmer in the middle of 3 compartments and used one of the side compartments as a top off tank. The third compartment held the return pump. I'm not concerned with an automatic top off setup so I'm thinking of changing the compartments. I've attached a photo of the sump as it was. It had a bulkhead for the input in that center compartment. I'm going to plug that. This guy used at least 10 tubes of silicone to attach the walls for the compartments so I've been taking that stuff off for days.

My plan is to make the right side compartment bigger by moving the wall so I can put the skimmer and heater in that compartment. I'm going to put an adjustable wall on that compartment so I can adjust the water height for the skimmer. (It's a somatic 60 that calls for a water height of between 6" and 9"). For now I'll leave the center compartment open for either additional live rock or algae. There is a bubble trap between the center and left side compartment which I'll leave and the return pump is in that compartment. There's a drawing of the way it was and the new design.

Does this sound like the proper way to set up a sump? If not any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I hope I've attached the pictures correctly.



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Welcome and good luck.

Your skimmer should be in the middle chamber with a bubble trap set up to the end chamber where your pump will be. Thefirst chamber is used for drain pipes and filter socks
if you plan to use them.

Just make sure your sump can hold the drain off from the main tank if you lose power.


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Hi Tim,

I ended up taking the whole thing apart, all the baffles and the bulkhead. This guy must have had stock in a silicone company because there must have been half a dozen tubes of the stuff in every corner of the tank. And we're not talking Picasso style application. I think he used a garden trowel. There were places where it was an inch from the corner and 1/4" thick. After removing all if it I filled the tank and there are no leaks. It's just got the original seals. Oh well.

Anyway, I'm going to raise my skimmer up 2" with 1" pvc tubing. That will allow me to have an additional 2 inches of water in the sump. I'll be able move the skimmer off the pvc so I can remove the cup to clean it. (I don't have sufficient room to remove it in the raised position). I'm going to use a 9.5" baffle in that compartment which will give me the necessary water height. I'm going to use a filter sock on the main drain line from the display tank.

I'm going to leave the middle compartment open for now. Maybe put some additional filtration material in there later. I just put an elbow in that bulkhead with an extension and a cap to keep the water in.

The last compartment is for the return pump.

Now I just have to finish all the plumbing and put it in the bookcase/stand I built for it.