29 Gallon tank, sump or no sump?

scmelik

New member
A very good friend of ours is graciously giving us their 29 gallon tank/stand setup now that they have gotten their feet wet in the hobby and have upgraded to a larger tank. This will be my first reef tank and while I know I can use the KISS method and aliveate a lot of headaches for myself I also want to use this opportunity to learn (and teach my daughter) the ins and outs of the hobby.

I know that having a sump has a large array of benefits, additional water volume, filtration, etc. I am wondering though for a smaller tank like we are getting, is adding a sump worthwhile? I know a lot will depending on the size of the stand and whether or not a tank will even fit. I know that if I do add a sump that I will have a to drill the tank and build an overflow which is fine.
 

Timfish

Timfish
Premium Member
Welcome to the hobby! Keeping reef systems certainly is educational! :D

Having a sump/refugium is always a good thing but not necessary. There are overflows that hang on the back and use a syphon to maintain water level so it's not essential to install an internal overflow. If you're comfortable building one it's a better way IMO to run a system. There are also hang on back (HOB) refugiums that are available which might work for you. The most critical thing IMO is to do water changes as that's the best way to remove the hydrophilic and refractory Dissolve ORganic Carbon (DOC) which can't be removed by other forms of filtration. These videos might be overkill but they are informative:

This is one of my systems that doesn't use any external or internal filtration
https://youtu.be/D5jHklmdfa8
https://youtu.be/OoiuSY3Vzf0

Old Sea Urchin
https://youtu.be/ShdSkNctF2k

"Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas" This video compliments Rohwer's book of the same title (Paper back is ~$20, Kindle is ~$10), both deal with the conflicting roles of the different types of DOC in reef ecosystems. While there is overlap bewteen his book and the video both have information not covered by the other and together give a broader view of the complex relationships found in reef ecosystems
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R2BMEfQGjU

Changing Seas - Mysterious Microbes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7hsp0dENEA

Nitrogen cycling in hte coral holobiont
https://youtu.be/DWItFGRQJL4

BActeria and Sponges
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oLDclO7UcM

Maintenance of Coral Reef Health (refferences at the end)
https://youtu.be/dGIPveFJ_0Q

Optical Feedback Loop in Colorful Coral Bleaching
https://youtu.be/oadKezUYkJE

Richard Ross What's up with phosphate"
https://youtu.be/ZRIKW-9d2xI
 

wzf106

New member
I have a 29G with a CPR HOB refugium with no sump without any issues. I do know that if you dont want to drill, they have HOB overflows
 

scmelik

New member
I have a 29G with a CPR HOB refugium with no sump without any issues. I do know that if you dont want to drill, they have HOB overflows

i know it can be done and lots have done it with no issues at all, I honestly just want a cleaner look than having a bunch of stuff hanging off the back
 

Sugar Magnolia

Mother of Dachshunds
Staff member
RC Mod
i know it can be done and lots have done it with no issues at all, I honestly just want a cleaner look than having a bunch of stuff hanging off the back

I've run many tanks sumpless in the 40g and below in several variations with hang on back filters and hang on back refugiums and hang on back skimmers. If I had to choose, the HOB skimmer would be the option I would choose hands down.
 

billdogg

Well-known member
IMHO, no tank is too small to have a sump. In fact, adding a sump to a smaller tank can have a much greater effect than adding one to a larger tank.


As an example - you add a sump to your 120g tank. Most would opt for a 40g tank - it fits well inside most stands, and has sufficient volume to handle the back flow when the power is off. figuring it to be at ~ 1/2 full, you've added 20g (an increase of 1/5 total volume.

Now - for your 29. A 20g sump should fit under the stand. Again at 1/2 full, you'll be adding 10g TV, so ~ 1/3 increase. More volume = greater stability and greater ability to deal with the dilution of waste products.

That being said, I kept a 60 cube for 22 years with a HOB and a canister. Towards the end I did add a TLF reactor to help with PO4.
 

Floowid

New member
I have a little of each. I have a Fluval Edge 6 gallon nano that I put a 15 gallon sump on and I have a 40 gallon breeder with just HOB filtration. It really depends on what you want.

Setting up your 29 with a sump is a good excuse to set up a sump and learn the ins and outs of how they function, but if you are using this tank like your friend did, you may not have it long enough before you are also upgrading. If you like the hobby, the urge to upgrade is almost uncontrollable.
 
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