First post... Options of building a sump inside of a stand.


New member
Our family is very new to saltwater. Our kids (9+11) have really been getting into aquariums. Both of them have been keeping freshwater for the past few months with great success. They are now getting into saltwater.

I have always had Cichlid's and now with the kids getting into saltwater Mom is getting very interested in it too. She is a Nurse and really loves biology, and is really getting into the biology of saltwater and is enjoying watching the kids tanks "grow" and evolve.

We just picked up a 72 gallon bowfront acrylic tank and stand for a really good price. I am now working on getting a sump in and I realized that the only access to underneath the stand is through the front door. The back is solid acrylic, and the base where the tank sets is also solid acrylic. I tried to fit in a 20 gallon tank but I could not shoehorn it in......

So now I have a dilemma.. What to do for a sump....

Any recommendations?
I am considering a few options.

Option 1:
My local hardware stores carry acrylic sheets, they are 1/4" thick sheets. I could cut the pieces and assemble the sump inside the stand.

Option 2:
Petco has the $1 a gallon sale right now. I bought a 20 gallon tank today thinking I could shoehorn it in to no avail. So I could dismantle that tank, clean it up and then reassemble it inside the stand.

Option 3:
With the $1 a gallon sale at Petco. I could buy two 10 gallon tanks and then drill each of them to put one or two bulkheads inbetween to essentially make a 20 gallon sump.
With this option I don't know how I would design the sump, or if it would be a wise setup.

13" wide by 32" long is about the limit to the sump that I can install in the stand.

Is there any other options that I am overlooking? Or any other suggestions? The top of the stand where the tank sits is clear acrylic, so I can easily look down inside the stand and see what I am doing if I do build my own sump.


New member
Nothing wrong with using two smaller tanks. I have almost always used two tanks for sump/fuge. The first one, which houses the main return pump, is drilled and raised a couple inches so it can drain via a bulkhead into the second one. The second one, which is divided for skimmer & fuge, has a small pump which goes back to the first sump or up to the tank (I've done it both ways). Having the separate containers makes it so I don't have to take everything offline, and if you use a return to tank from sump #2, will be useful in keeping the system running if the main pump breaks when you aren't home.


Active member
Go to a plastic supplier and buy acrylic scraps and the proper acrylic bonding agents. (Previously called Weld-on.) Get enough scraps to practice on. You will have to go to the plastic supplier anyway as hardware stores don’t sell Weld-on. Make the largest sump practical. It does not need to be complicated either. Since you will not be able to remove it, if your joints are not real clean add a fillet of Weldon 16 all the way around. I would use something a little thicker then 1/4 as well.

If you decide to use 2 10 gallon tanks I would do it as treesprit suggested.