How do you have a sump w/o drilling? And some other random questions.


New member
I have a 37g tank and there's not much room under the stand... not even 12" of width. I can fit a Home Depot 5g bucket under it, though, maybe two. I was planning on using one for a 'fuge with chaeto, and then if I could fit the second, I'd either do another refugium with more chaeto, or a DSB. But... the glass is tempered. So how would I get the water to the buckets and back?

Also, my other questions were:
I'm going on vacation for two weeks in August, and for that reason I haven't gotten any fish yet. All I have is LR and sand and CUC. The tank has only been set up for a few weeks. The rock is 40lbs cured, from premium aquatics. Will that rock stay cured until late august/early September when we get fish?

Should I be doing water changes from now until I get fish?

The pH is kind of low, it's 7.8, will it rise by itself or will I need to do something?
They make external overflow boxes. They hang on the back of the tank and use a sphyon to push the water over the edge. These run the risk of overflowing if the syphon breaks, but in 2 years I've yet to have that happen. You'll find loads of mixed opinions on using them though. And if you do, go with a u-tube style, not a continuous syphon overflow, those are more notorious for loosing syphon and overflowing.

PH is 7.8 for a reason, as to what that reason is or if it'll go up on it's own, can't say for certain. Probably don't really need to worry about it for now though, since the tank is new and PH and ALK instability are common this early in the game. fwiw though 7.8 is still within limits, just on the very low side of the limits. My 55g runs 7.8, at least it has for close to 2 years before I started the B-Ionic 2 part supplements, that got it up to 8.3. But the lower PH never caused any negative effects on my tank.

Doing water changes wouldn't hurt none, but I'd probably go ahead and do one before you leave for vacation and one when you get back. Other than that, check your water quality to determine if you need to be doing them more often. Once you have fish and a higher bioload in the tank, you'll probably need to be doing weekly or bi-monthly water changes.
Anybody have a link to more info about the overflows?

Also need to know if the tank will stay cycled.
New live rock even"cured" fresh smelling rock is likely to have some die off inside for a while. Water changes should be done to help export some of the nutrient produced. Less light during this phase can also discourage excessive algae growth. The nutrients in and on the rock will be more than enough to kepp the bacteria going.
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10449618#post10449618 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by ahullsb

I'd personally stay away from the CPR overflows, or any overflow that uses a powerhead to pull bubbles out of the siphon to maintain it. Check out the overflows from amiracle, or lifereef. I had two Lifereef overflows on my 180 and they worked flawlessly. Several power outages, lots of stop/restarts, and never a problem with them overflowing.
The CPR's are a continuous syphon overflow, as I mentioned above. More notorious for loosing syphon.
And which model should I get?

edit... nevermind, I read some more and figured it out.
Last edited:
5 years never had a syphon break on one of my 58's. The neat things about fuges are seeing all the critters in there, so a bucket will work but you won't be able to see all the neat stuff. You can get a 10 gallon or 2 5's and drill them so they connect together, then pump the water backup to your main tank.
I was going to use a 10g, but it doesn't fit, so that's why I'm using the buckets. I don't really mind not being able to see everything. If I use two buckets, how would I get the water from one bucket to the other.

And would the water level in the buckets AND in the display go down when it evaporates?
Honestly, IMHO buckets are gonna be a pain to work with for a sump. Besides not being able to see what's inside them (more of a problem than you might think if you're trying to fix a problem or find a dropped item), but you'll have a very tough time putting baffles in them, and the poor footprint/volume ratio means they'll fill up with equipment faster than other containers.

Look in a home improvement or megastore (think: Wal-Mart) for clear rubbermaid-style storage bins. You might be able to find something suitable. If not, talk to someone about getting an acrylic sump made - it would be pricey, but probably not really that bad at such a small size, and it would be the most ideal solution as far as usability.
well all I really need it for is a place to put the heater, and a place for chaeto. Why do I need baffles?
There's not that much room behind my tank. Only about 4 inches. And I don't think the tank is wide enough for me to hang it on the side. But I thought about getting an in-tank one. The fish I'm planning on getting aren't that active. A jawfish, clowns, hawkfish, goby, blue assesor. The hawk, jawfish, and goby don't really go up high. But I don't really think it would look good in the tank.
The baffles are to slow water flow and allow micro-bubbles to dissipate. Unless you had a REALLY slow flow rate through a 5g bucket, I'd imagine micro-bubbles would be a pretty big issue. When the water draining from your tank hits the sump, it'll be sucking some air with it - that air will form tiny bubbles that you don't want in your display tank, mainly because they're ugly. Hence the baffles in most sumps.

Read up on converted power filters being used as 'fuges. It's a great way to do a hang-on 'fuge in a small space for a small tank, and doesn't require a sump.
Like d_w_z_m said you will get micro bubbles, you will need to get a 100 micron sock, to get rid of them. Can you go through the wall and setup something on the other side of the wall? How about through the floor?
der_wille_zur_macht I completely forgot about power filters. I can do that no problem. I can't believe I forgot. I'll probably do that then.

Through the wall is a garage. It's pretty messy in there, and there's gasoline and stuff, and through the floor is the unfinished (never to be finished) basement. It's disgusting down there. The only time anybody ever goes down there is to do laundry. There is a lot of room, but I don' t think it would be a good idea.

I'll do a power filter. It's sounds a lot easier. Any suggestions on what kind of filter? I was thinking a whisper because there's lots of room in there.
Lots of people have done this using Aquaclear filters. Realistically, you could do it with just about any unit, but the AC filters are definitely the most popular.