Questions about adding a sump and associated equipment.


New member
Hi all,

I posted this in the new hobbyist section but I think this section might be more appropriate because I have questions about specific equipment.

I'm very new to salt water (kept freshwater tanks years ago). I wish I had found this forum earlier as I would have made different purchase decisions!

I have a 55 gallon (non drilled) tank that I've had setup for about a week with life rock and live sand mixed with aragonite. I'm currently waiting for it to cycle. The LFS told me to buy a few hardy fish to get the cycle started (after reading here, I see that was bad advise). I have a .5 ammonia reading today, so I think I'm underway with the cycle.

After doing further research and finding this forum, I decided I should try to setup a sump for all the added benefits. Being a complete newbie at this, I have several questions that I guess fall into two categories. The first is related to the equipment I have in mind to install in the sump. The second category is related to the actual construction. I read the articles related to pumps and sumps on this forum and while I find them extremely informative, I'd have peace of mind getting feedback from someone who knows what they're doing!

On a local reef Facebook page I found a used Eshopps AEO15005 Refugium for a decent price which I purchased.

Equipment Questions
I'm considering ordering the following equipment for this project:

-Bubble Magus BM-Curve 5 Protein Skimmer
-Hygger 24V DC Water Return Pump 800 GPH (adjustable speed)
-Blue Ocean 600 Overflow box (600 GPH)
-Aqual Lift/powerhead pump to keep siphon for the overflow box

Unfortunately I didn't buy a drilled tank so I need to use an overflow box. Any advise or feedback on this setup is much appreciated. I intend to eventually setup a refugium in the sump in the future as well.

Construction questions

-For some reason the previous owner removed the bulkheads from the two inlets on the AEO15005. The hole measures 1 3/4 inches. This does not appear to be a common bulkhead size, though I see 1 1/2" ones for sale. Will that work? The bulkheads have appear to have a lip so I'm wondering if it is enough to cover it completely.

-I would like to use flexible hose. Is 1" the standard size?

-Where is the best place to purchase plumbing items such as hose, 1 way valves, connectors, bulkheads, etc? Hardware store? Or do I need to order these items from an aquarium supply store?

-I haven't seen much information regarding the termination of the return line in the display tank. Should I just drape it over the back of the tank with a U hose? Would I need some sort of cover to prevent creatures from crawling back through it?

Thanks in advance for any advice! I'm sure I'll have many other questions as I dig further into this hobby.


Team RC
Sometimes a reboot is the best answer and one that is not appreciated. I had a 55 gallon tank, they are too narrow for reefing, the rock will get to close to the glass and it will be tough to keep clean and have a nice rock scape.

A better option is to get a 40 breeder from Petco and have it drilled by a local reefer. Get an Eshoop overflow or smaller Modular Marine Ghost overflow, you could use the sump if you like. The Bubble Magnus is a good skimmer but is very touchy, it needs exact water height in the sump that does not fluctuate.

If you are conserding a new tank, is there another location to put this tank, it is a lot easier to put a new tank in a new space. That is what I am doing with my 120 going to a 240 tank.
Let me know the route you want and I will help within your choce.


New member
Another option: Get a larger, drilled tank and transfer the sand, water to it; then use the 55 as your sump. Get a local glass shop to cut you some baffles and silicone them in place yourself. I would never use an hang on back type overflow; too much opportunity for disaster. Some people o use them successfully, but it's not ideal.

Another nother option: Don't use a sump. The tank is small enough to get by without one. I ran a 75g SPS tank with a HOB skimmer, powerheads and HOB refugium for years without issue. Would of rather have had a sump to hide the equipment, but the fish and corals didn't care.