Sump or hang filter for 30 gal

Timmerflyer

New member
Hello,
I have been doing freshwater for a little while now I want to get into saltwater. I have doing some research and trying to decide in a 30 gal fish only tank if I should do a wet dry sump or a bio wheel rated for a 50 gal? I would like to have a pair of clowns and that's about it. Would a sump be a little overkill?

Thanks timmerflyer
 

dunc101

New member
<img src="/images/welcome.gif" width="500" height="62"><br><b><i><big><big>To Reef Central</b></i></big></big>

If it were me, and I was only going to set up a 30 gallon FOWLR, sumpless is the easy and cheap solution. It will be harder to control nitrates and phosphates (algae problems) however, therefore, make sure you use RO/DI water.

If you think you may want LPS or SPS corals in the future, a sump is the way to go, hands down.

I'm sure you do know the benefits of a sump, however.
To name a few:
1.) You can hide all your equipment
2.) Easy to add an Auto top off unit.
3.) adds more water volume
4.) Allows you to add an in sump skimmer if you do decide to do corals eventually.
etc

The main disadvantage is the addition of cost (overflow kit, return pump, baffles if you add them, etc).

FWIW, I would highly consider doing a 40 breeder if I were you. These have great dimensions and can be had for $40 bucks from petco if you go at the right time of year ;). You will also be able to add a few more fish than just clowns.
One thing I can tell you, this hobby grows on you. If you think you like clowns, later you may also want an anemone for those clowns, but you would need some good lights to keep the anemone =D. Go slow, and have fun.
 
Last edited:

rideelement247

New member
<img src="/images/welcome.gif" width="500" height="62"><br><b><i><big><big>To Reef Central</b></i></big></big>

If it were me, and I was only going to set up a 30 gallon FOWLR, sumpless is the easy and cheap solution. It will be harder to control nitrates and phosphates (algae problems) however, therefore, make sure you use RO/DI water.

If you think you may want LPS or SPS corals in the future, a sump is the way to go, hands down.

I'm sure you do know the benefits of a sump, however.
To name a few:
1.) You can hide all your equipment
2.) Easy to add an Auto top off unit.
3.) adds more water volume
4.) Allows you to add an in sump skimmer if you do decide to do corals eventually.
etc

The main disadvantage is the addition of cost (overflow kit, return pump, baffles if you add them, etc).

FWIW, I would highly consider doing a 40 breeder if I were you. These have great dimensions and can be had for $40 bucks from petco if you go at the right time of year ;). You will also be able to add a few more fish than just clowns.
One thing I can tell you, this hobby grows on you. If you think you like clowns, later you may also want an anemone for those clowns, but you would need some good lights to keep the anemone =D. Go slow, and have fun.

+1

Except I would do the 30gal sumpless with the 2 clowns and when you get the itch to expand get a larger tank ;). Just being the devil here though. Be responsible and learn the hobby however you feel comfortable and upgrade as you see fit! As said, a sump is hands down better than a hang on.
 

sbazain

New member
I have a 30 gallon with a 14 gal. sump with a skimmer, chaeto and live sand in it and don't have any problems with nitrates or phosphates (no algae) I have two clowns and three damsels with a few corals no problems, do a water change at least 15 % every other week and you'll be fine it works for me. good luck.
 

andy2966

New member
I have a 29 gallon without a sump with Hang on back Filters. I have been fighting algae for 5 years. But My fish have done great. If you don't mind a little green Algae you can get by without a sump. I am going on 5 years and just have to clean the front glass of green algae every few weeks. No big deal. I have recently put a bunch of snails in the tank and they help a lot. Good Luck. And Welcome to RC
 

Timmerflyer

New member
I am kinda leaning toward a sump. I have been doing some reading on building sumps from pvc three draw and a rubbermaid. Would this be to much for a beginner? I would be using bio balls for a filter. Any other suggestions are welcome. Sorry i won't be able to fit a 40 gal in my apartment.
 

dunc101

New member
I am kinda leaning toward a sump. I have been doing some reading on building sumps from pvc three draw and a rubbermaid. Would this be to much for a beginner? I would be using bio balls for a filter. Any other suggestions are welcome. Sorry i won't be able to fit a 40 gal in my apartment.
I'm not sure what you mean by PVC three draw. Does this mean you are considering not drilling the tank or you are? I would highly highly recommend drilling the tank. Look at glass-holes.com for a good overflow kit. You will also want to verify the glass is not tempered or just buy a reef ready 30 gallon. The last thing you want is a flood in yours and your neighbors apartment beneath you =D. Using a rubbermaid works great and is cheap. Remember that bioballs are great for FOWLR, but not so much for a reef if you ever go that route, imo.
 

Timmerflyer

New member
I'm not sure what you mean by PVC three draw. Does this mean you are considering not drilling the tank or you are? I would highly highly recommend drilling the tank. Look at glass-holes.com for a good overflow kit. You will also want to verify the glass is not tempered or just buy a reef ready 30 gallon. The last thing you want is a flood in yours and your neighbors apartment beneath you =D. Using a rubbermaid works great and is cheap. Remember that bioballs are great for FOWLR, but not so much for a reef if you ever go that route, imo.

Here is a link to what I was talking about for the filter.http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/diy_wet_dry.php
It is a wet dry filter and uses the draws to hold the filter media and uses gravity to work the water into the sump. I am getting a used tank off Craigslist its a 29 gal with a hole per drilled in the top for the overflow. That way I don't need to worry about a flood =) lets hope at least. Any idea for a size of sump? I would like to keep it on the smaller side so probably around 5 gals. Would that be large enough?
 

Reeferz412

Coral Hoarder
You do not need bio balls. Bio balls produce an excessive amount of nitrates as time goes on and detritus just accumulates in them. You simply need a compartment to hold a protein skimmer or algae turf scrubber if you do not want to skim your proteins, and another area or compartment for a refugium with some chaeto or macroalgae and hold some live rock for bonus biological filtration.
 

dunc101

New member
My gut feeling is that a 5 gallon is a little small, however I will let others chime in as my experience has only been with larger DT's and sumps. The sump needs to be able to handle the excess water from your main system when the power shuts off as it will back siphon to the level of where your return starts taking in air.
 
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