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About 5 years ago, I decided to have my first marine tank after 5 years experience with tropical tanks.

I converted one of my tropical tanks into a marine tank keeping the filtration and adding a hang-on skimmer.

That tank was about 30Gal so everything was manageable.

I then upgraded my marine tank to a wonderful 70Gal one. The filtration went to an external unit and I kept the skimmer.

At that stage, the "basic" filtration setup did not work too well anymore.

With the advice of a Zarathustra2 and Gonzobob, I was convinced to have a sump for natural filtration.

That's where the trouble starts…

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So, let’s do it!

First of all, the budget being limited (that’s what happened when you are married), I needed to limit the cost. In order to do that, let’s use the old stuff as much as possible (i.e. skimmer, and external filtration – for the pump).

With that in mind, I started to dig around on the internet and did my little drawings.

On that, I have to say that the most interesting links where these ones:

Melev’s Reef overflow:


How to build a sump for Prof:

Will add the link as soon as I find it again…

Now I have to say that there is one slight issue with Prof. He is a professional and everything he does (for what I understand) is just perfect; I’m not!

There are many, MANY more sites out there. These 2 were the most useful to me I think.

Then comes the shopping list:

Acrylic sheets, glue (yes, I said glue) and sealant; that’s for the sump.

Pipes, valves and a few other stuff for the water flow.

Right, let’s do it.

I cut off the pieces (not straight of course) using a jigsaw.

Then glued them together using regular plastic glue.

That worked fine for the overflow.

Then I did the same for the sump but added a sealant to make sure it was water tied.

I managed to build the sump; it didn’t look nice but who cares as it’s going to be in the cabinet anyway.


Then the testing: one week full of tap water to check if there is any leak; and it was water tied indeed: not a single drop!

That’s the good news.

Bad news: the acrylic walls were too thin and the pressure started to move the walls around. And as the glue used was not the one I would have used, after a week, the whole thing felled apart. Thankfully, it was outside for the testing; hence I’m still alive. J

Now guess what, back to the drawing table and this time, let’s make it right.


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After the complete failure of the first sump, I took serious advices from Zarathustra2 this time and starting with the design.

Btw, thanks for your patience Andy!

So, here it is: Sump V2


Now the hardware:

This time, I'm going to use 5mm thick Acrylic for the walls and the big middle baffles.

The compartment baffles will be 4mm thick.

The 3rd and big change is going to be the glue… well actually the welding glue I should have used in the first place: weld-on #16.

I see the comments coming: you should use weld on #4, not #16. I KNOW! Problem is: I'm still not Prof, and even if my cutting

skills improve (see next chapter), I still won't be able to do it perfectly.

So I have to use some thicker glue for the little gaps I'm going to have.

I will also use a tank specific sealant this time around too.

In terms of hardware to be used, I'm going to use a circular saw this time and a guide to cust as straight as possible.

The jigsaw will only be used for non critical cuttings (like for the passage for the pipes) and using a guiding stick as well.

I feel much more prepared this time and I think (I hope) I know what NOT to do this time around.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know if you want to hear this or not, but you are gonna have a tough time using a circular saw to get accurate enough cuts to make a box that will bond well. See if one of the reefers can host you with their table saw, but an ATB blade, and cut those pieces as close to square as possible from the get go. Even then, you'll need the gap filler bonding resin to be leak free.

Good luck with your project,


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