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Fish Tank Forum • View topic - sump vs individually filtered
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sump vs individually filtered

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sump vs individually filtered

Postby dbarron87 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:48 pm

Hi all.

I am just after some help and advice
i have recently found myself struggling to save fry, i have 4 setups just for fry all at about 60 litres each with one being 120 litres, all are individually heated and individually filtered.

They are filtered using an air pump and a home made filter, gravel polishing pads, coke bottle and moss balls placed on top.
the heaters are only about 50 watts each.

would it be cheaper to run more tanks from a sump for filtering and for controlling the tempretures?
or to run each tank individually on it's own?

i am needing to setup more fry tanks as i really do have to many fry and all at different stages growth wise.

what are the pros and cons to both?

Many thanks for your help in advance
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Re: sump vs individually filtered

Postby Getthejist » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:48 am

Well one promblem would be that if a disease broke out all of your tanks will get it also your tanks will have to be quite close to each other and the plumbing of the sump would be quite hard but it saves space and it would be more effiecient than air driven filters. But im not sure about the heating as i have never used a sump on multiple tanks or any type of sump actually so not to sure on heating, but could you just leave the heaters in the tanks and just have the sump without a heater
When in doubt get another tank.
I keep water the fish are just for decoration.
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Re: sump vs individually filtered

Postby POS_miniracer » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:46 am

Central systems when dialed in right are a lot easier to deal with but commercially available systems can be expensive for a hobby breeder. Also if you're breeding a variety of species you tend to have to find a happy medium among all the tanks as opposed to having the ability to create & keep specific parameters for each tank. Typically sponge filters, bare bottom tanks, a good diet and extreme attention to water quality is enough to successfully raise fry.

When you say you are struggling to save fry what do you mean exactly?
What's your typical regime for your fry tanks now?
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Re: sump vs individually filtered

Postby dbarron87 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:36 am

Thank you both for getting back to me.
Sorry for the slow response ended up having to strip down my computer which took longer than expected.

What are the chances of a disease brak out with fry and with regular water changes, i think i have been lucky so far as i have yet to pick up any form of disease however still pretty new to the hobby so do expect something along the way.
I am looking to setup about 8 tanks possibly, all about 60 litres or so
Having 8x 50w heaters could be a bit fiddly as alot of cables i have come across on filters have been short, i know i could run them via extension leads or even rewire them but i wasn't hoping to go that way, if i needed too then i would, i would also then need possibly 2 air pumps again this isn't much problem however the water changes could be a bit hard.
However i was hoping to run a sump with filter and do the water changes via that.


When i first got in to fish i had no intentions of breeding, i brought them as i liked them, however within months of being in the hobby i was watching the females spit the fry out and not long after all are eaten.
i was a little upset over this as i wanted to watch them grow.

I then got in to a routine of leaving it between 10 - 12 days after breeding to strip the females
I then put the fry in to a setup of which water was taken out of the tank the female had come from. I then let them grow in to that setup until they are a right size roughly an inch and a half and then they go in to a 120 litre 2 and a half foot tank so we can actually see them properly and can be mixed with other species.

i do this with all the fry however all go in to different setups until they are a sfae enough size to be mixed with others

By losing fry i mean i actually don't have enough setups to keep up with the parents so i have been letting them spit the fry in to the main tanks, however even with hiding places etc i then never see any again, i don't want this to keep happening really.
I don't have fish to breed however if they are happy to then i want to atleast save them, i have yet to really sell any however i have given them away to make room for the next set that comes around.

I have at the moment between 120 - 180 blue mooris for example all at different stages in growth all of which i am unable to put together yet as i am worried the smaller ones will get eaten and so on.
this is happening with all the fry i have.

Water conditions in both main tanks are pretty much exactly the same.
I am having great success rates with the fry and often end up with more swimming around than i thought i had originally counted.

however i would love to watch some of these grow in to adults or even possibly have a chance to sell some of the fry to cover running costs of the setups and so on.

i think i have roughly 400 fry at current and more females holding i however have just got rid of about 200 fry for about £50 just because i needed the room
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Re: sump vs individually filtered

Postby Mick » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:44 am

I once tried a centralised sump system in my fish house that I ran in the past, great for controlling the water quality in all of the tanks until the worst happens which it did for me, one bad fish can contaminate the whole stock so I reverted back to running one air pump with a manifold connected to the sponge filters, much more control as regards keeping the water quality high.
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Re: sump vs individually filtered

Postby dbarron87 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:49 am

Thank you Mick that was great, i am however sorry to hear things had gone bad for you.
I sounded lazy in the above as regards to water changes, i have no problems doing them at all andthey are done every 2 days

Is there such a thing as a reliable continuous use air pump ?
i've had a few in the past that have needed diaphrams changing every couple of months, i also don't have much faith in the motors being on all the time either.
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Re: sump vs individually filtered

Postby Mick » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:52 am

The air pump that I ran was a piston pump, much more reliable and powerful than the diaphragm type. If I can remember right I bought it from a fish pond supplier, the hardest part was balancing the airflow from the manifold to each tank by tweaking the regulators :-):

Have just found a similar pump on ebay
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/55-LITRE-PIST ... 1730wt_905
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Re: sump vs individually filtered

Postby POS_miniracer » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:53 am

First off congratulations on all the successful spawning.

I went through a similar situation a while back with some of my SA/CA cichlids.
It started with my Firemouth's and before I knew it my Jack Dempsey's and Convicts were all breeding like rats. I raised s few batches of each, let nature take it's course with others but then eventually split up the pairs and then traded off some of the adults.

If you're feeling a bit over run by all the fry you might consider separating the males from the females on at least some of the groups and concentrate on raising one or two species at a time with the equipment you currently have or at least without adding a ton more equipment and expense.

If you do decide to go with a central system then I wouldn't be so worried about communicable diseases. In theory if your adult tanks & fish are healthy the fry should be at least disease free to start. It's not as if you're introducing new stock from an outside source so as long as you're vigilant about keeping a healthy environment you should be okay, but if you do have an outbreak of sorts it should/would affect every tank.

I've not had the opportunity to breed my African cichlids as of yet but I learned something from the other's that I can't see not applying to the Africans and that is that not every one is meant to survive or thrive.
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Re: sump vs individually filtered

Postby dbarron87 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:20 am

Thanks mini racer :) i am very happy with the breeding rate of the fish, it was never something i had thought of when first getting in to the hobby.
I think the regular water changes are some what encouraging them to want to breed.

I have passed on some of my fish to other friends as i really did feel like i couldn't cope.
I had tried mixing fish by either putting females in one tank and males in the other or even just mixing wrong females with males,
however i was finding alot of aggression was going on with both males and females, i've actually found both main tanks to be much more calmer when they have females. i however have been thinking of passing some more on or even possibly getting rid of a few females, when first getting in to fish i was told to go for 1 male 2/3 females, however i some what now dissagree with this. yes i agree it takes the stress of the females when a male is a bit broody but then it also causes problems when they are/have done there business. i then tend to find the female that is holding tends to get picked on by other females.

I am some what stuck currently with deciding between central system or not.
if i use a central system i believe i can save space and fit more setups if i was to go that way, as well as make life easier changing water.
However the down fall is the cost, the risk of something going wrong and possibly safety

where as as Mick has said a decent air pump would mean less issues with contamination per tank, and i can imagine this still being cheaper due to only having to really buy one piece of equipment

Either way i would need lighting what would be a suitible way of lighting many tanks in one go? would this be to just light the room or light units on top of each tank.


Thanks Mick, i will have to have a look around at some piston pumps, are there any you have in mind that you would recommend?


Thanks to everyone who is helping by the way it is appreciated.
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Re: sump vs individually filtered

Postby POS_miniracer » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:55 am

The lighting is just for you, the fish don't need it. So a well lit room with possibly some pot lights or track lights that can be aimed at a wall or rack of tanks should work fine.

If you decide not to go with a central system you might want to just come up with a more efficient way to do water changes. I helped set up my father's fish room in such a way and also set up a room of my own (which I unfortunately never got to take advantage of).

We both have 35 gallon plastic barrels on wheeled carts that we use to siphon the old water in to. Each barrel has a drain with a shut off valve at the bottom with a short hose coming off of it. Once he's done siphoning the water into the barrel he just rolls it over to his sump pump well (in my case I had a floor drain) and drains the barrel. His are in the basement so the well pump would just pump it up and out into the sewer system while I was over a crawl space so mine was designed to drain into the same line as the sinks & toilet in my house.

He uses RO water and mine was set up for the same. For the supply water the RO unit fills a 55 gallon plastic barrel which although is on a dolly as well is actually designed to be stationary. The barrel has heaters set to the same temp. as his tanks and also has a pump in it. His is a rather large basement and all of this is in the unfinished "utility" portion. The pump is plugged into an outlet controlled by a light switch in the finished area where the tanks are located. The pump is plumbed via PVC pipe which goes straight up and then across his ceiling (where it's hidden by the drop ceiling tiles) then comes down along a wall fairly central in the room between the tanks. At the end of the hard pipe is connected a hose with a nozzle much like a garden hose. When he's ready to add water he just flips the switch turning on the pump pressurizing the system, sprays into the waste barrel first to clear the line of old water and then tops off his tanks. When he's done he just turns the switch off, drains the line as best as he can into the waste barrel again and hangs the hose back up.

Our biggest challenge with his was finding the right pump. We went through a couple in the beginning that were just too strong for his application.

He's 71 years old and has had 4 hernia surgeries and with a 125G, two 90G a 75G and a 30G tank he was hauling a lot of buckets for a guy his age and in his physical condition. Now with the exception of the 30G quarantine tank he rarely has to haul a bucket anymore and his water changes are also much faster.

Of course all this only works if you have all your tanks in the one room.
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