Skip to main content

One big sump worth blogging about

  • 8ft-sump-full-length
  • 8ft-sump-back-angle
  • 8ft-sump

A few months ago, I was hired to build a big custom sump for a 400g system in Wylie, Texas. It's an all-in-one sump that is nearly 8' long, and needed to be built with 3/8" cast acrylic to be strong enough for longterm use.  For me, a minimum of five years is my goal, but the owner was thinking 15-20 years. 

Larger sumps take more time to build as there is a lot of labor involved, and I thought I'd include a few images of the progress over time.  It was so large, I had to move everything to create enough workspace for this one, and I decided it was best to work at floor level since my build station wasn't large enough.  And the temperature in the workshop wasn't going to work either. I used a "super fishy lens" on my iPhone for this picture. This sump measures 92" long x 24" wide x 16" tall.

As you glue different parts together, you have to flip it, rotate it, and work those new joints for a solid seam. Here's a funny picture since it nearly touched the ceiling.

It had to be prepped for the bottom panel next.

Once that was completed - and it took a long time with a sump 8' long - I was able to glue it to the bottom piece.

Cutting out the top piece was a big challenge, because you only cut it once and there is no margin for error. If you fail, you need another big piece of acrylic and that's a costly mistake. I measured this about 30 times until I finally committed to routing out the openings. 

At this stage, most of the work is done and it's a matter of making it look good.  All edges are routed, holes are drilled, and the access door is glued into place for the top off reservoir.

But first, let me take a selfie. hahaha

It was kind of odd to know this sump was longer than my 400g reef.  See below.

Once finished, it was loaded into my trailer for the 75 mile drive to its new home. My trailer isn't big enough for an 8' long item, so I had to pack it as seen below.

And here it is in its new home.

As seen above, the left end is the ATO reservoir which will hold RO/DI water. This section holds about 29g of water to replenish what has evaporated, and this should last for about four or five days before needing to be refilled.  The section with the big 7" filter sock is the skimmer section.  The next big section is the return zone, where various reactors will stand. The section on the far right is the refugium zone, which has a 4" filter sock if he wants to use one. Behind the refugium, he will have his Vectra L1 return pumps and heaters.

The operational water volume of this sump is about 70g of water. The entire unit holds about 135g of water if filled to capacity.

All the outer edges were rounded over for a smooth work area when reaching in and out of the sump as we so often do. Inner walls were also rounded. There is a probe holder, as well as a bracket for a top off switch.  He's using a Tunze Osmolator to handle that task.

It really came out nicely, and I'm glad it is completely done and delivered. Time to tackle some other orders now.

Website Area:
Reef Blog