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TOPIC: Sump Help

Sump Help 6 months 1 week ago #71456

  • Aquamoo
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Hi I currently have a 55 gallon aquarium with a 125 gallon tank arriving soon. My stock include 2 oscars (less than 6 inches right now) 3 Bala sharks (less than 4.5 inches and I plan on selling them soon) 1 common pleco (5 inches, hypostomus plec.) 2 Australian rainbows (2&3/4-3 inches) and a eclipse catfish (3 inches). When I get the 125 gallon tank, I'm planning on turning my 55 into a sump. I was wondering if you guys had any ideas on what I should do with the sump to max out the amount of filtration it could handle. (filling it with bio balls, ceramic media, live plants, etc) also do you think I should move the Australian Rainbows to a different tank, however they do get along with the Oscars right now. I was also thinking about adding Jack Dempsey's (2) and convict cichlids (4) what are your thoughts about this. 125 gallon dimensions: 72" x 18" x 21" 55 gallon dimensions: 48" x 12" x 22". Thank you for your help!
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Sump Help 6 months 6 days ago #71457

  • Ernie14
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Hi and welcome.
A 125gallon tank is probably the bare minimum for your two Oscars, some members may even suggest that is even too small. Fully grown Oscars can reach up to 16inches so a tank depth of 18 inches doesn't leave a lot of room. Definitely hold off on adding more stock to your new tank, if it were mine the two Oscars would be the only inhabitants.
Your current stock in your 55gallon must be causing you some issues maintaining acceptable water parameters so I can understand your need for a bigger tank but it needs to be stocked correctly. I have two fully grown Oscars in a 150gallon and a fin level water change is needed weekly to keep Nitrates at 10ppm, what are your current water parameter readings?
As for the sump I have no real experience there but some of our more senior members will chime in with their opinions.
As always we are happy to help but some of our suggestions are not always what new members wish to hear but is given with the best intentions.
150 gallon 2x Tiger Oscars
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Sump Help 6 months 6 days ago #71458

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It depends on what kind of sump you wanna build. Submerged sump, tickle tower with like 1/3 submerged area.

Basicly you don't need much. You could go with an only sponge sump with an bag of ceramic media in your last chamber or you can go fancy with mech filtration, bio filtration, chemical filtraton.

An Refugium with plants is more or less useless for an 120G that heavy stocked and with only an small planted area in an 55. Here it would need more or less the whole tank heavy planted with ground and free floaters including heavy lighting to arcive an reasonable consumation of No3.

Also how do you plan the connection of te two tanks?

Overflow box internal/external
Only pipes that skimm the surface
Pipe overflow?
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Sump Help 6 months 6 days ago #71462

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My nitrates aren't really that bad, they always stay between 25 and 30 ppm except for one time I went on a vacation for a week and a half and it went up to 40 ppm. Im only doing 20% water changes to achieve this but I do have live plants in the tank and some ceramic media. As for 16" Oscars I'd like you to link me to a picture or video of one because I've never heard of one exceeding 14", and at 14" only very rarely.
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Sump Help 6 months 6 days ago #71463

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For the sump I plan on drilling a 1.5" hole in the 125 and having pipes connect it to the 55 gallon. In the 55 gallon there would be a return pump that leads back to the other side of the tank near a powerhead to help with circulation. Also I was maybe thinking about having the 2 Oscars along with the pleco and the sun cat and maybe getting a Green Terror, but I know that these are hit or miss, and will have a backup plan if the Terror becomes to aggressive.
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Sump Help 6 months 6 days ago #71464

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You need at least 2 holes. One for the sump feeding and one for emergancy reasons, than if your tank to sump pipe would clogg by for example an dead fish or some organic litter you would empty the sump and the sump will run dry. The emergancy pipe would allow it that the water would float back into the sump.
The return can be managed over an return hose.

A submerged sump has an higher fill level as the tickle tower.

First one has bigger media capacity, second one better oxidation ratio.


I personaly would choose the second one, the tickle tower Version. It's more easy to arcive this sump, you don't need alot of material and Media.
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Sump Help 6 months 6 days ago #71465

  • Northstar5
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Not a sump user so I cant offer any tips on that. I am however a long time Oscar keeper and can well assure you that Oscars easily exceed 14ins given the right factors. Genetics play a big role, but the conditions they are kept in are directly related to reaching their size potential. Clean water is #1. There is more than nitrate in the water column that needs managing. Tankspace is critical. Oscar does not respond well to cramped quarters or an overstocked tank. I have and have had Oscars that make a 125g look small all by themselves. Your notion to have a pair in 125 with pleco, suncat, GT, whatever else is not conducive to keeping large long lived Oscars. For what you have in mind stock wise, think well over 200gals, 72 x24 x30 220g would be a start. I have a pair of adult Oscars in such a tank, they take up the whole thing, I would not consider adding any other fish to that tank.
1600gals of South and Central American cichlids. Some with just a "wee" bit of attitude!
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Sump Help 6 months 6 days ago #71466

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Do you think it's the size of the tank that matters more or the total gallons. I know obviously you can/t have Oscars in a 20 gallon even with a billion gallon sump but maybe a 150 gallon (5' by 2' by 2') as the tank and a large sump would be able to handle the stock listed above? As for the sump I was thinking about having a submerged sump and filling it with a ton of media. I read that bio balls are really good to have in a sump you just have to make sure that it is has proper mechanical filtration, and stay on top of water changes. I really like the way green terrors work but I might be willing to go with a Jack Dempsey or even Convicts if the tank size really isn't enough. Also does anyone know where to buy bio balls on line in bulk for cheap? I'm talking about enough to fill a 55 gallon aquarium for cheap. And as far as how I have the pipes configured for the sump, I was thinking of having an elbow pipe in the hole facing upwards, to the top of the water level and having a little cage around it so nothing can block it. Also for the return pump I was thinking of using Marineland Maxi-Jet Pro model 1200 (295gph), do you think that this would be enough (assuming 200 total gallons) or would I need to use 2 of them and have 2 return hoses.
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Sump Help 6 months 6 days ago #71468

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Lots of stuff going on here, but I'll chime in quick and then follow up with some sump research (been a while since I ran a sump set up). 16 inch Oscars are not common in the hobby. But they are out there. I had a pic that I would frequently repost before I lost it on photobucket - it was of an Oscar pictured inside a 75g tank (standard) take from the side of the tank. The Oscar appeared to be nearly touching the glass as you could see from the shadow cast from the light and this fish was very close to 16 inches. By far the largest Oscar (kept by a hobbyist) that I had seen pictures of from the web. That being said, I have been to Shedds aquarium in Chicago, and even the Underwater world exhibit in Minneapolis, both of which had south American exhibits with Oscars that were easily over 16 inches. Could be that they were wild caught too, not sure but they can absolutely attain that size.


As far as keeping two in a 125g tank... it isn't the volume of water that I am concerned with. Obviously with the addition of the sump were probably talking about close to 160 gallons of water so as far as nitrate management goes there I think you'll be just fine. It's just the floor space. If it just so happens that your Oscars are two males I just don't think they will get along. I tried on and off for years to get my two previous males to get along in a 125g tank and it just never happened. I rearranged the tank. I took one out for a month and tried reintroducing, no go. I took the other out for a month or so and tried again, no go. I tried almost every scenario you could think of and it just wasn't going to be peaceful so I kept one in the 125g with a Texas and some other smaller cichlids and gave the other a 75g to himself. My personal recommendation is that if you want a variety like a GT and some firemouths or convicts then just go with one Oscar. It will save you a ton of head ache. With two Oscars a GT is just out of the question IMO. They can hit a foot easily as well. If you happen to have a male and a female then you are looking at a breeding pair - or at the very least a courting pair that will not treat other fish in the tank well. The smaller convicts might be able to hide behind cover or decorations, but a GT wouldn't be able to hide as well, and heck it might not want to hide - they can be nasty as hell sometimes. Your best case scenario is you wind up with two female Oscars that tolerate each others presence and just happen to be slightly less aggressive than the males. Even then, if they squabble there isn't a lot of room in there. Take it from me. Two full grown Oscars easily fill a 125g tank (visually).

I used to be up to date on the latest sump and pump recommendations but I'll have to do a little research to give any real useful info. But just off the top of my head a 295gph pump is going to be on the small side. You are going to lose a significant amount of GPH from the head loss (the loss of flow due to forcing water straight up from the source). I would beef up a bit and get something more powerful and more reliable. Danner mag drives are great pumps. But like I said I'll refresh and get back to you on the sump stuff.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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Sump Help 6 months 5 days ago #71469

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A naked 125 may have real 115 gallons of water with an inch of substrate and decoration you are easy down to 100 G.

For the tank and filter size you should look for a pump in the size region of an Fluval FX6 so something in the 550 to 600G region like the Aqua medic eco runnner 3.5 or another DC pump.
If it is to strong you still can lower the flow by electronicly adjusting.

For the stocking. I also recommend to avoid other big cichlids.
As a other smaller mid size cichlid maybe a group of 5 to 6 flag cichlids but no other aggressive big cichlid like goldsaums.
A pair of convicts also is a bad idea if there is nothing that will eat the fry. Don't count on Oscars than they are no good fish hunters at all especially lightning fast Baby Cons that are masters of hiding.

With a stock of 2 Oscars and a small group of flag that are compared to adult Angels you will need in your setup around two 60/70% WC per week.
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