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Sump / Return pump design question

558 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  erm0715
I'm currently running a 20 tank for a sump with partitioned into thirds. First compartment hosts the in-line and skimmer, mid has a 3-4 sandbed with lr rubble and chaeto and the last partition hosts the return pump.

I've had a bit of green slime algae building on the sandbed in the fuge portion and apparently a swatch of it detached carrying sand along with it into the return section. I came home today to a saltwater christmas with sand all over the place and a slighty clouded tank.

Would it be wise to find a tank safe foam to enclose the return pump in to avoid this sandstorm in the future if more slime algae detaches or is something like that already available?
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Some water parameters would be nice,a few causes for green slime algae are,high phosphates,high nitrates,low ph,low alkalinity,insufficient water movement or current,high organics...If you have any of those problems,fix them and you won`t have to rely on a mechanical filter on the suction side of your pump,Every manufacturer of pumps makes a prefilter for their pumps....In the first section of your sump you mentioned skimming,Do you have a mechanical filter"Is that your inline" to catch larger debree in that area..If you are afraid of possibly starving your critters that you want to grow in your refugium just use a different micron rating on your sock,You can get filter socks that will filter out larger debree and allow smaller size food to suite the organisms you want to culture,all of the particles that settle in your sump.break down and add fuel to the fire so to speak.....With a 3-4 inch sand bed you are deffintly going to want some current running through your sump...... Just my two cents....
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The tank is fairly new as it finished cycling a couple of weeks back.

Temp - 78-79
Salinity - 1.023
pH - 8.2
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrite - 0ppm
Nitrates 5-10 ppm
Alk - 3meq/L

Overflow line flows into filter sock in same partition as skimmer. Skimmer out flow and excess water from first partition falls into fuge area housing 3-4 inches of sand topped with some live rock gravel on the skimmer/overflow side to keep the sand from stirring and pushing to the opposite side of the fuge area. Chaeto is housed in the fuge and this is also where the bulk of the green slime originates. There is linear flow there from overflow/skimmer outflow. I'm just afraid if I put a powerhead to generate additional flow i'm going to cause a sandstorm. Fuge overflows into bubble trap to the last partition housing the return pump. This is where i'm getting some of that green slime algae detaching and carrying sand from the fuge into the return partiation.

I would assume there are phosphates present leaching due the new tank / uncured live rock which is promoting the algae growth in the display which is clearing up a bit, both with a shorter photoperiod and with the help of cleanup crew, algae blenny and tomini tang.

No mechanical filtration is present. Using live rock / skimmer / sump and filter sock on overflow line.

I'm fairly new; I try to read a lot on the subject but if you have any recommendations on not only keeping that algae/sand out of the return pump but just basic filtration / removal of algae i'd appreciate it. I can try to find a very slow powerhead for the fuge area, I'm just afraid if i stir up too much of that sand it's going to end up in the return pump partition.
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Your tank is new,So it will take a little time to work the bugs out of it so to speak,What is your calcium level..The reason I ask is a natural or slightly higher level of calcium not only help grow the coraline algae you want in your tank,but it also helps persipatate phosphates out of your system.Have you ever read about using kalwasser to top your tank off ,There are a number of benefits from it`s use..You shouldn`t have to increase flow in your sump if you can see the algae "The good variety" moving in the current.....Once denutrifiying bacteria builds up it`s numbers in your sand bed that will help....If you have a small net you can skim out so to speak the small patches of algae,in the sump area"Funny thing is most of the time undesirable algae grows in between the rubble,or rocks that are put in their,So it is a pain" ,just remember you don`t want to distrub the sand bed to much ...My spelling sucks but hopefully you get the point...
The next purchase I make is going to be Ca/Mg test kits and make adjustments from there. No lfs here in wilson so it's when I can get to Raleigh again or online. Not really a fan of API test kits in the local petsmart. I'm planning a roughly 10% water change tomorrow and will probably pull from the return partition to get the remaining sand/algae that washed over and clean what I can from the fuge.

Thanks for the input, checking and manipulating was next on the list along with eventually better lighting.
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