Are you contemplating on shopping for the best aquarium sump? It is essential to be careful when getting the right fish tank sump for you since this could play a very vital role when it comes to keeping your fish tank clean and in ensuring more enhanced aeration of the tank water.
Basically, a fish tank sump functions as a filter and may also serve as a useful storage place for aquarium equipment, for instance, reactors as well as heaters. This does a very indispensable job at enhancing the aeration of the water inside the tank and at the same time it helps keep the water mess-free and safe for your finned friends to breathe and swim in.
The truth is, there are a plenty of fish tank sump kits available these days; however, it is critical to be very meticulous when buying one so you can surely delight in the perks that the top-tier aquarium sump can provide.
Creating the perfect fish tank sump setup requires researching several buying factors. It’s the only way to ensure you choose the ideal aquarium sump. So before we look at the reviews, here’s a preview of a few worthwhile considerations for this buying process:
- Size: You’ll need a large enough sump to suit all the elements inside your tank. In most cases, this sizing will fall between ⅓ or ¼ the dimensions of your fish tank. The marine sump pump should then fit inside your tank without taking up too much space.
- Durability: Buyers will want a sump capable of lasting several years. So it becomes vital to look at the building materials and reviews to determine each option’s durability. Generally, glass or acrylic sumps will be your most reliable choices.
- Noise Level: Certain aquarium sumps produce a significant amount of noise. But luckily, several high-quality options are considered silent to avoid these issues. I’ll always recommend going with a quiet, expensive option over a cheap but loud one.
- Brand: Buying an aquarium sump is a large purchase. So selecting one made by a top-tier company is essential to ensure you aren’t wasting money. Some reputable sump manufacturers include Eshopps, GEO, and Bubblefin.
Luckily, this article will help you find out which fish tank sump kit products can work well in sustaining an aquarium that is clean and safe for your fish tank occupants to thrive. You may go over the various sump products below to assist you in your final decision.
Table of Contents
Top-Tier Aquarium Sump Reviews 2023
1. Eshopps RS-75 Reef Sump
It can certainly be daunting to hunt for the top-tier refugium nowadays given the fact that there are so many good brands to check out. If you are buying a sump that could be ideal for 10 gallons by up to 75 gallons tank, then this could match your needs. This is built with a separate skimmer compartment as well.
Mostly, this sump is small and compact and may only be capable of holding limited fish tank gallons when filled to the directed waterline mark. So, this means that it is radically made for a small tank. This enables the addition of a reactor too.
This is furnished with a sponge filter that could inhibit bubbles and detritus from getting into the water and it also comes with a functional lid that is solely made for instant sump access. This is no sweat to put together and to set it up can be done in minutes.
Nonetheless, the return pump’s chamber is quite narrow so you may have a hard time getting the pump in and out. And, this may not promise a noiseless operation. Also, the skimmer area is not big enough to accommodate anything besides heaters and skimmers. So, there is no ample room for a refugium too.
- Equipped with a pre-filter sponge that prevents air bubble and detritus from penetrating into the pump
- Can guarantee easy elimination of Micron bag
- Well-constructed and seems durable
- Built with open-top pattern that enables instant access for equipment maintenance
- Comes with adequate sump space to hold pumps, skimmers plus other fish tank devices
- Chamber of the return pump is quite small
- May produce audible noise
2. Fiji Cube Refugium Sump Baffle Kit
At present, there are limitless aquarium sumps designs that you can check out which could at times make the selection process a pain in the neck. If you hope to end up buying the most functional sump kit that comes with superb features, then you may probably end your search with this product.
This sump is primarily built to enable space customization so you can easily accommodate a refugium, protein skimmer, various aquarium equipment and media reactor. You can instantly modify between 4.5 inches by up to 8 inches to satisfy your protein skimmer water height need- this is made possible by its water level adjustable feature. Fundamentally, there are merely 20-gallon and 40-gallon fish tank kits available for this sump.
It also comes with noise reduction feature to ensure that you won’t get disturbed when the device is running. This is enabled with the aid of the filter sock silencers that are meant to reduce audible sounds brought about by the flow of water that penetrates into the filter socks. Apart from these, this sump is built with integrated filter sock holders that can carry 4-inch filter bags.
All the same, this sump kit does not have drain bulkheads that are needed when working on the drain area to fit. In line with this, since it’s a form of DIY kit, you have no other choice but to handle all the assembly processes all by yourself.
- Enables space customization for media reactor, refugium, protein skimmer and other fish tank equipment
- Equipped with filter sock silencers to ensure noise-free operation
- Has integrated filter sock holders capable of accommodating 4-inch filter bags
- Allows users to create the most outstanding sump setup for their aquarium
- Comes with excellent water level adjustable feature
- Doesn’t come with drain bulkheads
- Requires you to put the kit together on your own
3. Eshopps AEO15005 Refugiums
This sump is designed to be aesthetically appealing and can run smoothly. Hence, if you are searching for sump refugium that appear to be well-constructed and elegant, then this could meet your preference.
It can serve as an impressive shelter for all your aquarium equipment or it could also be utilized to accommodate your delicate finned friends and aquatic plants thriving inside the fish tank. Besides, it could even work wonders in enhancing the volume of water inside the aquarium.
The good news is that there are several potentialities as well as features here, and you are free to decide. To put it simply, you can utilize it for different uses or purposes you may have in mind.
What is more, this model is distinctively built with top-quality acrylic and foam materials. Thus, this makes the sump a lot easier to shift around as it is not bulky. It may be lightweight, but many users who have already tried it claim that it remains durable and dependable.
In different circumstances, while this sump seems to be well-made, it cannot be denied that it somehow has the tendency to easily get damaged maybe because of the fact that it is quite lightweight.
And, the return pump area appears to be too confined. This may not be a serious issue though but it can cause a slight inconvenience. As you can see, these are just a few of the downsides that you need to inspect this model before getting one.
- Highly recommended for fish tanks that contain 100 gallons of water
- Designed with adaptable micron bags that are instantly ready for use
- Certified dependable and high performance sump
- Looks well-constructed and aesthetically appealing
- Can provide more adequate space where you could add all your aquarium equipment
- Return pump area is quite confined
- More likely to get damaged easily
4. Eshopps AEO14005 Reef Sumps Rs-100
This refugium sump kit is specifically built to offer more affordability and simplicity of design. It is specifically functional for fish tanks that contain 75 by up to 100 gallons of water. In like manner, it makes a great choice if the space is narrow in the stand below the display tank. This is incomparable in terms of reliability, ease and convenience of use and A1 performance.
Further, this includes a flex hose that you could connect to your overflow or bulkhead and also comes with a pre-filter sponge that sits between the barriers to aid in supporting biological filtration and ward-off annoying noise. It is good to know that you can now have adequate space where you can keep your fish tank equipment as well.
Some of the most exceptional reasons that make this sump model a good product to consider aside from its out-of-the-ordinary features are its affordability, compact design and silent operation mode. If you opt for a more clean-looking and sophisticated design, it won’t be necessary to look for other options since this model could meet all your requirements for a reliable sump.
Regardless, this sump is not flawless at all as it is not compatible with other sock filters out there which simply means that you can’t use other brands for this purpose. Also, this product is more likely to cause some leaks from the corner seam. It is interesting to note that besides these flaws, it is almost perfect in other aspects.
- Can guarantee silent filtration mode
- Comes with tidy line design and looks impressive
- Capable of providing ample space for the heater and skimmer
- Functional and durable
- Could be installed as a dry/wet filtration system, berlin or a refugium
- Not compatible with other sock filters
- Has the tendency to leak from the corner seam
What To Look For When Buying An Aquarium Sump
When picking the suitable size and kind of fish tank sump, it matters to take some points into account. The kind of filtration system is the most topnotch factor that you need to think through when it comes to the kind of fish tank you currently keep. More than that, also consider if your new fish tank will call for other temperature control tools or other filtration devices.
In reality, refugiums or aquarium sumps are slightly pricey nowadays; thus, rushing to get just any brand is not a smart move to make. Some of the aspects that must be pondered on when purchasing a sump for your fish tank may comprise of:
Size. The sump has to be large enough to conform to the size of your fish tank and the number of gallons it contains. Take in mind that a sump should be a minimum of 1/3 or ¼ the size of the actual fish tank.
Indeed, see to it that it is large enough to suit all of the elements that you plant on adding to it. Check the size of your tank first to ensure that you are getting the right size that won’t congest the inside of the tank.
Sturdiness. A sump should be durable to withstand rugged use and ensure long-lasting service. In general, sumps made of superior quality acrylic or glass materials are the most suitable options to go.
It helps to go over some customer testimonials prior to making the final purchase so that you can be guaranteed that it comes with professionally-sealed seams and won’t have leakage issues for you to worry about in the long run. Needless to say, a punctured sump will result to a slippery and drenched floor which is of course very undesirable and dangerous.
Good Combination. In the event that you opt for a large sump fish tank to serve as an effective filter and at the same time you prefer a roomy space for a refugium, then you may choose the one that comes with several huge chambers. Make sure that one of those chambers can be utilized for a refugium. This way, it won’t be focused on a single purpose.
Sump Accessories. These are also very valuable components to mull over when purchasing a sump. It makes sense to carefully inspect if the sump comes with micro sponges, protein skimmer, filter media and micro socks. As you might already know, these are very practical and functional accessories that are quite useful if you hope to keep a clean and safe fish tank for your aquarium pets.
The appearance of the sump. Of course, it is preferable to opt for the one that is aesthetically appealing and can make your fish tank look impressive.
Flexibility or versatility. The designs of sumps normally come with several chambers and easy-to-adjust baffles that permit fish tank owners to work around the design so that they can fine tune it to different aquarium equipment.
Smooth sailing to set up. Not to mention, nobody wants to deal with tedious installation procedures, so you might as well choose a sump kit that won’t give you a headache when putting it all together. Look for those with installation instructions or installation videos available. In so doing, you can have an easy guide on how to execute it on your own.
Noiseless operation. As much as possible, we don’t prefer sumps that generate noise when running. Luckily, many modern options come with silent operation mode nowadays.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is an aquarium sump? How does it work?
A sump refers to an additional tank or a separate aquarium that serves as a spot where you could add protein skimmers, filters, various fish tank cleaning devices as well as pumps without the need to actually have them inside the fish tank. In other words, it is an extra tank where you can place all the necessities so you can save an adequate amount of space in the actual fish tank.
What’s more, this is a substantial piece of equipment that generally lies below the display tank. This is typically utilized in saltwater tanks mainly because a number of the most outstanding equipment available is intended to be put or stored in a sump.
Normally, this is positioned within the fish tank cabinet or sometimes it is drawn to a separate basement or fish room. This way, users can enjoy easier access; however, this is mostly done for larger-sized or commercial builds. When installing a sump, this is often times placed within the cabinet and there is a need to utilize an underwater return pump to shift the water back to the display tank.
A fish tank sump works by absorbing water from the main tank and transmitting this through a set of chambers, wherein each of these chambers serves its own purpose. A sump naturally includes micron filter bags that are designed to aid in eliminating detritus from the tank water; it could shelter a micro sponge to halt microbubbles from penetrating, it has the capability to make room for a protein skimmer to clear the water from any sort of dirt and it could also be adaptable with different filter media and the like.
To put it simply, a sump is similar to a multi-phase filter that lies outside the main tank. The water streams back into the fish tank after it has infiltrated the sump.
What are the different types of aquarium sumps?
Adding the right type of sump for the type of fish tank you are currently taking care of is definitely a must. While sumps are precisely designed for freshwater tanks, these could also be implemented in marine fish tanks.
- Freshwater tank sump. This is basically a tank that accommodates all aquarium filtration media, filtration system, heater and water pumps that enable aquarium owners to maintain a mess-free display tank.
- Marine tank sump. This enables for more spacious surface skimming of your saltwater aquarium. The water is siphoned from the sump into the fish tank and then this stream back into the sump to be strained and returned again- this is the process of a complete saltwater and sump system. In this manner, the level of water in the aquarium is kept consistent.
Why do you need an aquarium sump? (Benefits)
A sump is deemed as an essential device in that if you utilize more media for your fish tank, the more excellent your filtration system will be. Biological filtration with the aid of using a premium quality sump comes with a number of advantages and some of these are:
- Can help enhance water volume to the entire filtration system
- Provides ample spots where you can safely store your filtration media
- Can be completely customized or set up according to your needs and media preference
- There is no need to put your equipment in the main display of your aquarium so it’s clutter-free. It’s one great way to put things in place and be more organized.
As you know, if you keep your equipment in or on the main display of the tank, this seems to look cluttered and undesirable. However, try keeping this underneath the tank and below the stand and you’ll see that this looks well-kept and mess-free.
In like manner, if you start keeping the equipment in the fish tank sump area, this will enable you to enjoy instant access to it. In this way, your aquarium pets won’t be distracted and are less likely to feel stressed when you need to conduct the cleaning, water replacement and maintenance.
And, since fish tank also allows aquarium owners to improve the volume of water in their system, this would pave the way for more support and capability to protect more corals, marine fish, and other types of invertebrates without requiring bigger tanks or footprint.
Frequently Asked Questions
How big should a sump be for an aquarium?
Your aquarium’s sump must be between ⅓ and ¼ of your tank’s dimensions. This sizing will keep your tank from getting too congested when using a built-in sump. Most manufacturers make selecting a size manageable by advertising what tanks are compatible.
So if you’re freaking out about optimal sump measurements, there’s no need. Instead, stick with what the manufacturer recommends in the product description. From there, matching the sump with your tank’s gallon capacity becomes a simple action.
Is a sump necessary for a reef tank?
A sump setup for reef tank aquariums isn’t necessary. You can certainly ensure proper filtration without using sump filters. However, it’s not a path I’d recommend for reef tank owners.
You’d be much better off relying on a high-quality sump for filtration. It’s the easiest and most effective way to ensure your tank remains in good condition. So stick with an option like Eshopps’ RS-75 Reef Sump to meet your filtration needs. It’s been a godsend 55-gallon sump kit for my massive 55-gallon reef aquarium.
Are wet/dry sumps better for aquariums?
Wet/dry sumps, also known as trickle filters, offer better in certain tanks. For instance, I recommend using them in a reef, freshwater-only fish, or saltwater-only fish tank. These situations suit a wet/dry sump filtration aquarium setup.
If you use them correctly, the tank’s water will be free of all unwanted contaminants. Your fish will be able to swim in its 10-gallon or larger tanks. It’s certainly more effective than a sponge or power filter.
An excellent example of one would be Eshopps’ AEO14005 Reef Sumps Rs-100. It’s a perfect option for any tank over 75 gallons with impressive filtration results. Plus, it’s well-known for being silent.
The only problem with wet/dry sumps is they’re expensive, especially My Reef Creations Sumps. So anyone looking to use a saltwater or freshwater aquarium sump design must put aside a lot of money. It’s why some people view using them as not worth using in smaller tanks.
What is the top-quality sump material?
Durability is a crucial aspect when choosing a high-quality sump. So picking a model from the top-tier available construction materials is vital. In most cases, acrylic is the most reliable option and less prone to structural damage.
Should a sump pit have gravel?
Yes, an inch of evenly spread gravel at the bottom of the pit can drastically improve the filtration system. However, there should be a stone paver set on top of the gravel to prevent the small pebbles from getting into your pump.
Is dry sump better than wet sump?
As far as aquarium sumps are concerned, there is no such thing as a purely dry sump. Such an option is only available for oil systems. In this case, dry ones are better than their wet counterparts due to their better holding capacity and superior horsepower output.
Do aquarium sumps work for both saltwater and freshwater?
Sumps have a substantial value in both marine and freshwater tanks, although these are largely employed in saltwater aquariums. The perks that sumps provide are definitely immense. These devices could actually offer a huge amount of surface space where you can practically store your aquarium equipment, this enables you to customize your preferred filtration system and it also makes it possible for you to establish a flexible space that could be utilized as a safe spot for freshwater plants, macro algae and fauna in marine tanks.
In general, the most crucial decisions you could ever come up with are picking your sump system and choosing the most appropriate fish tank sump for your needs and preferences and of course how to connect this with a top-quality sump pump that you could invest in.
Furthermore, sumps are utilized in saltwater fish tank hobby for a number of reasons. There are those who purposely implement sumps to aid in enhancing the total volume of tank water in order to make it a lot easier to sustain the recommended salinity levels and be able to reduce waste. On the other hand, other people utilize this device to shelter refugiums and other fish tank equipment necessary to operate a large-sized reef.
And, since there is no need to balance salinity levels in a freshwater tank or you won’t need large filtration devices such as calcium reactors as well as protein skimmers, it is difficult to conceptualize that a freshwater system would require a sump. This would only be just a problem and ridiculously excessive expense for a freshwater tank.
How to install?
- Create a plan for your sump. Such devices are generally customizable. It helps to conduct research to accordingly plan your sump prior to building it on your own. Keep in mind that you should include some adequate space to house different aquarium equipment like a heater and protein skimmer.
- Put your sump together. When you already have a detailed plan on how to set up your sump, you may proceed to the assembly phase. When you put your sump together, you will need to fasten the panes into place to create baffles and edges for the refugium. Use acrylic baffles if you are utilizing acrylic sump and use glass baffles if you are utilizing glass sump.
In case you require drilling any of the glass panes to from baffles, you may execute this prior to fastening them in place mainly because it is a piece of cake to drill unfastened panes. See to it to allow the bonding agent to completely dry up and cure. As you know, some harmless fish tank bonding agents could have the tendency to release harmful chemicals when curing.
- Setting up the equipment. It is significant to know that it is the return pump that serves as the primary piece of equipment that a sump especially requires for it to work more efficiently. Setting it up comprises of fastening it into the return plumbing- take note that this could differ hinged on the specific pattern of your sump and your tank accessories.
Sump commonly comes with aquarium equipment like automatic top-off systems, protein skimmers and heaters. It is a must to set up the equipment as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions. It won’t do any good if you submerse the equipment that is designed to work or run outside the water. Also, do not activate submersible equipment when it is not submersed. Please be guided that heaters and pumps could crack or get damaged easily if utilized improperly.
- Final phase of installation. Prior to starting the sump, it is critical to first fill it with fish tank water and be sure to work on the finishing connections in the plumbing. Indeed, prior to activating the pumps, carefully label the level of water on the outside of the sump with plumbing with the aid of a permanent marker and mark it as “fill line.”
At the time you start to turn on the return pump, you need to allow some time prior to the water starts to stream back into the sump. When you observe that the water starts to form a complete course, label the new low level of water and label it as “running line.” Bear in mind that it is not advised to fill the sump more than the amount of this line when the pump is in operation mode. If you do so, there is a greater likelihood that the sump will overflow once the pump malfunctions.
How to use?
To make the sump work, set up a circulation pump within the sump if this is submersible; however, consider plumbing it next to the sump if otherwise. The water will then be siphoned from the sump and into the fish tank; afterward, it will return back to the sump. If it is executed in this manner, the pump could operate consistently.
Moreover, if there is no water penetrating into the sump, the pump shall require to be activated on and off as the sump accumulates the water. You may utilize trickle filters to enable the water to stream through the filter’s tower and release it into the sump.
How to care & store?
To clean and store your best aquarium sump properly and ensure its long-standing service and maximum performance, it is recommended to conduct a regular cleaning and maintenance preferably once a month. You may refer to the manufacturer’s cleaning and maintenance instructions in order for you to learn more about the dos and don’ts.
Make sure to keep your sump in a safe and properly ventilated storage area and keep it away from children.
Where to buy?
You can generally find good quality fish tank sumps at a local pet store that specializes in marine tank fish. Other times, these are available in home depot and home improvement centers. Likewise, you may also purchase them online since there are countless of great choices to explore there. Online shopping sites where you could possibly find sumps include Lowes, Amazon, eBay, Petsmart, Petco and many more.
Just be sure to only negotiate with the most credible and highly trusted online shopping sites to avoid online fraud.
Purchasing a sump kit for your fish tank is perceived as a necessity particularly when you hope to provide the best possible care for your aquarium occupants. Be that as it may, you should be insightful of your needs and the price range for these products. It is advantageous to have a careful look at the model you are eyeing to buy, so that you can end up purchasing the right option that could accommodate the size and type of fish tank you are presently keeping. In so doing, you are less likely to fail in making the final decision.
The best aquarium sumps have significant uses and purposes. In truth, a lot of large fish tank owners would find such devices to be quite indispensable. Make sure to remember the most critical aspects to look out when investing in one of these products. Surely, it is highly suggested to carefully go over the above product options and reviews prior to referring to other options.