Freshwater sump

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AC Members
Mar 12, 2006
Over the years, I have had several freshwater and saltwater tanks. The last tank I had up and running was a 29 gallon freshwater tetra tank, but had to make a move and break it down. I just set that tank up in my daughters room as a Platy tanks and now would like to set up a tank for myself. My current travel schedule would make it difficult to give a saltwater tank the time it needs, so I am going to go with Fresh.

I have a 92 gallon corner and a 65 gallon in the garage. Both are drilled reef ready tanks. I don't have a great spot for the corner tank, so I am thinking about setting up the 65. I would only need a new light fixture and return pump. I have everything else I would need.

I have never had a freshwater setup with a sump. I cannot think of any reason why this would be an issue. Plenty of space for mechanical and biological filtration, keep the heater out of the display tank, and it would make for very easy water changes.

Anyone currently running a freshwater sump? Is there anything I am missing and should be aware of before going down this road? I appreciate any shared experiences with this type of setup.

It would likely be a tetra tank with a few smaller sized plecos. That could change tomorrow, but that is what I am thinking of now.


Global Moderator
Staff member
Jan 11, 2013
West Falls NY
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I have no direct experience with sump filtration, but from what I've read over the years, lots of folks with large drilled tanks use them with their fresh water setups. Like you say, as long as you have an easy means to drain and add water, the sky is the limit! There's nothing worse than a larger tank that's in an area of your home where your only choice is buckets for your weekly water changes.


Mar 29, 2005
Injecting CO2 for a planted tank can be counterproductive with a standard help.. but it can be done.

Watch for fry or whatever going down the overflow.

But that's really it. Same caveats as with saltwater will apply, have an iverflow break, clean it, test it are the 3 big rules to live by.

Depending on what light you have, and what your goal is for the tank, you might be fine with the light you have.

But personally, mostly because of my tastes,


Josh Holloway--Be mine!!!
Sep 1, 2003
Calif. SF Bay area
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A sump can be used in either a FW or SW set-up. Same principle. Not a great idea is using CO2, but if not==go for it.


AC Members
Mar 12, 2006
Thanks for the replies. No plans for a planted tank, so it seems to make sense to go with what I have vs. buying a new filter.


AC Members
Jul 13, 2021
The DIY kits are budget-friendly options. However, you will be supplying the tank that you will be using as a sump. The DIY route is typically best left for the experienced aquarist who is also skilled with their hands.