diy sump need your wisdom


First off I have had this 80 gallon or 81 set up for about 3 months with great success. Everything seems to flourish in the tank and I believe everything is happy. I planned to build a 20 gallon sump until last night. I went out and bought a 50 gallon aquarium that is the same length as my 80.

My question is how thick of plexiglass do I need to withstand the pressure of different levels of water throughout this sump? Also what sealer is best for the plexiglass? I plan to have 4 sections as of now. One for the protein skimmer, one for live rock and eventually micro algae or something similar, one for the return pump and heaters, and one for quarantine that will be completely sectioned off as to not mix water.

I welcome all input and knowledge. I am new to the saltwater hobby and know very little. What I am looking for is to simplify my visual tank and to keep it and the livestock as happy as I can. Thanks in advance


Well-Known Member
I definitely wouldnt try a 20g sump on an 80g tank. A 55g may not fit under your stand. Try to put it under your tank before you make it into a sump and do all that work.

Three chambers is plenty, usually people have a filter sock or two in the first section with a protein skimmer and then the next is a refugium and the last is the return pump chamber with heaters or reactors.

If you need a fourth section, I would suggest setting it up as a freshwater reservoir and using an auto top off system to top off your sump. A quarantine system really needs to be completely separate so there is no cross contamination. Not just disease, but potentially leaking medications and chemicals in the main sump.

Plexiglass isn't completely necessary. I would try to go to a glass shop first and have glass cut. It's actually pretty cheap. I think I get either 1/8th inch glass for small projects or 3/16 on up to 1/4" glass for larger projects.

As far as how to build it and techniques and stuff surrounding it, there are a lot of YouTube videos that are halfway decent for that type of visual instruction.

Have fun!


Thank you. I am in the process of building a stand to hold both. My current stand is built from 2x4 studs and could accommodate the 50 with little adjustment, but it would be tight and no room for other things such as food storage, nets, test kits and other things. So I am building a metal stand to hold both tanks and have plenty of room under for hiding all of the extra things. Also I try to keep clear of YouTube as I have no Internet access in the country other than my phone, which has limited data


Well-Known Member
Gorilla welds don't have look pretty... they just have to be strong! LMAO!!! Looking good so far... ;)