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Thread: Sumps vs. Wet Dry filter

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    Sumps vs. Wet Dry filter

    I read in magazines ads for wet-dry filters and sumps. What is the difference?

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    hmmm. a sump is a separate container of water filled with all the annoying things that are otherwise in the display, heaters,pumps,reactors, skimmer etc.
    A wet dry filter is an annoying devise that creates nutrient issues in a reef tank, pretty darn good for a fish only setup, totally not needed for a reef where the live rock does the bio filtration

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch View Post
    hmmm. a sump is a separate container of water filled with all the annoying things that are otherwise in the display, heaters,pumps,reactors, skimmer etc.
    A wet dry filter is an annoying devise that creates nutrient issues in a reef tank, pretty darn good for a fish only setup, totally not needed for a reef where the live rock does the bio filtration
    I agree. A sump and a wet/dry can get a bit confusing as the two look basically the same, but it is how it is set up that differentiates the two. A wet/dry has an area that that isn't submerged where water trickles or drains down on a media of some sort. Usually bio-balls are used because of the amount of surface area they provide for aerobic bacteria to colonize and grow. The problem with a wet/dry is it is a highly oxygenated atmosphere and therefore there are no anaerobic regions where anaerobic bacteria (those responsible for converting nitrates into nitrogen gas etc) to grow so therefore the end product of a wet/dry is nitrates (thus the term nitrate factory comes from). With a sump you don't have this type of setup, but rather water is allowed to submerge whatever is in the sump. Some people use sand beds, some people use an algae to aid in nutrient export, and some just use it as a place to hide un-sightly equipment out of view like skimmers, heaters, calc reactors etc. So visually, the two look alike, but are a bit different. Some powerfilters are actully set up as "wet/dry's" like those that run bio-wheels. What you have is a pleated bio-wheel that sits out of the water and is sprayed with water from the tank making it a wet/dry / highly oxygenated atmosphere. These are good as suggested for fish only systems because they can make quick work of fish waste that turns into toxic ammonia which is then converted into nitrites and then into nitrates in a short amount of time and seeing fish can tolerate nitrates to a certain degree, these are usually used. The problem with elevated nitrate levels is though that you will probably fight with a nuicance algae problem in your tank as nitrates is one of the key ingredients in the growth of algae which is why people stray away from wet/dry's and use a sumps istead allowing their liverock in the tank to biologically filter things as it can perform both nitrification and denitrification whereas a wet/dry can only perform nitrification.

    I'll grab you a picture to show you the difference.
    Last edited by Krish; 08-18-2011 at 08:05 PM.
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    Here's an old wet/dry I had when I first got into the hobby in 2004. The red arrow shows water coming in and how it drains on the blue bio-balls. The blue arrow shows the water level underneath the bio-balls (not submerged) and the direction of the water back to the tank.




    That wet/dry eventually warped so I had this one made to replace it.





    Finally after getting tired of fighting nuicance algae from high nitrate levels, I converted the wet/dry into a sump. Same "container" used, but I just inserted baffles to change up the water level removing the wet/dry section with the bio-balls.




    Sump was too small so I expanded it



    Finished product from wet/dry to sump. As you can see, the center chamber where the wet/dry environment was is now gone

    Last edited by Krish; 08-18-2011 at 08:17 PM.
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    Thanks, I just didn't know the difference, but one more question answered, only 1,978,392 questions to go. Give or take!

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    Quote Originally Posted by N1Husker View Post
    Thanks, I just didn't know the difference, but one more question answered, only 1,978,392 questions to go. Give or take!
    Then you'll know just enough to ask 1,984,698.437,986 more

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    Quote Originally Posted by akunochi View Post
    Then you'll know just enough to ask 1,984,698.437,986 more
    oh so true

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    Give or take

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    Just keep asking! This forum welcomes repeat questions so ask away! Also, no question is too silly to ask so whatever comes to your mind ask.
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    a sump is a separate container of water filled with all the annoying things that are otherwise in the display, heaters, pumps, reactors, skimmer etc.
    A wet dry filter is an annoying devise that creates nutrient issues in a reef tank, pretty darn good for a fish only setup, totally not needed for a reef where the live rock does the bio filtration
    Hi every body! I'm new here.

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