View Full Version : Sumpless Mixed Reef Tank

02-23-2012, 04:18 AM
I thought I'd post on here asking for some advice, but I was wondering if anyone has experience running a sumpless tank with just powerheads providing flow. I'm thinking of having a 50 gallon tank made (due to odd space constraints) with no internal chambers while running 1 or 2 Tunze 6105 and a skimmer to avoid massive water changes each week!

I was thinking of either running one or both of the powerheads oscillating to get the wavemaking effect but I'm not sure if that will guarantee enough flow. I'd like to use the tank for a mixed reef but primarily softies.

If anyone has any advice on if this would work or if I'm overlooking anything feel free to chime in!


02-23-2012, 04:21 AM
i ran a 33gl for years just ran a hob filter and had 2 powerheads! worked great!

02-23-2012, 04:57 AM
What size pumps did you use? I'd like to get a eurobrace on it so I don't think I can consider using hob's... will depend if I can find a suitable skimmer first

02-23-2012, 06:27 AM
I used to have a 25 gallon tank for softies only without the sump, running with 2 cheap 402 Aquaclear powerheads and a Eheim Magnum Deluxe filter. Water change every 6 weeks without using any skimmers, I actually even didn't know a reef tank needs a skimmer :redface: but that tank was lasted for well over 4 years before I shut it down to get a bigger tank.

Money pit
02-23-2012, 10:55 AM
My first tank was sump less, and eventually skimmer less. One thing I would recommend is a surface skimmer, so you don't get an oily build up on the surface of the water. If you decide to go skimmer less, you will need to do additional water changes if you want to keep more sensitive corals. If you want a skimmer, don't cheap out, get a good HOB. If you are getting the tank made, let the maker know you want to add a skimmer, and they can build the tank accordingly.

02-23-2012, 01:35 PM

Second time between tanks running this way. IMO, it runs better than my sumped...skimmed tank.

phi delt reefer
02-23-2012, 02:11 PM
50 gallon tank wont need a eurobrace unless you are using really thin glass.

you can get away with running NO skimmer if you just do weekly water changes (15%) and keep a softies tank. If you start getting into sensitive SPS and large bio loads then you will need a skimmer for sure.

I've seen some AMAZING skimmer-less tanks and it comes down to the attitude of the owner - nothing else. You have to exercise some self restraint and not be a lazy. If you find yourself procrastinating to do things in your regular day to day life then you will do the same with the tank. I am a lazy **** so a skimmerless tank would be a disaster for me. If you are like my wife - well organized/keep to a schedule - then a skimmerless tank will be as beautiful as the rest. Be smart - dont over stock the tank and be sure to have a well rounded clean up crew.

look into the AC 110 filter with a upgraded media basket from mediabaskets.com. It can hold a tunze skimmer in the filter itself! Load up the trays with some chemi pure elite and purigen and you should be good to go.

The 6105 is alot of flow for such a small tank and its very directional - you wont get flow throughout the tank which ideal. You may want to look at getting a 6095 and maybe a tunze nano wavebox. Good thing about the wave box is it comes with a slave port for a second controllable powerhead so you dont need to buy an additional controller.

04-01-2012, 07:11 AM

Second time between tanks running this way. IMO, it runs better than my sumped...skimmed tank.

How is that light you are running? I seem them on aliexpress for 200 shipped. Supposedly cree.

04-01-2012, 01:58 PM
My 77 has been running sumpless since I purchased it used Jan 2007. The lady I purchased it from also ran it that way, although with very small Aquaclear powerheads & a canister filter. I continued running the canister with empty media baskets (except a bag of carbon) until a few months ago. It was leaking & I simply didn't feel like fixing or replacing it. Does not seem to have changed things that much.

What I have done over a period of several years is added VorTech MP40 pumps to move water. Started with one, now have three. I think this is one of the keys to having a relatively healthy sumpless mixed reef. As far as skimmers, I'm running an old tech, wooden air stone, counter current rig that came with the tank when purchased. It looks to be a DIY unit & I modified it with a few minor features to make it work a bit better. I build my own monster air stones from a plank of basswood. It's a HOB skimmer, but I didn't like it hanging on the rim of the tank, so built a small stand which is secured to the tank cabinet. Stand for the tank is pretty rough, so I don't mind a couple extra screw holes to hold the skimmer stand. You could do something similar if you can't hang one due to eurobrace.

Folks that have seen my system often comment on how quiet it actually runs. Overflows can add some noise to a system if not tuned correctly. I'll eventually set up a new tank with basement sump, but sumpless has been working quite well so far.

04-01-2012, 02:28 PM
Forgot to mention I do relatively large water changes 30-35% approx every 21 days. That schedule can vary but rarely longer than 23 days between water changes.