How big of a sump do I need?

Usually the first question I will get when designing a custom sump for an individual is “how big of a sump do I need?”  Many will give the generic answer “As big as you can fit!”  This isn’t entirely a bad answer, but usually it doesn’t really help the individual that asked the question.  I like to break it down into several parts:

1.       What size is your tank?  From this we can calculate the total volume of water we the sump needs to hold during a power failure and we can estimate the sizing of equipment that needs to fit in the sump.

2.       What style of filtration setup are you planning going with? Berlin, fuge, Triton, Zeovit?  Each style has it requirements for layout that need to be considered.

3.       Estimate the space you have under your tank. This doesn’t just mean the space between the walls, but also think about all the components you plan on placing under your tank other than your sump.  ATO reservoir, reactors, dosing container, and test kits are all common items you would find under the stand and should be accounted for before setting the dimensions of the sump.

Once you have those items answered rough dimensions can start to be laid out.  Sometimes due to space constraints you may need to change the approach to filtration.  It’s best to figure this out at the beginning of the build so you can adjust rather than when your sump arrives.

If you are needing assistance with layout your custom sump you can contact us at and we would be happy to help you.