Cooking Oil Bottle
Overflow and Sump

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A Danner 250gph water pump, virtually hidden behind a large clump of Hornwort, pushes water from the sump back up to the main tank. The water pump is positioned high in the sump so in the event of a problem with the overflow, the main tank won't flood. This strategy however, doesn't protect the pump from running dry.

One humble 40w curly fluorescent "daylight" bulb in a retro fitted strip light fixture provides plenty of lighting for the fast growing Hornwort.

A do-it-yourself water bottle power filter in the lower right corner keeps the sump and refugium free of debris.

This sump and refugium system has been in operation for several months now with no issues. Recent water tests in the 90 gallon main tank indicate Nitrate levels are at zero even though the last water change was over a month ago. Hornwort has a reputation for being good at consuming Nitrates and seems to be living up to it's reputation.

welcome to
do-it-yourself aquarium and semi-aquatic background designs beyond the traditional
Dramatic AquaScapes
Disclaimer: Exercising reasonable safety precautions when performing the steps described in this article are the responsibility of the individuals building the background. is not responsible for personal injury or property damage as a result of following steps outlined in this article.