New Arowana Tank -
Part 3 SUMP and Cycling your new tank
New Arowana Tank Part 3 - article & pictures
by West & NSK
now explore the heart of my new tank.
The SUMP system. On the left, you
can see the bare sump without any
media in there. Now's a good time
to fix up all the pipes and pumps.
Prior to putting your sump tank into
the cabinet, remember to do a test
to ensure that the sump tank do not
leak as once all the media is placed
in, it is a back breaking job to
clean up any spills or leakage that
might occur. Most makers will claim
that they have tested the tank and
it should be fine, but trust me,
do the test as during transportation
there might be knocks to the tank.
sump filtering system is also known
as wet/dry filters to many aquarium
hobbyists. It works on the fact that
beneficial nitrosomonas and the nitrobacter
bacteria are cultivated on filter media
in the presence of well-oxygenated
water. The water will trickle over
the filter media, allowing interaction
between the bacteria and the water.
This is known as the dry part since
the media is not submerged in the water
and water merely trickles over the
media. The media allows water to spread
out and flow downwards to be collected
in another compartment. This is the
wet part of the filter since the filter
media is submerged in water. Such a
filtering system is effective in removing
ammonia and nitrites and even nitrates
in some cases and hence it is widely
regarded as the best filtering system
as it provides outstanding water quality
and stability and ease of maintenance.
my sump tank is placed inside the cabinet,
everything is concealed, space saving,
and makes your tank look neat. Sump
tank can also be designed accordingly
to the wishes of the individual hobbyist
such as 2, 3 or more chambers. Bio-media
for biological filtration and mechanical
/chemical filtration can all be achieved
by using this system. With a sump tank,
it also helps to add water volume to
your existing fish tank. Should there
be a power failure, it also helps to
prevent overflowing of water if it
is set up properly.
have opted for an acrylic sump tank
as it is lighter and easier to design.
As you can see from the above pictures,
I have also opted to have a reservoir
on the left to age my water. This means
that I have the privilege of using
water without chlorine for my arowana
for every water change.
The reservoir is designed to hold around
70 litres of water so I just need to
drop one capful for the brand of water
conditioner I am using. Another advantage
of a sump tank is that medication and
dosing supplements is easily done so
by adding them to the last chamber. Topping
up of water is also easy and with an
auto top-up box, you can also go on extended
holidays without ever worrying that the
water level will get too low.
top up box is a device that tops
up the water automatically whenever
the water level becomes low in the
top up box is able to detect low
water levels with the use of these
float switches that activates the
box once the floats drop to a certain
pre-determine level. For safety
reasons, there are 2 floats and
both floats must drop before the
top-up-box is activated.
of your tank - section by NSK
of tank in fact refers to the cultivation
of nitrifying bacteria
in your filter. In other words, it
means introducing nitrogen cycle
into the filter so as to effectively
remove harmful ammonia and nitrites
from the water. To know more about
nitrogen cycle, you might want to
refer to this article at our article
The bacteria to be cultivated are
the nitrosomonas and the nitrobacter
bacteria for the removal of ammonia
n nitrites respectively. Depending
on conditions such as size of tank,
flow rate of pump, oxygen content,
filter media, pH and temperature,
e rate at which these bacteria are
cultivated can vary from 4 weeks
to about 2 months or so.
way to cycle the tank is to introduce
because the waste they
produce will be broken down into
ammonia, which is e prerequisite
for bacteria to be cultivated. Ammonia
is the key ingredient for the cycling
of the tank. During cycling, the
amount of ammonia and nitrite can
reach levels that might cause damage
to the fish’s internal organs
or even kill the fish. Hence it is
advisable to use hardy fishes for
Another way is to introduce man
made bacteria or chemicals that can
help hasten the cycling process.
cycling process is completed when
the ammonia and nitrite count
are near to zero. When this is achieved,
it will be safe for you to introduce
your arowana into the tank.
While unfinished fish food and fish
waste can be manually removed from
the water, ammonia and nitrites can
only be removed by the nitrifying
bacteria. This will require the tank
to be properly cycled. Hence, cycling
is an important process that must
be accomplished prior to introducing
the arowana into the aquarium.
having zero ammonia and nitrites would
still require water changes to
be performed regularly to remove other
chemical compounds such as nitrates.
High nitrate in the water will cause
stress to the fish since the fish has
to adjust to the new environment of
higher nitrate. This might lead to
the loss of abilities of the fish to
fight diseases or the ability to reproduce.
After the tank has been cycled,
the pH of the water might not be
desirable for the arowana. PH refers
to the power of hydrogen and this
is actually a measurement of the
amount of hydrogen ions in the water.
water, there is an equal concentration
of hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxide
ions (OH-) and hence pure water has
a pH of 7. Referring to the pH scale
below, pH below 7 is considered acidic
while pH above 7 is alkaline.
If the pH is too high, small amount of
coral chips are added provide the necessary
buffer to raise up the pH. Depending
on the kH of the water, the rate at which
pH raises may vary.
To avoid pH shock, it is recommended
that small amount of coral chips
initially, slowly increasing the
amount per day but do take note that
a high ph coupled with high ammonia
level is potentially fatal.
other hand, if the pH is too high,
you might want to remove
some coral chips and add in some
blackwater or peat to bring down
the pH gradually.
It is recommended
that pH does not change by more than
0.5 per day.
Reason is that pH is measured in
logarithm scale i.e. if the pH change
by 1 degree, it means that pH is
actually changed by 10 times, 2 degree
means change by 100 times since 100
is 10 to the power of 2.
it is important that hobbyists adhere
to the necessary
procedures when adjusting the pH
of the water as a sudden swing in
pH might cause stress and even death
to arowanas in more severe cases.
your filter media
Zeolites are actually porous and
are commonly used to in bio-chemical
filters to remove ammonia from an
aquarium setup but are ineffective
in marine setup or freshwater tank
with high salt content.
Ceramic rings are suitable for use
as filter medium in external and
internal filters. The large settling
area and the large cross section
of the individual clay tubes provide
optimum water flow.
Usually made from plastic, having
lots if spikes or ledges, bio balls
are used mainly in biological filters.
The unique geometric design of a
bio ball ensures there is a significant
surface area to allow bacteria to
Activated carbon is carbon that has
been specially treated to create
millions of microscopic pores in
the carbon. When water is passed
through activated carbon, organic
pollutants will attach to the pores
and are trapped.
Sintered glass is specially designed
with a microscopic tunnel structure
throughout its entire mass. The dimension
of each tunnel is perfectly designed
for bacteria to colonise rapidly
to perform biological filtration
More commonly known as cotton
wool, this simple medium provides
mechanical filtration to remove
any debris from the water. It clogs
easily and should be replaced frequently.
Filter sponge serves similar function
as filter wool but filter sponge
has a higher density than filter
wool and can therefore trap more
debris. Filter sponge also has
a bigger surface area than filter
This is actually made of fibre
netting and hence it has a big
surface area for bacteria to colonise.
This media will not be clogged
easily and is one of the best media
for biological filters since water
that pass through the Japanese
mat is still rich in dissolved
2 - Glass Tank
© 2003 ArowanaClub.com