Sumps are being used more and more in aquariums nowadays. The reason is that a lot of the required equipment can be hidden from view in the aquarium sump. Equipment such as protein skimmers, heaters, calcium reactors etc.
A lot of people nowadays are using sumps as a place to install either primary or additional filtration methods.
Examples of these are mud beds, deep sand beds and refugiums.
The trouble with installing a type of filtration in the sump is that accommodating this where equipment is also to be installed means that the sump needs to be modified in one way or another.
Aquarists are looking at creating DIY reef aquarium sumps so that this can be performed, and with patience is easily accomplished.
To make DIY reef aquarium sumps you will first need to plan and even draw what you hope to accomplish. Once this is done you need to obtain a basic aquarium of the relevant size as well as some glass or acrylic.
To make the required partitions you will need to cut the glass or acrylic. If you do not feel comfortable with cutting glass then a glass merchant will do this for you. Remember to take accurate measurements with you. When taking the measurements ensure that you leave a small gap between the partitions and the inner side of the sump.
Once the glass or acrylic is cut make sure that the edges are a clean cut. If they are not then it will be harder to attach them.
Now is where your patience will be tested.
For the next step you will require some aquarium sealant. Using a sealant gun place a bead around where the partition will be and gently push the glass or acrylic into place. The sealant should push put from around the sides - dont worry about this at the moment. Check all the edges to ensure that there is enough sealant in place - we dont want any leaks.
When you are happy that there is enough sealant in place leave the sealant to cure. Once cured you can use a sharp blade to tidy up the edges. Very carefully cut the spill over away, taking care not to cut into the core bead. Of course you do not need to do this if you dont want to - some aquarists leave it as it is. Personally I like to make it as tidy as possible.
Once all the partitions etc have been created, and the sealant is cured and tidied up, fill the aquarium with water and check that it does not leak. I would recommend filling one partition at a time and checking for leaks - of course it does depend upon your design.
If you plan your design and take your time then you should hopefully be ok. If you do not feel comfortable at first why not practice on some old glass first.
DIY reef aquarium sumps are not that hard to make but the complexity of the design depends upon what you hope to achieve.