The Anatomy of One Primo Betta Barracks Sump Setup

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Clearly the sump is the heart of your betta barracks. No question about that. It’s what keeps the water safe and crystal clear. Which is just what thriving juvies need to grow up big, strong and drop dead gorgeous.

But I’ve got to tell you that by embracing one like this video shows you are leaving Betta Keeping 101 well in your rear view mirror.

Yes, this is kind of advanced stuff. Okay very advanced stuff. But just the kind of stuff you’ll need to master if you have any thoughts of producing show quality bettas on any kind of scale. Because there is no way you can keep up with keeping the water in even 50 beanies fresh and clean by hand. No way. You need a barracks system with a bio filtration system like the one in this video if you have any hopes of pulling that off and maintaining your sanity.

Let me make sure that some things you may have seen but that possibly didn’t register in your brain for later reference don’t get overlooked. To that end these user notes aka, cheat sheet, should help.

  1. The water return runs from the return through heavy duty mechanical filtration. This is done to keep splashing under control for one. And to start to remove any solid wastes, i.e. uneaten food and you know what from the water.
  2. Under the foam is a drip plate. That is used to guide the water into the filter floss. There must be a thick layer of the stuff to filter out the waste products. The drip plate helps to distribute it across the floss more or less evenly. Again pay attention to how thick that all is.
  3. The water makes its way through the filter floss onto some stainless steel scrubbies set up for as a beneficial bacteria hotel. What you get with these is a lot and lots of surface area. Lots of surface area means lots of good bugs to digest the ammonia and nitrites that flow on by.
  4. Okay the water exits this chamber at the bottom and flows up and over through the groves onto another drip plate that is covered with plastic to keep evaporation down. Again more mechanical filtration media. Note the little tab that works to keep that from slipping and/or bunching up.
  5. Under that drip plate is a bio bale. (Note the advantages suggested in this article that explains what a bio bale is and why it’s helpful. Best of all it’s pretty darn cheap.) It’s used in sumps like this because the amazing amount of surface area it offers. Making it another haven for beneficial bacteria.
  6. Meanwhile back at the ranch, the water makes its way past the bio bale and runs thru some bio balls, a layer of plastic pot scrubbies, and then some pond matrix – another product used by ponders for its exceptional bio-filtration capabilities. (By the way pound for pound few filter media offer the “filterability” of common, dirt cheap, nylon pot scrubbies you pick up at Walmart.)
  7. At this point the water exits this chamber again at the bottom and encounters a layer of a different kind of filtration – dish scrubbies in the next chamber. It rises on up past a carbon filter pad along with a bag of purigen.
  8. After all this filtration, the water should be particulate matter free as it flows into the next chamber, a fluidized bed. Going through holes drilled in the panel near the top of this chamber.
  9. Okay so this next chamber is a moving filter bed loaded with Kaldnes K1 Bio Media. Here the water flow will encounter more nitrifying bacteria that are getting plenty of oxygen to help them do their job with the use of a robust power head pump.
  10. The water overflows this chamber out the back and into a channel where it is then heated. It’s last stop is the chamber than hold the sump pump itself. Which pumps the now pristinely clean water thru a UV Sterilizer and then back up to the top to be dripped into the barracks themselves.

Some fine set up, huh? Again, not for the one betta guy or gal. But certainly worth knowing if you are looking to move up in class from keeper to breeder.

About Lucas
Putting a name with a face I'm Lucas Smatana. Like you I'm passionate about betta fish and hope to share my enthusiasm. The idea here is to make sure you get helpful info and useful ideas on betta fish care that really work. To insure your betta keeping experience is a good one both for you and your fish. So that you and your pet enjoy a long, happy and healthy relationship.

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