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The Sump Tank System was popularised by Missouri farmer (and aquaponics pioneer) Tom Speraneo.

It made its way to Australia in the mid 2000’s when Western Australian Joel Malcolm mirrored the Speraneo system.

In its most basic configuration, the Sump Tank System comprises a fish tank, two pumps, float switches and timer (or auto-syphons) and grow bed(s).

A pump (located in the fish tank) moves water to the grow beds which fill up and eventually drain into a sump tank.  The flood and drain action is controlled by a timer or auto-syphons.

A float valve in the sump triggers a second pump once the water rises to a particular level and moves the water back up to the grow beds.  Once the water level in the sump tank drops sufficiently, the float switch turns the pump off.

The Sump Tank System

The only real benefit in using the Sump Tank System is that it offers greater flexibility in the placement of grow beds than does the basic flood and drain system.

The disadvantages include:

  • Fluctuating fish tank levels.
  • Greater complexity.
  • More expensive to set up and operate.
  • More prospective points of failure.

The Sump Tank System is something of a relic these days and has been made redundant by the emergence of the CHOP (constant height/one pump) system…..the subject of my next post.