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What is an aquarium overflow?

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Quick Answer

More commonly known as a "sump," an aquarium overflow is a separate tank or water receptacle attached to a main aquarium. The separate tank holds all of the filtration and other support mechanisms for the tank, including a canister filter, heater, degasser, protein skimmer and UV sterilizer.

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Full Answer

Sumps are often used in saltwater reef tanks and other tanks that require high stability, although large freshwater aquariums may use sumps as well. A large sump can effectively double the water capacity of a tank, diluting toxic by-products of fishkeeping, such as ammonia and nitrite. It also increases the water quality significantly.

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