4628 S. Ward Way, Morrison, Colorado 80465
Phone: 303-978-0940 and 303-719-0950
E-mail: lifereef@lifereef.com

Home | Lifereef Products | All Products | Price List | Ordering | Contact | Catalog Request | SCHEDULE

Calcium Reactor | Media Reactor | Custom Showcase | Testimonials | Garage Sale | Warranty

Berlin System/Sump | Nano System/Sump | Prefilter/Overflow | Protein Skimmer | Refugium/LifeReefugium | Wet/Dry Trickle Filter



Below are just a sampling of the hundreds of custom projects that have been designed and fabricated by master-craftsman Jeff, at Lifereef. Perhaps one of these designs will work for your application. If not, let Jeff's 31 years of design and machine tool experience help you with your project. Those "generic" three-chambered sock/bag things are nice starters but lack a lot of what makes a sump or sump/refugium a joy to use, or a "pain to maintain".

Lifereef sumps and sump/refugiums and systems offer VERSATILITY! You don't know what you're missing until you use one of those other sumps and find out what it should have had.

Dimensions can be changed on many of these designs (hence "custom") to fit your cabinet space and Jeff will discuss this with you to make sure of a nice fit to maximize the space. Jeff will then use his years of experience to design a sump to offer versatility for example: Connection ports for R/O top-off line and a Calcium Reactor, drop-in Filter Cylinders or drop-in media reactors, probe holder, LifeReefugium, etc. Your sump or sump/refugium will look like a fine piece of machinery, not a conglomeration of stuff stuck together with pipes, hoses, and some good luck! Not with a Lifereef. Even the simplest of sumps will have a better look and finish than those generic acrylic boxes.

And MOST IMPORTANT, if you have a protein skimmer Jeff will make sure that your sump or sump/refugium is designed to work with that specific protein skimmer. Your sump and protein skimmer must work together and that is the biggest problem hobbyists face, and usually don't find out until it is up and running, and then here come the fixes, mods, try this, try that, etc.

Remember, custom means Jeff can build sumps and sump/refugiums for any application and most any size. And not only sumps: How about a reservoir for top-off water to fit that small space behind your cabinet or inside your cabinet? Or how about a multi-tank reservoir to hold several liquids? Need DIY stuff, Jeff can supply you with tubing. sheet stock, and with the CNC Computer Controlled Router Jeff can fabricate your parts with precision accuracy as he does with many of the Lifereef products and components.


A Custom Reef Aquarium with filtration and protein skimmer in back:

Customer request for an integrated Lifereef Protein Skimmer to be used within an aquarium/sump system. 24 x 24 x 20 footprint which included a custom made mount for the Radion RX30w Pro. Go here masinireef.blogspot.com to read and see more of this fantastic nano tank.....


Hobbyists desire to get a large sump into his stand required a four-piece sump array "bolted" together with the interconnecting bulkheads. This design was the customers, with a review of the design to look for any potential problem areas. Overall size is 44 x 21 x 22 high. Water enters into the right sump (a Lifereef VS3-36 skimmer is connected externally to this chamber) then flows into rear center sump to the left, then reverses flow to the right where it enters the front center sump and flows to the left and enters the left sump where a submersbile pump returns the water to the aquarium.


Hobbyists cabinet has center storage area so sump had to be split into two sumps connected via two 1" lines run behind the center area. Left sump has input chamber, mechanical/chemical chamber, and skimmer chamber. Right sump contains the return system pump and the Lifereef Accessory Rack to hold media reactors and a bio-reactor, and probes. As soon as the user gets this installed and provides a photo I'll be posting it here.


And many many more customs!



This sump/refugium can

be built to accomodate a variety
of nano protein skimmers as well as a variety of cabinet sizes.

For more iformation click HERE



Compact sump/refugium.

Features the SVS2-24 in-sump
Lifereef Protein Skimmer.

For more iformation click HERE


LRSM-250 System

Made for the RSM 250 or any aquarium wanting a sump/refugium component system. Can be made to use many protein skimmers. Shown with the SVS2-24 in-sump Lifereef Protein Skimmer.

Sump Size 15 x 18 x 14, 7 gallon volume
Refugium Size 14 x 18 x 18, 14 gallons

For more iformation click HERE


LRSM-D System
Made for the RSM 130/130D

Measures 20 x 17 x 16

For more iformation click HERE


Lucas Lucas

* 23 x 10 x 16
* Skimmer goes in left chamber
* Refugium up front in right chamber
* Submersible pump chamber and mechanical/chemical media are in rear chambers


Dual Refugium Sump

* 36 x 20 x 18
* Dual Refugiums
* Input/bubble trap
* Mechanical/chemical
* SVS3-30 Skimmer
* Dual sump chambers


CLF3 for 72 gal. bowfront

This is now another standard system.

For more information click HERE


Custom Trickle Filter with
in-sump SVS2-24 protein skimmer.


Trickle Filter, 122 gallon sump.
Dual 2" inputs, 3 removable
input "trays", 1 removable
secondary bin, drip-tray,
and three covers.

Dimensions of 52 x 29 x 27h.


Custom Berlin Sump

30 x 14 x 14
In-sump skimmer application
Accessory shelf holds additional
Filter Cylinders, Float Switches,
and electrodes.



Custom Berlin Sump
Coil chiller compartment
In-sump protein skimmer


Lifereef/ETS sump with
final filter compartment.

35 x 16 x 16
Probe and float switch bracket
2" input, three 1" outputs,
1 1/2" skimmer return


Small cabinet space required a
sump only 8"w x 20"l x 16"h to
hold theSVS2-24 skimmer.


Custom Trickle Filter, 2 towers
24"l x 17"w and 23" overall height.


Refugium/Berlin Sump
55" long x 13" x 18" high
Two-piece setup:
Left refugium is 29" long
Right Berlin Sump is 26" long.
Two sections connected using
two 1 1/2" bulkheads.
This configuration was needed
to get in through cabinet doors.


Compact Berlin System to fit
54 gallon corner or bowfront

Sump measures 20 x 13.


Compact sump/skimmer
Sump measures 18"x 13" x 15" high.


Sump to hold an AquaC EV120
or other in-sump skimmers
Sump measures 20 x 14 x 14


Custom sump with large
skimmer compartment
55 x 22 x 17

80 gallon volume

3x Media Canisters
8x probe/electrode locations


LF1 with in-sump skimmer that
will be run with external pump.
Sump features dual tank intake
with coil chiller input behind the
protein skimmer.


  • 30 x 10 x 16 high
  • 3 input media trays
  • 5" wide skimmer chamber
  • 13" long refugium
  • 4" wide pump chamber
  • Three-probe rack (behind pump)


  • System for small pentagon
  • SVS2-24 in-sump skimmer
  • One filter cylinder
  • Two-probe rack
  • Foam/media input chamber



This frag tank measures 24 x 24 x 9 and will have a minimum 8" water level.
Overflow with anti-siphon return is built in and you can request corner or diagonal overflow placement.
You can order with sides and back black, blue, clear, etc.

Price is based on size, color, etc.


* 17 x 18 x 14
* SVS2-24 in-sump skimmer
* 2 Filter Cylinder media canisters
* Submersible pump chamber
* Calcium Reactor and R/O mounts


Another large Lifereef custom
with large "floating" refugium
allowing for high sump flow
but separate and a controlled flow

through the refugium.
The refugium has a high water
level hidden behind black trim band.
Sump has a lower water level to
allow for draindown during power off.

Made for a 500 gallon freshwater restaurant display aquarium. Features dual-towers, four canister rack system, post filter comparmtent.
Custom Light Brackets

Other Custom Projects: You won't find this valve at any hardware store! It is a Custom Short 3-way valve made using two right-angle valves and cutting in half, bonding halves together and adding reinforcing rings. valve is not shown in "installed location" just shown for detail.    
Past Lifereef Products or, a history and evolution of the Lifereef products.
These may be discontinued but parts/service will be provided where possible.

Circa 1984 "THE ORIGINAL" first generation Lifereef wet/dry trickle filter that used four slide-out trays filled with coral gravel. The sump chambers were also filled with coral gravel and/or carbon, nitrate remover products, etc This was before the advent of numerous plastib bio-ball products. There was also a built-in denitrifier on the far left, this was before the "invention" of more efficient venturi protein skimmers, airstone skimmers were in use at this time and I did make one.
Actually "the original" wet/dry filter was introduced to the U.S. hobbyist by Georg Smit in 1983 and was made from glass. I took the glass design and made it acrylic but also eliminated many of the salt creep issues the original had as well as some other fine features that the original did not have.
Circa 1991 Lifereef Wet/Dry Trickle Filter. This filter does not yet have the Accessory Rack for the filter cylinders as shown in the photo at right. Lifereef wet/drys never used the rotating pain-in-the-$## spraybars as others were. Lifereef wet/dry filters utilized (and still do today) a slide-out drip-tray drawer to evenly distribute the water over the bio-balls.
A big plus with the Lifereef wet/dry filters was the "contact time" with the water falling through the bio-media in contact with the bacteria. This was paramount in how efficient any wet/dry is. Many other wet/dry filters were only 14" to 18" tall, the Lifereef is 22" tall.
Circa 1993 Lifereef Wet/Dry filter (less bio-balls) but now having the Accessory Rack for the Lifereef Filter Cylinders. The tower in this photo has been turned 90 degrees clockwise putting the drawer in front. Default position is for the drawer to slide out over the sump so when the drawer is opened to change the pad water does not drip on the floor.
This is the current Lifereef Wet/Dry, not much has changed showing how well this filter has stood the test of time. The changes? ABS sump cover instead of acrylic, extra bulkhead for a LifeReefugium and connection fittings for a calcium reactor, auto-top-off line or other accessory, that's it!

Lifereef Automated Denitrifier
This was popular when wet/dry filters were the norm (1984 thru 1994), though many Lifereef wet/dry users did not require this many were sold to hobbyists using inferior wet/dry filters and inefficient protein skimmers.
This denitrifier was called a "batch denitrifier" as it took a batch of water, dosed a teaspoonfull of methanol, and several hours later when the nitrates were reduced to zero, the water was flushed back into the system and the process repeated itself up to six times per day. These fell out of popularity when the Berlin Method of filtration came about in 1994.

Home | Lifereef Products | All Products | Price List | Ordering | Contact | Catalog Request | SCHEDULE

Calcium Reactor | Media Reactor | Custom Showcase | Testimonials | Garage Sale | Warranty

Berlin System/Sump | Nano System/Sump | Prefilter/Overflow | Protein Skimmer | Refugium/LifeReefugium | Wet/Dry Trickle Filter