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The sump is the lowest point of the system and where water collects to be distributed as needed throughout the system. Water quality samples can be taken here and amendments can be made without overwhelming the fish or hydroponic components. While not a requirement, the addition of a sump prevents the water level from changing in either the fish tank or hydroponic component. In other cases where safeguards are put in place, the fish tank or hydroponic component can be used as the sump.
Source: Janelle Hager, Leigh Ann Bright, Josh Dusci, James Tidwell. 2021. Kentucky State University. Aquaponics Production Manual: A Practical Handbook for Growers.