There are a few drawbacks to the inside box filter. It is not very effective in large aquariums. From a visual standpoint, it adds nothing to the appearance of the tank, although it can sometimes be hidden successfully behind plants or a large rock. Also, changing the filter material requires removing the unit from the tank.
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Some aquarium filters tell you right on the box their intended capacity. However, plenty of types of aquarium equipment lacks such guidelines, and you have to figure it out on your own. You can calculate the needed filter flow for your aquarium based on the aquarium's volume.
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In order for water to flow to your sump filter you've got to have some way for it to exit your aquarium. Canister filters use pumps to suck the water from the aquarium and then return it back again. Although sump filters utilise a pump in the system, this is only used to return the water back to the aquarium, water exits the aquarium using gravity. There are various different ways that you can set up an aquarium so it can house a sump filter, however, one of the more common ways is to use overflow boxes. Overflow boxes are normally installed inside the aquarium. Depending on the size of your tank, you can either have one overflow box installed or two. If you look at the simple diagram above you can see that this illustration shows two overflow boxes located at the rear of the aquarium. The white circles depict where the inlet and outlet pipes are located. The overflow box is designed so it's not quite the height of the aquarium glass, it needs to be like this so that the water flows freely into the overflow box like a weir. The water then flows through the inlet pipe and down into the sump filter, it is then returned through the outlet pipe. When you switch your pump off, the water will continue to flow into the outlet box until it drops below the lip of the weir, at this stage water will stop flowing out of the aquarium. There really isn't any more to it, this is how water exits your tank when using an overflow chamber or box. However, one of the drawbacks with using overflow boxes is they can be very noisy. If your aquarium is located somewhere where you spend lots of time then the sound of flowing water could well get rather annoying after a while. There is a simple solution to this problem and it can be resolved by using standpipes. You can either make them yourself, or you can buy commercially available pipes. When you locate standpipes in your overflow boxes, the water then backs up until it reaches the point where it will start flowing through the standpipes. Because the inlets on the standpipes are located near the top of the overflow box, the water doesn't fall so far, in fact you can set them up so the water only needs to for a couple of inches, this will dramatically reduce the noise the water makes when dropping, in fact it can cut the noise out altogether.
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