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FIltration


Brandon

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i am currently doing my frst saltwater reef tank (55 gal) and i have been reaserching all differrent kinds of filtration most everyone reccomends a sump but i have never used one but i personally am leaning towards a rena fillstar xp3 cannester can anyone offer any guidance because it seems the more reaserch i do the more i cant come to a definate conclusion

-brandon

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Reef tank... General consensus is no canister filters.

Canisters can be beneficial if you are willing to clean it every week. They can also make great updraft reactors if you fill them with media such as carbon and ferric oxide. However most recommend you do not attempt to use them as bio-reactors as they are commonly sold for in freshwater applications. Example, don't use ceramic, foam, and floss media that you leave in there for 3 months and then rinse it and reuse. The reason for this is that you can trap a lot of waste/detritus within the filter and as it breaks down will leach out and feed algae. This can easily create a case for green hair algae/GHA. People report elevated nitrate and phosphates were recorded with the use of a regular canister filter.

I will state that when I set up my first reef tank I used a trusty Eheim canister and witnessed no ill effects. After reading the arguments over and over I decided to remove it from service. I cannot make a guaranteed statement that it help prevent any thing from happening as all seemed well with its use.

You should probably be considering a nice skimmer. A good foam fractioner will remove organic, and sometimes other, wastes from the water stream and prevents it from ever entering the water again. While a canister allows waste to break down and re-enter (actually never leaving the water), a skimmed diverts waste into a collection cup for easy disposal.

If you've bought neither, spend the money on a quality skimmer, be prepared to spend $200 or more on a quality piece. They generally come with a nice pump that would normally retail for $100 by itself, then factor in the chamber itself. You can sometimes find a good used deal if you look around. I'd be looking for a nice used Euro-reef RS80 for a 55g. Octopus makes decent skimmers in the lower price range.

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Oh and I should've mentioned, stay away from Rena. It's middle of the road equipment. Pay more money for a quality canister such as Eheim. I've seen, or rather heard, to many Rena and Fluval canister filters that sound like small helicopters readying for take off under a stand. Rena has been known for using sub-par fittings where they transition their tubing into and out of the tank, while Fluval has been known to use poor quality flexible plastic tubing (not vinyl) and weak plastic that tends to get brittle, thus cracking and spilling water everywhere. The new Fluval XF5 is the exception, however a friend that ran one decided that after about a year it wasn't as nice as it was when he first got it. He would always comment on how much nicer the 8 Eheim canisters I was running in my house were over his Fluval. He would tell me that my 8 Eheims running were quieter than his single Fluval, yes I did have a monster Eheim 2260 5g filter that is comparable in pump size and capacity as his Fluval.

Always attempt to buy it right the first time.

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Ya gotta be patient with that post button, it can take a second to load....

I would recommend a sump below the tank to house the skimmer, you'll need one unless you go "HOT/HOB" which is a hang on method. I abhor these as if there is ever anything that causes a skimmer freak out, it all goes to the floor. At least with a sump if there ever is a minor emergency it is still contained within the tank. A nice designed sump with a space for a refugium, a skimmer chamber, possibly a mounting area for filter socks (generally need to be switched/cleaned once a week), and a place for a return pump. I flow my water from tank to sump, filter sock, small rock rubble area (for bio filtration), a skimmer chamber, then to my return pump, however from my return pump I have a small diverter that moves to a reactor chamber (ferric oxide and BRS ROX carbon) and then into my fuge, my fuge dumps back into the skimmer chamber. This might be considered excessive for someone starting out with a 55g and no load yet. However as you add stuff, and boy will you, it will increase the load on the filtration.

Contact Prof, Epic Reef a sponsor, as I know he has some ready to go acrylic boxes to be made into sumps. He could knock one out that will fit your budget and your requirements. You might also be interested in used pumps and skimmers he might have around. Also the best deal on live rock in town. He can listen to what your plans are for the tank and help design a functioning filter and system around your wants/needs.

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if u want SPS then a sump IMO is the only way to go, LPS and softies like dirty watter therefore the canister would be fine. It can be done with SPS and canister but u HAVE 2 clean it EVERY week. otherwise=realy bad algae problems. +1 for what Mike has said. figure out which direction ur gonna go then design the system to fit the application. I dont mean to sound like an A S S, sorry if it sounds that away. I tried for 2 yrs with a canister and SPS and had problems all the time. Oh and it was a Rena XP3 didnt like it.

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After 23 years I'd say methodology isn't nearly as important as keeping up on your weekly and monthly maintenance and water changes. What ever approach you settle on try to keep it as easy to do maintenance as possible when hooking it all together. While it's not practical to design or plan for for every possible catastrophe at least take into consideration what water will do if a pump or piece of equipment fails.

I like sumps, they increase volume and surface area of the system.

My pet peeves are float and check valves but I haven't met an o-ring that wouldn't leak either

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Most of your 'filtration' will happen in your live rock and as long as you have proper flow. There is no need to use an external filter of any sort in most marine aquaria.

That said, nutrient export in terms of a skimmer, a refugium or other place to grow chaeto or other macroalgae, or regular changes should be suitable replacements for mechanical filtration. You can run stuff in a reactor to help with certain compounds building up, you can run something like chemipure to keep several of them in check, and at times it is appropriate to run carbon in an external filter.... but these probably won't be necessary on your 55g. Having a sump helps because you have more space to fit everything (skimmer, fuge, etc) but also more water volume, meaning any waste or toxic chemicals which may get into the water are more diluted. It also helps oxygenate the water and can be useful for quarantining certain critters you may find.

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