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FAQs about Marineland Tidepool Wet-Dry, Trickle Filters

Related Articles: Trickle Filters, pt. 1 By Bob Goemans, Physical Filtration, Denitrification/Denitrifiers, Nitrates and Marine Systems

Related FAQs: Wet Dries 1, Wet-Dries 2, Wet Dries 3, Selection, Set-Up, Pumps, Plumbing Issues, Bio-Balls FAQs, Bio-Ball, Wet-Dry Media 2, Other Filter/Media/Elements (other than bio-balls), Modification/Conversion, Operation/Maintenance/Repair... Biological Filtration, Biofiltration 2, Fluidized Beds, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, PhosphatesDenitrification/Denitrifiers,


Another Tidepool question – 02/14/13
WWM crew,
<Hey Brett>
As a long time reader, I know that with a little patience, I will find most answers from previous FAQ’s. This time it’s different, however, I’m still not sure. I have a 90 gallon reef, running for years. I currently run an old Marineland  Tidepool sump setup with sump skimmer and 2 reactors. One has carbon, the other phosphate materials.
<Need to mention for all's input the usual referent, question: "You are aware of the limitations, downsides of using such I take it". Gone over and over on WWM>
The display 10X + water movement with pumps.  I have approximately 50-60 Pounds of live rock and 3-4 inch DSB in the main tank. Hard and soft corals with fish and "cleanup crew".  No refugium.
<I would convert...>
 Here is the rub, I have always fought nitrates.
<Indeed; these units (wet/dry, "drum") are tremendous generators of NO3. Induced>
A few years back I swapped my old protein skimmer for a Reef Dynamics INS135. That was the best move I have made. Now for the next possible move. I see conflicting info depending who answers on this site about the 4 trays and the wheel. Some replies have said ditch the wheel and filter media in the trays, while others have said, the tray media is fine with frequent changes, as is the wheel if there is enough bio activity in the rock.
<Am more in favour of the last opinion... but would be far better in addition to have a refugium (w/ RDP macro algal culture) and DSB...>
I’m afraid to change to what is limping, but not totally broken, fearing a spike in my numbers, without being able to reign them in. 
<Try (I would) removing just the drum for a few weeks... Consider, read on WWM, books re the other possible changes alluded to above>
Any further guidance would be appreciated. I can and will convert it a sump without the wheel if you believe that will help lower some numbers.
<Yay! Yes!>
I have no issue replacing the wheel with fresh live rock or whatever may help, heck, at this point I replace the entire sump if you can recommend a better one.
<Well... adding another sump, container for more volume, the 'fuge, DSB... would be ideal>
 One other follow on, if I add rock, or rock and sand and create a small refugium,  does it need to be lit or can it remain dark, as the sump is inside my base,.
<Mmm, better to have two actual areas if there's room... one dark, one alternatingly illuminated in opposition w/ your main system lighting regimen. IF there's only room for one area, the lighted>
 Thanks for all you do, Brett
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
testimonial, Tidepool conversion, NO3    3/25/13

Crew, specifically Bob,
Bob, I wanted to send you an update, maybe this will help with all the other "show me first" reefers. I originally wrote a few months back and Bob answered. I had a nitrate problem, and through researching your site, I found enough info to confirm my suspicions, my Tidepool set up was potentially adding to my NO3 breakout, which led in part to a hair algae bloom as their cascading effects of water chemistry took hold.
<Ahh! Very common w/ these big wet-dries>
I still had a question, as to whether or not I should bite the bullet and swap out the Tidepool sump for a larger sump to which I could add a refugium. Bob made me feel confident enough to go ahead and do it. He suggested working in steps, starting with removal of the wheel, then if possible the sump.  I swapped it out in that order.  I then wrote back Bob again during my set up, to try and quell some lingering doubts/fears about adding a sand bed with Chaeto over it. I was overly worried about flow rates etc and all of the fears my LFS folks warned me about. I researched the site as why sand beds fail, and avoided the pitfalls by starting with a properly constructed bed.  I had faith in Bob, who suggested it would help...10/1 odds on success was his quote. Being a "show me first" reefer, I took the safe route. I bought 20 lbs of fine aragonite. sand, and filled up plastic cups to a depth of 4+ inches and placed them inside my sump.
<Best to be cautious>
This way, If I sensed trouble, out they come and I'm easily back to a bare sump to start over again. My results weren't immediately evident in my tests, knowing the cups would limit some surface area, but I felt it was the easiest way to "dip my toe in first".  My tank showed a remarkable improvement. It took what I thought was a very healthy tank (appearance wise) and made it noticeably better. I then jumped in full with the sand bed. I added another 30 pounds of very fine sand (no cups) to the sump with a small amount ending up in the display. Since the 3/17/13, the date I added the full bed (its now a week later) with a 15 gallon water change (90 gallon display 25-ish in the sump) my nitrates have dropped from over 100 to under 40. While still too high, the drop is so dramatic I felt I had to write.
<Glad you did>
I know I have a ways to go, but I am so happy to see the results I had to write. At this rate, along with my normal maintenance I expect to be a "healthy" level within weeks. Thanks for all you do. Chalk this up as a success in the making. One other fuge benefit, the copepod/amphipod population has exploded...my 6 line wrasse has a 27/7 fat belly!!! For those who have lingering doubts, my total change over from the Tidepool to where I am now was about 6 weeks. I took each step slowly and deliberately this way I knew what step I could attribute the results, and by far, the highest rate of change came from the addition of the sand bed. Prior to adding the sand, I ran just the Chaeto (with a Reef Dynamics skimmer).
Thanks again, Brett
<Ah, welcome. BobF>

Pump Inquiry/Plumbing/Pump Selection, wet-dries  4/5/10
<Hello Dawn>
My question is concerning the return pump. I have been reading your site and am still not sure I have the answer. I have a 150 gallon with 2 corner overflows. The pre-drilled holes are 1". The info on the tank states 700 gph circulation. I'm not sure if they mean for a total of both sides or one side?
<That would be the maximum gph, both sides with no restrictions such as elbows, etc.>
I have two Tidepool two wet/dry filters plumbed for an external pump. I was looking at the Little Giant 3 mdqxsc <MDQX-SC>. I have read the little giant is noisy and puts out 1000 gph at 3' head.
<I run the same pump and I do not feel it's noisy. There are no pumps that are noiseless.>
If mine is 700 gph for both sides total, would this pump the water out of the tidepools to quickly?
<I'm guessing your two Tidepool 2 wetdrys are plumbed together, so if I am correct in thinking this, these sumps together, should handle a total of 700gph max since their intake is also a 1" line. You will need to install a gate/ball valve on the pump outlet to match/adjust the pump's flow with the sumps intake capability. It's best to use a true union ball valve on both the intake and outlet of the pump so if need be, you will be able to disconnect the pump for maintenance and/or replacement.>
If I am understanding the pumps correctly, it is the pump that determines the gph being pumped?
<Yes, providing the incoming water flow is capable of keeping up with it, and is why the ball valve on the pump outlet is needed as it's best to go with a higher gph pump than necessary to allow for any head loss.>
I was going to use one pump to return the water, would you please advise me on the gph and a good pump?
<As long as both Tidepool 2's are plumbed together correctly, I'd go with a pump of at least 1000gph to allow for head loss due to return line length and plumbing components. As far as pump choices, I need to know whether you prefer using an external pump or an in sump (submersible) model.>
Thank you-
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Pump Inquiry/Plumbing/Pump Selection 4/5/10 - 4/6/10
Yes, both Tidepools are plumbed together with 2" pvc. Just as explained in the Tidepool Manual.
So I would be using and <an> external pump. I borrowed a friends pump, but don't know the gph. It works, but does not seem to have a strong water flow in return. What are your recommendations? On a Coralife Turbo Sea 1100 P? or Mag Drive 24? Compared to the Little Giant?
<I probably would not choose the Coralife because of it's current draw, 170 watts. The Coralife 1100P is also a pressure pump, more for use with pressure type filters. For your needs I would look at circulation pumps such as the Mag Drive which are considered pretty reliable pumps.
The Mag Drive 24 is a little overkill for your system and this baby draws 265 watts. I'd lean more toward the Mag Drive MD18 @ 1800gph with a 145 watt draw.
You may want to place this question on one of the BB's where you will get input from actual users of the pump(s) you have in mind.>
One last question, the overflows. One side is working perfectly, while the other has a gurgling sound.
The water level keeps dropping to the hole in the pvc elbow for the intake, then filling back up. There are also some small bubbles. Is this due to this side overflowing faster than the other since the tank is not exactly level?
<No, but without seeing a picture of the drain system, I'd say you have trapped air that is causing this gurgling. Durso type stand pipes work very well in eliminating gurgling/noise.>
If I make the line to the Tidepool a little longer on this side, would it fix this problem?
<No, but be sure the drain hose is not rising up and then down to the Tidepool. Do read FAQ's here and related articles posted in header. May also want to read "Plumbing Marine Systems" also found in the header.>
Thank You again.
My fish appreciate all your help to make their home a better place.
<Glad to be of service. James (Salty Dog)>

Filter Question... Tidepool/Marineland Wet-Dry wheels, skimmer sel., CF lamp sel.  3/13/10
I have a 150 gallon aquarium with two corner overflows. I have 2- Tidepool 2 filter systems. Can you give my some advice on media to put in these?
Should I be using the bio-wheels?
<If you have live rock in your system, I would not use the bio-wheels.
Because of their high efficiency at denitrification, it is likely that the nitrate levels will increase in your system.><<RMF doubts this... I'd leave these wheels on/working... can be removed for experiment...>>
Can the heaters be housed in here or better in the main tank?
<Much better to place them in this filter/sump.>
Could you recommend a good skimmer?
<I like the Vertex and AquaC line up, a lot of bang for the buck.>
Lastly, would 4, 50/50 compact bulbs be as good as 2 daylight, 2 actinic?
<Should be, 50/50 is generally referred to as 10K daylight, 460nm actinic.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re BioWheels, NO3 non-concern in systems with sufficient LR    3/14/10
Hi Bob,
Regarding your input "<<RMF doubts this... I'd leave these wheels on/working... can be removed for experiment...>. I've read a few articles which mention that media in wet/dry filters including bio-wheels can cause an increase in nitrates because of their large surface area. You also mention this in your nitrate article that I clipped and pasted below.
"Wet-dry media in same-named filters are a huge source of nitrates. The aerobic bacteria cultured on their vast surface area readily produce nitrates. By and large, aquarists and their aquatic charges are best served by removing such media, converting the same space to live rock, macro-algae culture, either on an alternating light cycle with their main system, or leaving the lights on continuously."
<Yes... but the difference in having these wheels in a system with "enough" live rock... is miniscule/negligible. BobF>

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