Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Wet-Dry, Trickle Filters 4

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,

Trickle filters; and CMA     11/3/14
Much has been written about these being a nitrate factory and not to use them in a reef setup.
<Mmm; they have their place, applications. The excess nitrate trend/ing can be addressed in a few ways effectively>
I've read Bob Fenner's book and for a fish only system he states it is fine. I recently tore down my 125 and getting ready to move into a 220 gallon. The old system was a deep sand bed
<This is one of those ways>
and lots of live rock with metal halides and compact fluorescents and skimmer with refugium filled with live rock and macro algae.
<These help as well to take up and convert NO3>
Seemed to work well as it was set up for 7-8 years but I had a light bio load and admittedly lazy on my water changes. Turning over a new leaf now and not going to over engineer this setup but I like the fact there is a
great increase in oxygen flow with a trickle filter although everyone says it is a nitrate factory. So the conversion happens faster with a trickle filter going from Nitrite to Nitrate... so?
<Indeed; so?>
The Nitrate is less toxic but it still needs to be converted. If there is plenty of live rock and skimming with a light bio load why would it not be a good idea to include in a reef system?
<Just as you state>
I'm not a novice. I've been keeping marine fish since the 70's who took 10 years off in the 80's and 90's to find a much improved hobby.
<Me too>
Seems to me that a combination of live rock, deep sand bed, refugium, skimmer and a trickle filter could exist in a single reef system with a light to medium bio load on fishes. Comments are welcome but looking for
answers not just opinions without facts.
Mike Murphy
<Just have anecdotal accounts (but several) to bolster the above opinions.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Trickle filters
; and DSB maint.     11/3/14
Thanks for the quick response.
Did not expect to hear from the man himself. So should I go out and buy the new updated book or can I pretty much still rely on my old copy which I think was the second printing with the Flame Angle?
<Heeee! CMA is the only work I've ever penned that went beyond one edition.
The Second has a true Lemonpeel on the cover>
Read it cover to cover many times. So has my son who is now an avid hobbyist.
Forgot to mention when I broke down my deep sand bed in the 125 none of it had a hydrogen sulfide smell it was all sweet smelling from top to bottom.
Had a plenum and 200lbs of live rock. Was that normal?
<Mmm; yes; well-designed, properly maintained DSBs don't go anaerobic>
Thinking of washing the aragonite and reusing maybe adding some new also before recycling the tank again but some warn of Phosphate bonding and release.
<Small concern really. You could try "acid washing" a sample (any dilute, low concentration organic, inorganic acid will work); see by testing if there's any HPO4 released... More of a concern is the loss of easier solubility in such recycled substrates. Adding a modicum of new is a very good idea>
My son has done this without issues but his tank was not setup as long as mine. Keep up the good work and information.
<And you; BobF>
Re: Trickle filters
Probably hard to improve on the success of the first printing when it comes to basics.. About the only really new thing that has improved is lighting.
<And some types of filters secondly...>
The halides are on the way out with the introduction led's however even they wear out over time but the savings in electricity and less heat generated is the upside. It is pretty amazing the strides the hobby has
made in 30 years or more. If I have learned anything you can really over engineer the filtration setup with every gadget on the market the basics still hold true.
<Oh yes>
Funny how a lot we have learned over the years has been by accident when it comes to biological filtration and the like. If you ever get out to Indiana let me know we have an active Marine Aquarium Society that would love to have you as a guest.
<Do ask them when/then and have them contact me. I do get out about a dozen times a year speaking to hobby groups>
You could sign autographs like celebrities do!
All joking aside I have not read a more enjoyable book that is put together as well as yours. Thanks for the contribution to the hobby.
Mike Murphy
<A pleasure to share. Bob Fenner>

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>

Wet/Dry Question/Wet/Dry Filters 5/12/2011
Hello Crew,
<Hi Thom>
Your website and the CMA have been a godsend to me and have probably saved the life of countless creatures from my mistakes over the past twelve years of my reef keeping. I just had some questions about the failing popularity of Wet/Dry systems over the past several years and the nitrate acceleration issues that are associated with them. I understand that they supercharge the nitrogen metabolization cycle, but I am having a hard time understanding where the negative aspects come in. I would think that they could only metabolize whatever levels of more toxic nitrogen (NH3, NO2) are present in your system as metabolites to begin with, and that the nitrifying bacteria would only colonize the bio-media at levels that the current bio load would sustain. If these bacteria didn't rapidly transform these waste products, then wouldn't they be in your system as their more toxic predecessors?
Optimally, shouldn't the goal be to metabolize all the offending nitrogen as rapidly as possible into the least toxic forms? I guess my question would be that it would seem to me that a given concentration of NH3 is going to yield a given amount of NO3 at the end of the nitrification cycle, regardless of the method used to colonize the nitrifying organisms. Where am I going wrong with this thought process?
<What happens when using wet/dry filters is that debris will eventually collect or be trapped in the bio ball
media. Because wet/dry filters are so efficient at denitrification, nitrates will accelerate as the balls collect/trap waste. When using wet/dry filters you need to make certain that you are vigilant in cleaning/rinsing the bio balls periodically and to clean the prefilter used in the filter on a weekly basis to prevent this from occurring.
The plus side of wet/dry filters is that they are very good at supplying near saturation levels of oxygen to the system.>
Thanks, as always
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Thom Stephens

Del Rey 125 Wet/Dry filter Parts sourcing. 6/1/2009
Received second hand the Del Rey125 filter and only have the main sump (tank) and hang on over flow pre-filter box, no pumps/hoses/installation/operation manuals. Any advise or assist would be greatly appreciated.
<Hi Kevin, Your best source is contacting the manufacturer directly. They can be found here: http://www.truvuaquariums.com >
Thank you,

Wet/Dry Filters and nitrates 12/30/08 Something I just don't get; Every aquarium must have an established bio cycle to be healthy. <Yes.> And in an established system all ammonia and nitrite end up as nitrate. <Agreed.> Which in turn, slowly is reduced to nitrogen gas, and bubbles away. <This is dependent on the setup.> This last step seems to not be able to keep up with nitrate production and requires water changes to keep nitrates at an acceptable level, even in reef tanks with only live rock and skimmer. <In many cases with DSBs and/or a macroalgae refugium along with appropriate stocking and feeding it can indeed keep up.> Now, it seems important to have the ammonia and nitrite converted to nitrate as quickly as possible, after all these levels must be zero in a healthy tank. This is what a wet/dry filter is great at doing. And a wet/dry filter cannot make more nitrates than it has nitrites to convert. <True.> So what difference does it make in the total nitrate production if it is done by bio balls or live rock. That is, for a given amount of ammonia introduced into a system it will be converted via bio balls or live rock into the same amount of nitrates. <It will, the question is where does the ammonia come from?> The handling of these nitrates should also happen at the same rate. Assuming each tank has the same amount of live rock and DSB. Or put another way, If an established tank with live rock and skimmer has a wet/dry filter installed in it, the tank can only become more healthy. Right? <We disagree here.> (Yes I know if the tank is prospering why add another filter?) But in theory does my argument make sense? <Your argument does indeed make plenty of sense. The thing about it is where the ammonia originates in the first place. Artificial biomedia will channel the water flow. Certain areas will constantly get washed clean while others will collect detritus. There in lies the problem. It sits there and eventually ends up as the nitrate that these filters are so good at producing. With a LR system the flow within the tank keeps it in suspension, allowing the skimmer or other filtration to remove it from the water column, not to mention the detritivores actions adding to the process. Wet/dry filters are great and can be used in systems with low nitrate levels. The biomedia should be treated as a mechanical filter, cleaned frequently. But since it is biomedia it cannot simply be washed in the sink. If there is going to be LR in the tank anyway there is no need. My point of view, Scott V.>

W/D final questions. Not likely  8/17/08 Hi All, I hope everyone is well. I Have read the FAQ on wet dry trickle filters and I am still fuzzy on a few small points. When removing the bio balls should live rock be placed in the trickle portion of the filter to replace them or should all live rock be submerged in water? <If you remove the plastic media you CAN place LR in its place. IF so, it should be submerged> Also, I have a prefilter at the overflow box, a blue filter material in a tray at the top of the trickle filter, a blue sponge like filter dividing the sump, a pre filter on the return pump, a pre filter on my power head and a prefilter on the power head for my skimmer. should I remove any of these filters? <Mmm, maybe... I'd leave the screens/filters on the pump, powerhead intakes if there's any change of sucking up large livestock (ones that won't fit through) into them... Otherwise, these all need removal, cleaning at least weekly> My aquarium details are listed below. Thank you again for your help. Jim 55 gal aquarium, about 75 pounds live rock, 1 1/2 inches of live sand, <Mmm, I'd increase the depth here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/marsetupindex1.htm scroll down to Substrates...> wet dry trickle filter, 500 GPH return pump, one power head, hang on refugium with some sand/live rock/macro algae, protein skimmer, 4x65 watt light fixture, 4 small fish, various tank janitors, 3 small corals, set up and running for about 2 years. <Reads like you're ready to "go to another level here James"... Bob Fenner> Re: W/D final questions.   8/20/08 Bob, Upon removing the bio-balls from my filter the nitrates went from 30-40 ppm just 4 days ago to 0 today! I have been struggling with this since I set up my aquarium 2 years ago. Thank you again for your help. Jim <... you're welcome. B>

Use A Siphon Overflow With A Wet-Dry Filter? -- 07/09/07 Hello, <<Greetings>> I just recently purchased a tank stand and canopy for my 75 gallon aquarium. <<Okay>> Currently I have an Emperor and Fluval that go through the top and back of the tank. I was just wondering though, when I put on the new canopy, the Emperor won't go over the back and I would have to buy a different kind of filter that I could put through the bottom of the tank where the stand is. <<I see>> I was thinking a wet-dry filter. <<Mmm, yes...not the best choice for a reef system in my opinion but can be useful on 'fish-only' systems>> My question is, in order for a wet-dry filter to work, do you need to have a tank with pre-drilled holes to connect the wet-dry filter? <<Nope...can be run/utilized with siphon overflow boxes, if this is what you have>> Is there another way? <<As stated>> What filter do you recommend for this situation? My tank is fish only. <<Actually, 'my' preference would be to utilize live rock (FOWLR) for bio-filtration but you can go this route if you wish...though you might find it cheaper/easier to install a fluidized-bed filter rather than the wet-dry>> Thanks <<Welcome. EricR>>

Little critters in wet dry sump. Microfauna?   2/11/07 Hi Crew, <Hello.>    Recently I have noticed some tiny critters when I am washing out the sponge and cotton in my wet/dry sump. They seem to me multiplying in numbers from week to week and I don't have any idea what they are. They have tiny legs and look like miniature centipedes and attach themselves to the sponge and cotton and dart around. Do you have any idea what they are and how to get rid of them? <Search WWM re: microfauna, specifically copepods/bristleworms....in short not directly harmful though an overabundance of the latter could indicate a nutrient issue. Adam J.> Wet Dry System 10/14/06 I have a 60 gallon salt water fish only tank.  Fish include a tomato clown, wrasse, snowflake eel and blue damsels.  I had a hang wet-dry filter and no protein skimmer for many years.  The wet-dry filter sprung a major leak and I have discarded the filter and replaced it with a Bak Pak filter/protein skimmer.  I also added about 10 pounds of live rock.  Do I need anything else filter-wise like a mechanical filter or more live rock?  Can the system survive without a wet-dry system? <There is no such thing as 'too much' live rock. I think it wouldn't hurt to add more for better biological filtration, but otherwise everything should be fine.  Cheers! -- Dr. J>

Lifereef filter system... no sale    10/3/06 Hi there, Just a quick one.  I was just wandering <And wondering?> if you had any knowledge or experience of "Lifereef Filter Systems". <Just observational...> In particular a LF2-75/125.  I am purchasing a oceanic reef ready 135 gallon tank, that comes with that filter set up.  I found their website Lifereef.com <See it...> and of course they said theirs is the best out there.  But they all say that.  I was just wandering if you ever dealt with this particular company.   Thanks for your time. <Well... tis a blast from the past... wet-dries with mechanical foam material galore... Got a garage, tools and solvent? You're in the biz! Honestly... I'd skip ahead a few decades and look into, get better gear. Please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Invest some time in educating yourself now... sorting through the myriad of possibilities... "Chat" with other hobbyists on some of the BB's in the hobby... maybe even read a book or two!... and save yourself a good to great deal of self-assigned hassle and troubles by investigating for yourself before you commit here. Bob Fenner>

Wet/Dry Conversion - 09/29/06 I have been reading the articles on WetWebMedia about removing the bio-balls for wet-dry filters. <<Okay>> I'm in the process of removing mine and replacing the space with live rock. <<Cool>> The water runs over the live rock; will this work or should all the live rock be under water? <<Mmm, I would place the live rock in the bottom of the filter where it remains submerged...use the spray/drip tower for chemical media (carbon/Poly-Filter pads)>> Right now I have the wet dry area split into two parts (side by side).  One half bio-balls the other half live rock.  My aquarium has been setup for only 4 weeks. <<This tank is still cycling?  You can go ahead and remove/replace all the plastic media now...no need to do this in stages as you would on an established/stocked system>> 29 gallon aquarium 20 lbs of live rock in aquarium (I will be adding more) 8 lbs of live rock in the wet/dry filter Protein skimmer Water changes over in the aquarium about 12 times an hour. Thanks, Jackie <<Regards, EricR>>

Should I switch my Wet/Dry with a Refugium?   9/19/06 Bob, <Chris> I just want to start out by telling you how helpful your website is, I visit it on a regular basis to keep up on all things saltwater.  My question is in regards to setting up a refugium.  My current filtration includes a Top Fathom Protein Skimmer TF110A and a Jebo Wet/Dry filter that measures 24x12 (it doesn't have the filter balls it has what looks like strips of shredded paper).  I recently downgraded from a 150 gallon tank to a 54 gallon corner tank  and haven't had any major problems except that I am have a hard time keeping the nitrates where they need to be.  My question to you would be would you get rid of the wet/dry and have a refugium only would or would you have both running. <If only one choice, the refugium, if two, both>   I really like the idea of the refugium being a place that natural food can grow and flow into my display tank for all of the fish and coral and just wanted to check with you to see what you thought the best option would be.  Also in regards to the contents of the refugium.  I was thinking about placing a large quantity of small pieces of liverock, live sand, and several types of plants for filtration purposes.  Is this what you would use or do you have other suggestions.  Lastly what type of lighting would you use and would you have it on 24/7 or an opposite cycle of the display tank.  Thanks a million Chris Johnson <You're sure to enjoy yourself, and gain by reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm the fourth "paragraph" down... articles and accumulated FAQs files on... Refugiums. Bob Fenner>

Looking for filter socks  9/18/06 When my new aquarium was set up, they used a large filter sock, about 12 by 18 with a compressible rubber ring and some kind of net reinforced felt material. really nice and works well.  Problem is the aquarium company changed hands and no one knows where the filter came from and no one can find a replacement on line.  Can you give me any leads?  Thanks.  Eric F. <Oh yes... the best... Emperor Aquatics: http://www.emperoraquatics.com/ Bob Fenner>

DSB/Wet-Dry/Nitrates - 08/28/06 Hi there! <<Hello!>> How are you all today! <<Don't know about the rest, but I'm doing fine, thank you>> I hope I am not bugging you with a repeat question. <<No worries my friend>> I have read thru all your FAQs on sand beds and am getting confused. <<Oh?>> There seems to be many contradictions and I really want to get it right. <<Indeed...differing methodologies/opinions...>> I have a 220 gallon setup that is about 8 months old.  I used 220 lbs of live rock to set it up as well as about 120 pounds of CaribSea live sand.  That gave about an inch of sand on the bottom. <<Ok>> I also have a wet-dry running and am not sure if this is necessary and will contribute to higher nitrates. <<The wet-dry filter is not necessary, or even desirous, if this is a reef system...but can be beneficial to a FOWLR, though these days my preference when additional bio-filtration is needed is to turn to a fluidized-bed filter>> My nitrates are around 50. <<Mmm, you have a problem then, in my opinion.  Nitrates should be <5ppm for a reef and <20ppm for a FOWLR>> I have an ASM G3 protein skimmer and a Blueline 40HDX pump.  After the first few months of losing several fish, my tank seems to be settled and I have had luck with my fish for the last 4 months without any casualties. <<Won't last with nitrate readings this high.  Though maybe not immediately evident, the high nitrate level will have/is having an effect on the fish and will cause problems/deaths in the long-term>> I'd like to get my nitrates to 0 and am wondering if I should increase the sand bed to at least 4 inches and get rid of the bio-balls. <<One approach>> I could also add some more live rock. <<Sounds like you have a lot of rock in there already>> Would you advise this or should I stick with my 1/2-1 inch sand bed (I lose some sand every week when I vacuum as it's fine sand)? <<I'm a fan of DSBs...I would try increasing the depth of the sand bed...and stop the weekly vacuuming as this will be counterproductive to the DSB.  If detritus accumulation is a concern, then increase water flow in the tank>> If I made it a DSB, how would I go about it with all the fish and live rock in there? <<Considering the current depth/weekly vacuuming, simply add the sand until you reach the new desired depth.  Pre-rinsing will help to reduce the associated cloudiness>> Can I purchase a different kind and put it on top? <<You can>> I would like to add some pink. <<Won't stay "pink"...I recommend a sugar-fine substrate, though you can go a bit larger if you wish (1mm-2mm)...or even go with a mix of these>> Also, would the LR need to be removed if I was adding 3 or 4 more inches? <<Nope...in fact, I prefer to place my live rock on the tank bottom and fill around it with the sand for better stability>> What about the fish? <<If you go to the trouble to pre-rinse the sand to reduce the "fines" suspended in the water column they should be fine.  If you wish, you could even add the sand in stages (a day or two apart)>> I really have no where else for them to go as it's a 220.  Maybe knowing my fish would help determine what sand bed is best for my tank.  I have a Bluefaced angel, a maroon clown, a purple and sailfin tang, a fairy wrasse, a Twinspot wrasse, a zebra moray and a few gobies.  Also 2 anemones and a couple starfish and hermit crabs. <<Yikes!  Anemones and 50ppm nitrates?  Maybe you should try testing with another brand of test kit (Salifert, Seachem) to validate this reading>> I have had a little trouble with red Cyanobacteria and have been physically suctioning it out every week as well as weekly water changes.  I can't get it all off the rock but do blow some of it off with a bulb syringe.  I was wondering if increasing the sand bed would help get rid of that as well as hair algae which I have a little of? <<The DSB will provide numerous benefits, one of which will be the reduction of nitrogenous compounds (algae fuels), but an increase in water circulation will also help with the Cyano>> Any help in resolving the sand bed issue once and for all for my setup would be greatly appreciated. <<I think a 4"-6" sugar-fine DSB to be a worthwhile addition.  As for the wet-dry, you might try replacing the bio-balls with fist-sized pieces of live rock and see if that helps with your nitrate.  Adding some carbon/Poly-Filter somewhere in the filter path will also prove beneficial>> I want to do the best I can for my fish and make it as healthy in there as I can for them. <<Then address/determine the source of nitrate and bring that reading down.  Do have a look here and among the links in blue at the top of the page:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm >> You have such an awesome website and I read it often. <<We're pleased you find it of use>> Thanks so much for all your help. Heather <<Happy to assist.  Regards, EricR>>

Re: DSB/Wet-Dry/Nitrates - 08/31/06 Thanks Eric for all your great advice so far. <<Is my pleasure>> I did add a Poly-Filter. <<Always beneficial>> I change my carbon monthly and I clean out my filter pad as well as protein skimmer at least every other day. <<Excellent>> I was all set to order 150 pounds or so of sand when I decided first to take your advice and try another nitrate testing kit. <<A good move...and the cheaper route no doubt>> I bought the one the LFS had which was SeaTest and got a reading of 10 or less while the Red Sea by Marine Lab reads at least 50. <<Mmm...>> How can there be such a discrepancy? <<Many reasons my friend...differences in quality/age of reagents, contamination, inaccuracy of the gauge/scale/benchmark...even human error <grin> >> It seems odd that two tests can be so far apart. <<Is advisable to keep fresh test kits of good quality (Hach, LaMotte, Salifert, or Seachem...to name some of the better ones available)>> It makes me angry after spending so much money on my setup and continually trying to find ways to bring my supposedly high nitrates down.  Which test should I believe? <<I'm inclined to believe the SeaTest over the Red Sea kit>> I prefer my shallow sand bed and would rather not add 4-inches or more to it if my nitrates are under control. <<Indeed, maybe you don't need the extra denitrification the DSB would offer after all>> I plan on this being mostly fish therefore the bioload will be higher than a reef tank and I worry that in the long run the DSB might not be best for a FOWLR tank. <<The DSB would be fine...though a fluidized-bed filter will react more quickly to fluctuating bioloads and is likely cheaper and easier to install>> I will remove the bioballs and put LR in the wet/dry like you suggested.  I appreciate all your help. <<Happy to assist>> I now have a dumb newbie question. <<Ok>> You mentioned that I might want to increase the flow to my tank. <<Yes>> My 220 has two overflow boxes predrilled and I have a Blueline 40HDX pump which I was told was more than sufficient for my tank. <<Mmm, about 1200 gph "before" head loss..."sufficient" for feeding the sump yes, but not likely to provide "sufficient" flow/elimination of dead-spots/suspension of detritus...in my opinion>> However I don't think it pumps your recommended 10-20 times per gallons. <<Likely not even 5x your tank volume, after head loss>> How would I add more flow to this system without it looking ugly? <<Perhaps addition of a couple Tunze Stream pumps, or a "closed-loop" with a multi-nozzle return manifold (see here and the links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbretfaq3.htm  and   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm >> I know this is a stupid question and probably very basic but I'm not really sure how to go about increasing the flow. <<Not stupid, and not always "basic", but do read the link/links provided and learn/choose your options.  Get some ideas of what you want to do and come back to bounce them off me if you wish>> I do have a deep tank at 30 inches and some Cyano on the sand.  It is also only 8 months old and I don't know if this is a phase or something I should address? <<If your only source of water flow is your sump return, increased water circulation may indeed help>> Thanks for all your great advice. <<Always welcome>> I don't trust my LFS very much because when I told them I thought my nitrates were around 50 they said I was crazy to worry as their fish only setups have nitrates of over 300. <<Mmm, well...while it's true that in most FO/FOWLR systems Nitrates "alone" may be no real worry, 300ppm will certainly cause harm.  The fact this store claims no ill effect is largely due to the "transient" nature of the livestock ...though their customers are likely not so lucky do to the harm/further insult to health imposed by this store on their livestock with this kind of water quality.  In my opinion, it is irresponsible (and probably just plain laziness/ignorance) to subject the livestock to these nitrate levels no matter how long the duration, and even more irresponsible to advise customers that this is "OK">> They seem to think I'm a bit crazy and that I overreact and worry too much about my fish. << (sigh)  Maybe it's time to find another LFS...>> That is why and how I found your site and am a true fan. <<Yay!>> Thanks! Heather <<Be chatting, Eric Russell>>

Re: DSB/Wet-Dry/Nitrates - 09/01/06 Hi Eric! <<Hello Heather!>> I think I'm becoming your groupie. <<Hee-hee!  Cool, I think you're my first!>> Thanks so much for your speedy reply. I was shocked how fast you wrote back. <<A matter of timing/luck for the most part>> And it's nice to converse with someone who cares about this hobby and doesn't roll their eyes at me when I ask too many questions. <<Mmm, indeed...too bad your LFS doesn't see the value in education/keeping their customers in the hobby...or maybe they just don't have the capacity re>> (Well maybe you are but I can't see it at least like at my LFS) <<Ha!  I'll never tell! (and spoil my image <grin>)>> I've been reading and am considering the Tunze Turbelle Stream pump. <<An excellent choice...I use these for water movement in my own system>> It's around $190. <<Not cheap, but excellent quality/engineering/performance>> Is it all inclusive or do I need to buy anything else with it? <<Based on the price I'm guessing you're looking at the model 6080?  This is a synchronous-motor pump (does not run on a controller/wavemaker) and is ready to go out of the box.  But, depending on your tank design/bracing, you may need one of the holding device extensions (3000.244 or 3000.260).  These should be available on the site where you purchase the pump (if not, they can be found at MarineDepot.com), just review the information on each and determine which is needed (if any) for your tank>> The internet stores don't really say much but they talked about timers and wave controllers.  Is any of that necessary? <<No...and not possible with some pumps/powerheads>> Where is the best place to put it in the aquarium? <<Hmm...distal from the sump return line...and positioned toward same for creation of a random turbulent flow pattern>> Would one be good since it says it pumps about 2250 gph on top of my 1200 gph I'm already getting? <<If this creates enough water movement to keep detritus in suspension/eliminate dead spots, yes...will likely take a bit of experimentation to determine the optimum position (or number of powerheads required)>> I have a feeling that more gph would definitely help with the Cyano. <<Me too, though other factors to consider as well.  Have you read our articles/FAQs on blue-green alga?  Here's a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm>> I always worried 5X wasn't enough flow but again my LFS disagreed with me. <<You must evaluate the needs/requirements of the livestock, but it is likely an increase in flow will be appreciated...even "enjoyed">> I'm trying to find another LFS but I live in Melbourne Beach Florida and unless I want to drive 90 minutes there are only 2 close by.  I'm not too happy with either. <<I see...best to arm yourself with "your own" knowledge/research>> You were right about the 300 ppm nitrates hurting fish.  When I sat down and worked out where all my fish losses were from, they were all from that store. <<Indeed...as if the stresses of capture/transport weren't enough already...>> I think I lost 8 out of 10 of the fish purchased there for a loss of about $500. <<a pity>> All my other fish purchased elsewhere have done fine. <<Hardly a scientific analysis...but does seem rather telling>> I guess they only care about the bottom line. <<Unfortunately there are stores out there with kind of short-sightedness>> Neither store carries live rock and the store that did and had a conscientious owner (shocking), went out of business. <<...why does it always have to be the good one's...?>> Do you recommend any internet sites for quality cured rock? <<Some of the members of my local reef club have been raving lately about the rock offered at Reefermadness.us >> I guess that is it for now.  I'd like to purchase a quality pump that gives good gph and add some more LR and see how that goes. <<Sounds fine>> I read the links you sent me as well as Anthony's report on pumps and like the Tunze like you suggested. <<You won't be disappointed>> Thanks so much! Heather <<Cheers my friend, Eric Russell>> -Wet dry to Refugium-  8/28/06 Hi there; < Evening> New to this site and have been looking into changing my wet/dry over to a refugium. I have a 75 gallon tank with about a 20 gallon sump which houses the bio balls (I know get rid of them) and a protein skimmer. <You do not "have " to remove them, depending on your bioload and maintenance regimen of water changes, a wet dry can be a very good filter, just becomes a nitrate factory and most tanks have that issue as it is :)> I have two options that I am looking at here. Option one is to take a 20 Gallon long tank, have the overflow from the main tank drain into a compartment with live rock, then baffle the tank from there to allow the water to flow into the DSB and fauna area then pump back to the main tank. I am concerned about this method though because I will have to really slow down the return volume to the main tank to allow the water "dwell" time in the fuge. I thought that a slower water turnover back to the main tank would affect the dissolved oxygen level of the main tank and affect the health of my corals, or would this be a mute point because of the "oxygen" added by the fuge to the water? <This method works, and while the flow isn't conducive to tons of copepods and other micro fauna going crazy in the higher flow; It will certainly work.  If you want an all in one option this works, and works well,  Vie seen a rate of flow at 500gph through an 18" long sump setup similar, and it runs my friends reef and puffer tank which both share a sump just fine. Your concern for oxygenation is unfounded as well if your skimmer is decent.  a good skimmer will saturate your return water with oxygen and is one of the best gas exchange areas for its total footprint.> Option two is to keep the current sump in place which houses the wet/dry and add another 10 gallon tank under the stand and make that into the refugium. If I go this route I would split the overflow from the main tank have an open flow to the sump (wet/dry) and a valve on the flow to the refugium so that I can control the water turnover in the fuge. I will run the return of the fuge back to the sump with the wet dry, for return back to the tank. <This is the method described here on WWM, and one that I know works very well, I think if you can make it leak proof and ensure you know the max GPH you plan to use in the refugium is enough to keep the wet dry siphon working if it uses an overflow type box, or a reliable tank driller to cut you an overflow hole in the tank.  It will guarantee your flow is higher through the sump, and can be fine tuned in the refugium.  Use a t inside down, to ensure that your flow isn't totally bypassing your refugium and you should be a very happy aquarist.> I really would like to go with option one but my concern is the rate of water return to the main tank being too slow. Can you please let me know which you think would work best. Thanks for your help and you guys have a great site here. <You do as well, I hope that helped.> <Justin> Pro Clear Pro Wet/Dry 300 Filter   8/19/06 I just installed a new filter described above.  The water is circulating fine with the exception on a significant amount of bubbles coming out of the "bubble trap" located in the first section on the filter.  These are connected to the water intake.  Is this normal or do I need to adjust something? Thank you for your help. Adam <Mmm, sometimes when these units are new... I would wait a few days, see if all settles down. Otherwise there is an option of adding a layer of filter media on top of the upper bio-balls... though this presents more maintenance, issue of nitrate accumulation. Bob Fenner>

Filters...Wet/Dry To Ecosystem   8/3/06 Greetings and thanks for all of the great info. <You're welcome, Paul.> After an exhaustive search I am unable to find any info on this question. I have a 90 Gallon tank with appropriately sized wet/dry filter (my mistake) with skimmer  and I can not seem to get my nitrates down, currently 20ppm. I am changing 20 percent of the water every two weeks. Inhabitants include Hepatus Tang, 6 Green Chromis, Lawnmower Blenny, Royal Gramma, Cleaner Shrimp and False Perc Clown. Mushrooms, Xenia, Green Starbursts round out the crowd which all seem to be doing well presently. I have 90 lbs live rock and a shallow sand bed. When I started this venture I intended FOWLR but now want to establish a reef. Tell me if this plan sounds ok. I intend to remove the wet/dry using the bioballs from it in the Ecosystem filter in place of the ones that it comes with. <No need to do this.  Would not use any bioballs in the Ecosystem. See comment below.> I will have new water premixed to replace the content of the wet dry taken out at the change. At this point the skimmer will obliviously be gone also. Am I likely to have an ammonia problem with this approach? <Should not.> Am I missing something that will harm my friends? <If you have no live rock, then you should use the old bio-balls until the Ecosystem gets seeded, then I'd remove them.> I have read that an undersized skimmer is appropriate to use with this system and I am considering an Aqua C Remora. <Would be a good choice.  You may also consider one of the Ecosystems with built in protein skimming.> Your hard work on this site is greatly appreciated. <Thank you, James (Salty Dog)> Paul Powell

Nitrates...Suitability of Wet/Dry Filtration for Reef Systems - 07/31/06 Hi, WWM folk. <<Hello Daniel>> Thanks for all your help. <<Welcome>> Here's my current situation for my 9-month young reef tank:  50 gallons, 55 lbs LR, 3-4 inches crushed coral.  Fishes, Bubble-tipped anemone, shrimps, snails, and a few corals (pulsing xenia, green zoas, yellow button polyps).  I noticed that the green zoas, which are the newest addition, have slowly dwindled in size and number over the past 2 months. <<Mmm, generally fairly hardy once acclimated.  Perhaps an environmental issue you've missed...>> I'm embarrassed to say that usually I've been only following pH, ammonia, and nitrites, all of which were appropriate: pH 8.2, zero NH3 and nitrites.  Today I checked my nitrate and it's off the charts! <<Aha!  There's your culprit.  But don't beat yourself up too bad.  Is not uncommon for hobbyists to gear their attention toward what is perceived as the "greater evils" of water chemistry.  I have known many aquarists who don't measure nitrates unless/until a problem is perceived.  Perhaps a "once monthly" check in the least, will now become part of your routine>> I've done a partial water change already today (10%). <<30% would be better...done a couple/few times a day apart as needed to bring your nitrate reading down (needs to be <5ppm)>> I have a skimmer running in series with the drip plate/bioballs combo. <<Mmm, a source of controversy re their suitability for reef systems, but this may be your source for excess nitrate...especially if your system is a bit "overstocked">> I've read conflicting statements about the bioball-nitrate connection, and I'm wondering if you think this might be a good time to take the bioballs out of the system... and if so, what would you do with the chamber they're in? <<As you have noticed, there is debate over whether this type filtration produces more nitrate than others.  My take on this is this...the wet/dry type filtration with plastic media is VERY efficient at converting ammonia to nitrite to nitrate, but that's where it stops.  Whereas live rock/DSBs can take this further to convert nitrate to nitrogen gas, thus allowing the nitrogenous compounds an avenue of escape from the system...rather than continually "building" as with the wet/dry plastic media system.  The point here being that a reef, with its lower tolerance for nitrate can't be as easily "adjusted" through simple water changes and is more quickly affected, as say a FOWLR/FO system with a higher (<20ppm) tolerance for nitrate.  Therefore a careful "balance" between live rock and stocking density is the better way to go for a reef rather than the plastic media of a wet/dry...in my opinion.  So yes, remove the plastic media.  You can replace this more live rock...or utilize the space for chemical media (carbon/Poly-Filter)>> Should I vacuum the substrate? <<Might help considering the course nature of the crushed coral.  It would probably be of some benefit to replace this with a finer-grade media of the same depth to increase its efficiency as a DSB>> Thanks in advance. Daniel <<Regards, EricR>>

Wet-dry, overflow, pump... how do it work altogether?    7/13/06 I currently own an Amiracle Wet Dry filter that sits by the side of my 75 gallon aquarium and takes up space.  I unplugged it about a year ago because every time I turned it on, I either had water that overflowed the sump or that overflowed the aquarium.  When I called the manufacturer, they advised that if I installed the right return pump, I should never have this problem, and they recommended that I purchase a particular pump.  However, the pump that they recommended had been discontinued.  What do you recommend? Murray Meeker <Mmm, reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/overfloboxfaqs.htm and the linked files above to gain a "good-enough" understanding of what you're up to here. There needs to be a balance twixt the total volume of water present and what is "in play" in terms of flow rate through the device/s used to get water from the main tank and back... Not a guessing or blind game of "who said what". Understand what you're doing, then act. Bob Fenner>

Set-Up...Using Multiple Wet/Dry Filters  6/26/06 Good Day, Hope you are all well. <I'm as good as I can be.> Question: from a functionality point of view, what sorts of issues might one run into in using multiple trickle filters on a larger aquarium?  Things such as balancing input/output, etc..  Are there some best practices or is this typically not done due to complexity (I can also imagine one side going out and slowly filling up...) In any case, very curious as to history in this sort of thing. <Not a very good idea.  Each would need it's own pump and drain.  Problem here is that when one system goes down for whatever reason, the water level will lower to the bottom of the skimmer box or bulkhead.  This is going to cause a lack of water for the other system, and possibly a flood, and, if you are not home when this happens, you will more than likely be greeted by a burned out pump and a wet floor, and for sure, an irate wife if you are married.  James (Salty Dog)> Bill

- Refugium vs. wet dry filter 6/25/06 - Good Morning! <Good morning.> Thank you for providing all this wonderful information. This site and your books have saved me a lot of headache. However, despite all of the reading I have done I still have a question I can not seem to find a clear answer on. I currently have a 30 gal reef and fish tank set up in our small apartment. I currently have the system running on a12 gal trickle/ bioball sump (wet/ dry filter/ (Pro Clear Aquatic System). The tank has been running for about two years now and every thing is in check except the nitrate.  I have decided to put in a refugium to help solve this problem in addition to all the other benefits the refugium seems to offer. To make a long story short, instead of drilling and changing the sump to convert (Husband did not like that idea, and I am going to pick my battles) I ordered a 12 gal refugium. Do you think I should keep the wet dry running along with the refugium or do you think the refugium is enough? <If you have room, I'd keep them both running until the refugium is really kicking, otherwise you may go some time without biological filtration.> If I kept both should I have the tank water run into the wet/dry first or the refugium? <Probably wet/dry first.> Thank, Carrie <Cheers, J -- >

New System, Wet-Dry Or Not? - 06/22/2006 Hi Rob <Actually, Sabrina with you today.  Bob's system was unable to view your email in a format that he could respond to, so it's been passed to me, as my system is able to view/respond to your email.> I am a beginner to this hobby and have some questions I like to ask before I start killing life with ignorance. <Glad to hear it.  Welcome to the fish world!> I got your email from a friend that said you could help.  Hope I'm not a bother. I have an established fish and invertebrate 55 gal tank, with about 55-65 pounds of live rock and sand. Currently I'm using a 404 Fluval and a hang on skimmer.  I would like to start putting soft corals then move on to hard as I advance.  I was told to get a wet/dry filter for my new "project" but some people are telling me not to get it.  Could you please inform me as to the best course of action in this matter?   <Actually, there are as many opinions out there as there are fishkeepers.  I, for one, like to keep a tank VERY lightly stocked and use only a skimmer, live rock, and deep sand bed (DSB) for filtration.  Some folks like to use a sump for a refugium, or have a refugium plumbed elsewhere in the system.  Some use wet-dry systems.  Some use canisters.  My only major word of caution with the canister is that you be *diligent* about cleaning it, lest it become a "nitrate factory" with the accumulation of decaying organic material that it will trap.> Thank you very much <My real advice?  Begin reading, and you will understand why there is no one be-all, end-all answer to your question.  Start here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm .> David Shin <All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

Wet-dry to refugium conversion   5/28/06 Is it possible to convert a wet/dry trickle filter (the ones with bio balls) to a refugium without doing plumbing or drilling? <Yes> I have been reading for hours on your site, I can't seem to find a picture or drawing of my filter. Thank you for such information, Julie <An "over the side" intake (that will have to be primed/filled with water) can be fitted to an external pump intake, or a submersible pump used to return water to the main tank... The "compartmentalization of the insides", choices of components, lay-out are up to you. Bob Fenner>

Equipment/Wet/Dry Sump    4/6/06 Hello,  <Hello Alex> I'm running a Magnum 350 and a CPR skimmer in my 55 gallon reef tank. My LFS told me I should change my mag 350 for a wet-dry filtration system with an overflow, because it will be a better filtration system for a reef tank. What do you guys think??? <Go with your dealer.> Right now I just have mushrooms and a sun coral (beautiful) and some fish!!! I will be upgrading my lights and a chiller to keep Acros. Thanx  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Filtration/Canister vs. Built-in Wet Dry  - 04/02/06 I am looking for a filter that is easy to clean and quiet. Up to this point I thought getting an Eheim Pro canister filter, but yesterday I saw the Tru-VU tanks with the built in wet/dry filtration in the back at the fish store. I asked one of the workers how quiet is it (could not hear due to how loud it was in there) and how easy it is to clean. His response was that it is much better than canister filters and easier to clean.  <Your dealer is correct.  I might add they are more versatile also.  James (Salty Dog)> Please help! <<Both are inappropriate for all but minimally stocked, fed marine systems. See WWM re... believe me, you'll go with other technology. RMF>> -Shaun

Re: Confused on filters....  4/6/06 Hey James -- sorry about the confusion.  <No problem, part of life.> Your second reply was "I'm not real fond of the built into the back wet/dries.  They just don't seem to have the filtering capacity as a under the tank wet/dry sump.  I had a 180 Tenecor with the built in feature.  Was easy to clean and service, but all they provided was three modules, each with its own prefilter sponge.  The prefilters had to be cleaned twice a week as the small surface area clogged up too fast.  I sold it shortly after.  I would opt for the Tru-Vu with the center overflow which you can drain into a wet/dry sump.  The sumps are much more versatile as it gives you a place to put heaters, skimmer, etc". That's why I restated the question --- I was curious what you personally would go with if you were building a tank from scratch and wanted efficiency, quiet operation, and a streamlined look. If there is a particular article I should read to get that answer please point the way. Otherwise, if you could make some suggestions that would be fantastic.  <Mmmm, first, I would opt for a tank with bulkhead fittings in the back for return (clean) water.  I would want an overflow built into the tank for waste water into the WET/DRY SUMP.  Most sumps have trays for placing filter pads which are easy to change.  Eliminates the "don't feel like doing it syndrome."  For a return pump, I would look for one with a minimal amount of current draw vs. gallons per hour.  Some pump manufacturers advertise about their pumps quietness, do look for this.  A good place to take a poll on your questions would be on our Wet Web Media Chat Forum.  In this regard you will get responses from aquarists who have actually used products and their pros and cons about them.  http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/  Place your query in the Equipment/Dry Goods section.> Thanks again for your time,  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> -Shaun

Re: Canister vs. Wet/Dry  - 04/05/2006 Bob,  <<Both are inappropriate for all but minimally stocked, fed marine systems. See WWM re... believe me, you'll go with other technology. RMF>> I really don't know if I can agree with that wet/dry being inappropriate after witnessing what I saw/photographed for an upcoming CMA article.  This tank is 450 gallons with a large wet/dry sump <Mmm, thought this person mentioned a built-in, integral WD... these are puny. Please re-read> .  Cannot see all the fish in this photo, but my first impression was that the tank is overstocked.  Yet water parameters are excellent.  Powder blue and other difficult to keep fish all exhibiting some of the best coloration I've ever saw.  This is one of the coral farmer's accounts that I'm doing the article on.  Have a safe trip home today.  Regards, James <Thanks much. Back home today, night. BobF> 

Wet dry filter pads  - 03/22/06 Hi James  <Hello Matthew.>  Do you guys encourage the use of filter mats in a trickle filter system?  I'm planning on turfing mine and all they seem to do is block the water flow.  <Personally I think they are a great tool for removing detritus providing they are changed on a weekly basis.  If they are blocking the flow, they either need changing, the mat is too dense, or your pump is too large for the wet/dry in question.  James (Salty Dog)>

Wet dry Vs live rock - 21/03/06 Bob, Thanks for your advice!!!!   <John here with you this fine grey China morning.> Big fan of "The Conscientious Marne Aquarist"...great info!!!!   <Me too.> I was hoping to get your opinion one more issue.  The company I'm talking to build my filter is really "pushing" the wet dry over the Berlin style sump. <Do they offer both?> They come very highly regarded through all the boards and I know the quality of their products & design is top notch.  Hence the reason I am going through them. I have a lot of experience in FO systems and this is my first venture into a reef....I just want to make the right decision.  They keep stressing the fact that poor design and operation of wet dry filtration by numerous users in the past is the reason they fell out of favor. <If by "poor operation", they mean not religiously scrubbing every surface clean every day or two, perhaps.>   I plan on setting up a reef and want to know if it is a good idea to run both wet dry and live rock as a form of biological filtration? <I wouldn't. I've experienced algae problems myself from over-zealous aerobic filtration.>   From what I have read, I was under the impression that wet dry's are considered nitrate factories and should only be used with FO set ups. <Perhaps things are not so black and white... but still, I would personally opt for a (modified) Berlin set-up for a light-to-average stocked reef tank. Your thoughts please. Thanks so much! <You're welcome. Best regards from Shanghai, John.> John     Canister Filter vs. Wet-Dry Filter   3/20/06 Hello, <Hi Joe - Tim answering your question today!> I have racked my brain researching what filter I should get for my 75 gallon tank. I plan to have a fish only saltwater tank with no invertebrates. Despite the internet research, the 4 books I've read and the local fish stores - I can't decide. The wet-dry seems to be the best, but at double the price. The canister seems to be the economical choice but will it be enough? The research I have done leads me to believe that a fish only tank will be ok with a canister filter but if I add invertebrates then I'll need a wet-dry filter. Please let me know how far off I am. <Joe - please read this and the links on this page for all the information that you seek http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm > Should I get a protein skimmer too? <You should definitely get a protein skimmer, irrespective of whether you opt for a fish only or full reef system. Do research skimmers before making your purchase as there are considerable differences in quality with correspondingly minor differences only in price!> Thank you in advance for you time. < Always a pleasure - I do hope that I have been of some help!> Respectfully, - Joe Wet/Dry Filter Water Height? - 03/18/06 Hi- <<Hello>> I just bought a wet/dry filter- called the ProClear SL 60.  The  LFS doesn't know much so I'm asking you guys. <<Might be time to find another LFS...>> How much of the bio-balls should be completely submerged in water? Right now only about 1/4 of the bio balls are completely submerged? Is this correct?  Should more bioballs be submerged completely? <<In a wet/dry filter the intent is to have the bio-media exposed to water AND air (wet/dry) to maximize oxygen availability to the nitrifying bacteria (air contains a higher concentration of oxygen than saltwater).  Most filters will be designed to submerge very little if any of the bio-media.  Your filter should have an "optimum" water level as determined by the manufacturer...lacking this, I would adjust the water level to the bottom of the bio-media chamber.>> Thanks a lot. <<Regards, EricR>>

Wet Dry, bio-media - 2/21/2006 Hey Bob & WWM crew, From:  Johnny The Nubie      You guys are great and I learned a lot in the past month, But a little confused about The removing of the bio Ball thing. Yes, I've been looking through about 150 FAQ'S if not more and I get a little piece of the answer or you refer them back to the FAQ'S  which still have trouble finding the right answer { which you should or you would be repeating yourself a hundred times a day and I am a believer in doing your homework}. <Ah, good> But I really need some direct answer's to a few questions and would really appreciate it if you would help.  Here it goes, I have a 90 gallon reef ready tank [will do fish / live rock first ] waiting for the stand [ being made, should have it tomorrow] I have 100 pounds of sand waiting, 60 lbs dead / 40 lbs live. I have 45 pounds of base rock and plan on ordering 45/50 of live rock from Walt smith. I'm using RO/DI water [90 gallons in containers that has been ageing for two weeks with power heads and air stone in each].      I have a pro clear 150 wet and dry filter [bio balls] with built in skimmer. should I leave the bio balls in while I cure my rock or just take them out from the beginning and put some of the live rock in it's place in the [which will be a sump] wet/dry, and cure the whole tank like that. <Up to you. I'd leave out from the get-go> do I need to put a light underneath if I put live rock instead of bio balls? <I would, yes> should I take out the plastic grating and let the rock sit on the bottom of the wet/dry or sit the rock on the grating? <Either way> The guy at my LFS also sold me  a phos reactor with a can of Phosban [150g ] do I need to use this for phosphates or should I use it with different media like carbon or something else? <... up to you> should I hook the phos reactor up at start up of my tank or wait a while and with what media? I have more questions But don't want to take up too much of your time, you guy's/girl's are loaded up as it is with this stuff. <Set up w/o and run for a while...>      I really appreciate all you do for us newbie's and advance fish keeper's and I'm hooked on your site!! Thanks for all / any help you can give John <More fun to come! Bob Fenner> Filtration/Wet Dry ... bio-balls - 2/15/2006 I just finished slowly removing my bio-balls out of my wet-dry.  But now, in addition to the sump being noising with the sound of running water, my water evaporation has skyrocketed to almost 3/4 of a gallon per day.  What can I put in my wet/dry where the bio-balls were to slow the evaporation rate and dampen the noise of running water. <Question, do you have a drip plate or did you remove the drip plate?  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks.

Re: Filtration/Wet Dry  - 02/16/2006 By drip plate, if you mean the piece of plastic with lots of holes in it that makes about 50 small streams of water, then yes, I still have a drip plate.  Its what my 100 micron filter pad rests on.  What do you suggest???? <No, that's fine Jeff.  Just wanted to ensure you didn't remove it, will greatly increase evaporation.  Shouldn't really see a change in evaporation just by removing the bio-balls.  If anything, I would think the evaporation rate would be higher with the balls in the sump, more water/air contact time. Curious as to what size tank you have.  Your evaporation rate may be normal. Outside of that I have no suggestions other than to cover the sump with lids.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks. <You're welcome.> Jeff.

New 220 Gal. And Filtration Options - 01/13/2006 Hello to all my fish friends. I love your site. <Hi there Lora, glad you've enjoyed it!> Ok I just got a 220 gallon tank from my husband yesterday, that I have been wanting for a long time. <Sweet!> Anyway, I'm not sure what type of filtration system I should put in it. I have a 55 gal. with power filters on it, but I'm not sure if I can use them on such a large tank of this size. <Depends on how many gal. they are rated for.> My fear of using a wet/dry or a sump is that in a power outage which happens occasionally during bad weather is that I will come home to a flooded living room, by the power going out or a mechanical problems from the pumps. <Many safety precautions can be taken when setting these up to avoid this. Is this tank drilled already? If so, I would definitely go the sump/wet-dry route.> I'm someone who would worry all day while I'm not home that my tank has let all the water out. Can you help me with this problem. <You would really need to consult our FAQ's on this. Too much info to cover in e-mail. The two things that will give you trouble are overfilling your system, and a syphon being created by your returns. Both are easily avoided. Allow your tank to fill the sump to a desired level with the return pump off. Start the pump (the water level will drop) and mark the new level. This is your max fill line when performing changes and top-offs. Returns should be allowed to take in air when ever the tank stops running (as main tank level starts to drain). This breaks the syphon so they don't continue to empty your tank. Many little "tricks" you can use.> I just need clarification on what would be the best for my tank and the safest for my house. <With a little research and careful planning, you would be perfectly fine using an under the tank filter.> The local pet store is telling my husband that I need a wet/dry system with a sump. But you know how most of them are only want to line their pockets. <Too often the case.> I respect your advise and will be waiting on a reply before I buy anything else for this system. <The versatility and convenience of the sump/wet-dry would be my choice. All the info seems confusing at first, but keep reading and re-reading. When you get that "eureka" moment, all the rest will fall into place.> Have a great day Lora Frakes Coordination of Benefits <Hope this helps put you on the right path. - Josh>  

Wet/Dry for my needs? Actually, filtration for reef wants (Bob's go)  1/11/06 Hey guys another question, I have a 55gal with 60 lb live rock (50/50 mix of Fiji/Marshall island) 2-3 years old. I have a 1200 Remora Pro C protein skimmer and 2 Emperor 280s with a Red Sea Wavemaker Pro with 3 powerheads.  and for lighting I use power compact lunar AquaLight by CoralLife. I have a DSB about 3-6 inches deep depending where it settled and wavemaker moved it around. Inhabitants include 23 snails (astrea, bumblebee, turbo, margaritas), 17 hermits of various kinds, a sally light foot, blood shrimp, emerald crab, mandarin goby, regal tang, percula clown and Banggai cardinal. I want to start with corals but before I do am I good to go? <Mmm, don't know... the gear you have can work for some cnidarians, not all> should I upgrade to a Wet/Dry system? <I wouldn't> Are they maintenance free like they claim? <Hardly> I retire out of the military in 3 years <Why is it so common that folks in public service focus on this? What sort of life, "career"... where you long to stop doing it?> and plan on building my dream tank when I get out (225 gallon wall) and want to get used to raising all forms of life without spending thousands <Good idea> but would love to start with simple corals and work my way up like I have with fish. I attached a pic to look at so you can best advise. Thanks Jeff <Please take the time to read through WWM re "Coral" Selection, Systems... Your answers are there. Enjoy the journey, planning and anticipation. Bob Fenner>
Re: Wet/Dry for my needs.... wants (Travis' go)  01-10-06 Hey guys another question, <Jeff> I have a 55gal with 60 lb live rock (50/50 mix of Fiji/Marshall Island) 2-3 years old. I have a 1200 Remora Pro C protein skimmer and 2 Emperor 280s with a Red Sea Wavemaker Pro with 3 powerheads, and for lighting I use power compact lunar AquaLight by CoralLife. I have a DSB about 3-6 inches deep depending where it settled and wavemaker moved it around. Inhabitants include 23 snails (astrea, bumblebee, turbo, margaritas), 17 hermits of various kinds, a sally light foot, blood shrimp, emerald crab, mandarin goby, regal tang, percula clown and Banggai cardinal. I want to start with corals but before I do am I good to go? <You should be fine with the easier, soft corals and polyps.> Should I upgrade to a Wet/Dry system? <A sump wouldn't hurt, but a wet dry would be a waste of money.> Are they maintenance free like they claim? <No, you will actually end up removing all of the bio-balls and the filter pad. They end up being over priced sumps.> I retire out of the military in 3 years and plan on building my dream tank when I get out (225 gallon wall) and want to get used to raising all forms of life without spending thousands but would love to start with simple corals and work my way up like I have with fish. <That is a great plan. Your current set-up will support your plan at this stage.> I attached a pic to look at so you can best advise. <Very nice set-up. Travis> Thanks Jeff

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: