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FAQs about Fishes and Invertebrates, aka FOWLR Marine System Filtration

Related Articles: Fishes and Invertebrates Marine Set-ups, Fish-Only Marine Set-up, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Plumbing Marine SystemsRefugiumsMarine Biotope, Marine LandscapingFishwatcher's Guides

Related FAQs: FOWLR 1, FOWLR 2, FOWLR 3, & By Type of  System: Small Tank Setups, Large System Filtration/Circulation/Aeration, & By Aspect and Gear: Biol.: Biological Filtration, Denitrification/Denitrifiers, Fluidized Beds, DSBs, Plenums, Algal Filtration, Mech.: Marine Mechanical Filtration, Power Filters, Outside Power Filters, Canister, Cartridge Filters, Undergravel FiltersWet-Dry Filters, Phys.: Ultraviolet Sterilizers,   Ozone, To Skim or Not to SkimBest Skimmer FAQs, Chem.: Nutrient Control and Export Chemical Filtrants (e.g. Polyfilter, Chemipure, Purigen), Carbon, Mud/Algal Filtration Phony: Magnetic Field Filtration, & Troubles: Bubbles, Noise, FOWLR Set-Ups, FOWLR Lighting, FOWLR Skimmers, FOWLR Livestocking, FOWLR Maintenance, FOWLR Disease, LR Lighting, Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Marine System Plumbing Biotopic presentations

Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Question regarding redundant filtration      8/12/19
Hello: I have a 180-gallon FOWLR tank that I'm trying to get as clean as possible. I have six fish: two triggers, two tangs, and a Foxface that are each 5-7 in. long, and a Maroon Clown that's about 3 in. long.
My water has been yellow for a long time, and I'm not sure why. Yesterday I changed about 65 gallons of it, and I now have five-yes, five-filters running: a Fluval FX4 canister, two Marineland Magnum Polishing internal canisters, and two Aqua-C Remora Pro protein skimmers (powered by two Mag-3
pumps). I also have a fair amount of live rock.
At first, I was just running the Fluval, then I switched to just the two Remora Pros because I got tired of cleaning the canister-and also I now believe that protein skimmers are a must. But the water remained yellow, so recently I added the internal canisters (both using micron filters) and reinstated the external canister (with its original filter media) as well.
My question is: is all of that filtration overkill to an absurd degree? If so, what should I remove? Thanks, RZ
<Hey Robert, The main problem with canister filters (applies for both, Fluval and Marineland) is that they should be cleaned very frequently, or they will become clogged with organics such as fish waste, uneaten food and many other things that produce DOCs (dissolved organic compounds) which give that yellowish tint to the water. I suggest using a high grade activated carbon to eliminate the yellow from the water. How often do you clean the canisters?... do you have a sump or refugium?, it would be a better option; as far as your protein skimmers, I’d say they are doing most of the work, leave them like that. Cheers. Wil.>

Re: Question regarding redundant filtration      8/13/19
Attached is a photo of my tank.
Thanks, Wil.
<Welcome, Robert>
I clearly haven’t been cleaning the Fluval canister often enough, although I can't say how often because I did it erratically. A LFS said I should do so about once per month.
<I’d say twice a month would be ideal>
I really hate cleaning it--tons of work,<Oh yes, it is annoying> including having to remove the exhaust hose and rinse it thoroughly, because otherwise it spews tons of waste when I reconnect/restart the canister. I just bought the Marineland canisters a few days ago. Right now the water still looks yellow, though otherwise very clean. OK, I'll add charcoal.
In principle, should the two Remora Pros be sufficient, given that I have a lot of live rock (I guess that would be the Berlin method)? They generally work well, although they frequently either don't produce any foam or way too much (sometimes, an almost legendary amount). Also, they're really noisy and ugly (and my tank is in my living room).
Yes, I've been thinking about starting a sump and getting rid of all of this redundant equipment. Any recommendations?
<Good idea. Any sump that fits in your tank cabinet will be fine, try to get at least a three-compartment sump so that you can accommodate in it:
1. Protein skimmer
2. DSB (deep sand bed)
3. Return pump>
What would be the best skimmer for my tank, were it to go in that sump? Something low-maintenance (at least in terms of adjustment) and long-lasting would be nice.
<There are many brands and models that produce very nice, reliable and easy to operate units, do a google search to see which type of skimmer will be the best for you.>
FYI, my two skimmers are probably about six or seven years old, and the Fluval canister about three years old, so it's not like they're recent investments.
<I really like Aqua-C line of skimmers but if you don’t want them anymore for the reasons you stated, try another brand.>
I suppose the Marineland canisters could still serve some purpose down the line--or maybe I should just return them while I can?
<If you can still return them or change for other equipment, great . >
Thanks, Robert
<You’re most welcome. Wil.>

SETTING UP A 125 FOWLR/Plumbing/Substrate 4/23/12
Good Morning All
<Hello Rasheed>
I tried to use the Google search but still could not find the info I was looking for.
Here is my plan to have a fowlr consisting of : trigger, puffer, angel, tang and wrasse (or fu Manchu).
My tank is not drilled so I will get this overflow (the overflow comes w/ 2 one inch outlets I believe since they "claim" its rated for a 400 gallon tank , what should my gph on return be?)
<Rated for and flow rate are two different things.  This overflow at best will flow around 600gph.  This is fine providing you have additional powerheads in the tank to boost total flow rate at least 10 times the volume of your tank.  With this type of overflow you may be cursing your mother for being born.  They always collect bubbles at the top of the U tubes thereby reducing flow rate and/or lose the siphon altogether.  A better option would be this type of overflow with the Aqualifter pump.
And see here for actual flow rates through various pipe sizes.
For filtration I will use a set-up like this.
My plan is doing a wet/dry and skimmer (reef dynamics 180) in one tote, return pump in middle tote, refugium w/ DSB in last tote that is feed from the return pump via tee.
Would this set up be beneficial do to such a heavy bio-load or should I cancel the wet/dry and just load the refuge with live rock (as I do not want to have my display to cluttered w/ rock)?
<I'd go with plan one and you did not state your tank size anywhere in this message.  You need to ensure that the totes are large enough to contain the water that will be dumped in them in the event of a power failure or faulty pump. You will need rock in your tank as fish like Tangs and Angelfish feel much more comfortable if a safe refuge is present.>
As for substrate I decided against crushed coral but leaning toward this sakrete sand  @ home depot (product description says its safe for fish bowls) which I will seed with lr and ls.
<????  Sakrete sand is a mix of sand and concrete!  James (Salty Dog)>
Re SETTING UP A 125 FOWLR/Plumbing/Substrate 4/23/12

Thanks for the info.
<You're welcome.>
My tank size 125 gallon.  Here are the sands they have at home depot
SEARCH+ALL do you recommend any of these?
<I really do not have the time to view all those different sands.  What you do not want is silica based sand as it likely will cause diatom blooms in your system.  I looked at two of them and the specs do not indicate what type of sand it is. I might add that none of these sand mixes will do anything to help maintain alkalinity.  There are no carbonates present as in crushed coral sand.> 
Tote size 18 gallons
<The three 18 gallon totes should be enough to handle the overflow should a power outage occur.  James (Salty Dog)>

Filtration Question   12/31/11
Dear WWM Crew,
I'd like to start off and say thanks for all of your great information.  It has helped me so much - especially the info about compatibility and stocking.
<Ah good>
Now on to the questions but first a little background.
About 5 months ago I purchased a 125 gallon aquarium from a local on Craig's List for a pretty good price.  It included the tank and 2 Emperor 400 filters (400 gph each), 4 Penguin 660 powerheads (170 gph each) and 2 3' single bulb fluorescent lights.  The previous owner used this setup for freshwater but I am currently using it as a marine FOWLR tank.
<Mmm, not much light...>
 To complete the setup, I've added a 55 gallon DIY sump w/ about 50% of the sump space dedicated to a refugium and the rest going to the skimmer chamber and the return chamber.  The skimmer is a Coralife Super Skimmer 220. My return pump is a Lifeguard 4000 w/ a SCWD and 2 u-tubes. I estimate the return pump to push about 500-600 gph. I've added 180 lbs of live rock and enough sand in the display tank for a 1-2" sand bed. The refugium has a 5-6" sand bed and houses some of the rock and a lot of Chaeto and sea lettuce.
<Sounds good thus far>
I have been and am planning on stocking this with aggressive fish based on the colorful community tank 1: large model in John Tullock's Saltwater Aquarium Models book.
My main questions is about the filtration.  Do you think that running the Emperor 400s with the bio-wheels is a good idea.
<Mmm, yes>
 I've researched this and had heard conflicting information.  Some people say to pull the bio-wheels.  I recently pulled one but do not like the excessive noise that the spray bar makes from splashing.
<Put it back on. The small bit of NO3 production here is well worth it>
I would also like to know if you think there is enough flow overall.
<Not... I'd add some internal pumps. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm
the third tray down>
Also, my water tests out as follows:  NH3 = 0, NO2 = 0, NO3 = 5-10ppm, pH = 8.3, phosphate is usually 0-.1, calcium - 450.  I haven't checked my Alk lately but its always been good. Temp is 77.
<Okay... I'd read a bit re Magnesium, acquire a kit for this as well>
If you can give me some expert advice on what I should do about the Emperors and the overall flow, that would be great.  I have some extra Christmas money to spend and would like to know if there is anything I can do to improve this setup.
<Thank you for sharing Mike. Bob Fenner>

H.O.T. Magnum 250 canister filer/Filtration/Mechanical 12/7/11
<Hello Rudy>
I am setting up a 30 gallon cube saltwater aquarium FOWLR.
Could I use my H.O.T. Magnum 250 canister filter as the only mechanical filtration if I stock live rock?
I also have a Hydor Koralia Evolution 550 Aquarium Circulation Pump, 550 GPH that I will use for additional circulation.
Currently I have a large JEBO 5 basket canister filter that came with the used aquarium.
Which canister filter would you recommend?
<I personally like the HOT Magnum myself.  I've had one for years and use it when needed, very versatile, easy to perform maintenance on it, and quiet.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

FOWLR and DSB (application/efficacy) -- 10/26/11
Hi Folks,
<<Hiya Mike>>
I was hoping you could provide some guidance.
<<Will try>>
I tried searching your site but can't find the answer to my question. First some background. I have a 1500 gal fish only marine aquarium with 25 fish ranging from clowns to a 15 inch Vlamingi tang and a dinner-plate-sized French angel.
<<Very nice!>>
It originally was set up with a wet/dry with two sand-filter pool filters containing plastic bio-media. I am not satisfied with my high nitrates, and I am sure my fish would agree with me.
I started converting the filtration system. Last year I added a 4ft x 6ft x 5in DSB/Refugium.
<<Excellent'¦am a big fan re>>
I removed one of the sand filter containers. I am now starting to add dry rock base rock in the hopes of converting to a FOWLR system so that I can remove the final sand filter and eventually the wet/dry. So far I have added about 120 lbs of rock into the sump (I know, a drop in the bucket).
<<But coupled with the DSB'¦>>
The rule of thumb seems to be to have 1 lb of rock per gallon.
<<Very hard to measure'¦so many variables to consider'¦a 'rule' mostly propagated by those who sell the rock, in my estimation>>
My question is do I need to maintain a similar ratio or does the DSB count for something?
<<The DSB counts for much here>>
I don't think I can fit 1500 lbs of rock in my current sump.
<<Nor do 'I' believe you will need to; I would expect you to be able to get away with considerably less than this>>
And I assume it's not a good idea to stack up rock on the DSB in the refugium.
<<A matter of preference, really'¦I can't say that I have ever noticed a difference in DSB performance either way>>
Any insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
<<I have a moderately-heavy stocked 330g reef display which I recently 'redesigned' utilizing the 'negative space' aspect of captive reef design. As such, my display contains only about 60 lbs of live rock'¦supplemented by a sugar-fine substrate of a couple inches in the display but also by a very mature inline 55g lighted vegetable refugium (Chaetomorpha) with 6-inch DSB (also sugar-fine aragonite). It's only been a few weeks, but I've not suffered any deleterious effects to water quality'¦and I feed my tank very well. My point is I think you can get by with much less rock than you believe'¦just how much will take a bit of testing to determine. Were this me; and depending on urgency here, I would add another 180 lbs of dry rock (for a total of 300 lbs) and let this become 'colonized' (throwing in a couple tens of pounds of 'live' rock with the dry rock will speed things along and seed many beneficial organisms). Once the rock is ready (4-5 weeks), I would remove one of the devices mentioned and monitor water quality closely'¦if all is well after 4-5 days, remove the remaining device and continue monitoring. As long as ammonia/nitrate doesn't become an issue, you can then 'play' with the amount of rock to determine how much is needed to give you the desired result. Having a goodly supply of fresh saltwater readily available for water changes/dilution as/if necessary during this process is a good idea. In addition to the DSB and rock, I would suggest throwing some light on a corner of that DSB if possible and adding a large ball of Chaetomorpha, to be harvested periodically as an additional export for nitrogenous products. The Chaetomorpha also provides an excellent matrix for organisms that are of benefit to 'any' marine system>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Off-Grid 90 Gal. FOWLR Filtration - 2/9/11
Aloha from Hawaii,
Am I crazy to run a saltwater setup off-grid?
<Off grid? What do you mean by this? As in w/o electricity?>
Well, I admit I feel and probably am a bit on the FRINGE with this. I definitely have a fish fetish and love collecting from my local secret spots. I love caring for their life and providing the best I can for them. I also love spearfishing- the most ecological way to fish! Anyway I hope to pick your brain and see ways I can reduce wattage and increase water quality.
Current Stock 55Gal:
1- 3" Red Stripe Hawkfish
1- 1' Clown
2- 1' 3 stripe Damsel
1- 2" Fire Goby
2- Pajama Cardinal
1- 1' Aholehole
I plan on adding a Rainbow Wrasse, Flame Angel and a butterfly to the 90 Gal.
11 inches of fish X 5 gal = 55 gal
<Mmm, not a useful, accurate stocking model>
1- BIG Tiger Cowry and a few smalls.
3- BIG Manns anemones Just replaced the older ones b/c they lost color- but have been thriving for 2 years.
7- Hermit crabs,
3- Green Hawaiian shrimp,
3- Hawaiian swimming crabs,
3- Sand sifting Stars
1- Sheriff badge star
1- Orange Shelless snail
2- Urchins
2- Coral Banded Shrimp
OK, so not ONLY fish and live rock! I'm currently running the 55gal.
with a CPR-2 Bakpak skimmer, a "bunch" of live rock and sand and a standard over-the-back dual penguin particle filter, w/ carbon and w/o Biowheel. No refugium. Since I'm off-grid a refugium light on 24-7 is kinda out of the question. I use one powerhead for the skimmer, one for the mechanical and 1 that is on a timer to provide some current from time to time.
With the upgrade to a 90 gal. I want to get away from the carbon cartridges in the backpack filter. I'm looking to the experts for the lowest wattage setup that is within reasonable cost.
<Well... using small, internal pumps/powerheads is the route to go for water movement here... and low fluorescent or even LED lighting... maybe making up w/ ambient light exposure. Setting heater/s low if using at all... Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PumpEnergyUseF.htm>
I'm considering simply another CPR Bakpak which is easiest and makes logical sense. Also one of those big wet-dry compartments that are built into the back of the tank,
<Most of these, actually all designs I've ever seen are feeble. Better by far for you to engineer, make your own... situate it beside (as opposed to above or below) the main/display for energy use consideration>
which I haven't purchased yet but could customize it as such on the 90 gal. Also considering some kind of canister filter with low wattage pump. Eheim or JBJ And have you ever heard of the Aquaripure?
<Yes; for NO3... am a huge fan of Eheim>
I am open to the sump/refugium if you think it would work without a light.
I collect fish and inverts locally and would love to grow some of those seaweeds and algaes I have access to. Would it work to set- up the refugium outside, behind my aquarium wall in the sunlight?
<Ah yes. Friend Pablo Tepoot has his huge/st system in Homestead, FLA set up this way>
And does my FOWLR even really need the nutes from a refugium if I'm feeding live spirulina gut-loaded brine shrimp, Cyclopeeze, and sometime fresh fish meat I've speared from the reef?
<Would help>
The lighting is 2 stock 16 watt bulbs that I run when its sunny out and a little at night for viewing pleasure.
Maybe I could switch to LED for the new setup. Know anyone who sells LED hoods?
<Quite a few folks who sell the light units. I'd fashion my own canopy to fit these>
What can I realistically get away with when I upgrade to the 90 gal?
LEDs, 2 CPRs, Lots of timers and some Canister and its all good? Or just pack it up and call it quits?
<Am not a quitter>
Mahalo (thanks you) for your wisdom,
<A hu'i hou. Islands/Bob Fenner>
Re: Off-Grid 90 Gal. FOWLR Filtration -- 02/10/11

Aloha and Thanks! Would you rather I reply online or is this fine?...
<Here is mighty fine>
You said:
<Most of these, actually all designs I've ever seen are feeble (skimmers?).
Better by far for you to engineer, make your own... situate it beside (as opposed toabove or below) the main/display for energy use consideration>
Are you saying to setup a refugium, sump or protien skimmer on the side would be best. YOu mean on the side so the pump doesn't have to work so hard?
For the 90 what could I do with my extra 20 gal. outside? In shade better than direct sunlight?
<Indirect is best in the tropics>
Or better to get a refugium/build my own?
<May be best to DIY... see WWM re>
Mahalos, Sky
Re: Off-Grid 90 Gal. FOWLR Filtration 2/11/11

Aloha Bob, So I'm seeing how I can setup a refugium to grow good bugs for the 90g display, farm some Limu I find at the ocean for da tangs and help w/ NO3 and maybe have a place for the coral frags to grow.
<Ah yes>
What about the Eheim and or Aquaripure filter I'm thinking of getting? Won't that filter all the critters out?
<It/they will/do to some extent... but many resist being "sucked up" and those that do get trapped often live and do good in the filter media itself>
I love the idea of moving my tank from the dark place its in to where its gets a little direct sunlight in the morning and throughout the day but stays cool. That's where the freshwater tank is that I was going to make a drip irrigation through the wall to grow some plants on the outside of the house. The bottom of out Pyragon (A pyramid that goes through the 2nd floor with an octagon built around it, stays cool downstairs. That's where the aquariums are and sunlight filters through screen so if I move the display there I could keep some sponges and maybe corals some day?
The outside of the wall idea would have direct sunlight- bad for refugium idea?
<Not really... if too intense, you can just place a sun screen mechanism over it>
So if its inside, perhaps an over the side refugium wouldn't be a good way? Especially for simplicity, proximity regarding my limited solar-(battery) power.
Would a hang-on refugium still be worth it without the alternating light cycle?
<Yes it would>
Or, I can keep the Display where it is, plumb a refugium on the other side of the wall and have minimal sunlight, mostly shade throughout the day. Main display would be in darkness most the time though and I wouldn't be able to keep more of the fun stuff. What would you do if this were your setup?
<The outside tied-in sump/refugium "OF SIZE" if you have the room!>
Mahalo Nui Loa!
<Aloha, BobF>
Re: Off-Grid 90 Gal. FOWLR Filtration  2/12/11

See below..
OF SIZE meaning 20-30 gal?
<Bigger the better... but this will be of benefit>
in direct sunlight with a shade?
<If this is the best to only spot...>
I can get a hang-on CPR refugium 2 for $70, for now- then keep both going?
I also don't see the point of putting more live rock in the refugium if I already have so much in the display?
<Mainly this is protected from predators, predation in the display...>
Everyone says I'm asking for trouble with algae and filtered sun- but just clean it and get algae eaters, right?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm and the linked files... B>

Filtration Questions 9/9/10
Hello again Crew,
<Hello David>
Thanks with the help on leveling, got that done and it is coming along nicely.
<Good to hear.>
Now I have a question about my filtration. First a little back story.
I want to start a FOWLR. I bought a 75 gallon tank for $250 from a guy on craigslist. At the time I thought it was well worth it just for the full hood and stand along with the 65 pounds of live rock. I am not entirely happy with the filtration however. It came with the live rock, crushed coral, and an aqua clear <Aquaclear> 70 hob filter, along with an Aquaclear 70 power head. He claims he ran the system 9 years like this. Water was crystal clear, but I still feel the thing needed
improvement. I decided to replace the crushed coral with 90 lbs of sand (60 pounds of Caribsea aragonite sugar grade, 30 pounds of Caribsea aragonite select). I bought 2 Koralia #4s. I also want to add a good HOB protein skimmer. I have had people tell me that will be enough, but I feel like I need a bigger HOB filter or something even better. Not really in a place where drilling is feasible. Can I do this without a sump? What options do I have? What about canister filters?
<David, you have already improved the circulation by adding the Koralia 4s which was a good move. Your next improvement should be an efficient HOB protein skimmer. Without a sump, I would suggest the AquaC Remora Pro skimmer shown here. http://premiumaquatics.com/aquatic-supplies/AQUAC-REMORAP.html
A mechanical filter isn't an absolute necessity when using a quality protein skimmer, but many hobbyists use them. If I were to employ a mechanical filter for this system, I would likely go with the Marineland HOT filter. The filter pad offers a large surface area and the media container will hold a generous supply of carbon.
Best of all, it is easy to service and very affordable. Look here.
You may also want to read here.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm >
Thanks for the help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Filtration Questions, 75 FOWLR    9/9/10 - 10/5/10

Hello Crew,
Again, your advice has been great and I need just a little more.
1. I picked up the Aqua C Remora Pro with the Mag 350 (thanks for recommending premium aquatics, 15 minutes from my house) upgrade and it seems to be going well. My question is about your recommendation of the H.O.T. canister filter. The one you recommended only is rated for a 55 gallon tank. Isn't that going to be too small for my 75?
<Not really. Your most important means of filtration is the Aqua C. The Magnum will serve to trap free floating debris and used in conjunction with a good grade of carbon, it will act as a water polisher and assist the Aqua C in removing dissolved organics.
If this filter was used as your only means of filtration, then yes, it would be too small. It's a great filter for your purpose and is very easy to service/maintain. If you prefer a filter with a little more filtering capacity, consider the new "C" series canister filters from Marineland. Another great product.
am going to move on this soon because my Aqua Clear filter went out the other day (no big deal, I wanted it gone anyway.)
2. My powerheads (2 Koralias # 4s) are blowing my sand everywhere and there are constantly particles blowing around the tank. They even cause small underwater sand tornadoes and bury my liverock.
<Yes, the Koralia 4 does move an enormous amount of water. Had two of them myself in a 60" long tank and I exchanged them for the Koralia 3 for the very same reason. You may want to try just using one of the 4's and see if it cuts down the sandstorm. Position so it blows across the length of the tank.>
I have sugar grade sand and some select, I was wondering if I should change it out for the Caribsea special grade to have a bigger grain?
<You could, but why waste your money when it's obvious your flow rate is excessive for your size tank.>
3. I threw some raw shrimp in to start a cycle, I am seeing a nitrite spike but have never seen an ammonia spike, I was wondering if that is ok because I was using live rock and half the water was from an
established tank?
<Possibly, but better to cycle with a hardy fish or two . You may want to add/try Dr. Tim's One and Only. Dr. Tim Hovanac developed this product (Bio Spira) when he worked for Marineland and now owns his own company (Dr. Tim's Aquatics) which can be found here.
This is a great product for establishing the nitrogen cycle.>
Thanks in advance for the answers, I know they are kind of bouncing around and I apologize for that.
<You're welcome, and no problem. James (Salty Dog)>

Small FOWLR filtration   1/18/10
Hi! <Hello Emmaline>
I have a question (actually quite a few questions) about filtration in a smaller FOWLR system <okey dokey>. If these questions were asked elsewhere, I didn't see them anywhere (and I spent a lot of time reading/researching here). I would like to set up a 10 or 16 gallon tank and want good filtration considering this will be such a small system. My first question regards skimmer sizes.
I want either an AquaC Nano Remora or Remora. If I put a Remora, which is rated for 20-75, in a 10 or 16 gallon system will my tank be "over-skimmed"? <not in my opinion>
Is there such a thing as overskimming? <depends on the type of system you have and the 'methodology' you want to employ, but in your case, and probably 99% of all other cases, no>. The reason I ask is I'm anticipating my wanting to upgrade to bigger tank and would like to use the same skimmer <a sensible approach>.
Besides a skimmer I will install a hang-on-tank power filter <would convert this to a refuge if it were me:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hagenrefugart.htm, or leave out altogether> a powerhead <do consider one of the excellent Hydor Koralia range for your system>
for added water circulation, and live rock (16 pounds for the 16 gallon aquarium). Does this sound like adequate filtration if I stock it with 3-4 fish that stay small, a couple feather dusters, a few shrimp, and some snails? <I can't think of 3-4 small fish that would fit into a 10 gallon. I would review this number down to maybe one small fish, but these systems really are better suited for invertebrates. See here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nanoreefsysart.htm. I would definitely go for the larger of the two systems, and even larger if you can>. I understand that the power filter does not have the same role as it does in a freshwater setup <you are correct>. Should I pick one that is rated for my tank and simply use a sponge pad (leaving out the carbon) as mechanical filtration <no, I would not purchase one at all, unless you want to use it as a refugium> and added circulation? <A Hydor Koralia in-tank should do you fine for circulation>.
One last question about quarantine tanks. What sort of filtration should I use for a 10 gallon QT? Will a power filter and small powerhead combined
with frequent, small water changes be enough without a skimmer or live rock?<Yes, usually. See here:
Sorry for such long-winded questions <I've seen longer!>. Thanks for all the help! <No problem, Simon> 

Re: Small FOWLR filtration 17.01.09, reading    1/23/10
Hi WetWeb Crew!
Ok, I've finished digesting your response to me and (of course!) I have more questions. I more specific questions about livestock now, but first I'll recap my set up so far. I have a 16 gallon tank which I'll be filtering with an AquaC Remora skimmer and twenty pounds of Fiji live rock. A powerhead will be used to increase water circulation. I am keeping my eyes open for an AquaClear filter to turn into a hang-on refugium. I've cut back my planned fish to two small fish: a Yellow Clown Goby
<Gobiodons really need live Acropora to be happy, do well>
and another small compatible
fish. This is going to be a small aquarium and I'd like to avoid any potential problems between my future fishes. Is there a blenny or goby species that will be compatible with my selected clown goby?
<Keep reading>
My last set of questions is about the saltwater itself. I have kept freshwater fish for many years and have always had a problem with the well water that we use at home. High nitrates, high phosphates, and water parameters that changed with the seasons... so I plan on using RO water available from my local Wal-Mart.
<I'd be rigging up something at home for your potable (drinking, cooking) as well as pet-fish needs>
Is there something I will need to add to this water?
<Depends... what do you measure that is missing?>
It will be aged, of course. I was planning on keeping a 5-10 gallon bucket of mixed saltwater constantly heated and aerated (via a small powerhead rigged up to a timer) to use for water changes. Should I just test the RO water for alkalinity and calcium then custom adjust to the ideal ranges (which I have found on this great site already).
<Is one approach... and should work if you're eschewing stocking more sensitive ("coral") life here>
Considering this water will be used for evaporation top-offs what ranges should I aim? The same as for the saltwater (just with no salt)?
<... Depends once again on what your system water tests... you may want to bolster the Alkalinity and Biomineral content of the make-up water or just use aerated R.O.. Again, this is gone over on WWM. Are you familiar with the search tool, indices? Please read here:
Bob Fenner>
Sorry if these are obvious questions, just want to make sure I'm getting it
Thanks so much.

FOWLR Cycling, 1/19/10
I have had my 40gal FOWLR tank up and running for 12 days now, I have 20lb of live sand and 28lb of Cured Rock. I have tested it every day with the same results ph 8.2 - 8.4 Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate all 0.0. Can you tell me if this tank will ever spike or is it because I have used Cured Live Rock it won't.
<It may not, but I would expect to see some amount of Nitrate at some point.>
If it needs to, how can I help it along the way.
<Feed the tank a little bit of fish food.>
Thanks in advance.

Small FOWLR filtration   1/18/10
Hi! <Hello Emmaline>
I have a question (actually quite a few questions) about filtration in a smaller FOWLR system <okey dokey>. If these questions were asked elsewhere, I didn't see them anywhere (and I spent a lot of time reading/researching here). I would like to set up a 10 or 16 gallon tank and want good filtration considering this will be such a small system. My first question regards skimmer sizes.
I want either an AquaC Nano Remora or Remora. If I put a Remora, which is rated for 20-75, in a 10 or 16 gallon system will my tank be "over-skimmed"? <not in my opinion>
Is there such a thing as overskimming? <depends on the type of system you have and the 'methodology' you want to employ, but in your case, and probably 99% of all other cases, no>. The reason I ask is I'm anticipating my wanting to upgrade to bigger tank and would like to use the same skimmer <a sensible approach>.
Besides a skimmer I will install a hang-on-tank power filter <would convert this to a refuge if it were me:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hagenrefugart.htm, or leave out altogether> a powerhead <do consider one of the excellent Hydor Koralia range for your system>
for added water circulation, and live rock (16 pounds for the 16 gallon aquarium). Does this sound like adequate filtration if I stock it with 3-4 fish that stay small, a couple feather dusters, a few shrimp, and some snails? <I can't think of 3-4 small fish that would fit into a 10 gallon. I would review this number down to maybe one small fish, but these systems really are better suited for invertebrates. See here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nanoreefsysart.htm. I would definitely go for the larger of the two systems, and even larger if you can>. I understand that the power filter does not have the same role as it does in a freshwater setup <you are correct>. Should I pick one that is rated for my tank and simply use a sponge pad (leaving out the carbon) as mechanical filtration <no, I would not purchase one at all, unless you want to use it as a refugium> and added circulation? <A Hydor Koralia in-tank should do you fine for circulation>.
One last question about quarantine tanks. What sort of filtration should I use for a 10 gallon QT? Will a power filter and small powerhead combined
with frequent, small water changes be enough without a skimmer or live rock?<Yes, usually. See here:
Sorry for such long-winded questions <I've seen longer!>. Thanks for all the help! <No problem, Simon> 

30g FOWLR, filtr.    12/19/09
I'm in the planning stages of putting together a 30g FOWLR with 20 LB Live Rock and 2-3 inch substrate, and was wondering what filtration I would be needing. I have acquired the following kit already.
1.Protein Skimmer with a needle wheel venturi pump flow rate: 1850 L/H.
2.Rainbow Lifeguard FB-300 Fluidized Bed Filter.
<? I wouldn't use a fluidized bed on small systems>
3.Wave Maker 6000L/H / Powerhead.
I do have a Canister Filter but I am wary of using it for concern of it becoming a nitrate farm.
<... can be "packed" with other media... See WWM re>
My question is can I use ONLY these three means of filtration, as they are all Biological.
<... the Canister mostly...>
Where does the Mechanical and Chemical filtration come in.
And if that is all I need can you explain to me the reasons as I am confused with all the differing set ups. I know the Live Rock will be part of the equation as well.
<? I am wondering how to proceed here. If you were a friend nearby, or an acquaintance I met face to face, I'd encourage you to study a bit more; likely read a good/complete marine aquarium book. Just "taking" my or anyone's advice and going forward without much background understanding I think may lead you down too narrow a path to reacting to troubles down the road, as well as stultify your development, movement into a larger, more-involved system. Let's have you read here:
the third tray down... and here:
and the linked FAQs files at the bottom. Bob Fenner>
Thanks in advance.

FOWLR: Canister Filters: Useful or no? 3/25/2009
<Hi Ron>
I have a 75 gallon fish only tank with live rock, refugium, and protein skimmer.
The fish are as follows a Leopard Wrasse, Golden Angel, small Regal Angel, Randall's Goby, two Damsels, and a Long Nose Butterfly.
<You have fish that are very difficult to care for.>
I know this tank is well stock and will be moving into a bigger tank soon or going to trade in some fish.
My question is if a fish only tank of this type would benefit from a canister filter like an Eheim or not some people say yes others no.
<It is a matter of personal opinion. I have a sump and two canister filters on my tank. They do provide decent water movement and a convenient place for light mechanical and chemical filtration.  So in my opinion, provided you clean the filter weekly, yes, they can be beneficial.>
<No Problem>

Refugium and FOWLR 3/12/2009
Hello Crew,
<Hi Lee>
Great Job, Thanks.
<You are most welcome.>
I have a 180gal FOWLR. I have 2 40gal sumps under the main tank. Currently I have the overflows from both sides of the tank flowing into empty sump1, and via hoses, sump1 flows into sump2, where
the skimmer and return pump are.
<Sounds good so far.>
Here's the questions does a FOWLR need a refugium and does a FOWLR benefit with a refugium?
<No, it does not need one, but yes there is a definite benefit to having a refugium plumbed into your system. They help greatly with nutrient control and provide a place for copepods and other live food to reproduce.>
<Do read more here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm >

Bio Balls in FOWLR Tank FOWLR Sys Filtration 3/1/2009 Hi there, <Hi Thai!> I'm currently running a 375 gallon (1420 litres) salt water tank with a sump. <Nice system!> I have bio-balls as part of my filtration but upon reading up on your site, most of your crew recommend removing them. <In a heavily stocked or fish only (FO) tank they are useful. In an appropriately stocked and well maintained FOWLR, they are unnecessary.> The bio balls are fully submerged and I haven't yet stocked any fish, but is it necessary for me to remove the bio-balls? <I would remove them, and then grow some Chaetomorpha in the sump> I have 100kg (220 lbs) of live rock and a skimmer which is slightly under-rated for my tank. <How much\what kind of substrate do you have?> I've got 2 power heads in the tank each rated for 12000 litres/hour (3170 gal\hr) and the return pump is rated for 3600 litres/hour (950 gal\hr). <Impressive water flow!> Skimmer is 1300 litres/hour (343 gal/hr). <Agreed, a bit under-rated for your tank> Do I need to beef up the filtration if I am to stock the tank with emperor angel & blue ring angel, couple of small triggers, butterflies and chromis? <Personally, with a set up such as this, I would invest in a larger skimmer, with a rating of approximately 2000 litres\hr (500+ gal/hr) Any advice would be greatly appreciated. <See Above> Thanks <My Pleasure!> Thai Pham <Mike>

Equipment choices on a new system. 2/15/09 Hello WWM Crew, <Hello Corey.> I'm setting up a new FOWLR and Hardy Inverts tank. I haven't kept aquaria in almost 20 years and I know the hobby has changed a lot in the meantime. <Indeed!> So I'm doing as much research as possible (Fenner, Michael, Paletta, misc. forums). I think I've got my equipment list and livestock desires together and wondered if you could give any suggestions on it. Picked up a used 65G (used for freshwater) that I've cleaned (vinegar) and disinfected (peroxide). I'll be adding approximately 50 lbs. of Fiji live rock and about 2" of live sand. An Eheim Pro II 2026 or 2028 (running with carbon, and anything else you'd recommend.) Two Hydor Koralia 1 powerheads on a simple wavemaker, and an Aqua C Remora Pro skimmer. For the lighting I was initially going to get a Current USA Sundial 156 watt T5 fixture (love the integrated timers and moon lights), but am now leaning towards the 36" 234 watt Nova Extreme Pro as I want to shoot for a BTA at some point (is this enough light?). <Should be. The anemone should settle higher up in the tank with this lighting.> As for livestock I plan to have (over time of course) an Ocellaris Clown, a Yellow Tang, some sort of dwarf angel, and a couple of Flasher Wrasse (undecided), a Cleaner Shrimp, and a BTA for the clown (this is the whole point of my system actually and I know lighting is crucial). I'd love to add a refugium at some point so that I can support copepods for a Mandarin, and macroalgae. Is this too much of a bioload? <Not from a bioload perspective, but I must say I am not a fan of keeping any tang in a 36" long tank. These fish appreciate and thrive with space to swim.> Thanks for all the information you folks have shared already. Corey <Welcome Corey, one more point of input on this. With your skimmer and live rock the only benefit the canister will give you is running carbon. If you feel the need to do so, you can do this far cheaper for now with a little power filter. Later, when you set up the refugium you can incorporate a little filtration area in which to run the carbon. Scott V.>

Re: Equipment choices on a new system, FOWLR   2/17/09 Thanks for the input Scott. <Welcome.> Based on your advice I'll switch the Yellow Tang for a Lemonpeel Angel and leave some room for an algae cleaning crew if necessary. <Do be sure to read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/c_flavissimus.htm, be careful with selection of the angel, be picky!> I appreciate the tip on the power filter. Think I'll go with a Hagen Aquaclear 70. <It is a more reasonable option.> I want to tell you folks how great you are. This is the best FAQ/Resource I've found. Keep it up! <Thanks Corey!> Thanks again, Corey <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Filtration Challenge, FOWLR  03/10/2008 Hello, <<G'Morning, Andrew today>> Great site! I am setting up a 125 gallon FOWLR tank. I have two storage locations beneath my stand for a sump but unfortunately neither is large enough for a wet/dry filter rated for 125 gal. The two compartments are 17" wide x 19" deep x 24 1/2" high each. The guy at my LFS said he could build a custom filter about 15" high (so I could access the filter pads etc.), but it would only hold about 20 gal. of water, which isn't quite enough for a tank this size. He said I need at least 20 percent of the water volume of the main tank in the sump, so he suggested I place a smaller wet/dry filter in one of the compartments and a pump with an additional reservoir of water in the other compartment. <<Sounds feasible>> The water would flow from the tank into the wet/dry filter and then into the additional reservoir of water (where I would place the protein skimmer if it doesn't fit in the wet/dry filter) and then get pumped back into the tank. Does the additional reservoir of water sound like a good idea? <<it does sound like a viable solution to me. How much live rock do you have in the system??>> Is it the volume of water in the sump that matters or the amount of bio-media, or both? <<A lot is to do with water volume as well as filter media. A larger volume of water is going to aid in stability>> Will my tank suffer because I don't have the amount of bio-media suggested for this size of tank? Would it be better to do two wet/dry filters rated for 75 gal. tanks? <<As asked above, how much live rock do you have in the tank? Answer that question first, and we'll take it from there. Thanks for the help, Brendon <<Thanks for the question. A Nixon>>

Filtration Set-up Question, FOWLR  1/5/08 Hey Crew, <Hello Jonathan.> I learned something the hard way. When my boy was 3, I told him that we would get him a fish tank when he turned 5. I never thought he would remember as we never brought the idea up again. He turns 5 in February and randomly blurted out a couple of months ago, "I get a fish tank when I turn 5!" <It is amazing what they remember, the exact same thing happen with my nephew.> So I'm in the process of researching setting up a FOWLR tank that is on a very tight budget. I got a 46 gallon bowfront tank (36 X 16 X 20), am planning on getting about 40lbs of live rock, a 192w power-compact lighting system, will do some sort of protein skimmer, and am struggling to decide what is the best option for filtration under a budget of about $250 (that money would be for protein skimmer and anything else). I hope to one day, have a Royal Gramma, Ocellaris Clownfish, Bicolor Blenny, Coral Beauty Angel, maybe a 6-line Wrasse, and then some cleaner shrimp. My LFS suggested I get an All Flo Freedom Filter, however I've read a lot of mixed reviews about its ability to protein skim. <Not to talk ill of a product, but I personally don't like these.> I had a reef tank 5 years ago that had Live Rock and a Berlin Protein Skimmer and that was it. It did okay. I've been reading about setting up sumps/refugiums, but worry I can't get that done on a $250 budget and still get a good skimmer. <Yes tough to do.> What would you do? Should I just get a good protein skimmer a save to set a refugium type thing in a year or 2, get some mechanical filtration, I'm just a bit lost in all the options and varied opinions. Can you help me. <Well, a protein skimmer would definitely be number one priority. An AquaC Remora will come under your budget and give good performance. A sump is not a necessity, many successful tanks do not use one. The other thing to do is to look through your local classifieds or Craigslist and find a used setup. Some amazing deals can be had here if you are patient. If you are at all handy with do it yourself, they are easy enough to build or adapt from another tank, or even Rubbermaid bins.> Thanks a lot. I appreciate the trustworthy wealth of information you provide. Jonathan <Very welcome, I do encourage you to read through the FAQ's on DIY sumps, it is not too difficult to do, Scott V.> http://wetwebmedia.com/refugconstfaqs.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i1/Baffles/baffles.htm

Filtration, FOWLR   10/20/07 Hello all, great website as usual, I have a quick question about my tank. It is a 125 gallon FOWLR and I used to have crushed coral and a UGF on it. As per our conversations, I pulled the CC and UGF plates and switched over to live sand successfully with no livestock loss. I used to have two Fluvals, but one of them stopped working. I used a single Fluval 403 with all the media removed and filled with live rock rubble. My question is this. Should I spend money on a Nu clear canister filter, or an Aqua C Remora Pro? <Definitely the latter over the former> Which will provide me more benefit? I am planning on both eventually, but which one would you recommend first? <... the skimmer. I would not buy/use another canister filter here... I would place a sump, refugium if you have the room, inclination...> I appreciate your quick response as usual, but need to know this as I am supposed to meet a guy later tonight or tomorrow morning to buy his Nu Clear filter. Any insight you can give me would be much appreciated. Douglas M. Payne Jr. <Bob Fenner>

Re: Filtration FOWLR  - 10/20/07 Awesome, that's what I was thinking actually. Don't know why I got on the canister filter kick. Is it acceptable to use a closed loop system with suction and return instead of overflows with the sump??? <Absolutely! Please take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm and browse through the section entitled 'Circulation, Pumps, Aeration' - Brian Griffin >

Filtration For 55-Gallon FOWLR - 09/10/07 Good Day, <<Hello>> I have a 55gal saltwater FOWLR tank. Currently there is about 25 lbs of live rock, 1-inch of sugar-fine sand, a Whisper 60 filter, a Berlin Airlift 60 protein skimmer, and an Aquaclear 70 powerhead. <<Hmmm...equipment/filtration choices could be better, and there is need for more/better water movement here>> For fish, I have two 1-inch Yellow Tailed Damsels. I plan on removing the 2 damsels and placing them into a separate tank. I would like to slowly add a Saddle Puffer, a Blenny (either Bicolor or Lawnmower), a smaller butterfly (not sure which yet.. will research) and a smaller Mono (that has been slowly acclimated to full marine conditions and will be moved to a larger tank within 2 years). <<A few comments... The Mono is a true marine fish and always best kept in full-strength marine systems...and yes, will need a bigger tank than you have now. A Butterfly may work out, but a swift and agile Dwarf Angel species may do better as the Toby is likely to get "nippy"... Centropyge loricula gets my vote. And obviously, you are going to need to augment/get better filtration>> I have a few questions. <<Okay>> First, it's about my protein skimmer. There are 2 sizes of wooden air stones. The smaller size fits in the tubing but doesn't produce nearly enough bubbles, while the larger sized produces enough bubbles, but doesn't fit in the tubing, and the air goes up both chambers. I've tried taking out one level of the tubing but it doesn't seem to work that well. My air pump is older but I've checked for any kinks in the tubing and I'm sure it's working fine. It's a large sized pump. Any suggestions to remedy the air-problem? <<This sounds like a result of poor engineering/design re the Berlin skimmer. You could try carving "custom" air stones from Basswood (can be found at most "hobby" stores) to maximize available space, but your time/effort/monies would be better spent upgrading from this less than adequate skimmer. My suggestion for your current setup would be the AquaC Remora or Remora-Pro>> Second, I would like to add a second filter to increase the anticipated filtration needed with the added livestock. <<Indeed>> I have read many articles, and it seems like the Aquaclear 50 or 70 would be preferred over adding a second Whisper 60 filter, but I'm not sure. <<Maybe...but like the Whisper filter it will require diligent care to prevent buildup/decomposition of nitrogenous waste while providing little in the way of biological filtration. I think you would be better served with a fluidized-bed filter as these don't accumulate detritus like the other filters and are able to "ramp up" quickly with changing bio-loads>> I have a smaller tank setup with an Aquaclear, and like the functionality as well as the options for filtration. Should I bother adding another filter? <<I think some additional biological filtration will be needed/have benefit, yes>> If so, should I add the Aquaclear or the Whisper (or any other suggested filter?) <<The fluidized-bed filter...as stated>> Third, if I do add the Aquaclear, should I keep the 3 stages of filtration as is, or would trying "3 stages" of activated carbon work? <<Mmm, yes...if you go with this type filter, carbon and Poly-Filter will serve better than merely "trapping" particulates with a mechanical filter material>> Thank you (all) for the incredible amount of knowledge and information I've gained through this site!!!! Eric <<We're all quite happy to share. Do also consider adding a sump for the additional water volume and space for ancillary equipment...as well as a vegetable refugium with DSB for organics/nitrate removal along with a slew of other benefits. Oh yeah...don't forget to add more water movement in the display...the fish will appreciate it and the system as whole will benefit. Regards, EricR>>

Re: Filtration For 55-Gallon FOWLR - 09/10/07 Eric, <<Eric>> Thank you for the quick response. <<Quite welcome>> I've been around saltwater aquariums for only about 6 months or so, and my roommate (who introduced me to freshwater a year ago) has had freshwater for about 5 years... <<Thank you for this...is always helpful to know the experience level of those I'm trying to assist so I can ascertain the depth of explanation required. And while we're sharing...I set up my first fish-only marine system in 1977...began with freshwater keeping some years before this>> and neither of us have really heard of Fluidized-Bed filters, even though I read WWM about 10 hours per week since the start of my saltwater tank... <<I see...some helpful reading here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fluidbedfaqs.htm), as well as here for more general marine filtration (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm). Do be sure to follow/read among the associated links in blue as well>> So I will definitely read about them in WWM. <<Ah...very good>> In the meantime, can you make some quick suggestions as to a good brand (just like you did with the Skimmer?) <<Mmm, not a lot of choices really...try a keyword search on the NET for QuickSand and/or Rainbow fluidized-bed filters>> And if I get an excellent skimmer such as the ones mentioned below, will I still need to add an additional filter, such as the Fluidized-Bed or Aquaclear/Whisper? <<Maybe not...will depend much on your stocking level and species selection. But the fluidized-bed filter is a "good to have" device for a FOWLR tank that is fairly inexpensive and easy to install...worth doing anyway, in my opinion>> I will definitely purchase more powerheads to increase water movement. <<Excellent...do also read here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm)>> I have also been thinking... (a lot about my stocking plan) I figure it's better for the fish - stress, health (and my pocketbook) if I go very slowly and plan out my fish purchases first. <<I am much in agreement>> But about the Centropyge loricula - (actually, I was leaning toward the Lemonpeel angel... as a consideration instead of the butterfly) <<The Lemonpeel is a much more delicate species...definitely not for the novice/for this 55g system>> Let's say I don't purchase the puffer, would the Chaetodon auriga be a more hardy addition than a pygmy angel? <<This is a very good "aquarium suitable" species of butterfly...and I think this would be the better long-term solution for you/your tank over the Toby>> I agree with you about the fin nipping of the puffer, and that's another area for research. <<Indeed>> Further, will the Mono be OK with the puffer? <<Probably...for a time...is very quick>> Do you foresee any issues with the pygmy angel or the butterfly? (He was my first fish, and is in full marine conditions now, but is a bit skittish, and VERY fast). <<Will be okay as far as compatibility I think...but as you already know, the Mono needs a bigger tank>> Thanks again for all the help. Eric <<Happy to assist. Eric Russell>>

R2: Filtration For 55-Gallon FOWLR - 09/12/07 Eric, <<Eric>> Once again, thanks for the help. <<My pleasure>> I've been reading about the fluidized-bed filters and I'm not really sold on it yet. <Oh?>> From what I've been reading, it looks like it's mostly for highly fluctuating bioloads and/or large tanks with heavy bioloads -- mostly in the beginning stages of cycling, correct? <<Mmm...is not just for "the beginning stages." And as for highly fluctuating bioloads...that is why I recommend them as this is a prevalent condition with heavily stocked systems and/or systems with messy feeders...both being very common to FO and FOWLR systems>> Either way, I'll read more. <<Okay>> This is actually a pretty exciting time, as I'm reading and doing a lot of research about fish. <<Excellent>> I've probably seriously thought about a dozen different fish that I'd like to add. <<Do feel free to bounce your choices off me once you get down to your short-list>> I'm not sure yet. <<And no need to rush it>> As for the question about the skimmer, the reading I've done in regard to the skimmers suggests I should ditch the skimmer I currently have and upgrade to a better model. <<Is my opinion as well>> Luckily the skimmer came included with a great deal on a 30 gal tank I currently have set up, so it won't be much of a monetary loss. <<I see>> As for the skimmer, I'm thinking of an AquaC Remora hang on variety. <<Is an excellent choice>> Those are pretty expensive though. Are there sites that I could find those on for cheap? (Besides Ebay, Craigslist, etc.) <<Hmm, not that I am aware...but the couple-hundred dollars spent on a quality skimmer for your system is cheap by comparison>> Thanks again, Eric <<Regards, EricR>>

R3: Filtration For 55-Gallon FOWLR - 09/13/07 Eric, <<Tis I, my friend>> Thank you. <<Welcome>> That is MORE information to read and think about! <<Yes>> It's good though. <<Indeed>> And exciting. <<Many wonders ahead...>> I have a quick question. <<Okay>> I'm a HUGE fan of blennies, and I'm considering three different varieties. (I will only keep one in the tank) The first choice on my list is a Starry Blenny (Salarias ramosus). <<Will require large amounts of algae in its diet>> I love how they look and act. <<Can be quite comical/entertaining to observe>> There is one in the LFS that looks really healthy and has great coloration. However, I'm concerned over the fact that my tank is pretty new (most of the live rock was bought from another aquarist who took excellent care of it, and has a lot of Coralline algae, but it's only 25 lbs. (mostly small pieces, very porous stuff.) Will the Starry (or Lawnmower as well, actually) feed on any vegetable diet I add to the tank, ex: Formula 2 or algae sheets/wafers, or will he tend to pass on added frozen foods and stick with only algae, etc. that already exists in the tank? <<I have seen instances where these fish eat anything dropped in the tank...but is not the rule here. If you can train the Blenny to the alga products, great...if not, you can "culture" filamentous algae on small rocks (in a different vessel) to switch out form time to time to keep the Blenny fed.>> My second choice would be a Bi-Color Blenny. <<Should prove easier to feed/keep than the Salarias species>> I have had these eat algae in the tank and have seen them eat the frozen food (Mysis, Formula 2, Krill, Plankton, ETC). <<Indeed, will usually take to prepared foods quite well...in my experience>> I like these as well, although not as much as the Starry. My third choice would be a Lawnmower Blenny. <<Pretty much the same challenges/considerations/requirements as the Starry Blenny>> Any thoughts on these? <<Considering the size and "newness" of the tank, as well as your newness to the hobby...I think the Bicolor Blenny (or one of the other Ecsenius species) is the best choice for now>> I do realize my choice may be limited by the other fish I add. <<Yes>> But I'm leaning toward either a Flame angel or a Butterfly, and a pair of False Perc's... (those are just considerations now, I will continue to plan). I don't think there should be much difference between the three I list in regard to compatibility with these fish, correct? <<Should do fine with your proposed stocking plan, agreed>> (I also don't plan on adding any corals or polyps to this tank either) <<Other say differently, but I consider Blennies on the lesser reef/invert compatible fishes>> Thanks again for your input! Eric <<Always happy to share. EricR>>

What do you think about this sump for a 180 - 210 gal FOWLR? ***  4/25/07  http://futurepet.com/cgi-bin/FULLPRES.exe?PARTNUM=ACA794096*<http://futurepet.com/cgi-bin/FULLPRES.exe?PARTNUM=ACA794096> <Looks like a nice, practical unit... I do like the first chambers filter sock (needs to be cleaned at least once a week... I'd have two... one to take out, clean, have drying... while the other's in service)... and use the sump area for placing a skimmer... Bob Fenner>

Replacing a Canister - Upgrade in Filtration For A FOWLR and Thanks - 10/17/2006 Thank you for the awesome resource of material that you provide to the general populations. I did search for the information, but I did not see anything that I could really use. I have a quick question for you today. < No worries, we are here to help. > I am toying with the removal of my canister from my tank. I have a Eheim 2026 in a 55G FOWLR, I have an Remora Pro with a Mag3 two 1200 and I am going to be putting in one Tunze 6060 this weekend, and I also have about 75 lbs of live rock. Could I do this without having a problem with spiking nitrogen or ammonia? 15% water change every other week and I clean the Eheim every week. < Deja Vu! I did this with my Eheim 2017 on a 55g about 6 years ago. This should go fine if you remove about 25% of the media a week. You can leave the foam filters in until you have removed all of the ceramic media. > Fish 2 - Clowns 1 - Blue Hippo 1 - Blue Angel 1 - Huma Huma (Yes, the new tank is coming in early November) < Hope it is 200g+! > I have a question with this on sand. I am wanting to have live sand, but I have decided against a DSB. What is the best live and to purchase and do you know of where to purchase it? < There is nothing wrong with buying dry sand since it will become "live" in a short time thanks to your live rock. You can ask your LFS or someone you know with an established healthy tank for a cup of sand to add to your fresh sand. If you just have to have a bag of "live sand" you can look online or at your LFS. You will get similar results from the many brands available. > Again, Thank you for making this a thoroughly enjoyable hobby. < You are most welcome and best of luck with your new tank! - Emerson > Scot Marine Filtration Equipment    4/16/06 I have a 30gal oceanic cube that I will be starting a FOWLR. <Sounds fun.> I have an Eheim 2217 Canister filter, or an emperor 400, (I have a Prism Skimmer, and about 20 pounds of live rock, and 40 pounds of live sand) that I would like to use, any problem with this? <Well honestly, neither the canister nor the emperor HOT filter are great ways to filter marine aquaria and the skimmer you have selected is shall we say not up to par with the others in it's class.  So not my choices, but can it me made to work? Possibly with proper and frequent maintenance.> Is a canister filter a recipe for disaster?   <If you use lots of detritus trapping media and don't clean it out at leas 1 to 2 times a week, yes it will be a disaster in my experience.> Or can it be used simply by changing the media inside. <I would rather you use no media at all, just use the canister as a means of extra water flow, possibly utilize it at times to run carbon or phosphate media.> I will have a few inverts, as well as clown fish with some soft corals. <That makes it a reef not a FOWLR.> A wet/dry seem to be amongst the opinion recommended by most, <No for a reef tank a wet-dry is not recommended, my preference is an oversized skimmer a macro-algae refugium and LOTS of water flow.> but I would like to use the equip I already have. <Then you will be performing heavy maintenance including weekly waterchanges of AT LEAST 10%.> Thank You <Anytime.> Matt
<Adam J.>

Filtration Selection  - 2/11/2006 Hey Gang, <Hey Chris>      I'm in the process of re-doing my 65 gallon (Tall) tank because of poor production, and I could use all the help you guys can send my way.  My tank will be a FOWLR.  I recently purchased a Turboflotor 1000 multi protein skimmer and have been driving myself crazy searching for a quality sump as well.  Lately, I have been second guessing my decision for the protein skimmer because of the semi-bad reviews other readers have e-mailed you about them.  So I found myself searching online again and ended up at Lifereef filter systems website.  Are you familiar with this company? <Yes.> They offer all different kinds of complete systems.  One of their models, the CLF1 caught my eye because it's compact and comes with everything.  The CLF1 is for aquariums up to 150 gallons and includes: (1) Berlin-style sump & covers, (2) foam block & pad, (3) Lifereef VS2-24 (in-sump) venturi protein skimmer with Magdrive 9 pump, (4) a second Magdrive 9 pump for circulation, (5) all fittings, hoses, clamps, & (6) tapped holes for R/O water & calcium reactor.  This system costs $729.00 which seems a bit much, but what do you think? <Well you've got a 150 bucks in pumps alone and a decent skimmer is going to run 200+, so you have close to 400 bucks without firing a shot.  Not too bad.> Is this a quality product that is worth the money? <Very good product and excellent workmanship.  The choice is yours whether you want to spend the bucks.  For example, a CPR wet/dry capable of handling your tank is going to run about $180, no pumps, skimmer or hoses.> Should I return the Turboflotor and commit to the Lifereef CLF1? <For a turnkey system, it's not a bad price and it is a quality system.> If you are not familiar with this product I attached two pictures with this e-mail.  One picture is a diagram explaining how everything works and the other is a basic photo.  I would appreciate any opinions you can give me at this point.   I only have a couple more questions and then I'll leave you guys alone.  Taking into account the importance to not overload aquariums what would be the maximum number of fish that I could have in my 65 gallon tank?  Also is it better to have a few big fish or a bunch of small fish dealing with their waste and water quality in the tank? <I've always liked the look with smaller fish in a system your size.  As far as a maximum number that all depends on the bulk of the fish not length.  I've always thought one cubic inch of fish per five gallons was a safe bet.  For example, three Chromis would not amount to one cubic inch.> Last question, With FOWLR tanks are there any special lighting needed for the live rock to survive, especially when I'm at a disadvantage with the tall setup? <Only if there are light loving inverts on the rock.>   Thanks for your help, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Chris

Filtration For A Messy Crowd  11/21/05 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I was wondering if this stocking plan and filtration was good for a 55 gallon (4ft. long) saltwater FOWLR tank: AquaClear 70 HOB filter Red Sea Prizm Skimmer 60lbs. Live Rock 40lbs. Live Sand Fish: 1 Valentini Puffer (Toby) 1 Green Spotted Puffer (Started as FW then BW now SW) 1 Yellow Tang And is this tank large enough to house all of these fish forever? <In my opinion, no. These fish, although not very large, are producers of copious amounts of metabolic waste. A larger volume of water and more aggressive filtration is needed to help dilute the waste and provide more physical "space" for these fishes. I'd think about a larger tank down the line.> And is this all the filtration I would need? <While mechanical filtration is valuable with heavy metabolic-waste-producing fishes, you do need to make sure that you're getting lots of skimmate production from the Prizm, and that you're replacing the mechanical filtration media frequently. Also, be sure to perform regular water changes on this tank, and to be sure to utilize chemical filtration media (activated carbon/Poly Filter, etc.) regularly.> I just want to have enough filtration... Thanks, Mark <Understood, Mark! If you adhere to conscientious maintenance practices, your filtration may be adequate. Good luck to you! Regards, Scott F.> 

Auxiliary Filtration Choices, FOWLR 10/15/05 Hello Bob and the rest of the WetWeb Crew! <Hello!> I'm looking to replace a filter which just emptied itself all over the floor.  <Sorry to hear that.>  I have a well established 55 gallon FOWLR with about 40 lbs of LR and a Remora skimmer.  <Awesome skimmer.>  I have a wrasse and 2 clowns. I need help deciding if I should buy an Eheim canister filter (or wet/dry) or if I should leave it up to the skimmer and LR. I want to be sure that there is plenty of oxygen, water movement, and that the large amount of waste from the wrasse isn't all over the tank. Any suggestions?  <Well to be honest I'm not a fan of canister filters on marine tanks. With the removal (breakage) of your current hang on filter I am guessing you have some room on the back of the tank? If so I would look into a hang on the back refugium. However, if you feel the need to get a canister filter then Eheim would be my choice but I would clean it weekly to avoid nutrient accumulation.>  Also, I've never used a canister filter and have a question about installation. I don't want to do any drilling. I read in another post about an overflow box. Is this what I need?  <No most canister filters have two hoses that hand over the side, one for intake the other for return. Very simple to use.> Thanks.  Sorry for asking questions that I could probably figure out by reading through more posts, but I'm very busy right now and I'm worried that by the time I can sit down and research, all the fish will be dead. <Actually you have time to research with the amount of live rock you have and such an efficient skimmer as long as you keep up on water changes you will be fine.> Thank you all! <No trouble Adam J.>
Re: Auxiliary Filtration Choices, FOWLR 10/18/05
Adam, <I'm here.> Thanks for the quick reply to my question.  <You're welcome.>  I have a follow-up question if you don't mind.  <Not at all.>  I initially considered a refugium, but dismissed that idea due to a lack of space as well as skill,  <They don't have to be big even a refugium of 2 or 3 gallons can work wonders.>  so I like the idea of a hang-on, especially for algae control.  <Yes they are efficient and simple to use.>  I was looking at the CPR AquaFuge medium model that holds 3.6 gallons (Which is all I have room for).  <It's a great product.> However, I read in another post that a refugium should be at least 15-20% of the tank size (3.6 gallons is about 7%).  <This is simply a rule of thumb but honestly any refugium is better than none.>  Will this along with the skimmer and LR, be effective,  <Yes it will be effective, you may not see results immediately but in time you will.>  or should I just buy another hang-on filter along with about 10 more lbs of LR? <No definitely go for the 'fuge.> Thanks for your continuing help! <Anytime, Adam J.> 

Filtration For A FOWLR - 10/04/05 First off I'd like to say how amazing your website is and how many tight binds it has gotten me out of. <<Thank you...glad it has been useful.>> I am in the process of purchasing equipment to get my new 135 gallon tank up and running.  Right now I have a 29 gallon FOWLR with a Marineland Bio Wheel 200 and a Bak Pak protein skimmer.  I know neither of these will be sufficient for my new tank and I don't really know if I should go with a wet/dry filter or a hang on back setup. <<Likely you'll need the extra capacity of the wet/dry.>> If I go the wet/dry route I want to do a ProClear 150 with a built in protein skimmer. <<The "built in" protein skimmer is an issue in my eyes.  You really need to consider investing in a quality skimmer (Euroreef, ASM, AquaC, etc.) sized appropriately for the system.>> If I go hang on back I want to run a pair of  Emperor 400s along with either a Turboflotor 1000 protein skimmer or a Coralife protein skimmer (the venturi or the needle wheel?). <<Your choice...but not the route I would take.>> I guess my questions are:  Which route would be the best (price is not a worry), and which of the protein skimmers for the hang on back set up would be better? <<Of the two choices, the first...as outlined.  But if I may... I would consider outfitting a FOWLR with a large sump, a "quality" skimmer, and a fluidized bed filter (rather than the wet/dry), and some type of chemical media reactor for carbon/poly-filter.>> Thank you so much for your help, I know this is a very confusing bunch of questions.  Keep up the good work. <<Regards, EricR>>

FOWLR filtration questions Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 I've been researching setting up a new FOWLR tank for a couple of weeks - WOW, is there a lot to learn but getting to the point where I can start making a list of kit but still have some questions on a suitable filter system. I've read a lot of the previous FAQ's but none have quite answered my questions - yet.   Ideally, I want a lower maintenance system to start with and would like to automate as much of the water change process as possible. I'd also like to keep it as tidy and simple as possible (can't risk leaks etc where this tank will go). I also want to keep the visible equipment in the tank to an absolute minimum. I'll be getting a tank custom made and drilled and building the cabinet myself. Planned tank size will be something like 60"L x 20"W x 28"D (121 Imp Gal minus LR and other decoration I think?). I plan to keep a FOWLR setup with a few of the hardier inverts if possible (still more research to do yet though). Maybe, over time, I'll want to get more into a reef setup but want to start with FOWLR. I've been looking at the Eheim filters and the 2128 or 2329 look quite good, both being wet/dry with heater built in. <Paul, these filters haven't been getting very good reviews from people I have talked to. I can't personally verify this as I've never saw one in operation.> was also thinking about having a UV sterilizer  <I personally wouldn't invest any money in a sterilizer, but use the money toward a very efficient skimmer.> and skimmer. How would these be most effectively deployed and connected?  <If you insist on the sterilizer it is best placed after a filtering zone in the system for the most effectiveness. The skimmer is actually opposite. The input water to the skimmer should come right from the overflow. Most aquarists place them in their wet/dry sumps which keeps it out of view.> If I want to automate water changes, do I need a sump? Is there another way to do it? Should I just go for a sump with all the mess it entails?  <The sumps serve a variety of purposes. You can place your skimmer, heater, ph probes etc. so nothing shows in your tank as you would like. I don't feel that the sumps are that messy. Some people will "hard pipe" the system together. As far as automated water changes I would probably use two identical dosing pumps, one to remove the water for a programmed time, and another to fill the system with your new water. On the later I would incorporate a float switch so when the level reaches a set point it would shut off the "fill" pump. Myself being a "controls installer" I would use a circuit with a couple miniature relays so that once the fill was complete, the fill dosing pump would not start again if the float switch was low unless it were given a command by an input device such as a pushbutton. Other than that, try posting this on the "chat forum" on the wet web media site. James (Salty Dog)> Many thanks for such a stunning web site - I can't believe you don't charge for all this info.  Paul.  <Thank you, it's strictly from the heart>

Filtration for a 90 gallon tank  I have a 90 gallon tank that has been running for 7 months. I have about 70lbs of live rock, 1 damsel, 4 Chromis, 1 goby, crabs and snails. I have been using a Fluval 404. I have also been testing the water weekly to make sure everything is within range. I was told that for a fish and invert tank I should switch to a wet/dry filter and add a skimmer. I am confused about sumps, hang on skimmers and wet/dry filters. I know these things cost a lot of money and I want to make a wise purchase when I switch over. I have read quite a bit and I am still confused. Can you direct me on what I need to keep a healthy tank? Can you recommend the appropriate equipment and good brands? <Debbie, it is not absolutely necessary to have a wet/dry although they dramatically improve oxygen in the system and offer a place to put a skimmer. If I were to pick from the two (if money were an object), I would go with a good protein skimmer. They also help oxygenate the water while removing organic waste. Changing 10% of the water weekly aids in a healthy system by restoring lost trace elements and reducing nitrate/phosphate levels by means of dilution. I personally prefer the AquaC line of skimmers because they are about 98% hassle free. There are other good brands that also do an efficient job. Adding Chemi-Pure to your Fluval is also a good idea as it will remove some impurities a skimmer cannot and really improves the clarity of the water. Good luck, Debbie. James (Salty Dog)> 

Filtration for a 215 gal FOWLR tank People, << Blundell today. >> Love the site, but have some questions about my setup. I am purchasing an Oceanic 215 RR Aquarium with stand and canopy for FO. The aquarium will have internal overflows at both ends. I will not be adding corals at any stage. I will also purchase either a Euro-reef CS12-1 or CS-12-2 skimmer. I want to keep Emperor Angel, Clown Triggerfish, mostly those classes of fish. Here are my questions; what type of filtration should I use for this set-up? << About 150 pounds of live rock, about 200 pounds of sand, and a 55 gal refugium. >> What type of substrate in the aquarium? << I love crushed coral. >> How much live rock should be uses and any preference? << No real preference.  I'd probably mix it up, but at least 150 pounds. >> I am planning on flow rates for the water at 20-times capacity. I will treat diseases in a quarantine tank. << Don't forget a refugium. >> Thanks, Gary Gauthier <<  Blundell  >>
& Durso stand pipe?
People, One thing I forgot is I am also planning to use the Durso standpipes unless you think this will hamper the flow rates. << Use them.  Everyone who has them seems to like them, so I guess they are worth it. >> Thanks, Gary Gauthier

Wet/Dry of a Refugium? Blundell, When I went to purchase a 58-gallon aquarium, my LFS told me I would be better with a wet/dry system and that a refugium is mostly for a reef aquarium. << I know people say that, but I don't think so.  I really think a refugium can out perform a wet/dry any day. >> The waste load created by the fish and feeding would surpass the refugium. I was told the skimmer needed would be a downdraft skimmer. Are these valid reasons to go with a wet/dry? << The skimmer doesn't need to be a down draft, but a powerful skimmer is definitely a good idea. As for the refugium, I guess you could look around at other tanks and see what looks like it will work best for you.  Personally I see lots of people converting their wet/dry's into refugia. >> Thanks, Gary Gauthier <<  Blundell  >>

Filtration for a FOWLR Thanks for your advice.  I was not planning on live rock and refugium.  I have that set up with my 140 gal reef tank with 200 lb LR, connected to a 36 gal refugium with lots of macroalgae and two pairs of seahorses.  This set up has been very successful and incredibly healthy.  I thought that since I would most likely end up medicating the fish-only tank, live rock would not be a good choice.  Am I misinformed? << Well even if you do medicate a tank, I think live rock is the key to any marine tank.  I wouldn't set up a marine tank (FOWLR or Reef) without live rock.  I really think it is even more important in a FOWLR where you often times have more waste products that need to be broken down. >> <<  Blundell  >>

FOWLR filtration 09/01/03 <Good morning, PF with you> I've got a question for you. New tank, several messy eaters in a 90 gallon (not set up yet). Porcupine know about the size) <Unless you want a tank about 4 or 5 times that size, I'd say no> Trigger of some kind looked at a Pinktail but the size) Pinkface wrasse yellow tang maybe some others Thought about two triggers) <I would stop right there, you're already getting close the limit> Anyway, I've already bought 50 lbs of base rock that I plan to seed with about 45 lbs of live rock. My skimmer is a Berlin with a mag5. Would I benefit from wet dry technology with the bioload I could be face with? I so, would the live rock help control nitrates? Please help, I'm ready to set up, but I read so many conflicting opinions. <Well, A DSB wouldn't hurt www.WetWebMedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm. A refugium would also be a very good idea, not only pulling nutrients out through macro algae, but also by providing food items for your fish. www.WetWebMedia.com/refugium.htm. A wet/dry will remove ammonia, but it will also breed nitrates. While fish are less susceptible to nitrates, they're still not good for them. Hope this helps, PF>

I know You must be sick of answering  Fish/Reef Q's, but.... over 20 yrs experience with F/water....and now converting a 85G f/water tank using existing equipment to a Marine tank using the following a modified UGF with a Maxi-jet 1200 w/approx:4.5" substrate (crushed coral) AquaClear 500 w/surface Skimmer and BioStars <I would not use this setup....I would go with a sump/refugium setup which will prove to be more beneficial than the route that you seem to be going> I would like to have a Fish/Live Rock/Invertebrate environment Max Bioload: 15 small fish , i.e. Yellowtail Damsels, Invertebrates. still TBD<The refugium will help both your small fish and inverts> Is this going to be ok (as far as filtration/water flow/etc).<It might work out. but don't you want to do what's best for your fish? I would go with the sump/refugium> I don't want to have top invest in anymore equipment...<Well I would invest both your money and time in setting up a refugium for this aquarium, Good luck with your decision making, IanB> Thanks for any advice

Tank With A Vision I've been reading a ton again! <Excellent habit to have!> I love this site.  It's now my homepage. <Mine, too. LOL> I have a decided I want to have a fish only/live rock tank community tank. I purchased 250 lbs of live rock to be added on Tuesday. I have 200 lbs of fine aragonite sand (about 2-3inches deep) I also am adding a calcium reactor.  Don't think I need it for live rock, but I have it for when I decide to step up to full reef. <Good move...The "itch" will likely strike, particularly if you hang out with SPS geeks, like I do...You can't resist these people! They are generous to a fault, and soon your tank will be filled with "fuzzy sticks", and you'll be obsessed with seeing purple tips on your Acropora! Ahhrrghhh!> My question involves bio bale.  Do I live it in or take it out?  I read to take it out for reek but leave it for fish.  I also read to take out the prefilter and sponges in overflow box. <I personally like to remove all plastic media. You can use the sponge, but clean it really frequently (like daily), or it will become a "nutrient trap" of sorts.> If I do take them out do I need any mechanical filters? <Well, you can use "micron filter socks" or other media, as long as you change them or clean them very frequently> Should I just fill the sump with live rock too? <I would> Does the live rock in a sump have to be full submerged? <For the most part.> Does my sand need to be deeper? <I subscribe to the "1/2" or less or 3" or more" philosophy. Although, I just read an article in a magazine by accomplished aquarist/author Richard Harker which seems to imply that a 2-3 inch bed is acceptable. It all goes to show you that there are so many viewpoints on this. I'd follow generally accepted techniques, and go with what works best for you.> Thanks Again.....I value your opinion and take you advice immediately....Anxiously awaiting, Dave Boswell <Glad that things are going well, Dave. It's important to have a vision and plan. Just avoid people hawking those "fuzzy sticks", and you'll be okay for a while! LOL! Regards, Scott F.>

Filtration in a FOWLR setup - 3/2/04 In regards to your wonderful insights. <My/our pleasure>  This will be a fish only tank. <Very well>  I understand that the live rock acts as natural biological filtration. <You bet. The best filtration>  What about mechanical and chemical? Are they not important? <Well, yes. As long as a watchful eye is kept to them. Read about them here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marmechf.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chemFiltrMar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reeffilt.htm> Or will the protein skimmer take care of the mechanical part of it. <To some degree yes but doesn't hurt to have additional measures for handling bioload> I'm also nervous about live rock, since my last batch contained a 5 inch bristleworm (talk about panic mode). <Not really something to panic about. Most bristleworms prove to be useful overall>  I got no sleep the night I found that. <I wouldn't worry much about it.> I ripped that tank apart and totally flipped out.  What can I say, I'm a girl, and it was scary looking. <They are scary and they are made out to be threatening to inhabitants but I assure you that only the very largest of bristleworms are a real threat> So are you saying that if I get more live rock, I won't need the Fluval 404 at all? <Well, in some ways yes. Read the sites above and the FAQ links and judge for yourself. The answers are there with some will on your part> I hate to ask, what must seem like basic questions, but I want to make sure I do this right. <Noooo.....I totally understand! I found this site way too late in my setup. That is why I help here.>  Also, what exactly does a protein skimmer do? <http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/proteinskimmers/a/aa052200.htm> Any help would be much appreciated.  Thanks again. <The pleasure is all mine, Cathy. Thanks for being part of it all ~Paul> Cathy

Picking the Proper Power Filter Is the Tetratec 500 a good filter? I have a FOWLR 135 gallon tank.  I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Tetratec 500? If this isn't a good one could you steer me towards another brand? <I happen to like that filter myself.  It is well made and very efficient.  However, I would not use it for the sole means of filtration for a 135.  I would either supplement it with another mechanical filter, or (and this is my best recommendation) I would use a very simple sump system.  Be sure to include a protein skimmer in your system as this is your first line of defense of unwanted organics.  BTW, for a nice review of power filters including this model see Steven Pro's article in the latest issue of Conscientious Aquarist Online Magazine right here on the WWM site!  Hope this helps.  Regards, Scott F.>

More Flow In A FOWLR Tank 7/28/04  Thanks Scott F. <My pleasure!> BTW, this is a fish only tank for now. I want to try my hand at mushrooms or leathers by next summer though. But first I need to reset-up my tank with more live rock, less hair algae and more lighting! Narayan <Sounds great, Narayan...And there is certainly nothing wrong with a lot of flow for a FOWLR tank...Have fun! Regards, Scott F.>

Bare Bones or eclipse Bob/Anthony/Steven, <You caught Steven today> I have been reading everything I can get my hands on, as well as scouring countless websites to gather information before I begin this complicated hobby. I have narrowed it down to either buying a 37 gal. eclipse or a 55 gal. tank (both will be FOWLR) to which I will add all necessary items. <Bigger is always better> If I go the 55 gal. route what items (protein skimmer, wet/dry, etc.), are a must? <The number one must have item is Bob's book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". Please buy and read cover to cover. There is no better investment of your time and money. After that a high quality skimmer would be my next choice. You can probably go without the wet/dry with enough liverock and circulation supplied by powerheads.> I will load it full of quality LR and top notch LS, provide plenty of circulation, and do water changes religiously. I have noticed that many people are skimmerless/filterless and it seems more are making the change everyday. <I think most of the people who want to go skimmerless are cheap and/or never used a good performing skimmer. Once you have seen the disgusting crud that is removed from a good skimmer, you will never want to go without.> I am trying start things without having to take out a loan. <A lot of people use and like a CPR Bak-Pak for a 55. I like these units, too. The only drawback is when you get a bigger tank. Most people in this hobby do one of three things; buy a larger tank, buy a second tank, or get rid of all their tanks. Lets hope you are in one of the first two groups. If this is the case, you may be better off buying a separate larger protein skimmer good for up to 100 gallons.> If I simply have to have mechanical filtration are there cheaper alternatives or brands? <Not absolutely needed> What type of Bio load can I put in a tank with no mech. filter? <You bio-load is determined by your biological filtration capacity.> Will a Fluval do the job in place of the above mentioned? <A nice unit, but would be lower on my priority list.> Should I give up my dream of a "natural" 55 gal. and go with the Eclipse? <There is nothing natural about an aquarium. Some merely appear more natural than others.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Chris

Re: Filtration for new 55 gal FOWLR Thanks for the timely response. Two quick follow-up questions. What type of micro-algae would you recommend in the sump?  <Not micro, macro... as in you can see it with the naked eye. This information is posted on www.WetWebMedia.com> Also, I am thinking of purchasing a Jalli 220 Watt Power Compact unit consisting of 2-55Watt 7100K daylight bulbs and 2-55 Watt Actinic bulbs. I believe this should be sufficient to maintain a few soft corals. Would you agree and do you know if this is a "good grade" lighting unit? <Not familiar with the make, brand... would check with the hobby chatforums. Ours: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/> Thanks again for you assistance. <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Small Marine Aquariums
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Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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