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FAQs on Marine Filtration 10

Related Articles: Marine FiltrationMarine Aquarium Filtration, by Adam Cesnales, Central Filtration Systems,

Related FAQs: Marine Filtration 1, Marine Filtration 2Marine Filtration 3Marine Filtration 4, Marine Filtration 5, Marine Filtration 6Marine Filtration 7, Marine Filtration 8, Marine Filtration 9, Marine Filtration 11, Marine Filtration 12, & FAQs on Marine Filtration: Designs, Installation, Maintenance, Troubleshooting/Repair, Brands/Manufacturers, DIY, & By Type of  System: FO System Filtration, FOWLR Set-Ups, Reef Tank Setups, Reef Filtration, 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,

MUCHO expensive live rock and working around it  1/8/06 Good day crew, <Hi Steve.> I am an Englishman living in Japan, you can imagine that it is very difficult to get (intelligible) advice here (my fault not theirs). <I understand.> I am starting off a 50 gallon FOWLR tank and need a little clarification. <No problem.> I have added about 15 pounds of live rock, it costs 20$ a pound here! <HOLY COW! Batman!> Because of the inhibitive cost of the live rock I am using a canister filter as well. The filter came with three baskets of "media", carbon, bio balls and filter mats. <I'm guessing you will want to keep the bio-media since you don't have much in the way of live rock, the carbon is only useful in "certain" situations and is rather useless after 24 hours, so you probably won't want to utilize it 24/7….as for the filter mats, skip them. They are nutrient/detritus magnets.> Will any of these filter types be a problem, should I remove any of the filter types? <See above, also, do you have a protein skimmer?> Regards, and thanks. <Welcome, good luck.> Steve <Adam J.>

Re: Filter Requirements/Over filtering  12/17/05 Thanks James, <You're welcome>  I'm still not sure weather I am going to remove the internal and just rely on the 2 Eheims and the skimmer. I've cleaned out the internal filter pads and replaced the nitrate pad that comes with it.  The skimmer has been running for a while now. It stopped producing skimmate for a few hours but has now started again, although its not always dark in colour.  I've done two 10% Changes in the last 3 days and have reduced feeding a little.  The site is a fountain of knowledge and can only thank you and the Crew for their valuable time. <Thank you.  Dan, in future queries please do a spelling/grammar check as editing queries takes much of our valuable time up as this has to be done before posting on the dailies.  James (Salty Dog)>

Equipment choices - 11/28/05 Hello, <Hello Alex> I have been running my Mag 350 for 5 years now in a 55 gallon old-school corner tank. If I would like to buy a new filter what filter should I buy for this setup? <The choices are, literally, endless, as well as thoroughly contingent on your livestock. I recommend you begin by reading through the extensive information archived under http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm. Best regards, John>

Filtration Decisions  12/15/05 Bob, <Scott F. in tonight!>       I have a 55gal mixed tank containing : 40lbs Live rock 2-3in Coral Sand various soft corals Maxima Clam 2x Clowns 2in & 1.5in 1x Ritteri I've had for well over 12 months, Dinner plate 1x Regal Tang 3in 6x Chromis 1in 1x Chalk Gobi 1.5in 1x Mandarin 1.5in <All sound good, with the exception of the Regal Tang, which requires a much larger aquarium.> Hardware : 2x Eheim 2224 external canisters biological, one with Ehfimech and one with Ehfisubstrat (Eheim 2224 Pump output 700l/h. Filter circulation 500l/h.) Arcadia 2x 250w Halide Prizm Deluxe Skimmer (I know your not a fan looking for a replacement) <If it's producing skimmate regularly, it's okay by me!> 3x Powerhead Now the question : Also running is the Internal filter that came with the tank (Juwel Rio 240 tank), that runs as Mechanical filtration using only Poly Pads as media.  My biggest issue is, do I need to retain the Internal filter as it takes up a large portion of the tank and also requires cleaning frequently due to its Mechanical nature.   <You can use an external system for mechanical filtration, if desired.> Will the 2 Eheims ( Both Bio ) combined with the L/R & Skimmer be adequate filtration for a mixed tank.   <If they are well maintained and you prefilter the water o particulate, this could work.> Currently  suffering a Nitrate Bloom and no idea why, have used 2 different test kits with the same results however the livestock have shown no adverse reactions to the nitrate increase, I want to de clutter the Tank to eliminate possible culprits. Do you think that 3 Filters is a little over the top for 55gal, the Eheims are both over 12 months mature so should cope with the extra load, or would they benefit from a little more action ? Current readings Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 50ppm +, Grav 1,024 & temp = 25 - 26 deg. Any advise would be appreciated. <My thinking is that I'd rather rely on more "natural" filtration techniques, such as a sump-based system with aggressive protein skimming. In addition to freeing your tank from unsightly hardware, this methodology is very efficient! Employ frequent small water changes and replace/maintain any mechanical/biological media regularly. Do a little research on the WWM site and on other online sources for more on sump-based filtration systems. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Big Fishes Need Big Tanks/Big Filtration - 11/27/05 Eric, thank you for the advice. <<Welcome my friend>> Let me ask a follow-up question. <<Sure>> If I need a bigger tank than a 180g to house the adult Guinea fowl Puffer and the adult Clown Trigger, is the 180g big enough to house one of them comfortably alone instead when/if it reaches 15" or so? <<Strictly speaking, yes, more appropriate than housing say...a 15" Naso Tang in a 180g. Please due ensure plenty of swimming room.>> Or do you think that even one of these fish alone needs something larger than a 180g? <<Ideally yes, if you have the means to provide...possibility the fish will suffer developmental retardation if too confined...both physically and psychologically (Hmm...may explain some of Balistoides conspicillum's homicidal tendencies in home aquaria?).>> Thanks again for your help! <<Regards, EricR>>

FOWLR Filtration Options? - 11/25/2005 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today.> I 'm setting up a 120gFOWLR tank. I have the Pentair Aquatics filters, including U.V and fluidized sand bed, going to use a Euroreef CS series skimmer. Now, on your site I read that the canister filters cause high nitrate levels. <Not always the case. Essentially, the concern is that these filters, if left unattended for long periods of time, will accumulate organics that can degrade water quality over time. My opinion on most mechanical filtration media is that they will accumulate organics if left unattended.> I am wondering if this would be a problem for me. <Really depends on your level of attention to your system. I'd be hesitant to recommend relying exclusively on mechanical filtration for your system unless you are committed to a schedule of frequent and regular media maintenance and replacement.> And if there are any other filters you could recommend. Thank You <Well, to be quite honest- I'd run my FOWLR just like a reef system, with a sump-based filtration methodology and live rock for biological support. Regardless of which system you employ, maintenance and overall good husbandry are essential for success! Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Filter Question  11/22/05 Hi, <Hello there> How are you. First, I would like to thank you in advance for any help, and also for all of the amazing support and info in general you guys provide. <Welcome> I recently upgraded from a 20 High that was running a Fluval 104 to a 30 Long. The 30 gallon tank came with an AquaClear 70, so I decided to use both filters. The two filters are on opposite corners. Both filters are tri-media (foam, carbon, ChemiPure). I have around 15 pounds of live sand and a few manmade fish "homes".  Fish include 2 perculas (1 inch), 1 clarkii (1 inch), 1 velvet damsel (1 inch), 2 three stripe damsels (1/2 inch), 1 yellow stripe maroon clown (2 1/2 inches), and 1 yellow tang (2 inch diameter). <... this is way too much incompatible life for this volume> There is very strong water movement that is being created by the 2 filters, and my concern is that it is disturbing the fish. <Mmm, no> When watching them at night, my impression is that they are having trouble finding calm regions to settle down in and sleep. <Likely just reacting to each others presence> Another problem is that the heavy water movement is making feeding difficult. The food is blown away too quickly before the fish can get to it. My main question is, how much is too much? Is one filter more than enough, and if yes, should I stick with the Fluval or the AquaClear? <Not a problem with the filters, water movement. There is much more in the wild> I thank you very much for your help. I have recently become addicted to the aquarium hobby. I started with a 10G freshwater, then added 3G and 5G Eclipse tanks, then a 20G freshwater, then the 20G saltwater, and finally the 30G saltwater. And this is all in the past several months! I love my fish and I love the hobby. Thanks you! <I do hope you will continue in/with it... but you need to address the crowding here... and quickly. Please read on WWM re the system requirements and compatibility of the species you list above... Bob Fenner>

Question Because I Love my Fluval!  11/20/05 Hi Bob, <Dennis> I bought your book 'The Conscientious Marine Aquarist' some time ago, and just have recently found your website. I can't believe the wealth of information you have made available to us all. Thank you.  <Many good friends on both projects> I was hoping to get some direction from you. I have a 100 Gallon 'show tank' running right now. I also have a 45 gallon tank that I am using as a quarantine tank, but it is a fully cycled tank. I keep one fish in there, (not counting the new additions that will eventually find a home in the 'show tank'). Anyway, I want to add a Aquafuge Pro Refugium to the 'show tank'. I only have a Fluval 404 running right now, I removed the other Marineland BioWheel to my 'quarantine tank' .  Currently, my 'show tank' is understocked with 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Blue tang (I have had him for 1.5 years), hermit crabs, cleaner shrimp, sand shifting stars, and one porcelain crab. My plan was to set up the Refugium on its own first, cycle with live rock, then once the ammonia is down, tie it into my main system. (Of course the only water I would add to the system would be from the 'show tank'. Then, over time let the refugium flourish. Would this refugium be enough for my system to run on, once I removed the Fluval 404? <Mmm, will help... but I would add more filtration for this one hundred... You do have a skimmer?> Is this a good idea? Should I let the Fluval 404 run in conjunction?  <If this is all you have, intend, then yes, I would> I do not want a reef system, but would like to add the refugium.  <A worthwhile addition, for sure> What would be your recommendation? If this is not a good idea, my plan b was to add a sump with bio balls, protein skimmer, etc. . <Etc.> Cycle the sump and then tie it into the 'show tank'. What do you think? <I would do the latter, w/ the exception of the bio-balls... Please do give the marine filtration sections another read over.> Thanks for the book and great advice.  Dennis <Again, welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Old Tank...New Start! No More Stupid Filtration For You! 10/27/05 Hello Scott, and thank you for your valued input!  <Glad it was helpful to you!> I just knew it! Although when making the decision to finally go SW after over 17 years having FW tanks I fought with myself over LS or UGF. Since positive that I just wanted to keep it simple, FO no doubt (ya, lol) I was convinced by others and my LFS that this would work fine with the addition of the skimmers and UV. <It can, of course- but I'm a big fan of "natural" and simple techniques.> Well, 140# LR later and aspirations for the cool stuff and all the information I have since acquired from all you guys just before I should be finally stocking my tank, I will be tearing it down. (My husband thinks I am completely nuts!) <Well- you HAVE to be a little nuts to be in this hobby to begin with! BTW- your tank is very attractive!> OK Scott, more questions if you please: <Sure> So should I keep the 100# of live rock in a separate container while waiting for the LS to cycle or can I Just put it back in and will it help the cycling process?  <If it were me, I'd just put it back in the tank to cycle..> Should I put some of the CC in mesh sacks and put it under the LS to help seed it? and if so how much? <It can't hurt to do that. I wouldn't put it "under" the sand- I'd simply place it somewhere in the system. Perhaps you could place some "used" media in the canister to help "seed" it, as well.> Another problem I have is that I have no room for a sump. Tall show 90 gal. 48"x28"x15". I will need a better filter other than the Magnum 350. Being a creature of habit, I like the canisters but have put in lots of reading time on your site about canisters. Will LR be sufficient BIO Filtration or should I maybe get a fluidized bed or something else you may suggest? <Canisters are good at providing mechanical, and even chemical filtration, but they do require prudent maintenance to function properly. If there is any way you could swing placing a sump under the tank, it would be a real asset to your system.> I think that I will leave the 55, (again another tall tank) the way it is for now. Everybody seems to be quite happy and my LR is really taking off! (40#) I've got all kinds of stuff going on in there. (My husband brought me home a large magnifying glass and again thinks I am crazy and a spy. I've been caught also spying by moonlight at 3:00 am lol) If I need to change it later then so be it. It will be much easier to handle and I'll be a pro by then right? <You certainly will be a pro by the time this is done! And, don't even worry about staring at your tank at all hours of the day and night- we are all guilty of that geeky pleasure!> That should keep you busy for a few. Hate to take up so much of your time but sure do appreciate it!  No bother; that's what we're here for!> Here is a picture of the 90 I thought was getting fish next week before it gets "de-UGFed" instead! Thanks again, Dena Dena's photos <My pleasure, Dena. Just plan carefully, take it slow, and enjoy yourself. Good luck, and keep in touch!  Regards, Scott F.> 

Old Tank, New Start (Pt.2) (No More Stupid Filtration) 10/31/05 Hi Scott, again thanks so much for your time. <My pleasure!> OK here I go again, ( I think I am nuts ) I do have a question about replacing the CC with live sand. Is the main reason to do this because of the debris and higher nitrate levels? Having to clean more? Because isn't my CC kind of "Live Crushed Coral" and acting as a "live sand bed" as it is? (I think maybe I am looking for an easy way out of doing this) <Not so much "higher nitrate levels", but coarse substrates tend to trap more detritus. If you go deep with a coarse substrate, you're really going to have to step up husbandry. I would not use a coarse substrate at more than a half inch to one inch depth.> I have a ton of little creepy crawlies all over it and have done more reading and it seems that the more reading I do the more confused I get. I definitely do want the UGF gone! Not having those tubes would be a wonderful sight that I have never seen in over 17 years in any of my tanks! However before with fresh water lots of plants took care of that for the most part. <Yep!> I am rethinking the substrate swap and again thinking of just capping off the UGF and leaving it be. Everything has cycled real nicely during the last 3 months and I hate to start over when all is well. I have already gone through my Diatom stage and it seems to be done and clear (I think I have pushed my patience to the limit being that this 90 gal is in my living room and I am so ready for my fish!! I have been soooooo good about not rushing this) I am finally getting some new coralline growth on my rocks that were wrecked by the brown stuff! It's all finally getting to a good place if you know what I mean. (and I know you do) <There is nothing wrong with leaving a successful system intact, IMO...> I guess this was a really bad tank to convert to salt huh? <Not if you're enjoying it and experiencing success! I would have done it a bit differently, but there are many ways to succeed in this hobby.> Can this be a plausible idea with consistent maintenance? There is absolutely no room for a sump under this tank. Not just being so narrow but also the doors on the stand are both only 10" wide by 20" tall. It makes it very hard to utilize any space under there for any thing more than storage space. <I believe that you can be successful with strict adherence to a regular maintenance regimen. Make sure that you pay extra attention to keeping the substrate clean. Long term success is only possible with this type of substrate if you do that, IMO.> Unless you think this will be a complete disaster, I think that I am going to give it a shot. Like I said, have done more reading and it seems that a lot of tanks set up this way are doing very well for many years. The more threads or articles I read the more I change my mind and am now just losing it all together! Will the LS really be a Huge betterment over the CC for this setups needs? <I've seen systems run both ways, but in the "sand bed game", I've seen more successful systems run long-term with fine substrates. On the other hand, with your dedication to maintenance, why not give it a shot? I don't see any disasters happening. It's just a bit more labor intensive, that's all.> I don't ever plan on going beyond FOWLR in this particular tank (due to width and depth, deep sea diving maintenance if you will) and I really do like the look of the CC. <Go for it, then!> I plan on stocking with a pair of Maroon Clowns, 1 Blonde Naso, 1 Lemon Peel or Flame and about 5 or so Green Chromis and possibly a Powder Blue. How does that sound? As far as some sort of clean up crew, what do you suggest? <I'd pass on keeping more than one Tang in this sized system. In fact, I'd probably pass on the Powder Blue, and definitely pass on the Naso. One has a reputation for touchiness, and the other is simply to large for anything less than a 6-8 foot long system, IMO. Try a Ctenochaetus or Zebrasoma species, instead.> I am sorry to be of such a bother with so many ignorant questions, but man! I can't even sleep over this stupid tank anymore. Now I am back to dreaming about the 1994 Northridge earthquake again "Yikes" lost 4 tanks to that one. I'm just plain stressed out man! <I understand being stressed out over this stuff! However, just remember it's a hobby and it's supposed to be fun! Keep focusing on the fun part...You'll be fine!> Anyhow, before this becomes a novel, your thoughts are extremely valued my new best friend! Dena <Glad to be of service, Dena! Hang in there! regards, Scott F.> 

Big confusion with my small reef tank setup...  <<Dummies book series strikes again?>> 10/19/05 Hi, I am very new to the saltwater hobby and recently started a small 30 gallon tank back in August with the main intention of learning how to properly care for marine life before I moved into a new home next year where I plan to have a 125 gallon or larger reef tank with some fish too.<Sounds like a plan to me!> Anyways I bought a book on how to set up a saltwater fish/reef tank and it advised me to use fluidized bed filter and a canister filter and also said that I could get away with tap water if a decorticator was used…<I would never use tap water because of the amount of phosphates and other unwanted elements, etc>  Finally I now have RO and immediately last night after mixing saltwater I noticed PH was 8.2!  With tap I could never keep it over 7.8, and when mixing saltwater I always ended up with PH 7.8 or less water!  I plan to do several big water changes in the next few days with new RO processed water.<agreed> My question is, without breaking the bank, what types of filtration should I keep and what should I get rid of (should I change filter types altogether and get a wet/dry or something similar?)? <your filtration is not bad, a wet/dry might be better but as long as you have good biological filtration...liverock, livesand, etc you will be fine. The mechanical is important to pull debris uneaten food, etc.> I have a fluidized bed filter, a protein skimmer, a canister filter, about 4 watts per gallon of lighting, 20 pounds of live rock, 2 damsels, 2 clownfish, and 1 Bicolor Pseudochromis, and a few hermit crabs.   Basically I want to get the water up to par and then begin adding calcium and some type of alkalinity booster.<yes, it sounds like you are on the right track> Any advice you could give me on what would be an ideal setup with what I have to work with would be appreciated because I really want to make this work and it has really been frustrating for me the past few weeks.  Before I discovered RO processed water I killed a brain coral, plate coral, melted mushroom corals off their rocks and killed one fish…  I will never even let tap get near my tank again.<Yea adding tap water to an aquarium can be a death trap, I would only use filtered water or RO water. It sounds as if your filtration is more than adequate for the bio-load that you have in your aquarium. In my opinion it is not worth it to purchase an expensive wet/dry filter. You might want to setup a refugium (you can find more info on that by using the search feature on wetwebmedia.com)> Thanks Dave Sheehan <Good luck, IanB> Filtration Hello. I've searched your site for some clues to my question, but it seems pretty specific. I have a 55 gal w/ 2 clowns, a green chromis, a Dottyback, dartfish. There's about 15 lbs of live rock and other two filtration pieces, a Penguin Bio-wheel and a canister filter. SG is consistent at 1.0235, likewise for temp at 78 degrees, and nitrates @ 25 ppm & nitrates zero. Today I added an Aqua Remora based on hearing only good things. After its break-in period I would like to ditch the bio wheel and just use the new skimmer + canister filter. Basically I believe the bio-wheel is past its prime and may be contributing to the high nitrates. Do you think it's a good idea to pitch it?  <If you're looking for one less piece of equipment to clean and buy media for, yes. I would add about 25# of additional live rock before ditching the penguin unless you have some type of bio balls in the canister. James (Salty Dog)>

Mixed up! newbie 10/8/05 I have my 72 gallon tank ready for a filter or a skimmer, I don't know, I'm told that I need to have a Fluval or wet dry filter before I put my live sand in the tank.  Then they tell me just put the sand in with the power jets running it will be ok! Others tell me I need a skimmer but not till at least two to three months ! I guess my first question would be, must I have some sort of filtration before I put live sand in the tank?  <Power heads are all that are necessary in this case.> Second, for a 72 gallon tank , is the combination of a Fluval 404 and a Remora Pro a good combination?  <My choice of the two would be the wet/dry and Remora Pro skimmer. I would use a filter pad on top of the drip plate of the wet/dry and change weekly.> Or is the wet dry filter with the Remora Pro better? I'm reading your articles but there's just so much information, I'm learning real fast !  <You will learn much from the articles contained in the WWM. James (Salty Dog)> 

Back in the game part 2 10/8/05 Thanks for the reply. Was not planning on any LR in the main tank, but I'm assuming that would be a must with the refuge?  <I would definitely look at it the other way around. I would consider LR to be mandatory in the display, but optional in the refugium. This article sums up my opinions on the subject: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i5/Filtration/Filtration.htm > When you say "fair amount of LR" what would be my min. for a healthy tank? <Depending on the quality of the rock, I would consider about 1lb per gallon to be a reasonable amount for a tank with predators. You want enough to provide adequate biological filtration and habitat, but not so much that you don't leave any swimming room.> Should the tank bottom be covered with and substrate? <This is optional, but I would lean toward a thin layer for aesthetic appeal and put a deeper bed of fine sand in the refugium. Hope this helps. AdamC.>

DAS aquarium modification and skimmer question????  9/22/05 I have a very unique problem.  I have a 100 gallon glass DAS room divider designed tank.  It has the (sort of) sump in the end of the tank masked by a black acrylic overflow wall.  Behind this wall are six separate partitions. <Am familiar> I am trying to figure out the best way to set up for a reef tank.  One of the partitioned compartments is supposed to be utilized as the skimmer wherein an air stone is attached to the base of a long plastic stick which protrudes into a receptacle cup. <These units are feeble. Let's "cut to the proverbial chase" here... and suggest you retrofit either a sump (best) to situate your skimmer (and more) in, or use a hang on model...>   The problem is the pump returns for the biological filters are sucking off the bubbles to the air stone and causing air regurge with large quantities of bubbles pumped into the tank as well as causing serious hindrance to the skimming action of the in-house skimmer, compounded by a loud noise made by the pumps. <Poor design> I was hoping to find an effective skimmer design that could be placed in the overflow/pseudo sump,  that would not be affected by biological filter pumps, the height or buoyancy of the surrounding water, and did not have a footprint larger than preferably 5" x 8" and not any taller than 23 inches, alternatively I could knock out another partition and make a foot print of 5" x 13" with the same height dimension.  My only other alternative would be to locate a skimmer that could set underneath my tank in the hidden cabinet that did not exceed 17" x 11" and no higher than 21" maybe 22".  The 17" x 11" x 22"h is the under cabinet measurement that  still leaves room for the electrical lighting systems electrical cords. <Yes... signs of thought here...>   I do not know if a sump is possible for this size tank.  I have not been able to understand or locate the availability for a better skimming design in my situation that is even on the market.  I have read about the sumpless Terminator but it seems to large.  My cabinet and tank is beautiful and I really do not want the clash of  a hang skimmer or in view skimmer.  I have looked at the Remora hang on skimmers to see if perhaps it could hang on the black acrylic overflow wall that hides the pumps, but the location of the upside down V-shape of the tank siphon in that design requires too much head room for my tank lids to close over it and I do not know whether such a design can handle the volume of water it would be surrounded by and still operate properly. <Could> I would greatly appreciate your suggestions.  This has been a very long and involved investigation without much fruit.  Most skimmers I have seen are hang-ons or in-sumps.  If in-tank skimmers exist, do you think I can hide such a skimmer in a pseudo sump in this DAS design and how effective is such an "in-tank" sump? <Mmm, no... there are times I've seen (expensive) Tunze skimmers retrofitted here, but...>   Thank you for your help.   Greg C. <I'd move the sump... somewhere else... around the corner, through the floor... Maybe try making a skimmer DIY... Bob Fenner>

Re: DAS aquarium modification and skimmer question????  9/23/05 Bob: <Greg>     Thank you for your swift response.  Yet, I need more clarification. When you said, "Yes... signs of thought here", do you mean that a skimmer could fit in the under cabinet without the necessity of a sump in that location, i.e., sumpless skimmer, and where is my starting point for a DIY skimmer? <Unfortunately, not easily. Sorry for the lack of clarity. What I meant to signify is that you'd been clearly thinking, considering your options> Also, what do you think about using less pump power to stop the bubble infiltration, (e.g. I will go back to the DAS OEM pumps, and add a Tunze stream in the tank)? <Still are dismal filtering mechanisms...>   This tank actually used to work and look nice with live rock and an anemone with some fish with pink coralline everywhere.  Thereafter, I stored it after moving offices, lost some parts, forgot the system and now I want to go coral.  By the way, enjoyed the book.  They actually had it at Borders and in stock, great pictures but I don't see in it where you tell me how to build my DIY skimmer, but you do emphasize its importance. <Mmm, check Ozreef.org re some spiffy DIY plans>   Maybe it would be less pain to buy a new tank with a cabinet large enough to hide my sump underneath? <Ah, yes... likely the best solution period here. Bob Fenner> Greg C.

Systems details Hi, <Clare> I've written you a couple times before, and you haven't been responding so I hope I am reaching you guys.... <Yes, thank you for persisting... we do have some anomalous mail problems...> anyway I emailed you about live rock my setup ideas, and miscellaneous reasons, so I thought you would like to know the details of my filtration, and give me your thoughts on them. Protein Skimmer: Sea Life systems brand (heard of them?) <Yes... I think so> Wet Dry filter: Sea Life Systems premier 125 gallon capacity ( I have a 75 gallon tank). Other components: Maxi Jet 900 submersible pump and power head from Marineland I think measured flow is 230 GPH?? (a little low?) <Maybe...> Also have a Rio Hyperflow 20 HF, I also have the CA 2200 aqua pump/ powerhead. All of these purchases were the best recommended at my LFS, what do you guys think (if you even know what I'm talking about :) <Do like the Maxi Jet line... (Custom) Sea Life products... were okay... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Clare

125 gallon pre-drilled tank ... best filtration? 9/17/05 I have a 125 gallon 4' by 2' predrilled tank 1-3/4 openings. 4 VHO actinic white and 2 VHO actinic blue 48" inch Corallife lights 2 fans for cooling light units and that's it. I want to set up a nice tank for some live rock, some anemones and corals, but mostly fish. Help. There are just too many products on the market and I have no idea where to turn. Everyone says something different and pet stores in this area are of no help. Closest salt water aquarium store is 2 hours away. I just want someone to say, here, this is what you need, now go by it. Thanks and let me know. Right now the sump an protein skimmer are my biggest concerns. Susanne Stanley <Best to actually make up your own mind... based on an understanding of principles, possibilities... There are no shortcuts here. Please don't "just take my or anyone's word" for this... Study... on WWM, books, attend a few club get-togethers, visit others' tanks... And one point, don't try to mix corals and anemones... Bob Fenner>

Refugium/Skimmer Question - 09/10/05 We are setting up a 92 gallon corner bow front reef tank.  The part of the setup in question is the filtration.  Will a 20 gallon refugium be enough to handle all of the waste, or do we need a protein skimmer as well? <<While a refugium is a very "beneficial" addition to any tank, it is my opinion that a quality skimmer is an "essential" addition.>> It seems like it would definitely be a good idea, but we were still wondering if it is possible to run without a protein skimmer and still have good results. <<Is possible to do without a skimmer, yes, I just don't like to recommend doing so...so many advantages/benefits to having one.>> Thank you, Cassie <<Regards, EricR>> Jebo system circulation, filtration  9/10/05 Hello crew, <Mario> I have a 60 gallon capacity tank with a net volume of approximately 48 gallons of water in it (less live rock, gravel etc.). I'm using a Jebo 955 Bio 5 in 1 Twinjet, with a submersible powerhead rated to deliver 1300 liters per hour. As with most "Made in China " products, there is no accompanying instructions/owners manual with this filter system when I first bought it, so just followed the set up diagram printed on the box. The system works fine, water is clear and it has been running for a month now, but I still have doubts as to the correct water flow inside the tank and through the filter system. The powerhead has two outlets (with identical diameters), the first has a venturi tube with air control and outputs water with bubbles inside the tank, while the second feeds to a filter box with four compartments and directs its output back inside the tank. I noticed there is more pressure out of the first outlet as I can only see a slow flow inside the filter box. My question is: 1. I measured 0.86 gal/hr flow through the filter box , is this ok or too slow?    <Way too slow... better to have about half the stated capacity going through the filter area> 2. The set came with four filter media,  plastic balls, ceramics, course gravel, & synthetic filter wadding . What would be the proper sequence in putting them in the four compartments? <Plastic balls, synthetic media (needs frequent rinsing... at least weekly), ceramic, then coarse gravel. These, other three media should not be disturbed... unless they get very clogged... and then never all cleaned within the same service period. Bob Fenner> Mario Rodriguez

Re: Jebo system circulation, filtration  9/11/05 Hello Bob, <Mario> Thank you so much for this vital information &  I really appreciate the very quick response. I'll now have to figure out how to increase the filter flow rate (like maybe effectively decreasing the diameter of the other outlet by some means) to save this system and money. <Good idea> More power to you Bob & the rest of the crew ! Mario <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Marine Tank Filtration Requirements  9/5/05 Dear WetWebMedia Crew, I have a 120L (31 gallon) tank. I have just started with marine fish and wanted to check that I have the set up correct. Here are the stats. (Size) 3 foot tank (31 gallons) (Filtration) Fluval 304 <Should have went with the 404 but as you said, "too late now".> (Protein Skimmer) Lee's small <Not much for efficiency but some type of skimmer is better than none.> (Heater) Fluval 150W (Live Rock) 30 pounds (Fish so Far) 2x Fire Damsels I am especially concerned for the filtration. Should I have gone with a Fluval 404? (too late now) <I would add a power head for additional water movement.  The Fluval puts out less than the recommended 10X tank volume per hour.  James (Salty Dog)> Regards, Peter Johnson

Bio Balls in  Wet/Dry filter, learning to use WWM  9/1/05 Hi guys. I want to say thanks for all the free advice you've given me over the last few weeks. I am a new aquarist and your site has been a godsend. I have a couple of silly questions. I'm having a problem with my nitrates (around 30 ppm). <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm...> I have a 55 gal tank with about 45lbs of live rock in it and 2 inches of live sand. I also have a protein skimmer attached. My 15gal sump also has Bio balls in it. I was told by another hobbyist that removing my bio balls might help decrease my nitrate level. Is that true? <... please learn to/use the indices, search tool on WWM> If I do remove the bio balls do I have to replace it with anything since I already have live rock in the display tank? Can I just leave the 'dry' space that the bio balls occupied empty - will the water trickle properly if the 'dry' space is left empty? Separate issue. Do you recommend that I add activated carbon to the sump? If so, how often should it be replaced? How much carbon should I add to a tank this size? Does the carbon stay in the sump permanently. I know I'm asking a lot of questions but I'll appreciate any help I can get. Thanks again. <These issues are covered on WWM... go there. Bob Fenner> Flow And Filtration...Not Necessarily The Same - 08/25/05 Good day Crew!! <<Howdy!>> Thanks for the site, the bountiful archives, and the appreciation of proper grammar. <<You been talkin' to Bob? <G> >> I admire and appreciate what you are doing for me, and the rest of the (would be) marine aquarium keepers out here on the world wide web.  Good work, people! <<I/we enjoy/believe in what we do, but still...redeeming to hear...thank you.>> Having said that, my question to you is, how many times an hour should I turn over water through my sump vs. through a closed loop system? <<Two to three tank volumes per hour through the sump...ten or more (preferably!) tank volumes through a closed-loop.>> I know the recommended turnover is 10x - 20x an hour, but does it all need to run through the sump where the filtration will be? <<Nope, nor do I recommend/think this to be practical.>> Or can I just run my water, say, 5x - 10x times an hour through my sump (and all of its various components), and the other 10x - 15x in a closed loop? <<Could...though I still think that's more than you need going through the sump.  Less flow through the sump will be easier to plumb with less hassle/subsequent noise.>> Is there an ideal ratio? <<Every system/configuration is unique, but the basic flow rates I listed should work well for most.>> I can't seem to find the sentence that says, "An aquarium should be completely filtered XX times per hour."  (Assume I would like to keep delicate and demanding species, for which flow seems to be most important.)  Naturally, more filtration is better, but I have concerns about my setup, and if I am going to be limited by flow through filtration, I would like to know now, so I can stock to accommodate it (or modify the tank to suit my needs).   <<Flow and Filtration are two different things.  Besides, if we're talking a reef system with live rock, most of the "filtration" will be going on "in the tank" where, yes, your "flow" needs to be random, turbulent, and robust (e.g. - 10x-20x tank volume).  2x-3x tank volume through the sump to supply the skimmer and maybe some sort of chemical filtration will be just fine.>> I recently acquired a used 125 gallon setup.  What was included was the tank, stand, and a canopy equipped w/ 3 175w MH bulbs (and room for some 72" tubes).  The tank is predrilled, in the bottom, with a 1 3/4" hole in each back corner, and of course, with overflow boxes installed (glass).  If I am correct, these holes will accommodate 1" bulkheads, both of which I plan to have drain to a 55 gallon sump. <<yes>> (I think I am correct that the flow out of the display through these bulkheads can be regulated by the return pump, but I am afraid that due to the small diameter of the bulkheads, even at max, I will be limited.) <<yes again>> By the way, what kind of flow can I expect through each of these bulkheads?  I think I read 300 gallons for return bulkheads, and 800 gallons per hour for drains.  Is this right? <<I would plan for no more than 300-350 gph per drain to the sump.  This flow rate will ease any plumbing issues when it comes to eliminating noise, and provides some measure of safety margin in the event of a blockage.  In fact...I would recommend plumbing only one drain to the sump (approx. 300 gph submerged return pump), and use the other drain to plumb your closed loop (1500-2500 gph external pump).>> The return will go up and over the back of the tank, as I have seen recommended several times in the archives to people in similar situations. <<okay>> Since this whole thing is still in the planning stages, I am hoping this input (and a lot of input found in the archives), will save me heartache and expense, as I do plan to stock only with captive propagated (hence, more expensive) species. <<Always good to have your stocking plan before you build the system so as to tailor to the organisms needs.>> I don't advocate loss of life or destruction of reef under any circumstances, so I am going to thoroughly do my homework to accommodate any species I consider for captivity in my home, based on what my system can accommodate. <<Or...research/pick the species and build the system to suit...>> I absolutely will not house an animal that would otherwise have a home, and will only house one that will be happy in my home, i.e. there is probably not an anemone in my future. <<Very good to hear.>> I am the same way with dogs, getting them only from the pound. <<Admirable...but as you say...only if you have the means to provide...>> Also, I am quite determined to do this myself, much to the dismay of the LFS owner, who would just love to come set this up for me.  However, I am afraid that he would abuse my pocketbook, and betting on my ignorance, some innocent marine animals, and I can't do it.  Besides, I like the challenge. <<Quite within your abilities I'm sure...just be sure to stop and think, research, ask questions as you are now, and above all...take your time.>> Thanks for all of your help and expertise that I have already made use of, and will use in the future.  I am looking forward to being an informed/conscientious marine aquarist (great book, by the way). Sincerely concerned about adequate filtration, Jessica Groomer <<Please do write back in/make use of our extensive archives re tank setup/close-loops.  Regards, EricR>>

Confusion over Filtration 8/21/05 Hi, <Hello Patti> I have a 90 gallon Oceanic tank with a sump below I am setting up with salt water.  Being a beginner, I brought a guy in the aquarium business in to set the tank up for me.  He put 90 pounds of live rock in the tank and an ASM G3 Protein skimmer in the sump.  I'm planning a fish/invertebrate population in the tank. In talking with another guy at the local fish store (he seems to know what he's talking about) he is suggesting the rock and skimmer may not be sufficient and is suggesting adding a cartridge filter along side (a Cascade 1500) with certain media (carbon) in the trays.  Do you have a view of who's right here???  Or maybe a different view? <Depending on the rock you have, the live rock should be sufficient for bio filtration.  Does your sump have a tray where you could put media into?  If so, I personally recommend Chemi Pure.  Be sure to change the filtration pads in the sump weekly if you are using them.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks! Patti

Re: Confusion over Filtration 8/23/05 Thanks James. <You're welcome> Maybe just a few clarifications if you don't mind.  1) Not sure if I've got a place in my sump for media.  Just has the skimmer on one side and the pump on the other.  Can I put media on the sponge between the two sections?<The sponge is your filtration pad which needs to be cleaned weekly, and you can place a bag or two of Chemi Pure after the sponge.> 2) you mention filtration pads.  Not sure what they are.  Can you elaborate? <As above> 3) With regard to the canister filter the local guy recommended - do you think this is a bad idea? <Patti, you have a sponge filtration pad and the addition of one or two media bags is going to accomplish the same thing a canister filter does.  If you didn't have the sump, I'd say yes, but with it, I think you would just be wasting your money and having one more item to clean.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again. Patti   Under-filtered SW? Overwhelmed?  8/16/05 This web site is great, but I believe there is too much information. <There is no such thing> Here's my question, I have a 55 gallon tank. I purchased a CPR BakPak 2, 6 months ago and I am running it with a Rena Filstar xp2 .  Do you believe this is adequate enough filtration and aeration for the tank? <For what type of livestock?> The spray bar  is breaking the water, and I have 10 pounds of live rock and live sand? What do you think I will need to  add to help stabilize its ecosystem? Water parameters Nitrites 0 Ammonia 0 -.1 (hard to read card) Nitrates 15 ( can not get it less then 15 -20) PH 8.0 Tank inhabitants 2 damsels 1 pygmy angel 2  gobies 1 saddleback butterfly <... you could add other, more filtration, circulation, aeration... but if you're satisfied with your current maintenance, cleanliness... Bob Fenner> System/Setup Advice - 08/16/05 WetWeb - I inherited a 55 gal tank about 6 months ago.  It had two clowns, a pygmy Basslet, and a BioWheel 300 filter, and I have added, over time, a canister filter, 210 watts lighting, a yellow tang (mistake) <<yes>>, a green Chromis about a month ago, and recently a Dartfish.  Also a couple of frags in the last few weeks.  I think I've overloaded b/c now I'm getting a lot of buildup on the sides of the tank and the covers. <<Remove the tang.>> I've been researching protein skimmers and just ordered an Aqua-C in hopes to alleviate some of the buildup. <<Excellent...great skimmers.>> My question is, once the skimmer is added, I'm considering ditching the BioWheel altogether and relying on the canister which is a Penn Plax rated up to 70 gal.  I think the BioWheel may be responsible for the usual high levels (20 ppms) of nitrates. <<Is likely...but the canister filter will need "weekly" service/cleaning or it too will become a problem.  If you have live rock in this system I would relegate the canister filter to chemical filtration (carbon, Poly-Filter).>> Other current parameters:  salinity is at 1.0235.  temp 78.  pH seems to run about 8.4, nitrites and phosphates zero.  Any advice on this greatly appreciated as I'm still learning the ins  and outs of keeping a marine.  I had never even had a freshwater prior :) <<Even experienced hobbyists have questions/need for information/reference...If you haven't yet, purchase some good books on the marine hobby.  Here's a good shortlist to begin with: Mike Paletta's "New Marine Aquarium" Bob Fenner's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" John Tullock's "Natural Reef Aquariums" Many, many thanks. Gerald Souder Louisville KY <<Kind regards, EricR>>

Ten 100 gallon saltwater setups centralized filtration 8/15/05 I am currently setting up 10-100 gallon aquariums and am hoping to run all of them off of one filtration system. Do you have any recommendations as to what types/sizes of filters or other items I may need for a healthy setup for my fish? <Mmm, yes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/cntfiltbiz.htm following with the linked files you will find above... Bob Fenner> Misc. Marine Filtration Q's, literacy, using WWM 8/3/05 First off I would like to thank you for your time in reading my questions. I am setting up a 155 bow front aquarium and am going to have 90 or more pounds of live rock, and bioballs. I have been told that in a fish only system you can produce to many nitrates by using both bioballs and live rock because of the breakdown process so I decided I needed a DSB or a plenum to take care of my problem. I would like to know which is more efficient at removing nitrates? Or if it is necessary that I use one of these methods at all? Thank you for your time Sincerely Brian. <Mmm, time to refer you to WWM... these issues and much more are discussed thoroughly there... And do us a favor and learn to/use your spell-checker... Bob Fenner>

Marine Filtration 1A 8/4/05 Thank you for your time in responding to my e-mail. I checked WWM and could not find specific answers to my questions; especially the one about filtration. I understand that the plenum is good for making a replica of the natural ocean, but that's not my goal here. I just want a successful fish only system. If you could please take the time to respond to my e-mail with answers to my questions I would greatly appreciate it. Thank You. <Uhh, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Bob Fenner>

New marine aquarium filtration, learning to use WWM 7/30/05 Hello, I was wondering if you all could help me? <I will try> I have a new 75 gal tank with 75lbs live rock, and 1 inch of crushed coral and Carib-sea sand mixed in the bottom.  My question is concerning filtration.  I tried a protein skimmer, and the cup kept filling with water, and thousands of air bubbles went into the tank, <Mmm, mis-set-up or adjusted...> no matter how much troubleshooting I did or adjusting of air flow.   Nothing helped, so I pitched it and got an emperor 400 deluxe.  Is this good enough along with 2 powerheads that move a total of 800 gph? <... should be okay...> I plan on having inverts and fish for now.  Later I will add some coral and new lights.  If this filtration is not enough do you recommend anything else. <... please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm and the linked files above> Oh, and one other thing, using the emperor 400 with the bio-wheels, will this effect my live rock growth at all? <These products and their manufacturers names are proper nouns, capitalized> Any info would be very helpful at this point?   thank you <Learn to use the search tool, indices on WWM... read there. Bob Fenner> Need opinion with Filtration/Skimmer setup 7/21/05 Hello Crew, and thanks for this very informative and helpful site. <You're welcome - it sure helps us all> I am starting up 58 gallon setup again. I would like your opinion on which setup you would recommend: Setup 1: 58 Gallon Reef Ready CPR Cy192 Bio Filter/Skimmer 400gph Seio SuperFlow 620gph or Setup 2: 58 Regular     2 Emperor 280's AquaC Remora I like the reef ready setup because I think it would look more "professional" to have nothing Hanging on the back. Is the Venturi style of skimming sufficient for this reef ready setup? <You haven't told me anything at all about what you're wanting to keep, so these are going to be generalizations:  I never recommend a wet/dry filter for a reef tank.  I do highly recommend the AquaC remora, it's a great skimmer.  As for your water flow, 1 Seio or a few HOT power filters are *not* going to be enough water movement for a reef tank.  I highly recommend a closed loop manifold driven by an external pump.  If this 58 is going to be a fish only aquarium, the wet dry will work fine for you> Thanks for any Ideas and opinions. Steve
<Anytime - M. Maddox>

Oyster shell filtration 7/4/05 Dear crew, <Mark>   Thanks for all the useful information on your site.  I have started a new 46 gallon saltwater tank that has been up for 4 months. I have 2x65 pc lighting which I am going to upgrade soon. In the beginning I had  1/2 bio balls and 1/2 coral shells in my sump with live sand and macro algae.     I recently bought some oysters to eat and came up with the Idea of using the shells upside down in my sump. I double boiled them and cleaned them and began to place them upside down in my sump, using live sand in the cup of the shell. It is a big guess of course but the way the water flowed from the wavy tips of the shell into the belly of the next seemed that it would work really well. And it only took me out about 4 bucks for the shells and a meal. But now I only seem to be growing the hard green algae. I would like to have a little more of the kind a purple tang could eat, as I am going to get one when I feel my tank is ready. The rest of my set up is (1 false perc and seabae,1 coral beauty, 1 mandarin, 1 diamond watchman goby, 10 snails, 6 hermits 30 pounds of live rock and a 200.00 skimmer.) I am also using the sump inlet area as a sort of staging area for Caulerpa and copepods I have purchased for my mandarin. Any advice? <... have used Oyster shells... fresh and processed (mainly for chicken supplement)... not very soluble useful compounds for saltwater... Coverage on how to grow purposeful macroalgae and the fish you list above is archived on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Best filtration for my situation Hello everyone!    I  have an equipment issue today. I have been wanting to convert one of my 30 gallon tanks into a sump for my 125 gallon display. My problems are 1. the tank is not drilled and 2.  when I set up my tank I only left a little over 4" between the tank and wall [I will blame that on my husband] <Did he build the wall there?> A week into cycling, after adding sand, live rock and water, I went to put on the H.O.T protein skimmer and had no room. I had no fish at the time so I emptied all the water into containers, pulled out the rock and moved it enough for the skimmer to fit.  Well I should have moved it more! I cannot fit a refugium or a CPR overflow and I now have fish so I really don't want to empty the tank. I have found the Lifereef overflow, it has a 'slim line' overflow only 3" but I read where Bob prefers the CPR. So the only options I have is to do an overflow off the side [??]or no sump! I want a sump for flow and water volume but at the same time I am scared to death if I do set one up I would end up flooding my living room. My husband is a Firefighter and has another part time job with full time hours so he doesn't want to spend his spare time on my fishies! I am pretty good at doing this type of thing with direction of course but I too am busy w/ 2 small children [20 month  and a 4 year old] Anyway I had , of course thought about using a Mag or Eheim pump and tubing to get the water to the pump and  another of the same pump for return but read that is not a good idea. <Correct... impossible to balance> Right now I have 2 Rena XP3 on either side of the tank with the spray bars on the sides facing each other. I have 4 Maxijet 1200 also on sides facing center. I have good movement and thought maybe I would replace the MaxiJets with stronger powerheads. I was looking at a Hagen model. <Good products> I had also thought since the sump seems so difficult that I might get another Rena XP3 and place the spray bar on the back [ unless it made too many bubbles then I could use the other attachment.] I want the best conditions for my little friends and I am in need of your much valued opinion. Any advice? Please don't tell me to move my tank!!  Thanks for your help                            Kim <Mmm, well it seems you're aware of your choices... if going with a hang-on arrangement for getting water from the tank to the sump, use two such boxes... in case one fails... Or wait and pull the tank out a bit some time later... maybe when you're having a bunch of friends over... and drain it most of the way, leaving livestock in place... Or look forward to a future time in which you can either have this tank drilled, or replace it with one that is. Perspective... Bob Fenner>

Re: Best filtration for my situation Hi Bob,   Thanks for the quick reply. I have done some more reading and came across another person trying to set a sump up. He was wanting to use 1 canister filter for getting water to the sump, and another of the same for the return. M .Maddox suggested he get an overflow to get the water to the sump, and use both canisters to return the water through the spray bars. Will this work? <Yes, a good idea, possibility> It would sure make my life easier if it did! I believe the LifeReef overflow I would have to get [slim-3"] has a flow rate up to 600, I think my canisters are 350gph. Let me know what you think                     Thanks again, Kim <If you feel uncomfortable "risking" the one overflow failing, I'd invest in, use two. Bob Fenner>

- Power Filter vs. Refugium - I have a 20 gallon tank (24 inches in width), so space on the back is at a premium, obviously. <Sure.> Presently I have an Aqua C Remora on the back, plus an Emperor 280 power filter.  I have about 40 pounds of live rock.  Sand bed varies from 2 inches in the middle to 3.5 inches on either side.  I have a SunPaq Orbit (one 65 watt daylight, one 65 watt actinic).  Inhabitants - 2 small percula clowns (each 2 inches or less), and one small pygmy angel (1-1.5 inches). <I hope you plan to upgrade the tank size in the near future... 20 gallons isn't really suitable for the pygmy angel.> Also, several small hermit crabs, one torch coral and one small rock of green star polyps.  I may add a few other items such as polyps and mushrooms later, and perhaps a shrimp or two.     Question - Would I be better off sticking with the power filter or ditching it for a hang-on-the-back refugium (e.g. a small one by CPR)?  I'm just curious how you folks might come down on that choice. <Given the size of the tank, the amount of rock you have... I think it's probably best to stick with the particle filtration offered by the hang on filter. If I could convince you that your money would be better spent on at least doubling the size of your tank - with 40 pounds of live rock, you have much less than 20 gallons of water... you're going to need all the filtration you can get.> Certainly there are advantages to each.  The power filter is a better way to run carbon and RowaPhos and the like (in my estimation), to take out gross particular  matter both daily and during cleaning (in addition to what comes out via siphon which alone isn't enough), more surface agitation and water movement, etc.  The primary refugium benefit in my estimation (or the one that I'd hope for primarily) would be to serve as a growing ground for algae to keep it out of the tank.  I don't see a refugium as matching most of the other power filter benefits. <In your case, neither do I.> I see the power filter in this setup as probably offering the most overall benefit, though maybe I'm wrong.   As O'Reilly would say - "What say you?" <I say consider a larger tank - then do both.> Thanks for your time. <Cheers, J -- >

Filtration...Doing It Right - 05/27/05 Hello Crew- <Howdy!> I was hoping to get your opinion on my current dilemma. <Sure...I have lots of opinions.> I have a 65g tank that is similar to an Eclipse setup with the filter integrated into the hood. I have had the tank up and running for about 5 months now and things are going OK. <Alrighty> I have about 75lbs of live rock and 30lbs of live sand. I also have a puffer, a snowflake eel, a coral beauty, a Humu trigger and an orange spotted goby. <Yikes! Ok, here's my first opinion...your tank is overstocked for the long-term! Do consider/research these animals' size at maturity and plan for them accordingly. My suggestion would be to get rid of the puffer now, you don't state which specie you have but most all will quickly outgrow this tank. The trigger will also grow too large in the end so you will need to consider this as well.> My cleaner crew consists of 15-20 crabs and snails, 1 emerald crab, two starfish and a cucumber. My only filtration is the integrated wet/dry in the hood. I also have 1 power head. <Your fish will appreciate a bit more flow.> I want to add a protein skimmer to my system (the Remora Pro, based on reviews from this site), <Excellent!> but the hood will have to be modified to accommodate the skimmer which will render the filter unusable. <Hmm...what are the chances of adding a sump and putting a skimmer here?> What do you think about adding a canister filter (I've seen mixed reviews on this site) to the system with the Remora skimmer? Or, do you think that I should go with the skimmer only and let the rock and sand filter the water?  <You've got a lot of messy feeders in this tank Tony, you definitely need supplemental filtration in my opinion. I'm speculating here, but the wet/dry in the hood is probably not large enough/all that efficient to do much good and as such is a good trade-off for the skimmer. Adding canister filters is a good alternative to the wet/dry, I would go with two smaller filters rather than a single large one. Add a course filter pad before your biological media (bioballs, sintered glass, etc.) in one canister, and use a chemical media (activated carbon, poly-filter, etc.) in the other. Rinse the filter pads weekly, and use small amounts of chemical media to be exchanged (rinse poly-filters) weekly as well.> Your thoughts and recommendations are greatly appreciated. <Thank you for your interest.> Thanks, Tony <Regards, Eric R.> 

TruVu Aqua-system question I got a 55g TruVu with built in Aquasystem from someone. I was initially considering a fish only tank, but after reading through some websites I decided to set up a system with at least some live rock. I was told that that I should modify the Aquasystem to get rid of wet/dry filtration, and also that a protein skimmer chamber in the tank is too small to house any decent skimmer for LR setup. I haven't bought any additional equipment yet, so I would really appreciate your advice on LR with fish in such a tank, since I am very new to salt water. Thank you very much for you help. Igor.  <Igor, my friend. You can remove the bio balls or whatever you have. As for live rock, I would get about 75lbs of it. This alone acts as your denitrification filter. Yes, you need to find a skimmer that you can incorporate into this system. Although skimmers aren't absolutely necessary, they do remove quite a bit of waste. Using a product like Chemi-Pure in one of your chambers will keep the water clean. Do a Google search on the Wet Web, keyword, "live rock" and learn more about it. James (Salty Dog)> 

Filters Hi, I've been researching on your site for a couple of days now, and it's very awesome!!!. I'm 17 years old and on a budget with a 90g tank. I want to start a FOWLR, with only 10 small fish (not sure which ones yet), and 60-90 pounds of live rock. Right now I have a Fluval 204 and 304 canister filters (which I had for 2 years and never got to use them). My questions are: 1) If I use both my Fluval and the large HOT AquaFuge PS Refugium w/ Protein Skimmer, is that enough for filtration?  <It should be with the live rock.> 2) Is the Protein Skimmer in the Aquafuge any good? " <Don't know. CPR's BakPak skimmers work well and I'm sure the skimmer is made on that order.> 3) If I do get the HOT refugium, what should I place in it? (sand, Miracle Mud, small pieces of live rock) I've read some of the faq but I'm still not sure.  <I would probably go with the Miracle Mud, but small pieces of live rock work well too.> If you have any other suggestions rather than getting a sump please tell me. I don't want to get a sump because of the cost, and I don't mind the rinsing the foam pads of the Fluvals every other week.  <A sump isn't necessary with your present set up. I would make sure you have about 900 gph of total flow from all pumps. You have about 440 gph from the Fluvals so that leaves you with about 500 gph to add. James (Salty Dog)>

Can Live Rock Replace Canister and Skimmer? Hi, I've been in one of the famous shops here in UAE (United Arab Emirates) and they told me if I have Live Rock of 40% at least from the tank space, this will be enough filtration and no need for skimmer & canister filter I already have. He said that the canister filter increase the Nitrate because it contaminate the waste and this kill my live rock.  <I agree that canister filters can increase nitrate, especially if they are not cleaned often. I also agree that the canister filter is unnecessary if enough live rock is used. The canister filter (or nitrates) will not harm live rock. Even with live rock, a skimmer is still very important for removing wastes. So, I would suggest removing the canister but keeping the skimmer.> He also told me that no need for activated carbon because it's useless, and when I told him the carbon is to absorb the smell which come from the rock he told me if there is a bad smell coming from the rock this mean it's already dead because of the nitrate and there should not be any smell for the rock although my rock looks red and Ok.  <Activated Carbon is not necessary, but it can help keep the water clear. It is also useful for absorbing some contaminants. Healthy live rock does not smell bad, and I am sure your live rock is fine. Nitrate DOES NOT harm live rock.> Sorry for taking this long but I don't know what to do. Are they right in what they said, and if so should I throw away the current LR and buy another? It's very expensive here! What about the skimmer and the canister filter?  Please help me I'm confused and helpless Thanks  <Your dealer is the one that is confused. There is nothing bad about a canister filter if it is cleaned often, but there is little benefit to it's use if you have the amount of live rock you described. Skimmers are good! Your live rock is probably fine, and you should save your money to spend at another shop! Good luck! AdamC.>

Pump/Filtration Question First, I just want to say thanks for the helpful information I have already obtained. Second, I am setting up my new 140 g reef tank and have a couple questions regarding filtration and return pumps. I have dual overflows in my Oceanic tank, and I have a sump for each set of holes. One is a wet dry/filter and the other I planned a refugium. Does that sound like a plan that would work? <Could> And what should I do for a return pump on each?  <Mmm, many choices... depends on the size plumbing/through-hulls available there... the rate of flow you'd like... this is posted on WWM under "Pump Selection"> I have read so many different opinions that I am more confused now than when I started. Do I need lower flow for the refugium and more for the wet/dry? <Mmm, yes> The return in probably about 3 to 4 feet on each tank. I was thinking a couple of Mag 7's or I have a Catalina 2200 that I might try it is set up I think at 685 gph, but I know nothing about it or them. Would I be better off with an Iwaki and if so would I need two? Your help would be greatly appreciated, thanks. <Take your time here... and read my young friend. All will become clearer with your cool researching. Bob Fenner who has a good friend in the trade named Ralph Posey...>

UV Q's Hi this is Jonathan just wondering if you could Tell me what you think the right amount of U.V light Would be for my 125gal reef tank. I have had a big Problem with Ich and Marine velvet. Just like to Have your expert opinion. Now matter who I ask they All have a different story on wattage and water flow. Thanks for all your help in the past Sincerely Jonathan. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm scroll down to UV's... read. Bob Fenner> New System Startup (Pt. 2) I was thinking of not going with the sump.  I already have the Magnum from previous tanks and was wondering if they would be efficient enough? <Magnums are fine filters, but like all canister/mechanical filters, they do require regular and frequent maintenance to function at their peak.> Do you think the Excalibur protein skimmer would be good for a hang on. <I'm not familiar with this particular unit, though I have heard of it. Do get some fellow hobbyist's opinions on this model.> If I was going to go the sump route I would have to buy everything.  LFS says that the tidepool2 is good up to 200 gal and good for a 600gph pump.  Its made by Marineland. Could I use that minus the bio wheel? <I believe so. You're essentially using it as a water treatment facility. Many hobbyists even use Rubbermaid feed troughs or other suitable food grade containers for sumps!> I don't want any wet dry filtration.  I was going to buy 7 40 pound bags of CaribSea Special Grade reef sand. Is that okay for DSB? <Very good stuff.> I was going to rinse the sand with tap water and then do a final rinse with RO.  Do you think I would get any contamination in the sand bed from tap water? <Minimal, if anything...> Do you know of a paint that I could use on the outside of the tank for the back I was hoping to go with black? <That I'm not sure of. Do consult the tank manufacturer.> Thanks again <My pleasure! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Freedom Filter Has anyone heard anything good or bad about the Freedom Filter filtration system by Freedom Aquarium Products LLC? There website is http://www.freedomaquarium.com.  Looks like a "hang on the back" all in one filtration/protein skimmer/mechanical/chemical system. Cost is around $300.00.. <Haven't seen... neat concept... a winner if it works. You might try the larger BB's like Reefs.org... to see if others have direct experience. Bob Fenner> 

Filtration Questions (3/28/05) Hi Steve,  <Hello> Thank you for your prompt reply.  <You're welcome. Sorry this second response is delayed, but I devoted the entire weekend to my family, as I only get to see them every other week while I'm out of town on 6 months of new job training.>  Your information has been very helpful. I don't have a sump, but in terms of the mechanical filtration, it would be a shame to do away with an Eheim 2026 canister.  <Eheims are very well-regarded.>  I may use it purely for circulation and use a carbon filter pad in conjunction with my Prism protein skimmer for mechanical filtration.  <As before, canisters are great if you maintain them properly. The Prizm is another matter. It is right down there with the SeaClone in terms of reputation. Some people like them, though.>  The carbon pad should do both mechanical and chemical in one.  <Yes, and quite a bit of biological too.>  Eheim have a blue filter pad and a white filter pad that I believe are also part of the mechanical filtration. Do the pads and ceramic noodles perform any biological filtration or is it only the rocks - Eheim substrate.  <All surfaces become coated with bioactive bacteria. That's why charcoal actually does quite a bit of biofiltration--lots of surface area. Same with the noodles, bioballs, etc.>  If not, would a filter pad provide sufficient mechanical filtration without the noodles?  <Yes>  Why are there so many different filter pads?  <One of life's intriguing questions. A similar question is why are there so many OTC cold medications? I used to tell patients that the more different brands of medicine there are targeted to treating a certain symptom, the greater the likelihood that any given one does not work. This is not entirely true, though there is little evidence that OTC decongestants actually work. The fact is that there is often more than one way to accomplish the same thing, so there are many different brands and types. If one is patented, then competitors have to come up with another. I don't know the specifics of Eheim, but I just used cheap generic filter floss from Petco in my Hagen's when I had FW aquariums.> Regards, Gianni.  <To you as well. Keep up the conscientious care for your tank and you will have success and pleasure from your tank. Steve Allen.> 

Question About Sea Clear Filtration System Hello I have a Sea Clear system has been up for almost 2yrs. I have a lionfish, a 6" banded cat shark and a damsel fish.  Also the skimmer it came it with and a power sweep 226. I hate the skimmer and the bio balls the filtration is not that great at all. I came across yo urn site after I bought it . Anyway after searching yo urn site ( it's my bible) I have seen that people have changed their Sea Clear systems by taking out the balls and other things. I wanted to know if there were any How to do pages so I can do it. The main issue is that I would like more filtration, circulation and skimming and I have been looking around to find was of doing this. I would like to add a filter/sump underneath but the because of the way the system is built I don?t know how.  <Anthony, without looking at it, it would be difficult for me to suggest something. I would suggest you contact Sea Clear and get their advice. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for yo urn help  <You're welcome><<Unfortunately these folks make fine tanks, but their integral filtration systems are puny and a pain to work on. RMF>>

New Marine Tank Set Up Hi, Love your site, I have a 112 gallon tank that I want to set up for marines (it housed 2 albino Oscars previously), it has an undergravel filter and a Fluval 304 external filter. The tank is not drilled so I do not think I will be able to use a sump. <Mmm, could have it drilled... not hard to do... or even DIY... or add hang-on overflow boxes...> I was thinking of using the existing filtration with 40-50 kg.s of live rock on top of 3-4 inches of crushed coral and coral sand.  The undergravel tubes are powered buy 2x183 gph powerheads, what do you think of this set up and would you add anything else, or would you scrap the filters?. Thanks a lot <I'd keep reading re your choices here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm Keep good notes! Bob Fenner> 

Refugium Hi Bob, <James today>  I have a 34 gallon Rubbermaid container for a sump on a 75 gallon fish only with live rock and an Eheim Pro 11 canister filter. I would like to set up a refugium, but cannot find any info. I thought that if I put an additional smaller Rubbermaid container inside the sump this would work. The only problem may be is how to move the water thru the refugium, would the return of the protein skimmer be ok, or should I use a separate pump, or tee off the drain from the built-in overflow box? What would you do? I would like to make it as simple as possible.  <Let's have you go to this link first Ron, and see if that helps you. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm. James (Salty Dog)>

Filter Upgrade Thanks for all your help!  <You're welcome>  Now that I've found this site, I don't know what I did without it! I've been browsing around your filter FAQs and thought I would just send an email. I have a 55g Reef (1 yr old) w/ 80lbs of live rock, 2 AquaClear 110(500) filters, a Bak-Pak 2 protein skimmer, and about an 2" of sand. I've decided to upgrade my sand bed to 3-4" (fine aragonite)... <If you do this, you will need sand stirring critters to keep that deep of a sand bed stirred up to prevent hydrogen sulphide gas from forming.>  ... and as one of my AquaClears seems to be going bad, I'm going to either replace it or upgrade my filter set-up as well. Do you have any recommendations? A wet-dry filter? Refugium? Hope I'm not a pest. :)  <John, with the live rock you have, acting as a biological filter, I think your best bet would be a refugium. Macro algae can also be grown in there thus competing with the nuisance algae for food. CPR makes some nice hang-ons with a new model that includes a protein skimmer. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks in advance <You're welcome> 

Filter Upgrade Thanks for the quick reply!  I had one follow up question. Will I be OK as far as flow-rate? I believe I'm around 20X right now, will the refugium (in place of one of the AquaClear 500's) keep up with that?  <John, as long as you have at least 10x, it should be plenty. James (Salty Dog)>

Over filtering and aerating Hello, and thanks for all the advice I have taken from your archives over the last 6 months!! <Hi Frank. Thanks for researching before writing in and glad our site can help.> I currently have a 20 gallon marine tank with 15lbs of live rock, 1 Clarkii clown, 1 false percula and a saffron blue damsel. All parameters I currently test for are normal ( i.e. ammonia 0, nitrite 0, pH 8.3,nitrate 0, SG 1.022 and temp 78 degrees) and I perform a 15% water change weekly.  <Ok, sounds good so far...>  The tank has been running for 6 weeks  <Has the tank finished cycling? That isn't very long. but do keep an eye on those water tests to be sure, as your canister filter might help keep levels in check during the process.> My main question concerns my external canister filter (Fluval 404), I use this as a means of filtration and a power head. I have been currently turning the flow rate up to max after feeding in order to clear debris and provide a load of gas exchange and water movement, the water gets quite bubbly all over the face of the tank. <lots of air bubbles are not good all over the tank, you might want to keep that down.>  The fish all swim to the top of the tank and swim against the current, so my question really is, can you overdo the water movement and aeration?? <Yes, if your tank is filled with tons of bubbles then your fish and corals can get sick and or die from the micro- bubbles. as for water movement. You can have too much if it pushes the fish into the glass. as long as there are places to go without strong currents that seems ok. However it's a lot better to have a turbid flow (water mixing [?] from all directions) then a flow from one side as it helps keep things stirred up and its more like the ocean. Maybe build a manifold out of PVC (read Anthony Calfo's no more powerheads article on the FAQ's) to better distribute the flow. but the massive filtration is a plus for a small tank. Be sure to clean the filters in the canister weekly as well in old tank water.> Another quick question, should I be testing for calcium or adding any other trace elements? <Yes if you want your live rock or corals to grow well, though the makeup saltwater has most trace elements besides calcium.> Thanks for any help you can give. Frank from Glasgow, Scotland <Good luck and hope this helps> <Justin (Jager)>

- New Tank Set-up - I'm setting up a new 54 gallon corner tank SW FOWLR. I was originally going to get the built-in overflow tank with a wet/dry sump filter and protein skimmer in sump and using live rock. In doing more reading, it seems that the wet/dry filter with sump is not necessary and is just a convenient place to put the protein skimmer. Am I better off sticking with this setup or should I consider using a canister filter and a hang-on type protein skimmer?  <I ran a 54 corner for many years with only a simple sump and a protein skimmer... think this is the best way to go... simple is better.> Does the built-in overflow type tank provide better circulation, or is using the canister filter just as good?  <Doesn't really affect circulation per se, but does allow you to use any size return pump you want. Is really an apples to oranges comparison. Canister filters have their use, but they need regular maintenance or their flow rate is diminished.> Also, I guess using the canister filter instead of the overflow would be quieter.  <It may be, but this isn't a good enough reason for me to not use a corner overflow.> But then I'd have the added noise of the hang-on protein skimmer.  <Will probably make the same amount of noise regardless of where it's installed.> Any direction would be appreciated. Mitch <Cheers, J -- >

Changing to a wet/dry filter I am switching from a hang on filter with a bio wheel to a wet/dry filter. How long should I leave the old filter in place until the new filter develops the bacteria needed to sustain the tank?  <Chris, just put the bio-wheel itself in your sump for a couple weeks. James (Salty Dog)><<I'd overlap the filters for a few weeks. RMF>>

DAS aquarium modification Thank you for such a comprehensive and professional resource.  This is a great knowledge base for responsible and  rewarding reef-keeping.  I have searched extensively through the WWM Articles and associated FAQs, but to no avail. I have a DAS H39 60 gallon system.  The DAS has an integrated filtration system which I have grown to hate! <Am familiar with their puny, hard to work on...> The integrated skimmer is inadequate (air bubble size, water column height/contact, and water movement) and provides sub-par water contact for biological filtration. <Agreed> I feel this would be an ideal setup for a freshwater system but wholly inadequate for the saltwater reef. <Not even that great for FW... too little circulation, filtration> I have noticed several posts throughout the WWM site referring to removing the overflow box and filtration system on the DAS tanks.  From what I can gather through the internet and looking at the tank, it is difficult to remove this overflow "box".  Any ideas or references on how to remove it so I can build a more ideal filtration/circulation system incorporating a refugium, closed loop and skimmer?  Thanks again for the help and Happy Friday. <I don't see such in a cursory search on the Net... you are faced with a series of choices... from adding filtration over the back (via hang on technology) to applying constant level boxes and sumps below, rigging a sump/refugium above and pumping up to it, having gravity return the water... to having the tank drilled for overflows (the latter of course requiring it be drained). Bob Fenner> Accentuate The Positive, Eliminate The...Waste Products? Hi. <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a large Queen Trigger. I've been watching him for a while now. Is  it normal for him to let out waste frequently? <If he has been eating a lot, all of that digestive product has to go somewhere!> He ate 2 goldfish earlier in the day, but he lets out waste, then about 5 minutes later he'll do it again, and so on...I think its been about 4 times so far within an hour...Thank You <Well, without getting too graphic, I'd just chalk it up to his eating habits. Like people, fish eliminate wastes as they metabolize foods. These eliminations can occur at any time; fishes can run into troubles, too, being constipated, etc. By the way, do consider using foods of "marine" origin, as goldfish really do not provide a complete nutrition package for marine fishes, and may be lacking in some essential fatty acids, etc. Unless you're seeing lots of long, stringy feces (possible indication of internal parasites or other problems), or if the fish is in distress, I'd not get too worked up about the fish's elimination habits. In fact, I'd be a lot more concerned if the fish had trouble eliminating waste! Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Mechanical/Biological Filter After a bit of advice on my filter situation. I have a 60 Gallon set-up with some soft corals and fish. The question I have is about my filter setup. At the moment I have two external Eheim filters. One I am using as a Biological filter (which I don't clean), which is simply full of the EhfiSubstrate. The other filter I am using as a mechanical filter, this filter houses a course filter pad and approx an inch thick layer of wool. The questions I have are. Would you consider this to be the most beneficial setup?<No> if not what way would you go.<Personally, I would go with a hang on refugium or sump model or a wet/dry filter with no bioballs and use a polyester filtering pad (changed weekly, no rinsing)> Also I rinse the pad and wool every week and change the wool every other week, at the same time I do water changes (around 10%) I rinse the pad/wool in tank water when I do the water change.<I would replace the wool weekly, no rinsing.  This helps in reducing your nitrate level.> The other question is. If I rinse the pad/wool in tank water will it turn this filter into another Biological filter?<It can> Should I rinse the wool/pad in RO water to kill the bacteria?<Again, I would replace the pads weekly.> Hope you can help as I have noticed my Nitrates have raised to around 30ppm, I am doing water changes every other day to try and reduced this. <I would consider the purchase of a protein skimmer to aid in the nitrate problem.> All the best Daniel and please keep up this excellent site, I have already learnt so much. <Thank you Daniel.  James (Salty Dog)>

Pump selection, plumbing, using WWM Hi to the crew- I actually have a "crew" listing in my hotmail account for you guys... it's just easier. <Yikes> So I've left the tank of my college years- a 150 gal reef tank I built for the biology building. <Man! I couldn't afford a ten gallon guppy tank in my years...> And now have started over on my own tank. It's been up for a few months now, cycled appropriately until my ammonia, nitrite/ate were down to zeros. From what I've gotten in feedback, it's a not too common set up. 55 gallon tank, holding only 30ish g. The upper space is empty to accommodate a 150w MH de bulb at 10k, and to let my dozen mangroves grow up. <As in mangrove trees? There are some 53 families of plants... but mostly what folks keep (Avicenna) grow very large...> This way, my MH fixture fits in the hood, and I have enough space so I don't simmer my tank- and with less water, the light is "more powerful". <Okay> Right now, a pair of maroon clowns, both about an inch (the one from the college tank is about 6 inches now.. she's a beast and the same size as our yellow tang. Maybe she has encouragement from the 2 foot across, 4 year old green carpet anemone...) and a colt coral. My plan is to understock with fish, heavy on corals-hardies, a distance from the colt and each other. all in the hopes of keeping nitrates as small as possible.  So, filtration has been live rock 35/40lbs, a shallow sand bed and a Fluval 304 filter stuffed with live rock for bacteria purposes. So...the plan is that ASAP, I upgrade/add to the filter and put in a sump/fuge and skimmer. Return pump suggestions? The standards are Mag drive, Iwaki, Rio- but gph? <Pump selection and circulation is posted on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm > wasn't sure of an acceptable rate. The 150 tank had a little giant 650gph, but this is a much smaller tank- I would estimate four feet from bottom of sump to back into tank. Also, because of this weird set up- the water level is a good 8-10 inches from the top of the tank. I see no problem with a longer U-tube for an overflow box- do you? I figure a siphon can be used to drain a tank, so halfway shouldn't be a problem. <Trouble... yes... Also addressed on WWM and some alternatives suggested... When, where in doubt, keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Re: pump selection Back to Bob F. FYI, the fun part of doing the 150g tank for Roanoke College was that I designed/built what I wanted, and they paid for it all. I had no money to speak of... <Ah... I do remember those days... wait, what is today, Wednesday?> The hard part was leaving it all behind when I graduated...I was going to send an email back because I found the faq's on pumps/siphons right after sending. sorry- but thanks for all the great service over the years. Oh, the mangrove plan is a long term one. In the future when I'm old enough-and financially secure enough-I want to do a large indoor pond/lagoon like Anthony showed in the magazine- so if I can keep these trees alive, I'll have the adult ones that I want. I'm thinking a similar thing if I can keep corals alive for 20+ years...a far shot, but kind of a living heritage to pass down. We have a jade plant from my ancient relatives that's about 200 hundred years old that we each have a cutting of. <Neat> ( I did a lot of work with Historic trees in college- growing saplings from cuttings of the last tree planted by Johnny Appleseed, the family tree of Martin Luther King, Jefferson's cherry trees that he planted himself...) <Ahh, and I too grow a few trees that have been similarly de-grafted... mainly Persica americana. Bob Fenner>

Bigger Skimmer/Smaller Refugium? (A Trade Off!) I have learned a great deal from your website and thank you so much for offering your invaluable experience and expertise to aquarium hobbyists everywhere.  You also have more patience that anyone should judging by the repeat questions you get and happily answer. <Thanks much for the kind words. we really love doing this and hope that it is of use to our fellow hobbyists! Scott F. here today!> I have looked in the forums and hopefully my question is specific enough to not classify as a repeat. This is my first post so be gentle. Whew, apologizing upfront JIC... <No need to do that, I assure you!> Anyway, I have a 65 Gallon show tank (not good) because it is tall and only 36" long. I have 80 lbs of live rock, 40# live sand, a Sea Clone 100 skimmer in the sump, a 200W heater, Coralife power compacts with 2 96 watt bulbs and Lunar lights, 2 Maxi jet 1200s pushing water around inside the tank, and a Mag 5 through a SQWD returning water from the sump to the main tank. Livestock consists of 2 Black Percula clowns, several Mushroom Corals, a Toadstool Mushroom, several Ricordea, a polyp colony, a feather duster, and a cleanup crew. <Sounds like an interesting mix. Your setup sounds pretty cool!> Okay, there is the background. I plan to replace my sump (made from my old trickle filter) with a refugium. Due to the limited size of my cabinet, I am getting a 24L X 12W X 14 H refugium that I will have the option of where to put the dividers. I apologize for being so long winded but I want to provide you with as much information as I could. <No problem, thanks> Okay, finally to my questions- another skimmer question for you. I like the Euro Reef based on the chatter I have seen here and was planning to get the ASM G-1X but am worried about the footprint (8 ? X 11) and how much room it will take up in my small refugium. With the skimmer box and return pump box dividers installed, I will only have about 10 or 11 inches left for the refugium. Based on your superior intellect and knowledge of the game (sucking up here) <You talkin' about me? I didn't think so! :) > Will there be sufficient room for an effective refugium or should I go with an Aqua Urchin Pro (footprint of 8 " x 3.25") and gain 5 more inches of refugium space. <Hmm...sounds about right. I'm wondering, however, if the extra 5 inches of "floor space" is really going to result in a net advantage over using the larger skimmer in there. I think that these are both outstanding skimmers, but the ASM is a remarkably productive skimmer for the cost. If it were me, I'd accept the larger footprint of the ASM as a trade off.> Also, based on my setup, are there any other changes you would recommend? <Actually, the whole thing sounds pretty nice. I like the use of the SCWD to get some random current in there. Really sounds like a nice tank with neat coral that will really spread wonderfully given time, care and enough space.> Water parameters are good with the exception of the nitrates which I have not been able to get down below 10ppm yet (hence the refugium). <A refugium can help process excess nutrients if you utilize some macroalgae and harvest it regularly, thus removing it from the system altogether.> I follow your advice and do 5% water changes twice a week but only started doing those 2 weeks ago when I read the post where you advised this. <It's a really good habit to develop, IMO. It is relatively painless (I mean 3.25 gallons twice a week in your tank is easy!), and can help dilute some of the nutrients in your system before they have a chance to accumulate. It's easy on your tank's inhabitants, too. With good skimming, regular small water changes, and perhaps a deeper sand bed, you will hopefully see the nitrate trend down over the coming weeks and months. Keep at it!> Thanks in advance, Mike Henry <A pleasure, Mike! Sounds like you're doing great there, and the future looks bright for your system! Enjoy! Regards, Scott F.> - Filtration Questions - Hey - thanks for all the help and knowledge. - I have a few questions.  1. Do you think it would be worth it to, if I had an extra Aquaclear Hang on the Back Filter, to buy bio Balls and a baggy and make my own type of bio-filter?  <You could... don't think it would do any harm... add to circulation.>  2. Someone at the LFS said that the protein removed from the water by a protein skimmer, is not responsible for Ammonia, and that the ammonia in water is directly, and (here's the kicker), only from what fish give off from their gills and feces.  <Well... he's right about the fish producing ammonia, but the skimmer does remove some compounds that, if allowed to stay in the water would eventually degrade into nitrogenous wastes.>  He also had just sold a buddy of mine a Fluval 400 for a 100 gallon salt tank, fish only, display. 3. Does putting powerheads in the middle or lower regions of a tank deter fish from being able to sleep at night?  <Don't think so.>   Thank you so very much for your help. I have visited all your sponsors and am glad for it. - Ishan <Cheers, J -- > 

Filtration on Saltwater and Planted tanks Hi to all!! Great website- I have found tons of useful info. I have to separate questions regarding two different tanks (sorry if I should have done to separate emails). First, I have a 125 gallon tank that is in the process of cycling. The ammonia is almost at zero and the nitrites and nitrates are still high. I have the diatom process starting in the past few days. I have the AquaClear Pro 150 wet/dry system with pre-filter and built in protein skimmer. The unit is powered by a Eheim 1260 pump. I also have 3 powerheads (2 Zoo Meds Power Sweep 228 and a Maxi-Jet 1200). <Hello Karen. I don't believe you will like your power sweep before long. The gears in these things are almost like watch gears, will get jammed from debris going through them, you'll be cleaning this quite a bit> I have a combination of Seaflor special grade reef sand, Arag-Alive special grade and 40 lbs of live sand to equal a depth of 3 inches. I also have 165 lbs of live rock. For lighting I have an Orbit CF Lunar Light with 2 96 watt dual actinic and 2 96 watt dual daylight and 6 lunar lights  <You are a little weak on lighting if you plan on keeping corals/anemones. Your at 3 watts/gallon and need to be up around 4-5 watts/gallon> After reading about the wet/dry filters and their high nitrate capabilities I am not sure I want to stick with this filter. If I keep it and take the bio balls out do I need to take the foam block out of the sump? <Leave the foam block but clean it weekly>  I do remember that you have said to take the filter pad out also. I think I also recall that you had said something about adding Ehfimech to the sump to rid of excess nitrates, is this correct and if I was to add some live sand in the sump would I just add the media on top of it? <To add live sand to a sump, the unit needs to be designed for it, such as a refugium, or you will need to create a baffle of some kind to prevent the sand from being sucked up. Live sand will help reduce nitrates but get at the root of the problem. If the system is in balance you should not have excessive nitrates unless your system is overstocked, you overfeed, do not do weekly water changes etc>  My protein skimmer is working great, but was wondering if it would benefit if I added another one to the system or if it would make that much of a difference?  <You can't have too much protein skimming, and sure it will help>  I also have an Eheim Pro II 2028 that I am not using right now. Would I benefit by adding this filter to my tank in addition to my wet/dry or could I run my tank with just this canister filter plus a skimmer without any reduction in filtration- what would you do?  <I would use the Eheim with Chemi-Pure to aid in waste removal. Chemi-Pure has a very low phosphate content in their carbon plus the added benefit of two ion exchange resins and two scavenger resins.>  My other question has to do with my 75 gallon plant/ rainbowfish tank. I have the dreaded Eheim wet/dry filtration on it. I know you guys dislike this filter for saltwater tanks- does the same go for freshwater? Would it be better to put my Eheim 2028 on this tank? I know that this filter does not have much of a carbon pad but if I ran it with the pad in there continuously would that take all the plant nutrients out of the water? I started out with fluorite as the substrate, but I am disappointed. I rinsed it out many many times and it still causes cloudiness in my tank if it is stirred up. I was thinking about replacing it with EcoComplete, any thoughts on this product? I also have the deluxe fully-automatic CO2 system with this tank.. <Karen, it sounds like you're serious about plants so search the wet web for freshwater plants for some useful info along with the Q&A at Drs. Foster & Smith. James (Salty Dog)> Sorry about the two separate questions and thanks for your time.  Karen 

CPR Bak-Pak2 In your opinion, if I install a CPR Bak-Pak 2 hang on skimmer/biological filter on my 55 gallon, and replace my AMiracle hang on wet/dry trickle filter (with built-in protein skimmer that doesn't work)  with either a Fluval 404 or Eheim 2206 Canister filter, will I have enough mechanical and biological filtration?  <For? What sorts of livestock, purpose?> Or would I be better off leaving the A-Miracle wet/dry, removing the Whisper, and adding the Aqua-C remora protein skimmer? <Depends...> Can I run a canister AND wet/dry? <Yes> I do have one other power head just for extra water circulation. The tank has about 3 inches of a crushed coral/sand , about 12 lbs of live rock (which I'll increase substantially once I get my lighting situation upgraded.....thinking about using a Jebo 4X 55 watt high compact), and  1 clown fish (about 3 inches)  1 bi color Pseudochromis   2 blue damsels 1 feather duster 2 small hermits 1 small red Coris wrasse (about 3 inches) 1 algae blenny The tank has been up and running about a year. All inhabitants except the wrasse and blenny have been in for at least 8 months. The wrasse and blenny were added about 3 weeks ago. All seem happy and healthy, at least to this point. The live rock seems to be struggling though, likely due to poor lighting (a single 40 watt 50/50 fluorescent)  Ammonia is 0ppm Nitrite is 0 pH 8.2 SG is 1.018 (I had been keeping it low because the LFS said it would help avoid problems with parasites, but you have already advised me to increase substantially, to the 1.022 - 1.025 range) Nitrates are about 40 ppm, but sometimes go as high as 60 (brought down by water changes of course. I do a 10% water change weekly now, as opposed to a 30% change once per month). I'm still new at this game, but trying, as everyone does, to find the right combination of filtration and lighting. <Sounds good> Finally, if I do go with the Jebo power compact I mentioned above (which comes with 2 10,000k daylight at 2 actinic), will that be enough to add any anemones at some point?  Keep up the good work!! <Yes... some species, with slow/er growth. Bob Fenner>

Re: Novice marine aquarist   Thanks again for the advice. Best source of Marine aquarium help and advice that I've come across.  I'll definitely look into the new protein skimmer, and I'll continue to add live rock. At what point though, if at all, do I remove the bio balls? <When you feel comfortable with the nitrification you otherwise have. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bioballfaqs.htm and the other Related FAQs (linked above)> With water changes, I've been able to keep nitrates to about 40 - 60 ppm. I know it's still too high, and some articles suggest that bio balls and/or other mechanical filtration devices can act as nitrate factories. <They can, usually do.> In that regard, how often do I clean or replace the filter pads on the wet/dry filter (they go from white to brown in just a week or so), and on the Whisper dual cartridge filter (with carbon in the cartridges)? <Please search (there's a Google tool on the homepage and indices) WetWebMedia.com re> Finally, (and I hope I haven't asked too many questions already), <No, just ones that are better answered (as they lead to other related, useful input) on WWM> once I have things more stabilized, are an algae blenny and red Coris wrasse compatible with the system and tank inhabitants I already have. <Likely so... the Coris if it starts small (under four inches)> My son wants to add these two, as he saw then in the LFS, and loved how active /comical they were.  I look forward to your response, as always. Your advice has kept me from giving up hope on more than one occasion! <Bob Fenner>

Marine filtration quandaries Hello there,<Hello KR> here is my current situation. The more informed I get, the  more I am beginning to feel lost. I have a 58 gallon saltwater with 80 pounds of live rock,<good start> established about 6 mo.s now, ocellaris and lawnmower blenny, misc.   inverts, Zoanthus etc. I had decided that a sump would be a great idea for the  overall look of the tank so I initially set one up. I didn't have a drilled tank  so I got a continuous overflow (here's where it starts)<some people do not size their overflow with the return pump they are using which leads to siphon problems> which as I read more and  more seems like a bad idea. First, why is this? Next I have the overflow piped  directly into my emperor 400<not a good idea> which then empties into the 10gal sump where I have  a SeaClone skimmer (again, found out these are terrible post hoc). I am now  having hair algae issues to which it was recommended I get a phosphate remover  (done) and up the skimming (not really possible with this sucker). So now I am  wondering if I should get a Euro Reef skimmer and dump the sump altogether or  what?? It seems the more I read the more contrary and confused info I get and I  know you guys are geniuses. Anyway if I do go hang on, what's a good option for  the skimmer or what type do you recommend? <A sump isn't absolutely necessary but it certainly adds to the overall health of the tank.  It greatly increases the oxygen level in the tank and reduces CO2.  Ten percent weekly water changes are also the norm. The AquaC Remora hang on would be a good choice for your size tank.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for the help... KR

Re: Sump Question Thanks so much.<You're welcome> I am glad my plan is up to specs, so to speak. The local LFS ppl seemed to think it would work. One tried really hard to push the Ecosystem instead of a regular refugium...I may consider it, but I don't really think there would be any clear advantage over a regular one with live sand, with proper trace element and supplement additions. Here is the LAST last question. The part I left out was mechanical filtration. I have had 2 different things suggested. The first was to periodically utilize a HOT Magnum to first vac out detritus, and then to run reef carbon for a few days.<The good thing about the HOT Magnum Pro is that it comes with a gravel/substrate cleaning attachment.  The bad thing is that the media canister cannot hold media like Chemi-Pure.  Most carbons do contain phosphate regardless of what they tell you.  Part of the processing system is a phosphoric acid rinse.  I feel personally that Chemi-Pure is one of the few carbon based resins where the phosphate content is extremely low. I have switched to activated carbons only to see an increased growth of algae.> The other was to run a Fluval canister constantly, with only the foam (with weekly rinsings, monthly changings) and some resins,<I like this idea better.  With a Fluval or Filstar (Rena) you can used media such as Chemi-Pure or Bio-Chem Sorb.  Incidentally, Drs. Foster & Smith has a great sale right now on the Rena Filstars.  I believe the XP-1 can be had for around $57.00.  These sell at LFS's for around $130.00.> also with regular changes<10% weekly ideal and recommended> to keep it from "going biological." My instincts tell me to run the Fluval with occasional periods of reef carbon use constantly (nice water polishing and water movement, very little space taken up) & to use the vac feature of the HOT Magnum periodically as well. Would you agree? <Yes, if money is no object, go with both.  James (Salty Dog) Now, I'm set, and pretty much awaiting equipment on the UPS truck. Thanks again. Bill

Minor problems with Marine Tank I have spent many hours reviewing all the massive amounts of data on your site concerning marine tank setups, but have not really been able to address my problems. I have a 29 gallon setup. not stocked that full. I have about 30 Lbs of live rock, 1 tomato clown, 1 yellow tail damsel, 1 3 stripe damsel,<Hello Jeremy.  That is about all the fish you want to put in that 29> 1 Condylactis anemone and 1 feather duster. I use 5 in 1 test strips (don't know if this is good or not) My test parameters are as follows: PH 8.0, ppm TOTAL Alkalinity/Buffering capacity 250,<what is the dKH number?> Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0, and Nitrate 200+. There lies the problem (high Nitrate). I use a Fluval canister filter made to handle up to 40 gallons and 1 power head. I have a crushed coral substrate. I recently lost a Sebae anemone when it ran into my Condylactis. The people at the store I frequent told me that the two could live together with no problem, apparently that was wrong. They also told me that on a tank as small as mine that I did not need to purchase a protein skimmer but that it would be a waste of money.<On the contrary, in a tank your size which is more susceptible to overfeeding/overcrowding, the protein skimmer would be an excellent investment.> They said that protein skimmers were developed back when we did not utilize live rock the way we do now. IS THIS TRUE?<Live rock and protein skimming have nothing in common.  Live rock is used for it's beauty and biological waste processing.  Skimmers remove waste, dissolved organics, etc.> and will a protein skimmer help reduce nitrates.<Yes it will, but not by it's lonesome.  Weekly water changes of 10% helps reduce this by dilution as I see you are doing. You also want to siphon your substrate when your removing water.  It is important to get the detritus out of there.> I do weekly water changes between 3 and 6 gallons, it does not seem to make a difference.<It probably won't make a difference if you overfeed.  Your filters/pads should be cleaned/replaced weekly also.> I have also tested my tap water and there does not seem to be any detectable amounts of no2 or no3 in the water, also no ammonia. I have only been doing this for about a year so any insight you have would be appreciated. Oh....my feather duster had lost its  crown about a month ago, but it came back...I assumed that it was natural molting, but today I have to seen it but there appears to be some cloudy slimy stuff coming out of the tube getting on everything around it. Any ideas?<That's not abnormal> Thanks for your time and the website:)   - Jeremy

About wet dry systems, LR, pursuit of useful information Hello, I have a couple of questions to ask.  I am currently setting up a 55 gallon fish only aquarium.  I plan on ordering a 45lbs. box of Fiji live rock.  The problem is filtration.  A local store is trying to sell me a hang on wet dry system that includes a skimmer return pump and bio balls.  Is this a good idea? <For them or you? Mmm, don't know much else about you, your intended system... what do you hope to keep? What other alternatives have you considered? Have you read on our site: WetWebMedia.com re wet-dries, marine filtration... there are a few hours worth of study there... that you would do well to peruse before asking such questions> I do not know the name of the w/d sorry.  I had thought about a Fluval 304 filter but the store said they are a waste of money.  What is your opinion?   <Re what? Modern Fluval canister filters are fine products... have some applications in marine systems...> If you were in my shoes what would you do? <Read, take notes, borrow/buy a good (complete, modern) book on marine aquarium keeping... maybe join a hobby club if you have time/interest enough... chat and chat with other hobbyists, fish store employees, the Net... gather information on your options, make lists of same, decide, buy, install...>   I  am on a 400 dollar budget for filtration.  I have every thing else I just don't now what route to take. <Ahh, now that's a useful bit of data... Do look about my friend... "many roads lead to Rome"... some bumpier, slower, more fraught with Yugo type troubles... Your mileage will vary depending on the path you take. Choose well. Bob Fenner>

Tweaking An Established System...? Gentlemen - <Scott F. with you tonight!> First of all Happy Holiday's to all and what a wonderful site you have, so very helpful and priceless! <Thanks so much for the kind words! Hope that your Holiday Season is a good one!> My question is how deep should my live sand substrate be?  Here are my details: - 60 Gallon Tank - Remora Hang on Skimmer - Wet / Dry Trickle filter with live rock as the medium (Poly filter above rock in chamber so it goes thought this first) - 9 Watt Coralife U/V Sterilizer - Fluval 404, packed with Chemi-pure and Purigen (No Ceramic media or pads) - (2) Coralife Power Compacts (2x96 10K) and (2x96 True Actinics) - 2 Rio 600's for water circulation, plus water return from sump and Fluval - 75 lbs live rock in tank Animals: (1) Potter's Angel (1) Green Mandarin (Eating prepared foods) (1) Maroon clown (1) Green Bulb Anemone (1) Torch (1) Piece of live rock with assorted polyps NH4- Zero N02- Zero N03- getting better, 30 ppm (going down) SG - 1.023 The sand right now is about 1.5" thick.  What should I do, if anything, to make my system more efficient? Thank You gentlemen! Bryan J. McLaughlin <Well, Bryan, there are a few things you can do. First, I'd consider just using the wet dry filter as a "sump"; and not directing water flow over the live rock. It's similar, in my opinion, to using plastic bioballs. Efficient at converting ammonia to nitrite, and nitrite to nitrate-but that's where the efficiency stops. If you're accumulating nitrate, you'll need a deeper sand bed to help reduce it! Consider increasing the sandbed depth to 3" plus if denitrification is your goal. Another suggestion: Don't use the Poly Filter as a "prefilter". At $5.00-$10.00 each (depending upon where you get 'em), these are expensive "mechanical media"!  These are chemical filtration media, and you need to orient them as such within the system. Better to place these in the water, where the flow can be directed through the media for maximum efficiency. Finally, do consider a potential lighting change at some point (utilizing metal halide). Anemones require intense lighting, and metal halide is the most economical solution, IMO.  Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.> Filter Sequence question Thanks for such a great site and my apologies in advance if this is a repeat question. I have been poring over your site trying to gain a better understanding, have been reading books and magazines and have a few new books on the way, but I am a slave to my own impatience.<That is something you might have to work on!! I am impatient also.:)> I am hoping for a little insight to accelerate my understanding. I am planning to set up a 60-85 reef aquarium with live rock, fish, and eventually soft corals that will be on the first floor with the filtration in the basement. I have a 75 gallon tank in the basement that I will be using to get started and plan on an upside down deep sand bed with the overflow from the main tank feeding the plenum and using the shallow water area above as a refugium. I have two other stainless steel tanks that I plan to use as sump housings. The main question I have is about the filtration sequence. I plan to use a protein skimmer, and have thought about a fluidized aragonite sand bed and UV sterilization. What I am unsure about is the best way to filter the water without removing desirable foods for corals and filter feeders. Should the protein skimming happen after the refugium/sand bed to prevent skimming of potential food sources?<It should be before.> Does UV sterilization remove any desirable filter food? <Yes, it does.> I was also wondering if it would be better for the water in the bottom of the refugium/sandbed to be oxygen rich or slightly low as I was wondering whether to foam fraction or use a fluidized bed before entering the plenum.<Yes, Do it before.> I think I might be going a little overboard in my filtration scheme as I'm trying to incorporate every possible method.<I don't think that it is bad. Just wondering if there is a smart way to do a Berlin-Jaubert-Live-Adey method.<Now that I don't know about.  I would stick with the filtration idea that you have.  Use a pump to move the water through a U.V. sterilizer and mechanical filter before it hits the protein skimmer.  I would then put that system in the first chamber of your filter before the refugium.  I would then filter the water through the refugium.> Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again for such a great place to learn and my apologies if you have answered my question at your site. <I hope I was able to help. MikeB.> Question about filters Hi Bob.  I'm a big fan of yours, and I used to email you years ago for advice, which was top notch. <Hi Jeff, Sorry its not Bob today. My name is MacL and I'm helping him out while he gets in some dive time in Hawaii.> I used to have 2, 55 gallon salt tanks with Fluvals. I never had any problems with them. <Great!> I quit this hobby about 4 years ago, but I'm just getting back into it again. <Ha you never totally get away do you?> Sooo, here's my new dilemma. I'm going to purchase a pre-drilled reef ready 90 gallon tank.  I've never had a wet/dry before, or a skimmer that would go under my tank. I've been researching different sites, but I still can't decide which one is the best. They all look the same to me, as well as the skimmers. <Well the thing is it really depends on what you are trying to do with both the wet/dry and the skimmers.> I would like any suggestions you can give me on what sump is better, and which type of skimmer as well. <Are you thinking sump or wet/dry because that does make a difference.> I saw a bio-rocker sump that said it was state of the art, or one that had Bio-bale instead of bio-balls. <The idea of BioBale as opposed to bioballs is that its thought that the bale would have more total area to produce oxygen.> Also, as far as protein skimmers go, which one is better, that ones that just have a pump that produces the bubbles, or one that has a pump and a airstone to produce the bubbles?? <That's really personal preference Jeff and maintenance.>  Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. <Let me try to give you some things to think about Jeff, hopefully to help you make your decisions. First, Do you want just a sump where you have extra water and possibly a place to put your skimmer that's not in the tank, or do you want a wet/dry where you get the addition of extra oxygen and an additional great place for filtration? The one drawback to a wet/dry is that it can add nitrates into the tank so you have to find a way to balance that if you do decide to go with a wet/dry. Maybe people have gone to a refugium in addition to or instead of a wet/dry and others have gone to a wet/dry without the bio filter medium. I personally have a wet/dry and love it but have added a refugium to handle nitrates. Now about skimmers, are you using them to give you totally pristine water? If so you are going to want to study how much the skimmer will do and also something to think about is ease of clean up. If it was me personally looking to buy a skimmer I would also hit some of the discussion forums to see what people think about the different skimmers. One that comes to mind quickly is www.fragexchange.com. I know I have heard good things about the AquaC and the Euroreef skimmers but there are many other brands that are probably just as good. Does that help any Jeff? Please let me know if you have any additional questions, MacL>  Thanks.  Jeff

Micro bubbles after filtration upgrade Hi, I have a 90 gallon reef tank.  I just installed a G-2 skimmer  yesterday.  I also removed my pre-skimmer filter floss.  My tank is  filled with micro-bubbles now.  The skimmers out put has a sponge sleeve,  and there is minimal bubbles from it.  My overflow takes in air, so the  outlet is a bubbly mix.  My sump is not sectioned off, so these bubbles are  making it to my return pump.  I only had this problem after I added the  skimmer (not the cause) and removed the filter floss. Is there any way to remove the air coming from the overflow without using  floss?  Is using floss detrimental to a reef tank, assuming it is replaced  a few times a week?  My sump(20-gallon tank) was installed when I set the  tank up, so it is hard to alter it in any major way.  Your advice would be  appreciated. Thank you. Ryan, <Ryan, Yes tiny air bubbles can be detrimental to the corals.  They can get under them and eventually dry them out.  If you don't want to use filter floss try using some bioballs or some other kind of biological material in the sump.  I like to use a baffle system.  Try sectioning off your sump.  That would definitely help.  Good luck. MikeB.> Micro bubbles after filtration upgrade Hi, <Hello there> I have a 90 gallon reef tank.  I just installed a G-2 skimmer  yesterday. <For others this is a knock-off of the Euro-Reef line by the folks at All-Seas Marine> I also removed my pre-skimmer filter floss.  My tank is  filled with micro-bubbles now.  The skimmers output has a sponge sleeve,  and there is minimal bubbles from it.  My overflow takes in air, so the  outlet is a bubbly mix.  My sump is not sectioned off, so these bubbles are  making it to my return pump. <Can be trouble here> I only had this problem after I added the  skimmer (not the cause) and removed the filter floss. <I'd try putting the floss back> Is there any way to remove the air coming from the overflow without using floss? <Maybe by making the sump much larger, baffling the output from the skimmer....> Is using floss detrimental to a reef tank, assuming it is replaced  a few times a week? <Not likely, at least not as much as the fine bubbles being mixed in the return pump> My sump(20-gallon tank) was installed when I set the  tank up, so it is hard to alter it in any major way.  Your advice would be appreciated. Thank you. Ryan,
<Choices as presented. Bob Fenner>

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