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FAQs on Marine Filtration 11

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 10, 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,

Give me clean water... or else!

Too much filtration? 01/07/2008 Hi again Guys! <<Hello, Andrew here>> Once again, thank you so much for all your help with my new saltwater tank! Scott F., you are really funny! I am currently in the process of cycling my 55 gallon saltwater tank. First time with saltwater. I am using a wet/dry with bio balls, Amiracle overflow box system. Running a protein skimmer as well. I also have 70 lbs. of live rock in the tank. Also a Maxijet 1200 (295GPH) for water circulation hung opposite of my return inflow from the sump. <<Your flow needs to be higher, you need about 1350GPH ( 25 x circulation)>> I have about 5 hermits and just a couple snails for now. I am close to the end of my cycle. I had a huge ammonia spike for 3-4 days after adding the shipment of live rock. It was "pre-cured" but it was shipped so I expected more than usual die-off. My ammonia dropped last night to .50. My nitrites are still high. Definitely not low or 0. It's just hard to tell exactly what it is due to the color chart I have. Nitrate chart is the same way. It looks as though it is somewhere between the 10-20 range. Salinity 1023, PH 7.8. I just recently have been adding Fiji Gold to help bring the ph up. My questions are...I have a Marineland 350 canister filter that I am not using. Would it be feasible to add that to my existing wet/dry filtration? Will that over filter my tank? <<No, it won't over filter your tank, just use the filter to add extra circulation to the tank, no media, live rock is your filter>> Cause me to have more work? <<Yes, by cleaning filter media>>  I thought I could also just use it to add more water circulation. If you think this is a good idea, than what filter media should I use in the canister. One more question. Should I leave the bio-balls in the wet/dry after my cycle completes? Or should I slowly remove them over a period of time? <<Slowly remove them over time, and replace with rock rubble>> I have a ten gallon ready for my quarantine tank. I will be keeping it empty until I am ready to buy fish. I bought a little 10-15 gallon Aqua Tech power filter for the QT (10 gallons). I thought I would just put the Bio Fiber pad it came with, (not the other one with the carbon) inside my sump to get it ready with good bacteria. <<That is fine, just use the filter media>> Then when I am ready to get fish, I can just put that filter pad in the filter and remove water from my display and add to the QT. Will I need to do this on the first couple fish I add or start after I add more fish to the soon to be existing fish? Does that make sense?? <<You should QT all arrivals, it is good practice>> Once again, thank you for everything! You all are wonderful! Sincerely, Rachel <<Thank you for the questions, A Nixon>>

"Polishing" Water  12/24/07 Dear Crew, Happy holidays! <And Happy Holidays to you, too! Scott F. in today!> I need your help yet again. I want to clarify my water more. I have an Outer Orbit light fixture and the light seems to reflect every particle in the water. I was thinking of adding an additional filter, but not sure which one. I was thinking of either an Eheim where I can pack my own filter media, or an Ocean Clear inline filter made just for polishing water. If I go with the Eheim, I don't know what filter media to use. I would prefer the Eheim as this will only draw 50 watts. Any suggestions? Thank you. Jeff <Well, Jeff- I like the Eheim, too. I would probably use a mechanical media, such as "Ehfimech", which is a porous clay material that traps debris. I would also utilize activated carbon for its chemical filtration capabilities. If you pay attention to the replacement and cleaning of these media, you'll get really great results for the long run. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Filter switch out, reading Hi, first let me say I love your web site and it has helped me a lot. I have had my tank now for around 8 years. My friend took care of all maintenance for the last 7 years until we had a falling out. So after doing allot <A lot> of research I have come to the conclusion my filter system has to go. Right now I have a trickle sump with bio balls and a very small refugium built in. <I see this> Over the last couple months I have slowly been removing the bioballs with the plan of replacing them with live rock. Now I think I just want to replace the whole system. My questions are once I turn off the pumps and siphon out enough water will it be safe to unscrew everything from the bulkheads in the bottom of overflows? <Mmm... maybe not... w/o somehow sealing off the through-puts at their level...> Also I will reuse all the macro algae and miracle mud I have in my sump, so is it safe to make the switch all at once or should I wait until I replace all of my bioballs with live rock and let that run for a couple months before I switch out the filter to allow all the beneficial algae to grow? This is a link to what I want to switch too, I have seen it on several sights for sale but don't know who the maker is http://www.aquamartonline.com/01551_1_6_1551.html Thank you for your help, Chris <Can't see the fittings inside the tank... Do you want to leave the water level down far enough to prevent overflowing through the present fittings? I would definitely do a bit more reading for now... and NOT cut, disconnect the plumbing as it is presently. Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Bob Fenner>

Suggestion/Ideas for new tank? Reading on WWM... re filtr. mostly    6/21/07 Hi there again. <Howdy> I sent this email just a few hours ago, and ask you to please ignore it if you haven't already - I definitely need to do more research, and finally found some of what I am asking in this email...will write back later if I have more questions. <Okay> Sorry for the extra work - I will try to do better in the future. Kerstin Hi there! I thoroughly enjoy reading the answers to questions people ask, and have found many answers on your website, as well as in books published by several of you. However, I would really appreciate it if you could provide your inputs on what you think is appropriate for a new tank. I currently have a 29 gallon tank with 3 fish, 2 shrimp, 1 brittle star, 22 corals (I know, lots...but they all seem happy), deep sandbed with 25-30 lbs. live rock, 2 powerheads, and 1 skimmer, and usually only skim about 1x/month <?> - I am usually amazed if I get any skimmate at all. However, I am looking to set up a 92 gallon corner tank (no holes drilled into it) in the next 3-4 months (pending my husband's approval). I am curious about what you would use as a filter/skimmer solution, and how you would otherwise regulate water flow. I have also been reading Julian Sprung/Charles Delbeek's book "The Reef Aquarium", and read the "Coral" magazine, but of course technology is ever-changing and so are the products out there. My LFS guy also has a suggestion about what he'd use...so it leads to lots of confusion. So am I better off getting a sump? <For many applications, yes> Should I use my established tank as a sump? <The bigger the better... would work> Should I get a hang-on skimmer, or is it better to put a sump below? <Below> Are there any brands better or worse than others? <Yes, definitely. Posted> I greatly appreciate your opinion and inputs, and realize there is no one definite answer, Thanks tremendously, Kerstin:-) <Read on. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Bob Fenner>

R4: Tank Upgrade/Equipment Additions/Stocking Choices -- 11/18/07 Hi there! <<Hey Kerstin!>> Well, I have moved all my corals and fish and most of my rocks from the 29 to the 92. <<Neat!>> First - you were right, the 6-line wrasse can be quite territorial! <<And downright mean, yes>> First he disappeared in the 29 - I had so little room, I knew I couldn't catch anyone without removing rocks, and when I moved the rocks, boy, did my tank silt up! He went and disappeared under the sand for close to 18 hours - showed up again the next day. Had I known how quickly he would claim the new tank as his (I think he even chases the purple tang, who was in it first), I would not have moved him - I really like him, but I want a more peaceful tank. <<Then I'm thinking you will need to evict the Pseudocheilinus>> Any suggestions for how to either A. -work with his territoriality or B. -help me catch him? <<Option 'A' requires stocking fishes as/more pugnacious than the wrasse'¦not conducive to a 'peaceful' tank. Option 'B' might be accomplished with a fish trap (see if your LFS has one they will loan), but will more than likely require a teardown and removal of the tank décor to capture this swift and very agile little fish>> I would like to get some more fish besides him, maybe I would let my LFS keep him for a while - or my friend who's algae problem we're working on might like him...if I can add him again at the end, would that be best? <<Your friends tank is smaller than yours'¦giving 'her' the Sixline will only makes things worse. Best to trade this fish for store credit'¦in my opinion>> Sorry for the run-on, seems to be my train of thought today. <<No worries>> Anyway, the other question I have is because I read conflicting views on this topic. I know I can move some of the top 1/2 inch of my old sand to the new tank to move those surface inhabitants and start the new tank's sand inhabitants faster. <<Indeed'¦but you don't have to limit this to the 'top ½-inch''¦just scoop out a few cups of the old substrate and add to the new'¦this way you should get a wider range of organisms>> But my LFS is also suggesting I go down the full depth of my sand bed (both my tanks have DSBs) and move some of that bed as well, thus getting the benefits of everything from the aerobic to the anaerobic bacteria. <<Bingo!>> How do I do that now that my new tank if set up and everyone is moved, especially since the anaerobic guys shouldn't really be exposed to air, right? <<Not a large concern'¦ Go ahead and scoop'¦and reap what benefits you may>> Is it safe to do it? <<Yes>> Or should I just live with the fact it will take a while for the new DSB to fully get going? <<Will take a while anyway'¦but transferring some of your old substrate to the new system will certainly help/be of benefit>> I am open to inputs on all this. <<You have mine'¦ [grin]>> Everyone is currently happy in the new tank - and I appreciate all your inputs to these, as usual, silly sounding questions - but until I have done this once, I really don't trust myself with everything I am doing yet. <<Not silly at all, you are getting there, just keep reading'¦and I'm pleased to help>> Thanks again, and I hope you're having a lovely weekend and staying warm. Kerstin:-) <<And to you in kind'¦ EricR>>

I have a simple question, is a Magnum 350 Pro with Bio Wheels enough for a 55 gallon tank with a snowflake eel and a niger triggerfish?  8/23/07 <I have a simple answer: No... and this volume is too small for a specimen of either species... See WWM re... Bob Fenner>

Freedom Filter update? 8/1/07 Brand new to the hobby, even newer to the site, love it by the way. My question is about the Freedom Filter. I have a 55g tank with some live rock, a couple chromis and some snails, hermit crabs, and an emerald crab. On the advice of my LFS, I had to get a canister type filter <Mmm, am not a fan for this application... see WWM re> because I have no access to the back or sides of my tank. <... can be moved...> It is not drilled either. They recommended the Freedom Filter, as they said they've had some success stories with it. <Mixed> My tank is almost 4 months old, and all my levels (SG, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, pH) are almost perfect. The only problem is the surface filtration, leaves a bit to be desired. <Mmm, you can/could rig a surface skimming attachment to the canister...> My question is, aside from opinions on how it might work, does anyone have any knowledge of whether or not its a viable solution for a tank? I would love to be able to do more with my tank, expand its inhabitants and what Im able to keep, but I can't (to my knowledge) have a sump or refugium (unless they could possibly be put above the tank somehow on a shelf or some similar setup. (My current tank sits on a custom fabricated steel platform that sticks out of the wall above my bar) <I see> I would love to know if there's any tests or other write-ups about the success of the Freedom Filter. Thanks a bunch for your time, and again LOVE the site! -Kris Mortensen <Worth trying... likely in addition to the canister. Better to drill the tank though, remote filtration (sump, refugium, skimmer in these...) elsewhere and pump water back to the system. Bob Fenner>

Re: Freedom Filter Update? James' much better input  8/2/07 <Hi Kris> I can give you my experience with the Freedom Filter first hand. I have experimented with the filter and found the following: The surface skimming is marginal at best, and in order for it to work, the skimmer must be removed and a flow regulator must be adjusted. The system draws most, if not all of the water from the bottom, so there is very little surface skimming that takes place. The skimmer, in my opinion, is not very efficient. As to the "self cleaning feature", I cannot understand how this could work. I had to clean the sponge quite regularly. I can say that my nitrate levels did not increase while using this filter for a period of three months. I removed the filter at this time because without efficient skimming and surface skimming, the power consumption was not worth the results. I have read good reviews on this system from various sites, so keep in mind that my comments are strictly from my experience with the filter. Bottom line in my opinion, for the cost of the filter and Rio 2500 pump, I believe a good canister or wet/dry filter would do as good a job. I've also contacted the company with a suggestion and drawings as to how this filter could be improved with little manufacturing cost. I received an elated reply from them stating it was a great idea, and, even to the point where I would receive royalties from this idea. Never heard a thing since then, and no replies to my emails. James (Salty Dog)>

Refugiums vs. Wet Dry  7/27/07 Hello, ladies & gents, <Howdy> So far I've gone from inept to slightly less inept from reading your info, it has been a great asset. I've been a frequent writer, unfortunately but it is paying off huge dividends in our aquatic household. On my 200 gal I now have a Fluval FX5 with just biomedia, a Fluval 404 with just biomedia, a large 200 gal rated protein skimmer, and a large hang on power filter that I use for mechanical and occasionally carbon filtration. I would say there are 100lbs of live rock and about a 3" sand substrate bed. All water parameters are good, at 0 ppm of ammonia & nitrites, <10 ppm nitrates, and a PH of 8.2. The quick fish recap is the young banded cat shark, passer angel, yellow tang, powder brown tang and dogface. No other fish will be added. I had initially planned on putting a wet/dry on the system, but had to wait until now to do it. I have room under the tank for either a good sized refugium or wet/dry filter. I have read so much of the FAQ, seems both are beneficial. What, do you think, is a quick summary of which is better, and why? <The only function a trickle filter is superior at is rapid nitrification. Does nothing else really> Some refugiums have a small biomedia filter section, but it wouldn't seem to have near the capacity of a full fledged wet/dry filter. Anyway, I think this would be a nice equipment addition to the system, so I would like your input as to what would be the better investment. Thank you kindly, Thomas Roach <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm re: Rationale/Use of both. RMF>

Do I Have Enough Marine Filtration? -- 07/11/07 Hello Folks, <<Hiya Jim>> Just found your website and have to say I'm amazed at the amount of information you dish out. <<Indeed...much to be discovered here>> I am in the process of setting up a 210-gallon display piped down to my basement. <<Neat>> I'm running first through a 55-gallon USP water drum to increase the overall volume, then to a 20-gallon live-rock sump/refugium with a bio-tower and finally to a 25-gallon algae sump where it dumps to the protein skimmer and returns to the display. <<I see>> I have not included any type of filtration other than bio-balls and natural in the system as of yet. Do you think this is necessary or should I run for a while and see? Thanks! <<If by 'natural' you mean live sand/live rock then this may well be sufficient...and depending on the type system you plan, you may find you don't want to use the bio-tower w/bio-balls. Do start reading here and continue to peruse among the links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm>> Jim Sokol Colorado Springs, CO <<Regards, Eric Russell...in very humid Columbia, SC>>

Filter Cleaning Schedule - 04/28/07 Hello crew, <<Howdy Jared>> I have a 75 FOWLR. 65 lbs live rock, live sand, Magnum 350, Prizm skimmer.....yea yea I know I need to upgrade, <<Indeed>> maybe you can give me a hint as to what kind of skimmer I should get for under $200? <<That's an easy one...the 'AquaC Remora'...though for just a 'few' bucks over $200 you can get the 'AquaC Remora Pro' and get a bit more "fudge factor">> I also run a Emperor 280 bio-wheel filter. <<Mmm, this is "ok"...but I think a fluidized-bed filter would serve better>> I have 2 black tail damsels, 2 cleaner shrimp, 6 turbo snails, and a yellow tang. <<Wow, certainly not overstocked...goodonya mate>> The tank has been running for 3 months and my question is how should I clean the two filters to ensure I don't end up with nitrate build up? <<Do you mean due to the loss of beneficial bacteria from the cleaning?  Honestly, with the live rock/sand and your current stocking level...this isn't an issue>> How often should I do this cleaning? <<The canister filter should be cleaned weekly...the bio-wheel is a bit more complicated to predict.  I do think these "wheels' lose efficiency over time through clogging of the material, but how often this needs attention will vary from tank to tank.  Were this me, I would purchase a "spare" wheel and swap these out (twice a year), cleaning the "used" wheel in anticipation of the next swap.  By placing the new/cleaned wheel in the sump/overflow/etc a few days before needed, the bacteria will get a head start and be able to ramp-up quickly once placed in the filter>> How often should I change out the carbon in the Magnum?   <<At least monthly>> Thanks for all your help, Jared <<Happy to assist.  Regards, EricR>>

Re: Filter Cleaning Schedule - 04/29/07 I have a couple questions regarding your reply. <<Ok>> What is a fluidized-bed filter? <<Here's a good explanation copied from the Net:  "Fluidized bed filter is a device that accomplishes biological filtration through growth of nitrifying bacteria on a mass of sand or tiny spheres of synthetic materials suspended in a current of water passing through it. Although similar in principle to other types of biological filtration systems, this method allows for maximum carrying capacity while minimizing the size of the filter itself."   As explained, the media is in a "fluidized" state which prevents channeling/clogging...I also feel this type biological filter is capable of rapids "adjustments" allowing it to keep pace with shifting bio-loads>> When I clean the filter pads do I just move them around in some water from a water change? <<You can, though I feel this is not a very effective cleaning method...I prefer to do a better job at the sink under the tap>> I'm afraid I will re-cycle my tank? <<By cleaning your canister filter once a week?...no...not with the other biological filtration you stated you have on/in your system (live rock, live sand, Bio-Wheel)>> Thanks, Jared <<Regards, EricR>> R2: Filter Cleaning Schedule - 04/30/07 You said to clean my filter pad under the tap? <<Is what I do, yes>> Won't that get chlorine in my filter media? <<Not in any quantity to be concerned with.  EricR>> R3: Filter Cleaning Schedule - 04/30/07 Sorry I am wearing you guys out but what is the best fluidized-bed filter I can get for a decent price? <<Mmm yes, well, they all seem rather pricey to me considering the simplicity of function...check out the Rainbow Lifeguard units.  Eric Russell>> Filtration Choices, For A Marin Tank...Mucho Research Needed  - 04/07/07 I have a 72 gallon bow front I'm to make saltwater. <A worthy project, do be sure to research...and read, read, read.> Would you use a Tidepool, Tom Rapids Pro, or a Lifegard system for filter? <Neither would be my first...or second choice for a marine tank. I would much prefer a macro-algae refugium of some sort, copious amounts of porous live rock and OF COURSE a large and efficient protein skimmer.> These are just some filters I picked if you have better ones in mind please help. <Yes there are many other types, "style" of filtration I would rather have. See WWM for detail.> And what type of media would you use? <If you mean plastic, bio-media...I would not use it...personally.> You all have a great site.                                                                                Thanks, <Anytime.>                                                                     Mike <**AJ**>

Re: Filtration Choices....Give Me the answer I want?  - 4/8/07 I have about 75lbs. live rock to put in the main tank. <Should be sufficient.> I know that a refugium is the way to go but I do not want to start that way. <You asked my opinion (and that isn't just my opinion, it's one shared by many/most experienced aquarists)...and what is your reason for not wanting a refugium? Methinks you have not thoroughly researches it's use and benefits...> I have a Prizm skimmer I know is not the best but it was a place to start in my budget. <I understand.> So please help with the filters I listed. <I gave you my opinion and experience with these; I would not use them for a marine tank...the nutrient issues with these types of filters just make them a poor choice when there are others to be had. I will not go against my logical and better ...change my answer so that it will be what you wish it to be, sorry...Adam J.>

Marine filtration, vague Q, A.  3/19/07 I have had a  40 gallon marine tank for two years without any major problems.  I am buying a 120 gallon tank and am finding  that the filtration systems  available confusing.  What is your opinion of the CPR wet dry filter with built in  protein skimmer? <Is an okay arrangement... there are far better... depending on what sort of set-up, what you intend to keep here. I'd be reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm re: set-up of types (1) and filtration (2)... Use the indices and/or the search tool... Take good notes. Make up your own mind. Bob Fenner> Marine filtration question  2/28/07 Hi guys, <Hey Theron, JustinN with you today.> I sent you guys a question back on the 23rd and never could find the response.   <Hmm, perhaps it was lost in the shuffle -- we respond to all queries at their original email addresses, as well as post them on the site. However, things being lost to the Internet Two-Step is not an uncommon occurrence around here.> Perhaps I just do not know where exactly to look.  I am kind of a newbie to this site.   <Google will help you here, my friend. Use the cached versions, you'll save a lot of time.> So, here we go again.  I would like to know if the Cell Pore cartridge in my Emperor 280 filter is absolutely necessary?   <No, not necessary, especially if you have a decent amount of live rock in your aquarium already.> I am running a 20L with two clownfish and one cleaner shrimp.  My phosphate is currently around .5, and I was thinking of using the media cartridge with some sort of phosphate remover in there.   <Certainly not a bad idea.> I am currently in the midst of a Cyano battle.   <I think we've all been there at one time or another. Diligence is the key.> I am starting to advance a little in the war, just from doing a ton of small water changes.   <Excellent, always a good course of action even without a Cyano invasion.> I do know from reading this site that part of my problem might be the Sea Clone 150 skimmer.  I will get a better skimmer when the funds become available.   <This is likely not the direct cause, but will ultimately help in the end.> Another problem of mine is the substrate.  I have maybe an inch of aragonite.   <No problem here. A half-inch to an inch is enough for a functional sandbed, to support benthic life. If you are looking for a natural filtration method using the sand bed, this would require 3 to 4 inches of sand in your display, which I'm sure you'll agree with me, is just not very reasonable in a 20L.> During water changes, I cannot get all of the dirt out of there.   <Use a turkey baster to stir up the gunk you can't get to, then siphon it out.> I feed sparingly on Sunday and Wednesday just one half of a cube of Formula One frozen...I know, I know, but the clownfish are six years old, and this is all they have ever consumed. <There's nothing wrong with this food, I'm a big fan of Ocean Nutrition's products, personally. However, you should be offering variety to your aquatic charges. Think of the college kid analogy -- sure, you can SURVIVE on ramen noodles all day, every day... but is it really much of a life? *grin* Some flake or pelleted foods and whole frozen foods (such as Mysid shrimp) would be my recommendation here -- Ocean Nutrition and Omega One make some excellent dry products as well.> Can I possibly get an idea or two on how to get the gravel clean in between water changes?   <As suggested above.> Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Once I can get a foothold on this Cyano, I want to get some coralline growing, and then maybe get a xenia or two. <Keep at it -- you'll get there, my friend.> Thanks again, TW Houston, TX <No problem, Theron. Glad to help. -JustinN, just south of you in San Antonio.>

Marine Filtration Ear Regard Less  2/28/07 Hi Bob,   I have been researching your Web pages on behalf of my brother. All good stuff, though not that I have any proficiency.   By the way, a non-word that my mother loved to use was "irregardless". As in: <Have been called to task for this... and corrected in quite a few places on the Net...>      Contributing Factors:   Irregardless of the type of set-up, filtration, or livestock you have the following applies in terms of system shape, circulation and aeration.   Feel free to correct. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm   Neil <Perhaps another round of searches for this term... and corrections... Regardless! Bob, sufficiently chagrined, Fenner>

Wet/dry filters? (Reading to do) 2/18/07 Hi, I've recently decided to start up a saltwater tank. <Welcome to a beautiful hobby! GrahamT here with you today.> I've had fresh water many years, I believe it's time for a change. I have a 40 gallon tank that I purchased with the heater, a whisper filter, and a few other decorative things. The guy at the LFS said it was everything I needed, just make sure to cycle the tank. <Would disagree with that on some levels. A whisper filter alone is not enough to maintain a system with the level of maintenance most novices hope for. Remember, the more/proper equipment you have, the easier your system is to maintain.> I don't want anything fancy really, just a few damsels, and maybe a clown fish for the kids. Right now I only have 2 mollies in it from my fresh water tank, that I acclimated to salt. I test the water weekly, everything checks out. <We need to see numbers to agree with your analysis. Did you see the expected spikes in ammonia and nitrite?> I went to purchase my first saltwater fish and I was told that I would not be able to keep them alive without a wet/dry filter and he wouldn't sell me a fish unless I bought one. <Interesting. I used to refuse sale of difficult species to customers that didn't care if they lived or died, but that's a little different, IMO.> What I want to know is the difference between the wet/dry and the one I was sold. Is he right, and should I really not buy any fish without one? Or is it something the less hardy/ more expensive fish require? I was told by the man who sold me the fish tank and whisper filter that it should hold the bacteria just the same. Please help me decide, I'm confused. Thank you for all your help: Your sight <site?> has saved some of my fresh water fish in the past. Justin. <Justin, I would advise you to let the system stay empty (and remove the mollies to the LFS) until you do some reading and decide what you think is the right course. This hobby is very rewarding, but most hobbyists quit in the first year due to failure brought on by misinformation or just plain lack of knowledge/understanding/research. Do some reading here on WWM and let the system run. Nothing bad will come from it's sitting empty, only good. One thing I recommend even more so than the wet/dry being offered here, is Liverock. More important in the long run than the wet/dry or trickle filter. Most hobbyists have converted their old wet/dry filters to sumps without any media at all in favor of liverock. Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm and let your head swim for a few weeks. Good luck and write back often! -GrahamT> Equipment usage or antique, a Bio Ease system   1/16/07 Hi All   I've just returned to the hobby after being just to busy to take proper care of a system. My system has been running for several months now and I just wanted to know if there was still some use in a Bio Ease system from years ago( two blues boxes on top of each other with bioballs etc.) <Mmm... not familiar with at all...> Can it be used as a sump or anything like that. I do remember paying $700 hard earned Canadian dollars for it, or is it just an antique to be talked about when friends are over. Thank you very much for your web sight......fantastic.             Joe <Spaces twixt your sentences Joe... Ask about on the various specialized hobbyist BBs re such gear... Aquarium Frontiers is up near you (Washington)... or Reefs.org re gear issues... a much "wider net". Bob Fenner>

Changing filtration type in active system 1/14/07 Dear WWM-folks, <Howdy, Stella. Graham T. with you tonight.> First, thank you so much for all the information!  I only wish I could have found this site before I made some early choices...  I am currently trying to remedy some of these through your suggestions and advice.  I was trolling through the FAQ on changing filtration in a currently stocked system, but it seems to depend a lot on tank size and its inhabitants, and wanted to make sure I was using the right info before making this pretty drastic change. <Doesn't have to be drastic, Stella. Let's see what you have in mind...> So first, here's the set-up: - 30 gallon tank, dimensions 24" wide, 12" deep, 24" tall (this is one of the things I wish I could go back and change; it's too tall and skinny with limited back of tank real estate, but too late now) - Emperor 280 bio-wheel filter - Nominal LR (about 3-5lbs) - Aqua-C Remora hang-on protein skimmer w/ Maxi-Jet 1200 (added today after reading your site!) - 15-20 lbs live sand <I would increase the amount of LS and LR, but your Emperor 280 is not so bad a filter, as hang-on power filters go...> Inhabitants: - 1 Royal Gramma (introduced 5 mo ago) - 1 Sleeper goby (4 mo ago) - 1 Yellow tang (2 mo ago) - 1 Lysmata shrimp (1 mo ago) <Some choose not to listen, some just didn't know we were talking. Either way, you must know that that 30gal is too small for the Zebrasoma flavescens. (Maybe why you are considering the upgrade, but it will not be enough. The solution to pollution is dilution. This 30gal is better-suited for small species and/or inverts.> After reading Bob's book and this website, I'd really like to change the LR situation and am planning on placing 30-40 lbs (fully cured of course) in my system without disturbing the fish (would be very difficult to remove them). <Not an over-difficult task.> QUESTION: Once I add the LR, can I just remove the Emperor 280 (mainly a real estate issue) or do I need to replace it with something else (preferably smaller)?   <I think you should keep the Emperor, you need the flow and the particle filtration. Add a powerhead or three too!> And does that answer change if I plan to add 1 clownfish, 1 anemone, and a snail or two? <No, because you are already at the limit for that system. You may get away with a larger number of smaller fish without the big guys, but your tang and goby alone put you at 80% bio-load in my book. I would recommend trying to trade the tang in at your LFS for credit and make a list of smaller fishes you like to look at, then research their basic needs in a book like "Marine Fishes" by Scott W. Michael, or in our many FAQs.> Please let me know if you need any further info. And thank you in advance! <I'm curious to know what you had in mind for a replacement filter? If you really need the space, then an Eheim canister would be one way to go. I do like the extra oxygenation that the Emperor 280 is giving you, however. Keep reading, and don't get discouraged, ok? Best wishes, -Graham T.>

Filter Basics: Removing Organics   1/4/07 Hello Bob, <Bob> I was reading your article on 'Marine Filtration' with great interest. I thought I could add something to this section: ------------- Filter Basics: Removing Organics. in the form of nitrogenous wastes (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates), phenols, scatols and much more is the principal goal of filtration. You might ask (at least I do), "Why don't you see all this filter gear on the reefs in the wild?" Well, you kind of do. Next time you're underwater, take a look around. There really is a lot of water per unit of livestock, and lots of circulation and aeration. Notice the predominant forms of life around you; corals, sponges, bivalves... What mode of food gathering do they employ? They're mainly filter feeders, sieving out plankton, gametes, wastes, suspended inorganic material... that's why the water's so clear. Stuck in and amongst (and inside other life) are algae, some big, others microscopic, utilizing nutrient/making fixed carbon and oxygen through photosynthesis. ------------- "There is another way the sea helps to clean itself. When the waves crash on the beach or against the cliffs they produce foam like a protein skimmer." Apologies if you have this listed somewhere else, its such a big site I rarely find the same thing twice! Cheers Bob. Edwards <Thanks much for this. Will add. Bob Fenner>

AMiracle Pro-Line Filter Series  12/20/06 Mr. Fenner, <JustinN with you today, but I'm flattered *grin*> I am thinking of starting up my saltwater system. <Ok> I lost a cucumber 3 years ago while My family and I were out of town for 5 days. It destroyed everything about $3,000.00 worth. SICK. I gave up. <Sorry for your losses, glad to see you're coming back to the hobby though.> I need to upgrade my old Oceanic skimmer. What do you think about the combo AMiracle Pro-Line Filter Series 3000. <I would likely eliminate the bioballs, personally. Too much work to maintain for my tastes. Otherwise, looks good to me, depending on your tank size of course.> I have so many questions. How can I get in the loop. <Simple: Read! *grin* WetWebMedia and the Google search tool are your friend.> Kindest Regards, Brian Jones <The same to you and yours, Brian. Happy holidays! -JustinN>

Re: AMiracle Pro-Line Filter Series  12/20/06 JustinN, <Brian> Have been in saltwater hobby for over 10 years. We have an Oceanic Mega Flow overflow 75 Gallon. Up grade two years ago. Wet Dry Filtration. (PM) Utilizing a filter sock. Not Bio Balls. <Ok> 1"-2" bed of once was live sand in tank. Will need to replace. <You could thoroughly rinse and reuse, and seed with new live sand to save some money here> RO water system utilized at my home. Always have water. Lighting: 2 bulb Metal Halide 4 hours day and 4 bulb VHO for Actinic 4-6 hours day. <I would increase this to a more natural length, at least 8 hours a day> 2 years ago we had a beautiful Healthy Reef, But during a power outage our Sea Cucumber died and poisoned tank. Lost a couple of Grand in the end. <Sorry for your losses> We disassembled tank late(2004). Fiji rock sat outside for 1 year Beginning of 2006 started tank back up. Cycled tank for approx. 4-6 months with damsels and so on. <Did you introduce any new (live) rock in addition to your old (dead, base) rock?> At every attempt to apply hard, soft corals and shrooms they would not last long. <Something is amiss, for sure> Environment always seemed to test well. Besides High Nitrate and Phosphate. <Here's your problem> I had an old Oceanic Protein Skimmer (Set inside Wet/Dry with Rio Submersible. Not utilized now because every thing is dead. Pumps: Rio Submersible in Wet Dry Rio Power head in tank No Chiller. Has not really reached over 80 degrees even in the Summer. Usually constant temp was 76-78 <You could probably benefit from an increase in in-tank water flow as well, but ok> Space is limited under tank were wet dry sits. <Understandable> Questions: 1) How do I get rid of the awful desire for this hobby. <Hehe, if I knew I'd tell you, brother!> 2) How do I get rid of the Nasty silky Violet algae? Maybe too much phosphate. <Identifying and reducing your source of nitrates and phosphates, and increased flow in the tank will go a long way. I assume that the algae you speak of is the dreaded Cyanobacteria. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and related links> 3) Do I need to get rid of my Halides and go with power compacts? <Absolutely not! Just need to get your tank parameters in check, and find a balance. Some corals may need to be conditioned into the higher light environment, but all will be fine.> 4) Do I need a chiller? <Does not sound like it, but only you can decide that> 5) How are the AMiracle Proline series? <I have no experience with them personally, but have heard good things. Sorry I'm not of more assistance here.> 6) do I need to get rid of all rock and start over? Bad because at $6.00 lb. <Look around the net via Google for live rock, you may find it to be a bit more affordable ordering from an online source. I would not replace all the rock, simply thoroughly clean it and use as a base rock for your rock structure, and place nicer live rock throughout the rockwork.> 7) I will replace all sand bed with live....... <I would not do this, as stated above. Clean the existing sand, seed with a smaller portion of live sand to save some money. Likewise, if you are planning on cycling the tank with new rock as well, the old sand will become live sand during the curing phase. Obviously, the longer you let the natural cycling phase pass, the more established the sand bed will be. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Disappearing Fish  Part III, Actually SW filtration choices 12/15/06 One more question. <Sure> Do you think a canister filter is better than a power filter?  <Can be but I'm not a fan of either in a marine tank.> I am currently running an emperor power filter.  I am thinking of replacing it with a canister.  <Either will work as long as they are sized appropriately to the tank.> <Chris> Too Much Filtration? And How To Plumb?   11/30/06 Hello crew ! <Hey there! JustinN with you this morning!> I'm getting closer to set up my 75g Reef tank. But since I did some mod.s and I'm going with different equipment, I'm not sure how to  plumb the filters I think or plan to use. <Ok>     First my drain is 1 1/2" and will be going to the  refugium/sump thru a filter pad. I'm not sure if to use maybe 20-25  bio-balls. Then I have a Skimmer and also a Pentair inline mechanical  filter, which I don't know which one of the two should go first. Then water  goes to the refugium part with LR & LS & Caulerpa. Then finally goes  back to the tank thru a DE Vortex filter. Is this too much filtration?  If  so, then maybe the DE filter will only run for a couple of hrs a day.     Filters: 1-Filter Pad                2-Bio-balls                    3-Skimmer                4-Pentair  Filter                5-LRLS,  Caulerpa                6-DE  Vortex Filter     Or should the Pentair filter go last ? Any  suggestion would be appreciated. Thank you. <Your plan sounds laid out properly, however, I would bypass the Vortex filter and the bio-balls in the setup. The Vortex would simply be too likely to remove much of the benefits of a refugium, and is not necessary for daily operation. These filters are usually used to polish the water to a sparkling clean, every now and then. Bio balls have a tendency to become nitrate factories in a reef setting. Perhaps replace these with some more submersed live rock for denitrification? Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Skimmer vs. Filter. and a whole lotta nitrates! 11/25/2006 Hi I had a small accident with my Skilter filter and no longer have a skimmer as a result.  My question is do you think I can get away with just the Unimax pro 250 canister filter and my small bio wheel filter on my 55 salt tank or must I replace the skimmer. <<A skimmer does not do the same job as a filter, so yes, you should acquire a skimmer. I am not a fan of the 'skilter' types, and would opt for a stand-alone skimmer. I love Aqua-C's.  A would also phase out use of the canister and bio-wheel on your tank, as I see below you are utilizing live rock.>> I have the intake to the Unimax filter about five inches below water level.  I am also using two power heads top side/water level and I do not see any foam build up when I use them as aeration. <<This is not an appropriate test of the need for a skimmer.>> My tank only has live sand and rock and five fish. <<Only 5 fish could mean only 5 Chromises, or only 5 barracuda!>> I was feeding flake food twice a day but now have gone to once a day and plan to lower it to once every two days. <<Try to vary the diet as much as you can, providing frozen as well.>> My Blue spotter puffer <<Are you feeding your puffer flake foods?  To grind down it's beak and be in good health, your puff needs crunchy foods like crabs legs, snails, cockles, mussels, shell-on people shrimp, and anything else (except fish) you can get in the seafood department in your grocery store.  Come visit www.pufferresources.net, for any info you need, or to just chat about your awesome pet!>> And fire angel as well as sand sifting goby are grazers <<They are not only grazers, although they may pick at the rock, that is not where all their nutrition can come from.>> however puffer and goby and maroon striped clown as well as yellow tail damsel like the flake food but I think they can survive the lower flake food feeding. <<Please do amend this diet.>> It is also my hope to lower the waters nitrate level with the lower feedings as this level is in the red zone on the testing chart. <<Get on some large water changes in the meantime,  Your tank really is overstocked, not by the number of fish, as that number means little, but by the adult size, aggressiveness, and waste of your fish. An upgrade is in order.>> I used Prime water conditioner when I last changed 50% of the tanks water and  immediately retested the nitrate level and still it shows the same reading about 160  Did I do something wrong or is prime the cause? <<Prime would not affect this reading.  Likely that the nitrates were even higher off the chart before.  Re-test to be sure.>> I use Instant Ocean as the salt source and it says no nitrates.  The Unimax pro 250 has only been running going on two weeks.   Will this canister filter help lower the nitrates? <<No.>> James <<James, start looking at daily water changes of ~25% until your nitrate problem is resolved. In the meantime, look into acquiring a larger tank for your fish. Hope to see you at www.pufferresources.net! Lisa>>

Filtration question...s   11/19/06 I have been reading over your site and have a couple questions about the filtration. I read two Q&A's similar to my own- having 2 canisters in a FOWLR and heavy bio-load. One suggested a sump to replace the canisters and not an addition of a fluidized bed filter, while the other stated if the canisters were kept a fluidized bed filter would be beneficial. I realize not everyone recommends the same, but what would be the better choice? <The sump is the route I would go> Now for my question- I would like to try the sump filter. Can you tell me what the difference is between the u-tube and the continuous siphon overflow is and which would be a better choice? <Mmm, posted: http://wetwebmedia.com/overfloboxfaqs.htm and the linked FAQs files above... that I'd like to get to sorting... I'd avoid overflows period if easily possible... go with drilled through-puts... Continuous overflows though, to answer the question, are by and large better...> Would the 300gph w/3/4 bulkhead be sufficient on a 75 gallon or would you recommend more? <... 3/4 inch fittings should be avoided as overflows period... too likely to "fail"...> (my tank is not drilled) Can you tell me if I am in the right flow with my sump? <Is posted on WWM... use the indices and/or search tool please> The tank I have for a sump is 24x10x12. My first chamber being for the heater and Aqua C Remora Pro skimmer, the middle chamber being for some live rock and sand (is a light needed?), <Is better, if using photosynthetic life... e.g. macroalgae, LR...> and the last chamber being for the return pump. I'm not sure of the size return pump, could you recommend one? <... posted> It has to be at least the amount of your overflows correct? <...? At most> Would it be advised to put the activated carbon in the sump maybe in the first divider and take away the canisters? <I would avoid using canister filters/filtration on almost all marine systems on a permanent basis... too much maintenance, likelihood of anomalies> Can a powerhead or spray bar be put on the return line? <Yes> I was also thinking of maybe putting 2 or 3 powerheads in the main tank for circulation would this be beneficial? <... posted...> My concern is also about a power outage- how to prevent the additional syphoning to prevent an overflow when the powers restored!! All suggestions are appreciated. Thank You. P.S. I think your site is excellent... <Thank you. You have many good ideas, and an obvious quick, discerning mind... Do read/study a bit more here... take good notes... write back if something appears anomalous, missing, unclear... and you'll do fine. Bob Fenner> Freedom Filter Review     11/14/06 Bob,   Don't think the review on this unit will take place.  If you recall, I had sent in drawings on how to increase the surface skimming efficiency.  Was all taken in high regard, patent attorneys, blah, blah.  Anyway, during the first three months of testing this unit, I found a few negatives.  I did want some input from the company on these before I sent in the review to you.  Never responded, even after three emails.  I don't know if I feel comfortable in getting this published without any input from them on the discrepancies.   Initially, I had asked them for a nearby dealer as I wanted to evaluate this unit and perhaps have it published on our emag.  They were all gung ho about it and even sent me a complimentary filter complete with pump.  Wondering if this should be published and whether I might be liable for any negative comments made about it? <I think you'll be fine James... to couch your comments as you have here... that they're your opinions drawn from your observations. BobF>   My findings in short are:   1.  Does not efficiently surface skim as advertised.   2.  Is definitely not "self cleaning".   3.  Protein skimming efficiency is highly dependent on water level in tank,  that is, water has to be added to the tank on a daily basis or you will constantly be fiddling with the air inlet valve.   Regards, James Filtration Concerns   11/14/06 I have been reading thru your site and have my head spinning with info. My main concern is filtration- I have a 75 gallon FOWLR & inverts w/LS (1"). My filters are 2 Fluval canisters w/filter pads, Chemi pure, bio-max and spray bars, a Prizm skimmer and heavy bio-load. I want to upgrade the filter to help with the bio-load and remove the canisters to obtain better water quality. Here's where I am stumped- a sump/refugium? By this are you referring to a partitioned off sump with the refugium in the middle compartment w/LS & LR? Or two separate items? <Actually one or the other> Would you recommend one with a non drilled tank? <Can be done with effective overflow box/es use> I don't have the means of getting it drilled and I have read about syphon overflows. If a syphon overflow is used how can it be used effectively to prevent flooding? <More than one...> Would it be best to leave the sump out? <Mmm, best? No> For a non drilled tank would it be better to keep the canisters and add a fluidized bed filter? <No> (I have been told they are good for heavy bio-loads.) Or a HOT refugium? <Smaller, less effective, though still useful technology> I know the skimmer has to be upgraded, it doesn't work that great. I am looking into an Aqua C Pro? This being the first thing added? <Good unit> I was thinking of a couple powerheads for circulation. (There is one spray bar at each end of the tank pointing straight down and the fish look like they are fighting the current.) Will this stress the fish? <Not likely> Would you advise the addition of the powerheads? <Possibly> I know you say to read more which I will do, but sometimes it gets more confusing. My fish and I appreciate your opinions. Thank You for your time. <The more you eventually read, understand, the clearer all will be... do keep good notes. Bob Fenner> BioRocker filter media question   11/7/06 I have a quick question about this filter.   I bought a 125 gallon reef ready tank with everything.  The filter is the Bio-Rocker system.  The guy had it running for less than a year, and he moved and took it all down.  It was all in a separate room and kept clean.  My question is should I replace the Bio Slabs in the filter or would I be ok starting them up again.  They are clean looking have been kept away from dirt or dust.  I realize there is no more bacteria on there but would I be ok starting it up again with out buying new ones. J Thanks Aaron <Can re-use, continue to use (with some simple scrubbing, rinsing occasionally) this media. BobF> Do I need a better protein skimmer?   11/6/06   Hello again, hope all is well with you.  This Aiptasia problem is driving me nuts.  I also have a little bit of hair algae growing now as well.  I have a 90 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump with a Aqua C remora pro protein skimmer, and am wondering if it is sufficient for my tank. >Mmmmm<   Tank inhabitants are: Kole tang, Clown fish, blue flavivertex Pseudochromis, bubble tip, Favia brain, Favites brain, green and red trach brain, Echinophyllia, Kenya tree, Ricordea, green star polyps, Montipora, Hydnophora, and a torch coral. <Mmm... this is a real "mix" of cnidarians... I'd be removing/trading out at least the anemone> I probably have a mix you wouldn't recommend (especially the bubble tip).  I have read about your protein skimmer selections but many things have changed since that article.  Euro reef is now using extruded acrylic vs. cast, <Still good> and many new skimmers have come on the market.  I work at a saltwater fish store so my options are endless.  The newest things I've seen are the CoralVue reef octopus skimmers which also use extruded acrylic and a needle wheel (some) and I'm wondering if they work as well as a Euro reef skimmer. <Mmm, don't know...> The CoralVue are a bit cheaper and if they work as well as a Euro reef I was thinking about this option.  I don't overfeed my fish or corals, I feed my fish Spectrum pellets, and corals Mysis (twice per week).  My clean up crew is very limited since I have read many of your articles regarding crabs and peppermint shrimp not being completely reef safe.   <Yes> I only have a few snails, a serpent star, and cleaner shrimp.  I also have some Chaetomorpha algae in my sump from one of your forum users which has grown significantly in the past couple months.  I change 11 gallons of water per week, should I increase this?   <Mmm, not necessarily> Water parameters are: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 2.5 max, phosphate 0.2, alk 9 dKH, PH 8.3, calcium 400-450.  It is very important to me to keep a healthy tank so any advice on protein skimmers would be very appreciated.  Thank you very much, Ryan.  If you have any other advice on a clean up crew I would appreciate that also.  Thanks again. <The skimmer you have now should be adequate... your feeding sounds fine... your water quality reads as fine... There are a few ways to "go" here re environmental improvement... I'd look into ozone, given what you've presented here. Bob Fenner> 50 Year Old 'Newbie' needs advice if you have time ... Bio. filt. issues, corals not adding to bioload?   11/5/06 One of my life's desires was to keep an aquarium (my first).  Being a very avid gardener, I can not wait to start underwater gardening.  I live in a small community, only 2 Mom and Pop specialized salt water stores (besides PetSmart). My tank is only 3 months old. Having problems keeping fish alive, corals seem to be doing great.  I believe I'm being misled and making too many mistakes that could have been avoided with correct information.   <A very common situation> I had my tank set up.  90 gal. glass rectangle complete with cabinet and canopy.  All equipment was supplied by same vendor: 90 Gal tank setup with overflow system 20 gal sump tank 2 sets T-5 lights 1 set moon lights 400 gph pump Protein Skimmer Heater 150 lbs live rock 5 bags live sand Sump is setup as a weir? <Mmm, yep... likely some sort of notched surface/overflow arrangement> System.  The overflow tube delivers into corner of sump, where protein skimmer does its thing.  Next column 3' wide houses foam like filter material, <Mmm, may need to clean this... daily> next overflow column 3' houses another form of foam filter then enters pump area and back up to the main tank dispersed through 2 powerheads.  Very simple but is it too simple? <?>   Was told to clean skimmer regularly, as I do almost every day.  Told to wash filter material under tap to clean. (I think I'm losing priceless bacteria).  Other than that, there is nothing to clean except algae on glass which I clean daily.  I do 5% to 10% water changes weekly (seems like twice a week lately). My ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels never seem to change, can't get them down. (ammonia 1.0, <This is trouble... needs to be zip, zero, undetectable> nitrate 20, <Borderline high> nitrite .05 to 1). <Ditto trouble>   All other levels seem ok, Cal stays around 450, Salinity around 22, Alk ok PH around 8 to 8.5.  I use the pre-filled carbon bags 2 days a week.  I put one between the foam filters in the sump tank. Last night we were doing a water change 10gal and my husband asks if I ever tested my saltwater.  I looked at him with a questioned face 'Why'? I buy it ready to use, it should be ammonia free.  Well, was I wrong, I tested both the saltwater and the RO water.  Both had levels of ammonia of at least 1.0 . <... this is strange. You might want to "check the checker" here... Your test kit/s may be off> How will I ever get my ammonia to a zero level if I keep putting just as much in as I'm trying to get out. <Should cycle out quickly... given sufficient biological filtration> I am so confused, I can grow anything, my yard is a tropical paradise, I am very dedicated, diligent and have a heart for all animals.  I waited till late in life to start this venture and am very glad I now have the time and funds to do it right.  Please give me your thoughts or opinions on my current system and what upgrades or additional equipment you may think necessary (looking into the Rowaphos, denitrifying filter and UV filter).  I currently have over $6500.00 in my little tank and am willing to do whatever it takes to make this work. Page 1 Page 2 One last thing:  Truth or Myth Vendor said I could put in as many corals as I wished, would not affect bioload? <Misleading... not so> Currently house 30+ corals.  All beautiful and growing, only lost 2 elegance. <Catalaphyllia are not hardy species nowadays from the wild> Fish he said to go slow:  Now housing 1 small sailfin tang 2 ½' 1 purple Pseudochromis 1' 1 small pajama cardinal 1' 1 maroon clown 1 ½' 2 anemones <... are by and large not suitable to mix with stony and soft corals... This could be a real source of your troubles here> 1 lawnmower blenny 1 scooter blenny Various snails, hermits and shrimp. Algae is not a problem, clean glass daily. Feed frozen twice daily along with seaweed clips. Liquid and frozen coral food every other day Silversides to corals weekly <...? What species? Many "corals" are largely photosynthetic... some consume quantities of various size zoo-, phytoplankters... some are largely detritivorous... Few consume whole fishes> Anemones fed every other day <Too frequently... see WWM re the species you have> My Tank is absolutely beautiful for being so young, you have to look close to see if waters in there.  Everything looks so animated. I am so excited and look forward to learning this new wonderful fulfilling hobby. Thank you for your time Tammy Martin <As with your terrestrial gardening education, I strongly encourage you to invest the time in reading a few of the "complete story" standard works on marine aquarium/reef keeping. A bibliography of these can be found on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Wet/Dry Help!  - 11/02/06 I have been reading non-stop to try and figure a better filtration system. I think I have come up with a few options.. Can you please tell me if I am on the right track? <Will try> My 75 gallon tank is not pre-drilled, but here goes- 1) 2 powerheads-MaxiJet 900 or 1200, 20-30 gallon sump w/LR, good skimmer (aqua C) the red sea is junk, more LR, 1"of live sand with shells, and remove canisters or leave one. 2) Canister filter w/Ehfimech or Siporax on bottom, coarse filter, 1 or 2 ChemiPure media, PolyFilter position spray bars straight ahead at each other (on width part of tank) or down? Deep sand bed 3" or shallow 1", more live rock, good skimmer and powerheads? 3) Canister filter as above, live sand bed, more live rock , fluidized bed filter (too crowded), good skimmer, powerheads. My ammonia and nitrite are 0. My phosphate and nitrate are always high. My ph is 8.2 Your input is much appreciated. <Mmm, of the above... number one is my choice... not a fan of canister filters/filtration on the vast majority of ap.s on/with marine systems... But FWIW, I'd keep reading at this apparent stage/state of your understanding... You want to be sure here. Bob Fenner>

Filtration/Tank Cycling/Refugium Addition - 09/02/06 Hi crew, <<Ronde>> I am ~4wks into my SW experience and for the most part am really enjoying it.  WWM has been a great tool for me, but there isn't enough time in a day to read the whole site (I am trying). <<Not necessary to read in a day...take two <grin> >> As I stated pretty much everything is alive with the exception of a few snails (1 or 2 margaritas and a Nassarius or 2 (sp) <<Nassarius>>) and 1 of the 3 green Chromis I purchased. <<Mmm...this tank is likely too "new" for livestock yet>> That leaves 6 margarita  snails, some blue legged hermits, some Turbos (not sure which kind) and some Nassarius snails.  I just purchased an AquaPod 12 for use as a QT for any new pets. <<Excellent...do be sure to read our FAQs on quarantine>> Now for the questions.  1. I have a 46g bowfront glass tank with 60# of CaribSea Arag-Alive Bahama oolite, 30# of live rock, a Penguin 350 bio-wheel, a Penguin 200 BioWheel, a  Maxijet 900 powerhead, a Seaclone 100 (I know it is a bad choice and am looking to get a Remora or Remora pro; do you have any suggestions on which would be more appropriate?) <<The AquaC Remora will serve fine...and you might want to consider removal of the bio-wheel filters unless this will be a FOWLR>> There is also a 150w heater in there too.  Will this setup support soft coral or do I need to change some of the setup? <<You don't state your lighting, but "generically speaking, yes.  Though you need to research the "specific needs" of the species you plan to acquire>> My temp runs from an occasional low of 79 but stays in the 80 to low 81's. <<This is fine>> I have a 36" Current USA Nova Extreme set on timers with actinics  coming on for 8 hours and the 10000k on for 6 sandwiched in between the actinics and the lunars on after the actinics turn off at night. <<You should shoot for a more natural (12-13 hour) photo-period>> I had the lights on longer but had a diatom bloom that the snails have since taken care of. <<Part of the natural algae succession of a new/cycling tank>> My last water tests gave me a result of spec. gravity 1.022, <<This needs to be NSW levels (1.025/1.026)>> pH 8.4, ammonia  0ppm, nitrite <0.25ppm (color in between 0 and 0.25ppm on Aquarium Pharmaceuticals saltwater master liquid test kit) and nitrate 10ppm (usually around 20ppm steady). <<This 4-week old tank is still cycling...please don't add further livestock until this is finished>> Fish are fed 2 times per week 1/2 cube of frozen Mysis which takes about 6-min to eat. <<Your fish should be fed daily my friend>> Also I add Purple-Up a few times a week (I need to buy a calcium test kit) and use Seachem Reef Buffer once per week. <<Please read here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/suppleme.htm>> Would a refugium eliminate the need for one or both of the Penguin filters? <<Your live rock will eliminate the need for these...but addition of a refugium is always beneficial>> Due to space restrictions it would probably need to be HOB  style.  On an All-Glass brand tank would the extra weight be a  concern? <<No>> Fish seem to be happy and the snails seem to be happy except for the fact that a few hermit crabs have displaced them from their shells (I need to  buy some bigger shells). <<A common issue...and one more reason I don't keep hermit crabs>> I don't want to be a victim of paralysis by analysis but need to know if I am on the right track. <<Keep reading...you'll get there>> Sorry for the length but thanks for the help. <<No worries my friend...but please do use proper capitalization on future exchanges>> Ronde B. <<EricR>> Filtration, SW, Centropyge sys., sel.   9/2/06 Firstly, I appreciate all of the information available on your site. I may be suffering from a certain degree of volume overload and am trying to determine an optimal set-up for my system. I have a 40g (12" X 48" x 16"h) with 130W PC lighting, 20lbs liverock and a SeaClone150 protein skimmer.  I plan on adding more live rock, and realize that the SeaClone is not an optimal skimmer. The tank has been cycled and currently houses a blue damsel (that is rather submissive and was being abused by a Basslet in my established 20g), ~15 hermit crabs and 15 snails. I would like to add a flame angel, <Mmm, not really enough space for this here> then another compatible fish over time (any suggestions would be welcome), as well as a cleaner shrimp and perhaps a Fromia sp star. The ammonia, nitrate and nitrite are all 0. pH is currently 8.2 and calcium 450. The skimmer produces roughly 10-20 ml of a dark green suspension daily. There has been rather aggressive brown diatom growth, <This will "go" in time> but many of the snails and crabs were recent additions and this seems to be stabilizing (I have also recently decreased the time the light is on).  My reading leads me to conflicting opinions on whether the current set-up will be adequate, whether it might be adequate but I'll have to see how the system works over time, or whether it is obviously insufficient. <For a "full-size" Centropyge species, the latter> I   would appreciate suggestions regarding the current filtration set-up, and stocking plans. Thanks. Scott <Thus far you're doing fine... take your time... "when in doubt, count it out" might be a working philosophy to adopt, adapt... Keep reading, gathering data points. Bob Fenner>

Filtering question   8/21/06 Hi WebCrew - I have upgraded in the last few months to a 100 gal. saltwater tank and I am having so much fun that seems as though I can't have enough tanks around for all the things I want. <Heeee! What a feeling!> (you know how that goes)  I have two other tanks:  a 29 gal. acrylic of which I am planning to add seahorses (sure hope I have good luck with them - heard they are a real challenge... ordering from Oceanrider... <Good animals, folks there> problem is the temp. is hard to get down below 78 degrees in the room where this tank is located) <Shouldn't be a problem with a tropical species...> and I now want to switch my 46 gal. bowfront from freshwater to salt (my goodness...so much work!) mainly because I cannot put a fuzzy dwarf in my 100 gal due to having shrimps in the tank, of which I do not want to forfeit... I love watching them as much as I do the fish.  All I want for my 46 gal. which sits in the great room, is a fuzzy dwarf lionfish and perhaps a longnose butterfly and  threadfin, <Mmm... these Butterflies really need more room> OR a yellow tang. <As does the tang>   In this tank I will provide plenty of liverock and 1/2" sandbed. Question is:  I have on hand a used wet/dry filter with a Rio 2100 (was used for a 55 gal. tank) AND I also have already running on the tank a HOT Penguin 350.  I plan on getting a good protein skimmer for the tank.  I guess what I am asking is which filtering system would be right for this 46 gal. tank? <Should be fine>   Wasn't sure if the wet/dry with a 2100 would be too much. <Not too much>   Thank you ever so much for your experience and advice... as always.  Linda in GA <BobF in San Diego>

Three different factors. Clownfish beh., Koran Angel Sys., SW filtr.   8/21/06 Dear Mr. Bob Fenner <Rachel> Hope everything is fine there! <Yes my friend. Thank you> I need your option on three different factors. I have an 80G with 1 Bannerfish 4', 1 Hippo tang 3.5' and 1 Clownfish 1.5'. My Banner and the Hippo are very peaceful but as I added my Clarkii Clown 5 days ago it hides behind my Power-head but comes out and swims around when food is added and then he goes and hides again. Do you think he is in stress? <Yes... but normal, to be expected. Takes a while to "get settled in"> and as a result will be infected with Parasites or something? <Mmm, no... or at least not necessarily> Until now I had no such outbreaks for almost a year now. I am just worried as I have heard sometimes stress will initiate bad outbreaks. <Correct... hence the desire for quarantine, careful observation> Do you think I should remove the small clown? Or if I introduce another 1.5' or 2' Clarkii clown, will it make things positive? <I would start quarantining a/the new Clownfish if you intend to add one...> Can I add a Koran Angel fish 3' to my 80G? <Mmm, no, not really... this Pomacanthus will grow to be too large, cause too much stress in this sized setting> I know this is a large angel and my tank will soon be smaller. How soon do you think this will happen? <Months...> Or is the fish already too big for my 80G? <Nearly> I can return this fish if it grows too large to my LFS. So do you think it's alright to introduce this fish to my tank at the size of 3"? <Not a good idea> I need to know what equipment I will need to maintain my tank perfectly. I already have 1 Large Canister Filter with 3 bags of Activated Carbon and Bio-balls, 2 Power-heads, 1 Protein Skimmer with another Power-head, 1 UV-Sterilizer 9W, 1 Air Pump & a Heater. What else do you recommend I use to maintain perfect water quality? <Mmm... you could experiment with a sump/refugium... but what you list along with diligent maintenance will do fine. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the linked files above, particularly "Rationale"> I want my Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate at perfect 0-levels. Do you think a wet-dry filter is a good idea? <Actually no. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wetdryfaqs.htm and the linked files above> Please let me know what you think. Thanks, Best regards, Rachel <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing   8/6/06 I have been reading your site info and it is the best available anywhere. I have a start up question. I have a 90 gal tank live rock, fish some invertebrate, no problems, I bought it used from a pet store, so it was turn key. My wife liked it so much she bought and surprised me with a 300 gal glass for my birthday. Need advice on how to set up the filter first. It is from glass cages in Tennessee. It is drilled on both sides with a overflow box on both sides, appears to be about an 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 hole in each box, with schedule 80 bulkheads. Is one hole in each a return and one a drain to sump/pump? What is the best way to set up, I'd rather do it right. I plan on about 300 pounds of rock, sand, fish and some inverts.  I thought about a closed loop using the Pentair triple combos, but you seem to lean towards sumps, refugiums, or could I use a combo of both. How do I start my plumbing, do I need a standpipe in the tank overflow, and how to get it back into the tank. If  you could direct me it would be great. <Do read this link and related links above.  I'm pretty sure your answers will be found here.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/plumbingmarart.htm James (Salty Dog)>

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

Need filtration advice for 125g predator tank (planning stages)   8/2/06 Hello Bob & crew,    <Joe>   After many searches on Reefcentral and your (awesome) website, I'm still quite confused on how to set up the filtration for a predator 125 gallon system I have in the works. <Mmm, there are a few options... depending on what you want to spend up-front, ongoing maintenance... what look you're hoping to achieve... how "hands-on" you are, want to become> I plan on keeping a zebra moray, a trigger or two, <Best to keep this to one> and the like, and am going to plumb the tank to my basement.  Not at all sure what combination of the following filtration options to pursue:      1) DSB -- has to be in the sump, b/c the triggers & etc. will eat all the sand-sifting worms, pods, etc.  BUT, some folks (Dr. Ron most notably among them), think DSB's in the sump can't work, <...?> b/c the sand-stirring critters won't get enough of the tank's detritus and other nasties, meaning the critters will starve and the nasties will stay nasty.   <Nah> Many posts on your site seem to disagree, and advise hobbyists to go ahead and do a remote DSB as long it's receiving the purely dirty water from above, <The "dirt" will, does get there in any case> and isn't downstream in the sump from some other means of filtration.  SO, is an in-sump DSB a decent idea or not? <Is best in almost all cases, circumstances, set-ups...> And even if it's a decent idea in theory, is it worth doing in such a waste-generating system?   <IMO/E, yes> Am more than willing to build a series of uber-sumps in the basement if the surface area will give me the filtration capacity I need -- something along the order of 2 or 3 times the tank's surface area.    <The more volume, the better...>   2) PLENUM -- thinking about setting one up in the display tank, and seems a worthwhile measure to take as long as one doesn't stray from Dr. Jaubert's parameters. <Mmm... plenums are highly overrated IMO>   But, again, am wondering whether a plenum will make more than a minor dent in the filtration needed for this system. <Not worth the loss of space, appearance in such a system as this IMO> Oh, and is it true that DSBs and plenums will get rid of ammonia and nitrites, rather than simply reducing nitrates?    <One of their principal goals, functions, yes>   3) WET/DRY -- these are easy and cheap to DIY, and are very efficient at eliminating ammonia and nitrites.  Am concerned about huge nitrate build-up, and haven't been able to get a straight answer as to whether a properly set up DSB or plenum could "consume" the excess nitrates produced by the wet-dry. <Both, either can/should> Am also concerned about detritus buildup within the filter media itself (on the bio-balls), so I'm thinking it might be worthwhile to place the wet-dry relatively "downstream" in the sump system, perhaps fed with an internal pump with a filter sock on the inlet.  Even then, not sure it's a worthwhile idea.    <If using a WD, I'd place it first... After the sock (which may need to be cleaned, switched out for a clean/ed, dried one... daily...) right after the overflow lines...>   4) THE CALFO BUCKET O'SAND -- Gotta love this approach -- just get a five gallon bucket, fill it with fine sand, flow water OVER it, and seems to accomplish a nice measure of nitrate reduction.  Can't see any real downside, as long as detritus buildup in the bucket is avoided.    <Just a pain in the keester to monitor, clean... Oh, and can present tragic sudden death issues...>   5) LIVE ROCK -- Would like to avoid the look of 1-2 lbs per gallon in the display, and would prefer something more like 1 lb per 2 or 3 gallons. <Suit yourself>   Am willing to place additional LR in the sump (or buy "base rock", place it near the LR, and let it become "live"), but have read that LR isn't very useful as a means of filtration (way, way less surface area than a DSB, no?).      <Very useful for many other functions...>   6) REFUGIUM W/CHAETO -- Nice idea and again, no real drawbacks.  But, again, not sure it will help much in such a waste-abundant system.    <If you have room...>   SO, HERE'S WHAT I'M CONTEMPLATING -- A DIY skimmer modeled after the larger Reef-Octopus re-circulating version (body is 8" pvc and 2 ft tall); <Mmm, actually... most DIY fractionators are a waste of time, solvent and pipe... For what you're investing here, go with a real engineered unit... our reviews are posted... For me here; a Euro-Reef product> DSB in each of two Rubbermaid 100 gallon troughs (fed w/detritivores from IPSF and/or local reefers); a Calfo bucket or two for good measure and a good laugh; and some sort of lit refugium.  After that, not sure what to do on the wet/dry, plenum or live rock  -- and still quite puzzled whether the DSB concept has any real application in "predator"-type setups with so much waste.      Please advise . . . .      Joe <There's my input. Bob Fenner>

Marine Filtration ...Questions   7/28/06 Hi Bob/Crew <Howdy> I have sent a few emails to you and I still need some more help deciding on skimmers. I found a good deal on eBay for an Aqua C Remora Pro. The manufacturer says it can handle tanks from 40-120 gallons. I read on your site that it is possible of having a skimmer that is too powerful. Would the Aqua C Remora Pro be too powerful for my 36 gallon aquarium? <No.> Also, I currently have 2 filters. An emperor with one intake tube that holds Rite Size cartridge E (if that helps identifying it, I got it used so I don't know the model number) and I also have a Hot Magnum (I think it's a 250). First of all, my Hot Magnum had a powerful water flow with the micron cartridge installed for the first 2 days, but today I noticed, as the day went on, the water flow slowed down increasingly still with the micron cartridge. <The micron cartridges can plug up rather fast.  In the manual it states how to clean the cartridge.> I added live rock today, only 10 lbs to start out with, could sand have gotten clogged into the filter? <More than likely the sediment.  Shouldn't really use a micron cartridge until things settle down.> Second of all, if I want to add a skimmer, the Aqua C Remora Pro, I need more space on the back of the tank. Could I take the Hot Magnum off and replace it with the skimmer and still keep my water quality high and keep hardy, soft corals/invertebrates? <Yes, but first, I'd get an additional 25 pounds of live rock to act as the bio-filter and do away with the Emperor all together.  For water movement, a couple of power heads will do the trick.  Shoot for a total flow rate of 400 gph.> I do not plan on spending a lot of money on a below the tank sump because I am just starting out. Thanks for all the previous advice you gave me and I hope to finally make this work! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Canister or wet/dry ... or....  7/23/06 Hello, I just got a 70 gallon oceanic tank that is not pre-drilled, but it does have the light hood and canopy (which gives me some concern as to what will fit on  the back of my tank). <The canopy and/or the tank may have to be cut/drilled to accommodate such gear...> I do not want to drill my tank and I am going to set up a fish only system.  I purchased a Rena XP 3 canister filter (for up to   175 gallons) and an Aqua-C Remora with MJ1200 HOT skimmer.   However, in my research for the skimmer, I saw a lot of wet/dry sump filters  with protein skimmers already included (for instance I found a TITAN PRO 150 Wet  Dry With Protein Skimmer And CA 2200 Pump for a reasonable price - although I  don't know if this system is advisable). <Mmm, better/superior to a canister IMO> I can take back my canister  filter and the skimmer and buy the wet/dry sump skimmer combo with pump and  overflow kit for about the same amount.  I want the best set up that I can  get for my money (I can not afford to go over $350-$400 for this). <There is technology in turn superior to the wet-dry...>   Therefore, my question is - am I better off with the canister/HOT skimmer setup  I already have or should I go wet/dry/sump/skimmer combo with the overflow  adapter to take the connections over the back of my tank? <The second is better... though the skimmer is inferior> Also keep in mind this  is my fist salt water aquarium so I need a set up that will work best for the  fish and that I can set up.   <I understand> Also feel free to recommend any changes or  brand suggestions to what I have described. Thanks, Jackie <Perhaps a bit more reading will aid you in your decision here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm Scan these linked files... Bob Fenner> Filtration/Berlin System   7/2/06 Do you know where I can find diagrams to build my own Berlin system, sump and all? <This link will lead you to a complete diagram of LifeReef's Berlin System.  http://www.lifereef.com/berlin.html Hope it helps  Can't seem to search our site today for additional info.  James (Salty Dog)> Keenan

Filtration...Eliminating HOB Filter   6/27/06 Hey crew, <Justin> Got a quick question. I've got a 40 gallon custom sized tank (32.5"x14.25"x19"... don't ask me where it's from, bought it used from my LFS and they were as confused as me! Currently running with the filtration it came with in a package deal: an Emperor 400 (no BioWheels), and a Prizm Pro skimmer. I'm already in the planning stages of replacing these, before I go much further, the tank stands now (50lb live rock, 30lb live sand, a Chromis and an ocellaris), and would very much like to eliminate the HOB filtration unit. I've already got a tentative order in for the Coralife Super Skimmer at my LFS, which is much closer to my price range than my desired gear (a remora... of course), but now I'm looking at the possibility of a CPR Aquafuge, just to avoid having to drill the tank, or the pitfalls of a HOB siphon system. In your opinion, would the largest size AquaFuge, with a DSB, a few pounds of LR rubble, and macro algaes would be sufficient to drop the Emperor altogether? <Sure, many systems are run this way.> The sandbed in my tank is more for show than nitrifying properties, as it ranges from an inch to an inch and a half in depth, and I'd prefer to not increase that for aesthetics. I can always add more LR to the tank, to balance out, just curious on your opinions towards this (almost too) simple sounding solution. <No problems, go for it.> Thanks in advance, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Justin Freedom Aquarium Filter Info   6/18/06 Hi there WWM crew!  I have had a Proquatics wet/dry sump w/ skimmer in  a 75 gallon FOWLR housing a mating pair of maroon clownfish, a marine Betta, a coral beauty, a brittle starfish, and several hermit crabs and snails.  I recently came across an advertisement for the All Flo Freedom Aquarium Filter by   Freedom Aquarium Products.  Have you had any experience with this  filter?  I'm looking for something that may simplify what I currently  have...and with a toddler, I'm afraid "little hands" may find the sump hidden in  the cabinet under tank. <Dan, not familiar with that filter but here is a link to Premium Aquatics that has a closeout on these.  If you scroll down you will see links to more info and testimonials.  This may help you.  http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=FP-FFPNP&Category_Code=Special James (Salty Dog)> Regards, Dan Heavy Stocking 5/14/06 Hello, <Hi> I would like to know if live rock and sand is capable of handling heavy bioloads. <Depends on the definition of heavy> I have read a wet dry is superior when it comes to heavy bioloads. <Wet/dries are useful in overstocked tanks, unnecessary in properly stocked tanks> I guess I'm asking if I go with a powerful skimmer, a sump, live rock, and sand, if it will be better than a wet dry in regards to heavy bioload.  I have purchased your book and keep rereading it. Thank you <LR and a quality skimmer should be able to handle any properly stocked tank.  If you need a wet/dry to keep up with ammonia and nitrite then you should take a look at your livestock> <Chris>

Filtration Question   4/28/06 Hi WWM Crew, <Dennis> Again, GREAT site.  It has been an invaluable resource and I can't thank you enough for all that you do and the questions you've answered.  Now I have another for the bunch.  I've searched through the site and can't seem to find an answer to this question and was hoping you could give some insight. Here's my setup: 45 gallon Odyssea bow front aquarium; 75 pounds of live sand (equal to about a three inch substrate); 15 pounds of live rock; 1 Giant Piece Of Dead Coral (provided for a hiding place for the fish but now a home to a grotesque bloom of hair algae); <Yikes> 1 UV scrubber; 2 Power heads on either end of the tank (one with a spiral water jet arm and the other with a directional output pointed to break the surface for aeration); 1 CPR BakPak 2 protein skimmer; 1 Penguin Emperor HOB power filter; 1 Flu-Val 350 canister filter with the following media: Pre-filter, Activated Carbon, Purigen Synthetic Absorbent, BioMass, Algone & Polishing pad (In That Order). And here's my livestock: 2 Damsels [Dot & Charley]; 2 Cleaner Shrimp [Nerdly & Fungo]; 3 Turbo Snails [Speedy, Racer, Zippy]; 1 Cowry Snail [Tanya]; 1 Nudibranch [Simone] (That laid eggs the day we added 'her' to the tank. Yikes!) ; 1 Chocolate Chip Starfish [Chip]. We'll be adding more fish but we're trying to take our time with populating the tank to let the bio filter catch up with the bio load. All that said, my question is about my filtration.  We set the aquarium up originally with the penguin HOB filter with a bio-wheel and an activated carbon filter for two reasons: 1) the bio-wheel and 2) the fact that I've used it in the past with great success.  It is a great filter but it is rather messy as it causes water to splash up on the light fixtures even if the water level is perfect and occasionally out of the tank if the level gets too low; it also throws bubbles into the tank - both of these are just the nature of HOB filters and neither of these items is a problem, per se: the bubbles are large enough they'd normally just float to the top and cleaning a bit of salt cake off the lights isn't that big a deal in grand scheme of things.  However, through multiple challenges and upgrades we now have the two power heads listed above on either end of the tank and one sits directly below the penguin so the bubbles that aren't really a problem when they are large get caught in the power head and are minced into micro bubbles that make the tank look cloudy.  The micro bubbles from our skimmer combined with the micro bubbles from the power head/filter setup made the fish almost invisible. (The skimmer isn't throwing bubbles any longer (thank you again for your advice on setting that piece of equipment up) but the filter still is and while the tank has cleared a bit, the bubbles are still a nuisance.)  To round out the history: through many trials, tribulations and a couple of huge mistakes, we finally got the power heads placed so we're getting good cross-current and the filter is stuck where it is because the skimmer, UV scrubber and canister tubes take up the rest of the back of the tank.  If anything has to move, it'd have to be the power heads and after all we've went through, I'd prefer not to move those if at all possible. Way back at the beginning of this process (about a week after setting up the aquarium); we decided to add a Flu-Val 350 to the setup and have been very satisfied with it.  It's been running for almost two months now and gets cleaned once a week at which time we replace the activated carbon; polishing pads and Algone.  The bio-mass has discolouration which I've read is a good indicator that the bacterial colonies have set up shop.  The cleaning also acts as a small water change because we dump the water in the filter and replace it with fresh sea water and the tank gets a major water change (20% at least) once per month.   Now for the question (sorry, I'm notorious for my diarrhea of the keyboard): With the Flu-Val which is designed for a 75 gallon tank, do we really need the Penguin Emperor? <I would run this as well if you have it already> It's one more piece of equipment to clean and the Flu-Val seems to be doing a great job on it's own.  I'd love to stop the micro-bubbles and not have the expense of the filter replacements but am concerned about losing the bio-wheel.  Will the substrate, live rock and Flu-Val be enough to handle the bio-load? <Yes, very likely> If there were an adjustment for the flow on the Penguin, it would be great but there isn't that I can see or that is printed in the manual.  If the Penguin is still required; do you have any suggestions on how to limit the flow of water out of the filter into the tank so the bubbles don't drop so deep and the water doesn't splash as much?   <A "dampening sponge" can be fitted on the discharge side of the HOB, but this is a DIY project, and needs to be cleaned often... weekly at the most> Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Warm regards, Dennis <As time goes by, you will find there are other filtration modes, methods other than canister and hang-on power filters... that are more "appropriate"... for now, if you're satisfied with the results and hair algae, you can get by with the Fluval. Bob Fenner>

Too much filtration? - 27//04/06 Here are specs for the system. 240 gal saltwater fish only- I want to have a lot of fish <Yikes!> proposed filtration: 3-4 inch DSB <3-4 inches does not a good DSB make. Do read through our articles on DSBs.> 100 lbs base rock, (mainly to assist the cycling initially, and for aquascaping.) mega flow Sump 4 (rated for 200 gal) Remora Ev Skimmer (rated for 150, this will run continuously) <Both are under-sized?> I heard conflicting opinions most leading to the "overfiltration side".  My experience is that there is good in all methods, and I'd like the system to have at least a presence in a number of methods? What do you think about the filtration <I think both a skimmer and sump are valuable - indeed necessary - additions for a tank of this size. They are not mutually exclusive. As skimmers are usually over-rated, I'd say you were "under" filtered. You'll find it very hard to over-filter this tank.> Thanks You guys rock!!  Oooops You guys "live" ROCK!! <Yeah... which reminds me... you don't mention live rock. I'd add some of that, too! And don't forget to look into strong water movement. Best regards, John.>

Filtration follow-up - 28/4/06 The most practical way of addressing the filtration.  Would include: larger or better skimmer--  How about the ASM-G3. <I've heard good things about the ASM series, but do consider a larger model if you can.> I'm ashamed to mention it but once head pressure is considered I only have 10x flow (2400 gph). WithOUT improving this flow is it safe to say that the effectiveness of adding live rock, is negated. <No, certainly not. Higher flow is often recommended for the benefit of stony corals, which you do not seem to plan to keep. However, you'll need enough flow to sweep detritus off the bottom of the tank, and send it to the skimmer. I'd therefore shoot for a bit more flow, if you can. As long as it doesn't disturb the DSB, that is.> So I really wont be able to compensate by only the skimmer and live rock.  I'll need to address my flow. Crud it seems like more money, lol I'm on the right line I think now. <Do read through some of the set-up FAQs on live rock and water movement. Best regards & good luck, John.>

Re: Confused on filters....  - 04/22/2006 Hey James,  <Shaun> If you have a second, please let me know if I am getting a good deal or not. The used tank I am buying does not have the sump tank you suggested for my freshwater setup --- but I can switch it over to one right? <Well yes.  With the built in overflow I would take advantage of using a sump.> Here's the specs and the photo...its going for $750. Thanks again for the help --- I really do appreciate it. 75 Gallon Aquarium (48" wide x 15" deep x 24" tall) built from 1/2" cell-cast acrylic, solid black background with matching black internal overflow with Oak stand and canopy.   Features:   * Internal slotted overflow installed at center back - end views are clear and unobstructed.   * Dual drain: (2)- 1" bulkheads with standpipe.   * Dual returns: (2) 1/2" bulkheads with return lines through the overflow - no unsightly outside plumbing!   * Oversized access holes allow you to add larger rocks and decorations.   * Two additional "convenience holes" for extra return lines or powerhead cords.   * Suitable for reef, marine, or freshwater use.   * Beautiful oak cabinet featuring cathedral raised panel doors - completely sealed inside and out! fully assembled and ready to use.   * Matching oak canopy with hinged solid top for easy mounting of light fixtures. Canopy overhangs the tank to hide the waterline.   * Four pumps, protein skimmer, heater, bio balls all included.   * 440 watts of light with Ice Cap ballast (light drivers) and Ice Cap automatic lighting timer. <Sounds like a pretty good buy to me Shaun.  Appears to be a furniture grade stand/hood. James (Salty Dog)>

Painting milk creates, mar. filtr. options Hello, I'm painting milk creates that will go in my tank.  How long does the paint need to dry before I can put them in the tank? <Likely a day or more> I was also reading about ZEOvit, Is there any options on how well it work? <Options? Opinions? Have seen such systems... is a workable technology> Or is it better to run ozone and refugiums? <For most folks, this latter. Bob Fenner> Please Help, Eric

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

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

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

Re: Canister vs. Wet/Dry  - 04/05/2006 Bob,  <<Both are inappropriate for all but minimally stocked, fed marine systems. See WWM re... believe me, you'll go with other technology. RMF>> I really don't know if I can agree with that wet/dry being inappropriate after witnessing what I saw/photographed for an upcoming CMA article.  This tank is 450 gallons with a large wet/dry sump <Mmm, thought this person mentioned a built-in, integral WD... these are puny. Please re-read> .  Cannot see all the fish in this photo, but my first impression was that the tank is overstocked.  Yet water parameters are excellent.  Powder blue and other difficult to keep fish all exhibiting some of the best coloration I've ever saw.  This is one of the coral farmer's accounts that I'm doing the article on.  Have a safe trip home today.  Regards, James <Thanks much. Back home today, night. BobF>  Re: Filters/Canister vs. Built-In Wet/Dry    4/6/06 Ok, I am still confused over what is recommended. So let me re-phrase the question. I am planning on upgrade my current acrylic freshwater tank. Right now its about 40 gallons and uses the Eclipse canopy/filtration/etc. <OK> I really like Tru-Vu, and want to get  the 100 gallon flat back hex black, 60x18x20 gallon tanks. What kind of lighting/canopy/filtration/overflow would you use on a tank like this? My goal is quiet operation, efficient, long lasting (I've had fish for at least seven years and don't plan on quitting), yet very clean looking (like the canopy matches the look of the tank/things are hidden and not exposed/etc). <I'm confused.  Your original query states that the Tru-Vu has built-in filtration and you are asking what kind of filtration I would recommend.  The built-in filtration should be fine for freshwater use, but would not recommend for marine systems.  As far as lighting, that all depends on whether you are going to have real plants in the system.  This is all found on WWM.> I appreciate any help you can offer! Thanks!  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> -Shaun P.S. I tried looking for it, but a really cool resource on your website might be an article based on this whole thing -- upgrading from you first tank, your hooked on fish (no pun intended), and from your professional opinion the best way of going on your next tank would be.... <<Great idea... How about you penning it...? Yes, I mean you! RMF>>

Marine Aquaria; Lack of Research, Over-Stocking, Not Quarantining'¦..same old, same old  3/30/06 Thanks for all the articles, <Quite welcome.> but I'm not finding the answers I need. <Hey Crew?!'¦'¦We've heard that before huh?> I'm a beginner at this, have had my tank almost a year and I'm having problems. <I'm here to help.> I have a 90 gallon fish only tank with an under gravel filter with 2 - 802 AquaClear powerheads <Ooh'¦.UG is probably the utmost worst possible way to filter marine aquaria.> I am running copper. <Mmm'¦I would not do that in the display, read WWM re.> I do water changes religiously every two weeks, as my nitrates will run very high (100ppm). <I blame the UG plates, read WWM re marine filtration, at the least you need a protein skimmer, I would suggestive rock but with copper in the system'¦..> My salt water advisors/fish store sources here are limited, and all but my source in original advisor in Orlando want me to change to live rock, and other filter systems. I have recently added a used Magnum 350(date 2/22/06). <Sorry to be negative but aside from UG, canister filters are also one of the poorest choices for marine filtration.> Otherwise have had  no problems keeping Am 0, Nitrites 0, Ph 8.2 <100ppm nitrates is a big problem'¦.need to be 20 or less for an F.O. tank.> Presently 1 - Male Blonde Naso Tang 7" 1 - Yellow tang  4" 1 - Blue hepatus Tang 3" 1 - Dwarf Angel Coral Beauty 2.5" 2 - Ocellaris False percula clownfish (had 5 to start - 3 died late last year) <You are grossly overstocked here dear, the Naso alone has a potential 21' size'¦.and copper is not my medication of choice for surgeons to say the least.> Most concerning presently are my Coral beauty, and hepatus tang which are scratching. Gill Flukes? <'¦Could be a number of things including Cryptocaryon irritans: marine ich'¦..> I've treated the tank once forgot what it was called/did not write it down, got it from my local advisor/fish guy who seems to be too busy for me and can not find any meds locally) <Read WWM re: quarantine, any medicating needs to be done there not in the display.> for this when only the hippo was scratching, now both fish are scratching regularly. What can I do? <First you need to get control of your water quality through water changes, and other means of nutrient export such as the protein skimmer mentioned above'¦.then you should identify the disease of any (the critters may just be suffering from poor water quality) and treat accordingly, read WWM re'¦> In the last two months I've added a number of fish with problems. <I would discontinue with the addition of livestock, the tank is overstocked as is.> I know these places I buy fish from do not hold them before selling them - in one day out the next. <This is not a good practice by the stores'¦..but even more prudent, it is a good reason for you to quarantine.> 2/10 added Square Anthias - believe it was the coral beauty nipped at him, but things were looking happier after a couple of days for the anthias, but the yellow tang stopped eating, 4 weeks later anthias died, yellow tang started eating again. 2/28 Added a blue filamented wrasse 3/6 my Royal Gramma Basslet of almost 8 months died in a 4 day time frame 3/7 anthias dead 3/14 Wrasse dead <Water quality and overcrowding are to blame, and possible disease form lack of QT.> I'd like to add a few more fish again, <You don't have the room nor is your tank ready to accept any new livestock by any means.> royal Gramma again, will research for others, but will take any suggestions you can give me. <Well you mentioned you liked our articles, after reading your query I suggest you continue to read them.> This sure can get frustrating!!!!! Lots of info on your web site searches, can spend way too much time trying to get specifics <Well ma'am it is evident from your mistakes that you have not searched our site to thoroughly, if you had, you would have avoided many of the mistakes you had made. Other than that we would love to hear any suggestions you have regarding spending to much time and making it easier on you, the reader.> Know this may be a lot to ask but do so appreciate your time and knowledge. <Anytime.> Brenda Crabbe <Adam Jackson.>

Filtration In Sump Before Or After Skimmer? - 03/24/2006 Hi, <Hello Brian.> I've been reading your site for the past couple years and have found it to be an incredible source of info. <Glad to hear it.> I have a 75 gallon pentagon reef and my question regards filtration. I believe I have read certain opinions which suggest that filter pads are not necessary. I already got rid of my bioballs and have lots of live rock. Am I correct that there is a school of thought that suggests that live rock and a skimmer is all that is necessary? <You are.> I have always used a foam filter pad or PolyFilter, but am wondering if I can get away with bypassing that altogether and simply let the raw water be processed by my Euroreef skimmer. <Yes. If it's only a filter pad (physical filtration), then you're still processing raw water. Just don't place a Polyfilter (or other chemical filtrant) before the skimmer.> I am concerned that the skimmer would be clogged by food particles. <Not much of an issue, but you would probably have to clean it more often.> I have read on your site that the filter pads can be nitrate factories, but my impression is that there are varying opinions. <Can be if not cleaned regularly.> I'd like to run it without a pad, but wonder if I'd be putting my skimmer at risk. <No, but if you keep the pad clean then you'll be fine and won't have to worry about clogging your skimmer. It's up to you.>   Thank you so much for this wonderful resource.   Brian <You're welcome. - Josh>

Wet dry Vs live rock - 21/03/06 Bob, Thanks for your advice!!!!   <John here with you this fine grey China morning.> Big fan of "The Conscientious Marne Aquarist"...great info!!!!   <Me too.> I was hoping to get your opinion one more issue.  The company I'm talking to build my filter is really "pushing" the wet dry over the Berlin style sump. <Do they offer both?> They come very highly regarded through all the boards and I know the quality of their products & design is top notch.  Hence the reason I am going through them. I have a lot of experience in FO systems and this is my first venture into a reef....I just want to make the right decision.  They keep stressing the fact that poor design and operation of wet dry filtration by numerous users in the past is the reason they fell out of favor. <If by "poor operation", they mean not religiously scrubbing every surface clean every day or two, perhaps.>   I plan on setting up a reef and want to know if it is a good idea to run both wet dry and live rock as a form of biological filtration? <I wouldn't. I've experienced algae problems myself from over-zealous aerobic filtration.>   From what I have read, I was under the impression that wet dry's are considered nitrate factories and should only be used with FO set ups. <Perhaps things are not so black and white... but still, I would personally opt for a (modified) Berlin set-up for a light-to-average stocked reef tank. Your thoughts please. Thanks so much! <You're welcome. Best regards from Shanghai, John.> John     Filtration/Selection   3/20/06 Hey guys,  <Randy> Thanks in advance for your help-as always!!! A question regarding the best filter setup for my 46 bow FOWLR (40lbs) going reef with soft hardier corals only. Light to moderately stocked on the fish side.    Here are my current available filter choices: Stick with current setup of a Emperor 400/Jebo skimmer/1 powerhead for circulation. Use a spare Eheim Pro2 #2028/Jebo skimmer/1powerhead for circulation. Use a spare wet dry that is around 10"x10"x20" with the spinning bar feed for aeration/Grundfos #up-15-42 pump (Is this a good pump? <Not familiar with it.> Jebo skimmer and the powerhead for circulation.   I know the Jebo (Seaclone-clone) skimmer is not great, but for now it does a decent job and I already own it! I am leaning towards the wet/dry, as it does barely fit into my bow stand.   Is it a lot better than the Eheim for the reef setup?  <Much better for gas exchange and aeration.> Should I additionally put rock in the drip side of the wet/dry or use the bio balls? <I'd go with live rock.> If bio balls, what should be done to prevent a long term nitrite crash??  <Wouldn't use.> Also, how bad were the old spinning bar feed systems.  I have heard that they become clogged and was told to slot out the holes into 1 long hole.??? <You will probably lose the rotating feature in doing this.> Are there any other disadvantages to them? <The rotating head was used in the earlier wet/dries and as you say the holes can become clogged.> What size overflow would be ideal for the this sump and tank size?  3/4" 1" ??<Depends on the gph you want to run through it.  A one inch I.D. drain will handle 500gph.> And last, what would be the best for the money, compact, protein skimmer the will fit within a roughly 9"x7" sump area and function great for my application and maybe, be large enough for a future move into a 75gal+20sump)?  <Check out the AquaC Remora series.> Thanks again,  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>   Randy Canister Filter vs. Wet-Dry Filter   3/20/06 Hello, <Hi Joe - Tim answering your question today!> I have racked my brain researching what filter I should get for my 75 gallon tank. I plan to have a fish only saltwater tank with no invertebrates. Despite the internet research, the 4 books I've read and the local fish stores - I can't decide. The wet-dry seems to be the best, but at double the price. The canister seems to be the economical choice but will it be enough? The research I have done leads me to believe that a fish only tank will be ok with a canister filter but if I add invertebrates then I'll need a wet-dry filter. Please let me know how far off I am. <Joe - please read this and the links on this page for all the information that you seek http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm > Should I get a protein skimmer too? <You should definitely get a protein skimmer, irrespective of whether you opt for a fish only or full reef system. Do research skimmers before making your purchase as there are considerable differences in quality with correspondingly minor differences only in price!> Thank you in advance for you time. < Always a pleasure - I do hope that I have been of some help!> Respectfully, - Joe Please Help!! Up-flow Pond Filter Design for saltwater  - 03/13/2006 Hello again!   I'm resending this message because it's been nearly a week and I haven't gotten an answer.  I took out the second 2 questions because I found them, sorry for not being able to find them before. <Thanks for re-sending... Don't recall seeing this before>       Hello!    First of all thanks for all your great advice and articles. I've kept a 30 gallon saltwater tank for nearly a year, with a deep live sand bed, some live rock, a small skimmer and 2 maxi jets 600 hidden behind some sponge and rocks (which I obviously never move).  I have lots of critters and 1 mandarin (about 9 months with him).  I would like to add more fish and therefore a big biological filter.  Since I've got space behind the room I was thinking about an "Up-flow Pond Filter" of about 10 gallons.  I thinks they're cheap, the easiest to clean and keep, so why can't I find any information on such filters for saltwater. <Mmm, the literature in our interest is not "well indexed" mainly... Some searching at a large library with a good deal of biological material might show bits as "reverse flow biological filters"...> I was thinking of filling it with plain Dacron, to avoid all the problems you mention when you add coral or other things, I just read in your "The Right Filter For the Right Fish: Saltwater' article that you use 'a good grade of animal-bone carbon', so I might add this.  The only con I seem to find is that I might need to replenish a lot of water when I clean the filter, so maybe 2 10 gallon filters would be better, and I would have 50 gallons in total, so I could clean 1 every other month for a 20% water change each month.  What do you think?   Thanks a lot!         Rogelio. <Worth trying. Have you read the "Refugium" and sump articles, FAQs files on WWM? Bob Fenner>

Canister vs. Refugium...And Winna' by TKO in the First round is - 03/09/2006 Hi Bob, <Josh actually, but hello just the same.> I was reading some FAQ yesterday and noticed that in a particular question you recommended the removal of a canister filter to assist denitrification. I was wondering if you could give me your opinion of whether I should swap my canister filter for a refugium containing Chaetomorpha algae. <I'd say absolutely.> My specifications are: 850 Litre tank; Wet/dry mini reef with Skimmer, Eheim 2218 Canister filter. <Did you just say wet/dry? Hmm...may be the answer to your question.> My nitrates are too high. About 40-50ppm, and this is what I am aiming to reduce. <And rightly so. I'd look into removing both the wet/dry and canister here (eventually). Are you using LR? How much? You can plan this system to take care of itself, with diligence on your part.> So what will I lose/gain by doing this? <All posted...repeatedly.> Thanks Joe. <I know it's not definitive, but so it goes. Your help lies in understanding/embracing a filtration methodology. It becomes easier as you read about each. Remember...don't buy the cup holder if you don't need it. - Josh>

Plenum    3/2/06 G'day everyone at wet web media. <Good morning.> Hope all is good. <Eight inches of snow, otherwise OK> I was wondering if it is possible to set up a plenum system in a sump. If so, how I would go about setting it up. Has anyone done this before? If so maybe you know of some sites on the net I can get some plans off so I can do it properly. Your view will be appreciated. <Do start here and read related FAQ's posted in title block. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Plenums.htm   James (Salty Dog)> THANKS. <You're welcome.>

Filtration/Selection   2/22/06 Hello WWM Crew! <Hello Bart> My question is a quick one that I can not find answered on the site. I am adding a refugium/sump to my 72 gallon bow-front reef to increase the amount of macro-algae I can cultivate both for food for my tang and for nutrient export.  The new refugium should have about 16 gallons of capacity, measuring 24 x 10 x 18 inches.  I am currently running a "hang-on-back" refugium that measures 18 x 4.5 x 12 inches. I am also running a Remora Skimmer, a closed-loop water return for circulation, and a large (about 3 gal) canister filter. I would like to eliminate either the smaller refugium or the canister filter when I add the new refugium underneath because I am running out of outlets. Which would you eliminate?  <I would eliminate both if using live rock and keep the canister with no live rock.> I am currently running the canister with only the mechanical filter media and the biological media. Your help is appreciated! <Thank you.  James (Salty Dog)> Bart

Megaflow/Bioball Questions   2/13/06 Hi, Bora Again, <And Bob> Just adding another question to the pile and thank you for sharing years of experience and knowledge with us. (The Question People) To be brief, I have the dumbest question actually but I had to ask it... <Go ahead> 1- Might Mega flow's "megaflow" area be causing a problem area, it is kind of looking dirty so far and this is my first experience with Megaflows. (running with ViaAqua 3300) <Yes... don't want too much accumulation of "gunk"> 2- (Here the question only gets better) :) Can I actually use that area as a "sugar fine aragonite" DSB area as well? <Yes> Also I have a bioball question, too. (I am sorry to add on like this) <Will store under SW filter., no worries> 1- Scientifically, I thought the "sphere" has the largest surface area. So actually even a golf ball should have a larger surface area than the commonly blue bio-balls. <Ahh... but with their internal area...> Plus a perfect sphere does not have the dead spots like the bio-balls on the market. I did read and tried to skim through all bio-ball, sump, filtration material but couldn't see any comparison over the shape of the balls. I would appreciate if you shared your thoughts or direct me to a spot on WWM or elsewhere. Thank so much in advance for your time. <Many types of shapes have been tried, devised for such aerobic digestion over the years... the many sided "balls" are close to ideal for the purpose... though driving nitrification is only part of a "real" or complete understanding of the processes, consequences and patterns of "filtration", captive and not. Bob Fenner> Need more skimming? SW filt.   2/1/06 Hey guys just a quick question, Salty Dog helped me on fish to reef conversion. I have a standard 55 gallon (18"tall, 48" long, 12" deep) with lunar power compact that has 2 65W True Actinic Blue and 2 65 watt 10000K with lunar lights to do softies and mushrooms with fish. I have a  Remora hang on w/1200 powerhead and removed my 2 Emperor 280s 2 weeks apart. Right now I have the skimmer (with prefilter box), 55 lbs live rock, and a 5 inch DSB with a Wave Maker pro with 2 1200s and 1 900 powerhead to move water. Water readings are solid and maintenance is tight. The only death in the last year outside a couple snails and crabs the last year was a Potter which I will replace with a Coral Beauty (why fight it, make it easy). My inhabitants include 23 snails (Astrea, bumblebee, turbo, margaritas), 17 hermits of various kinds, a sally light foot, blood shrimp, emerald crab, spotted goby, regal tang, percula clown and Banggai cardinal. I plan to add a 6 line and royal Gramma for color with a cleaner and then start adding softies and mushrooms. So with the hang on, DSB & live rock should I add a second Remora protein skimmer before corals so I have one in each corner with prefilter? Is it necessary? <I don't think so... would save up, put my money into a refugium instead> Should I add a 4th powerhead? <Nah> Or should I sell the hang on (get good $$ on EBay for them) and go with a sump and a Remora EV sump style? <Now you're talking/writing> I am trying to enjoy this as much as possible. I have a top off Rubbermaid downstairs ready with buffered water to temp that I add 1.5 gallon every Monday & Friday and on Monday I do a 10% water change. If Nitrates or ammonia creep just a little I do a 20% for a couple weeks. (Nitrates are about 10-15 & ammonia 0 but every now and then come up a tad) I love this hobby and have had a nice little routine that isn't overbearing to keep up with. Don't want to get in a frustrated state and wonder where I went wrong. Thanks Jeff <Keep cogitating furiously. You'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

Canister to a refugium 1-25-06 Hi, <Tom> I have a 75G reef/fish combo w/ about 50lbs of live rock that has been up and running for a little over one year.  My question, I want   to switch from a canister filter (Fluval 404) to a sump so that I can house my protein skimmer and heater out of the display tank and down   below. I bought a ProClear Aquatics Pro 150 Series Wet Dry Filter with Prefilter before I read all of the articles on how its better to   let the live rock do the work, "Grrrr" so I've got this wet/dry. <A mistake nearly everyone makes...> Can I use it with out the bioballs, or replace them with live rock   (convert it to a refugium), <You could, but I suggest selling it on eBay and buying/building a sump specific for your needs.> and if so how should I wean the tank of   the canister and on to the best new filter set up? <You will want to allow the refugium to cycle and establish itself before plumbing into the main system. Once it is stabilized you should be able to just switch it over. If you are uncomfortable with a quick switch, slowly remove media from the Fluval over the course of a few weeks. Travis> Thanks Tom

Question about bottom drilled 300 gal Tank... pump, filtration options   1/18/06 First of all thanks for all your help and tremendous site.. <Welcome> Then as always compliments are followed by questions :-) Details... I have a 300 Gal 96L x 30H x 24W tank. The tank is drilled with 2 bottom drains that go into an Ocean Clear 325 with Iwaki Walchem WMD-40RLT-T115 and an overflow into a 60 Gal Sump with Live Rock and DSB with a Little Giant Model 4MDQX-SC as my return.. <Are these pumps still around?> Questions: What do you think of both pumps? <I would switch out the Little Giant, keep it around for back-up> Are they big enough for their duty? <Mmm, no... the Iwaki is likely fine, about all you can do linked up with an ever-clogging particulate filter, but I would switch the second out for better service factor (heat, flow, energy consumption)...> Would you keep the bottom drains?    <Mmm, a tough one... as opposed to what? If it were my choice, and day one, I would not drill the bottom, but the side instead... If the bottom holes can be fitted with "riser/towers" such that the water overflows to a sump... that in turn there's room for...I would do this, and rig another "pressurized manifold" independently to remove, return water either through the back or over the top>             If so, what do you think of the Canister filter? <Not much... a pain in the keester to maintain, a source of nitrate, bunk in terms of flow... expensive to operate... in terms of what it does. I do hope you have multiple sets of cartridges> In your book you state that these are a haven for waste and buildup... <Oh! I still think so> Thanks again for all your help and love of the hobby!!!! Rick <It is obvious, eh? Do take a read on WWM re Pump Selection. Bob Fenner> Ozonizer vs. UV sterilizer I have a 240 gallon acrylic aquarium, and I'm want to know which will help me get crystal clear water quality. 1) a UV sterilizer, 2) an ozonator or, 3) both? and a short description of why?  <Phillip, let's start by reading the article I've pasted below concerning both technologies. If crystal clear water is your goal you need to look into a filter system that uses micron filters along with the use of Chemi-Pure or another high quality carbon/resin product. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you  <You're welcome> Phillip

Filtration Upgrade, From... - 01/14/2006 Hi I'm in the market for upgrading my 45 gallon tanks filtration. As of now it houses 1 carpet anemone, 2 clownfish, engineer goby,1 damsel, and I was wondering if you could recommend a filter for my tank. Also there is only room under the tank for a filter. <We really could not advise you here as there is just not enough info.> Thanks in advanced --Sbatiste <Try looking through the filtration FAQ's on WWM and see which is right for you. - Josh>

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

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

Re: Wet/Dry for my needs   1/13/06 OK after about 6 hours of reading, I'm confused. It seems the best filtration is a combo of live rock & DSB with a good protein skimmer. I have that plus the 2 Emperor 280s. I have not circulation problems with the Wavemaker Pro and my power compact seems I'm good. What am I lacking? What would be good choices with this set up,<choices as to what.  Your method of filtration is good.> I understand its probably acceptable for mushrooms and soft polyps and such. <Depends on the depth of your tank and I don't know how many watts of PC's you have.> Is it due to the size of the tank? <Don't know the size of your tank.> More importantly, should live rock be swapped out? <I think this depends on stocking levels/maintenance etc.  Some people recommend it, I've never done it yet.> I still have good coralline it seems on mine but its been through 3 years of growing pains and being scrubbed twice due to Hurricane Cyano. Thanks for all the advice we look forward to retirement so much because when we're done for the first time since I was 18 I will have a home. For the last 17 years I knew I was moving in the next few years. It becomes hard, especially for the kids. <Yes> Plus you can't build a 225 in wall if your leaving in a few years.<Definitely> Your site is awesome and I have enjoyed your advice, I know you guys hear this all the time because I read it almost every post but without your help I would have quit years ago, <Glad to hear this.> what started as a neat Nemo idea for my kids has turned into more of an enjoyable hobby than I ever imagined. I love when people come over that have never seen it, especially kids. It has however been frustrating at times. Thanks Jeff Also I've been looking for a good charity to donate too concerning these wonderful creatures. Any ideas? <Since we are an all volunteer group, a donation here would be most appreciated.  Do answer the missing links above and I will assist you.  James (Salty Dog)> Re: Wet/Dry for my needs   1/13/06 <Jeff, first off, let me apologize for any confusion regarding two crew members replying to your query.  Didn't realize it was already answered.> Well the original question below was I want to start corals and it seemed iffy as to whether or not I was good to go. My tank is standard 55 gallon (18"tall, 48" long, 12" deep) The lunar AquaLight has 2 65W True Actinic Blue and 2 65 watt 10000K with lunar lights. <Your lighting should be fine for soft corals.> Like I said I have a Remora pro hang on w/1200 powerhead and 2 Emperor 280s with a Wave Maker pro with 2 1200s and 1 900 powerhead moving water. Water readings are solid and I added a DSB added 2 weeks ago of 60lbs sugar fine and 40lbs live on top of that for a 3-6 inch depth. My live rock seems good but not like it once was I have 60 lbs and I was thinking of swapping 20lbs out after cycling is done from the DSB and 20lbs in the summer and swapping out the last 20lbs at the end of the year. Is this a necessary step? <If it looks good to you I wouldn't swap.  If you do swap, and you have the room (basement i.e.), I'd put the old rock in a 29 with a couple of 65w PC's.  It very well may rejuvenate itself.> Like I said the live rock has been through all my growing pains and a Hurricane storm of Cyano that was weathered. So what corals would thrive other than mushrooms and soft polyps? <The lighting wouldn't be strong enough for any LPS/SPS corals.  Other than that you should be able to keep any softies.> Or is that all I should do for now? My stock of fish is below. I plan to add maybe a pygmy angel like a flame but that's it for fish for now. <The regal tang will soon outgrow the 55.>How many corals is possible and at what interval can you add them? <You can pretty much add all the corals you want as long as you keep some distance between different species of corals.>  Would I be better off ditching one of the Emperors and adding a second skimmer or adding a larger skimmer like the Aqua C EV series and selling the Hang on? Sorry for all the questions, thanks for the reply.  <With live rock you really don't need any of the emperors, just remove one, wait a couple weeks and remove the other.  Replace with power heads to have a total circulation of 550-600gph.  The Remora Pro should be enough skimmer for your 55.> Where do I donate? Do you have a fund setup to donate too? I feel like I owe you the cash anyway. Please forward your charity fund info or if you have a monthly type of situation to pay dues to. Love to donate to you guys, didn't realize you guys were free of charge as volunteers, I assumed you made dough through advertising bucks. <Any monies made by WWM goes to the upkeep of the site.  No one draws a paycheck including Mr. Fenner.  To donate, go to this link. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/  At the left hand bottom of the page there is a window you can click to donate.  Mr. Fenner thanks you very much.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks all again Jeff

Re: Wet/Dry for my needs Awesome one more quick one, Do I need to replace the Emperors with 2 more powerheads? I have 3 in there now with the wavemaker. Wasn't sure if I was good or not. Thanks again and I will donate, I promise! <I like to see a total of 10X tank volume for circulation.  If you are in that area now, replacing the Emperors with powerheads isn't necessary.  James (Salty Dog)>

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