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FAQs on Marine Filtration 4

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

Related FAQs: Marine Filtration 1, Marine Filtration 2Marine Filtration 3Marine Filtration 5Marine Filtration 6Marine Filtration 7Marine Filtration 8, Marine Filtration 9, Marine Filtration 10, Marine Filtration 11, Marine Filtration 12, & FAQs on Marine Filtration: Designs, Installation, Maintenance, Troubleshooting/Repair, Brands/Manufacturers, DIY, & By Type of  System: FO System Filtration, FOWLR Set-Ups, Reef Tank Setups, Reef Filtration, Small Tank Setups, Large System Filtration/Circulation/Aeration, & By Aspect and Gear: Biol.: Biological Filtration, Denitrification/Denitrifiers, Fluidized Beds, DSBs, Plenums, Algal Filtration, Mech.: Marine Mechanical Filtration, Power Filters, Outside Power Filters, Canister, Cartridge Filters, Undergravel FiltersWet-Dry Filters, Phys.: Ultraviolet Sterilizers,   Ozone, To Skim or Not to SkimBest Skimmer FAQs, Chem.: Nutrient Control and Export Chemical Filtrants (e.g. Polyfilter, Chemipure, Purigen), Carbon, Mud/Algal Filtration Phony: Magnetic Field Filtration, & Troubles: Bubbles, Noise,

New Tank Filtration Hi Bob, <<Hi Danny>>  Attached is my new tank filtration. Below are the water condition. a) Ammonium NH4 - 0.1 mg/l b) Nitrite NO2 - 0.2 mg/l c) Nitrate NO3 - 25.0 mg/l <<These should be zero excepting a small amount nitrate, which could be resolved with more LR. Sponges will need cleaning on constant basis to keep them from going bio and producing nitrates. I would stay on top of those or remove, same with all other media, make sure you change them out on a regular schedule before they become an unseen problem.>> d) Calcium Ca - 420 ppm e) pH - 8.5 f) KH - 12 dKH g) Salinity - 1.023 h) Temperature - 26 oC  Q1. Is it filtration enough ? <<I would rely on more LR. How long has this been set up? If new, then tank is not fully cycled or you have ammonia source. (waste, dead stuff, source water).>> Q2. Is the water condition acceptable ? <<See above>> Q3. Water movement from sump to main tank is generated by a 1240 gph powerhead and there is a 462 gph powerhead which run internally inside the main tank. It the water movement enough ? <<Does this flow factor in head height pump must pump up? Total is okay if so, ideally ten times total volume turn over per hour =1500 gph, so seems good.>> Q4. The metal halide is on from 11 am to 8 pm, is it enough ? <<In truth, properly sized and set up MH's do their work in about 4-6 hours. However, living things have evolved to varying photoperiods, known as seasons. Longer hours of light in summer and shorter in winter. The winter photoperiod gets down to about 8 hours, so this is the least I would go myself. Properly sized MH's do all they need to do in about 6 hours, but you need a longer photoperiod to simulate nature anywhere from 10-12 hours) and the remaining photoperiod can be VHO, PC etc. Your MH will do this but after about 6 hours it's mainly adding heat. With only MH, I would go for about 10 hours minimum. I use a 12 hour photoperiod, the first two hours VHO, then MH's come on for 8 hours, then VHO for last two hours. Make sure your ventilation is up to par.>> Thanks again for your advice.. <<You're always welcome, hope it works for you, Craig>> Regards 

Converting my filter system Hello to all of you!<<Hi Sherry>> This is the third time I have written with questions and you guys have been sooo much help to me. Can't wait for the new book in March! Here is my newest question. Yesterday I spent the whole afternoon replacing my Eheim wet/dry canister filter and magnum 350 canister to an Amiracle SL-250 wet/dry sump filter with a mag 7 return pump. I managed to install the Amiracle with no difficulty. My tank is 75 gal. with approx. 75 pounds of liverock and various soft coral and mushrooms and 6 fish. So, I went from two aged filters to one brand spanking new Bioball system. So, with the two canisters removed I came to the realization (after the installation) that I only have the liverock to handle the bioload. Here's the question: Should I have placed the biomedia from the Eheim to the sump of the AMiracle? I did not reinstall the Eheim to another fish system in my house and the biomedia is still in the canister in water. I did not seed the new system at all. With this taken place just yesterday is it too late? I certainly don't want my system to crash as I am very attached to the fish I keep in there. Any recommendations would be great! Thanks, Sherry S. <<Biocapacity of Eheim is questionable after no oxygen/water flow overnight, so I would move on to water conditions in the tank.  LR should kick in to handle it BUT it could become overwhelmed by the sudden load, so do test for ammonia, nitrite, etc. and do water changes to keep at or near zero. It shouldn't take too long for the system to catch-up, but do be vigilant. It won't crash but you need to test, perhaps once a day, and change water if you get amm/nitrite. Next time keep the old filters running, and install the new one, then slowly remove the old one. No worries! Craig>>

Filtration. Hi folks, <<Hey Kevin! How goes the battle?>> Quickly, 55 gal fish only corner tank, uncrowded. Large simple submersible Fluval pointed through 30 lbs of liverock. Prizm skimmer (not the greatest but skimming ok). Could not stand the Fluval 304 (leaky, broken handles) and replaced with an Eheim 2215. Am concerned that this filter will not turn enough water per hour; much less than the Fluval. Am I ok? <<yes, this is what I wrote to you yesterday. The Eheims have a lower flow and so you need to size them bigger if you are counting on using the return for part of your tank circulation.>> I want to keep a simple system for a year to give myself time to soak in the hobby. (Freshwater enthusiast for 4 years with great success, 2 months salt so far so good). I have 1 Niger Triggerfish, 1 Fiji puffer, 1 pr. mated clowns, and 2 small damsels left over from cycling but bothering no one. I will add a lion after quarantine is set up and possibly 2 goby type fish for the tank bottom. That's it for 1 year. Will my current filtration setup be adequate in this scenario? Thanks in advance, Kevin <<I would suggest re-assessing your stocking plans. This is just a 55! PLEASE go to this link http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm and follow the links at the top of the page as well. Here is a portion of what Bob wrote about lionfish which includes several of your stocking list....not good. The lion alone needs room to itself, open areas and caves, etc. and your damsels will become feeders...>> <<<<"Predator/Prey Relations: Lionfish from WWM Very easygoing with anything they can't inhale; but they do have very large, distensible mouths. Damsels, etc., and non-attached invertebrates are all so much aqua-popcorn, and should be anticipated to be ultimately sucked in. The typical 'wise-guys', triggers, puffers, large angels... you'll have to keep an eye on these so they don't hassle your lion(s)." >>>>  <<As far as your filtration I don't think you're in good shape there either. A lion alone could overwhelm your filtration and biocapacity. Less fish, more live rock and sand, more circulation, filter capacity/turnover. Try: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm Please consider a good book (Bob's book would be a great choice) and maybe getting on WWF's chat board so you can research the proper choices to make your tank a success. Best of luck! Craig>>

Re: Filtration. Too eager...Must...slow...down. you're absolutely right Craig. As each day goes by I learn a bit more and yesterday's decision becomes today's painfully learned lesson. You mean to tell me Triggers, lions, and puffers actually get large? :) I've been Working with small species freshwater fish so long that eventual size of these fish never crossed my mind. Duh. Going into research mode, have Martin Moe's book, will check out Bob's. The least I can do to help support your efforts. Thanks, Kevin <<Excellent Kevin! Please let us know if you need any more assistance! MORE than happy to help! Craig>>

Hello Bob (books, skimmers, sump designs) First, I have to say your book, Conscientious Marine Aquarist is great. Do you have a book out that is more related to reef tanks? <There is a "Conscientious Reef Aquarist" manuscript that needs to be largely rewritten (get dated very quickly)... but neither the present publisher in the U.S. (now Microcosm/TFH) nor our own production co. (WetWebMedia) has time, interest, money for the project now... Instead, Steve Pro and Anthony Calfo (with Lorenzo Gonzalez's help as editor) are generating three "livestock" books... the first "Reef Invertebrates" is due out in March. Please see here: http://wetwebfotos.com/store/nma-ri.html with the others (on Cnidarians, Fishes) to follow... as close as we can write them, provide graphics, layout, and come up with the funds for their production> Second, I have a wet/dry filter and am adding a protein skimmer shortly. I know some people advocate the Berlin method. I only have 11 lbs in my 125 gallon tank. If I do want to do the Berlin method how much substrate and how much live rock do I need? Then when I convert do I slowly take out the bioballs? <Mostly LR rather than sand... but depending on how much life, metabolism... 1-2-3 pounds "per gallon"... a bunch> Third, I am planning on getting the AquaC EV-180 protein skimmer. This would fit inside my sump but by doing that it means less water in my sump. I have tried to keep my sump level very high but yet that covers most of the bioballs. Do I want to keep most of the bioballs above water.  <IMO you want to keep most of your bioballs out of the system... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bioballfaqs.htm> If so, with the addition of my protein skimmer that means I will have a small amount of water in the sump. Why that concerns me is if I go out of town for just days that means my water level could run low causing filtration to go out as well as my pump burning up.  <Or (not to cause you lack of sleep), if the power or pump should fail... a great deal of water on the floor... you need to provide more space for transit volume (a bigger sump?)... I would toss the plastic bio-media in place of more live rock (once it's "cured")> Is there some type of top off system where you can have a container of water (a large size) that it will add water to the sump when the level gets low. I have heard these exist but have yet to find one in any LFS. Is there a particular one I should look for? <There are a few designs here. Please take a look through Oz' Reef, link on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlinks.htm> Thanks for your help. <A pleasure to share. Bob Fenner>

Help! (Tossed the nitrate generating mechanical media in the wet dry...) bob, Steve, Anthony, Jason!, little error just made, I had discussed my nitrates with you guys (mainly Anthony and Steve), I have a well stocked 130g tank,160 pounds of live rockiness tang, queen angel, blue tang, red Coris wrasse, lionfish (all 4 inchers), Picasso trigger, tomato clown (2 inchers) and a snowflake eel (7 inch), I have a good skimmer, and a wet/dry, the tank is around 8 months old, all fine except for the nitrates, I mentioned that I had a large floss on top of the bio balls in the sump which I was told never to change not by you guys), Steve mentioned he didn't like having this in the main section of the wet/dry, in the first tray I have floss which I change regularly, and rotate weekly a phosphate pad and carbon, I just did a 20g water change, and removed the floss I had over the balls, now my tank is a milky cloud, an obvious bacteria bloom which I kind of was hoping wouldn't happen, you thoughts on what to expect now?, should I worry?, anything I should prepare for?, thanks guys, I appreciate it.....riot.... <This too shall clear... as a matter of fact, what is going on is a sort of "changing of the guard" and your system will be cleaner, and much less nitrate-plagued soon... I'd just do your regular maintenance and wait. Bob Fenner>

Re: help! (Wet dry to sump to refugium to?) thanks bob, if in my situation, what would you do as for filtration?, keep the main tray with floss and carbons, and leave the bio balls in the main section?, remove the bio balls and replace with something else?, I highly respect your opinions, your site is the best on the net, hands down..... <I would remove the bio-balls and any other wet-dry or mechanical media here... and convert this "box" to a sump... in the way of a refugium if you have the interest. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the associated FAQs files (there's a bunch!). Bob Fenner>

New Tank Filtration Hi Bob, I am getting ready to purchase a 54 gallon corner aquarium from All-Glass Aquariums. They offer two versions of this tank, 1 with an corner overflow that works with a wet/dry sump system and one without. <Get the one with... if an external sump arrangement is in your plans> I currently have a 20 gallon tank with a power filter hanging off the back, and have a hard time keeping the tank clean. Will the overflow method keep a tank a lot cleaner? <A bunch has to do with the size of this system... "Bigger is better" as the ads go... much more stable, easier to maintain.> My question is which one would be better? Advantages/Disadvantages? <Lots of advantages. Please read through the many filter, set-up, sump, refugium sections posted on our root web. Index: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm> If going with wet/dry sump what kind would you recommend? If going with the other option which would work better an underground filtration or a power filter hanging on the back? I really don't like this option as I would have to keep the corner tank away from the walls several inches). <The pros, cons by myself and others are posted on WWM... enjoy, learn, share. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Bryan

Filtration Hi, I have a 46 gallon reef. I'm currently using a Magnum 350 canister filter for chemical and mechanical filtration (live rock for biological). I do not have a sump. Changing the carbon and filter pad is a pain. I want to get rid of the canister filter and get a good power filter with a high flow rate, this will make it a lot easier to change or clean the filter pad and carbon often. I thought this would make more sense even though reef keepers generally don't use power filters. Do you see any problem with this? <No> If not could you recommend a good power filter? <I like the Hagen and Whisper lines.> Also how much carbon would you recommend I use for a 46 gallon tank and how often should it be changed? <Begin experimentally with 1-2 oz. changed weekly.> Thanks, Angelo <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Filter setup? Thanks for the informative reply, it has helped clear a lot of my confusion, but raises a couple of more questions. <Let's have at them!> After reading the FAQ's, I have decided to go with the Bak-Pak 2 protein skimmer, add live rock, and remove the undergravel filter and replace the substrate. <Ok> The LFS said that this was a good setup in addition to the 2 Hydro Bravo 300 filters on the tank now. <I have no clue what these are, but ok.> My question is, with adding the protein skimmer and live rock, what other filtration is still required. <No additional filtration, per say, but additional circulation, usually in the form of powerheads.> Should I leave one or both of the Bravo's hanging on the tank. <Sure, for the transition and for the needed circulation.> BTW, the Bravo's are rated for 53 gallon tank @ 290 gph each. <That gives you just shy of 600 gph total in a 45 gallon tank. That should be just fine.> Thanks, Greg <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Necessity of a filter Good morning, I just read Steven Pro's response to Greg regarding the need for a filter in a 55 gallon tank. I followed your advise and installed an Aqua C HOT skimmer with which I am delighted. I have a "ton" of good live rock and a MDSB (medium deep sand bed) in my 29 gallon reef tank which has been up and running for two years. My nitrates are now at zero. Do I understand Steven in that I don't need a filter? <Your liverock and livesand, in combination with your skimmer, are acting as your filter.> (I currently don't have one.) Thanks a million, William Snyder of Stuart, FL <Have a nice day. -Steven Pro>

'Traditional' v. Berlin v. Ecosystem refugium (was Re: WetWebMedia...) A while ago I asked my LFS about starting a marine tank... the gist of the advice was that for a FO tank that traditional or Berlin filtration was better than using the Ecosystem (tm) (as compared to a reef or fish-and-invert tank). He liked the refugium method but in his own FO tank did add a protein skimmer to it. what do you think?  <I would have a protein skimmer, even with the use of a mud-sump system... and run it in at least a punctuated fashion (on a few hours a day)> does it matter if its FO v. FOWLR?  <Mmm, yes... more useful with LR> The refugium seems a neat way for filtration... BJ. Mora <It is... and much more interesting, flexible... Worth considering. Please read over the principal "arguments" (stances) on these filtration technologies, choices posted on WetWebMedia.com either through the indices or the Google Search tool there. Bob Fenner>

Re: 'traditional' v. Berlin v. Ecosystem refugium (was Re: WetWebMedia...) I will read through the material, I thought I had already (!), thank you for pointing that out. <Perhaps you can help us by consolidating the key points... a comparison of features, advantages of approaches would be useful for sure... even as a for-sale hobbyist article> To use a refugium as a QT, if it's full of algae, say, it would have to be a good sized one, no? for a 60-75 gal main tank, maybe a 15-20gal mud-sump? <Yes... as the saying so often goes, "the bigger the better". Bob Fenner>

Re: 'traditional' v. Berlin v. Ecosystem refugium (was Re: WetWebMedia...) >I will read through the material, I thought I had already (!), thank you for pointing that out. <Perhaps you can help us by consolidating the key points... a comparison of features, advantages of approaches would be useful for sure... even as a for-sale hobbyist article> Hm, I will see about that, funny, I don't even have a tank yet. If I can write, I will send you something and see... <Hold off till you have actually experienced (the past is the truth only) what is coming... reflect, contemplate, record your observations, sensations> >To use a refugium as a QT, if it's full of algae, say, it would have to be a good sized one, no? for a 60-75 gal main tank, maybe a 15-20gal mud-sump? ><Yes... as the saying so often goes, "the bigger the better". Bob Fenner> And we're really talking about a quarantine here - still need a plain tank (no bio media etc.) as a hospital tank right? I can't imagine using a sump as that... <Time to send you to what is known already: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm BJ. Mora  <Study my friend. Bob Fenner>

Filter setup? I have a 45 gallon saltwater fish/invert setup. Currently I am using 2 hang-on filters and an undergravel filter using 2 power heads. I am finding it increasingly difficult to find the filters for my older filter systems, so I am planning on buying a new filter system. After reading several FAQ's on your site, I am more confused about filter selection than I was before. <I am sorry to hear that.> I currently only have 2 small to med fish and a brittle star in the tank now, but plan to get more fish once my filtering needs are taken care of. What route should I go for filtration without spending a fortune? <I would get yourself a high quality protein skimmer. It is far better to buy a good one now versus buying a cheap one now and then buying the good one later when the cheap one does not work very well. I would then add cured liverock over time as your budget allowed until you had enough in the tank to take care of your biological filtration and could removed the crushed coral and undergravel filter and change to a sand bed of some sort.> I was planning to purchase a canister filter, but some of the FAQ's have steered me away from that. <They can be useful in certain situations.> What would you recommend for my situation? <See notes above and continue to read.> Thanks, Greg <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Is a Wet/Dry Needed? I am about to buy a wet/dry filter with a protein skimmer included. My question is: are these types of filters worth it or should I just buy a lot of live rock instead? <that depends on your bio-load/application my friend. If you are going to have a lot of fishes, messy fishes or some other heavy bio-load then a W/D may be a necessary evil. If you are going to have small to medium sized community fishes and will be good about water quality (buy a good skimmer like an Aqua C, do regular water changes, change carbon frequently, etc) then the W/D filter will be a disadvantage by generating excess nitrates. Use live rock instead at almost 2 lbs per gallon > Thanks again  <best regards, Anthony>

Quick question (marine filtration) Hi again, <cheers> Do I have enough filtration for my 55 gal FO tank? I'm running a CPR Bak-pak skimmer with bio bale in it and a powerhead has a quick filter attached (I know, not much).  <I'm happy with the skimmer...Ok with the quick filter if you stay on top of it... but the bio-bale: sheesh. My advice is to take it back to the machine shop floor that they swept it off of. In other words... I feel that there are other sources of biological filtration that will serve you better> I have 30 lbs of dead live rock.  <Hmm.... good live rock is one of the best investments in a tank that you could make... buy live rock rather than another manmade filter> My nitrates are high.  <do research a deep sand bed refugium (fishless please)> I presently have only 2 fish but will have 4-5 at some point. So I'm guessing I need more filtration.  <yep> If so, what type/kind can you recommend? I'm also thinking of buying some live rock (10 lbs maybe). <much more my friend (1-2 lbs per gallon)... replace the dead rock if you must> thanks once again, I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to ask you these questions.. <our pleasure... kindly, Anthony Calfo>

Filtration of Saltwater, Tang question Mr. Fenner, <<Actually, JasonC today... how are you?>> I have a 55 gal tank about 3 months old. I have two new Whisper 20 filters hanging off the back. A LFS told me they are useless for a saltwater tank. <<That's not true... perhaps undersized, but certainly not true.>> I have 100lbs of fine marine sand (not live) on the bottom along with a couple of pieces of live rock. I have a false perc, yellow Tang, Huma trigger, a small Angel, and a golden spotted snake eel. I'm probably guilty of overfeeding, I use Mysis and some flakes and a chunk of frozen shrimp for the eel once a day, only enough food that it's gone in two minutes (at least that's what I think). The ammonia level is slightly above 0 but the Nitrite level is above .8 getting close to 1.6. <<Oh my goodness... your ammonia and nitrite should be zero. Your tank is clearly still cycling and should not have any of these fish or the eel in there at this point.>> I just did a water change (10%) a few days ago using RO water. <<And you shouldn't be changing the water until the cycle is complete.>> Tank was originally set up using well water. The Whisper filters I have come with a foam section as well as the bio bag (old Whispers didn't have the foam block). I change the bio bag but leave the foam filter alone. Not sure how often I'm supposed to change the bio bag. <<I'm not sure what a bio-bag is... perhaps you should do this the other way around? Leave the BioBags in and swap in a cleaned foam block.>> I assume the foam block is what retains the bacteria. <<What do the Whisper filter instructions say?>> I've read your setup sections as well as many others. I searched on Whisper and it looks like most of the people talking about Whisper filters are FW users. There are many filtration products out there, I could use some help on picking the right one. The LFS was pushing the bio wheel or a more expensive tank that sits out of site with two lines for circulation. <<I would also suggest a protein skimmer, these are pretty much a 'must' for successful marine aquaria.>> If the Whispers are ok, do they provide enough oxygen? <<Hmmm... I'm not sure. One doesn't necessarily rely on a filter to insure the water is aerated. Many filters can add air to the water passing though them, but depending on the overall system setup you may or may not need to turn them on.>> If not do I need to add an air stone? <<Or a protein skimmer - it would accomplish the same thing.>> If Whisper filters are useless as the LFS says, what is your recommendation? <<I would recommend one, larger Whisper filter and a protein skimmer.>> In the last week, I've learned a tremendous amount reading through your site. I also have a blue tang that was in the main tank and was fine for a couple of weeks and is now showing signs of Ich or velvet. <<Your water quality is less than optimal... the tank is still in the middle of cycling and not well suited to this type of fish quite yet.>> I should have researched being an Aquarist first, then proceeded, but like so many others, I jumped in with both feet. <<Well... your haste may still reach out and bite you -the battle isn't over yet.>> I now know about QT which is where the Tang is now with Formalin. It is rapid gilling, laying on it's side most of the time, but does get up to swim around once in a while. I just started the Formalin based on what I've read on your site. The QT was set up with 5 gal main tank water and 5 gal RO water 2 days ago. I took an old Whisper from main tank (no foam block, removed the charcoal), added a heater and air stone and just started the formalin last night. Anything else I can do for it at this point? <<Change 35-50% of the water with aged, fresh saltwater every other day.>> All water levels are OK except for the nitrite at .8. <<That means your water levels are not OK.>> The QT is bare, no live rock, sand, etc. so not sure why nitrite level is above 0. <<Tank is still cycling, and the water you added to the quarantine tank is in a similar state.>> Plan on doing a water change again, looks like I should do this daily or every other day. <<Yes.>> I tried a FW dip (2 minutes) but that seemed to do more harm than good. <<Well it will stress the fish, but dips less than five minutes aren't going to help really at all.>> Prior to dip, the fish was at least staying upright, since dip it lays on it side. <<You keep putting it back into a tank with poor water quality.>> Temp and PH were same as tank. Fish has lost most of it's color since being removed from main tank three days ago. Your assistance and web site are much appreciated. Thank You. Steve Barker <<Your journey has only just started. Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Filtration of Saltwater, Tang question JasonC, <<Hello again.>> Thanks for responding. When I put the tank together, I started out with four Damsels and a live rock 3 months ago. No discouragement from the LFS in doing so. <<Not really a surprise... some stores are only in it for the money, not realizing that by insuring your success, they will gain a lifelong customer. A store in my area recently sent a person home with one damsel per gallon. Not exactly smart but good for the cash register on that one day.>> Needless to say, the live rock started the cycling faster than normal so the Damsels didn't have time to adjust and died within 2 days. The tank sat empty for almost a month until the ammonia and nitrite levels were 0 so I assumed the tank had completed cycling. At that point I added the false perc and the yellow Tang, they've been fine for six weeks now. Is it possible that the water change I did has caused the tank to start cycling again? <<Or the swapping out of the bio-bag, which I am thinking houses part of your biological filter. By doing so, you force the bacteria colonies to re-establish. As for your live rock... I don't recall you mentioned this before - how much do you have?>> I only changed about 5 gallons. Is there anything I can do with the main tank to save the fish and eel? <<You can wait it out, and if you are lucky the fish will be fine. You could also ask the store where you bought them to hold them for you while you get things back on an even keel.>> Would a large water change (20 gallons of RO) help or hurt? <<I wouldn't recommend this - a water change in the main tank will stall the re-establishment of the biological filter and thus extending the stress on your fish.>> I don't have another tank to move them to other than bagging them and taking them back to the LFS for safe keeping till the water levels get back to normal. <<Perhaps the best option at this juncture.>> Steve Barker <<Cheers, J -- >>

Bio-wheel Kind Sirs, Thanks so much with all prior help. I have a 30 gallon tank, undergravel filter, about 15 to 20 lbs live rock (I still plan on adding more) and a skimmer (it's the Visi-jet, finally did get it skimming, not as much liquid but it's darker). <Dark is good, now aim to extract daily.> I have 4 fish, two clowns, a yellow damsel, and a Hawkfish. My question concerns adding a bio-wheel to the tank. I read in Bob's book, that he recommends the use of a mechanical filter, <As do I if cleaned daily, at the very least 3-4 times weekly, else it becomes biological.> and by adding activated carbon you can reduce yellowing. <Yes, I like to use activated carbon, too.> I noticed my water has always been slightly yellow during water changes, but never thought much of it. For the past 3 years I have only used biological filtration (prior to the skimmer I had a sand filter along with the under gravel). On the shelf, I have a penguin 160 bio-wheel filter, from when I first started the tank 3 years ago (only used it about 3 month's). After reading the section on mechanical filters, I was on wondering if it would be a good idea to add the bio-wheel to the tank? <The BioWheel is biological filtration. The blue pads that Marineland sells for these units is mechanical and also chemical filtration.> It would be a temporary solution (I plan on purchasing a canister when I upgrade my tank to a 55). I read in some FAQ's the concern for nitrate's with the BioWheel. Is that with the bio-wheel itself? <Yes> or lack of maintenance and cleaning with the hang on filter? As for the activated carbon, I believe since carbon has not been used with the system it should added in small portions (4 to 6 tablespoons per 10 gallons) to acclimate the rock and fish. Any particular type of carbon to look for? <The filter pads for the Penguin already have small amounts of carbon in them.> Manufacturer? or just Nitrate and phosphate free? Thank you very much! Dave <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

New FOWLR 80g hex <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> I want to have at least a couple of triggers and planned to put I about 100lb live rock. <<No mention of tank size?>> I am so confused on whether to go with a true wet/dry with Bio-balls or an Eheim pro or even a refugium with plants... what do you think I really need. <<I think you need to research some more. A wet/dry would suit a system like this pretty well, but you would be challenged to keep the nitrates lower than extreme. Personally, I'd run a big protein skimmer and perhaps a refugium. Start your research here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm >> Also, what UV would you recommend ? <<None - much better to invest that money into additional tanks, etc for a quarantine system. Can avoid many of the problems that a UV would only scratch the surface of with good quarantine practices. Here's a link you might find helpful: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm >> Thanks <<Cheers, J -- >>

Re: New FOWLR 80g hex Greetings, JasonC here... I just wanted to let you know that I completely missed the subject of your email when I asked about tank size. I was reviewing my answers/making sure I didn't misspell too many things and I noticed my bone-head maneuver. My apologies... 100# of live rock would be just fine for this system. Cheers, J -- 

Re: A note of thanks, and a question Hi Steven- Thanks again for the reply. I did not change the filter media when I changed everything else, for the reasons we spoke of previously. <Thank you for clarifying. I was just unsure.> I will be due for a change before too long, but will likely wait 3-4 weeks to make sure everything is established (it's an Eheim filter, so I'm more comfortable waiting a bit before changing media). <Agreed on both counts.> So far, the fish are behaving normally, and hopefully this problem is more of a transient than a serious one. <I agree.> I'll keep an eye on things, and do a regular water change in a week or so if all proceeds well. <Good> Take care, Daryl Klopp <And you too! -Steven Pro>

Eco wheel aquarium system Bob, have you had any experience or knowledge of the effectiveness of the Eco Wheel filtration system? <I have had many customers and friends use this system and speak very favorably. No personal experience with the product. Anthony Calfo in Bob's stead>

Tidepool (filtration) Hi Bob, <Steven Pro, part of the WWM crew, up tonight.> I'm setting up a new 125 gallon reef aquarium, the tank is a Perfecto JetStream, drilled with four holes, two intakes and two returns to the sump. The sump is a Tidepool 2 and the return pump is a Mag-Drive 950 gph, 130 lbs liverock, plenum grid. My questions are this, should I use the BioWheel that came with the tidepool, or remove it, <If you want a reef tank, I would remove.> also should the intakes and the returns be staggered one on each side or should I put both intakes on one side and the returns on the other? <Either or> Do I need any powerheads in the tank to supplement the JetStreams? <That or a bigger return pump if this overflow system can handle it.> Any light you could shed on this tank setup would be appreciated. <There is much more written on these issues on our website www.WetWebMedia.com> Thanks, James Keenan <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: New Tank The CPR CY194 is a combo venturi skimmer/wet dry with bio-bale media in a 12 gallon sump. It looks as though you can connect it to another sump. It is good for 800 gph. Does this seem ok? <I still have no first hand knowledge of the product. I have never used it or even seen it in action, so I am reluctant to give you an opinion. I would still search through the FAQ files for others opinions or questions on this piece of equipment.> Would this provide too much biological filtration with the 100 lbs of live rock? <It would seem like it will not be needed. You might as well not pay for something you do not need.> It also looks like there is a sponge pad to provide mechanical filtration. Would this be enough? <From the picture on their webpage, it seems adequate.> If I connect it to a bigger sump would this be better? <More water is always better, but I do not know how this would work.> If so what should I have in the sump? <A refugium would be nice> Thanks again, Mike <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Filtration I want to ask some advice on filtration for my tank I am setting up. It is a 75 gal and going to be a reef tank (was fish only w/ wet/dry and bio-bale, yikes!) This is what I am thinking. DSB of 5" for denitrification, about 140lbs of LR. Tank is drilled with 2 1.5" bulkheads. Making my own Rubbermaid sump. Water from tank to left side of sump. In the sump will put skimmer (Aqua C or Euro reef) (Is it ok to put a filter bag to catch detritus b/f skimmer?) <If cleaned religiously three times weekly. Else, leave it out.> Add another container (smaller) to sump to use as a baffle where I will put poly filter or some type of mechanical filter and an area for chemical (Chemipure or carbon). Water back up to the tank w/ Mag 9 pump. Also have heaters in sump. Have 4 MaxiJet 1200 PH to hook up to wave maker for circulation. <Instead of the powerheads, perhaps use two Mag-Drive 7's and multiple outlet returns. Less stuff to hide in the tank and less heat imparted. The two 1.5" bulkheads are capable of drawing a good bit of water.> From what I have described, due you see any problems w/ filtration for reef tank, or foresee any future problems with my setup. <Nothing major> Any suggestions would be helpful. Not looking at calcium reactor, ozone or UV, is this a problem? <The calcium reactor would be a nice addition.> Thanks Bryan. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Filtration and Stocking Questions Greetings and thank you for up keeping such a helpful website! <<And greetings to you.>> I currently own a 55 gallon and am working on setting up a new 125 gallon saltwater tank. In the new tank, I have 40 pounds of live sand, 20 pounds of aragonite sand and 45 pounds of live rock. My substrate is about 1-1 1/2 inch deep. I intend to add more live rock as $$ permits. This tank will be fish only with critters and a few inverts (starfish, snails, etc.), same basic set-up as my 55 gallon. My new tank has cycled for almost 2 months now and all readings are good. The only current inhabitants are turbo and Astrea snails. For mechanical/chemical filtration, I have a Magnum 350 with activated carbon. I am planning to add a protein skimmer and additional biological filtration (aside from the live rock and sand). My question is, where do I go from here with my filtration? <<Hmm... I would explore some under-tank, sump-type possibilities - can the magnum. Not that these don't work but really aren't well suited to large marine tanks.>> I am considering an Emperor 400, an Aquaclear 500 or a Penguin Bio-Wheel 330 for additional bio-filtration. <<I would consider more live rock.>> Do you recommend any over the others? I would also like advice on the appropriate Protein Skimmer for my set-up. My LFS guru suggested that a Sea-Clone 200 would serve my skimming needs. Do you agree? <<No.>> Might a Skilter 400 serve my purposes for both supplemental bio-filtration and protein skimming? <<No, I would consider an AquaC Remora Pro... a very fine, efficient skimmer. The others you mention are not worth the money.>> My next question is in my stocking plan. Like I stated before, I currently have a 55 gallon that houses these inhabitants: 1 Orbic bat, 1 purple pseudo, 1 white-tail damsel, 1 x-mas wrasse. 1 maroon clown, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 chocolate chip star, 1 green brittle star, 1 cucumber, 1 pincushion urchin and several bumble bee, turbo and Astrea snails. The fish that I intend to acquire over the next few months are: 1 porcupine puffer, 1 long-horn cow fish, 1 red scooter blenny, 1 purple Linckia star, possibly a tang and I really want an eel, but haven't decided which one is suitable for either of my set-ups (suggestions?). <<Well, the porcupine puffer will likely nip the Linckia into oblivion. Likewise, the cowfish is a dodgy choice due to their proclivity for releasing toxic slime and killing everyone in the tank including themselves. As for an eel, perhaps a Snowflake Eel as these stay the smallest, but... you will need to put a lock-tight top on the tank to prevent the escape of the eel.>> I also realize that an eel will probably need a deeper substrate than what I currently have. <<That as well, although more rock will also help.>> Ok, so my stocking question is...between the two tanks, how would you propose I divide the inhabitants that I've listed, old and new and in what order do you suggest that I introduce them? <<Oh... that is a loaded question, and really more than I can answer in a morning's worth of typing. These are your tanks... what do you want to see in them?>> Bear in mind that the whole purpose of the new tank is to, as quickly as possible, house my over-grown Orbic bat, who is quite possibly the most personable fish ever! <<Hmm... your new tank is likewise too small for the bat fish. These just grow and grow and grow... honestly, they get huge.>> Thanks in advance for any guidance and advice you can give. I visit your website almost every day and want to thank you for sharing all of the wonderful information! Heather Barkley <<Cheers, J -- >>

Disease control, role of environment, danger of generalizations and "what's a refugium"? Bob: Am being told:" Disease in a natural environment is rare, especially when an algae/refugium is used as algae produce a ton of elements that aid in fish disease immunity." <Mmm, not to be too much of a stickler... but diseases occur less frequently and are more mild with such systems employed... but I wouldn't use the term "rare"... in point of fact, many algal scrubbing systems are quite prone to water quality problems...> What is such a refugium and how do you build or acquire if you agree with this opinion as expressed by Euro-Reef Customer support when inquiring about Ich control with one of their skimmers and live rock or sand?  <Mmm, please take the long read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the linked FAQs (blue files above)> Thanks Again for your considered and knowledgeable advice. Sincerely, Stephen Pace <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Filtration Hello there, how's everyone going? <Very well, thank you!> I've been doing a lot of research on protein skimming and have also been looking at your FAQ's section on the Turboflotor 1000 Skimmer. I think I'm going to go with this model. But before I do go out and buy it, I wanted to get a final approval or any suggestions about whether or not to go for it. So here is the run down on what I have set up: A 125 Fish-Only tank 1 Stingray-about 6", (not including tail) 1 Dog-face puffer-about 3-4", (including tail) 1 Orbicularis Batfish-about 2" long and 5" tall, (including top & bottom fins) 1 Volitans Lionfish-about 4" long, (including tail) 1 Red Saddleback Clownfish-about 2" <Eventual food for someone> 1 Bicolor Angel-about 2" <A challenging angelfish, there are better choices.> 1 Engineer Goby-about 5" <Another potential food item.> Crushed coral for substrate DIY wet/dry filtration system Fluval 403 Emperor hang-over filter Should I even have the Emperor and the Fluval working in the system, or is my wet/dry good enough without them. <I have no idea. A W/D could be constructed to handle this load, but this is a DIY. You will have to be the judge.> So all of this in a 125 tank, yeah I know, it's a little too much but I plan on taking out the Clown, Angel, and Goby, and changing them for a Trigger of some kind. <Not really a reduction at all. I would remove those and add nothing.> And this is why I'm also deciding to add a bigger wet/dry filtration system. So any type of suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your extreme help. Riverside, CA <Keep reading/learning. -Steven Pro>

Filtration part 2 Hello there. I had a couple of questions regarding my sump size and return pump size. I have a 125 gallon fish-only tank with a 35 gallon sump (using only about 16 gallons), and a RIO 3100 with about 6 feet of return. The system is currently running fine and I kept it running for about 8 months now. However, I've been reading your FAQ's and I'm thinking about going bigger on my sump and on my return pump. So the following is what I have in mind: Changing the sump to a 55 gallon (using about 30 gallons). Also, getting two Amiracle overflow box models that feature the "U" tube. And having two Rio 3100's as return pumps. My questions are as follows; 1. Will this much overflowing be too much? <I do not know what an Amiracle overflow is capable of handling. I always use drilled tanks and bulkhead fittings.> Should I stick with only one overflow? <You will have to check the ratings to determine.> 2. Will this much return pump be too little/or too much? <Sounds about right, 1800 gph at 0 feet, ~1200 gph at 5 feet.> 3. And would you recommend getting a single pump, but bigger, like a Little Giant or something that can produce over 1000 GPH? <I prefer to use two pumps, in case one ever breaks.> Keep in mind that its only a fish tank, but in a couple of years I am thinking of going to a full reef system, (if this makes a difference). Your help would be greatly appreciated, thanks. Riverside, California P.S. I also have a Emperor and a Fluval 403 working with the system, should I even have those working or is my wet/dry better off without them? <Please see previous email. -Steven Pro> 

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