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FAQs on Marine Filtration 8

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 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 ExportChemical Filtrants (e.g. Polyfilter, Chemipure, Purigen), Carbon, Mud/Algal Filtration Phony: Magnetic Field Filtration, & Troubles: Bubbles, Noise,

Nemateleotris magnifica Fowler 1938, the Fire Goby. Some spiel here... Umm, some fish/groups require "higher" water quality than others.

Random questions Hey guys,     You have been a great help to a beginner like me.  Thanks a bunch.  However, I do have a few questions that I hope you could answer for me.     I have a 55 gallon corner tank (FOWLR) containing a blue damsel, percula clown, and a yellow tang.  For filtration I am using a Wet/Dry Pro 75.         My first question concerns the built in protein skimmer.  It does have a drain hose connection were the waste is drawn off into a collection bottle.  I was wondering however, if I need to clean the upper chamber were the bubbles and "gunk" collect prior to drainage into the collection bottle? <Cleaning out the protein skimmer would be a good idea. This would help the overall performance of the skimmer and ensure that nothing is clogged or blocked.> My next question is in regards to my nitrate level.  My tank has been running now for about six months with no major problems.  Unfortunately, it seems that my nitrates remain at about 20ppm no matter if I do my 20% water change weekly, biweekly, or monthly.  Is there something I could do to bring this level down?  Would you recommend removing some bio-balls.  If so how many?   <There are both pros and cons of using bio balls. On the good side, they help with the breakdown of ammonia and nitrite and help with oxygen exchange. Unfortunately, they will in return produce excess amounts of nitrate. Your wet/dry may be the cause for the elevated nitrate, as well as possibly a few other factors in your aquarium. If you were to remove bio balls, do it slowly. I would recommend taking out a handful of these balls on a weekly basis. Another method which would help with nitrate reduction would be to add a refugium to your aquarium. This is a separate aquarium attached to your main tank which houses algae for nutrient export. Finally, adding a deep sand bed consisting of over 4" of livesand would also reduce nitrate. Overall, I would recommend adding on a refugium. There are plenty of articles online which show you step by step how to build a refugium. I recommend you do as much research as possible before coming to a conclusion on what you're going to do (as far as nitrate reduction comes). Finally, I have recently noticed the formation of white fuzzy spore-like deposits attached to various things in my aquarium (ex. rocks, heater).  At the very top of these formations is a very small black dot.  If I had to guess, I would think it is some kind of mold growth.  Any ideas?  If it is mold, what can I do to get rid of it?  Is it harmful? <It sounds like you're observing a species of encrusting sponge. These are harmless filter feeders are nothing to be worried about.>     Thank you so much for your help! <No problem. Take Care, Graham Stephan.>                                         Sincerely,                                                 Dan Kotecki        

New salt tank filtration - 2/11/04 You have a great site! <Thanks. Made great by our many visitors> I recently set up a 75g salt-water fish only tank.  I have a Red Sea Prizm Hang-on Protein Skimmer with 2 power heads and an Eheim 2227 filter. <Might need to upgrade that skimmer.> The tank has cycled well and has almost zero readings for nitrates and ammonia <Almost zero is not zero and prolonged exposure can result in reduced health of your inhabitants> with a PH of 8.2 however, brown algae is developing fairly quickly. <What about nitrite values? A much deadlier presence>  I have been conducting 15% water changes on a weekly basis and vacuuming the sand as well. <Excellent habit to be in although I don't condone putting fish in too early in the cycling process no matter what a fish store employee states. A poor and cruel excuse for lack of patience and dollar>  Currently I have 2 damsels, 2 clown fish and a Sailfin tang alone with approximately 20 lbs of live rock. <I would add more live rock. Maybe 50-60 lbs more for excellent filtration value. Be sure to cure it separately since you now have fish in the tank>  Is this tank under filtered? <Not really, but doesn't hurt to have more> If so, given that I would like to keep the existing Eheim 2227 filter, what do you recommend? <More live rock never hurts. Looks natural and is natural marine filtration. Good luck. ~Paul> Thank you, Paul

- Filtration Question - I have a 72-gallon reef aquarium that has just been set up for about 2 months.  The local LFS recommended that I get a Pro 75 wet/dry filter with built in skimmer. Now that I've had the tank up and running I am wondering if this was my best option. <Probably not.> I spent too much on it to just discard it and start over. Is the built-in skimmer efficient enough for a reef system? <Probably not.> Is the Rio 600 powerhead strong enough to run the skimmer? <I doubt it.> I see so many fancy skimmers and I wonder how much simple built-in skimmer compares. <Usually, not very well.> I've also read that the bubbles should be very fine (almost dry) but I can't seem to adjust the pump enough to get fine bubbles. If the bubbles are very fine they don't carry up into the cup. <They would in time.> Maybe they don't always need to be carrying up into the cup???? <They do, but I think that if you could make this adjustment, you'd see in time some good foam collecting in the cup.> I'm not sure but I really want to do this right since the skimmer is very important in a reef system. <It is, but more importantly, a wet/dry filter is in a way the antithesis of a reef system. Wet/dry filters can produce nitrates in abundance, and these nitrates will make trouble for reef invertebrates. If reef is the way you want to go (as opposed to a fish-only tank) you'll need to consider getting rid of or modifying your sump to get rid of the wet/dry portion. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm > Schreena <Cheers, J -- >

Tru Vu Aqua System Bob, I have a TruVu Aquasystem and am need of parts to replace the filter media. Any idea where I can get the correct stuff?  Is TruVu still in business? <Haven't heard back from Todd Gabriel of Custom Aquatic re... he distributed their line. Will cc here re whether he knows, has the media for sale. Bob Fenner>

- Filter Before Skimmer? - I've read that the water going into the sump needs to be raw, is it bad to have a micron filter over the plumbing going into the sump before the water hits the protein skimmer? <Uhh... I say it depends on the nature of your system - 'raw' water may have bulk particulates in it which could clog your skimmer and skimmer pump which means you'd need to clean them both about once a month. Full blown reef systems may benefit from letting this raw material settle out in the sump - in fish only system, this same raw material may simply overwhelm the skimmer. Somewhere in between is balance. There is no real 'right way' - only what works for you and your system. Cheers, J -- >

Misinformation and reactionary tendencies... more beer needed 2/6/04 Hello Bob, or ANYONE willing to help me, <ready willing and able. Anthony Calfo in your service> Your site is such a valuable resource for everyone---THANKS for your time & help. <very welcome my friend> I have a 92 bowfront corner FO (for right now, near future a few hardy corals/invert.s) tank w/a wet/dry (soon to be replaced with Eheim 2628) & built in overflow. <neither the w/d or the biological Eheim are necessary for success with corals... arguably they will be a burden as aerobic filters that generate nitrate. Let me strongly suggest a natural filtration strategy here to avoid this with live rock and/or live sand only plus a protein skimmer (else larger weekly water changes) for your best chance at long term success> Lighting is a 36" JBJ power compact w/96 watt daylight & 96 watt actinic. I HAD...a 55 gal. FO salt tank for 17 or so-odd years with only a Fluval 302 & an UG filter with (2)  402 pwr. heads  & never used a skimmer with little/no problems. Last year I wanted to upgrade to the 92 corner (NEVER again, live & learn, can't light it, can't work on it) <hmmm... someone should have simply showed you a tidy little double ended MH unit. Small, energy efficient, intense light of high quality, long lasting (years) etc. Outstanding fixtures overall but especially for narrow tall tanks> & got the "recommended" wet/dry filter w/Mag drive 9.5B(?) pump & couldn't stand it from set up. Between the constant gurgle/toilet noise despite tweaking to the standpipe & having to add 1-2 gallons of NON-RO water (no where to store it & have to have someone transport it for me-too heavy)  every other day due to evaporation, I want my old set-up again! <the gurgling noise was because you were sold a tank with inadequate drains (likely) or an oversized pump (not in this case). Drilled overflows and sumps however are one of the very best ways to run a tank when designed and drilled/plumbed properly> I've spent every day/evening for the last WEEK reading as many articles on your site as my vision will allow each day. Unfortunately (for me...) every person working the LFS's w/in a 20 mile radius of me is the average 16 yr. old (or older), but not knowing much more than myself, (which is NOT that much..)  & they have all given me TOTALLY different recommendations on my filtration dilemma. <its hard to take advice on your multi-thousand dollar investment from clerks that do not own them in kind. Unrealistic of the shop owner to push inexperienced staff to do so> I couldn't bear to read anymore at least until my vision starts clearing up again & decided to try ask directly in hope of getting some of you-guy-ziz well sought after advice. <OK> AFTER,... & only after I bought the Eheim 2628 (& can't return..) based on reading literally 100's of reviews from ecstatic owners all over the web, who hasn't said something bad yet about them, I was informed by "some" that despite Eheim's reputation, the flow rate would NEVER be enough for salt/reef success & the canister-style itself wasn't right either. <I agree with all of the above. Excellent company and filters... and yet wholly inadequate flow (not to mention nitrate generation)> All everyone is saying now is to use a sump, LR & skimmer. <absolutely correct! Truly the best way to go. And this advice is coming from someone that has owned and operated a greenhouse for farming reef invertebrates. The sand alone for my facility weighed in at 48,000 lbs. You could say I have some experience handling marine livestock <G>> I just don't want to set something up (again) only to have to completely re-do it in the near future & especially don't want to invest $100's more on equipment I never needed before but everyone seems to believe you do now. The other big issue seems to be live sand. It seems to be "the only way to go" now too ...? Is my 2 decade-old Florida crushed coral no good? <hasn't been good for years, frankly. If your LFS is recommending this... its archaic info. No joke... are you living in one of the Carolinas or perhaps Arkansas or Louisiana? I'm just thinking of the few sates I recall with very weak pet fish stores/markets. > At this point I'm applesauce from the neck up. I'd LIKE to keep & use the Eheim & replace the "dead" coral pieces in the tank with live rock, (but after so many years haven't they become "live")? <no./.. the dead coral has not even become remotely "live" other than having some biological microorganisms> Would I encounter THAT much trouble, or was I just "lucky" for the last 17-odd years with the less is more approach? <extremely lucky my friend. But I'm glad to hear it. If you don't go reef/coral... you can continue as you were. I'm assuming that you rarely had or used a nitrate test kit. If so, it reveals the first glaring flaw in the "old ways" and prevents keeping much LR and nearly all coral that way> Once the 55 was cycled I threw away the test kits & everything balanced out (can't give you exact readings since I haven't tested in sooooo long I don't remember, but what ever was recommended as "normal-range" by Sea Test) despite going sometime 2-3 months or more w/out so much as a water change. I had regularly spawning Percula's, Blue Tangs, Wrasses, Gobies, lots of things over the years. <even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes ;) > Last comment, I promise, ... I honestly don't know where everyone finds the time for the amount of fussing they do over their fish tank(s). <Hmmm?> From what I've been reading in the FAQ's, they must spend an hour or more a DAY on tinkering with some part of their system or another. If I had an extra hour each day you can be darn sure it wouldn't be spent on my fish tank! ha....I don't mean to step on anyone's toes here, no disrespect to ANYONE & I'm sure their systems are spectacular for the effort but I'd rather spend a few $'s on any item now that will save me valuable hours/maintenance time if I can, & when able. <I'm not sure if I even spend one hour per week on my displays. It really is a low maintenance hobby when you go natural with LR, LS and skimmers> You're my last hope for aquatic sanity, (no pressure..). If ANYONE could just respond here, I'd welcome any/all advice & ideas. THANK-YOU!!!  (Just a lady lost in the current~)  D.L F. Warren, MI <Michigan?!?!? Holy cow... you are in one of the finest states for the aquarium market! You also have some excellent aquarium clubs at your disposal to get free and accurate information from. Do yourself a favor and look up MASM.org and get yourself to a meeting my friend. They are an excellent club. Also, get yourself a copy of Mike Paletta's "New Marine Aquarium" and read it. It is short and sweet and affordable. Very concise summary of modern marine keeping. Then, if you are willing to drive to Lansing, there is an outstanding aquarium shop called Preuss Pets. There is hope for you my friend... much good knowledge around you with the right direction. Best of luck. Anthony> Yet another saltwater question for you Hello Bob,<IanB here today> Your site is such a valuable resource for everyone---THANKS for your time & help. I have a 92 bowfront corner FO (for right now, near future a few hardy corals/invert.s) tank w/a wet/dry (soon to be replaced with Eheim 2628) & built in overflow. Lighting is a 36" JBJ power compact w/96 watt daylight & 96 watt actinic. I HAD...a 55 gal. FO salt tank for over 15 years with only a Fluval 302 & an UG filter with (2)  402 pwr. heads with little/no problems. Last year I wanted to upgrade to the 92 corner (NEVER again, live & learn, can't light it, can't work on it) & got the "recommended" wet/dry filter w/Mag drive 9.5B(?) pump & couldn't stand it from set up. Between the constant gurgle/toilet noise despite tweaking to the standpipe & having to add 1-2 gallons of NON-RO water (no where to store it & have to have someone transport it for me-too heavy)  every other day due to evaporation, I want my old set-up again!<yea, those corner aquariums are something else lol> I've spent every day/evening for the last WEEK reading as many articles on your site as my vision will allow each day. Unfortunately (for me...) every person working the LFS's w/in a 20 mile radius of me is the average 16 yr. old (or older), but not knowing much more than myself, (which is NOT that much..)  & they have all given me TOTALLY different recommendations on my filtration dilemma.<huh> I couldn't bear to read anymore at least until my vision starts clearing up again & decided to try contacting you directly for some of your well sought after advice. AFTER,... & only after I bought the Eheim 2628 (& can't return..) I was informed by some that despite Eheim's reputation, the flow rate would NEVER be enough for salt/reef success & the canister-style itself wasn't right either.<I do not like using canister filtration systems simply because they never seem to work as well as wet/dry filters (maybe that is just my experience)> But they DID recommend the modular-style systems of Rainbow Lifeguard &/or Ocean Clear.  ....which are still canisters?? Just separate. right? I understand the flow rate is higher & you can use larger media though.<yes you can...I have never used this product but have some friends that swear by these and actually have quite a bit of success with them. I prefer to use the wet/dry setup or a refugium type set-up....your best bet for filtration might be a refugium.. (which will be very beneficial to your coral/inverts> At this point I'm applesauce from the neck up. I'd LIKE to keep & use the Eheim along with getting a high-end skimmer & replace the "dead" coral pieces in the tank with live rock. Would I be ok with that thought, or was I just "lucky" for the last 17-odd years with the less is more approach? Once the 55 was cycled I threw away the test kits & everything balanced out despite going sometime 2-3 months or more w/out so much as a water change. I had regularly spawning Percula's, a Blue Tang, Wrasses, Gobies, lots of things thru the years.<wow sounds like you had a lot of success with the older aquarium (why fix it if its not broken?) lol> Also, since I have your ear.... I THOUGHT of getting a fluidized bed filter to help on the bio-end but after reading & reading on your wonderful site decided against it. Pretty much with a sterilizer too. I've never set up a quarantine tank, (no extra space, extra time..) I honestly don't think I ever will, <truly a mistake on your part if you intend on adding fish/inverts> I also don't know where everyone finds the time for all this fuss over a fish tank. From what I've been reading in the FAQ's, they must spend an hour or more a DAY on tinkering with some part of their system or another.<yup that is what we do lol> If I had an extra hour each day you can be darn sure it wouldn't be spent on my fish tank! ha....Have these people actually ever been outside??<lol> I like Ron Popele's (Ronco) mantra: "set it & forget it!" I'd rather spend a few $ on an item that will save me valuable maintenance time if I can/when able.  I know a quarantine tank your typical response to the sterilizers. In most sites I've read (other than yours) the majority of the people say they wouldn't run a tank w/out one. Some of the things I've been told: go w/a wattage for TWICE your tank volume.... half if you have invert.s.....run 24/7.... run only when adding fish for a week or 2..... & this brand is better than that one... and once again----applesauce. You're my last hope for aquatic sanity, (no pressure..). If you could possibly help I could really use it at this point. By the way, where can I find your book(s)?<BobF's books can be purchased at Amazon.com (and many other places...but Amazon is really easy to deal with...good prices/etc), good luck, IanB> Thanks sooooOOOOOO much! Dina Fontana Warren, MI New tank syndrome - 2/3/04 Hi guys, this is my second questions I've written to you guys. <Allrighty then>  You helped me get set up with a new reef tank, and now I'm having some trouble and would like your opinion. <Let's see what is going on> My setup is as follows. 55gal 4 x 65W (10000K & Blue actinic) PC lite aquarium systems VisiJet H.O.T protein skimmer 2 Hagen 301 powerheads with carbon intake filters 300 W submersible heater Eheim 2213 canister filter 45 lbs. premium Fiji live rock. Specific gravity - 1.021~1.022 <Shoot for 1.024-1.025> 100lbs "sanitized" play sand.  Sugar sized grains creating about a 3.5" DSB? <Sure. Good enough> Sounds pretty standard to me. <To me as well.> I had my system setup for about 3 weeks before I introduced the live rock. <Why is that?>  It has now been another week with the live rock and I have been testing every day. <OK. Good habit to be in> I am attaching my water quality test log in excel format for you to look at the levels. <Not necessary here> If you cant open the attachment, then the jest of it is that I have been off the charts basically (as far as my test strips go) for nitrate and nitrite. <Firstly, the test strips (dip and test) are completely unreliable. I have had little luck in gathering real data from these. I would try another form of test kit and in the meantime, please take your water to a reputable fish store to be tested until you can get a proper test kit.> I just introduced the Eheim canister filter yesterday hopefully this will help lower the nitrates/nitrates. <Well, depends on how you use it. Use it for carbon only, with little or no biological or mechanical means of filtration. Usually just gets too dirty for reef type tanks. The live rock is your biological filter. If you are going to use the Eheim as a source for mechanical, chemical, and biological, you need to be up on your maintenance. Like weekly internal cleanings.> But are these numbers normal for this period in a tank or am I doing something wrong. <Sure. You have a new tank and you only added the "chemical" filter a week ago. You need to let this sit for up to three weeks or so. Read the area on cycling and biological filtration: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/biological/biofiltr.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm and http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-01/eb/index.htm (especially Myth 15)> Also, before I had the Eheim, I was using a hang on power filter the penguin 330 w/ bio wheels. <No need for the Bio wheel per se but could be left on> Should I leave that on. <Sure.> will it help in nitrate reduction? <Not by itself but you could use the chambers for carbon and maybe add a nitrate reducer. On the subject of nitrate, by itself it is not inherently bad for a reef aquarium. It does lead to algae growth but is a natural part of the nitrification cycle. Need to keep them low through maintenance, but don't overly stress (focus) on this one aspect of your responsibilities.>  Or is it just extra energy being used. <Could be useful> I have read that canister filters such as the Eheim I purchased are great filters but they sometimes need a little help. <yeah, canisters in general, are not always ideal for reefkeeping. Not saying that they have no place, but definitely need some adjustments to make them effective for your salt tank>  How effective are they at reducing harmful nitrate/nitrite levels? <Nature not the machine that reduces levels of organics. Machines just help it along. In my opinion, I think you should read more on the biological processes that occur in aquaria. Check out our site (note the area under set-up) study up and generate your opinions from your new found knowledge. The information is all there for the taking ~Paul> Thanks for all your help and any suggestions would be welcomed as well. A. Edwin Jeffords, Jr.

Protein Skimmer  and Filtration for a 25 gallon tank 1/30/04 Hello! Many thanks for all of the dedicated crew members! My question: I have a 25 gallon tank with live rock and some small corals. I have one  small maroon clown, a flame scallop that is somehow living well (phyto, micro-vert), a tiny crab and a tiny snail. I have a regular wheel  filter. My water  quality is always great, water changes once a week (1/5 of water)   <Wow!  20% weekly water changes.  One of the joys of small tanks!  With such a good water change regime, I would not worry about a skimmer unless you wish to change less water.  I would probably go with out the wheel filter all together, but be sure to replace the current it provides.> The more I read about protein skimming the more confused I get. I can invest in one, but which one for my small tank? Any brands you would recommend? <Another joy of smaller tanks is that you can choose from several smaller skimmers that will do an outstanding job.  CPR BakPak, Aqua-C Remora and Red Sea Prism or Prism pro can all be recommended.> Also, should I buy a better filter? Like a canister? <As above, I would remove the wheel filter and avoid a canister filter except for specific use like occasional carbon usage or for "polishing" the water after things get "stirred up".  Such filters tend to be highly aerobic and promote Nitrate accumulation.> Thank you so much for your advice and this website!!  Sincerely, Justine  <Always a pleasure!  Best regards.  Adam>

Do I?  Don't I? >Hello, >>Hello. >Hope you are doing well and that this question is not too dumb !! :) >>Thank you, fairly well, no dumb questions here (well.. not this one anyway). >I have a 30 gallon reef tank with approx. 40-45 lbs live rock, a 3" live sand bed, a CPR BakPak 2R skimmer and 3 small powerheads.  The bio load is not high; however, I was initially thinking of getting a canister filter for added circulation and the ability to use carbon/Chemipure etc., but as I was reading the FAQs, many where dissuaded because of the drawbacks of nitrate production.   >>With a 'fuge and DSB, sufficient live rock, this shouldn't be too big an issue, especially if you don't just set it up and forget about it. >Basically, my question is:  Could I get the ability of using the carbon/Chemipure along with the benefits of a refugium by purchasing a CPR AquaFuge hang-on refugium?  I think that would be the best approach, but, I wanted to pass it by the pros! >>Hhmm.. I'm not familiar with the flow "map" of that setup, but if you have a sump, you can actually bypass all of that and still use these filtrants - just put them in hosiery or filter bags and lay them where the water must pass through.  Not quite as efficient as using in a pressurized canister, but it would work.   >Thanks in advance for your response and your expertise.  Cheri >>If the 'fuge allows you a place to lay the bags where the water won't simply go around them, then yes, it can be used.  An additional refugium, however, would ALSO easily handle those excess nitrates.  Marina

Filtration Options (1/24/04) Hello all.. <Steve Allen again, stuck in Oakland, courtesy of Southwest> I asked a question yesterday regarding replacing my crushed coral with LS.  Upon reading Steve's advice, I bought a 20 lb package of live sand and mixed it with 30 lbs of aragonite.  Does this sound right for a 55gal? <Depth is what maters for a DSB--4 to 6 inches.> This was the advice from my LFS.  They (the LFS) also told me not to put the sand directly on the bottom of the tank, but to cover a plastic grate with nylon screen and set that on top of PVC pieces, then add the sand. <This is called a plenum. If you have not already set it up, search WWM for the pros/cons of this arrangement.> I also took your advice and bought a penguin 300 bio filter which has 2 bio wheels.  After scouring your site for info on this, I see a lot of advice for people to pull the wheels from the filter.  Is this a good idea in my case? <Up to you. Very efficient at converting ammonia/nitrite to nitrate. The DSB takes it all the way to nitrogen gas. The BioWheels will be fin in fish-only systems. With corals, it can be a little harder to keep nitrates down if you leave the wheels.> Why I was wondering is because I just switched from an undergravel to the LS and the tank has only been up for 3 weeks.  Sorry, I am trying to answer all of my own questions by researching and I don't want to be one of these people who email daily.  I just want to do  the right thing now so I don't compound problems.  Your site is a Godsend and I have stayed up till wee hours of the morning educating myself.  Thank you, thank you, thank you. <A pleasure> Rick

Filtering And Stocking Hi. Just a quick question: I'm setting up another marine tank. 75 gallons. Remora hang on skimmer. Power filter. Live Rock, Deep sand bed. What I need to know is which Eheim filter do you recommend? There are so many choices! Really can't afford to put out $400.00 for top of the line, so what are your suggestions? <Well, if I were going the Eheim mechanical filter route, I'd probably use an Eheim 2028, which you can get for around $216.00. Personally, I like sump systems, myself.> Right now it will be Fish only, but would like to someday make this a reef. <Then do consider constructing or buying a sump- much more flexibility in the long run> Fish in this tank will be: Yellow tang, maroon clown, 2 leopard puffers, hippo tang, 2 blue damsels. Also any other items you suggest. Thank-you. Judy <If it were me, I'd pass on the puffers, and only get one tang- the Yellow Tang. Smaller potential adult size, which is important in this sized tank. Consider as substitutes for the Hippo a Royal Gramma, Pseudochromis, or Fairy Wrasse of some sort. Much smaller, great colors, and just as alluring, IMO! Have fun! regards, Scott F.>  

Size Does Matter! (Adding Water Volume To A Small System) Thanks again for all your help....This question is regarding filtration. On the same tank, I have an AMIRACLE SL-5 with built in protein skimmer (works quite well)/ an Eheim 2213 with noodles, carbon, and floss in line before a U.V. Sterilizer/and an Eheim 2227 wet dry with just EhfiSubstrate in it. <Good stuff! Just clean and/or change the media often to avoid having them become "nutrient traps". The reason I put all of these filters is the added water capacity. Figuring I only had room to build a 26 gallon tank the added filters hold more water, giving me a considerable amount of buffering , is this ok to assume or are the filters not necessary? < The filters are fine. However, I'm a big believer in using a sump on almost any size system- even a small one like you are running. A 10 gallon tank plumbed to your 26 gallon tank dramatically increases water capacity and provides the stability that a small system so desperately needs. And, having a sump below the tank gives you a place to put the skimmer, heater, and all of the other unsightly equipment, where it can be accessed for easy maintenance!> Thanks so much .....You guys are truly commendable especially for your prompt replies...THANKS!!! <We aim to please! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Enough Filtration? -  Hello,  I have recently started my marine aquarium and have been obsessed ever since. I have a 75 gallon tank. Live sand (no live rock yet), Filtration is as follows: 2 Fluval 304 Canister Filters, Marineland Emperor 400 BioWheel, Marineland 330 BioWheel and Red Sea Berlin Style Protein Skimmer (air Driven). My question is that I would like to upgrade protein skimming to something bigger and get rid of the Marineland 330. Would I be hurting my inhabitants with this move since the Fluvals are more for mechanical and chemical and I would be subtracting biological with the 330. <I think it would be a problem, especially in the absence of the live rock... perhaps plan this change for a month or two after you get a good quantity of live rock in there. Same would go for the skimmer... no need to upgrade at this point.> Or do you think I've gone far enough in filtration so that this move would be justified? <I think you should have spent some of that cash on live rock.> Any info would be greatly appreciated. <Spend all your free time going through our web site - we archive all questions and answers so those are all there for your perusal.> By the way, love the website and the Conscientious Marine Aquarist (I try to live by it).  Sincerely,  Jason  <Cheers, J -- > 

- Filtration Questions - Hey I am a rookie to the saltwater hobby but I hope you can help me out. <I can certainly try.> I have a 30 gallon tank with a penguin 130. I recently bought a WON BROTHERS skimmer the cleanup 75. My whole purpose is to get rid of the penguin. Do I need both of them running or will the skimmer I have purchased do the work? <Hmm... am guessing that the penguin represents some portion of your biological filtration and a protein skimmer is really chemical filtration, so they aren't really substitutions for each other. Better to leave them both running.> I have about 25lbs of live rock 2 turbo snails 4 crabs 2 clowns and 2 Condy anomies. <That is too many anemones for a tank of this size. I fear you will lose one or both.> I have a mini 606 circulating the water. Please help. Thank You, Mike PS. I have a 10 gallon tank I could use for a run off tank but have no idea on how to set it up for that. <Think larger - for your first time out with saltwater, you are taking some unnecessary risks by using such small tanks - something only slightly larger [like a 55] would help bolster your success.> I would love to get all of the clutter of wires out of my 30 gallon. <Again, smaller system will always appear cluttered... not much you can do about this.> Thanks Again <Cheers, J -- >

- Filtration Questions, Follow-up -  Thank you for your help I since have left both running and the tank is crystal clear. <Glad I can be of service.>  And as to the anemone issue you are right one is about dead. <Sorry to hear this.>  Thanks again for your help I am trying to find a place to stick a larger tank maybe I should move the wife out and put a tank in her place... LOL <You said it, I didn't. Cheers, J -- > 

Starting a new tank i am new to marine tanks but have many years with freshwater. I have a 55 gal long that i want to change to saltwater. I want to run fish and live rock only. I have a emperor 400 and plan to buy a Prizm  skimmer. Can i run this setup safely with 35-40 lbs of live rock and 3-4 small fish. I also plan to run live sand but don't know if i am going over kill or under kill. I also have 2 200 gph power heads to run with pre filters. what is your suggestion. Thanks in advance.<everything sounds good but the aquarium might not get enough circulation with those pumps, I would look for more powerful ones. IanB>                                              Erik

Filtration (1-4-04) Hello!<Howdy, Cody here today!>     I have a 55 gallon salt water fish only tank. I have an emperor 400 a Prizm protein skimmer and magnum 350.  I would like to know if this is a good setup to have healthy fish. (maybe 10-15 small to medium fish),<It all depends on the types of fish and sizes.> If I put Chemi pure and bio rings (only)  in the canister filter what would the maintenance time be.<I would still clean it out at least once a week.>  I hope to add live rock in the future.<That would be very beneficial.  You can find tons of information at our site: www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>     thank you very much   Setup question for a 55 gallon SW 12/31/03 Hello!  Right off the back I want to tell you this is a very cool site and thank you for helping me. <Hi Felix!  Glad you are finding WWM helpful!> I am planning on making a 55 gallon saltwater tank and i would like to know if an Emperor 400 a Magnum 350 (with bio stars) and a sea clone 100 protein skimmer is a good setup for a salt water fish only tank. <I strongly prefer live rock for filtration, even for fish only tanks.  Live rock is quite effective at controlling ammonia and nitrite as well as nitrate.  Power filters are highly aerobic and as such allow nitrate to accumulate.  Also, power filters are quite maintenance intensive. The sea-clone skimmer line are widely regarded to be very poor performers.  Seek out CPR Bak-pak, Aqua-C remora or even red-sea prism pro models.  All will vastly out perform the sea clone.  The addition of a sump to the system (if convenient) imparts many advantages including expanding your skimmer choices.> i am also thinking on  getting another emperor. Is this sufficient biological filtration. <Sufficient yes, but not ideal.  Using the money that would other wise go for another emperor would serve you better if spent on live rock.> I also have some old crushed coral that i had laying around for like 1 year  in a plastic bag is this still any good to use. <If it has been previously used, I would suggest discarding it.  If it is not used, it is fine.  Beware that coarse substrates like Crushed Coral require careful maintenance to prevent detritus build up.> I will probably put some live rock in there some time later when i have the  money. <As you have surely figured out, I am strongly in favor of using live rock from the beginning.  It will be aesthetically pleasing as well as lending a lot of stability and biological filtration capacity to your system.  I know it is costly, but so are power filters and live rock will make the power filters unnecessary.  Best of luck and happy new year!  Adam>

Animal Filter - 12/22/03 Hey there Anthony!   <howdy Eric> I have a question regarding the use of an animal filter, which I recall you discussing in your book.   <yes...> I'm using a 55gal. AGA for a 'fuge which has a 6" sugar-fine sand bed and Chaetomorpha algae.   <excellent start> I had planned to install a second 'fuge as an animal filter with Anthelia and Xenia as the "living filters".  As luck would have it; no room for the second 'fuge so I wanted to get your take on utilizing both methodology in the same container?   <its never a good idea. Mixing plants and animals in culture in any combination will not allow both to thrive optimally. In this case... soft corals and plants more than most any other critters on a reef are competitive and can be very noxious to each other> As long as I provide a partition for physical separation, are these species (Xeniids and Chaetomorpha) low enough on the "noxious scale" to effectively work together without battling each other to the detriment of the system?  Happy Holidays.  Eric <there is not scale of measure that I am aware of between animals. Just studies on relative toxicity and noxious exudations by individual. Regardless... the practice of mixing the two is generally a bad idea. IN this case, with the partition and considering the nice size of this fuge... I'd be willing to see you try it. Neither organism individually is known to be especially bad (they are generally regarded as weakly noxious). DO let us know how it works out. Best of luck, Anthony.>

Isolation tank biological filtration 12/17/03 Hi Folks, <Hi Andrew!> My 100l isolation tank is biologically filtered by an Eheim canister containing their recommended biological media. The water quality in the tank is very good except nitrate which is often 60 to 80mg/l before the 25% weekly water change (using RO water). I am looking for a solution to reduce the nitrate down considerably. <A worthy goal!  I will discuss options below, but would suggest that an ideal isolation (quarantine) tank should not have any input to generate nitrate.> My LFS is adamant that the high nitrate levels negate the benefit of an isolation tank, he argues it would be better to introduce the fish directly into main tank to benefit immediately from the excellent water quality. While I do not agree with this view (I will always isolate before introducing new fish), I do understand where he is coming from. Therefore I would like to make the isolation tank water as good as possible. <First of all, your LFS is missing the point.  The isolation isn't just to benefit the incoming fish, but IMO, equally or more to protect those you already have.> I am considering replacing the Eheim biological media with live rock. I propose placing the live rock actually in the canister itself, so that it benefits from a good water flow. I would make the transition slowly, to give each bit of live rock time to get up to full biological capacity before removing all the Eheim media. <I would suggest against live rock in an isolation tank.  If you add medications, they may be absorbed into the rock reducing their effectiveness.  The porous nature of the rock can also harbor pests and parasites> The key to this strategy is that I am not interested in the critters that live within the live rock, I am purely interested in the rock acting as a host for bacteria (for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate removal). <I agree with your philosophy here, but not the strategy. Most folks would suggest that you accomplish the biological filtration with synthetic media.  Air driven sponge filters work marvelously for this purpose.  After use, they can be removed from the quarantine tank and washed, boiled, bleached, whatever.  Once appropriately cleaned, they can be kept in the sump of your display to re-establish the biological filtration potential.> Now the worst case scenario - I have to treat a fish in the isolation tank with copper. This would finish off any critters in the live rock and no doubt temporarily reduce the bacterial effectiveness (as it would the Eheim media). After the treatment I assume the rock would recover full biological capacity, in the same way the Eheim media would - or is this assumption flawed? Perhaps the rock would absorb the copper more than the Eheim media, slowly releasing it back into the system, therefore delaying the bacteria re-establishment? Perhaps the fact that the Eheim media is not porous is a key to its success - quick recovery after copper treatment? <I am quite sure that the Eheim media is very porous.  The large surface area created by the porosity is what makes it an effective biological media.  I don't  know if it is any more or less likely than live rock to absorb medications, but IMO the point is moot.  A basic quarantine system should not contain any porous materials at all.  A bare bottom tank with a couple of pieces of PVC pipe for hiding places and a sponge filter are all that are necessary.  This allows for the siphoning of the bottom (where parasites and wastes will settle), and no worries about reducing the effectiveness of medications.> The alternative is to place the live rock in the isolation tank itself, and remove it temporarily whenever copper is applied. But this is not really going to work. I would have to run the Eheim media constantly, even when not treating with copper, so that it can "take the load" on the occasions the live rock is removed due to treatment. Therefore the canister will be generating nitrate more quickly than a few pieces of live rock can deal with it in the isolation tank. I know this doesn't work because my main tank had this arrangement, and even a large mass of live rock could not keep up with the nitrate generated from a canister. It was only when I totally removed the canister biological media that the live rock eliminated nitrate from the main system completely. <Your observations are right on.  Nitrate will accumulate when an ultra efficient, highly aerobic nitrifying media is present (your canister or bio balls for example).  When nitrification occurs in a substrate that also supports de-nitrification (live rock), de-nitrification is much more efficient.  Again, these are moot points.  To ensure that your isolation/quarantine tank achieves it's goal of being a place to identify and treat any diseases on incoming fish and prevent their spread to your display, I would recommend draining, bleaching and drying the quarantine system after every use.  Most aquarists leave such systems dry until they are needed and only keep a sponge filter "seeded" in the sump of their display.> In short, do you think my idea of live rock in the canister is wise for my isolation tank? <In short, no.  Porous media have too many disadvantages and no real advantages for the relatively short period of time that fish should be kept in isolation/quarantine.> As always, thank you for your trusted advice. <As always it's a pleasure!  Adam> Andrew Senior

White particles in tank  12/16/03 Hi, After reading thru the forum and seeing a few unanswered similar questions i thought i would ask you directly for help. I have a 65gal reef tank with 70lbs of live sand and 52lbs of live rock. I am using a wet/dry rated up to 125gal with a Rio2500 pump, a skimmer, and UV sterilizer.  The tank is 9weeks old. The water is not cloudy per se, but i am seeing a lot of white particles floating around. I figure i would see some cause of the fish disturbing the sand, but this is quite a bit more than that. I tried redirecting the water flow as well as slowing the water flow but no luck.   <the material is probably just random "Stuff". Sand, detritus, bacterial flock, etc. and is a common concern in new aquaria.> Do I need an extra filter, perhaps a canister style?  How are people keeping the tank clear?? <The "stuff" will most likely go away on it's own or cease to bother you.  If it bothers you, I would consider a simple mechanical filter like a filter bag or some "filter floss" until the stuff goes away.> Please help me before i waste my money buying items that won't help! <please do spare yourself the expense of any special equipment just for this purpose.  The stuff isn't anything to be concerned about and if you have to remove it, and inexpensive way of filtering it can be improvised.  Adam> Ben

Filtration (12-13-03) Another Important Question:<Ok, You got Cody again.> Can I have a 150 gallon tank with fish, live rock, inverts, and small polyps with the following filtration: CY294 to extra sump to Micron Mechanical Filter Canister to UV to Refugium to Return.<I would probably just put the micron and carbon in your sump instead of adding a canister because they require frequent cleaning and the thought is just kind of nerve-wracking.  Other than that I don't see any problems.  You can also find lots of info on this here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm.  Cody.> Will this work? Thanks, Adam

Fractionation of Foam - What'll Do It Best? >That was very informative.  What kind of protein skimmer would you recommend for the 30 gal and the 5 gal?   >>Something like a CPR BakPak or AquaC Remora should be appropriate.  Consult the manufacturers for sizing information. >I got 2 media basket on my 330 Penguin.  What should I put in it?   >>You could keep it to frequently changed and cleaned mechanical filtration, or fill it with small bits of live rock.   >On both of it right now I put cylinder ceramic in it.  What would you recommend to put in it?   >>I would NOT recommend the ceramic "noodles" for these applications.  They tend to become quite covered in algae and mulm.  If you want extra biological filtration, then use the plastic media, bioballs. >Would a 2 in shell bed be ok for the 30 gal.?  is it ok to have shell as the bed? >>I'm not sure what you mean by "2 in shell", so I can't tell you whether or not it's ok.  Marina

New skimmer, sump, or both? GREAT SITE!  Words cannot explain what your information has done for me.  I have a 55 gal. FOWLR/LS, 50 lbs rock and DSB,  w/ (1)Percula Clown,(1)Coral Beauty, (2) Fire Gobies,  (1) Sandsifter Goby & (1) Lawnmower Blenny.  I am running (2) Penguin 330's and a Sea Clone Skimmer.  The skimmer sucks! <I agree>   I have modified and shimmed it up to get the pump closer to the surface water and I have to adjust it constantly.  Seems to do better, however, it still sucks!  All water parameters are good.  I just want to upgrade.  I am going to get a new skimmer and would like to put in a sump to get rid of all the equipment in the tank - more fish room.  I plan on getting a 125 gal. in the spring, so whatever I buy needs to accommodate the new tank.  I do not want to buy everything again. It may end up overkill for a 55, but should keep it damn clean! A few questions: 1.  Is my tank to its capacity w/livestock with the filtration that I am operating? <no> 2.  Would you recommend that I just get a better HOT skimmer and forget the sump? <If you do not want to do a sump yes. I like sumps very versatile. Plus no equipment in your tank.> Remora Pro - MAG 3 upgrade?  Not enough for a 125 though. <right> 3.  What do you think of a stand alone skimmer w/o sump? <to cumbersome>   I wish Euroreef made a stand alone. <They are in the process of getting one out there and should be out in spring time.>   I would probably forget the sump then.4.   Is my plan for a sump w/sump skimmer the best way to go? Can I then add a Butterflyfish w/better filtration in the 55? <Yes depends what one. (Not because of filtration but because a lot of butterflies do not do well in captivity> Thank you so much in advance for your time and efforts to our intriguing hobby.  Your opinion means more than words could express. <Your welcome, Glad to help MikeH> Keep up the great work! Dennis Nolan

New skimmer, sump, or both?  Follow-up Thanks for your quick answer!  Just a few more questions and I will be good to go.  I hope I am not taking too much of your time, I know your busy. I am purchasing a Euroreef CS6-1 w/ Sedra 3500 and I will be getting a Berlin style sump.  My questions are: 1.  What size (gph) and brand of overflow would you recommend  to accommodate the CS6-1?  CPR CS100 good? <since this will be going on a 125(I guess you are not drilling this tank either?) in the spring and you said you do not want to purchase the equipment over again. You will need an overflow box that can handle 1200-1500 gallons per hour. Don't know off hand which CPR. There web site should have this info.> 2.  Do I plumb the overflow directly into the skimmer or let it feed into the sump compartment w/skimmer? <let it feed into the sump (preferably into a filter bag to catch dirt) 3.  What do you recommend for a return pump to match the Sedra 3500, or overflow (depending on how it's plumbed)? <I guess you are doing a submersible? If so, go with a mag drive pump that is around 1200-1500 gallons per hour again info on there website). If you are using an external pump an Iwaki 70 will work great. Valve either down for the 55 gallon.>   Head pressure will be 48". 4.  Can I eliminate my (2) Penguin 330's after the sump has been "broken in" w/bacteria? <yes wait about a month>   I will be putting some LR or LS in the sump as well. <good, this will help too. MikeH> Thanks again for your well respected advice! Dennis

Filtration 101 - 12/7/03 Hi,   First let me say your website is wonderful. <Thanks> But I have a few questions. <OK> I am setting up a 125 fish only with (possibly) a few hermit crabs, snails, etc. for algae control. <very well> I'm really stumped on filtration. <No need to be> Everyone tells me to go with a Fluval 404 and a protein skimmer and possibly a wet dry. <I would go with a sump and protein skimmer and leave out the Fluval. Lots of liverock and a deep sand bed. Much information about filtration can be found on our website and too many books to list. One does come to mind though, "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner> I was just wondering what your thoughts were and if you would go with a different set-up. <As stated above...... and look through our site on filtration methods. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishonsetup.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm There are some many links that apply here that it is ridiculous!!! Knowledge is power!!! ~Paul>                      Cheers,                             Kevin

Filtration (12-3-03) I'm setting up a 55 gallon SW reef tank. I haven't found any information to really help me with the filtration. What would be better a wet dry filter or a refugium type filter? <Try searching our site www.wetwebmedia.com for info, if you still have more questions shoot me another email!.  Cody Thanks Stephen

- Just Starting Out - Hello Bob <Not Bob today but JasonC, greetings.>    First of all, this is a great site.  I already have a week or two of reading to do!       I'm a newbie to SW fish rearing.  A lot of FW experience plus I'm also a fish farmer by profession.  Raised and released about 150 million salmon in my 24 years with the Fish & Wildlife Service. <Neat.> My questions relate to the basics.  We're going with a 125 gal fish (& maybe inverts) only tank.  Really stumped on a filtration method.  Would you recommend a full wet/dry system with a protein skimmer? <Not too fond of wet/dry filters. Much better with something simple - a large refugium and a protein skimmer would be best.> Or a nice Fluval 404 and a protein skimmer? <Again, I'd skip the Fluval - canister filtration had its use, but really in the current paradigms of reef-keeping, you can do better.> Anything else? <Larger is always better.> Any product recommendations for a wet/dry system? <Again, no so fond of the wet/dry's so I'm not really familiar with the manufacturers... do read here about refugiums: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm > Protein skimmer? <Do check out the various models from AquaC and EuroReef - both are well worth while.> Also plan on a couple of AquaClear 802's for water circulation. <I'd do more than a couple - three or four would be even better.> I've always liked the canister filters for water clarity or am I all "Wet"? <Can accomplish this many different ways and more so, a strictly sterile-clean tank probably isn't best for the long-term health of your animals.> Thanks a lot, I really do appreciate your comments and help.  Once again - "Great Web site" !!! Sincerely, Roger Redding, California        <Cheers, J -- >

A little advice needed...case of info overload I want to start off by thanking you and the rest of the wetwebmedia crew for amazing amount of information you make available to us all. <When will you start responding to queries?> I am a college student and relatively new to marine systems. I started off a few months ago with a used 29G system and little to no info. Now I realize that my needs would be better suited with a larger tank (of course within a budget). I have read COUNTLESS hours of information on your site and have reached a temporary information overload that I hoped you could help me through. I am probably going to upgrade to a 55G AGA tank with built a in overflow (55G due to physical size restrictions). I am going to make use of my 29G tank as some combination of a sump/fuge/(wet/dry?). <Up to you... I would skip the wet/dry> I am going to be keeping FOWLR at first (46lbs of Fiji LR probably), but would like to be able to expand into a reef at a later time. I currently have a Red Sea Prism skimmer with the deluxe upgrade (surface skimmer & media cartridge) on my 29G tank as well as a penguin 330 bio wheel filter. I know this isn't a very good set up, but unfortunately, I found your web site too late. I only house a small puffer, small Sargassum trigger, and a yellow-headed goby ATM, and am not sure if any or all of these fish will be put in my next tank (can get store credit at LFS). Anyway, I wanted to get your end all advice in what I should do with my 29G. I have relatively good DIY skills and a bunch of 1/4" acrylic that I could use in the conversion. I really want to "do it right" this time around. I am thinking of purchasing an in sump skimmer (if needed??) <Possibly. With patience, you might do fine with your present unit> and hope to work around this being closest to the incoming water in the sump. I have attached a primitive schematic of the layout in an MSpaint document. Is there any need for a micron filter bag or filter sponge anywhere in my system? <Mmm, maybe... on the overspill of your labeled biomedia area> If so, where? The reason I wanted to do the trickle at the end is to account for any left over ammonia or nitrite because I probably won't be able to afford any more LR. I may be housing messy fish, so I will not do a DSB in the main tank for now. Would I benefit greater from miracle mud or a DSB (4-5") in the refugium section? <Yes> Also, what is best macroalgae for nutrient export (or what kind do you recommend for me)? <Perhaps Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria spp.> This crazy contraption will be my sole (less the in tank LR) filtration method. Basically, I think I have driven myself insane from brain overload and just need to be steered into the right direction and told if my information integration is at all sound. <Mmm, I caution and warrant against this. Scratch some cursory notes down as you read along... what your options are, what the inherent costs, benefits, liabilities are. Put all this in a drawer, otherwise out of sight for a week or two till you have time, peace of mind, and re-visit your options> Changing gears a bit, if you recommend an upgrade in the skimmer department (my ESP says you do), can you recommend a few skimmers to me? <These are identified over and over on WWM... perhaps an Aqua-C in sump model... if it were me, I'd try to make do with your Prizm for now> Possibly a middle of the line in the price range of $100-$200. I might possibly go a little more expensive if absolutely recommended, but would love to stay as cheap as possible. A college kid needs to eat, hehe. I was also planning on using some bio-chem zorb filter bags somewhere in the filter contraption. I am sorry for such a disjointed email, but my brain hurts and there in Caulerpa coming out of my ears. Thank you so much for your help and wealth of information, Eric Witschen PS-I ordered your book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and hope to read it when it arrives in a week or so when I can see straight again. Eric Witschen <Take your time my young friend. Enjoy the process, there is time. Bob Fenner>

Putting Rocks In His (Filter) Box! Hello. <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Thanks again for all the help you guys provide.  My question today is regarding an Aqua Clear Aquatics Pro 150 wet/dry filter on a 135 gal FO tank.  Are you familiar with these units? <I have seen these units, but have not personally used them...You may want to check on the WWM Forums to see if your fellow hobbyists have any experiences with them> There is a picture of one on the Marine Setups Faq page so I suspect you are.  I am only moderately satisfied with it and I am planning on removing the crummy skimmer that came with it and replacing it with a Berlin HO Turbo. <A good skimmer, but I've heard it labeled as "tricky" to adjust, etc....Again- get some feedback. We tend to recommend Aqua C and Euroreef because they are consistently effective and productive...> What I want to know is if you think it would hurt/help to put some live rock, live sand, or even some macro algae in the old skimmer chamber. I am wondering if I would have problems with copepods etc. getting into the bio-ball trickle area.  What if I added a light and macro algae into this area also/instead? <That would be a cool idea, IMO...> I am also thinking of removing the plastic bio material and replacing it with all live rock. <Sure. Or simply letting this serve as your sump, and throwing some activated carbon or Poly Filter in there...> I currently have no live rock in the system. Only live sand.  I know (now, after reading the countless FAQ's that praise it) that it (LR) is one of the best filtration investments available.  I just DO NOT like the way it looks in the display tank. <Kinda like a pile of rocks, huh?> If I were to put it in the filter in place of the bio-balls would it still be as beneficial?  Any idea how many bio-balls would equal a pound of live rock in terms of  bio filtration capacity? <I'm not really aware of any formula for that. It's probably not something that we could quantify easily. Suffice it to say, if you can get as much rock into that area as possible, you should be fine!> Thanks for the help! Kirk <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F>

Cutting Through the Haze >I'm the kind of guy who cuts to the chase.  What other filtration system would you recommend?  I'll check out the web site in the meantime.. thanks G >>Excellent, no pussy-footing' around here either!  If I recollect, you're using the canister for a reef.  What's normally used these days is a more natural approach.  What we (and I) really like is the refugium.  It's both a living filter and food source.  We have LOTS of information both on site and in the latest book "The Natural Marine Aquarium-Reef Invertebrates" (Calfo/Fenner).  Also MUCH information online.  I recommend situating a deep sand bed (DSB) either in situ (in the tank) or in the refugium, or BOTH (sure doesn't hurt!).  Add to that culturing of macroalgae, and you can end up doing what my own significant other has done-after six weeks he pulled off the protein skimmer and uses the 'fuge only.  Works quite well for him (over 3 years now).  Marina

Emperor filter plus Skimmer?  HI,  I am planning on adding a skimmer to my 30 gallon tank and I need some advice on which one I should get. If I get the Aqua-C Remora would you recommend that I still run the Emperor filter?<yes, you can do this> I am leaning towards this skimmer due to the rave reviews and not as many complaints about the release of microbubbles as the BakPak.<agreed> But, I was thinking of getting the CPR BakPak2 because I can eliminate the filter and place the heater in the unit allowing me to take that "stuff" out of the tank.<its pretty much personal preference> Please let me know what you think about the Emperor plus the Remora or just the BakPak2 alone. <If it were me I would purchase the Emperor and the Remora.. but that's just me.. go with what you want, there is not a real big difference here, IanB> Thanks for your time!!! 

Filtration Options For Reef Systems Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. at your service!> I have read a lot off the website and I am very confused when it comes to filtration. <Certainly not uncommon...Lots to be confused about> I have a 90 gallon tank with stand and 265 watt power compact hood. I don't know what type of filtration to use.  It is going to be mainly fish but corals are going to be introduced later.  Every where I read people have different opinions.  I know that I have to get live rock and about 3 inches of gravel as a biological filter and I am thinking about an Eheim canister wet/dry filter model 2229 for chemical filtration, and an Aqua Medic or Red Sea Berlin skimmer for mechanical filtration. <Not a bad way to go...But I think a simple sump-based system can do the job with more flexibility and a lot less hassle...Not to mention the fact that all of the equipment can be located out of sight. A good protein skimmer in the sump is a fine and necessary addition to any marine tank. I'd also look into the Aqua C EV series, or the (admittedly more expensive, but really "plug and play") Euroreef skimmers.> Although I can make this all as a hang on filtering tank but I don't really like all of those things sticking in the tank even though I have a stand. I am thinking of a sump. <Yep- the best way, IMO> Can I get away with live rock and sand, protein skimmer, and throw some activated carbon in the sump, or are there better methods? <Well, depending on your goals and requirements, there are lots of ways to go, but for 90% of the setups I see, sump-based systems are the way to go> I know about the overflow method, but don't know how drilling holes, skimming and balancing the water works.  Can you please provide me with some knowledge to go about creating the easiest filtration system that requires the least maintenance, because all in all it is difficult, even though everyone seems to think its not. Thanks <Well, it REALLY is not that difficult. The sump based systems are simple, conceptually. There are over-the-side plumbing kits available, that eliminate the need for drilling, but they are often prone to failure, so I cannot recommend them. Any competent local fish store should be able to drill your tank and install an overflow/bulkheads for you. As far as sump and pump sizing- there are many options again. My personal rule of thumb is to use a sump that is about 1/4 to 1/3 the size of the display, for maximum flexibility. It would be good to see a pump used that can turn over anywhere between 5-10 times capacity per hour. Again- there are numerous approaches to these systems. I recommend consulting with your LFS, or with a competent local hobbyist for more ideas...Look at a few successful setups and think about how you can incorporate these ideas into your own system. Also, check out the many resources on the WWM site, as well as other DIY sites, such as OzReef. Good luck! Take your time to learn and get comfortable...Regards, Scott F>

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

New Fish Only Setup >Love your site..... The Faq's have given me an overload of information though, and it always seems to be specifically tailored to each individuals tank.  So here are my questions: I have a brand new 125 gallon glass aquarium... that I'm intending to do FISH ONLY (I like puffers and yellow tangs mostly, maybe a lionfish but probably not).  DO I use a 4 inch live sand bed AND live rock? (only) for biological filtration? >>Not necessarily.   >What is an adequate skimmer for my size tank? >>The manufacturer will have that outlined based on the brand you go for.  I'll recommend Euro-Reef, AquaC, and CPR. >Do I have the tank drilled in one of the corners and install that Richard Durso system with a sump underneath?? >>This is a good method of getting the water from the tank to the sump. >Do I need a sump, [or] is the skimmer with LR and LS adequate with powerheads to move the water around?? >>For fish only..?  Hhh..  If you had a KICK-ASS skimmer, then I'd say yes, depending on what fishes you're housing of course.  I think what you really need are a few books.  "The Marine Aquarium Handbook: Beginner to Breeder", by Martin Moe, Jr., "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", by Bob Fenner--two GREAT books to start off with that will REALLY help you understand and PLAN (the handbook can even help you build some of this stuff yourself) your system far better than I or our FAQs can, honestly. >ALL of your help is greatly appreciated.  Chris >>In a nutshell, yes, you can filter using a DSB (deep sand bed, not just live sand) and live rock, you'll need COPIOUS amounts considering the animals you mentioned.  In my opinion you might do well to utilize a refugium, either hanging on the tank or underneath.  Skimming, absolutely, righteous skimming (Euro-Reef, spendy, but WORTH EVERY PENNY) can run a system entirely.  The nutshell got big, buy hey.  Marina

Filtration Options For A Predator Tank! Hi crew, <Scott F. At Your Service Today!> I'm trying to set up a 270 gallon tank FOWLR, in my new apartment, in which there will be 2 large Clown Triggers (9 and 11 inches) and 1 large Arabian Picasso(6 inches). <Quite a crew- should be neat in this sized tank> I've read many posts about the plenum refugium in which people say it's added a very positive natural effect on the overall env. / water quality. <Plenums are a very efficient way to process nutrients in closed systems, but careful attention must be paid to the plenum's construction and implementation, in order for them to perform at an optimum level. For obvious reasons, a remote plenum would be the only way to go with a fish population like you're planning. I do like the idea of creating a system that is more dependent on "natural" techniques, as opposed to an all "mechanical" system.> I would install a DSB Plenum for Phosphates/Nitrate reduction but I'm confused about what kind of filtration is better I use for this predator tank. <Well, a remote plenum/refugium would be an ideal adjunct to this system, but I would utilize an efficient sump and protein skimmer setup for the primary "filtration"> I think probably I'll need some mechanical filtration as well as a good wet/dry (ammonia/nitrites kill fish, nitrates don't) because it will keep up with the load that predators make; they are great for reducing nutrients on those types of tanks especially with heavy loads. <I cannot disagree with you. However, using a wet-dry and a DSB/plenum seems sort of counter-productive (i.e.; one tends to accumulate nitrate, the other excels at reducing it).  Why not just use a sump without the bio-media and let the DSB and refugium help deal with the nitrate? And, yes, I'd utilize some mechanical filtration-perhaps a "micron filter sock" beneath the standpipe leading to the sump for gross particulate collection (cleaned/replaced frequently), and some efficient chemical media located in the sump (activated carbon and Poly Filter, replaced at appropriate intervals). Of course, if you want, you can use a canister filter for supplemental mechanical filtration, but pay close attention to maintenance>    They also can help to make the system much more forgiving if I overfeed, etc. What kind of filtration do you recommend for this kind of tank? <As above. By the way, I'd be remiss if I didn't try to "pimp" my obsessive frequent water change technique (like two 5% water changes twice weekly), as it may help further reduce nutrients in your system before they have a chance to accumulate. It's easier than you think, and well worth the effort in a tank containing serious metabolite producers like you plan on keeping...> Thanks for your help. Lorenzo <My pleasure, Lorenzo! Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F>

Filtration Options For A Predator Tank Hi Scott, one thing I don't understand, the primary "filtration" has to take place in the sump, you say. <Not really. Perhaps a confusing choice of words on my part. The "filtration" occurs throughout the system, wherever rock and substrate are available for bacteria to attach. The "primary filtration" that I am referring to is the live rock or sand. The sump is mainly a vehicle for processing water from the display tank. However, the protein skimmer (and I hope that you get an efficient one) should be located in or near the sump.> Ok but how, which supports nitrifying bacteria? I have to fill the sump with live rocks? <You certainly can fill the sump with live rock "rubble", as previously mentioned.> Or what else? The refugium with DSB and macros work for Phosphates/Nitrate reduction but which element perform nitrifying action? <Well, your deep sand bed and live rock, wherever they are located in the system, can perform this function. I like the remote DSB that you are thinking of. It can remain undisturbed and do a great job processing nitrate if properly composed> I've forgotten to say I've just got a great skimmer fortunately (Aquamedic 5000 twin the greatest AquaMedic skimmer for 1320 gallons tank). <Excellent!> Thanks for your quick reply! Lorenzo <My pleasure, Lorenzo. Sorry for the confusion. Basically, if you look at a sump as your "water processing center", it will make it easier to visualize what functions it performs. Sumps provide a tremendous amount of flexibility for all kinds of captive systems, and allow the intrepid aquarist/DIYer a lot of freedom to create a system to meet the exact needs of his/her tank! Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

- Substrate Reactor - I bought a reef ready aquarium from a friend and it came with a Marine Technical Concepts BIO-PRO 1600 Biological filter and a PRO SR14 substrate reactor. The problem is I have no idea how to use them. <I'm not sure I do either... perhaps convert it to a martini shaker.> I contacted Marine Technical Concepts inc., but have heard nothing. Can you help? <I'm not sure that I can as I'm baffled as to the 'purpose' of these devices. Given the current state of the art [whatever that means] in the aquarium hobby... I'd just get a hold of some live rock and a skimmer and give the substrate reactors the boot.> I'd just like to know how to plumb it and what media to use. <Again, I think I'd just skip it.> I am attaching a photo of the setups. <Would be curious to hear what the company has to say about these devices, but in the absence of such information, I'd rather stick with what I know. Live rock and a skimmer will do wonders for a reef tank. Cheers, J -- >

Product Support query 10/16/03 I bought a reef ready aquarium from a friend and it came with a Marine Technical Concepts BIO-PRO 1600 Biological filter and a PRO SR14 substrate reactor. The problem is I have no idea how to use them. I contacted Marine Technical Concepts inc., but have heard nothing. Can you help? I'd just like to know how to plumb it and what media to use. I am attaching a photo of the setups. <a description of the application of these products at length really cannot be done easily/well in the format of an e-mail. One of the many benefits of a local aquarium club is the support of fellow aquarists for such queries you might have - getting a hands on education and being able to talk at length. There is also the outlet of Internet instant messaging where you and another aquarist can interact in real time with your products and pc.s in front of you. Please do seek such counsel on the forums. Also, let me know what big city you are near/in and I will direct you to a club if possible. Best regards, Anthony>

-46g filtration- Hello there, <Hi! Kevin here this morning.> I have a question about filtration. I have a 46 gal Marine setup with  fish and live rock. I have about 4 fish and about 30 lbs of live rock. I am running an emperor 400 and an AQUA C remora. This whole setup fish included has  been running for a little over a year and everything is perfect. I've been thinking about changing my filtration though. I was thinking of purchasing a WET/DRY filter with sump and adding an Aqua C EV-120. Several reasons why I want to convert and I don't know if they are even good ones but here they go. 1.) I think it would be a better source of filtration <You can't beat live rock for filtration, plus emperor has dual bio-wheels, you have way more than enough biological filtration.> 2.) The remora is kinda noisy  since its a hang on I can hear all the hissing it makes and its in my room <They do make some noise, but the noise of an overflow combined with the EV-120 will be more.> 3.) Don't really like the look of the pump exposed in the tank from the hang on <Me either, but then again, you'll have the overflow box instead.> 4.) want to make it look neater on top and give myself more room to push the aquarium back <Unless you put the overflow on the side, you'll be in the same predicament.> ARE THESE GOOD REASONS. Would a wet/dry with the EV-120 be a better setup? <I wouldn't waste any money on a wet/dry, just a sump if need be. The wet/dry would be way more bio-filtration than you would need and would end likely be so efficient as to generate an overabundance of nitrate.> I have a clown trigger (2in), and emperor angel (3.5in), a powder blue (2in) and a clownfish. <Whoa, those first three need a VERY large tank once they finally start growing at a good pace. You'll be looking at least a 6' aquarium. Start looking now!> I know in time I'm gonna need a bigger tank and I Will do so. Like I said all these fish have been in there for over a year and never had any problems.. SHOULD I EVEN MESS WITH IT?? <The tank is fine as it is, start working out plans for a 125 or a 180, the money would be much better spent there.> If u do recommend I switch WHAT BRAND OF WET/DRY DO I GET?????? <STOP YELLING AT ME! I'm very sensitive ;) I hope I've been of some assistance, -Kevin>

Filtration for 30 gallon Marine Tank >Good day to all, Fadly here. >>And a good day to you, Marina here.  For the sake of brevity I'm combining both your questions into one reply. >And a short question if you guys can help me with.   Is Eheim 2224, Prizm skimmer (18 impeller model) and lots of live rocks enough for my FOWLR 30g tank?  Can you please list some good protein skimmer brands (more the better). Hopefully I can find one here in limited Singapore.  The Prizm I have doesn't seem that good. >>Your experience with the Prizm does not seem to be that uncommon.  For best quality, I would have to recommend Euro-reef.  After that, very popular here in the States is AquaC (Remora), and CPR BakPak.  If you have a real problem with finding quality skimmers, then I suggest you go to http://www.reefs.org/maco/index.php  and ask about their classes (if I recollect, it's through another organization with the acronym of MACO).  I know many people who have taken these online courses and made skimmers, calcium reactors, light hoods, sumps, and other equipment.  They're all very happy with their results.  In my opinion the Eheim of the size you have is very well-suited for this tank size.  I would like to suggest you research refugium filtration, as well.  Much of what is required can be built yourself if need be, and it is an excellent form of natural filtration. >How many fish of common green Chromis size can I have in it? >>Since you already have the blue devil, this creates some problems.  Not the least of which is how the blue devil earned its name.  If you prefer the Chromis, I suggest removing the devil and then I feel you could have a group of three, though that is pushing the envelope in terms of bioload.  The same is true of any fish of the size and activity levels of green Chromis, assuming they grow NO larger. >Now I have a blue devil and a bicolour blenny in it (6 mths now).  Or can I add some corals instead? >>You could, but your filtration would leave some to be desired.  The most pressing issue would be lighting, however.  If you do desire to keep corals know that you can, but you need to address water quality with a more scrutinizing eye.  Choose first what you think you might wish to keep, then lighting and filtration would "fall" into place. >Great site you guys have, it helps a lot. Thank you. >>Most welcome, we're glad it's of help to you.  Good luck finding one of those skimmers in Singapore!  Marina

Filtration Upgrade Hello there, I have a question about filtration.  I have a 46 gal Marine setup with fish and live rock. I have about 4 fish and about 30 lbs of live rock. I am running an emperor 400 and an AQUA C remora. This whole setup fish included has been running for a little over a year and everything is perfect. I've been thinking about changing my filtration though. I was thinking of purchasing a WET/DRY filter with sump and adding an Aqua C EV-120. Several reasons why I want to convert and I don't know if they are even good ones but here they go. 1.) I think it would be a better source of filtration <Yes.> 2.) The remora is kinda noisy  since its a hang on I can hear all the hissing it makes and its in my room <That is the sound of clean water.  An in sump skimmer that can be hidden away in a cabinet gives you better sound dampening.> 3.) Don't really like the look of the pump exposed in the tank from the hang on. <Me neither.> 4.) Want to make it look neater on top and give myself more room to push the aquarium back. <Neater is better.> ARE THESE GOOD REASONS. Would a wet/dry with the EV-120 be a better setup? <Yes> I have a clown trigger (2in), and emperor angel (3.5in), a powder blue (2in) and a clownfish.  I know in time I'm gonna need a bigger tank and I Will do so. <Yes, the sooner the bigger the better.> Like I said all these fish have been in there for over a year and never had any problems.. SHOULD I EVEN MESS WITH IT?? <I would upgrade.> If u do recommend I switch WHAT BRAND OF WET/DRY DO I GET?????? <I am more of a do it yourselfer, I would use an aquarium, as big as possible as the sump and add some baffles to get the water to flow the way I wanted it to.  The best way to gather info on the available wet/dry filters would be to check out the forums for others opinions and experiences. http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ and http://reefcentral.com/ are good places to start.  Best Regards, Gage>

RO/DI as a tank filter? 10/8/03 Hello! <whassup> I have the weirdest question, and I thought that you probably have thought about it already. What happens if I decide to filter the water that comes from my tank using an RO/DI system? <you will completely demineralize the water (or nearly so)> I am not saying I am, but what if? Would it filter the salt? Nitrates? Nitrites? Ammonia? <in varying degrees, yes> It is interesting to think why can't I just recycle the water? <its a good/interesting thought... and something (water reclamation) that many public aquariums already do. It is an expensive process and still leaves less than ideal quality water... but is necessary for some folks because of environmental reasons (purging high volumes of waste water as with big aquaria), etc> Well, I'm sure I can't be the first to think about this... <correct> Any insight is welcome... Hugo Solano <again... a good thought my friend. But the process is expensive to conduct and requires that you reconstitute the treated water. You will need water holding equipment and considerable time/labor to process the water. Anthony>

Rinsing filter pads (10-7-03) Hi,<Howdy, Cody here today.> Hope all is going well there. <Other than my internet service being a pain in the but.  Everything's great!> I have a question.  I always rinse my filter pads (ones used for mechanical filtration) with tap water to clean them out every week.  I know not to do this with those filters used for biological filtration.  I read somewhere that the chlorine in the tap water combined with the dissolved organics in the pad can cause compounds that can harm the fish.  Is this true?  <Well chlorine is very harmful to any aquatic life, so I would use RO water just to be safe since if you get any accumulation of chlorine you could be in trouble.> thanks, James

Tweaking! Hi Guys, <Scott F. your guy today!> I've been reading all your FAQs so far at your website but I am getting kinda confused on the topic on reef filtration. <That's not hard to do! LOL> I am in the midst of setting up my first 20 gallon FOWLR tank and its in its 9th day of cycling. I've no intention to have invertebrates or corals. Not at least until I am more experienced. <Nothing wrong with that! Good attitude!> Hope you guys could shed some lights on any possible setup errors I could have made.. I've added about 22 pounds of cured live rocks onto a 2" substrate of dead sand and dead coral fragments. <I'd go for 1/2 inch or less, or 3 inches or more on the substrate (ideally with fine material). Two inches is too shallow for full denitrification, but to deep to be fully aerobic, IMO...A possible problem in the future. However, with prudent maintenance in a small tank, you need not worry too much> I am running a Eheim Pro II 2026 as my main filter and a Red Sea Prizm skimmer (not turned on yet). <I'd turn it on!> Do I need to add carbon additives into my canister filter after the tank has cycled? <I am a big fan of continuous activated carbon use in all systems> I understand from some of the FAQs that the fine filter media in the Eheim or the canister filter itself could be a rich source of harmful nitrites... <Well, mechanical filters must be attended to regularly to avoid becoming "nutrient traps", which lead to nitrate accumulation. Regular replacement of prefilter materials is a big help, too> So will I be successful if I carry on using the Eheim? <Sure! Just follow a regular maintenance schedule of media cleaning/replacement, frequent small water changes, continuous use of chemical filtration media (Poly Filter and/or activated carbon), and productive protein skimming> I have no space or an overflow in my Nisso tank for a sump..;-( Thanks so many for your valuable time! Best regards, George Seet. <Well, George, it sounds like you're on the right track here. You just need to tweak a few things for optimum performance. In smaller systems, it's mandatory to stay on top of maintenance and regular water testing, as there is little margin for error! However, if you develop good habits early on, you and your charges will be just fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

-Which wet/dry?- hi there :wetwebmedia.com, what an awesome site ! <I thought so too! ;) Kevin here> just wondering if the penguin BioWheel or Millennium 2000 filters are good enough wet/dry filters for a 100 gal fish only system <Not if you plan on stocking more than a fish or two> , or stuck on conventional bioballs w/d filters ??? <You're not exactly "stuck" on using a wet/dry, that's just one of your options. A better method would be to use live rock and live sand as your primary biological filter and a protein skimmer. Check out Bob and Anthony's new book Reef Invertebrates for excessive amounts of rock and sand info, as well as these links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/livesand.htm I hope this helps. I've also assumed that you're talking about a marine tank, correct me if I'm wrong! -Kevin>

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