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FAQs on Marine Filtration 9

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

Related FAQs: Marine Filtration 1, Marine Filtration 2Marine Filtration 3Marine Filtration 4, Marine Filtration 5, Marine Filtration 6Marine Filtration 7, Marine Filtration 8, Marine Filtration 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,

Compatibility in 60 gal FOWLR Greetings WWM CREW, I am getting a 60 gal (4 feet) fish only with about 15lbs of liverock in the tank and about 20 in the sump. Is this enough for biological filtration? <Yes> I am also using a Via Aqua canister filter 650, a Jebo protein skimmer and a 9 watt ultra violet. Is this filtration pretty ok for a fish only? <With the sump it should be> How much live sand will be good? Can I mix some play sand (the ones made form Caribbean sand) and some Florida live sand? How much of Each? <Please read over these subjects on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com If you want you can use the Google Search tool, or peruse the indices on the Marine root web> Now about the stocking, I always make many lists of different fish etc. (I have a reef tank as well, and another fish only). First of all I'm thinking of putting some large synthetic coral skeletons (white, about 2 with the 15lbs live rock) for decorations and to allow for hiding places, but still a lot of swimming room. For the fish I will start out after the cycling with a yellow tang (which will later be put into my reef) to make sure all is well. <I would NOT cycle the system with a tang> Then for the fish that will stay- a blue hippo, (small one at my LFS probably 2") a yellow lo Foxface (pretty small again 3") then a juv. Naso tang( I know they need large tanks, but my friend has kept on in his 60 for about a year and a half with no problems, probably 4") or can I go even smaller? <Yes... a sturdy fish even at small sizes> I've read on WWM that buying smaller than 4" is not a good idea. Then a threadfin butterfly (3") and a Pakistani (3") (will they get along? what other butterflies will get along better with a threadfin?). <Please read this over on WWM> These will be added over a period of a year, except probably the hippo and Naso- close to the same time for territorial purposes (do they need to be added at the same time or is it ok for different times?). Then my last fish after probably a year I want juv Passer angel (3"-4") I've read they're probably one of the easiest large angels...should I buy juv, or adult? <Neither the Passer or Naso will be happy in a sixty gallon> Well these are my hopes for this tank, If it is too overstocked then please let me know which ones will be best to let go (the only fish I really want strongly in this tank is the Naso and threadfin, I can work around the others) This is a total of 18" and in about a year will be 21". That is about 1 inch per 3 gallons. How does this sound? Is they're anyway I can add a another butterfly or pygmy angel if there is space? there is never enough space right? ha-ha) if any other fish then what kind (raccoon, banner....coral beauty, flame???) Oh, an about the Naso ( I really like the distinct coloring of the lips etc....)is the Darker Naso or blonde Naso best for the bright colors and size?) <Again, a four foot long tank is too small for this genus, any N. lituratus. Bob Fenner> Thank you so much Chris Misc. marine set-up, maint. Thanks so much for the help.<Sure, no problem.> Not to bother you, but just a follow up question or two. You really didn't comment on the A-Miracle wet/dry trickle filter with protein skimmer that I described, or on the dual cartridge whisper filter (with carbon) that I use as an extra. And, along those same lines, do you think I should switch to the canister filter, or simply stay with what I have and add more live rock?   Finally, as to the substrate of 3 - 4 inches of a sand/crushed coral mix, how often, if at all, should I attempt to clean it?  Again, thanks for all your help. You've given us a little hope!! Mike <Mike, if you are going to go with a reef tank then go with the wet/dry filter and a good protein skimmer.  I would keep the whisper as a back up.  I would not use the canister as they can be nutrient machines.  If you are going to be using a Deep Sand Bed (DSB) then I would suggest you never clean it.  I hope this helps. MikeB.> Filtration advice Hi Guys, <Bibby> First off fantastic site - I only echo the comment I have seen many times in posts here - I wish I'd discovered it sooner!! <Welcome here now> I have a 24"x12"x12" tank - 15 Gallon I think (I know its too small! - its only till I convince the missus that we can squeeze in a larger tank!) this currently has a UGF with a powerhead (500 lph) this is covered by about 4" of crushed coral up to about 5mm size mixed in with much smaller (1mm) fine crushed coral, in addition at the moment there is a small internal filter (foam & carbon) and a filter (foam & bio balls) attached to another 500lph power head.  I have in there about 10lb of Live Rock.  Current livestock is 6 Pygmy Dwarf Blue Legged Hermit Crabs (1cm max) and 1 Blue Devil Damsel (3-4cm).  Tank has been running for a month and a half. <Okay> I have purchased a Fluval 203 2nd hand filter and want advice on how best to set up my tank now - do I rip out the UGF - run the Fluval with or without media? <I would leave the UG as is, add the canister WITH filter media... including biological (ceramic or sintered glass beads on the bottom, some chemical filtrant in a Dacron bag in the middle and two mechanical filter pads (rinsing the upper one every service interval... weekly, bi-monthly, and rotating the now cleaned one underneath the one left behind> what do I do substrate wise if the UGF goes - I was planning to sieve out the small stuff only & return that to the tank & toss the coarser crushed coral? would this be ok? better ideas? <I would leave this as is... even if you want to remove, not use the UG, simply remove the risers... leaving the plates in place> The only skimmer I would be able to afford at the mo would be very a cheap one (about ?15 (UK pounds) on eBay!!) - would this be a waste of money? recommendations? <Most any skimmer is better than none... even if the "cheapy" removes little, it will improve water quality> Lastly (I know you probably cant give me a diagnosis via email but I'll ask anyway!) the damsel has what looks like a few damaged scales above & behind the eye on one side - spot about 2mm dia, I am working on the theory that this is probably a bruise of some sort and not much to worry about - any thoughts? <Likely a "bump in the night" and/or environmental in origin... improving water quality should straighten this out> I am very confused by all the different setups and methods and would appreciate a voice of clarity in these murky waters! <Lots of options and many differing, disparate opinions/champions/denigrators of various methods... keep studying till you understand your choices... AND their underlying logic, application. You'll do fine here and with your subsequent set-ups. Bob Fenner>

Filtration Hi Guys, I did submit this last week but no reply as yet? <We apologize, there are many emails received daily and we try to have someone answer promptly.> First off fantastic site - I only echo the comment I have seen many times in posts here - I wish I'd discovered it sooner!! I have a 24"x12"x12" tank - 15 Gallon I think (I know its too small! - its only till I convince the missus that we can squeeze in a larger tank!) this currently has a UGF with a powerhead (500 lph) this is covered by about 4" of crushed coral up to about 5mm size mixed in with much smaller (1mm) fine crushed coral, in addition at the moment there is a small internal filter (foam & carbon) and a filter (foam & bio balls) attached to another 500lph power head.  I have in there about 10lb of Live Rock.  Current livestock is 6 Pygmy Dwarf Blue Legged Hermit Crabs (1cm max) and 1 Blue Devil Damsel (3-4cm).  Tank has been running for about a month and a half. I have purchased a Fluval 203 2nd hand filter and want advice on how best to set up my tank now - do I rip out the under gravel filter (UGF) ,run the Fluval with or without media? what do I do substrate wise if the UGF gets dumped - I was planning to sieve out the small stuff only & return that to the tank & toss the coarser crushed coral? would this be ok? better ideas? The only skimmer I would be able to afford at the moment would be very a cheap one (about ?15 (UK pounds) air driven sort) - would this be a waste of money? recommendations? I am very confused by all the different setups and methods and would appreciate a voice of clarity in these murky waters! <Hello, I am glad to see that you are trying to set up a saltwater tank and are trying to be conscientious in your quest.  There are many different filtering methods that you could take in regards to your tank.  Some will work better than others.  I would recommend removing the under gravel filter and use the Fluval canister in conjunction with a protein skimmer.  The air driven protein skimmers are sufficient for that small of a tank until you can purchase a higher quality one.  The way that it is set up now will work but eventually the undergravel will have to be cleaned and backwashed.  This can be tedious and many people find that an external power filter works the best.  I agree with those thoughts.  Good Luck MikeB>

Newbie saltwater set up I have maintained a 75g African cichlid tank for 5 years. I found a 135g tank cheap and would like to make it FOWLR. I've been reading the FAQ's pages here and I have a couple Q's of my own. This tank is not drilled, can it be? I've been getting confused when reading about filtration. All the articles that I have read describe the different types of filters but don't explain (or I'm just no getting it) the combinations to be used if even combinations must be used.  In reading about w/d am I to understand that all I need for filtration is a large quantity of live rock/sand, a filter sponge between my outflow and a bucket of water (sump) connected to a protein skimmer and a pump to return the water to the tank?  Thanks in advance. Jeff >>>Hello Jeff, Congrats on taking the plunge into marine aquaria! Yes, your tank CAN be drilled, but assuming it's glass, you need to have a glass shop do it for you. Filtration only need consist of live rock, with power heads and/or a return pump for circulation. Additionally, a skimmer can (and IMO should) be added. Anything else, including canister or power filters are just auxiliary, and in some cases superfluous. My choice, live rock, a shallow sand bed, a sump containing a skimmer, a return pump obviously that pumps water back into the main tank. HOWEVER, given that your tank is not reef ready (not drilled, and no overflows) I'd consider a sump less setup. Use live rock, a shallow sand bed, powerheads for circulation, and a hang of skimmer, maybe two for a tank that size. Does all of this make sense? Jim<<< Siporax versus live rock Good Morning; <And to you> Just a quick question that I hope you won't mind answering.  Recently I've added Siporax to the sump of my 90 gallon tank and I started pondering what the difference is between the effect that Siporax has as opposed to Live Rock?  If I understand correctly Live Rock uses anaerobic conditions to convert ammonia to nitrite to the final product of nitrate which then needs to be exported out of the tank. <Both media can produce such effect biologically, but the end-results don't require exportation. Materials are rendered into gasses and insoluble solids> I was intrigued by Siporax as the product claims to eliminate Nitrate as well. <Yes> How is it that Siporax is able to use the same type of bacterial colony to convert the ammonia to nitrite to nitrate but then goes the extra step to export or convert the nitrate to a nitrogen gas which is then exported from the water ? Sure appreciate the help, as always. Randy <Properties of both media... external, larger porosities that host aerobic nitrifiers, and deeper, smaller quasi and anaerobic regions that serve as sites for denitrifying microorganisms. The biggest "difference" between the two is that LR is composed of alkaline earth substrate (calcium, magnesium carbonates and more) that serve further to neutralize the reductive reactions of nitrification. Siporax is sintered (silica) glass... almost chemically inert. Bob Fenner> Wet/dry and skimmer questions Hello WWM!! I just got started in the hobby and found this site. WOW!! Tons of useful info. Well, dilemma. I currently have a 20 gal FOWLR setup with 20# Live Fiji Rock, 1 Percula clown and blue damsel and running it with a Penguin 170 filter (I know, not all that great), ViaAqua 100W stainless steel heater with one Penguin 550 Powerhead and the Coralife Lunar 2x65 W fixture. I've had the tank up and running for about a month now, and my readings are NH3 - < 0.25, NO2 - 0, NO3 - < 10 ppm (using the RedSea test kit). I had my first nitrate drop about the 3rd week in the cycle and did a 50% water change and been changing 5 gallons every week since then. My question now. I want to setup a mini reef system in the near future and just wanted to know if you guys thinks if I purchased the AquaClear Pro 75 Wet/Dry filter with the built in skimmer if that would be a good consideration for filtration. << I think a sump refugium would do much more good than a wet/dry system. >> I was also thinking about just leaving the Penguin filter on and run an AquaC Remora HOT skimmer. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated. << Yes, please spend more time focusing efforts on biological filtration, and not on mechanical filtration.  I think live rock, lots of sand, and a refugium can replace all those mentioned items. >> Thank you guys for all this info!! Philip R. <<  Blundell  >>

Natural Methods of Marine Filtration hello <Hello! Ryan with you today> we would like to set up a 350l reef tank with invertebrates and some (not many) fish. <Smart girl!  Fewer fish keeps things simple and easy.> the confusion we have is that we have asked a lot of marine stores, read books and looked on the internet and we seem to get conflicting advice as to what is the best way to setup. <Commission talks, you know!  I'll be as impartial as possible for you.> we were wondering if a DSB of 4" (in tank) using CaribSea Aragamax sugar would be ok with a small amount of live rock. <No, not really.  4 inches is a problematic depth- Too small for a true deep sand bed, yet too deep for a small one.  It'll trap debris and not process waste properly.  Either 5+ inches, or less than an inch is about right.> We have been told everything from this is ok to we don't want a DSB we need a plenum (because the DSB will compact to concrete) to we want all live rock and not to bother with DSB or plenum!!! <Yes, the DSB is great, but enjoyed best remotely (not in the display aquarium.) From looking at the FAQ on your site it seems that there isn't too much danger in a DSB and we have heard that the actual "plenum" is hard to keep clear of matter as some gets through the mesh and then you have to pull your tank apart to clean it. <Yes, plenums are great when under a skilled eye...But can be problematic for beginners.  I'd skip either in favor of refugia in your case.> we have a filter as well for nitrification but we need to find the best way for denitrification. <the live rock, healthy circulation> Is there any rules that a DSB cannot be disturbed? can you not have critters that dig into it a little? <The opposite, in fact.  The worms, clams and stars that inhabit your sand will help to keep the bed fresh.> if so what should be avoided? <For the benefit of the sand bed?  Really, I can't think of any commonly purchased animals that are a detriment to the deep sand bed filtration system.> if we have a mixture of DSB and live rock, how much live rock? again we have been told anything from 1 piece to 40kg!!(a bit of a difference) <Hmm...sorry to sound so Americanized, but approx. 2 pounds per gallon of seawater is my preference.> also if we put other rock into the tank with the live rock, will it become "live" <Yes, in most cases> it is so hard when you try to get as many opinions as possible and you end up in more of a mess than when you started. We want to be able to understand WHY the system works, not simply work to a formula. <I thought you'd never ask! http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm.  Control nutrients, and become the talk of all your salty friends.> I suppose everyone has there own "best" system, but it would be nice to know the science behind it if you could help us in this we would be extremely grateful.  <It's actually quite simple, and I'd encourage you to take the natural approach to any difficulties you may have.  I trust these articles will be helpful to your understanding of natural filtration methods: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reeffilt.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marmechf.htm Just remember one thing: Natural fixes are permanent, artificial fixes are typically just buying you time!  Ryan> thanks in advance Lyndsay Marine Setup Query Greetings crew! Firstly, what a great service you are doing for us.  I cannot commend you enough with your helpful insights and problem solving ability for all of us beginners to the hobby. Thank You! I'd be remiss in not mentioning that the AquaC products that you recommend are not only great products, but the customer service truly is second to none. Question:  I have a 39gal saltwater tank setup for about 3 months with a AquaC Remora, a max 1200 for water circulation, and a slightly modified Eclipse 3 hood system (that I am in the process of wanting to remove completely).  The tanks has ~30lbs of LR, 2 false Perc's, one blue (yellow tail) damsel, and an assortment of snails and tiny crabs for cleanup.  Tank param.s are all 0's, 8.2 PH, calcium ~450. I am in the planning stages of wanting to remove the Eclipse 3 hood (thereby estimating the filtration and bio-wheel), adding a CustomSeaLife 2x65 light system, and making my own Lexan hood cover. Would just running the Remora alone will be sufficient. I'm also thinking about adding a soft coral when all is properly setup and running.  Do you envision any problems with this setup? Thank You! Craig Larson >>>Hello Craig, The live rock is enough, you don't need supplementary filtration aside from you skimmer. Just make sure you have good circulation. Cheers Jim<<< Starting a 72 gal bowfront Thank you for the info, so let me see if I have this straight, you are recommending a sump refugium rather than a canister filter or a wet dry sump system?  << Absolutely. >> I am ignorant on this subject but I thought that a lot of the wet/dry or trickle systems I've been seeing were with a sump. << Yes they are.  I would rather have my sump (the separate area below the tank) used for a refugium than taken up by a wet/dry system. >> Are you making a distinction between these and a refugium? << A refugium is basically an area with lots of sand, rock, and most importantly macro algae. >> Can you provide me with specific recommendations regarding equipment you suggested that would be proficient for the 72 gallon bow tank?  (sump filtration, powerheads, skimmer, how much sand and lighting type needed). << I'd say a 20 gal tank made into a sump is a good idea.  Fill it with macro algae and rocks.  Three powerheads in the main tank at about 300 gph.  Lighting is tough question.  Really depends on what you want to keep, but I'd say two 110 watt VHO, and two 250 watt HQI halides. >> You mention in your response that "livestock is going to run way high" can you elaborate on that?  << Well I'd say $1,000 to stock a 72 gal is a reasonably good guess.  Especially when you add up the cost of live rock. >> Thanks again, Frank G. <<  Blundell  >> Should have mentioned.... to see pics of a 72 gal like you are setting up go here...   http://www.utahreefs.com/tankofthemonth/stevelopez/tank_of_the_month.htm Blundell Saltwater filtration systems Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer my email and questions, your input is greatly appreciated.  As I mentioned in my original email I had maintained two fish tanks in the past, (a tropical freshwater and a goldfish tank), and have long wanted to switch to saltwater.  I've been reading a couple of books, visiting local fish stores and reading info on your website and have become confused over which filtration system would suit my needs in the most efficient manner.  I am planning on purchasing a 72 gallon oceanic bow tank.  << I'm familiar with them. >> I am also contemplating a fish only tank.  After my brief education I am not certain if I should add live rock.  << I can't imagine having a salt water tank without live rock. >> I know it would be beneficial however some salesmen state that the rock would not be "live" for long, (after the fish eat all the organisms). << Untrue, in fact in a healthy tank the rock always becomes more alive as it continues to grow. >> Here are my questions:  I need clarification regarding the difference between a wet/dry filter and a wet/dry with a sump.  Through my reading I had thought that you could get a wet/dry filter via a canister filter or through the open sump system.  Is this correct? << Yes, but let me make some suggestions.  Wet dry filters are really quite unnecessary.  I don't think anyone starting new marine tanks is using them.  Most people who do have wet dry's are now turning them into sumps. >> Per the small info I've accumulated it seems that the sump system is great however there may be a problem with nitrates in the long run. Is this true? << Absolutely not.  The sump system is mainly beneficial to remove nitrates.  It is the wet dry systems that can build up nitrates.  But a sump is specifically made to house deep sand areas, and macro algae, all of which reduce nitrate levels. >> Are there problems with overflow/spillage on the sump system? << Most sump systems are well made to prevent any spillage problems.  But things can always go wrong, so eventually it could cause a problem. >> What would be your recommendation for the system I am planning?  Do you feel that the wet/dry sump with a protein skimmer & some power heads would be better than possibly a canister filter with the same, or possibly the canister system with an additional hang on BioWheel or fluidized bed? << Powerheads good.  Skimmer good.  Deep sand bed good. Sump refugium good. BioWheels okay.  Fluidized and canisters bad. >> Is there a crucial difference between having the tank drilled or running your lines through the back of the tank? << Having a tank drilled is a much better way to go.  I like having them drilled on the back wall, and not having the lines go over the tank.  It really helps with possible air siphon problems.  The only reason to go over the tank lip is if the tank is already running.  But if you don't have the tank running yet, it is well worth the $20 to get your tank drilled. >>  Can you tell me which canister you would recommend the Rena XP3, the Penn Plax Cascade 1000 or the Eheim 2026/2028 versus the Oceanic #1 sump w/bio chamber?  << Not familiar with these products, and I don't have any friends that use anything like this. >> I would like to keep the cost of everything combined to around $1K, (if possible), for tank, stand, canopy & total filtration.  I'd like to purchase affordable reliable equipment that would give me the least maintenance with the best water quality. << No problem on that cost, but livestock is going to run way high. >> What would be the best way to keep the live rock and fish thriving in the same environment? << Good deep sand, lots of live rock, good water quality and lighting. >> I plan on approximately 7 or 8 fish, (don't know which ones yet, however want a peaceful community tank, any recommendations here would also be appreciated).  Could you also advise of the order of connecting the filtration systems above with a UV sterilizer, (for both options)? << Would stay away from UV unless you really have a problem arise. >> I was told that either filtration system should include the UV, do you agree and if so would you also make a recommendation there as well? I know this is a lot of requests for information however I appreciate any advice you could provide.  I prefer asking questions and getting educated rather than going out and blindly purchasing the wrong equipment and producing the wrong results. << I highly recommend seeing some tanks in your area, or in a local hobbyist club.  Seeing tanks, and asking questions to people in front of you can be most helpful. >> THANKS for your time and consideration, Frank Grillo <<  Blundell  >>

- Saltwater Filtration Choices - Hi, let me be direct, I had 2 tanks (tropical freshwater & goldfish) and now want to maintain a saltwater tank.  I've been researching via the web, books and visiting stores and now I am totally confused.  Is there a difference between a wet/dry filter and a wet/dry with a sump? <Only in configuration, not in the method of its operation.> I think that a wet dry can come in the form of a canister or the open sump system, is this generally correct? <Yes.> (forgive me for my lack of technical jargon). <No worries.> A lot of info I'm getting seems to indicate that the wet/dry sump system is great although there may be a problem with nitrates. <This is true.> I am going to start with a fish only system.  Some people tell me that I should include live rock, however I've heard and read that why use live rock when they won't be live for long, (after the fish eat all the organisms).  Is this true? <No, I don't agree with this... I run a fish only system with live rock and the rock is plenty live. There are many beneficial organisms that live in the rock that the fish will never touch.> If so then how would you go about keeping both the fish and live organisms thriving? <Brisk circulation and good quantities of live rock - about one pound per gallon.> Back to filtration:  what would you suggest for filtration, I am planning on purchasing a 72 gal oceanic bow tank.  Do you feel that the wet/dry sump w/protein skimmer & some power heads is better than possibly a canister filter with a BioWheel hang on and protein skimmer, (or a fluidized bed instead of the BioWheel), w/power heads. <I think just a simple sump, no wet/dry with a skimmer will work wonders. Some particulate filtration in the form of a filter "sock" would also be useful. If you could, and additional amount of live rock and substrate in the sump will also help.> I am looking for the best water quality I can afford with the least amount of maintenance possible and I don't have an endless supply of funds. I figure on approx 7 fish, (don't know which ones yet). <Would not rely entirely on the count of fish but entirely on their size...> What do you think of the Rena XP3 canisters versus the Eheim 2026 or 2028 versus the oceanic #1 sump w/bio chamber. <Would prefer the Eheims over pretty much anything.> (Can you make a recommendation I would like to keep the price of the whole system, tank, stand, canopy, "total filtration" to approx $1k). <Think you will exceed this budget by just a little... be prepared, don't cut corners.> Thanks, Frank G. <Cheers, J -- > Live Rock Filtration Question Hi all, <Hello! Ryan with you today> This is the setup I have 75gal. with a 29gal sump refugium DIY. I am using a plenum in the main tank with 2in. live sand and crushed coral. I have 90lb.live rock some in the fuge with 2in. live sand. I have a SeaClone 100 skimmer in fuge and what my LFS called tube plant not sure if it is macro algae but it is growing well. <Sounds to be a mangrove of some type?> I have 2 15w triton bulbs and 1 15w blue moon over fuge and 2 55w 10,000k pc and 2 55w actinic pc bulbs over main tank. I alternate lighting on main tank and fuge. I know I jumped the gun on live stock which consist of 7 damsels, 30 red legged hermits, 30 scarlet tipped hermits, 30 margarita snails, and 2 sand sifting stars. Sorry more than one question. First is my test kits are SeaChem when I test nitrite the reading is 0 but when I test nitrate I get no color change at all 0 is very light pink does this mean levels are off scale. <Sounds like nutrients are still in the ammonia stage to me> Second is if this is enough filtration to support soft corals, and a bulb tipped anemone, with 2 ocellaris clowns, a yellow tang, a blue tang, and an algae blenny. <Skip the Blue Tang and the answer is yes.  Far too small for anything more than a small yellow tang.> I would have maybe three corals at most when tank is cycled. <Sounds good!> Your Friend In The Hobby, Bill Moore <Good luck Bill! Ryan>

Saltwater tank plumbing Good morning crew! <Good Evening Charlie, MacL here with you> I am a saltwater newbie, but I have been dealing with Fw fish, reptiles, amphibs, inverts (land dwelling), and a number of the other species which inhabit our great green earth since I can remember. Before I go any further I would like to commend you for the multitude of extremely valuable information you continue to provide on a daily basis. Without this service I assume many confused souls would be left in the dark (like me). <Very kind of you to say.> Anyway I would like to purpose a setup which I have been concocting after extensive research and self introspection as to what qualities and goals I would aspire to meet and reach in a saltwater reef ecosystem...so...I would like to use a 55g with dual corner overflows (possible with sponge mats or something to prevent clogs???) draining to a 20 or 30 fuge underneath the display tank circulated by a return pump. Live rock and live sand (DSB) will biologically filter both the display tank and the fuge. Caulerpa, Halimeda, and Chaeto will all be planted (recommendations?). I do not want to use a protein skimmer because I think it is unnecessary in this application. Barring lighting and heating, this is the only equipment that I wish to use. This is not because I am cheap or lazy, but I would like to keep it as "eco" as possible without endangering the life of the inhabitants. So here come the questions...First of all what do you think? 2nd How would I specifically plumb this system (pvc connections and such)? <With two corner overflows the most simple way would be to take the water from one side and send it back through the other.> I would like to achieve 10 to 15x circulation so I feel that I would have to split the overflows so half will travel to the fuge and half will go right to the pump in the fuge (separated by baffles of course). <And then back from the fuge to where? the other side?> 3rd Do you feel that any mechanical filtration will be necessary? <I think you'll definitely need some circulation for cross currents.> 4th I think I like the idea of VHO's for lighting but am unsure of what wattage to run. I already know that I want to use ????? with a mix of actinic 03. I would like to keep a light load of fish, LPS, soft coral, and the normal clean up crew. <VHO's will be fine unless you decide to keep a clam, LPS or SPS coral.> Any suggestions or modifications that you see fit would be extremely helpful. <You might want to do some further research about your protein skimmer simply for waste removal. While I personally am not running one they can be very useful.>  Thanks for any comments, concerns in advance and sorry if I sound like a rookie.<Don't worry about being a rookie we all are, there is just so much to learn in this hobby.> Keep up the stellar work, you guys are the shiznit. Peace. <Thank you so much for your kind words Charlie. MacL> Charlie Wehr Allentown, Pa

Building a large filter A friend and I recently purchased several tanks designed for a flow through filer system or central filter. Each tank has about an inch pipe coming up from the bottom to just below the top. The total gallons add up to 720. My question is what type of filter do you recommend for such a set up and also if you know of any good ways to build one? If you could give us some ideas it would be appreciated. Thanks, Mark <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/cntfiltbiz.htm and the linked (in blue, at top) articles and FAQs files. Bob Fenner> Enough filtration OK, my MO when starting up a saltwater tank has always been to so vastly over do the filtration, that it borders on ridiculous sometimes. I will defend that method till the end. <I understand believe me> This latest tank however, I did not follow my own rules. (It is a 125g, undrilled display tank I put in my place of business)  I have always found undrilled to be a pain in the ass, as I am a firm believer in the sump, but the overflow/gravity system has proven to be a nightmare for me in the past. So instead.....I put down 2-3" of live sand, added 180lbs of live rock, used an aqua-c remora-pro hang-on skimmer with mag drive upgrade, 2 maxi-jet 1200's for circulation, and just for kicks I hung an emperor 280 on the back for some additional mechanical filtration. I change about 5 gallons of water a week. It is very clean and neat, with nothing at all in the cabinet beneath, (which I am tickled pink about) and I no longer have an intense fear of power outages/flooding as with an overflow/gravity system. My  question is.....In your opinion, is it enough? If not, where would you beef it up? Thanks, <I really believe you have enough in your tank.  BUT a lot of that is going to depend on the load you put in your tank fish and/or corals wise.  If you put in a lot of fish or fish that are going to place a huge load on the tank that might change and you might need more circulation. Good luck, MacL> -Pat - Filtration & Refugium Options - Hi, I'm hoping you can answer a question for me regarding refugium flow rate. <So am I...> I read through the refugium material on your website and about water circulation in a reef tank. Maybe my questions were answered somewhere in there, but with so many entries in the FAQ I've lost track. After a 4 year hiatus, I will set up my 120 tank. This time I will build a reef tank, clams, corals, the whole nine yards. The largest refugium /sump I can install under the tank is about 20 gal. I will use it for bio filtration, skimmer on closed loop, mud filter and Caulerpa. First off what do you think? <Better to have both - a sump and refugium - a decent flow rate of 10x your system volume could be too brisk for a refugium.> Too small? <It would be better if it were larger.> Bound for failure? <Not necessarily... but may not provide the full extent of benefits you hope for.> I do not intend on having powerheads in the tank so as your site has suggested, I will use a hefty pump and a manifold for good water circulation, 1500 to 2000 GPH. But it seems to me this flow rate will be way, way too much for the refugium. <Spot on.> I would actually prefer something like 2x to 5x (40 to 100 gph) the sump capacity per hour. I think this is consistent with others claim to be acceptable. <Yes.> Can I T off of the return line and gate valve over to the sump, with the other line tied directly into the circulation pump? Can I "T" back into the intake of the circulation pump? <Don't think it would work well... plumb the pump directly to the outflow of the tank - typically this flow contains a lot of air that would significantly reduce the efficiency of your pump.> This somehow doesn't seem right to me. I'm guessing that I will have to put a small pump in the sump to return to the tank. <Yes, perhaps use the high volume pump in a closed loop - direct intake from the tank without using the overflow.> As an alternative, I can fit two sumps under the tank (1 refugium, 1 sump). I could then devote the entire 20 gal tank to a refugium / mud filter. <That sounds better.> Should I place the Bio filtration in the sump? <You can go without, provided a sufficient amount of live rock and sand in the tank.> How about the skimmer, closed loop off of the sump or refugium? <Would place in or around the sump.> Many Thanks......Frank <Cheers, J -- > Nitrates, filtration, confusion, frustration Hi Bob and crew! Thank you for giving your time to those seeking answers to some pretty confusing situations.  I have some general things nagging at me and am finally getting around to addressing them. Tank background: 55 gal glass w/o sump (no drains), AquaC Remora Pro Hang-on skimmer, Filstar canister filter with sponge media and carbon only (no bio bed pieces), Teclima CA200 chiller with Iwaki pump for circulation, 50 lbs live rock, 3-4 in "live" sand, 6 small to medium fish, 1 green (now brown) anemone. I have an ongoing issue with nitrates.  They are vary between 25 and 50.<I would try more water changes or feed a bit less than you are now>  All other levels are appropriate - nitrite=0 ammonia=0, pH=8.2.  As a result, I find that the tank seems to grow algae at a faster rate and my live rock now looks like crap. <also try running the lights a few hours less a day for a while until the algae goes away> This is not to mention the continual effort I must put in for cleaning and water changes.  Here's the background...  This has been an issue for at least 2 years now.  Actually, it was much worse in the past.  In an effort to get it under control I started using a product called AZ-NO3 to reduce the nitrates.  This actually does the trick at controlling it at a lower level but does not bring it to 0.  At this point, every time I try to wean the tank off of the stuff the nitrates go back up high.  It's like the tank is addicted - quite annoying!  I am stumped at both finding the source of the nitrates and finding a solution to control it.<again....feed the fish less...do a larger weekly water change, use RO/DI water and it should help tremendously> I considered replacing my Filstar canister filter with an Eheim wet/dry filter but read on your site that this might actually increase the nitrates.  Thoughts? <yes, that could actually increase the nitrates> I currently use a chemical in my canister filter called bio Chem Zorb - it is a mixture of carbon and a nitrate absorbing material.  I clean the canister filter, sponge media, and replace the chemical every month.<ok>  It is always full of a brown, mucous good in addition to the sponges having a lot of waste build-up.  I can't imagine having to clean this thing more often - it will drive me crazy.  Could this be affecting the nitrates? <yes...undissolved organic waste will cause excess nitrates> What do you think about replacing it or extracting it from the system?<maybe replacing every couple of weeks might help>  Should the skimmer be doing most of the work here instead of the canister?<they both work together as a team> I know that you recommend a big sand bed and lots of live rock to help here.  What would the definition of this be for my tank?<refugium? DSB?>  Does sand need stirring to keep it active and living?  Is it possible that my sand is full of "crap" and creating nitrates too?<siphon it>  Here's another question, does live rock die? <yes, technically when all of the denitrifying bacteria dies it is considered dead> I ask this because it seems covered with algae.<then it is very much alive lol...>  I brush it to keep things under control (another time consuming task) and it does have some purple covering, but will the algae growth eventually smother it?<yes if it is not taken care of...the purple stuff you are referring too is called coralline algae> Sorry, some strange questions here.  Basically, just looking for some troubleshooting advice and ways to make my life with the aquarium a little easier.  I love the hobby but if there are ways keep the nitrate control from taking over my life that would make me even more happy.<yea there are...just try some of the things that I advised> Thanks again! John<welcome, IanB> Filtration question <First let me apologize Alejandro for the delay in getting back to you I was at MACNA.> I have a question,  I am going to buy a 155 gal all glass aquarium they are telling me in the store to use Caulerpa and miracle mud with a skimmer I want to have a mini reef with some anemones and sponges and soft corals, can I use a wet dry they are telling me no but what do you recommend. <The biomedia in wet/dry's have a bad reputation for putting nitrates in an aquarium and I'm sure this is what your store is basing their suggestion on. But Alejandro I have to be honest and tell you my reef has a wet/dry on it. I don't have problems with nitrates for two reasons, one, I have a refugium similar to what they are suggesting to combat the nitrates and I have a lot of live rock in the tank as well to combat the nitrates.> In the sump they are adding a light for the Caulerpa but I have no idea in this, I had a 75 gallon tank with live rock but it had a leakage and I lost it so now I am between a 72 or this 155 what do you recommend. <I think you will find the bigger the tank the more you will enjoy it, but that's only my opinion.> I had ordered for my previous tank a fixture 4 foot long with 2 175 MH 10 k Ushios and 2 40 watt actinics they say if I raise it it could be used on top of the 155 gal I receive this lights tomorrow and don't want to lose them what can I do? <I think that lighting would work pretty well as long as you don't go into some of the stony corals.> can I use a wet dry filter with a skimmer and only that for a reef? <You can but you are going to have to really watch closely for nitrates and be prepared to do the work involved to keep what you want.  Anemones put a large amount of waste into the tank.  Good luck Alejandro, MacL> thank you very much Alejandro

Re: Filtration for large waste producing fish In theory, if you have a reef tank with large waste producing fish, obviously a paradigm shift, would it be appropriate to use bioballs with your live rock because of the amount of waste being produced, and the need for more Biological filtration? << Sounds a little contradictory.  Yes, you would need more filtration.  Yes I believe you would need more biological filtration.  But bioballs aren't biological filtration.  I think you would be better with a much bigger skimmer and more live rock. >> <<  Blundell  >>

- Filtration Options - Hi you have been great help in the past and I thank you for that. My question is, what are your thoughts for using a house prefiltration filter with a pump in the aquarium? <Mmm... not really something I would recommend.> If the media inside the filter is just for sediments (exactly what are these?) <Small particulates.> can I add other media, ex. Carbon, sponge etc for it to work? <Would rather see you use something made for fish tank filtration than general water filtration. While the basic concept of filtering the water is good, the maintenance interval would be too high to make it practical and you'd be so much better off with something specific to the job. A penny saved in this case will be two pennies spent later on.> Thanks beforehand for your response. Excellent informative website. You guys do a great job. <Cheers, J -- > Filter and Skimmer Questions Greetings! <Hi there, MikeD here> I have read and read and read.  Now I need to ask questions based on my specific situation. I purchased a 90g FO stocked predator tank<As in up and running from someone?>.  I have had it for 2 weeks<You ran into no cycling problems with the move? Unusual>.  The fish fared well<That's fantastic!>.  In the short time I've cared for this tank, I have quickly realized that the SeaClone 100 skimmer must be replaced immediately because it is insufficient (understatement)<Pretty much to be expected>.   Also, the skimmer is in the "clean side" of the Sealife wet/dry model 100 sump... this is VERY BAD, right<Nope....that's where I'd put it>?  The skimmer needs to be on the dirty end<Why? Let the filter do it's thing, THEN the skimmer finishes the job>?  If so, how can I get there?  The wet/dry has a drip plate, blue plastic media, foam sponge and then the sump area crowded with a 500gpd submersible main pump (getting unreliable...needs replacing)<OK, if you think so>, the SeaClone, and bags of carbon.  The tank is doing a mini cycle from the move (most of the water came with it)<Ah, that explains some things. Just use care that it's truly as mini as you think it is>.   For the skimmer, I was seriously considering the "Super Reef Devil" (rated for 180 gal) and maybe with a new sump (optional as a set from same company). Example: http://www.aquadirect.com/store/customer/product.php?productid=449&cat=18  Or should I attempt to reconfigure the Sealife Wet/Dry?  My biggest concern is that drastic changes will quickly adversely affect the tank and kill the fish.  Should I consider a different skimmer?  This seems like a very good product for the price.<Euro reefs are getting the best skimmer makers all over, as far as I know. I'd leave the sump until the tank is well established, and add LR to the main tank itself to assist WHEN and IF you decide to change it> SO, now what?  How can I convert what's there, or introduce a new setup without doing harm to the fish?<I'd slow way down. An up and running system can be moved, but the cycling, depending on the fish load, can still be a killer. In marine tanks, haste doesn't make waste, it kills!> And as if this weren't enough... I need a TWP system.  I have been buying water to top off and do mini water changes (slowly bring down salinity and get rid of some nitrates).  I have city water and am very interested in the Kold Ster-il unit, but there is a lot of negative buzz out there (mostly older posts).  I think you are fairly high on this?  Like many, I don't want the waste of RO and RO/DI appears to be such a hassle from a maintenance perspective, compared to the Kold Ster-il.  It understand that Kold Ster-il is more $ and prob. lower water quality, but there is something to be said for convenience if it is acceptable water for the fish.  Thoughts?<I'd suggest slowing down. Spending money is NOT always the answer, and often becomes THE problem. For a FOWL tank, I've been running tap water for 30 years and having pretty fair luck. Your test results are meaningless until your tank stabilizes, and you're looking in the wrong places way too fast. Time is time, and you can't buy that at any cost> Tank Details: Corner Dam, bottom drilled.  No dead or live rock.  Minimal sand bed (about 1"-2").  Lots of coral skeletons that are removed and sun bleached (not all at the same time), due to brown algae growth.  In addition to the Sealife wet/dry, there is a 9 watt UV filter (is this beneficial to this tank and its inhabitants?) It may or may not be...by destroying the "brown algae, you've also destroyed any value to the LR. It sounds like your fish are lucky to be surviving your method and haste>. Water quality: Visually clear, but bad.  Ammonia is finally under .25 and near 0.<Needs to be 0 at ALL times!>  Nitrite is under .25.<also 0 at ALL times>  Nitrate is off the charts (as in >160)<Not surprising as you killed all the LR>. pH hovers around 8.  Temp is 80 (steady). SG = 1.024. Fish Friends (all are excellent eaters, but I'm careful not to overfeed): Snowflake Eel - Echidna nebulosa 18" Dogface Puffer - Arothron nigropunctatus 6" Powder Blue Tang - Acanthurus leucosternon 4" Blue (Hippo) Tang, Indo-Pacific - Paracanthurus hepatus 4" (BAD HLLE, but improving on his new balanced diet)<I'm shocked he survived the move. Count your blessings> Cinnamon Clown - Amphiprion melanopus 3" Tomato Clown - Amphiprion frenatus 2 1/2" Volitans Lion - Pterois volitans 5" Sorry for the long email.  I'm sleepless worrying over the creatures now in my care.<More sleep would be an EXCELLENT idea. Slow down and give everything time. The P. volitans lionfish WILL eat the clowns, you know, and will soon be too big for the 90 with all the other fish as well. A 90 would be fine for the puffer, the eel and the lion, and that's about the limit as these are large fish that tax filtration to the max> Best regards,<Good luck and please, slow down and quit looking for instant answers. I'd suggest 5 gal/per day water change to get them through the adjustment. The biological filtration is perhaps the single most important factor in a successful predator tank, and that "brown algae" was worth its weight in gold!> Greg Smith Wet/dry and protein skimmer This may sound like a dumb question but I am setting a 55 gallon reef tank and I was wondering if you could tell me if I have to use a protein skimmer and a regular filter or can I do with just a protein skimmer...I have a seaclone100<Use both, IanB> thanks

- Tank Set-up - Plumbing, Pump Sizes, and Sump Design - Bob and Co., I've got tons of information but can't seem to get stuff hooked up (in my line of work we call this "analysis paralysis", where you have so much information you can't get anything done).   I have a 125 AGA (still empty; nothing's hooked up yet) that will drain ~1200GPH (4' off the floor, no really bad angles in the plumbing), and an Iwaki 70RLT that'll pump >1500 GPH.  I'm absolutely agonizing over this (everything else too; I know, it's supposed to be fun)  My options, I think, are to get rid of the huge pump in favor of something that has a flow rate closer to the drain rate - and/or - put in a bleed line (i.e., branch off part of the return back into the sump?) -  and/or - valve back the return (although I think I read somewhere that isn't good for the pump).  What's the best solution? <Get rid of the pump, go for the Iwaki 40RLXT - you'll get a good approximation to your maximum flow rate, and you probably won't have to valve it back, which isn't bad for the pump but will push your electric bill a little higher.> Given the above then, from the 1" drain bulkhead, I'd thought I'd increase the diameter of the drain lines to 1.5" (less flow restriction).  I'd run 1" return lines and only reduce them right at the ?" return bulkheads.  Does this make sense? <Not really - the point of restriction will be your limiting factor regardless of the size of the plumbing around it. Might as well run those sizes and cut back on internal turbulence at the point of restriction which will further reduce the flow.> The other source of anxiety is the sump.  Basically, what I think I'm reading is that all I have to do is drain into a box, run through a skimmer and what-all (UV, etc.), and 86 the wet/dry - dump in a bunch more LR instead of Bio-balls (do I need to have it lit down there?).  Is that pretty much it? <Yup... really doesn't have to be complicated at all.> Thanks guys.  Much obliged.  I *know* I can do this. <And I'm sure you can.> Mark <Cheers, J -- > HEAVY DUTY FILTER Hey guys, <Hi Lacie, MacL here with you tonight.> my 55g is almost 3/4th's of the way done cycling, and right now I'm just using a simple Skilter. <Congratulations on almost being finished with your cycle.> I was considering an Eheim Classic canister filter, but I had read somewhere that Mr. Fenner had recommended against it (for cleaning/maintenance reasons I think), so I was just curious as to what filter would be best to help combat an eventual big bio-load, dual Emperor 400's perhaps? <The question really is what you plan to keep that's going to give you such a high bioload. Canisters can give a build up of nitrates which isn't good for corals.> Let me know if you there are any specific recommendations you can give me :)<It really depends on what you want to keep Lacie, if you can let me know that maybe I can help you better.  You might consider a wet/dry filter for a heavy load as well.> -Lacie

Heavy Duty Filter I am going to have a reasonable amount of corals: Rose anemone, a few leathers, an Acro or two, chili coral, gorgonians, etc, I'm mainly interested in a powerful filter(s) because I want to keep somewhere between 5-10 (haven't decided on the final selection yet) fish small/medium fish. <Let me start talking to you again by saying you are doing a great job researching in advance Lacie. I think when it comes time you'll need to do some additional research on the compatibility and difficulty of some of your corals.  That doesn't mean to discourage you in any way just to suggest that you might get some experience under your belt before you attempt a couple of them.> <Now about keeping the fish, the filtration system I'm assuming you have will be live sand and live rock and you are looking for something to keep your water moving and let your rock work efficiently as I understand your question.> I was told to get two AquaClear 300s, do you think these would be do a good job, thanks! <I think that they will keep the water flowing quite nicely in the tank but you'll need to make sure you have a sufficient amount of rock in the tank to do the denitrifying. Good luck, MacL>

- Filtration for Non-Drilled Tank - Hi guys, it's been a little while since I have written in but I just had my Fluval 404 filter break down and am in the market for a new one. I have a 75 g Oceanic Bowfront and do not have it drilled - all equip runs H.O.T - I was wondering if you could recommend a reliable, efficient filter for this tank - I am looking into buying the Eheim Wet/Dry 2229 for my tank. I want to get the best filter I can so I do not have any problems with inadequate filtration or pumps breaking down. Can you tell me if this is a good choice for my tank or if you know of one out there that might be better please? <I go with either this model or the other Eheim that is the same size but not a wet/dry - I can't think of the model off the top of my head, but either of these would be a really good choice. A hang-on skimmer like an AquaC Remora Pro would be a good addition.> I am relying on your infinite wisdom to guide my choice here. Thank you kindly - you guys rock! Jay.D <Cheers, J -- > How Much Sand and Filtration for a 1300 Litre Tank? Hi Guys, << and gals, although not here right now >> I'll be as quick as I can.  I do really have to ask these questions as you are the only people I will listen to.  The LFS are no help.  My 1300 litre main tank and 500 litre sump have just been delivered. << Excellent >> 1) I have read all the DSB FAQs but need a little clarification. I have bought some aragonite 1mm - 2mm size as I couldn't get sugar fine size (I'm in South Africa). << I don't like sugar size, so I think you got what you want. >> My aim would be for natural nitrate reduction.  Do I add a 5-6 inch deep sand bed to the main tank or  to the sump and how deep in the sump if so?  << I like about 4 inches in the main tank, and in the sump. >> A DSB in the sump only may be sufficient as I only have 3 Tangs, Niger trigger, Coris wrasse and a blue ringed angel plus LR and no corals.  << Actually the more corals you have, the less sand you need, as the corals are helping to filter the water. >> They are all around 4-5 inches at the moment.  I don't plan on adding anymore fish. In my 300 litre tank which is there current home my nitrate ranges from 0 to 10. 2) Is it better to add 2 x Turboflotor 1000 or 1 x Turboflotor 5000 shortly? AquaMedic is all that's available here? << Sorry, I'm not familiar with them.  Basically the more filtration and the more water motion the better. >> 3) If I put a glass cover on top of the tank to stop dust, evaporation etc. would it not stop oxygen getting in and gas exchange? << Yes, and no.  A glass cover isn't bad, unless it is like a tight seal and doesn't allow gas exchange.  A better idea is a glass shield right under the bulbs, but not all the way across the tank. >> 4) I have read sump FAQs as well, but do I add bioballs and those round ceramic things to begin with, or just more LR? << I would stay away from bioballs, and just go with more live rock. >> Thanks so much.  I've just been reading the "Goodbye to Powerheads" article so I'm away to build a water return manifold.  My fish are going to love me for this.  I don't know how people can swap their fish around, I have gotten so attached to mine. << Me too, good luck. >> Kind Regards, James. <<  Blundell  >>

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

- Refugium & Protein Skimmers - I have a 3 month old 29 gal reef tank, 30 lb live rock, 20 lb. live sand, some small corals, a few inverts, and 3 fish (yellow eye tang, turf mower blenny & mandarin). The filtration is a small refugium and an Emperor 280. I just recently got the tang in trade for the starter fish, but have experienced a bad algae bloom (red slime & green fuzzy stuff) - the red is gone but the fish do not seem to be controlling the green algae. (I did start to scrape it off & siphon it out). <Ahh good, is what's required some times.> I know that too many nutrients cause these problems & want to know if I need a protein skimmer (which one to hang on back?? Aqua C Remora?) and should I take out the tang & get something smaller. <Well... for starters yes, a skimmer of any kind will help your overall filtration, but may not address the algae directly. In general problem algae has a number of causes and you need to address them all - overfeeding is just one. You should also examine your overall circulation, perhaps add powerhead or two.> I also have a 40 gal. that has been up just over a year with a heavy fish & coral load on which I have a 400 Emperor, SeaClone skimmer & 4 watt sterilizer - it is doing great & getting the coralline algae now.  I am just not familiar with the refugium system to be comfortable & wonder if the Emperor is undoing what the refugium does. <Probably not... should be fine, but if all goes well, you should be able to remove the Emperor at some point and just let the refugium take over.> Should I take off the Emperor & just add a protein skimmer (&/or another smaller power filter??). <That wouldn't be a bad deal.> I have 12 inches to work with. <Then perhaps, yes you probably should ditch the Emperor then...> Thanks, I have read lots of your articles & they are great. <Glad you find them useful.> Marilyn <Cheers, J -- >

Removing a Wet Dry filter. Dear Adam, Thanks for all your input. You have definitely helped.  We will add more live rock and more sand.  We will try to redesign the return assemblies to incorporate some sort of spray bar so that the water is better dispersed.  Hopefully that will help keep the sand off the rocks and out of the water.  (it is sand not rotifers (I wish it was) that are suspended in the water).  We are bit shy on using the powerhead permanently since it may give out some electrical current/stress.  We usually use it after water changes/cleanup (when everything is stirred up).  We will add a hang on protein skimmer (that is the only access to raw water at the moment). << These all sound like great improvements.  I hope they make sense to you, and you are not just taking my advice for no reason. >> Hopefully, in a couple months we'll see more improvement.  If things improve,  we will gradually replace the bio balls, otherwise that wet/dry is history!  << Sounds good. >> We'll keep you posted on what worked. Thanks again. Sincerely,<< Good Luck. >> Nancy and Rocco <<  Blundell  >>

-Emperor Filter, Regular Maintenance- Hi Crew, <Hello there, Kevin here tonight.> I have an Emperor 280 filter for a 30G tank <As do I on my quarantine; my favorite HOTB filter.>.  I have had my tank for 2 months and have not cleaned my filter via disassembling it. The only thing  I have done was change the carbon a few times and clean the filter cartridge (by rinsing it in some tank water). <Keeping in mind that the filter cartridge is filled with carbon, which will re-release goodies that it absorbed or that were present from the manufacturing process. Change the cartridge at least monthly as the manufacturer suggests, but keeping in mind that carbon's usable lifespan in an aquarium is only 3-4 days.>  As you may already know, the instructions  to the filter say that I should replace the filter cartridge if the "water level indicator window" is half full or higher-which mine is. <Water level indicator window? Sounds complicated, let common sense rule here. If the water level on the back side of the cartridge is reasonably higher than the water level on the aquarium side, then its all gummed up with bio-yums. No rocket science here, if you notice that it has a lot of gross on it, clean it off, more than likely it's been a month anyway and you simply toss it.> Should I replace  the filter cartridge? <Yep, every month if only to keep this old carbon rotating out.> At this point, I believe that the cartridge is an  established part of my bio filter (even though I have a bio wheel-which I  have never touched). <The bio-wheel is your bio-filter, toss the cartridge with a clean conscience since the bio-wheel is taking care of most of your nitrification.> Should I also disassemble my filter and give the  filter box, water intakes and spray bar a good cleaning? <As the theoretical ideal aquarist does, disassemble all pumps every month, cleaning out the impeller and the impeller chamber. Keeping the only moving part clean will add to the lifespan of your unit, keep it running cooler, and quieter.> Will this effect  my bio filtration?  How should I go about cleaning it? <No worries, simply keep the bio-wheel wet in tank water for the duration of the cleaning.> Thanks for you  badly needed advice. <Enjoy -Kevin>   Chris

Bio Balls in a FOWLR Set Up <MikeD here again> thank you Mike D.  for getting back to me so fast.<You're more than welcome>  thank you for the great advice, especially doing a 5 g/week water change.  I'll try it and see how it goes.  sounds like a winner to me.  I went to my LFS today and guess what they had.  a 3 in. clown trigger!!  its funny though, they have some pretty big tanks full of all kinds of fish, but in the clown trigger's tank, there was only him and a much larger equally aggressive trigger.  I wonder why?.... ;-) .....since my tank has a good equilibrium right now, I am going to take your advice and  not get him.<Congratulations on a wise decision. You're now an official "Conscientious Aquarist">   I think he would tear up the tank eventually.<Me too>  I actually think I won't be adding any fish since, like you said I have a large bio-load.  one last question, though.  I know that I have a huge bio-load, but do you think I can help my nitrate problem if I got rid of my bio-bale and bio-balls?<Many hobbyists are reporting good results by removing the bioballs and switching to a lighted sump filled with LR and macro algae to actually absorb the nitrates as fertilizer>  I was thinking that they are doing more good than harm, but now I don't know.  let me know what you think.<I think it's a worthwhile idea, but one that you ultimately have to decide for yourself. I'm still using the old bio-ball systems, but that's a result of being handicapped and not being able to service the lower parts of the system regularly. Good results (me included) are also reported by removing the pre-filter sponges from these systems and using JUST the bio-balls and one main sponge pre-filter at the overflow>  thank you again for your time and help.<My pleasure, I just hope it does you some good.> Lucius

- Float Switch - How are you... <Well, thanks for asking.> Thanks for taking the time... Here's the question... It is about a float switch I installed in a tank I have... Installed in the tank in case one of the siphon tubes stop drawing water it will shut the pump down... Problem is it works fine when I test it by breaking one of the siphons but then when the tank starts to drain it kicks the pump back on and off and on... because as you know when a pump is shut the sump fills up with water until it reaches the bottom of the slots on the overflow... anyway of achieving this? <Well... what is it exactly you are trying to achieve. I'm confused as to where these siphon tubes are in the whole layout of things and why you might have such things if you have a regular overflow box in the tank. Please clarify and I'll do my best to lend a hand. Cheers, J -- >

- Float switch, Follow-up - It is an external overflow... the float switch is mounted in the tank (OVERFLOW HAS TWO SIPHON TUBES IN IT) I just figured if I wasn't home and somehow the siphon lost its prime the pump would soon run the sump dry so I wanted to install a float switch to shut the pump down if this happened... thanks again <The two most common reasons for this type of overflow losing its prime is a power failure and less often because the siphon tube becomes clogged. Obviously, the float switch won't help you with a power outage. The other problem is easy to avoid with regular maintenance. Not sure a float switch will help you in your endeavor. That being said, it sounds like you can go through some experimentation to test this - perhaps intentionally breaking the siphon. Cheers, J -- >

Kold-Steril Water Filtration - I have been reading through the RO/DI pages and water4maruse.html at WWM. I have read the Kold-Ster-Il system is good and approved by the WWM crew, however, I am wondering what its unique filtering system is, since it produces no waste water??? <Well, if I'm not mistaken, the first two canisters are pretty typical of all filtration units - fine particulate and then carbon filtration. The last cartridge is loaded with PolyFilter disks.> is it only a DI unit, and not RO??? <Not exactly DI, but certainly not RO - it is reverse osmosis that results in the waste water.>  Also, the filters seem to require more frequent changes 5000g vs. 10000g for some others, will this prove to be substantially higher costs in the long-term??? <Perhaps, but hard to say as I've never used one.> price is $300 + $50 per filter set. Whereas a "Max 50 Maxxima RO/DI" 50gpd by Kent, is $275, while changing filters at 10000gals, on average at 6mos. where membrane is $100, not including sediment & carbon block filters... I guess I have provided all the information needed to do the math on my own, but I honor your opinions, and am mostly wondering about the KSI systems unique filtration... Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was thinking I had heard that charged particles (specifically phosphates) PO3/PO4 could not be removed via RO and due to its ionic charge required Deionization... <The PolyFilter portion will get a good amount of this.> Thank you... Ben <Cheers, J -- >

Avoiding Hang-on Filtration You have a really great website here!  I have a quick question for you regarding choice of  filtration for my 20H - the eclipse 2 filter/hood vs. the Hagen Fluval 204 canister.  I want to steer clear of hanging filters.  In the past I have had problems with hanging filters and mold growth.  The excessive evaporation caused by eclipse space in the hood around the hanging filter seems to be conducive to mold growth in a humid environment.  I live on a 1st fl apartment in New York City and my apartment is pretty humid 6 months out of the year.   I would like a filtration system that would not require me to cut much if any of the hood away to accommodate it and thus limit open space and evaporation.  I was thinking of the Hagen Fluval 204 MSF canister system combined with the AGA 24" deluxe hood, this seems to be a good choice because it wouldn't require a lot of modification to the hood and it would be powerful enough for a bigger tank should I chose to upgrade in the future.  But what about an eclipse hood/filter system?  Would this be a better and easier (and cheaper) choice? I've heard canisters can be tricky and temperamental and more expensive and time consuming to operate.  Would the canister be a waste in an aquarium this small? < I try to avoid canister filters at all times. They are inconvenient to work on and have many potential problems. But sometimes they are unavoidable. I do like the Marineland products and the eclipse is a fine system. The hoods work very well and may contain some of the moisture you are concerned with. How about a hot magnum that hangs on the back of the tank but can be adjusted to reduce splashing? -Chuck> Thanks! Jeff 

Using Under-gravel Filters Hello- <Hi, MikeD here> My situation is this I have a 30 gallon saltwater tank that houses fish, live rock, and invertebrates.<OK>  Specifically my tank is powered by an Eheim Wet dry Model 2227 filled with Ehfisubstrat Pro, a Penguin Bio-Wheel (also serves for quarantine purposes), a Prizm protein skimmer, two Aqua Clear Powerheads (a 201 and 402) these are attached to under gravel filter tubes connected to full sized single piece under gravel filter plate covered with 2-3 inches of crushed coral (when I set up the tank I also accidentally put 4 cups of sand in with the crushed coral) and 30 pounds of live rock sit on that. The setup is just about 1 year old.<OK>   The tank has 1 blue hippo tang, 1 coral beauty, 1 maroon clownfish, and a Scopas tang, I have 2 sea urchins, 3 emerald crabs, a cleaner and fire shrimp, a Sally lightfoot crab, two hermit crabs, a green brittle star, a chocolate chip star, and two Bahamas stars, and 5 Cerith snails.<You realize, of course, that this is SEVERELY overloaded. Not a little, but a LOT?>  I conduct 30% water changes every week and I siphon the gravel vigorously.<You'd HAVE to!>   My ammonia, nitrite, and PH are never a problem and are at the lowest of levels - barely present.<Wrong again. Barely present is dangerous and a problem waiting to happen, while 0 is never a problem>  My problem is for the last 8 months Nitrate that is 80-100 PPM.  I have tried more frequent changes, even big changes 70% a few times, I have tried denitrate, and Nitrex.  Nothing has worked.  I am thinking that the UG filter is the problem.<Nope. Too many animals is your problem, and it will get worse as they grow.>  Last night I crawled under the cabinet with a flashlight and under the UG plate it is covered with some gravel and a lot of sand the whole bottom also there are worm holes throughout.  Is this problematic?<No, and in fact is probably highly beneficial.> My question is should I get rid of the UG filter?  I read in Marine Fish and Reef in an article by Richard Harker that there are real benefits to sand beds. If so how should I do this - how would you do it?  What specifically should I replace it (live sand? brand etc.) with how much, what kind, what will happen, to the Nitrates?  What's the best.<There's only ONE real answer, my friend, correction one of two, with one being to radically lighten your bioload (they suggest 100 gals. minimum for a tang for a reason) or get a larger tank ASAP.>  Or if you don't think I should get rid of the UG then what?<Sorry, same answer>   One last question -- Are sea urchins not good for live rock?<Sea urchins are fine for LR in all but strict coral tanks. They DO graze coralline algae, but it regrows, sometimes even better as other non-calcareous algae often smother it and are grazed off the top.> THANKS<I hope you still mean that by now> -- Joe

Tank Filtration/Wet Dry Dear Mr. Blundell, << Oh please, Adam or Blundell or Fish Nerd, but not Mr. Blundell >> Thanks for your quick reply.  What we are really asking is, do we really need the wet/dry with the Perfecto overflow/return assemblies? << No you don't. >> -  This system doesn't filtrate or circulate the water well at all without major supplementation << I like keeping the wet dry system running, even if it doesn't have bioballs, just for water circulation reasons.  But really, you don't need it. >> -  The wet/dry make a lots noise and has no prefilter for a protein skimmer -  The Perfecto return assemblies blow the sand off the bottom of the tank no matter   how they are adjusted -   The Perfecto overflow assemblies seem to skim just the top water leaving most of the debris behind. << This is normal.  I think a lot of the time we skim the surface and the rest of the tank water doesn't move.  Therefore, I do like powerheads in the tank, and sometimes using a turkey baster to spray off the rocks.  On the other hand, lots of people like their detritus to sit on the bottom and not blow around in the tank. >> We found that with the addition of the Eheim -   Filtration improved greatly -   Water circulated more evenly without sand being kick up and creating drifts. -   The water is not crystal clear, it always has something suspended in it (sand, bubbles) Is this normal with a sandbed?  We usually only see fish only systems with gravel and they are always crystal clear. << Well I like the increased filtration and circulation.  That is great.  As for particles in the water... well it depends on what they are.  I love seeing rotifers all over in the water.  But if it is small sand particles, then I think the water flow needs to be spread out with a spray bar, so you don't get such a large flow of water in one area. >> Should we eliminate the original filtration/circulation system (eliminate the wet/dry,  bypass the Perfecto overflows and return assemblies and add another Eheim)? << Well tough question.  You'd have to pay the money for another Eheim.  I do like any type of sump areas, I think they really allow for excess tinkering (not that we need more reasons to tinker with our tanks or anything). >> Are canisters advisable with large marine systems (will we lose the oxygen we create with the wet/dry)? or should we just stick with what we have (wet/dry and Eheim) and add another Eheim. << Canister filters help, but live rock and live sand are really the keys to marine tanks.  They filter far greater than anything else. I wouldn't get rid of what you have, just maybe add something else.  You could add another Eheim but for the same cost, I would consider adding more live rock. >> Regardless of what we do to the original filtration system, we will definitely add more live rock and a protein skimmer. << Fantastic, just what I was saying. >> Where we add the protein skimmer depends on what we do to the system.  We know this is not an exact science. Each system has it's own personality, but we would rather make any necessary major adjustments to our system now rather than rely on the patches we've made thus far and regret it later.  We would like to add more fish in the future (like angels and triggers) but are afraid the filtration is still not up to par. (The nitrates are still at 80 since the beginning.) << That is high.  A deep sand bed and live rock will help there. >> We welcome your input, we hope our intentions are clearer than our previous email << I hope this helps answer your questions, but feel free to write back. >> Thanks Sincerely, Nancy and Rocco <<  Blundell  >>

Marine filtration G'DAY Boys,<Hi, MikeD here> I am running a 750 VIA AQUA PROFESSIONAL from the sump of the large trickle filter with Bio-balls, I transferred this from my last tank to speed up the process. The VIA AQUA has not been cleaned for at least one year now, can I, should I give the filter a over hall .<I'm not familiar with that particular filter, but if it's one with a biologic filter I'd leave it be. If it has a medium for solid removal, then you'll wan to clean/replace that portion> Also you have suggested that I can start up a bit of MACROALGAE in my sump, with a small amount of light in the sump, can you give me a bit more info on this set up, and what are the pro's and con's with doing this.<This can be a great idea for a FO or FOWLR system. In essence, the macroalgae utilizes the nitrate, the end of the chain that often gives fish people the most trouble, as fertilizer and can remove amazingly large amounts from the water. If you decide to try it you'll need to find suitable macroalgae for the amount of light that you have, with each kind having different requirements. In some cases NO fluorescents work fine if left on 24/7 (Caulerpa is a good example), while some types require better lighting right on up to the same level as corals, which I'd stay away from. The pros/cons are that if it works well sometimes you can have an amazing amount of growth, which will need to be cut back or harvested. This can either be disposed of, fed to fish such as tangs and rabbitfish or even sometimes traded in to local LFS where it can be sold for starter cultures or live food for vegetarian species. With some macroalgae it can go "sexual" under some conditions, where the entire plant rapidly breaks down and is spread through the water as individual new cells, a form of reproduction.  When this happens a water change is usually needed, but it can often be avoided as well.> Thanks Mate CHRIS (oz) <You're welcome. I can't be more specific on species as Oz has its own laws on what can/can't be imported, information readily available through any good local LFS>

DialySeas... Dear Bob, <Alice>     I have been reading some of your question and answer forums and have a question of my own. I have a 125 gal tank that I will be setting up next week for SW.  I have moved to a relatively small living area and the water changes are going to be a real hassle for me. I was wondering if you know anything about this company and their DialySeas product http://www.seavisions.com. <Do remember this when it first "hit" the markets a few years back... in essence an RO/DI device... "that reduces maintenance by about 75%"> The water change feature is what has my interest. The smaller model will easily handle a 300 gal tank. If this thing actually works and I can set up the water changes automatically, I would be a happy camper. <Does work to an extent... water changes are still advised however>     Any input you can supply would be most appreciated. Thank you, Ali <For my money, I would buy a less expensive "off the rack" device (RO, DI or RO/DI) and set the system up to facilitate easy maintenance otherwise... many things (good live rock), great skimming, careful feeding... can reduce the time, hassle, money involved here. Bob Fenner>

Filtration Question <Hi Barry, Mac L here> I am in the process of setting up an 6x2x2 reef system. In my last system I set up about four years ago I used a trickle filter as the filter system but since then loads of new filter systems are available. I am asking you what would you recommend as a filter system these days for this type of tank, I have plenty of room under the tank and above the tank and could you also tell me what's the best NNR setup at the moment. <There are few different options for filtration that are currently in use.  One of the most popular methods of filtration is a modified Berlin method.  This modified Berlin method consists of live rock, protein skimming, a deep sand bed, and excellent water flow.  The live rock will biologically filter your water, the protein skimmer will extract all pollutants and waste, and the water flow will keep dead spots at a minimum and allow particulate matter to remain suspended in the water column allowing the skimmer to remove it or organisms to eat it.  The deep sand bed (or DSB) acts as a nutrient/nitrate sink.   The DSB has an aerobic zone and an anaerobic zone.  In the aerobic zone, you'll find micro-organisms that will eat detritus and fish waste (and in turn provide the fish with food) and in the anaerobic zone, you will find bacteria that break down nitrates.  It's important to keep this DSB at a depth of 3-6 inches for it to be effective.  There are numerous brands of protein skimmers and prices can range from in the mid-$200's up to $500+ for a tank size of 180. And before I forget to mention it there are some majorly good articles on marine tank setups to be found here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/> Many Thanks Barry Edwards

Re: What filter  <Hi again Barry, MacL here again.> What are your  thoughts on the Ecosystem " miracle mud" filter system better or worse than Berlin system?? <I have to tell you that I personally have a refugium system. Not a true ecosystem but designed along the same lines. I have friends who swear by the system. Unfortunately I also know of one person who quickly comes to mind who had her mud system crash. That being said, I really believe your system type needs to come from what you want to keep in your tank. If you want fish only, if you want fish with live rock, if you want corals and then again what type of coral. What you think your ultimate goal is. Do the fish you want to keep need high oxygenation? Do they need a nitrate free tank? What exactly do the fish you want to keep need and then you use the system that you believe is going to accomplish this for you. I think you are well on the way to doing this by investigating the systems out there but I really want you to think more about the fish, coral, invertebrates etc that you plan to keep. What their needs are and what system or even COMBINATION of systems will help you achieve this.> Regards Barry Edwards  <Good luck Barry, MacL>

Canister filters and tang choices 6/20/04 Hey guys, just me again, <Hi Jim, Adam here this time.> I appreciate the insights. My system will include a canister (NuClear with just an "air filter" type insert which I will clean every four weeks by trading out a spare and soaking in a chlorine/H2O mixture and air drying out until the next change). When you say adding a canister, what do you mean? <I think that whoever replied before mistyped and meant to say skimmer rather than canister.  I would strongly agree.  You will be much happier and things will be much more stable with a skimmer present.  Although the Remora Pro is an excellent skimmer, it would be much to small for this tank.  Consider one of the EV series (180 perhaps?).  There isn't a hang on on the market that I would consider up to the job of a 129 gallon tank.  Do consider cleaning the canister much more often than monthly.  I generally advise against them because of the maintenance chore they create for what, in my opinion is minimal benefit.> As for a substitute for the Naso, I had a list of alternates in case there was an issue with this guy: Sailfin Tang - (Z. Desjardinii or Z. Veliferum) Scopas Tang (Z. Scopas) Kole's Tang (Yellow eye Tang) Any other suggestions would be appreciated!! <All of the Zebrasomas and Ctenochaetus tangs are generally very invert safe and quite hardy.  Any of them can be recommended, but please do quarantine!> Thanks again and nothing but the best for you and yours,  Jim <Thanks Jim, you too!  Adam>

Uupgrading 90 FO to 180 FO 6/14/04 I was hoping that you could give me some advice on upgrading my tank.  I currently have a 90 gallon FOWLR.  I will soon be moving and see it as a chance to upgrade.  I have had my eye on a 180-gallon tank, and would like your input on what I would need to add/change.  First, livestock includes: algae blenny, coral beauty angel, black and white Heniochus, yellow tang, dogface puffer, snowflake moray, and a Volitans.  As for hardware, I have a CPR 900 wet/dry with Rio 2100, Cascade 1000 canister, 36W UV sterilizer, 48" single fluorescent light, 48" single power compact strip, and the SeaClown 100 (which I have learned to despise). <I have to disclose a bias...  Except in the case of heavily stocked predator tanks, I generally recommend that even fish only tanks be managed like reef tanks (no intense lighting needed, of course).  I generally suggest relying on live rock and a good skimmer for the lion's share of filtration and maintaining normal-high calcium and alkalinity so that coralline algae predominates over nuisance varieties.  Live rock is perfectly capable of handling the biological filtration and wet/dry's lead to nitrate accumulation.> If I move up to a 180, would there be room for any additional fish, say a blue regal tang or more? <Absolutely.> I traded in my old blue tang after she began nipping at the fins of the puffer but I would like to have one again.  I have also thought about a large angel. <You definitely have the space, but you must consider such unpleasant interactions when adding new fish.  Also, you may have to be prepared to give up a newly added fish or one of your old friends, depending on your priorities.> I have only about 50 lbs of live rock and would like to purchase more for a 180, maybe another 50-100 lbs. <Great idea!  Good quality rock (like Marshall Islands or Kaelini) is more porous and you get more for your dollar, and fill more space with less pounds.  It also has more surface area for biological filtration.  If you aim for an aesthetically pleasing amount of rock, you should be in a reasonable range for good function as well.> Would I need to bump up the lighting for the live rock? <Probably not, unless you want to encourage the growth of any hitch hiking corals or macro algaes> Might it be okay if I kept the SeaClone and add an AquaC Remora Pro or Urchin Pro?  The sump of the wet/dry is about 9x9.5"... not really enough space for the EV series. <I would forget about the sea-clone.  Even with modifications, it is only good for up to about a 20-30 gallon tank.  An urchin or Remora are way too small for a 180 with the stocking levels you are aiming for.  More evidence of my bias...  I would use some simple, central mechanical filtration in place of the wet/dry (micron bags or blue filter pad for example).  I would also probably consider a larger, basic sump (a 40 gal breeder would be a great choice).  This would give you plenty of room for a bigger skimmer (like an EV-180 or EV-240).> Also, would I want to add another filter?  I thought about another CPR 900, but maybe I need a canister for more mechanical instead?  With all of these factors, what would you say is the order of importance for changing/adding?  Thank you for your help and time. <I would eliminate all power filters/mechanical filter in favor of one simple central mechanical filter a described above.  Power/canister filters are maintenance hassles and along with wet/dries promote the accumulation of nitrate.  Any mechanical filter should be thoroughly cleaned every few days, and you are far more likely to actually do so with one easily accessible central filter. Additional recommendations would be to get a "reef ready" tank, or better yet, have the tank drilled with several holes along the upper back edge for drainage and return to and from your sump.  Brisk water movement (at least 5-10x the tank volume per hour) will help keep wastes in suspension and moving toward your central mechanical filter.  Hope this all helps!  Adam>

Re: canister or wet dry? Hey guys, I have a question. I have a 100 gal tank that has been up and running for 6 months. I have a 4 inch live sand bed and 70 lb of live rock. I am running a CPR dual BakPak that pulls dark fluid needing to be emptied weekly. I have t-5 lighting and had two Fluval 404 s till one went down. I also have 2 802 AquaClears for water movement. I only have a few gobies (4) and two cardinals but want to add some corals. Should I get another Fluval or should I change to a wet dry? <I would definitely switch to a wet/dry or setup a refugium...I would actually do the latter.>If the sump option how much should it circulates I want to get rid of all heat producing pumps in tank. My tank is not drilled so I would need an overflow?.<yes you would definitely need an overflow>I'm at a loss and don't know which way to turn with this, but one filter down I don't have much time to mess around. Would like to go the best way to eventually have some nice sps and LPS corals as they have taken over my interest. (plus I have the lights and are a waste on fish only.) Help please you guys seem to be the only ones who know what's up. And are not trying to sell me something I don't need. P.S the deep sand bed you recommended works great.<Yea the DSB works well, I would try to get a wet/dry but if it doesn't work out or isn't convenient I would say you're OK with 2 Fluvals> <IanB> thanks in advance. Erik Lobe 

Polishing Water Hello Bob, et al, <Scott F. here today> I am in the midst of moving my 80G marine tank into a new 125G. I am now using a Euro Reef  CS8-2 skimmer; an Iwaki MD40RXT pump (about 1150 GPH) for circulation, plus a MagDrive 700 return pump from a 20G sump and 30G refugium. I have a total of about 160 lbs Indonesian Live Rock in the main tank and in the refugium. The tank is currently FOWLR, but have aspirations to include a variety of corals in the future. Right now, during the move, the tank is very lightly stocked with a cleaner crew only, but I will be adding carefully selected fish when the time is right. <Excellent...Nothing wrong with going slow> My question is this; I want to add a filter for the sole purpose of just polishing the water - I am a fanatic when it comes to crystal clear unpolluted water for my fish. <A, a fellow clean water fanatic! I can relate> BUT, I cannot decide between these two options: 1) An Eheim 2028 canister, which would add another 350 or so GPH circulation. I am currently using another Eheim 2028 (love them) in a large freshwater tank I also have. <Eheim makes excellent filters with a fine track record. They are easy to service, too- which is a huge plus when dealing with mechanical filtration systems, which need to be attended to frequently> 2) An "Ocean Clear" (in-line) Canister with a 25-micron filter. This canister (11" x 11") would then be added to the above mentioned Iwaki circulation system. <Ahh...Another excellent filter with large capacity and great performance.> Which of the above would you recommend, and why - I just cannot decide! <I suppose that I would go for the Eheim, for it's simplicity and ease of maintenance. Micron filters tend to clog up  a lot quicker than other mechanical media, and it might just be easier to go with the Eheim.> Any other suggestions or comments of how to obtain highest possible water clarity? <I'm a big fan of activated carbon, which, if replaced frequently, does an outstanding job at "polishing" water. You could also use ozone, which is a super way of creating crystal clear water. It does require some degree of understanding as to how it works, or you could create problems, though! I also like the "micron filter socks" that you can place at the bottom of your sump's standpipes, to catch some finer particulate matter. They do require frequent cleaning and/or replacement to avoid becoming "nutrient traps".> By the way, I don't know what I would do without your helpful FAQ's and my copy of the Conscientious Marine Aquarist! Thanks so much. Tage <You're quite welcome, Tage! We have as much fun bringing the site to you as we hope you have visiting it! Best of luck with your new system! Regards, Scott F.>

Filtration & ditto Hello My question is I have a 29 gal tank and a AquaClear 500 is my filter to big for my tank or is it fine. I am new to this and this is my first run so to speak.<The first thing I would do is read, read, read you can find tons of info on our site: www.wetwebmedia.com.  If you still have any questions after you look through our site just shoot us your question.  Cody>                                            Thank you                                                       RC

Best Filtration for a 110g FO Tank  I'm setting up a 110 gallon fish only tank.  I work at a highly regarded pet shop where everyone is very experienced,  <you're very lucky and so are your customers. I wish I had one of those around when I started>  ..and they are all telling me something different.  <That is not all that unusual in this hobby. I am sure you have heard the expression "different strokes for different folks". There is more than one way to get the same or similar effect >  For filtration for a fish only tank is it better to have a canister and a hang on filter, a wet dry with a hang on, or just a wet dry? What is the ideal filtration for a fish only tank?  < Live rock, sand and a Protein skimmer would be very beneficial. The type of fish you want keep should be taken into consideration when making this decision. For instance Puffers, Eels and Triggers are much messier eaters, heavy waste producers and can have few if any clean up critters in their tanks as most will make meals of the clean up crew. So as a result require more filtration than some of the cleaner less messy fish. I am really not sure there is any ideal. As you can gather form your co workers advice there are different ways to do the same thing. The best advice I can give you is to do some research of your own and once you have done some reading, formulate some questions and ask for trusted friends experiences. You can start with this article Archetypal "Fish-Only Marine Systems" http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishonsetup.htm as well as the related FAQs http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fosetupfaqs.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fosetupfaq3.htm   You could also post here on the Chat Forums http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ asking what has worked best for folks with your size tank and proposed stock list.  There are also some good threads on http://www.reefcentral.com.  What works well for one may not work well for another. I can tell you canisters are not my favorite filters. I have 2 high end canisters sitting in my garage. They came highly recommended by several folks whose opinions I trust. I find them to be a pain to get out from under the tank for cleaning and media changes and not only that, no matter how careful I was opening and closing them, I always had water on the carpet. Some might say I am just messy :). So guess what.....I didn't clean the darn things as often as I should have and I had some problems in my tanks at the time and lost some fish. It does not matter how ideal something may be if you don't use it properly it could be considered be close to useless, as those canisters were for me.  I am not sure which, if any of the hang on the back filters would be appropriate for a 110g. I have done quite a bit of research and most if not all are rated for smaller tanks. I did come across one hang on the back wet/dry trickle with a skimmer but have no experience with it. It seems from reading the posts on several boards that wet/dry trickle filters are preferred by most FO keepers Most of the folks with tanks over 50g seem to use sumps and refugiums. I can say I personally need something I can get to easily without making a mess. >  Thanks!  <Your quite welcome>, Leslie

New to Salt, but not to Water -II  >Thanks for your previous help but now I have 2 more questions.  >>Oy! Alright, lay it on me.  >Since I am planning on keeping live rock I've read that the wet/dry isn't a good idea.  >>Yeah, lots of folks like to call them things like "nitrate factories", as if nitrification doesn't need to take place, or the wet/dry units somehow produce more nitrates than wastes that originally went into the system. I say, "Pf!"  >So I'm not planning to use bioballs but water will still be running through the built-in (actually built on the outside) sump or wet/dry chamber. I'm wondering if I could convert it into something beneficial?  >>If you're going to do anything, study refugiums/refugia technology. It's much more a step in the right direction. You'll need to slow flow down in there, and if you decide to grow macroalgae you'll need to consider a bit of lighting.  >The wet/dry measures 7"H x 11"W x 4"D, and the entire sump measures 13.5"H x 11"W x 4"D. The guy at the LFS told me to put some live rocks in there.  >>Yes, but don't fill it completely, you'll need to ensure that water can flow THROUGH.  >My other question is about protein skimmers. I did some research and the only HOT skimmers that would fit (it would go into the built in wet/dry chamber) are the Remora, Seaclone, and Visi-Jet.  >>Stay away from the SeaClone! Of course, if you set up a nice little 'fuge, you can get away from skimming altogether.  >Would these overskim in a 16 gallon tank (if that's possible), or would I just end up with excellent water quality?  >>It's possible to overskim, but I don't think any of these units will do that.  >If it's too much I am planning on getting a cheap internal air lift type.  >>I would spend the time and money on getting a refugium going instead. If you want to skim (and LOTS of people really advocate skimming, some going as far as to say you can't have a salt tank without it - which is hooey, but another issue) then the Remora would be my first recommendation. A lot of people start off skimming, then set up a fuge and decide that skimming is more harmful than beneficial, as it can remove a lot of the creatures one is growing in a 'fuge. Generally, for beginners, skimming is recommended, though.  >Thanks again. Thomas  >>You're quite welcome Thomas. Welcome to the our world. Marina

Grandfathers Bearing Gifts - A Warning, and Condolences >Dear Marina, >>Hello Dana. >Thank you so much for the advice regarding our Sea Clear System II aquarium.  >>You're very welcome, though I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help to you, and sooner. >While I haven't yet been able to thoroughly explore the websites you recommended (although I certainly plan to spend much more time on them), you've already been a big help.  >>Big relief! Great. >Even though I'm sure we've still got a way to go to perfect it all, you were right regarding the water pump - while it was still humming, it turns out that it stopped functioning properly, probably shortly after we added our fish - and there has been virtually no water circulation at all, thus no real filtration either.  >>Not surprising after setting dry for those years. It may have not been doing well even when it was put way.  >The decorative air pump crocodile my six-year-old added may be the only thing that has kept them alive....  >>Indeed! >Since your e-mail, I was at least able to find someone in a neighboring city who was somewhat familiar with the system, and he replaced the pump and added extra filtration (more foam and bio-balls than we were initially advised) just last night. Already, the environment looks better! >>Ah! Fantastic! He's worth his weight in gold. >Thank you again, and I will continue to learn from both your and your recommended websites.... Dana >>Again, most welcome. P.S. Please accept my sincerest condolences regarding the similarities in our fathers' operating styles - what's the expression? "Beware of (grand)fathers bearing gifts.... ;-) >>Thank you so much, as you have mine as well. Be thankful yours didn't show up with a pair of quadrunners. Or computers, or.. well, my own father sometimes doesn't know when to stop. Fortunately, my boys have suffered nothing worse than being extremely SPOILT by their grandfather. Marina 

Marine filtration-a-palooza Marina, or anyone for that matter, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I am thinking of adding a 100 gallon Rubbermaid tub to my 65 hex tank by plumbing it through the floor to the basement. Do you have any recommendations for possible flow? <to be determined by how many overflow holes you have and how much water they can physically handle. If you are drilling holes in the main display, seek enough to run 10-20X tank volume per hour through> Sand bed, or crushed coral? <in the sump? if so... likely no. Best to have DSBs and refugiums in dedicated/partitioned vessels. In this sump, your first partitioned section should simply be empty for collecting raw water to feed your skimmer from> I have a plenum set up in the 65. Any advice that you have will be helpful as I've never set up a fuge. My tank is a 65 hex, 175w halide 2 55w actinics, CPR BakPak skimmer, Fluval 404 canister, 2 300gph powerheads, water parameters all great. I understand the benefits of a fuge but the upgrade in water volume, does it make my skimmer, and filter inefficient? <no my friend... impossible. Please use all... especially the skimmer> How about sell filter, get bigger skimmer? <running two skimmers simultaneously is an excellent idea . Clean them alternately so as to reduce the interruption of skimmate production> Like I said any help your fine crew can offer will surely help, and be taken as real live genuine wisdom. Beer warm, must go now! Thanks, Chad <best of luck, Anthony>

Filtration Options (4/7/04)   Dear Bob, <Steve Allen helping out tonight.>   I know you must get millions of mail like this but after reading the FAQ's and chatting on ReefCentral and thereeftank.com I am a little confused with which avenue I should pursue. I have a 46 gal tank currently with only 20lb LR (cured) , 90 lbs LS, 2 powerheads, and an aqua C remora HOT skimmer. I need filtration--I understand that a sump is probably the best idea for a reef tank but because of space restraints I can not utilize a sump. <Bummer. Time for plan B.> I had planned on getting an Eheim pro II 2026 canister filter but apparently this filtration method doesn't meet the approval of practically everyone I talk to. <I agree that a canister is a pain. They need frequent cleaning to cut down on nitrate production.> Is a refugium a better way to go? That idea doesn't have mechanical filtration. <A refugium is a great way to grow macroalgae for nutrient export and nurturing microcrustaceans for food. However, the best ways to do a refugium are in a sump or in a second tank above the main with gravity draining the water back to the main. I really like the AquaFuge HOT refugium, but again no mechanical filtration.> My budget limits me to only spending 175-225 MAX for filtration. In your opinion, what should I do with this dilemma? <For mechanical filtration, I'd go with a nice HOT power filter without a Bio-Wheel. You can run carbon and other media in there and replace easily. Cost less than $50. Spend the rest on more live rock. A refugium would be nice, but it's hard to imagine a way to combine this with mechanical filtration in your system.> Any suggestions would be appreciated <Hope this helps.> Sincerely, Steve Marandola

Making the best of what you have  Hi guys, <Hello! Ryan Bowen with you today> Your forums great and very helpful. <Many thanks> I am setting up a 120 gal fish only tank. It will have some live rock and use biological filtration and a remora skimmer. (Right now I cant afford the 120lb's of live rock.) <Understood> I will be using an emperor BioWheel 400 and a Hagen 300 with live rock in the filter box. <OK> My question is do the BioWheels put enough oxygen in the water and would I be better off using a Hagen 500 filter instead of the BioWheels. The Hagen filters seem to cause more surface disruption but the bio wheels have a spray bar to help rotate the wheels, which I assume would oxygenate the water better than the Hagen would. <I think that the bio-wheels actually keep the oxygen levels in the tank the highest...but I would point a powerhead in a way that it disrupts the surface water as well.> What's your take on this? I have another bio wheel its a penguin 330 filter and can use this instead of the Hagen but it does not have the spray bar. <Won't hurt> Buy the way, In 1 year I will be buying a sump for this tank, just cant afford it right now after dropping a load to get this tank going and keeping up with my reef tank, so I will be using filters that I already have. <that's okay, and it will be successful if you stock lightly and change the water frequently.> Thanks, Larry in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. <You're welcome- Ryan, recovering from the hour that was mercilessly stolen last night.>

Advice on 125 gal Acrylic Aquarium Setup  Alright, about a year ago, I emailed you guys about your thoughts on Tenecor's Simplicity Plus aquariums. Bob thought that they 'looked too narrow' because of the built-in filtration, and that they were not very flexible for additional equipment (protein skimmer, etc.). Well, I didn't take that advice, and bought a 125gal Simplicity Plus... Guess what? I hate it for the very reasons Bob warned me about.  <Argghhh n Shnarrgghhh>  Fast forward one year, and I am considering replacing the tank itself. I am considering two different options, a standard Tenecor 125 'show aquarium' or the 'marine ready' with the overflow and wet/dry filter that it comes with. I have a FOWLR system, with about 90lbs of live rock. So, could I ask for your advice on either setup below?  <Sure>  I am leaning towards the show aquarium because it leaves the filtration completely flexible. I don't see a need for the wet/dry filter on the marine ready since I already have live rock.  <Better to place all filtration outside the main system>  125 GAL SHOW AQUARIUM ($650 for tank)  +Eheim Canister filter for mechanical/chemical filtration and circulation  <I am a BIG fan of these filters... but not for saltwater in general... I do have a couple on two Eheim tanks at home... with African cichlids...>  +Live rock for biological filtration  +Protein Skimmer (have Remora Pro now)  OR....  125 GAL 'MARINE READY' AQUARIUM ($1400)  +Wet/Dry filter included along with plumbing  +Additional Red Sea Skimmer that connects to wet/dry filter below aquarium  Thanks,  Tim McLaren  <Tim... do set aside some time to read through the marine set-up sections on www.WetWebMedia.com... both tank manufacturers are fine for the tank itself... but you would do well to consider a refugium type set-up rather than a wet-dry... Do take your time here in formulating the best plan for yourself. Bob Fenner>

Filtration Conundrum (3/29/04)  Hi,<Hi. Steve Allen here.>  46 gallon bow/Aqua C Remora/Live Rock/Live sand/Power heads. Want to know about mechanical filtration. You talk about adding a canister filter best option, but then people say that is attracts phosphates? <Actually, nitrates if detritus is allowed to build up in it.> They say to remove the bio stuff, but if I add a Phosphate remover stuff (Rhoa phos??) In the filter, can I just leave everything alone. <Phosphate removers have to be taken out frequently. Again, it's nitrates that are the main issue with a canister. You can test for phosphates and use a remover if needed.>  They have lots of options to add to the filter (Eheim 2217):  http://www.marinedepot.com/IMD/fl_classic_media.jpg > 2217  http://www.marinedepot.com/aquarium_filter_media_eheim.asp?ast=  Should I use all of this with a phosphate remover. should I remove any of these? Should I use a canister filter at all? <Not sure who told you a canister is best. My personal preference is a HOT power filter such as an AquaClear. It's so quick to change the media. If you don't have space for one, then a canister is a viable option, but you will need to clean it out frequently. Test for phosphate and remove as needed. Carbon also needs to be changed a lot an you need a brand that does not leech phosphate.>  Also, instead of adding this, I was looking at the little Berlin sump (BS1) under my tank, is that a better choice, will that do the filtering? <Sumps are always nice, but not if you have to use a siphon overflow. Only drilled overflows are safe from floods. You use a floss bag on the pile leading to the sump for mechanical filtration and can put bags of carbon of phosphate remover into that bag.> Can I add the phosphate remover there? <Yes> Wow, choices are tough! <Indeed, no one way is clearly best for all. I'd really choose a HOT power filter over a cartridge or a sump that relies on J-tube siphons.> Mark <Hope this helps.>

Filtration System Hi Crew! :) I'm hoping you can help me decided on which type of filter would be best for my tank. It's a 46 gallon bowfront, Aqua-C Remora skimmer with 1200 powerhead, two Max-Jet 900 powerheads with sponges on them, 50 pounds live rock and 24 pounds aragonite. The small amount of aragonite keeps substrate level at 1". I've noticed the sponges collect a lot of debris and the water seems to have floating debris so I think it would be beneficial for me to have a mechanical filter. At the moment all I have are snails, hermits, a bristle star, 2 Blood Shrimp and some soft corals. Tank has been up and running for almost 4 months. What would you suggest as the best filter for my system? I plan on fish with more corals. Thanx again for the much needed answers! :) Eileen <I would go with a wet dry filtration system. IanB>

Skimmer/filter 3/28/04 Hello all... <greetings> I am finally getting my tank where I want it but I'm still a bit confused on the skimmer issue.  I've read FAQ's and talked with LFS but I there seems to be a good bit of variation in opinions. <largely marketing versus reality IMO ;) > I have a 20 gallon with LR and live sand bed.  I have 130W PC Custom SeaLife unit on top with a power head and a penguin 125 (carbon and bio wheel) on back.  Residents include a cleaner shrimp, a couple of Turbos and a couple of Ceriths along with a large feather duster.  No fish or corals (planning to add corals). Can I remove the Penguin and just use the power head(s) and a skimmer?   <they do not do the same job. Skimmers are invaluable IMO for removing organics, but most every tank should have a place to use carbon IMO (the Penguin here).> The penguin makes a big mess and it appears the LR and LS are doing a great job on filtration but I don't want to screw things up by doing something wrong.   <carbon will insure water clarity though. Your choice: weekly; water changes and/or weekly exchanges of fresh carbon> I'm leaning toward the Aqua C Remora (too much for my tank?). <excellent skimmer/brand> Thanks for the site and your willingness to answer these rookie questions. KB <wishing the best for you. Anthony>

Filtration Hi,<Howdy!>     I'm planning to change the filter media in my Fluval 404 (for a 2 month old marine tank-60g) at the moment the lower two media trays have activated carbon while the top two have white noodle things. I know I can just clean the noodle things but I've heard that its recommended to only have the carbon in for a few days a month. Also I have a Red Sea Prizm pro skimmer with a media basket, what would you recommend to put in that. I was also wondering what you thought of hang-on trickle filters (I don't have a weir) and combination skimmer filters, I was considering adding something else to compensate for the lack of a weir and trickle filters as I have only the above mentioned filter and skimmer. <I would just use what you have been using and rinse out the noodle things.  IMO it is fine to leave the carbon in there 24/7.  I would not add any more trickle filters or any filters but some live rock instead, LR acts as a biological filter and provides food for your fish among other things.  You can find tons of info on this and more at our web site: www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>Thanks heaps in advance - Mr. Blue Filtration Setup Revisited Thanks for the great advice, Ryan. <Glad you find it applicable> One quick clarification. You mention in your answer to my third question below that "All filtration should be on its own loop".  Would that imply that I could run one overflow/return to the refugium, and the other overflow/return to the 55-gallon sump, and not tie the sump and refugium to a common tank?   I was under the impression that both returns had to come from a common sump, or that they at least had to be tied together in case one return ever gets clogged, the system does not overflow. Is this right? <In my systems, both the refugium and the sump have enough room to accommodate a power outage- In a sense, both have enough vacant space that even without power/clogging neither will overflow.  Of course, with one large sump you also accomplish this.> I understand your point on gravity feeding the refugium to the tank, but even being the geek engineer I am, I can't win that one.  My wife is all in favor of me drilling holes in the living room floor to run the plumbing downstairs, but even she won't go for a tank full of algae sitting on top of the display tank. <For the official score: Rick 0, Mrs. Rick 1> There is no canopy and so no way to hide the refugium. (Hmm, maybe that will be the next project!)  But, would a good compromise be to gravity feed the refugium into the 55 gallon sump after the skimmers and right before the return pumps? <I can handle that!  It will absolutely help with nutrient export, and save some pods for hungry fish.> (I got away with no canopy by buying an Aqua Medic Spacelight.  Reportedly great lighting, and passes the wife-must-like-how-it-looks test.) <I love the design of this hood, it's very sleek.> Thanks again for the help, and you're on for the pictures as soon as I get the setup! <Until then! Ryan> Tnx, Rick

Aquarium hobby history 3/8/04 Hello WWM, Hope you are all well. I'm writing a paper on the history and development of filter systems in small scale, (home) marine systems and would really appreciate any input you might have on reference works. I'm working on the period from 1950 through today. Any thoughts from the team would be great. Keep up the great work. Peace, Joe <one of the best places for this information are the aquatics historians and booksellers like Lee Finely. These chaps are an amazing source of information and have some of the most fascinating books and references on aquarium history. Find Lee at: www.finleyaquaticbooks.com   phone 401-568-0371 <best regards, Anthony>

Filtration for New Tank I am starting a new 90 gal fish only salt water tank and about 100lbs.of live rock. I have a small 30 gal salt water set up now.  My question is the tank can't be drilled (tempered glass) so I am trying to decide on the Filtration.  I am probably going with either the Tide Pool 2 or the Eheim pro 2 wet dry setup.  Which set up is better plus how many power heads would I need.  <I would go with lots of live rock and a protein skimmer.  That would be much simpler and work better in my opinion.  Wet dries are nitrate traps and are a pain to clean.  You can find tons of info on all this at our site: www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>  any suggestions.  Thanks

Filtration for a new tank - 3/1/04 Hi, I have a question and since you seem to have all the answers I figured I'd ask you. <Not all the answers> I have a 72 gallon saltwater aquarium with 50 lbs live rock. <OK> It has just finished cycling and I only have snails, crabs and shrimp at the moment, (due to a SEVERE case of brown algae outbreak.)  Any thoughts on that, I'd be grateful as well. <That info is covered here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brnalgae.htm It's part of the new tank syndrome. It can take a tank up to 9 months to fully mature>  It's starting to form 6 inch peaks off the sand bed within a matter of hours after cleaning it.) while my stand is being built. My question is, I am running a Fluval 404 right now. <What kind of tank is this going to be?? A fish only? Corals? Mixed? What are your plans?> My aquarium dealer has been pushing me to get a second one saying it is a must for that size tank. <Again, depends on what your plans are...I would add more live rock and drop the Fluval>  Is it really necessary? <Not with the addition of live rock. You probably don't need the Fluval you have if you add more live rock. Use the money for a good skimmer> I thought this filter was able to be used on even larger tanks. <Supposed to be able to but live rock is really the main filtration here>  He is ridiculously expensive, (I could have bought this filter for less than half of what I paid for it, but he said if I just buy fish from him instead of the equipment as well, he will not help me with any questions or problems I might have.) <Let him know you won't be coming back. That is utterly ridiculous! F' him> so I'm wondering if he's just trying to make a quick buck off an inexperienced aquarist. <sounds like it to me>  What does your expertise think of this? <It's BS. You need to research more on your own anyway. Never go to the dealer and expect him to turn away a sale on your behalf. With ignorance comes advantage and you are giving him the advantage. Be informed. Read more, not only from our site, but others as well.  Join a reef club, buy some books, read through the many marine sites and forums. Good luck ~Paul>  Thanks for the info Cathy Is a protein skimmer necessary on a live rock and saltwater fish tank <A skimmer is not necessary, however, it is highly recommended in removing organic waste. Generally speaking, a tank which doesn't contain a protein skimmer is going to need many more water changes preformed than an aquarium which contains a skimmer. Overall, I would recommend a protein skimmer for any Saltwater aquarium. Take Care, Graham> Thanks

Too Many Fish...Or Too Little Filtration? Howzit Scott, Archie here. <Hi Archie!> Is my bioload to much for 55 gal (250L)????????? by the way the bicolor died. do you think my biofiltration is sufficient and only that the bioload is too high? <Well, it sounds like the bioload is too great for this tank, regardless of filtration. I'd sell some of those fishes off. Your filtration seems okay, if the other husbandry issues are taken care of. Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Filtration For A Heavy Bioload I am currently setting up a 100 gallon (60x18x20) acrylic tank with built in overflow.  I plan on using one inch of crushed coral and CaribSea's Reef Bones to aquascape the tank.  My current plan is to stock this tank with a Snowflake Eel and a Picasso Trigger.  Can the eel be used to cycle the tank? <I personally would not use fish to cycle the tank. So much easier and more humane to cycle by other means, all of which are well-discussed in the articles here on the WWM site> For filtration I plan to use a wet\dry manufactured by ETSS.  It incorporates bio-balls and their "Sea Dragon" skimmer which appears to come in the mix before the water hits the bio-balls.  So would it be safe to assume that the skimmer would aid in removing organics before the bio-balls turn them into nitrates?  I could not find any opinions on this system and was wondering if you were familiar with it? <I am familiar with ETSS systems, and they are well made and effective. If you are not going to use live rock or sand in your tank, I suppose the bioballs are the way to go. Nitrate will still accumulate in a system without other biological means to export them. Skimming is a huge help at eliminating or reducing organics, but it cannot do the job by itself. Consider utilizing some live rock somewhere in the system to help. A DSB is unlikely to help in this system, as the trigger will probably be quite disruptive. Aggressive water changing, skimming, and regular use of chemical filtration media will help> Thank you in advance for your help.   <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F>

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