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Need advice on filtration. Coming from FW planted aquaria in to reefing.


Burgen

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I come from a background of several years in the freshwater planted aquarium hobby. I've wanted to make the jump to reefing for most of that time and have finally been given the opportunity. My boyfriend bought me a 33 gallon long (48"l x12"w x 13"h) for my birthday that will hopefully become the reef tank of my dreams by this summer (well, at least be up and running).

 

Problem is I have the dilemma of being so accustomed to the way FW planted works I'm having a hard time piecing together information into what will make my tank the way I want it. In planted aquaria canister filters are considered tank-cleaning gods, but that is not the case here. HOBs were evil, and from what I gather have mixed reviews on the salty side of the hobby.

 

I have a good grasp on lighting, dosing supplements and general fish care (even if nitrates are allowed to creep higer in planted tanks, I definitely won't allow it in my reef, haha) but basically my question boils down to filtration. I know the live rock will take care of the biological aspect, but what about chemical and mechanical filtration? I never ran carbon in my planted tanks as I enjoy the blackwater look (and keep fish that appreciate the tannins as well) so that will be new for me. Will an HOB suffice, or will I really be sacrificing water care by not going with a sump? The size of the tank and stand will only allow for a ten gallon sump, but if this really is the best way I can make it happen. If possible I'd like to know if I could use a canister because I am very familiar with them, but I've had my fair share of AquaClears before I got into Co2 systems in planted tanks. Sumps, however, I am not familiar with at all. So please, advice! I'm sure this has been beaten to death, but when I searched HOB filter the results were for pico-sized tanks, and I have a fairly awkward tank (though I really like it).

 

Recommend to me a good HOB, tell me I can use a canister (not holding my breath here, haha) or help me with ideas for a 10 gallon sump (will have to be from an overflow, I won't drill this tank).

 

Thank you in advance :) for the few years I've been perusing this forum, I've always known you all to be helpful and I'm sure you'll come through here!

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The Aqua Clears are a heavily used HOB model. Prob 70 or 110.

 

 

That's what I assumed too, thanks for your reply :) is it a good option though? Maybe not the best, but still not going to directly result in my failure as a reefkeeper? Haha.

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I really don't know. I don't own one but from what others say it's a good filter.

 

Ok thank you! I figured they'd still be good to use. Their praise on this forum is what had me using them at the beginning of my freshwater career. I just know how fast the aquarium hobby can move and wanter to be sure they were still thought to be worth their weight. Most of my search results turned up fuge mods but I would use it as a real filter.

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Ok thank you! I figured they'd still be good to use. Their praise on this forum is what had me using them at the beginning of my freshwater career. I just know how fast the aquarium hobby can move and wanter to be sure they were still thought to be worth their weight. Most of my search results turned up fuge mods but I would use it as a real filter.

 

Welcome!! i too come from a heavily planted freshwater aquarium.. took the jump into a reef a year ago. I have had my ups and downs without a doubt.. But you will know from the FW side of things.. Its all better in time :)

 

I have a HOB AC50 in my freshwater tank you got beef on it? :)

 

When i move out again, I will have a AC110.. I'm either waiting for that slammin deal over the next 3 months or waiting until i NEED it :)

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There are various chemical media that are useful in the reef aquarium. The two most importatnt are likely carbon and granular feric oxide (GFO). Carbon has the obvious benefit you mention of maintaining water clarity but also absorbs the toxins some corals release as a means of chemical warfare, look up allelopathy. GFO absorbs phosphates and helps with pest algae control.

 

Changing/cleaning your mechanical filtration (old fashioned floss is the most popular choice) twice a week is a useful way of exporting nutrients from the aquarium before the detritus breaks down and ultimately increases nitrates in the aquarium and again fuels pest algae. Chemical media should also be regularly rinsed clean to remove built up detritus.

 

Each type of filter has advantages and disadvantages. In summary:

 

HOB:

Easy to change out or clean mechanical and chemical media, takes up minimal space in the display. Personally, I don't like cluttered aquariums and think they are difficult (but not impossible) to implement in a tidy way.

 

Internal Power filter:

Very easy to install in the aquarium but a pain to clean, take up space in the display and clutter the aquarium.

 

Canister Filter:

Take up little space in the aquarium and can add useful water volume. Changing/cleaning media is quite a chore.

 

Sump:

Add significant water voulme and allows you to remove all equipment except powerheads from the display. Allow easy maintenance but are technically more diificult to implement than the other methods.

 

IMO sumps are the best by a long way. You can install a protein skimmer, build a refugium, put your heaters in it, install an ATO.... and keep the display clear and open for rock, corals, fish and inverts. Yes you can use a canister filter but be aware of the need to clean it regularly or risk nutrient/pest algae problems.

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There are various chemical media that are useful in the reef aquarium. The two most importatnt are likely carbon and granular feric oxide (GFO). Carbon has the obvious benefit you mention of maintaining water clarity but also absorbs the toxins some corals release as a means of chemical warfare, look up allelopathy. GFO absorbs phosphates and helps with pest algae control.

 

Changing/cleaning your mechanical filtration (old fashioned floss is the most popular choice) twice a week is a useful way of exporting nutrients from the aquarium before the detritus breaks down and ultimately increases nitrates in the aquarium and again fuels pest algae. Chemical media should also be regularly rinsed clean to remove built up detritus.

 

Each type of filter has advantages and disadvantages. In summary:

 

HOB:

Easy to change out or clean mechanical and chemical media, takes up minimal space in the display. Personally, I don't like cluttered aquariums and think they are difficult (but not impossible) to implement in a tidy way.

 

Internal Power filter:

Very easy to install in the aquarium but a pain to clean, take up space in the display and clutter the aquarium.

 

Canister Filter:

Take up little space in the aquarium and can add useful water volume. Changing/cleaning media is quite a chore.

 

Sump:

Add significant water voulme and allows you to remove all equipment except powerheads from the display. Allow easy maintenance but are technically more diificult to implement than the other methods.

 

IMO sumps are the best by a long way. You can install a protein skimmer, build a refugium, put your heaters in it, install an ATO.... and keep the display clear and open for rock, corals, fish and inverts. Yes you can use a canister filter but be aware of the need to clean it regularly or risk nutrient/pest algae problems.

 

Thank you for your very informative reply! I do know that sumps are pretty much where it's at, i'm just unsure of how to construct one iin nothing larger than a 10 gallon tank. Is there enough space in a ten gallon to do it?

 

@Trogdor447, no, no beef with the AquaClears...I just switched to canisters to prevent Co2 offgassing. The ACs were great little filters, just for me any HOB gave too much surface agitation to properly run co2 and get the plants to pearl.

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