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First reef tank, filtration options?


ec0830

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Hey NanoReef community,

Long time freshwater hobbyist, after a long time of wanting one I've finally decided to venture into saltwater.

I've seen a lot of conflicting info on best practices for filtration on a saltwater tank and I'm trying to figure out the best way to set up a simple 20 gal tank for success. Currently plan on running a powerhead plus a basic hob filter (mainly for mechanical and chemical filtration) on the tank, however I'm debating getting one of the larger aquaclear filters and modding it to become a refugium instead of having a classic hob filter. Would a refugium work better as a filtration method or am I better off sticking to the classic hob?

Current equipment:
20 gallon
100W heater
Aqueon 500gph powerhead
Fluval Aquaclear 100 gph HOB
20 lbs live sand
20 lbs dry base rock
(No light yet as I'm still researching good light for easy softies and lps)

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1 hour ago, ec0830 said:

Currently plan on running a powerhead plus a basic hob filter (mainly for mechanical and chemical filtration) on the tank

That sounds fine.  Most of the time, I run HOB filters without any media; but it's still nice to be able to add media when you want to.

 

1 hour ago, ec0830 said:

I'm debating getting one of the larger aquaclear filters and modding it to become a refugium instead of having a classic hob filter

You could, but it won't be a dramatic improvement over a basic HOB power filter.  Are you looking to add a macroalgae refugium to reduce inorganic nutrient levels?

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You'd be surprised how well a good hob full of just biomedia and maybe a sponge does at running a reef. I don't think a refugium is feasible in most small tanks, it's hard enough to keep nutrients up in my 20g even with 3 or 4 fish. Chaeto/caulerpa wouldn't even grow for me

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5 hours ago, Jaren45 said:

You'd be surprised how well a good hob full of just biomedia and maybe a sponge does at running a reef.

But if you have enough live rock, why would you need additional bio-media?

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8 hours ago, Jaren45 said:

You'd be surprised how well a good hob full of just biomedia and maybe a sponge does at running a reef. I don't think a refugium is feasible in most small tanks, it's hard enough to keep nutrients up in my 20g even with 3 or 4 fish. Chaeto/caulerpa wouldn't even grow for me

how often do you run any type of carbon or chemical media in your tank? i've seen people say always and some say only when they're trying to remove medication from the tank

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Chemical media isn't required.  However, activated carbon will remove the yellowish tint from tank water.  It will also help remove chemicals released by leather corals which might affect other corals.  You're right, some people recommend continuous use, while others suggest only occasional use.  Activated carbon also adsorbs dissolved organics in the water, so there are benefits to using activated carbon (or similar chemical media).

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1 hour ago, seabass said:

Chemical media isn't required.  However, activated carbon will remove the yellowish tint from tank water.  It will also help remove chemicals released by leather corals which might affect other corals.  You're right, some people recommend continuous use, while others suggest only occasional use.  Activated carbon also adsorbs dissolved organics in the water, so there are benefits to using activated carbon (or similar chemical media).

Okay so I'm thinking I'll run the hob with some filter floss and activated carbon and have some GFO to use in case phosphates start to rise

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