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Old 02-26-2004, 08:21 PM   #1
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Wet/Dry Filter vs. Protein Skimmer

Hi,

Was unable to find and answer to my exact question below with searching the forum, so I apologize if the answer already exists.

I have a 125G tank, it has fish, anemones, starfish in there. It was installed with a wet/dry filtration system/sump unit and I am wondering if it is best for me to remove this and replace it with a Protein Skimmer or to try and add a protein skimmer to the existing system...

Not too sure also what skimmer would be recommended as I will be tight for space. I would need to measure it for the exact measurements, but it is pretty tight. I currently have a Mag 7 pumping back into the tank.

It has been working OK so far, but ammonia and nitrates are still there and I would like to get them eliminated. I would also like to get a few corals in the tank too if at all possible.

Currently there is a u-tube draining water into the sump filter and the Mag 7 sits in the other end of the filter to pump the water back up into that tank...

Your thoughts and comment would be greatly appreciated.

Tony.
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:30 PM   #2
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Hello!!

Quote:
It has been working OK so far, but ammonia and nitrates are still there and I would like to get them eliminated
I find it odd in an established tank that you are having ammonia. This is an established (i.e. cycled) tank, correct? You haven't or don't wash the media the wet/dry uses for filtration do you? Ammonia should be non-existent in a cycled tank with a wet/dry. Either the bacteria were killed off for some reason, or the wet/dry is simply not large enough to cope with the bio-load.

Quote:
It was installed with a wet/dry filtration system/sump unit and I am wondering if it is best for me to remove this and replace it with a Protein Skimmer or to try and add a protein skimmer to the existing system...
You say you are wanting to keep corals, correct? If so, I would dump the wet/dry all together. Get 1.5lb's to 2.0lb's of LR and then get a protein skimmer. The wet/dry is basically a nitrate factory which for fish can be ok, but is a big no-no for corals.

I like 2002 EV series protein skimmers. While I don't have one, they are highly recommended as great skimmers especially for large tanks.
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:38 PM   #3
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THanks for the feedback. I guess I forgot to mention that there is LR in there and also LS too...

The AquaC is one of the skimmers that I have noticed is recommended. It may also have a small enough footprint to make it in my existing sump, but it sounds as though the best suggestion would be to remove what is there and replace with the protein skimmer.

BTW- I have not been removing the media to wash it, but I do rinse out the sponge filters as regularly as I can...

I am just unsure as to how a protein skimmer works when in the sump... will I still need the u-tube drain from the tank into the sump? and then the Mag7 pump on the other side of the skimmer? and then magically, everything inside the skimmer works as it is supposed to?

Sorry about all the newbie type questions, just never understood the protein skimmer method before..
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:47 PM   #4
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First off, I just noticed my error. I meant to say that you need 1.5 - 2.0 lbs of LR PER GALLON. Not just 1.5 - 2.0lbs total...

Quote:
I am just unsure as to how a protein skimmer works when in the sump... will I still need the u-tube drain from the tank into the sump? and then the Mag7 pump on the other side of the skimmer? and then magically, everything inside the skimmer works as it is supposed to?
Basically, yes. I believe all the EV series can either sit right inside your sump or can be plumbed inline to the sump and would then sit outside of it. You then hook up an appropriate sized pump to the protein skimmer. The pump then delivers the water from the sump to the protein skimmer. The skimmer then does it thing and returns the skimmed water back to the sump. All you have to do is clean the skimmer occasionally and empty the collection cup full of the skimmate it pulled out of your water.

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Sorry about all the newbie type questions, just never understood the protein skimmer method before..
No problem. That is what we are here for.
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Old 02-26-2004, 10:31 PM   #5
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The EV series is really designed to sit outside the sump. The best performance will be achieved by using it in this fashion with a pressure rated external pump. My recommendation would be an EV 180 with a Blueline 20HD pump. You mentioned replacing the wet/dry with the skimmer. This really isn't an option as they fulfill different needs. If you have an adequate quantity of LR in the tank, 190-250 lbs total as recommended by Biggen, you do not need the additional biological filtration offered by the wet/dry. However, most wet/dry filters also make excellent sumps. The sump gives you a great place to house equipment, dose additives, perform small water changes, add top off water, and gives you a bit more water volume. The skimmer basically remove dissolved organics before they can break down into ammonia. Unless you go with an HOB skimmer, you need the sump there to feed the skimmer and give it a place to return skimmed water. I would not recommend an HOB skimmer for a tank this size. They are inconvenient to service and not as efficient as a skimmer running off the sump. Also, IMO, the Mag 7 you are using for a return pump is not enough to generate the flow you need for this size tank. You want a minimum of 10x tank size or 1250 gph in your case. If your overflow and sump will handle more flow, I would plan on upgrading that pump to something larger. If not, I would suggest looking into setting up a closed loop with a SQWD to generate some extra current in the tank. This is assuming you want to keep corals and other inverts in the tank that rely on currents and turbulence to stay healthy. If the EV won't fit under the stand, there are several excellent in-sump skimmers that you could use. Either an ASM G-3 or equivalent EuroReef would do a fine job. HTH.
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Old 02-26-2004, 10:41 PM   #6
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Just remove the bio-media from your wet/dry and you will rid yourself of the so-called nitrate factory. This of course, only if you have enough live rock and sand to support your existing bio-load.
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Old 02-27-2004, 05:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tingram
I am just unsure as to how a protein skimmer works when in the sump... will I still need the u-tube drain from the tank into the sump? and then the Mag7 pump on the other side of the skimmer? and then magically, everything inside the skimmer works as it is supposed to?

Sorry about all the newbie type questions, just never understood the protein skimmer method before..
I have to get to work right now, but if no one explains this for you today, I will attempt to when I get back this evening.
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Old 02-27-2004, 12:29 PM   #8
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Getting closer to understanding the whole thing here... I think that I have about 120lbs or so of LR in the tank. It seems that any more would just be too much.

It is sounding as though I might need two pumps? One to pump water from sump into the skimmer and then another to pump water from the sump back into the tank - Is this right?
Sounds as though the water path will be:
tank - siphon to sump - skimmer - back to sump? - pump back to tank

Might be a good idea to remove the bio media from the existing sump, it's just that space is tight with the setup I have, and I may just need to modify existing setup..

PS.
Thanks a lot for all your great advice
It is very much appreciated
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Old 02-27-2004, 01:00 PM   #9
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How about using the wetdry as a refugium since space is an issue, take out all the media, replace with a DSB (deep sand bed) and throw some macro algae in there. Have skimmer outside the sump that pumps back into sump before returning to tank. I can vouch for the aquaC 180. GOod skimmer. The only filtration I run is a skimmer and a refugium.
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Old 02-27-2004, 04:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
It is sounding as though I might need two pumps? One to pump water from sump into the skimmer and then another to pump water from the sump back into the tank - Is this right?
Sounds as though the water path will be:
tank - siphon to sump - skimmer - back to sump? - pump back to tank
Yes you do need two pumps. One to pump water through the skimmer and one to pump water back to the tank. Your path is correct...

Quote:
Might be a good idea to remove the bio media from the existing sump, it's just that space is tight with the setup I have, and I may just need to modify existing setup..
As long as you have sufficient LR, you don't need any kind of media in the wet/dry at all. In fact, empty wet/dry's make great sumps. Make sure though that you remove that media SLOWLY. You need to give the bacteria on the LR time to catch up to the greater ammonia/nitrite demand when the bio-media is removed.
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