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Old 04-29-2012, 07:46 PM   #1
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which filtration type to choose new 55gal setup

Alright, I've been searching for a while now and cant find the answer I'm looking for.
I'm new the hobby. I have a 55gal tank with plenty of room under the stand for a sump. I want to use a sump for my filtration but it seems like its going to go over my budget. I plan on starting with a FOWLR tank, with hopes of someday moving to a reef tank.
My question is would it be ok to go with a canister filter if I commit to cleaning it on a weekly basis to prevent it from becoming a "nitrate factory" or is my only option a sump? The tank that I have is not drilled for a sump and if I choose not to build my own sump and drill it seems that it'll cost a lot more initially. I really like the idea of having most things hidden in the stand and that's why I'm leaning towards canister filter.
I've looked into glass-holes.com for the overflow and then an inexpensive sump. but that'll run me around $250 where I can find canister for $130.
The only drawback I can find on the canister is that it requires more maint. than people think.
All of your help is much appreciated.
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:52 PM   #2
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Nitrates are removed by bacteria. Bacteria grows primarily on live rock, sand, etc. Cleaning a canister filter will just kill the bacteria. I have a 440 gallon reef tank with two sumps which is the right way to do it. I think a bio-pellet reactor is more important than a sump on a 55 gallon. Use plenty of live rock in the tank.
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:31 PM   #3
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When it comes to fowlr, canisters are acceptable. It just becomes easier to switch to reef w/ a sump and you need a fuge and skimmer for a stable reef.
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:40 PM   #4
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my 55 has a hang on back skimmer and a fluval 305 canister filter. These 2 keep my nitrates at about a consistent 5. If I over feed or something my nitrates will go to 10. With these 2 filters I keep many coral of all types. I have mushrooms, zoa's, star polyps, plate coral, open brain, sun coral (yellow and black), pipe organ, colt, finger leather, torch, hammer, galaxy, favia and this big hard coral that i don't know the name of. I have 5 fish, a solar fairy rasse, coral beauty angel, blue cromis, pj cardinal and a japanese swallow tail.

With that bio load and the canister/skimmer i do get hair algea. Its not rampant but it pops up in tufts that I remove with my fingers. My coraline is amazing and I don't get algae on the glass. I just left my system with an auto feeder and went away for 8 days. when I came back my tank looked as I left it but the nitrates had risen to 10 so I did a 20% water change.

so yes, a canister with a skimmer is "good enough". If I had known a year ago when I set it up the benefits of a sump with a fuge i would have gone that route but my cabinet has no room for even a 10 gallon.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:04 PM   #5
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I kept my 55 running with a fluval 305 canister filter and always had 0 nitrates. it's just a matter of keeping it clean, not overfeeding the tank, not overstocking and proper water changes.

Keep those things in check and a canister can be a great filter for that size tank. I ran carbon and gfo when necessary and the trays were perfect for that. The rest of the trays I just had biomedia in and rinsed in tank water when cleaning the filter/.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:08 PM   #6
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I have a 20g long tank for my sump. Buying sumps can be expensive. My suggestion is to set up a sump with a good quality skimmer
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garybrooke
Nitrates are removed by bacteria. Bacteria grows primarily on live rock, sand, etc. Cleaning a canister filter will just kill the bacteria. I have a 440 gallon reef tank with two sumps which is the right way to do it. I think a bio-pellet reactor is more important than a sump on a 55 gallon. Use plenty of live rock in the tank.
Nitrates are not removed by bacteria, nitrites are. Cleaning a filter does not kill the bacteria as long as you use tank water and don't let the media dry out.
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:08 AM   #8
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Ok it is starting to make a little more sense now. Thanks for all of the responses. I'm a little confused when you say to clean the canister filter with tank water how I go about doing that? sorry I'm very green with this yet. Would I remove some tank water or use and rinse it in my sink or literally dunk the media into the tank? I feel like I sound very dumb for not understanding.

I do plan on doing a protein skimmer either way. Does anyone have a recommended one that would be budget friendly yet good quality?
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Old 04-30-2012, 01:12 AM   #9
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Just clean with RODI water is all. It doesnt have to be right from the tank and never in the tank
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:31 AM   #10
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I like the Warner Marine MF 121 for a 55g i have the 181 but planning on upgrading my tank soon
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