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Old 06-22-2009, 08:26 PM   #1
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A Basic FOLWER System

Good evening everyone ... last week I asked about the RedSea 130D as a FOWLER system and received good feedback. However, the closer I look at these 'self-contained' systems, I am wondering if I need everything they offer.

So if I have learned correctly, to have a healthy FOLWER system all I really need are:

Aquarium
Hood w/ Basic Lighting
Protein Skimmer
Power Head
Heater

If fish quantities are within the limits of the aquarium size and stocked sufficiently with live rock for biological filtration, is the above list all I actually need? I'm thinking I don't need all the 3 or 4-stage filtration, bio-ball, carbon inserts, etc. most of these plug n' play systems include ...

Thanks for any clarification!
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:49 PM   #2
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You forgot the filter and pump. Other than the Protein filter, where does the waste go?
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:10 PM   #3
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The skimmer will get some of the waste and PWCs with a good siphon of the rock should get what the clean up crew doesn't.....But I use a filter instead of the skimmer....
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:28 PM   #4
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Well, I was thinking that between the live rock (and sand), the protein skimmer and a cleaning crew ... that would be sufficient.

So the use of a simple power filter or canister filter could replace the protein skimmer in my list above?
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:45 AM   #5
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I'd say your list is complete, except you forgot the live rock! That's the "LR" part of FOWLR. (Fish Only With Live Rock). FOWLR tanks often don't have protein skimmers because fish will tolerate higher nitrate levels more than corals will. That's why you'll see different "maximum" levels of nitrates listed for Reef tanks versus FOWLR tanks.

In my opinion, I'd still shoot for low nitrates even with a FOWLR tank. Excessive nitrates may not be detrimental to the fish, but they do give nuisance algae food to eat. The more pristine you keep your water, the less headaches you'll encounter with algae and cyanobacteria.

Cannister filters don't substitue for a protein skimmer - they do different things. In a tank without live rock, the cannister filter will serve as a biological filter. With live rock, a cannister filter will serve somewhat as a sump and also for a place to run chemical media like carbon, etc.

You're correct about the filtration aspect of the plug-n-play units. Most folks throw away the bioballs and replace it with live rock rubble. I still like the mechanical filtration though... as long as you methodically clean/replace it at least weekly.
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Old 06-23-2009, 04:20 PM   #6
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Alright - thank you guys. So my list of equipment to get started goes like this ...

• Aquarium
• Hood w/ Basic Lighting
• Power Head
• Heater
• Live Rock (and sand)

Optional equipment would include:
• Protein Skimmer
• Filter (such as a power filter or a canister filter)
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Old 06-23-2009, 04:48 PM   #7
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IMO skimmer should be a good addition. I always suggest LR and a skimmer for proper filtration. That`s all I had for 7 yrs when I had my 55 gallon tank. Now that I have a 125 I have a refuge to go with my LR and a skimmer.
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Old 06-23-2009, 04:51 PM   #8
Thanx but no.....


 
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IMO you need either the skimmer or the filter as a minimum out of your optional category
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:15 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone ... I know these sound like redundant questions but your feedback is very helpful - especially as I have been out of the hobby for 10 years and things have definitely changed!
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:52 PM   #10
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Stock list and tips for maintaining your SW tank.

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