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Old 05-31-2007, 05:57 PM   #1
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Filter or no Filter

ATM I'm not going to be using a mechanical filter. Just LR, LS, and a skimmer.

As I understand it with a skimmer, LR, and LS it should take care of all my filter needs. I know several on here don't use a mechanical filter w/ their systems either.

I am curious about the mechanical filters and hoping to learn a bit more bout them. If so need be I can always add one later but atm its more for gathering info then anything else.

So whats the deal with them?
Addvantages, disadvantages, why would you use one vs not using one, or are they just an extra step and a bit of over kill?


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Old 05-31-2007, 06:04 PM   #2
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I simply use my filter to add a little more volume and run purigen and any other media I might need. I have a fluvial and it works great. If not cleaned regularly, they can quickly become a nitrAte factory. I have removed all my sponges and only have the purigen and the ceramic rings that came with it. That is on my 55. I bought a cheap HOB filter to catch the silt as I am working with my substrate. I also run purigen in that one as well.

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Old 05-31-2007, 07:30 PM   #3
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I dont use a filter on my reef tank . Never have and never will. LR and a skimmer for me. I do have an emporer bio wheel on my 29 gallon FOWLR. The only reason I have it because that use to be my seahorse tank and I didnt want a skimmer because they give off micro bubbles which are harmful to the SH`s. I`ve just kept it for the tank.


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Old 06-01-2007, 12:53 AM   #4
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I found it useful to be able to occasionally use mechanical filtration in the past. It's just one more means of keeping detritus down, and water quality/clarity optimal, although IMO by no means absolutely necessary (a good skimmer will really help keep water good/clear, along w/ GAC, etc). I like using a turkey baster to clean the rocks, etc. in my tank, followed by some mechanical filtration and a PWC to remove as much of the stirred up detritus/debris as possible. FWIW I use mechanical filtration 24/7 now, only b/c I use a SCWD(wavemaker) on my return line, so the water needs to be free of dirt/debris to keep from jamming it.

The main disadvantages that I know of are, as said, any mechanical filtration can become a NO3 source if not cleaned regularly. Also if it is allowed to become laden w/ nitrifying bacteria and it is all removed or replaced/cleaned at once, you could see a small cycle from the loss of beneficial bacteria. Regular cleanings will help prevent this from happening as well. Some people wash mech. filters in SW to avoid killing any beneficial bacteria.
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Old 06-01-2007, 08:48 AM   #5
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Wow, i thought everyone used a canister or wet dry for their SW setups. This is crazy to me. Everyone i know uses one or the other.
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Old 06-01-2007, 09:31 AM   #6
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I used to have a Pro Clear Aquatics Wet/Dry sump on my reef aquarium. After several flooding incidents due to external overflows and when I started traveling more I removed that system in lieu of the Ehiem Pro Wet/Dry canister. While I know many, many reef keepers who opt to only run live rock and a skimmer I prefer some sort of mechanical filtration.

The problem that occurs w/ mechanical filtration is that they house so many bacterial colonies that you have the nitrogen cycle taking place at really high speeds. Ammonia becomes nitrite quickly and nitrite is quickly converted into nitrate, causing of course for high levels of nitrate in the water.

Live rock and live sand do not house the high populations of bacteria so you get a slower nitrogen cycle running throughout the tank and dont get the spikes in nitrate. Although you also do not get the water polishing and toxin removing properties of carbon, etc either. While I think running live rock and a skimmer works well IME I prefer some sort of mechanical filtration as a back-up.
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Old 06-01-2007, 10:04 AM   #7
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I used to run an HOB with no sponge just carbon and phosban, but am in the process of looking at canister filters to run filter media in. Other than that, no filters for me, just liverock and a skimmer.

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Old 06-03-2007, 12:04 AM   #8
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No mechanical filtration here. Started with a wet dry when the LFS set us up with a system, but that was quickly converted to a simple sump setup. My how it has grown since then, lol.

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Old 06-03-2007, 12:32 AM   #9
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I recently purchased a cannister filter and have it running without any sponges. I load it with purigen and a phosphate remover only to lower the phosphate level which it has done. Sometime in the future I am going to remove it and hope the phosphate level remains where it should be.
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Old 06-03-2007, 09:00 AM   #10
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I'm another that only has a sump and would not use a "filter" on my tanks. No need and they are what I call"old school". The hobby has changed over the years and the new trend is getting away from W/D and filters as the main filtration on a tank.

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