The canister/fed filter worked pretty well, amid some minor complications. The fluidized bed filter I was using was a sea storm (made by coralife, I believe) it was generation 1 of fluidized bed filters, I think. I read an article back in 96 about them, went to thatpetplace found this one, for 20bucks and bought it.
the biggest problem was limiting the water output of the canister filter. as you might know the bed filter has to reach a point of saturation (or fluidization) to be effective. Basically all the sand like particles have to be thrown around and mixed well with the incoming water. if you do not get the right amount of water pressure, chaos can ensue or the bed filter becomes completely useless.
my biggest problem was over fluidization, where the sand like particles would be ejected from the bed filter, and get lodged into the output (of the bed filter) hose, or worse yet into the tank.
I was using a fluval 303 with all stock plumbing parts. my unit came with water control values for both the incoming and outcoming hoses; I used the output value to control the water pressure for the bed filter. it just took a lot of fine adjustments to get the bed filter working optimally. looking back i could have made life a lot easier getting a better (more sensitive) valve but hindsight is always 20/20 lol. i would clean out the canister every month, and by doing so i would have to re adjust the output for the bed filter every month, i really wish i would have used my head more back then.
last comment on bed filters: my sea storm was a pretty crappy model as compared to the new stock especially the model made by rainbow. that one has a built in control value that makes those fine adjustments easier, and a better diffuser plate to ensure more fluidization, both features not present on my sea storm. i am setting up a 55 gallon tank sw
tank soon, and i still haven't made up my mind, whether it will be reef or fowlr
. if it's a reef tank, then i won't use the bed filter, if it's fowlr
then i will probably replace the sea storm with the rainbow model and use my head this time in it's plumbing. :P
well i could raise the sump to use the canister, but i'll run into some problems. the stand is 30inches tall, 13inches in width, 48inches in length, the sump is going to probably end up being a 10gal or 15h tank [which are both 20inches tall] so i would most likely have to drill into the side or bottom of the tank, install a bulkhead then plumb that into the canister for the return. expect it's very hard to drill glass tanks, and most attempts will end in a full pane being shattered, and even if you don't shatter the glass in the drilling process, you induce micro fractures and those could eventually give away at any time. my other idea was use a rubbermaid - sort of plastic container for the sump, however i can't find one that meets the width requirement, and the volume. i am sort of shooting for a 10-15gal range. i have checked a bunch of plastic vendors online for a container that does meet my requirements but no luck yet. another thought was get some acrylic and build my own sump, but that will cost just about the same as the mag drive pump. then after taking all that into account, it would probably be just easier to buy a 60dollar pump and a 10 gal
tank and miss out on these hassles. lol
well java ferns can take a good beating, and i have heard of people using little plastic baskets (similar to how people use burlap in above water plants/trees) and plant the ferns into those baskets, then plant the assembly in the tank. i have never tried it personally but it makes sense to me.
if you have any more questions, just let me know.