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Old 10-08-2003, 05:52 PM   #1
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55 gal Filtration Question

I am in the process of doing research because I want to get a saltwater tank. What I am looking at getting is a 55 gal FOWLR tank. My question is that I am confused about what type of filtration is adequate for this type of system. I would like to know if a canister filter is enough or using a sump type system. Any input would be much appreciated.


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Old 10-08-2003, 06:21 PM   #2
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If you have 1 1/2-2 lbs of LR per gallon, you won't need a canister or a wet/dry. The LR is all you'll need. You might want to look into a DSB as well even though it won't be a reef tank. If you put in the right foundation, converting to a reef tank later will be much easier. The DSB will also help control the nitrates that are the bane of most FO systems. Go to the "articles" link on the left side of the home page and read the article on the Berlin system of filtration...I think this will be the way you'll want to set it up. Where you want to spend your money is on a good protien skimmer. Should you choose not to go with a sump, there are several HOB skimmers that will do a fine job on a 55. A sump would be a good addition as it gives you a place to put all your equipment (heater, skimmer, ect...) and increases your water volume. I would also strongly suggest reading "The Concientious Marine Aquarist" by Robert Fenner...required reading for your first SW tank IMO.

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Old 10-08-2003, 08:23 PM   #3
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I'm in the same boat as you. I had no idea what to get.. I'm doing a Fish only with rock and sand and I am going to add a remora C Protein skimmer and thats all....
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Old 10-08-2003, 08:40 PM   #4
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My 55 has been running about 2 months with a DSB and Prizm skimmer...I've been adding LR as budget permits (got about 35lbs now) and all is well!! I beleive the DSB and LR will do the trick.
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Old 10-09-2003, 12:15 PM   #5
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Get the live rock that loganj advises and skip the cannister. Cannister filters are nothing but a big pain in the butt if you ask me.

My preference for filtration is to run filter floss at all times, and my water is crystal clear with a high bio load and never using any other filter medium. I built my own back filter to do nothing but house gobs of filter floss, and it works great.

Water flow is your biggest concern. For a 55gallon I prefer a couple of high volume back filters such as Emperor 280/400 spaced out evenly, or a single big back filter in the middle with two 200gph power heads in the corners. I'm steadily moving away from horizontal firing powerheads and using back filters again simply because back filters are more efficient at moving water from the top of the tank to the bottom. Much better for oxygen exchange and less disruptive for fish.

Get enough live sand to cover the bottom of the tank 2" or so. The 'biological filter' capabilities of live sand are hype, but it's far less messy than dry sand, and worth the money in that respect. My own experience is that sand beds beyond 3" don't accomplish much other than displace water.
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Old 10-09-2003, 12:24 PM   #6
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I don't skim either, I add live rock as money permits and have a 2" bed of live crushed coral, and I use 3 powerheads to circulate. I have one whisper 30-60 HOB for a filter and that is it..(55gal) My LFS guy has been reefing for 20 years and all he uses on any of his tanks are HOB filters, never skimmers.. All of the critters I get from him are in tremendous shape. However for some reason I always feel a little guilty for using the HOB instead of a skimmer. My water is crystal though and critters are robust. I am not saying skimmers are bad at all I am sure they do a super job, I'm just confused a little I guess, I always feel like I should be skimming. Oh.. the pressure... hehe Oh and BTW my first skimmer was a VisiJet 100 which I think would decorate a dumpster nicely. So maybe thats why I don't like skimmers right now. What was with the design on that dumpster skimmer anyway (friction fit??) 8O

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55 gallon, filtration

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