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Old 07-08-2014, 11:11 AM   #11
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Weekly maintenance is almost mandatory on a salt tank anyway with water changes so if you're doing that then do the canister at the same time. Check out some of the articles on here about salt water maintenance and upkeep, there are many differences between salt and fresh (forgive me I've never kept freshwater fish) and I believe that the reason why canisters are great for fresh and not so for salt is because of the way the beneficial bacteria live. In salt the BB live in your live rock and sand and canisters can trap nitrates (bad - hence regular cleaning) I believe the good BB in fresh live in the canister but I could be wrong! Perhaps someone who knows a bit about both can clarify?


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Seems there are a few misconceptions here.
BB bacteria live on ALL surfaces in the tank and filter media.
ALL filter types have the potential to become "nitrate traps".

In reality one issue is that the aerobic portion of the process occurs much more rapidly than the second part, breaking down nitrate.
So the more efficient your aerobic portion is, the quicker it will produce nitrate.
How canisters and similar become "nitrate factories" is because they have no means of actively removing the dead bacteria and it is that dead bacterial film that helps add to the nitrate problem. Fluidized bed filters (reactors) solves that problem.
Any type of filter has the potential for the same problem if not maintained regularly.
"Live Rock" is simply rock, preferably very porous, that has been colonized by beneficial bacteria, and sometimes other organisms. "Live Rock" also is present in all freshwater aquaria and is not exclusive or unique to salt water.

If you are going to use a canister filter for biological filtration primarily, you need to make certain that the water entering it is as free of particulate matter as possible. That will greatly increase the efficiency of the biological media and reduce the need for cleaning a bit.

Basically you want the end result to be 0 products of the nitrogen cycle, especially nitrate & phosphate if keeping corals.
The best way to achieve this is by removing as much organic matter as possible first, so the first stage of filtration should be two part mechanical; filter socks/media that filters down to at least 100 microns then from there to a protein skimmer.
After mechanically removing floating/dissolved organics further extraction can be made chemically using carbon or my new favorite, Purigen. Works great in a reactor.
That about covers removing organics from the water, now the biological portion takes over. So after mechanical/chemical it should proceed onto the aerobic BB portion, however you want to achieve that, bio-balls, ceramic noodles, Matrix or lava rock, the last two being my preference due to the enormous surface area available for both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.
Then from there into a media reactor designed to contend with nitrate and phosphate or into a refugium if that is the direction you go.

Simply put, you want to remove all solid matter and as much dissolved organics before the water gets to the main biological section so that there is less organic waste to be broken down which ultimately results in less nitrates accumulating.

It's all really simple when you break it down into stages, the tricky part is deciding amongst the tons of extortionately overpriced, mechanically simple equipment out there.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:48 PM   #12
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Thanks for clarifying! All good info there


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Old 07-09-2014, 09:34 AM   #13
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So basically a canister could be a good thing if and only if it is regularly cleaned correct? A canister would in theory trap most of the large particles before it got to the main biological filter of the live rock..

I'm thinking that it would be best to remove the bio balls and only run it with one sponge for mechanical filtration and flow, and clean every week or two weeks max. Thoughts?


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Old 07-09-2014, 09:17 PM   #14
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Getting back into salt after a long hiatus to fresh-advice requested

Ok guys thinking of adding the cad lights in tank protein skimmer, only problem is that cuts into the budget for the portable rodi system and id be using tpa water. If I spend much more $ on this my wife is going to kill me...and I haven't even added fish or live rock yet!

What's the verdict: rodi or protein skimmer? Corals are not in the foreseeable future.


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Old 07-09-2014, 09:20 PM   #15
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Id go ro\di first.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:29 PM   #16
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Ok guys thinking of adding the cad lights in tank protein skimmer, only problem is that cuts into the budget for the portable rodi system and id be using tpa water. If I spend much more $ on this my wife is going to kill me...and I haven't even added fish or live rock yet!

What's the verdict: rodi or protein skimmer? Corals are not in the foreseeable future.


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If you are not planning on corals until later and there is a source of ro/di water (lfs or supermarket machine) than I say protein skimmer, especially if you aren't keeping corals yet, then the dissolved solids are as big of a concern.

I think in the long run you will see more benefit from a protein skimmer than the ro/di system at this time, IMHO, unless there is absolutely no other source of decent water.

In answer to your previous question;
If I were using the canister I would get a sealable bucket or similar container or construct one out of PVC and plumb it so that you can use it as a second canister and run the output from the Fluval through it and then into the tank.
In the first canister fill it with sponges/floss to remove as much junk as possible then fill the second completely will bio-filter material, the more porous the better.
In theory if the first one is catching the majority of particulate junk, you should only ever have to lightly rinse the second one's contents in old tank water about once a month/6 weeks to keep it clean.

That is what I would do...
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:32 PM   #17
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Id go ro\di first.
Why?
Could you explain your reasoning?
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:38 PM   #18
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Getting back into salt after a long hiatus to fresh-advice requested

On a 40 gallon tank it's easy enough to do large wc's (10 gallons a week is still 25% and nothing in terms of salt compared to big tanks) on so I would rather have pure water. Especially if corals are ever going to be added to the tank. It may just be me, but I'll never use tap water on a sw tank (my tap is 200+ tds) and you can easily start a tank and buy a skimmer later, but if you start with impure water that's always going to be in the tank. Also seeing as the solution to pretty much every problem in this hobby involves wc's, all the more reason to control what's going into the tank.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:44 PM   #19
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On a 40 gallon tank it's easy enough to do large wc's (10 gallons a week is still 25% and nothing in terms of salt compared to big tanks) on so I would rather have pure water. Especially if corals are ever going to be added to the tank. It may just be me, but I'll never use tap water on a sw tank (my tap is 200+ tds) and you can easily start a tank and buy a skimmer later, but if you start with impure water that's always going to be in the tank. Also seeing as the solution to pretty much every problem in this hobby involves wc's, all the more reason to control what's going into the tank.
I understand that reasoning.
but I was thinking if another source for water was available, the protein skimmer I think would be the better of the two purchases at this time.
The reason being he should still invest in a protein skimmer eventually and the cost of a couple dollars for water from a store may be easier on the wallet at this time and less likely to stir the ire of the Mrs.

I pay $5 for ten gallons of salt water from the lfs, or $2.50 for ro/di water from the supermarket. both have been used with no problems as far as water quality.
It's much easier to sell the wife on the idea of few bucks a month as opposed to a few hundred bucks for a ro/di unit.
I will be getting one before years end most likely, but right now, buying water helps keep peace in the house.

so all that being said, IMHO,
IF water is available at a reasonable price, he will get more immediate benefits from a protein skimmer, especially if housing predominantly fish as opposed to corals, than he would the ro/di unit given his immediate plans on stocking and finances.
BUT if decent water is not available, go with the ro/di unit.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:52 PM   #20
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Found a 50gpd rodi unit on amazon for 50.00, going to snag that and that still leaves some money in the budget for a protein skimmer as well!


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