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Old 01-28-2004, 07:15 PM   #1
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Is protein skimmer required for FOWLR ?

I am planning a 120 gallon FOWLR tank. I have been told two methods of doing this from LFS. One says do the tank with UV sterilizer, overflows and sump with skimmer in sump. The other says I don't need overflow, sump or protein skimmer if doing FOWLR. He recommends UV sterilizer and canister filter for now and adding the protein skimmer on back of tank later if I decide to get into corals.
What do you think is the best way to go ? I would save about some money by not doing the sump and skimmer now.
Do the hang on back skimmers make any noise or would skimmer be quieter underneath in sump as this system will be in a home theater room and needs to be as quiet as possible ?
Will the water get enough oxygen going closed loop without the sump ? I would appreciate advice from anyone with either of these systems . THANKS,
MIKE
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Old 01-28-2004, 07:30 PM   #2
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JMO, because you are likely going to get a huge variety of opinions on this. It is a bit of a value judgment.

I've run a FOWLR for a really long time - very successfully with out a Skimmer. I have friends who also do this. However, I would not suggest skipping the sump/overflow approach as it provides a few critical things that a closed loop canister can not. For one thing, when you use the overflow approach you are effectively skimming. The only difference is that you are skimming from the surface of the water rather than in a reaction chamber using the surface are of thousands of little bubbles. Ofcourse in this case you're skimming but not removing (i.e. no generation of foam) instead stuff goes to your bio filter.

So why is this beneficial? Because most DOC (including various proteins, enzymes and toxic chemicals) react with oxygen and hence gravitate toward the surface of the tank ( as well as all of those bubbles in a protein skimmer). So the overflow approach delivers all of the items you want to filter down to your sump.

The advantage of a protein skimmer is that you can remove the DOC's before they are processed by your Bio system. However, there is reasonable evidence that protein skimmers remove a lot of good stuff as well. Some will counter that that stuff can later be re-added but the argument sort of goes, why remove it if you don't have to.

So it's a bit of personal choice in the end.

But I've seen plenty of systems in my 30 years in this hobby that run very successfully without P.S.'s

HTH

Tom
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Old 01-28-2004, 08:15 PM   #3
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Id agree u dont need one, but it would help.
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Old 01-28-2004, 11:39 PM   #4
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I think it all depends on the bioload you intend to keep in the tank. For instance, Lions, Triggers. Groupers and Eels produce heavy amounts of waste. Much more than lets say and angelfish or clownfish as an example.
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Old 01-28-2004, 11:57 PM   #5
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I guess I'll take the middle ground here. Although you don't need a protein skimmer on any tank, they are a great addition IMO. I would probably start the tank up without one and see how it goes. If you seem to be getting large amounts of DOC's (oily looking film on top of the water), I'd probably spring for a good skimmer. If you buy a skimmer, don't waste your money on one of the cheap ones. A good quality skimmer is worth every penny it costs. A cheap one is worth it's weight in scrap acrylic.
I would definitely use an overflow/sump setup. This allows you to hide most of your equipment and have a tank that isn't cluttered. A sump system makes dosing additives easier (although this isn't a big deal on a FOWLR tank) and eases water changes. Also, it's so much easier to clean filter pads/bags in a sump than it is to drag a canister out, break it down, clean it out, and get it restarted. As Tom mentioned, you'll get more efficient filtration with the overflow system because you are already skimming the surface which is where most of the nasty stuff is anyway. JMHO.
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Old 01-29-2004, 04:21 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone,
You all have helped me tremendously on all these decisions.
Logan,
Is the Red Sea Berlin Turbo a good skimmer ? If not could anyone please point me in the right direction for a good one ? I have decided to do the overflows with a sump insted of closed loop.
Also , will I not need a canister filter if using a sump and skimmer? I thought I would still have fine particles in the water that the canister filters out ? Will the water be crystal clear with just the live rock and protein skimmer ? Thanks, MIKE
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Old 01-29-2004, 08:46 AM   #7
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I haven't ever used the Turbo model. The Red Sea Berlin is a good skimmer. Almost the same thing except it uses a venturi to get air into the skimmer. I'm using one on a 180g reef and it does a good job. The Turboflotor Multi is also a good skimmer. It offers HOB or in sump installation. Another good setup, although somewhat expensive, is the Aqua C EV series. These use an air injector instead of a venturi.
Typically, if you want some extra mechanical filtration, the way to do that is to have either a filter pad or bag in the sump. If you are buying a sump, look at the ones that are set up as a wet/dry. They will usually provide for a filter plate. You can also buy mesh bags that go on the drain line in the sump. Yet another option is to have a sponge in the overflow as a prefilter. It's easy to clean and will catch all but the smallest particles. My tanks don't use any of this though and they are very clear. You may have some sand stirred up by the occasional bottom dweller, but it usually settles quickly.
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Old 01-29-2004, 10:34 PM   #8
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Thanks Logan,
I changed my original post, because it is actually a Berlin Turbo model. It is the basic Berlin Classic skimmer with a pump built in.
That sounds like a great idea for the extra mechanical filtration in sump.
Thanks again, MIKE
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Old 02-05-2004, 08:39 PM   #9
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Hello,
Since the topic of canisters/sumps came up here I too could use some helpful advice. I have a 92 corner tank w/built in overflow & a wet/dry. I wanted to switch to an Eheim 2628 Pro II & use LR (never did before with no BIG problems, also never ran a skimmer either) & just wanted to get rid of the whole "sump" idea. At least with the canisters you don't have to spend all your time topping it off & worrying about RO water on hand. I've had basically FO over 18 or so years now along with inverts. here & there, but would like to try some hardy corals now. Can't it be done w/out the sump set-up? Also, everything I'm hearing/reading now-a-days says dump the crushed coral & go with sand. Can I mix them since mine has been around a couple decades & is under a tank worth of rock?....

Please, any & all responsed would be GREATLY appreciated!
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Old 02-05-2004, 09:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
least with the canisters you don't have to spend all your time topping it off
You still need to top off your tank. WIth saltwater as water evapiorates the salnity in the tank will rise. Keeping a water level consistant with regular topoffs your salinity will be more stable. Canisters have their own problems. Mostly with poor water flow ability and the fact that the media will become a harbor to collect nitrates.

Sure you can have corals with out a sump. Simply adding a box under the tank and a overflow and a return pump is not going to magicly make your tank any better or any worse. But having a sump does introduce alot more possiblities as far as putting equpment in the sump vs having it hang on the back as well as providing extra water capacity to the syatem.

BTW this response is 1hr and 20min after your post.
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