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Old 01-15-2015, 01:49 PM   #1
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Filter Question For A 55 Gallon

Hi, I wanted to know if an AquaClear 70 or 110 would be efficient enough to filter the water. It will be awhile before I actually have my tank set up as I have to buy new filters, chemicals, decorations, plants, ect. I have noticed in all my research that many people use either 2 50's or 2 70's on their tanks. Is this due to the length of the 55 gallon aquarium? I have been at this hobby for many, many years, but always had smaller tanks, no bigger than a 30 gallon. That 30 gallon was a custom made octagon and we only had a custom made under gravel filter for it. That was back in the early 80's and I was still a kid so I don't remember any more than that.

Anyway, am I going to need 2 filters for my long 55, or can I get away with just using lets say the AquaClear 110. I don't have a ton of money to spend on this tank and I still need to get a hood/light system for it as well as sand. I saw that sand is pretty pricey. More expensive than gravel here. Oh and I also have an old AquaClear 30 power head with a round filter attachment that uses a floss type media. I doubt that it's powerful enough to circulate water in a 55 gallon. It was used in my 20 gallon along with my AquaClear 150 (older Hagen 30 gallon filter) Any input will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:05 PM   #2
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I've been away from the hobby for a while, but I'm gonna guess it depends on how heavy your going to stock this tank. Seems like most things I read now point to filters with good bio media capacity. I had a cascade canister on the 55 I used to own and it was more than enough, that filter lasted about 5 years until the motor died. Maybe try a single aquaclear and add another later if you feel you need it.

Substrate prices are ridiculous. I've read about a lot of folks using black diamond blasting sand from Tractor Supply Company, $8 for 50 pounds if black sand is your thing. Lots of youtube videos on this with some people even using sakrete brand bagged sand and pool filter sand, all very cheap. All of those are pre-washed sand but I would rinse it well anyway. I'm going to give the black diamond sand a shot.

I bought a fluval Plant led light for my 40b low tech, but decided to return it and ordered a finnex stingray for $56 on amazon, it's small enough to where I could easily add another one if needed and the two together would still cost less than the fluval. Most hardware stores will cut you a cheap piece of glass for free if you want to save money on a full top, just have it cut small enough to slide back and forth for feeding or have multiple pieces cut so you can just lift the front piece out.

Sorry! enough rambling, my fishkeeping budget is small so I try to squeeze as much out of my money as I can.
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Old 01-15-2015, 07:25 PM   #3
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I have canister filters and hang on backs and the big canisters when filled with water are very heavy and a pain in the *** to clean. I try to have the water turn over 10x per hour..so a 55 you would need 550 GPH total. You can go with two AC 70's or 1 AC 110. Keep in mind the AC 110 puts out a lot of current, this may effect the fish you choose. Air powered sponge filters are also a cheap option

Pool filter sand works great and is cheap, I use it in all my tanks. It comes out of the bag relatively clean but I still rinse it in a bucket first. For cheap lighting you can get a shop light from home depot..20 bucks
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:23 PM   #4
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Pool filter sand works great and is cheap, I use it in all my tanks. It comes out of the bag relatively clean but I still rinse it in a bucket first. For cheap lighting you can get a shop light from home depot..20 bucks
I have purchased pool filter sand before for my pool sand filter. However I thought that there was tiny glass particles in pool filter sand. Wouldn't that damage the fish? I have touched it before and it felt very course and sharp. I plan to get several different types of fish. Including bottom dwellers, like corydoras, and a bristlenose pleco.

I'll most likely just go with the AquaClear 110 in the beginning and see what it will be like once I get to the 86% capacity I'm aiming for. I want a community aquarium. All the fish will range in size of 2"- 3" each.
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:05 PM   #5
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I have purchased pool filter sand before for my pool sand filter. However I thought that there was tiny glass particles in pool filter sand. Wouldn't that damage the fish? I have touched it before and it felt very course and sharp. I plan to get several different types of fish. Including bottom dwellers, like corydoras, and a bristlenose pleco.

I'll most likely just go with the AquaClear 110 in the beginning and see what it will be like once I get to the 86% capacity I'm aiming for. I want a community aquarium. All the fish will range in size of 2"- 3" each.
Years ago, I used to service pools and dreaded sucking the sand out of the filters to replace broken pvc laterals (dreaded sand in the pool scenario). There was no glass in the sand, but the filters themselves were made of fiberglass and it would get all over you. Nasty, gummy, suntan oil saturated sand with fiberglass particles. Yuck
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:33 PM   #6
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I would do 2 ac70's If you can find them on sale the cost will be close to a single 110. This way you wont have any dead spots and will be at an advertised rate of 600 gph but with media it will be more like 400 gph.
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Old 01-16-2015, 12:27 AM   #7
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I have purchased pool filter sand before for my pool sand filter. However I thought that there was tiny glass particles in pool filter sand. Wouldn't that damage the fish? I have touched it before and it felt very course and sharp.
I don't think there is glass in it. At least the kinds I use don't have any, and isn't sharp at all, feels just like regular sand. If your going to get Corry's you want a sand substrate.


Leslies Pool sells the sand, just make sure you don't use the zeolite, or DE ( diatomaceous earth) The DE might be what felt sharp to you and is used in pool filters also. You want a pure pool filter sand with no chemicals or additives. A 50lb bag if I remember correctly was like 10-12 bucks. Petco is a ripoff for substrate

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Old 01-16-2015, 09:52 AM   #8
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All the pool sand I ever dealt with was 100% sand, if I even thought for a minute that there was something sharp or harmful in it, I would have worn some gloves. Since the sand is sold as a filter medium it's nice and coarse, perfect for an aquarium substrate. The black blasting sand is available in different sizes with medium being the best for substrate. It looks like many people are using these sands without complaints so I wouldn't worry too much about it, but of course if pet store sand would give you peace of mind, I get it. I'm using the saved money on lighting, filtration and a diy stand.
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Old 01-16-2015, 10:10 AM   #9
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I don't think there is glass in it. At least the kinds I use don't have any, and isn't sharp at all, feels just like regular sand. If your going to get Corry's you want a sand substrate.


Leslies Pool sells the sand, just make sure you don't use the zeolite, or DE ( diatomaceous earth) The DE might be what felt sharp to you and is used in pool filters also. You want a pure pool filter sand with no chemicals or additives. A 50lb bag if I remember correctly was like 10-12 bucks. Petco is a ripoff for substrate

Thanks, There is a Leslie's pool place not far from me. Lots of pool places actually lol. Anyway, I got my pool filter sand from some other pool store and I can't remember the brand. It might have been what you described. I'll check out Leslie's and get the correct sand from there.
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Old 01-16-2015, 10:13 AM   #10
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All the pool sand I ever dealt with was 100% sand, if I even thought for a minute that there was something sharp or harmful in it, I would have worn some gloves. Since the sand is sold as a filter medium it's nice and coarse, perfect for an aquarium substrate. The black blasting sand is available in different sizes with medium being the best for substrate. It looks like many people are using these sands without complaints so I wouldn't worry too much about it, but of course if pet store sand would give you peace of mind, I get it. I'm using the saved money on lighting, filtration and a diy stand.
I never thought about using blasting sand. My husband has some, but I don't think it's enough to cover the bottom of a 55 gallon tank. I also don't want to use black. I was thinking of a more natural sand look. My 20 gallon tank has natural colored gravel. They aren't pea sized, but also not something a cory could burrow into. Thank you all for the suggestions. I will look into the pool filter sand.
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