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Old 08-07-2003, 04:59 PM   #1
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Looking for info on canister filtration

Flipping through a DrsFosterSmith catalog I saw a H.O.T Magnum 250 on sale with all the goodies for like $50. I got to thinking thats not to bad to get a canister filter, so I was wondering if you fine folks could help me out with info on canister filters. Basically what do I need to know about canister filtration, features, flow rates, and etc.. Who makes good canister filters. Typical newb questions.
Thanks in advance,
James J.
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Old 08-07-2003, 06:25 PM   #2
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For a 20-gal, if this is the tank you are going to be using it with, you can get excellent results with the hang-on-the-back type filter, so don't feel like you can't get good filtration without a canister. The advantages are that the pump is hidden, so in my case my tank can be almost flush with the wall and no ugly box hanging on there. They are slightly more trouble to maintain, because you have to unhook it from the tubes and carry it somewhere to clean it, but many of them offer easy access slots to do this. I have an Eheim 2215 and though I think this canister will last me forever it is right much of a pain to take apart and maintain. You don't do this but every 3-5 months, though, so not such a big deal. I have heard excellent things about the Rena Filstar, and the Magnum Millennium canisters. Your Emperor filter is very highly regarded, too.
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Old 08-07-2003, 06:48 PM   #3
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I love my emperor, I wouldn't get rid of it, I would like to add a canister to the filtration system. I also recognize that this might be "over filtering" for a 20gal, I am working on getting a larger tank though something like 30-40gal. I really like the fact that you can hook the gravel vac up to the canister and suck out all the grunge, then just add the perfectly filtered water back, then it's just the matter of a water change which is a piece of cake.
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Old 08-08-2003, 01:46 PM   #4
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Anyone have anything else to add?
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Old 08-09-2003, 01:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesMJ2
I also recognize that this might be "over filtering" for a 20gal, I am working on getting a larger tank though something like 30-40gal.
'Tis better to have too much filtration than not enough. When I had my 20 gallon, I always hated how often I would have to clean it. I say go for it. $50 bucks to not have to clean as frequently seems like a good trade-off.

~ T
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Old 08-11-2003, 11:47 PM   #6
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sweeping the gravel?

You can sweep gravel with a canister? I never thought about that! And I just did a gravel sweep and water change tonight... Hmmm.... In your opinion, is all that gook better or worse for the filter?
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Old 08-12-2003, 12:17 AM   #7
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I am sure it means more filter services. Not having to change the water is nice though, and I am sure the filter suction would pull more junk out of the gravel.. Not really bad for the filter though.
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Old 08-12-2003, 05:21 AM   #8
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The canister you mentioned cycles 250 gallons per hour. You might want to think about your fishes happiness before hooking that monster to a 20 gal tank.
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Old 08-12-2003, 02:23 PM   #9
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I had wondered about that myself. If there would be to much current. But they seem to do fine with the Emperor 280 I have. Also I am sure you can adjust the flow rate, and I have been looking at a bigger tank. Which is one of the reasons I have thought about getting this canister.
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Old 08-12-2003, 03:03 PM   #10
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Not having to change the water is nice though
whoa there

whoever told you that you do not need to change water is largely mistaken.

Unless you have a special setup on your tank (ie: very large tank with lots of plants and almost no fish), you will need to do regular water changes, weekly or biweekly.

Although a good filter will keep your ammonia and nitrite levels at or around 0, most do little for nitrates, which will easily build up to toxic levels without regular water changes.

there are "gizmos" that remove nitrates, and there is the so-called nitrafaction filter that uses anaerobic bacterica, but these are dangerous in their own accord and should be avoided by all but the advanced hobbiest.

using a filter to clean your gravel is dangerous as well ... with waste products sitting in the gravel, they are exposed to very little water flow, and therefore, release very little toxins into the water. however, if you vacuum all that 'debris' into your filter, it is now having a large amount of water circulated past it constantly... which greatly increases the amount of DOC (disolved organic compounds) in your water.

I don't vacuum my gravel regularly, but I do have a large amount of plants and several bottom feeders. I also do weekly 25% water changes and maintain my canister filter once a month, with a more thorough cleaning every 2 or 3 months.

for montly maintaence I open the canister, replace the filter floss and clean the impeller cover, I also clean the intake strainer.

for the 3 month service I remove the canister taking it to my sink, wash the prefilter, rinse and temporarly store the bio media in tank water, rinse the canister itself with HOT water, replace the filter floss, remove the impeller and clean it and the motor, clean the venturi and primer plunger. I also take a bottle brush to my spray-bar, to clean out the holes and the inside. I then refill the canister with dechlorinated water to make it easier to prime.

about every 9 months, I remove the hoses and clean them with a bottle brush tied to a long wire - a lot of gunk builds up inside them, really reducing the flow. at this time i also clean the valves on the canister filter, which tend to gunk up as well, i also preform the 3 month service as well.

I use a fluval 404 on my 29 gallon tank. Before it was heavily planted, I ran the filter with the valve 1/2 open, but now I run it full open and the fish enjoy the current.

for my 4 media trays, I have the first two loaded with small pieces of lava rock, then a tray of the biomax rings, and then a tray of tightly packed filter floss. You'll notice I don't have any carbon or other chemicals in my filter. I rely on plants for the majority of chemical and biological filtration, and the canister is only used to provide some biological and mainly mechanical filtration. On occasion I will swap filter floss for carbon if I'm medicating or stirred up the gravel - it really clears the water quickly!

Sorry for the long post - I hope some of this information and advice is usefull to you!
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