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Old 01-29-2006, 01:11 PM   #1
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Newbie Needs advice on Filteration systems

Hello all,

I would like to setup a 55-60 Gallon fresh water system. I have the following questions:

1. I see many filteration types. Canisters, box types that hang on top of the tank and filters that are attached outside the tank and filteration system that is built inside the cabinet. Which is the best system and which is the best for the buck?
2. I see some filteration systems where the tank comes predrilled for overflow systems (Megaflow, twin flow etc). How good are those?
3. Undergravel filters. Do I need one? Somewhere I read that 55 gallons and above doent need one.
3. What kind of maintenance is required on a regular basis to keep the water crystal clear?
4. How often do you all recycle the water in the tank? That is take water out and replace with fresh water.
5. Any brand names that you can suggest

Any pointers that you may provide are much appreciated.

Aravind.
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Old 01-29-2006, 01:20 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!
First for that size of tank you could choose either a HOB filter or a cannister. I prefer cannisters for that size of tank. Best HOB IMO Aquaclear filters. Best cannister IMO, fluval for the money, Ehiem is the best but expensive.

Never had a drilled overflow system so will not comment on what I know nothing about.

Undergravel filters, I don't like or recommend them. They are harder to keep clean, produce more nitrate than other filters.

PWC's I do one every week at least. Usually 30-50%. I have a python to make the job easier. Here is the link to a python

I also recommend Prime as a declorinator which is essential in all water changes.

Might I also recommend a fishless cycle. There is a great article here that explains the fishless cycle. It works for FW as well as SW, you can also use pure ammonia as the source rather than shrimp if you prefer. There is also a thread of one members course with fishless cycling on this forum recently. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewto...319&highlight= It's a little long but if you want to know how it went for someone this is a good read.

Looking forward to your posts here.
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Old 01-29-2006, 01:50 PM   #3
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As Zagz recommended, definately get a canister filter. UGF's are outdated and are not as efficient as canisters. I am partial to the Cascade line since we own 3. For a 55 gal tank a Cascade 1000 would be sufficient. Fluval, Ehim, and Filstars are also great canisters. I do weekly water changes of about 25% on all of the tanks using the Python (best thing since sliced bread). About once a month I take out the filter and change out the filter floss. It keeps the water crystal clear.
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Old 01-29-2006, 03:47 PM   #4
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1. I see many filteration types. Canisters, box types that hang on top of the tank and filters that are attached outside the tank and filteration system that is built inside the cabinet. Which is the best system and which is the best for the buck?
For efficiency, Cannister are the best, For bang for buck, HOB are better short term, a cannister pays for itself with no "cartridges", just floss that's 99cents for a square yard.
2. I see some filteration systems where the tank comes predrilled for overflow systems (Megaflow, twin flow etc). How good are those?
Typically these are used for Saltwater systems, there is a large price difference in pre-drilled tanks, However you will need a sump or wet/dry filter to use one (and pumps)
3. Undergravel filters. Do I need one? Somewhere I read that 55 gallons and above doent need one.
No, they aren't effective, and to service them you have to rip out all the substrate.
3. What kind of maintenance is required on a regular basis to keep the water crystal clear?
Crystal clear can be as simple as regular water changes, however a diatom filter would work well, a good cannister that can be a diatom filter is the Marineland Magnum 350
4. How often do you all recycle the water in the tank? That is take water out and replace with fresh water.
typically 25%/week, some up to 50% a day with discus and other sensitive fishes.
5. Any brand names that you can suggest
See above, it will take care of all your filtration needs.
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Old 01-29-2006, 10:47 PM   #5
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When I set up a 50+ gallon aquarium, I will use two canister filters, both rated to 75% of tank capacity. I believe this will handle a higher bio-load but more important IMO, is the redundancy. If one should fail, the tank is on life support for the short term.
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Old 01-30-2006, 03:26 AM   #6
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A couple of things said above are not true. Best bang for the buck are not canisters, but Aquaclear HOB filters. Once you buy them you have no further expense for many years. I have one that has been running for 10 years and still has the original foam insert. If you wish you can add floss to them also. They are cheaper to buy and easier to maintain (no hoses to clean). UGFs do not need to have the substrate removed to service them. A siphon hose down the lift tube removes whatever is below the plates. I have one that has been running for 12 years without a tear down. A UGF filter will not produce more nitrate than other filters. The amount of nitrate in a tank that has adequate filtration is dtermined by the bioload, not the filter. However, while UGF have fallen out of favour, if they are used in a reverse flow situation, perhaps with another filter, there is no maintenance other than cleaning the prefilter.
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Old 01-30-2006, 07:47 AM   #7
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you want one of these



It's a side drop filter, cheap and easy to make provided you can drill or get someone to drill it for you and diy it, the best part of it is, it's totally air driven so you only need to buy the air pump, line, airstones and a couple of pvc elbows and straight lengths.
works better then any canister, hob, internal that I have ever had.
Sucks the gunk up from the bottom of the tank, filters it like a trickle filter then however many ports you want raise the water up and out at the top.
Basically it's a giant, high powered type of those little plastic corner filters.
on the perth forum(see my sig) there is an article one how to make one for a fry tank. this one is alot harder though.

I'm actually suprised you haven't utilised them over there yet.

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Old 01-30-2006, 08:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillD
A couple of things said above are not true. Best bang for the buck are not canisters, but Aquaclear HOB filters. Once you buy them you have no further expense for many years. I have one that has been running for 10 years and still has the original foam insert. If you wish you can add floss to them also. They are cheaper to buy and easier to maintain (no hoses to clean). UGFs do not need to have the substrate removed to service them. A siphon hose down the lift tube removes whatever is below the plates. I have one that has been running for 12 years without a tear down. A UGF filter will not produce more nitrate than other filters. The amount of nitrate in a tank that has adequate filtration is dtermined by the bioload, not the filter. However, while UGF have fallen out of favour, if they are used in a reverse flow situation, perhaps with another filter, there is no maintenance other than cleaning the prefilter.
Sorry Bill, I keep forgetting about the AC Filters. Same concept tho, the cheaper media is where the savings is, not the filter cost. Also canister provide micron filtration which AC's don't (not that most cannister's do, but I provided the 1 that I know of that does, Pentair module filters also have this feature).

UGF do have some other downsides, such as planted aquaria, and also you can't use sand as a substrate. By "service" I meant if something breaks down (broken plate for example), not general maintenance.
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Old 01-30-2006, 11:10 AM   #9
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To sum up

From what I hear from you all, a Canister is a good choice if I can afford one while Hang on Tops are best value for money. Thanks for all the brand names suggested. You've made my life a little bit easier...
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Old 01-31-2006, 10:54 AM   #10
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Both types have their advantages. If you have multiple tanks, that has to be taken into consideration also. I have both types, as well as a couple of UGF, but most of my tanks have sponge filters.
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