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Old 02-22-2006, 10:27 AM   #1
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Showdown SUMP vs Canister?

Are sumps really that superior to a good canister filter? I’m not talking about ability to place skimmers and such, just performance wise. If so why?
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Old 02-22-2006, 12:03 PM   #2
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Personally I think the sump trumps for a couple of reasons. You ruled out for comparison reasons the main attributes that a sump has over a canister filter which I feel is a bit unfair.

Being able to store your heater/skimmer/uv/ect… in the sump instead of the main tank is quite nice but for aesthetic reasons along with reducing possible noise.

The sump also has the advantage in adding greater water volume which improves overall quality water then the canister’s smaller water volume.

The sump allows for greater tank circulation of 600+gph whereas most canisters max out at around 350 gph or less.

A sump can easily be converted into a refugium, a canister can not.

With any canister you have to be diligent about keeping it clean (every other week) or else it could build up excess waste on the filter material and raise your no3. Same can be said about using any media in the sump also.

Personally I use a sump and a canister filter along with 90 lbs of lr for bio-filtration. I mostly just use the canister for tank circulation and so I can drop in GAC, PhosGuard, Chemi-Pure, or Purigen

I have used the HOT Magnum 250 which does 250 gph for over 8 years (same one) without having to replace any parts and personally feel it’s one of the best. It also comes with a micron filter which polishes the water quickly if needed. I keep it on my qt tank now.

I also use the Magnum 350 on my main. Unlike the HOT 250 it doesn’t hang on the back and can be kept below the stand. It also does 350 gph.
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Old 02-22-2006, 01:37 PM   #3
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Very nice post! I think you covered all the points quite nicely. The versatility of the sump and the fact that all cannister filters are nitrate factories (nature of the beast) are my two primary reasons for using them whenever possible.
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Old 02-23-2006, 02:22 PM   #4
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Thanks Hara,

I forgot a couple of other advantages of the sump although it’s more linked to the overflow but using an overflow/sump allows for surface skimming whereas a canister would have to use a surface skimmer attachment like the fluval.

Also the movement from the overflow and through the sump creates a richer environment for oxygen exchange whereas most canisters are sealed and therefore do not.

Having a skimmer in the sump allows a lot of the waste to be collected prior to being returned back to the tank thus reducing no3 levels whereas a canister’s waste builds up on the filter pad needing weekly cleanings to keep no3 levels in check.

I clean my filter pads in the canister either weekly or every other week and have no3 of 0-2.5 ppm. I have known people to go a month or two and see no3 spikes of 20+ ppm though. Maintenance can be neglected on sumps as well so proper aquarium husbandry is a must with either one IMO.
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Old 02-23-2006, 02:57 PM   #5
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sump not only works better for all the reasons already stated...it's more natural IMO which is always a plus when you can do that.

Sump>canister
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Old 02-23-2006, 11:34 PM   #6
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OK...I'm just starting with a 46 gal tank...my LFS said I'd be fine with a regular hanging filter system and a powerhead for circulation...tank is not drilled- will this be sufficient for the long run?
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Old 02-23-2006, 11:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTV
OK...I'm just starting with a 46 gal tank...my LFS said I'd be fine with a regular hanging filter system and a powerhead for circulation...tank is not drilled- will this be sufficient for the long run?
IMO...not in the long run. I sold my old 45g to a buddy of mine and he runs that exact setup(no skimmer). He has been able to keep things alive for 4-6 months...but then they die. Long term sustainability...you need to at least have a skimmer. Not to be mean or rude, but if i were you i'd stick to FW with a setup like that. You really don't want to be asking yourself a year form now "what was I thinking". HTH
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Old 02-24-2006, 12:09 AM   #8
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good advice- things i need to know now...can I run this size tank with another system that will work or is the only option a bigger tank?
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:16 AM   #9
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good advice- things i need to know now...can I run this size tank with another system that will work or is the only option a bigger tank?
not sure if i understand the question. But what i think you're saying is...can you turn this 46g tank you're getting into a saltwater tank? In short...yes.

You don't have to have a sump but it's just easier with one. If you can't do the sump, just get a HOB skimmer and some LR. That should sustain things for the long term assuming your doing PWC and all the other good stuff.

If you want to go with a sump with your 46g tank, get an external overflow. There's plenty of posts about them that you can find using the "search" function of AA. Another option would of course be to have the 46g tank drilled, that is if it's not tempered.

It all depends on what you want to do. The thing you really need to think about and be honest with yourself is....are you going to stay at your current residence where ever this tank is going to be set up at for a long time? If you plan on only living there a year or two....it might not be worth it to start a reef tank. I'm finding that out more and more. Of course you can try and move it, but at best...moves have been met with mixed results.
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Old 02-24-2006, 12:46 PM   #10
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Welcome to AA

Research is key to successful SW fish keeping and I’d highly recommend reading all the saltwater articles on this site, the articles on liveaquaria.com, & picking up a good book so you have a good understanding of the basics.

SW fish keeping isn’t really that much more complicated then keeping FW or brackish fish. The key thing to understand is that SW fish/inverts come from a very stable environment (the ocean) which has a fairly consistent sg/ph and very low nutrients. They require fairly stable conditions in the aquarium as well to thrive long term hence the reason you want to consider a skimmer which removes DOC therefore keeping your nutrient and no3 levels low. A SW tank can be run successfully without a skimmer (as many have done for years) but require more frequent PWC to keep DOC down. Since SW doesn’t exchange oxygen as well as FW you are also limited in the amount of fish you can keep compared to FW or Brackish. For SW the general rule is 1” of fish per 5 gal. For FW/Brackish it’s 1” per gal. There is virtually no limit on how many inverts you can keep though within reason.

FW & Brackish fish come from less then perfect water conditions most of the time and more oxygen rich environments which make them easier to keep in less then perfect water. If you are keeping an aquarium for the first time and like the colors of SW fish but don’t want the added expense of keeping them then African Cichlids (especially ones from Lake Malawi) are just as colorful as SW fish. Also since a lot of Cichlids are semi-aggressive as a lot of SW fish can be it helps give you a better understanding of aggression and territorial issues and makes the switch to SW down the road a little easier as well IMO.

If you are still set on going with making your 46 gal tank SW then as zenn mentioned lr and skimmer filtration only (Called the "Berlin Method") doesn’t require the use of any mechanical filtration ie: sump or hob, but does require water movement through the use of ph. It is easy to maintain although it’s costly to initially setup. You can use a 50/50 mix of base/lr to reduce costs though and it will serve the same purpose but not look as nice as having all lr.

Also unlike FW or Brackish the use of tap water/de-chlorinator is not recommended due to the high levels of minerals & usually no3/po4. A ro/di unit is recommended for removing all of these elements and to make the water as pure as possible.

A lot of people get them from ebay for around $100. Below are the 3 most popular sites:
Filter-Direct-store (seems to be most popular on this site)
The-Aqua-Safe-Pure-Water-Shop
ROfilterDepot

Also airwaterice.com is a good place if you don’t want to deal with ebay.
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