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Old 04-28-2005, 08:57 PM   #1
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To Wet\Dry or Not to Wet\Dry

OK, I’m still in the reading, and planning phase of getting started with a seriously planted tank instead of one with a couple plants, and 2 40 wat bulbs.
Originally I was going to set up with a hang on back Wet\Dry filter (new from when I wanted to set up a reef tank). I’m a bit old school, and a huge believer of the Bio-filtration. (Besides, nitrates are good for plants, right?) But now I’m wondering if a Fluval 304 with the spray bar way below the water line will be better to serve my purposes.
On the Wet\Dry filter’s pluses are; great Bio filtration, easy to maintain, lets me keep the heater out of the tank, and it was a cool toy I got for Christmas,
On the Minuses, I’m worried about the Co2 loss, and low water circulation (I know this can be supplemented with a power head or two).
For the Fluval on the pluses; high flow rate, great mechanical filtration,
On the Minuses: low Bio Filtration, harder to maintain, It’s about 10 years old.

If anyone can please add to these two lists, or give me a good opinion on why I should go one way or the other, I’d really appreciate it.
Thanks,
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Aquarium: 55 gallon with 60 lbs fluorite 20 lbs gravel
Filtration: Eheim 2026 Pimp #168 with Fluval surface skimmer
Lighting: PC 130 watts of 6700k PCs 12hours, 130 watts 10K 4 hours.
Co2 suppl.: 10lb tank with Milwaukee al in one.
Flora:Java Moss, Water Sprite, Microsword, Anacharis, Water Primrose, Rotala rotundifolia, Cryptocoryne wendtii, Echinodorus x barthii, Bacopa monnieri
Fauna: 3 Sailfin Mollies, 8 Tiger barbs, 6 Cory Julii, 6 Ottos, 2 SAEs, 9 Amano shrimp.
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Old 04-28-2005, 09:20 PM   #2
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Welcome to Aquarium Advice, tazcrash69!!

Is this for the 55gal in your sig, or is another tank?

You'll ultimately do just fine going either way, and many do, but my own personal opinion would be to have a canister filter with the return below the water line to prevent uneccessary outgasing of CO2. I have tanks with wet/dry and tanks with canisters, and assuming the tank is cycled I see no particular benefit to wet dry. Canisters can certainly be nitrate factories, no worries there, lol. Ease of maintenance is really key here, so you'll need to do some soul searching in that regard. I just prefer the unobtrusiveness and quiet of a canister filter.

You can get in-line heaters for canisters (someone refresh my memory on the manufacturer, please), or buy canister filters with built-in heaters, so that needn't rule them out.

You'll get strong opinions for and against both choices, so I hope you'll get enough info to make your choice, and it is sure wise to plan carefully ahead of time. Good luck with your setup
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Old 04-28-2005, 10:05 PM   #3
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You can certainly use a wet/dry with CO2 although, as TG says, you'll experience faster outgassing than you would with a canister filter. If you've got pressurized CO2 all you need to do is turn up the volume to compensate - CO2 is cheap Steve Hampton commented here a few months ago on someone who had been using wet/dry and CO2 with great success and very little additional outgassing, I'll see if I can find a link to the thread.

That said, I prefer canister filters because of their unobtrusiveness, silence, and ease of use

I think Hydor is the brand of in-line heater you were thinking of TG. I'm using them on my 125G and they work like a charm. You don't see them and you never have to worry about cracking a heater during a water change.
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Old 04-28-2005, 10:46 PM   #4
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Numbers that might help you (my diy wet/dry+sump system):

~17g system volume
Wet/dry area ~5"x3" (cyl. diaxh) @ 140gph (measured)
2*2L DIY CO2, 1/2tsp yeast 2 cups sugar w/ bottle change 7-10 days, 2 diffusers (ladder in main, bell+airstone in sump)
Sump in reverse photoperiod (keeps gases, pH closer to stable)
CO2 ~25ppm @ dkH >5

I think I have as heavy a CO2 routine as some people with much larger volume who ended up going pressurized, and my wet/dry is not as efficent in terms of gas exchange as best designs (as yours appears to be). Must still add KNO3 twice or three times a week btw (probably in large part to half the system always in photosynthesis) for NO3 ~10ppm (usually 12.5ppm by measured dose) despite wet/dry "nitrate factory.". HTH
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Old 04-28-2005, 10:48 PM   #5
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Thanks for the opinions, and for the welcome.
I'm still debating, but I came across this little article http://www.hallman.org/plant/booth2.html. It seems that under the proper conditions WD's aren't as bad as one would think. So I guess, I'll not pump air into the biochamber the way I had originally planned.
With a cover over the bio-chamber it seems the Co2 residing in the air space of the bio chamber reaches an equilibrium with the Co2 in the water, and the loss isn't that bad. It definiltly looks like people who add Co2 should put their spray bars low in their tanks.
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Aquarium: 55 gallon with 60 lbs fluorite 20 lbs gravel
Filtration: Eheim 2026 Pimp #168 with Fluval surface skimmer
Lighting: PC 130 watts of 6700k PCs 12hours, 130 watts 10K 4 hours.
Co2 suppl.: 10lb tank with Milwaukee al in one.
Flora:Java Moss, Water Sprite, Microsword, Anacharis, Water Primrose, Rotala rotundifolia, Cryptocoryne wendtii, Echinodorus x barthii, Bacopa monnieri
Fauna: 3 Sailfin Mollies, 8 Tiger barbs, 6 Cory Julii, 6 Ottos, 2 SAEs, 9 Amano shrimp.
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:13 AM   #6
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Right - but as Travis pointed out, CO2 is cheap so the debate is more important when you are not injecting CO2 and are trying to preserve whatever might be in the water from the respiration of the fish. If you are injecting then you have more control, and it becomes more of a personal preference.
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Old 04-29-2005, 01:02 AM   #7
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Actually, if the wet/dry has a tight fitting lid (or you can rig up a fairly tight seal on the top) then you won't lose much CO2. It may outgas, but will stay trapped, and get back into the water.
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