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Old 10-27-2010, 10:58 PM   #1
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Best filter(s) for a large freshwater aquarium

I am currently in the process of searching for a very large up grade tank. I am looking in the 180 to 250 range. The one that I am currently looking over is a 225 (6' x 2' x 2.5') however it may be a few months before I actually decide on the proper tank for me. Just looking for the right tank for what I want and have plenty of time to find it.

What I really need to learn more about is the possible filtration options. I am leaning towards the canister side at the moment due to what I have learned at this point. I admit that this is limited, however. I have been looking into the fluval fx5 among others. Would this be enough to tackle a tank of this size alone? Is it a better idea to double up with smaller filters or even two fx5s or so? Is there a better method for filtering a tank of this size? I understand the concept of the sump, but for some reasons, particularly my distaste for clutter and unattractive growth (i know this is part of the process but I prefer not to see it), I am finding myself fighting this method. I may however go this way if the benefits really outweigh the cons IMO.

If you have experience with a tank similar to this I would love to hear your advice/experiences. Any information will be useful.

I am not currently planning on planting the tank, but it may be an option in the future. I want this thing to be WOW!
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:20 AM   #2
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ok so im nowhere near a 250... i have a 90 fw planted... i run a single Eheim classic 2217...

that being said.. there have been several builds on this forum in the order of 180+Gal... 300G the largest ive seen here...

after asking 1,000,000 questions and watching these builds.. if I were going to go as large as 250 and up... i would run multiple canisters..

reasons:
1. you can never have too much filtration
2. you can alternate cleanings... if you run 2 canisters, you can clean one during week 1 and the second during week 2 etc... i believe mfdrookie516 does this on his tank...

if you can afford 2 fx5.... i would say GO MAN GO!!
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:31 AM   #3
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I'm one who advocates a sump for filtration. I would say you put the sump under the tank and put doors on it... then you can't see it. If you really don't like the sump idea I would agree with Andrewz00, if you want to go canister I would say 2 fx5's would be the way to go.
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:59 AM   #4
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I'd go with a sump on a tank that large. You can declutter the tank by putting the heaters in the sump. Sumps offer the most flexibility of any filter, but they require some mechanical aptitude and some imagination.

If you want a quick and easy solution, get two FX5s. I'm not sure how much the manufacturers overrate a canister filter's abilities, but with HOBs, I take the rating and cut it in half. It's always better to overfilter as long as the fish can handle the flow.
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:06 AM   #5
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I'd go with a sump anyday for that tank size. Less potential points of future failure than multiple canisters.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:18 PM   #6
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Does this mean that a single problem could cause a more potentially large problem with a sump than if one canister had problems? I would still have the other canister to do something rather than a total failure...

I agree over filtration is best...If two Fx5s is not possible what would you guys suggest as far as canister filters? I hear the fx5 can work up to 400 gal and if I cut that in half one would be roughly equivilent to the tanks I am looking at. I believe it was something like 620 gph...would the single fx5 be better than two smaller canisters?

What potential maintanance is involved with the canisters? Do i just replace media? Is the a benefit to using premade media rather than DIY?

Is there a strong benefit to sumps as far as water quality?
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:19 PM   #7
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I would go with canisters. They have the best mechanical filtration since it is sealed and actually forces the water through. With open systems like HOBs or sumps if the media is even slightly clogged the water will take the path of least resistance AROUND the media, not through it. This means it is not actually being cleaned.

I would go with a canister you can backwash. The Fluval FX5 is a great option, but for easier maintenance the Ocean Clear 354 is ideal. You can backwash as you drain the tank for a water change.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:33 PM   #8
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if two fx5's are a bit out of reach... i would suggest eheim.

the eheim classic 2250 is rated around 250 gallons per hour for tanks up to 250 gallons.... you can find them for less then $200.... compared to the $330-350 for the fx5....

i personally run a eheim classic 2217 on my 90 gal....which is rated upto 160 gal and 200 gph. they are SUPER quiet and reliable.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:46 PM   #9
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Canisters need to be cleaned like any filter. Never replace the mechanical or biological media unless it's completely falling apart. Wash them in a bucket of old tank water. Replacing the media will cause you to lose beneficial bacteria.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:56 PM   #10
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I wouldn't get the Eheim. You get less flow, less filtration, for at best around the same price.
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:53 PM   #11
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Thanks Jim. Thats what I assumed. How often would I need to change foam in a canister such as the fx5? I assume I would not want to change all of it at once. I believe there are four levels of foam in the fx5. Would I just change the first and rotate the others down?

I would probably go with the fx5 over the eheim, but the Ocean Clear may be another option. Exactly why is it "easier to maintain" though?
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:48 PM   #12
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Just got back from the shop with a Tetratec EX700 for my new 35G
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:51 PM   #13
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Basically with the foam, you want to just wash them out in old tank water, as they start to fall apart you would change them out one at a time.
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:31 PM   #14
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I don't know much about the FX5, but in general, don't all canisters have a bio-media like bio balls or ceramic rings that you never change? The pads themselves then could be changed as often as desired or on a regular basis.

I could go either way on the filtration. A canister is cleaner looking and perfectly functional, a sump gives you more system water and you can change pads easier and hide other equipment, but can be noisy and if something gets plugged you can overflow the tank, unless you drill the tank and put in a Caflo 3-pipe overflow system.

For FW and simplicity, I'd lean towards canister.
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:30 PM   #15
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I've had the fluval 305 and 405 running on my 150g for over a year now and have never changed any of the media in them. The sponges hold up well and I can see them lasting every bit of 2-3 years or more. The ceramic rings will probably last forever (at least as long as the filter is running). I would have to say that two canisters would be better than one. Running multiples will allow you to have a backup in case one fails, as well as being able to clean them on opposite weeks. While I think one fx5 would be sufficient for a tank of that size, two would certainly be better. I wouldn't really want to run more than two. I'd say two rena xp4's would do the trick as well, and would be about $200 each, which would save you about $200 over the fx 5's (though the fx5 is close to double the gph). Since you're in planning stages right now, I think you'll have plenty of time to figure out what filtration method you will go with. I have little experience with sumps, but I do agree that a sump would be great for hiding heaters and things of that nature. For a tank of that size, a 55g or 75g tank underneath would be a nice addition to the overall tank volume and would probably provide as good or better filtration.
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:34 PM   #16
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I also run multiple canisters, 3- Eheim 2080's on a 225 Mbuna tank. I will clean one every couple of weeks which will give each about 4 weeks of use. and everything stays nice. I also do a 50 gallon water change every 2 weeks and vacuum as much as i can get to.
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:57 PM   #17
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The Ocean Clear is easier to maintain since you don't have to open it up and manually clean the media. You put it on backwash. This drains the tank by pushing water through the canister in the opposite direction as usual, pushing debris out and out the drain. We had filters with backwash options on the systems at the shop I was running and it makes a HUGE difference. We used the Ultima IIs made by Aqua UV, I think these would be better but they are much more expensive than the Ocean Clear.
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:47 PM   #18
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This has really been invaluable. I feel much better about my options and have much more confidence in selecting a system that will work for me. Everyone has been a huge help. I think most of my questions have been answered. Thanks! Much appreciated!
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Old 10-29-2010, 05:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd R Turbo View Post
I don't know much about the FX5, but in general, don't all canisters have a bio-media like bio balls or ceramic rings that you never change? r.
Pretty much yeah. My filter manual says that the bio balls and ceramics should be regularly washed in tank water but you can keep using them for as long as you can still get the worst of the dirt off them.

Means you can change things like the filter pads without worrying too much about it entirely wiping out your bacteria!
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Old 10-29-2010, 05:54 AM   #20
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This has really been invaluable. I feel much better about my options and have much more confidence in selecting a system that will work for me. Everyone has been a huge help. I think most of my questions have been answered. Thanks! Much appreciated!
Once you've made a purchase and got set up, make sure you post back here to tell us about your setup
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