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FAQs about Canister, Cartridge Filters For Marine Systems 2

Related Articles: Physical FiltrationReview of the ViaAqua Canister Filter

Related FAQs: Canister Filters 1, Canister Filters 3, Outside Power Filters& FAQs on: Rationale/Use, Placement, Media, Plumbing, Maintenance, Troubleshooting/Repair, By Manufacturer: Eheim, Fluval, Other Brands,



Nitrates and Canister Filters Hello,  <Hello David> I have a 55 gallon tank with 75 lbs of live rock, and approximately 3 inches of live sand (no plenum). I am using an Aqua-c remora with a Maxi-jet 1200 for protein skimming, and have another Maxi-jet 1200 for circulation. In addition, I have been running a FilStar Canister filter (300gph). The canister filter, however, only contains foam filter pads.  Marine life in the tank consists of two Clarkii clowns, a yellow tang, bi-color blenny, six line wrasse, and some assorted snails and crabs for house-cleaning. Nitrates in the tank tend to hover around 20-30, despite 20% water changes every two weeks. I am also very conscious about not over-feeding. Is it possible that the canister filter is contributing to higher than normal nitrate levels? Would a larger protein skimmer bring the levels down, or is this just the reality of keeping a relatively small reef-tank? Much of the reading I have done suggest that under-tank refugiums can be very beneficial in reducing nitrates. However, I want to make sure there is not something in my current set-up causing abnormally high nitrates, before investing all that additional money. Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.  <The use of canister filters requires religious cleaning of the foam pads weekly. The detritus it traps leads to higher nitrates levels if these pads are not cleaned weekly. The waste is still in the water, just in a different place. I would suggest the use of Chemi-Pure in the filter for improved water quality. I've been using this in a canister filter for quite sometime, and changing pads weekly. My nitrates are barely detectable and I don't have as efficient of a skimmer as you. Give it a try. James (Salty Dog)>

Fluval 304.......pros and cons Hello guys! first I would like to say that I read your daily FAQs almost everyday. My question is in regards to the Fluval 304. Can you tell me the pros and cons of running one of these filters. I have a 55 gallon saltwater tank. 1/2 live rock, 1/2 Tufa rock. The Fluval 304 keeps spitting out bubbles into the main tank and I can't understand why. I was thinking it was the temp. of the tank. Summer is starting here and the temp stays between 79 and 82 degrees. The tank is running fallow with only a cleaner shrimp and a fire shrimp and a Condy anemone in a in-tank refugium. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.  <Filters usually cavitate from sucking air someplace in the intake line. You might want to check for tightness in the fittings. James (Salty Dog)><<Huh? James... what about the question? RMF>>

Canister Filters Hi Gang! <Hi John> Looking for a little advice here. After reading all of the posts on this subject, I still want to run something by you - thanks for the patience. My setup is as follows:  55 gal FOWLR tank, 5" sand bed, 50lbs rock, AquaC Remora Pro hang-on skimmer, FilStar canister filter, Teclima chiller, 1 clown, 1 goby, 1 Foxface, 1 small puffer, 1 royal Gramma, 1 damsel, 1 medium anemone. Chemical levels are all good except Nitrates which remain at around 35ppm. Water is changed by 10% every week and the canister is cleaned monthly (contains pads, carbon and something called Bio-Chem Zorb... <Yes, it is similar to Chemi-Pure but IMO Chemi-Pure works better>  ... that is supposed to reduce nitrates). I have a feeling that my current canister filter is generating the nitrates but am not sure.  <Don't think so. Do you clean/rinse the coarse filter and replace the micron pad weekly? If not, you should. I use a Filstar on my tank and the micron filter is pretty dirty after a week. We have to export waste/nutrients to keep nitrates low.> My FilStar filter has developed a leak and I feel it is time to replace it. <Do you have the XP series? Contact the manufacturer, I'm sure they would make it right.>  I am looking at the Eheim line of canister filters for this. Due to small space availability, a sump is out of the question. For the Eheim, there are mechanical (2026 or 2028) and wet/dry (2227 or 2229) models. Keeping in mind that I am fighting to get nitrates, do you have any suggestions on which way to go? I have seen many times over that canister filters can produce nitrates... <Canister filters produce nitrates if the pads aren't cleaned replaced weekly. I have a unreadable nitrate level but I'm fussy about excess nutrients and maintenance. You mention a 5" sand bed. Do you have sand stirrers etc? If not, you have a nitrate factory right there.>  ... but do not know what other road to take for filtration given my constraints. If there are any other tips for filtration here, please shout out! Additionally, if the Eheim is a good choice, I was wondering the difficulty in the cleaning process - I would love a filter that is as easy to clean as possible.  <I use the Rena Filstar XP1 and I think it is one of the easiest to clean filters I've used, and I've been through plenty. Getting back to Eheim, they do make a good dependable product. I have one in storage that still works good after 20 years. Your other option would be a hang on mud filter by Ecosystems. They are known for reducing nitrates and a great place for growing pods, etc. If you decide on a Eheim Wet/Dry, go the Wet Web Forum first and post a question there concerning operation, likes, dislikes about this particular Eheim. I haven't heard anyone praising it yet. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks! <You're welcome> 

Canister Filters - II Thank you for the reply and excellent information James. <You're welcome>  You triggered another series of questions though. I'll make it as brief as possible: - I do use an XP2 FilStar filter and will contact the manufacturer for the leak issue - thanks. However, I only clean it once per month so maybe this has something to do with it. <The pads are cheap enough to replace weekly, especially if you get them online. The coarse pad just requires rinsing.>  I will try weekly cleanings. <Good>  It contains 2 coarse pads, 2 fine pads, 1 bag of Bio-Chem, and 1 floss pad. On weekly cleaning, should I clean the whole filter, including all pads, and replace the floss as usual? I have heard that the bottom pads build a bacterial colony that one might want to keep but I always wash it away. <I fill the sink up with a little water and keep squishing the coarse pad and draining/adding water till no color appears to be coming from the pad. I discard the water in the filter, rinse the filter box out, rinse my Chemi-Pure bag, and replace the micron pad. If you are concerned about the bacteria colony, you can rinse in discarded saltwater.> - If I decide to experiment with the mud system, would this be in place of or in addition to the canister filter?  <John, go to ecosystems.com. They have quite a bit of FAQ's on their product.> - Additionally, I will try Chemi-Pure. I am used to packages that are easy to place in the filter. This looks like loose material. Do I purchase a baggy of some type to put it in? <Chemi-Pure comes with its own bag, just requires rinsing. I also has more scavenging resins than the product you're using.> - I think that you got something with the sand bed being an issue. I stir it with my hand, at least in the front, every week at cleaning. Other than that, some fish have taken to scooping it up with their mouths or moving it with their tails in an effort to dig some kind of hole that I keep refilling. The sand in back, however, gets little movement - accounting for about 50+ percent of the bed. Any recommendations for sand stirrers that would be appropriate for the size and stocking of the tank?  <Sand sifting stars are good, but I wouldn't put more than one in per 50 gallons. Some gobies also do this quite well. Do a Google search on the Wet Web for sand sifters.> Again - thanks for the wonderful service. As usual, I've tipped the kitty. <You're welcome, John. James (Salty Dog)>

Media for my Fluval Hello again, I have 2 Fluval 304's for my 50 gallon tank. They are set up as follows: Fluval 1=  Top compartment Kent Nitrate sponge/ Empty Middle Compartment Bio-max/ Bio-max Bottom Compartment Charcoal/ Bio-max Fluval 2=  Top compartment Bio-max/ Bio-max Middle Compartment Bio-max/ Bio-max Bottom Compartment Charcoal/ Bio-max I rinse the Bio-max every 3 months and replace 1/2 of it at 6 month intervals.  I replace the charcoal monthly.  I replace 1/2 of the nitrate sponge every 2 or 3 months. Is there a better suggestion for my Fluvals? I would appreciate your input. <I would substitute the carbon with Chemi-pure. It's much much better than carbon and has an extremely low phosphate content. Regular carbon will leach phosphates. James (Salty Dog)> 

Oxygen content Hi, I checked the search tool for my question with no luck. So forgive me if this was already asked. My question is about octopi. I'm setting up a 30 gallon cube tank with a canister filter. I have heard that octopi need higher levels of dissolved oxygen content, but I'm not exactly sure what that means. How should I keep it high? Or is what I have good enough? Thanks a lot and again sorry if this was already asked.  <Ben, the canister filter is not going to give you the oxygen level you need. You really need a wet/dry filter for good air/water exchange. James (Salty Dog)> 

Oxygen content Follow-up  Hey  <Hey here> Thanks for your quick response. My LFS told me this would be enough so I spent 200 dollars on it. Is there anything else I can do?  <What will help some is to have the return water break the surface of the tank water. That is, do not submerge the return line, preferably use a spray bar. Some filters come with this. If he sold you a Rena or Eheim, it will include the spray bar. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks Ben <You're welcome>

Canister filter losing prime If we lose power and then it comes back on the Fluval will not start pumping water. However the motor is running, have to shake the canister to get it to start. Any thoughts on how to fix this? Thanks <You have some/an air gap... some gas trapped in the canister or flexible tubing... that is accumulating in the motor/impeller when all is turned off... You need to invert, right the canister a few times to discharge this each time you have the filter apart... and learn to prime it completely when re-starting it... by lowering the discharge line... Bob Fenner>

Rena XP1 Filter Not sure if anyone is familiar with the Rena XP1 filter...that is what I am running on my 29g saltwater tank....my question is regarding the two foam micro-filtration that is at the bottom of the filter basket....I was told by someone at my local aquarium store that those foams are necessary for freshwater but not saltwater...and that if they are used for saltwater tanks those foams grow harmful bacteria that slowing kill your fish...is that true?.  <This has to be the most ridiculous statement I have heard in quite a while. The only bacteria you will grown is beneficial bacteria.>  And also that the only things in this filter that are needed for saltwater is the carbon bag and the ceramic rings and bio stars, is that true?  <The ceramic rings offer a base for beneficial bacteria to grown on. You don't have to use carbon, but it helps with water clarity and removal of organics.>  I've only had my filter for two months and I'm worried...one of my cleaner shrimp have already died...and one of my clown fish have jumped out of my tank and died in the middle of the night...can the foam be causing this?  <Absolutely not. I suggest you thoroughly read the manual that came with the filter. It is written very well and will enlighten you as to the filters capabilities. I use that particular model myself. Very well designed. James (Salty Dog)>

Question about filter Hi, Just wanted to say that your site has been very helpful to me as I am rather new to the marine hobby. <We are all glad to be of assistance.>  I was wondering what I should be doing to my Fluval 304 to keep it running how it should. What should I change, is basically what I need to know. I have changed the carbon once but, not sure how often to change it or filters, etc. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks, Brian <Brian, I would change the carbon once a month and the filter sponges should be changed when they start to fall apart. The filter should be cleaned once a month and the hoses should be cleaned every 2 months. good Luck. MikeB.>

Shutting down canister filters Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 Sorry, but I can't get a good answer on this. I am setting up some marine fish breeding systems and I want to cut the flow back at night for larval and egg recovery. There are many ways to do this but I started wondering what would happen to a canister filter that ran 12 on/ 12 off? Or even 18 on/ 6 off? I'm thinking that the bacteria within the filter would begin to die and do more harm than good when restarted. Any thoughts?  <I would put a ball valve on the return and cut that back so you just get a small flow through the system. This will not harm the pump in anyway. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Shutting down canister filters  Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 Thanks James, but the idea is to prevent larvae and eggs from getting sucked into the filter, it needs to be shut off. These will be fairly large tanks of 100 to 200 gallons and while there will be overflow to a sump (prefiltered with a plankton collector for larval recovery) I wanted the added mechanical & carbon filtration on the tank. I think the best I can do is a closed loop high volume circulation pump that runs during daylight hours only. This should help to keep detritus suspended and lost to the overflow. <You're welcome, I guess controlling the flow rate to say 50gph at night would still suck in the larvae/eggs, even if the intake was at mid tank? Anyway, good luck with your venture. We need more people like yourself to help keep our hobby going. God only knows when there will (if) be a ban on importing reef animals. James (Salty Dog)>

Wet Dry Filter, actually... canister I currently have a wet dry filter setup on a 150 gallon saltwater tank. It is one of the systems that you need to start the intake yourself by siphoning water through the tubes.  Anyway my question is this, can I switch over to a Canister filter?  They seem to be much quieter and easier to manage. A friend of mine has a very nice saltwater setup in his office and he has an Eheim canister filter.  I only bought the wet/dry because the salesperson told me that's what I needed. My wet dry has been set up for about 8 months now.. Can I switch to a canister filter?  If so what kind would you recommend and what do I need to do to switch without affecting my fish?  <There are few canister filters out there (regardless of claims) that can effectively handle a tank that large. You don't mention the use of live rock so the wet/dry is a must for denitrification. The wet/dry also does a very good job in exchanging gas/oxygen with the water. As far as easier to manage, the wet/dry in my opinion is easier. Canister filters do need to be cleaned weekly with new filtering pad replacement. James (Salty Dog)> Thank You

Supplemental Filters Dear Bob and Staff, I stir things up a bit on the live rock with a turkey baster about once a week. A lot of debris flies around during the process. My question is since I am only running a wet/dry filter with two overflows. Would it be wise to buy a canister or diatom filter and maybe use it once a week to pull floating debris out of the tank instead of hoping it will make its way to the overflows? <Hello Jim.  Yes, it would be a good idea.  I use a Magnum HOT for this purpose.  It is versatile in that you can use the micron cartridge for water polishing, or the media canister for whatever. James (Salty Dog) Thank you! Canister questions Hello, <How goes it?> I am a longtime freshwater keeper who made the switch to salt ab. 6 mos. ago. <Congrats!  :P  I'm biased>  I made the ultimate mistake of taking the advice of a dealer instead of researching myself......in the end.....I walked away with a 90 gal glass aquarium, 2 Fluval 404 canister filters, heater, pc lights, Excalibur hang on skimmer, many powerheads, 60+ lbs of live rock, appx. 50 lbs. Live sand. <Not TOO bad...I've heard of worse>  I have since added a Berlin classic hang on skimmer which also serves as ozone reactor, red sea aqua zone 50 mg/hr ozonizer. <Most excellent> Knowing now the shortcomings of the canisters, I am basically relying on the live rock/sand for bio filtration and using the Fluvals for mechanical with 1-2 times a month running with carbon. <I would use small amounts of carbon always, changed weekly, and run the mechanical filtration only a few times a month> My question is can I use 1 Fluval as an intake, empty into a 10 gal. Tank I have from fresh sys, utilize the 10 gal tank as sump to house skimmer, heater, etc...then use 2nd Fluval as return to main tank? <Only if you want your tank emptied onto your floor> If you think this would work, would I need to make any modifications to the 10 gal. Tank?  Could it be done without drilling?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated! <Ok, here is what I would do.  If you don't want to drill, purchase an external overflow (www.MarineDepot.com has them for decent prices I believe), preferably not a siphon model.  Run the overflow tube into your sump.  Use the Fluvals to pump from the sump into your main aquarium.  That should do the trick for you...and with keeping the Fluvals you can use the spray bars for beneficial water movement.  Much better than powerheads>   Brian W. Durica <M. Maddox> O-ring problem Hi, I want to start by saying I am really glad I found your site today. I learned a lot more since finding it than I have in the short 6 months since I found out that I am nuts for this hobby. On to my question. With my wife out of work, I am on a very tight budget. I wanted to get a larger tank to go with my 10 & 20 gallon tanks, and kept an eye out for a "garage sale special" After looking out, I picked up a 45 gallon tank, stand, filter & Heater for under $100. The filter is a Chinese no-name brand canister filter, but definitely works, as I am familiar with the former owner and his Flowerhorns. The name on it says "Sun Sun", but I can't find any info on them. Like I said, no name Chinese made. It looks like the o-ring gave out, and was hoping you might know a DIY resource for O-rings.<Chris, look in the yellow pages under bushings/bearings.  Most of these places have a huge assortment of O rings.  Take the part of the filter that has the O ring with you>  James

Anemone lost to a canister filter! Hi Blundell, Disaster struck last night in my tank.  One of my anemones got sucked into my canister filter and died.  It's too bad because it had been thriving.  My question is can I still use my filter? << Yes, but I'd clean that thing out well. >> I'm afraid that it might pollute my whole tank. << Bigger concern is will it happen again.  I'd make sure to improve the screening method on that filter before using again. >> Thanks again! Martin <<  Blundell  >>

- Canister Filter, Replace or Not - Hi crew, My Fluval Canister filter packed in last night, now ideally I would like to spend more time trawling your pages for advice but I am concerned that the loss of the canister will effect my water and I may not have that time. Its a 50g tank with 2 fish (Damsel and Clown) plus some crabs and snails, I also have some mushrooms and xenia. Its been running for 2 years. My current "filtration" set up without the Fluval Canister is Aqua C Remora (Maxi Jet 1200) 2 Maxi Jet 1000 opposing powerheads (breaking surface) Lots of live rock in tank I perform a water change every second week 10% approx) My questions, what would you recommend I replace the Fluval with, another canister filter? <If you can get one, perhaps an Eheim, but the Fluvals are good products.> Should I be looking at something else? <Hmm...> Should I be rushing out to buy a replacement? <I wouldn't... I think your tank can run the way it is provided that "lots" of live rocks means about one pound per gallon. The canister filter certainly provides benefit, but you might make up for its loss with more regular water changes, perhaps 5% a week.> Thanks in advance John <Cheers, J-- >

Fluval fix Hi Wondered if you could help. I have a Fluval 304 about 4 yrs old. It always ran fine until the other day. I clean it once a month basically replace the carbon and rinse the foam. I use it more for chemical filtration as I have a Bio-Wheel and Aquaclear on the tank as well. I also like it because of the flow it gives me as well. Anyway I stripped it down and put it back together as I have done a hundred times. I put it back under the tank. When I came home at lunch the following day the water in the tank was down about 1 1/2" ( its a 65g by the way). I thought it was the tank but after some investigation I discovered it was leaking from the filter. There was a steady drip of water running down from the blue handles on either side. I thought it might be because I had filled up the baskets to the top with some carbon and pre-filter material more than is usually in there and it was restricting the flow of the water through the filter in some way. I took out the extra material and returned it to how it was before but this didn't fix it. I then thought it might be the seal for the motor housing so I have just run down to the LFS and replaced that but that isn't working either. I will try to describe where the water is coming from. Where the two parts lock together all the way around there is a kind of bulge well on the part where the handles are it kinda flares out and creates a well next to the handle. At the top of these wells there are small holes and that is where the water comes from. The canister part of the filter not the motor housing. I hope you understand and can either help me or let me know who can. Thanks PS - I sent in a question about 3 weeks ago and didn't get an answer. No biggie I solved that problem now but would really appreciate an answer to this. < I had a guy at work with a similar problem and he asked me to take a look at it. I think the problem is with a dried out O ring that seals the upper and lower pieces together. I never got a chance to try it but I think if you grease the O ring with a white grease or even try some petroleum jelly you may have some luck. I know that he had called the company rep and got no answers and I never talked to him again to see how it turned out. I think he just bought a new filter from a different company.-Chuck> Dean K. Smith

Re: Leaking filter, FW Thanks for the prompt answer. I replaced the seal with a new one yesterday and the leak slowed down a little but didn't stop. So I called the company today ( I am in Canada by the way) and as soon as I told them the problem the told me to return the filter for repair. They seemed to know exactly what it was and weren't concerned that the filter was no longer under warranty. Seems to me this must be a common problem with this filter. Anyway they told me to send it to them at my cost they will return it in a couple of days at there cost. Hopefully it turns out well and I am glad I am also running another filter on this tank. Thanks again for the quick response and keep up the great work with the site I visit everyday. < When it  comes back please write and let me know what they did. thanks.-Chuck>

 Re: Leaking filter, FW Thanks for the prompt answer. I replaced the seal with a new one yesterday and the leak slowed down a little but didn't stop. So I called the company today ( I am in Canada by the way) and as soon as I told them the problem the told me to return the filter for repair. They seemed to know exactly what it was and weren't concerned that the filter was no longer under warranty. Seems to me this must be a common problem with this filter. Anyway they told me to send it to them at my cost they will return it in a couple of days at there cost. Hopefully it turns out well and I am glad I am also running another filter on this tank. Thanks again for the quick response and keep up the great work with the site I visit everyday. < When it  comes back please write and let me know what they did. thanks.-Chuck>

Leaking Fluval Redux Well I got my filter back today. It all seems to be in order and working fine. I checked over the filter before I started it up again and it seems the only difference is a new type of impeller cover. It seems a better fit and has a fitting that looks like it prevents the impeller from sliding out of the well ( I had a problem with that). I wish they had sent a replacement though because it is very difficult to unclip now and I can see myself maybe breaking it down the road. They stated that they replaced the impeller, the impeller shaft, the impeller cover and the O-ring and they also tested the unit for 24 hrs at no extra charge to me. The impeller was only about 3 months old and the O-ring was brand new. Overall I would say I am satisfied but not impressed as I was a little ticked that the turn around time was 6 days instead of the 3 that they stated when I called them. But anyway the filter is back on the tank and both the fish and I are enjoying it working properly Hope this is some help as I visit the site everyday and would like to give a little back lol < Thank you very much for the reply. It has helped me and hopefully it will help others checking the site.-Chuck> Eheim instructions do you have the instructions to the Eheim 2217 filter thank you <Nope... but you can read a good deal re this unit on Eheim's site... or ask a specific question here or there. Bob Fenner>

Fluval Emergency Hi.  I think I may have made a catastrophic mistake this morning.  I walked by my 55 Gallon FOWLR tank this morning and saw my Fluval 304 canister filter was unplugged.  Without thinking, you guessed it, I plugged it in. Well it only took about 30 seconds for the rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulfide to hit me in the face.  I was crushed as I didn't think of that possibility before as well as I realized there was no turning back once I made that crazy decision to plug it in.  I turned the filter back off and cracked it open and it was very black inside.  I just got back from vacation a few days ago and everything was fine so I don't know how the filter got unplugged. I have a few questions.   First, I threw everything away that was in the Fluval (foam pads, activated C bags, ceramic Biomax, and PolyFilter) and added a fresh 100 g bag of activated C, a whole pad of Polyfilter, and fresh foam pads.  I also started preparing 14 gallons of water to do a 25% water change when I go home.  Is there anything else I can do.  How much C would be reasonable to run; should I add like 6 100 gram packs to the Fluval or just run one?  And the two questions I hate to ask.  Is it almost certain death to my fish since I actually smelled the gas coming out of the water, and will the sandbed and 50 lbs of LR in my tank be garbage now or will the H2S not absorb and contaminate for life? Thanks for the advice as I want to save anyone I can. Ray <Hello Ray, The first and best thing you can do is a large water change obviously, in the range of 50 percent. You didn't mention if this canister filter is the only source of water circulation in your tank, nor did you mention how long it had been off. Those are two rather important pieces of information. Your rock is probably fine, and in all likelihood so is your sand bed, but again I lack some vital information. If your fish are still swimming when you get home, then they'll be fine! For all the talk of hydrogen sulfide gas, I've never seen it whack a fish myself. That doesn't mean it hasn't happened, but in my experience I've never witnessed it. Run as much carbon in your canister as you wish, there is no right answer there. If your sand bed is dead, then all the carbon in the world will not help you, and you'll have to pull it. If you've had power heads or a return pump circulating the water all the while, your sand bed is most certainly just fine. Cheers Jim>

Eheim and skimmer selections I currently have a 55 gallon freshwater tank which I was going to convert to a FOWLR in a couple of months. <An exciting change> I want to buy a Eheim canister filter and use it for freshwater and then I'll use it when I convert to saltwater. I was deciding between the Eheim professional 2224 and the professional II 2026. The 2224 is rated for 185 gph and aquariums up to 66 gallons. The professional II is rated for 250 gph and for aquariums up to 92 gallon, plus it has the self priming button (which I don't know how hard it is to prime a regular canister). <I have used these fine filters (earlier models to the present) for decades... and can attest to the great value in the self-priming pump feature... you do want this> I can buy the 2224 for 65 dollars cheaper than the 2026, so its hard to decide which one I want to buy. I'm going to have a SeaClone skimmer rated for 150 gallons, at least 30 lbs of LR and about 50 pounds of aragonite/live sand when I do my saltwater. What do you think would be a better buy considering the price??? thanks Joe <I would definitely go with the larger unit in the Eheim, and do investigate skimmer choices before investing... there are much more suitable makes/models. We have MANY archived FAQs re skimmer selection on www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Canister Filter 13 Aug 2004 Hi friends. <Hello to you Wes, Very nice to meet you, MacL here with you tonight> It's good to be back in the hobby and have excuses to bug you all. <You shouldn't leave.... you know you are missed when you are gone!>  I'm so glad you are there.  I've set my system up as listed below. I have a Fluval 304 that I've always run but I'm thinking maybe I'll leave it out this time. Just too many hoses hanging off the back. What do you think? <I can understand about the hoses.> Do I need it? <Its my judgment that you are just fine the way you have it set up without the canister.> Eventually I am going to move just about everything to a sump but I haven't figured out the plumbing yet. 48 gallon bow front tank 4 inch deep sand bed made with oolitic aragonite 2 Maxi-jet PH for circulation AquaC Remora 45 pounds live rock two 55 watt Power Compact full spectrum florescent lamps This is a fish only tank so the lighting should be enough. No? Yes? <Yes> With regards to the bio-load...I'm going to throw the live rock in today and let it cycle for a LONG time before I add any other life. Maybe 6 months. <Very smart!> I always end up throwing critters in there right after it cycles and they eat all my macro algae and other fun stuff before it gets well established. I'd like to experiment a little and see what comes off of/out of the rock. I notice that I have just as much fun watching what the LR brings in as I do watching my fish. <Oh you'll be happy you waited then. Fascinating stuff comes from live rock.> Ever find yourself pulling up a chair with a magnifying glass and flashlight? <You are talking to the woman who sat in front of her tank and watched a Bristleworm pull himself out of the sand, sad I say just sad> Ya, me either <grin> ahahaha.  Ok, sorry for rambling. Thanks for listening. Cheers. <Take care Wes and welcome back, MacL> Wes

Can I put crushed coral in my canister filter? Dear WWM Crew, << Blundell here. >>   Is there any benefit in using crushed coral as a filter media? << I think so.  It provides great surface area. >> Will that have any positive impact on pH or alkalinity? << I don't really see how it will, but it can't hurt. >> I've been using a H.O.T magnum filter as a mechanical filter/water polisher with the micron cartridge. This task will now be performed by an Eheim 2213 canister filter with nylon wool stuff. That leaves the magnum without a job -I have an Eheim 2227 wet/dry for the biological filtration. Rather than running the Magnum empty, I was thinking of filling it with crushed coral, so as to slow down the erosion of my DSB. << I've thought of this before, but can't really see how it will be dissolving.  However, there really aren't any reasons not to. >> Can I use crushed coral/dolomite or some sort of media meant for a calcium reactor? Thank You, Narayan <<  Blundell  >> PS. Adam, my QT has been running for a week now. I'm ready to get a cleaner goby now.. Thanks..

Concerns with adding crushed coral to a canister filter.7/29/04 You guys know your stuff and I hate to criticize, but I think this response was off. At the very least a caveat about possibly damaging the motor of the filter should have been offered (as small pieces of coral are likely to break loose). << That is a good point, that I overlooked.  There are possible problems with this idea.  I should also mention that I do have canister filter with crushed coral in it, but I don't use it anymore.  I do still use my BioWheel filter, and I pulled out the filter pads and filled that space with sand and rubble rock.  On occasion, the sand will get in the impeller area and get plugged up.  But it isn't that difficult to get going again.  So there definitely are risks to consider, but overall I like the idea of extra surface area in the areas of high water flow. Thanks for the email. >> L<<  Blundell  >><RMF is in total agreement>

Odd brand canister filter parts I have a Hailea WL-504 canister filter. I am in need of a part I need the intake & output tubes base. Do you have any idea where I can get one? I am desperate I have about a hundred babies in my tank. Thank you Sherleen <Did a quick search for Hailea WL-504 on the Net... as have not heard, seen this line... and no luck (other than e-Bay... Do you have the instructions, packaging for this filter? Do they list an email address? I'd call or email some of the larger etailers here: Marine Depot, Dr.s Foster & Smith, Big Al's... hoping they've got parts for this unit. Good luck. Bob Fenner> - Marine Aquarium Filtration - Hi again, Sorry for all the questions. I am getting a 70 gallon tank with 2 magnum 350 canister filters and a pretty bright lighting system. I was also going to add a penguin 330 bio wheel filter and a skimmer/ filter that works up to 90 gallons.  Would this be enough for a saltwater tank? <It will work, sure. Do make sure you have extra micron filters for the Magnum(s) so you can swap out a clean one every five to seven days and have one cleaning, one drying and one in the filter.> thanks <Cheers, J -- > - Eheim Choices - Hi guys, Excellent web site which useful info. I am about to set up my first marine tank. <Excellent.> I am at a dilemma as to what filter would be best suited.  I have narrowed it down to the Eheim 2028 or the 2229.  Mt tank is approx 70 Gallon.  60Ibs of live sand and will have approx 15-20kg of live rock.  It will initially be of fish only and in future over to some hardy invertebrates Which of the two filters mentioned would be best. <They are both good filters, but I think the wet/dry design of the 2229 might be over-reaching in its effectiveness. I'd go for the 2028.> Thanks <Cheers, J -- >

Wanted: Clear, Clean Water! Hey all, thanks for running such a great site. <You're quite welcome! Scott F. here today!> I have a quick question for you. I haven't set this tank up yet, but it is a 60gal, and I have a Seaclone 150 skimmer, and a Penn-Plax Cascade 1000 canister filter for it. I plan on using around 50-60 lbs of live rock in this thing, with only fish in there. And was just curious as to what filter media you would recommend me putting in the canister?? <I'm a big fan of activated carbon. It excels at removing a variety of organics and nutrients from water. If you change it regularly, you can be assured that the media will be at its peak absorptive capacity. Choose a good grade and follow the manufacturer's instructions concerning the amount to use, etc. As an aside, make sure that your skimmer is pulling out a few cups of dark, yucky skimmate every week!> Do you think I will be able to keep the water really clear with this form of setup?? Thanks for your time. Rob <Rob, if you don't overstock, feed carefully, change small amounts of water regularly, and pay attention to filter maintenance, you'll have a system that will have high water quality and be as clear as you envision! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Broken Fluval? -  I have searched and cannot find a solution. My Fluval 404 isn't running correctly. It seems that the return water flow is half of what it normally is. I cleaned the impeller and am at a loss. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <Do go through all the tubing and intake screens as well... look for possible obstructions, otherwise contact Hagen directly.> It is a few years old. Motor sounds fine.  Thanks in advance  Lisa  <Cheers, J -- >

Eheim's alright by me 2/18/04 Sorry for the confusion, I was just wondering if it was ok to use an Eheim canister in a reef tank. <sure... like HOB Magnums and various other "power" filters, they have their place and advantages (and disadvantages). Be sure to service it frequently to minimize nitrate production> Can you tell me what company makes "sugar based"  calcium? Seachem reef advantage calcium is not? <it is indeed Seachem's "Reef Calcium"> Can you give me any help on my questions (below) about lowering nitrate and lessening the amount of algae I have in my tank? <very easy my freund... its all about nutrient control: aggressive protein skimming (tuning a good skimmer to get daily or near cupful daily skimmate production.. moist skimmers are not properly installed to do this if even worthy brands - be sure to feed raw overflow water only to a skimmer or is a sump model, have it catch raw water in a skimmer box/section... never in the open sump)... and do regular partial water changes (10-20%weekly minimum)> Sorry about all the questions, just cant seem to get my tank like the tanks I see and read about on the internet and in my LFS (Absolutely Fish in Clifton, NJ) <do check out the archives on skimmers here at wetwebmedia.com... very extensive. Best of luck! Anthony>

- Looking for a New Canister - Hello again crew.  I currently have a 45g SW setup, filtration... lots of LR and LS, an AquaFuge refugium, AquaC Remora skimmer... and an old Magnum 350 I have been using for circulation and it's micron filter.  I want to replace this Magnum 350 with something a little more versatile, media wise.  As with any other product for aquariums, there are millions of choices. I have to use a canister again because of tank constraints. <And those are???> I was wondering if you recommend any specific ideas. <I'd say scrap the canister all together.> I have been leaning towards the Eheim Professional Wet/Dry. What is your take on them? <Not worth the extra money, better to just go with the standard Eheim... plus, it's a wet/dry = nitrate producer.> The LR, LS, and refugium are doing a great job on the biological aspect, but I am not using anything else besides the skimmer. <The hang-on refugium counts as something.> Am I over filtering to begin with by using the canister. <Potentially... small tank, large filter.> Ammonia always reads 0, Nitrite and Nitrate are always negligible.  The Magnum micron filter is always trashed when I change them... to be expected because I am using the micron filter. <Well... yes.> Is this micron stripping the water of good bacteria? <No... bacteria are much smaller than this filter can snag.> It's exhaust does play a major part in how I have my currents in the tank setup, which is a serious reason I want to stay with a canister also. <Replace with a powerhead.> What is your take on this situation? <Again, think canisters are really best at separating you from your money... a technology that for the most part has seen it's day come and go. There are other options... and a sterile-clean tank really isn't in your best interest. I'd just lose the canister.> Thanks a million in advance. Steve   <Cheers, J -- >

- Looking for a New Canister, Follow-up - My restraints are that I don't have a lot of room near the aquarium, and no predrilled holes in the tank.  I feel like I need something to catch small/medium/large particulate matter. <I don't... think your refugium would settle out much of this.> I feel like I need a little extra something.   Any other ideas?  <How about just a standard hang-on filter like an AquaClear or similar unit.> Steve <Cheers, J -- >

- Canister Filter, More Follow-up - I though about that type of filter as well.  My only problem as far as that goes is that I am just about out of room for hang on filters in the back because of the AquaC Remora skimmer, and the Aquafuge refugium.  The rear of the tank is already a little cluttered, leaving me only a few inches of space. <Understood.>  That's why I thought the canister would still be the best way to go.  Besides intake and outlet tubes (very small combined size) I can keep the unit separated from the main tank on the floor. <Fair enough.> Steve <Cheers, J -- >

- Canister Filters - Hey guys, Writing back to you as I have been doing more research into my tank set up. Came upon a cannot pass up deal on equipment and wanted your input. I have a 55 gal long that I am going to run live  rock and sand and only 4-5 small fish as this is my first salt setup. A friend ran into money problems and broke down his tank and is going to sell me his equipment, two Fluval 404's, Prizm skimmer, heaters, wave makers, and all testing equipment for $100.00. I have a emperor 400. My question is should I use the 2 Fluval and the 400. <You could.> I know the skimmer is not tops but should get me started. Also I have two 201 powerheads do I need to use them and the wave makers. <Again, your option here. I would.> Any insight would help as I want to start cycling my tank this month. Also will this setup help cycle faster as the rock is cured already. <Yes.> Thanks in advance.  Erik P.S  what media should I use in both if that's what you recommend. <I'd just use the stock Fluval media. Cheers, J -- >

- New Canister on the Block - I purchased a Proquatics canister filter for my 55 gal tank 2 weeks ago (it says it is for 55 to 125 gal tanks). I adjusted the red rubber flow indicator as instructed when installed. The flow indicator reached the red mark today so, per manufacturers instructions I cleaned the filter completely and replace the carbon media with a combination carbon and ammonia fighting crystals manufactured by Marineland (I have ceramic media also which I did not change). It should be noted that nothing was that dirty (or did not visually appear to be. When I reinstalled the system the system primed itself but the water level on the flow indicator only dropped about 1 inch from the previous level set just prior to cleaning. Is this normal? <Not certain... am not experienced with this model canister... might want to pose this question to the manufacturer.><<Is normal... this cartridge is just "showing age"... All need at least two sets of cartridges... one for use, the other for cleaning, drying... to keep sanity, extend life of them... RMF>> When I readjusted the red rubber flow indicator (really just a type of o-ring) I only have about 1 inch to go before it (the flow indicator) indicates it is time to clean my filter again. I called PetSmart (where I purchased the filter) and they were virtually clueless about my question. <Hmmm... this is perhaps their in-house brand. You might want to consider returning it... this filter may be unnecessary if you also have an Ecosystem filter running on this tank.> The water is still clear and the pump seems to be functioning properly. Originally I was told I should not have to clean the system for about 4 weeks the first time, but I figured being a new tank some maybe it would require a faster cleaning the first time since the ecosystem was adjusted. Should I be concerned about this flow indicator or not? <I would think only a little... it does seem its readings are perhaps a bit erroneous.> I searched your site and could find nothing relating to my particular question previously asked or answered. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.  Tony <Cheers, J -- > <<See WWM re cleaning cartridges... RMF>>

Isolation tank biological filtration 12/17/03 Hi Folks, <Hi Andrew!> My 100l isolation tank is biologically filtered by an Eheim canister containing their recommended biological media. The water quality in the tank is very good except nitrate which is often 60 to 80mg/l before the 25% weekly water change (using RO water). I am looking for a solution to reduce the nitrate down considerably. <A worthy goal!  I will discuss options below, but would suggest that an ideal isolation (quarantine) tank should not have any input to generate nitrate.> My LFS is adamant that the high nitrate levels negate the benefit of an isolation tank, he argues it would be better to introduce the fish directly into main tank to benefit immediately from the excellent water quality. While I do not agree with this view (I will always isolate before introducing new fish), I do understand where he is coming from. Therefore I would like to make the isolation tank water as good as possible. <First of all, your LFS is missing the point.  The isolation isn't just to benefit the incoming fish, but IMO, equally or more to protect those you already have.> I am considering replacing the Eheim biological media with live rock. I propose placing the live rock actually in the canister itself, so that it benefits from a good water flow. I would make the transition slowly, to give each bit of live rock time to get up to full biological capacity before removing all the Eheim media. <I would suggest against live rock in an isolation tank.  If you add medications, they may be absorbed into the rock reducing their effectiveness.  The porous nature of the rock can also harbor pests and parasites> The key to this strategy is that I am not interested in the critters that live within the live rock, I am purely interested in the rock acting as a host for bacteria (for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate removal). <I agree with your philosophy here, but not the strategy. Most folks would suggest that you accomplish the biological filtration with synthetic media.  Air driven sponge filters work marvelously for this purpose.  After use, they can be removed from the quarantine tank and washed, boiled, bleached, whatever.  Once appropriately cleaned, they can be kept in the sump of your display to re-establish the biological filtration potential.> Now the worst case scenario - I have to treat a fish in the isolation tank with copper. This would finish off any critters in the live rock and no doubt temporarily reduce the bacterial effectiveness (as it would the Eheim media). After the treatment I assume the rock would recover full biological capacity, in the same way the Eheim media would - or is this assumption flawed? Perhaps the rock would absorb the copper more than the Eheim media, slowly releasing it back into the system, therefore delaying the bacteria re-establishment? Perhaps the fact that the Eheim media is not porous is a key to its success - quick recovery after copper treatment? <I am quite sure that the Eheim media is very porous.  The large surface area created by the porosity is what makes it an effective biological media.  I don't  know if it is any more or less likely than live rock to absorb medications, but IMO the point is moot.  A basic quarantine system should not contain any porous materials at all.  A bare bottom tank with a couple of pieces of PVC pipe for hiding places and a sponge filter are all that are necessary.  This allows for the siphoning of the bottom (where parasites and wastes will settle), and no worries about reducing the effectiveness of medications.> The alternative is to place the live rock in the isolation tank itself, and remove it temporarily whenever copper is applied. But this is not really going to work. I would have to run the Eheim media constantly, even when not treating with copper, so that it can "take the load" on the occasions the live rock is removed due to treatment. Therefore the canister will be generating nitrate more quickly than a few pieces of live rock can deal with it in the isolation tank. I know this doesn't work because my main tank had this arrangement, and even a large mass of live rock could not keep up with the nitrate generated from a canister. It was only when I totally removed the canister biological media that the live rock eliminated nitrate from the main system completely. <Your observations are right on.  Nitrate will accumulate when an ultra efficient, highly aerobic nitrifying media is present (your canister or bio balls for example).  When nitrification occurs in a substrate that also supports de-nitrification (live rock), de-nitrification is much more efficient.  Again, these are moot points.  To ensure that your isolation/quarantine tank achieves it's goal of being a place to identify and treat any diseases on incoming fish and prevent their spread to your display, I would recommend draining, bleaching and drying the quarantine system after every use.  Most aquarists leave such systems dry until they are needed and only keep a sponge filter "seeded" in the sump of their display.> In short, do you think my idea of live rock in the canister is wise for my isolation tank? <In short, no.  Porous media have too many disadvantages and no real advantages for the relatively short period of time that fish should be kept in isolation/quarantine.> As always, thank you for your trusted advice. <As always it's a pleasure!  Adam> Andrew Senior Fluval Filtration for a marine fish only - 12/7/03 Hi again,     Well do you think that a refugium, protein skimmer and Fluval 404 would work too? <Let me guess, you have a Fluval 404 left over and you want to use it. If you are gonna use it make sure that you pull all the mechanical and biological media and maybe place carbon in its place. Be sure to change the carbon frequently. I would use a sump and refugium mix. Look for them on the internet for do-it-yourself instructions or CPR makes some hybrids as well as a few other sources. ~Paul>

Eheim filters (and saltwater filtration) Hi I have a 72 gallon tank with two damsels, a Prizm pro 300 protein skimmer, a power head and a Fluval 304.I noticed that my nitrates were a surprising 100 so I called my LFS last week and they told me that my Fluval wasn't good enough for my 72 so I bought a Eheim 2217 with the nitrate removing media and I noticed that you don't really support canister filters. Do you think that the Eheim will bring down my nitrates because I really want to try an emperor angel that I've had my eye on for quite some time now. thank you <Mmm, well, I really like Eheim products in general, and do use their canister filters (on my freshwater tanks)... But for a tank of this size and type, you'd be better of revisiting your options and brands. I would upgrade your skimmer... and look into other filter modes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm and on... and on! through the many FAQs and article files linked (in blue, at top). See you in a while. Bob Fenner>

Plumbing Dilemma... I just acquired a 70 gallon reef ready tank . its got 3 holes on the bottom of the tank  and 2 on one of the ends about 2/3 to 3/4 the way up. I have two canister filters and I'm not sure how to plumb this set up. As of right now I'm not sure if I'm going fresh or salt but I've got to get this plumbing thing figured out. <The fun part...LOL> Should the return lines be on the bottom of the tank with check valves in case power out age? <Frankly, check valves scare the hell out of me! They are vulnerable to failure...at the most unfortunate times... I'd prefer something above the water line, like Sea Swirls, which have the added benefit of oscillating water flow...Neat stuff...> And the line feeding into the pumps be the ones on the side? I just can't find any info out for this kind of tank. <Well, there are about as many approaches to tank plumbing as there are hobbyists...No real right or wrong answers...Just do what works or you, and remains reliable and functional...> I'd really appreciate your help  , and maybe I'm way off , any suggestions ? <As above...check out Sea Swirls for returns...> I'm lost. Thanks. Sean McConnell <Well, Sean-there are lots of approaches here...you can look into plumbing on the WWM site...lots of good information here- check it out! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Magnum 350 10/5/03 I recently acquired a used Magnum 350 canister filter. How do I set it up? Thanks, Cherie <hmmm... I'm not sure I/we can best serve you by a less than clear and long explanation of this product via e-mail. Let me ask you to help yourself (better) by archiving the manufacturers website... and seeking a local aquarium society (excellent source of such information and advice to see and work hands-on). You might also try out www.wetwebmedia.com forum for fellow users that can share insight. Best regards, Anthony> Magnum 350 Manual 10/5/03 For the person who bought the used Magnum 350, the owner's manual can be downloaded from this link: http://www.marineland.com/products/manuals/magnum_manual.pdf  Steve Allen <outstanding follow-up, Steve. Thanks kindly :) Anthony>

Eheim 2028 filter Hi there, <Hello> I currently have a Fluval 404 filter and am thinking of changing it to an Eheim Pro II 2028 model. <A wise choice> My aquarium size is 6 foot x2  foot x 1.5 foot.  Would it be a better move to change the filter or is the Fluval one able to handle my tank size. <Don't know what you're intending to keep... you may need more or something different entirely than either of these canister filters, but of the choice between the two, I'd go with the Eheim (I have two of these models. More flow, quieter, longer-lasting products.> If you could reply back to me, then that would be most appreciated. Thanks! Janine Kennedy <Bob Fenner>

Fluval burning out... Dear WWM, There is a problem that I often have with my powerheads propeller. <FYI, it's called an impeller. A propeller is something that goes on a plane :) > If I unplug it and it stops, probably half of the time it will not start up properly the next time.  The only method I can come up with is to poke at it with the end of a pencil and eventually it will start up.  The problem I am having now has to do with a Fluval 303 canister filter.  I have it set up properly (as far as I can tell, I bought it on eBay so there are no directions) but the propeller will not start.  There is definitely power, the propeller will kind of slowly meander back and forth, only covering about 40% of the total circle it is supposed to do before reversing and going back the other way.  I have tried jump starting it with a wire, but it will not keep going.  It sometimes will start zipping around the full circle for a few seconds but then will stall out.  I'm not really sure what to do, any advice would be appreciated. <Sounds like the pump itself and not the impeller. A quick check to see if your impeller is broken is to hold it by the magnet part and try to spin the blades. They should only turn 90-180 degrees, and not all the way around freely. If this is the case, the impeller is broken. Try cleaning out the impeller chamber as well as the impeller itself and try to restart it. It is likely that the motor is on its way out so you may want to contact Hagen or your LFS for a replacement motor. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks, Scott

Canister for carbon? Thanks for the response.  I wanted to follow up on the canister filter.  If it is going to be empty is it even necessary?  What is the benefit of running it empty? <If you don't already have one, don't buy one, it's just a convenient place to run carbon> Regarding the charcoal, what do you mean by periodically? <Once a month for a few days> Should I put in charcoal for a week and then remove it and let it run empty for the next three weeks? <Pretty much, but run it for only a few days> Or should I just leave it in for a month or 2 months without changing it? <No, it will leach back into the water stuff that it has already removed and become a nutrient trap> Is their another option (HOT power filter)? <Any old hang on power filter will do the trick, just need a high flow area for the carbon, even throwing a bag in a sump> I would rather not get into sumps even though it is probably the best route. <Oh, well scratch that last idea!> I also forgot to mention that I was going to add 2-3 powerheads for circulation.  Would you recommend 2 or 3? <Depends, see how the flow is with 2, if you still have dead spots add another, maybe even 2 more.> Thanks for your help! <No prob! -Kevin>

LR and Canister Filter and Big Fish Hi crew ... Simply, you guys are the best !!! <Thanks.> I have a 30g tank with 2 damsels, 2 angel fishes (Koran & Flagfin) and a snowflake eel. I also have only 15 lbs of LR, an Eheim Ecco canister filter and DSB "South Down" not live, unless it turns live after sometime in the system). <30 gallons is way too small for these fish.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are setting your self up for failure.  The Koran is a big fish, it will reach approx 15in in a large enough system.  The Flag Fin can reach 10in, and the Snowflake can reach around 30in. Honestly I would start looking for a much larger tank (a few hundred gallons), or find new homes for everybody but the damsels.  That being said, the sand will become live in a matter of times> My question. Can I and/or when can I be able to remove the canister filter, gradually of course ?? The reason why I'm asking is that I want to set up a small separate tank to cure LR from online retailers and add the rock (after being cured) to the main display. <Do you have any other filtration on this tank besides the canister, if you had a good skimmer, some more live rock, and a lighter fish load, I would remove the canister.  Also, please read the links below for more information on your current inhabitants.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pomacanthus/koran.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm > Thanks for the help in advance as always. Regards, Ash

Re: Equipment List, Lighting and Water Flow Thank you for the feedback. I am glad to see that my research on WWM and in the Conscientious Aquarist has sunk in. I have a follow up question on the Emperor 400. Would you recommend using the bio wheels, or removing them? I have seen a few instances in FAQ where removing them has been recommended. Will the 55lbs of live rock and 4 inches of sand you recommend provide enough bio filtration, or should I use the bio wheels to supplement?    <My only experience with using a power filter that has bio-wheels is based on what I have read and heard from others. That information has been that the wheels can become a source of nitrate. A ways back I was give a bio- wheel filter and am using it on my QT. What I did was remove the wheels and get a block of foam and cut chunks to fit inside the chambers of the filter to act as bio-media. If you have not purchased the powerfilter yet, I would suggest that you run the tank with live rock/sand only as this combo will provide a huge bio filter. Think of all the nooks and crannies where the good stuff can live in the rock and all the surface area of that sugar fine sand. With a good skimmer, reasonable bio-load, and good husbandry practices, this is likely all you will need. Don> Thanks again for your help. <No problem, continue as you are researching needs before making purchases and you will be happy with the outcome> David

What Is That Gunk? Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Week ago, I installed a new canister filter (Eheim Pro II 2026) in my 55gal tank. Two days ago, after cleaning the filter (had some feeder shrimp sucked into the filter through the Eheim surface extractor) and a 20% water change, I noticed some white patches/spots on the filter tubing (only on the flexible tubes - ate least that's where it is prominently visible). Not sure if it was there before I cleaned the filter though, but I noticed it only afterwards. Wondering if anyone has experienced anything like this before and if it is harmful to my fish and the plants. Any info/advice on how to remove this would also be most welcome. <Well, hard to say from here- but it could be anything from a "biofilm" of Cyanobacteria (yes- they can be whitish, too) to a sponge, or even some kind of sponge...Probably harmless, if water parameters are acceptable otherwise> Oh.. yeah... while the filter is operational if you tap the tubes, it will come off and float around in the aquarium (looks like a whitish film). <Ahh...sounds like some kind of Cyano to me...just keep o top of basic husbandry, and things should be okay> Thks n Rgds, KC. <No problem, K.C.- hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Filters and RO/DI Hi guys hope you are well. I need some advice again please. I currently have a 100g reef tank with live sand, live rock, and a Fluval 404. I have recently purchased a 125 g tank with a 20 g sump. Should I get rid of the Fluval 404 and can I utilize instead by making new salt water mixes and top off water? Do I have to have a RO/DI filter? <Hi Werner, the Fluval is a great piece of equipment, if you keep it clean. Personally, I am kinda lazy and would not give the device the attention it needs so I don't these types of filters. I would think it would work well in the new mix solution. Or, you could use it as a carbon only container. As far at RO/DI, I would have the source (tap) water checked to see how far out of whack it is. Then if there are high concentrations of stuff you don't want, use the RO/DI (or just DI, higher output/less waste. Hope the helps, Don> Werner

Inline UV Question Can I run an Eheim 2213 canister filter inline with my Aquanetics 8watt UV sterilizer?  This is for a 37 gallon fish only marine tank. <You can but it will affect flow rate some.  Craig>

Re: Flow question in a seahorse tank (03/11/03) Thanks for the info Ananda; <No problem> I like your idea about the Fluval.  I checked some of them out.  If I got rid of the power filter and went with the Fluval would my tank get enough oxygen.   <Sure. It's just a matter of directing the water flow.> The do have a spray bar that you can get to attach to the Fluval <You could also make one of tubing (bring the powerhead part of the filter to the Home Depot/Lowe's/etc and pick the tubing that fits), with suction cups to hold the tubing where you want it....> and I could run it along the back of the tank, maybe like, across the top quarter of the back wall.  I know as long as you get a good ripple across the surface of the water, you will be getting enough oxygen in the tank. Does that sound right to you???? <Yup.> Thanks again; Kevin <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Pumping ability of Canister Filters?? Hi Guys I have a long octagonal tank (approx. 52cm diameter and 130cm height) which I am in the process of setting up. I wrote to you only recently about the type of fish that would be suitable for such a tank esp. Discus. Thank you for your reply. Now I am on the hunt for a decent canister filter and it would appear that an Eheim filter would be hard to pass by? <Yes, an excellent choice for Discus with their low-flow return manifold design. No big current but adequate flow rate, larger capacity canister.> Now a rep from my LFS has said something that has got me thinking. My column tank will be sitting on a base approx. 60cm high. It is in this base (below the tank) that I intend to store my canister). Now from the ground and including the height of the tank I need to find a canister filter that can pump to the top of this display (approx. 190cm or approx 6ft). My LFS believes that I am going to be hard pressed to find a canister that will be able to "pump" this high? <This height is manageable. Most canisters are designed for 24" tanks (about 48 cm) and 30-36" (60-70cm) stands with the canister on the floor of the stand. So, you need a bit of height. How about get the next biggest size based on flow rate/capacity and place canister on a shelf in the stand to shorten the head height?> Now please correct me if I am wrong. It is my belief that a canister filter only "sucks" water from the tank?? <No, it pushes water up to the tank and the product of pushing water out of the canister helps fuel the siphon back to the canister, but it must *push* water up to do this.  This is one of those basic gravity deals. Water will not run uphill and there is no such thing as perpetual motion or something for nothing!> And by virtue of the fact that the whole unit is "full" of water from the initial priming of the canister that any sucking in of the water at the inlet valve will immediately displace the water contained in the unit through the outlet valve? <Nope, it will just fill it up and then stop, unless pumped up to the tank by the canister motor.>  There is no way to siphon uphill!> So in effect there really is no outlet pumping required only inlet pumping (sucking) if you get my reasoning? <Oh Jeff, just reverse this reasoning completely and you are there! It is just exactly opposite! Pump up, passive flow (suck) down. Pump up comes before suck down.  Like a bathtub. If the water is running, the drain will only drain what is delivered, the drain doesn't pull the water any faster that it is pumped.> So then do I need to be concerned with where the actual intake hose is in relation to the unit (considering that the inlet hose will be submerged into the tank approx. two thirds of the way down bringing it closer to the actual canister filter (housed under the tank) or is the actual height of the display still an issue?? <The height (referred to as "head height" is the primary factor combined with the flow rate/capacity of the Eheim in question. These canisters are a lower flow design than some others to begin with as they have a bigger canister capacity, so buying the larger size canister with added power will help, as will raising the canister closer to the top of your tank. Hence the shelf idea. Raising the canister somewhere near the height of a standard tank and stand will suffice. 4' is not a problem for a canister. Please go to Eheim's web page and study their set-ups. You will see they place the canister on the floor of a stand and pump up and over as you will. Just shorten the distance as much as practical to increase flow/decrease head height.> And if it is an issue then what's a man suppose to do?? What do I do to get over the max. head height of these canister filters. If these units are rated with a max. head height then the maximum flow rates that these companies publish must be in relation to min. head heights (meaning a tank that is very low in relation to the filter) rather than maximum head heights. And as soon as you start to increase this distance you compromise the flow rate. So what I thought may have been a 1000L flow rate per hour may in fact be much much less than this because of the height of my tank. <Well, You do have it then! This is quite correct. The ratings are for standard head heights, IE: standard tanks. Non-standard or higher head height demands more power (larger canister and greater flow rate, OR decreasing head height by cheating as above by raising the canister higher or closer to the top of your tank!> Now I am starting to think powerheads inline with the filtration system to assist the water back up into the tank once it has been through the canister filter? (Pull me up here if you think that I am way off the track)) <Okay.....glug, glug, glug.  No need Mate!  They make them (Eheims) big enough for your needs without worry. Do see the photos of them on the floor at the Eheim site. I have one and it pumps just fine from the floor up a 36" stand and a 20" tank. Yours isn't that much more that it can't be overcome with a larger model (more media capacity is also a plus with Discus).> I wait eagerly for your reply. Confusingly yours, Jeff <Hope this helps with the confusion Jeff. If not please write back! Good on ya! Craig>

Media Replacement And Skimmer Choices? Gracias sir! <No problem!> "Do a little research on the WWM site about these fishes" I'm in there now...digging ;).  As far as the foam media in both the H.O.T. and Fluval is once a month "regular", I see that everyone pretty much agrees on once a month for the carbon but could the same be said for the foam media as well? <Good question! I really like to get in the habit of weekly cleanings on these sponges. You will be amazed at the amount of yucky stuff that accumulates in 'em after just a few days, then breaks down. It's a bit of a pain to change them so often- but a great habit!> As far as the skimmer is concerned I looked at my tank today and then looked at the skimmer and said to myself "hmmmm that thing is a bit small isn't it" but if I can get my $75 out of it for a while and upgrade in the future I think that's probably what I'll do. Thanx again. Kevin <Well, Kevin- you could nurse along a second-rate skimmer for a while...But if it were me- I'd curse and kick and scream and then buy a better skimmer from the start...Better off in the long run, IMO! Good luck! Scott F>

Eheim Canister Filter Hey WWMCrew! I recently purchased an Eheim 2217 canister filter.  My plan was to place the intake and return tubes in my sump.  In the manual it states to place the unit below the water level.  The sumps' water level would be below the top of the canister filter.  I don't want the intake and return tubes in my display tank.  Is there anyway around this? Thanks, Jeremy <Mmm, yes... you can/could place both the intake and discharge lines deep in the sump (to prevent loss of prime should the power fail, or the water level drop too low) and "suck" up water into the Eheim via the discharge side to fill the unit and intake line with water... and do this every time you find yourself servicing the canister. Bob Fenner>

Substrate, canister filter removal <Greetings, JasonC here...> I hope you can give me some advice. <So do I...> I have a 30 gallon reef setup with a magnum 350 with bio or pro-wheels, BakPak 2r skimmer, 2 zoomed powerheads and JBJ 144 watt white-blue lighting. Also about 1" coral gravel substrate. The tank uses no sump, and  no plenum; It has been running for about a year. Ammonia =0, nitrite=o, nitrate=10 ppm. Right now all I have is a couple of mushrooms, an orange polyp, 3 peppermint shrimp (great Aiptasia eaters), and a small maroon clown. All other corals died last summer, too hot-no chiller {learned lesson - bought a chiller}. I am concerned with the nitrates and the fact that I think the coral substrate is becoming stagnant {no denitrification going on here}. <Well... it's not deep enough to promote denitrification. You need a true deep sand bed for that - at least four inches, five to six would be better.> In about 2 I'll be adding several corals and fishes from a friend, so  the nitrates will skyrocket. I want to get things ready so I already added some SeaChem combination carbon - phosguard+denitrator media. I should have used sand instead [I know], Can I know add some live sand on top of the gravel { my friend is also offering some live sand} or should I remove all crush coral. <I think you can mix, but you really need a good deal of sand, and I'd get started on this now rather than later.> I've also thought about removing canister filter and going with just a sump, but I have no clue how to do this. <Well, start by making sure you've got other filtration and circulation that will speak for the loss of the canister - then, simply remove it.> For now I would really like to add some live sand but don't know if I can, and in the future would like remove canister altogether. <You can do both.> Please help me with my immediate problem and also advice on how to build a sump. <For sump building, please read our FAQs on the subject: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sumprffiltfaqs.htm > thanks Andr?br><Cheers, J -- >

Going Sleeveless? Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> Thanks for all of your help, I have through trial and error and research got quite a nice looking (in the beginning stages) reef tank going. <Awesome!> First info.  55 gallon reef tank.  Approximately 90 lbs live rock, 3 1/2 inch live sand bed, 4 x 65 watt pc light. CPR BakPak skimmer, 2 Rio 1400, one Rio 800 for circulation and one Fluval 404 with blue filter media and carbon. (all media changed/or cleaned weekly) <That's what I'm talkin' about, baby! Good idea!> Currently have one yellow tang, mandarin goby, coral banded shrimp, and three small corals. Like I said-beginning stages. Change 15 gallons every two weeks, add Str, iodine and calcium (400) Everything seems good water is fine nitrates 10 or less tank has been up for over two years, converted to reef about 1 yr ago. My question is this, I like the idea of having a Fluval for removal of detritus, water movement, as well as just having 2 or so more gallons of water stability, gives me a weekly water change too. When I clean the pads they are always brown to some extent. <Yep- exactly why you should keep changing those pads weekly or more often, folks! Those pads do a great job at trapping detritus and organic matter...But if it stays in the tank, it can begin to degrade water quality and increase nitrate levels, etc> Is it worth keeping for just those reasons or would you just add a CPR refugium with PolyFilter/carbon and get rid of it completely. Money isn't that tight, but I am gonna get refugium anyway so one less outlet and one more free power outlet would be nice. <I can relate to that! I like natural systems, and like the idea of using the refugium or sump as a "settling area" for detritus and processing of organic nutrients. Once again, I see no harm in mechanical filtration as long as the media is serviced regularly. The only real hang up I have about mechanical filtration is that most of us tend to neglect the service aspect...> But I do see detritus in filter weekly, if I keep changing it weekly, will that keep nitrates from growing there? <It will help...You may want to experiment without the mechanical filtration and see what your live rock and (deep) sand bed do with nitrate levels. Also- consider more frequent (2 times a week) 5% tank volume water changes...that will help dilute nitrates before they can even build up> There are many schools of thought on canister filters yeah or nay, but I am all for getting rid of another piece of machinery/chore if not worth using.  How about just running it empty for extra water stability, current. <Yes...but if you're looking for current, better served by using that outlet for an external top-mount pump, like a Gemini or a Tunze...those pumps rock!> I know I am splitting hairs here, but I believe in optimizing my resources. If getting another skimmer would do the same thing I am all for it. <Two skimmers is good, but one well-tuned, properly maintained skimmer should do it> One more thing, I have seen those small Fluval filters that go inside the tank. Could I just run one of those a week a month for my carbon? If so how much carbon do you recommend using, so I know which one to buy? <I run carbon continuously on a passive basis in my sump (in mesh bags), about 4-6 oz.s, and rotate them out every other week, along with Poly Filter...I'd rather do that than have an ugly internal filter in the tank (at least that's my thinking). I like Seachem Matrix carbon, but there are lots of good brands out there. Just look for a phosphate free brand with good quality reputation.> Thanks for your help in any way. <Any time. Have fun with your system! Regards, Scott F>

Eheim Canister filter Hi WWMCrew, After reading through the faq's, I'm considering the purchase of a Eheim 2215 canister filter for chemical filtration (using Chemi-pure and poly-filters as media).  I'm a little confused though.  I have live rock for biological filtration, so I don't need the Eheim biological media.  What else do I put in the filter to pack it?   <Mechanical media like Grob and Fein Flocken... their Bio-Mech... in addition to the chemical media you list> Doesn't the filter need to be fully packed? <Mmm, "fully-packed"? The canister does not "need" to be completely filled, or have any given arrangement of types of media inserted in it> I can't just throw in a bag of Chemi-pure and a poly-filter and call it good can I? <Oh, yes... but best to place between (sandwich) two pieces of mechanical media (to keep most of the gunk off of the chemical media)> It I use poly-filters should I cut them into round disks to fit the Eheim? <Can do, or just fold and fit> Also, Eheim makes an activated carbon disk.  Their media is round and fills the entire diameter of the filter (7.3 inches), a bag of pure-pure isn't big enough to cover the entire diameter of the filter.  To me it seems like the Eheim media would be more efficient because there would be less pass through. <In actual practice, no big difference... for many years we (the service co.) would place two units of Chemipure, replace one intermittently> It doesn't seem like pure-pure in this situation would be much better than just placing it in a sump (the water is going to pass around the bag either way). <Better in the canister... with the sandwiching described above> My understanding of the Eheim 2200 series (aka classic series) is that there are no media baskets. There is one large chamber that you pack with media. <Correct> If my goal is to add pure-pure, would I be better off purchasing a filter with media baskets like a Fluval or Eheim Ecco? <My choice is the canister, the Ecco, and Fluval in that order> Thanks for your time and patience, Jeremy <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

- Magnum Canister Question - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have a 90 gal tank with 90 lbs Kaelini rock that has been curing for 4 weeks. my numbers seem fine.. sg 1.023..ph-8.5? I do not have any fish yet but should in a bout a week. have been doing weekly 30-40 gal changes...last week my water had a yellow tinge to it. the crew suggested might be high in nutrients that will explode when lighted finally go on. I bought a magnum 350(have a protein skimmer giving at least 2 cups per week) and I am using carbon. how often should I change the carbon? <I like to keep in a batch of carbon no more than two weeks. You don't really need to run it constantly, and should perhaps go two weeks on and two weeks off.> should I leave this running permanently with carbon or should I use it as needed to let skimmer/rock/1.5 inches fine sand do its work? <As needed.> if I use carbon as needed can I use the same carbon after it sits/ also with this filter they give a micron filter for polishing. <No, the 'active' quality of carbon is typically spent in a week or so, sometime less.> how long do you run this? <No more than two weeks.> instructions say to clean cartridge you mix 1 part bleach to 3 parts h20, immerse overnight, rinse until chlorine smell disappears and reuse...is this wise to do? <Unless you like to purchase replacement filters all the time, it's really your only choice. I would also leave it out in the sun for a day or two.> ...thanks for your help! <Cheers, J -- >

- Filter Media - hello to all, <Greetings, JasonC here...> As I've read through thousands of your very very helpful FAQs, I see that it is mentioned that the bio material in wet/dry's are the cause for a nitrate factory.  I am currently running a Fluval 404 on my salt-going to reef-tank and I'm running those little BioMax cylinders and active carbon.  Would it be a wise move to remove the bio-material and just run carbon and poly filter in my canister filter? <Not using this canister filter, no. If a full-blown reef is what you want to do, it would be wiser to consider entirely new filtration gear to replace the Eheim.> I've got a 65g, w/ 60lbs of liverock and protein skimmer. <Might be time for a sump/refugium.> Thanks, Jason Surfs up! <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Canister filter (water flow) Hello, I have a 54 gal. corner tank which I bought with an under gravel filter.  I just bought and installed a Fluval 304 canister filter as well.  My question is regarding the current the new filter creates.  How much is O.K.?  I have the filter valve partially closed to slow it down a little for now.  When the valve is open all the way the current is pretty strong in my tank.  Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks, Kurt Will   <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm the same principles apply to freshwater circulation considerations. Bob Fenner>

Canister filter in the grand scheme of marine filtration Hi to all, I talked to Craig I believe (55 gal corner bow magnum 350 and Russelli Lion), I am getting an Aqua C Remora  and wondering what to do with my magnum canister filter.  I was wondering if the magnum would work with a micron filter with a blue filter sponge around it and a small bag of carbon tucked in on the side.  Is there any need to have the whole carbon holder full of carbon?  It takes about 16 oz. of carbon.  Incidentally I have looked for carbon cheaper and have found that the price per ounce is pretty consistent at 30 cents per ounce.  The places that sell it at a discount add so much shipping that the price bumps right back up even with my LFS.  I have found a supplier at 10 cents an ounce but it is a water conditioning company.  They use it for drinking water.  Any reason that I can't use that?  Again thanks for your help   Bryan Flanigan and Piggy the Lion <Hi Bryan, You can run it this way but the filter is designed to pull water through all of the media so there can be no bypassing of water through the media. Setting it up this way will fully use the micron filter and only partially use the carbon.  The maintenance of this filter in your situation is weekly, so it is best to alternate these media's, and use the micron filter only sparingly, once a month for a week is fine.  The carbon can be used constantly. The carbon is likely the same activated carbon you purchase.  I would fill the container completely or the water will simply flow around all that carbon you bought. If price is a huge issue, change carbon every two weeks, no longer.  Hope this helps!  Craig>  

Marineland Magnum Filter Please comment on Marineland's reply to my original message.  The Magnum 350 pumps 350 gallons per hour which is more than most canisters.  How come other brands of canisters pump the same or less and are rated for 150+ gallon tanks? <I generally don't like any of the Marineland filtration products. IMO none of them perform efficiently, all are expensive to run, they offer little or no flexibility in use/setup, and because Marineland has proprietary equipment, you can only replace media/parts with other Marineland items. Why do they do this? Because it creates a permanent customer base! Pretty smart...Huh? The discrepancy in ratings that you sight is due to the fact that the filtration you will get with the micron filter is less than the filtration you would get with other types of media or combinations of media. Remember that flexibility issue? The only thing that you can do with this filter is run the micron sleeve. Other filters you can use various media types or combinations; an important thing to consider. Before purchasing this item, please look closely at the cost of replacing the micron filter (about $8.00) and how often this will need to be done (probably weekly depending on bioload). I had an Eclipse system for about 3 years and it got expensive buying those filter cartridges...and the y didn't really provide much quality filtration> It seems the Magnum 350 with the fluidized bed should be plenty of filtration without needing to supplement with another filter. What do you think?   <If you use a good filter the fluidized bed will actually be overkill IMO. However, there would be no harm in using both methods (other than nitrate production) and redundancy is good in aquaria. Do yourself a favor...Check out either a Fluval 404 (about the same price as the Marineland item), or Eheim (more expensive). DrsFostersSmith.com have really good prices on these items. As always, all of the above is my opinion but...I am speaking from experience! David Dowless> Please email reply.  Drew

What to do with my canister? Well, I must say I enjoy reading your site. It cracks me up when someone writes in criticizing you guys.  It's not like you force them to come to your site or read your answers for that matter.  My tank has been so much more relaxing since I started listening to you guys.  (It was way overcrowded). Hi Bryan (and piggy), Thanks for the support.  Who knows, some folks just have a bad day, what can we do?> I have just about got the money together for a aqua c remora skimmer and I will order it in about two weeks.  I have a 55 gal corner bowfront with a 350 magnum canister. I need to know what to do with the canister.  I have constant problems with nitrate creep.  There is only one large lion in there, but he is such a messy eater.  My LFS says that I don't need a skimmer, and that I should easily be able to fit 3-4 large fish in there, after all they will only grow as big as the tank.  Well, I have to agree with you all that is bull.  So, I have quit going there altogether.  Now to get to my plan,  Aqua C on the back and a micron filter in the canister.  Then a small bag of carbon in the canister with the micron filter.  Does that sound all right?  Do I need a filter pad around the micron?  They seem to collect junk and raise the nitrates.  How much carbon do I need?  The current arrangement holds about 6 bucks worth of carbon which since I change it every two weeks really mounts up.  I am trying to provide a good home for my lion and also keep the long term costs down as I am also saving for my masterpiece a 500 gal FOWLR.  Here is the last question.  I can feed him anything frozen right?  We cook seafood once a week and I have been cutting up some of my fish (flounder, halibut, salmon, jumbo shrimp) and freezing it for him.  Go ahead ask how I know it's a him. Any way thanks for your input in advance. Bryan Flanigan and Piggy the Lion fish <I use an old Magnum filter on one of my systems and I use it mainly for carbon and occasional micron filtration to polish water or remove sediments like when adding aragonite. Both the micron filter and the carbon canister will hold up better with the blue filter pad to collect the big stuff instead of getting lodged in the micron filter and it needing replacement. The carbon really needs to be replaced at least every two weeks (weekly is better) to prevent it from becoming a nitrate producing biofilter, along with the filter pad, but this is the price we pay. I would suggest buying carbon in bulk, on sale or on-line to hold prices down. The carton costs more than the measly amount of carbon they sell you, so cut out as much packaging as possible. Too bad Costco doesn't carry carbon, especially with lions, eels and cichlids!  The frozen food is fine. Frankly, I have never had an issue with fresh seafood as I live in the Pacific Northwest and feed it sometimes myself, but some also warn against this. This is a personal choice, but be mindful of potential problems with parasites, etc.  Craig>

A Little Off The Top, Please! Hi <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> I have a 40G marine tank with 20Kg of live rock, a yellow tang, 2 regal tangs, 2 percula clowns, a mandarin blenny, a scooter blenny and a chalk goby. I am running a prism protein skimmer hanging off the back of the tank which appears to be working ok but I appear to have a film on top of the water surface. There are a couple of power heads agitating the water and I have 2 Eheim 2026's running also. Do you have any suggestions on getting rid of the film. Darren Coughlan <Well, Darren- accumulated organics tend to stay on the surface and form a film when there is little or no surface agitation. By pulling water from the surface, you'll be removing a lot of this stuff directly. Eheim makes a "surface extractor" attachment that fits on the intake of your 2026. You can purchase it from any dealer that sells Eheim filters. Give it a try- it should work well! Regards, Scott F.>

- Canning the Canisters - Hi, I need help <Ok, I will do my best. JasonC here at your service.> First I have a 90g tank that is set up for a year know. I have a Fluval 404, and 204 set up on it. I am know starting to set it up for a reef. I just purchased a wet / dry. I was told that instead of getting a protein skimmer, I can use the ecosystem hang on 60. Would you recommend going that way? <I would can the wet/dry and do both the Ecosystem and the skimmer.> If its ok what is the best way to set up both systems, and removing the Fluvals? <Go slowly.> My second question is ever since I took my 2 lion fish, and snow flake eel out of the tank and replaced them with 2 maroon clowns, 1 coral beauty, and a cardinal fish. I also have 2 sea anemones for the clowns. I have noticed that there is a lot of air bubbles forming on the bottom of my tank. <Perhaps that new wet/dry filter... I'd suspect that much more than the mix of fish.> Plus I have also added a JBJ lighting system. I have noticed that I have more algae growing on the bottom of my tank. <Stands to reason that this is a result of that new lighting.> Thank You,   Chris <Cheers, J -- >

- More on Livestock Selection - Hello Jason, <Greetings...> Thanks for the quick response!  A quick one...the Eheim is a 2250 rated up to 264g, by "increasing my filtration" should I jump up to the 2260 rated at 400g?  Again, many thanks to you for your kind advice. <Well, canister filters have one problem... they get dirty, and when that happens, their flow rate is diminished. It's a design issue, and one that can only be worked around by very diligent cleaning. Even then, a reduction in flow in the tank can/will cause problems. Perhaps a second of the same canister so that you can clean on an alternating schedule, if canisters are your only option. There are many others discussed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm > Michael <Cheers, J -- >

Filtration Problems II Thank You so much for your reply, and so prompt :-) ! I've never heard of Trickle Filters. Where could I find these? <If you go to Yahoo or Google or some other search engine, you will get a lot of hits on trickle filtration. Trickle filters are a type of wet/dry, biological filtration. These are excellent, but unlikely to work with your setup due to space constraints. You would also need to have your tank drilled for water to overflow to the trickle filter.> Ah, sounds like sound advice. It's not just the brand of filter, it's not enough filters! <Yes> I shall save up and add another. Once a month would be heaven :-) I should never have to change the cylinders that the bacteria grow on, correct? <Correct, the ceramic-like rings that the Fluval comes with never needs replaced. After prolonged use you may want to rinse them in some tank water to dislodge any debris.> Just rinse the sponges and change the floss? <Yes, but I would use the sponges, ceramic rings, and activated carbon, perhaps some ammonia removing media, instead of the filter floss.> I'm learning a lot and I appreciate the time spent, as I know you people have got to be so busy. <Oh, we do get swamped some days, but our crew is large enough now to handle most of the mail.> My Best ~Robyn~ Happy Holidays! <And you too! -Steven Pro>

Eheim Canister Filters Hi I recently bought an EHEIM wet&dry 2227 filter and I don't know if its working right ! I filled the baskets with EHFISUBSTRAT PRO ( Eheim says : " All filter baskets must be filled with EHFISUBSTRAT up to the rim " ) and then I put the white sponge filter on top (the one for 2227) and then filled the filter with water by sucking air through the small breathing tube. The suction valve was open and the pressure valve was closed at that time. I start running the filter and after a while water was flowing out slowly and from the other side it was filling with water. The filter makes strange noises as if water is flowing inside and its very annoying. It sounds more like a vacuum cleaner !!! <This is the air and water mixing in and about the pump impeller... a good idea to turn the unit off, let the water rise in the volute (the space around the impeller), then turn it back on... doing this a few times should clear the air out entirely, and make the unit very quiet> I checked everything (hoses tight, if there are any bends to the tube, if the baskets fit well) and it seems that there is not a problem. I use another EHEIM filter (2217) and its completely quiet and noiseless ! Another thing that bothers me is that water comes out constantly and I don't see any changes in the pressure. <Once again, this is due to the cavitation, the air and water mixing together... once you get the air out of the volute, you'll see> From what I know in these filters the outlet pressure varies. There is a wet&dry cycle that constantly goes on and the outlet pressure varies during this cycle. I don't know if I explained well my problem but first of all I want to know why it makes these weird sounds and second if the filter works properly. Thank you in advance for your help. George K. <A very common situation... and one that can/will be solved with the simple protocol mentioned. Bob Fenner>

Eheim Wet-Dry Unit... more than cavitation at play Thank you for your reply. <You're welcome> When I turn it off and back on again I get a very loud noise and the motor gets very heated. <Not good... leave unplugged till it cools down... and until we discover the cause of the problem> I left it like that and the filter stopped by itself...maybe for the motor to cool down a little. I took the impeller off and it was very hot ! <Was there anything caught around the impeller spindle? Do check for a minute piece of filter media> When I turn it off the floater goes up all the way then after a while and after the loud noise stops it starts emptying and the pressure is very high till it drops to a constant low water flow. <Ahhh, perhaps there is a good kink in a line (either intake or discharge. Try this: Check both loops to ascertain whether there is a kink that is limiting water flow, and take the discharge line off, place in a bucket (all this with the pump turned off), to determine as well if there isn't either a twist, kink in the line or some other area of internal blockage. If the water does not flow freely (siphoning from the intake line, through the unit, into your bucket via the discharge line), do take the whole unit off the tank, dis-assemble it in a sink or tub, and check for blockage in the unit, lines there> Then the floater goes all the way down and NEVER goes up again ! <I suspect either a "good" air gap in a line, or a blockage inside the unit> Then the wet-dry cycle doesn't come back again as it should be and it keeps working like that! (I changed all the o-rings with new ones-I was told that maybe this was the problem). <Shouldn't have anything to do with the problem... the o-rings either work and the unit doesn't leak... or...> Help ... I am so confused! Thank you, George <Please read through the above. Have you been to Eheim's website? http://www.eheim.com/ Bob Fenner>

Eheim I am setting up a 75 gal. saltwater fish only tank. I am considering using a wet-dry filter, either a SeaLife Systems Pro-150 or an Eheim wet-dry filter. Would you give me the pros and cons of each of these filters? <This information is catalogued at wetwebmedia.com In general, the problem is the same...they will both generate nitrates in the long term...The wet/dry will need almost no maintenance but the canister will need to be cleaned and "reloaded" regularly. Ooops...I'm sorry...Do you mean an Eheim wet/dry? Of all of the high quality products that Eheim makes, their wet/dry is a dud. I wouldn't use it at all. Their canister filters are some of the best on the market> Would either be considerably "better" over the long haul, e.g. ease of maintenance, efficacy, better oxygenation, less noisy, etc.???   <A wet/dry will be fine if you have a heavy bioload and you don't plan on keeping corals. It will be practically no maintenance and as quiet as your return pump is.. Just the sound of the water cascading over the bioballs. You can also submerge the bioballs to decrease the nitrate effect> It seems from your FAQs that many people use the Eheim canisters but not the wet-dries <Most of us don't care for the wet/dries made by Eheim> Are you familiar with Sealife Systems (they seem relatively pricey)? <Sorry...I'm not familiar with that brand. A wet/dry is simply a tub full of tank water. No need to spend a lot of money> My next question involves water filters- I live in a rural area and have a water well, i.e. my water is not municipally provided. Does well water typically present fewer or more problems in regards to quality? <I can't answer this question with generalities. Every rural well is different. No way to tell what's in the water unless you test it. For the above reason, well water is generally more problematic. If you had municipal water, you could get results of water tests from the water company that would tell you exactly what you're up against...> I have not had any testing done but, obviously, I would not have to worry about things like added chlorine. <Municipalities also filter out many other things that we don't want in our tanks...And to be quite honest...municipalities allow some things like nitrates and phosphates that we don't want...> Are there any sorts of elements that I should be particularly concerned about? <Well...this is not really an easy answer...nitrates, phosphates, silica, metals of all kinds, PH...that would be a good start. Are your pipes copper? Many of these tests could be run with simple water test equipment like we use for our fish tanks.> I guess there is always the (remote?)  possibility of ground water contamination. <I certainly hope that isn't the case!!> I am considering purchasing a reverse osmosis filter from Home Depot for about $200. I would like your thoughts on all of this in light of the fact that I will have a fish only tank but would really like to provide a good quality of water. <Dude. skip the RO. GO DI. RO leaves way too much waste water...An email that I responded to the other day stated that their RO filter took 10 gallons to produce one gallon of pure water!! As a comparison, DI has no waste water...Go DI> By the way, I would like a substrate to go on the bottom of my tank that is black in color. Is there anything available (that would also be pretty easy to keep clean with routine vacuuming)? <Keep the bed really thin like 1/2 inch or less and stay away from the volcanic stuff. The larger the grain the easier it will catch and hold detritus...but it will also be easier to vacuum> THANKS! (ya'll do a great job and provide a great service) <You're welcome! Come on back now...Ya hear! David Dowless>

Plumbing in a Large Canister Filter Hi Bob, <Steven Pro this morning.> I am about to embark on my first PVC project, and I'm stressing. <No need to.> I'm trying to connect an Ocean Clear canister and Mag-Drive 12 to my tank. If you can you recommend any websites or articles, or give any suggestions I would greatly appreciate them. My biggest concerns are "gluing myself in a corner" so to speak. That is, I'm not sure where in the line I should put any valves and/or unions. <Before and after anything that may need cleaning or replacement.> I don't know what types of elbows to use where. <Schedule 40 PVC is best, if that is what you are talking about.> Do they make PVC adapters that are threaded on one side and have a PVC slip on the other? <Sure> Also, how can I prime the pump once it is "hard wired"? I attached a diagram of my proposed setup. <I have never used an Ocean Clear canister before, but you should be able to open the unit up to replace/clean the micron cartridge. You should be able to simply open it up and pour some water into it to prime the pump.> Thanks for all your help, Adam <I looked at your drawing. It appears fine. I would place true unions right before the canister, between the canister and pump, and after the pump. -Steven Pro>

Broken Fluval Help! I have spent this afternoon changing my 37 gallon tank to a 75 gallon tank. All the live sand, rocks, and fish are in the new tank. I went to turn on my Fluval filter and it wouldn't work. I took it to the sink to check it out and the whole thing smells and the foam filters are smoke black color. The bio max (biological filters) smell and have the black water deposits. It looks like the pump had quit early and I didn't know it and it got skunky. Should I throw away the bio max balls? <You can probably clean these up with a soak in bleach and then a long rinse in tapwater.> Should I get new foam filters or clean the old ones with Clorox? <I would probably just toss these.> I think my motor died on the unit. <Me too!> How long will the fish be ok without a filter? <If this is all you have (I hope that is not the case) they will last perhaps a day before ammonia poisoning or lack of oxygen gets them.> Should I put my protein skimmer on the new tank, right away? <Yes> Should I put the power head in the tank right away? <Yes> The only thing I have hooked now is the heater. Thanks, Cheryl <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Worth the money (marine aquarium filtration) I have a 70gal saltwater tank fish only with live rock <Okay>.  The filters are red sea protein skimmer, wet dry trickle system and a UV sterilizer. My water is pretty clear, but I always think there is room for improvement, so do you think that the Ocean Clear Canister Filters (model 325) is really worth the money and would you really get a get improvement in your tank? <If memory serves me correct, Ocean clear filters do not have an automatic siphon. Jeez...these things are a real pain to maintenance...and very messy! If I were going for an inexpensive filter, I would get the Fluval 404 or spend the real bucks for an Eheim. If your water tests are almost perfect every time you test (never even a trace of ammonia or nitrite), your fish are living for years (not months or weeks), and you're not having any identifiable water quality problems including cloudy or discolored water, you may not need a new filter. But redundancy in equipment is sometimes a good thing to have...>                              MIKE WHITE <David D.>

Fluval 304 Hi guy's, Fluval sprung a leak today and handle broke a second time. I can't stand this filter. Please no comments on what I might be doing wrong, I have tried everything. I am about to scour the site for recommendations for a similar canister filter, perhaps you can save me some time. 55 gal corner tank with HOT Prizm skimmer and in tank Fluval simple filter directed through 30# live rock. Fish only tank. What a nightmare week. see attachment. Virus free. Thanks Kevin.<Hi Kevin, Craig here. Sorry to hear about your filter problems. I have an Eheim and it has performed flawlessly. They tend to have a lower flow rate unless you size larger. The canister and media volume is adjustable and will run perfectly with no media at all or your choice. Very high quality and reasonably affordable. Hope this solves the filter issues!

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