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FAQs about Wet-Dry, Trickle Filters 2

Related Articles: Trickle Filters, pt. 1 By Bob Goemans, Physical Filtration, Denitrification/Denitrifiers, Nitrates and Marine Systems

Related FAQs: Wet Dries 1, Wet-Dries 3, Wet Dries 4, Selection, Set-Up, Pumps, Plumbing Issues, Bio-Balls FAQs, Bio-Ball, Wet-Dry Media 2, Other Filter/Media/Elements (other than bio-balls), Modification/Conversion, Operation/Maintenance/Repair... Biological Filtration, Biofiltration 2, Fluidized Beds, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, PhosphatesDenitrification/Denitrifiers,

Wet-Dries are useful for tanks with lots of messy fish, feeding.

Sump/trickle filters Hi Bob, <Trevor> Your site is excellent, and I have read so much at this stage I don't think I'm retaining more than 10% at the moment. I am presently moving from a Juwel 180 tank to a 60 x 24 x 18. This has a sump/trickle filter in it, but I am not greatly happy with the design. I was thinking of re-designing it and have spent days looking through all varieties of site to purchase one in the UK - not many available here. <Why not build your own? The components to put in it can be purchased...> some sites suggest that trickle filters are not good for nitrates though, and what I want to keep is a community carrying maybe around a dozen fish 2 percula clowns, scooter blenny, domino, some tangs and couple of others that would hopefully be harmonious with these which I already have. These I want to also live around about 20lb of live rock - not quite a reef. Would re-designing my filter be beneficial to me or would I actually be better with 2 or 3 canister filters instead ? <Mmm, likely the re-design will work out much better... more steady, easier to work with, more flexible> You guys are pros so I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather ask - including my LFS ! Thanks for taking the time to read this, Trevor in Blackpool England. <Do keep looking about, keeping good notes... your system's filtration will "gel" with consideration. Bob Fenner> 

Wet/Dry Anxiety (1/19/04) OK, maybe I'm paranoid, but I have to ask the questions anyway.  I recently purchased a Aquaclear Pro75 Wet Dry system for my 30G reef.  <Most on this site are not big fans of wet/dry for reefs because they are nitrate factories. Read more about this on WWM.> Since the purchase I have heard numerous horror stories about Wet Dry filters in general causing tremendous water spillage problems.  I guess my main question is, what is the likelihood of this kind of occurrence? <I believe most of these are due to the way the water is drained down and pumped back up. Siphons are the usual cause of this problem. If the tank is drilled or uses an overflow, this is much less likely.> Also, are the hang-on Wet Dry systems a safer bet in regard to this issue? <By the nature of their construction, most HOT filters will be less likely to flood.> I know this is a good filter and I've read many good things about them, I guess I could just use a little reassurance before making the plunge. Thanks, John <Hope this helps, Steve Allen>

Wet/Dry Alternatives (1/19/04) If not a wet-dry for reef filtration, what then? thanks, John  <NNR or natural nitrate reduction. Examples:  plenums, deep sand beds, large amounts of live rock; in addition to a good skimmer. Search these terms on WWM and you will find all you need to know. Hope this helps, Steve Allen>

HANG ON WET DRY Hello sorry to bother again!     What do you think about a hang on wet dry for a 55 gallon salt water fish only tank that measures 21long,5wide 16 tall (Tru vu Mighty max). <personally I would not purchase a hang on the back wet/dry filtration system> is this as good as a sump model  in oxygenation for water and do they do more or less the same in filtration Thank you very much! <I have never tried them before so I don't know if they are equally as efficient as the "non" hang on the back ones. If you decide to purchase this product email us back with your results. opinions etc. Good luck, IanB> - Time for a Wet/Dry? - First of all I want to say your website is very helpful and I enjoy spending time reading other peoples questions. <And hopefully gaining from their experiences.> I have 2 year old 55 gallon tank, 192 watt PC's with 60 lbs of live rock, live sand, few soft corals, few anemones, few polyps, 2 clowns, royal Gramma, Naso tang and a bi color angel, 25 Astrea snails, 10 scarlet crabs, 2 brittle stars and a purple urchin. For filtration I have a Remora Pro protein skimmer (great skimmer) and an aqua clear 200 (use only for placing a little carbon in it). All my levels are great, I use RO water and do a 10-15 % water change every week. I am interested in getting rid of my aqua clear 200 and replacing it with a wet and dry. <Eek... any chance I can talk you out of the wet/dry and into a simple sump? All you need is really more system volume, some live rock and sand - a wet/dry will become a source of nitrates for you and you can do much better with something a great deal more simple.> I do not really have that many problems with my tank but I have read there are many benefits to a wet and dry and I only want the best for my fish. <If there's nothing wrong with your tank, I wouldn't touch a thing - stasis can be a good thing, on the other hand, a sump would provide benefit, but a wet/dry may cause more problems than it is worth. More reading on that here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm >I also want to put my heater and possibly my protein skimmer in the sump and out of my tank. I have been looking at the Amiracle Slim-Line Model 50 and the CPR SYS 500. Any recommendations? <Would go with the CPR unit, mostly because I'm not a fan of Amiracle build quality - usually a little thin, but would likely work. Not really familiar with or have practical experience with either model.> What do I do about the bio balls? <Toss them - give to the cat for toys.> Some say leave them in and others say take them out? Confused? Help? <Do read that article - some good background for you there.> Donovan <Cheers, J -- >

Wet/Dry Filter Revisited Good afternoon Ryan <Hello! Nice to hear back from you> Thank you for responding so quickly. Thanks also for pointing me in the right direction with regards to the problem algae growth. I spent the afternoon reading about mud filters, deep sand beds and the likes and I think I may have a lead on the excess nutrient thing. <An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, huh?  ;)  > At first I was a little puzzled at where the nutrients were coming from since we only have 3 Chromis in the tank right now. <Test your source water...could be shocking> We also have a sandsifter starfish and a feather duster and we are running a protein skimmer in the sump. I think the problem may be with the amount of crushed coral we have in the tank. In some places, it is 1" but ranges to about 2" to 2 1/2" which I thought looked nice but may be the cause of my algae problem. <Less likely> Add to that the fact that we may be overfeeding the 3 small Chromis...! <Yup> Do you think I should take out some of the substrate so it is less than 1". <Yes, less than 1 inch all around.  But please, take out small amounts each day, not a mass substrate remodel.>   I do like the look of the sand in the tank and the sandsifter does need something to sift! <Certainly.  Also, in a cup of sand there is FAR more surface area for nitrifying bacteria to colonize.>   Would this be enough sand for him? <No, not really.  He truly should have a deep sand bed to be properly fed.  Do I sense a remote refugium in order?>   The other thing I read about was the tap water we are adding to the tank. We have never tested it and have been using the off-the-shelf dechlorinating drops. Although we have seen no ill effects on our fish, I will certainly be looking at what is in those drops.  <More like what is in the water!  This is surely your problem.> The other thing I was wondering about was regarding my bio-tower problems: Instead of buying a commercially made unit, what if we were to make a simple unit that had the aquarium water pass through the prefilter floss and then through the activated carbon layer (much like our current bio-tower setup) but then instead of a bio-ball layer, have a few good sized chunks of live rock sitting in the bottom of the sump with our heater and protein skimmer? Would this be sufficient biological filtration for our 65 gallon tank considering we have about 80 lbs of rock in the tank itself?  <yes, the bio-balls are simply adding nitrate to your tank at this point.  Let the live rock do it's work!  You'll be impressed with the quality of water you can achieve with quality live rock and great circulation.  Have we talked circulation?  This can also lead to algae problems, and shouldn't be overlooked.  Check to see if there are "dead spots" in your aquarium, and then add powerheads accordingly. Sounds to me like you'd benefit from a copy of Conscientious Marine Aquarist, by Mr. Fenner.  Add it to your Christmas list!  Best of luck! Ryan> Cathy

- Wet/Dry Conversion - Sorry but one more question... I promise.  Should I pull the bio balls and use live rock instead? <Ideally yes, but likely the wet/dry sump is not designed for this. Wet/dry rock would produce the same results - it's not really the bioballs per se but the fact that they are exposed to air.> I have been told wet dry rack up the nitrate mileage because of the bio balls? <Because of the wet/dry design.> Thanks a ton, Matt <Cheers, J -- >

- What's up with the Wet/Dry - Hello WWM crew! I have another quick question for you. <Ok.> I am considering adding live rock to my system and removing (gradually) the plastic bio ball media because I have read in the FAQ's that they lead to high nitrate levels. I can't seem to find any information on WHY this is true.  Is it trickle filters in general, something about the plastic media itself or what? <It's the highly oxygenated environment of the wet/dry, not necessarily the media that is in it. Before there were bioballs, there were rolls of media in a wet/dry filter and it had the same effect.> I had planned on removing the Bio balls in the filter and replacing them with live rock.  Then I read in one of the FAQ's that this was not the same as having the rock in the display tank (as far as bio filtration goes) Can you elaborate? <Well... because in the ideal filter, the live rock would be submerged - the nature and design of wet/dry filters is such that it would be difficult at best to keep a useful quantity of rock submerged. If you simply increased the water level in the sump, I think you would find the tank's transit volume would flood the sump when the power was turned off to the pump.> Thank you so much for all your help! Kirk <Cheers, J -- >

Lowering Nitrate Hello <Hi there! Scott F. at the keyboard today!> I am having some nitrate problems. I currently have a 150 gal wet dry with bioballs. With WWM's help I have determined that the bioballs and the wet dry are contributing to the problem. I am going to slowly remove the bioballs and replace with 15 lbs of live rock and some sand and Halimeda. Not a lot. I will light the old wet dry for the benefit. <Good thoughts...Just do it slowly and monitor water chemistry parameters during the process...Should be fine> Should I leave the prefilter pad in the drip tray?? Remove the drip tray and let the raw water into the rock/sand area because the filter pad may be helping to raise nitrates. <Bingo! You hit it right on the head! Filter pads are great, and I do recommend them for mechanical filtration. However, you need to be able to clean and/or replace these pads regularly (like a few times a week, IMO.> I need to get the nitrates down Joe Culler, <Well, Joe, with those minor adjustments, and a little "tweaking" of your husbandry techniques (like water changes, skimming, etc.)- you should be on your way! Regards, Scott F>

- Lowering Nitrates, Wet/Dry Woes - Hi I cant seen to get my nitrates down below 5ppm.  I have a 90 gal soon to be reef. It has a Kole and hippo tang along with a cinnamon clown, royal Gramma and scooter blennies. I have a traditional wet-dry and a SeaLife systems 150 skimmer. <Hmm... quite possible the wet/dry is responsible for the small amount of nitrates - is the nature of these filters, very efficient at producing nitrates.> This is my first marine attempt and I should have done a few things differently. Bigger umph from a bigger skimmer. Refugium instead of  a traditional wet dry.  But that's water under the bridge. I don't want to replace the wet dry with the refugium and I don't have much room in the cabinet area to add one. <You should really re-consider this stance - do think the wet/dry may end up working against your reef plans. A refugium would be the way to go.> I do 5% water change twice a week. I have been changing my prefilter pad weekly, rinsing my sponges, etc etc. I have some red slime going on and I added some Halimeda which my tangs are "reorganizing" to try to lower nitrates. <Don't think this will help - you are working in the wrong place, and as long as the wet/dry filter is present you will have detectable nitrates.> I have seen in Dr. Fosters fish stuff a little "in tank" refugium. It is 7x7x4. Will that help if I put some sand, couple critters, Caulerpa in it right in the tank. <Don't think it will overcome the nature of the wet/dry filter - as long as that is inline.> I can prune the Caulerpa and feed it to the tangs. The real question is will it help? <I don't think so.> I don't want to waste the $$$ if it wont make a difference.   Joe <Cheers, J -- >

- Lowering Nitrates, Wet/Dry Woes Follow-up - Well, that kinda stinks. The thing that scares me about adding the refugium is the shock to my system. <Perhaps you can run one on the side of the tank before you remove the wet/dry... giving a chance to get the refugium going and to slowly remove the bio balls.> Disconnecting the wet dry and adding the refugium can be done but the shock to the fish and other life. How bad will that be?? <Bad if you do it suddenly - much less drastic if done slowly over many weeks.> Is the 5ppm on the nitrates a killer for the corals?? <Not entirely, but I'd be willing to bet that sooner or later 5ppm will become 10 which will become 20 and so on.> Or can the water changes and diligence overcome this. <You'd have to be doing a lot of water changes, and you still can't alter the nature of a wet/dry filter.> Can I replace the bioballs with live rock?? <You can, but quite typically the wet/dry sump really isn't designed to keep the rock submerged but yours may be different - would be worth investigation. Cheers, J -- >

-Converting Wet/dry to sump-  I have a 55 gallon tank running with 45 lbs of Foster and Smith Fiji live rock (been running two months). Currently the system has a small (Amiracle SL-50) wet/dry running. Over the weekend I spent hours finding a way to cram my remora pro skimmer under the stand hanging on the sump side of the wet/dry, it fit by a hair! Your site, and a local pet store recommended slowly removing the bio-balls from the filter. <Forget slowly, yank it all at once.> I am wary about this, since most of the people in your FAQs on converting wet/dries seem to have a ton of live rock per gallon. Is 45 pounds enough? <That it is. It's been known for quite some time that you can ditch the entire bio-chamber in one shot if you have a reasonable amount of live rock and/or live sand in the tank (Sprung and Delbeek proposed this in The Reef Aquarium which came out in '94).> I also have about 15 pounds of lace rock in there left over from my cichlid tank. The substrate is 60 pounds of Carib-Sea aragonite (I now realize that more than 1 inch less than 4 is bad, but I bought it before I knew that). I don't plan to have a heavy bio-load in there. I want to do mostly fish and inverts with some easy corals. I would prefer to take the media out of the wet/dry, but I want to be sure I have enough bio filtration, and I don't have the money for more live rock right now. <You're all set, ditch away! You shouldn't notice any ill effects, but you should always plan for the worst and test your water frequently for ammonia and nitrite. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks for the great advice! -Ken

Fluidized? Wet/Dry?  >Dear Ms. Harding  Oh sorry, I really don't know that Harding is your last name.  >>No worries.  >What do you know about fluidized sand bed filter, is this better than a wet/dry system?  >>Not necessarily better, it's just a pressurized means of achieving biological filtration. They are really cool to look at, though. Marina

-Wet/dry to refugium- Hi, I'm thinking of making my turning my sea life wet dry to a refugium. <I did this once...> It is set the usual way with a bioball divider, a little slot where a prefilter sponge goes. It is a 90 gal overflow set up with about an 8 gal wet dry.. would putting the sand and rock and bioball chamber along with other goodies and leaving the last 1/3 of the sump for the skimming. <I took out the balls, and on top of the eggcrate that supports the balls, I put a few layers of really dense filter pad (felt-like). On top of that I put a few inches of sand and a few small pieces of live rock. The problems w/ this setup are as follows: My sump had a few holes on the side of the bio-chamber right under the drip plate, these had to be drastically widened so the 'fuge wouldn't overflow. The other, and much larger problem is that the other half of the sump could no longer accommodate all the water that would drain from the display in a power outage.> Is that enough room. The total area is 13.5 gal availability <It might work, but I'd calculate out how much water will be drained down and how much you'll have to spare. Good luck! -Kevin> Joe Culler, Asst Mgr, Lakeland

Wet/dry to Sump/Refugium? I just purchased a CPR cr300 wet/dry, and want to convert it to a sump/refugium. I want to take everyone's advice and get rid of the wet dry, but I don't know where to start.  Currently I have a 120gal reef tank with fish and assorted corals and am running an AquaClear 200 pro wet dry.   I'm going to make this into a in wall tank with a sump room behind it.  The cr3000 is not in use at this time.  I'm trying to plan ahead.  Can you help me? thanks in advance. <Dave, I suggest that you go to the WWM site and search for refugiums and read the information regarding them. Also do read the FAQ's on the topic. Anthony Calfo's and Robert Fenner's book Reef Invertebrates covers refugiums very thoroughly and I hope that you purchase this book to help guide you. Good luck, IanB>

- The Pros & Cons of Wet/Dry Trickle Filters - I've been a big fan of the Live rock method in keeping my fish only tanks for some time. I have definitely have seen an improvement of fish health with live rock. I just hate how you cannot medicate the tank when fish get sick though.  I recently lost a whole tank to velvet within a week ($4,000 down the drain). Prized Fish that I had for well over two years all gone in a week because of a damn raccoon butterfly.  After this happened I started using the quarantine method without much success, the fish would just die in the qt tanks since the conditions were so bad. Who has time to change 50% of the qt tank water daily??? <My friend... I say this with all honesty, perhaps you should try a new hobby - no offense, but if you can't find the time for this type of chore... then what are you doing?> Anyway, even though so many people hate the trickle method and call it a nitrate factory, <By the by... people don't just call a wet/dry a nitrate factory - they ARE nitrate factories.> I did some research and saw that the average fish only tank aquarist uses the wet/dry filtration method with heavy skimming. I've seen some very large and amazing diversity filled fish only tanks in Hong Kong that run on this method. <While you were there, did you do a water test as well? Did you ask them how often they replace the animals you saw? I can tell you that in Hong Kong, they not only pack them in... they also kill a lot of animals. I say this only because many people such as yourself see these systems and  figure that would be a great way to go... but the image you have in your mind is only a snap shot in time - for all you know, those fish could have all been placed there that day, or all died the very next day. Additionally, large systems do not always scale downwards - what works on a large system is many times out of necessity - a wet/dry for instance on a large tank with a zillion fish would be about the only thing that would keep the fish from polluting themselves to death - on a small tank, that same wet/dry could be a waste of time - each system needs to be evaluated on its own.> I could swear I saw a tank with almost every species of marine fish available.  I guess the main benefit would be that as soon as any sign of velvet or ick appears a proper copper medication such as sea chem.s Cupramine could be used to easily rid the parasite. <Not so... copper, Formalin each will toast a wet/dry filter just as quickly - the only advantage being that the bioballs won't absorb the treatments, but that doesn't mean the same formulations won't ruin your biological filter.> Anyway here are my ?'s 1) can a trickle filter be used just as successfully as live rock in fish only tanks? <Yes, but you have to watch out for the nitrates. In fish only systems, nitrates aren't as large of an issue [can go as high as perhaps 40-50 ppm before they cause problems] but in reef tanks they can be fatal to some organisms even at 'low' levels. In a fish only tank, medium sized water changes and reasonable feeding can keep the nitrates under control.> 2) will copper kill the bacteria that live on the bioballs like it does on the live rock? <Yes.> What about Fluidized bed filters? <Yes - the bacteria are the same no matter which filtration method you choose.> 3) what maintenance should be kept up on a trickle filter to keep it from becoming a nitrate factory? <Regular larger than normal water changes. Perhaps 20% every two weeks instead of 10% - or 10% a week instead of 5%.> 4) Is it smart to convert my other prized Fish only live rock tanks to tanks with oversized trickle filters and dead coral decorations? <Not in my view of the world, but it's not really a question that can be answered by 'smarts' - you do what you think works for you and your fish. I can only tell you what I would do and/or would not do.> Can I be just as successful with hard to keep species such as the clown tang in a Tf tank? <I don't think keeping a clown tang has anything to do with filtration, but instead everything to do with knowing the animal's behavior [which you can't really change - and these fish are aggressive], getting a large enough system to house them in, and then putting them through sufficient quarantine before you place them in your system.> I know how important live rock is for fish, I've been keeping tanks for well over 7 years now, but what's the point if I end up loosing entire tanks that I've worked so hard on in one blow because of a parasite? <I can't honestly say I'm sympathetic - you can avoid disease problems almost entirely by careful quarantine - doesn't it seem like a good investment in time? It does to me.> 5) I'm in the process of setting up my main display tank in my living room. The tank is going to be a custom 450-500 gallon acrylic tank. I want to be able to keep a wide array of marine species from docile triggers to many different kinds of angels, tangs, and butterfly.  I have set up a 50 gallon quarantine tank with proper filtration (wet dry) for this tank and plan on quarantining every new fish. <Excellent.> Thus at least I'll be able to medicate the qt tank if necessary on every new fish that develops a disease. <Still... you'll need to be doing those large water changes - perhaps you just need some smaller quarantine tanks.> Since I've had bad luck in the past with parasites in heavily stocked fish only live rock tanks, I am still hesitant to use live rock in this new display tank. <The benefits out weigh the bad side - live rock will help cultivate live foods and fauna for the fish you want to keep.> It will be my largest and most expensive tank yet and I want to set it up smart. <Use the live rock then...> Lets say down the line after I have the tank filled with fish (I plan on having expensive exotics) that one fish brings in ick or worse (velvet) what am I to do? <Quarantine it first... then there will be no story to tell.> 6) I'm sure you guys see large tanks all the time, what methods of filtration are these large fish only tanks using, such as the tank in the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas (20,000 gallons)? <Massive sand filters and protein skimmers - the kind you can stand inside. No wet/dry filters.> I hope I didn't write too much and I hope even more that you understand what I am trying to ask you. P.S. I set up all my tanks with overrated U.V. sterilizers, skimmers, and am extremely anal about good water quality, yet have still had bad luck with diseases... <Think about using the UV on your quarantine tanks and then use the quarantine tanks. I can assure you, the only times I've had any disease problems were when I did not use quarantine.> Thanks for the help! <Cheers, J -- > Filtering Out Confusion (Wet-Dry Filter Selection) You guys are the best!!!!!!!  You always save me just when I start to get nervous, paranoid or confused.  All of you are so very much appreciated and you never ever should go thinking otherwise! <Aw, shucks! Thanks for the kind words! We really love what we're doing here, and are happy to serve!> Firstly.......this may be a bit broad but I'm going to ask it nonetheless, because I truly value your advice opinions and exp.'s..... <Okay!> I currently have a Marineland Emperor 400 with BioWheels, along with a CPR Bak pak dual pak.  I would really like to look into getting a new filter (for my 30 gal tank, live rock live sand, stocked). I am looking into Eheim Professional II and/or Eccho......along with Amiracle sl-15 hang on wet/dry filter........I would appreciate it if you could break the three types mentioned above down for me so I can make more of an informed decision on what I'd like to do.  My primary concern are my seahorses, but of course I care for everyone else in the tank which are.........pep. shrimp......yellow clown goby......bang. cardinal, fridmani Pseu., clean up crew and feather dusters. I can't seem to find or get more information on the products.......and I would really like to speak with you personally about the benefits and differences between them for my system in particular.  No corals or anything here. With a wet/dry.......would I have to get rid of or stop using my CPR dual Bak Pak? <Well, not unless you want to. Skimmers are a vital piece of equipment in any system. I would continue with the CPR.> Because if I understand correctly, wet/dries have a protein skimmer within their sumps, or at least the Amiracle does.....on the sl15. <Well, many wet-dry filter systems include a skimmer, but there is certainly nothing wrong with running two of them! On the other hand, some manufacturers make great filters/sumps, but the included skimmer is a true "underachiever". I've always felt that you should purchase the best skimmer that you can afford for your system. If it were up to me, I'd be looking into the aforementioned Amiracle filter (without bio media), but I'd utilize a capable skimmer, like the Aqua C Remora, or your CPR Bak Pak. A formidable combination!> Can't wait to hear back...................and since I'm so very lost on this wet/dry means of filtration and have never even thought of doing it.......I'm  going to go read up on it in your pages here on the site........but......I'd like for you to help my confused and torn self out.  As always, thank you so very much. <Sorry that I cannot go into all of many aspects of wet-dry filtration and selection, but I think that you are right on the mark as far as outfitting your tank is concerned. The other alternative would be a beneath-the-tank sump, but that involves a totally different setup. For your system, I'd go with my recommendation above. Keep things simple, and I'm sure that you'll be successful! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

-Which wet/dry?- hi there :WetWebMedia.com, what an awesome site ! <I thought so too! ;) Kevin here> just wondering if the penguin BioWheel or Millennium 2000 filters are good enough wet/dry filters for a 100 gal fish only system <Not if you plan on stocking more than a fish or two> , or stuck on conventional bioballs w/d filters ??? <You're not exactly "stuck" on using a wet/dry, that's just one of your options. A better method would be to use live rock and live sand as your primary biological filter and a protein skimmer. Check out Bob and Anthony's new book Reef Invertebrates for excessive amounts of rock and sand info, as well as these links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/livesand.htm I hope this helps. I've also assumed that you're talking about a marine tank, correct me if I'm wrong! -Kevin> thanks

Changing A Few Things... Thank you for your speedy reply on my last email.  I have read as many of the former posts as possible, and have learned oh so much, but nothing beats good old person specific answers. <Yep...The one-on-one stuff is good! Scott F. with you today!>   How can I reward you?  Ah, I'll name my Radiata Lion Fish after you if you let me know who the actual responder to this email is.   :P <Wow! That's cool! Sure beats the last time someone named their feather duster after me! LOL> Just as a reminder, my last email was asking how to actually go  about replacing the bio balls in my wet/dry filter with live rock.  Your answer was that you don't actually replace the live rock in the same spot as the bio balls but instead by placing the live rock in the main display.  This leads me to my next question. <Not sure who gave that initial response, but it makes sense to me!> I am currently in the process of trying to build replica coral shelves with caves and the sort using PVC and so I am a little short on actual display room for the live rock I would like to add. My question is it possible to take out the bio balls in the wet/dry filter and replace them with live rock while raising the water level in the filter to submerge the rocks completely.  In essence I would modify the wet/dry filter to just house more live rock.  Of course I would be careful to keep the water level at safe levels in case of a pump failure or something else. <Sure. That sounds like a logical approach to me...> Here is the actual set up of the filter and the idea I would like to work with. The wet/dry filter. under aquarium.. is prob around  30 gallons with two intake hoses from the main tank going to the left side of the filter.  The water then goes through a small prefilter, drip plate,  over the bio balls, eggcrate, small open area with carbon, sponge, and finally into the open sump area where it is pumped back into main aquarium.  Pretty basic wet/dry filter.  I was thinking on axing the eggcrate material and bioballs and just sitting live rock in the large area left behind.  I can increase the water level to cover the live rock permanently. <This is a nice approach, and this should work out fine...> After the live rock in the next chamber I was considering growing some sort of plant life.  If this is feasible and would be beneficial do I need to add some sort of powerhead in the wet dry filter to move water through the rocks a little more efficiently? <As long as it's not stagnating in there, I'd let it "run its course"...> What type of lighting, that can fit in my aquarium stand, would be enough to grow plant life and support the live rock? <I like some inexpensive PC or fluorescent fixtures that can be purchased from many e-tailers...lots to choose from...> I have built a separate Rubbermaid container that houses my skimmer.  The water out of the main aquarium now flows through this FIRST, thanks to your website,  before entering the wet/dry filter...really wish the manufacturers model would have had this built in. <A great design! And I often wonder myself why manufacturers don't do this...A level flow of nutrient rich water is ideal for feeding the skimmer for maximum efficiency...> My second main question involves some sort of growth in the main tank. I have read everything I can find on your website and It somewhat resembles diatom algae, although the symptoms are different.  Most people say that over a period of a day or a few hours growth just appeared out of nowhere.  I have noticed the brown/dark red. almost looks like a Carmel coated apple, at least a week before on one of my live rocks.  It has SLOWLY spread to all my other rocks and coral skeletons. It isn't slimy and doesn't look like normal algae.  My lack of visual knowledge doesn't let me identify it very well, but it almost looks like I BBQed my rocks.   Their isn't really a texture to it.  Probably would have spread to the sand if my brown barred Goby wasn't around. My LFS said  that it could be a bacteria and for me to just keep the lights off for a while.  Bacteria or do you think its the good old diatoms waging war?  If need be I can take some pictures. <Pictures might help, but I'm 99% sure that you're dealing with an algae known as Lobophora. It almost resembles a coralline algae, but it's brown and has a sort of rubbery feel too it, right? In that case, I'd say that this is almost certainly what you're dealing with. It's essentially harmless. If you just cant stand the stuff (I find it to be kind of ugly, myself), you could physically remove it by "chipping" it and "peeling" it off of the rock. Alternatively, you could employ an urchin to help remove it. In the end, nutrient control efforts will help to keep it from becoming established to begin with...> Thanks for your advice.  Let me know who actually responds to this email this time.  My Lion FISH is awaiting a name.  :} Kevin <Scott the Lionfish....Hmm- I guess it has a certain ring to it, huh? LOL. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Clogged wet/dry sponge Hi, I have a 100 gallon Uniquarium that was in my office for 5 years and serviced by a local shop.  I have recently shut down the office and brought the tank home.  After a few weeks of having the same shop service it, I began to care for it myself as they were charging me an arm and a leg due to my home being a bit far away for them.  Recently, the tank has much more water in it than it should and it seems that the chamber with the bio balls is a little low.  Additionally, the chamber to the far left is full to overflowing. <hmm.. maybe a sponge is clogged. I would purchase a new sponge or just clean out the old one. also the tubing could be clogged> I don't know EXACTLY how the water flows through this system, but I suspect that there is a clog between the left most chamber and the one directly adjacent to it.<yes, I believe it may be the sponge.>  Can you clear this mystery up for me?<just replace or clean out the sponge> Thanks Adam Anthony<Your welcome, IanB>

Wet/Dry I'm getting ready to change my fresh water tank over to salt water.  I've been running tanks for about 10 years and know it's going to be a costly big job but looking forward to the change.  I currently have a 75 gallon tank with heaters, air pumps and a magnum 350 with bio-wheel.  Could you point me in the right direction for the rest of my equipment.  I was looking at the Bio-Rocker 300 (Deluxe Complete Kit).  Is this a good wet/dry??? Are there any wet/dry systems that have a built in skimmer?  Any help you could give would be great!!!  Mike Adams <I like the Sealife System brand wet/dry filters...the one you described I have no experience with... :(. But I know the Sealife System brand wet/dry filters work well. Good luck with everything, IanB>

Wet/Dry and Nitrates What is the best way to prevent nitrate build up in a system with a wet dry filter?  <Many ways. One is to remove the bio balls if the are present in your setup. Another way is to rinse your mechanical and biological (if present) frequently. Check here for quite a discussion on this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wetdryfaqs.htm Be sure to check the blue links as well for related information>  Should some of the media be rinsed?  <Very frequently>  If so, how often and in what?  <Saltwater from the tank during a water change or with freshly mixed saltwater that is the same temperature as the tank water>  Also, how much room is sufficient amounts of live rock going to take up in a 90 gallon setup to offer quality bio filtration.   Blue Skies,  James Smith <Not sure if I understand this question but I believe you are asking how much live rock is ideal for your setup. I believe anywhere from 1/2 a pound per gallon is about right but some people like a lot more and use up to 1.5 lbs per gallon. Depends on what look you are going for and what your bio-nutrient load is. Any amount would help though. -Paul>

DIY wet/dry - 8/2/03 HI. I WANTED TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON BUILDING YOUR OWN WET DRY FILTER.  <Hi Anthony. My name is Paul Mansur and your message was forwarded to us from FAMA magazine. Our website discusses the use of wet/dry filtration and other trickle filters, but we really don't have any DIY projects on our site. Check our chat forums for info on DIYs in general. Here is link to our forums: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/. More specifically though, I did a quick search on www.google.com and found quite a few results on "building your own wet/dry". Here is a link that I think is what you are looking for (it is a pretty cool site with many links for DIY trickle filters including wet/dry filters): http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/diywetdry/index.htm Hope this helps! - Paul >  DID YOUR MAGAZINE EVERY DO AN ARTICLE ON BUILDING YOUR OWN OR COULD YOU REFER ME TO A WEBSITE THAT WOULD HAVE INFORMATION ON THIS SUBJECT.  <www.wetwebmedia.com baby!>   IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE I COULD FIND THIS INFORMATION COULD YOU DIRECT ME TO SOMEONE WHO WOULD KNOW.  <Again, WetWebMedia, baby! Haha>   THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.  <Thank you for your inquiry - Paul>

Flow rate calculations 7/4/03 Hi Anthony, <Cheers, my friend.> I'm setting up a new tank that will use an overflow "shelf" like the one you describe in your BoCP book (BTW- great book!).   <Thanks kindly!> The tank is a standard 50g (36x15x20) and I would like to be able to push 1000gph max through the overflow.   <Very good> I can make the shelf 22in long, but I can't figure out how much clearance I should give it to get the right flow rate and keep the water level near the top of my tank. Any ideas? <A full inch from the surface of the water... and 4-5 1" overflow holes or their equivalent in larger bulkheads.> Also, do you know of how to calculate the flow rate of a siphon? <I would never recommend a siphon overflow under any circumstance... won't sleep in a house with one. Overflow risk and fire hazard in time IMO> To reduce noise, I'm putting two drains in the shelf- one near the bottom that will be a siphon and move most of the water, and one near the top to catch whatever the siphon can't handle.   <Hmmm... maybe I'm misunderstanding here. Drilled overflow or siphon overflow?> The top drain will be a Durso or other quiet non-siphon drain.  I'd like to use the smallest possible pipe size for the siphon (to keep the overflow height as low as possible) but be able to push say 800gph through the siphon.  Any ideas? Thanks, David <I think the use of the word siphon must have merely meant an overflow hole operating at high capacity (creating siphon beyond what gravity overflow will afford... and if so a precarious endeavor... use more holes instead for safety). Best regards, Anthony>

WET DRY anti-siphon Hey guys. <Hello! Ryan with you> I'm developing a valve and float for the wet dry that will adjust the flow in if the water in the sump raises or lowers also; It will shut off the flow in the event of a power outage!  I have a 3/4" valve and float that works well on a 55 gallon discus FW tank.  Do you think it would be a good idea to market a larger valve for the saltwater guys? <sure, anything to help the hobby.> I've got a website that I started but; Not going to market anything till I do more research about the materials used in this valve as far as toxicity in different waters and, get an idea for how long this thing lasts before it needs replaced. <A very good idea.  Durability is so important in a product.> I haven't posted any thing on the site yet. I tried electric solenoids and the power head thing but; this works so much better because the tank stays at the same level and just re-starts itself. I've been toying around for years with this thing and finally; Something works (SO FAR) <and we can't wait to see one in action!  Keep us posted and send over a demo model;) Sounds like you're headed in the right direction-Ryan> Alan

Overflow Siphon Hi again, I have a 150 soon to be FO saltwater and I've built everything myself stand/hood/filter but I bought the over flow box to the wet/dry filter I built. My hardest task has been starting the siphon!!! I need to know the trick on starting the siphon in the overflow box, its a U shaped tube. Is there a special way to start it?  I've tried many ways but nothing seems to work. I know it's a dumb question but I need help haha. Thanks, Chris <Well Chris, you seem handy, so I suggest you permanently install an airline tube in the top of the U-tube (hot glue, marine seal, epoxy, etc) and hook it up to a venturi powerhead, so it will pull the air out of the top of the tube and restart the siphon if/when the power goes out or a circuit breaker trips (or when you just want to turn the darned thing on!). This way you won't come home to a flooded house and that not so nice burning heater smell....and assorted other horrible stuff, and the siphon will start itself. You can see something similar on the CPR overflows.  Enjoy your new toy!  Craig>  

Wet Dry Filter I was wondering if you can help? I just recently started my saltwater tank back up and I'm using a wet dry system that I got from a buddy of mine. I'm not sure if it's working correctly the siphon is good and it's pumping well but it seems to be holding more water than I think it should be holding. Its over 3/4 full. The more water I add to the tank the more it fills up. It has 2 siphon tubes and probably a 1/2 in to 1 inch return hose. If you can help or refer me to someone who can I will be very grateful (55gallon tank. corner filter, and a hanging filter to go along with the wet dry. <These sumps are meant to run at a constant level to be determined by the pump and water level desired. This system may simply require less water.  Hope this helps, Craig>

Remove the Wet/Dry?   3/11/03 WWM, Thanks for the quick response on the last question I have! The Conscientious Marine Aquarist should be here tomorrow, really looking forward to  reading it.<It's a wonderful read!> My question today is should I remove wet/dry now?<Yes/No> From your recommendations I ordered a skimmer, a Euro Reef ES5-2. In my current wet/dry I don't think there is going to be enough room for it. I'm trying to decide if I should remove the wet/dry and replace it with a 10/20 gallon tank for a sump. Not sure if the LR and Skimmer could support the bioload at this point. What would you think?<IMO, you should setup the sump and everything else then remove the wet/dry filter.> The 75 gallon system has been running for 1 and a half months now. I have 45 lbs of Marshall Island LR, 1 inch of LS, 3 green Chromis, and one False Clown. I plan to add a 10 gallon refugium w/ more LR, LS, and Macroalgae in the next month or so, before anymore fish get added.<I think you should add the refugium BEFORE you get rid of the w/d.  This way there is little/no spike in ammonia, nitrate, nitrites etc.> Thanks for your help<No problem!  Hope this helps!  Phil>

Removing Wet-Dry and adding Live Rock - 3/5/03 Hi - <Howdy, Paul here> I have quick question about the best way to move from a wet/dry filtration system to using only live rock for my biological filtration. <So many ways so little time> My current set up is a 75 gallon salt water tank (not drilled) so I am running an Eheim 2229 wet/dry,<Actually I like these> Remora Pro Skimmer,<good> Magnum canister (I know this is junk, but it is mainly used for some carbon and to drive my 25w UV). <OK>  I also am using a Cora-Life 50/50 bulb. I have 45 lbs of Fiji live rock and about a 1/2" of sand.  I am going with a fish-only set up (primarily, but may add a some inverts).<Make an adjustment to your lighting if you list corals as a possible choice of inverts>  I have a Percula and a Three-stripe Damsel, and some hermit crabs and I am going to add a tang and angel - but still TBD. My question is, I want to add another 30-40 lbs of live rock, <Very good and I really like this idea> and remove the Eheim wet/dry. <OK>  What would be the best way for me to do this? <Add the rock first (after curing in a separate tank. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm) then remove the wet/dry> Should I add the rock, then remove the wet/dry, or remove the wet/dry (slowly), then add the live rock (fully cured)? <add rock then remove wet/dry. I am curious as to why you think you need to remove the wet/dry? You could still add live rock and keep the wet/dry. Especially being that this is a fish only setup.> Thanks for the help. <No problem. Paulo> Jason

Removing the dry from wet/dry Hi, <Hi Brian, Don with you tonight> My 180 litre reef tank has run reasonably successfully for about 18 months. I say reasonably well because although nothing has died (apart from a wrasse which jumped too high!) nothing much looks 'vibrant'.  One leather coral grows well, and star polyps spread slowly. Another leather coral, and two colt corals look good when they open, but they don't do so very often. A single hard coral (cup) looks good, and is always open. water quality seems fine, all 'baddies' at zero except nitrate which was at 12.5 prior to the last water change. I change about 10% a week, using Kent salts and Ro water. Calcium levels are a problem so I use an additive where necessary (powdered aragonite?). There are two small clowns, a blenny and a cherub angel. Various shrimps, crabs, snails etc. <All sounds good, eliminating the nitrate will help> A new LFS has opened and already has an enthusiastic following of experienced reefkeepers. Their show tank is exactly the same model as mine (Rio 180) and looks great. Like mine it has a hefty amount of living rock, and T5 lighting (3 aqua blue and one actinic) with a lighting period of nine hours a day. (Mine was 12, but I've cut it down). Anyway, I finally get round to the question. My tanks has, on the advice of another shop, had on it all the filtration from an old freshwater set-up of mine. That is the original Juwel internal filter system, and Eheim professional wet and dry, and a Fluval 304. The last two have the filter pads and media which came supplied. I add a poly filter from time to time. The new shop has suggested that with my new skimmer (Biostar Flotor, bought to replace a Bak Pak 2 which was too noisy for the living room) I could, over the next couple of weeks, gradually remove the media from the other filters, leaving the canisters as extra water volume and flow. Their tank looks stunning and other customers said their tanks have improved a lot since following the advice, but I'm a bit nervous of this move, especially at nitrites are at zero and have been since the tank cycled.. What do you think, and would a bit more living rock (currently 20Kg) help. <Sounds like you found a good one. Agreed, go slow when removing the media, test the water parameters as you go, and all should go well. More live rock would be most beneficial> Thanks for finding time for these questions. I find your FAQs etc on the web invaluable. <My pleasure and spread the news for us, eh? Thanks> Brian

Removing the dry from wet/dry Thanks for that quick reply ... very helpful. Once the new skimmer starts skimming rather than just bubbling I'll gradually remove the media. <Sounds like a good plan Brian, go slow, be patient and all will be fine. Don> Brian

Rock Under Water! Hello to the crew <Scott F. your crew member tonight!> Have been reading on your site for about 5 weeks now. Lots of great info. My question is about removing bio/balls from a W/D filter, when replacing with LR. Does the rock need to be submerged or does the trickle of water keep it functioning in the way we want. <Either technique works well, IMO. I prefer to keep the live rock submerged myself, but it's perfectly acceptable to have the water trickle over it. If submerged, you can actually get some additional biodiversity and a potential for coralline algae growth. Plus, if you light the sump, you can use the rock "rubble" to "mount" or attach coral frags to trade with your friends...! > Thanks for the great site with great people to pass on the WORDS we need. (Wisdom On Real Dilemmas/Situations )  Ron <Well, Ron, I hope that this was UFY (useful for you)...TTFN (Ta Ta For Now!) Regards, Scott F, who better stop with this acronym stuff before it's TL ( too late)...>

Re: 180 gal tank wet dry question plus ozone? hi guys killer site... just got a 180 gal tank with 2 overflows a custom aquatic wet dry a ts-8 Euro reef skimmer and 1/8 horse sequence pump. 1st question its a FO might convert to a reef later. is live rock in the sump better than bio balls and if I use live rock in the sump does it need lighting above the filter? <I would go for the live rock rather than the bio balls, and no, it doesn't need to be lighted.> does it need the same trickle action the bio balls need? or should it be under the water? <Better for it to be submerged.> if I use live rock instead of bio balls will it cut down on algae in the aquarium? <Not necessarily. There are other factors that will influence this more that the choice of filter media.> or is there something else you would put in the sump? <Live rock is fine.> 2nd question want to get ozone looking at the aqua zone plus 200 mg-hr ozonizer with controller and ORP probe also has air dryer...is there a better one you would recommend? <Perhaps the next model up... once you add the sump, your system will be larger than 180 gallons.> I would like an ozonizer that's complete do you know if the aqua zone plus is complete? <Need to check with the retailer where you intend to purchase it.> thank you for your help...Scott... <Cheers, J -- >

Wet/Dry And Confused! Hi, <Hi, Scott F with you today!> I got this filter w/ my 60 gal tank. I have tried to figure it out, but am lost. I was wondering if someone could help me id what kind of filter this is? I can't find anything like it on the web, so far. Is this a good one? I was thinking of investing in one, but someone told me this is potentially worth a lot, so before I get rid of it, I thought I better figure out what it is. Thank you so much for your help! Oh... maybe I can't paste pictures here?.... <The picture did not make it..> It is a 3 part plexi contraption. The bottom has 2 compartments, 2 squares side by side. Another square fits on top, it has a lid w/ blt-in hose connector, There are bio-wheel filtration pieces. Another rectangular box has a lip for hanging and has a hard tube surrounded by a cylindrical sponge and netting. The tube goes through the top which has a screw type connection. It is all fairly large, the square compartments are probably about 12in sq. Hope this is understandable! <Well, I cannot be 100% certain without a photo, but it sounds like a classic "wet-dry" filter with a hang-on-the-back overflow unit. Do check out the filtration FAQs on the WetWebMedia.com site, and I'll bet you'll see/read about units exactly like yours. These are more-or-less the "standard" retrofit filtration found in many marine aquariums today. Most people are finding that removing the "biological" media, such as DLS, bioballs, etc, and using the sump as a place to keep the skimmer, etc. makes for a simple, effective setup. The "U-Tube" overflows are somewhat unreliable, and you may want to try a different configuration. Do read much more on these setups. All in all, it sounds like you have a workable filter unit that, with a little tweaking, should do the job. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Tiny Bubbles...Big Headaches! Hello, <Scott F here tonight!> I am in the process of setting up a 155 gallon bow tank.  My filtration system is a Aqua Clear Model 200 with prefilter wet dry box. My problem is that when the water drops down over the bio balls it's creating a large amount of fine bubbles. The white sponge that is supposed to catch the bubbles does not seem to be working. Then my pumps pull these bubbles back into the tank, causing an unclear tank.  Do you have any suggestions?   Thank-you Shawn       <I'd try to create a little "baffle", by arranging some acrylic pieces (squares the width of the sump) inside the sump compartment after the Bioball area. Hopefully, by the time the water passes over these "baffles", the majority of the bubbles will be eliminated. Give it a try! It's worked for me! Good luck!>

Re: Wet/Dry Thanks David, One more question.  For a fish only tank, any advantage to using an Eheim wet/dry, to a conventional one with bio balls? <Egads! I'm glad you asked! We at WetWebMedia think that Eheim is a fabulous company with many great products especially their aquarium pumps and canister filters. However, the majority also think that Eheim wet/dries are not a good product. They just aren't large enough to do an acceptable job processing nutrients. Look at a picture of the Eheim product and then compare it to a picture of a traditional wet/dry. See what I mean? I wouldn't use this product at all. A wet/dry is nothing more than a tub or glass/acrylic box plumbed with bulkheads, filled with bio-balls, and a tray that holds carbon/filter pad. Get a drill and an acrylic drill bit from Home Depot, a bulkhead or two from fostersandsmith.com or wherever, and a large, large, Rubbermaid tub from Wal-Mart and build this thing. Use a wet/dry picture as your guide and look for plans on the internet. It really is easy! If you're really worried about this project (I know everyone doesn't like DIY) buy a traditional wet/dry. Don't worry about name brands. Just look for the largest wet/dry your tank stand will hold. Trust me on this one...You'll eventually want the added filtration of a large container and the additional room provided in the sump area. It will also help insure your sump against the possibility of overflow. Go super size. Know what I mean?> Mitch <David Dowless>

Kent Bio Rocker I am going to set up a 90 gallon tank.  I will have live rock, as I have learned the benefits of it. <You also need a skimmer> I will also have a lot of large fish <I hope that you will consider changing this mode of thinking to "a reasonable amount of medium-sized fish." As a practicing aquarist myself I realize that sometimes my eyes/tastes is larger than my tank! Know what I mean?> tangs, angels, triggers. <In a 90 gallon, I would narrow this list down. Would you consider removing some of the s's from your list? > What type of filtration to you recommend, to compliment a protein skimmer and live rock? <If you stock reasonably, this will be enough. If fish only, a wet/dry will work> What do you think of the bio/rocker? <Any old wet/dry will do. Personally, I would never spend money for a factory made unit. You can build one yourself for almost nothing using a Rubbermaid tub or glass aquarium (you can easily add baffles with glass but drilling is difficult), bulkheads, some eggcrate, and a few bio-balls. Depending on the size and materials, a wet/dry can be built for less than $60. Plans abound on the internet. IMO, on this particular item, I would DIY. If you want something that "looks" really good, buy something really expensive. The processing capacity of a DIY wet/dry is no different than the capacity of a factory made unit. If you want to spend the money, to my knowledge, a Biorocker is as good as any other> Thanks for your time, Mitch <My pleasure to serve! David Dowless>

- Are Wet/Dry Filters Viable? - Hi <Hi T.J., JasonC here...> My name is T.J., I found your web page looking for information on wet/dry filters. I was thinking of starting a SW aquarium in a 38gal. I have brought a Aquaclear 75 off of eBay. <You do know then that this filter is not a wet/dry.> I thought w/d was a good filter for SW, but I got the impression from your FAQ's that they aren't? I was wondering what you think? <Well... I should qualify that. If you read those FAQ's you will see that wet/dry filters are often referred to as Nitrate Factories as this is due to their excellent efficiency at nitrogen reduction. In reef-type aquaria, nitrates at even medium levels can be fatal to some organisms. In fish-only aquaria, this matters less as the fish can deal with higher levels of nitrate. What this means to you depends on what it is you want to stock your tank with and how diligent you will be with water changes. Personally, I've run wet/dry filters in the past and had no problems at all. You have many choices, I'd suggest more research and planning.> Thank You, T.J. Fitzgerald <Cheers, J -- >

Playing In The Tidepool! Howdy gang! <Hey there! Scott F. with you today> Discovered WWM.COM a few days after setting up a 70 gal marine tank,  (what luck!),  I got a Marineland Tidepool 1, receiving a Mag-drive 950, as soon as it shows up, to replace the Rio 2100, for water return thru 1/2 " ID check valve & ball valve. Water is input to the Tidepool 1 bio-wheel thru the SOS overflow. Question, what media do y'all recommend for the three media trays? I am now using the following; first (top) tray has Matrix media (SeaChem) with blue bonded filter pad on top, 2nd tray (middle) has a product called "aqua chargers" made of a "bio-flex" polymer that's self cleaning"?", pre-colonized with a high density nitrifying bacteria blend with a blue bonded pad on top, & the last (bottom) tray has blue pad with a layer of activated carbon topped of with another blue bonded pad. <Ya know what, Scott? I'd keep things really, really simple, and not even use the BioWheel assembly. Basically, let the tidepool become your water processing center for your system. Live rock and sand in your tank will become your filter. The sump will handle the water inflow, and contain your heater, protein skimmer and a bag or two of activated carbon. That's it...easy! The beauty of the Tidepool, or any sump, for that matter, is the flexibility that it offers the aquarist. As far as the media trays...I'd only use one of them-and use the blue bonded pads for removal of gross particulate matter...and change them a few times a week so they don't become nutrient traps. I am not a big fan of plastic filter media in sump systems...keep it simple and natural...IMO> The tank was set up on 12-14 & has started to cycle with two damsels. After spending a few days studying this site, I ordered a Remora Pro skimmer to help with the live rock I am going to/should have already, put in the tank. The main concern is the aqua charger (bio-ball like) media, what is the opinion of the staff on what to replace this type of media with? <As above. The bacteria contained on these media are/will be/have been colonizing your system, so I don't see a huge advantage in using these types of "precolonized" media. BTW, the Aqua C Remora is one of the best HOT skimmers on the market, and was a nice choice.  However, if possible, you may want to see if you could exchange it for an Aqua C Urchin Pro, which is an "in-sump" model, you could really take advantage of the sump, IMO> This web site is definitely worth its weight in live rock (gold) when it comes to information! Thanks ever so much! Scott <Good luck with your new set up! Keep studying and learning-sounds like a neat system you have planned! You'll be fine! Feel free to write us any time! Regards, Scott F>

Re: wet/dry vs. live rock Hello, I am in the process of creating a 300 gallon tank which will be a reef tank having a small number of corals, inverts, etc.  The 300 gallon part is what makes live rock impractical for me as I would have to sell both of my kidneys to afford it. <Hey, what about indentured servitude? You might consider working for the LFS for a while to support your habit... how many of us have ended up decades later... still addicted> I am on a college student budget.  My LFS recommends a wet/dry system with no live rock, which contradicts most all of your comments regarding reef filtration. <"Many roads"> I also think live rock would be much more aesthetically pleasing.  Do I have any cost effective alternatives such as live rock propagation? <Could do> Can I use a wet/dry in conjunction with some live rock? <Yes> Can I make my own live sand? <Definitely> Thank You, Josh <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Eheim WD 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>

Wet-dry on Reef? Dear WWM Crew and especially Anthony, Thanks for taking the time to answer the last convoluted question. <our great pleasure, my friend> I gave up on the idea of a trickle filter yesterday when I spoke to one of the pioneers of live rock filtration in the UK at Watford Aquarium. <excellent... live rock, a good skimmer... the foundations of a sound and simple reef aquarium. Little else needed: good water flow, carbon, water changes... the basics> I am going for a 4'x 2' x 2'system with O.5 Kg of live rock per gallon (Caribbean, individually imported for this large outlet, not bought from wholesalers, and directly seeded by them on their premises), a 24'' x 15''x 15'' sump with aragonite layers, a AP500 skimmer, a Eheim 1260 pump, Tunze Autotopup and Arcadia Series 3 2x 250 TC. I think it looks pretty good, what do you think? <agreed... sounds like a fine set up> By the way I can't believe that at least here in the UK there are still supposedly reputable shops (looking at their fish stocks and variety/type of inverts) that still try to flog trickle filters as reef equipment. <no worries... being an educated consumer as you/we are is good enough <G>> Take this retailer for instance, he sells this trickle obsolete stuff for invert tanks but I have seen his own personal tank full of the most beautiful corals hard and soft, and not a trickle in sight. Unethical or what? <Wow! The proof sure is in the pudding there! Good observation about this chaps sensibilities> A million thanks, Massimo <with kind regards, Anthony>

Re: converting wet/dry to a refugium/mud filter Hi all!      I was finally able to pick up a 75g tank, complete with corner overflow and a 20g wet/dry filter system. Any advice on converting it over to a refugium/mud filter? Or would I just be better off removing the bioballs and replacing them with LR? <I would set this system up as either from the get-go... that is, never place the bioballs... and instead (your choice) go with the refugium with either/ and/or both the mud and LR. Bob Fenner who would use both.> (currently the tank is high and dry). Thanks again for all your advice, PF

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>

More Filtration??? with the use of a wet/dry filter, does one still need to use a canister or other type filter too? Thanks <Good question...It really depends upon the bioload of your tank, your feeding habits, and whether or not you have pre-filtration in your wet/dry filter. A protein skimmer, which can be considered a "filter" of sorts, is a mandatory component of any marine system, IMO. Supplemental mechanical filtration can certainly help remove gross particulate matter from the water. You can use a canister filter as a means to provide additional chemical filtration, such as Poly Filter, Chemipure, Activated Carbon, etc. The important consideration with any supplemental filtration is that you clean it and replace the media regularly, otherwise, you run the risk of organic buildup, and can thus degrade water quality! On the whole, I'd say that most well-run REEF systems could do without supplemental filtration, and that most FOWLR systems could benefit from the extra filtration, if the bioload dictates. In many sump-based systems, no mechanical filtration of any kind is used, and these tanks are crystal clear, with high water quality. In these systems, the sump essentially acts as a settling basis for detritus, and  great attention is paid to regular maintenance procedures. Hope that this clarifies (couldn't resist that one!) the issue for you. Regards, Scott F.>

Amiracle Wet dry/Aqua Clear Wet/Dry: To buy or not to buy! Hello, <Hi!> Thanks for the quick response. I have a couple more questions: How are the AMiracle maxi-reef wet-dry filters, and also the Aqua Clear Aquatics Pro with the protein skimmers included? <I'm sorry to say, but I have no personal experience with either of these items. Check our message boards at WetWebMedia.com. IMO a wet/dry is a wet/dry. If the water holding capacity is about 30% the size of your tank, any wet/dry will be sufficient. It's the return pump that you need to pick carefully. Protein skimmers? Spend the bucks and buy a good one!> Thanks again, Robert Hager
<You're welcome! David Dowless.>

Re: Wet/Dry Setup Dear Sir, Thanks for the response. I have attached a picture for you to look at. I should have done that the first time. Sorry. Mike B <No worries, Mike. I would probably try to tuck the heater into the first compartment, where the skimmer and drain lines come into, and place any chemical media beside the sponge filter under the W/D section. -Steven Pro>

Wet/Dry Gentleman, Thanks for all your help in the past! Just built a sump/wet-dry for my fish only system. I have a 75 gallon (Corner Over-flow) fish only system. Equipment: LifeGuard Quite One 700 gal/hr external main pump, a Supreme MagDrive 9.5B in sump pump powering an ETSS Revolution 500 protein skimmer, a Coralife turbo twist 3X UV, 2 Ebo-Jager 125 watt heaters and 2 power sweep 228 power heads for in tank circulation. My previous sump was only 7 gallons and I couldn't stop micro bubbles from entering my tank, so I built a new one, about 20 gallons (24x11x18) I have the skimmer dumping into the bio chamber followed by an over-under-over baffle system trying to eliminate micro bubbles. Seems to be doing a good job, much better than the smaller sump, however I did not permanently glue the baffles to the sides and bottom of the sump. Wanted to ensure my design worked first. I used small blocks of 1 inch by 1 inch plexi as guides so I could slide the baffles in and out as I please, making adjustment before I go permanent so I wouldn't have to start from scratch. However, as I had thought, the flow is still making it around the baffles on either side and I believe some bubbles are making it back into the main tank this way. Hoping that if I do glue them permanent this should eliminate my micro bubble problem. I just wanted to get your opinion on my baffle dimensions. Both "over" baffles are 5 inches in height from the bottom of the sump and the "under" baffle is 3 inches from the bottom of the sump. There are 2 inches between each baffle. This leaves 2 inches for the water to flow down to get under the "under" baffle with 3 inches of clearance from the bottom. The bottom of my bio tower is at 6 inches from the bottom of the sump. I don't mind making the over baffles higher and raising the overall height of my water lever and cover a few bio balls. In addition I have my main pump opened full throttle, but I did put an elbow fitting so as to draw water from the bottom of the sump. This has without question inhibited the flow rate of the pump back into the main tank. Does this arrangement sound correct. Or should the first "over baffle be higher than the second. I am considering making it 7 inches instead of 5, or should both be the same height? If so, should they both be at 7 inches or maybe higher? Any suggestions?? Thanks John, Cape Cod <Hi John, I do have some suggestions. The idea is to slow the flow down enough in your sump and provide *downward* movement of your water at a slow speed, so the bubbles are allowed to rise to the surface as the water moves down, then reverse the direction and make the water rise, leaving more bubbles while it drops again. Some sumps use sponges to help eliminate bubbles as well. The space in between the baffles should be the same distance as the space at the top and bottom of the baffles making the water flow slow and steady. Making it only 2" speeds the water allowing the bubbles to be swept in the current instead of floating to the surface of the water. It isn't so much the water flowing around the outside of the baffles, it's that the gaps are too tight speeding the flow of the water. Open the space between the baffles and it will remove more bubbles. You don't need the Ell on the pump, it just impedes your pump. You don't need to raise the water level unless you want. You have to weigh this against sump capacity if the power goes out..... The deeper the sump and wider the spaces the water flows through as it rises and falls through the baffles the more *time* gasses will have to rise to the surface, and disappear. Hope this helps, Craig>

Converting an Oceanic 75 Trickle Filter to a reef-type sump Mr. Fenner, Can you please advise me on any method to convert my existing Trickle filter to a Mini-reef safe sump. <I'll try> I understand a trickle filter, while good for a fish-only set-up, might produce excessive nitrates for a reef tank. <There are countervailing strategies for preventing, reducing this accumulation... your present filter could be converted easily... by the removal of the wet-dry media, replacement with live rock, possibly macro-algae, and/or vascular plants, perhaps a DSB or other media for encouraging anaerobe denitrification...> I am having a tough time trying to reduce my nitrate problem (above 80ppm!). I know my trickle filter is not the only problem, but an article I'd seen somewhere on-line had a DIY project, converting an Oceanic 75 Trickle filter (just like mine) to a reef-type sump. After reading your responses and articles on WWM, I know your the best person to ask. Thank you for your time. Lou Agostino <Likely you will need to do both... figure how to not add more NO3 and encourage its removal... this will probably involve adding another sump/refugium, in addition to the above mentioned conversion of your WD filter... the latter may well not have enough space... Please re-read through the Nitrate, Wet-Dry, and Algal Filtration sections on WWM... I would start with the Indices or use the Google Search feature on them or the Homepage. Bob Fenner>

Re: Converting an Oceanic 75 Trickle Filter to a reef-type sump Mini-Reef Conversion (Pt. II) Thank you for a quick response your valuable info. I will take your references and research my problem a little better. I'm thinking my set-up requires a total re-engineering. <Scott F. filling in for Bob today> Here's my set-up specs: 75 gal. Oceanic Show tank Oceanic 75 Trickle Filter Berlin Turbo hang-on skimmer 1-802 powerhead 1-400 series PowerSweep powerhead (which stopped its sweeping motion in about a month even after cleaning) 1-Rio 600 pump <Powerheads seem to be a necessary and unreliable evil! They transfer heat to the water, and are prone to mechanical failure. Perhaps you should investigate more reliable (and unfortunately, expensive) methods, such as utilizing external top-mounted pumps like Tunze Turbelles, or investigate creating a closed loop system. Check out this link: http://WetWebMedia.com/circmarart.htm for lots more information on circulation in reef systems.> Lighting: 1- 96w 10,000k power compact 1- 96w 5,500k actinic power compact 2- 65w SmartLite (50% actinic/50% 10,000k) <Suitability depends on the type of corals you plan to keep. Research their light requirements and stock accordingly, or modify your lighting as needed> approx. 50lbs live rock approx. 50lbs home made Aragocrete rock (copied from G.A.R.F.'s web site) +5" of crushed coral over a Plenum (w/1" gap between the glass & the crushed coral) <FYI: Plenum proponents, such as Bob Goeman's and Sam Gamble, seem to recommend a layer of sand that is four inches above the plenum, assuming that you are using crushed coral or other material with a grain size of 2-4mm. Apparently, the thought is that this combination of depth and grain size provides the ideal gradient. Do read more on this method, though.> Livestock: I donated most of my stock to my cousins Fish-only set-up. Here's what remains: 1-Yellow tail damsel 1-Three striped damsel 1-purple ribbon coral ~10 Astrea snail ~10 left-handed hermit crabs 5-Scarlet reef hermit crabs 1-Brittle starfish I plan to remove all the inhabitants, temporarily, to my cousins tank. Remove about half of the man-made Aragocrete rock (w/the exception of some really nice caves I made) Add approx. 100 lbs of uncured Live rock (w/all the nasty critters removed). <if it were me, I'd try to cure the rock in a container other than the aquarium (like a plastic garbage pan, etc) facilitating easy removal of the waste products produced during curing..> Convert the trickle filter, among other things after I finish reading! <Good! keep reading-you're on he right track!> I hope I can count on you for some more advice. It means a lot to me. Thanks, Lou Agostino <Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to contact Bob or any of the crew in the future with your questions!>

Wet Dry filter design, service in ornamental aquatics, old friends Hi Bob, I used to work for you a few years back, as did countless thousands, at one time or another.  <Good to hear from you Ron> I worked at Wet Pets 1 and Wet Pets 2 when it was going. My company is called Aquatic Environments,  <Ahh, a good name... the original intended for Wet Pets...> I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota now and have a few questions if you have a minute. ( By the way- I promote your books 100%) I have designed and build 5 of my own style wet dry filters. I know you tend to like the live rock methods but I can't get the people here to buy them. <Interesting> SO - you did a lot of testing back in the day - with anaerobic chambers on wet dry filters, can you share with me how to make them really work. I know you did it,  <My designs were really only those of George Smit... the originator of Miniriffes... as bought over and re-made by the Eyas' (Andy and family) (Intl. Seaboard) in the mid-eighties... largish sumps with about 3/4 of the space dedicated to rubble (a few inches) over about #5 (1/16" nominal) coral sand (of a few inches in turn)... their real "trick" is not having much livestock, feeding, flow (3, 4 turns per hour) through them> and my very own is working somewhat. Please help me if you possibly can. I have a service group and a custom acrylic manufacture shop. <Congratulations!> I am trying to scratch out a living as you used to do. I am very proud to have been able to work for you back before your celeb status. <Ha! Am glad we have found each other... that you have pursued your dream, involvement in our interests.> Thanks Bob !!!! Ron Smith <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Wet Dry filter design, service in ornamental aquatics, old friends That was the fastest reply I have ever received !!! Thanks, I take it that I should forego the experimenting stages and try to keep the specimens in my charge healthy by the most proven and ( by your guidance) time tested manner. <Mmm, not so fast... Do keep an open mind (always)... there may well be a "better mouse/nitrogenous waste trap"> WATER CHANGES. Thanks again Bob, great to chat again. Yes the Twin Cities are keeping the industry alive and well. There is about 5 of us that are "real" players, the rest are out on the horizon. <And hopefully leading, inspiring those others to better themselves. Hope to run into you "on the road". Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Ron

Wet/dry cycle Hi Bob <<Hi Robert!>> I just got my wet/dry filter up and running and I must say, getting the water levels right was a hoot. My question is, how long will it need to cycle to get the bacteria bed growing before I turn off my cartridge filter? Thanks Robert <<I would give it a few weeks to become "seeded" and functioning. Unless your cartridge is the wet/dry type it likely doesn't do as much as you think compare to the W/D, but do be safe! Wouldn't hurt to test water w/cartridge and after it's off in case you need to change some water. W/D will tend to produce nitrates, so watch for this. Just proceed slowly, let caution be your guide. It can't hurt to have them both running until all is set. Enjoy! Craig>>

Help! (Tossed the nitrate generating mechanical media in the wet dry...) bob, Steve, Anthony, Jason!, little error just made, I had discussed my nitrates with you guys (mainly Anthony and Steve), I have a well stocked 130g tank,160 pounds of live rockiness tang, queen angel, blue tang, red Coris wrasse, lionfish (all 4 inchers), Picasso trigger, tomato clown (2 inchers) and a snowflake eel (7 inch), I have a good skimmer, and a wet/dry, the tank is around 8 months old, all fine except for the nitrates, I mentioned that I had a large floss on top of the bio balls in the sump which I was told never to change not by you guys), Steve mentioned he didn't like having this in the main section of the wet/dry, in the first tray I have floss which I change regularly, and rotate weekly a phosphate pad and carbon, I just did a 20g water change, and removed the floss I had over the balls, now my tank is a milky cloud, an obvious bacteria bloom which I kind of was hoping wouldn't happen, you thoughts on what to expect now?, should I worry?, anything I should prepare for?, thanks guys, I appreciate it.....riot.... <This too shall clear... as a matter of fact, what is going on is a sort of "changing of the guard" and your system will be cleaner, and much less nitrate-plagued soon... I'd just do your regular maintenance and wait. Bob Fenner>

Re: help! (Wet dry to sump to refugium to?) thanks bob, if in my situation, what would you do as for filtration?, keep the main tray with floss and carbons, and leave the bio balls in the main section?, remove the bio balls and replace with something else?, I highly respect your opinions, your site is the best on the net, hands down..... <I would remove the bio-balls and any other wet-dry or mechanical media here... and convert this "box" to a sump... in the way of a refugium if you have the interest. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the associated FAQs files (there's a bunch!). Bob Fenner>

Wet Dry Nitrate Factories? Hello Bob, I need some education regarding wet dry filters being nitrate factories but first the setup... 140 gal FOWLR with wet dry filter Aquaclear skimmer ~100 LBS live rock Inhabitants are an Emperor angel, Maroon Clown, Pacific Blue Tang, Convict Tang, Sailfin Tang, Scissortail Goby, Lawnmower Blenny, 2 neon gobies, plus some number of red tip hermits and turbo snails. This tank has been running for about a year. For maintenance I do a 20 gallon water change every 2 - 3 weeks and change the filter fiber, clean the skimmer etc. while doing the water change. My nitrate levels have always remained well below 10 ppm (I use the FasTest kit which has a lowest reading of 10ppm.) <Good maintenance, live rock... careful feeding...> >From what I have read from various sources, I should be pulling out my bio balls because the huge amounts of aerobic nitrifying bacteria growing on bio balls should be cranking out nitrate like crazy given the load on this tank. I'm struggling with this concept since it has always been my belief that the number of bacteria present is dependent on how much ammonia/nitrite is being produced. <One principal factor... as is a relative availability of aerobic, hypoxic, anaerobic space... detritus, circulation, types of foods...> If this is the case how would a wet dry system produce more nitrate than other types of filtration? <"Driving" the "forward" reaction of nitrification over its reciprocal complement (denitrification)... you may well have a relatively uncommon situation of "good" mix of livestock, feeding, upkeep, live rock, substrate... If you're satisfied with the under 10 ppm. nitrate readings in such a FOWLR system (I would be), then I wouldn't change much> Is it really just a maintenance issue of detritus collecting on the bioballs over time?  <These possibly, and other major to minor inputs> If you could either explain to me or point me to any information (books, articles, etc.) explaining how a wet dry filter can produce more nitrate than other filter systems I would greatly appreciate it? <... perhaps better to encourage you to do experiments... increasing the feeding, trying more frequent water changes... The energetics of the reaction series that yield more/less nitrate accumulation are straightforward... if there is more source material (ammonia, nitrite), less aerobic activity and/or more anaerobic digestion... the equation/balance of accumulated metabolites will/does shift from higher/lower. Do you want specific reference as in articles on biological filtration? What books, magazines do you have access to? I will take a look at what matches in our references. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, Richard

Is a Wet/Dry Needed? I am about to buy a wet/dry filter with a protein skimmer included. My question is: are these types of filters worth it or should I just buy a lot of live rock instead? <that depends on your bio-load/application my friend. If you are going to have a lot of fishes, messy fishes or some other heavy bio-load then a W/D may be a necessary evil. If you are going to have small to medium sized community fishes and will be good about water quality (buy a good skimmer like an Aqua C, do regular water changes, change carbon frequently, etc) then the W/D filter will be a disadvantage by generating excess nitrates. Use live rock instead at almost 2 lbs per gallon > Thanks again  <best regards, Anthony>

Trickle filters I have a trickle filter set-up on my 72 gallon tank. My nitrates are always high and I have read several articles about how these filters are notorious for this. What do I do now that I have invested in this expensive set-up? <If you have enough liverock (approximately 70 pounds) and you have a medium fish load (not groupers, lionfish, eels or other big messy eaters) you can slowly remove the wet/dry media.> Should I add some live rock to the sump? <That would be helpful.> Thank you, Mark <There is much more written on this subject at our website www.WetWebMedia.com -Steven Pro>

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