Emperor 280 in a 29: Too much flow for little fish?
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Old 05-29-2010, 09:23 PM   #1
Stemwinder
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Emperor 280 in a 29: Too much flow for little fish?


Hello everyone. I'm brand new to the hobby and the forum (although I've been lurking for a while).

I'm excited about getting my first planted tank (indeed, my first tank at all) up and running. I've got a 29 gallon tank. It's 30" by 12" and about 18.5" tall. After reading through all of the posts here I settled on Eco-complete for my substrate. I've decided that I can rig up my own CO2 setup. The last two things I need to get up and going is a filter and lights.

I've been looking at the Emperor 280 filter and it looks like a pretty solid deal for the cost. I can find it on Amazon with free shipping for $40.99 (instead of the $63 at the lfs). My only concern is that it doesn't allow you to control the flow rate and I'm afraid it might be too fast for the fish I plan to get started with (tetras, barbs, gouramis, rummynose, shrimp, etc). I see that lots of people love the canister filters, but it looks like the price jump is significant. Is it really worth the extra money? <The easy answer, obviously, is yes!!! But wait...

The message boards, here and elsewhere, are a great help. But sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of info out there. In one post you'll see someone say, "Whatever you do, don't skimp on your lights" and in another post you'll see someone else say, "Don't get a cheapo filter" and in yet another post someone will say, "CO2 is the most important thing in an aquarium. Ideally I could afford the best of everything. In reality, I can't afford ANY of it (which obviously hasn't stopped me from getting started).

Thus, I'm looking for the best filter system I can find for the $40-$75 range.

I'm also open to suggestions for a "best-you-can-get-for-$100-$125" lighting system. I found a listing for a 36" 2X96 watt CF setup on Craigslist for $40... but my aquarium is only 30" long and the listing said that the bulbs were 3 years old. By the time I get new bulbs and and the equipment to hang the lights from the ceiling, I think I might be able to find a better deal for my needs. The guy at the lfs showed me a Aqualight High Output T5 Dual Lamp Light Fixture that would fit my aquarium for $100. He said that watts don't matter any more... something about lumens make the difference. I had trouble following what he was saying and the store was PACKED so I didn't want to ask the poor kid to explain it in dummy terms for me.

I expect someone to tell me that my lights/filter/CO2 will depend on what type of plants/fish I plan to keep. I think of it the other way, the fish/plants that I eventually get will depend on what equipment I've been able to afford. I would love to be able to grow the neat looking grass you see in Amano's aquariums, or babytears, or red plants... but I realize that those might require more light/CO2 than I can afford.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 05-29-2010, 10:02 PM   #2
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You should be ok with that. It will give you about 9 times your tank volume of flow, which is right in the sweet spot ( 5-10 X tank volume/hr). Depending on the tank dimensions, I've sometimes found that going more than 10x can be a little much, but unless you have very delicate plants, or some fish that just has to have slow current you'll be ok. Better to err a little on the high side when it comes to water flow.
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Old 05-29-2010, 10:09 PM   #3
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Also, that 2x39 watt t5HO the fish store guy showed you is very bright, especially if it has a nice polished aluminum reflector. I run the same thing on my 65 that's 6 inches taller and I don't have trouble growing dwarf hair grass. You can always upgrade to more lighting later if you want, but I'd suggest you get everything else (CO2, filtration, ferts, etc..) all up and running first. If you stick 200 watts of light on your 29 gallon tank without all of that, you're going to be building a very impressive algae factory.
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Old 05-29-2010, 10:47 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info, Shark.

As a follow-up question, does it matter where I place the Emperor filter (broad side or narrow side)? In most of the pictures I see, it looks like HOB filters are usually placed on the broad side and tubes for canisters are typically on the narrow side. Will the fish care?
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Old 05-30-2010, 12:53 AM   #5
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Imo you should go with a canister. The bio wheel is a good filter but as most hob's go they tend to cause a lot of off gassing.
You will probably wind up modding the bio wheel then eventually scraping it all together, I see it happening all the time. Save yourself the hassle and get a can now.
If you are concerned about cost the sun sun is very cheap and people seem to love them or you could go with a hot mag 250.
Both would fall right into your price range.
The fishneedit t5 fixtures are on the cheap tip and getting good reviews also. Look into them.
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:17 AM   #6
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I can't seem to find a website... or a place that sells the Sun Sun. And I read in another thread on here that it doesn't come with directions. That bothers me. I'm very well-educated but I'm a moron when it comes to anything mechanical. Is the SSUUNN a good pick for a beginner?

Any help? Thx.
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:28 AM   #7
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Get a Sun Sun canister. They sell them on Ebay for around $45. My next filter will be a Sun Sun. You can read about Over Stocked and other PT members Sun Sun experiences here.
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
As a follow-up question, does it matter where I place the Emperor filter (broad side or narrow side)? In most of the pictures I see, it looks like HOB filters are usually placed on the broad side and tubes for canisters are typically on the narrow side. Will the fish care?
I've never thought about it. I would assume you would put the broad side toward the primary viewing location, and so the logical place to hang a filter would be the opposite broad side. Also, as all fluids have viscosity, the water will resist flow, and so if you hang it on the narrow side, I think you'll have a dead spot (little or no current) on the far side of the tank.

I agree with Mott though. I have used magnum 250s, and they're nice, but if you want to plan ahead, an under the tank style canister, like a sun sun, eheim, fluval, cascade or whatever suits your taste will be nice to have. You can use a homemade co2 reactor with them which is the best way to dissolve co2 into your water, you can somewhat customise by using whatever media you choose in them, and their added volume is extra water to your little ecosystem.

Last edited by Sharkfood; 05-30-2010 at 08:19 AM.. Reason: quote foul up
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:22 AM   #9
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As someone who was in your spot, with the exact same tank, go with the SunSun canister filter and cheaper T5NO lighting.
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Old 05-30-2010, 01:52 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info, everyone. I finally found the SunSun on no ebay links allowed When I searched for "SunSun" nothing came up... so finally I searched for "AQUARIUM CANISTER FILTER" and found a couple of models. Are there only two models, one w/ the UV and one without? ($77 with the UV light opposed to $40 without). Is the UV light worth the extra money? I've done a lot of backpacking and I know that there are UV light water purifiers, but I've never owned one. Unless it's essential, I think I'll just get the $40 one. On the other hand, I'm a total noob so there's probably a greater likelihood that I will need the UV light (ich, algae blooms, etc).

thx.

Update: I decided to get the one without the UV light. That's something I can always add to the tank later, right?
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Old 05-30-2010, 03:55 PM   #11
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Yes, you will be fine without the UV sterilizer. Let us know how you like your new SunSun!
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Old 05-30-2010, 04:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuffgong View Post
Yes, you will be fine without the UV sterilizer. Let us know how you like your new SunSun!

Excellent. Thank you. I'm really excited. I need to poke around this site and figure out how to use all of the great functions. I'll go ahead and get a journal going... or a photo album... or something!



I just cut out a big piece of cardboard the size of my tank so that I can play around with rocks to practice my aquascaping. My wife thinks that I've lost my mind. My attitude is that if I'm going to spend a bunch of money on a planted aquarium I might as well go pro right from the get-go. Of course, her attitude is that I shouldn't be spending a bunch of money on an aquarium.
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Old 05-30-2010, 05:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stemwinder View Post
Excellent. Thank you. I'm really excited. I need to poke around this site and figure out how to use all of the great functions. I'll go ahead and get a journal going... or a photo album... or something!



I just cut out a big piece of cardboard the size of my tank so that I can play around with rocks to practice my aquascaping. My wife thinks that I've lost my mind. My attitude is that if I'm going to spend a bunch of money on a planted aquarium I might as well go pro right from the get-go. Of course, her attitude is that I shouldn't be spending a bunch of money on an aquarium.
You should let her see my journal here and she will think you aren't crazy at all.
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:55 PM   #14
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My wife thought I was crazy at first, but now that my tanks are up and running and are starting to grow out she's come around majorly. Most women like pretty things, so if you make your tank look good I'm sure she will come around.
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Old 05-30-2010, 07:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stemwinder View Post
Thanks for the info, everyone. I finally found the SunSun on no ebay links allowed When I searched for "SunSun" nothing came up... so finally I searched for "AQUARIUM CANISTER FILTER" and found a couple of models. Are there only two models, one w/ the UV and one without? ($77 with the UV light opposed to $40 without). Is the UV light worth the extra money? I've done a lot of backpacking and I know that there are UV light water purifiers, but I've never owned one. Unless it's essential, I think I'll just get the $40 one. On the other hand, I'm a total noob so there's probably a greater likelihood that I will need the UV light (ich, algae blooms, etc).

thx.

Update: I decided to get the one without the UV light. That's something I can always add to the tank later, right?
Yes, you can add a UV later on. I run one on my tank 24/7 and never had any green water or disease get out of control. One of my rams got ich a few months back and to my surprise it stayed controlled and did not spread! I turned the heat up a bit and the ich was gone in a few day's. I attribute this to the UV.
You are better off getting one down the line. I tend to stay away from filters that have all the bells and whistles, just more parts to go bad IMO.
Most likely you will save money in the long run if you buy smart from the start.
I wasted a LOT of cash on buying the wrong components, because I wanted to save money in the beginning I bought all cheap filters,lights,heaters,co2 etc..
Cheap isn't always bad but in my case it was. Back in early 2000's these cheaper "good" product's weren't available like they are these day's.
And yeah if your wife thinks your nut's you should tell her to read Craig's journals LOL
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