Rundown On Wet/Dry Filters? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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Rundown On Wet/Dry Filters?

I got this wet/dry filter in a used aquarium deal that was far, far too good to pass up. I would never have bought one of these filters of my own volition but now that I have it there is a confounding amount of contradictory information out there.

-Oh, those? Those are nitrate factories.
-No, only if you don't service them properly

-There's really no reason to use one on a freshwater aquarium, they're used for saltwater. Build a custom sump instead.

-They're good for biofiltration but ditch those bioballs and use something else.

I'm really out to lunch with this thing and it is pretty noisy (guess I need to install a Durso standpipe in the overflow box?) but I rather like it and I've tested it both ways for overflows with no problems--I broke the siphon and let the pump run and then I cut the pump off and let the tank level fall below the overflow box while the siphon break did its thing. There's a big chunk of foam below the bio tower for mechanical filtration, a large foam prefilter in the overflow box, and a large foam filter on the sump pump itself. I guess I need to cut a floss pad for above the bio tower because there isn't one there now.

There's a lot of information out there about wet/dry sumps but most of it is for saltwater tanks and the limited info about using it for freshwater tanks is deeply conflicted. Can anybody give me the 411 on using these for planted tanks? As a general category of filtration does using these things for freshwater make sense?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 11:27 AM
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Trickle filters or wet/dry have their place today. I would use one only on specific types of systems. In SW I'd use it on a fish only system where I could not use much live rock in the tank. In FW I'd use one on a system where I couldn't have live plants, such as a tank for large fish that dig.

Trickle filters on most other systems tend to be not needed or even counter productive. In a SW reef system the usually do turn out to be nitrate factories. This is because they are very good at the reduction of ammonia to nitrite to nitrate. Often they are too good at this, resulting in high nitrate readings. This is a big problem on a SW reef system. This is also why you see a lot of SW people remove the bio-media from a trickle filter.

On a FW planted system, the nitrates can actually be an advantage. Nitrate is a source of food for a lot of plants. However, trickle filters are also very good at gas exchange, getting C02 out and O2 into the water. This can be a problem for planted systems because you need CO2 for plant growth. You can resolve the problem by adding CO2 to the system. Typically you'd want a pressurized CO2 system, so you can keep up with the CO2 being removed by the trickle filter.

That about sums up the good and the bad about using trickle filters. As you can see, most of what you have read it true in one form or another, but you also need to consider the kind of tank your running.

The bottom line is that you can use a trickle filter on a FW planted tank, as long as you keep up with the CO2 demands of the plants. However, if I had a choice in the matter, I'd op for one or more canister filters, depending on the size of the tank. They are a lot less noisy, and a lot less prone to floods.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 12:32 PM
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Adding as much CO2 as you need with wet/dry filter might get expensive. Check if your filter doesn't have an option to use it as normal canister. If I remember correctly some Eheim wet/dry filters can run as normal ones, so maybe others can too. If you don't worry about the cost of CO2 - go for it without any changes.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 05:08 PM
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check out barr report for trickle filters. i do not know anyone who has gone back to canisters after using them. they are not essential but provide better mechanical filtration and are extremely versatile - allowing you to customise flow, bio filtration and use griggs or cerges co2 reactors for the most efficient co2 diffusion. A lot of people worry about gassing but you can just seal it up and get the same benefits of a closed system. your overflow also acts as a surface skimmer which a lot of people think isnt necessary in fw until they are forced to create surface agitation which loses even more co2 than a trickle filter. i could go on about the benefits but there is a lot out there already about wet dry sumps...

50g co2 planted tank-lighting: custom leds (cree xml-2)-filtration: 2xcanister-output: lily pipe + co2 atomiser
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-04-2017, 09:31 PM
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They are better at exchanging gas, which means that if you don't inject CO2, they will actually replenish CO2. As folks like Tom Barr have demonstrated, CO2 loss in high tech setups can be successful too, as there are ways to mitigate the loss.

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