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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a 90-gallon tank today and I'm in the process of deciding what else I need to buy. My goal is a moderately heavily planted tank with some angels, corydoras, tetras, etc. I will use CO2 and probably cheap LED spotlights. Twenty years ago I had a successful planted tank with MH lights, Eheim canister filter, CO2 injection.

I'm having a hard time settling on what to get for filtration. I was initially inclined on getting a couple of Eheims again, but I've also flirted with the idea of HOB's, sumps and other canisters. I'm sort of leaning towards getting a sump with Poret filter foam, though I would think CO2 outgassing might be a problem. I've searched through these forums, but I'm even more flummoxed than when I began. . . . I'm guessing the surfeit of choice is overwhelming me. Any preferences that might be helpful for someone in my situation?
 

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I bought a 90-gallon tank today and I'm in the process of deciding what else I need to buy. My goal is a moderately heavily planted tank with some angels, corydoras, tetras, etc. I will use CO2 and probably cheap LED spotlights. Twenty years ago I had a successful planted tank with MH lights, Eheim canister filter, CO2 injection.



I'm having a hard time settling on what to get for filtration. I was initially inclined on getting a couple of Eheims again, but I've also flirted with the idea of HOB's, sumps and other canisters. I'm sort of leaning towards getting a sump with Poret filter foam, though I would think CO2 outgassing might be a problem. I've searched through these forums, but I'm even more flummoxed than when I began. . . . I'm guessing the surfeit of choice is overwhelming me. Any preferences that might be helpful for someone in my situation?
All fish are from south america, unless u are doing a planted tank first then adding the fish, i would say to use low light and jackfruit or almond leaves. This fish likes shady environments with yellowish water and a specific water flow requirement.

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I bought a 90-gallon tank today and I'm in the process of deciding what else I need to buy. My goal is a moderately heavily planted tank with some angels, corydoras, tetras, etc. I will use CO2 and probably cheap LED spotlights. Twenty years ago I had a successful planted tank with MH lights, Eheim canister filter, CO2 injection.

I'm having a hard time settling on what to get for filtration. I was initially inclined on getting a couple of Eheims again, but I've also flirted with the idea of HOB's, sumps and other canisters. I'm sort of leaning towards getting a sump with Poret filter foam, though I would think CO2 outgassing might be a problem. I've searched through these forums, but I'm even more flummoxed than when I began. . . . I'm guessing the surfeit of choice is overwhelming me. Any preferences that might be helpful for someone in my situation?
There is no reason you can't use a sump. Its not as popular because it requires a bit of DIY plus you need to drill your tank, but its definitely the easiest to maintain. While you will technically get more out-gassing (since you have more surface area exposed to the air) its not so much that you will really notice. There are plenty of high tech tanks on this forum using sumps. If setting up a tank that size I wouldn't hesitate to use a sump if that is an option for you.

As for light, well even what we would consider high light in an aquarium is deep shade compared to what the sun produces. There is no reason to have a low light tank unless that's what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the clear and helfpful answer. One question, though: do I really need to have holes drilled? I thought I could just hang an overflow to feed the sump. I can see how that might not be ideal, but it's still feasible, right?
 

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I have been running my planted tank on a sump for the last 4 years and it is doing very well!

I had planned on using CO2 and dosing when I set up my dirt bottom, gravel capped planted tank but quickly found that I needed neither and my plants are flourishing with my biggest problem being having to do more pruning than I had planned to keep the tank from being over run by the plants.

Last weekend my daughter added 2 new juvenile Axolotls to her Axolotl tank that had one adult male. We also upgraded the tank from a 29g to a 55g. We switched the filter from a sponge filter (that worked very well for bio) to a Seachem Tidal 110 HOB filter. I am very impressed with this filter! It is very well designed with a lot of little features that make it a joy to use. The feature that sold me on the Tidal was the media bucket easily removes from the filter then snaps into the filter lid for easy and cleanly moving the basket to the sink for cleaning!

I have a really nice 2076 Eheim Pro 3 filter unused in the garage that would have worked very nicely for the Axolotl tank BUT my daughter can easily maintain the Seachem Tidal 110 by herself where I would have had to help her maintain the Eheim. The Seachem 110 has turned out to be MUCH quieter than sponge filter it replaced which is a great bonus since the tank it in her bedroom.

I live by the rule that a filter that is easy to maintain is maintained much more often than one that is difficult to maintain!

P.S. Having run a sump using a hang on back overflow and a drilled overflow I will never use a hang on back overflow again! Drilling a tank is MUCH easier than I though it would be and I have never had ANY issues with the overflow on drilled tanks.
 

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There is no reason you can't use a sump. Its not as popular because it requires a bit of DIY plus you need to drill your tank, but its definitely the easiest to maintain. While you will technically get more out-gassing (since you have more surface area exposed to the air) its not so much that you will really notice. There are plenty of high tech tanks on this forum using sumps. If setting up a tank that size I wouldn't hesitate to use a sump if that is an option for you.



As for light, well even what we would consider high light in an aquarium is deep shade compared to what the sun produces. There is no reason to have a low light tank unless that's what you want.
South american fish, in majority, dont have bright light directly to the water.

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South american fish, in majority, dont have bright light directly to the water.

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PAR/PPFD at the equator is around 2000 at noon. High light in our aquariums starts at 50-80 depending on who you listen to. PAR in the shade around my house (not exactly the tropics but its what I got to test) is around 100-400 depending on where I stood.

Aquarium CO-OP has some pretty cool videos of catching fish in Peru. I saw them catching angels and plenty of tetras. I don't remember off hand if they caught corys. Where they collected was in direct sun.

So yeah, there is no reason to worry about the brightness of our little ol LEDs since even the really bright ones are nothing compared to what these fish see in the wild.
 

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PAR/PPFD at the equator is around 2000 at noon. High light in our aquariums starts at 50-80 depending on who you listen to. PAR in the shade around my house (not exactly the tropics but its what I got to test) is around 100-400 depending on where I stood.



Aquarium CO-OP has some pretty cool videos of catching fish in Peru. I saw them catching angels and plenty of tetras. I don't remember off hand if they caught corys. Where they collected was in direct sun.



So yeah, there is no reason not to worry about the brightness of our little ol LEDs since even the really bright ones are nothing compared to what these fish see in the wild.
I agree

However, think the fish will be in a closed system, with light at least 15cm away from the surface.
And like i said, "in majority", meaning not all fish will feel uncomfortable with high light.
Other than that, this fish with direct sunlight in their habitat have turve water and a lot of dark spaces.
Cory are from peru located at amazon rivers.



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I agree

However, think the fish will be in a closed system, with light at least 15cm away from the surface.
And like i said, "in majority", meaning not all fish will feel uncomfortable with high light.
Other than that, this fish with direct sunlight in their habitat have turve water and a lot of dark spaces.
Cory are from peru located at amazon rivers.



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This argument could be applied to every freshwater fish. /shrug I've honestly not heard or seen anyone say angels, tetras and corys need low light. I've never noticed any difference in behavior when lights are on or off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, Oughtsix! I think I'll try a couple of Tidal 110s. Some people might not care for the aesthetics, but if they work well and are easy to maintain, and the reduction of the likelihood of leaks, problematic hose connections, leaky o-rings, etc., then that sounds like it's worth trying out. As long as it's fairly quiet, I think you've suggested a winner to me. If I use two, then one of them will have Poly-Fil for water polishing.

I haven't used a "simple" HOB filter since I was kid. Back to my roots, I guess!

Consider me committed.
 

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Thanks, Oughtsix! I think I'll try a couple of Tidal 110s. Some people might not care for the aesthetics, but if they work well and are easy to maintain, and the reduction of the likelihood of leaks, problematic hose connections, leaky o-rings, etc., then that sounds like it's worth trying out. As long as it's fairly quiet, I think you've suggested a winner to me. If I use two, then one of them will have Poly-Fil for water polishing.

I haven't used a "simple" HOB filter since I was kid. Back to my roots, I guess!

Consider me committed.
I have a Tidal 110 running on one of my tanks.
At first it was noisy, but after it had time to build up some bacteria on the impeller, the only way I know it's on is by looking at the current it creates.
Main caveat with this filter is that you have to keep the water level high or else you'll hear noise coming from the surface strainer.
 

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Thanks, Oughtsix! I think I'll try a couple of Tidal 110s. Some people might not care for the aesthetics, but if they work well and are easy to maintain, and the reduction of the likelihood of leaks, problematic hose connections, leaky o-rings, etc., then that sounds like it's worth trying out. As long as it's fairly quiet, I think you've suggested a winner to me. If I use two, then one of them will have Poly-Fil for water polishing.

I haven't used a "simple" HOB filter since I was kid. Back to my roots, I guess!

Consider me committed.
You are welcome! :)

I saved up a month's of lawn mowing money some 40 years ago to purchase my first HOB filter to supplement the under-gravel filter I was using back then! LOL!

I like sumps... but for my daughters tank the Tidal 110 is perfect! Much easier to maintain than canisters or sumps! And, to me, I rate it as very quiet... but that is very relative to the person that has to listen to it.

P.S. the outlet funnels on the Tidal 110 are about 1 1/2" to 2" below the top rim of the tank. So past that point it does get noisy with the water splashing but that does give us quite a bit of evaporation before we have to refill the tank to quiet the filter. The agreement we had when my daughter got her first Axolotl was a full water changer once a week... she does a water change religiously every other week and I don't think the tank is going to need to be topped off in that time.
 

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Hi, I am also looking at different filters again, considering the Oase Biomaster because of its ease of cleaning the prefilter. I read something about needing to be careful with the Tidal with small fish or shrimp, guessing it could suck them in??! I like the idea of a self cleaning impeller and self priming pump; does anyone know how and if these work?

I have a Fluval 207 and a HOB Delta 60, both of which I love for different reasons! I also have the Aquaclear HOB which have easily removed media baskets which you can customize.
 

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This argument could be applied to every freshwater fish. /shrug I've honestly not heard or seen anyone say angels, tetras and corys need low light. I've never noticed any difference in behavior when lights are on or off.
You need to research and talk with wise fish owners like i do.
And experiment by yourself.

This tank once had angel fish, gbr, cory, guppies, livebearers, serpae tetras, blue neon tetras, dojo loach, shrimps, snails. Not all together ofc. Im trying to say that with my experience, i was able to enjoy some natural bahevaior from their original habitat, just providing the right, never perfect, ecosystem for them, reproducing what ive learned and trying new things. Thats what this hobby is supposed to be right? Me and you enjoy being gods for the fish , sending goods sometimes and providing stimulus.

The picture: This tank, today, has 8 neon tetras, 6 serpae tetras and 1 young dojo loach, shrimps and 3 species of snails, which i can't provide low light cause of my plants. This is not a biotope, but only by having a lot of shady areas, u wont spot my neon tetras and the dojo loach as well as the shrimps and snails. they dont like strong light.
However, the serpae tetras doesnt seem to feel uncomfortable under high light (proving your point that u never heard of it) cause some fish, not the majority like i said, doesn't seems to care by nature.

Now u heard of it.


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Hi, I am also looking at different filters again, considering the Oase Biomaster because of its ease of cleaning the prefilter. I read something about needing to be careful with the Tidal with small fish or shrimp, guessing it could suck them in??! I like the idea of a self cleaning impeller and self priming pump; does anyone know how and if these work?

I have a Fluval 207 and a HOB Delta 60, both of which I love for different reasons! I also have the Aquaclear HOB which have easily removed media baskets which you can customize.
Not sure if the impeller for sure cleans itself, but I haven't needed to clean or even check on mine for 8 months. My aquaclear impeller would eventually gum up and it would stop pumping water if I left it too long.
The self priming pump is really simple. The pump is located inside the tank in the thick intake housing. If the water is above the bottom of the straining slits, then it will automatically start up the instant power is applied. No need to prime it.

You can cut off flow to the long intake tube that telescopes to the depth you want it at using a valve, but you can't close off the ports right underneath the intake housing, or the strainer where the pump gets most of its water intake from.

For what its worth, if you want a HOB and you consider going aquaclear, get the tidal instead. It's of much higher quality and the strainer does help with surface scum.
 

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I see you have already committed, but let me throw this out there. I have used HOB, canisters and now put a 40 breeder sump under my 75 gallon planted. With proper setup, co2 loss is not an issue at all.

Hands down the sump is the best thing I have ever done to my aquarium. Easier to maintain than both HOB and canisters. And my water parameters have been much steadier because of the ease of maintenance and extra volume.

My sump has a 17.5x12x 3 block of 20ppi foam followed by the same size block of 30ppi foam. These provide mechanical and biological filtration. Maintenance is as simple as alternating weeks squeezing these clean in a bucket of tank water. The next chamber is a fluidized bed of K1 mini ran by an bubble bar. Once the k1 matured and got brownish, even though my water parameters were always good, the fluidized bed caused my water to go from clear, to CRYSTAL and has remained that way. I inject co2 into a cerges reactor made from a water filter housing, works great and no microbubbles at all.

So on every water change squeeze out a sponge block and replace. Easiest maintenance ever!
If the sump is set up with a herbie or a beananimal it is absolutely quiet, only noise heard is when I stop and start the return pump to feed.

If you have room for a sump, its really worth considering.
 

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Hi, I am also looking at different filters again, considering the Oase Biomaster because of its ease of cleaning the prefilter.
I have the Biomaster now, and I love it. I do a lot of uprooting and the fine prefilter catches all the detritus that comes up. I have rinsed out the main sponges a couple of times but they just don't get dirty, the prefilter does a great job of catching everything. I just take the prefilter to the sink and rinse off the sponges. The integrated heater is nice too. When I had a Fluval 206 i would clean the filter maybe once a month and it was a big production, now I do it every time and I think it's really helped keep clean tank conditions.
 

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I see you have already committed, but let me throw this out there. I have used HOB, canisters and now put a 40 breeder sump under my 75 gallon planted. With proper setup, co2 loss is not an issue at all.

Hands down the sump is the best thing I have ever done to my aquarium. Easier to maintain than both HOB and canisters. And my water parameters have been much steadier because of the ease of maintenance and extra volume.

My sump has a 17.5x12x 3 block of 20ppi foam followed by the same size block of 30ppi foam. These provide mechanical and biological filtration. Maintenance is as simple as alternating weeks squeezing these clean in a bucket of tank water. The next chamber is a fluidized bed of K1 mini ran by an bubble bar. Once the k1 matured and got brownish, even though my water parameters were always good, the fluidized bed caused my water to go from clear, to CRYSTAL and has remained that way. I inject co2 into a cerges reactor made from a water filter housing, works great and no microbubbles at all.

So on every water change squeeze out a sponge block and replace. Easiest maintenance ever!
If the sump is set up with a herbie or a beananimal it is absolutely quiet, only noise heard is when I stop and start the return pump to feed.

If you have room for a sump, its really worth considering.
Sump's sound really appealing. The only thing that held me back from integrating one into my 55 gallon is I wasn't sure how loud it would be; However, after researching them, I wish I had gone with my initial plan of installing a sump.
As you've outlined the filtration capabilities are amazing and the maintenance is super simple if you build them for easy filter pad removal.
Being able to hide equipment in the sump is another reason why I wish I had gone with one. Having stuff like UV sterilizers in the tank and not being able to run the cerges reactor off another pump instead of the canister filter return without adding yet more equipment and hoses into the tank is annoying to be honest.

I'm in the camp that if its possible, and you're not trying to go with a super minimalist show tank like a rimless model, implement a sump.
 
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