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Filtering: More or Less?

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Hi guys,

Thanks for all the information shared by the members of this forum. I've been reading and learning from you since 2013 when I joined, but with so many true experts, I've been a little shy of posting (just now passing 10 :icon_redf).

Now I would like to ask for your wisdom in answering questions about filtering for my 180 gallon low tech planted tank. Currently I'm operating with 2 Eheim 2217's and a Tunze 6045 powerhead on one end (tank is 6 x 2 x 2), and I'm probably going to add one to the other end.

My first question is how much GPH is really needed in a 180 gallon tank? I've read that you need 4x the number of gallons, and I've also read that canister filters are nitrate traps, so I'm a little confused. I've considered a sump, but my tank is tempered glass so drilling isn't an option and I'm a bit wary of sumps with HOB's. Looooooots of water if there's any problem...

Also, I'm planning on adding a UV sterilizer. After losing power for 3 days, I had a serious bout with disease unlike anything I've ever had. My poor fish had a tough time of it, and I have a generator now so that won't happen again, but I want to make a dent in existing bacteria and parasites beyond medications, thus the plan for the sterilizer, a Coralife 18w turbo twist.

Next question / questions: How feasible is it to add a UV sterilizer in line to one of the 2217's without sacrificing too much gph? Since adding the sterilizer will reduce flow, would it be better to get a separate pump or filter for it? I have a 2213 canister I could use, but if I use that, how would that work? Would it need to be set up as a regular filter?

Thank you so much for your time and expertise!


Adding more tank info:

180 g 6x2x2
2 Eheim 2217's
Tunze 6045 powerhead one end, most likely getting another one for the opposite end
2 air pumps with air stones

Moderately planted, mostly crypts, swords, hygrophila, nymphoides
Excel dosing daily, Flourish with iron twice a week

Moderately stocked:
6 pearl danios
7 leopard danios, juveniles
7 albino corys
4 peppered corys
4 glass catfish (lost a couple in the power outage, will add a few more once I'm sure the diseases are gone)
9 cherry barbs
1 siamese algae eater
3 adult rainbows, 5 juveniles
2 golden rams
2 mystery snails, 2 nerite snails
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· Registered
396 Posts
You're super 'moderately' stocked. Jeez. Makes me almost ashamed of how heavily stocked my tanks are lol.
Sorry I don't have more helpful comments. Your tank seems fairly well filtered imo. The 2217's aren't shabby at all and the additional powerheads are probably doing a lot for you.

· Registered
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi swarley, yes, it is super moderate. I'm trying to work out the balance between fish and plants. When I started fish keeping, I fell victim to multi-tank syndrome (SOOO easy to do, so many beautiful fish!), got up to six tanks, and the 180 tank and stand I got used was to combine the labor into one big planted fish world :) I'm keeping the stock on the low side until 1) I feel like I know what I'm doing with a tank this size in terms of equipment (largest before was 56g), 2), until the planting is established and I understand how to maintain it, and 3), ideally, I want to achieve that magical, balanced ecosystem between fish and plants. Eventually, I will likely just increase the numbers of the same species since I like how this community is working in terms of compatibility and visuals.

Bump: Regarding the 2217's, I've been happy with them. No mechanical issues and they are virtually silent when running, which is truly important with a living room tank. I do get some curling on the leaves of my hygrophila / wisteria, so I'm wondering if that's from too much flow...
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