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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning on getting a 180 gallon tank and was wondering what my options for filtration are. I have read that for the price of a fluval fx6, it isn't worth it. If a sump is a better option do I need to have a certain sump for freshwater or does that matter? I was looking at some of the Eshopps sumps with the micron socks for polishing the water. Lets hear some of your ideas please.
Thanks
Martin
 

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The determining factor will be whether you plan to run CO2 or not.

If not, a sump is your best bet. You can get all of your filtration for a fraction of the price, and it will be much easier to maintain.

If you plan on running CO2, then a sump is much more difficult (but not impossible). Sumps have a lot of water turbulence, which will offgass a lot of your CO2. With a CO2 enriched tank, canisters are just easier. I would recommend 2x FX6 or 2x Oase 850s.
 

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For a tank that big I personally would go with a sump. You can’t really go wrong it can be built for cheaper than some of your canister filter options and there’s so much more you can do with them. More biological media the better! Not to mention a sump increases your water volume to. Hope this helps.
 

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I vote for CO2 and two Oase 600/850 canister filters. I have owned two 75g heavily planted tanks. One had a sump and my present tank uses a Oase Biomaster 600 Thermo.

I think that it is a toss up between sump and Oase for a big tank but I am happy with the Oase. Assuming that you want a lot of plants, even so-called "easy" ones, the CO2 will give you a much better chance of success without creating an algae farm. The nice part about the Biomaster Thermo is the easily removed prefilter cartridge and the built-in and replaceable heater.

For CO2 I would consider a high quality inline atomizer/diffusor. I have tried both an inline and a Griggs and find that the inline atomizer is silent and that, with a good brand, the bubbles are minute and pretty much a non-issue. As they are cheap, consider buying two or at least a second replacement element so that you can be cleaning one while the other goes right back into service.

Oh, and buy an Inkbird controller for your heater(s) . They are cheap insurance.

Just my two cents...

Keep us posted.
 

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The biggest barrier for a sump is you have to drill your tank. If you are willing to do that, then they are the way to go. Co2 exchange will be pretty trivial in a sump, you can easily keep up 30ppm if you desire. They have the additional benefits mentioned and they are easier to clean. You could make your own for cheaper than a single large fluval or Oase canister filter as well. A sump would be my preference on such a tank if for no other reason than because other folks that keep tanks this big all seem to eventually use one if not start out with one.

While I love the features Oase has on their filters they are not appropriate for an 180 gallon tank. The Oase 850 is rated at just 400 gallons an hour. 2 of them would have just over 4.4 times turnover per hour as their advertised rate. It's pretty accepted to halve that rate because canister filters are great big liars when it comes to their marketing. The fluval fx6 on the other hand costs less than the Oase and advertises 925 gallons per hour. So one fx6 pushes more water than 2 Oase 850s. You could go with 2 fx6 filters or one fx6 and one smaller filter by fluval or another brand if you just want to do canister filters.
 

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And sumps are fun to design and build! We'll see you over at DIY...

A sump can be made to be silent, it just takes some effort and tuning. I used to sit right next to a tank with a sump. I never heard it, but it took months of part time design work to get there. Basically, you don't want any air or turbulent flow.

And it is really nice seeing almost nothing in your display tank!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
And sumps are fun to design and build! We'll see you over at DIY...

A sump can be made to be silent, it just takes some effort and tuning. I used to sit right next to a tank with a sump. I never heard it, but it took months of part time design work to get there. Basically, you don't want any air or turbulent flow.

And it is really nice seeing almost nothing in your display tank!
DO you have an example of your sump?
 

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DO you have an example of your sump?

I was using the Eheim baskets just to jump start the cycle since I fully populated the tank with fish. I later used more foam with varying degrees of coarseness. I later added a Pothos plant whose roots stayed in the water. This kept nitrates at zero, which was great for a cichlid tank, but not what we want.

Oh, it might not be obvious, but this is a 9 gallon or so acrylic sump that I modified as shown in the video. That was placed inside a 30 gallon glass tank I had laying around.

I'm not sure I'd do that all again. A more traditional sump design is probably more space efficient. But... the quietness of mine was superb. This can probably also be achieved in a traditional sump by using the bypass ball valve (or valves if you have multiple steps) as shown in the video. In my case, I didn't care that I was bypassing a section since the section just has lace rocks for water hardening. That's what makes mine space in-efficient.
 
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