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OK admittedly Im a saltwater guy but dont hold that against me...FWIW I despise cannisters for a multitude of reasons, Ive been a wet/dry and/or sump guy for the last 20 yrs and I never met a cannister I liked..should also admit that i design and build aquariums and aquarium systems for a living. Main bias is opening and/or cleaning a cannister is about as much fun as checking your kids head for wood ticks...Hey Im in MN..so heres the deal FIRST plant tank ever coming online so far I got the tank 60 x 18 x 26
Gonna light it up with 2 x 250W 6500K halides. Thats about all i know so far. Had this crazy idea to run the return lines flush left and right and venturi the C02 into the return lines coming out about 2" above the surface alternating left to right, i.e. blast left, then blast right. Secondary idea is a reactor, so my question has anyone ever done research on maximum C02 saturation techniques? I would think the reactor would win? BTW I read some posts on filling the overflow up to decrease airation (loss of gas) which is fine if you remember that the only failure point on a gravity drained tank is the overflow. My other option could be a closed loop system with 2 pumps to return water left and right (on timers to alternate) there by eliminating the sump entirely and still providing the left and right blast of C02..? Any feedback appreciated. BTW I dont see the gas as a big issue on sump issue, I understand minimizing loss, but I think i pay about $30 to fill a gigantic bottle thats as tall as I am
(6 ft) gotta believe that it would last at least a couple months..? Maybe Im wrong never been down this path. Seems like a small price to pay compared to a $600 protein skimmer for a reef tank...

TIA New guy Pomacanthus
 

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PS I should have mentioned the Pros

Sump - Surface removal of proteins thru overflow, thereby increasing amount of light penetration into tank, protein buildup happens on water surface forming what i refer to as "the oil slick" (see Exxon). EZ water changes, I planned this out in advance so i have dedicated floor drains. Water changes so EZ my sister could do it, add digital timer to water holding reservoir with dedicated submersible pump at a total investment of around $50 and your done, you will probably have time to finish the kids treefort now with all the time and agony your saving yourself on water changes! Another advantage is EZ dosing of chemicals and/or fertilizers. The big CON is the wasting of C02 which is inevitable, but can be minimized with proper precautions - I hope Im right cause if I end up burning thru the gigantic cannister every 3 weeks Im gonna wish I could have learned to like cannisters
 

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wow second new guy from MN today i've talked to i to live in MN and doing a sump for my 55 i think a venturi would be better for this tank and i don't really think you need the 2 pump idea but i'm not sure on that and youll need to make your sump a low flow sump to prevent off gas
 

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PT Biologist
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I use sumps on my tanks as reservoirs to keep the evaporation from showing in the tank. The sump in this case is not a filter and with the way I constructed the 'overflows' there is minimal chance to degas CO2. Wet/drys are intended to do a biological filtration, are they not? That is what we use the plants for so a wet/dry actually competes against the plants.
 

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I'm not so sure I'd consider a wet/dry in competition with plants, unless there's a denitration device installed somewhere; otherwise a wet/dry performs the same role as a canister filter. Ammonia and nitrItes are still being converted into nitrAtes which are then still taken up by the plants...
 

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Canisters are more for mechanical and chemical filtration. They are rarely set up to function as effective biological filtration units. They are advertised to be so, but unless you fill them with nothing but bioballs, ceramic noodles, or lava rock, etc., they quickly become too clogged up to be effective biological filters. If you do set them up like this, you lose out on the majority of their mechanical filtration ability.
 

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You can easily customize either type of filter to serve any or all of those purposes, though. Filter socks, foam, media bags are all pretty common mechanical and chemical media for wet/dry filters. You can customize most canisters to function however you want them to. Wet/drys may take a little more forethought, but are just as customizable.
 

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Sump pros: less equipment in tank, constant water level in tank, surface skimming, oxygenation of water, more water, customizable system

Sump cons: real-estate taken up in tank by overflows, higher CO2 usage, typically requires much more DIY work, usually noisier though that can be minimized


I think canisters work great for smaller tanks and for people not interested in DIY work. I have an Ehiem Pro II on my 45 gal and it is nice. Cleaning is not difficult as I just detach the canister and take it over to the sink for cleaning. I only clean it every few months.

I think sumps work well for larger tanks. It allows you to automate some things that can become cumbersome with larger tanks and gives you a place to centralize stuff. I have a 29gal sump on my 150 gal tank. Most all the equipment is in the sump or under the stand - another reason sumps work well for large tanks is there's usually lots of room under the stand. I still do manual water changes because that's when I vacuum the tank, but water top-off between changes is done in the sump. I have two returns driven by one pump that is teed to the returns. I have my CO2 reactor on one return and the UV sterilizer on the other. That way they only see half the water flow.

Sumps and canisters both have their uses. You just have to decide which is the best fit.

David
 

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I think what dave said is probably correct and with you tank being around 120 gal (i think correct me if i did the math wrong). you would probably have a fine time with the sump. but i would suggest that you look at how long your CO2 lasts, if it last you say a couple months (3 months in you case) i would say no big lead but if it is only a month i would say that it would an issue then.
 

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I use sumps on my tanks as reservoirs to keep the evaporation from showing in the tank. The sump in this case is not a filter and with the way I constructed the 'overflows' there is minimal chance to degas CO2. Wet/drys are intended to do a biological filtration, are they not? That is what we use the plants for so a wet/dry actually competes against the plants.
Hey can you elaborate a bit on your overflow design?
Much appreciated POmacanthus
 

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PT Biologist
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I use a 20 high as a sump/reservoir with no partitions. The ends of my overflow plumbing are made of the ribbed flexible hose you see in garden centers for ponds and they go to and across the bottom of the sumps. I see much less bubbling this way rather then ending the PVC in the sump. This also reduces the 'resonance' of the PVC so there is less 'waterfall' sound. This also prevents a lot of CO2 degassing from the sump. I go through a 20 pound tank feeding 4 aquariums in about 6 months.

I allow the surface of the tank to be moved a little by the return, which helps clear dust and those films that appear in new tanks.

This is how it works.


This is the extended design that I use.


This is the best thread on the subject.
 
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Hey thanks for nice images, very helpful. Question thou - doesnt the pumps rate of return (gallons per hour) need to exactly match the drains flowrate into the sump? to maintain a constant tank level? Also has this ever failed you in any way? I was originally thinking of a tradional overflow box with a gate valve (on drain) that way you could "control" the drain and let the water level in the overflow "ride high" say 3/4 of the way inside the box, minimizing Co2 loss, keeping water level constant, and still have some surface extraction. Just an idea, Im still working out design issues, but dont want too much Co2 loss.
 

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I prefer canisters myself. My experience with sumps is if it can go wrong it will. :icon_eek:
 

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Gad-
Sumps and/or wet/drys are foolproof, catastrophic failures are non existant. The ONLY failure point on a gravity system is the drain - and in 20 yrs Ive never had one plug. In saltwater I stack mine with an aquaculture product that is square and rigid (biomedia) It virtually can not plug - I should clarify Im talking about an internal gravity based box with a hole drilled in tank. SIPHON boxes might be what you are thinking about - they are based on a siphon principle which is prone to failure no matter how well they tell you. They may run for years and years without incident but the design is bad no matter how you configure it, Newton was right about the apple, gravity always works the same way, every time, very predicable. The system in the thread above scares the heck outta me but i havent had time to really wrap my head around it.:)
 

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Gad-
Sumps and/or wet/drys are foolproof, catastrophic failures are non existant.

I and many others must be fools then. I had a power outage once and came home to several gallons of water on the floor. The tank drained until it cleared the pre filter box. About 5 gallons or more from a 120 tank. If I had a dollar for every time I've read about this type of problem I would be very, very, very rich.

I didn't design the wetdry, just spent several hundreds of dollars on it and it failed me. One failure like this is enough for me to take a canister over them any day. Hey, to each his/her own.
 

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I and many others must be fools then. I had a power outage once and came home to several gallons of water on the floor. The tank drained until it cleared the pre filter box. About 5 gallons or more from a 120 tank. If I had a dollar for every time I've read about this type of problem I would be very, very, very rich.

Gad I use a sump as well, have been now for 3 years and not once has my sump overflowed as you have explained. Why? I took the simple known precautions on setup day setup as shown below :) :

1) Do a shutdown test and adjust water volume to match sumps capacity.
2) Made indications on sump outlining max and refill line after the above is done.
3) Drill a small hole in the return pipe anywhere below water line (keep in mind the sumps capacity here as well) to break syphon.

All of the above are steps that a user has to go through and if done as outlined, you will never have a overflow situation. I'm not calling you a fool here :) but don't give sumps a bad name because of your improper sump setup due to lack of knowledge back then :)

The only downside they say is Co2; is it? Honestly, I have no issues once I figured out the correct type of injection to use. Sure it requires more common sense but that doesn't make it hard. It's easy for me to maintain Co2 especially since I not trying to win " the who has the longest lasting Co2 bottle title " so as long as you are not after that title you'll be good to go :thumbsup:

Pocomanthus...

A 10lb tank lasted for 3 months~ in my 90gal with an overflow box and uncovered 36x18x16 sump. I bought a 50lb Co2 tank after the guy at the shop told me it's the same cost to fill the 50lb'er as the 10lb'er :confused: I'm going on 4 months and still have tons of Co2 to go and I'm nuts with my Mazzei Co2 injection.

50lb= no worries at all!!
 

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Actually I did end up drilling the hole after the overflow. It seemed like much more trouble than it was worth to me. Canisters are so easy and take up less space.
 

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Canisters are more for mechanical and chemical filtration. They are rarely set up to function as effective biological filtration units. They are advertised to be so, but unless you fill them with nothing but bioballs, ceramic noodles, or lava rock, etc., they quickly become too clogged up to be effective biological filters. If you do set them up like this, you lose out on the majority of their mechanical filtration ability.


I am not sure I agree with you that a canister filter is not a good biological filter. Filter floss houses bacteria. Carbon houses bacteria after a couple weeks. You don't have to change all of the carbon, just 1/2 at a time, maybe once a month. Your sponge houses bacteria.
So, some sponge, a lot of floss, a little carbon, some noodles = good mechanical and good biological filtering. You can add chemical filtration if you like.
Also with a canister filter there is less C02 loss.
I vote for Canister filters. With a large tank, I would recommend 2 canister filters, one on each end like the Flugal FX5 set up. Only clean one filter at a time. Maybe once a month.
Joetee
 

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It's been proven time and again thet wet dry is not required for good biological filtration, that canisters can and will do a good job as well. Do you really think the top filter manufacturers on the planet would be selling filters like Ehiem vertually chemical free if they didn't work. Mine came with a charcoal pad about 1/4" think that the recommend discarding after two weeks. It's only used to help cycle then there are no chemicals, only biological and mechanical.

You don't have to use chemicals at all if you do partial water changes which you should be doing anyway regardless of your setup. My 1500 gallon pond filters through a large canister filter with zero bypass with about 5 gallons of bio balls and the water is clear even here in South Carolina. 8 years running and no need for UV.

I simply prefer the canisters. Doesn't make me a bad person. :proud:
 
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