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Thread: New Tank - Sump vs Canister Questions

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    Default New Tank - Sump vs Canister Questions

    I am setting up a new 135 gallon discus tank. Since I am a newbie, I obviously want good filtration, but I also want a quiet tank. I have several questions under each option and will number them in the hopes that people will be nice enough to respond.

    Sump - I would plan to use an Ecotech Vectra M1 which has a stated GPH flow of 2000 (probably somewhat less in operation). I know discus don't like a lot of flow but I would assume that there is a tradeoff in the effectiveness of the sump with lower flow rates.

    1. What is the recommended gph/turnover rate that I should not exceed.
    2. What model of Sump would be recommended? I am a terrible DIY guy, but the premade sumps mostly seem to be made for saltwater. I have looked at the Seamless Sump by Custom Aquariums but it is expensive and I'm not sure it holds enough media.
    3. What is the best overflow method. I have a bottom drilled tank now with an internal overflow box and it is noisy. Are there recommended alternatives?

    Canisters - I would use two canisters and was thinking of the Eheim Pro+ 600 which has a GPH of 312. I have one of these now and it is very quiet. I know Fluval FX6 is well liked, but seems to be louder.

    4. Would the Flow from the 2 Eheims be about right?
    5. On one of the canister outflow lines, I would install an in-line heater - either the Hydor of the ISTA - any recommendations?
    6. On the other canister, I was thinking of installing an in-line UV filter. Do I need this and if so, any recommendations?

    Thanks for your help!!

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    Registered Member RickMay1's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Tank - Sump vs Canister Questions

    I use sumps for my discus but all they are are cheap 1 per gallon aquariums 20 long from petco that I load up with 4X 2 inch thick foam sheets I get from Swiss Tropicals. Water enters one end....exits the other....not drilled or anything just basic pvc pipeing. I use a prefilter sponge inside the tank so I rarely need to mess with the sponge in the sump. I think the 20 Long work great for tanks up to 75G.

    Don't bother with UV, just do lots of water changes.

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    Registered Member ggillies's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Tank - Sump vs Canister Questions

    I have a 200 gallon fully planted tank, and I run TWO Fluval FX6s. I find them to be extraordinarily quiet. Both are filled to the brim with Biohome Ultimate media in all trays. The FX6 has so much filtration, that you can actually remove a few of the foam filters to make room for more biomedia.

    Now that my tank is 9 months old, it seems to have fully cycled. All I have to do is one 75% water change per week. My ammonia is always zero, as are my nitrites. My nitrates never get above 10 and are usually hovering between zero and 5.

    My 2c.

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    Default Re: New Tank - Sump vs Canister Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ggillies View Post
    I have a 200 gallon fully planted tank, and I run TWO Fluval FX6s. I find them to be extraordinarily quiet. Both are filled to the brim with Biohome Ultimate media in all trays. The FX6 has so much filtration, that you can actually remove a few of the foam filters to make room for more biomedia.

    Now that my tank is 9 months old, it seems to have fully cycled. All I have to do is one 75% water change per week. My ammonia is always zero, as are my nitrites. My nitrates never get above 10 and are usually hovering between zero and 5.

    My 2c.
    Thanks. I just ordered a ton of Biohome and will use it in an Eheim canister and the sump.

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    Registered Member Milaz's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Tank - Sump vs Canister Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ggillies View Post
    I have a 200 gallon fully planted tank, and I run TWO Fluval FX6s. I find them to be extraordinarily quiet. Both are filled to the brim with Biohome Ultimate media in all trays. The FX6 has so much filtration, that you can actually remove a few of the foam filters to make room for more biomedia.

    Now that my tank is 9 months old, it seems to have fully cycled. All I have to do is one 75% water change per week. My ammonia is always zero, as are my nitrites. My nitrates never get above 10 and are usually hovering between zero and 5.

    My 2c.
    Hi Ggilles,

    As you are running two FX6 canister filters I would like to ask your opinion / experience please - I am right now upgrading my filtration on 240 gal low tech tank - so far running over ten years with Fluval FX5 plus Eheim Professionel 250 - really happy with both - now adding new Fluval FX 6 to beef up ahead of adding Discus to my tank - lightly planted (after I pulled out all the heavily growing Valisneria which was trapping a lot of hard to clean crud and left there only very well grown up Echinodorus varieties easy to clean around) and a lot of bog wood inside.

    My question is on appropriate flow rate and actual current created in the tank - two options being either to connect each FX filter independently in parallel setup (two intakes and two outputs) - than I would get turnover rate of about 8x per h, but I worry about having too strong current in the tank as Discus may not like that strong flow - so I think about putting both FX filters in series (one intake and one output) - from tank to FX 6 - beefed up with PondGuru upgrade kit - coarse + medium foams and rest being 5 kg of his Biohome Ultimate media - from there to the intake of original FX5 - loaded to the max with Biohome Ultimate media only - no foams needed anymore here as mechanical filtration will be taken care of already in the first FX6 filter - and from there back to the tank - this would give turnover rate of about 4.2x per h.

    Parallel setup - higher flow rate, full redundancy if something may go wrong with one of the FX filters the other still running full speed- maybe too strong current in my tank?

    Setup in series - lower flow rate, partial redundancy - if one FX pump may fail, the second one will be still able to pull the water through both canisters albeit at lower flow rate, regular maintenance needed only on the first FX6 in the series - where mechanical filtration happens - no need to mess up with the second FX5 filter and leave bio-filtration there undisturbed.

    Is there anything I might be missing - why the in series setup may not work as hoped for? Or should I not worry about too strong current / flow created in the tank with both filters running in parallel setup - plus the Eheim 250 still there as well?

    Thank you - and anyone else - who may help me with your expert's advice!

    Milaz

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    Default Re: New Tank - Sump vs Canister Questions

    Hey Milaz,

    I run two FX6's on my 650 L/170 Gal tank (6x2x2). I run with two intakes at one end, and two outlets at the other. This way is pushes all the water down to one end for collection, and one direction of water. The discus do not seem bothered by the current as far as I can tell. I wouldn't say there is too much flow by any means. I also have a small internal filter for water polishing. I used to have the intake/outlet of each filter at the same end, creating cross flow and they did not seem bothered by that either. Just my 2 cents..

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    Default Re: New Tank - Sump vs Canister Questions

    For the noise of your overflow look into durso overflow pipes .
    On average a 1 inch hole flows 750 GPH so too much flow for disc is not an issue IMO.
    Make sure your return pump is digital so you can easily tweak it .
    I like the sump RickMay described ..The baffles /overflows ae not as important or needed at at all in fresh water like marine where gas exchange is very important to water parameters.
    I run 3 sumps .This is the last I made from a 20 g for my 75 g paladarium


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    Registered Member Cove Beach's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Tank - Sump vs Canister Questions

    If you have a drilled tank a sump is the way to go. There are places you can order sumps built to your specs if space is at a premium. Another thing to consider is how easy will maintaining the filtration be, if it’s not easy you will have more trouble finding the time to do it. I know from experience that working on stuff under a tank is a pain (head+stand= ouch).
    Alot depends on tank location in your house, I love my basement sump setup as it keeps most of the plumbing and mess out of sight but there is an increase in initial cost and operation. But the freedom to arrange and maintain as needed in my eyes makes it worth it, plus I like to be able to see the condition of my filters and not have to worry about fish getting trapped next to a heater.

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    Silver Member Tshethar's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Tank - Sump vs Canister Questions

    Agree with lots of advice you're getting here... from my limited experience, I'd say:

    1. hydor heater inline works fine--I've had one for a few years now without problems. I do keep it on a temperature controller for insurance.

    2. I have a couple of Eheim 2217 canisters on a 90 and they are very quiet, much, much more so than a previous drilled tank with sump in the same space that relied on durso standpipes. Flow has never been a problem, and the media you use inside them probably doesn't matter that much. (I use different size poret foam followed by Eheim's ehfisubstrat, but I don't think it matters.)

    3. I once had a UV and a purigen reactor off one of the canisters but decided to pull them mostly as it wasn't easy to access and maintain. Sometimes simple is better as far as possible leaks and such are concerned. The UV can help with water clarity, which is nice, but won't substitute for good husbandry. If you go with a sump and it's easy to run one, cool. Otherwise, no need. Same with stuff like purigen.

    4. If you research quiet drain options for sumps, you'll find a few different designs. I seem to remember Ricardo on here documented his overflow setup nicely in an old thread, and I'm pretty sure he used the "Bean Animal" approach, which has a main drain line plus an emergency drain, and there are ways to plumb the thing and tune it so that you don't get splashing and gurgling. I have not done this myself, but I would consider a sump in the living room again if (and only if) I could go with this type of system. Otherwise, I'd go with canisters or with simple stuff like sponge filters and airstones or circulation pumps.

    Note that this setup may require you to rethink what to do with the holes you have drilled depending on how many you have (and perhaps their diameter). If you don't have a group of three, you might consider using two for drains and having your return line come back over via tubing and an externally mounted "u" of pvc or the like into a spraybar, like you would with the canister.

    Hope this helps and best of luck!

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    Default Re: New Tank - Sump vs Canister Questions

    Last I heard, the UV/canister filter combos didn't use UV-resistant plastic so they started crumbling.

    Despite not quarantining and having ich-magnet clown loaches I've never had a case of ich in the 15-20 years I've been keeping fish. I credit UV for that. A friend of mine cured a bad ich infestation with UV alone.

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