Canister Filter for reef tank?

BRS

Reeferburns

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Hey everyone I was just wondering your thoughts on using a canister filter for my reef tank. Currently using a hob and wanna add more filtration to my tank. In my mind if I’m already using a hob I don’t get why I couldn’t use a canister. Let me know if you guys are using a canister and if so what one are you using. My tank size is only 37 gallon and to do a sump it would cost me a lot more money then to just add a canister. I’d love to do a sump but I’d need a custom one built and even if I didn’t do a custom it still would cost a lot to do it. Just trying to be practical. Let me know your guys thoughts! Thanks!
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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here's how it works

canister filters are extra surface area beyond whats needed, and require cleaning. if you hook up six of them to a reef tank and run them for years, you can remove them one day and no param changes w be evident in the reef other than possibly less nitrate produced without them. They're a tax to the system vs a benefit, ammonia isn't controlled moreso with those in place or without them, they're simply extra bacteria into a system that can take them, or not.

if you use param-specific media in the filter to justify the extra cost and cleaning work, like nitrate reducing media that might be of assistance once you determine nitrate to be uncontrollable in other ways. If you add a powerhead, instead of a canister filter, your benefits are the same and your cleaning work goes down. Its not that they're bad, its that adding or subtracting any number of canister filters to a reef tank would only alter nitrate as a param you could detect a change in, if at all. No other params are helped...canister filters compete with your whole reef for oxygen to run them-they're a tax.
 
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Roman009

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here's how it works

canister filters are extra surface area beyond whats needed, and require cleaning. if you hook up six of them to a reef tank and run them for years, you can remove them one day and no param changes in the reef other than possibly less nitrate produced than without them. They're a tax to the system vs a benefit, ammonia isn't controlled moreso with those in place or without them, they're simply extra bacteria into a system that can take them, or not.

if you use param-specific media in the filter to justify the extra cost and cleaning work, like nitrate reducing media that might be of assistance once you determine nitrate to be uncontrollable in other ways. If you add a powerhead, instead of a canister filter, your benefits are the same and your cleaning work goes down. Its not that they're bad, its that adding or subtracting any number of canister filters to a reef tank would only alter nitrate as a param you could detect a change in, if at all. No other params are helped...canister filters compete with your whole reef for oxygen to run them-they're a tax.

That is an excellent response. Helped me get it. I was wondering too.
 

Trylobyte

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Hey everyone I was just wondering your thoughts on using a canister filter for my reef tank. Currently using a hob and wanna add more filtration to my tank. In my mind if I’m already using a hob I don’t get why I couldn’t use a canister. Let me know if you guys are using a canister and if so what one are you using. My tank size is only 37 gallon and to do a sump it would cost me a lot more money then to just add a canister. I’d love to do a sump but I’d need a custom one built and even if I didn’t do a custom it still would cost a lot to do it. Just trying to be practical. Let me know your guys thoughts! Thanks!

A canister filter will work fine on your reef tank. Every kind of filter has the same concepts, intake water, pass through several stages of mechanical, chemical, biological filtration then return water. Some are better at doing this than others of course and can provide convenience. For example, regardless of using a sump, canister or HOB filter, you need to be replacing the mechanical filtration often. A sump or HOB provides more convenience by just letting you pull out and replace easily without turning them off, as with a canister you will need to shut it off, close the intakes and outtake to prevent siphon(s) and then open it up, pull out trays until you reach that mechanical filter, remove replace and then set back up. But make no mistake, any filtration whether a sump, canister or HOB can easily become a nitrate factory if neglected. So the easier it is, the more often you are likely to do it is the perspective here.

canister filters are extra surface area beyond whats needed

This statement is actually wrong according to BRS, MarineDepot, Saltwater Aquarium Guy, and more that I have read. Canister filters offer LOWER surface area than a sump. And its easy to prove this as sumps are substantially bigger, offer housing for things like refugium's and more. You can however add a good amount of biological media like ceramic balls/rings, or even rock rubble though it will still not likely compare to that of a sump. Note though, when doing this you will also need to "rinse" (not clean) that media regularly as well which will add to your regular maintenance.

So in closing, a canister filter can be used just as well as any sump or HOB filter, in fact for smaller tanks where sumps are just not practical (like the 37 in question) a canister might be your best option in terms of efficient space for all stages of filtration over a HOB. You just will need to be more strict on performing regular maintenance on it. 1x a week dump all water in the canister, spray out, rinse your course sponges, REPLACE all floss and reset up. Remember the water you replace in the canister can be considered part of your weekly water change volume. 1x - 2x a month replace your actual media (carbon, GFO, etc.), though if you are replacing water and floss, you should be able to do the manufacturers time frame of 3-4 weeks without problem. Every 3 - 6 months completely disassemble and clean out hoses, intake ports, gaskets, etc. just like you normally would. And remember, even sumps need to be cleaned regularly. There is a statement that floats around the hobby and these forums saying that a "Clean sump = a clean Display Tank". So whatever you use, prepare for maintenance, just how much is up to which route you take.
 
BRS

WHAT WATER CHANGE "PERCENTAGE" MAKES IT WORTH DOING?

  • 5% - 10%

    Votes: 27 11.6%
  • 10% - 20%

    Votes: 122 52.6%
  • 20% - 30%

    Votes: 52 22.4%
  • 30% - 40%

    Votes: 6 2.6%
  • 40% - 50%

    Votes: 3 1.3%
  • 50% or more

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No water change is worth it

    Votes: 5 2.2%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 5 2.2%
  • Other (please explain in the thread)

    Votes: 12 5.2%
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