Canister Filters: Canister filters are a viable, inexpensive way to filter a reef tank. True or False?

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Canister filters are a viable, inexpensive way to filter a reef tank.

  • Agree

    Votes: 372 50.1%
  • Disagree

    Votes: 193 26.0%
  • Not Sure

    Votes: 155 20.9%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 22 3.0%

  • Total voters
    742

revhtree

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Today let's talk about canister filters and if you would agree or disagree with the following statement:

"Canister filters are a viable, inexpensive way to filter a reef tank."

1. Do you agree or disagree?

2. Do you run a canister filter on your reef now or have you in the past?



Thanks @adittam for the QOTD idea!
Screenshot 2021-09-03 at 10-52-11 FX6 Canister Filter - Fluval.png
 

MNFish

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I do not use one on my reef right now but I have an FX4 and FX6 on fresh water tanks and I do not see any reason they would not work. I am very impressed however not sure if inexpensive is the best way to describe them.
 

Stoney

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I think they're viable but not cheap for what they do. Internal filters, hang on back filters, reactors, etc can do everything a canister filter does at a lower price and without the risk of leaking. Not even close to comparable with a sump, but that's another topic.
 

Sleepingtiger

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i assume that it means canister filter only? That would be horrible. I live both worlds of salt and fresh, I don't even use canister filters for my freshwater tanks. They are horrible. Maintenance on them is a pain. Taking apart a fx5/6 with the 50,000 knobs that breaks as soon as you over tighten just a bit. I had three fx5 on my 350g Tanganyikan tank. I would have to spend 6hrs a month cleaning them. They build up so much crap. Because there was no surface agitation, i had to add air stones to oxygenate the water. I couldn't get rid of that tank and filters fast enough.

For non canister filter users, the reason i mention the fx4/5/6 is because they are the gold standard when it comes to canister filters. Please don't mention Eheim canister filters.... what a piece of crap.
 

Spieg

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The cheapest option for mechanical filtration is a filter sock.

I still prefer that, and it doesn't take any power to use. Also nothing to fail or leak.

Seems great for a temporary set up.
Agree, 1 less thing sucking power and can filter down to 5 micron if you want.
 

bklynanoreef

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Canister alone would not be a great choice though. Need some sub support system - such as algae reactor, hang-on skimmer etc for extra filtration (to control NO3 & PO4) & for oxygen supply as well. I run canister + hang on small skimmer on my nano 17G for over a year, growing sps frags too. I attach pre-filter sponge at the water intake for detritus removal too, instead having sponge inside of canister for easier access for cleaning. So far the tank is doing great.
 
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atnet360

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Viable, yes. Inexpensive...not really. Not when compared to an inexpensive overflow box and a 20L diy sump.

I futzed around with canister filters for years in my freshwater days...when I finally experience abtabk with a sump, I will never wast time spilling water all over the place trying to clean a canister again.
 

NanoMan16

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IMO canisters are just a hassle and don’t function as required. Yeah they filter and provide most of the same functions as a sump. True both collect detrus but that’s what they are supposed to do anyway. I can add a CUC to my sump to control. I’ve seen success with both and had success with both. When I first got started in reefing I used a canister because the initial investment was cheaper. After the first 6 months that was not the case. With a sump you have the extra water volume though. My 125g has a 75g sump so the stability I get is great. I can see both sides of the coin but it boils down to personal preference. I just feel the sump can offer a more natural approach. I only have live mud/sand/rock in my sump with filter floss and pad. My CUC and macro algae takes care of the rest. Again IMO.
 

adittam

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Thanks for the mention, @revhtree !

I run my current system, a 46 gallon tank, with only a Fluval 407 canister filter and spray bar on its water outlet for external filtration. I also have 50+ pounds of live rock and a pair of Hydor powerheads for water movement. I'm currently working on a 80 gallon tank upgrade and will be using the same canister filter and spray bar combo without a sump (I will be upgrading to Jebao SLW-20 powerheads for more speed control). This is my first saltwater tank, it's been up and running since March of this year, and I'm very happy with how it's coming along so far, especially since I've built it on a pretty dang tight budget (see page 2 of my build thread for an itemized list with numbers).

I chose the Fluval 407 specifically because of a few reasons.
1. It got by far the best reviews for easy cleaning. It takes me about 20 minutes to completely break it down, clean all of the mechanical media, put it back together and get it primed (which is a piece of cake with this model) and running again.
2. It's cheap. I got it on sale for $158 including tax brand new from Petco using one of their 25% off curbside pickup online coupons. The spray bar was an extra $25. When you compare this with the cost of sump, plumbing, overflow, and return pump, it's not even close.
3. It has a spray bar available. This was a huge part of my plan. Because I don't run a skimmer, I wanted the spray bar for additional surface agitation and oxygenation.

I clean it every other week at the same time I do my 15% water change, and the success I've had with it is why I'm bringing it over to my 80 gallon tank.

Added FTS from this morning :cool:
E14CD6D7-ECEA-46AE-9EA7-167A4064655F.jpeg
 
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