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: 366 49.9%
  • Disagree

    Votes: 191 26.1%
  • Not Sure

    Votes: 154 21.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 22 3.0%

  • Total voters
    733

LPS Bum

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"Pulls a lot of suspended waste"....yes

"Easier to clean".....no........I ran a FX6 for 17 years. To pull out the canister from under the stand, drain and then open it up to clean the contents was a lot of work BUT it is doable. With a sump, it's open...the only thing that gets cleaned is the filter socks and that just requires me to pickup and replace sock.
I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But I've found cleaning my large canister filter every 3 weeks takes approximately 10 min, maybe less. Good luck cleaning a big sump in 10 min or less...
 

LPS Bum

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I have experience with 4 different types of canister filters, FX filters from Fluval, the Eheim, Sun Sun, and some XP star filter. The common theme is that they have no flow indicator, no way of you telling if its clogged or not. So you must do it on schedules.

Just like filter socks, they don't remove anything from the aquarium until the filter itself is cleaned. At least with filter socks, I can load up on 20 of them and change them out daily. Cleaning a canister filter daily is not possible.

Running a cannister filter on a fish heavy tank means a lot of poop. That means more filter cleanings, more salt mix, more time, more advil and heat packs for the sore back.

Canister filter has its uses. If I ran an established reef or planted tank with very minimal fish, I think its doable. If it was a FOWLR, you are asking for trouble. On the FX6, don't believe it when it says good enough for 400g.
Why would it be trouble on a FOWLR?

I've used an large Filstar XP on my big FOWLR for 10+ years. Never once had a problem with it. Takes me 10 min or less to clean it (every 3 weeks, without fail) and replace some of the mechanical and chemical filter media. It's not light weight, but it's certainly not too heavy to lift. It self primes in a couple of min, you plug it back in, and you're good to go for 3 more weeks. No trouble at all.
 

fishface NJ

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I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But I've found cleaning my large canister filter every 3 weeks takes approximately 10 min, maybe less. Good luck cleaning a big sump in 10 min or less...
takes me less than 5 min now with a sump
 

LPS Bum

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takes me less than 5 min now with a sump
To siphon the detritus out of the bottom of an entire sump? And remove accumulated salt creep, etc? In less than 5 min? That's inhumanely quick.

I've seen many sumps that only get the socks changed out. They usually have a half inch of sludge and detritus on the bottom, and salt creep and kalkwasser everywhere. But if you can clean out your entire sump in less than 5 min, I'll have to tip my hat to you.
 

VR28man

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radiata

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Other... Yes, a suitably sized cannister can handle a reef tank. But No, if you lose power for any length of time, you could wind up dumping a nasty collection of sulfides, anaerobic bacteria, etc. into your system. And, the outage could also result in the elimination of the aerobic bacteria in the cannister that you need to keep your system going...
 

StPatrick89

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rustyreefer

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I ran an FX4 and FX6 on a cichlid tank for years. They work great as long as you clean them very regularly. Otherwise they are nitrate factories. I dont remember the exact amount i paid for them but I bet I had $650 in them.
 

Richard1982

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I currently run my 8ft mixed reef on externals it takes ten mins out your time to do maintenance cleaning ect same as it would do a sump I use one for polishing the water inline with my uv and the other for rowa carbon ect when needed there's no pros and no cons to having either apart from having a hang on skimmer I run a uprated mce600 and a heater in the aquarium the only plus in having a sump really is it has a in built surface skimmer,but every tank is different and so is every person that's the fun part as everyone has there own ideas to integrate into there systems which makes them unique.what works for one might not work for anothe,happy reefing guys
inbound1590671741757273698.jpg
 

nicksreefs

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Defo agree but with a caveat, I’m running 3 nano tanks all at different ages now and at different sizes and all on canisters. I find they do the job ace but you do need to go heavy on the rock and keep on top of water changes!
Forgot to mention… and possibly a bit controversial don’t change or clean them too often! Do of course clean and change but don’t go mad… if the tank is happy then leave it be. The water changes take care of most things
 
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