Is a proper canister filter really more work?

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Sleepingtiger

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Again. I want to emphasize that no one here says you CAN”T keep a reef with a canister. Hell, I kept a reef with a skilter. Am I showing my age?

The point is do you want to keep a reef with a canister. I can say that most here don’t want to keep a reef with a canister filter.
 
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TangerineSpeedo

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One of my best tanks is a 6g temperate tank run off a Fluval 207. how often to I clean out the canister? Maybe every six months. Why am I using a canister filter? Because I need something to power my chiller.This tank is so successful, I don't even remember the last time I had to clean the glass. Are my results typical? Well yes for me... LOL. But I don't know for everybody else. But you don't now if you don't try.
 

adittam

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Are my results typical? Well yes for me... LOL. But I don't know for everybody else.

maui youre welcome GIF
 

Tamberav

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One of my best tanks is a 6g temperate tank run off a Fluval 207. how often to I clean out the canister? Maybe every six months. Why am I using a canister filter? Because I need something to power my chiller.This tank is so successful, I don't even remember the last time I had to clean the glass. Are my results typical? Well yes for me... LOL. But I don't know for everybody else. But you don't now if you don't try.

that’s because it is temperate though. I also have a temperate tank and it is an aio and the acrylic does not get dirty the same way a reef tank does. In fact the whole tank does not suffer from what reef tanks do regardless of what happens or neglect haha. I have never seen a temperate tank with Dino or cyano.

apples and oranges.
 

keithw283

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So the things holding me back are the expense of going your suggested route. Just a return pump would cost the same as the Biomaster 850. Then I need a sump (another $400-500), a skimmer ($400-500), plumbing, etc. So $1200-1500 vs $450. Not to mention the price of an HOB, which isn't that much comparatively, or if I return this tank and get another one, that's who knows how much more.

I'm still not convinced a sump is less work, though. If they recommend cleaning the socks every 3-4 days and the sump/skimmer every few weeks, is this so different than cleaning the easy to clean prefilter once a week and then the main chamber once a month? I understand the expandability of a sump and that it can house more equipment, but the route I'm taking seems simpler to me.

I've been trying to get a hold of waterbox to see what I can do since I haven't even opened the tank packaging yet, just the stand. The stand is universal; it has the middle gap on top and in the back where the overflow pipes would go. If I can return the tank, then I may have to pay return shipping and whatever extra the saltwater version is. Then another $1500 for the extra equipment I'll need. Then lights, sand, rocks, testing equpiment, ro/di, containers... and I'll be broke with no money left for fish lol.
Not sure where you are getting your prices from but I’m going to have to correct them. For my 55 gallon I got a brand new return pump for $150. You can get used or wait for one to go on sale which they do all the time. Sicce and Eheim are great inexpensive options. My skimmer was another $150. I got the space saving z5 from bubble magus. There are better skimmers out there but this one definitely does it’s job for a low price. My sump is a 29 gallon tank I got off fb marketplace for $20 and glued a couple glass baffles in for another $50. So all in all my set up was $370 plus plumbing which isn’t expensive. Someone mention a gate valve being the most expensive part but you can get a ball valve instead for $2. So all in all, my sump set up is cheaper than that canister filter.
 

Kevinmj70

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Up until recently I kept a 50 gallon tank with an Oase 350 cannister filter. In the 2 years I kept that tank going, I did not suffer one leak. Due to the design of my corner tank it was not possible to have a sump.

I set this tank up with a drilled overflow box at the top of the tank and the water drained into the filter from piping at the bottom of the box. I used gate valves on the system so if needed I could cut the water from draining below the overflow box. The output of the Oase fed to a UV sterilizer than back to the tank. I also used a AquaMaxx HOB 1.5 as a skimmer.

The benefit of the Oase is the prefilter design and the integral but removable heater. In the 2 years it ran I had no problems with the filter.

I used a medium foam in the prefilter section and bio home ultimate in a couple of the trays as well as carbon, chemi pure and purigen depending on the need at the time.

I have a 120 gallon tank that has the typical sump with the typical setup. As with the 50 gallon, I have a well stocked tank and change the filter socks about every 3 days. I don't use floss because of the environmental waste. With the cannister filter I would clean the pre filter once a week and the entire filter once a month. Not a big difference in maintenance time between the two tanks.

Now, with that said, if I could have gone the sump route on the 50 gallon I would have as it offers more flexibility such as a refugium and a better skimmer than the HOB.

Can you keep a successful reef tank on a cannister filter. Absolutely! Heck, I kept a saltwater tank for 5 years in the 1980s on an undergravel filter. All of the options are waste producers if basic maintenance isn't followed. So do what your budget and space constraints allow. If you decide to go the cannister route I would recommend the Oase for the prefilter and built in heater.
I have a small tank, 21g L and it is new, less than 8 months. I run an Oase Biomaster canister because of space limitations. My experience is the same as @rob taft. I clean pre-filter weekly and whole filter monthly. My experience has been a good one with learning experiences sprinkled in. If my path continues on the same trajectory it is currently on, I will upgrade to a significantly larger tank (8-10x), do the necessary mods to the floor and run a sump in the basement. No issues with the Biomaster or the internal heater, but a sump appears to offer a flexibility and fine tuning that my canister does not without significant modifications. $.02 dropped.
 

ingchr1

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If I was to set up a tank without a sump/AIO or such. I just would not run any mechanical filtration on it.

I may hook up some when I do maintenance and stir the sand and such, then take it down.

A canister just doesn't do enough to justify running one all the time even without a sump. Just IMO.
The Tunze Comline would be a good option for a tank without a sump/AIO. Maybe one in each rear corner of the tank. They even have a place for a heater in them (except the 3168). Two could get you some heater redundancy in tank. Something most probably don't have with a single return pump sump/AIO. Then add a HOB skimmer to complete the setup. It would only work for tanks up to a certain size and ambient temperature, since you will be limited on heater size. Tunze specify up to 75W.

I have a 40 gallon AIO, and if I was setting up a new tank this is something I would consider trying.

I have a Marineland Internal Filter that i use on occasion when doing maintenance. Probably easier to use than an external canister.
 

Tamberav

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The Tunze Comline would be a good option for a tank without a sump/AIO. Maybe one in each rear corner of the tank. They even have a place for a heater in them (except the 3168). Two could get you some heater redundancy in tank. Something most probably don't have with a single return pump sump/AIO. Then add a HOB skimmer to complete the setup. It would only work for tanks up to a certain size and ambient temperature, since you will be limited on heater size. Tunze specify up to 75W.

I have a 40 gallon AIO, and if I was setting up a new tank this is something I would consider trying.

I have a Marineland Internal Filter that i use on occasion when doing maintenance. Probably easier to use than an external canister.

I am sure some people would like those. I got one for free and used it on QT tank. It was kinda a pain to take apart. I guess I would just not want the work which is why I would run nothing. There are nice tanks with no filtration.

I have one of those polishing filters and have tossed it in for a few hours after stirring the sand :) You can actually use it with Diatomaceous Earth which is awesome.
 

kenchilada

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This thread is funny. Here is the low down.

Canister filters, skimmers, filter socks, and roller mats are all forms of mechanical filtration. Canisters can also perform chemical filtration and biological filtration, but if you have good live rock that’s not significant. So let’s agree that in a reef, a canister is an electric filter sock where you can run carbon.

We should also agree that all mechanical filtration is only useful if you can remove the waste before it breaks down further. Socks should be changed every few days, and so a canister should have the media changed every few days.

Skimmers work via foam fractionation and will remove waste that other mechanical filters cannot. So you either have a skimmer or you don’t. Other forms of filtration can’t replace it. This limits what you can do with it, UNLESS you compensate for lack of a skimmer with large frequent water changes - which is a great option!

So knowing a canister can work and knowing it needs cleaned every few days, and you still want to use one because it’s a good fit for your scenario, here is what you can do to make it easy…

  1. Buy a canister from a company that will sell you extra bodies and baskets.
  2. If you want to “clean” the canister only twice a month, buy 4-6 sets of baskets and 2 bodies.
  3. Pack all the bodies and baskets with clean filter media, probably mostly floss and sponge. Use carbon if you want. Skip bio media, you have live rock.
  4. Twice a week, turn off the canister, remove head/lid, swap in the extra body with a fresh basket, replace lid, plug back in. Done. Toss the dirty basket out on the porch.
  5. Once a month, clean all the dirty baskets at the same time.

Easy. Same schedule as socks, just a little more work. I ran a 55G softie tank this way for years, skimmerless, and it was fine. Do a big water change on the day you clean your baskets.

Worked in the 90s, works today, even if you won’t see this on YouTube.
 
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ingchr1

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I am sure some people would like those. I got one for free and used it on QT tank. It was kinda a pain to take apart. I guess I would just not want the work which is why I would run nothing. There are nice tanks with no filtration.

I have one of those polishing filters and have tossed it in for a few hours after stirring the sand :) You can actually use it with Diatomaceous Earth which is awesome.
Other than a skimmer, I haven't been running any mechanical filtration for some time. I initial ran the socks that came with the tank. Got tired of cleaning them, so switched over to floss. Thought that was wastfull, so switch over to Aquamesh medium (blue #3). Most everything passes through it. I rinse it with water changes once a month, but it's really not needed. One unexpected benefit is that it made the overflows a lot quieter.

Being able to use DE is a nice benefit of that filter, just wish there was somewhere to buy DE. I don't need 50lbs of the stuff from a pool store. I have the SR Aquaristik DE, but as reported it's too fine. Took hours to charge the filter and then it clogs kinda quickly.

20221001_112833.jpg
 

TangerineSpeedo

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that’s because it is temperate though. I also have a temperate tank and it is an aio and the acrylic does not get dirty the same way a reef tank does. In fact the whole tank does not suffer from what reef tanks do regardless of what happens or neglect haha. I have never seen a temperate tank with Dino or cyano.

apples and oranges.
Yes I know you have a temperate tank and we should compare notes. But I will politely disagree on that one. Both of my temperate tanks has had cyano and dino issues. Cyano still may pop its head up every once in a while. I view my tide pool temperate tanks as reef tanks. I have shrimp, anemones, sea stars, non photosynthetic corals, bivalves etc. Besides the temp, I treat both my tropical and my temperate tanks the same. P.S. I run my temperates at 64-65 deg. My 13.5 surge still has plenty of algae issues in both my glass tank and my acrylic surge sump. but that tank deals with a lot of nutrients.
IMG_9376.jpeg
 

Tamberav

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Yes I know you have a temperate tank and we should compare notes. But I will politely disagree on that one. Both of my temperate tanks has had cyano and dino issues. Cyano still may pop its head up every once in a while. I view my tide pool temperate tanks as reef tanks. I have shrimp, anemones, sea stars, non photosynthetic corals, bivalves etc. Besides the temp, I treat both my tropical and my temperate tanks the same. P.S. I run my temperates at 64-65 deg. My 13.5 surge still has plenty of algae issues in both my glass tank and my acrylic surge sump. but that tank deals with a lot of nutrients.
IMG_9376.jpeg

perhaps it’s a temp thing. Mine is a bit colder at 56. I did seed it with rock but assume you do too.

It is also 8 years old now. It’s my do nothing tank lol I do think it I did regular water changes I would have more coralline tho. It grows then dies off… assuming when it uses up whatever from the last water change.

I do wish I had a slow auto water changer for it.


great looking tanks!
 
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So I’ve been checking out videos of all the different HOB overflows available in case the other options aren’t options. I was wondering, what is the point of the grill and overflow box? Why wouldn’t a lily pipe or any other pipe work? Isn’t it just a siphon at the end of the day?

to be honest, I’d much rather have glass lily pipes that are clear and need to be cleaned once a week than a big box on the back or the side. Am I missing something?
 

Sleepingtiger

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So I’ve been checking out videos of all the different HOB overflows available in case the other options aren’t options. I was wondering, what is the point of the grill and overflow box? Why wouldn’t a lily pipe or any other pipe work? Isn’t it just a siphon at the end of the day?

to be honest, I’d much rather have glass lily pipes that are clear and need to be cleaned once a week than a big box on the back or the side. Am I missing something?
Several reasons.
The internal overflow box is height adjustable. Basically you can adjust water height of your tank
Incase of of power outrage, the tank will start to flow again when power is on.
When the power goes out, water will continue to drain into the sump until water level of the aquarium is below the threshold where water is no longer draining into the internal overflow. Because of the box and there is still water in it. The box will keep a siphon. If there is no box, the siphon will drain until the water level is below the lily pipe and suck air. Once that happens, your siphon has been broken. When the power goes back on, your sump will run dry until a siphon is established.
 
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simplicity

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Several reasons.
The internal overflow box is height adjustable. Basically you can adjust water height of your tank
Incase of of power outrage, the tank will start to flow again when power is on.
When the power goes out, water will continue to drain into the sump until water level of the aquarium is below the threshold where water is no longer draining into the internal overflow. Because of the box and there is still water in it. The box will keep a siphon. If there is no box, the siphon will drain until the water level is below the lily pipe and suck air. Once that happens, your siphon has been broken. When the power goes back on, your sump will run dry until a siphon is established.
Ok, so basically the box prevents all of the water from draining out of the tank into the sump/floor.
 

doubleshot00

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I ran a canister for 5 months before i went to a sump. I only cleaned it every 2-3 weeks. Always had gfo in it and a bag of chemi pure. My levels were pretty solid. Now that i have a sump the only advantage i really see is having a refugium, more water volume and no crap in the display (why i wanted a sump). Maybe I'm wrong on that but my tank runs about the same in the last month with a sump. Maybe ill see the advantages in the long term.

I will say a sump is a royal pain in the butt to tune correctly. To get the water volume to always stay where you want it in the display. But I'm still learning here so i most likely don't know what I'm doing.

IMO a canister is just easier for the rookie as long as they have the right expectations.
 

Tamberav

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I ran a canister for 5 months before i went to a sump. I only cleaned it every 2-3 weeks. Always had gfo in it and a bag of chemi pure. My levels were pretty solid. Now that i have a sump the only advantage i really see is having a refugium, more water volume and no crap in the display (why i wanted a sump). Maybe I'm wrong on that but my tank runs about the same in the last month with a sump. Maybe ill see the advantages in the long term.

I will say a sump is a royal pain in the butt to tune correctly. To get the water volume to always stay where you want it in the display. But I'm still learning here so i most likely don't know what I'm doing.

IMO a canister is just easier for the rookie as long as they have the right expectations.

Sounds like something is funky.... there is no really tuning the water in the display. The box height pretty much determines it. Unless you mean the pipes in a herbie/bean animal inside the box.... gate valve makes this fairly easy. A ball valve will often cause frustration though.
 
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doubleshot00

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Sounds like something is funky.... there is no really tuning the water in the display. The box height pretty much determines it. Unless you mean the pipes in a herbie/bean animal inside the box.... gate valve makes this fairly easy. A ball valve will often cause frustration though.
Yes bean animal inside the overflow box . That height sometimes will go down and up. I have a gate valve.

IMO i think its the pump that looses a little bit of power from gunk. I have two return pumps. One dc and one ac. Ac runs the UV only. DC runs everything else.
 

Tamberav

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Yes bean animal inside the overflow box . That height sometimes will go down and up. I have a gate valve.

IMO i think its the pump that looses a little bit of power from gunk. I have two return pumps. One dc and one ac. Ac runs the UV only. DC runs everything else.

ah ya.. maybe the pump. I have a eheim and it never changes even tho I never clean it.. :) I don't think much gunk makes it to that chamber either tho.
 
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