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Re: Wet/Dry Trickle filter vs Canister Filter

Shane Kaiser said:

> I am trying to decide on what type of filtration I should
> get for my new
> planted 100-125 gallon discus tank. I am torn between
> using a Eheim Pro II
> 2028 Canister filter and a trickle filter. One of my
> concerns for the filter
> is noise (The tank will be located in the bedroom). I
> want something that is
> very quiet. I know the Eheim canister filters are very
> quiet. Any comments
> on how noisy trickle filters are? I would imagine they
> are very noisy? How
> about the Eheim wet/dry canister filter? Anyone know the
> noise of that?
> Besides the noise issue, what would be better to use for
> the aquarium? I
> have generally heard that trickle filters are good for
> highly stocked tanks.
> Are there any disadvantages to a trickle filter?

Both types have advantages and disadvantages and either,
appropriately sized for your fishload, will work just fine
to mechanically filter and to convert any excess nitrites
to nitrate.

A canister is quieter but harder to clean and doesn't let
you hide your heater (unless you buy the super expensive
Eheim with the heater built in).

Sump type filters allow you to hide your heater and other
equipment easily, allow easy addition of chems without
opening the aquairiumn, if that matters to you, and are
very easy to clean -- usually just the prefilter material
in the overflow and the drip tray.  Just take the prefilter
material out and rinse and replace it every few days or as
often as needed (takes only a few minutes).

You are more likely to have noise issues with a wet/dry
although some, if not all of them can be conquered.  If you
pour thour the various board s and mail lists around --
discussons about sump systems usually center on noise
issues primarlily and secondarily on flow rate balancing
(the right size pump, how big a drain for a given pump rate
and vice versa).  If you use an aircooled pump, that is
bound to be noisier than a water cooled pump like a
submerged pump or a QuietOne (the old version).  Water in
the drain is the other primary source of noise with a sump
system.  There tends to be gurgle where the water enters
the drain if you use an overflow box.  This can be
attentuated by reducing the size of the drain opening by
placing a secondary tube into the drain.  If the water is
draining at a high flow rate, you can get gurgle in the
drain as air sucked into the drain tries to escape while
the water is flowing downward.  If the secodnary tube is
the right length, it can allow an easy path for the air to
escape and eliminate or reduce the gurgle.  YOu can also
place coarse sponge material into the drain hole at the
overflow but BE SURE it does not clog up or the name of
your "overflow: box may take on a whole new meaning.

Where the drain empties to the biotower or sump, it the
drain is not submerged below the water line in the sump but
over a drip tray, then you're bound to have the sound of
water splashing out of the drain.  This can be
substantially minimized by placing a piece of coarse sponge
between the drain and the drip tray.

All the noise from water is due to air and water mixing --
that turbulence will mean that CO2 is thrown off if you are
injecting CO2.  You won't lose it all the CO2 if you have
the overflow and sump covered, but you might find that your
CO2 use can as much as double using a sump system vs a
canister.  But note that CO2 is relatively cheap.

Wet/dry filters tend to be bigger for a given application
than a canister and that size diff might be important to

lastly, if you have access to a cheap source of acylic, you
can make a sump system yourself.  If you have to buy acylic
at normal prices, the ready made ones will cost little more
than the materials to make one.

If you want to go the rubbermaid route, you can make up a
sump system for very low cost using rubbermaid tubs -- the
web is rife with DIY plans for wet/drys.

Erik Olson has a nice short piece on a sump system he made
in the section of thekrib.com called "that Darn Plant Tank:


If cost is an issue, consider the new ViaAqua and Rena
Filstar canisters -- much cheaper than the Eheims and they
appear to be well constructed, well designed.

Good luck,
Scott H.

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