Re:drilled vs non-drilled tanks
I have a non-drilled 90 gallon planted tank, filtered by one 2015 Eheim
canister and one Hagen aquaclear 300. I am a former saltwater tank keeper,
and I sold my wet-dry filter two years ago (I switched to freshwater
planted tanks because I wanted something more challenging! ;-). I never
used my wet-dry in my freshwater tank, as I felt it was overkill.
I had a hanging surface skimmer in my saltwater tank, but I don't miss it
because surface mulm isn't a problem in my planted tank. Besides, it would
probably clog with the blooms and floating leaves from my huge swords and
apons. The aquaclear is my "workhorse" filter, as plants produce a lot of
debris. The aquaclear is a great mechanical filter, and very easy to
clean. I removed the carbon bag and added a second foam block, for extra
filtration. Mechanical filtration is a high priority for a planted tank,
in my opinion.
The eheim is used primarily as a CO2 reactor. I bubble CO2 directly into
the intake, and the outflow is on the opposite side of the tank. I removed
all the floss filtration that came with the canister and filled it with
crushed lava rock--it's cheap, porous, and provides a lot of surface area
for bacteria to colonize. Also, it does not clog with plant debris and I
don't have to clean it. I'm sure the eheim provides some biological
filtration, but compared to the plants I believe it is insignificant.
There might be a gram or two of bacterial biomass in the canister, but
there are several kilos of plant biomass in the tank. I think the ammonia
"demand" is greater from the plants than from the bacteria. I know they
My heater is obscured by my plants, and is near the intake for the
aquaclear and gets plenty of water flow.
Bottom line? My current system is easier to maintain, and is more quiet.
Also, if one of my filters fail (hard to imagine--eheims and hagens just
keep going and going; my eheim is 15 years old, and my hagen is 4), they
are easy to replace or repair.