The essence of Noob (WRT Filtration)

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by Relborg, 9 Jul 2011.

  1. Relborg

    Relborg

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    The essence of Noob

    Hey guys

    For my first marine tank(I have been in the FW world for the past 7 years) So now I've been reading and reading and read myself into confusion with regard to filtration. I haven't even considered species yet(I would like with time some of the easier soft corals with a few fish and inverts). I am right now just trying to figure out what filtration to use:

    I will hopefully have a 100 gallon tank with a sump obviously have a sump but I don't what goes with what?

    1 - Do I have a DSB with a skimmer - is that enough?
    I have read of guys not using skimmers (I can't get my head around not using one)
    1b - if I have my dsb in my sump how does that affect my choice of substrate
    2 - Do I need a wet/dry trickle filter too or filter wool with the above?
    3 - What about algea scrubbers and vodka methods?
    4 - is a refugium needed as I've read you shouldn't use your DSB as one
    5 - I'm planning to have live rock and how does that affect my above decisions
    6 - should I consider UV filtration?
    7 - what about canister filters as I've read about ppl using them in conjunction with the above

    So how do I know what would work best and what goes with what?

    Lol and I haven't even figured out how to mix my water with salt yet ...

    So much to learn so far to go, struggling to control my imagination ...
     
    Last edited: 10 Jul 2011
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  3. Tremayn

    Tremayn

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    we need to know what you plan on stocking :)
     
    Last edited: 9 Jul 2011
  4. 459b

    459b Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Welcome to MASA!
    Sounds like you've been doing alot of reading. I know the feeling..seems like the more you read, the fewer answers you get.
    Filtration will depend heavily on what species you plan to keep. It will also depend on space, budget and amount of time you have to spend on maintenance.
    For a tank with softies and a few fish, your best bet would be the standard three compartment sump (ie, skimmer chamber, DSB and then return chamber). You need to read up on what each component of filtration does and design what will work best for you. In brief:
    1 - A skimmer and DSB fill two different roles. You can run a skimmerless tank but then youll need something to compensate for that. Normally guys will run large algae scrubbers on skimmerless tanks.
    1b - wont effect substrate choice at all. But if you can go for aragonite as substrate.
    2 - wet/dry arent really used anymore. Filter wool is good at removing particulate matter. I run some before my skimmer..you just need to wash/change it very regularly.
    3 - Both work well, depending on what else you have. Also look into NP if you interested in carbon dosing.
    4 - refugium helps with nurient export. You can have it in the saem compartment as the DSB, just make sure its above the dsb so that it doesnt restrict the flow of water of the dsb. A remote refugium is ideal but not everyone has the space for it.
    5 - liverock is the main filtration in your tank. What else you choose can effect how much liverock youll need.
    6 - you can consider it, not neccessary when you initially set up the tank.
    7 - you can run carbon and phosphate media in canister filters. I wouldnt rely on them for filtration though.

    How to figure out what works best? Look through the members tanks and see how they run their tanks. Find the type tank you like and see how they do the filtration. Then plan your own based on what works for them. Dont hesitate to ask questions.

    Hope that helped a bit.
     
    Last edited: 10 Jul 2011
  5. Meneer

    Meneer

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    You been talking to JsPLAYn' to much??? :jiggy:
     
  6. crispin

    crispin

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    Hello relborg and welcome to masa. great to hear that you are ready to dive into the dark side, i promise you marines are far more fun than bath water fish.

    it sounds like you are hitting info overload and the two guys above have answered you well with regards to specific questions so I am, not going to add to that.

    perhaps it will help you if i break filtration down into bite sized pieces and then you can build up from that.

    Basically with marines all you are doing is looking after water. Its realy as simplistic as that. What we put into the perfectly cared for water and how we care for the water is a matter of personal choice, but it all comes down to water quality and water parametyer stability.

    There are three primary aspects of filtration of a marine tank.
    • Biological filtration
    • Mechanical Filtration
    • Chemical filtration.

    Let me expand each section with the most common used systems, although this is by NO means an exhaustive list, im just keeping it simple for now.

    In biological filtration we use a number of aspects to help us process waste (Nitrogen in particular) in a system. There are for commonly used forms of biological filtration:
    1. Live rock
    2. Sand beds (dsb and ssb)
    3. Macro algaes (including ATS)
    4. living micro organisms that for part of a clean up crew in the tank.

    Live rock
    Within the structure of Live Rock we have a mass of bacteria, some aerobic and some anaerobic. LR gets its name from the work all these bacteria do for us, the rock forms the basis of our reef and the basis of our filtration. Some recommend 1kg of good quality LR to 10l of overall water volume, as a rule of thumb. Personally I like big reefs in my display tank so I have lots of LR, some like smaller amounts with more open areas, but if there is a lack of LR in the DT then its normally stored in the sump or it is overcompensated in another area of filtration. Note that the bacterial populations in LR (and the sand bed) are of massive importance and constantly changing. A new tank often has to ‘cycle’ so these populations can increase or decrease until they are stable, and from then on the LR will mature much in the same way. I’ve always thought of LR as the ‘lungs’ of my system, and it forms the backbone of my biological filtration. Consequently I use the best quality I can find.

    Then there are all sorts of other additional things we can use to increase the biological aspect of out systems. Things like macro algae grown in a section of the sump, will absorb nutrients to grow and thus filter the water. Mangroves do the same. You might read about an Algae Turf Scrubber ATS, which is basically a system designed to optimise the growth of algae’s in a specific easy to reach section so it can out compete for the food source for other algae’s which might grown in undesirable places (display tank for example.) Some people might use mangrove plants in a similar way, all just nutrient uptake so as to use the available N within the water and thus remove it, making the display tank better.

    A DSB (better described as a DLSB deep live sand bed) and a SSB (shallow sand bed) are also aspects of the biological filtration. When the presence of oxygen is depleted oxygen loving bacteria are out competed by another set of bacteria which like an oxygen deficient zone. These so called ‘anaerobic bacteria’ are very useful in that they metabolise nitrates within the water column and remove it. Normally aerobic bacteria only convert nitrites to nitrates and thus we have an undesirable build up of NO3 in our tanks. There is a lot written about a dsb, so read up on them, specifically on the footprint required for them to have an effect.

    Mechanical filtration is much easier. Its basically a set of machines we use to move or remove waste products from the tank. The most notable is a skimmer and the size and variety in which skimmers come is confusing in its own right. Personally I like well stocked tanks with fat fish so I tend to feed heavily. Consequently I sue a skimmer that is rated well over double the volume of water I have in the tank. If you are just starting out id suggest getting a good quality skimmer rated for 1.5-2 times the tanks volume. Most skimmers come with a rating of say 800l-1200l. that’s to say that it should be able to handle the waste produced in a tank within that range. For your size tank you would need a skimmer able to process between 800l and 1500l.

    There are other machines that sort of fall into mechanical filtration, things like internal flow within a tank to keep the detritus in suspension so that skimmers and other forms of filtration can access and process it.

    Chemical filtration is similar to mechanical except that we use a chemical media to achieve the desired results, often in a chamber or fluid reactor of some sort. Things like phosphate remover, or carbon are often placed in reactors and water pumped through the chamber. This allows the chemical substance to bind certain elements in the water and thus remove them.


    That’s a very simple look at filtration, basically the way a tank is normally set up (note I say NORMALLY, as there are many ways to keep water clean) is to have 1kg LR to 10l water, an over sized skimmer, a good sized DSB, some macro algae grown in the sump and a reactor or two to house phosphate removers or carbon. Try keep ones sump simple.

    Always remember that it takes time to filter water, and for the filtering capacity of the biological aspect to increase to full capacity. Leave things to develop slowly, it will give you better and easier to manage water (and thus a better tank) in the long run.


    Time for coffee!
     
  7. Relborg

    Relborg Thread Starter

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    Thanks guys - so a DSB and a decent skimmer(damn they expensive) it is .

    Next I've been reading about the chemicals at play in a marine tank, now i understand amonia, nitrate, nitrite, PH ie the basics

    can any one suggest good reading to get to grips on the rest (ie phosphates, calcium, iodine, alkalinity, Magnesium, boron) and how they all tie in as google is getting a bit contradictory?

    Thanks for the guidance so far
     
  8. crispin

    crispin

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    wow i had a lot of time on my hands yesterday, i hadnt realised i had typed that much


    there are some good links Relborg I will see what I can dig up for you AFTER ive gotten my coffee :)
     
  9. crispin

    crispin

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    skimmers seem expensive when you first lay the cash on the table, but i for one think that money spend on a quality machine is money well spend, it will save you and the tank alot of heart ache over the next five years :)
     
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  10. Relborg

    Relborg Thread Starter

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    Another noob question and strange I can't find this info

    Do you guys just use RO water or a 50/50 mix of RO water and dechlored tap water?

    Nevermind got the answer: only RO water
     
    Last edited: 12 Jul 2011
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