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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can / should i set up a canister filter with my 90 gallon all in one? We just started stocking Africans (2-3"), have 15 now, thinking 25 is a good number. I've seen folks use both sump and canister, so I think will help with filtration and the clarity of my water. Thoughts? Also, I am thinking a Fluval FX4 would be sufficient if this set-up is worth wild. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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My Goodness! An, 'all in one' aquarium filtration system? :?
Hmmmmm.... well then, let's work this one out.
1) Sump Filtration. Sure! There are a LOT of advantages in using a sump filtration system for an aquarium. A big one I suppose, would be the additional water volume added to the overall tank capacity. This is not insignificant, esp, if you want to provide a particularly LARGE sump for this. Additionally, you cannot overlook the benefit of overflow intake type filtration. Removing the 'bio-slime' from the surface water of a freshwater aquarium is always a good thing. Overflow intake box(s) for the sump will do this surface skimming job better than just about anything else....
2) Canister filtration. Duz-it-all. Mechanical, biological and water 'polishing' capability in one handy, semi-cylindrical package. Sure! Awwww.... but it's a shame they don't really do surface skimming all that well! Yes, canister filtration systems do have a hard time dealing with that pesky bio-slime layer on the water surface of the aquarium. (Hang On Back filters, or even air stones are usually employed to dissipate the dreaded surface slime layer in particularly bad cases...).
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So.... what IS an aquarium filtration sump, exactly? Well, it's a water reservoir (usually) sited below the aquarium it services. Water to the sump is almost always provided by intake overflow box(s). When the pump providing discharge water for the sump is turned off, the water in the aquarium will drain down to the level of the overflow box lip - filling the sump with a manageable (not overflowing) amount of water. A water pump provides discharge water from the sump back to the aquarium. (Management of the discharge water provided by the sump is an entirely different discussion....).
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KEY WORDS: 'DISCHARGE PUMP'.
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Meaning? The sump could care less what kind of discharge water pump is utilized to provide return water flow back to the tank.
So....let's say the return pump from the sump is provided by a canister filter.
Yep.
The intake for the canister filter is actually sited down in the sump. Discharge water from the canister filter is placed directly into the tank.

It works!

You've now got the highly desired surface-skimming intake system, along with the additional water capacity of the sump itself - now using a canister filter to provide discharge water to the tank. And, if you direct the intake water to the sump, first through a 'wet/dry -trickle' filter? You will then provide clean/filtered water to the canister that is COMPLETELY SATURATED with oxygen. Whew... biological filtration for a canister filter was never so optimized! And, believe it or not.... systems like this have been done! In freshwater filtration systems set up like this, the only mechanical filtration media needed by the canister filter is a final polishing layer of finer foam media for water polishing duties, (Removing dead bacteria/bio-slime' released from it's own biological media, is just about all the canister filter will have to filter out). A canister set up for use like this, is usually packed almost completely full of matrix rock (dedicated biological filtration media).
Does this sound too good to be true?
Well....it kind of is.
- Sumps are noisy. Canisters are extremely quiet.
- Canister pumps are designed to be big enough to do the job - for the canister. Driving a full, Under Gravel Jet system or some other elaborate discharge thing for the aquarium is not what a canister filter is built for... On the other hand, a dedicated sump discharge pump can be as big as well, it needs to be. For that reason, filtration systems set up like this sometimes use a canister filter along with a dedicated sump pump to provide discharge water to the aquarium.
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So yes. A supposedly 'all-in-one' sump/canister filtration system fro a freshwater aquarium is definitely a possibility. They work! And, most importantly, have definitely been built before. So, are you much of a DIY'er? Someone who likes to tinker, adjust and optimize things? Figuring out and setting up an all-in-one aquarium filtration system like this could totally be your jam, then. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
All good info thanks. So, I likely used wrong terms..apologies. The sump is built into the back of the tank, vs underneath...that's what I thought is referred to an "all in one".
 

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Okay then....
Those built-in systems ARE impressive, and they will work well to provide filtration for an aquarium. With that said?

Do you want to just simply polish the water? If so, adding a canister filter will help with that. But unfortunately, will also add to the amount of filtration equipment and maintenance you will need to periodically perform to keep things running right. :?
 

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25 is a good number for a 72" tank but think in terms of 20 for a 48" tank.
 
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