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Greetings!! I have a 55 gal aquarium with twin Emperor 400 OTB filters. I have been using the factory/stock filters sold by Marineland coupled with charcoal. I have seen several other options along with sponge filters at the end of the intake tube. What do you guys recommend??? Thanx.. Dr Bob
 

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I usually use filters as the factory intended. Sponge filters on the intake tubes are good when you are raising fry so they don't get sucked up, but otherwise they slow the flow.
 

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The only benefit I see is adding additional area for beneficial bacteria to grow. It will slow flow, and need to be regularly cleaned.
 

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I wouldn't personally run the sponge prefilter, as it will reduce flow as the two previous posters mentioned. I would recommend using filter floss in the removable media bucket in front of the manufacturer's filter (pack fairly loosely so the water still flows freely). That will extend the life of the expensive cartridges quite a bit. If you want to really save money, could you run double floss buckets on one side and the floss + manufacturer cartridge on the other, but you'd need an extra bucket to pull that off. Even a single cartridge should have plenty of carbon for a tank of your size. Rinse the media weekly. Depending on bioload, you'll probably want to change out of the floss monthly or so.

Once upon a time you could get 3rd party biofilter cartridges and pads cut to size, but I haven't seen them in years. If someone knows where to still get them, please post!
 

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Dr. Bob;

Dual E400s on a 55g is a decent level of filtering capacity!...I expect you could handle a high bioload if you needed to...I'd only add foam to the intakes to prevent ingestion of fry when these were around...otherwise, I'd change little on the intake side.
I also have a 55g, but with a single E400 and I love it and prefer the HOB filter to a more complicated, plumbed filter setups...tank currently only has a squadron of juvy firemouths, so very low bioload. For mechanical filtration, I have cut away the filter material of the original filter cartridges and replaced these with cut-to-size cartridges from filter stock, so no charcoal...not much change from stock there...but I have also added the Reynolds modification ( https://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/ ... icks_v.php ) on the additional media trays for biofiltering...I found this modification to be simple and a very effective, really optimal use for the additional filter slots and media trays...I highly recommend this modification for the E400s, especially if you have a higher bioload...it does require an air supply, so additional outlet on the airpump, but one of the two outlets from my Whisper 700 in service handles these easily with a splitter.

Cheers from Connecticut!
 
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