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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I'm a new member and am just getting back into the hobby after 35 years so I apologize if this is an obvious question to the experts around here. I am running a 110 gallons tank for a few months already. I did a fish-less cycle and added a bunch of juvenile peacocks a month or two ago.

The existing setup consist of a DIY dry/wet filter full of bio-balls, a huge canister (mechanical filter only), a UV filter unit and a noisy external pump. This was all part of a used kit I bought for a very good price. Water is great. Fishes are happy. Plants are growing... but... its noisy as **** and small random leaks are starting to get on my nerves.

So, I've decided to replace all of filter setup by a 40 gallon sump with mechanical filtration, some matrix bio media and a refugium chamber.

I have not decided yet if I'll keep the UV filter or not, any advice about this would be welcome

The matrix media is submerged at the bottom of the curent trickle filter for about 3 weeks. I obviously want to maintain the BBs in the system such that the tank does not go through another cycle after installing the new sump next weekend.

I'll add new filter floss and transfer the submerged matrix (2 Litres).

I also thought of placing the colonized bio-balls in the refugium and slowly take them out over the course of a month or so.

Do you think its worth it or too much of an overkill ?

Thanks,
Mats.
 

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I don't see any harm in letting the bio-balls move into the sump and then move out over time. It sounds like you've got it well planned out!
 

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Sumps are noisier than canisters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Agreed about that but in this case, the external pump is making all the noise, not the canister itself (a nu-clear 500)
 

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DJRansome said:
Sumps are noisier than canisters.
It's difficult to get a sump to be as quiet as a canister, but it can be - if not more quiet. Especially if you have a noisy pump. A submerged pump will always be more quiet than an external one.

Also, there is no such thing as mechanical filtration only. BBs will settle everywhere they find a surface, and mechanical filtration media like sponges and old fashioned filter floss offer a lot of surface area. Manufacturers would like you to believe otherwise to buy expensive bio filtration media, which in most cases are not needed.

That said, once you have the BBs established on those media, it makes perfect sense to take them over to the sump. It all sounds like a good plan.

Best of luck!
 

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Why do you want to remove the bio balls? They work fine for filtration, yes there are other alternatives, but I'm not convinced that others are so much better that it is worth scrapping what you have to get something else. Currently running ~8 gallons or so of bio balls with poret foam in a large sump for my 180 tropheus tank. Works fine. With a 40 gal sump, you have a lot of room for media.

IMO, refuguims are more trouble than they are worth for FW tanks. Access is always cramped, catching fish in them is challenging, dealing with lights etc. under the stand sucks, they also take up a good deal of real estate which could be better utilized with filter media. Unless the refugium is the only option, but far better to me would be a separate tank.

The simpler the sump can be, the easier it is to maintain and run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for these insights guys, I really appreciate it.

fmueller said:
Also, there is no such thing as mechanical filtration only. BBs will settle everywhere they find a surface, and mechanical filtration media like sponges and old fashioned filter floss offer a lot of surface area. Manufacturers would like you to believe otherwise to buy expensive bio filtration media, which in most cases are not needed.
Can't disagree... I simply wanted to convey the fact there was not other media than the filter cartridge itself.

nodima said:
Why do you want to remove the bio balls? They work fine for filtration, yes there are other alternatives, but I'm not convinced that others are so much better that it is worth scrapping what you have to get something else. Currently running ~8 gallons or so of bio balls with poret foam in a large sump for my 180 tropheus tank. Works fine. With a 40 gal sump, you have a lot of room for media.
I was under the impression the BBs colony on the bioballs would have a hard time getting from a wet/dry to a submerged environment, hence the plan to remove them gradually.

Also, I eventually want to reuse the existing filter on an other tank that will get installed in the basement later on. Noise won't matter as much down there compared to the living room location. Eventual leaks will also be easier to deal with on a concrete floor with a drain.

nodima said:
IMO, refuguims are more trouble than they are worth for FW tanks. Access is always cramped, catching fish in them is challenging, dealing with lights etc. under the stand sucks, they also take up a good deal of real estate which could be better utilized with filter media. Unless the refugium is the only option, but far better to me would be a separate tank
I am not 100% decided on the refugium. The reason for setting up the sump with a refugium chamber is to keep my options open. I love how a planted tank help smooth out the cycle but I realize my fishes might decide to trash all the plants even if they are supposedly safe (Anubias and Java fern). If this happens, I'll have room for plants in the sump. I also might setup an algae scrubber in there instead.

I guess until I need to setup the trickle filter downstairs, I can leave the bioballs in there anyway.

However, The choice I have to make before I plumb the sump to the tank over the weekend is if I should keep th UV unit or not.

Any toughts on this ?
 

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I have never seen the need for a UV filter, I would omit.
 

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I used nothing but canister filters for the first several years I was in the hobby. I converted my old 120G tank into a sump for my 240G mainly because I didn't want to deal with the hassle of moving the 120G up the stairs from the basement and selling it (it's made of plate glass not tempered so it's very heavy especially on a tight staircase with a low ceiling). Converting it was the best decision I made. I have the sump on the other side of a wall in an adjacent room so noise is a non-issue. Cleaning the sump is so much easier that dealing with the canisters ever was. It greatly reduces the chances of my laziness causing waste to build up in the filter. The fish and I are both happier. To me sump vs canister is not even a contest.

I would definitely take my time removing the bio balls to ensure beneficial bacteria has become established in the tank and your new bio media. 4-6 weeks is probably a good timeline.
 
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