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Maybe yinz can help me decide:
I have a 75G with:
15 demasoni + (5-8 fry, these guys are as bad as convicts!)
6 Yellow labs
3 red tail botias
PH- 8.0 Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, Nitrates = near 0
Temp= 78
Crushed coral substrate
I do 50% water changes weekly. My water always seems to have tiny particles floating around. I am currently running 2 Emperor 400s. I don't know if it's the coral doing it or if it's me or if my Emperors are doing a lousy job. The fish seem happy and healthy but I am not real pleased with how my water LOOKS.
I have another 75 in my basement with a 5" severum, 4.5" JD, 3.5" spilurum and a 4" bristlenose pleco. 2 AC110s and the water is crystal clear. Using Pea Gravel purchased at Lowes. Lots less fish in this tank also, I know.
Would a canister give me the mechanical filtration i'm looking for?
I keep thinking about getting an XP3 or C-360 but I talk myself out of it because of the initial price.
 

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Mbuna Joe -

Before you go out and spend money on that canister, I want you add some filter floss (quilt batting) to the two extra media trays in the Emp 400s'. I'm almost certain, that this will take care of your problem. I really don't think you need to go out and spend any more money on filtration. You have plenty.
 

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I run a Fluval 305 canister, emperor 400 and emperor 280 in my 55g. Your "tiny particles" are probably micro bubbles given off from the emperors' when the water trickles out. I also have filter floss in both of my emperors' and I still get the micro bubbles. I am also one of the "never too much filtration" club. So it can't hurt to put a canister on plus it moves the water around nicely.
 

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I just bought a rena xp3 off ebay for exactly the same reason as you. haven't gotten it yet but I can't wait.

The problem I had with filter floss in my ac110 was that it would clog up pretty quick, and because the ac has some bypass it would then bypass too much. I think filter floss is only a good call for filters with no bypass.
 

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I think your problem is the actual substrate. *** been debating the same issue and have finally come to that conclusion. I just set up a new 150gal and used aragonite and it always seems to keep small particles suspended in the water. *** had the tank set up for almost 3 months now and it has completely settled and I still have "some" particles floating around in there. If I stir up the aragonite to add new plants etc.. it takes foreverrrrrrrr to settle again and when it does you can see all the little particles that were suspended in the water now resting on the rocks. My water is not cloudy or anything though. I have a canister c-360 and two emperors 400s packed with floss and there seems to be no way to avoid these particles.
 

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Might try Seachem's Clarity and Bio 3 cartridges
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+4136+13371&pcatid=13371

Clarity will help the cartridge take out the fine particles and the Bio 3 Cartridges do an excellent job of filtering but clog faster than floss or the Emperor cartridges. Use Clarity, change the cartridge after the tank clears. If you don't replace the cartridge after using Clarity, it may just release back in the water.

A canister may or may not help your problem. It depends on the media you use in it.
 
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