Help with canister filter

wetjet43

New member
I'm not exactly sure what I should be putting into this thing as a fiter media. Right now, I have it loaded up with activated carbon which is sitting on a single layer of basic filter fiber pad. I know carbon pulls everything out of the water, even the good stuff.

Maybe I can get rid of the canister filter altogether?? I have it returning it's water above the water level right now, so it's helping with o2 exchange.

I have a reef setup with mostly live rock, and a single anemone, some clown fish and a small blue tang in a 55gal with a 1.5" sand bed.

I've got a protein skimmer and 2 power nozzles on each end of the tank, pointed toward the center-back, and the other pointed toward the center-front.

I cant seem to keep my nitrates under control without weekly 10 gal water changes.

I'm using rodi water.

There's not really anything that is aerating the sandbed though. Well, I had a little snail that used to dig in the sand, but a hermit crab decided it wanted it's shell more than the snail wanted it, so it ate it, and stole it's shell. When I sift through it, it emits a nasty light brown colored cloud. It's gotta be pure nitrate, or something!

I also ALWAYS have organgeish-brown algae on my sand bed, and super hard green algae on the sides of my tank. It's almost as hard as the pink coralline algae that grown on the glass.

I'd appreciate any ideas anybody has for me.

Thank you!
 

Sugar Magnolia

Mother of Dachshunds
Staff member
RC Mod
HOw often are you cleaning out the canister filter? I use mine to run carbon, GFO and chemipure. Mine gets taken offline every two weeks to clean out the inside of the canister.
 

jbird69

New member
The canister is possibly the reason for nitrates. How old is your tank? any biological matter that gets hung up in your canister will decompose and will add to nitrate problems. That is why they need to be cleaned often. With very regular cleaning, water changes and the correct ensemble of media, you can have a successful reef tank with a canister...its just not ideal.
 

wetjet43

New member
What media would you recommend? And what should I do about my sandbed? just get some little critter to dig around in it?
 

Dave Harms

Premium Member
I run my Eheim canister with a carbon pad, a fine filter pad, a course filter pad ans substrat pro. Definitely have to keep it fresh to avoid nitrates.

How much sand do you have? I am currently running less than 1" in my tank, soon to be going bare bottom just because I like the looks.
 

circusink22

New member
i run a eheim, i clean it every 3 weeks 10% water change every 2 weeks,
that works good for me,
i let the cleaning go longer that 3 weeks once and my nitrates went way up in return that snowballed into other problems. i change the pads when i clean the canister. when i do my next setup i will deffinetly use a sump, not too fond of the canisterbut it does the job just make sure too keep it clean.
also what kind of clean up crew do you have? i have a good amount of stuff that keeps my sand bed pretty clean
 

tarpon12

New member
granular ferric oxide. Its used to remove phosphates in which algae consumes. I to had the same problem as circusink. My nitrates shot up if I didnt clean it more than 1 per two weeks. So its just sitting in my garage. I have a sand sifting goby that stirs up the sand bed. Does a pretty good job too!
 

wetjet43

New member
I've got a handful of hermit crabs, some mexican turbo snails, and that's it.

I'll have to get a sand sifting goby... but the ONLY real saltwater fish store in reno, nv. just closed it's doors.

I hate petko! They keep thier fish in what appears to be battery acid...
 

circusink22

New member
haha ya all petco are pretty nasty, but anyway you said some turbos
what size is your tank how many snails do you have
if the tank is big enough try a sand sifter star, mabey some of those mini brittle stars, search the web for a good site and look for cleaner crews
 

wetjet43

New member
I have a 55gal bowfront. I've got 5 turbosnails in it. I don't know where I'd get a sand sifter around here... The only saltwater lfs around here shut down. I'd hate to mail order a fish.
 

circusink22

New member
i dont think 5 turbos are enough, the sandsifter would probly die after a while anyway from lack of food they are big in a 55, thats what i have. I have a few different snails some were hitchhikers, i would say i have around 20 some combined snails, countless mini brittle stars hundreds of those tiny hitchhiking stars, somewere around 20 hermits 1coral banded shrimp 1 sea hair along with other random worms and such
 

hhaase

New member
WetJet;

Which cannister filter are you running? How much carbon is in there? I only ask, because you said that the filter is "loaded up". It's very possible that you just have too much filter media in it. Since you're already using RO/DI water for the changes, you won't need much in the way of carbon as there is little for it to remove. The excess nitrates from cannister filters come from the bacteria and detrius that settle into the media, great for freshwater but not so great for salt. If there is more than a cup of carbon in there, I'd try reducing the amount of filter media in the cannister. Perhaps try a single packet of Chemi-Pure or 100ml pack of Purigen in place of the carbon? As an example, I run a Cascade 1500 filter in my own tank. But 2 of the 4 baskets are empty right now. I only use floss to pack around bags of media, to control the flow. In this case, less stuff is better unless you particularly need a lot of a certain type of media.

You also said you have "Some" clownfish, does this mean 2-3? 5+ fish?. The high nitrates could also be a symptom of too high of a bio-load for the volume of the tank. How often and how much are you feeding? With all that algae, you can probably get away with a single feeding every other day.

And as to the live rock, how much do you have? 50lbs? More? Less? Live rock is usually great for controlling the nitrates. I'd also get in there with a syphon and really give the sand a good cleaning while doing the water changes, pull all that dead algae detrius out of there. This is likely contributing to the algae as well.

The algae is probably feeding on the nitrates, and reducing that will most likely have an effect on the algae.

And just to toss the idea out there. Try testing the RO/DI water before adding it to the tank. It's always possible that there could be an issue with that filter as well. I'd rate this unlikely, but a quick test can at least rule it out for sure.

-Hans
 
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wetjet43

New member
I'm running a cascade canister filter. It has 2 layers, or baskets for loading up with anything you want. I have a single layer of basic floss type filter media in each basket basically for trapping whatever hits, and holding the carbon, and on top of that in each basket, is the carbon.

I have 2 very small clown fish, one small blue hippo tang, a firefish gobby, and a missing royal grama that I think lived for a whole 5 seconds after putting it in the tank day before yesterday before the anemone got it. I haven't seen it since.

I have about 40 - 50 lbs of LR, a 1.5 - 2" deep sand bed, all in a 55 gal bowfront.
 

hhaase

New member
Hmmm.... I'm guessing it's the Cascade 700, the one they rate for 75 gallon tanks? It's a solid filter, I would keep it in there unless you were to go with a sump system or phosban reactors. At the very least, it does provide more water flow.

Stock levels seem fine. More than enough live rock and sand. Total water flow should be fine when including the skimmer and powerheads. This is providing that the heads are big enough.

I'd just leave one of the baskets empty, and in the other basket only put a bag of carbon in there. Take all the floss out of the filter totally. Just make sure to do it in stages, instead of one big cleanout of the filter. Otherwise you could get a nasty ammonia spike.

Between the live rock and RO water being used for changes, you don't need heavy chemical filtration. As mentioned, I would consider replacing the carbon with Purigen, as it does an insane job in absorbing ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Just a single 100ml bag would be enough, and you can recharge the stuff and reuse it too.

The skimmer. Does it by any chance have any bio-balls or other biological media in it such as the BakPak skimmer? That would be another source of nitrates. If so, run it without.

And don't forget that you only get nitrates if there is a source for the bio-reaction. Heavy feeding is a huge source, as will be the decaying algae you have in there. Clean out the algae as best you can, and cut back on the food.

-Hans
 

hhaase

New member
I have the remora Pro as well on my 90. Fantastic skimmer choice. Do you have the optional overflow box for the intake? If so, you might want to take the foam out of it.

I just wanted to make sure it wasn't a variation of this skimmer.
http://www.cpraquatic.com/products/bakpaks.html

-Hans

p.s. Kites, huh? I keep wanting to upgrade to a 4-line, but my money keeps going into other hobbies. But I do have a 2-line kit and a 2-line parafoil that I fly at the beach sometimes.
 

wetjet43

New member
Yeah, I've got the overflow box for the intake. It doesn't have any foam in it though...


Yeah, I'm a total kite nut. I have a few Prism's, and a 12' power foil that I like to get drug around with. The revolutions are pretty fun! A bit of a learning curve, but if you have been flying for a while, it's an easy transition.
 
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