Starting From Scratch(ish)


New member

I'm starting a new-ish tank that I inherited from my Dad. It is a 75 gallon tank with a 40 gallon sump. Now that the tank is in pieces, I have the chance to redesign the filtration system to create a system that makes sense for what I need.

I'll have a handful of fish and mostly corals. I generally like the simple, soft corals, but would like to add a few NPS corals. I realize these can be a LOAD on a filtration system though.

I have a separate canister filter as well as a skimmer for the sump. What else can I add to the sump to make this an efficient system? I've seen contradictory information on bio balls vs. charcoal vs. filter pad vs. a refugium. Help!

Vinny Kreyling

Premium Member
Bio balls are not good for corals, charcoal has been shown to bring Lateral Line Disease to some fish. Just happened to me, so intermittent use only if water is yellow tinted. Filter pads will require steady replacing & cleaning if reused. Refugium's can be hit & miss & generally too small. I would opt for either more rock or something like a Marine Pure Block to increase filtration that way. Cannister filters can be used as a media filter & are really not used with saltwater otherwise.


New member
Oooh ok, thanks for the suggestion. Your explanations on the different sump options are exactly what I was running into!

I'll research the Marine Pure Block and see what I find! Thanks!


Convince'em or confuse'em
I used marine pure for over two years with good results, however it is extremely brittle and easy to damage when handled (like cleaning the sump). I changed to Eshopps bio lux, a ceramic product that holds up much better.