Confused about types of filtration

Deletedddd333
  • #1
I'm just beginning to convert my 29 gal cichlid tank into salt water. I have already decided for sure that I will be getting live rock, because I've researched that it is very bennifial and helps you out with natural filtration. I also have a HOB filter that is for up too 55 gals, and cleans my 29 gal perfectly.
What I need help on is I can't decided if I really need a protein skimmer, because everywhere I read, some say it's a must while others disagree, stating it removes important bacteria. So with live rock and a filter do I still need a skimmer?
And I am also confused on powerheads, I understand the purpose is to keep the water circulating, but do I put one it, or more? Can I put power heads with my filter and Live rock and avoid a skimmer?

Thank you!
(Btw my tank is going to be a FOWLR! No corals yet!)
 
Claire Bear
  • #2
HI and welcome.
This gets very confusing as everyone has their own opinion.
Is a skimmer a must? No, however it is by far my favorite piece of reef equipment.

A skimmer gets the nasties out of the tank. I have had a reef up for just over a year-a fairly new tank in the world of saltwater. The skimmer pulls so much smelly stuff out-you just would not believe what comes out.
I personally want anything that makes reef keeping easier! For me, that includes powerheads that turn the water over 10xs an hour, live rock and a skimmer.
You really don't need a HOB for a saltwater tank as it is much more efficient to use live rock, powerheads and a skimmer, imo.
However, you can use an HOB to polish the water or remove things that require carbon to remove as it could hold the carbon for you-I use one once in a while when I think my water needs a little cleaning-more than a sock gives although I use those routinely.
Here is a link that has really great info for you to read and reread (I know I still refer back to it at times).
https://www.fishlore.com/saltwater-aquarium-reef-tank-book.htm
 
AquaticBrandon
  • #3
I have heard that skimmers are not needed for smaller tanks. But it is recommend because you will have to do less water changes. I'm currently not running a skimmer in my tank but I do weekly water changes. With a skimmer I might be able to do water changes every other week instead of weekly. It does help and you can find some pretty cheap ones. As for the powerheads. I recommend a lot of flow in your tank. The more flow the better, with more flow there won't any dead spots in the tank. More importantly on the live rock. I will say maybe 2-3 powerheads should be good.


 
Deletedddd333
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
I have heard that skimmers are not needed for smaller tanks. But it is recommend because you will have to do less water changes. I'm currently not running a skimmer in my tank but I do weekly water changes. With a skimmer I might be able to do water changes every other week instead of weekly. It does help and you can find some pretty cheap ones. As for the powerheads. I recommend a lot of flow in your tank. The more flow the better, with more flow there won't any dead spots in the tank. More importantly on the live rock. I will say maybe 2-3 powerheads should be good.

Thank you for the great info, about the powerheads.. Say I get 2, do I place them on the opposite side walls? So they're facing eachother? Or does it not matter where you place them, as long as it makes circulation?

Thanks!! I already started reading the book, I love learning more information on this..
 
ryanr
  • #5
Hi, welcome to Fishlore

Some great advice above. Also check out the stickies in the Saltwater Beginners (also in eBook)

Power head placement - aI'm for opposite ends of the tank, pointed toward each other. It helps create more turbulent water.

I also run a skimmer, along with weekly 10% water changes. My reef tank is very stable with this regime (also be sure to research and understand nutrient removal methods)
 
AquaticBrandon
  • #6
Thank you for the great info, about the powerheads.. Say I get 2, do I place them on the opposite side walls? So they're facing eachother? Or does it not matter where you place them, as long as it makes circulation?

I have them facing the opposite sides. I have the hydor Koralia 425's


 
Slug
  • #7
I run a skimmer as well, I love it. I consider it my fail safe (though not totally fail safe). It covers my back if I miss a water change or have to push the water change back a bit. Its just another form of nutrient removal from the water. No you don't need one especially for that size tank, but if you have the budget then I would lean towards getting one. A simple HOB one will work. Just a form of nutrient export.

HOB filter is nothing more than a media basket and water movement IMO for SW. I run one on my nano, its an easy spot for me to place media and filter floss since I don't run a sump. Also allows me to surface skim, again without an overflow/sump. But you won't be running it for the same reasons as FW.

I agree on the powerheads placed opposite of each other. The currents crash into each other giving you a bit more random flow. The most important thing is eliminating as many dead spots in your tank as you can so nothing settles there and causes your water to foul. So whatever gets you that result do it. You don't have to pack the tank full of powerheads, get you 1-2 larger good ones and place them where it gives you the flow you need, pair that with your HOB flow and you should be fine.
 
RyanReef
  • #8
I'm in the same position as slug. I don't have a sump so I have a hob filter that I use to run things like purigen and rowaphos. I just find it beneficial because it does give me the option to add things like that without a sump. I also have a hob skimmer. It works but not sure if it's performing as well as it could because I do have the hob filter. I feed sparingly tho so maybe that's why it doesn't pull as much gunk. That and my fish are all still pretty small
 
wbc
  • #9
GokAnn My advice is for you to skip out on the HOB and look into a canister filter. I have had issues setting mine up but its my own fault. A canister would allow for all 3 filtration types and is much more efficient. I have the same situation as you too. I ave a 29 Gallon tank with a HOB for a 55 gallon. That part is not a bad idea but the issues is that the filter gets water splashed on it then salt dries up and its a gross mess. Also I have had issues with the bio-wheel not spinning and all sorts of problems. In the end I really wish I had saved my money and bought the canister and just skipped the HOB would have saved myself like 60$ if I had.
 
LiterallyHydro
  • #10
It is my own opinion that you should avoid using canister filters on saltwater setups, but that's only because maintenance on them isn't very easy. You would need to clean them every few weeks to prevent them from becoming a nitrate factory.

Instead I would just opt for powerbeads with a flow rate equalling 30-50x turnover. I tend to point them all at the surface but there are some other setups that work well.

You won't need a skimmer if you keep up with regular maintenance, although it would be cheaper long term to use a skimmer than to go without one. If you don't use the skimmer you need to do more water changes to export nutrients and salt mix can get expensive if you are doing large weekly water changes.
I don't personally run a skimmer on my 29G reef but I do 5G water changes every week.
 
Slug
  • #11
It is my own opinion that you should avoid using canister filters on saltwater setups, but that's only because maintenance on them isn't very easy. You would need to clean them every few weeks to prevent them from becoming a nitrate factory.

100% agree with this!
 
ryanr
  • #12
Agreed, canisters on a Saltwater setup can cause more issues than they solve.
 

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