Filter Pad Instead Of Sock

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mossman

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I'm new to the saltwater realm (no saltwater tank yet, doing research) and am curious as to why filter socks are a popular choice for sumps as opposed to a simple filter pad. From what I've read, filter socks need to be cleaned at least once a week, and can be a pain to clean. Why not use a tray with a filter pad and just replace the pad every week? I've also seen people using cups stuffed with polyfill, but same question...why the need for a cylindrical part stuffed with filter media when a simple tray with large pad can do the same thing?
 

Crazycoryfishlady

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I believe it has to do with the idea that we think carbon pads dont hold a lot of bacteria in them, but not only that, we dont always want to be using carbon.
And on the other hand still, those carbon pads can be quite expensive, especially if you're tossing them out every week, instead of just rinsing out a sock filled with ceramic rings or bioballs.
Another reason I believe, for the most part if you remove your filter pad, almost all the bacteria goes with it, (things I've learned by failing my cycles when tossing a pad and not having enough stable bacteria in the tank)
but if you just rinse out a sock with some sort of ball inside of it, there is still some bacteria trapped on the sock as well as trapped in the many layers of media like the bioballs.
I just dunk my bioball sock about 3 times in dirty water, and rub off the edges that have a lot of gunk, and then I just put it back in, never ever having to buy another filter pad or media again.
There's still gunk inside my sock, but at least I can remove caught gunk without my filter pad gaining a hole from too much flow, or it just falling apart in the water unlike ceramic or bioballs would.
10 dollars for life sounds good to me!
 
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mossman

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Now you have me confused...aren't the socks in a saltwater tank solely for coarse filtering? I thought the rock and sand inside the tank are the actual bio media. If any media is placed inside the sump, it is for use in a quarantine tank, should the need arise. I didn't mean carbon pad, I meant the polyfill batting (or whatever it's called). You can buy rolls of it for cheap. Removing/replacing it every week shouldn't have any effect on the cycle, as the majority of the BB is in the rock and sand inside the display tank. I've never heard of anyone putting bio balls inside the sock. You'd end up with very dirty media if you did so. Am I missing something?
 

Jesterrace

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Some people use filter pads or floss for their sumps and just toss them, but trust me they will be more work as you would have to be changing them on a near daily basis. I run a 90 gallon tank with 5 fish (to be fair I feed on the heavy side) and my 7X16 filter sock is done after 3 days. The other advantage to filter socks is that they can be washed and reused so in the long run it's more cost effective to buy 8-10 filter socks and simply rotate, rinse, wash and reuse for a few years. Take a look at this video I did of filter sock changing and maintenance and you can see the kind of gunk that a gleaming white filter sock can pick up in 3 days:

 
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mossman

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Okay but why a sock and not a flat pad? Is it a surface area thing?
 

Jesterrace

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Part of it is the surface area and you would need a really large filter pad and the other is that filter pads generally aren't as good at filtering things out. For example my Filter Socks are 200 microns and the best filter pad I could find was 100 microns.
 
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mossman

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I can understand the surface area argument, and I'm betting that is the main advantage. BTW, a 100 micron filter is finer than a 200 micron filter (100 micron can filter to as small as 0.1mm particles and 200 micron to as small as 0.2mm).
 
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mossman

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Why is it that a saltwater sump setup needs more filtering surface area? If I can get away with a 4" x 6" pad in an HOB on my 55 gallon planted freshwater tank, why do I need 10 times the area for a saltwater tank with no plants? Don't saltwater tanks generate less coarse waste that requires filtering?
 
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