I have no idea what filtration I should get for a large tank?


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Moline, Illinois
5 to 10 years
I'm debating on a 460 gallon acrylic tank or 280 gallon glass. (Glass is cheaper, but smaller . . .)
I have a few options:

-2-4 Canister Filters (Hagen Fluval FX5)

-Overflow Box + Standpipe + Bulkheads (I have no idea what this is even talking about.)

-Wet-Dry Trickle Filter (Overflow+Filter+Pump+Plumbing Supplies) (Again, no idea what this is.)

-Berlin Filtration (Overflow+Filter+Pump+Plumbing Supplies) (I am clueless.)

It's for oscars and jack D, etc.

I just don't think HOB will work to well anymore.

Please help explain these filtration systems.


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Just started
All filters work pretty much the same way. Water is passed through a variety of media which removes the impurities. The differences are primarily where the filter is located and how much can it effectively clean the water.

Canisters are external filters that draw the water out of your tank to clean it. They are fully enclosed and have different trays/areas that can usually allow you to use the media of your choice.

Wet/Dry filters are also external. They work by letting water flow over the media as it trickles down through layers. If you can picture a colander used for straining, this gives you an idea of how the water trickles through.

Another filter that you may want to consider is a sump and/or refugium. These use a different tank that is places below your aquarium that act as large filters.

The bigger the tank, the more likely you will want a setup that requires you tank be drilled and plumbing installed to increase the ease and volume of filtration.

p.s. Congrats on the move to such a large tank.

Thai Aquarium owner

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Pattaya, Thailand
More than 10 years
On such large tanks, you are right in thinking that HOB filters will not be so effective.
IMO the best choices for you are
1) The fluval FX5 Canister filter = for tank of 1500 litres = 375 gallons Approx
This filter says a flow rate of 2300 litres / hr = 575 gallons / hr
You could either purchase 2 of them or only have only 1 but with a slower flow rate, but because you are going to stock Oscars and JD Etc , I would recommend 2 of the FX5 to cope with these high bioload species
On large tanks such as this, the flow rates of canister filters are much slower because of the large amount of media they hold, and if you calculate the flow rates for very large canister filters for large tanks, they are maybe as slow as only 2 times tank volume / hr
With the FX5 filters you will not have such a problem getting them working
Advantages - just place them as per instructions and go
No drilling of tanks Etc
2) An overflow box is usually on the end of a tank, and water from the tank flows over a weir and into the filter where it goes down a series of different media and is then pumped back to the tank fully processed
A very effective filter and easy to maintain, but weirs have to be constructed on the tank
3) Wet / Dry Trickle filters are very similar to the above, only the actual filter sits under the tank, and again weirs have to be constructed
I use these on all my tanks because of the really large biological filter that can be created
and again they are easy to maintain
The Berlin Filtration is for Saltwater tanks ( Wikipedia ) _ I had to look as this was new one on me
Another filter system for you would be a wet sand bed filter, but would entail drilling the tank
I hope that I have briefly explained the different filters, and for mor info just "Google" the types and read all you want

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