Trickle Or Wet-dry Filters...a Thing Of The Past?

jjohnwm

I hope this is the correct section for this question; we have a lot of sections...

Back about 30 years ago "trickle" or "wet-dry" filters seemed to be all the rage. Plenty of stores used these systems for central filtration, and some even had the entire room-sized filtration system constructed from acrylic and proudly on display so that everyone would know how "high-tech" they were. They were impressive; some of those set-ups looked like an industrial water-treatment installation for a small city.

Fast forward to today, and when I use the search function on Fishlore I can't get a single response for either of those terms. Just don't hear about them or see them anymore. Did that fad simply die out or was there some aspect of this type of filter that killed them off? I am building a large tank at the moment and am considering various styles of filter, and a trickle was one of my considerations. I had excellent success with them in the past, and their biggest failing that I know of...which is the ridiculous amount of space that they take up!...is not a problem for the tank I am building.

So...what's the general thinking on these things today? Inquiring but out-of-date minds want to know!
 

A201

The Sump style- Wet/Dry filtration system is still very popular and IMO probably the best filtration. On the flip side I notice a disproportionate amount of big used "drilled" tanks for sale on Craigslist. My guess is that a lot of keepers start with a wet/dry set-up and end up abandoning the project when problems arise. Fluval has developed some heavy hitter canisters, the FX4 & FX6 and a powerful HOB filter the AC110 that can handle the load of most big tanks. I think most keepers are going that route.
 

jjohnwm

Yep, canisters seem to be THE current thing nowadays. I wasn't sure if there had been some discovery that trickle filters had some fatal flaw that I hadn't heard about. I like the fact that sumps with trickle filters are so accessible. Anything you want to do is easily accomplished with a minimum of muss or fuss. With a sealed canister everything turns into a production. I tend to think that the swing towards canisters is more of a stylistic fad than a trend based on pure function.

Back in the day, I had a homemade trickle filter that used shotgun shell wads, rather than BioBalls or other expensive commercial media, for biological filtration. Plastic shell wads have a convoluted shape with lots of surface area, they're inert, and they successfully maintained the nitrogen cycle in many big tanks for me over the years. I remember doing a tedious calculation of their surface area, and IIRC a gallon of wads had something like 1/2 the surface area of BioBalls...but cost approximately 1/20th as much.

Notwithstanding all the alternatives available today, my next big tank will probably have as its primary filtration system a Matten filter, 4 inches thick and 3 x 2 feet in size. The tank is under construction now and is 8 feet long, 3 feet wide and 2 feet tall. I'm still not 100% set on this detail, but I am currently planning on setting the Matten at one end, perhaps 2 inches or so from the end wall. A series of 4 PVC pipes (probably 1-1/4 inch I.D.) will run from behind the filter, along the entire bottom of the tank lengthwise to the far end, where each will terminate in an airlift that will return the water to the surface. These pipes might be inside the tank or attached to the outside and terminating in bulkheads at both ends...not sure yet. Plywood consruction makes drilling and plumbing a tank so easy...

It's not the ideal set-up if you want to keep monster fish...but I am pretty much over my fascination with those. This will be a low-tech, sparsely-populated community of small or medium-sized fish. I've never used one of those calculators designed to tell you how many "inches of fish" you can jam into an aquarium, but I suspect that my chosen stocking level will be about 10 percent of what they would suggest for me.
 

86 ssinit

I also was a wet/dry fan. I think the w/d on my 200 was the best filter I ever had. I backed it up with a fluval 4 canister that had an intake sponge and was cleaned maybe twice a year. By today’s standards it must have been denitrifying that tank. I wouldn’t know thou because I never tested my tanks . They still sell w/d filters and they cost the same as 20yrs ago. If I had the space I would have one.
 

coralbandit

I still use the black stuff that was part of DLS [I know you know !] I found it as a roofing siding product ! 3' rolls like 33 feet long !

Cuts and stacks to fit spaces perfect and like your product easy to rinse.
I run sumps they rule .
Sounds like you are set up a river flow type tank.
Holes can go up high instead of chancing them low . All the water has to go through the sponge.Letting the that may settle on bottom there will be the easiest way to remove and not have you in the filter.
 

jjohnwm

Know it??? I still have some of those rolls! I don't use them over a bottom bulkhead the way the salt-water guys did back then, but they function beautifully like giant sponge filters with a perforated airlift in the centre, and as you say they rinse out easier and faster than any sponge.

Yes, for sure the intake holes behind the filter will be at the top, to allow for the sediment to fall down and be easily siphoned out. The return holes will I think be at the bottom, with a straight section of pipe screwed into each one inside the tank and a 90 at the top facing "downstream". Drop an airstone into each one and you have a filter. I'm not too worried about leaks, never had a problem in the past thanks to my OCD use of silicone.

I like the idea of one or two air pumps doing everything; I'm shopping around for one now. Sadly, even my cheapness and love of DIY cannot convince me to build my own.
 

coralbandit

I run Alitas[air pumps] in my fish room .
The smallest would run a wall of air in your tank.
They are reliable and quieter then pump sold in stores..
 

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