Originally Posted by 1077
On tanks of 100 gal or larger, I would if finances permitted, opt for eheim canister filter or two. On tanks less than 100 gal, I am partial to the Emperor filters by marineland. I have five in operation and two spares. I have tuning them down to a science. They are inexpensive,reliable,and parts are easily found. With nylon bags,one can use any type filter media they desire. Ditto for canister filters. I guess I'm just old school.
I have 2 of the HOB emperors, each on a 55g right now, they seem to do a good job, but one of them is just really loud. I may just need to change the impeller, not sure, it almost sounds like it's rattling??? Strange. The plan with these 2 55's is to join them with a 'water bridge' for a big Cichlid tank. I can keep using the 2 emperors, but I think I need to add a canister in the mix to move water through the bridge from one tank to the other. I'm thinking about the Marineland Magnum 350 PRO. But I have admit I'm a bit confused about the whole topic. Some say not to use bio-wheels with plants, some say not to use sumps with plants. I'm sure it's nowhere near as complicated as it seems to be.
I thought soliciting opinions would just get me a list of filters that I could then research and choose between, but apparently there is more to concider than just 'washing' the water. So let me try to give you more info and see what we can come up with.
Tank 1: this will be (2) 55g tanks 48"x13"x18" side by side on a custom stand (not yet built) they will be joined by a 4" clear acrylic water bridge. One tank will be well planted (penny wort, temple green, parrot feather, rotala wallichi, italian Val and java moss) the other may have some low growing grasses, but will mostly be rock piles, caves and ledges. They will be stocked with cichlids (probably malawi).
Tank 2: was a salt water tank 110g 60"x17"x24" that I found on CL on the cheap ($55), it has 4- 2" holes in the bottom for a sump system. I was going to install bulkheads and seal the holes, but after reading some of the replies, I'm reconsidering using the sump instead. This tank will also be heavily planted and I'm thinking only 3/4's water with plants above and below the water line (like a vivarium?? not sure if that's the right term). The inhabitants will be the loaches and fish that are currently in the 55g under my 'aquariums' by my avatar.
I would like to spend as little as possible, but will spend whatever is necessary to create an attractive and healthy environment for my fish. I'm just hoping to short cut the mistakes made by most newbs and start with what the experienced use now.
THanks for your time and patience,