Second canister for an 180g tank
I am setting up an 180g tank for my angels. I will not over stock. 14-16 maximum. I plan to grow swords, crypts, java fern and other low light plants (maybe some stem plants at the beginning).
I have a brand new Eheim 2217 currently "seeding", running along another Eheim 2217 on a 75g that I plan to move it to the 180 when it's ready.
My question is: what other canister filter should I fit on the new 180?.
I trust the one Eheim for the biological and chemical filtration. Not as a mechanical one since I it does not move water around good enough. I was considering a second Eheim 2217 (I like the classic, not the ecco or prof) and a powerhead. Or just a Fluval FX5 with little media and lots of pads and polishing filters.
What will be the best way to position the two spray bars/nozzle of the two canister filters? Side by side (and the intake at the opposite end of the tank) or facing each other?
I realize the Eheim 2217 is rated for up to 160 gallons, and your tank is 180g, but I would only have this one filter. First, you intend plants, and some fast growing ones (swords), so this immediately reduces the need for larger "filtration." Second, angelfish do not like currents, so a gentle flow from end to end in the tank will be more natural for them and they will thus be less stressed, more likely to exhibit natural behaviours, and thus healthier all round.:-)
This has the makings of an incredible display. I would recommend lots of wood, in the form of "branches" if you can find any, but chunks on the bottom too. Sand substrate? Then some corys would be ideal. And floating plants. The less light with angels, the better.
Here's a short video of angels in their Amazonian habitat, that will give you a visual representation for my suggestions. You will want more light for the plants, fine, and with floating this is OK.
I disagree with Byron's sentiments on using just one filter. Any time you run a large tank you want to be running two filters even with plants. This is for two reasons. One using just one large filter may not push around water as efficiently as you want for your plants.
In fact it probably won't and you will potentially still run into problems like water layering. If you don't know what this is you can ask and I'll explain further.
Moving along the second issue is that of stability. If you run just one filter and you have to clean it, the possibility is always there to trigger a mini-cycle. This is why you often want to break the work of up filtering to two smaller filters instead of one bigger one.
Thirdly, you are not boned if the filter stops working as you have one other to pick up and do work while you fix/replace the other. I'm not going to say go out and get a second canister. What you will want to think about is maybe a Power Head + Sponge Filter. This has an additional benefit of being something you can connect to a battery powered air machine should you face power failure in your home. At the end of the day the choice is yours. I can only offer my advice as someone who runs a larger tank and faces these things.
I'd agree with the one filter, sized for the tank. Or if you really want, two but at half power. Dead spots ... that's not something you can really predict as it is different for every single tank. It all depends on the decorations, and where they are. And with live plants, it changes constantly as the plants grow. If you do have a problem with this, a small, low flow power head could solve it without needing another big canister.
As Byron says, Angelfish really like a gentle current. They are large pancakes after all ;) So a strong current will literally blow them over. That's why a filter like the FX5 is a bad idea, those things are for 400 gallon tanks.
You don't need to worry about a mini cycle. Once the tank establishes the filters purpose in this department becomes negligible. I have a 125g with a single canister, and I clean my filter media straight from the tap (so chlorinated water). I also replaced a cheap no-name brand canister with an XP3 recently so all new pads/sponges. Still no mini-cycle.
LOVED seeing the vid of Angels in their natural environment, such pretty things. . .
I want to have two canisters when I set up my bigger tank, too. . . I still want to keep a very low current, so I plan to have a spraybar facing inward toward the tank wall on each side of the tank. I agree with the others in that it isn't necessary, but I think I'll like the balance of flow, and to have a backup running at all times can't hurt! I haven't tried it this way yet, so I'll have to wait and see how it goes - the fish may find it too much, but I don't think so with it baffled that way, and based on the performance of my current eheim. . . if you decide to go this route, I'd love to hear your experiences and how you ultimately end up setting things up to work best for the Angels :)
I think we all can admit that due to the rainfall, the water in the amazon is soft and very, very pure. So even though our fish may have been grown in water that falls short, most of our tropical fish evolved in very pure water.
One might also make the case that depending on the volume and frequency of partial water changes, filtration may be moot. Some that raise Discus swear by 50% water changes every day or other day!
The conventional filter really lets us down. It appears to collect detritus when in fact in only accelerates the decomposition into dissolved organic compounds that pass on through. Equally, there is little bio-media to do much more than handle ammonia and nitrites. Most filters come with carbon, but many won't use it.
In addition, the filters aren't serviced as much as they should be.
Some time ago as I researched water purification, I became intrigued by 3rd world bio-sand filters where very polluted water is poured in and crystal clear drinking water comes out.
What if our aquarium filters leveraged advanced bio-filtration? What if our aquarium filters mechanical filtration was serviced very frequently to reduce the accelerated creation of dissolved organics?
What I think we really need is two separate filters. One that's mechanical/chemical that's serviced very frequently to remove the crud and another that's dedicated biological with a slow flow that runs without disruption for extended periods.
With this in mind, and food for thought, I think I just might use a canister filter completely filled with bio-media as a dedicated bio-filter and one or more HOB's, serviced often, for mechanical filtration.
On the other hand, in a heavily planted tank perhaps we don't worry so much about detritus and instead let it decay to organically feed the plants...and perhaps we have a deep enough sand bed to afford advanced biological filtration...so with sufficient weekly water changes, all we really need is some very modest filtration, more to provide water circulation than dependent filtering/purification.
Love your POV here, AD. . . much to consider and learn before I'm ready to set up my 125!
Corina, please do let us know what you decide on, and how it works, when you get your 180 set up. . . in the meantime, I'll be lurking here for more input! :D
A filter isn't actually needed at all, in any planted tank. And the fact that there are those who run small to large tanks without filters is proof of that. So as soon as you add any filter onto a tank, you are moving ahead fast.
As for filters breaking, I have had my Eheim canisters running continuously since 1995 and not any problems. I do have a Magnum in the box as a "spare" just in case, but have never used it except initially for a time to see how it worked.:lol:
When I clean my canisters, I do so in hot water under the tap, chlorine and all. I have never, in more than 20 years, had any sort of mini-cycle. There is more bacteria, including nitrification Archaea, in the tank than in the filter anyway. And again, with plants this is all unnecessary.
The idea that somehow more filtration is better is very false. In many cases, more filtration is detrimental. The only time it will help is when the tank is overstocked, or the fish are very large and waste factories. This is not the case with angels and small tankmates.
The only thing you need in a planted tank is gentle water circulation. Too much, and the nutrients cannot be taken up by plants because the water moves past the leaves too quickly. CO2 is a prime example; it takes plants four times longer to take up CO2 from the water than the air.
As for stratification, I have this in all my tanks, even the 10g (which rather surprises me I must say). The fish spawn and live their normal lifespans, and beyond sometimes, so this can't be troublesome to them. And it is perfectly natural. Stick your hand in any lake or stream and you will feel the water cool as you go deeper.
Put the fish and plants first, and the aquarium will take care of itself.:-)
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However putting HOB's on the top is not going to correct this as they tend to only push water around at the the top of the tank and do little for the bottom. This issue is compounded if they use sand as it becomes unsafe to add an attachment. The third option is to put a sponge on the intake and hike the intake lower...but at that point one is best putting their money on some lower powered/adjustable power heads to ensure full circulation without stressing the angels. Many of these can have sponges attached if they so choose. They benefit a tank so much more than throwing a few noisy break-down, high maintenance HOB's in this kind of situation.
Also Byron you mentioned stratification being natural. Yes it is in the wild. Our tanks are not natural things. They are closed systems. We do water changes because of this. Larger tanks do not usually benefit from stratification. Your start getting heavy build up of things in the bottom and that can be harmful in the long run to bottom dweller fish, especially the more sensitive ones. In a larger tank water layering can lead to dead areas of water, rampant growth of algae, and suffering fish.
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