Inline Protein Skimmer?
What are the chances I could configure a way to add a protein skimmer (starting a FOWLR) to a canister filtered system? I have exactly 3" from the back of the tank to the wall. The canisters are 2 FX5 Fluvals and the tank is a 150gal.
My recommendation is to add an overflow and a sump to the system. A 150 gallon tank is not something you want to set up with any degree of risk.
I'd tend to agree with Pasfur -- I wouldn't go cans on a 150 salt. I'd build a sump under there, were it me.
As for your original inquiry, it IS possible to integrate a HOB skimmer into a can system, but it requires a little b******ization, and some pretty expensive parts. In short -- it's way more trouble than it's worth. Whereas, if you build a good sump, you have all the room you need to install whatever gadgets you want.
The problem I have with this is that Protein Skimmers most of the time use simple gravity drainage. If you were to plumb it into a canister, then it would have to suck the water out of the return. The increase in backpressure would decrease the contact time of the water and air in the skimmer column, decreasing performance.
I also agree that a canister is problematic in a marine system, and I have first hand experience to back it up. I ran a 46 bow with a canister and regular maintanence as I would've been running a FW tank. I was always fighting Nitrates and my Alkalinity was never stable. I took the canister off and after a few months my system became more stable. Now I use the Live Rock, Live Sand and Protein Skimmer method on my 150 reef. No problems.
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