04-08-2008, 11:50 AM
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Have a backup HOB filter on hand. If the canister fails, fill the HOB with as much of the biological media as possible from the canister and things should stay fairly level as far as keeping the tank going. Another option, herefishy will love this, is to set up a reverse flow UGF. If you were to set it up so that you have 2, 3 or 4 power heads running it then the canister will only be a mechanical filter for the most part. If the canister fails, no total loss and even if 50% of the power heads fail you still have a chance to get new ones before the tank would catastrophically crash.
The combination of the reverse flow UGF and the canister would also make it much easier to clean this tank in the long and short run. Just make sure to filter the powerheads that are in reverse flow and this would also double, triple or quadruple the mechanical filtration and also serve as a back up mechanical filter if the canister ever fails.
As for sponge filters, even if you only had one large one, or a number of small ones stacked up on top of each other it would serve to keep the tank from crashing long enough for you to get a replacement filter. I would imagine it could keep the tank balanced for 3-10 days if you kept up with water changes and didn't feed much in the case of a canister failure. Online Sponge Filters