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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?
Thank you
 

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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.

Byron.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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 :)
 

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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 if?

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.
 
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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
 

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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.:)

Byron.
 

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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 agree. I run 2 canisters on my big tanks, as do the majority of big tank keepers that I've come across.


Sent from Petguide.com App
 
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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.
I can agree that this person needs two filters. This stands regardless of if they do heavy planting, minimum planting, or no planting at all. After all the one filter is not to create an effective current through-out the whole tank. Dead spots/layering can still occur in these large tanks when you run just one filter.

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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Corina, I hope this is helpful! Like so many things in this hobby, we all seem to find the way that works best for us and our unique setups. . .

I'm curious as to why you think the current/water movement in your tank is/will be too low with only one canister filter, though?
 

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I can agree that this person needs two filters. This stands regardless of if they do heavy planting, minimum planting, or no planting at all. After all the one filter is not to create an effective current through-out the whole tank. Dead spots/layering can still occur in these large tanks when you run just one filter.
Many fishkeepers, including those with heavily planted larger tanks only use/need minimal filtration - some even just use a lone HOB or sponge filter. Plants can do an amazing amount of filtration and if allowed, decaying detritus will organically feed the plants (as it does in nature).

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.
Not so. Like any filter that draws water from near the bottom and returns it on top the flow dynamic studies show us there is significant circulation. Also, as we've discussed, unless you use ultra fine sand with an inlet tube too low, sand is not an issue. I recommended the HOB's for mechanical filtration because of the relative ease in servicing frequently to remove the crud. (I'm not a fan of cartridge filters alone, but for mechanical filtration only, a cartridge can be swapped in just a few seconds. [although I think I'd stuff it with polyester fiber])

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.
We do water changes to freshen water and simulate rain like nature.
There is a thermal gradient in nearly all bodies of water. I think our aquariums are typically much more uniform in temperature control than many/most waters in nature. I guess I'm not sure what 'heavy buildup of things on the bottom' you are referring to.
 

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There is a thermal gradient in nearly all bodies of water. I think our aquariums are typically much more uniform in temperature control than many/most waters in nature..
That's one of the things in fish keeping that we can know for sure :) Quick, someone adjust their thermometer...
 

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Many fishkeepers, including those with heavily planted larger tanks only use/need minimal filtration - some even just use a lone HOB or sponge filter. Plants can do an amazing amount of filtration and if allowed, decaying detritus will organically feed the plants (as it does in nature).


Not so. Like any filter that draws water from near the bottom and returns it on top the flow dynamic studies show us there is significant circulation. Also, as we've discussed, unless you use ultra fine sand with an inlet tube too low, sand is not an issue. I recommended the HOB's for mechanical filtration because of the relative ease in servicing frequently to remove the crud. (I'm not a fan of cartridge filters alone, but for mechanical filtration only, a cartridge can be swapped in just a few seconds. [although I think I'd stuff it with polyester fiber])



We do water changes to freshen water and simulate rain like nature.
There is a thermal gradient in nearly all bodies of water. I think our aquariums are typically much more uniform in temperature control than many/most waters in nature. I guess I'm not sure what 'heavy buildup of things on the bottom' you are referring to.
Any fish keeper who runs heavily planted tanks knows the value of having good water circulation. I'm not sure we are on the same page when it comes to minimal. Minimal means enough to keep the water moving yes? Any time the water stops moving in a tank you get a problem.

Not all filters are created equal. What they are capable of doing changes depending upon the set up. Different tanks have different depths, widths, lengths...etc. The situation and set up alters how efficiently different filtration systems will do their job. A quick aside, I'm not sure the water fall feature of many HOBS are healthy to a planted tank...but that is often debated and is better debated elsewhere as it is off topic here.

Aquariums are always closed systems. So it is up to us to identify what needs our hand to try to simulate what needs to happen. So while we heat tropical tanks, and do water changes to simulate the exchange of water and movement of water in nature, we also run filters to filter water, and move water to simulate current.

Current is part of a sustainable healthy water system. It occurs in open and closed lakes, rivers, streams, and the open ocean. It forces warmer and colder layers of water to mix...and forces the up-welling of nutrient laden waters. The layering is healthy because the water is always moving aided by a current. You are getting exchange and therefore no dangerous concentration.

While it is true in many tanks our water is very much uniform...that's not always the case. Larger tanks can have a harder time at being uniform if current is not set up to carry your heat around. Deeper tanks can also begin to see thermal layering. There are some pretty impressive DIY projects I've seen where I cannot believe there isn't thermal layering potential there.

The kind of layering I am trying to communicate has more to do with layering of sediment/organics. Even if your water is mostly unform in temp you can still get a layering of heavier water at the lower area of your tank. There is only so much your plants if you have them can take in before that becomes an issue.

In a closed system if you have layering but no effective exchange you create a stressful system for the fish to live in.

Hang on Backs can create situations where only your top layer of water is being efficiently moved/filtered. Hence why I suggest to people who run long, and deep tanks (large tanks) to consider other options. If your intake doesn't go far enough you down you have to either make it go down further, or consider other options.

I for the life of me cannot understand buying a large tank, and not investing in an intelligent system. Make your current complete so you don't have issues down the road. HOB maintenance gets annoying after a while...so to the OP save yourself the grief. Don't buy an HOB, as it'll find its way to your garbage can. So you are essentially throwing away money.
 
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I for the life of me cannot understand buying a large tank, and not investing in an intelligent system. Make your current complete so you don't have issues down the road. HOB maintenance gets annoying after a while...so to the OP save yourself the grief. Don't buy an HOB, as it'll find its way to your garbage can. So you are essentially throwing away money.
I liked this the most :)
 

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Perhaps I took something for granted and assumed others would too, so I guess I better clarify. With a canister filter, the intake should be at one end of the tank and the return at the other. If this is done, there will always be water movement down the tank. This will be sufficient for plants. The Eheim 2217 mentioned here has a flow rate of 264 gallons per hour, which has to move the water through the tank. There is no way this can create "dead spots" of the magnitude being suggested if it is properly set up.

The current depends upon the fish. If one had current-loving fish, then more water flow would be needed. Here we are dealing with fish that do not like water currents. But that provided by the specified filter will be more than adequate for their needs.


This filter is rated for a 160g tank, which is only 20 gallons less than the 180g mentioned. The length will not change, so even aside from anything else this filter is bound to provide what is necessary.
 
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Perhaps I took something for granted and assumed others would too, so I guess I better clarify. With a canister filter, the intake should be at one end of the tank and the return at the other. If this is done, there will always be water movement down the tank. This will be sufficient for plants. The Eheim 2217 mentioned here has a flow rate of 264 gallons per hour, which has to move the water through the tank. There is no way this can create "dead spots" of the magnitude being suggested if it is properly set up.
That's a really good point. I have to say though...that this may not work if your tank is too long. So if you do this and notice your current is only hitting half way, than you want to add something supplemental to push all the way even if it's just a weak powerhead. I have a 175 rated canister on a 150, the current reaches about half way before it seems to sputter out.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you all for taking your time to answer my question. Your insights are valuable and helpfull.
I am glad that some members here will consider one canister to be enough for my tank. I was afraid that I'l be told that I am way under-filtering with two Eheims 2217.
I know I need more than one, based on the performance on my old 75g. The Eheim flow is slow and it becomes slower over time that it grows "brownish flakes" inside the tubes. I am not sure what comes first: it grows algae because is such a poor pump or it has a slow flow because is clogged with algae. However, it serves my angels well.
An 180g is 50% longer than a 75g (and 33% wider). It deserves something extra IMO.
I will start with two Eheims 2217. Spray bars at the oposite ends of the tank, just below the water level. If I find it too strong, I'll remove the lid at the end of the spray bar. That will seriously slow down the flow along the entire bar.
I will keep you posted how it goes.
Thanks again,
Corina
 

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That's a really good point. I have to say though...that this may not work if your tank is too long. So if you do this and notice your current is only hitting half way, than you want to add something supplemental to push all the way even if it's just a weak powerhead. I have a 175 rated canister on a 150, the current reaches about half way before it seems to sputter out.
I don't seem to have expressed myself well in this thread, as the crux of the issue has been missed throughout. I'll try once more.

By setting up any canister with the intake and outflow at opposite ends, there will always be water movement from one end to the other. It has to be, it is a law of physics that if you are pulling water out at one end and pushing it in at the other, the water must be flowing from end to end. It can't be otherwise.

So that gets us to the flow rate, which should at this point be geared to the fish. In a planted tank you do not normally want to "see" current. If you do, it is probably too much. The plants should not be moving due to the current, and assuming you have forest fish. There are exceptions. And fish do have preferences.

To illustrate, my 5-foot 115g tank, shown below. It has a Rena Filstar XP3 which is rated to this sized tank. The filter intake is at the far right close to the substrate, and behind a large chunk of wood. The filter return is on the left, but about 15 inches in from the end wall, with the spigot turned directly to that end wall. Obviously the water flow from the spigot is strong, and I did this for the benefit of my Centromochlus perugiae which need some current. When they were first introduced to this tank, they all three took up residence in the tunnels of the standing chunk of wood that is placed just in front of the filter return. They chose this spot. As the water passes over/through the wood, it hits the end wall and then pushes back and down the tank. The plants in the tank are motionless. But it is interesting how the other fish have chosen their areas. The shoals of Paracheirodon axelrodi, Hyphessobrycon bentosi and Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma remain right of centre, and rarely if ever venture into the stronger current on the left side. The Carnegiella strigata also stay on the right half of the surface, where it is certainly the most calm, as far from the current as is possible. The rummynose swim back and forth as is their normal behaviour. The Diamond tetra seem to have times when they like the water flow, as they will all group at that end, but at other times they move to the right, perhaps to rest.
 

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