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What is the best method for filtering an aquarium?

  • Air powered under gravel plate

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  • Undergravel plate with powerheads

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  • Under gravel plate with reverse flow power heads

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  • Power filters (ex. Maarineland 400 w/ bio wheel)

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  • Canister filters (ex. Magnum 350)

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I like to overfiltrate, but I'm only doing about 5x in my 125, 7.5x in my 20 gallon long, and about 5x in my 29 gallon shrimp tank. If the fish do not mind the additional current, then go for it. Though, it the output flow can easily be redirected (in the case of a canister spray bar) towards the tank wall to reduce the current.

I also prefer canister filters, because I can connect everything inline (heater, UV, etc.), leaving less equipment in the tank.

What is the best, well, everyone will have their own opinion. I've owned Sponge filters, UGFs with powerheads, HOBs, and Canister filters. Although I don't own one (yet), I would actually prefer to pick wet/dry trickle filters with a sump for large tanks, along with a canister filter. What I am experiencing in my 125 gallon tank is the little bits of detritus that float on the surface of the water, which my canister filters cannot pick up. It does really well with detritus floating under water though.
 
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