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Filters Vs. protein skimmers?
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cdiienno32
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Joined: 03 Sep 2008

PostPosted: 2009.12.03(Thu)11:29    Post subject: Filters Vs. protein skimmers? Reply with quote

Hi I'm a newby to saltwater and just trying to get as much info as I can before setting up my new tank so I just had a question and this may be a dumb one to all you experts on saltwater out there but it sounds like a protein skimmer does the same thing as a regular filter would only on a smaller level it actually sounds better than having a regular filter. My plan is to have a tank with fish only and live rock not a reef tank. So would a canister filter and a protein skimmer be best for this type of tank? Or can I get away with just having a canister filter?
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2009.12.03(Thu)23:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

Filtration options for marine aquariums is a complicated subject, it always has been. One of these days I'm going to write a comprehensive article on the subject to try and help people sort it all out.

I think most would agree that just about any marine tank would benefit from a well-designed skimmer, because they are actually the only "filter" commonly sold that truly exports or removes nutrients as opposed to other so-called "filters" which only serve to trap and convert nutrients into nitrates. Skimmers do this by using a nifty molecular trick called foam fractionation. Some hobbyists prefer to use only a skimmer and live rock in their systems, but keep in mind there are some skimmers on the market that are worthless junk so choose wisely. In such a setup it may still be desirable to have some periodic chemical and mechanical filtration, in which case a hang-on box filter can be added.

But to be clear; for "fish only" you can use a cannister too, you can also use an old school undergravel filter with power heads if you want; there are several roads to success with a fish only setup. Each one of these has pros and cons; it partly depends on the types of fish you want, for example if you wanted certain types of wrasses then you would need a soft sand bed for them to hide in as they will dive under the sand at night or when frightened. So that would rule out the undergravel option.

Another good option for a fish only tank is the trickle filter; also called a wet-dry filter; these are very efficient at gas exchange and as a bonus
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