Sump or trickle wet/dry

Wolf1781

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Have 180 predrilled acrylic. I have a trigger sump with a protein skimmer plumber to it. Should I use with a bio media or change over to wet/dry trickle with bio balls? Fish will be predator type, so a decent bio load. Thanks for the input
 
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tlindsey

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Have 180 predrilled acrylic. I have a trigger sump with a protein skimmer plumber to it. Should I use with a bio media or change over to wet/dry trickle with bio balls? Fish will be predator type, so a decent bio load. Thanks for the input
I personally have a diy trickle filter that has positive and negative things about it. The positive as the water is dripping over the bio media it's also adding oxygen to water being returned back to the aquarium. The negatives is not quite and when power is interrupted then I have to worry about media drying out. Most will say just do the sump with submerged bio media.
 

duanes

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Bio media is simply a surface for beneficial bacteria to live on. One type of bio media is not realistically any better or worse that another.
Bio balls are no better than cheap lava rock, or old hair curlers, or halved old toothbrushes.
If there are lots of spaces for bacteria to form bio film on, that's all that counts.
 
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jjohnwm

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The only real advantage of one media over another is in surface area; if the space you have is extremely limited, a medium that has more surface area per volume might be beneficial, but if you aren't really tight for space you can get away with more of the cheaper stuff. One of my favourites is shotgun shell wads, which are convoluted little plastic cylinders used for reloading shotgun ammunition. They can be used either submerged or in a trickle application, and I like them because they are super lightweight and easy to move if needed. You can also keep a bag of them sitting in part of the sump or trickle filter to be easily removed and used in new tank set-ups for instant/quick start-up of the cycle. Very useful for an emergency hospital or quarantine tank.

If the power goes out, keeping the trickle filter covered to minimize evaporation allows the media to go many hours or even days without drying completely out. Some bacteria will be lost but they will quickly recolonize once the water begins to flow again, although it might take a day or two without feeding or with reduced feeding to get back to normal.

I've just started experimenting with a fluidized bed of plastic media (K1, I think?). So far I still consider it to be in the category of "unnecessary goofy nonsense", but I got several cubic feet of it for free and my granddaughter likes watching it tumbling around in the sump, so I'll stick with it for awhile at least.
 
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Wolf1781

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Thanks for the input.What are your thoughts on protein skimmer with freshwater. Never used one before for fresh. Only reason for contemplating it is because it's already plumbed to the sump?
 
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jjohnwm

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I've never tried a skimmer on freshwater either. If you are interested, there is an absolutely terrific thread loaded with info on this topic, here:


I just discovered this thread yesterday and it blew me away with the amount of useful and interesting info it contains. I'm not sure I will utilize it, as it entails building a nitrate reactor to make the skimmer operational, but it just sounds like such a cool project...:)
 
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duanes

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Thanks for the input.What are your thoughts on protein skimmer with freshwater. Never used one before for fresh. Only reason for contemplating it is because it's already plumbed to the sump?
I have used protein skimmers in fresh water for years, and if you have the right one it will work great.
The biggest problem is that most any of the commercial ones made for salt water aren't strong enough to actually fractionate fresh.
Salt water (due to its density) takes little agitation to crack, fresh water due to its comparative lack of density is much harder to achieve satisfactory results.
Where you might need a flow of only 500 GPH pump to create foam in salt water, in fresh you need a pump that creates 3 times that much agitation to fracture the air water interface.
I used a venturi in counter current column to achieve fair success on my tanks, but had the most success with a 4 ft tall by at least 4" diameter column filled with lava rock in the design below, I built it for a 500 gallon koi pond.
koi pond fractionation
and similar versions for tanks, what I like about these, is the lava rock beside functioning to facilitate fractionation, also acts as biofiltration.
 
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phreeflow

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Was about to say that I’ve only seen protein skimmers in freshwater used by the koi guys. Those Trigger System sumps are expensive, as are certain protein skimmers....just sell them on a saltwater forum and buy or build yourself a cheap sump that’s more appropriate for freshwater. Those triggers have large open areas for the protein skimmer or a refugium that you won’t need
 
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duanes

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I also use refugiums with fresh water tanks, in addition to using the type of animals that help break down detritus into more useable compounds for beneficial bacteria and algae. I like to plant mine using floating and terrestrial plants like papyrus in open areas.
BCD23ACB-34EE-49FE-AF5F-0A32485CF9F1_1_201_a.jpeg
2A42F606-72F0-4E40-B200-00CCC3AF9CBD_1_201_a.jpeg
In predator tanks, small animals are usually quickly eaten, so a refugium is a great addition to the functioning of a more complete system.
Small shrimp, gammarus even small fish are all are beneficial breaking down detritus, and eating left over food bits. And protein skimming is valuable in systems where high protein, meaty foods can easily, and quickly degrade water quality.
My current tank is a 180, it uses 2 sumps , both function with partial trickle areas, both use algae scrubbing and have refugium component areas and contain higher plants, like the papyrus below.
D9D0E2C2-DDFB-4555-9D1B-56547B4DE3EB_1_201_a.jpeg
I consider my 180 as a quite a small tank, so any help I can get in keeping water quality up is important, along with a regime of daily or every other day meager water changes.
My nitrate level goal is @5 ppm or less, and all these components help make that goal achievable
8A37A7BF-C843-44AC-AE90-0B074A166D75_1_201_a.jpeg
 
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