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Tank Aeration/fitration/current ADVICE

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Hi all,

Just wondering what is the most effective setup for a 50 gallon tank. Without going into brand names, the tank has:

(Aqua One 1000) External canister filter/spray bar spraying almost horizontally, an air pump with air stone/bar and a smallish, box, internal filter (Weak current at outlet). I have a large ship in the middle of the tank that I'm worried might be restricting flow.

No sure on the brand of pump/internal filter. As they were second hand, I didn't trust them and got a canister.

Which setup is superior:

1. Keep as is

2. External canister with aerator

3. External canister with a power head for current (create flow around ship in the middle)

4. External canister, power head, internal filter and aerator (seems overkill)

5. External canister, internal filter and power head (New current should remove the need for an aerator)

Let me know what you guys think. I'm open to suggestions.

For theoretical reasons, lets not bring type or amount of fish into it as I'm still learning. I just want a better understanding of the "most effective" tank setup as there's so much crap to filter on the web.

Thank you :)


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i've questioned this many many times myself personally,

have set up tanks with all those options which work just fine, would come down to personal choice / budget / how you want the tank to look...

if you were to have internal filters,canister,powerhead and an air stone it would be somewhat "crowded" in appearance but highly effective filtration..

the external canister + air stone will be perfectly sufficient for a tank of that size providing both mechanical and biological filtration and will surely keep the fish swimming happy..

so if you find a balance, and you are happy with the layout and look of the tank im sure you will be onto a winner.

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I'm fairly new to the hobby and decided to learn the ropes with a 20L tank then moved to a 50G. I'll be moving to a 120/180g into next year when I'm confident I fully understand tropical tanks and fish.

I haven't received my first power bill yet, so I'm unsure of costs to run all those.

I have a decent understanding of currents and flows in general, and understand what each bit of equipment does, I just don't know how effective each one is compared to each other.

Running all of the above will obviously yield the most effective outcome but will be the most costly and space consuming.

IE. Is the external canister with a horizontal 24" spray bar better than any aerator on the market (Due to shear surface area and water disruption?)

Thanks for your quick response.

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welcome to the hobby that's for sure, so much to learn i believe its never ending even for the most advanced fish keepers!

with the running costs of the power, you might be surprised that most things "fish tank" related consume minimal power therefore not affecting your power bill so dramatically as first thought.

it is true, that spray bar if working at its best will disturb the surface area of your tank alot better then an aerator, therefore possibly making it un-necessary for the addition of a powerhead

but does that cover from top too bottom of the tank, like you mentioned the flow is something of concern and it all helps with turning water over / water movement / oxygen for the fish and or plants

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How much filtration always depends a little on what you are planning on keeping in there :) It is possible to have too much flow and upset the fish.

I run my 130L planted tanks with just canister filters and a spraybar - plenty of oxygen that way - nothing else needed and one of them is stocked moderate/heavy. I gravel vacc monthly.

My smaller tanks (30cm cube type) just have a small hang on filter (aquaclear 20 at lowest flow rate)..... even that is a little much flow-wise at times!

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Cheers mate. How's the weather up there :P

Mmmm. I think I've got a decent grasp on it all and discover an entirely new element that I hadn't thought of.

I've always had a hunch that having a big object in the middle might be only creating circulation on one side and not the other, making 50% of my tank a "dead spot".

I decided to move the internal filter over the other side, but I'm not satisfied with the flow from that. I had considered taking the mechanical filter out of it for better flow, but thought I'd be better off just getting a power head that would then push water from the "dead spot" behind the ship toward the filter creating a more effective circulation.

Just wasn't sure how "effective" an aerator was in comparison to a power head or spray bar and if an aerator was ACTUALLY necessary if you had the other components.

I assume my fish children might want to swim against the current and feel the wind through their hair :)

Basically there's little to no water movement/current in there now. Just figured that adding even a small pump will do the world of good seeing there'd be more circulation (vs none).

Edited by Cudders
Spelling mistake I wasn't happy with
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Looking at this purely from a flow perspective as that seems to be the question you really want answered, the canister you have is of a pretty modest output given the size of the tank. The simplest way to resolve any dead spot issues you have would be to put either an internal filter (like an Otto) or a powerhead in of around the 800-1200l/h output mark. If you put a power head in you will find that the commonly available replacement sponges for internal filters conveniently fit over the screen that hangs underneath them.

As others have said though there are many other things to consider to properly answer this question but as far as flow goes that would no doubt solve your issue.

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