Maybe I should’ve gone with a sump and/or refugium for my tropical fish and reef tank. I was over at Reef Threads and heard about a post over at Reef Central about 5 things to remove from a reef system. One thing on that list is canister filtration. Well, I plan on using my API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter for my new 30 gallon reef tank.
I’ll admit, a sump system with a refugium is probably the very best way to keep a large reef tank. Once set up, a refugium may also be less maintenance than a canister filtration system. However, my tank is only 30 gallons and there just isn’t much room under and around it for an overflow box and an extra tank underneath for the sump. The tank also doesn’t have any built in plumbing for a sump, hence, the need for a hang-on overflow box.
Reef Threads does go on, and they do have a rebuttal for just about every one of the 5 points mentioned in the post. They don’t, however, go so far as to recommend canister filtration for a reef tank. The issue is that everything needs to be regularly cleaned and maintained. Sponges, bio-balls, filter socks, filter medium, and canister filters can be nitrate factories if you don’t regularly and thoroughly remove, replace, clean off and maintain each of them. However, there are beautiful reef tanks that are kept by many aquarium hobbyists with all of these items in use.
The issue with aquarium canister filters is that they can be a pain in the butt to maintain. With many of them, there are valves you have to make sure you have access to so that you can close them and prevent water from spilling during the filter media change. There can be hoses to move, valves to close, latches to deal with, and several compartments to access in order to thoroughly rinse and change the filter medium. If not changed regularly – about once every 1 or 2 months – the filter medium can build up with too much particulate waste and become a nitrate factory that actually spits nitrates out and back into your aquarium. You also have to prime most canister filters in order to get them started or re-started after every filter medium change. People get lazy and don’t want to deal with all of that every month or two just to change some filter media.
However, I chose the API Nexx Canister Filtration system for a reason. The reason is that it is very quick and easy to change the filter medium and thoroughly clean out the filter medium chamber. With today’s advancements and technologies I can set a reminder in my calendars for a few days before a medium change needs to occur, and order the filter medium that I need. When it arrives a day or two later, I can take the 5 minutes to change out the filter medium and thoroughly rinse out the canister. All it takes withe the API Nexx Canister Filter is about 5 minutes to change the filter medium and thoroughly clean everything. Oh, and there’s no priming necessary.
In conclusion, no, I did not make a bad decision when I selected the API Nexx Canister Filter for my reef aquarium. Yes, there can be less maintenance with a sump and/or refugium once it is up and running. However, as long as there is a regular maintenance schedule, everything on your maintenance checklist gets checked off, and you are diligent about changing and cleaning all of your filter media, then you can have a very healthy and beautiful reef aquarium using all of the items listed in the Reef Central post. The API Nexx Canister Filter also makes filter media changes quick and easy.
What kind of filtration do you use for your reef aquarium? Leave comments below!