Saltwater Filter Suggestions

AMH

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I just ordered a 90 gallon tank with 30 gallon sumped tank below. This will be my first saltwater attempt. I am looking for suggestions on filters to use. I have only done freshwater and I know it is completely different so any product advice (or general advice) would be greatly appreciated.

Fish only with Live Rock
 
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Donya

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What kind of tank are you doing? Reef or fish-only?

When using a sump, most people don't use a typical filter as would be the case in freshwater. You'll have better results with some live extra live rock (or calcium carbonate-based rubble that can colonize over time) and a protein skimmer sitting in the sump. Usually those go in separate chambers of the sump, but if your sump doesn't have dividers and you don't want to add them it can be done that way too. Ideally, water going into the sump should go through a filtration sock to catch debris so that the sump doesn't silt up over time.
 
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AMH

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Oh sorry! Should have specified. The plan is fish only with some live rock, hoping to put most of the live rock in the sump. I don't think I am quite ready to jump into reef yet!

I believe the sump does not have a divider.
 

Donya

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Being divider-less might mean you can't stack the rock quite as high without it tumbling down near the skimmer, but it's still doable (I had a sump like that once). Pick a return pump and protein skimmer that fit your height constraints for the room underneath the tank and then see how much rock you can fit on the other side of the sump without it interfering with the skimmer and return pump's inlets. You'll want both pieces of equipment to be easily accessible without rocks in the way when the need for maintenance arises. Depending on what fish species you want to keep, it's often still good to have a decent amount of rock in tank to help form hiding spots, territories, and/or grazing areas for fish like tangs.

The skimmer should remove the need to run chemical media, so after that you'd just need some circulation pumps for the main tank.
 

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Is there any chance you can get a bigger sump?
The bigger the sump, the more water you have and the more stabile the environment.
Make sure the sump has a cover to reduce evaporation and moisture building up on the stand under the tank.

On tanks with sumps, the sump acts as the filter. Tank water drains into the sump and put some fine filter matting and sponges in the sump to trap the gunk coming out of the main tank. After the tank water has passed through the filter sponges it gets pumped back into the main tank.

You can have a protein skimmer, heater or any other equipment in the sump so they don't take up space in the tank. A lot of people put live rock in the sump but I prefer to have the rock in the main tank so the fish can hide among the rocks. You can grow macroalgae like Caulerpa and Halimeda on the rocks and these add some greenery to the tank as well as providing habitat for small crustaceans.
 

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