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Discussion Starter #1
I'm about to embark on setting up a 72 gallon tank. I'm getting differing opinions about whether to go with a canister filter in a regular tank and then adding protein skimmer or getting a drilled tank and going with a sump and then I guess also adding the skimmer. Obviously there is a bigger cost factor going in to this with the sump. It's confusing since people say you can do either. Was also told the sump is a bit noisier. Would really appreciate some feedback.. New to salt but not new to fresh and ciclid tanks..
 

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First thing is, what do you intend to keep in the tank?
If its going to be a fish only system and you never intend to keep live corals and invertabrates then a canister is fine.
If you plan to keep corals the a sump/refugium is by far the better choice. They are two different technologies and serve two different purposes. The canister is a simple mechanical filter which requires cleaning and maintanance and does little for denitrification, the sump/refugium is a natural filter, adds oxygenation and nitrate export, extra water volume and gives you a place to hide equipment like skimmers, media reactors and heaters.
Sumps can be silent, mine is. its all in how they are designed and plumbed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm just thinking that if I'm going to go with a sump, I should get a pre-drilled tank which is a: more costly and b:takes up some of the space in the tank. I'm surprised to hear that your sump is quiet. Everyone seems to feel their's are nosier. I do want to keep some corals, live rock. I'm also a bit scared of taking on too much in the beginning and overwhelming myself like with a refugium. Thanks for responding
 

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Given the choice when buying new I would get a drilled tank every time. Internal overflows are the way to go. They don't take up much real estate and the benifits far outweigh and cons. If you want to be different do like I did, I ordered a 100G 60" long tank from LeeMar with a custom offset center overflow with holes predrilled for a closed loop and polished diamond edge glass so nice neat corners with almost no visible seams or silicone.
Overflows don't all have to be in corners or in the exact middle, and it only cost me maybe $15 more to have it customized.

A standpipe like the Stockman, Durso or gurglebuster makes it silent. I use a modified Stockman myself and love it, cost me about $2 in PVC parts and 45 minutes to build.
 

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I'd definitely go with a sump/refugium setup. It just allows you to do a lot more with your tank. You'll be able to keep any corals you want to and shouldn't have any problems with nitrate. It can seem a little overwhelming when you're just starting to set up a tank like that, but just take it really slow and read as much as you can about your system. Knowing exactly when you're getting into and when to expect is important.
AZDesertRat, your tank sounds great!
 

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A few pics:
Here is the tank when I first brought it home:


This is with the back painted black and some of the stand completed:


The stand before it was sealed:


The sump in the stand:


The lights and reflectors inside the hinged canopy:


The sump in its early days:


The completed system in its infancy:


At about two years of age:


Another angle:


And yet another showing the back and overflow covered in zoanthids:
 

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You need a lawn mower for those zoas!
 

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A canister will work alright especially on a FO/FOWLR, just got to not procrastinate on maintenance. A sump system is far superior filtration system in so many ways and its well worth the added cost. I would have gladly paid extra for my my nanos to be RR or better yet just drilled with a hole through the back glass so I could plumb somthing together. With a sump you can hide all your tanks equipment in the sump. They potentially can provide more filtration capacity than most canister filters. They do a much better job of aireation of the water as well. You also have a lot more options skimmer wise as well. Tank maintenace is such a breeze with a sump too when doing water changes or just topping the tank off with water or dosing the tank as needed. If I have the space and a sump is an option, I am already there!!!
 

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Thanks everyone!
The tank looks a little bare now due to a mojano anemone infestation. Like an idiot I ignored the single mojano that I discovered on a piece of live rock way in the back and on the bottom of the 160 lb pile directly under the nice red cap. BIG MISTAKE!!! They multiplied like wildfire and I couldn't keep up.Luckily I sold the red cap colony, it was the size of a soccer ball by then, and a few of the other colonies. I lost almos teverything else except a few zoanthids which have started climbing the back again, some yellow turbinaria, and a couple other small pieces of monti cap.
I tore the system down in November 2008, cooked all the rock and QT'ed the remaining corals and the fish. Today its starting to take shape again but its nowhere near where it was a year ago.

Moral of the story is, if you see a mojano, nuke it immediately if not sooner. They are bad news and will kill anything they get near and then multiply like rabbits. Don't make the mistake I did and ignore them even if it means tearing your system completely down. The devastation they cause is much worse tha nbreaking a few coral colonies apart.

I tried Joes Juice, lemon juice, boiling water, kalk paste, straight vinegar and everything suggested to me and had only limited success with all of them. I ended up cooking the rock in darkness for 6 weeks the pulling each piece out individually and spraying each mojano with white vinegar and that didn't kill them all. I then used heavy kalk paste in a huge syringe and that wored pretty well if the paste could stay in contact long enough.
 
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