View Full Version : Filter Requirements for Aftricans

10-19-2006, 06:43 PM

I currently have a 90 gallon with 20 juvenile (2 -2 1/2") Haps and Mbuma cichlids. I have a 2217 Eheim canister filter that is rated for 264 gallons/hour.

Question - is this adequate filtration? Personally I think it is but I hear of others having like 3 filters/tank.



10-19-2006, 07:14 PM
I would compliment your mechanical filtration with some additional bio filtration. Many of us shoot for 10x turn-over/hour. You are just shy of 3 where you're at now. You could add a biowheel filter that would give you additional mechanical filtration plus the biological filtration of the biowheels. Or you could add some sponge filters for additional bio filtration. I run 2 on my 55 and increase the flow with powerheads on top.

On my 55 I have the following.

Penguin 300 biowheel @ 300gph
2 - Penguin 550 powerheads on top of sponge filters @ 150gph ea.

That's 600 gph total or I turn over my entire tank 10.9 times per hour.

Also, it's important to have more than 1 device filtering your tank. It gives you at least these two very important advantages.

1. It allows you to clean 1 piece of media with each water change without affecting the cycle of your tank.

2. If you have an equipment failure, you have time to replace/repair it without crashing your tank.

Good Luck and Welcome to the boards!

filter head
10-19-2006, 07:47 PM
I have over 600 gallons per hour on my 70, and around 1200 on my 125. I think think getting a new filter is neccesary. I have two to three filters on all my large African cichlid tanks. You have to remember that all your fish will grow to somewhere around 5 inches, and they will need alot more filtration. I suggest a aquaclear 70 0r 110, that produce 300 and 500 gallons an hour. They are also biological filters, which really helps when it comes to cichlids. I use aquaclears on several of my tanks, and whispers on the rest. I mostly use the whispers on my tropical tanks, but you might be able to use one on the 90.

10-19-2006, 08:09 PM
Thanks for your replies. I will go out tomorrow and get the additional filtration required. Any ballpark on what the aquaclear 110 goes for? Also, I have heard good things about the penguin with the bio-wheel, do you have any feed-back on those?

Thanks again......I have had tropical fish for years but have only recently gotten into the Africans.

10-19-2006, 08:48 PM
O.K. new problem. Tank has been set up with only 1.5 inches clearance to the wall.
Any suggestions on filter type that would help on my insufficient filtering?
Thanks....BTW I am not willing to move the tank at this point

10-19-2006, 09:56 PM
sponge filters or a canister filter for underneath

10-20-2006, 04:19 AM
yeah, a second canister would work

10-20-2006, 08:40 AM
find a way of setting up your HOB on the side of the tank?

10-20-2006, 11:42 AM
Originally posted by Northernblades
find a way of setting up your HOB on the side of the tank?
Thanks for your reply but shelving surrounds the tank therefore there is no space for that type of filtration.

10-20-2006, 11:46 AM
Thanks to all who offered suggestions. As it turns out my only option was to get another canister filter. I just purchased a Filstar xP4 @ 450 gallons per hour. This combined with the Eheim brings up total filtration to 714 gallons/hour. Not quite the 10:1 ratio but approx. 8:1. I would gather (hope) that this would be adequate.
Thanks again.

10-20-2006, 12:53 PM
that will be plenty sufficient. I find that canisters usually pump less gallons per hour, but do a better job of filtration anyway. That XP4 is a great filter. My Fluval 404 pumps less G.P.H than my AquaClear110's do, but there is 4 baskets full of ceramic rings in the fluval(plus the 4 sponges) which more than triples the biological surface area for bacteria growth than my Aquaclears provide ... so yeah, maybe they pump less water per hour, but are a better source of filtration.

10-20-2006, 12:58 PM
I ran my 90 gallon with an Eheim 2217 and one A Clear 500 (now 110). It ran clear and I feel that would be adequate.
I know re-doing the tank would be a pain but I would take out the rocks, drain 85% of the water and get a friend to help you move it away from the wall.

10-20-2006, 01:40 PM
Originally posted by punman
I ran my 90 gallon with an Eheim 2217 and one A Clear 500 (now 110). It ran clear and I feel that would be adequate.
I know re-doing the tank would be a pain but I would take out the rocks, drain 85% of the water and get a friend to help you move it away from the wall.

I appreciate the response but I have already purchased the canister filter and I am in the process of installing as I write this.


10-20-2006, 01:44 PM
yeah, the FX4 will be far superior to the AC110 anyway, and a much greater convenience for you ...

10-20-2006, 02:03 PM
Originally posted by LoJack
yeah, the FX4 will be far superior to the AC110 anyway, and a much greater convenience for you ...

Thanks LoJack, I have a pretty good relationship with my LFS guy and he is very knowledgable and recommended this set up. I have it working now and darn near have "white caps" in my 90 gallon from the power jet nozzle :)

Everything should be good to go......I will post picks of my set-up when I get a chance.

Thanks to everyone's response.

Rob D
10-24-2006, 01:13 PM
I have 2 penguin 350's and a fluval 202 with just bio noodles for filteration and run 4 power heads. 1 Aquaclear 90 in each corner and 2 Aquaclear 70's in the middle all with sponge on the intakes. Crystal clear water and not a drop of waste on the bottom.

The canisters usualy flow less GPH because of the amount of filteration media to pull the water threw. It all depends on the media used too.

Joe Chan
11-07-2006, 03:29 PM
In my 55g tank with a Eheim 2213, 1 layer of foam with 1 layer of fluval and then the ceramic rings, along with the bio balls.

I too have been considering putting an additional filter on the back, a bio wheel or similar hang on type. It sounds like good insurance.

I recently introduced a couple of more fish and now I have noticed an oily film on the service of the water. My water is good and clear, I check the perameters regularly. Don't mean to hi jack the thread, but does anyone have advice on how to get rid of the smelly oily film?

thanks in advance.

11-07-2006, 04:57 PM
Joe, that might be a protein layer build up... usually from inadequate surface aggitation, although it can also be caused by foods.

Getting a HOB would help a lot with surface agitation. Skip the bio-wheel since the canister already has plenty and go for the highest flowrate... currently the AC110 (old AC500)

Joe Chan
11-08-2006, 09:03 AM
Thanks Rusty: I'm preety sure it's protein, is it caused by uneaten flake food? They love the pellets (new life spectrum)

So you say HOB as in UV? What about a protein skimmer I have a hang type(Remora Aqua C ) that is from my salt tank collecting dust! Has anyone tried protein skimmers in Cichlid tanks?

Rusty, thanks for the help.

11-08-2006, 04:34 PM
HOB is short for Hang On Back filter... also called Power Filters....

Protien skimmers from what I understand don't work with freshwater.

It can be the flake, it can also be from a very heavy bio-load, or a lot of growing fish. In all cases increasing surface agitation will help keep it emulsified in the water column so it can be filtered out and removed with water changes. There are also skimmer products made to attach to cannister filters that allow surface protein removal... haven't tried those myself.... since your considering a second filter my suggestion for a "waterfall" or style powerfilter would help with your problem, maybe even eliminate it.

You can also try cutting back on the amount of food you feed as this is where the protien comes from.

You can also try skimming the surface during a waterchange... hold the hose end just enough below the surface to cause a mini whirlpool and you'll pull all the surface scum down into your syphon.... time consuming and tedious, but highly effective.

Joe Chan
11-08-2006, 08:56 PM
Thanks Rusty:

I'm going to try all of your suggestions tomorrow, I have a HOB kicking arround and do a water change while I'm at it.

11-20-2006, 02:08 PM
On my main two show tanks, 300gal and 135gal, I have more than one filter. On the 300 I have two pumps running from one sump, but also an Under Gravel Jets running on a 3rd pump (I estimate the 2 pumps running around 600gph, they are rated at 1140gph, so Iím getting about 4 times turn over with the sump, without the UGJ). On the 135 I have 2 Rena XP3s as well as an Under Gravel Jets running on a pump ( I estimate about 250gph on the XPS so just under 4 times turn over with out the UGJ). Both undergravel jets have a pre-filter that have some bacteria so if both pumps go out or both XP3s go out (which I doubt) there is still some water movement, minimal biological and minimal mechanical filtration, until I notice the problem and find a replacement. For my other tanks, grow out, hospital, quarantine, I have only one filter, these tanks are bare and have limited number of fish so I donít bother with a 2nd or 3rd filter. On a 180gal tank that will be bare and stocked with only 5-6 medium to large fish, I plan on running a canister and a powerfilter along with a Seio pump for water movement and circulation. A second filter isnít a bad idea, just make it practical for your situation.

05-14-2007, 11:04 PM
I use two xp3 filters on my 90Gallon. I use the spray bars on each side and they agitate the water perfectly. I f there is anything floating it gets taken down when the two flows meet.

05-19-2007, 09:35 PM
Look for about 10x turnover per hour like others have said.
I have 1200gph on my 125 split between 4 filters. 2 canisters, and 2 HOB's. That's 1200 rated, not 1200 actual when filled with media.
I'd say actual turnover is probably closer to 900gph = 7.2x turnover.
The tank is pretty low on stock right now, so it works, but as I build the stock, I'll increase the gph turnover rate as well.
The old saying "If a little bit's good, a whole lot's better" plays with aquarium filtration very well.

05-20-2007, 08:08 AM
great choice with the filstar.

I run a mag 350, ac50 and some cheap walmart filter on my 29g tank... with a total gph of 750! Yes... that's correct, I turn my tank over 25 times per hour...

The mag 350 is hooked up to a hydor rotating filter output, placed pointing straight down smack in the middle of the tank(both middle front to back and side to side).

The walmart filter only holds bio media, the ac only holds sponges and the input line from my co2 system.