Planted Tank Guru

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I have resetup my Hamburger mattenfilter tank, 65 gallons. I removed the substrate, did a better job of blocking flow under the filter sponge, added ADA Aquasoil, 2/3 of which is a mix of mostly Africana, and the top 1/3 is Amazonia. I got the mix after it had a couple of weeks in someone else's aquarium, and the top third is a new bag of Amazonia. For the past 2 weeks I have been monitoring the ammonia leaching from the soil, and today finally finished planting it. Here is how it looks now:
As you can see, most of the substrate is a "carpet" of Sagitaria subulata, with a small amount of Crypt retrospiralis and Anubias nana, plus one plant of Crypt. pontideriifolia. I wanted mostly open swimming space for the fish, and I wanted to experiment with the Dwarf Sags. I haven't settled on what fish to use yet, but that has to wait for the ammonia leaching to stop and the tank to cycle  no nitrites yet.
As you can see, most of the substrate is a "carpet" of Sagitaria subulata, with a small amount of Crypt retrospiralis and Anubias nana, plus one plant of Crypt. pontideriifolia. I wanted mostly open swimming space for the fish, and I wanted to experiment with the Dwarf Sags. I haven't settled on what fish to use yet, but that has to wait for the ammonia leaching to stop and the tank to cycle  no nitrites yet.
Hoppy
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Wannabe Guru
i had a matten filter on a 40 breeder and loved it,. the filter worked well and the parameters where never off
Planted Tank Guru
You can see that one problem I had was in cleaning the filter sponge. I soaked it in an Excel/water mix, used a water hose on it, scrubbed it with my hands, pounded on it, let it dry in the sun, soaked it again and repeated trying to scrub it. And, it still has dead BBA on the surface, plus bits of sand in some pores. I'm hoping when I add fish they will help pick off the bits of dead algae.
I had this in operation for a year, with no cleaning, so it was pretty well loaded when I started. Lots of fine brown silt, much of which was probably the bacteria colony that had grown. Now it has to cycle all over again.
I had this in operation for a year, with no cleaning, so it was pretty well loaded when I started. Lots of fine brown silt, much of which was probably the bacteria colony that had grown. Now it has to cycle all over again.
Hoppy
Algae Grower
Just finished the whole thread. Great read and thanks all who updated this thread with their updates and experience. I would like to test this on my upcoming tank and my existing outdoor "pond".
However, I still do not understand how to calculate what pump size I require even after reading the article many times and trying to work it out in a spreadsheet. The equations just do not add up. Do I determine the pump turnover rate or liters/m or the surface area of the filter first? I need to at least determine one of this first right?
I know the best flow rate would be 7.5cm /m through the filter. The pump turnover rate should be as close to 2 times as well. Considering I would like to do this via a side Matten filter instead of corner, Should I take the surface area of the filter as a start? Appreciate any inputs.
Basically Lets say my outdoor tank which is around 120cm x 50cm x 50cm around 300 liters or 77 gallons. My intention would be a side filter of 50x50 so surface area of 2500. I understand from Swisstropical that a 3" thickness would be better to prevent it from collapsing on itself when it starts to get dirty (Not sure if this matter in any calculation) I can use a pump anywhere from 150 liters/m to 800 liters/m. So how do I calculate the pump size relative to what I have as fixed?
However, I still do not understand how to calculate what pump size I require even after reading the article many times and trying to work it out in a spreadsheet. The equations just do not add up. Do I determine the pump turnover rate or liters/m or the surface area of the filter first? I need to at least determine one of this first right?
I know the best flow rate would be 7.5cm /m through the filter. The pump turnover rate should be as close to 2 times as well. Considering I would like to do this via a side Matten filter instead of corner, Should I take the surface area of the filter as a start? Appreciate any inputs.
Basically Lets say my outdoor tank which is around 120cm x 50cm x 50cm around 300 liters or 77 gallons. My intention would be a side filter of 50x50 so surface area of 2500. I understand from Swisstropical that a 3" thickness would be better to prevent it from collapsing on itself when it starts to get dirty (Not sure if this matter in any calculation) I can use a pump anywhere from 150 liters/m to 800 liters/m. So how do I calculate the pump size relative to what I have as fixed?
Planted Tank Guru
I haven't been keeping up with this thread, but I thought the ideal flow rate was somewhere around 2.55cm/minute.
using that, you would want a pump rate of between 6250 and 12500 ml/minute.
approximately 375750 litres/hour, or 100200 gallons/hour (very rough estimate)
using those numbers, you could go for a pump right in the middle, at about 150gph, and get ~2 turnovers hour.
That's if you decide you want to use a set area of mattenfilter. If you wanted to use a given pump size, you would have to calculate for that (convert pump rate to ml/minute, and then find a way to get the surface area that would give you the 2.55 cm/minute). If you wanted a higher flow rate, you could try a semicircle shaped mattenfilter on the end, or maybe an angled one to give you more surface area.
using that, you would want a pump rate of between 6250 and 12500 ml/minute.
approximately 375750 litres/hour, or 100200 gallons/hour (very rough estimate)
using those numbers, you could go for a pump right in the middle, at about 150gph, and get ~2 turnovers hour.
That's if you decide you want to use a set area of mattenfilter. If you wanted to use a given pump size, you would have to calculate for that (convert pump rate to ml/minute, and then find a way to get the surface area that would give you the 2.55 cm/minute). If you wanted a higher flow rate, you could try a semicircle shaped mattenfilter on the end, or maybe an angled one to give you more surface area.
Algae Grower
Thanks lochaber.
I found another site that explains it more clearly. I believe the main important item is that the flow through the filter should be between 510cm/ min. As such, after determining the area required, you may have to work backwards to change the pump water flow in order to achieve this target.
Example given :
So, how big must the filter be, and how do we decide the dimensions?
That depends on a number of factors including:
1. Water turnover per hour
2. Flowrate
3. Volume of the tank
To achieve effective biological filtration the following parameters have proven themselves as most efficient.
 The water turnover should be between 2 and 3 times the tank volume per hour.
 The flowrate should be between 5 and 10 cm per minute.
The maths
For our example let’s take a standard 160 l tank (100 x 40 x 40 cm) and as the golden medium a turnover of 2.5 x volume/hour and flowrate of 7.5 cm/minute. We have a 160 l tank and 400 l/h pump, but how do we achieve the correct flowrate?
Flowrate refers to how much water flows through a filter sponge of given surface area (taken as a crosssection, i.e., sponge depth x sponge height) within a certain amount of time. There is of course a formula for this:
Crosssection [A] = Volume [Q] x Water turnover [n] x 1000 / (Flow rate [V] x 60)
in our example:
A = 160 x 2.5 x 1000 / 7.5 x 60 = 400 000 / 450 = 888.88 cm² ≈ 890 cm²
Since the height of the tank is a fixed we simply divide this result by 40 (tank height in cm) to calculate the width of the piece of sponge we need, i.e., 890 cm² / 40 cm = 22.25 cm, ≈ 22.5 cm. Therefore we cut out a piece of sponge measuring 40 x 22.5 cm.
I found another site that explains it more clearly. I believe the main important item is that the flow through the filter should be between 510cm/ min. As such, after determining the area required, you may have to work backwards to change the pump water flow in order to achieve this target.
Example given :
So, how big must the filter be, and how do we decide the dimensions?
That depends on a number of factors including:
1. Water turnover per hour
2. Flowrate
3. Volume of the tank
To achieve effective biological filtration the following parameters have proven themselves as most efficient.
 The water turnover should be between 2 and 3 times the tank volume per hour.
 The flowrate should be between 5 and 10 cm per minute.
The maths
For our example let’s take a standard 160 l tank (100 x 40 x 40 cm) and as the golden medium a turnover of 2.5 x volume/hour and flowrate of 7.5 cm/minute. We have a 160 l tank and 400 l/h pump, but how do we achieve the correct flowrate?
Flowrate refers to how much water flows through a filter sponge of given surface area (taken as a crosssection, i.e., sponge depth x sponge height) within a certain amount of time. There is of course a formula for this:
Crosssection [A] = Volume [Q] x Water turnover [n] x 1000 / (Flow rate [V] x 60)
in our example:
A = 160 x 2.5 x 1000 / 7.5 x 60 = 400 000 / 450 = 888.88 cm² ≈ 890 cm²
Since the height of the tank is a fixed we simply divide this result by 40 (tank height in cm) to calculate the width of the piece of sponge we need, i.e., 890 cm² / 40 cm = 22.25 cm, ≈ 22.5 cm. Therefore we cut out a piece of sponge measuring 40 x 22.5 cm.
Planted Tank Guru
Just a progress report. The mattenfilter continues to work great  clear water, healthy fish and plants, and no maintenance required, except perhaps once a year. The tank now has a "carpet" of Sagittaria subulata, 3 Crypt. retrospiralis, some Anubias nana, and, just added, a small grove of Myriophyllum mattogrossense. Those are all growing well. I also have a Crypt. pontideriifolia, which is struggling, but alive, but not yet a presence in the aquascape. The fish are 12 Odessa barbs, 8 Lemon tetra, and 6 Otocinclus catfish. All have survived since they were added in February, and all look healthy.
I'm really impressed by the Hamburger Mattenfilter for a low light, low maintenance tank.
Hoppy
Algae Grower
wow. after 4 days of reading this thread and all the links contained in it, my head hurts.
I wish there was a magic formula/calculator to figure the math for the power head. Perhaps one of you with exp in this can answer though.
I am setting up a 40B shrimp (Pumpkins) tank for the wife, it will be 12" of black diamond, loads of mosses/fissidens. The Current Satelite LED+ 36" sitting on the glass.
According to the reading, and swiss tropicals, for an end piece I would need a 19.5"x19.5" piece. I would like to build an acrylic box to hold it against the back wall and attach a spray bar on one end to the out put of the powerhead. My problem is the sizing of the powerhead vs the 3" thick poret.
Any help on this/ideas would be fantastic. If it fails, I will be doing the DIY canister UGF. Just trying to avoid another canister to clean...
Thanks,
Joe
I wish there was a magic formula/calculator to figure the math for the power head. Perhaps one of you with exp in this can answer though.
I am setting up a 40B shrimp (Pumpkins) tank for the wife, it will be 12" of black diamond, loads of mosses/fissidens. The Current Satelite LED+ 36" sitting on the glass.
According to the reading, and swiss tropicals, for an end piece I would need a 19.5"x19.5" piece. I would like to build an acrylic box to hold it against the back wall and attach a spray bar on one end to the out put of the powerhead. My problem is the sizing of the powerhead vs the 3" thick poret.
Any help on this/ideas would be fantastic. If it fails, I will be doing the DIY canister UGF. Just trying to avoid another canister to clean...
Thanks,
Joe
Algae Grower
I have one on my 240B set up, the 19.5x19.5 and just run it off an air pump. So far so good. There is good mulm build up and the flow is surprisingly good across the top of the tank.
I think as long as your power head doesn't exceed the 2.5x tank volume through the filter, you should be fine. If you want extra water movement in the tank beyond that, you may be better just having an extra power head in the main section of the tank to move the water around.
I think as long as your power head doesn't exceed the 2.5x tank volume through the filter, you should be fine. If you want extra water movement in the tank beyond that, you may be better just having an extra power head in the main section of the tank to move the water around.
Algae Grower
So you are just using an air stone? swiss tropicals sells the jet lifters with the foam, had thought of using that, but they are kind of just chinsy pvc tubes that my wife could craft up for less than 12$. would like more flow for keeping the fissidens/moss clear as well. may get two power heads and just slow the one in the main tank a bit.
So 2.5 x tank volume is what Ishould aim for? math and I dont get along well so 2.5 x 40 = 100? pretty sure thats right. well will hit up the store and add two of those to the cart...
thanks
joe
So 2.5 x tank volume is what Ishould aim for? math and I dont get along well so 2.5 x 40 = 100? pretty sure thats right. well will hit up the store and add two of those to the cart...
thanks
joe
Algae Grower
Yeah, I bought the jet lifters for convenience, but they really are just nice PVC (a bit thinner than your average PVC though). I think the key is that they turn and poke through the foam wall. I'm thinking a small deskfountain type pump for behind the foam (if you don't want to do the air powered) and then a circulation outside would work for you. Good luck!
Planted Tank Guru
According to the Hamburg group that developed the Mattenfilter, you need 510 cm per min flow velocity through the filter for optimum bio filtration. That translates to about 36 gallons per minute flow rate from the filter. So look for a powerhead or pump that produces that. (If they are listed in gallons per hour, that would be 300 to 600 gallons per hour.)
Hoppy
Planted Tank Guru
In my 40gl tank I have a 2.5" Foam. I'm using a 600GPH pump to run water out of the tank into my Growbed (which also acts as a filter) I also have a 100gph Ehien Aqua ball recirculating the water in the tank through the filter.
The water is pristine even housing Oranda Goldfish.
The water is pristine even housing Oranda Goldfish.
Algae Grower
Awesome info, will add a 400ish then and see if I need more after. Thanks guys
joe
joe
Planted Tank Obsessed
Interested in the good info on combating the BBA. Thanks!
"Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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