Underground filtration - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: USA----Georgia
Posts: 32
Underground filtration

Hey gang,

It's 3 am here and I've gotta get some sleep as I'm needing to get up at 545 to go to work!!

Help, my husband wants me to do all this fish stuff myself and I'm very worried right now.

Problem: have an underground filtration with two power heads in my 30 gallon tank and a hang over filtration we'll the hang over has quit. I've unplugged it cleaned it and refilled it and tried but nothing!
Will the fish be okay until tomorrow afternoon so I can run to the fish store and get another hang over filtration one.

Man ole man am I stressing, please help me!!!!

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 07:33 AM
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If you have anything else you can add for more water movement, do that.
Air pump, additional power head...

I am more worried about the bacteria in the HOB (Hang On Back) filter. With no circulation there will not be enough oxygen for them, they could start to die off.

Here is what I would do:
Clean the media gently, in some water removed from the tank, then put the media in the tank, perhaps in a mesh bag, but put it where one of the power heads will create some water flow through the media.

That way the beneficial bacteria will keep on doing their job, and will get the oxygen they need.

I know an under gravel filter can grow a very impressive population of bacteria, but since you have been running both, the tank has come to depend on both populations of bacteria, in the HOB and on the surface of the gravel.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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I think I was success after worrying and stressing. I decided to move the fluval from the cycling tank with one fish non expensive to this tank with all my prides and joys in it.

Thank you for the quick response. I sure wish I had friends in this neck of the woods that could help me with these fish tanks until I get the nack down.

I do thank God for the internet and quick responses....

Again much much appreciation!!!!!

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 10:14 AM
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If when you say you cleaned it out if you mean all the filter media is new..you will get an ammonia spike by morning.
You should prepare enough water to do a 50% water change then. After you check the ammonia that is.
If it's not over .5 it may not work out that bad but finding out if the filter is dead or just needs new parts and then
doing what is fit for the situation is in order. Changing 50% of the water every time you get up to .5 ammonia will
save the fish from most of the harm they might have. This needs to be done till the filter kicks in good either repaired
or replaced. The under gravel will take over but it takes time to build up the level of needed bacteria(which it already has some of).
If the filter media is still wet and not thrown away you can do what the other lady said/w it. Especially if you can be
sure it's in a fairly good current. This could actually save the tank from an ammonia spike.
It's not as bad as if you only had that one filter but closely watch the ammonia levels.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Didn't clean out and put new media in just trying to figure out where the noise was coming from but left old media in but still didn't work. So went to bed tossing and turning woke up about two hour ago and started messing with the Fulham canister set that was hooked up to my cycling tank so I unhooked it all and into this tank and it's working like a charm!!!!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 12:44 PM
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I think you got a bit too stressed and some of the "advisors", didn't help. A well maintained undergravel filter with power heads is most likely all you really need. In the 70's we used them air powered and they worked just fine.

We tend to be a little too tech crazy in the hobby today

All filters are intended to buy you time between water changes NOT replace water changes. Stay up on WC & cleaning and your tank(s) will do well.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 04:29 AM
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I'm pretty much with DogFish on this; I also think you might have a bit more time then you realize. - The undergravel will continue to handle it's share of the filtration, as will any plants you may have. Diana's got a great suggestion with hanging the filterbag/sponge/whatever in front of the powerhead outlets.

Remember, people fairly regularly ship fish in bags of water that don't get changed for a good day or two. Your fish in the tank have a much better fish:water ratio, and it is getting filtered (just not as much).

What did you check/clean on the HOB? Were you able to get the impeller out and look at it? clean out that area?

Is it completely dead, or is it making noises when you plug it in, but not moving water? Have you tried plugging it into a different outlet?

Not trying to ask dumb questions or come across as insulting or anything, just looking for anything that might indicate that there is some other option outside of buying a new filter.

If nothing else, try and do an ammonia (and maybe nitrite) test when you get up, if they come up 0, you can probably let it go till the afternoon, if not, maybe do a partial water change, and deal with it in the afternoon - just don't add any more food until you get this filtration mess sorted out.

Maybe add one of the products that neutralizes ammonia/nitrites if you have any on-hand.

Last edited by lochaber; 11-10-2013 at 04:31 AM. Reason: :/
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 08:46 PM
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My thoughts went along these lines:
Sure the UGF could handle the whole job. IF IT HAD BEEN DOING IT ALL ALONG.

But this tank had come to depend on BOTH the UGF and the HOB.

So there was a significant amount of bacteria in the HOB that was taken out of service when it failed.

So lets save that bacteria.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Didn't think at all your were asking dumb questions--- I really appreciate all the help and information!!!!
The hof wasn't flowing water and making this god awful noise so I pulled it off the back and tried to fix it but to no avail so I did have(I said earlier it was fluval but it's an xp filtration) an xpfiltration canister set on the tank that I was trying to cycle so I took it off and added it to the tank where the hof was at. So right now all is well...

Thanks for all the information and help!!!

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 10:54 PM
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You can remove the media from your HOB and put it in the canister (if it will fit) and it will provide the same amount of bio filtration that your HOB did until the canister media has grown a sufficient amount of BB in it.

I recently switched from HOB to canister and didn't do any cycling of the canister. I just dumped my media from my HOB (marine pure bio balls) and put it into the canister and had an immediately cycled filter. Now I realize most people don't use alternate media in their HOB (they should, its way better ) but if the media fits in the baskets, use it!
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 12:01 AM
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Even if you are using the traditional cartridge that is standard for many HOB filters you can cut the floss off the plastic and fold the floss until it fits in the canister. Throw away the activated carbon. Probably the easiest is just to let the cartridge go in the tank for a couple of weeks then throw it away.

I also use alternate media in my filters, and almost all of it can go into any of the other filters, so sharing bacteria is easy.
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filtration, hang on back, underwater filter

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