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Wasserpest 10-19-2003 10:06 PM

The other day I went to my LFS and saw that 10 gallon tank with hood, for $19.95 :shock: and could not resist. Adding the substrate ("Black beauty sand, more like black glass) was another $6, and buying dinner for the family because they let me buy it was another $40 :roll:

So anyway, set it up, planted it, waited for heater and filter to arrive. Started with a Gambusia (mosquito fish), after a few days added one white cloud, a few days later the green and brown algae covered everything, and I got two Otos which now have cleaned it up quite a bit. Finally bought a Ram which will go into the big tank in a few days.

The plants are tenellus in the bg, javamoss (thanks kutothe!), and (not visible yet) glosso in the foreground. The hygrophila monster will go as soon the tank has stabilized a little more, so will the myriophyllum. Not sure yet about the Wisteria.

I would like to get Nannostomus marginatus for this tank, once it has grown a little more in.

Specs: 2 10W pc 6400K with excellent (mirror) reflectors, AC mini full of foam with foam on outlet to reduce surface agitation. Black stuff over kitty litter. And a 2 liter bottle with DIY CO2 bubbling into the inlet of the mini.

Buck 10-20-2003 12:53 AM

Neat lookin tank there Wasser :D

I was thinkin about a lil tank to set on the side of my pc as well and now seeing this really makes me want to do it, I enjoyed my little nano but hated the plastic tank.

When your moss and glosso get kickin it will be very nice ! :D

Momotaro 10-20-2003 03:43 AM

Very interesting WP!


GulfCoastAquarian 10-20-2003 01:57 PM

Everyone needs to try a mountain-scape. Especially since it is an easy aquascape to use for smaller tanks like a 10-20g. Takes time for that glosso to get going, but the end result is quite worthwhile!

kutothe 10-20-2003 04:07 PM

Glad the moss is working out for you. Enjoy the new tank (I love experimenting with 10g tanks). :D

Wasserpest 10-21-2003 04:35 AM

For the AC Mini, here is what I did to avoid any surface movement while still having the full throughput: Added a little piece of sponge that bridges the filter lip and the water surface... simple, almost invisible, and 100% effective.

GDominy 10-21-2003 05:20 PM

Ok.. A word of warning from one Aquaclear nut to another....

I use the exact same method to prevent surface disturbance. There is one.. Minor, yet rather significant point you must be aware of.

If your bottom sponge gets clogged with a sponge in the top like this, you may find your filter leaking water around the top. If the water flow gets too restricted through the bottom sponge they lift, and the water gushes UP around them. This splashing will start dripping down the back of the filter.

I'm only saying this because not one, but two of my filters did this last week.

That being said.. this is a great way of preventing too much surface disruption.

Wasserpest 10-21-2003 05:58 PM


Originally Posted by GDominy
If the water flow gets too restricted through the bottom sponge they lift, and the water gushes UP around them. This splashing will start dripping down the back of the filter.

I will have both eyes on that :shock: although I am not sure I totally understand. I noticed that water is flowing over the divider in the center of the filter, probably a sign that the bottom sponge(s) are getting clogged.
What do you mean by "they lift"?

GDominy 10-21-2003 06:48 PM

I mean.. the sponegs in the little insert tray actually start to rise out of the filter and pop the lid off! This happened in my Aquaclear 150 the other day and drained about 2 gallons of water onto my living room floor overnight. It was a slow leak so I didnt hear it.. I only noticed in the morning because I stepped onto the soggy carpet.

My Aquaclear 500 did this as well the other day but only lost about 2 pints of water.

Wasserpest 10-21-2003 07:05 PM

I suppose this could happen with the larger AC's, but in the mini the sponges are crammed in so tightly and locked with little plastic thingies, I can't imagine that could happen... But it is always good to keep an eye on water that is flowing around outside of your tank. Murphy's law of filters... they always start leaking when you are the furthest away from your home :lol:

GDominy 10-21-2003 07:27 PM

It can happen. I have an Aquaclear Mini on my 20 Gallon and it did that about 4 months ago. All of the aquaclears have those plastic locking tabs, even under a tiny bit of presure the plastic walls push in slightly and the tray lifts... Generally speaking though.. I have only seen this happen to filters I have used for over a year (IE, after they have been cleaned many times and the plastid gets a little softer)

GDominy 10-21-2003 07:28 PM

Heh.. I'm not trying to be an alarmist :-) I just want you to be aware that it is always a possibility. As long as you thoroughly clean or replace the bottom sponge every couple of weeks its no big deal. I try to replace mine every 6 months

Wasserpest 10-21-2003 07:34 PM

I appreciate your help... new to AC's, so it is very useful to hear about possible problems and prior experiences with them.
Why do you replace the sponge? Do they "wear out" and disintegrate after so many cleanings? They are very coarse, I think not much stuff actually gets stuck in it... but I have never cleaned out mine (only running for about 3 weeks now) -- probably time to find out!

GDominy 10-21-2003 08:08 PM

The sponged do break down over time.. But it only seems to occur under a very high bio load. My 20 Gallon for instance, has never had a sponge replaced... But my 45 Gallon tank that houses several 3-5" fish (filtered with my Aquaclear 500) has had 2 sponges replaced in the last year and a half.

The sponges after a while get so clogged that the time between cleanings gets shorter and shorter... So replacing them once in a while is just a good maintenance practice. I also find that Cyanobacteria and other algae's can form in the sponge material itself and can hamper the water flow through them.

Its not a big deal when you consider the cost of the sponges is anywhere from $2-$10 depending on the size of the filter. Replace them twice a year and you're not looking at a huge investment at all.

I am actually a huge fan of these filters, and if I had the nerve to drain and move my 135 Gallon tank 2 inches forward I would add 2-4 Aquaclear 500's to it. I find these guys to be the easiest to maintain filter I have ever used. Simple design, simple but effective media, inexpensive media... You can't ask for much more.

Wasserpest 10-21-2003 09:22 PM

I agree, they are very easy to clean and prime. And nothing beats the prices... The only disadvantages that I can see is that they are somewhat difficult to integrate in existing hoods, compared to a canister. Also, I like to cover my tanks more or less completely with glass... the hot design makes that a little difficult.

I was a little surprised to learn that the AC mini, 150, and 200 and 300 all have the same little pump motor, and so different throughput.

After getting used to the "new" noise I am now quite satisfied with it. I like the adjustable flow control... but I don't use it because I add CO2 into the inlet, which builds up to a bubble when employing reduced flow.

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