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Old 12-16-2012, 12:13 AM   #1
GeToChKn
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Default Active substrate end of life, time for a new tank and idea

So my Netlea (Similar to ADA) soil, after absorbing all kinds of things from the tank, has decided to start releasing them, so it's time to get rid of it. It's the problem with any active substrate. They have a high CEC and can store things from the water and release them when full. They can also run of whatever they use to lower the pH. Either way, they do have a lifespan, especially what we want from the soil for shrimp. I am going to reuse it for my planted tank though after a rinse, let it suck up the nutrients I dose and from root tabs.

Mine seems to be loaded with Nitrates and Phosphates. I got algae growing over sponge filters, walls, plants, sponge intakes, rocks, everything. I've taken soil out of the tank, into a container with fresh water, 20-40ppm nitrates within 24 hours. The soil's cap-put.

I don't want to go through this again, and also am looking at moving within a year and setting up a breeding rack, so time to look for other options for cheap filtration and getting the proper water without active substrate.

So I came up with a Hamburg matten filter for my filtration. The tank is a 20gal tank. I'm going to use a bit of inert gravel but leave a big portion of the tank bare bottom for easy cleanup, etc. I am going to use Ebi-ken Sosei, which is a product to lower your RO water by adding an organic dis solvable fluvic acid that can be added to your RO for water changes and will drop the pH to a acidic range without affect other param's.

Here's the sponge with a dry fit with some supports to hold the sponge in place.



Support rails painted black with Kyrlon paint and siliconed into place.



My helper





The idea behind a Hamburg Matten filter is that you put a powerhead or airdriven lift tube behind the sponge, and expelling water out of the area back into the area in front. This forces water to be pulled through the giant wall of sponge. This provides filtration, huge area for biofilm for shrimp, and very low maintenance as the sponge can go sometimes a year or two without being removed and cleaned. The bonus is shrimp love sponges for munching, so bonus for them. So people even get a bit of moss growing and creeping up the sponge to create a moss wall.

Here's a pic of how the HMF works. http://www.swisstropicals.com/Web%20...0principle.pdf

Just waiting for silicone to dry so I can flood it and seed it with some goodie from some other tanks and get it going.

So far I haven't lost any shrimp from the Nitrate/Phosphate dumping but babies sure aren't there like they should. No amount of water changes was able to get rid of it, so I'll see how this method works.

Anyone else use HMF's in there shrimp tanks?
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:21 AM   #2
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Cool little project, looking forward to seeing this develop. Will you have very unstable parameters since you are going to use a product to lower your PH instead of the substrate? How will you add water when you have evaporation? The big plus on substrate is that it keeps things very stable.
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:28 AM   #3
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Cool little project, looking forward to seeing this develop. Will you have very unstable parameters since you are going to use a product to lower your PH instead of the substrate? How will you add water when you have evaporation? The big plus on substrate is that it keeps things very stable.
If all other params are stable, a pH shift isn't that big of a deal. Happens with active substrate tanks too. Your tank is 6pH because of the substrate and put in 7pH water. At some point it has to jump up then back down. Using RO water or a water with 0kH though, it is easily converted to whatever pH the water is in the tank already, so it happens pretty quick and I assume it will work the same topping off a 6pH tank with 0TDS/0kH water, regardless of pH, should drop fairly quickly. Other option is use the Ebiken Sosei powder in the top off RO water as well to lower the pH. I don't have the product yet, but I'll play around and see what happens and wlll talk with Frank about it, since he uses that method in his tanks, almost no substrate, and adjusts the water before going into the tanks with whatever minerals and ph up or down solution depending on the shrimp. Beats going through tons of active substrate all the time.
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:51 AM   #4
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If all other params are stable, a pH shift isn't that big of a deal. Happens with active substrate tanks too. Your tank is 6pH because of the substrate and put in 7pH water. At some point it has to jump up then back down. Using RO water or a water with 0kH though, it is easily converted to whatever pH the water is in the tank already, so it happens pretty quick and I assume it will work the same topping off a 6pH tank with 0TDS/0kH water, regardless of pH, should drop fairly quickly. Other option is use the Ebiken Sosei powder in the top off RO water as well to lower the pH. I don't have the product yet, but I'll play around and see what happens and wlll talk with Frank about it, since he uses that method in his tanks, almost no substrate, and adjusts the water before going into the tanks with whatever minerals and ph up or down solution depending on the shrimp. Beats going through tons of active substrate all the time.
This definitely sounds interesting. I actually just finished topping off my dead Akadama with ADA Afrikana. I just put the new soil on top and so far so good. I'm sick of substrates so I hope your method works out.

Not to hijack the thread but here is one of my tanks with topped of substrate....it's getting pretty thick now. I hope your method works so I don't have to top off again in 1.5 years or I'll have no more water left in the tank...it will be all substrate.



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Old 12-16-2012, 12:44 AM   #5
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This looks very interesting!
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:48 AM   #6
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How do you know when it has reached its time?
Do you know if Eco-Complete will do the same?

Anyways, I like the set-up! Your shrimps will be happy to graze all over that.
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:39 AM   #7
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How do you know when it has reached its time?
Do you know if Eco-Complete will do the same?

Anyways, I like the set-up! Your shrimps will be happy to graze all over that.
I knew mine was by the constant 40ppm of nitrates no matter how much water I changed and the blue-green hair algae covering everything in my tank and no babies. lol.
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Old 12-16-2012, 12:52 AM   #8
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Looking forward to seeing how this works out for you.

Have you checked the big Hamburger filter thread? I think sewingalot and others have shrimp in their tanks and really enjoy them.
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:12 AM   #9
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Looking forward to seeing how this works out for you.

Have you checked the big Hamburger filter thread? I think sewingalot and others have shrimp in their tanks and really enjoy them.
Yup, read all 52 pages last night before going out and buying foam and silicone today. lol.
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:35 AM   #10
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Ya, it's a test. See how it goes.

I am going to silicone in a substrate divider to keep the substrate contained to a small area, to give the shrimp biofilm, places for babies to play and an area to plant if I want to plant it. I'm using some black flourite.

Here's the dry fit for the substrate divider. It's a plastic PVC based compound called Celuka. It's basically the same stuff they use for PVC pipes that's heated and then filled with tiny micro air bubbles then compressed to give a very hard, PVC "wood" that comes in 1x6 and 2x4 and all the standard lumber sizes. It can be cut with a chop shop and comes out with a super smooth edge without sanding, can be drilled, painted, just like wood but just pure PVC. I've used it for turtle docks, crayfish homes, all kinds of things in tanks before and since it's just PVC, just heated with air and no additives, it's safe for tanks like PVC is. I'm going to paint it black and silicone it in so the front part of the tank is bare and can be used for feeding and easy cleanup and the gravel will be contained against the sponge, so it will seal the bottom of the sponge to stop shrimp from crawling under, and act like a UGF and pull crap out of the substrate towards the sponge.



I was also reading Frank say that basically inert soils but ones with a high CEC (He was referring to Akadama) will absorb some of the fluvic acid from the Sosei and release it, thus helping stabilize the ph of water over time as small amounts will be retained and released by the soil. Another reason I choose Flourite black for my substrate.

Off to paint and silicone and wait. I hate waiting for silicone. lol.

I'm also going to paint the bottom of the tank black too. Should look decent when it's done.

The other thing with the HMF is you can hide your heater, CO2 difussor, whatever behind the sponge. I going to use a small internal Fluval filter full of purigen as my method for water pumping out from behind the sponge wall, so it will help filter the water as well and I'm going to have 2 sponge filters in near the front of the tank to help keep water moving and surface movement near the front of the tank. I'm sure they'll be some tweaking as I go but I have an idea how I want it all.

Here's the divider glued in an painted.

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Last edited by GeToChKn; 12-16-2012 at 02:07 AM.. Reason: ...
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Old 12-16-2012, 02:39 AM   #11
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Pretty much done for the night, have to wait for silicone to cure. lol. Painted the bottom black. When this one is up, I'll do my other CRS tank. Only have two tanks going right now, high SSS/+ grade and my lower grade crs/cbs/golden/snow mixed tank, so everyone is in one tank right now, then I'll swap everyone to this tank when it's done and do the other. There is 1 light fixture over right now to cover the tanks and I'll add another so each tank will have 2x23W cfl's

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Old 12-16-2012, 03:08 AM   #12
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Have you considered the Hagen Elite mini water filter?






That might fit your bill.
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:23 AM   #13
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Have you considered the Hagen Elite mini water filter?


That might fit your bill.
I have a fluval 2 internal filter, so I can stuff it with purigen or floss or whatever I want to get a bit of different filtration in there besides the jumbo sponge wall.

Here it is connected to my output that will sit above the water line to get lots of surface movement and O2 exchange.

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Last edited by GeToChKn; 12-16-2012 at 04:30 AM.. Reason: ...
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:52 PM   #14
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I have a fluval 2 internal filter, so I can stuff it with purigen or floss or whatever I want to get a bit of different filtration in there besides the jumbo sponge wall.

Here it is connected to my output that will sit above the water line to get lots of surface movement and O2 exchange.

I like this a lot for a smaller tank, I may incorporate this idea in a 29 I'll be converting to a QT tank. Instead of two Koralias, use a Koralia and a spraybar...

If you feel like it, I think it would be nice to post something on sewingalot's HMF thread - I'm one of the folks over there and I know we would love to see this build! You could add a link back to this thread so we ( and anyone else interested in HMFs) could see all the builds and updates in one fell swoop.
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:23 PM   #15
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Here is good read for the weekend.Enjoy

http://www.shrimpnow.com/forums/show...ks-and-shrimps
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