Filters, Media, and Substrate???
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:19 AM   #1
traucet
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Filters, Media, and Substrate???


Let me preface by saying "Why in the hell did I let my wife talk me into this?" It was just some stupid gold fish one of our friends daughter won at a festival. The girl and parents hung the bag of 4 gold fish from a tree branch near where we were sitting, so they would not have to continuously hold the bag. It was not long till they had forgotten about them. When it was time to leave and everyone was gone, we and the fish were all that were left out of our group, and my wife was not going leave them there. So, we brought them home. Only problem, no tank at home.

So, like most uneducated new people to the hobby. We went out and bought a starter tank. A Tetra 10 gallon starter to be exact. Has a wisper 10 HOB filter, a hood, some LED lights, and a heater. We bought 10 pounds of Petco brand black rock and some Petco brand activated carbon. Added a small air pump and longish air stone to create an air curtain. Put in the equipment added the bio starter pack. Let it run for a weekend. Lost 2 of the gold fish before adding them to the tank. Let the remaining 2 fish float a while in some old water in bag. Then scooped them out and put them into the new tank. We lost the 3rd fish within the first 24 hours in the tank. 1 lone survivor.

So, over the next several months we added a few live plants and some rocks. Added 1 otocinclus. All was going well with our 2 fish, a few plants, and some rocks. Then one night water starts pouring out of our tank.

We take the tank to the bathtub. Take a plastic container and scoop it in the fish water. Scoop out our 2 fish put them in the container. Remove the plants. get our 5 gallon bucket. Fill it, as much as we can, with what water is left in the tank. Fill the bucket the rest of the way up with de-chlorinated water. Change out the air stone to a smaller one. Fasten all the equipment to the bucket. All is well again. No loss of fish or plants.



So, now I have in my possession and brand new Mr. Aqua 11.4 gallon rimless. Now looking at equipment. First thing is substrate and filter/media. Looking at black fluorite gravel from Seachem as a substrate.

Filters/media.. Enough to make a man want to chunk everything in the trash. So many varying opinions and options. So, as it is, been looking at the AC30/Fluval C2, Eheim 2213/2215, Marineland C-160, SunSun HW-302, Fluval 106, Rena API Filstar S (XP1), Penn Plax cascade 500, and others. Thinking of using 3 foams, Purigen in place of carbon, and Matrix/biomax/other media. Also wondering about Prime as de-chlorinator and use to re-activate the purigen.

So, sorry for long post to get basic point of asking recommendation on filter, media, and substrate for a new Mr. Aqua 11.4 gallon tank.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by traucet; 04-11-2014 at 06:32 AM.. Reason: Added information
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:51 AM   #2
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That's rough with the old tank, good job on saving everything. I like the dimensions and looks of the tanks Mr. Aqua has been putting out.
I'd go with a canister on a rimless tank. A hang on back can stand out a bit too much in my opinion; you ruin the asthetics of a tank like that. There is more room for media too, although I tend to stick with just sponges. I try to plant heavily and stock lightly to keep the nutrients in ballance and keep the algae at bay. Occasionally the live bearers skew the balance on me.
I've heard good things about the SunSun, considering the price. Ease of maintenance (ie, not making a huge mess cleaning it out) and self priming would be key features for me in a canister filter. They typically aren't as easy to clean as HOB.
I'd go with glass lilly pipes as well if I had the spare cash or try my hand at making some from acrylic. But with some creative planting and plant selection, you can hide the stock intake and outlet pipes pretty well.
Past tanks I did soil capped with filter sand (or media blasting sand when it was still available). Lately I've been doing Black Diamond media blasting grit, so I can't really comment on the plant specific substrates. From what I have seen, I do like the looks of it and it would probably help out with some of the root feeding plants and is probably easier to vacuum.
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Old 04-02-2014, 04:11 AM   #3
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I have been looking at sunsun/aquatop a lot. Not really sure how much media I would need for it. I absolutely want to replace the inlet/spraybar with some sort of clear inlet/lilly pipes/spraybar. All the canisters seem to have different size hoses. I think the sunsun uses 16mm id/20mm od or 5/8" id / 3/4" od hose. 17mm glass or acrylic tubing???

Sooo, very afraid of sand/dirt or similar types of substrate. That's the reason I was looking at gravel. My wife seems more comfortable with it as well.

Thanks
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:31 AM   #4
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I guess since Sunsun is getting so popular they are raising the price. Anyway, I am still looking. What go people think of Jebao 403, Aquatop DF200 or AT series, yes I realize the Aquatop CF series is the same as the sunsun hw's.

Last edited by traucet; 04-04-2014 at 05:32 PM.. Reason: Selling correction
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:05 PM   #5
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A hob may also crack the glass on a rimless tank.

Further, please be aware that a tank that size is ultimately too small for a goldfish and that they tend to love eating plant matter. Just things to keep in mind as you continue this journey.

Oto cats are great, but don't tend to live long for most folks. Feed him a little slice of zucchini once in a while, and consider picking up a few more so he's got friends. Fish feel more comfortable in larger numbers.

Welcome to this fantastic hobby
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:54 PM   #6
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I understand about the gold fish. Luckily for us only about 3" at the time of this writing. Ultimitaly we hope to find a pond for a permanent home, but thought its size may be a little small to be in a pond with other full size goldfish or coy.

The wife wants to buy one other larger tank, as of now an undetermined size, down the road. She wants this one to be a somewhat simple planted tropical tank. The larger being a more heavily planted aquascaped tropical tank. I am sure I will need lots of advice for both.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:04 PM   #7
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I just used 2 bags of flourite black in my 20 gallon long tank. Spent some time washing it and its been great! Good luck!
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Old 04-05-2014, 05:03 AM   #8
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Thinking about using the black flourite and changing my current white-ish rocks with some red lava rocks. Still can not decide on filter. Pretty much want it to be canister with clear intake/output. Not sure about UV or inline heating. Temps are high the gold fish but low for ocat. Thinking about getting a siamese algae eater when/if I loose the ocat. Probably try for a crossocheilus langei as I would probably be very lucky to find an actual crossocheilus siamensis. Assuming I can find a good place to get it cause I do not think I could tell them apart from the fakes myself.

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Old 04-06-2014, 05:05 AM   #9
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Anyone know the actual height dimensions of the Jebao 404? I have dimensions: 9.1" x 9.1" x 18". I do not know if its 18" to the top of the canister or the top of the tube nozzles? Can anyone verify? If its to the top of nozzles I would like the dimensions to the top of the canister or vice versa.

Rsasons, I am looking at this particular filter vs a Sunsun HW-302

1. Similar Price range as a Sunsun.

2. Higher flow rate rating.

3. 4 media baskets

4. The tube nozzles seem to have ball valves to either shut the water off or control flow.

Thanks.

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Old 04-06-2014, 01:55 PM   #10
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may want to consider the eheim ecco pro 35 as well. I use that on my office 10 gallon and love it, very user friendly and almost effortless to get going. Some have had issues with the priming handle breaking and the quick releases, but if you're careful with it should be fine. Good luck!
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:20 PM   #11
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I recently switch from a HOB filter setup and now use an API Filstar and I absolutely love it. Much better flow in the tank over the HOB. Obviously, more flow is a good thing when trying to eliminate dead spots in the tank.
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Old 04-08-2014, 05:59 AM   #12
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Which Filstar? Was wondering about media and accessories. Seen some reviews that they now put very few accessories and the amount of media is insuffeciant. This all since they sold to API.

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Old 04-08-2014, 01:55 PM   #13
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I got the XP-M. Rated for up to 75g but I use it on my 40B. I seeded with filter media from another tank and a whole bottle (for up to 40g) of Tetra safe start. Half on the filter media and half in the tank. All fish in the tank are still alive and well over a week later. Probably going to get some Matrix by Seachem, after a few weeks of the stock Bio Chem Zorb carbon bag. May actually just run the Purigen, Ceramic media, and filter media pads. I've recently been researching how a lot of planted tank guys and gals don't like carbon media in there tanks. As far as accessories go, I wanted glass lily pipes anyways, so most out of the box canister filters don't suffice.
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Old 04-11-2014, 06:15 AM   #14
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Ok a Sunsun HW-302 on the way. I know it comes with foam, but I ordered a 3 progression set of foams for the bottom tray, Purigen for the middle, and Matrix will finish out the middle tray and fill up the top tray. Ordered a ball valve for the outflow just in case in need to slow the flow.

Black Flourite gravel will be in the bottom of the tank.

The tank is going on a wooden end table. Heard glass rimless need something under the bottom of the tank. Any suggestions?

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Old 04-11-2014, 02:06 PM   #15
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That's going to be a nice filtering system right there! Yeah, I would put something like those kitchen drawer liners under it for sure. Just get the size you need and cut it to match the length.
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