Bioload too heavy for a sponge filter?
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:01 AM   #1
teatimecrumpet
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Bioload too heavy for a sponge filter?


Hi,

I've got a a 20 gallon long with 10 neon tetras, an otto, 2 mystery snails and 10 RCS. (after typing that out I may have answered my own question)

I have one of these double sponge filters:
http://www.amazon.com/Jardin-Aquariu...=sponge+filter

Should I be ok or do I need to upgrade filtration?

Thanks
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:27 AM   #2
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What do you have pulling water through the sponge filter?
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:49 AM   #3
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depends an awful lot on how much you feed, how often, how much plant mass etc etc.

test kits will be the only true wat to tell
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:58 AM   #4
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In general how much air flow would one want for a tank 20 gallon? Can you have to much?
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:19 AM   #5
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You will have high ph with the sponge. It is inferior to a good canister. You are more apt to have algae problems than with a canister filter.
If you have lots of plants you will be asking for trouble because of CO2 out gassing. It will do little or nothing at reducing DOC's from the water.
If you do lots of breeding & water changes it could be fine with livestock mostly set ups.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:20 AM   #6
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My tank is only about 2 months old. I don't think it's fully cycled yet, but I used a liquid test kit and my parameters are a little off.

0.25 ammonia
0 nitrites
5-10 nitrates

I'm using an air pump for the filter.

I thought the sponge filter might not be adequate because there's just a ton of detritus from what I suspect to be mostly the tetras' feces. And since sponge filters aren't really mechanical filtration I thought this might be a problem.

Though I read that just leaving all the poo is fine.

Anyone have any experience?
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
You will have high ph with the sponge. It is inferior to a good canister. You are more apt to have algae problems than with a canister filter.
If you have lots of plants you will be asking for trouble because of CO2 out gassing. It will do little or nothing at reducing DOC's from the water.
If you do lots of breeding & water changes it could be fine with livestock mostly set ups.

Thanks Hardstuff, Yeah my ph is around 7.6-7.8 according to the tests.

AND I've been having algae problems. First, some mucus looking stuff that clouded the tank and covered all the glass (since gone), then green spot algae on the glass, and some clouding issues.

I'm using liquid Excel right now instead of CO2 gas. Will the sponge filter still dissipate it?
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:51 AM   #8
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More filtration is not the answer to everything. However since you posted this question in the Equipment section it probably is. Had you posted this in low tech, you would get a completely different answer.

In order to solve the issues your having to best fit your needs, you must first decide and describe to us what goals you have in mind for this tank. You can get away with a sponge filter in this tank. Perhaps you just need to add a power head to drive it. Perhaps you need to add plants or use a different substrate.

Let's see some pics of the tank. Tell us a bit about what your plans for the tank are.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardstuff View Post
You will have high ph with the sponge.
Do explain how pH is correlated with a sponge filter's use.

As mentioned already, a sponge may not be enough to handle your bioload.
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:39 AM   #10
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When you're having issues, get some pictures to document what's happening.

Mucus/white fluff can be a whole assortment of things.
  • Why only 1 otto cat? Was it to combat the algae?
  • Why 2 mystery snails?
  • How long has this tank been set up?
  • Also make sure you shake the hell out of the test solution bottles for a good 30 seconds before you add testing solution to the glass tubes.
  • Does your ammonia test solution require 8 drops from 1 or 2 bottles?

I doubt the tetras are generating all that peckled mess on the substrate. I think the culprets are actually the MYSTERY snails. A single mystery snail depending on it's size can produce as much bio-waste as I believe 3 neon tetras.

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on that.

Photos of your current setup & close ups of the problem areas would be helpful.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:08 PM   #11
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Default Bioload too heavy for a sponge filter?

Do you have plants?
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:21 AM   #12
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Hi guys,

My tank has been set up for a little less than two months.

The plants I have are:
*Altenathera Cardinalis-from petsmart
*rotalis red
*hydrocotyle
*elodea?
*Banana Plant
*2 Marimo Balls
*Blassi Crypt
*Anubias Petite
*Anubias Nana
*Java Fern
*fissidens moss
*subwassertang
*and a little bit of some random moss from Aquamagic that was supposed to be xmas moss (don't think it is)

This tank was just a side project because I had gotten into turtles and had an extra tank lying around. Was looking into live food and plants for turtles...then stumbled onto shrimps. So shrimps are the main event in this tank with plants being secondary.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:37 AM   #13
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Couldn't post picture inline so here they are:
whole tank
leftside of tank
rightside of tank
middle of tank
detritus 1
curly detritus
detritus 2
the green spot algae I didn't get rid of on some PVC
my tetras are always hiding when tank lights are on but not with regular room lights

Last edited by teatimecrumpet; 01-28-2013 at 12:45 AM.. Reason: links
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:39 AM   #14
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Most of your plants are slow growing, so not great N sponges.

I would run a sponge filter with a power head. Set the power head below the water surface so there is gentle ripples at the surface. Then you can get more flow through the sponge without blowing away your CO2.

Your bio load is not a problem for a sponge filter, if you are running it right.

While your tank is still cycling I would vacuum away the poop and any fallen food, and feed less.
Fish food is the main source of nitrogen in the aquarium. If your fish will eat low protein foods that would be better. Otos and snails will eat kitchen produce- blanched vegies. Neon Tetras are not very likely to eat vegetables.

A 20 is not big enough for Mystery or Apple snails. I would return them and try one of the smaller Nerites, or perhaps a few of that yellow and black striped snail with the 'horns'.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
A 20 is not big enough for Mystery or Apple snails.
Why not? We have three happy, healthy apple snails in our ten-gallon.
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