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Old 11-28-2005, 04:59 AM   #1
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Wasserpests modified Mattenfilter


If you don't mind outfitting your 10 gal with pressurized CO2 or adding a canister filter to your nano, then this won't interest you. I like doing things the cheap way, not because I can't afford that green canister filter, but because I get a kick out of some good value.

So here is a cheap way to get
  • filtration
  • water circulation
  • CO2 injection and
  • heating

installed in your tank without spending big bucks. Plus, all the stuff is sort of hidden, and in the tank. Hidden behind a sponge, which isn't that visible at all. In the tank, meaning there are no leaking connection problems, heat losses, head to overcome for pumps, etc.

Here is what you need... A powerhead (~$20) some sponge pad ($5) some plastic pipe for the outlet/spraybar ($1) and miscellaneous stuff like an empty plastic bottle (free, find in trash). A heater of course, ~$10.

A picture is worth 999 words, so here is my wonderful drawing:



I have something like this working for almost 3 years with different designs. First I used the impeller of the powerhead to disperse the CO2. Later an inline internal diffuser. I used a loop over the sponge to return the water to the tank. Many things. In the end often the simplest design is the best one.

Couple of design details... top is from above, below is looking into the tank, with the sponge "cut" thanks to MS Paint
The red circle is the heater. Good place to hide it!

The pink line is the CO2 supply. It is twist-tied (yellow) to the side of the plastic bottle. Bubbles raise up and are sucked into the bottle. They go to the top of the bottle, but there's a whirlwind in there that dissolves them in no time!

The (green) sponge is cut and the powerhead outlet stuck through it and connected to the spraybar. Water returns through the sponge.

Obviously this is better for a low maintenance tank. I clean the sponges once a year or so... the rest is taken care of by bacteria. The tank is severely understocked.

This is a 43 gal tank, and I am using a AquaClear 50 pump, which is about right for that purpose.

Simplicity is the key
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Old 11-28-2005, 05:43 AM   #2
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how is the sponge attached to the glass? i imagine there would be bypass problems without a good seal around the sponge. is the bottle physically connected to the powerhead? if so, how does water get into the powerhead intake? extra holes in the bottle?

great thread. intruiging idea

oqsy
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Old 11-28-2005, 01:45 PM   #3
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Nice Wasser. Thanks for taking the time to make the diagrams.

A senior member of our local aquarium club has used a similar design for many years (even on 150g tanks). All of his tanks are as good as my high-tech tanks. Good circulation and CO2 - that's what you need .
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Old 11-28-2005, 04:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oqsy
how is the sponge attached to the glass? i imagine there would be bypass problems without a good seal around the sponge. is the bottle physically connected to the powerhead? if so, how does water get into the powerhead intake? extra holes in the bottle?

great thread. intruiging idea

oqsy
The drawing turned out much smaller than anticipated. I might have to do some zooming to show more detail.

There is a plastic strip on both ends of the sponge. I glued them into the tank (when it was empty), and it holds the sponges. Perfect seal too.

Yes the bottle is physically connected to the powerhead, via a piece of vinyl tubing or such.

Also there is a hole in the upper part of the bottle, just above the outlet of the pink CO2 line. Do you see it?

If there is more interest in this design I'll magnify it to make it a little clearer. If there is even more interest I might take a few shots of how it looks in reality too.
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Old 11-28-2005, 04:31 PM   #5
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I'm definitely interested in some more detail, and without a doubt, photos would be excellent.

So there's two holes in the bottle? One which is sealed where the CO2 line comes in, and another above it for water? The CO2 doesn't escape into the tank because it gets sucked down by the powerhead and disperesed through the spray bar?
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Old 11-28-2005, 04:49 PM   #6
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+1 for interst in picture of filter in action. If possible, I would like to see the plastic clip that holds the sponge.
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Old 11-28-2005, 07:15 PM   #7
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ditto to blue ram's requests... pics of the plastic strip as well as a closeup of the bottle and powerhead combo would be great

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Old 12-03-2005, 11:56 PM   #8
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Sorry for not being as responsive as usual... work has been crazy lately.

I should have taken some photos while I assembled it... well I didn't. And now I am too lazy to pull it all out...


At least here is a blown up drawing:



There is no need for a sealed CO2 entry. Maybe you can see it now in my picture... the CO2 line is just twist-tied to the outside of the bottle, and there is one hole above it where the powerhead sucks the water in and the CO2 bubbles get sucked into the bottle.

The purpose for all this is to avoid implosion of my DIY bottles. If I stick the CO2 line into the plastic bottle, the negative pressure might suck the sugar yeast mixture into the tank.

Let me whip out my cam and take a picture of the plastic strip thing.
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Old 12-04-2005, 01:07 AM   #9
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Okay, here are some quick snaps:



You can see the bottle... It is actually a little further down than it seems from the photo. If you look closely, you can see the elbow that connects to the powerhead-outlet that is stuck through the sponge.

And here is a close-up of the plastic strip:



It's only necessary on the outside of the sponge, not inside how I had indicated in the drawing.

All clear now?
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Old 12-04-2005, 02:16 AM   #10
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Thanks for the pictures. Really interesting idea.

Does the sponge go to the bottom of the tank or the top of the substrate?
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Old 12-04-2005, 05:53 PM   #11
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It's better if it goes all the way to the bottom of the tank, and you use another strip to keep the substrate out of that little chamber.

Originally I had a smaller sponge that went straight down to the tank. With the XP sponges being a little larger, they bend and it didn't work that way anymore. So they go down to the substrate. To make sure no critters are being sucked through on the bottom I cut a little bit of soft sponge and used it kinda as a weatherstrip shoved between the bottom sponge and the substrate.
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:55 PM   #12
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Hiya wasserpest
Nice to see some one using this system. I have been thinking about trying this for a long time.
I have seen some that have garden mesh over the filter so you stick jave ferns etc so you can't see the foam at all looks like a garden wall.
A very low budget ,low tech smart filter.
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:52 PM   #13
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I hope its ok to resurrect(sp?) this older thread.
I am from germany and often see HMFs in their aquaria and now would like to set up a 15G (high light but easy on the wallet) using this method and seeing this idea for CO2 injection is awesome.

My questions are:
1) What type of sponge material did/ do you use ? In germany they have all these different kinds that are commonly available (with the right porosity etc - as you know theres a whole bunch of science behind the HMF concept, flowrate) - even at the LFS. But where/ what to buy over here ?

2) Over there they use "cable channels" to hold the sponge (as seen on this page - is there anything similar over here ?
Do you have plastic on both sides on the sponge or only towards the outside (tank side) - i cant really see it on the pic or sketch.

Thanks in advance. Great forum by the way - i've been busy all day reading and wish i would've joined sooner.
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Old 02-01-2006, 01:23 AM   #14
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Resurrecting older threads is okay indeed! Thank you for using the search function.

1) In my case I used sponges sold for canister filters (Rena Filstar). Here is a link.

2) I am not sure about the Kaebelkanaele. There might be similar things available at Home Improvement stores. I just used some sort of plastic strip that I had laying around. It was only attached to the outer side of the sponge, one of my "graphics" is a little faulty there.

Nice link, explains the whole concept much better than I ever could Just wondering if you plant the sponge, will you ever be able to clean that thing? Plus, won't it clog after a while with all the roots growing there? Maybe they are thought to remain stationary without getting cleaned.
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Old 02-01-2006, 01:52 AM   #15
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I'm still thinking about changing my 15 tall over to this system. just can't seem
to decide. Right now it's exactly opposite set up, 5 gallon sump, with the heater sitting in it, I made pvc pipe removable overflow for the sump input. I know it's kinda crazy having 5 gallon sump on a 15 gallon tank)
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