Low tech filtration upgrade?
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:13 PM   #1
Colorblizzle
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Low tech filtration upgrade?


I'm doing a low tech 10g and I have an AC20 for filtration. It's on the fritz and I'm looking to replace. I was told a HOB isn't good for low tech anyways because of the gas exchange it causes. Apparently since I'm not dosing CO2 I wanna keep all the carbon I can?? Makes enough sense...now with that said I've looked into a few filters and what does anybody think about the rapids mini canister? It does 80GPH and seems to be the best bang for the buck. Also saw the tetra whisper internal filters...more powerful but I'm limited in space as is. What do you guys with smaller low tech tanks use?
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:43 PM   #2
BruceF
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If you are not injecting co2 you do not need to worry about water movement. I use petco power heads (they hum a bit)and Fluval prefilter sponges in my 10g low tech tanks. Total cost is about 20 dollars. But I don’t keep very many fish in those tanks, and I do large (50%) water changes once a week.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:47 PM   #3
Colorblizzle
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Alot of people are gonna shun me but I'm going to keep a breeding pair of pelvicachromis pulcher in it. Nothing else may add dithers at some point if I feel I can. I'm pretty sure in 10g of territory any other fish will be a target during spawning. But yeah I'm planting pretty heavy and am planning on 20% water changes every other week at the most. I originally started this tank because I was told if I do this right I never have to change the water only too offs. I'm finding out this is false :/ so I'm gonna keep it as minimal as possible. Thought about a sponge filter but again I don't wanna disturb the surface if possible
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:03 AM   #4
Rich Guano
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If you really want a successful "low tech" tank than you must abandon terminology such as "upgrade". Save that for the "high tech" tankies. The ultimate goal of low tech would be minimum filtration.

Aqua Clear Filters should last you many years. Perhaps a Tuneup is in order. have you tried clearing the intake tube? Also disassemble the motor by pulling the pin that supports the impeller and clearing it of any crud. AC's tend to run better the older they get if maintained periodically. They seem to get worn in and become absolutely silent after a year of run time.

I regards to CO2 Bruce is right. You do not need to worry about water movement. However let me tweak this by saying... You should worry about a lack of water movement. Particularly at the surface. Unless your adding CO2 manually you are going to be dependant on CO2 from only two other sources. Your fish and the atmosphere. Your fish are not going to produce enough to keep the plants happy.

The good news is that unless you running high lighting and adding nutrients, there is plentiful CO2 in the air that we breath. Just look around the world, lots of healthy growing plants everywhere you look!

To take advantage of all the "free" CO2, you want to maximize you "gas" exchange with the atmosphere by creating surface agitation of the water and allow the atmospheric pressure to "equalize" the amount of CO2 in the air with that in your tank.

Last thought....

Through careful study, and patience I believe that you could set a goal of having this tank without water changes. On top of that you should be able to do it without filtration. However you must be willing to take this venture seriously and question everything everybody is saying, especially me.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:17 AM   #5
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I've had this Aquaclear for about 3 years or so? And I have cleaned everything I have taken it apart and this is the 3rd impeller I've bought for it. My ac110 makes the noises on occasion as well. It never stops running tho my ac20 runs the filter dry then sits there and burns up. Usually late at night while I'm at work. Scares my son. Anyways I'm gonna take it and put it in my mbuna tank as a redundancy filter. I know my fish won't produce that much. I was hoping enough for slow growth tho which is what I'm looking for, slow steady growth. And my local plant guy that everybody swears by told me use powerhead a and HOB filters if I'm gonna dose CO2 but he said if not then the surface Gitation is gonna pull CO2 out and replace with oxygen. Good for fish bad for plants. Ill research it all and determine what ill do from there. But at this moment I'm leaning towards a canister called "rapids mini pro canister" claims 80GPH but probably does closer to 60 is bet. But the good thing is it has an adjustable spray bar so I can point it down for no agitation or slightly up and let the water ripple. I know most people will tell me it's a bad idea but I'm going to stock my tank with a breeding pair of pelvicachromis pulcher. Little big for the tank but a breeder I'm friends with wants to try something new and has been breeding this pair ina 10g for 3 years so it can be done. Doubt I will have Tom for dithers or anything tho. I've had them before the dig a bit but are very gentle on plants at least in my experiences. Ill be getting about 45-50 PAR at the center if the tank and about 25-30 at the edges. Should I be able to grow most species if plants? Regardless if their lighting needs? I wanted a carpet of baby tears but my plant guy said I NEED CO2 injection for that or at least flourish excel. I have a list of about a dozen ants I want but I don't know which ones are suitable
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:30 AM   #6
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Best of luck breeding. By doing so you prove that a 10 is indeed not to small. For what better way to express the health and well being of a creature than to have them produce offspring. Except Humans of course.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:38 AM   #7
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Thanks. I've had mbuna for over a year and nothing. So hopefully this will be the one
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:40 AM   #8
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-ludwigia repens
-egeria densa
-hygrophila difformis
-hygrophila corymbosa
-echinodorus tenellus
-anubias nana
-cryptocoryne wendtii
-bacopa monnieri
-ceratopteris thalictroides

That's the list of plants I want to choose from. Any input would be great. As far as how hard some are to grow special requirements etc. also best placement
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:02 AM   #9
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I have had the C. Wendtii and H. Difformis and anubias in a 10 Gallon. The wendtii is perfect for the back 3rd of the tank if you plan on keeping for more than a year to let it grow in. The difformis (my favorite) just does not have enough headroom to look its best in a 10. With regular trimming it will begin to form offshoots sideways to try and take over more real estate. To much trouble for me so I moved it al back to a larger tank. Of courese the anubias will do well in the front half. The repens may also be high maintenance in a 10 but only have kept it in a 38G (20" tall).
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:12 AM   #10
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The anubias I know I have to anchor to something. I have 2 pieces of driftwood in there now I just have to figure out how to the it to that while its in place. There's slate in the bottom of the driftwood to help it sink and that's covered by sand. The only ones I know I want for sure is the dwarf chain sword and the anubias
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:10 AM   #11
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Although it is very popular and attractive to anchor Anubias to the hardscape, it is not absolutely necessary. Anubias grow just fine planted in the substrate. I have them growing in sand and in gravel.

The key is that the rhizome must not be concealed by the substrate. Once it is covered it will soon allow leaves to fall away. But I am not sure if the plant dies or becomes dormant once all the leaves fall off. I will find out here shortly as I have one in such a state. I plan on uprooting the rhizome and giving the plant some time.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:58 PM   #12
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So what do you do then? Plant it on an angle?
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:40 AM   #13
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Angle? I'm confused by that.

How to explain this. The roots grow downward into the sand. The rhizome grows horizontal above the sand. I point the rhizome in the direction I want it to grow out noting that the growth end always has newer leaves.

I have not seen any pictures of Anubias in the wild, but I can not imagine they always grow trees.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:00 AM   #14
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I think I know what u mean
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:54 AM   #15
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I've always been rather fond of the aquaclear HOBs, and thought they were a pretty good filter for the money spent. I've been out of the hobby for a bit, but I'm pretty sure I got at least a couple-few years continuous use out of mine without trouble, and with minimal maintenance. Are you using a prefilter? I've almost always used prefilters on my tanks when I've had a HOB or a cannister. Mostly for the welfare of the critters, but even a tiny snail can cause some damage knocking about the impeller chamber.

As to the gas exchange bit, that's only a real concern if you are injecting CO2 (I'm pretty sure one of the defining aspects of 'low-tech' is a lack of CO2 injection). Any sort of surface movement/turbulence/etc. will primarily work towards bringing the ratio of dissolved gasses in the water in line with what is present in the atmosphere. (something like ~79-80%N2, ~19-20%O2, ~1-2% of Argon, and then traces of everything else) So if you are injecting CO2 into your tank, then gas exchange will reduce it. on the other hand, it will also bring in O2, which is necessary both for your critters, and for the biofilter.
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