Best DIY Bio-media???
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:17 PM   #1
Shadowcat3
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Best DIY Bio-media???


Planning something a bit different. An in-tank, pump fed, high volume (gph) canister filter....sort of..... Don't have pictures yet, the project is in my head and on some meaningless (to anybody else) scraps of paper. Anyway, looking for suggestions for cheap, effective bio-media......the store bought stuff is rediculously expensive. It has to be essentially clog free or clog resistant so as to eliminate routine cleaning...something like ceramic rings would work, but again that's expensive. I thought of slicing a bunch of 1/2 inch PVC into narrow rings from a piece of pipe. That would be similar to the ceramic rings and waaaay cheaper. Lots of you DIY'rs out there, so I figure there are plenty of options........Whatcha got for me??
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:22 PM   #2
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Bio-Bale is nothing but long thin strips of PVC

PVC rings sounds like good idea
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:40 PM   #3
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Ceramic rings are used not because they are round and hollow but because there porous unlike pvc so as water flows through the hollow ring the bacteria gets trapped inside the porous part not the hollow center.

A 1l bag of rings is enough for a 70gal tank at $20 that's not expensive compared to the price of a tank let along all the other stuff including continues electricity year round.

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Old 07-08-2009, 02:41 PM   #4
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Thanks Texas....checked their website, thanks for the link.....no pricing info, I'll have to call them. That does look like something that could work. I want a low maintainance, clog free media and that looks like it might work using a sponge prefilter on the pump to keep the big stuff out...Probably more expensive than 1/2 inch PVC pipe, but I wouldn't have to cut 500 little PVC donuts!! LOL............Thanks Brad. I've got a 75G catfish tank with several medium sized and growing catfish, plus 4 SAE's and 5 Torpedo Barbs, all good sized fish. I have a RENA xp3 and an AquaClear 500 HOB on the tank now, but I'm looking to bump up the bio-media capacity for the heavy fish load. C. Rings could still be an option, but I was thinking a volume around 1 gallon+, so store=bought media starts to get pricey..........Maybe I don't need as much capacity as I think I do?!
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:49 PM   #5
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Someone else just suggested cheap lava rocks from the hardware store... Great surface area for the volume they take up. Did I mention cheap?

The other thing that came to mind, when I heard "in tank filter" was this: Google or otherwise search for the term: "Hamburger Mattenfilter" or "HMF"
Actually I just found a link for you:

http://www.janrigter.nl/mattenfilter/

It's a little tricky to get the foam mats, but I just found them a few days ago online and forgot to bookmark the link *duh*... If I find it again I'll post it..
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:55 PM   #6
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Thanks Regloh, I'll take a look at lunch today!!.....Appreciate the input folks
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:14 PM   #7
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Got it...

http://swisstropicals.com/Poret%20Filter%20Foam.html

a little pricey in my opinion. My brother is bringing a 19x19" mat for me from Germany for 12 Euros, but his suitcase isn't big enough for all of our needs
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowcat3 View Post
Thanks Texas....checked their website, thanks for the link.....no pricing info, I'll have to call them. That does look like something that could work.

http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewIt...ategory=FIFMBO
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Old 07-08-2009, 04:24 PM   #9
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Ok folks, checked the sites, thanks mucho amigo's!!........Having read, quickly, the explanation on the German filter, I have to say it was very interesting. However, it did raise one significant question in my mind. The point they make is that for efficient bio filtration we need to maximize/optimize contact time, which means a VERY slow flow rate through the media. This seems to contradict what we or at least I here in the US do. I always ASSUMED, and I may well be wrong, wouldn't be the first time, that higher flow rates thru a filter simply provided the bacteria with an endless supply of "food". By their criteria something like my Aquaclear 500 (gph) HOB or the Fluval X5 or whatever that monster canister filter is, with a 900gph rating should be largely useless as bio filters, which I doubt is the case......Hopefully somebody smarter than me...and I know you're out there, can address this......Sounds like a good topic for a new thread.
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Old 07-08-2009, 04:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradac56 View Post
Ceramic rings are used not because they are round and hollow but because there porous unlike pvc so as water flows through the hollow ring the bacteria gets trapped inside the porous part not the hollow center.
Sorta; the key is the sintered ceramic material itself. The rough surface provides lots of surface area per given amount of volume on which the bacteria can grow; the cylindrical shape maximizes that surface area even more.

In comparison, any smooth-surfaced material such as PVC is going to be much less efficient for a given amount of volume, since the amount of surface area for growing bacteria is far, far less. Ideally, you want something that's rough on a microscopic scale - like those fancy ceramic rings. With something like PVC, you're gonna need much larger volume to get the same efficiency.
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowcat3 View Post
Ok folks, checked the sites, thanks mucho amigo's!!........Having read, quickly, the explanation on the German filter, I have to say it was very interesting. However, it did raise one significant question in my mind. The point they make is that for efficient bio filtration we need to maximize/optimize contact time, which means a VERY slow flow rate through the media. This seems to contradict what we or at least I here in the US do. I always ASSUMED, and I may well be wrong, wouldn't be the first time, that higher flow rates thru a filter simply provided the bacteria with an endless supply of "food". By their criteria something like my Aquaclear 500 (gph) HOB or the Fluval X5 or whatever that monster canister filter is, with a 900gph rating should be largely useless as bio filters, which I doubt is the case......Hopefully somebody smarter than me...and I know you're out there, can address this......Sounds like a good topic for a new thread.
Actually I think the slow flow rate is also supposed to avoid clogging of the filter material. They claim that these filters NEVER need cleaning...

If you are looking to get a high flow rate you can calculate the surface area that you would need. I just did that for the 900 gph that you mentioned and got an area of 18" x 65"... That's bigger than my tank

But as you will notice, when the flow rate goes up in these canister filters, the diameter (or better cross section) increases as well. This is also to keep the flow speed across the filter material at a reasonable speed.
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:47 PM   #12
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I dunno, something funny in that German logic....although they make great cars!! LOL...Perhaps slower is better and they may well be right about that, but clearly our filters work and if you calculated out the flow rate thru your media I'd bet good money we aren't anywhere near what they propose....but ours obviously work. I don't have the article in front of me, but I recall it stating that a flow of 2-5cm per MINUTE was about optimal...which is a trickle by any pump standards I'm familiar with. OK, I know that's dispersed across a wide area, but that's the point, our filters aren't designed that way, so the flow rate thru our media is going to be waaaay higher. I dunno, I guess if it works it works, fast or slow......A guy could get crazy worrying about this stuff!! LOL
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:20 AM   #13
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How about pot scrubbers? They are pretty cheap. If you got a seperate pump, probably one of the best bio filters would be a fluidized sand filter. The only thing about those is you need some sort of mechanical filtration before the filter itself.
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowcat3 View Post
I dunno, something funny in that German logic....although they make great cars!! LOL...Perhaps slower is better and they may well be right about that, but clearly our filters work and if you calculated out the flow rate thru your media I'd bet good money we aren't anywhere near what they propose....but ours obviously work. I don't have the article in front of me, but I recall it stating that a flow of 2-5cm per MINUTE was about optimal...which is a trickle by any pump standards I'm familiar with. OK, I know that's dispersed across a wide area, but that's the point, our filters aren't designed that way, so the flow rate thru our media is going to be waaaay higher. I dunno, I guess if it works it works, fast or slow......A guy could get crazy worrying about this stuff!! LOL
Actually the article I read on http://www.deters-ing.de said to shoot for 5-10 cm per minute. They make a really compelling argument as they ran all sorts of tests to prove the effectiveness of this filter. I don't really see them trashing canister filters. When did it really become an us versus them discussion anyway??? Eheim is German, they make some of the best canister filters out there...
Most people I know in Germany use canisters. My brother has a tank with a HMF and one with a canister and he is equally happy with both.

I think the appeal of the HMF is clearly stated in the low maintenance and the "keeping everything in the tank" aspect. On the above mentioned website, for those of you who can read German, there is lots of data to prove the effectiveness of this filter as biological filtration method.

My next tank will have a HMF, just to experiment with.

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How about pot scrubbers? They are pretty cheap.
I meant to mention this, too. Lots of people use these in sumps, they are dirt cheap and provide plenty of surface area for bio-filtration.
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:13 PM   #15
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Pot Scubbers work great. I have a bunch I could sell really cheap and they are brand new still in the package. I used about 400 of them in an old sump I built and it was a huge biofilter.

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