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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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More Flow

This link was posted over on APC and I thought some the TPT members who don't make it over there might find it of interest. It's an article from TFH in which Amano talks about flow and filtration. It's interesting to see he seems to go for 3-4 x turnover and not the 10 x turnover we so commonly see recommended.

http://www.tfhmagazine.com/details/a...e-aquarium.htm
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 12:42 PM
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Most of us are doing 10x turnover based on the terribly overrated numbers from the pump and filter manufacturers. In reality, this probably more like 3-4x.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 01:15 PM
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Good point Shark. He also doesn't use mechanical media. Sometimes I wonder, since i clean the canister every 3 months or so anyway, what would happen if I didn't use mech media. That is always first to clog, so what would happen without it? Would canister dirty and clog faster? Would flow be better without constantly "filling" mech media?

Anyone ever try?


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 01:25 PM
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mechanical media is actually bio media... ur not putting trash into your tank. everything in there is capable of being broken down by a biological process.
coarse pads are good if u are under filtered because u can remove them when they are clogged
i run biological only, 1 coarse pad that i haven't changed in 2 months now, and probably wont for another 4-6
ceramic rings, and crushed ceramics
and on my EI dosing water change day i run a bag of activated carbon for 12 hours.

my coarse pad is my pre stage biological it gets used to break down small food particles and small plant decay the next two stages handle the water quality portion

if ur media isn't sufficiently sized for your tank, this is why your pads become clogged. they cann't support the growth of beneficial bacteria.
math--- not enough bacteria to breakdown the waste = clogged pad

EDIT-- i read this somewhere on APC germans believe that 1-2 mm thick pads are better filters than really thick pads
lemme explain it makes since if u think about it in clogged pad terms
bacteria will grow on the whole pad for sure, but most of the bigger particles get caught in the front of the pad. if its 20 inches in diameter but 1 mm thick then the surface area for bigger particles is high and lots of room for bacteria to grow and handle bigger stuff
a thick pad will have a diameter of lets say 6 inches but is 3 inches thick. the 1st and 2nd mm of pad hold bigger particles but because it only has 6 inches of front surface area it will clog faster and reduce flow.
the other 2.98 inches of the pad will only purify the water itself, not breakdown these larger particles

hence wider media is better than thicker media

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 03:13 PM
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I'm sure he still cleans his filters. Sludge will build up on all surfaces even if there's no mechanical filtration (His biomedia has a mechanical action to it as well). Case in point would be the gunk in your filter hoses.

He states that the media removes "dirt". I would call that mechanical filtration.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sure he still cleans his filters. Sludge will build up on all surfaces even if there's no mechanical filtration (His biomedia has a mechanical action to it as well). Case in point would be the gunk in your filter hoses.

He states that the media removes "dirt". I would call that mechanical filtration.
Of course he does. Here's a quote from the article, "To remedy this, the filter media needs to be cleaned. To minimize damage to the filter bacteria, fill a bucket with water from the aquarium, and rinse the filter media in it to wash off the dirt. Activated carbon should be replaced at the same time. Although it depends on the condition of the aquarium, filter media maintenance should be performed once every three months to half a year as a general rule. If a lot of fish are kept and a lot of food is given, or if all the leaves of a Cryptocoryne melt suddenly in an aquarium, the filter media becomes dirty more quickly. The filter media in such an aquarium should be checked frequently."
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Most of us are doing 10x turnover based on the terribly overrated numbers from the pump and filter manufacturers. In reality, this probably more like 3-4x.
That's part of my reason for posting this. Everyone says 10 x flow so we use multiple canister filters and pumps on a tank to try and reach that magic number but is a literal 10 x flow needed? Wouldn't well directed flow with a filter that moves 3-5x the water volume be good enough? Another quote regarding well directed flow from the article.

"The outlet pipe should be place in the foreground area with low-growing plants so that the strong current from the outlet pipe can circulate easily throughout the entire aquarium. Then the water hits the glass surface on the opposite side and the weakened water current turns toward the background area, making it easy to grow tall aquatic plants back there. If the water flow is disrupted, dirt tends to collect, and since any areas where that happens tend to harbor pesky algae, you should try to visualize the water flow and carefully decide on the placement of the pipes to fit a layout so as not to disrupt the water flow."
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-31-2011, 09:09 PM
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Very interesting. This reminds me of some of wkndracer's tanks with only powerheads as filtration. I'm going to read the article and study up on this more. I really think filtration is a part of the hobby that should be explored more.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 04:50 PM
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The thing that stood out for me was the aeration 14 hors per day as soon as the lighting was off the aeration began, the tanks also seemed to have very high light and C02 rates but without more detail and photos you don't know how far above the tanks the lighting was and even though bubble rates were high the delivery could be very inefficient. The carbon filter use was odd as well as the flow rates of the filters but it's so hard to know how much time is spent making these show tanks look perfect, he could have people cleaning these tanks for hours each day, while we try to do it weekly.

I wish I could sit down and talk to someone like this to see all their efforts and technics because it seems if I were to follow those rules to the letter I would only end up with a mess, are they holding back on some secrets???


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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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The thing that stood out for me was the aeration 14 hors per day as soon as the lighting was off the aeration began, the tanks also seemed to have very high light and C02 rates but without more detail and photos you don't know how far above the tanks the lighting was and even though bubble rates were high the delivery could be very inefficient. The carbon filter use was odd as well as the flow rates of the filters but it's so hard to know how much time is spent making these show tanks look perfect, he could have people cleaning these tanks for hours each day, while we try to do it weekly.

I wish I could sit down and talk to someone like this to see all their efforts and technics because it seems if I were to follow those rules to the letter I would only end up with a mess, are they holding back on some secrets???
Actually the CO2 levels are relatively low in Amano's tanks compared to the 30 ppm you see recommended by most on TPT. According to a chart in the most recent ADA catalog, CO2 peaks at around 12 ppm after approximately 8 hours while pH dips only 0.4 in that same time. One reason this is done is to protect the biofilter. Below 6.5 the bacterial activity drops off significantly and below 6.0 it pretty much shuts down. Which is also one of his main reason for aerating the tank during the 14 hours the lights are off - to provide O2 for the biofilter and I'm sure there are other reasons such as it's just good for the fauna and plants. But he does place a lot of importance on the beneficial bacteria in the tank and does other things such as adding so called "snake oils" to promote their health.

As for lighting, Tom Barr did some measurements at AFA and found the amount of lighting to be relatively low also, putting the tanks in the medium lighting category at the most, although I can't remember the PAR values exactly. You will also find that ADA will run noon bursts on some tanks, depending on the type of plants, using metal halide lighting for a few hours each day after CO2 levels have peaked while using only CF the rest of the lighting period. They also vary the height the lights are hung above the tank depending on plant choice, etc. A lot of things that we all already know to do but tend to forget.

Their use of carbon in the filter isn't odd. Somewhere along the way this internet myth, urban legend has developed that carbon is bad for a planted tank. That's silly. Carbon is just as useful as purigen. It's impact on any ferts is minimal and it removes all sorts of organic compounds that we really don't need in our aquarium especially during the initial phase of setup which is primarily when he uses carbon before switching to all biomedia after a few months.

http://www.aquajournal.net/na/index.html
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 07:40 PM
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Well I guess I need to step up my aeration, I only have mine on for 5 hours per night and didn't realize it had such a positive effect on the bio filter.

I really wasn't commenting on the ppm in the tank, only that 6 bpm seemed high on a smaller tank and I don't know the bubble size or the delivery system, but I would imagine that some sacrifices are made with glass diffusers not being as efficient as reactors and the like.

I have never know this to be an urban myth but it does make sense that it would help as the filter regains it's bio capacity and is rendered useless after 2 weeks only to become added filter area. Previously I thought the carbon could strip the water column of micro nutrients, mainly metals that are needed in small amounts like zinc, copper, etc. but it makes sense that a two week loss of little needed nutrients wouldn't be missed even if it were true.


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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-01-2011, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff5614 View Post
Everyone says 10 x flow so we use multiple canister filters and pumps on a tank to try and reach that magic number but is a literal 10 x flow needed? Wouldn't well directed flow with a filter that moves 3-5x the water volume be good enough?

I am going the opposite direction, building off what has been learned on the reef side the past 5-10 years about flow and the effects of dissolving organics. Let's think through the phases of a typical setup. Yes, I know I'm generalizing here:

1) Month 1 and 2: Filter is not yet mature. Things have to settle in.
2) Months 2-6: This is the sweet spot. From months 2-6, things go swimmingly as filter is mature and flow is still good.
3) Months 6+: Decline. Plants obstruct flow. Junk caught in the filter slows flow. CO2 is less evenly distributed. All those organics that have slowly permeated the low flow areas of the tank are starting to feed the latest algae of the week. Ever notice that algae often pops up first in areas of reduced flow?

How can you combat the typical decline? My goals are two fold - get the good stuff (CO2 and current) to every nook and corner of the tank and get the bad stuff (any semi-buoyant organic) from the display into a healthy "oversized" filter where it can be easily processed/removed.

No, I'm not talking about shooting high pressure jets through the tank. Think vortech pumps, spraybars with larger holes, strategically placed lily pipes, and so on.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 03:15 PM
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I changed my timer on the air pump last night, now it is on for 15 hours instead of only 5 hours. This morning there was a difference right away, there were 7 or so leaves from my Vals floating and one Cobomba, it appears that some of the older plant leaves that are proned to get algae and some sediments attached floated to the surface. Not only did this make my field of Vals look better but I noticed that some of my other slow growing plants looked cleaner as well, so it was quite a large difference and I can't wait to see the result after a week or so. This may not have been the purpose for the OP but I did get a couple of good things from the article and Jeff5614, so thanks.


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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 03:46 PM
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I am going the opposite direction, building off what has been learned on the reef side the past 5-10 years about flow and the effects of dissolving organics. Let's think through the phases of a typical setup. Yes, I know I'm generalizing here:

1) Month 1 and 2: Filter is not yet mature. Things have to settle in.
2) Months 2-6: This is the sweet spot. From months 2-6, things go swimmingly as filter is mature and flow is still good.
3) Months 6+: Decline. Plants obstruct flow. Junk caught in the filter slows flow. CO2 is less evenly distributed. All those organics that have slowly permeated the low flow areas of the tank are starting to feed the latest algae of the week. Ever notice that algae often pops up first in areas of reduced flow?

How can you combat the typical decline? My goals are two fold - get the good stuff (CO2 and current) to every nook and corner of the tank and get the bad stuff (any semi-buoyant organic) from the display into a healthy "oversized" filter where it can be easily processed/removed.

No, I'm not talking about shooting high pressure jets through the tank. Think vortech pumps, spraybars with larger holes, strategically placed lily pipes, and so on.
I think 3 to 5 times flow is pretty good, and 10 may be better, but at some point you reach a point at which having more is not do anything. My 150 is way under filtered with 2 Eheim 2215's at only 164 gph each and this rating is with no media in the canister, but the tank started as fish only. I have added 2 550 gph circulation pumps to help correct the problem and they have helped greatly but I think one Eheim 2260 canister with 635 gph would at best only be able to eliminate one of these pumps and an even bigger canister may not be able to correct the problem. It seems that you not only need to have a good amount of filter area but you need to be able to circulate the water from both the surface to the bottom of the tank, this may not be an issue with smaller tanks but it seems to be an issue with mine at 30 inches deep.

The article pointed out a couple of key areas, the first being able to detect the small differences from tank to tank and adjust your filter cleaning accordingly, a set 3 month schedule for every tank is not going to work. The second is flow and this is my problem with 2 small canisters with an intake and exhaust at each corner, not a great set up at all. I should have one large canister pushing the water around the tank to the dead spot where the intake is located and picks up the suspended debris easily, does this make sense? And if I have 2 canisters both the exhausts should be pushing the water from one end to the dead spot where the 2 intakes can easily pick it up, this makes good sense to me. If I had an Eheim 2262 at 935? gph and 6 times the flow I could have a spray bar that reached from the top to the bottom to move all the water in the tank in a single direction eliminating any pumps and having plenty on surface area for benificial bacteria to grow and eat plant & fish waste, sound about right.


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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-02-2011, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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I changed my timer on the air pump last night, now it is on for 15 hours instead of only 5 hours. This morning there was a difference right away, there were 7 or so leaves from my Vals floating and one Cobomba, it appears that some of the older plant leaves that are proned to get algae and some sediments attached floated to the surface. Not only did this make my field of Vals look better but I noticed that some of my other slow growing plants looked cleaner as well, so it was quite a large difference and I can't wait to see the result after a week or so. This may not have been the purpose for the OP but I did get a couple of good things from the article and Jeff5614, so thanks.
My purpose in posting was mainly to point out the amount the turnover used in ADA tanks but there's a lot more good info in the article when you break it down. So anything in the article that can help us manage our tanks better is a positive .

There's more good info on ADA's Aquajournal also. http://www.aquajournal.net/
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