Tell me why this is a bad idea: Canister + HMF + Paludarium - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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Tell me why this is a bad idea: Canister + HMF + Paludarium

Ok, background:

I want to set up a 75 g paludarium.
I'd like the rock scape to be such that the fish can't get behind it and hide.

My proposed solution? The common paludarium false bottom, BUT with a Hamburger Mattenfilter in front of it. In addition, the HMF will be powered by a SunSun 404B (which I already have and love) instead of a powerhead.

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This quick sketch of the tank bottom shows what I'm talking about. The Poret foam will be secured in front and separated from the substrate by an acrylic strip and backed by the same PVC that holds up the false bottom.

The filter intake will be behind the HMF and will run into my canister. The outflow will be directed into a RFUG to keep the substrate aerated. I've done the RFUG on several tanks and love the clarity and plant growth.

Undoubtedly this setup will give me more filtration than I need. Remember, my main goal is to keep my pygmy corys out of the paludarium's false bottom! I figured the best way to do that was with a sponge; and if I had a sponge, why not use it like a HMF or prefilter for my canister?

Please tell me the weak points of this plan and why I shouldn't do it.

Thanks!

"In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." Baba Dioum


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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 02:34 AM
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What happens when the hmf clogs up, how are you going to clean it?


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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 02:53 AM Thread Starter
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*Solely based on what I've read* I doubt it'll clog if I go with large-pore HMF foam. I did the HMF math, and with a 6" high strip running ~60" it should have fairly low risk of clogging.

For general maintenance I'll just vacuum it off.

I plan on creating all my rocks with foam and drylok. The whole sections of 'rock' and egg crate should be easily removable in case I need to do any large-scale maintenance.

"In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." Baba Dioum


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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by xmas_one View Post
What happens when the hmf clogs up, how are you going to clean it?
you only have to clean a mattenfilter when you notice your flow rate has been reduced, other than that theyre pretty good about never clogging, at least according to the research ive done

http://www.swisstropicals.com/library/mattenfilters/
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Method View Post
*Solely based on what I've read* I doubt it'll clog if I go with large-pore HMF foam. I did the HMF math, and with a 6" high strip running ~60" it should have fairly low risk of clogging.....
That sounds like German Aquarist Smack talk. I'm running one now in my Aquaponic System and have used them in the past in breeding tanks. It's going to load up PLAN FOR IT.

Engineer a way to remove it on a regular basis to clean it. Also when you do lift it out the dirty water will run out. I left my current Mattenfilter go for about 45days just to see how loaded up it woulds get. I still had good flow. When I took it out and rinsed it in a tub I had the blackest water you could imagine. It took 6 rinsing to get it diluted enough to call it "just" dirty i.e. tannish.

Don't get me wrong great filter method, I'm all about keeping the simplest lowest tech I can will my own tanks. Just don't buy into the no maintenance hype.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 11:32 AM
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from what i understand from the link i posted and other sources, that black water is all your beneficial bacteria and other crud, as long as you still have flow you should leave that in there, its the best possible biological filter
Mattenfilters are used for bio filtration and limited mechanical filtration, from my understanding anyway, ive never used one or set one up though
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 11:42 AM
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from what i understand from the link i posted and other sources, that black water is all your beneficial bacteria and other crud, as long as you still have flow you should leave that in there, its the best possible biological filter...
I don't buy into that theory. There is so much surface area in the filter foam, black quasi decomposed slimy water is most likely more liquid ferts than I need. Seems to be more a time bomb than goldmine.

The bulk of you beneficial bacteria in an aquarium are on solid surfaces not the in the water column

The very nature of a Mattenfilter forces it to be macro/bio filtration as there is no prefilter other than the surface on the inbound flow side.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 12:42 PM
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having HMFs on 11 various setups, I can assure you that they clog. Some in a few months, some longer. It is a great system if set up correctly, ie creating a buffer between the foam and substrate etc. Mulm/detritus ( which is not bacteria ) will accumulate over a period of time and is easily dealt with by removing the foam and gently squeezing repeatedly in a bucket of tank water ( or treated water ) . I do not go crazy cleaning them. Vacuuming them will get some of the surface crud off but will do nothing for the deeper build up. Eventually what will happen is that various sizes and types of detritus will accumulate and pack together in the pores of the foam, making for an impenetrable barrior. Additionally, what ever you are using to move water,( pump, jet lifter) needs to be cleaned as well. I am a big fan of HMFs and their versatility. What ever you do, make sure you can get to the foam and remove it.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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That sounds like German Aquarist Smack talk. I'm running one now in my Aquaponic System and have used them in the past in breeding tanks. It's going to load up PLAN FOR IT.
No smack talk intended! Just trying to pick the brains of those more experienced than I!

When my 55 gallon was running I had the canister/RFUG combo which provided excellent filtration. Now my plans to use the HMF are mostly part of my goal of keeping those pesky pygmy corys out of the rear of the tank and trouble. The canister has 4 baskets, which to this point were all filled with pot scrubbers. I'm guessing that the HMF will compensate for biofiltration if I just stuff the SunSun full of filter floss. The RFUG also provides excellent mechanical filtration under 3" of coal slag.

I DO plan on being able to take out the HMF for maintenance. But I wonder if it might not be easier to just squeeze the sponge in the tank and let the canister catch the gunk? Bad idea?

"In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." Baba Dioum


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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-25-2014, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFish View Post
I don't buy into that theory. There is so much surface area in the filter foam, black quasi decomposed slimy water is most likely more liquid ferts than I need. Seems to be more a time bomb than goldmine.

The bulk of you beneficial bacteria in an aquarium are on solid surfaces not the in the water column

The very nature of a Mattenfilter forces it to be macro/bio filtration as there is no prefilter other than the surface on the inbound flow side.
I was thinking the same but thats what all the websites selling the products hype, hehe
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 12:45 AM
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Method - I've read some international aquarium web forums were German Aquarist really embellish on how perfect the HM is. I hate to see folk like you read some of that nonsense and have huge set backs due to bad info.

I think the HM is a great but not perfect filter.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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Method - I've read some international aquarium web forums were German Aquarist really embellish on how perfect the HM is. I hate to see folk like you read some of that nonsense and have huge set backs due to bad info.

I think the HM is a great but not perfect filter.
I'm not disagreeing. Basically I'm looking at the HMF portion of my build as a huge prefilter for the canister; with the added benefit of cordoning off the 'above ground' portion of the paludarium. I fully expect to do maintenance on all parts of the tank from time to time, so I'm stressing modularity in my design.

I'm going to keep pygmy corys, rcs, and my old pal farlowella. I don't want any small critters getting where they don't belong- hence the original idea for the HMF.

To my original question: is there a smarter way to do this?

"In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." Baba Dioum


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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 06:45 PM
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I think you have a good plan. It might be cumbersome to pull that long pc. of foam out for cleaning without a lot of dirty water splashing on everything.

Could you meat you design goals/vision if you use two corner strips creating a triangle in the two rear corners?
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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I think you have a good plan. It might be cumbersome to pull that long pc. of foam out for cleaning without a lot of dirty water splashing on everything.

Could you meat you design goals/vision if you use two corner strips creating a triangle in the two rear corners?
I'm pretty sure I can. You're definitely right that it'd be easier.

"In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." Baba Dioum


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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-26-2014, 08:42 PM
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I think this is a brilliant idea. I'd do it in a heartbeat if I was setting up a paludarium.

But I have to agree with those who advise planning on removing the foam. Based on the surface area to volume ratio of the posted design I don't doubt it would take a while, but it will eventually clog.

For the first several months our mattenfilter was operational we had a micron filter installed on the inlet of the powerhead behind the filter foam. That micron filter would routinely clog with bio-goop. So accessing behind the foam is pretty important too if you have any equipment behind it.

For the record, now that I've tried it I have no intention of switching from a mattenfilter. It does everything I've ever wanted a filter to do. Keep us posted on how it works out.
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