What's in your filter? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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What's in your filter?

Sponges, bio-media, carbon, cut up Capitol One credit cards?

I'm assuming you want your plants/substrate doing the biological filtration...so bio-media you put in your filter is just taking away from the plants?

What do you use? Why?

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 04:07 PM
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I respectfully disagree that you only want your plants/substrate doing your bio filtration. On all of my filters, the first layer is a corse foam, the second is a medium foam, the 3rd is a fine foam, this keeps muck from glogging your bio filter media, and the pores it uses to raise bacteria. I then fill the rest of the tank with BioHome Ultimate Media, it has the most syrface area of any media on the market, and is by far the best bio media ever. I dont use carbon, or any chemical filtration in my tank, unless I dosed some medication that I want to remove.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 04:11 PM
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"I'm assuming you want your plants/substrate doing the biological filtration...so bio-media you put in your filter is just taking away from the plants?"
Plants do use ammonia and nitrates. I'm wondering if your confusing that take up as bio
action ? I don't "get into" memorizing names so I don't remember the names of the two beneficial bacteria, one that changes ammonia to nitrites, and the other which changes
nitrites to nitrates, but those are everywhere in the tank on any hard or semi hard
surface. The glass on the inside of the tank also and the top aprx 1/2" layer of the sub.
But your filter runs the water over the bio-media so it works best/faster there.
You likely wouldn't use my filter type as I designed it to allow free flow so that baby fish/shrimp AND various Daphnia could just go right through it without harm.
But in one of them I use "Fluval Pre-filter ceramic media". I just found out that it has more in the box than the regular ceramic bio-media does. And on top of that I have "Bio Bale" from e-bay. The other tank has Matrix on the bottom and the Bio Bale on top.
This is the side view of one of them. Works just like an under gravel filter. It's just vertical in a corner. No pads/screens etc.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 04:18 PM
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In general, my filters are all floss, sponge, biomedia of various sorts, and purigen...

I don't use carbon except short-term for things like stripping medicines, contaminants, etc. It will remove quite a wide variety of things, including plant nutrients.

I use floss and sponges primarily for mechanical filtering, removing bits of solid fish waste floating around, etc.

I use biomedia to keep my fish alive.

I use purigen to help keep the water clear, but this is very optional. It is more selective than carbon and tends not to remove too much fertilizer-wise.. it does bind some nitrogen wastes, so it does indirectly reduce nitrate somewhat by preventing these from decaying to ammonia. However, it does not bind ammonia (primary nitrogen output of fish and food for biofilm), nitrite, or nitrate (primary output of biofilm, and primary nitrogen food for plants).

I don't use zeolite, except in emergencies, as it absorbs ammonia, robbing my biofilm and plants of nitrogen food.

As for the bio aspects of the filter, it steals pretty much nothing from the plants. Those bacteria convert ammonia into nitrite, then nitrate, and plants can absorb nitrate..

Without any biofilter, I doubt your plants will uptake ammonia fast enough to avoid killing your fish, unless you have lots of plants and very few fish. "Silent cycles" rely on plants to keep the ammonia under control long enough for the biofilm to establish and keep it down where it should be.

Fortunately, biofilm establishes all over your tank, not just in the filter, but on the tank walls, substrate, basically everything in the tank. The biomedia in your filter just provides more space for them to grow. It also provides a convenient way to seed biofilm from tank-to-tank by grabbing some used media from one tank and putting it in another.

New to planted tanks, avid gardener/tinkerer.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattinmd View Post
...Without any biofilter, I doubt your plants will uptake ammonia fast enough to avoid killing your fish, unless you have lots of plants and very few fish.
That's the plan.

So the plants are incapable of absorbing 100% of the waste products. Got it.

I have a H.O.T Magnum 250 canister has a sponge pre-filter and a single container, I'll assume I'll be best filled with ceramic bio-media.
...and yes I know I need a better filter, but unless the aquarium fairy puts one under my pillow tonight, I'll have to make due.

40 breeder - 1.25" Dirt/1.25" Black Diamond cap - Pressurized CO2 (2.25bps) - 2x54watt T5HO and 42watt LED (total 150watts; 14,500 lumens) - EI dosing - 50% weekly WC - H.O.T. Magnum 250 canister - SunSun 530 gph pump - Set-up 7-14-2015 - Cycled 8-1-2015

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 07:00 PM
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Generally speaking, planted tanks need more mechanical filtration than bio filtration compared to the fish tank your parents had as a kid. I run a huge amount of bio media in my tank just because I have the space. I always suggest sponges of different density and filter floss if you really want to filter out fine particles. As for bio media, just about everything works. I have probably 20 gallons of scrubbies, sponges, ceramic media, etc in my filter. I also have 4-6" of different density foams before the bio media.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB13 View Post
That's the plan.

So the plants are incapable of absorbing 100% of the waste products. Got it.

I have a H.O.T Magnum 250 canister has a sponge pre-filter and a single container, I'll assume I'll be best filled with ceramic bio-media.
...and yes I know I need a better filter, but unless the aquarium fairy puts one under my pillow tonight, I'll have to make due.
edit: just looked at the sponge part of the HOT 250... revising my post...

You should be fine this way, as long as your tank isn't over 65% of the MFG's rated size... pretty much all filter mfg's overstate their capacity IMO (or are basing it on a tank with 1 neon tetra in it).

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 07:46 PM
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If you have to add nitrogen to the water (NO3) in fertilizer than your plants are using up every bit of the NH3 the fish are producing everyday.

A filter in a planted tank is not needed for the fish. You can get by with just some powerheads to give some water movement to the tank. I have filters to give the organic matter somewhere to decompose (leaves, other fish waste, etc). This is purely for cosmetic reasons. They also tend to keep the water clearer by filtering out larger particles.

I use sponges and carbon in my filters. I also have some of the ceramic biological thingy's as a spacer between two fiiner weave polishing pads. I only have to clean my filters twice per year.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 08:40 PM
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HOBs and canisters have a mix of sponge/foam, ceramic, and bio media. Also have several sponge filters, just simple sponge style nothing else.

Due to photobuckets new bs cost for use of images on forums I have deleted all photobucket accounts. I apologize if you enjoyed or found my photos helpful.
Starting to update these threads

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond S. View Post
Looks like PVC millings from a CNC machine!
Got my brain a tickin on this one.

I use a lot of lava rock from the Depot.
About $3 a bag, bio media, scenery, and create rock formations.
As gardening mulch it is 3 and change per bag @ 22lbs.
If bought for the grill $5 for 7lbs. Grill stuff is not all red, blacks and browns to add color.


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 09:22 PM
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I have a course sponge pre-filter, filter floss, then the blue "bio balls" that came with my wet to dry.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 09:31 PM
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On my Eheim 2028
From the bottom to the top:
(Before the trays where water sloshes around) - Eheim Ehfimech
Bottom Tray - Coarse Foam, Medium Foam, Fine Foam
Middle Tray & Top Tray: Eheim Substrat Pro
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-16-2015, 11:23 PM
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My tank has a built in wet/dry. I run it 100% wet.

Most important for me was to fashion a screen cover (stainless steel) over the intake slats. That made such an amazing difference! You do have to clean the screen once a week but thats it. And leaves, plant matter, dead fish/shrimp, etc. gets stuck on the screen/mesh and I can just net it off.

It has 8 chambers in the back- 3 then an over flow > to 4 then an opening at the bottom > to the pump chamber.

I put sponges and prefilter sheets in the 2 chambers, only about half way up in each, before the pump chamber.

So literally 80% of my filtration area is empty. I did fashion a C02 diffusion chamber above the output pump to dose CO2. And the heater, chiller pump and PVC is back there too.

I'm much more concerned with mechanical filtration than biological. My tanks are under stocked and over planted so the back chamber filtration is more for water clarity than quality.


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