Filter/Flow/Filter Media/Lighting Questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Filter/Flow/Filter Media/Lighting Questions

Hello all, I am a new member and have been dabbling into planted aquariums for a little while now. In June I decided to go full throttle into the hobby. I will list a rundown of all items included in my set up

40b tank
aqueon 50 filter
aqueon heater
finnex fugeray planted+ light
glass top

caribsea plant substrate
3x driftwood pieces
assorted plants
-amazon sword
-argentinean sword
-java fern
-2x long finned serpae tetra
-3x black phantom tetra
-1x german blue ram
-1x red finned shark
-1x marbled angel
-2x peppered cory

Now to brass tacks. My struggle has been created by a growing knowledge base. I now know much more than i did to start (obviously) and have been diving into diy filter adjustments. However, i am torn on what to do about filters. My filter now is fine, and seems to work decently well. I have done more research in the filter area and it seems as if the AC line is much preferred to anything in the HOB category. I do not have a real desire to go to canister because of space mostly. Now, i have been doing some diy filter media and purchased some floss and purigen, to clear up the tannins, as well as blue sponge material. I want to get rid of the cartridge junk for a more customizable set up, but am not sure how to go about it with the aqueon filter. Right now, i have the cartridge sans carbon with floss in the back left and blue sponge behind the cartridge, and the purigen in front of the cartridge before the water flows into the tank. After the intro of the purigen my tannins reduced dramatically which really helps the aesthetics. However, I just would like more input on what to do with filtering to maximize the potential of a fully planted tank like i have. I would consider my tank moderately planted focused mainly on the sides and back of the tank and scattered more thoroughly on the right side with 3 pieces of driftwood in the middle/left. So for part one, i would greatly appreciate guidance into what to do for filtration and if i should swap out to an AC 70 or keep what i have and adjust the filter media somehow.

Part two. Flow. Flow seems to be a problem in my tank because i have a few dead spots in the bank right of the tank. This is mostly because my filter is placed slightly off center to the left. I was wondering if a powerhead, or connecting to the previous section, and new filter would benefit my tank to make sure all nutrients flow to all parts of my tank. So my questions here i guess would ultimately tie to the last section. What would my best decision be here regarding flow in my tank and dead spots?

Part three. Also connected to the last two sections is filter media. What does everyone recommend using/doing as far as a filter set up? Should i be using anything differently than i have been?

Part four. Lighting has been a spot of contention in my mind. I started out life with this take by using a coralife t5ho set up with a 6700/colormax combo. It seemed as if my plants were slowing fading off and not growing a whole lot. I recently purchased the fugeray planted+ and it definitely has made a brightness difference. However, it seems to be causing more brown algae than before. Quite a few of my plants are covered in this brown algae that i can scrub off but keeps coming back. Now though, it has made its way onto the substrate. I am wondering what to do here in any way to help my plants grow the best and to keep algae from taking over my plants?

Below are some current pictures with the purigen, and the new finnex light taken about a week ago.

Thank you for every comment and all of your input i really appreciate everyone helping me to better my plants and fish to help them enjoy their lives in their new home and to keep them growing and living a happy life.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 02:06 AM
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I'm not an expert but I bet flow might help a little and maybe not so much light or more plants

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 01:12 PM
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I don't think anything beats AC for HOBs. I had a AC 70 in my 29g, had great flow and worked real well with some filter floss.

The thing is, you'll still get some dead spots using only a HOB on a tank that size. That's why I got a canister filter, the spray bar goes along the length of the tank and spreads out the flow (not to mention better filtration with more space in the filter).

I would personally go for a canister filter, but if not then get an AC 70. If flow is an issue, perhaps you can still run your Aqeuon 50 on the other side of the tank?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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That being said, how easy would it be to transition from a HOB to a canister? Would it be that much more efficient, and produce that much better results than what I am currently using? If so, what canister filter is recommended the most?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-21-2015, 11:58 PM
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Tranistion from HOB to cannister is easy, put some of the media into the new cannister and run both simultaneously for a month and then you can disconnect the old HOB.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 12:20 AM
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I think part of the problem is that you may have too much light for those plants. They do not require high light. I would look more at the lighting and dosing of your fertilizer (which I don't know if you do dose or not since it wasn't mentioned). There are 3 components to growing algae with there own subsets they are light, carbon, and nutrients. If one of them is off you have a tank full of algae.

I would add a powerhead or a wavemaker to add more flow before you mess around with your filter. You will have dead spots in your tank even if you go to a canister filter. The added flow will get detritus into the water column and make your current HOB filter more efficient. You can decide whether or not you want a new filter from there.

Best of luck
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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i do dose ferts. i use flourish, and leaf zone, as well as root tabs about once every month or so.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 01:30 PM
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Your tank looks great. I think some of these issues won't matter that much. I have dead spots and really hasn't made that much of a difference. Your filter is quite capable of keeping your water clear. The medium your using will do a good job. For me and lot of others the problem is usually more of new tank issues getting everything balance. You look to be a head of that curve. If it was me I would add 2nd filter maybe AC50. That way you get more flow and you can offset your cleaning of the filters. It also gives you some what of a safety factor.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-22-2015, 03:17 PM
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I have a 40b and was using a AC 70 on it then decided to try out the fluval c4 and that is what I have on it now. The two are pretty much the same. I also have a powerhead in there that is not really needed per se, but I like to have a little extra flow.

So my recommendation for you would be to put a powerhead in. You don't have a crowded tank and there is a low bioload, so the extra filtration isn't really needed. But extra flow might help.

I am not running carbon of course, but if you are looking for something to add, you could try purigen.

You might look into dry ferts as they are very inexpensive and will last you a very long time in a 40b (especially since there is no CO2).

For the light, any time you adjust the lights up, you run the risk of algae. It could be temporary or it could just be that it is too much light. I have a few otos in my tank that helped with that. I highly recommend those. Also, I don't see the glass top you mentioned, if you were running it with a glass top before and now without, the light will increase even more. Another thought is that you can always dial down the duration of light (or put a break in the middle of the day) while your plants catch up.
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