Necessity of Biological filtration media vs just plain water polishing - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by EdWiser View Post
If there is no food for the bacteria they can not survive on the extra media.
Have no idea where that rumor came from. Never happened in years of fish keeping. Found on the web and other fish forums.

Here is some information about beneficial bacteria and how they work.

Beneficial bacteria grow to the size of your filter media.

6.3. Over-filtration


https://acrylictankmanufacturing.com...cteria-colony/ "Autotrophs can survive approximately eight months in this state, feeding off of their own nutritional reserves.”
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post #17 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 04:38 PM
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https://acrylictankmanufacturing.com...cteria-colony/ "Autotrophs can survive approximately eight months in this state, feeding off of their own nutritional reserves.Ē
Acrylictankmanufacturing? Isn't that the company the show TANKED was based on?


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post #18 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 05:39 PM
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Back in the late 1960's early 70's, for small tanks it usually was a glassfiber filled corner box filter with some "activated" coconut charcoal. I liked the old Metaframe Slim Jim HOB airlift powered J-tube siphon filters, running the same mix of glassfiber and activated charcoal.

Soon it was replaced by polyfiber when enough hobbyists complained about little glass splinters in their fingers, when replacing the media. It was always about "Put fresh media back in the filter to keep the filtration working", so you were fighting against establishing a filter full of bacteria to convert ammonia.

But it was state of the art back then..
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post #19 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Tiger15 View Post
I've never used bio media in my filters for decades, and I used to keep heavy stocked cichlid tanks. Now I keep planted cichlid tanks with Penguin HOBs without installing biowheels for mechanical filtration only, which is necessary to keep the water clear for my enjoyment. Fish don't care. The reason I uninstall biowheels is to avoid reducing flow which is a trade off. In my fry and grow out tanks, I have no mechanical filter, only air drive sponge filters. But I keep up with regular water change in all my tanks, including substrate vacuuming, which is the ultimate filtration.



The idea of external bio media came with the invention of canister filters for home aquarium in the 80s. But long before it, UGF have been using gravel inside the tank as the bio media. Early power filters in the 70s provided mechanical filtration only, and added bio filtration later in the form of bio foam, bio grid, bio wheel and other names in marketing to compete with canisters and one another. Vendors make you believe that their bio media is the best and without it, your fish will die.



Setups that mandate external bio media for survival are heavily stocked bare tanks to house sting rays, bichir, Oscar and other tank busters that dislike substrate or aquacuture tanks for lobsters and food fish.


This has so many assumptions about how what works for me in my experience necessarily will always work for all others in their experience that it is really hard to take seriously.
I find it actually quite humorous how it bothers others that I choose to use bio media - when it is just ďa waste of money.Ē.
My money, my choice. My fish, my choice.


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post #20 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 07:28 PM
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I don't discount bio-filtration, what I discount is manufacturers making you think their's some magic going on with bio-filtration within the filter and you need to optimize it with all this special media.

There's also the idea that you need a ton of GPH to push waste into the filter. That's not a bad thing, but the waste is still part of the system until you clean it. If you remove a ton of plants from your tank and/or they don't grow well, we get algae. The BB did not replicate enough or quick enough to prevent it. The ammonia isn't processed quick enough. That's where plants are the best, water changes are probably next best since you do (should do) those more than most clean their filters.


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post #21 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 07:39 PM
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I won't say completely get rid of biomedia, it offers some buffer for keeping a strong cycle going, especially in a bare bottom tank, so long as it's kept clean of
course. What I do have a problem with is company's claiming to change it / replace it regularly, claiming it's the best thing since sliced bread, etc. etc. to make more money when it's simply false advice.

No different than Caribsea claiming Eco-Complete has essential elements for plants (it's made up of these elements yes, but it's inert and therefore doesn't release them for the plants, completely misleading buyers. That's what bugs me about these marketing tactics.

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post #22 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 08:10 PM
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I don't discount bio-filtration, what I discount is manufacturers making you think their's some magic going on with bio-filtration within the filter and you need to optimize it with all this special media.

There's also the idea that you need a ton of GPH to push waste into the filter. That's not a bad thing, but the waste is still part of the system until you clean it. If you remove a ton of plants from your tank and/or they don't grow well, we get algae. The BB did not replicate enough or quick enough to prevent it. The ammonia isn't processed quick enough. That's where plants are the best, water changes are probably next best since you do (should do) those more than most clean their filters.


Yes, I have plants- but they donít do real well so donít know how much benefit they give me. Maybe they do , I donít know. I change water religiously- - the 180 gets 50-75% weekly and the discus tank 2-3 50% weekly.


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post #23 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 08:11 PM
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I won't say completely get rid of biomedia, it offers some buffer for keeping a strong cycle going, especially in a bare bottom tank, so long as it's kept clean of

course. What I do have a problem with is company's claiming to change it / replace it regularly, claiming it's the best thing since sliced bread, etc. etc. to make more money when it's simply false advice.



No different than Caribsea claiming Eco-Complete has essential elements for plants (it's made up of these elements yes, but it's inert and therefore doesn't release them for the plants, completely misleading buyers. That's what bugs me about these marketing tactics.


I get what your saying. Thank you.


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post #24 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 08:16 PM
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The BB did not replicate enough or quick enough to prevent it. The ammonia isn't processed quick enough. That's where plants are the best, water changes are probably next best since you do (should do) those more than most clean their filters.
Funny, I squeeze sponges frequently (except in canisters where hard to get to) and with every water change. I still see people online (Reddit especially) warn that your NH4 will spike and fish will all die if you clean out the entire filter or water change and cartridge change on the same day. It's just patently inaccurate advice IMO, but I suppose a hypothetical immature aquarium exists where such might be enough to push it over the edge.



I think we can all agree that different systems have different needs. I'm also one who foregoes the use of biomedia but I keep lots of plants, few if any (and usually tiny) fish, and shrimp in every tank I own. There is so little waste created in my own tanks. I hardly feed, and honestly these tanks would not change much if I lost filtration completely and just used a powerhead. Like @EdWiser my reef days have a lot of carryover to how I approach freshwater aquariums as well as what has become appealing to my eye. Anything over 50% stocked by Aqua Advisor standards feels busy and crowded to me, others find their guidelines to be conservative. I have to remind myself that what I do is vastly different from most people's tanks, where the fish are plentiful and the star attraction.
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post #25 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Somefishguy View Post
Have no idea where that rumor came from. Never happened in years of fish keeping. Found on the web and other fish forums.

Here is some information about beneficial bacteria and how they work.

Beneficial bacteria grow to the size of your filter media.

6.3. Over-filtration


https://acrylictankmanufacturing.com...cteria-colony/ "Autotrophs can survive approximately eight months in this state, feeding off of their own nutritional reserves.Ē


Actual I work with bacteria researchers

They are actual doing this type of research now. Confirming many thing we learned back in the 90ís about bacteria in the reef aquarium. You can now test the bacteria on your Aquarium now to find out issues with the bacteria populations in the aquarium.
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post #26 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-07-2020, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Tiger15 View Post
The idea of external bio media came with the invention of canister filters for home aquarium in the 80s. But long before it, UGF have been using gravel inside the tank as the bio media. Early power filters in the 70s provided mechanical filtration only, and added bio filtration later in the form of bio foam, bio grid, bio wheel and other names in marketing to compete with canisters and one another. Vendors make you believe that their bio media is the best and without it, your fish will die.

Setups that mandate external bio media for survival are heavily stocked bare tanks to house sting rays, bichir, Oscar and other tank busters that dislike substrate or aquacuture tanks for lobsters and food fish.
Agreed. We didn't even know about the nitrogen cycle until we got into the 80's! For decades prior to that, all that I had was AC and floss ...and I threw it all out every week. Tanks also weren't heavily planted with rapidly growing plants (we had neither the light or the CO2) and we were told not to change more than about 20% of your water weekly. Yet, somehow, rather heavy stocking of fish lived through what you would think would be ammonia cesspools (pH was well above 7.0).

However, I will also say that today's filtering techniques provide for a much more flexible aquarium, particularly for noobs and/or difficult fish.
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post #27 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
Funny, I squeeze sponges frequently (except in canisters where hard to get to) and with every water change. I still see people online (Reddit especially) warn that your NH4 will spike and fish will all die if you clean out the entire filter or water change and cartridge change on the same day. It's just patently inaccurate advice IMO, but I suppose a hypothetical immature aquarium exists where such might be enough to push it over the edge.



I think we can all agree that different systems have different needs. I'm also one who foregoes the use of biomedia but I keep lots of plants, few if any (and usually tiny) fish, and shrimp in every tank I own. There is so little waste created in my own tanks. I hardly feed, and honestly these tanks would not change much if I lost filtration completely and just used a powerhead. Like @EdWiser my reef days have a lot of carryover to how I approach freshwater aquariums as well as what has become appealing to my eye. Anything over 50% stocked by Aqua Advisor standards feels busy and crowded to me, others find their guidelines to be conservative. I have to remind myself that what I do is vastly different from most people's tanks, where the fish are plentiful and the star attraction.
I'm curious, maybe that has to do with people cleaning their sponges/filters in tap water and the chlorine kills off the bacteria populations? Then again, if the colonies inside their tanks are well-established... that shouldn't matter I suppose?

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post #28 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 01:38 PM
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I'm curious, maybe that has to do with people cleaning their sponges/filters in tap water and the chlorine kills off the bacteria populations? Then again, if the colonies inside their tanks are well-established... that shouldn't matter I suppose?
There is a myth that when you clean the filter media, you should clean it with tank water, not chlorinated tap water, and always clean one filter at a time to preserve BB in the other filter. Nonsense. It sounds like BB have a conscience choice to live only in the filter media.

I never had problem cleaning all filters at the same time, and with chlorinated tap water as there are plenty of BB reserve else where in the tank to repopulate the filter at no time. In fact, if you don't periodically clean the media, it can poison the BB bed by accumulation gunk and gunk eating micros that compete with BB for oxygen, and potentially turn anaerobic in a power outage. Canister filters are known to be vulnerable to anaerobic in power outage because it is not open to the atmosphere.
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post #29 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 02:20 PM
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It's complicated because people use the word 'aquarium' like it represents one thing, but there is a pretty wide variation on what an aquarium is so what works for one won't for another. The type of substrate, whether you have plants etc. all completely change how your aquarium is running behind the scenes.

If you have substrate (much more surface area than a bare bottom tank) and you have plants you have a massive amount of biological 'filtration' before you even start considering what filter is attached. Filters are just boxes that have good flow (plenty of oxygen) and lots of surface area for bacteria colonies - there is nothing special about that. In the right tank set up the whole tank is the filter chamber and the 'filter' is just aiding the circulation/mechanically removing large particulates to make it visually look good.
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post #30 of 108 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 04:09 PM
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I clean my foam in tank water, but I'll do it all at once. I don't need chlorine for adequate rinsing, so tank water is perfect for the job. Then I can feed that dirty water to my houseplants. I'm sure I've used tap water occasionally without disaster, but I've got tank water right there.
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