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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my Netlea (Similar to ADA) soil, after absorbing all kinds of things from the tank, has decided to start releasing them, so it's time to get rid of it. It's the problem with any active substrate. They have a high CEC and can store things from the water and release them when full. They can also run of whatever they use to lower the pH. Either way, they do have a lifespan, especially what we want from the soil for shrimp. I am going to reuse it for my planted tank though after a rinse, let it suck up the nutrients I dose and from root tabs.

Mine seems to be loaded with Nitrates and Phosphates. I got algae growing over sponge filters, walls, plants, sponge intakes, rocks, everything. I've taken soil out of the tank, into a container with fresh water, 20-40ppm nitrates within 24 hours. The soil's cap-put.

I don't want to go through this again, and also am looking at moving within a year and setting up a breeding rack, so time to look for other options for cheap filtration and getting the proper water without active substrate.

So I came up with a Hamburg matten filter for my filtration. The tank is a 20gal tank. I'm going to use a bit of inert gravel but leave a big portion of the tank bare bottom for easy cleanup, etc. I am going to use Ebi-ken Sosei, which is a product to lower your RO water by adding an organic dis solvable fluvic acid that can be added to your RO for water changes and will drop the pH to a acidic range without affect other param's.

Here's the sponge with a dry fit with some supports to hold the sponge in place.



Support rails painted black with Kyrlon paint and siliconed into place.



My helper :)





The idea behind a Hamburg Matten filter is that you put a powerhead or airdriven lift tube behind the sponge, and expelling water out of the area back into the area in front. This forces water to be pulled through the giant wall of sponge. This provides filtration, huge area for biofilm for shrimp, and very low maintenance as the sponge can go sometimes a year or two without being removed and cleaned. The bonus is shrimp love sponges for munching, so bonus for them. So people even get a bit of moss growing and creeping up the sponge to create a moss wall.

Here's a pic of how the HMF works. http://www.swisstropicals.com/Web pictures 600 dpi/HMF filter principle.pdf

Just waiting for silicone to dry so I can flood it and seed it with some goodie from some other tanks and get it going.

So far I haven't lost any shrimp from the Nitrate/Phosphate dumping but babies sure aren't there like they should. No amount of water changes was able to get rid of it, so I'll see how this method works.

Anyone else use HMF's in there shrimp tanks?
 

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Cool little project, looking forward to seeing this develop. Will you have very unstable parameters since you are going to use a product to lower your PH instead of the substrate? How will you add water when you have evaporation? The big plus on substrate is that it keeps things very stable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cool little project, looking forward to seeing this develop. Will you have very unstable parameters since you are going to use a product to lower your PH instead of the substrate? How will you add water when you have evaporation? The big plus on substrate is that it keeps things very stable.
If all other params are stable, a pH shift isn't that big of a deal. Happens with active substrate tanks too. Your tank is 6pH because of the substrate and put in 7pH water. At some point it has to jump up then back down. Using RO water or a water with 0kH though, it is easily converted to whatever pH the water is in the tank already, so it happens pretty quick and I assume it will work the same topping off a 6pH tank with 0TDS/0kH water, regardless of pH, should drop fairly quickly. Other option is use the Ebiken Sosei powder in the top off RO water as well to lower the pH. I don't have the product yet, but I'll play around and see what happens and wlll talk with Frank about it, since he uses that method in his tanks, almost no substrate, and adjusts the water before going into the tanks with whatever minerals and ph up or down solution depending on the shrimp. Beats going through tons of active substrate all the time.
 

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If all other params are stable, a pH shift isn't that big of a deal. Happens with active substrate tanks too. Your tank is 6pH because of the substrate and put in 7pH water. At some point it has to jump up then back down. Using RO water or a water with 0kH though, it is easily converted to whatever pH the water is in the tank already, so it happens pretty quick and I assume it will work the same topping off a 6pH tank with 0TDS/0kH water, regardless of pH, should drop fairly quickly. Other option is use the Ebiken Sosei powder in the top off RO water as well to lower the pH. I don't have the product yet, but I'll play around and see what happens and wlll talk with Frank about it, since he uses that method in his tanks, almost no substrate, and adjusts the water before going into the tanks with whatever minerals and ph up or down solution depending on the shrimp. Beats going through tons of active substrate all the time.
This definitely sounds interesting. I actually just finished topping off my dead Akadama with ADA Afrikana. I just put the new soil on top and so far so good. I'm sick of substrates so I hope your method works out.

Not to hijack the thread but here is one of my tanks with topped of substrate....it's getting pretty thick now. I hope your method works so I don't have to top off again in 1.5 years or I'll have no more water left in the tank...it will be all substrate.



 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Looking forward to seeing how this works out for you.

Have you checked the big Hamburger filter thread? I think sewingalot and others have shrimp in their tanks and really enjoy them.
Yup, read all 52 pages last night before going out and buying foam and silicone today. lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Ya, it's a test. See how it goes.

I am going to silicone in a substrate divider to keep the substrate contained to a small area, to give the shrimp biofilm, places for babies to play and an area to plant if I want to plant it. I'm using some black flourite.

Here's the dry fit for the substrate divider. It's a plastic PVC based compound called Celuka. It's basically the same stuff they use for PVC pipes that's heated and then filled with tiny micro air bubbles then compressed to give a very hard, PVC "wood" that comes in 1x6 and 2x4 and all the standard lumber sizes. It can be cut with a chop shop and comes out with a super smooth edge without sanding, can be drilled, painted, just like wood but just pure PVC. I've used it for turtle docks, crayfish homes, all kinds of things in tanks before and since it's just PVC, just heated with air and no additives, it's safe for tanks like PVC is. I'm going to paint it black and silicone it in so the front part of the tank is bare and can be used for feeding and easy cleanup and the gravel will be contained against the sponge, so it will seal the bottom of the sponge to stop shrimp from crawling under, and act like a UGF and pull crap out of the substrate towards the sponge.



I was also reading Frank say that basically inert soils but ones with a high CEC (He was referring to Akadama) will absorb some of the fluvic acid from the Sosei and release it, thus helping stabilize the ph of water over time as small amounts will be retained and released by the soil. Another reason I choose Flourite black for my substrate.

Off to paint and silicone and wait. I hate waiting for silicone. lol.

I'm also going to paint the bottom of the tank black too. Should look decent when it's done.

The other thing with the HMF is you can hide your heater, CO2 difussor, whatever behind the sponge. I going to use a small internal Fluval filter full of purigen as my method for water pumping out from behind the sponge wall, so it will help filter the water as well and I'm going to have 2 sponge filters in near the front of the tank to help keep water moving and surface movement near the front of the tank. I'm sure they'll be some tweaking as I go but I have an idea how I want it all.

Here's the divider glued in an painted.

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
How do you know when it has reached its time?
Do you know if Eco-Complete will do the same?

Anyways, I like the set-up! Your shrimps will be happy to graze all over that. :D
I knew mine was by the constant 40ppm of nitrates no matter how much water I changed and the blue-green hair algae covering everything in my tank and no babies. lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Pretty much done for the night, have to wait for silicone to cure. lol. Painted the bottom black. When this one is up, I'll do my other CRS tank. Only have two tanks going right now, high SSS/+ grade and my lower grade crs/cbs/golden/snow mixed tank, so everyone is in one tank right now, then I'll swap everyone to this tank when it's done and do the other. There is 1 light fixture over right now to cover the tanks and I'll add another so each tank will have 2x23W cfl's

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Have you considered the Hagen Elite mini water filter?


That might fit your bill.
I have a fluval 2 internal filter, so I can stuff it with purigen or floss or whatever I want to get a bit of different filtration in there besides the jumbo sponge wall.

Here it is connected to my output that will sit above the water line to get lots of surface movement and O2 exchange.

 

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I have a fluval 2 internal filter, so I can stuff it with purigen or floss or whatever I want to get a bit of different filtration in there besides the jumbo sponge wall.

Here it is connected to my output that will sit above the water line to get lots of surface movement and O2 exchange.

I like this a lot for a smaller tank, I may incorporate this idea in a 29 I'll be converting to a QT tank. Instead of two Koralias, use a Koralia and a spraybar...

If you feel like it, I think it would be nice to post something on sewingalot's HMF thread - I'm one of the folks over there and I know we would love to see this build! You could add a link back to this thread so we ( and anyone else interested in HMFs) could see all the builds and updates in one fell swoop.
 

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It looks like you're already set, but for others in the future, an HMF mounted in the end of the tank like shown here will stay put on its own without extra supports glued in. If you want to use a corner rather than entire end then you do need the supports.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It looks like you're already set, but for others in the future, an HMF mounted in the end of the tank like shown here will stay put on its own without extra supports glued in. If you want to use a corner rather than entire end then you do need the supports.
I was more concerned with making sure no gaps existed at all so no newborn shrimp could get back there and the supports seemed to give just that. Maybe on the next one I'll try it that way.


Added the flourite to the substrate section, seeded with old flourite, new flourite , Ebiken EI, Mosura Bioplus and some old sea mud powder underneath. No silicone smell at all, but I'll wait till tonight to flood it and give it 24hrs anyways.
 

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theirs another way to get around this,make a sump and make 1 compartment active substrate and the rest what every type of media you want to add. i have a 10g sump set up on my 20g shrimp tank and 1/4 of the sump is filled whit ada 5in deep then a big ass sponge then a crap load of filter floss and finally a hob whit a bag of purigen in it.
once the ada starts ruining out you get a new bag put it in a 5g bucket fill it up and let it set for a week then get the old ada out and add the new, no tank taredown required. i do find that the ada runs out a lot faster as there is more water flow over it, and the best part is during wc you add the water to the first put of the sump and by the time it hits the tank its already down to the right ph/gh
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
theirs another way to get around this,make a sump and make 1 compartment active substrate and the rest what every type of media you want to add. i have a 10g sump set up on my 20g shrimp tank and 1/4 of the sump is filled whit ada 5in deep then a big ass sponge then a crap load of filter floss and finally a hob whit a bag of purigen in it.
once the ada starts ruining out you get a new bag put it in a 5g bucket fill it up and let it set for a week then get the old ada out and add the new, no tank taredown required. i do find that the ada runs out a lot faster as there is more water flow over it, and the best part is during wc you add the water to the first put of the sump and by the time it hits the tank its already down to the right ph/gh
I was thinking sump system and may go that way for my rack, we'll see. I just didn't have the money to go buy a tank, return pump, all the plumbing, etc, right now to do a sump for 1 or 2 tanks. With a ~15 tank rack, I may go this way still. I rather have drilled tanks for sumps and if I got that way, I'll take the time and plan it all out fully.


Another reason for the whole teardown and restart is I go some sort of aquatic weed stuff that's growing my moss and it takes it over and it's impossible to get out once it starts. You pull a strand and the little seed things open and you have spores everywhere in the water. It was in both my CRS tanks, on the sponges, moss, everything. Luckily my PFR tank didn't get it's about half full of moss right now and needs a trimming anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Flooded the tank, took a few sponge filters and squeezed them out right in front of the sponge to let it suck up all the goodies, added some new and used fluorite with Old Sea Mud powder, EI and Bioplus mixed with it to help get some good bacteria growing, seasons sponge filter with moss growing out of it, my mineral balls, some cholla wood from another tank, few pre-soaked IAL leaves, so lots of goods to season the tank. Added a few ramshorns and fed them already to get some ammonia going and get some snail sludge goodness over the glass. Took a couple seasoned plastic pot scrubbers from another filter and put them behind the sponge wall to help season it. pH is about 6.7 from my RO water, so not bad off the start.



 
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