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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, Now I'm confused, can someone clear this up for me.

I am starting a new tank in the next 2 weeks, I was waiting until I had refinished and fiber glassed my tank stand. Now that it is done I want to get the filter(s) for it. I am going for a heavily planted tank as I had posted before.

The confusion comes in what I hear and what I read about filters with Co2 systems. What I have seen and was told that a tank should cycle at least 3 times the tank volume, eg. = 100g should have at least 300gph of filtration.

Now in the magazine "Tropical Fish" there is a 2 part article "All you ever wanted to know about Co2" written by Jeff Walmsley. February 2009 (part1) and March 2009 (part 2). In the March issue (part 2) he goes on to say that his 11' ft. long tank of 529 gallon tank turns over ONCE every 2 hours. He also says that peoples tanks are cycled to much and if you turn your filters down to half the volume you will consume half the Co2. He also states that "Co2 Dead Spots" are just a myth and he has not experienced the problem.

He also bring the point of how water temperature, lights, fish, even plants and the Co2 are all sources of water movement besides the filter. He also brings to light that marshes lakes and ponds don't turn their water over at high rates and they are some of the best places that plants grow.

Has anyone else read this 2 part article and if so, what was your take on it?

If there is no reason to buy 2 canister filters ... why do so because I was thinking of buying a Rena xp4 for the tank. The only load on it besides the plants will be anywhere from 40 - 50 neon tetras.


Can someone or more than one, please shed some light on this?

Thanks
Bill
 

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We do like to compare our tanks to nature, but the utility of doing that in guiding the measures we take has limitations. It is, after all, a (usually) rectangular glass box and nature doesn't have any of those as far as I know. So, with that...science and technology has to come in where nature remains outside. IMO, you really can't "over filter" your planted tank. But, you have to be aware that the more efficiently you filter with the filter medium's removal of nitrates, which the plants need, you have to be sure that there's enough nitrates in the water in the tank's water for the plants to be able to photosynthesize. This is done in different ways, depending on the kind of technique you employ...so, in low tech tanks, the fish waste is relied on to keep the nitrate level at acceptable levels and in higher tech tanks, dosing of one kind or another is usually relied upon. (By the way, nitrates are not the only necessary constituent of the water that has to be considered, but it's the one most associated with the concept of "filtration.") Whether or not CO2 needs any help to get thoroughly distributed throughout the tank is something that is the source of some disagreement, but I don't think it's reasonable or accurate to argue that some flow isn't good for the tank. I agree with Postal Penguin that keeping some modicum of flow in the tank is a good thing in that it, at very least, gets detritus, etc. into the water column and is therefore more easily removed from it by the filtratio.

I use two canister filters on my planted tank with good results. I think that the motivation for doing that is that by not cleaning them out at the same time, you maintain the bio-filtration system and so you don't get a temporary "burst" of nitrates that could conceivably promote algae growth when you clean the filter because the one that isn't being cleaned maintains the bacterial-load in the filter medium and continues to efficiently consume nitrates. IMO it's a good practice although I've heard many people who maintain successful planted tanks argue against the necessity to do it.

As for the filtration removing CO2 as a reason for less turn over, I wonder what's behind that conclusion. There are many things that can reduce the CO2 saturation level in the water, but I don't see how filtration per se would be one of those. The amount of turbulence that your filter's return can cause some CO2 to escape, but whether you use a diffuser or a reactor and the efficiency of which type of either of those that you use can be more consequential to the CO2 saturation that you achieve with your CO2 system.

I guess in the end it's what works for you and how you manage to get there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We do like to compare our tanks to nature, but the utility of doing that in guiding the measures we take has limitations. It is, after all, a (usually) rectangular glass box and nature doesn't have any of those as far as I know. So, with that...science and technology has to come in where nature remains outside. IMO, you really can't "over filter" your planted tank. But, you have to be aware that the more efficiently you filter with the filter medium's removal of nitrates, which the plants need, you have to be sure that there's enough nitrates in the water in the tank's water for the plants to be able to photosynthesize. This is done in different ways, depending on the kind of technique you employ...so, in low tech tanks, the fish waste is relied on to keep the nitrate level at acceptable levels and in higher tech tanks, dosing of one kind or another is usually relied upon. (By the way, nitrates are not the only necessary constituent of the water that has to be considered, but it's the one most associated with the concept of "filtration.") Whether or not CO2 needs any help to get thoroughly distributed throughout the tank is something that is the source of some disagreement, but I don't think it's reasonable or accurate to argue that some flow isn't good for the tank. I agree with Postal Penguin that keeping some modicum of flow in the tank is a good thing in that it, at very least, gets detritus, etc. into the water column and is therefore more easily removed from it by the filtratio.

I use two canister filters on my planted tank with good results. I think that the motivation for doing that is that by not cleaning them out at the same time, you maintain the bio-filtration system and so you don't get a temporary "burst" of nitrates that could conceivably promote algae growth when you clean the filter because the one that isn't being cleaned maintains the bacterial-load in the filter medium and continues to efficiently consume nitrates. IMO it's a good practice although I've heard many people who maintain successful planted tanks argue against the necessity to do it.

As for the filtration removing CO2 as a reason for less turn over, I wonder what's behind that conclusion. There are many things that can reduce the CO2 saturation level in the water, but I don't see how filtration per se would be one of those. The amount of turbulence that your filter's return can cause some CO2 to escape, but whether you use a diffuser or a reactor and the efficiency of which type of either of those that you use can be more consequential to the CO2 saturation that you achieve with your CO2 system.

I guess in the end it's what works for you and how you manage to get there.
I'm not saying not to have any flow, certainly a Rena XP4 will provide decent flow in a 100g tank. The reason for less turn over isn't because of the filters removing the Co2, it's so you use less Co2 to begin with. If you can use less Co2, that will help on the wallet and it will help the environment so we just don't go nut's with the Co2 output.

The article was saying that when he turned the pump volume down the PH spiked so he turned down the Co2. (trying to remember, I don't have the article with me at the moment)

I guess I could try it with one filter and go from there. If I need another ... I guess I could buy another.

Is anyone reading this using one large filter on a large tank of 100g or more?

Thanks Guys
Bill
 

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personally, I don't think that co2 depletion is a compelling enough reason for me to reduce flow in any of my aquariums.
 

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I remember that article. I saw his pictures. I have a 125 g tank. My tank is 1 ft longer than yours is. I have TONS of filtration and water movement. I also have injected CO2.

I think it depends on a few things. As I recall, there were 2 things that stuck out at me. The first was that he didn't have many fish in his tank - so that means less fish waste, and less plant and substrate disturbance. The second was that the plants that were visible in the pictures were all easy to grow and hardy.

Remember that it's all about balance. If you have high light then you are going to have to have high CO2 and high nutrient levels. That promotes fast plant growth, which in turns gives you a thick plant mass. If you want to grow some of the more difficult plants you have to have higher light, nutrient levels and CO2. These need to get evenly distributed around your tank. To do this you need good flow and NO dead areas.

Obviously he was successful with what he was doing. I know with my tank if I tried that, I'd have one big algae farm. I have one filter and it's rated at 950 gph. Then I have a mag drive that runs my UV and CO2 which is rated at 950 gph. Both of these have a very long spray bar on the return so that the current is mild but goes throughout my tank. I can grow very difficult plants. I have high light to penetrate to the substrate.

It's all about what your after.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Tex,

With my tank I would like to have 40-50 neon tetras for color so I think it will be a light load. As for the plants, well considering I am new to the plant side of this hobby, I think the easy and hardy ones would be my best choice for the first year until I get into the swing of things.

As far as the lighting, I am looking into that and also the pressurized Co2 setup.

What are you using in your Co2 system?

Thanks Again
Bill
 

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I used to have an aquamedic diffuser that was inline with one of my 2 XP3 filters. When I upgraded my lights I got an Eheim 2262. At that time my hubby built me a huge CO2 diffuser. I used that but kept getting sporatic BBA. I saw a thread on APC about needlewheel impellers and how they really spread the CO2 around. I decided to try that. That's what I have right now . Just converted over.

Might I suggest that you get enough of everything to go high light, high everything. You don't have to use it to it's fullest extent (run less of the bulbs, not so much light, less ferts, turn down filtration, etc). That way when you are ready to go with more difficult plants, you will not have to upgrade or waste what you started with. In the long run it's cheaper.

Also, remember that even the easy plants can get very dense and some of those are also nutrient hogs! :D
 

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...The reason for less turn over isn't because of the filters removing the Co2, it's so you use less Co2 to begin with. If you can use less Co2, that will help on the wallet and it will help the environment so we just don't go nut's with the Co2 output.

The article was saying that when he turned the pump volume down the PH spiked so he turned down the Co2....
exv's point is well taken. If the author of the article says that filtration will lead to CO2 loss, then I'd really appreciate some explanation for how the filtration of water in and of itself would reduce CO2 in the process. The bacteria growth fostered within the filter medium in freshwater tanks does not consume CO2. IF the return or outlet of a filter breaks the water's surface and creates turbulence there, then maybe there'd be some CO2 loss, but if for example, a dedicated water pump is used along with an efficient reactor to apply pressurized CO2 as opposed to, (for example) a diffuser that may not be working efficiently then the depletion of any CO2 resulting from the turbulence would be adequately replaced with water coming from the reactor, to prevent any net loss in the CO2 and maintin consistent pH levels. But, I can't imagine how it could be suggested that filtration in and of itself would result in CO2 loss.
 

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A lot of things have been written about planted tanks that are wrong. And, that shouldn't be a surprise, since we are all learning as we go along. Until recently there was no way to directly measure the concentration of CO2 in an aquarium, from one location in the tank to another. So, we could only theorize about distribution of CO2. Now you can buy a direct reading CO2 probe, if you have $2000 to spare, so it is possible to actually measure the concentration at various location throughout the tank.

Tom Barr has one of those probes, and I watched him demonstrate it in his 180 gallon tank. It was astonishing how much variation there was in CO2 concentration at different locations in the tank. That was an eye opener, that got a lot of us started rethinking what we "knew" about CO2 in an aquarium.

Now we know that plants do consume a lot of the CO2 we add to the tank, no where near all of it, since most is lost from the water surface, but enough to cause local shortages of CO2 near the fast growing plants. If we don't have the tank water circulating well, all over the tank, those local shortages will keep at least some plants from having a supply of CO2. And, simple logic tells you that if CO2 is being lost from the water surface, there has to be a gradient in CO2 concentration in the water, otherwise CO2 wouldn't "flow" from the lower parts of the tank to the upper parts to be lost.

As far as duplicating nature is concerned, who wants to do that? We want unnatural conditions in our tanks - clean water, non-limiting levels of all nutrients, consistent light intensity all over the tank, several plant species growing together, lots of fish, etc., none of which is "natural".
 

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Way to go Hoppy! I think you hit all the nails on their heads! Tom Barr's article about his measure of CO2 all over his tank was an eye opener for me too. I have seen the difference in plant quality and grow results since I added more flow to my tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well I ordered 2 Eheim 2217 today so now that the filteration is in order, what heating requirements would be good for a 100 gal acrylic tank?

I live in the High desert in So. California and it snows in the winter and bakes in the summer.

Thanks
Bill
 

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Well I ordered 2 Eheim 2217 today so now that the filteration is in order, what heating requirements would be good for a 100 gal acrylic tank?

I live in the High desert in So. California and it snows in the winter and bakes in the summer.

Thanks
Bill
The Hydor inline heaters are nice. They have a 200w that uses 1/2" (12mm) tubing. You might want to use one on each filter if your house gets cold in winter.
http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS/ctl3684/cp18532/si1382455/cl0/hydoreth200inlineheater200w
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578 3743 11369&pcatid=11369
 

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The Hydor inline heaters are nice. They have a 200w that uses 1/2" (12mm) tubing. You might want to use one on each filter if your house gets cold in winter.
http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS/ctl3684/cp18532/si1382455/cl0/hydoreth200inlineheater200w
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578 3743 11369&pcatid=11369
That's what I'd do.

I think you made a good choice with your filters. Personally, I run an XP3 and XP4 on my 90gal. I did have an XP2 along with the XP3, but wasn't happy with the flow. I had dead spots, and could tell that extraneous food would fall to the bottom instead of being sucked into the filter intakes. I'm very happy with it now. :proud:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The Hydor inline heaters are nice. They have a 200w that uses 1/2" (12mm) tubing. You might want to use one on each filter if your house gets cold in winter.
http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS/ctl3684/cp18532/si1382455/cl0/hydoreth200inlineheater200w
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578 3743 11369&pcatid=11369
I went with the same thought. I ordered 2 of the 300 watt ones.
http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS/ctl3684/cp18532/si1382457/cl0/hydoreth300inlineheater300w

I guess now I need to figure out the substrate and the lighting. Hey, does anyone know if LED's like the ones made by Cree are worth investing in? I can buy the stuff and assemble it myself which will bring the cost WAY down. Also, should I go with Eco Complete for the substrate?

Thanks
Bill
 

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I don't know about the Cree LED's and how you'd apply them to planted aquarium use, but I've seen aquarium-related LED fixtures show very good results on a planted tank over a prolonged period. The ones that are made for aquariums, as you probably know already, are still rather expensive, though.

I can say that you will be happy with the EcoComplete for the substrate. I've been using it with very good results.
 
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