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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sewingalot has a good thread going on building one of these unusual filters. But, it was specifically mentioned that arguments about whether or not to use one would be unwelcome. I kind of like good arguments:icon_smil

Those who have tried one of these filters, please tell us why you wouldn't do it again. (Or why it was a great idea.) I'm not just playing games here. I read that thread in APC back when it started, and was intrigued, but I soon forgot the subject entirely. I now hope to be setting up a low maintenance low light tank when I move to an apartment soon, so I really would like to understand any problems these filters might give me.
 

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Glad you started this - I was trying to fing the pro/con discussion but couldn't. I assumed it was on this site! lol
I'm very intrigued by this method of filtration, which I have never heard of before, and want to know if anyone has experience with it in larger tanks. I'm thinking about trying it in a 55g. Right now I use HOB filters, but I have an idea to put two 55s end to end to make a dividing wall between my living room & kitchen (which is one long space without division of any sort). The tanks would start at the exterior wall and extend into the living area - the idea of having a wall of sponge filter at the exterior-end wall on tank 1, and the interior-end wall of tank 2 (which would put the second sponge wall in the visual center of the two tanks) is appealing to me. If it is more effective than the HOBs - and it sounds like it would be - it will also be easier to hide/disguise the plumbing/electrical.
My wording of where the sponges would be in each tank is convoluted to say the least! lol Imagine a 55g tank with the side pressed up against an exterior wall, and another tank butted up to it. The left side of each tank is where I would put the sponge wall and pump...
I hope a good pro/con dialog starts!
~ Cin ~
 

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So, is this setup used mostly by breeders with fry in unplanted tanks?
And thanks for the link...
 

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Well, that was an interesting read! I read in another place about the idea of planting mosses, etc in the foam. One poster in the above link said it keeps the foam form clogging with debirs, but wouldn't the plants themselves block the foam and prevent it from being it's most effective? I did like the idea of cutting shapes out and inserting larger blocks to create ledges for plants.
A noob question; if the bacteria on the foam filter competes with plants for nitrogens (nitrates?) how is this any different than the bacteria formed on the bio balls, sponges, etc in canister filters? I've never had a canister filter, so I'll be the first to admit I don't know how they work - I may have it a** backwards - lol.
Incidently, every time I test my recently set up 55 (4 weeks) I have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and barely visable color to the nitrates = as close to zero as possible. Could my tank be too lightly stocked? Or is it still in it's initial cycle? (sorry for the hijack)
~ Cin ~
 

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I set one up about a year ago. I stopped using it because the tank was converted to a plant only tank:

Pros:
Maintenance free
Cheap
Great biofilter (far superior to a regular sponge filter)
Very durable

Cons:
Takes a long time to cycle properly
Requires fine tuning
Takes up a lot of space in the tank
Difficult to incorporate chemical media (although some europeans have a way of doing this)

Basically, it's far superior to a sponge filer, so if you're setting up a tank with air driven filtration, it's a really good option.
 

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Ugly in your tank, that's enough for me to give it the axe, this is not new by any means, folks have done these since the 50-60's.

They work well, particularly if you get good foam.

I've seen some set up where they are well hidden and done nicely, but these are the exception.

I use plants mostly, sediment etc, the filter is more for detritus removal and moving/water flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I set one up about a year ago. I stopped using it because the tank was converted to a plant only tank:

Pros:
Maintenance free
Cheap
Great biofilter (far superior to a regular sponge filter)
Very durable

Cons:
Takes a long time to cycle properly
Requires fine tuning
Takes up a lot of space in the tank
Difficult to incorporate chemical media (although some europeans have a way of doing this)

Basically, it's far superior to a sponge filer, so if you're setting up a tank with air driven filtration, it's a really good option.
Chemical media are a very poor idea for a planted tank filter anyway, so that isn't a disadvantage. The space it takes up, at least for a corner version, doesn't seem to be excessive to me, if it eliminates the filter cleaning process, as it is supposed to do. What "fine tuning" is involved - I didn't notice that any was. And, the cycling process is that of growing the colony of bacteria in the sponge, which should take no longer than it does in a canister filter. It looks like one could run some established filter squeezings through the mattenfilter right after setting it up, and that would jump start the cycle, just as it does with a canister filter.

I once used a sponge filter on the inlet to a powerhead as a total tank filter. It worked, but wouldn't adequately "polish" the water to suit me. Mattenfilters use so much more and thicker sponge that I would expect it to be a very good "polishing" filter.

If I do one of these I think I will grow moss on it. Moss will never be dense enough to block water flow, but it could trap debris, making a messy bed of moss. I suppose the vacuuming of the moss would take care of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ugly in your tank, that's enough for me to give it the axe, this is not new by any means, folks have done these since the 50-60's.

They work well, particularly if you get good foam.

I've seen some set up where they are well hidden and done nicely, but these are the exception.

I use plants mostly, sediment etc, the filter is more for detritus removal and moving/water flow.
The original mattenfilter, across the end of the tank, would certainly look ugly, but it looks like a back corner version would look fine. I wouldn't be concerned about the biofilter aspect of this, since I know the plants do much of that job anyway, but it seems effective for keeping very clear water. Is it?

And, if the pump can be used as a CO2 reactor too, that appeals to me by removing another piece of equipment from the tank. Plus, if the outlet can effectively ripple the water it also eliminates the need for a powerhead - possibly.
 

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I was reading one of the links on sewingalot's tread, and there was a good two part video in it. The presenter mentioned that the area behind the foam could house a media material of your choice, as well as the pump, heater, etc. I was thinking it would be a good spot for filter floss, for extra polish.
 

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I was reading one of the links on sewingalot's tread, and there was a good two part video in it. The presenter mentioned that the area behind the foam could house a media material of your choice, as well as the pump, heater, etc. I was thinking it would be a good spot for filter floss, for extra polish.
I have seen people move there ceramic discs from there canister into the back of the foam corner.

I don't find the corner unit ugly. Especially with black foam, you would also be able to hide the heater and what not. If you had a white background it would be noticeable, but just buy some black background. I honestly find a sponge filter or a big filter intake and heaters more of an eye sore then a corner sponge that fits the tank from top to bottom that could be blended into the background if done properly.
 

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From Diana Walstad's book "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium":

"Nitrifying bacteria are helpful, if not essential, in tanks without plants. However, in planted tanks they compete with plants for ammonia."

To me, that means a Hamburger Matten filter is not good for the plants in a planted tank.


BTW, in case anyone is interested, here is the APC discussion way back years ago:

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...3-wet-thumb-forum-new-filtration-concept.html
You want as much competition for ammonia as possible if you have critters. Consumption or conversion of ammonia to something benign is important.

jim
 

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Bahugo, I agree - that's one of the factors that interested me in this system. I find the single tower of black foam much more unobtrusive than the HOB intake, heater and whatnot in my tank now. I'm trying to hide them with plants, but how nice it would be to hide them with a functional wall that can even be planted if you so desire.
 

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I also should mention that ALL of my tanks including client's have large foam blocks, so they are all "Hamburger filters", but I use them in the sump.
This is because they are easy to squeeze and clean, I also have sponge material in the prefilters, which get cleaned weekly, whereas the 4" blocks in the sump are massive and get cleaned once every 2-3 months etc.
 

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I also should mention that ALL of my tanks including client's have large foam blocks, so they are all "Hamburger filters", but I use them in the sump.
This is because they are easy to squeeze and clean, I also have sponge material in the prefilters, which get cleaned weekly, whereas the 4" blocks in the sump are massive and get cleaned once every 2-3 months etc.
Do you ever use bio media? (other than sponges?) I want to toss all my bio stuff out of my eheim if it competes with my plants.
 

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Foam cell size is listed all over the older threads on this topic.

Steve at AngelsPlus sells several core sizes in any dimension you wish to order,
 

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You can order foam sheets off the internet and just cut them to size you want
haha cutting thick foam trying to get a clean / square edge is one of those things that I'm not thrilled with doing. :fish:
 
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