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Discussion Starter #1
I just got a new Marina S15 power filter for my 20 gallon setup (that will go along with a sponge filter). I really like it so far, and I can't wait to get it started for my build.

The cartragies seem useless, and I don't really want to replace the carbon every month, I'm on a budget!

Does anyone have any suggestions for DIY solutions, or what I should use for media? I'm planning on adding some plants (pothos?) too, so something that will allow for that would be useful.

Here's the amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Marina-A286-...483319941&sr=1-8&keywords=hang+on+back+filter

Thanks!
 

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I've used the same cartridges for months on those filters with just rinsing them, and never had an issue with them. I'd suggest getting the Fluval Edge prefilter sponge to replace the stock one that came with the filter, as they're much denser foam and do a better job of protecting the impeller and the cartridges from getting gummed up too badly.

I do have a Marina S15 on my shrimp tank that I wanted to do a bit more with, so I ended up completely emptying the media compartment and filling it with black lava rock instead. There's also a small roll of plastic canvas on the right side where the pump output goes in an attempt to promote better flow throughout all of the rock. I've planted the rock bed with emersed dwarf mondo grass, ribbon dracaena, and Spathiphyllum.

I know it's not... beautiful.
If I were to do it again and I was willing to spend the money, I'd use biomedia like Eheim Substrat Pro instead of lava rock. If I were to do it again and be cheap about it, I'd use coarse filter foam like the Fluval AquaClear stuff and cut it to shape.

Cameo by a curious kitter.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great suggestions! Ordered some sponges to go in the first compartment, and then I'll look for some media. I have some lava rock (the kind you use in a grill) that I've cleaned and boiled before and had it work out. Do you think your plants do pretty well in the lava rock?
 

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The plants seems to do well all in all. Those ones in the picture have been growing for a few months at this point. I'd say the spath is definitely the strongest of the three. The dracaena doesn't grow very quickly, but hasn't died back much either. The mondo grass seems to be really hit or miss, either growing really well or dying off within a couple weeks. I think the small compartment volume may be at least partly responsible for the slow growth.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Gotcha, good to know. If I go that route I'll stick to the spath. I've had success with the pothos in one of my other filters, would other terrestrial plants do well in this filter? I was thinking terrestrial baby tears, and only keeping the one plant, because of the small compartment size. I know it's a different species than the aquatic kind, but could this possibly work?
 
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