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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 29g planted tank. its pretty stocked up right now. I am starting to get a little funk of a smell from the water. I have 1 HOB Penguin 200 on it.. it seems to be doing a pretty good job at the moment but every weekend when I do a water change the filter media has a good brown layer of fish waste and other things..I don't touch the bio wheel...it just seems like it cant keep up.. the clarity of my water is so so..it looks its best after and a day after water change...then by mid week its ok and the end of the week I just want to change it...should I invest in a canister or another HOB?? should I throw in more plants? should I get rid of excess fish(that's a last resort)
 

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I'm running two emperor 400 filters, very similar to penguin, on my 55 and I am ditching them for a canister and sponge pre-filter. My main reason is better control of flow/tank circulation. I like marineland equipment I just prefer a canister anymore because of the flexibility. Also if budget is an issue you can fashion a sponge over the filter intake creating a prefilter which will help. How is that tank stocked? That just seems excessive as you described as thats a decent hob for the 29g you have. Maybe you are overfeeding some? Unplugging the filter for 15 minutes while you feed may also help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ya it might be over feeding...well if I told you what I have in the tank everyone would flip lol...but oh well you can all judge me I love my fish...so I have it stocked with 1 EB Acara, 1 Bolivian ram, 1 golden ram, I dwarf gourami, a few tetras, a few guppies, a couple cories, a couple otos, some snail, and shrimp...before you all freak all the fish are on the small side right now..no one fights and keeps to themselves as but some times a little fight happens during feeding...I want a bigger tank but not in the funds or have the space...any who the hob is less then a year old so I'm not wanting to ditch it..
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Would a lot of plant mass help with the excess of fish/food waste?? Where as it would bring down every thing in the filter?? Or is another filter still needed?
 

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I would suggest getting a canister filter and underfeeding for a while. All food should be gone within 1 minutes. 50% water change weekly.

It sounds like your water condition is extremely bad.
 

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Without knowing the specifics of your setup and your objective(s) for the tank, it's hard to give you a fitting response without possibly impacting some other tank's parameter(s) adversely. So, I'll address each point, while ignoring all others. If you can, try each step for at least 1-2 weeks to see if there are favorable results before proceeding to the next.

(1) Water clarity: I would recommend a pouch of Seachem's Purigen. It will give you crystal clear water overnight. Amazing stuff. If it doesn't then you may have deeper tank issues.

(2) Brown sludge: You will need to either reduce livestock and/or feedings. Another filter will not reduce the amount of detritus. It will simply spread the same amount over more filter media, giving the illusion of less sludge. More plants also will not reduce this sludge. Provided they are healthy, they will only help to reduce the nitrogen content once that sludge has been broken down by bacteria. There are products that do help to accelerate that re-mineralization process but they are most likely not practical in your setup.

(3) Canister or HOB filter: This is the most difficult thing to recommend since it depends on whether you run CO2, light level, aesthetic, plant choices, etc. I prefer HOB for smaller tanks because it's simpler for the way I do maintenance. With canisters, I have to disconnect hoses...pry open bulky lid...get the basket...take out the various media to get to the mechanical filtration...etc. UGH! PITA. If you decide on getting another HOB filter then I highly recommend that you get an Aquaclear instead of another Penguin because I abhor cartridges. The Aquaclear's design will allow far more flexibility with filter media/cost.

For reference, on my 20-gallon long, there are three HOB Aquaclear 50, each of which is comparable to your Penguin 200 (200 gallon/hour). It is a medium/high light, heavily planted tank with 40+ dwarf shrimps. Each intake tube is covered with a stainless steel filter guard. Maintenance is so freakishly easy: flip open lid, take out basket, rinse in water. Bloop! Done. Big pieces are caught by the filter guard and a pair of long tongs will grab everything left over, that the shrimps haven't continuously picked at through the week, without you having to wet your hands. Love it.

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In short, what exactly is it that you are trying to solve/achieve?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Without knowing the specifics of your setup and your objective(s) for the tank, it's hard to give you a fitting response without possibly impacting some other tank's parameter(s) adversely. So, I'll address each point, while ignoring all others. If you can, try each step for at least 1-2 weeks to see if there are favorable results before proceeding to the next.

(1) Water clarity: I would recommend a pouch of Seachem's Purigen. It will give you crystal clear water overnight. Amazing stuff. If it doesn't then you may have deeper tank issues.

(2) Brown sludge: You will need to either reduce livestock and/or feedings. Another filter will not reduce the amount of detritus. It will simply spread the same amount over more filter media, giving the illusion of less sludge. More plants also will not reduce this sludge. Provided they are healthy, they will only help to reduce the nitrogen content once that sludge has been broken down by bacteria. There are products that do help to accelerate that re-mineralization process but they are most likely not practical in your setup.

(3) Canister or HOB filter: This is the most difficult thing to recommend since it depends on whether you run CO2, light level, aesthetic, plant choices, etc. I prefer HOB for smaller tanks because it's simpler for the way I do maintenance. With canisters, I have to disconnect hoses...pry open bulky lid...get the basket...take out the various media to get to the mechanical filtration...etc. UGH! PITA. If you decide on getting another HOB filter then I highly recommend that you get an Aquaclear instead of another Penguin because I abhor cartridges. The Aquaclear's design will allow far more flexibility with filter media/cost.

For reference, on my 20-gallon long, there are three HOB Aquaclear 50, each of which is comparable to your Penguin 200 (200 gallon/hour). It is a medium/high light, heavily planted tank with 40+ dwarf shrimps. Each intake tube is covered with a stainless steel filter guard. Maintenance is so freakishly easy: flip open lid, take out basket, rinse in water. Bloop! Done. Big pieces are caught by the filter guard and a pair of long tongs will grab everything left over, that the shrimps haven't continuously picked at through the week, without you having to wet your hands. Love it.

---

In short, what exactly is it that you are trying to solve/achieve?

I already use a pack of Seachem's Purigen...I've already once recharged it but in a matter of two to three weeks it's gone to a light to medium brown...is that normal? Shall I do a recharge again? And ya I was told before by another member to get some Biological cleaner fluid and dose once mid week between water changes to help...don't have co2 and don't plan to since that will create more problems then help me with my level of experience and tank..I have stingray lighting on a 30g tank..most of my plants are supposed to be fast growers but haven't seen much growing..I have an ok plant mass but I do want what plants I have now to really fill out my tank..so I am not sure if I should wait or just buy more to help get the process going a little faster...in the end I am trying to have a carpet of repens with ar mini at the front corners and have Christmas moss growing on a few different things why most of my various stem plants in the back wall of the tank grow out and get a fuller effect in the tank...sould I throw in other type of media in my HOB now to help out with things that you may suggest? Another bag of purigen? Or a foam sponge or some thing??
 

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Larger weekly water change,less food, is fastest least expensive method to see desired result's.
Feed fish once a day, or once every other day.
Change at least 50 % of water once a week, and swish filter material around in old tank water or bucket of dechlorinated water before re-filling the tank with fresh dechlorinated water.
Ain't really about what you need to add or throw into the tank/filter, but rather what you need to remove more of more often.IMHO
 

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You need to clean your mechanical filtration more often. That's all I can suggest. Once a week may not be enough based on your filtration, tank stocking, and feeding.

I honestly never fed more than my fish could eat in about 15 seconds. My fish could devour some food in a minute.

A 29g tank should be easy to filter. You may just want another HOB filter with simple sponge/foam media to do more mechanical filtration. Just get a cheap HOB filter to add to the mechanical filtration. That is the most important filtration in a planted tank (IMO).

Something simple like this with foam in it instead of carbon pads:
Amazon.com : Tetra 26312 Whisper EX 45 Filter, 30-45-Gallon : Aquarium Filters : Pet Supplies
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You need to clean your mechanical filtration more often. That's all I can suggest. Once a week may not be enough based on your filtration, tank stocking, and feeding.

I honestly never fed more than my fish could eat in about 15 seconds. My fish could devour some food in a minute.

A 29g tank should be easy to filter. You may just want another HOB filter with simple sponge/foam media to do more mechanical filtration. Just get a cheap HOB filter to add to the mechanical filtration. That is the most important filtration in a planted tank (IMO).

Something simple like this with foam in it instead of carbon pads:
Amazon.com : Tetra 26312 Whisper EX 45 Filter, 30-45-Gallon : Aquarium Filters : Pet Supplies
I honestly was looking at this...some easy simple cheap and has lots of surface area for different pads and maybe another bag of purigen
 

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Comes down to the simplest of math:

Garbage In has to be equaled by Garbage Out, or else the system quality will suffer.

If you add that much food to the tank, it will show up as sludge- fish waste, partially decomposed fish waste, fallen food...

You need enough filter media and water movement to remove this from the tank, and frequent, thorough tank maintenance to keep the levels down in the filters, so they can keep on doing their job. I do not like cartridge style filters- not enough places to really trap the debris. The waste can get knocked off the thin cartridge so much that the water has to go around many times before it finally gets clean. A larger, deeper filter media such as the sponges in the Aquaclear, or the deep trays in a canister are much more efficient at trapping the debris and holding it.

Get an Aquaclear 70 for a tank that gets as much food as you are giving this tank. This would mean the turnover in the tank would be 10x per hour, which may sound like a lot, but it needs it, to keep the debris from settling all over the floor of the tank.
If you want to keep the existing filter, then at least get an Aquaclear 50 to go along side of it.
 

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Comes down to the simplest of math:

Garbage In has to be equaled by Garbage Out, or else the system quality will suffer.

If you add that much food to the tank, it will show up as sludge- fish waste, partially decomposed fish waste, fallen food...

You need enough filter media and water movement to remove this from the tank, and frequent, thorough tank maintenance to keep the levels down in the filters, so they can keep on doing their job. I do not like cartridge style filters- not enough places to really trap the debris. The waste can get knocked off the thin cartridge so much that the water has to go around many times before it finally gets clean. A larger, deeper filter media such as the sponges in the Aquaclear, or the deep trays in a canister are much more efficient at trapping the debris and holding it.

Get an Aquaclear 70 for a tank that gets as much food as you are giving this tank. This would mean the turnover in the tank would be 10x per hour, which may sound like a lot, but it needs it, to keep the debris from settling all over the floor of the tank.
If you want to keep the existing filter, then at least get an Aquaclear 50 to go along side of it.

+one. What she said .
Filter's just trap the stuff they collect.
Is up to you/me to clean the filter(s) and remove the waste from the tank/filter's.
Increasingly important with larger fish load.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Comes down to the simplest of math:

Garbage In has to be equaled by Garbage Out, or else the system quality will suffer.

If you add that much food to the tank, it will show up as sludge- fish waste, partially decomposed fish waste, fallen food...

You need enough filter media and water movement to remove this from the tank, and frequent, thorough tank maintenance to keep the levels down in the filters, so they can keep on doing their job. I do not like cartridge style filters- not enough places to really trap the debris. The waste can get knocked off the thin cartridge so much that the water has to go around many times before it finally gets clean. A larger, deeper filter media such as the sponges in the Aquaclear, or the deep trays in a canister are much more efficient at trapping the debris and holding it.

Get an Aquaclear 70 for a tank that gets as much food as you are giving this tank. This would mean the turnover in the tank would be 10x per hour, which may sound like a lot, but it needs it, to keep the debris from settling all over the floor of the tank.
If you want to keep the existing filter, then at least get an Aquaclear 50 to go along side of it.
Awesome thanks for the advice!! Honestly I was thinking about keeping the same filter..so now I am at a toss up.. everyone talks about the aquaclear 70 but what about the fluval c4?? I love the way they both look and they both do pretty much the same functions...but any opinions on either of them??
 
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