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Hi, All.

I have begun setting up an aquarium for my good lady who would like to keep Neon Tetra and in the interest of keeping both my plants and her new fishy friends alive I would like to run an idea by some experts to see if it is a good idea, or if not, why not.

Having already invested in heaters, lights and a Fluval U3 for the main tank, and having taking on board a number of video tutorials (concerning the use of sumps, sump filters, an overflow outlet and zero effort water changes), I have proposed to my partner the following:

Running an overflow outlet from our 23 gallon tank, through both mechanical (sponge) and biological (carbon) media filters into a 3 gallon tank, where the water will wait on a cycle of 1 gallon per hour, pumped back into the main tank using a small 2-3W water pump, through two additional layers of mechanical and biological filter media before re-entering the main tank via an adjustable pressure valve.

I guess what I'm trying to ascertain, is what nutrients, if any, are likely to be lost in the aforementioned process, recycling the same water rather than using chlorinated water from the local utility company, and if lost, what can be added during the change process above to replenish any lost minerals and such?

Thank you in advance.
 

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neon planted tank

Wow I am impressed with your proposed set up but it sounds a little complex for a 23 gallon tank. For a low tech set up, water changes can be infrequent - once every 3- 4 weeks. Minimal ferts would be required as well. I would forget the carbon filter especially if you are going to plant heavily. Good luck
 

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That's a simplification of the process used in waste water treatment by municipal water companies. Waste water passes through mechanical filtration first to remove rubbish, then biologically filtered by bacteria in huge ponds (methane gas produced is often used as a power source for the treatment plant), then passed through carbon or membranes to remove organic matter etc, then disinfected with chlorine and returned for limited use. Industry uses recycled water for various reasons, but never reused as drinking water. In reality the water is probably fine to drink... but who would volunteer? Teehee.

The system should work fine as you described it but it is overcomplicated. Carbon will need to be replaced every 4-6 weeks. Just get a canister filter and perform water changes, much easier!!!!
 

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I have to echo that it seems sort of complex for a smallish tank. First, how many Neons do you plan on keeping in it?

Secondly, I'd plan the design of the overflow for the inevitable power outages that might make an overflow cause a big spill if the sump isn't sized correctly. Really carbon is not needed as if you are doing a planted aquarium, the plants do a pretty good job of absorbing wastes, up to a point. You also could have the carbon remove nutrients from the water that the plants could benefit from.
 
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