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Over filtration on planted tanks?

6407 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Diana
I just wondered what the general consensus was regarding filtration on a planted tank?

I've a Juwel Vision 260lts tank and intend moving over to a planted set up.
I've uprated from T8 to T5 lights.
I've had some plants before though not densely planted and they didn't fare that well. No fert dosing though so that probably explains that.

At present I am still using the standard internal filter and previously the tank was stable as a rock with a heavy fish load and sand substrate with fert tabs at the roots of plants.

I am going to go with Akadama with a wee bit peat.
Then regular fert and liquid carbon dosing. (2 x dosing pumps on order)
Pressurised CO2 later if required.
I intend quite a heavy fish load again so fert's will likely be phosphate and nitrate free.

Just wondered if I should go for an additional external unit as I seem to remember reading that most planted set ups are over filtered.


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I love to over filtrate on anything, giving me a feeling that it's safer and whatnot. I, like others aim for a turnover rate of 10-12x of your tank volume per hour. I'm not sure how many gph that return pump is but I'd add an external unit, preferably a canister.

Sent from my fingers
I read there's no such thing as over filtration - there is, however, such thing as too much flow. Just watch out for that. I am not familiar with your filter or tank but I think you should get as much filtration as possible just so long as it doesn't have so much flow.
It all depends on the balance you reach between plant selection, plant density and lighting. We all want to strive for good growth while keeping algae at bay.

Regarding the lighting, incorporate bulbs which have full spectrum color temps in the 6500 Kelvin range which will benefit plants. Another common practice is to run filtrAtion sans carbon as it wouldmdeplete what otherwise would be absorbed by the plants. In starting with a planted tank, going dense over sparse is preferred. Start with low to medium light plants as they will provide the largest amount of buffer for the novice to adjust. They also should not require an immediate fert dosing regiment either.

Once you hacve success here, consider adding some more demanding plants and go from there.

If you start with a difficult setup, you'll likely end up with something your not quite happy with, battling algae while having something less than pleasant to look at.

The journals have loads of members with awesome looking planted tanks. Many with just low-tech setups tha thou wont believe. Various anubias, java ferns and stemmed plants would be an excellent starting point while finding some driftwood and rocks will likely take some time to source as well.

Best of luck on your endeavor. It's a great hobby to be a part of and a helpful community here.
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Ok, looks like I am in the woefully inadequate bracket then.

600lts/hr on a 260lts tank.

Eheim canister in my future then.

Any advice?

May rig up some inline stuff as I have 2 dosing pumps on their way etc.

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Yeah, you need to increase the filtration. I use 10x as a general rule. If you went with that, then you should be aiming for 2600lts/hr, making your current filtration less than 1/4th of what you need. Is there an Eheim with 2000lts/hr flow rate? I never think of Eheims as high flow canisters.
Eheim 2080 has 1700l/h nominally, and it should be more than enough. I have it in 450l aquarium, with CO2 reactor behind it, which cut the flow for 1/3.
I think that 10X is not about flow but the volume of filter, and Eheim with its 20l is there the winner. When I start my aquarium 2080 with its 1700l/h has uprooted plants from gravel. Now I use small 600l pump for more evenly circulation without dead corners.
So far i am really happy i went big as i could on the filter (Fluval 406 on a 36 gallon tank, with in tank foam prefilter) even if i end up running the flow lever lower once i get fish in there, it us nice right now to work in the tank stirring up stuff and then see the water clear so fast you can almost watch the process.
Filtration is itself isn't all that important for the sake of the plants alone. Water movement or flow that is associated with the filtration is important. I would think it's obvious that adding fish or invests modifies that statement.

Another factor to consider is the size of the tank. I have a 40gl tank 36x15x16" it is medium to heavily planted but low bio-load 2 -2" SAEs, 10 Amano shrimp & some snails. My Fuval G3 is rated at 185gph. so maybe I'm turning my water 4Xs an hour. My water is crystal clear and pristine.

That changes as tank size increases due to volume of water. The Circulation pattern is also a factor to get optimum flow. In a large tank I would agree Vicky's suggestion of 10Xs the turn rate is the starting point.

Again I hope it's obvious that Fish Bio-Load is an important consideration. If one had just 2 - 4" oranda gold fish in a 40gl tank, 10Xs GPH turn rate and weekly 33% water changes would be min.
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Look at it not as filtration but as water flow.
SOME of that water passes through the filter and gets treated according to whatever media is in there. Debris removal, chemical treatment, biological filtration...
But some of the water movement is just because the tank may need more water movement in certain areas.

I generally aim for 10x from a combination of actual filter and from power heads. I am using the manufacturer's values, so I know it is already less than 10x. Then the filter starts filling up.

Set up whatever pumps you have (filter, power head or air bubbler) so the currents they generate do not cancel each other out.
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