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Why'd you take em out? What do you want to know?
Is there no media at all? Or did you just remove the sponges and there is still some other biomedia?
With no media to house nitrifying bacteria, you pretty much just got a power head.

Without the cycled media (colonized with nitrifying bacteria), you pretty much just stopped the "cycle", so you don't have any (barely) nitrifying bacteria to deal with the ammonia and nitrites, so they can build to dangerous levels and kill inhabitants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Why'd you take em out? What do you want to know?
Is there no media at all? Or did you just remove the sponges and there is still some other biomedia?
With no media to house nitrifying bacteria, you pretty much just got a power head.

Without the cycled media (colonized with nitrifying bacteria), you pretty much just stopped the "cycle", so you don't have any (barely) nitrifying bacteria to deal with the ammonia and nitrites, so they can build to dangerous levels and kill inhabitants.
I took out the ceramic media quite a long time ago. The idea was that the less media, the more bb in the tank. I think this reflects nature more.

The plants take up a lot of Nitrogen, and there are a lot of surfaces with beneficial bacteria in the tank.

I agree that what I have now is a powerhead. I am concerned about dissolved carbon, but I figure that weekly 50% water changes will handle that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok, I have some results: the fish have been fine but there's a lot of junk suspended in the water - might be algae. I'm not going to wait and see if it goes away. I'm going to go back to the way it was, just sponges. I'm not going to wait and see if the water clears up. I will go back to washing the sponges weekly in tap water. That's the way I've done it for several months prior to taking the sponges out.
 

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The sponge in this case works as both mechanical to "strain" the debris but also as a place for the bacteria to live. Taking the sponge out sounds like it has removed the mechanical and you now have the debris floating around in sight. Before this debris was hidden in the sponge.
While I follow your thinking of getting less bacteria in the filter will get more on everything else, there might be a downside to the plan if you decide to clean the walls of the tank and that is where most of your bacteria live.
 

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Just curious as to how well a system like that would perform/maintain. What size tank? What and how many fish in total? Plant load?

What do your ammonia, nitrite and nitrates test at by the end of the week before you do a water change? Can you go multiple weeks or months without a water change/having detectable levels of ammonia and/or nitrite?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My tank is a regular 10 gal. 5 Pristella Tetras and 1 panda Cory. The plant load is moderate.

Nitrate all tested at 0 a couple of days ago. pH was 7.6. That's all I tested. I don't know how the pH got so high.

Yes, I can do multiple weeks at least without a water chage. But I havent dosed ferts until I do a water change, and I think that makes the algae pop out (grow). I have been slacking off lately without a water change for 2-3 weeks, and not dosing ferts either, not to mention not cleaning the filter.

It seems to me that as long as the plants have what they want and grow, the algae recedes. I need to get on the ball and do water changes once a week and fertilize at the same frequency.

People need, I think, to change things here and there to get the aquarium to run the way they want. My test, in the period of time I allot, didn't work.

I would like to see my tank at top form, no visible algae, and just the smallest Koralia circulation pump,no filter. The success or failure will depend on the water turbidity result. I think it will be a couple of months before I can put in the Koralia and take out the filter.
 

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We are competing with nature. Whether it be a large pond, a lake or a stream. Most of the fish we keep do not hang out in 10 gallon sections of a stream their entire lives. Having said that, I think you should look into the Walstad Method. It can be achieved if done properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I didn't full simulation of Nature, just to approximate it wherever we can.

I looked at the tank this afternoon and the suspended particles are gone and the water is clear. I will leave it this way for now, do the maintenance, and I expect that it will slowly look better and better. I was glad to see the clear water.
 
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