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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking about getting a Mattenfilter from Swiss Tropicals and would need a fairly powerful air pump for my 90-gallon tank in my rec room. It needs to be quiet, quieter than the pair of Tidal 110 HOBs I'm currently using (which are otherwise very good filters and will be retained for backup duties). But I think the Mattenfilter with a possible wall of java ferns embedded in it might be more my speed.

The Jehmco DAPMH8 diaphragm pump looks good, but it might be too powerful for the application, since it appears to be aimed at fish rooms with a half dozen tanks. However, I wouldn't mind putting the pump in a next-door office and running 20(?) feet of air line from one room to another. Might that work? I'm not averse to the idea of using a valve to bleed excess air, if necessary.

I'll be contacting Stephan at Swiss Tropicals with this question too. He happens to sell Danner pumps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Answering my own question since Stephan was so quick to respond. He suggested that the Danner AP-8 would be more than adequate for my needs. Unless someone pipes up and convinces me to go for a more expensive Jehmco model, I'll take Stephan's advice.

I'm pretty excited about trying out a big Mattenfilter. Hopefully my wife won't be too dismayed by how ugly it's going to look at first. :biggrin:

I ended up going with Stephan's suggestion. Looking forward to a major change in how my tank processes its bioload.
 

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Keep us updated on how this goes. Sounds like you got good advice from Stephan.
 

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If you are concerned about the noise from an air pump, the easiest thing to do is not use an air pump. You can use any type of water pump/powerhead to run a mattenfilter or any other variety of sponge filter. Just make sure you either size it accordingly for your needs and/or get an adjustable flow model.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
If you are concerned about the noise from an air pump, the easiest thing to do is not use an air pump. You can use any type of water pump/powerhead to run a mattenfilter or any other variety of sponge filter. Just make sure you either size it accordingly for your needs and/or get an adjustable flow model.
Duly noted, thanks. I'm giving the air pump a shot since I've already spent the money anyway. The main challenge I'll be facing is setting this up with the tank already having a soil/sand substrate. The outer three inches or so don't have soil underneath the pool sand, so I reckon I'll be able to shove most of the sand away from the side wall with some sort of straight edge while simultaneously wedging down the foam. There may be loud cursing in my future.

I'm looking forward to seeing if I can create a plant wall with java ferns and other suitable plants. I'll post photos whenever things start to look interesting. My tank is low tech and has a medium-sized population of fish. I have about 30 plant species (thanks, Fab!). Years ago I had a pretty successful 55-gallon tank with CO2 and a metal halide light. But I don't want to worry about gassing the fish and I've gotten lazy. The HMF follows that trajectory.
:grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I got my stuff from Swiss Tropicals and the quality is high indeed. I had to set aside the Danner air pump after enduring that vibratory noise for a while. The pump is not particularly loud, but like all air pumps I've ever heard, they have that piercing quality that I can't endure hearing for more than a few minutes. So the Maxi-Jet 900 is doing a good job in its stead. Though I'm not using them, the ingenious design of the return air lifts works great. Maybe I can use the air pump and lifts in the future if I ever get the desire to breed fish.

Making a fern/moss wall with the Poret foam is not easy. That stuff is tough! I cut a couple of slits and inserted some java fern and Christmas tree moss.

Question: what emersed plant might do well on top of the foam? I'd love to hide that raw, industrial look of the bare foam.
 

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Open to suggestions, maybe?
As an alternate, have you thought of going a bit more elaborate but easier in my view? I often use Java fern on wood as a way to build a quick cover for things like tubes for filter, heaters, etc. and find super gluing a bunch to wood is quick and easy if I have the plants on hand. since a matten filter if just a nice place for lots of bacteria, I might think adding a "semi-woven" screen of small branches like off cedar might let you come close to covering the filter and make a bit more bacteria living space at the same time?
One problem I might see with adding the plants directly to the foam is that the roots do burrow through foam and keep growing which does tend to cut flow. Once the roots are in the foam, they are there forever!
The big point folks often jump on is that cedar is poison! But that is almost always from folks who have soft water and/or have never actually tried it! They just don't think very far!
The part of cedar that is a hazard is the sap/moisture content, so if we get wood that is old and all the sap is gone, combined with hard alkaline water, having lots of buffering quality, we don't get the problems. Often the books are written on the East and West coasts where the water is soft, so that it doesn't fit what the middle of the country finds.
Lots of free twigs and small branches that weave together nice if you go for a walk in most any part of our "cedar alley" ? Just get the really dry stuff and go for it as cedar works well for me!

Want to play " find the heater/ find the filter" ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the suggestions. I've embedded some java fern and mosses in the HMF already, but I was thinking about covering the dryer top of the HMF with some kind of emersed plant. I have some floating plants in a pond that might work. I use RO water, so my pH is about 6.8 and 3 dGH and 3 dKH. Otherwise I would gladly use a great piece of ashe juniper I have. It's in the cypress family (Cupressaceae) like many so-called cedars are and has potent terpenes. But I didn't know you could use it in harder water, and here in Austin the water goes through limestone aquifers, so it's very hard. Maybe I can use it in a Central American cichlid tank in the future. Thanks for the education!
 

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I'm glad the maxi-jet is working for you. The Java moss is definitely some determined stuff once it gets a good grip on something. I have a "moss wall" that's covered a considerable portion of my back glass in my 75 gallon. It's growing directly on the glass and it's pretty impressive how much it's anchored itself to the glass. I had some in the 5g shrimp tank that had started to anchor itself on the back, but the outbreak of scuds has nearly decimated all the plants in there including all the moss. I'm going to have to set up another tank and very carefully start catching shrimp and moving them over so I can do something about all those scuds.
 
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