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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My new canister has been up and running for a few days with no issues. I was thinking about cracking it open and tossing in the purigen and ceramic bio from my HOB so I can remove that filter from the tank. The canister came with 4 pads for the bottom tray, some bio balls and ceramic media which I tossed in the other two trays. I also added two new bags of purigen. Even if I throw in my HOB ceramic and bag of purigen I will have tons of space. A LFS has the box of Marineland small bio balls for like $11. I haven't stopped by to see how many are in the box, but I figure they will help fill up some space with the other bio balls. Should I grab these and toss in, or just buy some more ceramic? Or should I add some filter floss or something?? I just want to fill the trays up a little more. Also, is it ok to leave in exhausted purigen?? Or does it need to be removed? I'm on the fence with adding it to the canister, or just tossing it. It's brown, but not super dark brown like I have read it gets when exhausted.
 

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I am interested to see what replies you get. I am under the impression that bio-balls and bio-wheels were to be open to atmosphere in order to promote both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am interested to see what replies you get. I am under the impression that bio-balls and bio-wheels were to be open to atmosphere in order to promote both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.
That is where I have always seen them too. It's been over 20 years since I've had a canister, so I don't recall what I used before.
 

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I used to have one of those Marineland HOB Magnum with the bio-wheel. Now I have a sump set up. I should have kept the bio-wheel portion of that old filter I bet it had a lot of good bacteria in it :)
 

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From your other thread it seems this canister filter is a Sun Sun with the extra media (activated carbon, bioballs, rings).

I don't believe the rings are for biological filtration. They are not rough and porous like ceramic biorings. They are smooth faced and look plastic like, and so I believe they are for mechanical filtration purposes, they stop large debris particles, similar to Eheim Ehfimech, which in my opinion are not worth the space they take up and I would rather use sponge material or polyfil/filter floss batting, plus they tend to cause more channeling within the filter (directing water unevenly through media).

Bioballs are for biological filtration (do mechanical filter a little, but everything does). Bioballs are ranked on the lower end for the amount of surface area they have. Media with more surface area per volume, means they can house more amount of beneficial bacteria with less amount of media. Ceramic biorings (rough and porous, not smooth-faced) have more surface area than bioballs. Seachem Matrix and Eheim SubstratPro are some of the best biomedia with the most surface.

Purigen can be recharged when it is exhausted. Look up how to do that. I don't believe it releases anything like activated carbon/charcoal does when exhausted. Sounds like you are using quite a lot. It's up to you as it really isn't hurting anything, but you don't really need to use it.


The Sun Sun canisters has the water flow from the bottom to the top (water flow up through bottom tray first). There are many different ways to layer your canister, but this is a general layout to help

4th tray (TOP) - not sure how many trays your canister has, if you only have 3, this would be for your top tray- you can put more biomedia, or add optional chemical filtration media (like Purigen or activated charcoal), or add some fine mechanical filtration media as a final layer to collect particles before they reach the impeller and tank
3rd tray - Biological filtration media = Seachem Matrix, ceramic biorings, bioballs, etc.
2nd tray - I use a lot of biomedia so I put biomedia in this tray, but if you don't, you can use fine mechanical filtration here as well
1st tray (BOTTOM) - Mechanical filtration meda (large/big pores very bottom, ascending to medium and then fine pore) = sponges, filter floss/polyfil, etc (those smooth face rings if you want)


To @ccar2000, the beneficial bacteria in our filters are aerobic bacteria, meaning they need oxygen. Aerobic bacteria don't need to touch open air/atmosphere for oxygen, the water itself has dissolved oxygen in it. The only anaerobic bacteria in aquariums are found where there is almost no oxygen at all, which is usually (some dense/clogged biomedia can house some anaerobic bacteria) only in deep/compact substrate where the dissolved oxygenated water does not reach. Most aquariums do not contain enough anaerobic bacteria, which are denitrifying bacteria that can turn nitrate into nitrogen gas, so that is partially why we do water changes to keep nitrate levels from building up.

Yep, that biowheel or HOT Magnum you had, if it was seeded with beneficial bacteria from being ran on a established tank, it would have good bacteria on it.
 

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I'd highly recommend replacing your current bioballs. For canisters my favorite bio media is matrix inside of a net filter bag, not the ultra fine mesh but something that flows very well but holds in the media. Bioballs are a waste of space for a canister.

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I'm cool with dumping all of the product that came with the canister and replacing with seachem matrix. The trays in my canister seem quite large. Would a 1 L order work or should I get 2 L? I wouldn't think I would need a gallon of it.

So I just read that matrix is just pumice stone. Is this true?
 

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A lot of people, including the late, great, Amano, use(d) a lot of bio filtration.

On the other hand, a lot of people don't bother at all, the argument being that mechanical filtration, until you completely clean it out, *is* bio filtration, and sponges have a HUGE amount of surface area.

I mentioned, more than once, that I was going to use Matchbox cars in a canister one day, just to prove a point about bio filtration. I'm no longer sure what that point may have been, but I'm sure it was important.

I'm not convinced about bio filtration. But I know I can see what mechanical filtration does, so that's my vote.

I'm sure your tank will turn out fine, no matter what you choose.
 

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I'm no expert at all.

But with that said, I'd say while some argue that mech is superior to bio filtration, simply because they can see the mech working, bio works on a much more microscopic scale. I would and do run roughly 50/50 for both on my Eheim 2217 and I know there's far more options for bio filtration over mech. Plastic has almost no surface area when compared to the surface area as ceramic bio media.
 

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I am interested to see what replies you get. I am under the impression that bio-balls and bio-wheels were to be open to atmosphere in order to promote both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.
I believe you're correct. Certain biomedia is reported to work better in different conditions. Bioballs for example are well regarded when used in a wet/dry filter as they seem to work better for aerobic conditions. As opposed to ceramic media which seems to work better completely submerged.

I'd highly recommend replacing your current bioballs. For canisters my favorite bio media is matrix inside of a net filter bag, not the ultra fine mesh but something that flows very well but holds in the media. Bioballs are a waste of space for a canister.

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I have to agree that bioballs do take up too much space in a canister. But, I'd skip any of the branded stuff. Matrix is crushed pumice stone at 100x the cost. Lava rock would work well, so would pot scrubbies, or the matchbox car theory would work too. I've seen people cut up 1/2" pvc for biomedia and its worked.

I'm cool with dumping all of the product that came with the canister and replacing with seachem matrix. The trays in my canister seem quite large. Would a 1 L order work or should I get 2 L? I wouldn't think I would need a gallon of it.

So I just read that matrix is just pumice stone. Is this true?
See above. Skip the name brand stuff unless you're flush with cash.

I'm not convinced about bio filtration. But I know I can see what mechanical filtration does, so that's my vote.

I'm sure your tank will turn out fine, no matter what you choose.
But with that said, I'd say while some argue that mech is superior to bio filtration, simply because they can see the mech working, bio works on a much more microscopic scale. I would and do run roughly 50/50 for both on my Eheim 2217 and I know there's far more options for bio filtration over mech. Plastic has almost no surface area when compared to the surface area as ceramic bio media.
I dont think comparing mechanical to biological filtration is fair. They are two completely separate ideas. One is necessary (biological) as it does the "sciency" part and allows ammonia to be converted to nitrite and ultimately nitrate. The other is just a nicety (mechanical) as it makes the water look good. Does mechanical media provide a place for biological filtration to take place? Yes.....but then it is technically biological filtration that just happens to take place exactly where mechanical filtration takes place as well.

We've all seen fish die in what looks like a pristine clean tank right? Chances are that tank's biological filtration was not (perhaps yet) up to snuff. New Tank Syndrome, ammonia poisoning, etc. These things can all happen in a tank with clean, clear water that has been mechanically filtered.

Conversely, fish also tend to keep on living in tanks that look filthy and disgusting. The particulate in the water column is not being mechanically removed making it look dirty. But the fish continue to live due to the biological filtration that is happening on every surface (whether purposefully used/placed there for bio filtration or not).

My point is whether or not you can physically see it working does not make it more or less important.
 

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I'm cool with dumping all of the product that came with the canister and replacing with seachem matrix. The trays in my canister seem quite large. Would a 1 L order work or should I get 2 L? I wouldn't think I would need a gallon of it.

So I just read that matrix is just pumice stone. Is this true?
Think it is very similar if you wish to save a bit you could use pumice the only concern there is it isn't as porous and it's prone to being full of dust. Another option is 10 ppi filter foam pretty hard to clog it up but I would run poly fill ahead of it and swap out the poly fill once a month.

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In a planted tank the plants are a large part of the bio filter. Most of my filters are about 2/3 mech (sponges down to floss) and about 1/3 bio (ceramic bio noodles or other).

As far as the Purigen, why not keep 1/3 of your Purigen (such as the material coming out of the HOB that you are taking down) out of the filter, and regenerate that. Then, the next time you are in the filter, swap out the regenerated material for one of the older bags, and regenerate that one. Keep on rotating them.

No matter how you decide to swap the media around always remember that you want to retain as much of the bacteria as possible. The plants are a big part of the bio filter, but not all. Do not simply throw away the old media (mech or bio)- there is a big population of bacteria on it.
You could:
~Put the media into mesh bags and hang it in the tank. Remove 1 bag each week for 4 weeks. This will allow the bacteria population a chance to get established in the new media, and spread out the loss of the bacteria.
~Add a bottled bacteria product that contains Nitrospira species of bacteria.
~Pre-cycle the new media in a bucket or spare tank- toss the new media in loose and do the fishless cycle to grow a really big population before swapping media.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all of the feedback. I'm now needing to order a new prefilter today. I was using the Filter-Max III, but when I opened my canister last night it was full of baby shrimp. I'm going to order the Max II today. The Max III had too coarse of a filter I guess. I installed a fluval pre filter last night, but I think it will be sucking right up the inlet tube in a day or so.
 
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