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So I don't the $ to invest in canister filtration right now. I do have a HOB filter that I was hoping to somehow "convert" into something safe for a heavily planted aquarium. I know that carbon in a planted tank is a no-no because it filters out some of the nutrients that plants need, and I know that I need something that bacteria can colonize in... So here's my question.. What types of filter media should I put in this HOB filter that will filter my water and keep my plants/fish healthy? It's a 46 gallon that came with typical starter kit, HOB filter..if that means anything.

Use small words, I'm new here.:help:
 

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I set up all my filters like the Aquaclear product line.
Even if they came with a cartridge.

Bottom: Sponge. You can buy an aquaclear sponge that fits or is just a bit too big and trim it.
Middle: I use a blue and white bonded sort of media. Looser than floss, but pretty good at catching most of the fines.
Top: Bio media. For a small filter Aquaclear makes little ceramic pellets, and I have a lot of the slightly larger pellets from Fluval, and some Eheim pellets.

Optional: In some filters I will use peat moss (garden stuff, in a nylon stocking) or coral sand (again, in a nylon stocking).

Some people will keep activated carbon in the filter for the first few weeks, but I don't bother.

Easiest thing to do:
Set aside the 'kit' filter in case of emergency, and buy an Aquaclear. Get one that handles a larger tank. I would use the Aquaclear 70 on a 46 gallon tank, and have used the 110 on a 45 when I wanted a river sort of effect.
 

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Diana is right, you can just toss out the whole cartridge idea in favor of your own layout. It will be much less expensive in the long run to invest in quality media now as it rarely needs to be replaced, just flushed out in some of the tank water when you do water changes (chlorine in tap water kills the bacteria). For truly heavily planted tanks bio media may not be necessary at all depending on stocking levels and the types of plants you keep as plants are the best biological filtration available which is reflective of what exv152 prefers for his. It would be helpful to know what brand of HOB you have as you may have to orient such a layout vertically as opposed to the horizontal orientation of the AquaClear power filters. However, I was surprised not long ago when I found out that one of the more senior members here uses exclusively Tetra power filters and cartridges with great success in their fish house so it isn't 100% necessary to upgrade the configuration.
 

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I fill the HOBs I have with whatever media I have lying around. That may be various ceramic bio-media, plastic scrubbies, sponges, filter floss, etc.
 

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All i have in mine is

- 100% polyester pillow filling as my mechanical (Pillow stuffing, you can find it on amazon for $6)

-and some fluval biomax ceramic rings for my bio media ($7 on amazon)

Thats all you really need.

Toss away the cartridge, i feel there are more cons than pros for them
 

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I have a penguin 200 on the 40 gal (does have a UGV with an AC powerhead too), and an Aquaclear 30 on the 10 gal. I buy those packages of the marineland filter pads, and just cut them to size and stuff my filters full of them. The 10 gal has some Purigen in dire need of being regenerated, but otherwise thats all I use. Takes care of bio and mechanical filtration for me, and one pack is about $4.00 at Petco. Works fine for me, and cheap.
 

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HOB Filter Media

Hello Nick...

No problem. Check into a couple of companies that carry cut to fit media. Acurel and HBH both have good products. I use this media in my Hagen filters.

Keep up with large, weekly water changes and your tank won't need a lot of filtration.

B
 

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My aqua clear 70:
AC Stock foam
Fluval water polishing pad
Purigen
Bio Ceramix

Id like to think my water is very clear, theres really no floating particles at all really.
 
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