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Best filter medias for planted tank

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Brian20, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Brian20

    Brian20 Guest

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    Hi, there are a lot of filter medias. I have a new DIY that have plenty of space to put media but not sure what to put.

    What are the bests media (mechanically, biogically and quemically)
    What are the best style: filtration, overfiltration?

    Please in a cientifically point of view and experience point of view.

    Also what is the best way to cut the organic compounds. Other than water changes.
     
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I like to use nothing but mechanical filtration. No carbon, no clarifiers, no absorbents, microseives, ion exchange resins, etc. I only put these things in during emergencies.

    My advise would be to start with coarser layers and move finer.

    -Philosophos
     
  3. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I like to use nothing but mechanical filtration. No carbon, no clarifiers, no absorbents, microseives, ion exchange resins, etc. I only put these things in during emergencies.

    My advise would be to start with coarser layers and move finer.

    -Philosophos
     
  4. Brian20

    Brian20 Guest

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    Well I personally use the coarse sponge and then the finer pad, also bio balls and ceramic rings. I wonder about quemical, If there are good quemical media to use (natural or artificial).
     
  5. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Prolific Poster

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    I second that recommendation against chemical media. If you are performing water changes and otherwise maintaining a stable environment you should not need them.

    Mechanical media are a good idea for cleaning up the water, pulling out extra organic matter and enhancing biological filtration.
     
  6. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    The Eheim bio media often gets high marks, but it's pricey. Some people use those plastic shower poofs instead. Since bacteria are fairly uncaring about what they hang out on any mechanical media you use is going to also do some bio for you.

    I use a puff of polyfloss in my cube and toss it every couple of days but otherwise don't worry about it. My discus tanks have a sponge prefilter I rinse every day or two but otherwise I don't usually mess with the filter at all. If you've got enough room for it, you can pretty much use anything. It only becomes a problem when you have a large bioload and not a lot of volume available for filter media.

    -
    S



     
  7. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Biomedia is one of my lesser concerns with a mechanical filter; I'd rather have it build up in the substrate and have NH4/NO2 managed by plants. Keeping it in the filter actually risks more given that all it takes is one bad rinse through with chlorinated water. That's just me though.

    -Philosophos
     
  8. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    True. However, when dealing with discus many of the recommendations for beginners is to use a bare bottom tank and not to do much with plants until the fishies are grown out to the adult stage. For growing out a combination of massive water changes and filters are used. And yes, I've managed to kill off my bacteria with this more often than I'd like so I now have a couple of plants in pots in the tank and a thin layer of sand that's been getting blown out of the pots.

     
  9. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    You know, I think some people are fairly obsessed with maintaining the image of discus keeping as nearly unattainable. Bare bottom tanks and a lack of plants have never been the preferable environment for easily stressed fish, and for a multiple of reasons. I don't think a fish from the amazon requires the basic elements of its habitat to be removed in order to survive. If anything it'd be a matter of water changing frequently; cleanliness in plant keeping should already be there for the sake of the plants.

    -Philosophos
     
  10. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    I see nothing wrong with the old standby of:

    1. Coarse mechanical filtration.
    2. Finer mechanical filtration.
    3. Even finer mech filtration.
    4. Either bio-balls or just a simple sponge stuffed in there will attract a nice colony of bacteria.

    Having layers or stages if always good. A simple sponge on an intake will catch a lot of stuff and can be easily rinsed to clean and will help filter media life.

    You can use a mesh bag and simply fill it with whatever you want and place it so the water runs over/though it as well. This will facilitate times when chemical filtration is required such as activated carbon or Purigen.

    I think water changes ARE the best and most simple way to reduce organic compounds short of not having fish in the first place, so I haven't looked for a better way :)
     
  11. essabee

    essabee Prolific Poster

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    I find that you should plan the water movement in your tank to move the muck created by uneaten food and egesta towards the intake of filters. This will keep the tank clean.

    Normally the muck trapped inside the filter media will be acted upon the bacteria flora living there. This would recycle some of the nutrients but not all and you will need to clean up the media from time to time.

    Progressive finer medias in your filter would polish the water and increase its clarity to the level that you will hardy be able to believe that the tank is filled with water. I don't think such clarity is necessary for the fishes or plants its only because we seek such clarity to view.

    What I find is more important is to remove the muck from the filter media more frequently as this would reduce the organic solutes in your tank.
     
  12. Brian20

    Brian20 Guest

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    Friends really this post is for knowledge about filter (media, bacterias, quemicals) my tank now have very clear water because I have a canister (DIY) filter and maintenance, also a Koralia nano:D .

    I want to expand my knowledge, yeah I read books and articles but not people experiences.

    My filter:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My tank:

    [​IMG]


    Another question: Heterotrophic bacteria. The responsable of change the organic comounds in inorganic compounds. It live in the filter media or only is nitrifing bacteria?

    Brian
     
  13. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Depends on your goals. If you just want discus and know what you're doing, then go for it, they aren't all that different than other fish. If you want to ensure your discus are BIG and not stunted, then most suggest you feed a lot and want really good water quality until they hit the adult stage.

    Most people just getting into discus also end up with LFS ones and barely adequate filtration and husbandry. Same problem with with angel fish, I got some BIG ones and some spindly just tossing them in the tank. Sometimes they make it and sometimes the inbreeding kills them off quickly. Eventually you learn your lesson and learn about quality and where to find it.

    For most people getting the BIG discus kind of water quality means either a LOT of work keeping up siphoning out crud before it decays or lots of water changes. Often that's easier with a bare bottom tank. For much of the year discus live in streams with sticks and rocks and few if any plants. For the rest of the year they live in trees. There's a lot of leeway and wilds don't seem to have the stunting issues that the inbred domestics have. OTOH, they've got one heck of a filtration system.

    But no, discus aren't exceptionally difficult fish as long as you can maintain the water quality. They're probably like cats, you spend way too much effort on them initially until you get used to the idea that it's no big deal. Or like how the first born sniffles and it's off to the ER and by the time the third kid shows up they're running through the house with running chainsaws and no one bothers to pay any attention...


    -
    S


     
  14. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    In which case you're doing a tank for the sake of having nice discus, not necessarily a nice tank.

    Having poked around some discus forums here and there, I've found people lay down 50% twice weekly as a minimum. Even then, many of the forum members seem to cringe at the thought. This is the sort of forced elitism I'm talking about; I've seen enough discus get by on 50% weekly WC's.

    I'm all for people with high standards, I'm just not the type to impose them on others.

    -Philosophos
     
  15. Brian20

    Brian20 Guest

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    Wow, friend I like Discus too but I dont want them here ( I want to make a 55G planted with Discus in the future not now) What about my question anyone? Tom Barr?

    I only want to understand how filter works more advance and how to make a balanced aquarium for tetras and similar tropical fish and a dutch scape. I want to have super clean water. Im reaching that goal in this days but still a plus in the filtration not is bad.
     
  16. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    My apologies. No elitism was intended or implied.

    The original post mentioned filtration media but I don't think mentioned the intended tank and someone mentioned mechanical only and letting the plants and substrate deal with bio. I only brought up the bare bottom tank and discus as a illustration that not every person who has a tank will have substrate and plants ( or enough plants ) to deal with bio and furthered that you will need to either consider biomedia and/or be prepared to do something about it if for some reason your bio filter gets damaged/killed or is somehow otherwise inadequate such as a recently started tank. I probably did not really shape that well enough to get the reasoning behind all that across and got lost in the details. I should have not gotten caught up in the tangent though.

    My goals, and practices, for my planted tanks are vastly different than my growing out tanks. I was pointing out how I deal with that side of it and don't recall saying that you HAD to do things a certain way and if I gave that impression I apologize. AFAIK - I don't own an ivory tower to pontificate from but I've been wrong before. :eek:

    For an attempt to get back on topic....

    Since you have bio largely covered by the plants, you can probably stick with just the mechanical media. I would probably just get some fiber floss and/or felt padding to get a decent polish on the water and go with progressively finer layers. You can get the pads for some of the other cannister filters or the cut to fit pads from the LFS if you're bored, but since you're handy enough to build the filter you can likely find MUCH cheaper alternatives at Home Depot or similar.

    If you are going dutch you probably won't need much for bio anyway since the # of fish should be low but a layer of media which is not changed would be good. This could be gravel/sand or some other "dedicated" biomedia product which may be expensive but you may not need a lot of it. SOME of the biomedia products out there have "studies" showing how effective they are. I'm not sure I'd put much faith in those. As long as your biomedia won't clog, isn't somehow toxic, and you have the volume for it pretty much anything will work for it.

    Some organics you can get pads for. ChemiPur or similar come to mind. They basically just absorb/adsorb the targeted chemical. i.e. ammonia or phosphate and some others. You could just stick these in above the biomedia so that you can get at them to change them out without disturbing the bio layer but below the mechanical layer so you don't waste them by clogging them up with food and other gunk.

    There aren't too many ways to deal with organics other than letting plants/algae "eat" some which may prove sufficient, foam fractionation which is generally unworkable in freshwater, water changes which are generally cheap although possibly time consuming, dedicated chemical media which can be pricey but may be rechargeable, and maybe ozone which can be very effective but can also be dangerous to you and your fish if you don't take precautions and know what you're doing.

    One possible way to deal with organics is if you clean/replace your mechanical media fairly. You can remove much of the stuff before it decays into the organics you want to deal with. i.e. some algae outbreaks can be fueled from the decaying leaves of plants. So if you clean out the dead leaves from the filter before they break down you can cut off that source of nutrients from them. A sponge prefilter over the intake of your filter that you clean when you feed the fish would be one way you can do this so that you won't have to break open your cannister filter too often. You might be surprised at the gunk it will collect in a day or two.

    -
    S


     
  17. Brian20

    Brian20 Guest

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    Thanks a lot shoggoth43. Well now Im making a idea of what I can do, instead of nothing.

    Still want to know if in the Biological media the dissolved organics transforms in inorganics nutrients.
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I'd focus more on long term stable flow and good mechanical filtration, there's plenty of bacteria/Biofiltration if those prior items are met.

    I've made filters from ABS and from Acrylic going way back.

    I'd always liked the idea of using something like a coffee filter, that was very fine and easy to toss out daily or every couple of days to remove the dirt.

    As it clogs up, and you do NOT clean/change it, it simply overflows into the spillway until you do and by passes the mechanical part.

    This is a gravity feed, and like the HOB filters.
    Canister filters, much like Ocean Clear models, but with larger pleated cartridges are the best IME/IMO.

    A wet dry filter with a sealed wet/dry section(duct tape etc), and a simple HOB prefilter works well also.

    Those are easy to DIY, canisters? Less so.

    I made a a decent prefilter and it had a V notched weir for the filter, and it took a long time to clog before a rinse is required. But with trying to save CO2, such over flow wet/drys often lose CO2, Canisters keep them really well.

    So one tank has a wet/dry, followed by a post canister. This works, but the canister does clog good about every 1.5-2 weeks and flow is reduced by 1/2.
    Works well if...........I stay on top of things and keep cleaning it good.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  19. Brian20

    Brian20 Guest

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    well my DIY canister filter last months before clogs, mainly because I only have tetras and small fishes.

    What you think that are the best pump for a 29G that have a good flow (400-500 gph) and have good torque?
     
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