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Biofiltration

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by vlvtrope, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. vlvtrope

    vlvtrope Junior Poster

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    This may be a dumb question but I want to get everything right before I start my high-tech plant aquarium (standard 55 gal). I will be using an Emperor 400 and was considering using CellPore cartridges to increase biofiltration. Can you have too much biofiltration? Can you remove too much N that is needed for plants? Thanks everyone for putting up with me for the next couple of weeks while I get this set up. Cheers.
     
  2. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Your post is impossible for my eyes to read. Maybe try a black font rather than yellow?

    Bill
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yellow shows up well on the "green fox" style, but not the other two styles. There really is no reason to use any color except black.
     
  4. orion2001

    orion2001 Guru Class Expert

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    ^ For everyone's benefit :)
     
  5. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    vlvtrope,

    The wheel on an Emperor 400 is great for biological filtration, i.e. removing ammonia and nitrites. However, you will lose a lot of your CO2 from the water because of the wheel. I do not think a bio-wheel type filter is a good choice for a high-tech CO2 tank where you are trying to maintain 30ppm CO2. I had an extra Emperor 400 laying around and run it on my 50G high-tech tank, but only during the times each day when I'm not injecting CO2. I do turn on the 400 with a timer for a few minutes a few times during the day, just to keep the wheel moist.

    Another good reason not to use an Emperor 400 as your high-tech tank filter is that they do not create as good of a flow as a standard canister filter. Your plants will need a good flow to get the nutrients they need.

    Anyway, I think you'd be better off with a regular canister filter.
     
  6. vlvtrope

    vlvtrope Junior Poster

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    CO2 loss

    Thanks for your help. I'm curious--how does the biowheel remove carbon? Seeing as how I have already purchased this filter, do I really need to scrap it now and get a canister? Will it make that much difference?
     
  7. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    CO2 dissolves into water very easily. Unfortunately for us, when water gets exposed to air, CO2 also goes back into the atmosphere very easily. The bio-wheel and subsequent little waterfall the Emperor 400 creates gives the CO2 an oppportunity to escape into the atmosphere. It will just be difficult for you to maintain 30ppm CO2 in your tank with this filter. This filter would be better suited for a non-CO2 tank.

    You can give this filter a try with a high-tech tank, but you will really need to inject a lot more CO2 than if you had a regular canister filter. If you cannot keep your CO2 high enough, you will have algae problems in a high-tech setup. As I already mentioned, I think the flow in your tank would also be lacking, but you could put a cheap little powerhead in your tank to solve that problem.
     
  8. Panda

    Panda Guru Class Expert

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    how many gph do you suggest? I have a 90 G tank with C02 but using 2 power filter....any help?
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I'd use about 500gph filtration.

    I'd add another 500-800gph in wavemaker type powerheads.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. Panda

    Panda Guru Class Expert

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    anyone have experience with FLUVAL FX5 ? wich canister do anyone suggest?
     
  11. jeremy v

    jeremy v Guru Class Expert

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    I had an FX5 set up for over a year on a 75 gallon bowfront tank. The filter is rather time consuming to clean compared to some others I have used. My 75 is a non-CO2 tank and I find it much easier to just use two AquaClear 70 HOB filters now instead of the FX5, but that might not work as well with CO2. I ran into issues with the FX5, because there is so much filter sponge area in the canister that when I cleaned the filter it seemed to always cause a large disruption to the balance of the tank for some reason. As a result algae would get the upper hand for a few days while everything found equilibrium again. I cleaned the filter religiously every two weeks, so it was not an issue of waiting too long. In reality it seemed like the filter barely had anything in it when I would clean it, but if I didn't clean it the water would start to show symptoms of too much dissolved organics really soon after (surface bubbles in the aquarium would start taking longer to pop). One of the sections of the canister was also completely filled with ceramic biomedia that I didn't touch when cleaning the rest of the filter and that didn't seem to help. This happened even with gentle squeezing of the sponges in old aquarium water, so I don't think I was killing all the bacteria with each cleaning. That issue might have been something I was doing that I didn't realize, and not the issue of the filter itself (or of the filter being mismatched with my application). The filtering capacity was great, but I would say that it was way too much for my tank. Another problem I had was that the filter only comes with two output nozzles that are right next to each other. You can angle them and swivel them different directions, but you can't put one on the other side of the tank or move them apart from each other. That meant that, because of the high flow rate of the filter, I had a very high velocity of water coming out of two distinct points in the aquarium. It was almost impossible for me to get good circulation in the whole tank without there being a large area of the tank volume where the current was too fast for the fish to feel comfortable, or where all the stem plants were just blowing around like crazy and eventually disintegrating in the current. I was able to prevent this problem to some extent by having one of the nozzles firing straight at the back of the tank glass, which was an inch or so from the nozzle. That way the force of the water was instantly diffused in all directions by the back glass and slowed down considerably. I used the filter that way for the last 6 months without any problems at all. A long spray bar might have solved that problem altogether, but to be honest I got tired of the hassle of cleaning the filter long before I wanted to modify it to perform better. I think the FX5 would work much better with 5-6 return nozzles instead of two so the return velocity would be much lower, and also running on a 100 gallon or larger tank that has a large fish load. My 75 had about 14 2-3" long fish of varying species and I think that was too little of a fish load for the filter. Other than that though, the filter worked great, and wasn't noisy at all.

    Another thing I forgot until now is that the filter has an electronic timer built into it that shuts off the pump periodically for a few minutes several times a day. This is done in order to let out any air bubbles that may have accumulated in the canister. After a few minutes of being shut off several times a day, the impeller would instantly turn back on and that instant burst of circulation in the tank would scare all of my bala sharks. They would freak out and smack into the glass a few times before settling back down. That was actually my main reason for trying a different setup.
     
  12. Panda

    Panda Guru Class Expert

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    jeremy, thanks for your information. I don't like the fact that the fx5 has only two output nozzles. To be honest the main reason I will not buy the filter is because what you told me about the filter turning off several times per day. I have a discus tank and sometimes when I pass right on the side of the tank one or two of the discus gets scared and eventually scares the rest of them...that filter will scare them to death. I found another canister at thatfishplace.com that pumps 581 gph for about $170. I'm not ready to buy it since I haven't heard about the company that builds them :
    UTC 3400Canister Aquarium Filters with Priming Plunger from commodity axis
    thanks
     
  13. Panda

    Panda Guru Class Expert

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    Tom, what type of wavemaker do you suggest? koralia?

    Tom, what type of wavemaker do you suggest? koralia?
     

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