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Filter Maintenance: Lesson Learned

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by JDowns, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    After recently setting up the Nu-Clear system to replace the canister filter, which was a massive improvement. I decided to seed the new bio unit with old bio from the canister. The canister sat for no more than a day. I noticed when I put in the media it was a little dirty and should have been rinsed, or not used at all for that matter.

    After a few weeks of great pearling, growth, etc. I started to notice a slight decline in pearling. This followed by a very slight but noticable yellow tint to the water. I started scratching my head wondering if I messed up my dosing, checked CO2, etc. Then woke up one morning and noticed some BBA. Which made me question CO2 again. Everything on that end seemed normal and fine. So after a pruning and a water change, things went more south. BBA increased, infesting my moss. Followed by some brown sludge coating a few plants older leaves. So I decided to replace the filter cartridge early, and then noticed the bio chamber, thank goodness its clear, all the bio looked absolutely filthy and coated with the same brown sludge on the plants. So I yanked all the bio, which reaked btw, and replaced with zeolite packages. Did a massive water change, and pruning of anything infected, doubled the initial EI dosage to make up for the massive wc. Very next day. Pearling went back to normal, water color/clarity back to normal.

    Lesson learned. Don't ignore the bio chamber as part of your filter maintenance. :rolleyes:
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Jdowns,

    Glad you found your issue..........

    I also noticed BGA started when my nu-clear 533 cartridge got really dirty.

    I couldn't swap it when I wanted for a few days as I couldn't bend over due to a bad back playing bball with the young kids lol

    Once I replaced the cartridge, BGA was gone the next day.

    Are you running 2 nu-clears, a mech and bio unit? If so in parallel or series? I want to add the 547 bio-unit to my setup.

    BTW, the 533 keeps my 180 crystal clear. I totally recommend them.

    Filter maintenance is important :)
     
  3. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    I run them in series 533 then the 547. First the mechanical then the bio. My gut told me not to use the old dirty bio. I was somewhat taken back by the stench. Still not 100% sure why. Since I rotate my 533 cartridges weekly. Only thing I can think of is that I failed to rinse a 533 cartridge well enough before replacement and I killed all the bio.

    I setup the bio for easier maintenance now. I loaded it with six 1 gallon paint strainer bags (perfect for filter bags and much cheaper) with zeolite. Three zip tied red, and three green. This way I can rotate bags in and out without replacing all at once.

    I was surprised this time by how quick things bounced back. A few massive wc's, a good pruning, and all was well again. What do you know. Tom just might know a thing or two. :p
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yay!
    A convert!

    Ye hath seen thy light.

    It's not all CO2, unless you have done all this also;)
    Folks say they do, but then over look this type of stuff.

    I did and see similar patterns, every time.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Weekly 533 swaps? wow! I keep my psi around 6-7 to the 533 and change it every 3-4 weeks when it starts to get around 9-10 psi.

    Less frequent swapping w/o the dozen large bosemanis lol

    After bleaching my cartridge, they get 2 cycles of soaking in fresh water and Prime. No issues so far.

    Yeah, I have also noticed that Tom does know stuff........

    The great thing is reading past posts that now make more sense the more I learn.

    Thanks again Tom for this site and sharing all of your knowledge and experience!
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yay!
    A convert!

    Ye hath seen thy light.

    It's not all CO2, unless you have done all this also;)
    Folks say they do, but then over look this type of stuff.

    I did and see similar patterns, every time.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yes since the swap is so quick and easy. I chose to do it weekly to remove the waste as much and as often as possible.

    I soak in prime also. So the actual cause may remain a mystery.


    Ya Tom. It was an eye opener to see the difference that one variable made. A lesson I won't soon forget.
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    It's the stupid stuff we do that humbles us and makes us realize, we should not be so cocky.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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