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Mattenfilter and other filtration effectiveness?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by aman74, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    I've been trying to decide on my filter choice for a new setup. Came across this:

    Hamburger Mattenfilter

    Sounds like it has it's pluses. Pros and cons as with anything. What struck me was the mention that water flow in most other filters is said to be too strong for alot of biological filtration. I'm not saying there science is correct, but they are giving specific parameters to go by.

    If you by there logic then alot of canisters, power and sponge filters aren't very effective at biological filtration and if they are, it's more by accident, such as sizing a sponge filter to a certain air output which most of us would do somewhat randomly. Same would go for stocking a canister or power filter as we can do that many ways.

    The article mentions that most of the benefit besides mechanical and chemical of a typical canister, etc... is just the water flow benefit.

    I was wondering what any of you think about finding filters and sizing pumps and sponges to be most effective?

    There's this link as well: Breeders Award Sponge Filters

    Sounds a bit like snake oil to me, I dunno. However, it's one of the few times I've seen a bit of detail on sponge filters. They claim you can buy a colonized filter, but I would think the bacteria would die in shipping.

    Would love to hear thoughts on the Mattenfilter and any other filter you think is particularly effective or even ineffective.

    Peace,

    Anthony
     
  2. robin.weiss

    robin.weiss Lifetime Members
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    Hamburger Mattenfilter HMF

    There are a lot of people in Germany who threw their Eheim Filters away and went for the internal Mattenfilter solution. Following the forums over here I did not find one post that was not totally happy with that system concerning its ability to filter biologically with no need to service and maintenance.
    It is cheap as it is only a pump and a foam mat.
    The downside on this filter is, that it is in your tank and takes quite some space. Some people hide it with moss.

    One good resource to find information about this kind of filter is
    Aquaristik ohne Geheimnisse - (C) by O.Deters , it is in german only though.

    His apporach is very technical not esoteric.

    When my friends set up a new tank they sometimes come and take some of my used filtermaterial to inoculate their new filters with transport times between 30mins. and 3 hours. That seems to work. I do not know how you could ship that with success.
    Maybe stored in aquarium water with a little biomass to chew on could work.

    Robin
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I do not think you'll get any negative feedback from me or others about these, many Killifish folks use similar things.

    Foam is cheap and DIY works well.

    But with planted tanks, the plants do much more than these filters when properly grown correctly.

    They also look much nicer when that is done also:D
    These foam block filters are as old as the hills, but they can get covered with algae, moss and need cleaned in a planted tank every so often.

    As they accumulate detritus, they will sour and the flow reduces and the cycling is no longer the same as it once was. O2 levels decline, then you get algae.

    My point is that you will have better results if you clean these things.

    My old idea used open cell foam I used for produce and meat counters under the rack, Vestax is what the brand name was, about 1/2" thick and black in color.

    I would cut to size and then roll it up to whatever thickness I desired like a burrito.
    I'd add two large Broccoli rubber bands to fold the rolled up sponge filter in place.

    Cost: free

    I'd use a pvc pipe with holes and make an adaptor to fit on the power head and cap the other end.

    Same type of idea, but uses less space.
    I can put up some math and make the idea seem legitimate and well thought out, lending credibility to an idea, but the idea is so old already. I prefer sumps and canisters for a few simple reasons: they take up the least amount of space and look good.

    I can afford a nice filter and lighting, so I try and make the tanks I have look nice inside and out. For a lot of folks, they like the DIY stuff, but making the DIY look good is the next goal.

    You may use cork bark to hide the sponge and prevent it from getting algae;)
    This is also a good spot to fed the CO2 into the powerhead as the cork will hide the CO2 line(heater etc).

    Add some moss, java fern, Bolbitus, Anubias, etc to the cork, along the top, add some pennywort.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    Yes, I have no doubt it works. Your PVC idea sounds nice as well. Just wish I could get more info in english as there parameters and type of foam seem to matter at least somewhat.

    Also hard to find the right mat and a pump that has that low of a flow.

    As far as the cork goes, wouldn't the mat hide all that anyhow and you just need to hide the mat? I thought putting something on the mat like that would cover the mat too much interfering with the filtration.

    The most interesting aspect of the article were the statements about other filters not having much biological filtration at all...seems odd since sponge filters work so well, even ones with powerheads on them which would give a high flow rate. Not sure about canisters and power filters, but to me they seem to filter pretty well beyond just the mechanical and chemical.
     
  5. vidiots

    vidiots Prolific Poster

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    I've been using a 20gal sump matten filter for my 180gal display tank. Tom mentioned one of the reasons I like this setup is that I can hide it out of sight. The other reason I like it is the sump allows me to hide everything else out of sight.

    Like any filter the matten filter needs regular maintenance. Mine becomes clogged and needs a good rinsing at about every 3 to 4 months. Because mine is located in the hidden sump which doesn't get direct light I don't have a problem with algae buildup on it.

    Although the articles about it speak about the flow rate and more area improving the bio-filter capacity because if in my opinion you either have enough or you don't, I haven't really noticed any difference. If you didn't have enough, you would have ammonia and nitrite spikes, and if you have more than you need it makes no difference whether its a little more or a lot more cause it still gets the job done. Either way you are only going to be able to grow a bacteria colony as large as there is waste for it to feed on.

    The low flow rate does however have many other benifits that make it useful in a variety of setups, such as in fry tanks where your feeding live baby brine shrimp. It's fry safe, and doesn't filter all the food out of the water before it can be eaten.
    It is much less turbulent for fish and plants, and less CO2 is lost to water movement, depending on setup.

    In other setups more current can be a good thing. What matters most is what you are trying to do with your setup and whats works best for that particular setup.
     
  6. vidiots

    vidiots Prolific Poster

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    I used a large sheet of blue "Rite-Size" bonded filter pad available at any pet store and cut to fit. This stuff is just like the blue fuzzy stuff you see on most HOB filter cartridges. I used aquarium sealant to glue it to a plexiglass frame I made to make it somewhat rigid and more or less a giant DIY filter cartridge that can be easily removed for cleaning.

    In another setup for a fry tank I attached it to an undergravel filter plate, and basicaly made a fry safe Undergravel filter out of it. It gave me all the benifits of a bare bottom fry tank, with the gentle filtering of a UGF.
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I use egg crate lighting diffusers they use in officer building, these run about 10$ for 4'x2' sheets.

    These can be snipped to size for many projects.
    Needle point sewing plastic also works very well for smaller projects.

    As far as sumps go, I think many folks use this idea with open cell sponge.
    I have foam blocks in all my sumps. Like many, I've not noted any filter differences between slow and high flow rates for some rather obvious reasoning.
    You want about 30-60 open cells per square inch.

    Some places sell the foam blocks etc in large sheets etc(On line, LFS's hobby and craft places etc).

    As the foam gets clogged with mulm/detritus, the flow rates slow down in most areas and you get some pocketing / uneven flow. The sites of low flow yield the slower flows that are better at filtration.

    When folks discuss filtration, and biological systems, clogging is a huge issue, Bio balls have less surface area, but they do not clog for years.

    There is a trade off.

    Bioflims and organic materials clog and foul filter media, you have to keep up on it and clean it every so often to have it work at top levels of performance.
    The issues and idea here are very old and it sounds a lot like a new name and an old idea.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. aman74

    aman74 Prolific Poster

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    I guess I'm a little slow on the uptake, lol. Since I'm not sure what the obvious reason is. I would guess you mean since the water must pass through the media. However, like you said it will follow the path of least resistance. Not sure if that's what you even meant.

    I had read that the idea for the Mattenfilter has been around for years and the principles it uses were not new at that time either. I guess my idea for discussing it revolves more around optimizing whatever it is that we choose to use.

    For example, a sponge filter may work better with an airstone than a powerhead, but that would just be a guess on my part. Many will say that powerheads work great on them. Without evidence it's hard to decipher. Many things work for many people, but without setting some parameters it will be hit and miss.
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes, sponge filters do work better with lower flow rates, the same can be said for most media, but if you lack the space, then that might be an issue.

    Different media allows for higher flow rates, sponge is relatively low and clogs pretty fast in most tanks.

    I use them on filter intakes for canisters and on some overflows.
    The media generally just needs relatively slow even flow, enough to maintain O2 levels.



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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