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Planted tank filtration recommendation

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by adechazal, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. adechazal

    adechazal Prolific Poster

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    Hello all, my 180 gallon planted setup has been suffering from a cloudy water situation for about a month now. The water isn't green or any particular color, just hazy, like your looking through fog. This is a new setup and my first planted tank. I intend to research the cause of the cloudiness on my own but I want to make sure that my filtration system is at least considered adequate.

    My filtration consists of a dual reef style overflow system dropping water into stock All Glass Aquarium sump (model 4). Filtration in the sump is nothing more than a 1 inch layer of filter media (relatively coarse) in a tray with bioball material underneath. I haven't had issues with amonia etc. and I have a pretty high fish load so from a biological processing standpoint the system seems to work.

    I am curious to know if I am I missing any basics like carbon or a finer mesh media in the system.

    Thanks for any inpu
    Aaron
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have never used a sump as a filter, but I'm pretty certain you need some type of "polishing" filter if you want really clear water. A sump is largely a biological filter to keep the ammonia down, something a well planted tank won't have problems with in any case, unless it is really heavily stocked with big fish.
     
  3. SpongeBob SquarePlants

    SpongeBob SquarePlants Prolific Poster

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    You mentioned that this is a new setup, the cloudy water sounds like your tank is till cycling. A 180g tank could be cloudy for 4-6 weeks, then the water will be clear.
     
  4. 2wheelsx2

    2wheelsx2 Lifetime Members
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    You have to be a bit more patient with a larger (more depth front to back) tank. What looks clear in a 20 gallon will appear cloudy in a 180. I've experienced this first hand in my 125 gallon. It'll take a bit longer for the filtration and plants to clear the water up so that it looks clear through the "thicker" water column.
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I'd add an Ocean clear canister post filter, maybe a UV.

    You can also use those sock type filter bags if you set the sump up correctly.
    These come in 1-5-20-50-100mic sizing.

    I'd also add some good size sponge filter pads between the bio and the pump.
    This will add a little course mechanical but works well.


    The other thing that can be done, this is the cheapest solution, try adding some purigen(seachem) and/or activate carbon etc. and see.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. adechazal

    adechazal Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for the feedback

    Thanks all, I appreciate the ideas. I'll report back with what I find in case it can help anyone with their struggles.

    Aaron
     
  7. ronj

    ronj Junior Poster

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    I've had similiar problems with a 90 gal setup. It started to clear after about 3 weeks. I made the mistake of trimming back some plants and replanting them. Made a mess of things and wound up with hazy water again. I took my Magnum 350 that I bought for polishing, put in the micron filter with a half cup of diatom powder and ran in 24/7. In 48 hrs I had crystal clear water. I just need to be careful to make sure I check the filter often, as it tends to clog quickly. Running 4 days now with little loss of output.
     
  8. adechazal

    adechazal Prolific Poster

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    Thanks ronj, I have been thinking about purchasing a Mag 350 with polishing filter and DE to clear this up, then using it for a 30 gallon for my son.

    A couple of days ago I threw in some carbon and a bag of Purigen per Tom's advice. I also put in some Seachem Clarity. None of this has made any difference yet but I'll be patient and give it another couple of weeks.
     
  9. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    What type pump are you using, and are you using the factory input elbow ? What is the present Flow Rate ? (Depends on the pump used, the height/distance from the sump to TOW line, the type overflow used, and diameter of input hose used.

    Need more data ? :confused:

    There are a few modifications that you can make to the overflows (Stockman/Durso type overflow R. Durso's 180g - Ken Stockman Standpipe ) :cool: , and you can place 3 large bricks of open cell foam in the wet section, along with a prefiltered power head to polish the water in the pump section. They are actually a pretty good design for an OTC unit, but need a bit of tweaking in fluid dynamics, and media. You should be able to move 700-800 gph through there easily ? I'd have to recheck the diameter of the sump input to verify just how high a flow rate you can acheive ?

    P.S. the Sea Swirl wave generators Sea Swirl are the livin end for Planted tanks and Co2 input !!! Stick with the larger 3/4" and 1" units though with a 180 gal. tank ! and lose those AGA input pipes under a bus or something...:p HTH. Prof M
     
  10. adechazal

    adechazal Prolific Poster

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    Firstly thanks Prof for your reply and thoughts on using the existing system with some mods.

    After another week of no improvement after using "Clarity" "Purigen", carbon and a 25% water change (slow change with R/O supply) I broke down and went to the LFS yesterday and picked up a Mag 350. I installed the micron cartridge and 1/4 cup of DE, turned the system on and within minutes the filter turned dark green, not hunter green but more like olive drab green. This must be a single cell algae issue right?

    I have turned the lights off for today and plan to continue using the Mag 350. The water was a little clearer this morning after running all night with the Magnum but not much. (This is a 180 gallon tank though...)

    My water conditions are
    pH: 7.1 When the C02 is on (7.8 when it's off over night)
    KH 5.5
    GH 8
    Phosphate 0-.25ppm
    Nitrate 10-15ppm
    Amonia 0-slightly readable on the scale (.25 or .025 can't remember which)

    I am open to thoughts on how to "reset" the system including the 3 day blackout if necessary. The problem is I don't know what caused what now appears to be an algae bloom. I do not have excessive algae growing on the glass or plants, the plants are doing very well as are the fish (great color etc.):confused:
    Aaron
     
  11. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Do you have at least half of the substrate covered with growing plants? A heavily planted tank, if the plants are growing well, should be immune to the spikes of ammonia that can cause algae blooms. Of course, keeping the CO2 level the same day after day is important too, as is good water circulation.
     
  12. adechazal

    adechazal Prolific Poster

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    For anyone interested, after a 48 hour blackout and DE filtration with the Magnum 350 my 180g water is almost completely clear! I am not celebrating yet since I don't know what caused the green water bloom but after reading some older posts on this site I suspect it was caused when I performed some tank maintenance (disturbed the substrate etc.) then cleaned the filter pads without changing the water.

    Coming out of the blackout yesterday evening my parameters are:
    Nitrate 5
    Phosphate 0 (I'm bringing this up slowly)
    PH 6.9 when CO2 is on, 7.8 when it's off
    Amonia 0
    KH 5

    During the 2nd 24 hours of the blackout I fed R/O water into the tank (I have a flow through system running at 3 gallons per hour)

    I'll start the EI dosing again today.

    Thanks for the help everyone!
     
  13. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Pump size?

    Aaron,

    Question: What type/size return pumps are you using? Perhaps they are insufficient for the size tank?????

    I have a very similiar setup (see prev posts) and use 2 500 gph Mag drive pumps to return water from the sump back to the tank. My tank is always very clear and clears quickly even if I disturb the substrate from pruning or replanting 0..........I have close to 200 fish (albeit small) in there and pretty well planted and I have no issues.

    Question: Do you have one or two returns? Even if two, you can have one large 1200-1400 gph pump and use a T barbed fitting to split the flow..........

    Advice given to me here was to increase the size of my pumps AND size of my sump, both of which are underway.

    I got a 40% bigger sump with twice the media size of my current one. The new sump has two trickle towers, one for each return, where the old one has one trickle column fed by both returns. To drive this, I will be bumping up to either 700 or 900 gph pumps, or maybe a 1400-1600 and split like I advised you....I am expecting the expanded media will help reduce nitrates and the more powerful pumps will produce better current and thus temp and c02 dispersion........

    Question: when you say high fish load, what type/how many fish DO YOU HAVE??? Heavy feeding along with new tank syndrome can also play a part in this.....

    I have also placed a filter bag of carbon in my sump periodically. Not a constant thing, but every now and then I will place a small bag for 4-6 weeks or so.

    I have also been advise to install an Ocean Clear and am investigating that as well.


    Please provide some more detail and some pics if possible....

    As stated previously by others, the more data, the better the analysis :)
     
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