Removed my UGF and all my rocks 4-5 weeks ago.... tank is still cycling... help - Page 3
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Removed my UGF and all my rocks 4-5 weeks ago.... tank is still cycling... help

This is a discussion on Removed my UGF and all my rocks 4-5 weeks ago.... tank is still cycling... help within the Advanced Freshwater Discussion forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by candymancan I haven't done any gravel vacuuming because A. I don't want to do vacuuming with plants, and B.. I have ...

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Removed my UGF and all my rocks 4-5 weeks ago.... tank is still cycling... help
Old 10-31-2013, 12:52 AM   #21
 
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Originally Posted by candymancan View Post
I haven't done any gravel vacuuming because A. I don't want to do vacuuming with plants, and B.. I have no room to vacuum the gravel really except in the middle if I remove the driftwood... However the Floramax substrate (same rocks as eco complete) have only been in the tank for 36 days now. Since I don't feed my fish that much due to the ammonia problem my gravel is fairly clean... Not to mention with the lack of suction from the powerhead and undergravel filter combo the gravel doesn't get as dirty as it used too..

With the UGF you could see the particles get pulled into the rocks once they floated down far enough... The first thing I noticed when taking it out was un eatin food and other particles in the tank would just simply float around until they either got sucked into the HOB or settled on the bottom eventually.. Another thing I noticed is my bigger bottom fish kick up the particles if they suddenly swim super fast (which are the 3 Adult gold barbs I have). If they get freaked out and swim quickly particles of matter get flinged into the water.. I never had this issue with the UGF...


But to answer your question.. No my HOB was easily able to catch enough junk in the water to build up a bacteria farm... You should have seen the filter media.. I had to replace it every 3-4 weeks because it would clog and overflow really quickly and the filter pad would be solid brown and made of slim almost lol.. I never once cared about removing the entire filter media and replacing it with a fresh one.. (I had too because the media would literally be mush after a month) because like I said even if I removed the media and turned off my HOB my ammonia would be 0 with my 25-30 fish and it was because of the UGF.. However you have people online who claim UGF cant handle and aren't good filters like HOB filters... It has been my experience HOB are nothing compared to UGF and I am experiencing this first hand and noticed it when like I said I removed my media and I could leave it out for a week and ammonia would be 0 with this large number of fish...

I have experienced the same thing in my 30g tank.. That tank is 22+ years old has and still uses the UGF/Power head combo... but it also has a double filter media HOB filter.. For 50-75g tanks.. It too has the same effects my 27g hex had.. I could shut the entire HOB off... and ammonia would be 0 no matter what...


Now One thing I did notice, and did know was UGF can be a huge trap for nitrates.... Eventually over time the rocks get so full of crap that even vacuuming them doesn't help lower nitrates... Eventually you get stuff under the UGF and while yes the power head does keep it super clean in the general area its placed in.. The other side or the middle or the front is so dirty when you look under the tank all you see is broken down waste. I had nitrate issues in both tanks so bad that even changing 100% of the water only fixed it for about 3-4 days.. The nitrates were in the tank because of all that waste the UGF sucked up in the substrate that a gravel vacuum couldn't get... What i had to do was grab the plastic tube the powerhead was on and lift up and down pulling the UGF plate up and down.. which dislogged all the junk and the powerhead sucked it up and spit in the tank... Then a gravel vacuum and 70% water changed got the nitrates under control.


Personally between past experiences i have mentioned with the HOB filter media being removed with the UGF running specially with so many fish... and now with no UGF and just the HOB... I think UGF are far superior to HOB filters. They do have nitrate problems though
As stated before I can't speak on UGF but when it comes to filters. I find canisters(the right ones!) to be best. I run all types and brands of HOB and canisters and the effort is so much less once you get the jist of how a canister works(which is what I use.actually 2 on my overstocked tank). I will not argue that HOBs are superior. However..are you tossing all the media when it's gunked up to replace? I've done overstocked with a HOB before and the right filter is important with those more so then other types IMO. Also never tossing your media..just weekly rinse in old tank water to degunk during water change(thats only what I do for overstocked..weekly 80% WC and vac). Yeseven in my impressive jungle I vac it as best I can without pulling up plants..and heavy rooted plants I'll stick the vac right on the base of the plant or if short enough over the whole plant. Poo tends to end up in the plants base.

sorry I ramble.. main question..was do you replace filter media all the way? What is your current filter?
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:01 AM   #22
 
Well I have been using tetra Bio bags as my filter media for my HOB's. They are white floss filters with little carbon pouches you open and pour in.. The problem with them is you cant "rinse" or wash them because im telling you and I have said this a few times... they literally turn into complete mush... I pull them out and they fall apart right there after 1-2 weeks lol... I think my problem is I grew up with them and they get dirty so fast that I just kept using them... They are extremely overpriced though and they have gotten worse as far as turning into mush.. I looked online and found reviews that have noticed the same problem quality has dropped. Mine have beei nthe tank for 36 days as I said.. I just lifted them up to look at them and they broke apart and disintergrated lol....

I went to petsmart today and I decided to get the marineland filter media.. The blue floss that you have to cut to shape... I noticed the blue marineland floss that in my 55g... doesn't break up and turn to mush.. Im using a penguin 350.. I just pull it out and rinse and its as good as new...


HOWEVER I do notice that blue floss doesn't get NEARLY as diry as the white stuff from tetra so I don't think that stuff filters very well im not sure... Im trying some in the 30g tank right now... I just finished 2 weeks of meds for columnaris in that tank and instead of buying $20 for 12 premade filters with carbon from tetra I got that blue floss you have to cut from marineland for $7.. But the pad I think its overpriced now that I opened it and cut it.. In order to make a double layer pad like the premade ones it took half the blue floss carpet to make only 2 filters... For $7 that's expensive... But if they don't turn into mush and actually last then I guess itll be worth it..

Anyway... if my ammonia levels don't go down in the next 2 weeks im going to look into get some secondary filter... Im not too experienced with other filters.. I was looking at filters with like little round cylinder rocks that claim to be good for BB bacteria to live in... I dunno
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:09 AM   #23
 
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I don't think that that's necessarily too many fish - I kept close to 40 fish in my 30 hex when I had it. They were all small schooling fish. That being said, in my experience the dwarf neon rainbows grow to be much too large and too active for your tank. Mine clearly outgrew the 45 gallon (3 ft). They really need a 4 foot long tank. But it's your tank - you're the one that has to look at it
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:20 AM   #24
 
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OK.. So no BB can get a hold on your tank at all..plus super high ammonia can stall the cycle. Got it! I have that cut to shape Marineland bonded filter pad in all my filters as a backup plan if I ever get a new tank or finally decide to put forth the effort to setup the 240. Do not throw away the bags! Empty the carbon out then stuff it in wit the blue media you're talking about. And you have another cycled tank??!?!? Take a portion of that media out too and put it in the hex. the seeded filter media is what keeps your cycle..not the substrate so much or anything realy as effectively as you filter media. I mean hell..I switched a 20g to a 55g and set it up all new even new sand everything squeaky clean but addd seeded media from my 75g to the filter.. the same blue media from marine land. I don't know how you filter is set up but if you want to catch fine particles... get Rena's "super micro filtration" pad for filstar XP and cut that to size as you would have with the marineland media. The fine filtration side should be after the coarse side.water runs through the coarse side then the fine side...understand?
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Old 10-31-2013, 03:48 AM   #25
 
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OK.. So no BB can get a hold on your tank at all..plus super high ammonia can stall the cycle. Got it! I have that cut to shape Marineland bonded filter pad in all my filters as a backup plan if I ever get a new tank or finally decide to put forth the effort to setup the 240. Do not throw away the bags! Empty the carbon out then stuff it in wit the blue media you're talking about. And you have another cycled tank??!?!? Take a portion of that media out too and put it in the hex. the seeded filter media is what keeps your cycle..not the substrate so much or anything realy as effectively as you filter media. I mean hell..I switched a 20g to a 55g and set it up all new even new sand everything squeaky clean but addd seeded media from my 75g to the filter.. the same blue media from marine land. I don't know how you filter is set up but if you want to catch fine particles... get Rena's "super micro filtration" pad for filstar XP and cut that to size as you would have with the marineland media. The fine filtration side should be after the coarse side.water runs through the coarse side then the fine side...understand?

Yea i already know all that but bacteria in a filter media doesnt hold nearly as much as the substrate does. At least thats my opinion.. When i got my 55g i used both filters from 30g and put it into the 55g and it didnt instantly cycle my tank and i also used fthe filter from 27g and squeezed it in the tank atill no instant cycle.. I had one fish in the tank and it took 3-4 weeks for it completetly cylce... I did or tried this in my 5.5g as well still no instant cycle.. So i honestly never held much belief nore do i think you can instant cycle a tank simply using filter media from another tank.. If that were true both tanks would have been instantly cycled.. And the third my 27g wouldnt be going through what is going throigh.. The reason im going through this cycle is bevause i removed every penble of old rock from my tabk... The rocks have way nore surface area then a filter pad does imo.

You may be right though about my cycle stalling i too was wondering if the extremely high ammonia is actually having a negative effect on my cycle.. In essence killing or smothering the bacteria from growing... I wish i could research the effects of super high ammonia on a tanks biological filter... I guess what ill try to do is do 50% water changes everyday to keep the levels down and see if that helps the cycle.

One thing though i should note.. Im not a big fan of swapping filter media in other tanks... The reason being is transfering germs to that tabk.. Such as columnaris and stuff like that.. Or parasites and worms
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Old 10-31-2013, 06:20 AM   #26
 
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Yea i already know all that but bacteria in a filter media doesnt hold nearly as much as the substrate does. At least thats my opinion.. When i got my 55g i used both filters from 30g and put it into the 55g and it didnt instantly cycle my tank and i also used fthe filter from 27g and squeezed it in the tank atill no instant cycle.. I had one fish in the tank and it took 3-4 weeks for it completetly cylce... I did or tried this in my 5.5g as well still no instant cycle.. So i honestly never held much belief nore do i think you can instant cycle a tank simply using filter media from another tank.. If that were true both tanks would have been instantly cycled.. And the third my 27g wouldnt be going through what is going throigh.. The reason im going through this cycle is bevause i removed every penble of old rock from my tabk... The rocks have way nore surface area then a filter pad does imo.

You may be right though about my cycle stalling i too was wondering if the extremely high ammonia is actually having a negative effect on my cycle.. In essence killing or smothering the bacteria from growing... I wish i could research the effects of super high ammonia on a tanks biological filter... I guess what ill try to do is do 50% water changes everyday to keep the levels down and see if that helps the cycle.

One thing though i should note.. Im not a big fan of swapping filter media in other tanks... The reason being is transfering germs to that tabk.. Such as columnaris and stuff like that.. Or parasites and worms
Just want to point out that with the 9 tanks I currently am running I have instant cycled flawlessly with simply transferring filter media from my other tanks. I promise I religiously tested my water to be sure! not 1 single issue! and I have 3 20g and 2 10qt tanks that whenever needed I transfer media and thur it be..perfectly cycled. Don't knock it till you try it. It DOES work. However I have never had substrate help a cycle whatsoever.I even did the same for my daughters school Betta tanks
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:10 AM   #27
 
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I have to say that transferring media from one tank to another has worked for me in cycling a tank from the start. I did that in a 5.5 gallon qt tank I used for 15 Rasboras. It worked from the beginning with 0,0,5 on my parameters. It stayed that way throughout the QT time of 5 weeks. So it can be done.
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:00 AM   #28
 
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The rocks have way nore surface area then a filter pad does imo.

You may be right though about my cycle stalling i too was wondering if the extremely high ammonia is actually having a negative effect on my cycle.. In essence killing or smothering the bacteria from growing... I wish i could research the effects of super high ammonia on a tanks biological filter... I guess what ill try to do is do 50% water changes everyday to keep the levels down and see if that helps the cycle.

One thing though i should note.. Im not a big fan of swapping filter media in other tanks... The reason being is transfering germs to that tabk.. Such as columnaris and stuff like that.. Or parasites and worms
Per unit of volume, media has way more surface area than rocks. Sand on the other hand, has a massive surface area per volume.

Surface area is only half of the filtration equation. Circulation is the other half. The bacteria can only feed if the food is reaching them, and with a high turnover rate from the filters, there will be a larger colony there because they are essentially being force fed. That's my experience - I have always run big filtration systems. About a dozen times I've swapped substrates (gravel to sand) where I have totally removed the old from the tank and they never even skipped a beat. Were the majority of the bacteria in the substrate, I would have definitely damaged the cycle and seen an impact.

The fish are way more sensitive to ammonia than the bacteria is, so if your fish are still alive, so is any bacteria in your system. If your fish are alive, then the ammonia is not inhibiting the bacterial growth.

Transferring filter media is THE preferred method of starting a new tank by virtually every serious fish keeper. It is totally safe as long as you don't have any active infections going on. Germs are EVERYWHERE!! Any germs you are concerned about transferring to the other tank are going to be in that tank whether you move the media or not. Parasites need a host to survive - if the fish in your current tank have parasites, then there is the chance that there may be some trapped in the media. If they aren't infected with parasites, then that's not going to be an issue. So?? Are your fish infested with parasites?
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Last edited by jaysee; 10-31-2013 at 09:05 AM..
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:03 AM   #29
 
I predice that all the sudden (like in a couple of days)

ammonia will drop to 0

pH will rise (to over 7.5)

just a guess.
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Old 10-31-2013, 02:50 PM   #30
 
Well as I said I tried transferring 2 filter pads from my 30g which uses a duel HOB for 50-75g and I put that into my 55g tanks duel HOB filter and it didn't instant cycle anything It probably shortend it a little as it was only cycling for 3-4 weeks... But It didn't work in my 5g either...

Nore is it working in my 27g.. I have 2 old filters in there from my 30g combined with the already one that was in prior to me removing my rocks and UGF a month ago... and whelp my ammonia is still here... In fact im gonna have to take the filters out here soon... They are putting mushy material in my water they are literally falling apart... but ill do what was suggested keep the mushy pads and just stuff them inside a new one, but before I do im gonna squeeze them and get all the crap off them and get it into my water so itll settle on the plants and rocks and hopefully that will help my cycle get going.

Im still confused to as how you people claim though that filters are what is keeping your ammonia down... You know that a lot of really really experienced users such as dustin on youtube for dustins fish tanks... don't even use filters ? His tanks are heavily stock with giant rainbow fish and he has plants just you and I do and he has no ammonia issues.. Sure you can say its the plants keeping the ammonia at bay, but my first hand experience shutting off a filter with no UGF (my 55g) causes only a small ammonia spike wghich goes away.. So im still a form believer that bacteria are in the rocks more so then filters.

That's why when I took my UGF out and all my rocks my ammonia is going crazy and stuffing my HOB with 3 different filters from other tanks hasn't done anything lol.. Can you guys explain that to me and keep telling me that most of the bacteria aren't in the rocks ? Like for example... you know those fancy filters from fluval that have those oval stones which are porous for bacteria to grow in ? What is the difference in using those vs gravel like say floramax or eco complete ? Which is basically lava rock... we all know lava rock is like crazy porous.. I bet you a million bucks the rocks in my tank have more surface area then any filter.. However you are right in that a filter moves the water over the pads and keep the BB fed.... But that's what a UGF does as well except it has the entire substrate as its "filter pad" .. And that's why im starting to think it was a mistake removing my UGF... I never had ammonia spikes when I shut the filters off or removed the pads for a clean one every few weeks... Im sure though you guys do am I right ? Like if you guys removed your pads and replaced them with a clean one... (not re-using the old pad or mixing with the old one) that your ammonia will go up am I right ?

I dunno im not so sure why people don't like UGF's.. I am fairly new to plants and I only removed mine because I was told it was bad for them. Im wondering if I should have kept it in there

Last edited by candymancan; 10-31-2013 at 03:03 PM..
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