Any real need for canister/hang on back filter - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 24 Old 08-10-2011, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Question Any real need for canister/hang on back filter

I am beginning to think fancy canister or hang on back filters are not that necessary. A good air-driven foam filter in the tank is the only thing really necessary.
I already have a set up in place with a power canister filter: all I have is mechanical filtering media. When I test the water, everything is 0, save for nitrates which hover around the '10' mark. This is the reading, both from the tank and the tap water.
I am trying to cut back on electrical usage and an intank air driven foam filter would eliminate the Renas.
Anyone else do this?
Thanks.

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post #2 of 24 Old 08-10-2011, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twocents View Post
I am beginning to think fancy canister or hang on back filters are not that necessary. A good air-driven foam filter in the tank is the only thing really necessary.
I already have a set up in place with a power canister filter: all I have is mechanical filtering media. When I test the water, everything is 0, save for nitrates which hover around the '10' mark. This is the reading, both from the tank and the tap water.
I am trying to cut back on electrical usage and an intank air driven foam filter would eliminate the Renas.
Anyone else do this?
Thanks.
That's quite true for many small tanks... Anything under a 25 or so is fine with a simple sponge filter. Any larger and you might want to have more than one, or a canister.

Plants (if any) also help with the filtration.

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post #3 of 24 Old 08-10-2011, 04:42 PM
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If a tank is not overloaded or overfed, a "natural" tank works, just need a little water circulation. Biological filters allow a lot of "oops" room for heavy fish stocking and for folks, like me, who tend to overfeed on occasion. Mechanicals are nice for taking out the visual yuck. Canisters are a nice combo of both, but you are accurate. They and HOBs are not really requirements for a successful FW tank.
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post #4 of 24 Old 08-10-2011, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks.
The largest tank in question is a 56 gallon column. I am going to be using 2 5" square foam filters in it.

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post #5 of 24 Old 08-10-2011, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by twocents View Post
I am beginning to think fancy canister or hang on back filters are not that necessary. A good air-driven foam filter in the tank is the only thing really necessary.
I already have a set up in place with a power canister filter: all I have is mechanical filtering media. When I test the water, everything is 0, save for nitrates which hover around the '10' mark. This is the reading, both from the tank and the tap water.
I am trying to cut back on electrical usage and an intank air driven foam filter would eliminate the Renas.
Anyone else do this?
Thanks.
Idk. My aquarium from Wal-Mart came with a power filter - a Whisper 10-30i internal filter by Tetra - is that fancy? It hangs on the back but was included with the 20 gal tank along with the hood, light housing and 2 lights for about $70. It requires filter cartridges with change out every month or so and the cartridges cost 3/$6.98 - doesn't seem too exorbitant. Of course I've only been in the hobby for about 1 day or so but that doesn't mean that I don't know that activated carbon can do things that foam cannot. Now whether or not those "things" are relevant to the discussion, idk. But I digress, I'm here about sunken ships and other, critical, glow-in-the-dark decor!
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post #6 of 24 Old 08-10-2011, 06:04 PM
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One must remember that filtration serves more than one function, and these vary considerably according to the tank's biology and the type of fish. Other members have wisely mentioned plants and fish stocking, and they are also part of the equation.

Filtration occurs as mechanical, biological and chemical. Mechanical is moving the water through media (esp floss, pads, sponge, foam) to remove suspended particulate matter. Although it is possible to have planted tanks without mechanical filtration, it is beneficial for most tanks and it also helps circulate the water.

Biological involves encouraging nitrifying bacteria colonization in the filter media. While here too it is not essential, it is advisable (a) if there are no live plants, and (b) if the fish stocking is anything above what the tank can easily handle naturally. Most of us put more fish in a tank than what may be termed "moderate."

Chemical involves adjusting the water chemistry somehow, often with activated carbon and other substances that will remove toxins (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, metals, etc). This again is not necessary in planted tanks or those with moderate fish stocking that balances the tank's biological system.

A sponge filter will easily achieve mechanical and some biological. Provided the fish stocking is moderate, this is fine. And with live plants, even better.

Another important aspect of filters is the water movement. Some fish need more current than others, and this must be provided or that species will not be healthy. This is another important aspect of selecting "compatible" fish for an aquarium. Compatibility includes similar requirements respecting water flow, temperature, parameters, environment...in addition to behaviours.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 24 Old 08-15-2011, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies.

I have not used carbon in my filters for a long long time. I do not even use the little stars/noodles either. My water parameters remain the same. am= 0, nitrites = 0. The only reading is from the nitrates which remains at 10, which is also 'straight from the tap'. Tap water is 10 nitrate. (API master test kit).

I switched to the foam for a couple of reasons, although I will do what is best for the fish. Mainly to save electricity and to remove the electric load off of the circuit; I do think it was stressed.

I installed the filters Wednesday Aug 10. After almost 5 days, the water is almost as clear as it was when the canisters were running. I did get a little bit of milky cloudiness on the second day (Aug 12) but it cleared up shortly. This would occur occasionally with the canister filters so I don't think it is of any real consequence.

All the fish are well. I am going to continue to post with my observations.

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post #8 of 24 Old 08-17-2011, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Update: Aug 17, 2011. I woke up this morning and my male rainbow bosmani was stuck between the filter and the side of the 55 gallon tank. Dead... bummer. I guess he squeezed in there and panicked. I also realized that by being that close to the corner, the amt of filter space is reduced. I moved the filter away from the corner: I moved all of them away from the glass and turned them slightly so they were more of an angle.
I had to shift some plants and ornaments. Stirred up a bit of crap, but the water cleared out in about an hour.
Other than the rainbow (it was my prettiest rainbow of course...) all is well.

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post #9 of 24 Old 09-20-2011, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Update: Sept 20, 2011.
checked my water chemsitry in the big tank (56 gallon column).
I do not think this is any failing of the foam filter, I have been very remiss in checking my parameters.
The ammonia was slightly elevated, (only one 'step' higher on the liquid test), 0 nitrites, nitrates were @ 40. This was saturday, the day I do a water change, so I did a 50% on all the tanks.
Mea Culpa, but there are too many fish in the 56 gallon and I may well do 2 water changes a week.
total number of fish? 20 or less.
It is heavily planted. I need to come up with some sort of 'crevice' tool for the siphon gravel cleaner to get between the roots and stuff.
The water clarity is excellent.

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post #10 of 24 Old 09-20-2011, 06:47 PM
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Very interesting observations in the past year I have gone to only sponges filters in most of my tanks.
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