Any real need for canister/hang on back filter - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 24 Old 09-21-2011, 12:08 AM
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I also am only running sponge filters in my tanks. In most of my tanks other than one of my 20 gallons I am using sponge filters rated for larger tanks. In my 50 gallon tank I have 2 sponge filters that I am running, one in each back corner. With both sponge filters on this tank it's total rating would be 100 gal. I also have live plants in this tank which helps with filtration. The interesting thing that I found was when I took the HOB off of this tank and went strictly to two sponge filters my nitrate levels dropped. They had been running around 20, and now are no higher than 10ppm.
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post #12 of 24 Old 09-21-2011, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Wish I could say that about the water chemistry. This is only on the big tank, but I generally don't check the others as they usually follow suit. The nitrates run about 10 or so straight from the tap. I think I'm going to bump up water changes to twice a week. No more fishies, let them pass and not replace. I have to say overall, the foam filters are working fairly well. Anyone have any suggestions on how often to squeeze them out? Once a month? Twice? I'm sure it will be dependent on the amount of fish.

I primarily did this little 'blog' like posting just to keep track of the differences between the canisters and the foam filters. I am not going back to the canisters, at least not yet.

I would like to invest in that aquarium vacuum machine, but most likely will not be available until next year.

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post #13 of 24 Old 09-21-2011, 04:55 PM
I had been letting my sponges go 1-2 months kinda being lazy I guess. I'm now cleaning all of my sponges once a week when I do my water changes in the tank water, I did not realize how dirty they were getting and I see that they work much better with the weekly squeezing.

I'd be very happy if I could get my nitrates to 10, even with twice weekly water changes and not over stocked I'm no where near that. I think my fishes have adapted and I've not had any problems introducing new fish so I've given up trying to get my nitrates down. If my test kit is right I'm running somewhere between 40-60ppm always on 7 tanks. I've recently started planting my aquariums to see what that does.
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post #14 of 24 Old 09-21-2011, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Keep me posted, as I will keep posting, for a while anyway. Squeezing the filters once a week probably would not do any harm. Possibly, not doing it often enough might contribute to high nitrates. I will try that scenario.

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post #15 of 24 Old 08-08-2012, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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i looked at the date and my goodness, it has been almost a year since I posted on this subject. So much for being 'vigilent'.
I have to say I am quite satisfied with the ability of the sponge filters to keep things clean. Enables me to run the noisy air pump remotely (so I don't have to listen to it). I squeeze the filters out once a month. Aside from the occasional fish death (some old age, the 3 angels, I really don't know why.. I haven't tested the water in a long time as well.)
I have to say that if one lives within the parameters of a tank, not over stocking. some live plants, the foam filters are cheaper, quieter, and easier to live with.

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post #16 of 24 Old 08-09-2012, 07:28 PM
Hi. If you don't mind, I thought this would be a good thread to say something about what i'm doing to my poor AquaClear 30 filter. If you do mind just scroll on past :)

I am transitioning my filter to a mechanical-only filter. This is hard to do because any mechanical filtration I've heard of is also home to bacteria, nitrifying and otherwise. This is all happening outside the tank, away from the gravel and plants, with the water flow dumping bacterial products right into the tank.

I'm taking a few weeks transitioning out the bio-media, then washing 1/2 the sponge with tap, and Saturday will be all of the sponge. The bio-media is gone, and the sponge will be washed in tap once a week when I do all of my fish stuff.

A fish tank star said that the bacteria will just set up shop somewhere else, and I hope they do just that, on the gravel or on the plants... Oh, sorry I didn't mention, my 10 gal. tank is planted. I've been kind of struggling with the plants lately but they're looking better and I don't think there will be a problem with them. I'm even hoping that the non-bio filter will put a little more ammonia on the plants' plate faster. Another hope I have is that my tank will again go nitrateless, which are the end result of the bacterial Nitrogen cycle. Plants love to assimilate ammonia and it's good for them and less of it floating around is good for the tank too. Anyway, I grow verbose. Please reply if you have any thoughts or comments.

That's it.

Last edited by equatics; 08-09-2012 at 07:36 PM.
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post #17 of 24 Old 08-11-2012, 04:37 PM
twocents i was reading some old posts where you were going to get a diatom filter,did you get one & how did it work?
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post #18 of 24 Old 09-18-2012, 09:15 AM
adding to the fire I guess.

I've found that the best combo seems to be to use both a canister AND a power filter AND a sponge filter.

I've got a 29 gallon over-stocked tetra tank in which I keep all my little neon and neon-like fish as well as pristellas and some varieties of bloodfin. Its got fifty some fish in it and thus needs a little more than a HOB in terms of biology per gallon flow so I splurged on an EFU-45 JBJ unit. They are noisy like a standpipe but do a great job.

I use a one liter intake pre-filter sponge on the EFU then rout its output up into the impeller of an Emperor 280. This lets me put the carbon/purigen/hypersorb/etc and final 50 micron filtration in the HOB and never have to handle the insides of my canister.

Its a lot of filtration capacity for a tank that's also planted, but it works great and is very predictable.
The bottom is one box laterite and a 24lbs bag of fluorite sand capped with black volcanic sand.
Makes a very happy tank and a very easy maintenance plan.

So that's my sponge filter, canister filter and HOB arrangement. I really advise it for its ease of use and general reliability. Its like an enormous version of the rear-wall filtration you find in bio-cubes with the added benefit of what each system brings to the table. If I ran a bigger tank with more fish I'd likely add the HOT 250 on the front end instead of the pre-filter sponge, but I really don't like having tanks I can't move on my own.

I could probably get away with a Fluval 106 and a Penguin 150 return... but I like the beefy equipment. Never loose a fish to weak hardware.

I guess in the end the whole filtration question comes down to "what won't kill my fish, what will let me sleep at night, what is too much?"

A good one liter sponge is equivalent the entire under gravel system of a properly maintained 55g with under gravel... except easier to maintain and it doesn't bother plants.

About 1200ml of soft fired clay type media in a canister, or 2 liters of hard fired ceramic media does the same job but can take longer to establish. This because the sponge can grow cycle bacteria directly on the caught waste and canister media is designed for flow-pass. The difference between the soft and hard media is that the bacteria can sustain themselves on the calcium from the soft media.

Hard plastic media like bio-balls and pin-balls as well as cheato and other surfaces like the blue thing in Aqueon filters do work, but the ratio on them is so poor as to be pointless. I can replace two cubic yards of the best bio-balls with four liters of Hagen bio-max and a good protein skimmer.

By far your best fresh water option is plants.
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post #19 of 24 Old 09-18-2012, 12:08 PM
It's interesting 'speak' of how a sponge filter may be better than a HOB. I suggest that not all HOB's are created equally. A cartridge type HOB does have limitations.

As food for thought, my AquaClear 70 HOB is filled with sponge material so we'd have to call it a HOB-sponge filter.

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post #20 of 24 Old 09-18-2012, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LADY K View Post
twocents i was reading some old posts where you were going to get a diatom filter,did you get one & how did it work?

sorry this reply is late: I haven't been to the forum in a while.
I do have the diatom filter: use it for water polishing.
Only drawback is once it accumalates detritus it almost has to be run each day in order to keep the water(in the filter) from going nasty. Does not seem to harm the fish, just smells. It does a very good job in clearing the water.


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