Filter swap? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-10-2011, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Filter swap?

Hello All, I have a 20g Tank right now which has been up and running for a little over a year now, and the original filter that I had started out with just doesnt seem like its running as well as it should, it is a tetra whisper Ex series. Ive changed the media, taken it apart and cleaned it, and nothing seems to be helping with my problem. I was wondering if I change the entire filtration system, what kind of effects that is going to have on my tank, being as I would be losing alot of the beneficial bacteria that are in the filter media right now. Question#2- I want to upgrade the filtration in my 40 gallon from my aquaclear unit to possibly something like a fluval canister setup, will I have the same potential problems as I could possibly have with the question above? Thanks, Joe
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-11-2011, 12:10 AM
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Sounds like it's time for a new filter unit ... despite maintenance ... they eventually come to an end of their useful life. Not really. No matter what filter you get ... stuff the filter cartridge/pad from your current filters to any new filter ... regardless if it's an HOB or Canister. If you get a canister, just cut up the filter cartridge/pad and stuff it in the canister media baskets. The beneficial bacteria don't care you cut up a pad ... just keep them wet so they don't die as your transferring them.

75g FW Cyprinidae Tank - Running Fluval 404
5 BlackRuby, 4 Albino Tiger, 4 Odessa, 3 Tiger, 2 Green Tiger, 3 Denison, 2 Cherry, 2 Gold, 2 Checkered BARBS + 4 Zebra Danios, 1 Red-tail Shark. Looking to add 4 Five Banded Barbs
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post #3 of 5 Old 08-11-2011, 02:25 AM
Originally Posted by Jmalone View Post
Hello All, I have a 20g Tank right now which has been up and running for a little over a year now, and the original filter that I had started out with just doesnt seem like its running as well as it should, it is a tetra whisper Ex series. Ive changed the media, taken it apart and cleaned it, and nothing seems to be helping with my problem.
Is the water throughput reduced or is it just not filtering as well? Have you pulled and cleaned the impeller?
Often a good coating of bio-slime crud gets in the impeller magnet chamber and slogs things down some.

IF you switch to another filter, you can transfer media from the old filter to the new one, but you said you replaced the media in this filter before w/o incident... the point being that in most established tanks, there is often enough biology throughout the tank (substrate and decor) to compensate for a filter & media change - especially cartridge filters.

For what it's worth, I'm a fan of the AquaClear filter design and I would not consider replacing one with a canister filter on a 40g tank (just my $.02). I'm running AC70's on my 60g.

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post #4 of 5 Old 08-11-2011, 09:03 AM
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On a 20g that has been set up for 2 years there will be far more bacteria in the substrate (and everywhere else for that matter) than in the filter. Replacing the filter should have no impact, unless your tank is overcrowded, or something catastrophic occurs to upset the natural biological balance.

As for filters, if you are replacing, on a 20g I would go with a simple sponge. Fish requiring a water current would mean a HOB or similar, but if the fish are "forest fish" a sponge is more than suitable and less expensive.

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 #5 of 5 Old 08-13-2011, 01:41 AM
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I would recommend an Aquaclear 20 or even a 30 <It can be adjusted down to flow slower and will be there if you ever upgrade and costs roughly 30 dollars or less online is cheapest> There's plenty of room in its basket so you can always cutup the filter cartridge and place the floss filter wadding right into the new filter and viola!. Avoid the filters that use the carbon inside a floss frame style as they are just plain wasteful and force you to keep carbon in your tank that doesn't need to be there all the time. The Aqua clears give you great versatility in choice of media and you can customize it that way to suit your needs. Hang onto the carbon insert that comes with it as the occasional use of them is handy just not necessary 24/7. The sponges in the bottom can easily be rinsed in aquarium water <not in the tank lol> and replaced keeping your bio system intact plus they come with a biomax biomedia pouch that works great to house plenty of biological bacteria. Bang for buck in my opinion they are the best for a Hang on back filter.

Filter cartridges are a waste of money and everytime you change one you force a recycle of your filter <Which is what you cycle not the tank> of course there is bacteria all over your tank so the impact is minimal in a healthy aquarium.

Oh yeah and another good point is that with these Aquaclears the mechanical filter sponge at the bottom can be replaced with a new one, and the old sponge is then added to a new filter and you have an instant bio system going! The older filter has the biomax pouch already loaded up so that tank will remain intact. There's no impact when setting up a new aquarium which really saves time. The new filter will have the jump start and it's biomax media will fill up shortly after.
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