How Much Filtration is Too Much?
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How Much Filtration is Too Much?

This is a discussion on How Much Filtration is Too Much? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Just sitting here on the forum on a slow night pondering things. A question came to mind that I have never seen discussed. We ...

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How Much Filtration is Too Much?
Old 01-26-2008, 02:08 AM   #1
How Much Filtration is Too Much?

Just sitting here on the forum on a slow night pondering things. A question came to mind that I have never seen discussed. We have had many posts on filtration. They all ask pretty much the same thing, "how much do I need?". Well, the question I propose is, "how much can I get away with in terms of maximum filtration?".

To give an example, I have a 30g tank that has (2)Marineland 660r powerheads rated at 185gph running an undergravel plate in reverse flow. The tank also has an Emperor 400 powerfilter rated at 400gph. That is 770gph total filtration. To break it down even further, the tank is being completely "turned over", by the filtration system, 25.7 times per hour. Now going back to my question, how much is too much?
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Old 01-26-2008, 04:02 AM   #2
willow's Avatar
hmmm,i'm going to put my pennies in(hold on to your hat)
i don't ?think? that you can have too much,each filter will build up
its on coloney of bacteria and feed on the waste that is
being given to it,i wonder if there would not be much though
to go around,so is it really worth it ?
i guess the only thing that would cross my mind is this,
if your water is so clean would that make your fish more suspectable
to germs ?
as in if something contaminated your water,because it is so clean
would that lessen the fishes chances of survival,
like never letting the children get dirty,then they get really ill because
some one sneezed on them ?
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Old 01-26-2008, 09:28 AM   #3
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Hmm. LoL, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the following

You might have too much filtration if.........

If your healthy fish gets stuck to your filter intake, you might have too much filtration.

If a spawning Salmon would be happy in your tank, you might have too much filtration.

If your tank resembles the tumble cycle of your washing machine, you might have too much filtration.
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Old 01-26-2008, 09:33 AM   #4
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My 75 gallon is filtered roughly 15 times an hour...according to the ideal conditions of the filters. Most filters do not come close to their maximum GPH in a realistic aquarium set-up. But for me, I do not think it has to do with the numbers of how many GPH, and how many times your tank is turned over. I think it more so depends on how the water flow is and how it treats your fish. If you see your fish having difficulty swimming a certain direction, or is trying to rest and it constantly being caught in the current, then those are signs that you are over filtering. By simply adjusting the flow rate, you can decrease the speed of the current, yet still use each filter's full biological + mechanical abilities. In my opinion it is a much better alternative than getting rid of a filter all together to reduce the water movement.

I'm all about having multiple filters, I have 3 power and 1 canister on my 75 gallon, and having multiple ones really comes in handy for starting new tanks, and the amount of nitrifying bacteria is only increased. Same principle for heaters too, good to have more than one in case one fails, or you need to set up a hospital tank quickly.


And when you find yourself having trouble locating a new spot for a filter, or if you need a second power strip, then you know you are over-filtering.
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Old 01-26-2008, 02:21 PM   #5
Let's not confuse current with water flow. Pumps can create current and not produce any type of filtration. Is there a magic ratio, in anyone's opinion, that is the optimum for filtration? Smaller tanks are, inherently, harder to maintain than larger more elaborate setups, say 55g and larger. It would make sense that the ratio would be higher for those smaller tanks.

One of my 300g tanks is has 3240gph being filtered at optimum performance. The actual number is probably between 2500-2800gph, calculating at 80% pump efficiency. The rate of filtration in that case is around 8.5x/hr. Like I said before, I have a 30g that is being filtered at a rate of over 25x/hr at maximum perfomance, 20x at 80%. The smaller tank should be filtered heavier due to it's smaller, more confined space.

To add to the list of signs that you have too much filtration, you know you have too much filtration when you gourami is whitewater rafting in you kayak. Or your betta has his face smashed aginstthe front glass of your tank.
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