New 50g tank setup...few issues/questions with filter...
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New 50g tank setup...few issues/questions with filter...

This is a discussion on New 50g tank setup...few issues/questions with filter... within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> (See previous thread here: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-aquarium/sand-filter-fish-question-67856/ ) I'm munkiwingz other half :p. We took the advice in that thread and went with the Rena XP2. ...

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New 50g tank setup...few issues/questions with filter...
Old 04-25-2011, 12:52 PM   #1
 
New 50g tank setup...few issues/questions with filter...

(See previous thread here: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-aquarium/sand-filter-fish-question-67856/)

I'm munkiwingz other half :p. We took the advice in that thread and went with the Rena XP2. We also purchased Carib Sea's Instant Aquarium sand.

We got the tank setup a couple of days ago and here is what we ran into.

First, everything was going smoothly. The filter was running quietly and all was well. Within 24 hours, it would appear as if there was air in the line as it would make these noises then spew out a whole bunch of air bubbles from the spray bar. With that, the tank seemed very cloudy. This could very well have been from the bubbles, however.

I shut the filter off and proceeded to clean it. Further more, I did what you can find in this (http://youtu.be/jyF4KFCMzZ8) video. The filter seemed even quieter after that and my flow looked pretty good as well.

However, I'm now slightly concerned for a few reasons.
  1. I have read a few times online that people do not recommend using the microfilter pad as it restricts flow too much. I then heard horror stories that it can clog the filter, thus burning out the motor/impeller. Is this the suggested method? Or should I be running this filter?
  2. I also read that people do not fully recommend all of the Rena-branded filtration media but instead use Ehiem's, etc. Below is my filter media layout (top to bottom). Any suggestions on how I can modify this for better operation...I'm all ears!
  3. About 24 hours after I cleaned the filter due to the air bubbles, it once again spewed out air bubbles! However, it has only done this once and has been fine since. Is there anything else I can check or modify? Do you recommend filling the basket with water before putting the motor assembly back on? Or let it siphon water in?
  4. I also read that I should get rid of the Rena hose clamps and purchase better ones as the Rena clamps could be letting air in the tubes. Would simple zip ties work? Or should I grab hose/worm clamps from Home Depot?

Canister Filtration Media Layout

========
Basket 1:
Microfilter Pad
Crystal Bag
---------------
10 Biochem Stars
========
Basket 2:
1x 30ppi foam
1x 20 ppi foam
========

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Last edited by jnick; 04-25-2011 at 12:55 PM..
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Old 04-25-2011, 01:20 PM   #2
 
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In a new filter, or one that is taken apart and rinsed/cleaned, it is common to have little pockets of air down among the media and in the pads. This will produce the noise you describe, and the air bubbles will come out with the water flow into the tank. I have some of this usually for a few hours after rinsing my filters. Sometimes it occurs a few times after the water change too, as the water lowering causes some air to get inside the filter. It is normal, not a problem. If it clears naturally, it will settle down and be quiet, as yours is now.

The video is one way to do it. What I prefer is filling the canister with water from a pail after I have rinsed everything and put it back together, and before attaching the motor head unit. I fill it to almost the top, so the motor head will go on without squirting water all over, then connect the hose unit. Turning the power on usually starts the filter without having to prime it. Some air will normally be in the filter. Shaking the canister a bit after filling it and before attaching the motor and hoses will sometimes cause this air to rise to the surface and it will come out at once, rather than in stages.

Now to your numbered questions.

1. I assume the microfilter pad is one that came with the Rena XP, it is the white pad? [I'm terrible with names]. It is important, as it is a main source of particulate removal and you probably will not have truly clear water without it. Eheims have this last filter pad too. Monitor the filter, and once you know the period between cleanings, you're set. My Rena XP3 on my 115g needs rinsing about every 6 weeks, my Eheims go twice as long. You don't want the flow slowing. Rinsing the media more often than may be necessary is better than not often enough, both for the filtration aspect but also the life of the filter.

2. I use Fluval's media, only because it is much less expensive than Eheim or Rena media. I use Fluval media in my Eheims and Rena. The ceramic disks go in the first basket (at the bottom), the pads in the last (top) basket. If there is a middle basket [there is on my Rena XP3, but probably because it is larger] the bio rock material, here I use Fluval's BioMax, Eheim makes EhfiSubstrat I think it is called, same stuff but 4 times the cost, or you can use lava rock. Not important in planted tanks.

3. I answered this above.

4. I've not heard of this. Mine work fine, I have had this Rena running for 22 months now with no problems.

Byron.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:27 PM   #3
 
Thank you very much for the reply!

I only have two baskets, however, I do have a separator for the top basket making three compartments. Are you saying that you moved the grey-ish black foam pads to your top basket then the white pad on top of that? What about the crystal pack that you have to rinse out? Did you replace that with fluval media as well?

Thanks!
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Old 04-25-2011, 03:05 PM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnick View Post
Thank you very much for the reply!

I only have two baskets, however, I do have a separator for the top basket making three compartments. Are you saying that you moved the grey-ish black foam pads to your top basket then the white pad on top of that? What about the crystal pack that you have to rinse out? Did you replace that with fluval media as well?

Thanks!
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Have to think now... I have my Rena different from what they suggest. And I have 3 baskets, it is the larger model. So the ceramic disks in the bottom with a pad on top (I think), then the basket with the bio max which you won't have (isn't needed anyway), then the basket with 4 pads, a divider plate, then the white pad. Pretty sure this is how mine is set up.

That crystal pack thing i did use for the first week, then I removed it. I don't like chemical filtration with plants, and I tried it as they said it would "polish" the water and of course a new tank is always a bit cloudy. Not sure it did anything, frankly, but it came out into the garbage after a week.
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:22 PM   #5
 
Byron,

If you don't mind, could you link to some of the FluVal/other media you use? I just want to make sure I do this right. I'm strating to get bummed that I spent all of this money on the filter and the water is still cloudy after four-ish days of use.

I went to the local petsmart then drove cross-county to petco. Neither of them seemed to have the ceramic rings or the like. The only things I found was the biomax (small white cylinders with a whole through the center?) and some type of clarity media. Any help is appreciated!! I want to make sure that the tank is stable before I begin to migrate the fish!

Thank you again for all of your help!

[EDIT] -- Here is what I saw today:

Bio-Max and X-Phosphate Remover

Are either of those what you run?

Last edited by jnick; 04-25-2011 at 09:27 PM..
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Old 04-25-2011, 10:19 PM   #6
 
Also, right now I do NOT have live plants. We are using plastic/silk plants for the time being. Because of this, should we be using something more than just 20/30ppi foam, bio-stars/ceramic rings and a polishing pad?

Thanks again!!
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:00 AM   #7
 
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I believe the sand that was used for substrate could be cause of cloudy water if it was not rinsed well before using.Same goes for any and all media.
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Old 04-26-2011, 10:57 AM   #8
 
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I concur with 1077. Any or all of the things mentioned can contribute to cloudiness, and this is absolutely normal in a new tank. I also experience slight cloudiness after every filter cleaning, and this lasts for a day or two up to a week or even two weeks, depending upon the aquarium. Each aquarium has a unique biological makeup, which is why isolating this or that can sometimes be difficult. Generalities are just that, generalities.

The Bio-Max is the biological filtration media. It performs the exact same function as the Rena Bio-Stars. The idea is that these products have very large surface areas due to their shape and/or porousness, and bacteria colonize it by the thousands. In well-planted tanks this is not as significant because the plants assimilate the majority of ammonia. Without plants, it is beneficial to increase surface area for bacteria in the filter media. However, bacteria will also colonize any surface covered by water that has a regular water flow bringing oxygen.

The ceramic rings are called "Pre-Filter" by Fluval, here's a link:
Fluval Pre-Filter Media

Eheim, Rena and Fluval canisters all employ these as the first media through which the water flows, and the idea is to remove larger debris at this stage so it does not clog the finer pads further along. They are simply ceramic, and never need replacing, just rinsing when the filter is "cleaned." I use Fluval's simply because they are (where I live) about half the cost of the other two, and all are identical.

Assuming from your post that live plants are probably intended later, just set up the filter as they direct. This will ensure good bacteria colonization initially which is most important. When plants are added, this will not harm them. Plants are actually faster than bacteria at grabbing ammonia/ammonium.

Byron.
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:22 PM   #9
 
Thanks so much 1077 and Byron!

As far as the Pre-Filter media goes, am I understanding this right that it goes in the bottom most basket BEFORE any foam pads? The Rena Instructions indicate that the 20ppi and 30ppi be the first media that touches the water. Should I be putting these ceramic rings first, then use a separator for the pads?

Thanks!
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:04 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnick View Post
Thanks so much 1077 and Byron!

As far as the Pre-Filter media goes, am I understanding this right that it goes in the bottom most basket BEFORE any foam pads? The Rena Instructions indicate that the 20ppi and 30ppi be the first media that touches the water. Should I be putting these ceramic rings first, then use a separator for the pads?

Thanks!
Yes.

I had to dig out my instruction book for the Rena, and I went through an extensive exchange with another member last fall on setting up a Rena XP3. I have done it differently, following the Eheim method. The ceramic disks go first, for reasons I mentioned previously. I just used one box I think, then the divider, then the basket with Bio-Max [not in your XP2], then the basket with the 4 pads as they suggest, etc.
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