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Tank upgrade recommendations

This is a discussion on Tank upgrade recommendations within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Andrew, I would have to disagree with you about the sponges. I have been involved in many trials and research dealing with the use ...

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Tank upgrade recommendations
Old 11-08-2006, 05:43 PM   #11
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Andrew, I would have to disagree with you about the sponges. I have been involved in many trials and research dealing with the use of sponges, and even in a planted tank, they are a good culture for bacteria. Packing a filter with good media is important, and the sponge is media. The bacteria needs surface area in which to cling and reporduce, and a sponge is one of the best resources for this. Other biomedias are designed to offer the same thing, surface area... but you won't find them more porous than a good sponge.
Also, as I had pointed out before, the larger the filter the more space for media, so long as water flow isn't too strong for the fish and plants in the aquarium.
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Old 11-08-2006, 06:48 PM   #12
well pourous is only half the neccessity of a good surface for bacteria to culture on, a sponge has a minute surface area compared to the different kinds of siporax or ceramic pourous tubes, you are far better off packing your filter with this than sponges.
I saw a brilliant comparison when i first started in the aquarium hobby, an internal filter stipped out with one large pond circular ceramic stone had a larger surface area than a external cannister filled with sponges= true story, not sure on the size of the filter but app true.
Its all about utilising the space in your filter. Personally i would only recommed sponges for mechanical filtration if you needed it and in a planted tank you shouldnt.

Of course we all have different opinions in here based on our experiences. No one individual is right like no individual is wrong- we are all successful in our own right. In the end sometimes you just have to live with the decisions you make when setting up your tank and making the best of what you can.

So to the person who started this thread i hope your filter continues to work out for you.
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Old 11-08-2006, 07:22 PM   #13
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Andrew, what about the other role the sponge plays in filtering out larger particles? Surface area alone is not sufficient, especially if this tank is already noted for having issues with clogged filter/media. The sponge is something to easily rinse in dirty tank water to preserve bacteria, and then replac to help collect solid waste so it isn't being recirculated through the tank. That is one of the reasons I suggest the sponge, you have biological and mechanical all wrapped up in one.
As you said, there are many opinions in such a matter, but I don't want the important points to be missed, had to make sure that I covered all of the bases.
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Old 11-08-2006, 10:31 PM   #14
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I have to agree with Dawn re: the sponges. In the aquaclear hang-on-back filters, there is lots of room for filter media. Just recently I started using 2 sponges with one bag of activated carbon, and the tank water is crystal clear. It is a good idea to use a filter slightly larger than the one recommended for the tank (i.e. I use an aquaclear 70 in my 46 gallon)
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Old 11-13-2006, 01:57 PM   #15
you should change your carbon on a regular basis if you want to use it, if you use it too long it will release all of the toxins that you have trapped.

You only need carbon if your using tapwater or removing chemical treatments from the aquarium water.

Well i inly speak from my ex[erience with sponges, if you can afford it upgrade to siporax, vastly superior you will notice a difference!
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Old 11-13-2006, 07:48 PM   #16
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I have to agree about the sponges because I use two of them on both of my AC HOB 20 and have never had an ammonia spike. The bottom sponge blocks the debirs and the top one serves as an extra biological filter for any bypass.

One thing on ceramic media, biochem stars and all the others hghly pourous media out there. If you don't have a media to remove debris then once the highly pourous media becomes clogged and your beneficial bacteira can't get oxygen they die and you have a huge ammonia spike.

Heavily planted tanks don't need ceramic media in the first place and the sponges serve a more valuable role of removing debris and keeping the water clear.

Peronally, I will be buying filters on size larger from now on and I will have both sponges and biochem stars in them just for redundancy but I will never run an HOB without a sponge or other debri removing media.
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:27 PM   #17
Ok, where to begin...

A picture isn't possible, as I can't for the life of me find the dang USB cable for my camera. I bought a test kit, and after testing I have found that both ammonia and nitrites = 0, nitrate = 40 (after seeing this I did a water change), ph = 7.2, alkalinity = 120, hardness = 150 (very hard). The only thing that is out of whack is the hardness, but from my research mollies love it (most of my tank is comprised of mollies). Right now I just have the cartridge that came with the Penguin 100 and a piece of the sponge from the old filter to help with maintain the bacteria (seems to have worked).

As for what the old filter was clogging with, I don't really know what to call it. Seemed to be the standard, run of the mill, brown muck. IMO the filter I had wasn't fit for a 5 gallon. It was essentially useless, as the water level was right at the top of the filter cartridge and once it started restricting flow, it just went over.

Since the change I have noticed that the brown algae (or diatoms, not sure which) have pretty much disappeared. The fake rock decoration that my shrimp are so fond of has switched from brown algae to a green strand kind, which if I remember is healthy for aquariums. My aponogeton bulbs have also started to sprout.

I've concluded I'll have to just order the light from the 'net. None of the local fish stores have those kind of bulbs. The bulb is the long kind, connects to the fixture on both ends, and on the bulb itself it says "All Glass Aquarium 15w Hg." I'll order a 25w or once I get a chance to shop around.

The filter I got is rated for 100 gph and handles 20g tanks. Right now I have all bases covered (mechanical, chemical, biological) and I'm hoping the addition of a bio-wheel will help keep things in check.
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:46 PM   #18
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For the green hair algae, check phosphate levels and also watch for a change in it once the bulb has been changed in the light fixture.
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:50 PM   #19
I have yet to get a kit that tests phosphates. That'll be something I order alongside my new lighting. I'd imagine they are high though.
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:52 PM   #20
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Many times we can tell what to test for based on the type of algae growing... and hair algae is noted for phosphate levels and old light bulbs.
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