11-13-2006, 08:27 PM
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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.