Originally Posted by Christople
I meant while the tank is establishing sorry
I understood and don't discount the value of plants in an eco system, especially a somewhat closed system...but I have a plan.
Jumping back into this hobby again with both feet and eyes wide open, I've been studying up some regarding filtration - both fresh and salt water. I was surprised to see sump filters, protein skimmers, trickle/drip filters, algae filters...
I was also somewhat surprised at the on-going controversy over Under Gravel Filters (UGF). One kid on the web, professed they were the worst filter ever invented...never should have been invented. He discounted that they've been used, at least by some, successfully for like 40 years.
The UGF does bio-filtration very well, but comes with a caveat. Since water is being drawn down through the gravel, especially depending on gravel size, a fair amount of uneaten food can quickly be out of reach of the fish and will decay along with fish waste. If religious gravel cleaning is not done, the bed becomes a nitrate factory. With neglect, in time the bed will plug and water will not rise in the tubes as before. O2 will deplete and water will foul. Powerheads can just make this worse. Reverse flow can be better, and has some fans, but also has detractors.
My new 60g tank will have 2 HOB power filters. One cartridge type for easy mechanical
(and slight [carbon] chemical
) filtration and one dedicated to bio-filtration
. The AquaClear 70 filter I bought is well suited for bio-filtration. It incorporates a sponge (intended as mechanical) and by design, the chamber will house a mesh sack of activated carbon and a mesh sack of ceramic bio-media. I plan not to use the carbon in this filter and instead, expand the amount of bio-media (not sure exactly what yet). I will cover the inlet tube end with fine nylon mesh and leave it's length short to discourage solid waste from entering. This filter should only require servicing as required to ensure proper impeller operation and I expect that from time to time, the sponge will require replacing relative to flow output. Also, the flow control will be cut back to allow a slower filtration through the bio-media.
As mentioned, the other filter will be small conventional cartridge type power filter. Right now I'm using my AquaTech 5-15, which one might say is way under size, although it sure moves a lot of water. I may eventually opt for a larger one of similar type, but I'm not sure*. Now I may rinse the cartridge weekly to remove any solids, but monthly I think it will just get tossed and a new one installed with no worry about biology...cause that's taken care of in the other filter.
I believe this ensures a high level of cost effective filtration with far less maintenance than say a canister filter (although a canister filter similarly dedicated to bio-filtration would work very well too - I'm just think a HOB is easier to manage/monitor).
*It seems like there's a notion that in order to get good filtration in a tank, we need to have big powerful filter flows to move lots of water - more water through a filter means more filtration....right?
I'm not buying. What if we move water slower, but filter better?
Better still, look how our (at least well and spring) water is filtered by slowly percolating down through the soil, sand and gravel. Would the water be as pure if it was pushed through there like a fire hose.
Sometimes less is more.