Filter question - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 4 Old 07-23-2011, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Filter question

I have read the articles and many of the posts about starting up a planted fresh water tank set up. I have always used fake plants, but I am making the jump to real plants (I have a list based upon articles and posts on this forum).

I have also read about the pros and cons of various filter set ups. My current filter system for my 40 gallon tank (5 clown loaches, 1 neon tetra, 2 red eye tetras, and 3 pristella tetras [I am looking to add more tetras]) is a Fluval 305. I have sponges and BioMax in it. I use activated carbon. I have also used Phos-Zorb and Nitra-Zorb. My fish are happy. Today's tank parameters are pH 6.5, GH 8 (looking to bring this down with water changes), KH 0, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 2.5, and phos 0. Temp is running at 76 F.

If I put in real plants, do I need to use the Nitra-Zorb and the carbon?

I have medium sized gravel (no sand) that is a mix of moderate to dark brown color ~3 inches or so in depth. The fish have lots of hiding places.
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post #2 of 4 Old 07-23-2011, 09:15 AM
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I would remove the chemical filter media, being the carbon, phoszorb and nitrazorb, when you put live plants in. Plants use the substances (nutrients) this media is removing.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 4 Old 07-23-2011, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. The plants will keep the phos level under control in addition to regular water changes?

Will the water quality be OK without the carbon?

I noticed that the carbon I had bought had Zeolite in it. If I don't use it, then will I have an ammonia problem? I have read that in a tank with a pH <7.0, the ammonia gets converted.

Without the additional stuff in my filter, all I will have will be sponges and the BioMax. Anything else needed for the fish and the plants?
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post #4 of 4 Old 07-23-2011, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by JGordon View Post
Thanks. The plants will keep the phos level under control in addition to regular water changes?

Will the water quality be OK without the carbon?

I noticed that the carbon I had bought had Zeolite in it. If I don't use it, then will I have an ammonia problem? I have read that in a tank with a pH <7.0, the ammonia gets converted.

Without the additional stuff in my filter, all I will have will be sponges and the BioMax. Anything else needed for the fish and the plants?
The plants (assuming there are enough, we're talking about planting the tank, not just a stem or two) will handle the ammonia easily. And nitrates will be almost zero. Unless phosphates are high in your tap water, this will be handled easily as well.

Carbon adsorbs substances that the plants will either assimilate (meaning as nutrients) or "take up" (meaning as toxins). Here as with the ammonia, etc, provided the tank is not way overstocked, the plants will handle things.

My canister filters on the larger tanks only hold the pads, ceramic disks and rock material (biomax, lavarock, whatever). On my smaller tanks, up to 50g, I only use a sponge filter with no media. Plants are nature's filters, and they are better at doing the job.

You may need fertilizer for the plants, depending upon fish (type and number), fish food, and tap water. Minerals (nutrients) occur in or from all these, and can be sufficient. Most of us find a complete liquid fertilizer helps. I use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement. Once a week, maybe twice, is all you need.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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