Power Filter Question - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 28 Old 10-07-2007, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Power Filter Question

I swear I posted this question last night, but now that I think about it I posted it in the wrong forum. I can't find my post anymore so it was probably deleted. Anyhow...

I have a Top Fin Power Filter 30. It does not have a bio-wheel and they do not make a bio-wheel to be attached to this filter. I also do not intend to purchase another filter purely for a bio-wheel and the only reason I have this filter is because it came with the fish tank starter kit. Anyways, my question is that this filter claims biological filtration, which would be the cartridge contained inside the filter. Now here is my question, when the cartridge is replaced then filter does not act as a biological filter until the bacteria populate the new cartridge, right? Is it in my best interest to get a sponge to attach to the end of the filter intake? I assume it should be a quite porous sponge so it does not restrict water flow into the filter and burn out the motor.

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post #2 of 28 Old 10-07-2007, 11:02 AM
JouteiMike's Avatar
Does it only have one cartridge inside the filter? Usually biological filtration cartridges are separate from the mechanical, and are placed after so the water goes through it last. They require little if no maintenance; replacing it wouldn't be a good idea.

Do you have any extra room in the filter? This way you can add a sponge, or bioballs/ceramic rings in a pouch.
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post #3 of 28 Old 10-07-2007, 11:13 AM
mHeinitz57's Avatar
I used to work for petsmart (topfin is their brand) and I would NEVER suggest this filter to anyone for this very reason. The cartridges are the same exact thing as the whisper biobags and all it is is a sponge bag with carbon inside. Bacteria will colonize on this sponge but as soon as you throw the cartridge out, you throw the bacteria away too. Whisper filters had the same issue so they made a new design with a smaller black sponge that sites in front of the biobag to colonize bacteria on. This new black sponge is meant to never be replaced. Unfortunately, I don't think they sell those anywhere and if they did, I don't know if they'd fit on the topfin filters as well. What I used to tell customers in this:

WHen you replace the filter, put the new bobag/cartridge in and then take the carbon out of the old one and place the sponge part back into the filter behind the new cartridge. That way bacteria should "transfer" from the old cartridge to the new one. There is still a problem though in that you really should rinse your cartridges once a week to remove debris but that will also harm bacteria.

The short story is...it's a poorly designed filter. Its very economical and makes for a cheap kit but I would seriously consider upgrading. Also, if you got the topfin 30 then you bought a 29 gallon kit and most people would actually go with a 50+ gallon filter on a tank that size. I personally suggest the penguin biowheel filters and i'll teach you a good petsmart trick...

Petsmart matches the prices of their own website. Generally the website prices are cheaper to compensate for shipping so larger, heavier objects are considerably cheaper. Find the product you are looking for on their website, print the page showing the model and price of the product, bring it in to the store and get a good discount (p.s...I saved $80 on my canister filter doing this.)

I know you said you didnt want to buy a new filter but basically you have an underpowered, poorly designed one right now. The other option would be to buy a second smaller filter and put that on the tank with your topfin 30. Then, just stagger the times you change filter cartridges so you keep as much bacteria in the tank as possible at all times.

Hope that helps!

Mike H
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post #4 of 28 Old 10-07-2007, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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LOL...to be honest I wasn't even entirely sure if I had actually posted it or if it was even this forum. It wasn't a big deal to just re-post it so all is well. I think it is kinda funny even :)

So the sponge at the end of the intake tube isn't an option? It sucks that I bought this kit then, I could have gotten higher quality equipment for just a little more. I'll have to take the carbon out and put the bag back in after the new filter as recommended. Also, I have a small bioload at the moment, so maybe I'll get a new filter when I start adding more fish.
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post #5 of 28 Old 10-07-2007, 08:51 PM
mHeinitz57's Avatar
a sponge at the end of the intake tube would collect debris and waste before it even gets to the filter cartridge. You would have to clean this off a lot more and that would kill off the bacteria. You're best bet is to have some kind of flat sponge in front of the bio-bag/topfin cartridge. There isn't a lot of room to work with but go buy some pourous, hard sponge and slice it to a thickness that will allow you to slip it in the filter. (when I say "in front of the cartridge" I mean the water should pass through your cartridge first and then onto the bio-sponge.) For a good sponge to use that will be wide enough, I suggest the RENA canister sponges which they sell at petsmart. Rena makes 2 different sponges, one that is more pourous and one that is finer for collecting smaller debris. Get the one with larger pores so that it doesn't collect as much dirt. Then slice it and trim it down to fit and you basically made yourself a Whisper power filter. For the stuff you got in the kit, you got a good deal so don't be discouraged.

Mike H
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post #6 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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How fast do bacteria die when not provided with oxygenated water?

I turn my filter off to feed my fish, so its off for about 5 minutes usually...if I leave it on the food drops to the bottom too fast. Will the bacteria die within this short time frame? The water ought to be carrying a little bit of O2...
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post #7 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 08:13 AM
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no you should be fine. Most pet stores turn their systems off while feeding fish as well and that is often for 30+ minutes at a time.

Mike H
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post #8 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 11:32 AM
Unrulyevil's Avatar
while we are talking about filters and stuff, what are good filters for the 29g tank. Not only how good they work but also how much electricity they eat every month?

also.... I turn off my filter with bio wheel at night on my 5 g tank. would that kill bacteria in bio wheel?
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post #9 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 11:45 AM
beetlebz's Avatar
honestly the power consumption of my filters is the last thing on my mind, between my computers, tv, and lights on my fish tanks. I cant imagine it would be a monstrous amount.

as for a good filter, i just bought a penguin 200 biowheel filter and love it. if i had to do it over again i would spend the extra 10 bucks on the emperor, to be honest.

as for turning your filter off at night, i would imagine its doing some damage if not completely killing your bacteria. im sure someone with more know that I have can comment but i would think that would seriously hurt your nitrifying bacteria, especially if your biowheel is drying out!

Dedicated, converted, lowes / home depot bulb buyer!
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post #10 of 28 Old 10-08-2007, 01:24 PM
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I agree with Beetlebz. Turning off your filter at night not a good thing. It would seem you're stopping the flow of oxygen and water to your bacteria. Anyone know how long a biowheel can be stopped before the bacteria dies off?

Why are you turning it off? Is it in your bedroom and makes too much noise?
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