Help with setup
So I am thinking about setting up a brackish water tank for mudskippers and archer fish/puffers. Just want to make sure I understand some things about filtration.
Doing some research, I think what I want is to have the tank on a stand, with a standpipe drilled through the bottom. That would drip by gravity into a wet/dry (if I have the terminology correct) where it would drip through some mechanical filter stuff, then when that section of the sump fills, it will spill over into another section for biological filtration, then it would spill over into a space where there would be a heater and a pond pump to pump the water back up into the tank. Sound correct?
And another thing, which I think has been my problem whenever I have set up tanks in the past. If it was set up the way I described above, I would periodically clean the mechanical filter, but leave the biological media alone, even though it looks covered in "scum" (for lack of the correct term)?
In the past, my tanks start out well, but I was then cleaning out the filters completely, like they were brand new, and the fish would die relatively soon after that. Was it because I was killing/getting rid of the biological filtration?
Help or advice would be greatly appreciated
Essentially your sump order is correct although most often the mechanical media is in a drip tray with holes relative to the flow rate so the water rains down over and drips through the the bio-balls (or even nylon pot scrubbers). This is wet/dry and is coveted by many as the BB is subjected to increased oxygen. Then there can also be submerged bio-media and finally a chamber with heaters and pump.
If/when submerged bio-media gets dirty or slimed, it's a good idea to clean in tank or conditioned water to ensure that pores remain open.
The problem you describe is a newbie calamity. Beneficial bacteria, especially in a newer system, may predominantly live in the filter. If you remove media or clean in (chlorinated) tap water, then BB is killed off and disaster can follow. This becomes less of an issue in an established tank since BB takes up residence in the substrate and to a lesser degree on the decor. However, we should still be gentle when cleaning filters lest we might set in motion an unnecessary mini-cycle.
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