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advise me, canister filter
just got a new cannister filter, 2nd hand....
just a question really,
what media can i put into it for the best filtration and water quality?
my tank size is 36x12x18 and has live plants....
Is your avatar photo your tank? Looks very nice.
You mention this is for a planted tank, so my coments are geared to planted aquaria. Canister filters (I have three) usually have compartments/buckets for three or more types of media. In the bottom one (which is the first one the water from the tank passes through, just in case your canister is made differently from the Eheim and Rena I have) you can use the ceramic discs or rings; it is intended to trap the larger particles to avoid clogging the fine media at the end. Eheim make these, as does Fluval and Rena. The Fluval are the least expensive (by half or more) and exactly the same so I would buy Fluval's. Eheim filters have (or are meant to have) a blue coarse pad at this point to trap further particles. The Rena does not have this, so depending upon what make you have, you may or may not need it.
The next basket (may be one or two depending upon the filter size) can contain biological media like Fluval's BioMax. Eheim and Rena make similar media, but again it is double the price. There is varying views on whether this stage is needed or not; I use BioMax. Some planted tank aquarists use no media (except the final stag pads). Other media can be used at this stage, like peat. The filter manufacturers will recommend all sorts of unnecessary stuff at this stage--carbon, ammonia remover/detoxifier, nitrate remover or whatever. I do not recommend any of these in a planted tank [will explain momentarily].
The last stage is the fine filter media which is floss or wool, a pad if you can find one to fit the filter or you can make one from regular filter wool. I prefer the manufactured pads because they will fit the space exactly and avoid any water getting around it, so this would depend upon your make and model of filter.
In a planted aquarium, the plants do the major filtration work. They need ammonium in order to photosynthesize (grow). The ammonia produced by the fish largely changes to ammonium in acidic water and the plants just grab it. In basic/alkaline water, the plants grab the ammonia and internally convert it to ammonium. It is now believed by some that plants even use nitrite this way, converting it back into ammonium. In a reasonably thickly planted tank, there is more biological filtration by the plants than the bacteria, since it is now understood that plants can grab the ammonia (and presumably nitrite) before some of the bacteria. This is why in a planted aquarium, the third product of the nitrification cycle, nitrates, will be minimal.
The plants will ensure clean water; the mechanical filter is where you get it clear, so the more fine media pads it goes through, the clearer it will be. This stage is simply removing very small particulate matter from the water as it passes through. The other job of the filter is to gently (in a planted tank) circulate the water in the aquarium and through the filter media.
that was everything i needed to know :D
im going to get it up and running tomorow,
and too answer your question, yes that tank in my avatar is one of my tanks,
i have 4 tanks at the moment :)
thanks again byron
Hi Byron, as I see you are the one with a lot of experience in planted thanks, I bought a eheim 2217 canister filter but still trying to select the right filter media for this canister. I was thinking of buying 1" bio balls iinstead of rhe Ehein Substrat, is that a good idea or are the bio balls something unique for wet/dry filters??
Plants filter ammonia and nitrite from the water far better than any filter media we could use. Plants require ammonium, which comes from ammonia; in acidic water, ammonia changes into ammonium and the plants use it; in basic/alkaline water, the plants take the amonia directly and internally convert it to ammonium so they can use it. It is now believed by many that they can also use nitrite by converting it back into ammonium. Nitrate, the third stage in the nitrification cycle, is always low in a planted aquarium [assuming everything is in balance of course], and it used to be thought that this was because plants used it, but it is now known that it is the ammonium they use first, and nitrates are low because very little ammonia/nitrite is converted to nitrate by nitrospira/nitrobacter bacteria. Plants can also use nitrate by converting it back into ammonium, but it is my understanding that this conversion is the last one they use because it is easier for them to convert ammonia and nitrite. The plants use most of these before the bacteria can get it. So biological filtration becomes far less important in a planted aquarium, but is still essential in an aquarium wth no plants.
Having said that, I do have biiological filter material in my canister filters on all three tanks. And because this is not critical, I use the least expensive. Fluval's Biomax will "reduce' ammonia and nitrite while providing a porous surface for bacteria to colonize. I stock my tanks heavy wth fish, so for me this is sort of like additional security just in case. The plants in my aquaria are certainly thriving, so I am not at all concerned about ammonia and nitrite--which have always measured "0" from the first day of any of my aquaria--and nitrates have always been at 5ppm.
I originally used the Eheim product in my Eheim canisters, but now use Fluval's instead because it is a fraction of the cost; I'm in Canada, so in Canadian dollars, it cost me $40 to fill the basket with Fluval Biomax, as opposed to $90 if I used the Eheim product. As they do much the same thing, and it isn't really necessary anyway, why waste money.
The important job of the canister filter is two-fold: to circulate the water gently (unless one has fish requiring stronger current), and circulate it through the media to remove suspecded particulate matter chiefly via the ceramic discs and pads. In a fairly heavily planted aquarium, nothing else is required. I would use the ceramic discs in the first basket (the first one water passes through), with the blue pad, then something like Biomax in the second, then the final white pad(s). If you wanted peat filtration for whatever reason, this could go in the second basket instead of Biomax.
Hi Byron comong back to the filter media you use in your canister filter I want to ask dethe following:
I have de eheim 2217 canister filter and acording to the manufactures information the drawn that the lower stage are ceramics rings or disc, then a blue sponge, a biological substrat that you replace with fluval bio rings and then the with filter pad on the top.
Donīt you uuse the first stage of ceramics disc that are suposed to funcion as water distribution and coarse filter material?
As I understood the biological ceramic rings go above de blue filter pad and before de white filter pad o final filter pad.
As I understood the filtering sequence is as follows
1) ceramic rings or disc for coarse filtering and water distribution
2) blue filter pad
3) biological substrat or fluval bio rings
4) white filter pad for fine filtering
5) carbon filter pad if needed
What do you use as first station or coarse filtering?
I bought the fluval bio rings following your recomendation because your experience, but I'm still missing tha first coarse filtering media
The Fluval is called Bio-Max, not rings, just in case; they also make ceramic discs and I use those in the first chamber, again they are less expensive than the Eheim ceramic discs.
Where can I find or under what name can I find the first stage ceramic discs or rings, all the ones I found on Ebay seem to be bio rings for biological filtration.
Can I use something else such as a kind of gravel with a big grain size, if you have some names or makes it should be great, tnx again
Eheim makes a near-identical product, can't remember its name, but as I mentioned they are much more expensive than Fluval.
I also have an Eheim 2217. Great filter.
Mine was also bought used. Once you have bought all the media for it, its a cheap filter to run.
I have probably only replaced the pads a couple times in the two years the filter has been up and running.
I have never replaced the ceramic rings or biological section, they always come clean when I wash them in old tank water.
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