Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   one filter or two?? (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/anabantids/one-filter-two-28361/)

brandielissa 09-01-2009 02:59 PM

one filter or two??
 
Hi there I have been given different answers and reasons to this question. I have A 33 gallon tank that is 2 weeks old I have 2 powder blue gourami's 2 pink kissing gouramis 4 different mollys and 2 frogs wondering if piggy backing to filters will help me with the cycles and allow my fish a better survaile rate:)

Thank u in advance:-)

Byron 09-02-2009 01:04 PM

After two weeks you should be in the nitrification cycle. Are the fish you mention in this tank now?

brandielissa 09-02-2009 01:59 PM

yes they are so u think it would be pointless to have e xtra filtration?? also i have seen mention on here about filter current is this bad and how do i stop it?? I also have a bubble wall does this cause A current?? sorry for all the questions I am new to all this :)

Byron 09-02-2009 03:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brandielissa (Post 237304)
yes they are so u think it would be pointless to have e xtra filtration?? also i have seen mention on here about filter current is this bad and how do i stop it?? I also have a bubble wall does this cause A current?? sorry for all the questions I am new to all this :)

Filtration is a complex issue at first, and I will be honest in saying that you will find differing points of view from several of us on this forum (and elsewhere) with respect to "how much" is good or bad. Very generally, the more fish or the larger the fish in an aquarium, the more important is the filtration because many fish or larger fish produce more waste and have a greater impact on what we term the bioload. Put simply, the bioload is the effect fish and invertebrates have on the biological state of the aquarium. A healthy and successful aquarium has a good biological equilibrium, meaning that the fish, plants, bacteria, and invertebrates are in balance. Filtration and cycling are related but are two very different things.

Fish produce ammonia constantly through respiration, and ammonia also occurs naturally from their waste and any biological decomposition (dead plant leaves, dead fish, uneaten fish food left in the tank, etc.). Ammonia is highly toxic to fish but there is a bacteria called nitrosomonas that "feeds" on ammonia and converts it to nitrite. Nitrite is also toxic, but another bacteria called nitrospira (nitrobacter sometimes) feeds on it and converts it to nitrate, which is relatively harmless in normal amounts. Nitrate is removed/diluted through the weekly partial water change.

It takes 5-8 days for nitrosomonas bacteria to establish themselves in a new tank, and once they do and begin producing nitrite the nitrospira bacteria take another 4-7 days (approx) to establish. During this period the fish in the tank are exposed to toxic ammonia and then toxic nitrite (unless there are live plants). Bacteria establish themselves by "colonizing" all surfaces--tank walls, every particle in the gravel, wood, rocks, decorations, and the media in the filter. Until these bacteria are established in sufficient numbers to handle the ammonia, the filter is basically useless biologically. It does however perform mechanical filtration, which is the removal of particulate matter in the water by making the water pass through the pads and media in the filter.

The presence of plants has a profound effect on how much filtration you need because plants do a tremendous job of filtration themselves, better than any mechanical filter we could use; this is provided there are enough of them to balance the fish load. Speaking solely with respect to planted aquaria, the less filtration (using filter equipment) the better. To grow, plants require ammonium, and ammonium comes from the ammonia I mentioned above. In acidic water (pH below 7.0) ammonia basically changes into ammonium, and the plants use it to grow. In basic/alkaline water (pH above 7.0) ammonia remains ammonia and the plants are able to use it by converting it into ammonium first. It is now also believed that plants can use nitrite by converting it back into ammonium, and many think that plants do this much faster and more effectively than the bacteria.

Another aspect of filtration is chemical, whereby we put certain substances in the filter to act on the water passing through it. Carbon is a common substance, as it removes various substances from the water. In a planted tank, these added filter substances are often detrimental because they remove things from the water than the plants may require, which is sort of like working in opposition. In a planted tank, filters we add should, in my view, only move the water through the tank and the filter media slowly; the mechanical filter removes suspended particulate matter, and returns the "clear" water to the aquarium. The plants and bacteria do the filtration that makes the water "clean".

Briefly on current, it is obviously connected to the amount and type of filters, and the strength of the flow should be dependant upon the type of fish [some prefer strong currents, others do not, and their original habitat and behaviours is the clue to this] and if there are plants [less flow is preferable in a planted tank for several reasons I won't mention now]. Bubble wands and such are fine but not in a planted tank because they work to drive off carbon dioxide (CO2) which the plants must have to grow.

So, if you aren't totally lost yet, to answer your question on how many filters...it depends upon the tank size, the number of fish, how big they are, and whether or not there are plants. And don't be afraid to ask questions; we all had to learn these things at one time, and I know others share my view that we are pleased to offer suggestions from our research and practical experiences.

Byron.

brandielissa 09-02-2009 04:12 PM

Thank you Byron, That was very detailed and help clear up A alot. I do have another question for u thou you have convinced me to try plants again but my problem is I had A plant in my 10 gallon tank (and transplanred what little was left into this tank) not sure what kind it was but my gourami's and my mollys seemed to enjoy eating the roots and evationaly killing it in no time at all is there a single rooted plant or one with bigger roots u would recomend me to get.

Byron 09-02-2009 04:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brandielissa (Post 237364)
Thank you Byron, That was very detailed and help clear up A alot. I do have another question for u thou you have convinced me to try plants again but my problem is I had A plant in my 10 gallon tank (and transplanred what little was left into this tank) not sure what kind it was but my gourami's and my mollys seemed to enjoy eating the roots and evationaly killing it in no time at all is there a single rooted plant or one with bigger roots u would recomend me to get.

You're welcome. Gourami and mollies are not plant eaters normally, they both enjoy grazing over plant leaves (mollies do eat some algae) so eating that plant was not the norm. Plants have differing requirements respecting light (intensity) so first it would help if you tell us what type of light is over your tank; I will assume it is fluorescent (tube) but at one end of the tube it has the information we need. Also, what is the pH and hardness of your water, if you know it?

Byron.

brandielissa 09-02-2009 06:19 PM

200watt cool white is that what u needed and i turn it off at night. I am not sure of the ph

Byron 09-02-2009 06:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brandielissa (Post 237445)
200watt cool white is that what u needed and i turn it off at night. I am not sure of the ph

Is this a fluorescent light fixture with a tube, or is it a fixture with screw-in bulbs (incandescent)?

brandielissa 09-02-2009 06:33 PM

fluorescent

Byron 09-02-2009 07:43 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by brandielissa (Post 237456)
fluorescent

Then Ii take it you typed "200" meaning "20" watts; that is what confused me. That is the wattage for a tube over a 33g (mine is that).

A cool white bulb is good, as it is higher in the blue colour of the spectrum. Warm white is higher in the red. Plants require mostly blue but also red to grow. You would probably be OK with low light plants, but if you want to expand your options a bit, consider a full spectrum tube like the Life-Glo or Zoo Med's Ultra Sun. I'm attaching a photo of my former 33g setup, it had one 20w Life-Glo 2 over it. If you're generally happy with the light appearance of your existing cool white, you wold love a Life-Glo, similar but adds just a touch of red and green for a nice balance.

The main plant in this tank is the dark-leaved Anubias, very slow growing--took 7-8 years to get from one plant to what you see in this tank. The plants along the front are various crypts, nice plants for low light but fussy over water quality. The floating plant is Ceratopteris. This tank was an unusual setup, I simply used the Anubias from the former 90g to plant it. Normally you wouldn't want it this thick. I would suggest some of the smaller swords, Anubias, Java Fern, Vallisneria (particularly if your tap water is slightly basic/alkaline), Sagitarria. These will do well in water that is slightly acidic to slightly basic. The Life-Glo tube would certainly allow you to grow these. Plus liquid fertiler once or maybe twice a week, and you're set.

Byron.


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