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-   -   filtration in a 55 gallon planted tank (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-planted-aquarium/filtration-55-gallon-planted-tank-32359/)

johnnyjiron 11-16-2009 12:57 PM

filtration in a 55 gallon planted tank
 
Currently i have two 350 bio-wheel penguin in my 55 gallon planted tank...should i invest in a canister filter? if yes which one?

Would I be fine with just one 350 bio-wheel penguin??

What do ytou guys recommend I do?

Thankyou,
Johnny

WisFish 11-16-2009 01:17 PM

Althought I haven't used the 350 penguin, HOB filters in general are fine with planted tanks. One penguin could work but it depends on how many fish you have. I think I'd still use two.

Byron 11-16-2009 01:40 PM

My preference for a planted tank above 50g is canister. You can direct the flow which is very important, and there are options with media if needed. On a planted tank your filter is only there to circulate the water and remove particulate matter via the pads and media. Many advocate no filters on planted aquaria, but I have always used a canister rated to the tank size.

Byron.

johnnyjiron 11-16-2009 01:57 PM

Some guy at a petstore told me to remove the bio-wheels. This would create less current in the surface. Whick would leave more room for carbon dioxide. He said these power filters create a lot of oxygen and turbulance at the surface, which is not the good for planted aquariums. what do you guys think about that?

Thats why i was thinking of just using one or removing the bio-wheels...

Which cannister do you guys recommend?

Angel079 11-16-2009 02:20 PM

I personally don't like the HOB filters at all, not for my plants and not for my ears listing to the sound.
My all time favorite for anything past 50g is this one EHEIM Classic External Canister - Filtration & Circulation - Fish - PetSmart
Used these (Model 2213) on all my larger tanks for yrs with 0 problems ever and I personally would never buy nothing else any more.

Byron 11-16-2009 02:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by johnnyjiron (Post 275197)
Some guy at a petstore told me to remove the bio-wheels. This would create less current in the surface. Whick would leave more room for carbon dioxide. He said these power filters create a lot of oxygen and turbulance at the surface, which is not the good for planted aquariums. what do you guys think about that?

Thats why i was thinking of just using one or removing the bio-wheels...

Which cannister do you guys recommend?

Yes, the surface disturbance is important. I must have been half asleep earlier:roll:, I missed that completely. In a planted tank you want minimal surface disturbance and no airstones, etc., because it drives CO2 out of the water faster and the plants need all the CO2 they can grab from the fish and biological processes. Which is why I prefer canisters in large tanks, and plain sponge filters for smaller tanks. Minimal water movement (it can be adjusted with a canister) is important.

I am familiar with Eheim and Rena canisters, from personal experience, and I know about Fluval. Eheims are the more expensive, but they are built well. Rena is less expensive, and Fluval the least expensive. When I needed a new filter this past June I choose Rena over Fluval (couldn't get Eheims locally) based on recommendations from members here and on reviews and comments online. I like the Rena very much. It works much the same as the Eheims I have on the other two tanks, but 2/3 the cost. On your 55g the Rena XP2 is the recommended size; I have the XP3 on my 115g.

For media, I bought the Fluval series media; it is basically the same and 1/2 the cost. The pads come with the Rena, so this applies only to the ceramic discs for the first basket and the biomax for the second (this can be omitted in planted tanks).

B.

WisFish 11-16-2009 02:53 PM

I've heard the same thing about surface disturbance. But I think it's a catch 22. On the one hand you want the surface disturbance to add oxygen to the water for the fish. But you don't want it disturbed so the CO2 from the fish stays in the water for the plants. But at night the plants don't use CO2 but instead need oxygen. That's why some people use air stones at night.
I use an Ehiem 2217 on my 55gal. The instructions say to aim it at the surface to cause that surface disturbance we're trying to avoid. But if you don't aim it at the surface, you get such a surface protein scum that food won't even penetrate the surface.

So I still use a UGF with an air stone to breakup the surface protein and get some oxygen into the water for the fish. I'm guessing because I use Excel for a CO2 equivalent source the surface disturbance isn't as much of an issue.

But the original question I thought was do you need to replace the HOB filters to have plants? I say no. Are other filters more desirable? I'll let the other make the call. But it's not necessary.

johnnyjiron 11-16-2009 03:48 PM

hey guys the 350 bio-wheel spec are 350 gph up to 75 gallons... isn't it better if i use 2 or 1 instead of getting a cannister filter???

I've been looing at some of the cannister filters specs and they are not as powerful... well except for the most expensive ones.

Can somebody explain this? I really dont undersatnd the specs..

Byron 11-16-2009 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WisFish (Post 275231)
I've heard the same thing about surface disturbance. But I think it's a catch 22. On the one hand you want the surface disturbance to add oxygen to the water for the fish. But you don't want it disturbed so the CO2 from the fish stays in the water for the plants. But at night the plants don't use CO2 but instead need oxygen. That's why some people use air stones at night.
I use an Ehiem 2217 on my 55gal. The instructions say to aim it at the surface to cause that surface disturbance we're trying to avoid. But if you don't aim it at the surface, you get such a surface protein scum that food won't even penetrate the surface.

So I still use a UGF with an air stone to breakup the surface protein and get some oxygen into the water for the fish. I'm guessing because I use Excel for a CO2 equivalent source the surface disturbance isn't as much of an issue.

But the original question I thought was do you need to replace the HOB filters to have plants? I say no. Are other filters more desirable? I'll let the other make the call. But it's not necessary.

If I may, a couple of comments WisFish. On the oxygen, in a planted aquarium (and we're talking planted throughout, just so it's clear) the plants produce far more oxygen than the fish can possibly use unless you are way overstocked. Another fact is that high oxygen levels make it difficult for plants to assimilate nutrients. Peter Hiscock comments that "it is best to use filters with low flow rates, or undersized external filters to reduce surface movement and keep oxygen levels low. Lowering the outlet of a filter will also help reduce surface movement in the aquarium."

One must remember that we are dealing with natural or low-tech systems here, and the balance between the 17 nutrients (one of which is carbon) and light has to be there; so anything that may impact however slightly can become a critical factor in less success. And there is definite loss of CO2 through surface disturbance, airstones, powerheads, whatever. During the daylight, this should be avoided. The one thing we cannot "control" in this type of setup is the CO2, by which I mean that it is entirely dependant upon the fish and biological processes; with light we can control it, in intensity and duration, to balance, as we can with the other macro- and micro-nutrients through fertilization. Plants will photosynthesize up to the factor in least supply. Many have planted tanks fail because the CO2 is the limiting factor, and algae will take over because it is better able to use carbonates for carbon than most (but not all) plants. Won't go into all this here.

Submerged plants have difficulty obtaining enough CO2 in nature and in the aquarium; this fact is believed by many to be the reason for the inherently slow growth and low productivity of aquatic plants over terrestrial. Further, freshwater emerged plants have been shown to be more than four times more productive that submerged plants. The reason is because CO2 diffuses so slowly in water as opposed to air, and this limits the underwater plant's uptake of CO2 because the CO2 molecules don't contact the leaves quick enough to meet the plant's needs. Aquatic plants have to use enzymes to rapidly capture the CO2. When the CO2 levels in the water become depleted, these enzymes sit idle, so to speak, but the plant still has to provide energy to them. This results in a reduction in photosynthetic efficiency and therefore growth of the plant because energy is being wasted. Thus, any thing that removes CO2 in however small an amount will be detrimental to the plant's growth.

Increasing air/water movement at night is obviously quite a different thing, and in a high-tech aquarium often recommended. It is not necessary in natural systems because the balance does not warrant it. The plants produce oxygen in excess of what is required, and without surface disturbance it will stay in the water and the fish will use it at night. Your Eheim folks are thinking of the average aquarium with few if any plants, and oxygen/CO2 exchange is far more serious because there is no natural process there to deal with it. Just another example of how in a planted aquarium nature can handle most things better than we can, and she should be allowed to get on with it without our meddling which in the end is probably going to be detrimental.

On the surface protein scum, yes; I never get this in my 90g, I have it very minimally at one end of my 115g, and it can get quite heavy in my 70g. But I know the balance in the 70 is out of whack; I've dumped plants in it to get it going, and have not yet aquascaped properly because I'm waiting for some particular plants. I used to use surface skimmers that you can buy for Eheim canister filters; worked fine, the "scum" never appeared because the water very gently kept moving but not sufficient to be even seen. I removed these when fish kept getting caught in them.

Byron.

Byron 11-16-2009 04:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by johnnyjiron (Post 275272)
hey guys the 350 bio-wheel spec are 350 gph up to 75 gallons... isn't it better if i use 2 or 1 instead of getting a cannister filter???

I've been looing at some of the cannister filters specs and they are not as powerful... well except for the most expensive ones.

Can somebody explain this? I really dont undersatnd the specs..

I may have explained this (at least partly) in my response to the previous post, so could you have a look and then if needed ask your question or other questions.

Thanks, Byron.


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