What to use to run Sponge Filters with Live Plants
Hi again, (Sorry this got long...a little chatty lately)
I have been reading further on the board regarding sponge filters with plants. It is funny, when when I was talking with someone in the fish store about me using the Powerheads in the past, I could not remember what I had them hooked up to in my 100 gallon Cichlid tank. I went online to look up sponge filters and it triggered my memory that it was the large grey tone sponge filters that I had on each back corner of my 100 gallon. It is weird that I remembered the small sponge filters that I used as a kid but not the ones I used as an adult. It has been at least 7 years since I got rid of my 100 gallon tank.
Anyway, my question is, for those of you who have larger tanks with LIVE plants and use sponge filters what do you work it with? The power heads can really make a lot of water movement....depending on the power of the unit. I think I do remember though that you can control the airflow to reduce power. It was fine for my cichlids because I did not go the plant route with them -- they can mess decor up and can be sand movers, etc. The water movement that I had seemed comfortable for them. Also, I did not want to take time to do the live plant thing at the time.
If we decide to do live plants in my daughter's 14 gallon tank, the back filter I have on there now (Marineland Penguin 150 BIO-Wheel Power Filter) may be too much for plants. The water movement does not appear overkill that much for the fish but not sure if it will be ok for the plants. I got the one size up for the back filter than what was completely necessary. I was not thinking live plants at the time and actually for some reason I did not think that the one size up would put out a lot more water movement. I started to wonder this after I set it up. The tank came with a small back filter, but I like the biowheels, so I bought a Marineland Penguin BIOWheel 150. I also liked the fact that there are two slots for two pads. Not sure if the 100 has this. I am not sure how much different the water flow would be with the 150 compared to the 100. My powerheads always gave out more water movement than my back filters it seemed.
I can't say for sure about the bio wheels in a planted tank but I'll venture a guess. The bio wheel (some love them some hate them) will, if nothing else, provide excess o2 in the tank. Not something you want with live plants as the plants will make o2 from using co2. High surface disturbance can reduce co2 levels. The bio wheel spins paritally out of water with each turn. How significant the amount of o2 it adds to the tank I do not know.
Powerheads on an under gravel filter are not desirable in a planted tank. They pull the nutrients away from the plant roots. Powerheads with a sponge filter attachment can aid in removing larger free floating particle in the tank. That set up, powerhead with sponge filter and that alone, in an El natural tank is about all one needs. It adds water circulation as well.
In a filtered aquarium, it seems as though canister filters, such as Eheim, Rena Filstar, etc... are popular and do a great job. That is my plan for now. But my plan changes at times from things I read. But most likely I'll do my 55g with a Rena Filstar canister filter, live plants, small gravel substrate (maybe eco complete maybe reg gravel) and that's it. Koralia makes great little water movement pumps. Not sure if the are actually a pump, but they move a lot of water at low pressure for circulation. Attached against the glass in the tank they can move many gallons per hour but at a low pressure. Unlike powerheads that move lower gph but at much higher pressures.
Dang I just posted this awful long post in your other thread about filters, canisters, HOB, sponges.....that should answer all questions....sorry too lazy to repeat myself here now lol
For powerheads: I would not recommend them for planted tanks.
I have a bio-wheel in my system, my plants are fine. Thats where most of the bacteria sits anyway so I don't see myself removing it.
the 100 doesn't have two slots. i just bought the 100 for a 10 gallon and removed the carbon from the filter hoping my plants would thrive more with the AC. just a thought. of course, my water is a little darker as a result but i love the glowing hue.
Thanks everyone, I will respond tomorrow. I am tired and need to get to sleep.
Angel, I will look at your other post. Thanks so much.
High water flow/movement is detrimental to plants, and some fish for that matter; the filter should always be chosen with regard to the needs of the fish (first) but always bearing in mind the plants have needs too. I expanded on this point in post #11 in this thread:
For a 14g planted tank I would choose a small sponge filter with an air pump, or a small internal sponge-type filter (if such are still available). I have an Eheim internal sponge filter on my 33g but someone recently noted that it is no longer available.
One thing that isn't in the linked thread post, and that is the fish needs. Most of the fish we keep in planted aquaria, and certainly those you will have in a 14g, will be forest fish (tetras, rasbora, etc) and these mostly come from quiet streams with little current, and half the year they are in flooded forest which is still water. They do not appreciate water flows that create currents they have to fight; this stresses the fish and wears them out. And this leads to less effective immune systems and the possibility of disease that otherwise would be fought off or never arise.
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