Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Austin 03-04-2010 05:57 PM

Internal filter question (has to do with plants :p)
Ok so I got that Cascade 300 that Angel recommended. Gave the silicone like 3-4 days to dry this time so it better be pretty dang strong!!!! Anyways, I've been meaning to ask this since I got it... and as Angel said, it IS pretty powerful.

(If vid is not working yet give it a few minutes for youtube to process it.)

Sorry the vid sucks. At first I tried to figure out how to zoom out and then at the end how to turn off the recording...

Gahh... I think I'm falling behind in this technological age in every aspect but the computer... and I'm only 17... :shock:

Anyways, heres my questions:

1. Is the surface ok? No mattery how far down I push the filter it moves the surface like that. And the farther down I push it, the more it disturbs my plants.

2. Is it ok if it is blowing a little against my plants? Mainly my water wisteria atm.

redchigh 03-04-2010 07:13 PM

I'm no GURU like angel or Byron, but I would think that as long as the cuttings stay rooted easily, the current isn't too strong.

Just don't let the intake get covered.

Byron 03-05-2010 11:23 PM

Austion, can you turn the filter so the water jet is directed against the tank wall instead of out into the tank? Perhaps even into the corner? The force of the water stream will still cause the necessary flow through the tank but it will be less violent.

As for the effect, I did explain this in detail in Part 3 of the series, particularly paras 3-4 under "Filtration", here is the direct link:


Austin 03-06-2010 02:59 AM

Thanks for answering, Byron.

Right now I have a plant in the corner and I can't find any good spot to put the filter really. If I move the tip where the water comes facing the aquarium wall, it still produces some current onto the plants. I think I tried this, and I don't think it helped... I just can't remember why. I'll go ahead and try it tomorrow since the lights are out now.

I'm pretty sure it will still cause the little surface disturbance you can see in the video. I'm still a bit confused over whether this is bad or if it's fine. I don't see bubbles coming down like I did when I had a HOB filter but I'm guessing this still causes a gas exchange?

I'm also a bit confused on the water flow thing.


The filter should produce a water flow sufficient to ensure the water circulates through the tank and filter. This is important for bringing nutrients to the leaves and roots, and keeping the leaves free of sediments.


For this reason, filter flow should be minimal and surface disturbance as little as possible. The plants will then be able to fully assimilate the nutrients.

I'm a bit confused because these seem kind of contradictory to me. :/ One says that you need some water flow to bring the nutrients to the leaves, and the other says water flow should be minimal so the plants can fully use the nutrients and not bring them away from the plants... in my understanding, anyways.

So basically I don't really understand how much flow is too much, and how much flow is too little. :/

Is there any way I can determine which it is? For example, is it bad if it blows against the leafs a little? Or should I avoid any current on the leafs?

Edit: Quotes aren't working right... the text that's different color isn't made that way on purpose to show any special significance.

Byron 03-06-2010 03:59 PM

I'll try to explain. In truth, a "filter" is not needed in a planted tank, unless the particular fish require a current. But with what I call forest fish, like most of the tetras, rasbora, angels, discus, gourami, some catfish like Corydoras, they come from very slow-moving streams and creeks or (some) marshes and ponds. They don't like currents and will be stressed if forced to swim fighting strong currents; it simply wears them out as having to run fast up a steep hill would wear you out, and imagine what that would be like if at night you couldn't stop but had to continue this exertion while trying to "sleep." These fish are not designed for this. Some fish are, like sucker catfish that can attached themselves to rocks in a current and "sleep" doing so; or the Tatia perugiae I have that fit themselves into tunnels in the wood, facing the flow from the filter. They need this, and my three are all resident in the standing chunk of wood under the filter return spigot so they have a continual stream of water flowing past them as they wedge themselves in the wood. Sorry, a bit of digression, but important stuff to keep in mind for the fishes' health.

So, a "filter" really isn't necessary; but it does help to keep the water movement throughout the tank to bring nutrients to the leaves of plants, to ensure consistent heating (though convection currents would achieve this without flow, another topic), to ensure a supply of oxygen-rich water reaches the bacteria in the substrate and elsewhere, to keep minute suspended particulate matter off the leaves, and to allow these minute particles to be trapped in filter pads. To achieve all this, minimal flow is all that is required.

The way I measure this is visual. Except right in front of the filter return (a spraybar on two of my tanks and a spigot on the 115g) the plants in the tank do not move at all; they are perfectly still, leaves straight up to the light, no swaying. A fish swimming past causes a slight sway, and that is a good indicator that the flow is perfect. At the same time, I can see flake food as it falls very, very slightly falling in the direction of the filter current, which is from one end of the tank to the other end along the length of the tank.


Austin 03-06-2010 05:48 PM

Ok, well my filter doesn't cause any water current on anything besides the water wisteria I believe, does that mean its ok?

I'll still try moving the filter head but its hard to move around because i have to push it to get it back on and im afraid im gonna break the silicone if i do >> lol

Also is the current on the water surface ok or is it still causing gas exchange regardless of there being no bubbles?

Byron 03-06-2010 06:16 PM

You can't eliminate all of it, you aim for the least disturbance. The plants will manage. Like everything, there's the ideal and at the opposite end there is the unworkable; but there's a lot of grey area in between.

Austin 03-06-2010 11:07 PM

Ok, I tried moving the flow to face the corner and it seemed to be more powerful on this one plant in the corner. I think it's best to keep it how it is...

Just hope the little surface movement is ok and I think the water wisteria will be ok they are very hardy. :p

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