Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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fuse1001 03-05-2010 02:24 PM

Filter clogs too fast

I'm having problems with my internal filter clogging up so fast (a couple of days) that maintaining good tank aeration requires a lot of work. I want to know if there's anything we're doing wrong, whether the filter is useless, or if this is just the way it is? From what I've read, the filter should onyl need a good clean every couple of weeks with the water change.

I set up my first ever tank eight weeks ago, a small (35l) Arcadia Arc using the supplied Classica Powerbio 200 internal filter. The tank cycled without fish, with a java fern, log, stone and gravel. Everything worked fine until we put fish in (five pygmy corydoras for three weeks and now six endlers livebearers).

My problem is that the filter loses power too fast. We started out using the venturi attachment to aerate the water, but now this is ineffective after about a day so we switched to the spray bar. Even that isn't carrying enough water after three days.

We clean the (sponge) filter every couple of days at the moment, and though we get some sludge out and the power increases, it still clogs up within a couple of days.

The tank water is always crystal clear, though stained with tannins from the wood. We're only feeding the fish small amounts of tablet food (quarter tablet twice a day), as we were told to by our LFS.

I don't mind the extra work, but it means leaving the fish for more than a long weekend will be difficult! Help!


Angel079 03-05-2010 07:15 PM

Welcome tot he forum fuse!

I have to say I do not know this particular filter you have there but it really founds like a poor filter! Cleaning the sponge out every few days can be very dangerous to say the least, especially if you wash it out "real good' under the tap water. This will flat out kill all your beneficial bacteria!

There's a few options, your tank is 35L so about 9 US gallon. On that size tank I'd personally simply add a sponge filtration, this is what they look like and are power by a low wattage air pump (this size tank a pump with less then 1 w)
If you don't appreciate the look of such a sponge filter in your tank then I'd suggest a new internal filter either by the brand Eheim or Cascade
I have personally used/ am using both in my smaller set ups and both work just fine and I may take it apart and clean (IN tank water only so you do not kill your needed bacteria with the chlorine) maybe about 2x year.

iamntbatman 03-06-2010 04:04 AM

How much is the water flow decreased, exactly? When you clean the sponge, how much waste material is coming off it? Filter flow rates are bound to decrease as material starts to clog the media but generally an adequate flow is still maintained unless the filter's a total piece of junk. I'm not familiar with this particular brand name so that could very well be the case.

fuse1001 03-06-2010 05:28 AM

Thanks for your help so far. I followed up your suggestions Angel079, to find what I can get here in the UK. In doing so I found some further advice that said there was no need to have bubbles forced into the water. As long as the filter has enough power to keep the surface moving there'd be enough air exchange for the fish. The filter easily has enough power for that, even when flow cuts down.

As for how much stuff comes out, iamntbatman, there's no large particles, only very fine floating brown particulates. This is enough to make a small glass of water really murky, but even when left to settle for a couple of days doesn't go solid - so really not very much material at all. I suppose it could be something to do with the sponge, but I think maybe I was just expecting too much flow.

The tank is planted, so from what I read there's not too much need for very powerful filtration / aeration.

If you think leaving this is a really bad idea, let me know - and I'll be watching the fish really closely to check they're happy!


Angel079 03-06-2010 08:35 AM

Uhmmm UK you should be able to find Eheim internals or the brand name JBL they produce good internals too.
You don't need air forced in there for the simple fact you have a planted tank; so for one the plants supply oxygen to your fish and 2) driving in extra bubbles will only result in the co2 from the fish being driving out of your water which however your plants in return do need to thrive. So any extreme air adding (like these bubble bar's) should be avoided in planted tanks.

As long as the filter you have still circulates some water you're good. Again in a planted tank you do not want a bunncchhh water moment as that hinters the plant growth, also naturally most fish are from very calm waters so a strong current in your tank would also not be natural to them.

I donno what all you have in our 35L as far as fish. But if you have a planted tank these plants act like a bio-filter on the waste in there (that's what they feed off) and you can actually indeed have small tanks fully planted with a few fish in it and don't need no filter at all. If you have a overstocked/ heavy stocked tank however you'd wanna have a add filter.

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