Enough Filtering for a 55g
I've written a couple of times here about the 55 gallon tank I'm in the (slow) process of setting up. The tank was a free CL find and I have a new top rim on order from the LFS (the old one was missing the middle brace). In the mean time I've been scouring CL some more and today got my hands on a brand new 200w heater and a brand new Marineland Penguin 350 filter all for $45. It's rated for 70 gallons (or maybe 80) and looks to be an excellent filter between what I'm seeing and what I've read here and elsewhere. Unfortunately my reading has created a question.
I've seen some suggestions that TWO Penguin 350s are a good set up for a 55g. I understand that over filtering is a good thing. My question is, is this necessary? Do I need to go out and get another one of these guys (or a second filter at any rate) or will the one Penguin 350 do the job?
Also, as this will be a planted tank, will the carbon that comes included in the square filters cause me any problems? This is also the first I've heard of this and if it's the case the carbon will be coming out of the filter on my 29g as well.
1. Carbon does not beling in a planted aquarium. While carbon does many good things for a tank, it's quite the opposite for a planted tank. The carbon will remove trace elements which come in your tap water which are crucial for your plants to live. Plants feed off elements in our water, but when the carbon removes those, the plants struggle to get the nutrients it needs.
2. If you are going to have a planted tank, I would possibly consider a canstier filter of the Penguin, or any other kind of HOB filter. Unless you can keep the water level at the top of the tank, eventually water will evaporate out of your tank, it's hard to stop it. When a water level drops your HOB filter will continue to do it's job, however the lower the water level the more of a "splash" at the surface level. When this occurs there is a gas exchange. Oxygen is released from the tank which is another element of growth for your plants. While a little bit of surface agitation is not a killer, I fear that the water level will drop at times and create the "splash" I was referring to above.
Thanks you two. Clearly, if I was stocking this with say...an Oscar...or another messy eater two filters might be in order. The carbon is coming out of the 29g right now. That's essentially what I had read already and the science makes complete sense, I just hadn't thought about it hard enough.
Since I already have the one Penguin I think I'll keep in and double up with a canister too. A canister was my original plan anyway.
As to the 29g, I'm running an AquaClear 50. It uses a "basket" set up where you stack everything on top of each other rather than slots like the Penguins. Would you just buy another baggie and more biomedia to take up that slot?
Filters should be geared to the needs of the fish in the aquarium. "Over filtering" is not a good thing in some cases, and it can also be detrimental to fish and plants. Not all fish appreciate water movement, some need more than others.
Plants have a major impact, they do the filtering (cleaning) better than any filter you can buy so let nature do it.
I use canisters (one rated to the tank) on my large palnted tanks, solely to move the water and clear it (via the media and pads). The flow is regulated according to the type of fish.
What do you intend stocking in this tank?
This is the Angel Tank I was talking about the other week. Right now I'm lining things up but feel free to critique away. Stocking lists are the best part anyway, right? I'm looking at:
5-7 Baby Angels (understand that a pair off will mean rehoming)
12-15 Pristella Tetras
12-15 Hatchet Fish (probably Marbles, but not picky)
Bolivian Rams like we talked about. Three?
And some kind of bottom feeder that fits the Amazonian theme. Looking at Starbai Corys or something similar.
In my (limited) experience that's about full up but the only thing in there that will have a large bioload are the angels when they get closer to full grown. Comments, suggestions?
After tinkering with the Stocking Calculator that's floating around all over the place it suggests that I will need more filtration and seems happy with an Eheim Ecco 2236 (80g). I tend to agree.
It suggests that the Pristellas might nip at the Angelfish but nothing I've read suggests that they're active on the level of say a Tiger Barb and they only hit 1.75" at adulthood. I don't concur here. But I may just be thinking wishfully. :cry:
It mentions the need to have a solid cover on for the hatchets which I knew about already. And it also thinks that there may be aggression issues between the hatchets and the rams should the rams start breeding. I would agree based solely on their character but the rams stay near the bottom and the hatchets float right up top, right? The tank is about 20" high. Surely that's enough space between the two.
Feel free to rip this plan apart. ;-)
Well, there is the main reason I never bother with stocking calculators or whatever they may be called. They are unreliable. And that only makes sense; putting together a stable healthy community of fish (and plants) is not something that can be "calculated" that closely without applying some intelligence due to all the variables.
First, the filter. That is over-filtration which is detrimental to both the fish you list and plants. I explain in detail the plant side in Part 3 of the series on "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium", here's the link:
As for the fish, all those mentioned occur in slow-moving or still waters, including flooded forest for half the year (when they spawn). Check the profiles, they include comments on native habitat waters. Water flow should therefore be minimal to avoid additional stress on the fish: fish programmed by nature to cruise around plants and fallen branches in a flooded forest are naturally going to be stressed out having to buck a current 24 hours a day--they will be working when they should be resting. Since the plants (assuming it is well planted) will do the filtering from the "cleaning" aspect, the filter's sole purpose is to gently circulate the water (the "clearing" part). A canister rated to the tank size will be more than enough. If you intended to include fish that require a current, such as some of the pleco species, Corydoras duplicareus, etc., then the filter outflow can be directed down the end wall to create a gentle current down the tank. Otherwise, the spraybar aimed against the end wall works very well.
I use the latter method in my 90g which is a flooded Amazon forest aquascape with very quiet-water fish. I use the former method in my 115g Amazonian Riverscape because I have Spotted Woodcats (Centromochlus perugiae), Corydoras duplicareus, and Hypancistrus furunculus in this aquarium and these prefer some current. They have in fact taken up residence in and around bogwood under the end wall where the filter outflow is positioned. Not surprisingly, the cardinals and rummynose remain at the opposite end, farthest from the current. In a large enough setup once can manage to provide for the needs of individual fish and their reaction is instructive.
On the fish, that is a fine mix. As for Pristella nipping, anything is possible (Lisa had Bleeding Hearts that tore into her angels, that is just as unlikely) but in a group of 10 I would not expect this. My group of 10 don't have angels to entice them, but they have never shown any nipping tendencies with the flowing dorsals of the Hyphessobrycon bentosi nor the Bolivians. And speaking of rams (yes, the common blue, not Bolivian) and hatchets squabbling--that I do not fathom. I have a pair of Bolivians that are now spawning for the second time in the 115g, and there are 15 marble hatchets up top--they have never even seen each other. As I say, "calculators"...:roll:
Clearly, any info out of even the fanciest of calculators is inferior to using your brain and research and certainly inferior to experience with a given species. That's why I did some analysis and it's good to see that you agree.
Guess that means the Penguin goes in storage to await the right tank. Oh well.
All my research suggested (as you've confirmed) that these are flooded forest fish so I was fairly certain they'd get along. I'm glad to know that you agree with me on the possibilities of the Pristellas nipping or the Bolivians getting angry at the Hatchets that are all the way up top. Now I just need some cash! :lol:
Just keep a close eye on your Pristella with the Angels. I had to fish out 7 Bleeding Heart Tetras in a heavily planted tank because, as Byron informed you, they nipped my Angels. Pristella's might be different. One just never knows. Now I have Rummy's, Cardinals, and Bolivian Rams in with them with no problem. The Angels became a pair and now spawn quite frequently. Just last night I witnessed pre-spawning activity between the two of them, only after losing their fry to the Rummy's last week.
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