Another "I'm new to this, help me" question about filters
I have a 29 gallon aquarium that I'm starting up. I thought I would use an UG filter with a powerhead as the primary filter but bought a Top Fin 30 HOB to stick in the UG riser to replace the powerhead. The Top Fin is so loud I can't stand it. Can I run the AquaClear 20 head on the UG as a primary and use the Penguin Biowheel 330 (that I was also given for the 70 gal tank I was given too) to touch up the mechanical and chemical filtration regularly as long as I do regular water changes and gravel vacuuming?
Can someone recommend a quiet filter as well?
The tank is primarily for my 2 year old so it won't be overstocked and won't have plants.
Thanks for your help!
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad to have you with us.
I'm going to ansswer your question with a question for you. What fish are intended for this tank? Something many aquarists don't think of is that filtration, particularly water movement which is an integral part of the filter system, should be geared towards the needs of the fish. Some fish need water moving around more than others, and many do not appreciate any movement beyond the absolute minimum necessary to circulate the water in the tank. Over-filtration does not make for a healthier aquarium, but often the reverse. A good filtration system would be the undergravel itself with a smallish powerhead if you intend mainly forest fish (tetra, rasbora, small catfish, etc).
That's exactly what I want to do with it. A few tetras, a pleco, etc. The 330 would be used only to polish the water or chemical filtration if needed since I know it's overkill for the tank. I had the powerhead but thought I needed chemical filtration so I bought the Top Fin then I read that many people don't recommend continuous carbon use.
Thank you for your answer. The noisy filter is going back to Petsmart!!
Just my $.02, but for what it's worth, I don't like powerheads on UG filters. The UG filter works best by slowly moving water through the bed as you really don't want to suck food and debris deep into the gravel.
I love my Aqueon Quiteflow filter - very silent!
Byron - what do you mean about over filtration - I really thought more filtration the better (coming from goldfish experience though - now moving into cichlids) is there a sticky about this? (I don't mean to thread-jack - so if I am let me know) Because I was thinking of recommending the 55g for a 30g tank.
Over filtration so long as fishes aren't being buffeted about the tank, can result in cleaner enviornment by producing movement that keeps particulates in the water column longer, so that mechanical media in filter(s) can grab the suspended matter.
Better over filtered than under filtered in my opinion,expierience.
Powerheads on UG filters work best in reverse flow application by forcing water up through the substrate rather than pulling it down into the substrate.In reverse flow,,oxygen rich water is pushed up through the gravel and this feeds the nitifying bacteria while virtually eliminating anerobic conditions deeper in the substrate.(also prevent's food,mulm,silt,dirt,etc from collecting there)
Many who keep large waste producing fish, or heavily stocked tanks, use over filtration and or reverse flow UG filtration with excellent results.
I normally go for six times the volume of water the tank holds when looking at GPH of filters while keeping in mind that advertised flow rates are normally much less in reality once filter media is placed in the flow area of filter. For 50 gal tank, 50X6 = 300 GPH (gallons per hour)
With exception of fishes with long flowing fins,,I have seen little evidence that over filtration is detrimental over the long haul. Have kept Angelfish and Discus if 55 gallons with nearly 800 GPH and fish grew strong ,ate well,and lived a long healthy life while in my care.These are large broad bodied, rather slow deliberate swimmer's and they did not mind the movement from my rather lenghthy observations (years).
The notion that we need excessively high 5-6x GPH for good filtration is pure myth. Faster flow rates just means that more water passes through the filter at faster speeds - this doesn't mean better filtration, just more water blasting through it. What we really need is slower rates with finer filtration.
(My pool [sand] filter, filters finer and finer particles as the return water flow slows and the water becomes crystal clear). I also believe that nitrifying bacteria in bio-media are more effective when flow rates are slower.
I don't think we really want turbulent waters (lets consider that the natural habitat of most of these fish are pools, ponds, or lazy Amazon waters - not raging rivers) so more debris is stirred up and loaded into the filter. Let debris settle on the bottom and feed the plants if you have them, or get collected with the WWC/gravel siphon. Worst thing you can do is load the filter with decaying organic matter that will negatively sludge and adversely affect bio-media.
Having 'said' all that, there is no such thing as over filtration, but there is a potential negative with too much current. However, this can be minimized with the use of baffles so that any turbulence is minimized and/or isolated to the back wall.
Finally, there is no objective evidence that a reverse flow UGF with a powerhead is any more effective than a conventional UGF that is properly maintained. Conventional UGF's got a bad rap because back in the day, gravel siphons didn't exist and so debris collected until the gravel literally plugged with mulm. If a gravel siphon is used routinely, there is no need for powerheads moving water in either direction...It's just another sales/marketing item. Yes, reverse flow is better if/when there is negligence in maintenance, but surely no one spending time here would opt out of 30~ minutes a week to ensure a healthy tank - right?
It is clear to me that you have ZERO working knowledge with regards to this type of filtration or you would concede as much.
Speak to the filtration after you have tried both.
Speak to the suggested flow rates after you have expierienced both less and more and resulting water quality as result of both with moderate to heavy fish loads.
The problem with traditional UG filtration, (still is in large part) is not that gravel became plugged with mulm as you say, but rather the gunk collected under the plate where removal was/is difficult and thus people didn't clean under the plate.Folks would use gravel vaccum on gravel but could not get to that which found it's way under the plate.(some try harder than others)
I am currently using reverse flow UG filtration on 55 gallon tank holding seven Plecos while waiting for undergravel plate to fit 75 gallon tank. Two Aquaclear 70 powerheads in reverse flow ,and Aquaclear 110 filter to clean the water being pushed back up through the gravel are being utilizedl until the eheim canister arrives that will then take over the cleaning of that which is forced up through the gravel as opposed to Traditional UG filtration where crud is being pulled down into the substrate.
It's a no brainer in my view as well as those who successfully use this type filtration.
Filtration is one part of maintenance. Partial water changes is another, and the benefits of these cannot be achieved by any filtration, regardless. But the benefits of regular partial water changes can outweigh filtration, again depending upon the tank. In other words, all things being equal and in certain situations, a regular schedule of water changes can be adequate maintenance on its own, whereas filtration without water changes is not. All else being equal, mind.
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