Aerobic / Non Aerobic Bacteria
Newbie here, first post. Have been researching for a while now before starting my tank. I have a 20 Gallon long and an AquaClear 50 on the way. I do not plan to have live plants.
I understand that a lot of people do not use the Carbon, but instead use another sponge or more bio media. Which would you suggest?
My main question, though, is this. Are underwater bacteria enough? I suppose they are, since thousands of aquariums run happily on a HOB filter alone.
I am fairly adept at DIY, and was wondering if it would be beneficial or a waste to put together a small drip filter for my 20 gallon.
Thanks for your input. I am doing my best to understand the Nitrogen cycle as well as gather as much info as I can before I put the first drop of water in.
The bacteria live on practically every surface from in the tank ... substrate, plants, ornament, glass you name it ..... except the water column. Very little live in the water. However ... a large number of bacteria
do make their home in the filter media. In an HOB, it the filter cartridge which is why you never change it unless it if falling apart. Just rinse it with tank water to clean it. When it's nearing the point it has to be changed ... use the old pad to see the new one.
BTW extra filtration is always a good idea. As a general rule I've come across, you want filtration thats GPH is at least 4x your tank size. Many I know go as high as 10x (sometimes requires 2 or more filters)... but 4x-5x I find works fine.
I am interested in how you plan to put a/description drip filter in a 20 gallon. If you decide to do this please post pictures and a description.
Easiest way to do this would be to use a 5 gallon bucket filled half way with sand. Use a pump to get it back to the DT. Or a DYI DeNitrator. Quite simple and cheap actually. I made mine for $75 with pump.
Only difference I would make is don't coil the tubing inside the pvc, as this is a total waste of time. Coil it around the outside of the pvc, and use black electrical tape to cover it up once you've wound it all around. You don't want sun light to get at the bacteria.
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad you joined us.
Filtration depends upon the aquarium. The type of fish (and how many obviously) affect the type of filter you need, both for filtrate itself and water movement. You mention not wanting live plants, which is a shame, because they can filter a tank on their own. But I won't go into all that.
A 20g long is small space so presumably the fish will be smallish in size. So often aquarists start out by buying a tank and all the equipment, before they have decided upon the fish. It should be reverse; decide what sort of tank you want and with what fish (this takes some research, as different fish have different needs respecting filter flow, water parameters, swimming space, decor such as plants, rock, wood, etc.), then build the tank accordingly.
A 20g long would be absolutely ideal for a small community of shoaling fish, like the smaller tetra, rasbora, livebearers, and suitable substrate fish; all of these cannot be in the same aquarium due to different water requirements, but this is a general starting point.
We have fish profiles here, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. Characins, Cyprinids, Livebearers and Catfish are the categories most likely to have suitable fish species for you to consider. And feel free to ask, thee are many helpful members.
Thanks for the replies, and the welcome.
I definitely want to do it right. I am not opposed to live plants - just worried about them clogging the filter. I am sure there is a way around this in choosing the right plants. I will do some research on that.
What I am looking for is the least amount of maintenance (perhaps live plants will help with this?) I am a snake enthusiast at heart, and build all my own enclosures. I currently have 5 snakes (all colubrids) in rack systems I built with heat and thermostats. Snakes are great - feed them once a week, pick out poop once or twice a week, and change water twice a week. That's what I love about them. And like fish, they come in a variety of sizes and colors.
I am very open to being steered in any direction here since I haven't even started yet. I have been reading all the posts I can for the past few days. I hesitate to ask questions as I am sure the answers are buried here somewhere. So thanks for the invitation to ask!
I will probably cycle with pure ammonia - just throwing that in....
Another alternative I have thought about is a low flow secondary filter using a small sterilite bin - 16 qt or so. Pump the water in one side, have it flow through a sponge and bio balls which are not submerged, but rather sitting halfway in the water so that the bacteria is exposed to air, and then back into the tank.
The bio balls would need to spin, I am sure, so getting the flow rate just right would take some tweaking. A drip filter would be better for aerobic bacteria, but I am just toying with other ideas.
In the long run, I might just stick with the AC until I decide if / when I want to upgrade to the 40 gallon breeder I have sitting in my floor (bought it at Petco during the $1 per gallon sale in case I want to add a Bearded Dragon to my collection)
You can read a summary of a natural planted tank in the article series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of the Aquarium Plants section.
If you went in this direction, in a 20g long, a simple sponge filter would be more than adequate. It keeps suspended particulate matter out of the water column but provides minimal water movement. The plants do the main filtering. And the fish are happy because as I mentioned previously, most forest fish such as one would have in a 20g long occur in very quiet still waters thick with plants or with marginal vegetation. The photos under "Aquariums" below my name on the left illustrate the methods in those articles.
Thank you, Byron. Looks like my next phase of education will be in the realm of aquatic plants.
I sincerely appreciate the insights!
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