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Aquaclear efficiency question.
My first thread! :-) I have a heavily planted 36 gal tank with an Aquaclear 50 HOB. I have replaced the carbon with another sponge to increase bio filtration, and also covered the filter intake with another sponge for the same reason. I was wondering if decreasing the flow would be better for my tank? I understand that more of the water has a chance to be filtered at a reduced speed, but is it really worth the lack of water movement?
I don't know if a reduced flow increases filtration. I know that some fish like slower water flow. Depending on if you also have live plants, I would question the amount of oxygenation that a reduced flow would allow in your tank. The HOB is also usually used partly for oxygenation, unless you have an aerator.
I have a ton of water wisteria so im not very worried about the oxygen content of the water, but on the aquaclear box it says that by reducing the flow, more water recirculates in the filter making it more effective. I just wonder if it actually gives the bacteria more time to clean the water or something.
The AquaClear design, when the inlet tube is moved to the right, re-positions the inlet tube over the impeller so it does in fact reduce flow and causes re-filtration of water in the filter box. The water recirculates within the filter so that some of the water is filtered over and over again.
With an AC50 on a 36g tank, I would set the filter for lowest flow / maximum re-filtration.
However, instead of another sponge, I'd suggest a fine filter pad AND additional bio-media, like the bio-ceramic rings that come with the AC50.
I have two AC70's in my 60g set to low flow and in addition to extra fine filter pads (think scotch brite type pads) I have them loaded with Seachem Matrix for maximum bio-filtration. I also use the Fluval pre-filter sponges over the inlet tube. I use water bottles to baffle the returns for less flow. I do have a bubble wand on one end of the tank. You might want a bit of a waterfall for O2, but I wouldn't be concerned about less water movement with reduced flow/increased filtration.
Thanks a lot that sounds like a good idea. I also use the fluval prefilter sponge on the intake and it works wonders.
Water movement from filter's helps keep particulates in the water column to be trapped by the filter material as well as helping with oxygen exchange at the surface.(plant's use up oxygen during the evening).
Slowing the flow in my view,, defeat's this purpose and so long as filter is running,the bacteria are fed every minute, of every hour, of every day and water is filtered in same way.(re-circulation of same volume of water).
If I were to reduce flow ,or throttle back the flow, (reduced efficency, and hard on filter motor's) from a filter,it would be perhap's during feeding's.
Just my two cent's.
The beauty of the AquaClear design is that the patented re-positioning of the inlet tube over the impeller housing reduces inlet/output flow while also causing re-filtration (since some of the water drawn by the impeller is now coming from the filter chamber and not all from the inlet tube from the tank. As such, it is not putting any pressure on the pump motor at all - just drawing water from two different sources.
"When the flow rate is reduced, up to 50% of the water within the filter chamber is processed multiple times. More impurities are filtered out, creating a healthier tanks with sparkling clean and clear water."
We can in fact reduce flow and still have sufficient carbon dioxide/oxygen exchange as long as there is a slight 'waterfall' of return water. I have a bubble bar on one end with a very slight air volume so my filters do not need to contribute to gas exchange. My filter outlets do not have a waterfall and I use baffles to reduce and redirect the return flow.
As to flow volumes stirring things up being a positive, I suppose we could debate this. I would rather let the sinkers lie on the substrate to be taken care of by nature and the gravel siphon rather than foul the filter. In the planted tank, this is desirable organic fertilizer.
Since I use Fluval Elite sponge pre-filters on the inlet tubes, it's a moot point.
I realize that the belief that we need excessive flow rates to adequately filter aquarium water is a very strong myth. Eventually I think we'll come to learn that the best filtration and water polish is performed by passing water more slowly through very fine media.
Just my $.02 :-)
Flow from filter is already reduced once you place media(sponges, carbon,ceramic) in the path of water flowing through the filter.This material get's dirty and further reduces flow over time.
Advertised flow rates for filter's are often flow rates measured without media, and often at zero head height.
Further slowing the flow will provide no benefit in my view, but WILL allow more gunk to settle on substrate rather than on mechanical media = dirtier tank.
Some folk's focus on bacterial colony and believe that more surface area = more bacteria.
Bacteria only grows in proportion to food available. Increased surface area will still only result in bacteria population that is needed for the amount of waste(food) present.
Increased surface area WILL provide,, more area to trap dirt in sponges,pads,cartridges, and the more dirt trapped,, the cleaner the tank will be, assuming the pads,sponges,cartridges,etc are cleaned regularly.
Slowing the flow in this respect only allow's that dirt ,particulates,dissolved solids,organic's,suspended solids, to fall to the substrate where they must be removed with vaccum (unplanted tank).
Planted tank's can use some of this gunk (nutrient's).
Flow from filter also helps move water lower in oxygen near the bottom of tank's, to the surface where gas,oxygen exchange takes place. This is beneficial to fish,plant's,and biological filter all of which use significant amount of oxygen. If oxygen level is indeed lower at substrate, as is often the case,, then bacteria there, will not as easily be able to process the waste, depending largely on amount gathered there which is in proportion to number's of fish and waste created by same.
Increased flow from filter, will keep more that we wish to remove in the water column longer so that it can be caught by pad's sponges,cartridges etc and NOT be as easily allowed to fall ,or settle on the bottom= Cleaner water in my expierience.
1077 doesn't seem to understand AquaClear's re-filtration flow control.
The general rule of thumb is that the GPH rating of a filter should be 4x the size of the tank. Some have suggested that you need as much as 10x!
This suggests that your 36g (lets calculate 40g) should have a filter that pumps 160 gallons per hour (4x) or as much as 400 gph (10x).
Your AC50 will pump 200 gph = 5.5x ( 200 / 36 )
However, filtration is not a function of how much water we move around, but how well we remove suspended organics from the water. We're not really speaking of great gobs of dead plant or fish wastes as they/re easy to filter, but very tiny particles that almost can't be seen by the naked eye.
I believe IF/WHEN we filter water better, we can have much lower flow rates with crystal clear water.
If we slow this flow and pass the water through even finer filtering media, we capture more of these tiny suspended particles. With the AquaClear design, we're not simply slowing the return flow, we are filtering and re-filtering much of the water within the filter. This is a huge difference over simply reducing the flow.
But you be the judge. If you like, run your AC50 wide open for a time, Then rotate the inlet tube to reduce flow and increase re-filtration and judge for yourself.
Also, I suggest you add finer filter pad or pads before the standard AC sponge. I use a couple of pads that are quite like scotchbrite kitchen scrubber pads, although much cheaper versions from the dollar store 3/$1. I also found a great deal on similar material (but thinner) pads 10/$1 that I documented here a while ago. This adds an extra layer of finer filtration before the standard sponge and can be tossed and replaced during filter maintenance (prolonging the standard sponge life).
I am aware of how the Aquaclear filter's operate, I am running three of them presently wide open with no complaint's and water is crystal clear.
I slow the flow only during feeding time, and use foam pads as opposed to finer filtration that just clog's faster.
I agree that OP should decide for him/herself which they prefer.
As for you,, you may take comfort that this is a family orientated forum for had you questioned my mental capabilities in any other arena,, my response I fear would not be to your liking.
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