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AbbeysDad 10-26-2011 09:47 AM

Kicking filtration up a notch
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Since getting back into the hobby after many years, I've been intrigued/interested if not obsessed with filtration. When I bought the 60g, I looked at filters and chose the AquaClear 70 HOB. I liked the fact that I could decide what media to use in the filter chamber. I was a little down on cartridge type HOB's and the canister filters in the store seemed outrageously priced.
So I had the AC 70 and it was working fine. But my study led me to of all sorts of filtration methods and medias. From nylon pot scrubbers to bio-ceramics, polyester floss, sponges, sumps, trickle wet/dry, bio-balls, refugiums........ from very expensive commercial to very cheap DIY (like the 3-drawer plastic in a sterlite bin).

Along the way, I got another AC 70 filter to increase overall media capacity and still keep costs down.
As mentioned in another couple of threads, one filter is filled with 3 AC sponges, the other is filled with Seachem Matrix bio-media.

With trickle wet/dry, the principle is that there is far more oxygen in air than water, so if we create a drip tray and have water flow over some media infrastructure, we'll culture a larger/stronger biology colony.
Well, we can't really simulate wet/dry in a conventional HOB, but what if we increase the amount of oxygen in the water column flowing through the media???
With this in mind, I split an air line to divert air to two air stones and inserted these on the inlet side of the AC 70's.

Ridewithme38 10-26-2011 11:09 AM

Interesting idea!

How long have you had this setup? I'd be worried about displacing the water and screwing up the impeller or it running dry and losing suction

BTW: even with those worries, i may be stealing this idea and copying it for my tank!

guppy371 10-26-2011 11:19 AM


please explain the concept and benefits a little more. I also run dual AC70's and I like to tinker so please tell me what advantages this would create.


AbbeysDad 10-26-2011 12:31 PM

As I mentioned, many sump wet/dry systems (salt and fresh water) drip water through bio-balls or other media (nylon pot scrubbers are often a DIY choice). These drip systems foster a large, healthy nitrifying bacteria colony because of the increased oxygen level that the water has from dropping through air (air has more oxygen than water).
As their name implies, aerobic bacteria are dependent on air (oxygen) and of course, food (ammonia and/or nitrites). We can't drip water through the air in conventional filters, HOWEVER, if we maximize the oxygen level in the water passing through the filter, we may culture a larger, stronger bacteria colony(ies). Organics, ammonia and nitrites may break down quicker and more completely than might otherwise be the case.

As far as time, I just began this experiment this past weekend.

The air stones are suspended at approximately the mid point of the chamber so there is little/no way for bubbles to be drawn into the impeller. Also, there is no water displacement as you can see in the photo, the bubbles simply break the surface in the inlet chamber.

If ceramic and similar bio-media promotes a better infrastructure to support nitrifying bacteria, we might conclude that enriched oxygen in the water column moving through the filter also has benefits. I will admit that I have no way of measuring whether this truly makes a difference - just as I could not measure whether bio-ceramic media provides any more infrastructure for bacteria than say plain old gravel - ? However, it would seem that the theory is sound.

Who knows, one day we may see air induction filter systems and I'll hold the patent ;-) lol

Footnote: I also studied protein skimmers and just wonder if the action of the bubbles alone also has some positive effect in the inlet chamber (however, this is much more far reaching than the increased oxygen levels.)

Ridewithme38 10-26-2011 12:45 PM


Originally Posted by AbbeysDad (Post 875535)
Who knows, one day we may see air induction filter systems and I'll hold the patent ;-) lol

Does the Millenium 3000 already sorta do this?

AbbeysDad 10-26-2011 02:22 PM


Originally Posted by Ridewithme38 (Post 875545)
Does the Millenium 3000 already sorta do this?

I'm not sure...

The product description for the Marineland Millenium 3000 says "A venturi air valve mixes oxygen with filtered water to improve gas exchange".
I don't know if this hooks to an air pump? It sounds like it happens after filtration?

Also, this is a cartridge filter and claims "The unique BioGrid plate provides a high surface area of biological filtration"

I'm not a fan of cartridge filters and don't believe a plastic plate provides anywhere near the surface area of bio-media.

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