02-22-2008, 03:24 PM
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First, let me ask... with the design in the picture, if would appear to me that if water evaporated from the tank below the opening of the intake pvc, the way things are running, the canister filter would run dry, filtration would stop. Running a canister dry is asking for trouble, they don't last long that way. The one thing I would change is to allow some kind of small water holes further down on that intake pvc so that if something happened to drop your water level the water would still be able to circulate through, keeping the canister full at all times.
As for BioSpira, I have mixed feelings about it. The product itself is awesome, if used under specific conditions. If there is an existing ammonia level in the tank before you add it, there is a high risk of the ammonia killing the bacteria, which will make your ammonia spike even higher when the bacteria die. One of our members recently had this problem, found out how bad it can really get. If I remember correctly her ammonia level was 8.0, which is basically off the chart. This will make the fish suffer terribly if there are any in the tank, and if not, it will cause the cycle to take much longer to complete, and the spikes will be a lot more drastic, including nitrate. Once a tank has cycled completely you may need to do a series of water changes over the course of a wk or 2 in order to bring nitrate down low enough to safely add fish. Track it carefully, when its finished cycling, ammonia and nitrite should be 0 and nitrate should be well under 40 before you are safe for fish.