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Discussion Starter #1
Hello there various moderators and staff that will take the time to sit and read what I have to bring to the table. I would like to thank each and every one of you in advance for taking the time to read and listen. Before I explore my fundamental concerns I would like to take the time to explain my own mindset when it comes to the purpose of a forum like Tropical Fish Keeping.com

To me, Tropical Fish Keeping is and has been up until recently a better alternative to other currently existing sites for fish keeping. It's purpose is (or at least seems to be) to further knowledge when it comes to the Fish Keeping hobby. In doing so we educate , inform, explore, discuss...and to some point debate. The end result is a knowledgeable atmosphere where people can come to ask important questions, and gain insightful answers.

With this mindset established it may explain why I take it very seriously that the information we give to people is as accurate as it can be. In order to be able to give accurate information we have to be willing to learn, explore, discuss, and evolve our way of thinking as new information comes to light. We also have to be willing to hold back when we are not so well educated so that we can restrain from giving improper information. Finally we must also be wary of our own bias, and caution ourselves against giving advice solely on what works for us. Our bias and personal preferences have no place when giving proper advice to new and older members.

The above standards are something that mods and users should hold themselves to. Unfortunately we cannot always expect the users to hold themselves to such standards. This is why regrettably, it becomes necessary to remove/stifle opinions of those who are posting counter-productively. It is at this point that we get to some of the fundamental problems going on in this forum.

We have people who are running around giving bad advice. To some point there is little you can do until it gets to the point that a user is being truly problematic. This I understand. We have experienced members who are capable of going in to address incorrect information and as such under normal circumstances this is not an issue. However lately it has been a growing trend that moderators themselves are the ones giving improper information. This is problematic as their status as moderators complicates the issues.

Here on the fish forums “status” plays an enormous role. Users “trust” you when you are a mod. They think that you are a mod for a good reason. The thing is, everything you say, and everything your fellow mods do in respect to what you say has an enormous impact. The gravity of the situation is heavy because people trust you. If you are the one giving bad advice, that's going to cost someone money. That might kill someone's fish. That may destroy someone's tank. That may prematurely end someone's interest completely in the hobby. So if you are a mod you have a big responsibility to hold yourself to the higher standards.

For the most part many mods here do just that. It concerns me that two mods in particular are prone to posting based on personal bias, and personal preference. It gets worse because they frequently belittle experienced members. They may not see it as belittling. Perhaps those of you reading also do no see it that way.

It is the only thing I can call it. You belittle your experienced members and the users side with you and other mods side with you. What chance do experienced members stand when the people who insist on giving poor information are mods with other mods on their sides? That's how it feels a lot. That's how it felt in a recent thread.

A user has a large tank. It is a 180 gallon tank. He has a filter rated for 160 gallons. It is a canister. He is asking about getting a second canister. Now, if this were a thread on heaters and someone had a 180 gallon tank and had one heater...and wanted to get a second one what would most of you say? You'd tell him to get it of course! For some strange reason in this thread, the first mod post is to post against logic itself. Byron tells the person “No, stick with what you have”.

That is bad advice. Byron you had no business telling a person willing to spend the money on a back up and second filter not to get one. You wouldn't do that to someone buying a second heater. Further discussion where I myself took the time to explain why telling him to not get something supplemental was pointless.

At the end of the day while I was very much right on the ball with my points, I am against two mods, and all the mods agreeing with one mod publicly. What I have to say probably means little when the OP sees that mods are siding against counter advice. What Byron said at the beginning defies all logic.

My arguments were not based on preference. They were not based on bias. I cannot say the same for Byron. It seems like it might be preference. Who knows. Maybe Byron you really don't understand these things about larger tanks, and you are spoiled with having planted tanks mature as they are. This is a common disconnect that at the time I don't feel like exploring. I need to move on.

Before I get into this next concern let me explain my own history here. With tanks I have owned 5 gallons, 10 gallons, 20 gallons long, 20 gallons tall, 50 gallons, 75 gallons, 80 gallons, 90 gallons, and the biggest yet my 150 gallon tank. Currently I run the 150, the 80, the 90, and the 20. I've handled different model heaters, different model air pumps, hang on back filters, running no filter, running an air-stone and no filter, internal filters, sponge filters on air machines, sponge filter via power head, and canisters. I've dealt with fake plants, live plants, gravel...and sand.

I try to not advise a person based on my personal preferences. Instead I seek to try to understand a person's situation and give them options. What I prefer does not matter. For some reason the same does not apply to Abbeysdad. No mod should be constantly pugging their personal preference over what is appropriate for the situation.

I remember once someone said you have tunnel vision AD. Sometimes it really does appear you do. You get fixated on one thing to the point you ignore all other possibilities and in doing so blow off experienced members. The dismissive attitude faced with real life experience is concerning. I shouldn't have to explain why a filter that cannot start once it runs dry isn't the end all solution to everything. I shouldn't have to get into why even regular play sand can wreck havoc on a system like what HOB's thrive on. When you or Byron sit and go “Well it's not an issue unless blah blah blah”...you know what it does to me? It makes me unwelcome. What you are doing is literally calling me a liar. You know how that feels? It makes me feel like just leaving all together or at least not posting at all. What point is there to post if your actual experience makes you a liar because some mod doesn't believe it can happen what ever “It” is.

I'm not the only one who feels this way. This kind of behavior really needs to change. Stop using your own personal bias and preferences to color your advise. Stop blowing off your fellow experienced members and hold yourself to higher standards.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hello, Sang. I just wanted to let you know that we've read this and we are discussing it as a team.
I appreciate that you are taking the time to read it an that others are discussing it.
 

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Sanguinefox,

The moderators were enthusiastic hobbyist members long before we became moderators. We were asked to volunteer as moderators based on the character and content of our posts, how we helped newer hobbyists and the time we invested in the forum. So we really consider ourselves members that in a sense are part of a neighborhood watch group to keep the forum a family friendly place.

I do not agree with your claim that you're open minded and I have tunnel vision. We all have POV's that could be termed tunnel vision. You love canisters and hate HOB's. I don't care for conventional HOB's with cartridges, but recognize there are zillions in use in successful aquariums. In the case of the 180g thread, the Eheim moves 264 GPH across the aquarium. You're concerned about circulation, while I think that's plenty. You believe in 'over filtering' while I believe that moving more water faster does not purify it. Our opinions are different, but that does not make yours correct or mine as the misinformation you claim. I did not belittle you personally in any way. I merely offered a different opinion based on my knowledge and understanding of fishkeeping from back in the 60's to date.

I only suggested adding the HOB along with the canister in the 180g thread as an option to separate mechanical and biological filtration to improve the efficiency and maintenance of both.

However, I do see your point that moderator opinions when we post may carry more weight because of the 'Super Moderator' status. And that if/when our suggestions differ from another member, it could result in hard feelings.

Unfortunately I'm not sure I have an answer. I'm sure you can appreciate that Byron and I are contributing members on the forum and we shouldn't stop offering assistance.

So what really is the answer?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I understand the premise of why each and every one of you were brought on. I am not new to the idea of Moderation. In fact moderation is something I am very experienced with. One of the things I have little tolerance for is people giving advice based on personal preference or bias. What you like and what you prefer is not as important as what is best for the person asking for advice.

Let us be clear, I do not "Love" any one form of filtration. I recognize that some forms of filtration are better for some situations, and that many questions need to be asked before you can give solid advice. I also realize that the one more popular form of filtration has massive draw-backs due to not just my personal experience but viewing the trials and tribulations of others. As such if there is an alternative to suggesting an HOB I will look for it because HOB's are temperamental units.

When is the last time you walked into a major chain store? A small pet store? A locally owned paradise? Ever see what options are facing the newbie aquarist? I cannot begin to tell you about the amount of useless junk HOB units that are being sold with ready made or put together yourself cartridges that have to be switched out every week to have any possibility of long term benefit.

There are units that allow for less money draining potential such as the AC which at one time was a pretty damn good product. You can still get lucky and get a few units that start up with no problem from day one. Few people I talk to though don't have irritating issues that make you want to take the units outside and trash them with a sledgehammer. Going through motor after motor you begin to wonder even as you take the right precautions...maybe something is wrong with the manufacturer and...not you?

My last phone call to AQ reps was being told I had to send in my motor and unit to them so they can "test it" and leave me 100 dollars out, no filter, and waiting for them say "Yeah it's our end" or "No we are going to put the blame on you". Also that...and they were on back order for motors due to many people experiencing the same exact problem.

Now if a person wants to go out and get one they by all means can take that risk. We had a person posting recently and I didn't tell him to trash it did I? I gave him the best advice I could based on my personal experience with the little horrors. Excuse me if my personal experience with recent various badly cobbled together brand new HOB's leads me to caution against recommending it to every person out there who wants to start a tank.

I know someone who wants to get a hold of some AC shells that I am working on giving to them free ;/ save the cost of shipping.

If there are other options and they can afford it I do suggest it. Plus a sponge + air pump or + sponge + power head isn't a big price difference for the kind of stability you get and flexibility. On a larger tank...you just cannot expect to buy a few AC's, or Biowheels and get the same kind of benefit as having a Canister + a back up. BTW what if it was a Canister on someone's recently finished cycling tank that sprung a leak, or experienced complete failure. Tell me, you think that person would be happy he followed the advice of someone who said "Hey go with just one, you don't need anything else?".

I suggest you ask more questions and start doing so research yourself into the issues you are so willing to ignore. Learn about the different kinds of larger tanks people keep, and the different options of filtration and how they apply and ask more questions. Then we won't be having this talk. If you don't have experience with something don't post. It's what I do so I don't end up giving bad advise.
 

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I thought we would speak to the interpretation of a Moderators post carrying more weight than a members'. I'm not sure exactly why folks feel this way as Mods are just members too. As experienced fishkeepers we all [should] have the right to express our opinions as long as it's not done disrespectfully. I have never made a negative personal comment about any member or any members POV on the site.

Your claim that because I suggested a HOB in the 180g thread suggests I haven't done research is simply incorrect. I think your bias against HOBs may be interfering here. Lets face it, for the vast majority of members with smaller tanks, lets say less than 55g, HOBs simply rule.
I agree that the Aquaclear design is much better than the typical cartridge HOB. And I'm not a fan of the cartridge HOB either, but there are zillions of them out there.

However, one of the best non planted, large tank (225g) setups I think I've seen used a canister filter as a dedicated bio-filter and two HOBs for mechanical filtration.
Here's why:

Advanced bio-filtration is much more than just N2 processing. (Think of the bio-digesters used in solid waste or bio-sand filters used in 3rd world countries). But it requires more undisturbed bio-media and slower flow rates than we see in conventional filters. This is why, for example, that the Aquaripure de-nitrate filter is so successful (Although it's main selling point is zero nitrates, it does much more). Organic compounds and many chemicals can be broken down with effective bio-filtration.

Mechanical filtration works best when the detritus is removed often and not allowed reduce the decaying organic matter into a 'manure tea' of dissolved organic compounds that pass on through and pollute the water.

The trouble with conventional filters is they try to do both mechanical and biological filtration (we'll ignore chemical just now), but are only marginal at best. The filter (mechanical) is not serviced often enough and there's nowhere near enough undisturbed bio-media and the flow is way too fast. Conventional canisters often run for months w/o servicing.

THAT's why I suggested adding a HOB to the existing Eheim canister. Suggesting that the canister (filled with bio-media) could provide exceptional bio-filtration and the HOB could allow effective mechanical filtration that could be easily and efficiently serviced often to remove the crud and get it out of the system.

You were also concerned that the one Eheim canister would not provide enough circulation in the tank. The Eheim referenced pumps 264GPH and Byron suggested that would be enough water movement assuming it was across the length of the tank. I tend to agree.

I think you believe in "over filtering". I keep hearing that we need 4x to 10x the tank size in filter GPH. But water purification really isn't about moving more water faster through media. What we need is the ultra microscopic removal of organic and inorganic impurities. More and Faster water flow just doesn't do that.

I feel that Byron and I are members of this forum too and should be entitled to share our knowledge and experience and assist newer hobbyists just like any other member.

In closing, I'm sorry if my posts have offended you in any way.

Regards,
-Mike
 

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Are you guys discussing filtration or the issue of mods posting, because frankly, I can't tell anymore what you two are debating. :p
 

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Are you guys discussing filtration or the issue of mods posting, because frankly, I can't tell anymore what you two are debating. :p
Well, I too thought the issue was mods posting, but Sang seemed to want an explanation of my POV on filtration with the claim that my suggestion in the 180g thread was incorrect misinformation.
 

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A user has a large tank. It is a 180 gallon tank. He has a filter rated for 160 gallons. It is a canister. He is asking about getting a second canister. Now, if this were a thread on heaters and someone had a 180 gallon tank and had one heater...and wanted to get a second one what would most of you say? You'd tell him to get it of course! For some strange reason in this thread, the first mod post is to post against logic itself. Byron tells the person “No, stick with what you have”.

That is bad advice. Byron you had no business telling a person willing to spend the money on a back up and second filter not to get one. You wouldn't do that to someone buying a second heater. Further discussion where I myself took the time to explain why telling him to not get something supplemental was pointless.
First, filtration and heating are two very different issues. Heating has to be geared to the water volume/tank dimensions, always; there is no other answer because whatever the fish or plants in the aquascape, a specific volume of water in a specific container needs certain basic heating.

Filtration is totally different, and should always be based solely on the needs of the setup. This takes into account the fish species and numbers, whether or not live plants are included, and the tank volume.

My arguments were not based on preference. They were not based on bias. I cannot say the same for Byron. It seems like it might be preference. Who knows. Maybe Byron you really don't understand these things about larger tanks, and you are spoiled with having planted tanks mature as they are.
Perhaps you consider suggesting to a member that they provide what the fish and tank requires is bad advice, but I don't. And if my consideration of the needs of the fish is bias, so be it. It is a good bias that more aquarists should have.

Over filtration is not an advantage unless the tank is overstocked to begin with. Providing the best and adequate filtration for the system must take into account the fish species and the other factors.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I thought we would speak to the interpretation of a Moderators post carrying more weight than a members'. I'm not sure exactly why folks feel this way as Mods are just members too. As experienced fishkeepers we all [should] have the right to express our opinions as long as it's not done disrespectfully. I have never made a negative personal comment about any member or any members POV on the site.

Your claim that because I suggested a HOB in the 180g thread suggests I haven't done research is simply incorrect. I think your bias against HOBs may be interfering here. Lets face it, for the vast majority of members with smaller tanks, lets say less than 55g, HOBs simply rule.
I agree that the Aquaclear design is much better than the typical cartridge HOB. And I'm not a fan of the cartridge HOB either, but there are zillions of them out there.

However, one of the best non planted, large tank (225g) setups I think I've seen used a canister filter as a dedicated bio-filter and two HOBs for mechanical filtration.
Here's why:

Advanced bio-filtration is much more than just N2 processing. (Think of the bio-digesters used in solid waste or bio-sand filters used in 3rd world countries). But it requires more undisturbed bio-media and slower flow rates than we see in conventional filters. This is why, for example, that the Aquaripure de-nitrate filter is so successful (Although it's main selling point is zero nitrates, it does much more). Organic compounds and many chemicals can be broken down with effective bio-filtration.

Mechanical filtration works best when the detritus is removed often and not allowed reduce the decaying organic matter into a 'manure tea' of dissolved organic compounds that pass on through and pollute the water.

The trouble with conventional filters is they try to do both mechanical and biological filtration (we'll ignore chemical just now), but are only marginal at best. The filter (mechanical) is not serviced often enough and there's nowhere near enough undisturbed bio-media and the flow is way too fast. Conventional canisters often run for months w/o servicing.

THAT's why I suggested adding a HOB to the existing Eheim canister. Suggesting that the canister (filled with bio-media) could provide exceptional bio-filtration and the HOB could allow effective mechanical filtration that could be easily and efficiently serviced often to remove the crud and get it out of the system.

You were also concerned that the one Eheim canister would not provide enough circulation in the tank. The Eheim referenced pumps 264GPH and Byron suggested that would be enough water movement assuming it was across the length of the tank. I tend to agree.

I think you believe in "over filtering". I keep hearing that we need 4x to 10x the tank size in filter GPH. But water purification really isn't about moving more water faster through media. What we need is the ultra microscopic removal of organic and inorganic impurities. More and Faster water flow just doesn't do that.

I feel that Byron and I are members of this forum too and should be entitled to share our knowledge and experience and assist newer hobbyists just like any other member.

In closing, I'm sorry if my posts have offended you in any way.

Regards,
-Mike
One of the most irritating things I've often had to deal with as a mod elsewhere is the fact that members can and will take the advice or words of people who are mods and hold it to higher standards. However it is what it is. When you are in possession of any sort of a title that is higher than a member and especially if it wields any sort of power, you become elevated in the eyes of the regular community.

As such they will hold you to higher standards and get rather upset when you don't appear to uphold to such standards. They see "You are a moderator". They know you have at least some limited power behind the scenes. Some people wrongly envy that without fully understanding the point of moderation. Others simply hold such people to higher standards as they represent the community's face, and tend to be the ones that people will believe in such places such as a specialty forum.

You can claim that my "Bias against" is interfering and I will shoot back the same as before. Your bias is interfering. We could ping pong all day long, and perhaps all week long on this. I beseech you reread what many people have stated on the select issues that we are in contention with and broaden your mind. If you don't you are going to only aid in people making less than ideal habitats for their animals.

First, filtration and heating are two very different issues. Heating has to be geared to the water volume/tank dimensions, always; there is no other answer because whatever the fish or plants in the aquascape, a specific volume of water in a specific container needs certain basic heating.

Filtration is totally different, and should always be based solely on the needs of the setup. This takes into account the fish species and numbers, whether or not live plants are included, and the tank volume.



Perhaps you consider suggesting to a member that they provide what the fish and tank requires is bad advice, but I don't. And if my consideration of the needs of the fish is bias, so be it. It is a good bias that more aquarists should have.

Over filtration is not an advantage unless the tank is overstocked to begin with. Providing the best and adequate filtration for the system must take into account the fish species and the other factors.
Filtration and heating are one in the same when it comes to creating redundant systems. When you place two heaters or three heaters in larger than average tank set ups, you do so knowing that they will help heat the tank properly together, sharing the burden, and acting as back ups in case one fails. Filtration isn't much different. When you have larger than average tanks your increased capacity for dead spots (as highlighted by existing research that one user was kind of enough to link in a thread) limits your planting capabilities and or territory for certain kinds off fish. If you understand anything about apoxia, and eutrophication, and how dead spots can build or siphon nutrients from healthier surrounding areas...you will understand where I am coming from. The more I talk to the two of you the more clear it becomes that you don't actually take the time to read what I am saying and really think about it. That much is clear when I am accused of "loving canisters" and "advocating over filtration".

Keep this up and you may find more and more of your good members leaving for cleaner waters so to speak. As for me I have found this conversation revealing.

To the rest of you, I have not yet brought this up. Be mindful during debates/discussions that involve mods of how you interact. This gets back to what I said before that you are seen in a different light. I am done here unless someone else has something to ask/say.
 
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