filtration adivice

Discussion in 'The Nursery' started by mickey69, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. mickey69
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    mickey69 Noob

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    Hi everyone

    I would like some input on the following. I am going to be setting up a tank which will hold approximatly 140 ( 37 US Gallons) liters. I am using the exact lighting shown in that lighting sticky (americanaquriumproducts) which shows the pic of the 2 x large compact CFLS joined together by a middle socket. I am shooting for about 3w per gallon.

    I am planning on using the mineralized soil setup. I am thinking of a school of tetra's ( 15-20) and then maybe one other pair of larger fish. Still reading and learning though! :)

    I know you guys are going to ask me what plants, well I am really loving Silikubes setup ( 45 liters of evoloution). So thinking of some Lilaeopsis brasiliensis and possibly flame moss but I am very clueless on the plant side of things.

    Here comes the question, assuming the above backround, I am running a pump which circulates 420l and hour or 3 x the tanks volume an hour. Will this be sufficient for the intended bio load? can I work with this or am I wasting my time?
     
  2. Discus
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    Hi mickey69,

    The bioload in a tank that requires filtration is mainly the fish, and you need to look at the (full grown adult) size of the tetras you're getting - 15-20 neons is quite a different proposition to 15-20 much larger tetras - would be helpful if you could let us know what species you'd like, and ditto with the larger pair.

    Obviously, undergravels are right out in a tank like this.

    I personally hate hang-on filters (like "AquaClears") but many people find them great.

    Your best bet is often an external canister-type filter (Anything by Eheim, Fluval, TetraTec etc. etc.) - buy one the right size for your water capacity and you'll be fine; if you find the flow rate a bit hectic, you can always turn it down by slightly throttling the output tap.

    You mention having an existing "pump" - a pump is not necessarily a filter (like just a powerhead) - it's just circulating water around; you need places for the bacteria to sit and be fed a supply of water. Filters are also handy for "polishing" your water (making it crystal clear) either by mechanical filtration (floss/foam) and/or by chemical filtration (activated carbon). Let us know the make/model of your existing "pump". :)

    Certainly, provided the filter medium is sufficient in volume to support enough bacteria, a 3x per hour turnover should be sufficient.
     
  3. tyronegenade
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    tyronegenade Specialist

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    I'm with Discus on this this: HOB = bad. They drive off too much CO2 IMHO. Now that I have switched to an IPF (internal powerfilter) I see better plant growth.

    As far a pair of bigger fish, try pearl gouramies. Peaceful, big and stunning.

    The plants will absorb a lot of the fish wastes. I think the filter is only really needed for water circulation. For years I simply had a power head in the tank (1200L/h in a 250 L tank) and got good plant growth and the fish merrily spawned in the tank and very few water changes were done.

    Are you going to add CO2? If not, 1 W/gal will probably be sufficient, but you won't be able to grow the "cool" plants.
     
  4. Discus
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    Oh, a common "rule of thumb" for stocking is about 1cm of fish per litre of water or 1" of fish per gallon. The cm per gallon is a much higher stocking density - stick to the inch per gallon one if you're going minimalistic on filtration. Keep an eye on your water quality and increase your stocking slowly (i.e. don't add all your fish at once; 5-6 tetras at a time is a lot better than the whole school you plan!). If you find your water parameters (particularly ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) look good, you can probably slowly err towards the 1cm per litre rule. With an oversize filter and regular water changes you can "overstock" tanks quite safely, but if you're fairly inexperienced, it's better to "understock" - you'll have more "luck" keeping fish!

    There are much more accurate formulas you can use if you know things like feed conversion ratios, protein content of the food, the weight of fish etc. - they're used in aquaculture to work out stocking densities, but aquaculture is a different ball game to a tank at home.

    I've long considered "fishkeeping" a misnomer; we're mainly keeping water in which some fish happen to swim, and if we're lucky, plants grow! :)

    Pearl/lace gouramis are a great suggestion - I've always liked them and found them peaceful, but I see a lot in shops with very poor colours :( You might like some small catfish for the bottom, but most of them prefer to be in a shoal (particularly corydoras) - and many of them like rooting around in the substrate, which may mess things up if you have a soil/clay substrate. Otocinclus catfish are quite good at nibbling on some algae from time to time; if there isn't much there though you may need to supplement their diet. Some other small loricariids are very nice too - but avoid plecs and panaques as they grow pretty huge - look at whiptail and twig catfish. (I really, really like loricariids, and would ideally have a tank full of them).

    Congo tetras are pretty stunning slightly larger fish, but not quite as big as lace/pearl gouramis.
     
  5. R.C.
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    R.C. Moderator Staff Member

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    I have to disagree and I don't think that's a justifiable excuse for saying HOB = bad. If you worried about it driving off too much CO2, then just make sure the water line stays level with outlet. Same thing with canister filters and Lilly pipes you see on those amazing ADA aquascapes. But anyhow, each to their own hey. ;)
     
  6. mickey69
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    mickey69 Noob

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    wow guys!! I am so happy so many people have replied and in such a short time ! ;D

    I need to watch my amateur use of words as I put across the wrong explanation sometimes.

    okay , I have an external canister filter at the moment which circulates the tank volume 3 x an hour. (via aqua 230) is the filter in question. I am going to be using hydroton balls and cearamic rings as the filter medium. apparently hydroton work really well as they have an excellent surface area but they are cheap as chips :)

    I was thinking of neon tetra's.. I like the idea of 2 pearl gouramis with lets use 20 tetra's .

    I really want to know as far as plants go , am I pretty limited without CO2? I thought that it just means the plants grow that much slower? I feel really lost here cause I know there are so many plants to consider. :/

    For a CO2 setup for my kinda tank what is the outlay ? approx monthly costs?

    I know my questions are very broad but please bear with me

    Also I can get my hands on

    http://www.aquariumsupermarket.com.au/2 ... ilter.html

    2000 l/h for R325 but I am guessing you guys will say it will be an eyesore. Surely I could grow a plant to cover a lot of it from viewing?
     
  7. R.C.
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    There are a few of us currently experimenting with Hydroton. I'd be interested in hearing your feedback too. I assume your got the idea from Ahmed\Dolphin from Quality Aquariums? He's been running it on all his tanks.
     
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    Hmm, many moons ago at school, they had a fishtank with a similar looking expanded clay substrate with a powerhead-driven undergravel filter - and despite everyone knowing undergravels are terrible for aquarium plants, they seemed to flourish (not that there would have been anything particularly demanding in there).

    I've used a similar medium in a pond filter before and it worked pretty well (but stocking was quite light). It should have a fairly good surface area and is at least a lot cheaper than Siporax!

    Mickey - I have no experience with Via Aqua equipment (although because Hagen SA didn't deliver a powerhead, I have a Via Aqua powerhead "in the mail"), but I imagine their canister filters should be perfectly serviceable, and turning over your tank volume around 3x per hour should be fine. Unless you're going to stock with fish way beyond what you currently propose, I suspect your tank should be fine (NB check what size tank that filter is rated for). If you think you're getting dead zones in your tank, you could perhaps look at adding another pump later (just a powerhead). If you're supplementing with CO2, don't make the spray bar disturb the surface too much or all your CO2 will off-gas in no time at all.

    Also, you will find that many plants will grow without CO2 if you don't want to go that route - plants listed as "easy" are generally fine without it. And if you look at some of the "low tech" tanks around, you'll see that you can get some impressive growth without CO2!

    If you put a list of preferred plants, I'm sure some of the experience aqua-horticulturalists will let you know what will work in your setup.
     
  9. mickey69
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    mickey69 Noob

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    Read about the hydroton on one or other message boards.. I have used it in hydroponics so its not a new product to me. I think it makes pretty valid sense as it is porous, inert and will offer a more then decent surface area for organisms. But we will see!

    So what I am understanding so far is that only the fish influence what size filter system you should be running and not the plants. What about freshwater shrimps? I have been trawling through the pages of creative aquascape union and love their stuff. Those tanks are unbelievable!! But I see these guys are using filters designed for tanks of say 200-250 liters but they are running maybe 100l tanks. Can somebody explain the basis behind such intense filtering and they only have maybe 25 neons? I think I am going to put in the aqua one filter to double the filtration , plus it will increase water movement which is pretty non existent in my tank right now.

    where is the best place in Johannesburg to get plants from? i.e greatest variety Who sells CO2 setups?
     
  10. wearsbunnyslippers
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    its about flow as much as filtration, some people recommend up to 10x tank volume per hour. so instead of adding more powerheads or wavemakers or whatever, just get a bigger filter, you can never over filter your water so it makes sense, especially from an aesthetics point of view to have less equipment in the tank. the more flow you have, the more chance you have of getting CO2, nutrients etc, to all areas of your tank.

    best place i know of in jhb is animal kingdom in hillfox on the west rand.
     

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