View Full Version : Is this filtration overkill?

12-12-2003, 07:03 PM
Hello and pardon for the dumb question. Im rather new to African Cichlids but have kept tropical fish before. I have successfully cycled my 60 gallon tank and now have around 14 fish in the tank. I currently own various types of Peacocks and some Tangs and they all get along great. They eat really good and are growing rather quickly. My question is this, I currently have an Emperor 400 and a Fluval 303 filter on this 60 gallon. Is this enough? I was thinking of removing the Fluval and adding one more Emperor 400. I think that would be enough biological filtration as well as mechanical and so on. Reason why I want to get rid of the Fluval is because its a pain in the culo to clean. Have to siphon it to start. Is one Emperor enough? Is there such thing as over filtration? Thanks for your help and these forums are way too cool.

12-12-2003, 08:18 PM
Elpescado (great screen name! I love it!)

I have a Fluval 303, an Emperor 400, and an AC300 on my 55g. I use the Fluval for nothing but biological filtration. Some cichlid keepers here are of the opinion that more filters is just overkill, but I don't.

Depending on how many fish in the tank, how much you feed them, how often you feed them, and what you feed them, you may want to have two or three filters. Definately go with two, at least. Clean one during tank cleaning one week and alternate the other the next time.

I don't know why your 303 seems hard to clean, mine es muy facil! Just pop off the top lines and the cover, dump the dirty water and rinse media. It has to be primed, but the little gadget is right there on the top.

Maybe yours is an older model?

Anyway, whatever you decided, do regular water changes, usually moreso than you might have done as a tropical fishkeeper.

(ok, chc, go ahead, tell him how it's overkill! LOL)

12-12-2003, 08:35 PM
Thank you soooo much for responding merlyn2221! Your information is so very much appreciated since I am very new at African Cichlids keeping and I find that they are the most beautiful fish I have ever kept. I do have an older Fluval 303 and its hard to find parts for them. The out take valve is broken and in order to perform maintenance on it, I have to kill the siphon. Then I have to mickey mouse it to get it back to work. I feed around twice a day between 2-4 minutes of however much the little guys can eat. And boy, these guys eat mucho! I do weekly water changes of around 25%. I feed them Pellets and Spirulina and other flakes. For the two Synos I own, I feed them those little green tablets. Though my Ahli runs with it whenever he can. I really appreciate your information as I am a newbie and feel that fish keeping is more than a hobby, its a responsibility once you take it on. I want the best possible for these guys. Driving my wife nuts. Thanks and take it easy!

12-13-2003, 09:12 AM

(satisfied merlyn?)

My only (sincere) comment is you can only have as much beneficial bacteria in your tank as the waste load will allow (considering that waste load as food for the bacteria). So, in many cases you can have the same amount of bacteria distributed among one, two, three..... however many filters there are. But, the benefits of having more filtration are not to be overlooked.

- better water flow and degassing at the surface; better oxygenation
- more stability in the system when you change out media in one of the filters (note merlyn's comment about rotating the media changes!)
- much better removal of particulate waste since it is difficult for dead spots to occur (although removing pariculates doesn't improve the water quality from a biological standpoint until you actually clean the filter media..... but it sure does look better!)
- extra area for bacterial colonization should you ever add fish, change to a bigger (higher waste producing) type of fish, or just tend to overfeed what you already have
- etc., etc.

.................... just don't think it's going to allow you to extend the time between your water changes..... the same amount of waste that was sitting around in one filter is now sitting around in many filters........ nitrate production will be the same, so make those water changes!

Hey, Merlyn.......... would you be surprised to know I have a 125 with FOUR FILTERS on it?


12-13-2003, 08:31 PM
Yes, chc, thank you very much! I feel much better now! :D

You're a goose! :lol:

And yes I am surprised, but totally agree with why you have them. I have them for the same reason. I also like the fact that it allows me to clean them frequently and not lose all my biological filtration.

CHC is right about the water changing issue. More filters does not mean less water changes. It means more filter cleaning!

When you get the money, you might want to invest in a newer model. It really is easier to deal with than what you are working with now.

12-13-2003, 08:56 PM
Originally posted by Elpescado
I feed them Pellets

Don't...pellets are good for large fish. One pellet is more than they need at one feeding. Imagine yourself eating a large pizza for breakfast in about 5 minutes. If the pellets are strictly for the synos then you would be wise to limit the amounts you use.

After extensive research I have found that the best results come from a 2:1 mix of spirulina flake and cichlid flake fed 2-3 times a day as much as they can eat in 30 seconds. Don't feed them until the gut is bulging because then you have to worry about bloat which is deadly.

As for filtering, you can never have too much........well I guess you could, but lets be reasonable!:lol:

I have a 75g with two Emp 400's and a magnum 350.

What fish do you have in the tank now?

Good luck,

12-13-2003, 09:00 PM
Originally posted by Elpescado
I do weekly water changes of around 25%.

I would stick to no more than 10% weekly and then a 30% monthly. Less stress on the fish.


12-13-2003, 09:45 PM
Originally posted by merlyn2221
More filters does not mean less water changes. It means more filter cleaning!

Excellent point....... it CAN make it more labor intensive to have several filters. Also, the organics sit in (one or more of) the filters until they are cleaned.

12-14-2003, 03:01 PM
Thank you all for your information. I will take it and use it for the benefit of my tank and health of my fish. Cichlid_Fan I did not know that pellets are such a big meal for them. I will cut down on it and feed them more flake. Im also considering maybe feeding them vegetables such as peas, zuchinni, and so on. I also have read on these forums that letting them fast one day a week is a real good idea and it helps flush out their digestive systems? Last thing that I want to do is overfeed my fish and killing them. I will stick with two filters and continue my 20-25% water changes weekly. I just purchased some Texas Holey rock and I am cleaning it right now prior to adding it to the aquarium. I have also heard that changing the decorations every now and then helps to confuse the fish thus the aggressive little ones dont get as territorial. Im thinking once a month moving things and changing things around in the tank. Like I said, Im a newbie and everything Im doing is taken from these forums and doing research on my own. If any other advise is given, it would be much appreciated. Thank you all!!!

12-14-2003, 03:04 PM
Some would say that moving things around helps, but some would say it just keeps the fish from setting up a solid pecking order since the would be fighting over "new" territory every few weeks. I tend to leave mine in place.

12-14-2003, 03:08 PM
Ah and yes, I will be changing my water once a week and only 10% as you suggested Cichlid_Fan since I do not wish to stress them. Currently I own 2 Electric Blue Ahlis, 1 Electric Yellow, 2 OB peacocks, 1 Sunshine peacock, 2 Synos, 2 baby Frontosa, 2 Blue Dolphins, 2 Clown loaches for help in cleaning the bottom and a Johanni. Im sorry I dont know the proper names for them as I am still learning. I know the Frontosas will have to go later on since they will outgrow everything, but its kind of cool to have them now. Its great to see how good they all get along. The most aggresive little guy is the Yellow lab. He seems to be the king of the tank. So far I have had no problems with them, had them for almost two months and no deaths. Any advise will be taking to heart. Thanks.

12-15-2003, 07:44 PM
ELPESCADO: if it ain't broke, don't fix it! I wouldn't change your routine if it has been working for you. If the fish are now used to 25% weekly water changes, to drop down to 10% might be more stressful. You have to consider that the less water you take out, the more waste remains. I am not suggesting that you do more than 25%, but your nitrates will remain higher longer if you do less of a % of water change each week. This can cause fish who are used to the new clean water coming in to possibly sicken because of the higher nitrate content.

Just a thought. And do go light on the pellets. Some of them expand to like ten times their size. I use New Spectrum Cichlid Pellets - those don't blow up, they break apart into tiny little pieces. This helps prevent them from eating too many pellets and having them all expand at once in the stomach. The excess of pellet is expelled through the gills. Gives the scavengers and smaller fish more to eat.

12-16-2003, 08:06 AM
I agree w/ merlyn... Don't change your routine if it works for you. Your fishes will try to make you think that you are terrorizing them and they like their dirty water. Don't fall for it -- they're manipulative...

As for the pellets, if you do feed them to your fish, you may think about presoaking them so they don't expand in their bellies. But I agree that I would go light on them.

BTW - they LOVE veggies... I freeze my veggies for them and thaw them before feeding them, some people pour boiling water over them.. It's personal preference.. Freezing or boiling makes them easier to digest....

12-17-2003, 08:49 PM
merlyn2221 and cichgirl, thank you very much once again for your input since I am a newbie and I am still learning. It appears that I am turning into a "Fish Geek!" I sometimes even dream about my tank. Im going to look for those Spectrum Pellets per it appears that one of my Electric Blue Ahlis just came down with Bloat! :-( What a bad experience. I have him in a hospital tank undergoing treatment. Hes my favorite fish. As for the other guys they are doing great. If I have more questions, I will post them up. Thanks once again and may all your fish live long! ELPESCADO