View Full Version : Filter Change Help

03-24-2004, 06:11 PM
On my 55, I currently run a Emperor 280, and an UGF with 2 powerheads (old, got used. unknown volume, 7.2watts). Our tapwater has avg of 20ppm nitrate, and it has been suggested to remove UGF to help keep nitrates down, as they supposedly contribute to nitrate build-up over timedue to junk build-up. I do 20-40% water changes weekly, amt depends on time and mood. Larger ones recently, always with gravel vac.

To remove UGF, I need to replace the filtration. I want to keep costs down for now, as cash is slim. Would adding a quickfilter, or other sponge filter, to each powerhead do for now? I know a canister filter would be the best, but $50-100 now is out. Other option is adding an AC300 ($25, I could do). What would be the best, with price a significant factor?

Substrate is currently standard small epoxy coated overpriced aquarium gravel (60lbs) and 8lbs small crushed coral (2mm). I assume that I would be better off not changing substrate at same time removing UGF. Probably will convert to coarse pool sand and/or crushed coral later. I need to add pH buffer now, as tap is about 7.2-7.4.

I am also having green water algae problems, although there is almost no fixed algae at all in tank. Tank has been up 3+months, all paramaters are OK except for high nitrates (~40-80ppm) and possibly high phosphates, but no test kit to check. I live in the heart of ag land, and water is from city wells.

All advice is welcome. If you want / need additional info, ask. Thanks.

z rock
03-24-2004, 06:28 PM
I would go with the quik filters on the power heads for the cheapest way out.They may even clear the algae problem.Removing the UGF should drop the Nitrates also.

03-24-2004, 10:43 PM
You can also "flush" your UGF and avoid sludge build up by running your powerheads in reverse and putting your siphon over the "outlet" tube from your ugf....(I run my powerheads backwards all the time though...)

If you do remove your UGF make sure you have some kind of protection between your rocks and the bottom of your tank...

03-26-2004, 03:32 PM
get the ac500...petsolutions.com has 'em on sale for $30.

z rock
03-26-2004, 08:11 PM
Yea,$30 is a awsome deal on that filter.They want $70 for one at Petsmart or most any LFS.

03-26-2004, 09:36 PM
I am leaning heavily towards the AS300 / AC500 route. How deep are they off the back of the tank? 55g is a little heavy to pick up and move :wink:

I have the Emperor 280, with only a little spare room to the wall. Total clearance from back of tank to wall is 5" exactly to back of frame. How far do the 300 and/or the 500 stick out? For the $10 difference, I am leaning to the 500 if it fits.

Anybody have the width of the two?

How far do they extend into the tank? I have a 2" plastic strip with notches for equip, then a glass top.
Thanks for all the help on this and other posts! :drink:

P.S. I just brought home a ladyfriend for my rusty (and he took all of 5min to start the shimmy, even though she is much smaller), and a pair of Labidochromis Pearlmutts!

04-21-2004, 02:45 AM
the best thing i ever did for my tank was to get rid of the undergroud filter i would suggest that to anyone

04-21-2004, 06:36 AM
Good advice from Seedy (above) about backflushing the UGF.

Have you considered an air driven sponge filter? They are very cheap, yet they are effective. The ACs would be great though (or another Emperor). Sometimes you can get Emperors used for sale (PM me if you like; I know someone who is selling a few right now).

The quick filter might help with the green water, but your problem (as you've obviously already discovered) is the nitrate (a.k.a. good algae food). With such high levels in your tap water, you may need to resort to some chemical filtration (one of the resins or pads available to absorb nitrates). If it were me, I'd treat the water BEFORE it went into the tank. You can do it in a big plastic garbage can or something similar (make sure it is new and clean).

Also, you'll want to eliminate all the opportunities for nitrate production to accelerate in your tank. Eventually removing the substrate and replacing with a thin (1/2") layer of sand would help. Also, increasing water movement or just changing the direction of the flow would help eliminate dead spots around decorations, etc.