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Cichlids: A Knowledge Base .: Chat Logs .: 08/09/11 Aquarium Hardware and Maintenance with glaive and RustyNut

08/09/11 Aquarium Hardware and Maintenance with glaive and RustyNut

Glaive: Tonight's chat goals are to cover equipment and maintenance.

crazyfishlady: That's all?

Jeff F.: If we're talking maintenance, can you tell me how often I should break out my cascade 1500 and clean things?

Glaive: yeah cfl that's it

Chromedome: WooHoo, nice group!

Glaive: I like to clean my cannisters every other week

Glaive: Hey Chrome

StructureGuy: Every other week?

Glaive: yes Kevin every other week

crazyfishlady: Wow. I'm impressed!

Glaive: most cannisters are simple to break down and clean, my Fluval usually takes 5 minutes tops

StructureGuy: Um I'm real impressed

Glaive: for those with MTS once a month is fine

ocdreamin: mts?

Jeff F.: Thanks......I was under the impression that you could check them monthly after initial settling

crazyfishlady: It takes me about 5 minutes per sponge in my Renas.....It might not, if I were cleaning them every other week though.:whistle:

Glaive: In truth Jeff they could likely go 2-3 months but I am a water quality stickler

ocdreamin: what's MTS again?

Glaive: when I first started I was cleaning the cannister every two months and that was about my time frame cfl

Glaive: multiple tank syndrome

StructureGuy: My big Eheim goes 2 to 3 months

Glaive: I personally run a collection of filters on my tank

ocdreamin: Does anyone have an opinion on the Mag 350?

Glaive: Good poop collector, very nice mechanical in my experience

ocdreamin: I like that I can see the water level and don't have to unplug it to clean it

ocdreamin: I only wish it had more filter surface

Chromedome: Magnums are crap, toss it out. Waste of money, I tried one on my 125 when I first set it up. The problem is the cheap screen in the filter, it collapses and won't recover shape.

Glaive: there you go a more educated response ;)

ocdreamin: only if you go to long without cleaning

Jeff F.: Questions like that would certainly be affected by the tank size and bioload you were trying to sustain. True?

Glaive: absolutely Jeff

Chromedome: Two weeks, maybe three.

Jeff F.: Hello Mis

maccichlid Okay, here's a question... if you have an Emperor 280 / 400, or any of the penguin line, they have standard cartridges that are blue floss + charcoal. In previous threads, it's been established that the charcoal is not your friend after a couple of weeks (max). So question is, what kind of filter media would you use in these models?

ocdreamin: plus, I use bio ceramic material instead of carbon

MisanthropeKitty: hey everyone :)

Glaive: hey kitty

maccichlid: given that you'd have to conform to their shape?

Glaive: I personally like ionized register filters...

crazyfishlady: Mac, I have heard of people cutting out the filter floss & putting them back together with rubber bands or hot glue

Glaive: there are house hold central air and heat filters that go inside the registers

crazyfishlady: I personally, use the cartridges anyway, but probably don't replace them as often as I should.

ocdreamin: okay - you can explain that one to me - ionized register filters

ocdreamin: oh

Glaive: a register is a fancy word for the vents in your house

Chromedome: I'm still lost. How the heck do you adapt that for water filtration?

crazyfishlady: It would be great if the manufacturers made carbon-less cartridges. For tanks that are being medicated, and for those who prefer not to use carbon.

fish speaker: my tap water dissolves the Emperor cartridges, so I have to change them before too many weeks pass

Glaive: the material is extremely thin and very effective

ocdreamin: probably the cellulose, not fiberglass, I assume

Glaive: it's something akin to a scotch bright pad

Glaive: I may have a picture

maccichlid: could someone cough up a link to something i might in a home depot or some such?

crazyfishlady: I should clarify: Cut away the floss, remove the carbon, and glue the floss back on to the frame.

Glaive: yes I can Mac

maccichlid: CFL... i thought of doing that, but i too have noticed the floss falls apart when cleaning

Jeff F.: I don't replace them as I should.....BUT I'm smart enough to look at my bio wheels and see whats going on and rinse other filters in established water. It works for me as a rookie because I pay attention to EVERY aspect of the bio chain

fish speaker: I have too many filters running to even consider too much in the way of DIY

Glaive: cfl is outlining a very typical solution used by many

crazyfishlady: I have heard of others cutting the media cartridge for the Emperors in half & stuffing/securing with floss to use as a carbon-less cartridge.

maccichlid and the cartridges are expensive for a skinflint like myself :)

Chromedome: I just cut the tops of my Emperor cartridge and pour out the carbon. The set I'm currently using have been holding together for 8-9 months.

Chromedome: I should say, I cut a slot in the floss at the top of the cartridge.

maccichlid: Chromedome, you're able to do repeat cleanings on the floss?

maccichlid: i get about three cleanings before i get crazy holes

Chromedome: Wash them weekly.

maccichlid: am i just to rough during cleaning?


crazyfishlady: Either that, or you've got crazy water pressure. :p

Chromedome: That's possible. All I do is rinse thoroughly for a couple minutes.

Glaive: something similar to that is what I use

StructureGuy: I run one Penguin 330 (mechanical filtration + water movement) and one AC110 (for biological + water movement.)on most of my tanks I use two sponges for the AC110 so there is no filter expense. I rinse the filter pads for the Penguin and use them for about 3 weeks

fish speaker: whats your pH run, mac?

maccichlid: about 8, 8.2 out of the tap

Jeff F.: This is a chicken or egg kinda situation from my inexperienced point of view. From what I've learned, you simply have to make sure that the essentials are replaced or compensated for in one or another part of "YOUR" structure. Am I wrong?

Glaive: that's fairly accurate Jeff

Jeff F.: "Fairly"?

Glaive: I personally do my best to increase the capability of my filters by the media I use

Chromedome: I have too many small tanks, so I mostly use old box filters in the tanks, and set up an overflow line. But then, I have my own well, so water is relatively cheap to change.

StructureGuy: Boy, I wish I had a well instead of city water.

Glaive: I use sponges, vent filters and the biomedia at hand

Glaive: in my Fluval for example...

Glaive: first are the sponges

crazyfishlady: What's a vent filter?

Glaive: from there my first basket has a few layers of register filters and ceramic rings


Glaive: that cfl

Glaive: the next basket has crushed lava rock because I am too cheap to buy more rings

crazyfishlady: Sorry. I guess I should be looking at links. :oops:

Glaive: my last basket is full of aragonite crushed coral

Glaive: no worries cfl

Glaive: I have been running the same sponges and vent filters for about.... 5 years now

Glaive: I rinse sponges in tank water and hit the vent filters with the kitchen sink sprayer

Glaive: I rarely if ever rinse my biological media as most particles are not getting past the sponges and vent filters

crazyfishlady: How do those of you who use sponge filters keep them from redepositing all the crap back into the water while you're trying to maintain them?

MisanthropeKitty: i hold a bowl under mine when i lift from the water

Glaive: I would use my fish tank only Tupperware to scoop them out cfl

MisanthropeKitty: thats exactly it Alex.. fish only Tupperware

Chromedome: Yes, I have many plastic food containers, and just lift the sponge in that from the tank.

StructureGuy: I squeeze the sponges in a bucket of tank water

Glaive: ditto SG on the cleaning

crazyfishlady: Yeah. It's getting them from the tank to the bucket, that I'd think would be messy.

StructureGuy: It is

Glaive: hence why SG needs Tupperware/butter bowls for his tanks ;)

Glaive: I am curious what types of filters everyone here has used?

StructureGuy: Sometimes I just move the whole AC 110 to the sink to remove the sponges

Glaive: I used to do that with the Fluval housing

StructureGuy: Tupperware is for sissies

Jeff F.: I'm with ya SG. Just take em there and rinse in tank water I just took out

Glaive: when I had various hobs I would lift them out and set them on the rim of my bucket

fish speaker: I do that with my Renas...have only dropped one :red:

ocdreamin: I've done that

Glaive: now I don't have any hobs, I run a cannister and two rigged power heads

Glaive: hey rusty

RustyNut: I must have missed it

ocdreamin: I used a hob ON a bucket to transport fish

RustyNut: Hi all!

ocdreamin: welcome RN

Glaive: great idea OC

StructureGuy: I won a Rena in a club raffle and I'm surprised how much I like it. (easy maintenance)

tchill93x: Are all canisters modifiable/customizable when it comes to filter choices? (Hi Rusty)

Chromedome: Hiya Rusty!

RustyNut: Hi chrome

fish speaker: I've currently got 7 XP 3s and 4s in service

ocdreamin: this is the first feedback I've heard on Renas

Glaive: I don't think all are created equal in this manner tchill

Jeff F.: Hi Rusty

Glaive: Rena's are definitely more mechanically inclined

Jeff F.: My Cascade is doing great.

Glaive: to have a maximum of media diversity I favor basket models

RustyNut: Agreed Glaive

fish speaker: With the Renas, the xp# describes how many baskets it contains

RustyNut: inclined even :D

StructureGuy: Why fluidized sand beds? I thought that was mostly a salt water thing.

RustyNut: FSB are perfectly usable in the FW environment

RustyNut: Just as a foam fractionator is usable on ponds...

Chromedome: Indeed, the Zoo in Milwaukee has a massive sand bed filter for their huge SA tank, which houses several 3 foot Pacus.

ocdreamin: what the heck is a foam fractionator?

StructureGuy: foam fractionator sounds like something from Back To The Future.

RustyNut: LOL

ocdreamin: the flux capacitor

ocdreamin: or do you mean Mr. Fusion?

RustyNut: NO its a mechanical means of removing dissolved proteins from the water column

Chromedome: basically removes organic scum from the surface of the water. Helps oxygen exchange.

RustyNut: Chrome is correct

Chromedome: Actually, I think I described a skimmer, but they usually work in tandem.

ocdreamin: I was never good at fractions anyway

StructureGuy: Same think as a skimmer?

RustyNut: lol

RustyNut: No a skimmer is a little different

ocdreamin: is there a foam decimator?

RustyNut: though functionally similar

StructureGuy: No pond in my future. 11 huge crappy black walnut trees in my back yard. (Plus it sounds like work.)

RustyNut: Fractionators always use venturis while skimmer often use a mechanical paddle

Glaive: explain venturis

RustyNut: venturi is where a fluid flows through a constricted pipe increasing its pressure (think high pressure washer)

RustyNut: the venturi then sprays the water into itself crating foam

RustyNut: the foam is the protein buildup and as it builds up it is removed

Glaive: how serious is this in freshwater?

RustyNut: Usually there is a collection cup just like on a skimmer

RustyNut: Cannot be used in small aquariums

RustyNut: just not enough protein to churn the water

RustyNut: but works well in ponds where there is huge amounts of organic wastes

Jeff F.: Is this a PM thing or do we lose the whole room

RustyNut: Anything else you want to discuss toss it out there

Jeff F.: Our Original was Vics and your the master Rusty....... Just toss something.

RustyNut: Vics?

tchill93x: Wasn't it shellies?

ocdreamin: so the fluidized sand beds is where you run piping under your sand, right?

RustyNut: I thought this was equipment night?

RustyNut: Glaive, I need clarity here .....

StructureGuy: Jeff's got Vics on the brain recently. I gotta stop posting pictures.

RustyNut: Nice pics too BTW

tchill93x: Ditto on the NICE pics!

Jeff F.: True.....So what do our Vics need?

StructureGuy: The thread is getting hijacked!

RustyNut: OC getting to your question, no the fluidized bed filter is beyond a trickle filter

RustyNut: The sand is the biological media

Glaive: and the surface area is unparalleled

ocdreamin: the objective is to pump water through the bed from the bottom, right?

StructureGuy: Whatever you do for mbuna pretty much works for vics. We'll save the rest for another day)

Glaive: lol

RustyNut: A high pressure input source is sprayed down into a container of sand causing it to become "airborne" in the water or also called "Fluidized" and the water runs through this bed of fluidized sand just like water flows through the ceramic rings in your canister

RustyNut: Surface area is off the meat-hook

RustyNut: :D

Glaive: I have seen approximately 1 liters of sand biologically filter several hundred gallon tanks

ocdreamin: like bioballs... but effective

Jeff F.: Sorry, I just think that SJ makes things happen in our "Cichlid" world that ARE the best in web time world around,

RustyNut: However the oxygenation is not as good as in a trickle setup

ocdreamin: and all surfaces are utilized

ocdreamin: so this happens apart from the tank itself?

Jeff F.: SG.............That is.

Glaive: yes oc

RustyNut: Kevin - Vics = Mbuna + an extra male? :)

RustyNut: OC yes it does

RustyNut: Usually in a tube container

ocdreamin: how do you control the outflow?

StructureGuy: Yea. Plus careful non-similar species stocking

Glaive: I will try to draw up a few examples to add into the transcript

RustyNut: The sand only rises so high and the water just spills off above that point

Glaive: OC you match the flow rate of the pump to the device

ocdreamin: and are there occasional escapees?

ocdreamin: or do you never replace the sand?

Glaive: not if you tune it right OC

ocdreamin: I like it

RustyNut: Exactly when tuned right you won't lose anything

Jeff F.: Nice to see the core group here if nothing else. YOU guys inspire me more than you know and I pass all info along.......Thanks

ocdreamin: well, you could make the cylinder as tall as you needed to

RustyNut: Here is an example of a commercial FSB


Glaive: we have a cannister question involving the "must haves" which I would guess to be media related

RustyNut: I like this model too... Haven't used it myself but have seen it in operation

ocdreamin: you could "harvest" established water with enough bioload and enough sand

RustyNut: One critical problem with the FSB is power outages can kill the whole thing

Glaive: In truth there are two "classes" of cannister, mechanical and biological

RustyNut: Once the sand bed settles down the bacteria die rapidly

Glaive: due to lack of oxygen

RustyNut: correct

Glaive: oxygen

ocdreamin: which is why I've never fallen for the "live sand" gimmick

RustyNut: You still can't type/spell :D

Glaive: okay guys lets table FSB for a short bit and work out some more basics

RustyNut: OK

Glaive: this transcript will be tough enough with out my typos

RustyNut: LOL

Glaive: so getting back to our old faithful cannisters

StructureGuy: I've been meaning to make a DIY egg tumbler. There are occasions when I mistakenly strip too soon.

Glaive: tchill please ask your question

tchill93x: I just wanted to know what the must haves are for a canister-I need one soon.

Glaive: do you have a budget?

tchill93x: Yes

Glaive: what would your budget be?

tchill93x: $200 and under - was a Reaction 4 stage canister that I liked but no one would reply to my thread ($135)

Glaive: with a budget like that I would likely go with an Eheim

Glaive: any one second that?

ocdreamin: I didn't know you could get an Eheim for that

RustyNut: I know SteveC would :D

RustyNut: Ehiems can be had for $100

tchill93x: When I looked - anything for a 125 gal in the Eheim line was way more than $200

Glaive: how big is your tank tchill?

Jeff F.: Is there where we should ask tank size and bio-load?

Glaive: probably Jeff lol

Glaive: so we have a 125

Glaive: what fish tchill?

StructureGuy: Combine a smaller (cheaper) canister with cheaper HOB's.

tchill93x: Understocked - small fish - 2 BN plecos, 3 Crabros, 6 Acei, 6 Rusty, 2 ? yellow ones

Jeff F.: How many fish...what kind of fish would you like to add?

Glaive: cannisters typically generate arguments lol

Glaive: the think about a lot of cannisters is that they heavily slanted towards biological filtration

Glaive: and biological filtration benefits from lower flow rates

RustyNut: Or Dwell times

Jeff F.: Besides that.....we can estimate true values it takes to take care of.......

Glaive: right

RustyNut: Or media contact time

Glaive: I would happily pair a lower flow cannister with a high flow hob

tchill93x: I have Proquatics HOB's that are a pain to get going after turning off - I have to Koralia's=800gph plus the HOB's now.

Glaive: once you hit 125 gallons you can stray away from a 10x filtration rate so long as you plan it well

Jeff F.: It truly does come down to knowing your fish and the perimeters within when it comes down to all...Am I wrong?

RustyNut: Correct Jeff

Glaive: I am getting price points

ocdreamin: I have to get going - good seeing you guys (and gals)

Glaive: Big Als has Marineland emperor 400s for $40

RustyNut: TC OC

RustyNut: What deal that is

Glaive: pair that with an Eheim Ecco Comfort Canister Filter- 2236 for `$100

tchill93x: Would you team that up with a smaller canister?

Glaive: I think that would work out pretty well for a 125

Glaive: or go for the Eheim Filter 2217- Plus for $135

Glaive: including shipping you should be under $200

Jeff F.: Why go small when you could get big for nothing when researched right on E-Bay?

Glaive: and the Eheim is a kit

Glaive: you could also go that route

Glaive: basically tchill I would pick out a quality high flow HOB and pair it with a quality decent flow cannister

tchill93x that sounds like a good plan...could I still try that hydroponics DIY project (plants in tub-nitrate reduction experiment?) by rerouting the canister? Long winter ahead...

Glaive: in your price range I suggest Eheim as it can be done

StructureGuy: The best thing about the Eheim is zero noise.

Glaive: you could though I would suggest doing that with a separate pump

Jeff F.: My cascade is silent

tchill93x: I like quiet.

Glaive: your hydroponic idea will benefit greatly from a very low flow

RustyNut: Just to note that the Fluvals are also very quiet

Glaive: yes the only reason my Fluval is making noise right now is because the return line is above the water line

Glaive: does that help out some tchill?

RustyNut: I wouldn't reroute the cannister... the separate pump sounds much better

tchill93x: Some? You guys are awesome - I've been schooled by the best! Thanks!

Glaive: it would give more control over flow rates

tchill93x: Is it necessary to have slower flow rates?

Glaive: hmm seems the great Julie war of 08 is heating up

RustyNut: flow rates for the hydro setup should be down in the 100gph range really

Glaive: lower rusty

Glaive: even on a 125 I'd aim for 50-60 gph

RustyNut: true but I am thinking pump size minus the head

Glaive: depends on the setup

Glaive: I would run it at the same level and eliminate head

RustyNut: safer

Glaive: just run the hydro where the plants can get sunlight

Jeff F.: Glad you could be here. We usually have a discussion that leads to even more confusion for us who don't know the other side!

Glaive: do we have any other questions? we can talk maintenance more equipment pretty open really

RustyNut: How about Nitrate Reactors?

RustyNut: Oooh nice

Glaive: if you would like to

Glaive: yeah I'll be dealing out a vacuuming over sand video

Glaive: okay right before nitrate reactors, lets sound off on cheap durable media

Glaive: Jeff, Tchill you are the resident least experienced, I would like to see the chat cover a little basic ground if possible, any ideas/suggestions/questions

RustyNut: For Cheap durable media.... Sponges and Ceramics

StructureGuy: So I'm pretty amazed at how many different filter things you guys have tried. I just do the same thing all over the place and end up with lots of spare parts.

Glaive: I like crashed lava rock sponges and those register/vent filters

StructureGuy: How does one ever come up with a bizarre register filter thought?

Glaive: My mother suffers from asthma

RustyNut: 99 Drops perspiration and 1 drop inspiration

Glaive: I decided to go check out filters for registers to help her out

Glaive: I found a package for $7 and read the product spec sheet and realized the ones I got were fish safe

Glaive: I looked at the materials sold in fish stores and realized that I had something that had the potential to last longer and be more effective

StructureGuy: Actually I might order some now. Are they super-duper mechanical filters?

Glaive: so I gave it a go in my ac quick filter

Glaive: they really filter particles nicely and they are easy to clean

Glaive: I hit them with the kitchen sink sprayer

Glaive: I use mine for mechanical strictly

Glaive: I think my sheets are 6 inches by 16 inches and I got 30 in a pack

tchill93x: So it sounds like none of you order the filters sold by canister companies - you all come up with your own? What else can you use? Can you use batting from fabric stores?

Glaive: I think i got the package 5 years ago and I still have 24-25 of the things

Glaive: as long as it is not mildew/mold resistant

Glaive: the only thing I use are the hagen sponges and that is because I use the originals that came with the filters

Glaive: when those give out I will go buy a big sheet of medium density sponge from Homedepot

tchill93x: I didn't even know they had such a thing at Homedepot...

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