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Old 09-01-2010, 01:41 PM
35,309 posts, read 52,315,210 times
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About to pull the trigger on a 50+gal freshwater aquarium, and was wondering about filter choices, I used to have an under gravel filter that worked well and didnt need too much cleaning/maintenance , i still have a sizeable canister filter that worked well on a 25gal aquarium i had 10 years ago, Majority of fish are intended to be tetras and a few utility fish such as small catfish.
What are the pro's and con's of modern filtration systems for 50 to 75 gal tanks? I have had aquariums in the past but it was a long time ago so i guess i've reverted to newbee status.

I'm also interested in making a cloud of fine bubbles like i see in some saltwater set ups,i've tried the bubble stones hooked up to small inexpensive plastic air compressors but the bubbles tend to be too big and not enough of them .

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Old 09-02-2010, 05:55 PM
Location: Kalamalka Lake, B.C.
3,563 posts, read 5,378,490 times
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50 gallons and up? Here I go: the canister filter is used as a bio media only, not for filtering. A hang on the back filter is used for filtering and water turnover. What enhances both is my third piece: a 20 dollar current mover of some kind. You can position this impeller or power head anywhere in the tank, depending on what kind of tank you have. If you use two of them you can create a "gyre" that forces all sediment of any kind in the tank into the filter intake area.

Undergravel filters have about had their day. I will never use an undergravel again. They are used in some fully planted tank applications and certain marine tanks, but the "gravel" you use should be porous or ceramic, like Schultz's plant soil, actually a baked ceramic, Eco-Complete (almost the same thing but five times as expensive), and you'll find it really helps the bio load (the water will look crystal clear). Inert "pond filter gravel" is available at pool supply stores for the right price.

Again, what are you putting in the tank? Livebearers? Cichlids? Goldfish?

And those bubbles? They're the result of salt in the tank; add a "little" salt depending on the fish you plan, and you'll see the tiny bubbles.

I was out of the hobby for years, and have just returned, having to learn everything all over again.
Recommend: my Vancouver, B.C. hobby site Aquarium Forum - Fish Forum - BCAQUARIA - Powered by vBulletin and Tankspiration if you're needing advice. We have some of the top aquarists in North America here in B.C. Whether it's marine, wolf fish, discus, micro-chipped arowana, ACA threatened species or swordtails and guppies, we do it all!
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Old 09-03-2010, 03:40 AM
35,309 posts, read 52,315,210 times
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Sorry for the pm mixup ,i just forgot i posted this thread
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:55 PM
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Default Simple...

Do what the Germans do... a Hamburg Mattenfilter. I am making one this weekend for my planted tank. Google it.
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Old 09-04-2010, 01:52 AM
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Google says =

Here are some formula's to do your own calculations:
A = surface filter mat
V = flow rate
Q = amount of water filtered
n = number of tanks filtered per hour

Flow rate in the filter:

This one is used to calculate the throughput velocity in the filter.
The factor thousand relates to the fact that 1 liter = 1000 cm3. This should be taken into account to remain constant in the formula.

By formulating it as follows:

the result is the required pump capacity, relating to the available filter surface and the desired flow rate. Divide by 1000, to go from cm^3 to liters. Multiply by 60 to get from ltr/minute to ltr/h.

The dwell time is then calculated by dividing the thickness of the mat by the throughput:

The required surface for the filter is a result of:

This formula enables you to calculate the size of the required mat with a given filter capacity and a desired flow rate. Tanks per hour: 1-2 times the content of the aquarium should go through the filter. This value has proven to be a desirable one. When the flow goes below 1 tank per hour in an aerobic filter, a rise in ammonium is possible because bacterial reduction of waste is no longer 100%.
Flow rate: 5-10 cm/minute has shown to be an optimum throughput. It doesn't matter much if the actual value is 2 or 18 cm/minute. There are other parameters anyway that were not taken into account, causing a higher flow rate through the pores of the filter medium in reality. This is exactly the reason to keep the flow rate at a low level.
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Old 09-04-2010, 01:45 PM
5,976 posts, read 15,273,721 times
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Default Well..

Ha! Touche. What do you expect of German Engineering, eh?

What I meant, after the calculations, it is simple to create one. Basically it is a piece of foam with either a tube and an airhose down the middle, or small terrerium type pump.

Here are some links which show the simplicity:

My DIY Hamburger Mattenfilter - Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community

HMF Mattenfilter - lots of pictures and FAQs - Aquaria Central

And many others....

However, if you keep a high tech tank like I do (Metal Halide, CO2, Dupla PH Controller, Dupla cable heating, Tunze ATO, etc.), then you would want to do the calculations... here is a site that if you scroll down the middle, you will see a reference to a German web site which will calculate how big of a foam filter you will need, the flow rate, etc.

Petshrimp.com Discussion Forum • View topic - hamburger mattenfilter
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Old 09-04-2010, 02:13 PM
Location: Up on the moon laughing down on you
18,495 posts, read 32,959,536 times
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I have a 65 gallon planted tank that I don't even bother to turn the filter on in.

I do prefer the canister filters though on my other tanks. They seem to work really well, and not get invaded by snails. I don't go for all that new fandangly stuff. I am more of a just add water guy. And I have had the same fish for the last 3 years. The water quality is always constant and the fish aint complaining.

125 gallon- musk turtle tank
55g Cyprinid tank
65 gallon amazon
30g bowfront
29g native tank
29 g baby texas cichlid tank
7g crayfish tank
2 5g Beta tanks
10g planted (still need to and some fauna in there, only a baby pleco so far)

2 empty one gallon isolation tanks

My house used to be reeeeaaaaallly humid when I lived in San ANtonio without central air
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Old 09-05-2010, 05:19 AM
35,309 posts, read 52,315,210 times
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So i guess every once in a while you take out the Matten filter and change or clean the foam?.
I'm envisioning a section in the tank thats going to visually clash with the rest of the tank as its going to look like a large exposed dirty filter taking up a corner or side of the tank i must be missing a part of the puzzle.
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Old 09-07-2010, 02:28 PM
Location: Chicago, IL
725 posts, read 3,014,996 times
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I used to have a 46gal freshwater tank and just used a Marineland Penguin filter (I used a 75+gal filter to better help with the filtration because I had goldfish primarily) that hung on the back of the tank. Not sure how much help this will be, but that has been my personal experience.
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