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View Full Version : Filter Set Up - A Few Questions



Cichlid_Man
01-25-2009, 01:27 PM
Hi,
I have a few questions about filter setup.

1. I have an aqua clear 110 on a 40 gallon tank but it does not have the sponge, so I am just using filter floss held down with some quartz rocks. Do I absolutely need bio max, or can I just buy a household sponge to hold the bacteria?

2. Isn't bacteria present in the gravel and ornaments also? Why is it needed to have things like sponges or bio max in your filter also.

Forgive me for the questions. I have been keeping fish for 40 years and back in the old days we had piston pumps and inside the tank filters and never had problems with ammonia or anything else.
Thanks!

Sharon
01-25-2009, 01:40 PM
Hi Joe:ssmile: ...As far as I know, you can use any type of sponge in the filter. If you use a household sponge, make sure it's soap free, as I'm sure you already know. The bacteria is everywhere in the tank, but the biggest colony would be the filter media....

Cichlid_Man
01-25-2009, 01:53 PM
Hi Joe:ssmile: ...As far as I know, you can use any type of sponge in the filter. If you use a household sponge, make sure it's soap free, as I'm sure you already know. The bacteria is everywhere in the tank, but the biggest colony would be the filter media....

I will probably get a small household sponge and add a small media bag of bio max when I can get to town.

I just set this tank up last Sunday with 8 fish, and I still have no ammonia, nitrite or nitrate readings. PH is 7.6
I used stress zyme, plus about 2 pounds of gravel from an established tank. Maybe I won't see a cycle at all??

Sharon
01-25-2009, 02:04 PM
Well, the established gravel will have helped, but I think you are going to cycle. If the cycle was established, you'd be getting some nitrates. I would have thought you'd be getting Ammonia by now, as well, with 8 fish. What type fish? Have you changed any water?

Cichlid_Man
01-25-2009, 02:18 PM
Well, the established gravel will have helped, but I think you are going to cycle. If the cycle was established, you'd be getting some nitrates. I would have thought you'd be getting Ammonia by now, as well, with 8 fish. What type fish? Have you changed any water?

Sharon, I have 6 Zebra Danios, a small spotted Pleco and a Bala Shark which I will soon give to my son-in-law. He has a larger tank to support that fish.

I don't understand it either?
I have zero readings in all areas, and I use a pretty expensive API test kit, not test strips.

Totally zero ammonia nitirite and nitrate.

Sharon
01-25-2009, 02:26 PM
Have you been feeding fish daily? Any water changes that might be keeping Ammonia low?

Northernguy
01-25-2009, 02:26 PM
The sponges for your filter are under 10 bucks for 3.Any soap free clean sponge will work.
The gravel you put in your tank may have had enough bacteria to more than support the few fish you have.Give it a bit of time and you will see your perameters begin to show.
Have you done a water change yet?

Cichlid_Man
01-25-2009, 02:32 PM
The sponges for your filter are under 10 bucks for 3.Any soap free clean sponge will work.
The gravel you put in your tank may have had enough bacteria to more than support the few fish you have.Give it a bit of time and you will see your perameters begin to show.
Have you done a water change yet?

Thanks for your input, both of you.
I have not done any water changes as of yet. That was advice from the LFS. They told me to wait till I see at least 5ppm nitrate, then do weekly water changes as I already know. I usually do 50% weekly changes on establshed tanks.

I was asking about household sponges because those sponges that come with the aqua clear are huge, and I have had problems with them clogging after a while and the filter backing up.

Sharon
01-25-2009, 02:38 PM
Joe, if you have an established tank, you can "instantly cycle" the new one...
The LFS is not giving you great advice. In a cycling tank, you need to water change when Ammonia or Nitrite gets to .5ppm. If you wait til you see Nitrates 5ppm, you probably will have some fish who will not survive.

Northernguy
01-25-2009, 02:42 PM
Joe, if you have an established tank, you can "instantly cycle" the new one...
The LFS is not giving you great advice. In a cycling tank, you need to water change when Ammonia or Nitrite gets to .5ppm. If you wait til you see Nitrates 5ppm, you probably will have some fish who will not survive.

I agree with sharon.
As for the sponges they are that size so they can hold the max amount of bacteria.You can cut them down!
I think by adding such a large amount of seeded gravel you did give your tank an instant cycle.Its always better to seed the sponge with gunk from a cycled filter.

Cichlid_Man
01-25-2009, 02:55 PM
I agree with sharon.
As for the sponges they are that size so they can hold the max amount of bacteria.You can cut them down!
I think by adding such a large amount of seeded gravel you did give your tank an instant cycle.Its always better to seed the sponge with gunk from a cycled filter.

Thanks again to both!

Last questions I would have then are:

How often should I test this water?
Should I now do a water change of at least 25%, or wait till I see any signs of ammonia or nitrite?

I may never see ammonia or nitrite if the tank instantly cycled.
I am confusing myself :-)

Sharon
01-25-2009, 03:04 PM
I'd leave it...watch and wait! Test every couple of days, unless fish start to look stressed.

If the tank IS cycled you will see nitrates...

Lady Hobbs
01-25-2009, 03:11 PM
Yo Joe.......I would buy the sponge that fits the filter. It's like $6 and you have it a long time. You want the sponge to fit that opening to prevent junk from coming past it.

Almost all your bacteria lives in the filter. You want a good heavy base of bacteria there so you can do lots of gravel cleaning without losing your cycle. Come on now, Big Guy. I know you have $6.

LOLOLOL

What am I talking about!!!!!!!! I don't even have $6 right now!!!!!!! sheeeeeeeesh

Northernguy
01-25-2009, 03:52 PM
I would leave for a week and do a w/c regardless.You do have fish in the tank.

Cichlid_Man
01-25-2009, 04:43 PM
Yes Hobbs!
I DO have 6 bucks :-)

It's just a matter of me wanting to drive 60 miles to the lfs and buy it.

Maybe tomorrow.

Next week I will do a water change regardless of what my tests show.

Like Northernguy said, there ARE fish in there!

Northernguy
01-25-2009, 05:10 PM
60 miles! I feel your pain.lol
My closest decent lfs is over 2 hrs drive for me!

bushwhacker
01-25-2009, 07:51 PM
hey joe, nice to see an old fishkeeper come to the forums.. i remember the days too but back then we didnt have the tests that we do today, we just tossed em in and let em swim.. yeah youve gotten some good advice here, lotta good and dedicated fishkeepers on this forum. tho i will admit there are some that aren't quite as knowlagable. but testing every few days and 50% waterchanges once a week will keep your tank safe till it cycles.... good luck and welcome to the AC

Cichlid_Man
01-25-2009, 11:33 PM
hey joe, nice to see an old fishkeeper come to the forums.. i remember the days too but back then we didnt have the tests that we do today, we just tossed em in and let em swim.. yeah youve gotten some good advice here, lotta good and dedicated fishkeepers on this forum. tho i will admit there are some that aren't quite as knowlagable. but testing every few days and 50% waterchanges once a week will keep your tank safe till it cycles.... good luck and welcome to the AC

Thanks my friend!

I don't know what it is, but fish keeping is just very relaxing for me.
I remember the old times too, when we bought fish, dropped them in, and there they went. I don't remember losing too many fish either.
Now, with all the technology, it seems that sometimes we try TOO HARD to get things going. Adding bacteria, bio max.....Maybe there is some truth that those products help, but I was always taught that the less "crap" you put in the tank, the better off the fish will be.
None of these fish we buy are taken from their natural habitat, so, they only have one choice. Adapt to their environment, or die. You can buy 5 fish, all the same species, and one may not make it. I will always do my best to help these fish survive. That's why I ask questions here. You can never learn too much.
This is a great forum!