I have a 10 gallon tank
Fully cycled and running quite well for about 2-3 months now.
1 betta and 1 assassin snail.
On and off problems with phosphate being the cause of algae problems.
For filtration, I currently have an aqueon filter cartridge for a Aqueon QuietFlow 10 Power filter (medium) and I have added an Aquapure Phosphate filter (cut to fit). Currently, the water is running a bit above the filters as I believe there is just too much there with the filter cartridge and the phosphate filter.
I was wondering if anybody had any advice on the best way to set up my filter or maintain it. Replacing the filter may not be an option right now so I was wondering the best filter media?
One pro recommended I switch to a 3 level system of cut-out filters including phosphate and another two that I don't quite remember. How exactly would I do that without wrecking my cycle? (the phosphate filter has been in for a month and a half now so I believe it may have enough bacteria to maintain the cycle even if I remove the filter cartridge).
I hope I have given enough information and I appreciate any information you have for me.
Knowing your water parameters for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphates, and pH would hep a little here. When you say your tank is cycled, I will assume you have 0 ammonia and nitrites
Given that, I would not change any filter media you have. Algae is not cuased by useing the wrong filter media, but by a imbalance between light and parameters
Higher levels of phosphates and/or nitrates are typically caused by over feeding your fish, incorrect maintenance completeed, or from your water supply. Improper light conditions such as: direct sunlight, too long of a light period, or lighting that is too intense will also cause a lot of algae problems
I would recommend looking into those potential causes first
If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
"Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info
+1 with Cliff - unless we know your water parameters (actual readings for ammonia, nitrites & nitrates) you don't know for sure that your tank is cycled.
Originally Posted by Balavalidus
I dont' think you have adequate filtration for the tank - generally it's recommended to have enough for double the size of the tank.
The best kind of media to have in a filter is biological media to grow more bacteria and the way to maintain the filter is to clean the media in used tank water every few months unless you can tell the filter is getting clogged - if you aren't overfeeding that shouldn't happen.
46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT
Remember: Our job is to take care of the water our fish live in
+1 I would recommend an Aquaclear 20 filter. The added capacity could help a little to balance things out.
Originally Posted by andreahp
I agree with the recommendation of the AquaClear20. I had that on my ten gallon with neons and a snail.
I now have an AC 30 and the 20 on a 20 gallon with more neons, a snail, and endlers. I have an AC20 on my 5.5 gallon betta tank. They're good, quiet filters with lots of room for filter media (I have various combinations of biomass, sponge, crushed coral, and carbon depending on the particular tank's needs).
eta: sorry, I just reread your OP and realized that replacing the filter itself was not your objective (I hate it when I get responses that don't address the question I actually asked!).
re: the algae problem that you're trying to address -- if you're able to rehome the assassin and add an apple or nerite snail, you might not have to worry about the phosphate levels.
Do you have enough space in your filter to add biomass (like the Fluval ceramic tubes)? I'm not sure what the three-level cut-out system you mentioned is, but if it means mechanical, biological, and chemical, then having sponge and biomass (biological) in your filter (mechanical) are the main considerations. If you want to increase the amount of biological (beneficial bacteria) filtration, then perhaps just replace the phosphate filtration with more of the biomass. (I'm not familiar with the specs of the Aqueon filters or the phosphate filtration you mentioned though.) The cycle should be able to accomodate those adjustments given that the bioload of a betta and a snail in a ten gallon is not that huge.
Last edited by inuudo; 01-03-2013 at 08:20 PM.
If you know that the phosphate level is the issue and the phosphate absorber removes this problem - i.e. algae problems are gone - you have two options and neither are really the filter; adding and replacing phosphate absorbers is both costly and will effect the bio-filtering of a filter but the primary media should buffer that effect; this issue will just be a fact of life with that method of phosphate clearing.
Another approch is to use an in tank algae scrubber (will easily fit a 10 gal.) This will also stablize your bio-filter (even if the media is lost for some reason) and even reduce nitrates (if you have plants, maybe rethink this - plants need some nitrates and algae scrubbers do their job far too well.)
Is this device the better approch? Maybe, but only you can determine what is best - large cost upfront for the scrubber or continued purchase of low cost absorbers.
Filter floss media is very good for small filters where bio-chips just don't really fit very well; just rinse out the media from time to time using dechlorinated water (old tank water is good.)
You are all so right and I should have known better than to test the water before asking questions.
PH - 7
nitrate: Almost a 0, I had just done a fairly large water change. Nitrate has never been a problem in my tank since the cycle was completed.
Two full spectrum halogen lights for 8 hours. No direct sunlight (in my basement)
I should have also mentioned that I am using Excel Flourish and that the algae I have is a dark green/brownish hair that only grows on the leaves of my plants. I barely have any specks of algae on the glass.
All I have in my 10 gallon tank are some very tiny pond snails (reason for assassin snail), the assassin snail and my betta. I feed him 1-3 pellets every day and he eats them all. If he doesn't eat one right away, I fish out the pellet.
I do not have readings for phosphate but last time I got my water checked because of the algae problem, it was high phosphate issue.
I'm hoping to add a nerite snail and some red cherry shrimp soon but I want to make sure the tank is running smoothly with proper filtration before I go ahead and get something else.
From what I gather, I have two options:
A) Remove the charcoal from my current filter media (it is used up by now and just taking space I believe) and add biofilter media
B) Buy a new filter like the aquaclear 20 and go with biofilter material.
Don't add the nerite snail if you're keeping the assassin! (Unless you are adding it as a food source.)
Yes, take the carbon out as it's past any useful life.
If the water is flowing over your filter pads, the water isn't being filtered much. Water flowing over your cartridges is an indication to change them.
Freshwater tanks don't generally need a phosphate filter. Living, thriving plants will out compete algae. Getting there takes time and chemical filtration materials can be a sanity saver until the plants can do their job. Some floating water sprite would make your betta feel happier. It's also a great nutrient sink.
Over feeding or over crowding with over feeding is the normal cause of nutrient imbalances in tanks. Water changes is the way to correct that in the long term, not chemical filtration.
My recommendation for the Aqueon QuietFlow is to cut a section of filter foam, to fit inside the bio holster. On the 10g size, I think you're going to be limited to about 5/8" thick. I use generic foam AquaClear sytle replacement sponges for all my filters. The brand of filter isn't as important as using one correctly. AquaClear filters are Great!, but there's no reason to dump a working filter. Particularly one you can easily hack.
Another option using the bio holster is to wrap it, vertically, in filter pad material using a rubber band to hold it in place.
This is an excellent recommendation and I do this with all my filters that were originally cartridge filters. The recommendation for the AC20 was based on gph.
Originally Posted by dbosman