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Thread: Reinstalling a UGF
02-16-2013, 12:46 PM #11
The first full week with no water changes - just vacuuming once a day to remove uneaten food and fish waste with makeup water - the tank parameters are extremely good:
pH: 6.8 Which is close to my tap (7.0) and this is behaving better than I expected; previous results have been between 6.2 - 6.6 with periodic large water changes. This makes sense because I have far too soft water (for stable pH) and lack of water any large water changes plus evaporation allows the KH to climb a little bit. This will tend to stablize pH, I would think.
Nitrate: 0.2 ppm The critical one and what I invested so much time and effort into. As expected - both the algae scrubber and to a far lesser extent, the bio-reactor/nitrate/fish killer from hell - are doing their jobs even though I am feeding like crazy (5-6 times a day) and tiny food debris is scattered all over the tank despite vacuuming, as are fine fish waste. These products break down and normally produce a lot of nitrates (and phosphates.)
Phosphate and (Phosphorus): 0.2 ppm and (0.066 ppm) Another critical one and the one that most people ignore but algae does not. This waste is ONLY consumed by the algae filter. Since both rotting food and fish waste produce large amounts of this organic, I am highly pleased by these results to date and they are MUCH lower now than before I added the reverse flow UGF. Without the UGF, my phosphates were between 1 and 2 ppm depending on the number of water changes. I have not done any large water changes this week (and the vac water change is the same as before) so this indicates that the reverse flow UGF combined with the algae filter is working extremely well in removing phosphates from the tank WITHOUT water changes! Pay off (for now; too little data to really be sure at all but a good start.)
KH: about 1 or 35 ppm; about the same but the test uses one drop at a time and two drops is about 75 ppm so could be higher or lower a good bit and I'd never know. This is more like 35 +/- 17 ppm. So, could be dangerously low (unlikely since the pH is more stable) or 52 ppm (more likely due to improved pH stablity.)
GH kit has failed so, do not know this value.
Nitrite: is zero (but this is not a given. The filter from hell can give nitrite spikes if not fed properly! Hence, why the unit can be deadly! Not for the careless and very touchy; a bad design, period.)
So far, the system is working exactly as I expected (well, not really but that sounds better. I didn't really know what would happen.) I finally found my digital camera and as soon as I find the plug for the battery charger, will add pictures of the system. Since this is a discus tank, very soft and low pH with near zero nitrates/phosphates are my goal. Plants (esp.) cannot tolerate such a low nitrate and many other fish can not tolerate such low KH readings. So this system is not for most people. Scrubbers can work well in a planted tank but must have a nitrate liquid added (it is good for any aquarium to have lower phosphates for a number of reasons: plants really use very little; algae can then not compete; fish are less stressed and inverts will do far better.
Last edited by Cermet; 02-16-2013 at 12:57 PM.
02-16-2013, 06:44 PM #12
Pictures of the System and Tank
Here are pics. The algae scrubber (when first installed and I had plants.) The algae grid (none grown yet in this photo) can be seen between the two halves (the LED case on the outside of the aquarium) and the growth case on the inside of the aquarium (where the growth grid is located.)
02-16-2013, 07:37 PM #13
How does the algae scrubber attach to the glass ? Suction or magnets ?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 [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]
02-16-2013, 07:42 PM #14
By magnets but I also add tape on the outside side ...
02-17-2013, 11:37 AM #15
I am having issues editing posts - most times, the editor will not open; also, I get an error 4 on uploading pics if I reduce them in GIMP. I am just uploading the full photo for now ... .
Last edited by Cermet; 02-17-2013 at 11:42 AM.
02-17-2013, 11:40 AM #16
Here is a pic of the reverse flow UGF with its intake sponge.
02-17-2013, 11:45 AM #17
The error is 406 for the photo's.
02-18-2013, 02:46 PM #18
I am considering skipping daily vacuumings this week and do them every other day to reduce my adding new water to the tank (been about 10% a day.) In this manner, I'll see better if the nitrates do not rise significantly (or maybe do.) I am curious if the scrubber can handle a lot of extra waste just sitting and rotting food (I know it does to some degree since my heavy weekly cleanings find a lot of old, very broken down food under the wood pieces.) Still, while my aim is not to avoid cleaning the tank using this filter system, it is nice to know how effective the system really is relative to my previous results.
Last edited by Cermet; 02-18-2013 at 02:51 PM.
02-21-2013, 10:01 AM #19
Quick update on project:
Sunday - nitrate: 0.2 ppm; phosphate: 0.5 ppm.
Wednesday - as expected, the phosphates have moved up without daily vacuuming - skipping three days has allowed the phosphate to jump to a rather high value of 2.0 ppm. Far faster than I expected, however, to exceed 1 ppm. The nitrates haven't moved at all at with a steady level of 0.2 ppm. Organic breakdown does not have any reall effect due to the filters (scrubber and bio-reactor) but the phosphates released are massive. Still no real water changes performed on the tank (10 days.) I did vacuum out the food/waste debris yesterday and wonder what the water parameters will be by Sunday.
Have learned that phosphates rise fast and to significant values just by skipping a few days on vacuuming. Will be interesting to see if the phosphates drop by Sunday and to what value by removing any food.
Last edited by Cermet; 02-21-2013 at 10:10 AM.
02-24-2013, 11:42 PM #20
Well, just measured the aquarium after two weeks of no major water changes and one week of only vacuuming every other day. The results are not a surprise:
Nitrate: 0.5 ppm; after 50% water change, about 0.2 ppm
Phosphate: 3.0 ppm , after w/c change, about 1.5 ppm
The phosphate has really climbed over the week (and second week without a major change); the algae scrubber and bio-converter can easily handle the nitrates but for phosphates, only the algae scrubber can remove these and the unit can't keep up. Not a real surprise but brings home the point about water changes - biweekly is a significant improvement over weekly, and weekly is significantly better than two week changes.
The rate phosphates exploded over two weeeks (started @ 0.2 ppm and ended up 3.0 ppm) is a good caution for people who do monthly water changes. As is well know in the enivironmental sciences, phosphate is one of the worse algae 'foods'.
Bottom line: phosphates, which most can't measure, can explode with poor upkeep. Nirates are more easily handled by a scrubber while phosphates are not consumed as fast. A planted tank would do better (but of course, it would require regular feeding with nitrates.)
The UGF works very well with helping to keep food/waste on the surface of the substrate. The orginal phosphate reading of 0.2 ppm is extremely low for an aquarium that is fed five times a day. This was better than my more typical 0.5 ppm before I installed the UGF but the previous (0.2) was achieved with only weekly 50% W/C and daily vacuuming.
Last edited by Cermet; 02-24-2013 at 11:50 PM.