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Simple Media Setup For Hob Filters


number20121

Alright, Koko wanted me to repost this here in a new topic.

Many people that are new to fish keeping, fall for the replaceable filter cartridges that are sold by the companies that make the filters.

By doing that, you will toss out the majority of your beneficial bacteria every time you replace a cartridge, and so continuously experience cycle bumps, which can lead to health problems for your fish; not to mention the amount of $$ you waste when buying the filter cartridges.

First off: Carbon is not necessary. Only if you need to remove medications from the water, or to remove odor (which usually shouldn't happen in a fish tank, except for a light smell similar to wet soil).

Carbon collects impurities, but if the carbon is "full", these impurities will leech back into the water and can cause health issues.

This is how I set up all my HOB filters:

Get a pack of Marineland Rite Size Undergravel Filter Floss, which costs about $ 6. http://img.photobuck...-filter-pad.jpg (it contains one big, folded up sheet of floss)

Get as many boxes of Fluval Bio Max Ceramic Rings as you can fit in the filter. They are around $ 13 each.

Remove your current media and keep it in a container of tank water.

Cut a piece of filter floss out of the Marineland Rite Size to fit into each of the filters. Only one layer each, and put it in the filter in a way that the water HAS to go through the filter floss first.

Fill the bio rings (rinsed under water first to remove dust) in the available space, as many as you can.

This here is what the end product looks like

http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j269/EileenGalvin/filter.jpg

In order to keep as many beneficial bacteria as possible, you should additionally add your current filter floss. If you can, remove the carbon. The plastic holders can go in the trash also.

Do NOT rinse your floss in tap water, the chlorine will kill the bacteria.

Then just have your old floss between the new floss and the ceramic rings. The bacteria will start multiplying and spreading out onto your new media.

The floss is what will collect most of the gunk. Rinse/swish/squeeze it in used tank water if they get gunky, and re use. If they are beyond saving, you can replace the floss with a new piece.

The ceramic rings might need occasional gentle swishing in tank water to remove gunk and will last for a long time. :)



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:goodpost (and I hope this will be pinned somewhere)

The only thing I want to add is that while you definitely want to pack your filter (as shown in Fang's excellent pic), you don't want to overstuff the filter, as that will impede flow and may cause overflow out of the filter box.

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Oh yes! Especially with floss. The bio rings don't seem to obstruct the water flow much, but floss can. I had this happen to me when I used two layers of floss on each side, and one morning I woke up to a 55 gallon tank with more than 2 inches of water missing, and a thoroughly soaked carpet :yikes

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Oh yes! Especially with floss. The bio rings don't seem to obstruct the water flow much, but floss can. I had this happen to me when I used two layers of floss on each side, and one morning I woke up to a 55 gallon tank with more than 2 inches of water missing, and a thoroughly soaked carpet :yikes

Unfortunately, I also speak from experience with the overflowing :yikes

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yay Fang!! Thanks for re-posting. It's already been helpful to me. I am going to re-pack my filters with my next wc.

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yay Fang!! Thanks for re-posting. It's already been helpful to me. I am going to re-pack my filters with my next wc.

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I have a question... You say we should put the padding in a way that the water from the intake hits it first, so like you, the only way I can do it is by bending the pad like your picture, but I found that having the ceramic media loose on the bottom it's kind of crazy trying to stick the pad in there. Right now, I stick it on top of the ceramic media:

photo1-3.jpg

But then I thought of this contraption:

photo2-1.jpgphoto4.jpg

I put two layers of about 3 x 8 of the pad inside, this way, I can put it right where the water comes out into the filter, and it's less messy to pull out and clean. The questions about this are, are the pads big enough? Is it a good idea?

I could also make a larger one to put in the place of the original Penguin filters but then it would catch the water a bit from the side.

And my last question is, I got a lot of ceramic media but it came in these mesh bags saying you can use them like that in the filter...

\photo1-2.jpg

Wouldn't the zipper be harmful?

:)

Edited by labecs

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Hello. To answer you questions:

1. I think that the pads are definitely big enough. The main thing you'll want to watch out for is that it doesn't impede the flow of the water and cause a backup and overflow of the filter box. In addition, you just want to make sure that the bio-wheel still turns :)

2. The mess bag is fine. I think that the zipper is actually plastic, so it'll be alright. However, if you think it's metal, then I would just cut it off and use some twine to thread through the top of the bag to keep it sealed.

I actually have QT filter set up similarly to what you have now, and have found that it works really well.

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Thank you so much for posting this! Super helpful. I put the bio rings in a mesh bag (or a piece of panty hose) so they don't have any opportunity to bump around. I would also think the zipper would cause problems if it's metal :)

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I guess it doesn't really matter much if floss or padding. Mine calls itself "floss" but looks like what Alex linked as "padding". I also don't think it really matters much, it is just used as pre-filter to catch the majority of particles :)

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great post Fang and very helpful :) i think the bio balls in the mesh bag is a great idea too :) I also use the padding type ever since I found out that the charcoal could leach out toxins :(

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I like the idea of mesh bags, but my problem is that I don't find any in decent size. I'd need at least two for each side of each HOB filter. But those mesh bags are so narrow, that even then I can fit less media in the filters than without. I want to find some large mesh bag, that would make removing the media a lot easier.

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I ordered some decent size mesh bags from Foster & Smith awhile back that work great. I used "knee hi" hose for awhile but I like that the mesh bags allows better flow.

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I have some questions, hope that is okay. Does this not apply to AquaClear Filters in which you replace the inserts at different times? Should you ever replace the foam in AC filters? Is the carbon insert unnecessary?

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I have some questions, hope that is okay. Does this not apply to AquaClear Filters in which you replace the inserts at different times? Should you ever replace the foam in AC filters? Is the carbon insert unnecessary?

It applies to all filters. No you do not need carbon. And the AC foam just needs to be rinsed in old tank water every week or so, never replaced until they are falling apart, which could take years! :) Same with the AC bio media/beads, just rinse.

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I have a question for Fang of the Filter gods (or anyone else).

Is it better to run two filters that have some sponge and some ceramic bio media or can you run one with pure sponge and one with pure ceramic bio media?

I ask because one of my tanks has an inbuilt which is really 100% sponge (its alot of sponge, a solid 30cm deep of different coarsenesses). I added a big bag of ceramic bio-beads to this filter to increase BB space just for my own peace of mind.

I have been thinking, though, that I may want to add another filter. My existing one is over 10x the GPH of my tank but id like another one of a similar size just to over-egg the pudding, so to speak.

Since the mechanical filtration of my tank is pretty good (no suspended particles or dead spots) I dont really think I need much more sponge, so I was thinking of adding a new HOB that was filled with just pure ceramic noodles/BB media and maybe a really thin layer of sponge to stop gunk entering the impeller.

Would this work? or would you put equal sponge and ceramic noodles in both?

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I would personally split it between both filters. This way if one goes down the other is still there working just like the other one. :thumb:

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well i couldn't take it anymore. my filters were getting so gunked up so often that i decided to rework the media. i liked fangs idea in her first post but i didn't like the ceramic rings being loose, i thought it would be too hard to clean. so i basically took that idea, but just created a box out of craft mesh and put the ceramic rings in that. then i wrapped the filter pad around half the box and attached it loosely with fishing line. this way its all one piece, i just pull the whole thing out, put it in a bucket of tank water, detach the filter pad, ring it out really well then reattach the filter pad and slide the whole thing back into the filter. seems to be working pretty well so far.

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What does the filter fill material itself look like? A more or less solid sheet or loose like the filling material in a stuffed animal? If it's the latter, I don't know if you need to put that in a media bag similar to the ceramic rings or not. You know, I am not sure if it will start to disintegrate and you will end up with fuzzies floating all over the tank.

And yes, the floss goes in front of the ceramic rings. You will want the water to go through the floss first to filter out particles, then go through the ceramic rings, and then back into the tank :)

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