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Old 06-10-2006, 07:25 PM   #1
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Spongy things for aquariums (the artificial kind)

I've been battling a pretty bad hair algae outbreak lately.. i decided to take a step back to think about possible sources for pollutants that helped to grow the algae. Admittedly I haven't tested for PO4 yet as I need to get that test kit but I am sure that PO4 is present.

I regularly clean the sponge prefilter on my overflow box.. it gets downright nasty if I don't clean it weekly. I took a look at my wet/dry and had an epiphany.. I don't recall ever having cleaned the "polishing block" installed in the wet/dry. it was indeed nasty.. nasty to the point that I'm not sure I even want to put it back in.

Do I need the polishing block? Could this be the source of my neverending PO4 supply?


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Old 06-11-2006, 12:38 AM   #2
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Not sure about the polishing block but I would take it out and if in doubt throw it out and get a new one. Then do some good sized water changes every few day for a couple of weeks. Definitely get the test kit as this will tell you a lot. Test water down where the algae is too. You may need more flow in these areas too.

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Old 06-11-2006, 09:24 AM   #3
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I would not throw out your filter media in your wet dry as it houses alot of your beneficial bacteria. I use to take mine and put it in a bucket of salt water and keep squeezing a few times till alot of the dirt came out. The water would be rough looking. I dont know how much LR you have but if you have 1 1/2-2 lbs per gallon you could probably get rid of the wet dry. For alot of people though their wetdry is their source of good bacteria if they dont have enough LR.


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Old 06-11-2006, 09:24 AM   #4
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have you tested nitrates?
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Old 06-20-2006, 01:08 AM   #5
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I'm sort of in the same boat.. I know this block picks up chunks of matter and doesn't do a terribly good job of filtering anything but the 'bigger chunks' that slip through..
But it does seem like a great place for nitrates to be created, only to be either pulled into the skimmer <rolls dice> or pumped back into the tank...

Any other oppinions? (I've taken it out and washed it clean in sw a few times, but it gets fairly nasty fairly quickly..and I'm also the guy that just cleaned out a horde of natural sponge things from his skimmer a week or so ago, so I'd love to drop a more effective barrier in there for those lil bastages)

EDIT - then I take about 15 minutes to read up on some of the professional oppionions on these wonderous 'polishing blocks'.

Basically, a trap for chunks o stuff.
Best cleaned out a few times a week lest they become a nutrient trap.
For the uninformed (since the blasted things arn't even mentioned in the manual...oh wait.. mine came with no manual!), they tend to sit never cleaned until a problem occurs.

That said, I do know no coneventional mechanical filtration is without tradeoff - they either need to be cleaned frequently or will be a source of nutrients to the system (and thus, end result, either produce nitrate or other more harmful substances).

Still seems the best method is creating a multistaged mostly natural 'ocean-like' system - with a healthy good bit of rock, fairly good sand bed, refugium for nutrient export and good critter import and a decent bit of 'props' (SKIMMER, powerheads, UV (the committee is still out there tho - just don't let yur fuge empty into it's water path and it makes alot of sense), regular (consistent!) water changes and some carbon changed out regularly.

Of course, that's assuming a sump or a myriad of devices attached all over the place... canister filters probably work along the same theory, but arn't what I read up about..

Oh, and I'm far from an expert, I just google/search 'well'.

My polishing block is already removed, water cleared and the bucket of changeout water seems un-needed (so say the tests).
If anyone goes the same route, do keep in mind those 'chunks o stuff' that very porous block might have caught might end up clogging a pump somewheres.. (I never liked prefilters, took up too much room anyhow)

But when yur hands stay as pruned as mine, that's not really a problem I guess.

(oh, and another last thought If you used that big block of foam as a landing pad for sloshing water (like out of my skimmer), try a quick and easy bubble tower approach - pvc with slots or holes drilled in it will filter foam stuck in the end for the water to slosh through. Ends microbubbles fast and that foam is dirt cheap and easy to grab from time to time.)
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Old 06-20-2006, 11:28 AM   #6
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If your “My Info” is still correct you have a light enough bio-load on your tank to probably do away with the "polishing block" assuming you have at least 1 lbs per gal of base/lr in the main. Replacing it with base/lr rubble would be more beneficial.

Excess nutrients and high levels of no3/po4 are usually the main culprits of algae. Your pre-filter shouldn’t be that nasty if rinsing weekly. How much/how often/what do you feed your 4 fish? Do you use ro/di or tap? If tap have you tested for no3/po4? Is your skimmer still pulling out good skimmate? What kind of lighting do you have and on what schedule? How old are your bulbs?

Below are some useful articles:
PHOSPHATES: what how and the fixes
10 Step Plan for Nuisance Algae Control


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