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Old 09-22-2009, 09:52 AM   #1
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Few Questions Please Help a Fellow Newb

First off want to thank all the people on here as i was reading over this site for hours the past few days and it has answered many of my questions and learned quite a few things.

So i use to have a 55gal tank, community fish when i was in highschool. well the fish died beacuse of ich, didnt know why at the time but i know thats what it was now. So i want to get back into it and have a few questions, i will be getting another 55gal tank just for refrence. As far as fish i eith am going to go with discus or community fish. On to the questions.

1. I have the penguin 330 from whe i had the tank a few years back, will this be good enough filtration or do i need something bigger?

2. As far as when i clean the filter, in the past when i was all full of green and such i would removed then entire filter, tanke it apart and clean eveything with a tooth brush under running water. Is this what i should be doing?

3. When i had the filter i would replace the cartriges every month and such but now i see some dont and modify the cartiges so they dont have to replace them so often, any links to that on how to? what are the benefits to this besides the money saved?

4. I found this link on how to modify the penguin 330 which turn it into a mini-sized, wet/dry trickle filter, any thoughts on this?
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/article..._tricks_iv.php

5. I plan on going with live plants in the tank, as far as lighting goes do i need T5 lighting or can i get away with something i can use the light fixtures i have now?

6. I see talk about water movement and how important it is. I had a airstone last time. is this enough or do i need an actual aur pump and nozzle in the tank?

7. I see all these things about protein skimmers and co2 injection. Am i going to need any of this? and if so could you point me in the right direction

Those are all the questions i can think of now. im sure i will think of some more later. thnaks for you time and input.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:39 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsweers89 View Post
First off want to thank all the people on here as i was reading over this site for hours the past few days and it has answered many of my questions and learned quite a few things.

So i use to have a 55gal tank, community fish when i was in highschool. well the fish died beacuse of ich, didnt know why at the time but i know thats what it was now. So i want to get back into it and have a few questions, i will be getting another 55gal tank just for refrence. As far as fish i eith am going to go with discus or community fish. On to the questions.

1. I have the penguin 330 from whe i had the tank a few years back, will this be good enough filtration or do i need something bigger?

Not sure what you will need for a 55g, usually people use canister filters or AquaClear hang-on-back type filters.

2. As far as when i clean the filter, in the past when i was all full of green and such i would removed then entire filter, tanke it apart and clean eveything with a tooth brush under running water. Is this what i should be doing?

I usually do a cleaning every other month, take apart the filter and clean it out real good. I do not use tap water to clean it though, I use water from the tank.

3. When i had the filter i would replace the cartriges every month and such but now i see some dont and modify the cartiges so they dont have to replace them so often, any links to that on how to? what are the benefits to this besides the money saved?

I do not use the cartridges that come with the filters. I use 100% polyfiber that I bought in a big bag from Joanne Fabrics. I cut to fit in the filter and stick it in the media area of the filter. I usually use the same piece of polyfiber until it falls apart. I will rinse it with tank water after every water change I do. I do water changes at least once a week, sometimes twice a week.

4. I found this link on how to modify the penguin 330 which turn it into a mini-sized, wet/dry trickle filter, any thoughts on this?
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/article..._tricks_iv.php

Not sure on this one... I'll let the others take over on this.

5. I plan on going with live plants in the tank, as far as lighting goes do i need T5 lighting or can i get away with something i can use the light fixtures i have now?

You may be able to grow some low light plants with the stock lighting. If you want a densely planted tank then you will need to upgrade to T5HO's(t5 high output) or CF's (compact fluorescent) .

6. I see talk about water movement and how important it is. I had a airstone last time. is this enough or do i need an actual aur pump and nozzle in the tank?

Airstones are unnecessary if you have adequate filtration and water movement from your filter. Usually the hang on back filters are more than enough water movement and filtration.

7. I see all these things about protein skimmers and co2 injection. Am i going to need any of this? and if so could you point me in the right direction

I don't think you'll need a protein skimmer at all. CO2 is for more high tech planted setups. This will depend on your answer to #5

Those are all the questions i can think of now. im sure i will think of some more later. thnaks for you time and input.
I put the answers to your questions under each question. As far as community vs discus... Discus require very good and consistent water parameters. Therefore, I would not recommend them to a beginner. Even if you are not truly a beginner, I wouldn't recommend them for someone who is just starting out a tank. They will need a more established tank to thrive. Hope this answered some of your questions. I'm sure others will chime in.

Oh, and welcome to the site! You are in the right place for getting started!
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:50 AM   #3
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Welcome to AA! I also had a 55 & a 37 in high school, I used a UGF until I read up enough on filtration to do away with it this time around. I'll try to answer your Q's as best as I can.

1) Yes, that is big enough. 330 GPH will turn over your tank 4-6 times/hour (good for planted BTW)

2) HOB filters require that kind of maintenance every once in a while to remove mulm that builds up which can cause a nitrate problem. As far as I know, this is more of an issue with canister filters that are not properly maintained, but with an HOB you need to do this periodically to clean the impeller & assembly to get the gunk out, especially from around the magnetic drive socket. Just make sure you take off the bio-wheel and leave it in the tank, or put it in a bucket of tank water and swish it around to get any debris off.

3) Filter cartridges can be replaced as often as you desire. The bio-community resides mainly on the wheel.

4) Go ahead if you want to. Probably not necessary.

5) Can hurt to go with T5s, but not a must. What light fixture do you use now? I use a 2x 48" T8 w/Max Plant Growth lights, I would go with those at a minimum, that gives you a "medium" light level. Here's a thread on the WPG rule using updated info for high-output bulbs:

Updating the WPG rule (theory)

And a calculator

New Lights?

With a heavily planted tank, there are a couple things to consider. The filter will induce more oxygen into the water and dissipate CO2 through the trickling action of the bio-wheel. So you might want to consider CO2 or a canister filter instead, but it's probably not a big deal, just see how the plants do without and make a change if necessary. I don't use CO2, instead I dose with Seachem Flourish Excel which is a Carbon supplement.

Also, most HOB/Canister filters use Carbon for chemical filtration, which will also remove plant nutrients, unless you don't change them very often. I have found that Seachem's Seachem. Purigen works great because it removes excess dissolved organics with minimal impact of trace minerals, and it is re-chargeable so you can use it for years. I use it on all my tanks.

6) Water movement depends on the fish. Discus, from what I remember, prefer calmer water, heavily planted, stringent pH and very clean water. Community will do with whatever you put in there. The 'water movement' issue is related to surface water movement, which encourages O2 / CO2 exchange, which is very closely related to pH.

7) Protein skimmers are for SW tanks. As far as I know, there's no need for one on a FW tank.

CO2 again is usually not necessary unless you have a tank with a 'high' or 'very high' light level. Dosing w/CO2 will also mess with your pH (lowering it) so you need to have other equipment to monitor pH and shut off the CO2 when needed.

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:06 PM   #4
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You've got good advice already. Just a few more comments .... and welcome to AA!

Re #4 - I don't think a mini trickle filter is any better than the biowheel, except perhaps you don't have to clean as much .... You need size if you want the benefit of a wet/dry/sump. <Mine is 30 gal. >

RE #1/2/3 - A HOB like yours will be fine for a normal community. Some prefer a canister for better water movement & filtration. This is esp. if you want to get into more demanding fish. You don't need to use the filter cartridges, you can substitute cut to size bulk filter foam or filter floss & rinse (in tank water) & reuse them until they fall apart.

RE: plants - It all depends on what light you have now & how high tech you want your tank to be. You can either choose plants that suit your setup, or upgrade your setup to suit the plant you want. Head over to the planted tank forum & read the stickies & maybe talk to the plant gurus there to make up your mind what you want to do.
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