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Old 11-04-2011, 11:28 PM   #1
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Kinda new here. Need filter advice.

I found this forum quite by accident. Was researching fishless cycling for my half barrel. That's coming along so far, I think. I'll update that on the thread I started about it, later. I'll try to keep this thread on "filter advise". Well I've learned a lot (more than I probably bargained for). I've learned so much about water quality in general. I always assumed a PWC now and then that entailed vacuuming the gravel to death and spraying the crap out of my filters w tap h20 was all I need to worry about. I never owned a test kit. In researching cycling, it made me look at my existing tanks. My 55 seems to not be cycled. Nitrites off the charts w one jack Dempsey and one convict. I've been doing water changes for hours every day for about 5 days now. May have to move them and finish fishless. My 35 is cycled 0 ites and 0 ammo but ates were way off the charts. After days of PWCs, 75% then another down almost to gravel today alone, I'm happy to say they are down to 5ppm. My 55 has a HOB penguin 200 and aqua tech 30-60. My 35 has a HOB penguin 200 and 100. Would it be a good idea to transition to canisters. I've seen people talking about fluval. I was thinking the fx5 for my 55 and 405 for my 35. Also, they all come with different filter media. What should come with it? Biomax and prefilter???? I would approximate any input and advise.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:36 PM   #2
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Old 11-05-2011, 01:06 AM   #3
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Canister vs. HOB is less important than filter capacity/gallons per hour and convenience of maintenance.

My general rule is a minimum of 5X tank capacity per hour. If I can do 1 without blowing the fish and plants out, I'm there!

Canisters tend to be a bit more work to do maintenance on, but are generally an effective and reliable high-capacity option. Further, the options on media are endless.

As far as HOB filters, I have long liked the Marineland Emperor line- but the important factor is the bio-wheel and extra media holders which I like to fill w/polyfill.

I fairly recently bought an AquaClear filter and like the big media capacity and flexibility.

So- consider a 55g tank:

55x5= a minimum of 275gph of actual filter flow. 550gph would be even better!
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Old 11-05-2011, 02:19 AM   #4
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With what you are saying, does that mean that I am good with what I have? I believe the penguins are marineland. I don't know what you mean by emperor. All mine have bio wheels. I'm guessing the 200 means 200 flow rate. And the aqua tech is built exactly the same only twice the size. So do I have a flow rate of 600? Sorry of this is a dumb question, but what is polyfill? Is that just pillow stuffing? And is that all you put in there instead of the cartridges that is sold for them? The cartridges are filled w carbon, which is what I was trying to get away from, as I've heard can become toxic if left too long. And changing filter is a big no no. For now I have just cut it open and rinsed all the carbon out. If you could suggest EXACTLY what I should put in there, I will do that and save time and a lot of money. Thank you so much.
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Old 11-05-2011, 02:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Tiger1 View Post
With what you are saying, does that mean that I am good with what I have? I believe the penguins are marineland. I don't know what you mean by emperor. All mine have bio wheels. I'm guessing the 200 means 200 flow rate. And the aqua tech is built exactly the same only twice the size. So do I have a flow rate of 600? Sorry of this is a dumb question, but what is polyfill? Is that just pillow stuffing? And is that all you put in there instead of the cartridges that is sold for them? The cartridges are filled w carbon, which is what I was trying to get away from, as I've heard can become toxic if left too long. And changing filter is a big no no. For now I have just cut it open and rinsed all the carbon out. If you could suggest EXACTLY what I should put in there, I will do that and save time and a lot of money. Thank you so much.
Yes Penguins are from Marineland, they are a good filter, I have a smaller one. Yours is rated for 30-50 gallons & does 200 GPH.

I'm not sure about the aqua-tech though. I can't find any information except that it is rated for 30-60 gallons, from what I've read it's not the best filter but if I'm correct you have it together with your Penguin then it's good.

Poly-fill is the filling in pillows, just make sure it doesn't have any additives, 100% poly-fill. It does a great job at keeping the water clear, I change mine every month, but you determine that on the bio-load of your fish.

The carbon after it is used long enough will become useless thus not really having a negative effect, just acting as bio-media, but most people stray away from it. I would add in some sponges, and biomax/ceramic rings with poly-fill in a media sock.
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Old 11-05-2011, 02:56 AM   #6
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The aqua tech is what came with the 55. I added the penguin 200. Great, so that is enough!?!? Please help me paint a mental picture of the media assembly. All I've ever known is the pre bought cartridges. What is a media sock? How do I assemble? In layers?? Sponge (reg yellow sponges?), then biomax, then poly fill on top???
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Old 11-05-2011, 03:37 AM   #7
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The aqua tech is what came with the 55. I added the penguin 200. Great, so that is enough!?!? Please help me paint a mental picture of the media assembly. All I've ever known is the pre bought cartridges. What is a media sock? How do I assemble? In layers?? Sponge (reg yellow sponges?), then biomax, then poly fill on top???
Yes that should be enough for the tank.

A media sock is sold at LFS & of course petsmart/petco. It is much cheaper at petsmart. A media sock/bag is just a mesh bag that is able to hold loose filter media, the biomax/ceramic rings. Although if buy the biomax it usually comes in its own baggy/net.

I get these sponges:

Just because they are cheap and you can cut them to fit the filter.

I have mine layered vertically with the sponge being closest to the intake tube, then the bag of biomax, and the poly-fill being the last thing the water passes through.
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:00 AM   #8
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Ok, so layer from back to front?!?! If it's not too much trouble, I would love to see a pic of yours. Is it crammed tight so biomax stays vertical and doesn't sink to the bottom? Sorry, I just want to do it right to get the maximum benefit.
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:10 AM   #9
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No problem, let me get that and explain..
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:30 AM   #10
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Ok, so layer from back to front?!?! If it's not too much trouble, I would love to see a pic of yours. Is it crammed tight so biomax stays vertical and doesn't sink to the bottom? Sorry, I just want to do it right to get the maximum benefit.
Okay so please excuse my excuse of an image lol, but the tank with the penguin filter setup is in the family room, my room has a different filter, so that being said I couldn't get a picture. I can post one tomorrow morning for sure but for now I made this



So the sponge would go first, what the water hits first as it enter the filter, trapping any large particles. After that goes the biomax or ceramic rings, which you can spread along the back wall of the filter. This will catch finer particles & provide great media for bacteria to establish. The last thing, what the water goes through before going back into the tank, will be the poly-fill. In essence it "polishes" the water, trapping many fine particles.
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:41 AM   #11
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Awesome, I would really appreciate that. Very clever, btw!! thanks for going through the trouble. I really like this set up.
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:48 AM   #12
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No problem! I'll put a better picture of my filter tomorrow morning so you can see exactly how.
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