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Old 03-31-2005, 10:03 AM   #1
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Cannister help-XP2

I'm a little confused about cannister filter media options. Can anyone give me a crash course? I have a 38G and a 50G tank, both with Rena XP2s. It comes with the sponges on the bottom, the filter bag with charcoal, and the fine floss for the top.

In the owners manual, there are tons of other options to add. I heard people here say they use the rings. What are the advantages of some of them and what do they do.

P.S. I really like the filter!
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Old 03-31-2005, 10:44 AM   #2
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I like my XP2 too

After the sponges (coarse ont he bottom, then the fine), you have basket #2. I never use carbon...just isnt' necessary in 99% of cases. Instead I use ceramic bio-rings (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...1&N=2004&Nty=1 )
Sometimes I run the micro pad on top, sometimes not.

The bio-rings have way more surface area, and never really have to be replaced. They ensure you have enough room for bacteria to grow...and if you start another tank, you can take a handful of these out of your filter, toss them in the new filter, and have an instantly cycled tank (still have to be careful on the stocking, but you don't have to do a full 4-6week fishless cycle).

They make bio-stars too which are hard sponge-like material, but I like the simplicity and usefullness of the ceramics.
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Old 03-31-2005, 11:08 AM   #3
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I go with sponge prefilter, then ceramic noodle coarse prefilter (yeah, bacteria grow on them too), then floss for finer filtering, then two baskets of pourous bio-media (half the ceramic rings the fluval came with, half seachem bio-substrate-its cheaper). The idea was to have nothing particulate get to the bio-media baskets so that the highly porous bio-substrate would not get clogged. They have a large surface area due to the porosity, so that nitrifying backteria can colonize it and take care of your ammonia and nitrite.

I don't use the charcoal.
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Old 03-31-2005, 11:21 AM   #4
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Maybe I should have asked this earlier. A few months back, I stocked up on the charcoal bags & floss. DOH! So, the issue with the charcoal is that it really doesn't have the major advantage that the ring or other options have- that being good bacterial growth.

How much of this stuff would I order for 2 filter? Tom, you have a different approach so I guess that question would not be the same for you.
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Old 03-31-2005, 11:29 AM   #5
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I wish I did the rings with my first tank because I just set up my second one last night & I could have used them in cycling this tank. Doing the fishless cycle. Can I add any of the other parts of the original filter (sponges) to the new one to speed it up?
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Old 03-31-2005, 11:48 AM   #6
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Two liters of bio-substrate would probably fill all the baskets you want to fill in two filters. I bought two two liter jars when I was ordering. I have three canister filters that came with some media, and I have about a half liter left over after adding. As long as you are paying shipping, might as well stock up. Its nice to have extra around. Then when I put fish in a QT, I take some media from the canister for the QT filter, then add fresh stuff.

You can still jump start your new tank. Take part of whatever you have in your established canister now, and put it in the new filter. That can cut weeks off the fishless cycle. your charcoal bag will work, cuz it gets colonized. Just don't take all the media out of your established filter. Yes sponges work too. Everything gets colonized, including gravel. You could even put gravel fromthe established tank in the new filter to speed it up.

edit: oh, fluval sells the ceramic coarse mechanical ceramic stuff, two or three boxes for two filters? I am not sure that you need this, but since it came with my fluvals, I just bought a box or two to add to it. After 3 months, there wasn't much in the coarse ceramic noodles. Either it doesn't work, or my tank doesn't have much coarse stuff to trap. When I open my goldie tanks canister I will see how much coarse stuff it traps.It still provides surface area for bacteria.
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Old 03-31-2005, 02:00 PM   #7
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Thanks, Tom.

A question about adding the gravel. Do I put it in something? Sounds kind of messy.
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Old 03-31-2005, 03:54 PM   #8
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you could put it in one of those mesh media bags, or if it is large enough gravel and the basket slits are small enough, right in the basket. Probably easier to get a mesh bag at petsmart or LFS.
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Old 04-07-2005, 12:44 PM   #9
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Thanks for the recommendations here guys. I loaded up my ceramic rings this week and added some of the old filter media to the new one. My fishless cycle on the 50G is going well. Started on Saturday and the readings are:

NO2-3.3 mg/l
NO3-20 mg/l
NH3-0
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