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Old 02-07-2006, 02:35 PM   #1
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Diatom Filter suggestions

My wife has agreed to spend some money on a Diatom Filter. I understand they are expensive and difficult to use. I was thinking about a UV sterilizer instead but they seem even more expensive and fairly complicated too.

Any tips on brands and where to buy the DF? Warnings, tips, suggestions on its use?


For all of you that have been helping me out already, I can't thank you enough. I'm sure with AA advice, persistence, and patience I would eventually get my green water under control.

But the tank is in the living room in constant view of my wife, family, etc.. I love the location, but it means crystal clear water is a must, and quickly. This is my first tank, and it took me a while to get my wife warmed up to the hobby. Green cloudy water could change that.

I hope the DF is the right move for me.

Planted 60g (24" Tall) | 260W-CF | CO2 Injection
6 Cardinal Tetras, 1 German Blue Ram, 4 Ottos, 7 Japonica (sp?) shrimp, 1 Yo-yo loach, 1 Gold Nugget Pleco, 2 Siamese Algae Eaters, Snails (good & Bad)
Amazon swords (narrow), Dwarf Hairgrass, Glosso, Cryptocoryne wendtii, chainswords, Ludwigia glandulosa, Blyxa japonica, Didiplis diandra, Microswords, Eustralis stellata (I think).
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Old 02-07-2006, 03:16 PM   #2
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Basically, you have three choices...

A Marineland Magnum with a micron cartridge and some powder
A Vortex
A System One

The Magnum and Vortex filters are OK to run continuously, while the System One is rated for four (4) hours followed by a cool-down (30-60 minutes).

As far as charging, I'm not certain how the System One works, but it is a single hang-on-front one-piece solution. Many pet stores use them for weekly polishing, so they must be durable and easy to use.

The Vortex line is probably the old-standby that everybody is familiar with. They are a bit fiddley and temperamental. The newer "DFF" or Diatom Freedom Filter is an updated, improved version of their old recipe. It comes with a "recharge" valve that makes operation much easier. I find mine very difficult to prime and purge all the air from. It makes quite a racket until all the air is out. A purge valve on the cannister lid would be most welcome. Once up and running, it does a great job.

The Magnums come in two flavors: HOB or under-tank cannister. Not a true diatom filter, but with the addition of some diatom powder to the micron cartridge, you get 95% of the performance and none of the headache.

I've got the Vortex DFF and the recharge valve is basically mandatory. I broke the handle off of mine and decided to replace it with two Supreme Pondmaster diverter valves. It's not as compact or elegant, but it works just as good for about the same money (a bit more by the time you factor in the fittings) and should be more durable.

Just tipping into planted aquaria after twenty years of fish-keeping.
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Old 02-07-2006, 04:21 PM   #3
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I started a thread about my new Vortex diatom filter a while back.

I also made a photoessay about setting the thing up and using it.

Good advice from CGGorman. The recharge valve would make things much easier for me (especially when going from tank to tank), but since I only pull the thing out as needed, I guess I can live without it.

I researched the UV sterilizers. They are a bit more expensive, and the bulb (also expensive) has to be replaced every so many hours (usually you get about a year out of one). The sleeve that covers the bulb, and through which the water flows, has to be cleaned every so often too. The big plus with UV is that it's very easy to install, it's always there at the flick of a switch, and it KILLS many fish disease pathogens in addition to green algae.

If I had the money, I'd run both!
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