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Old 02-14-2014, 05:19 PM   #1
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Fluval C series -Custom Media for Mechanical Filtration (polyfiber vs sponge)

I've got two C3's on my 38 gallon and a C4 on my 29 gallon. The factory pads are fine and do give you crystal clear water, but (in addition to being more costly), I find that I get much better results when it comes to polishing the water for that "uber clear" look when I do custom "cut to fit" media.

The C3 mechanical media frame is about 5" x 5" x 1/2" and I have found that the best results are achieved using cut to fit Acurel Polyfiber debris reducing pad (about 3/8" thick) plus 100 micron AquaticLife non-woven polishing pad.

The C4 mechanical frame is about 6.25' x 5.5" x 5/8" and I find the best results are obtained with either the cut to fit Acurel pad (above) + AquaticLife 300 micron polishing pad + AquaticLife 100 micron polishing pad. Or, alternatively, HBH Aqua-Pure Poly fiber (1/2 inch thick) plus the 100 micron AquaticLife polishing pad.

Neither the factory nor the AquaticLife "cut to fit" polishing pads can be re-used since the dirt becomes embedded in the pad. The "problem" is that neither brand of the coarser "cut to fit" polyfiber pads can be rinsed thoroughly (squeezed) in aquarium water .... and even when you just lightly swish it ...... it doesn't seem to last more than once or twice before having to be replaced.

I hate to waste the beneficial bacteria when the pads are replaced and wonder why I cannot find any "cut to fit" sponge pads ( ie 3/8 to 1/2" thick) that can be rinsed more thoroughly and used forever ...... like the AquaClear sponges.

Maybe nobody wants to sell you something that you don't have to come back and make repurchases .... or am I missing something? It could also save some $$ if there was a cut to fit sponge.

Am I missing something here?

They sell a Juwell line of sponge pads in the UK that Ian086 put me onto

Juwel Filter Sponges | eBay

... but has anyone seen something that clearly works? This would have application in many other types of filters, too.

Thanks
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:30 PM   #2
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I'm subscribed. Interested too if anyone has an alternative.....
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:28 PM   #3
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Cut to fit pad material.

I just got a C3 myself. Right now I'm using the pads they provided but I am not buying any more. I looked as I was assembling the C3 and the cut to fit material I used in my AC50 will work in the C3. I can rinse and wring this stuff out and reuse many times and it gets better at trapping fines the more I wring it out. Here's a pic of it. I got it at Petsmart for about $8. OS.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Scales View Post
I just got a C3 myself. Right now I'm using the pads they provided but I am not buying any more. I looked as I was assembling the C3 and the cut to fit material I used in my AC50 will work in the C3. I can rinse and wring this stuff out and reuse many times and it gets better at trapping fines the more I wring it out. Here's a pic of it. I got it at Petsmart for about $8. OS.
Thanks Brian, I NEVER thought of checking my local Petsmart for it....haha
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:36 AM   #5
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I'm interested in what you find out as well.

I already have the Acurel pad+AquaticLife polishing pad in my cart at Amazon, I have yet to purchase though.

I've had my C3 for 3 weeks now, and the maintenance tab has been up for a week. I've cleaned the pad twice, but it didn't make much of a difference. The waste pad seems to come clean. The polishing pad is a different story, that's kind of expected really. I don't think they can really make a good polishing pad that will rinse clean.

Also, what do you guys run in the mechanical filtration box? I currently have the carbon that it came with, but I don't really need it as my other filter has carbon as well. I was thinking about putting some Purigen in there.

Mine is still making a quite a bit of noise. I only had 2 fish in my 29g because it was cycling, so I'm thinking maybe there wasn't enough fish slime floating around to lube it up. My cycle is done, so I've added a couple more fish. We'll see if it quiets down once I get a decent stock in.
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:10 AM   #6
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I put extra bio beads in my chemical tray. OS.
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Old Scales View Post
I just got a C3 myself. Right now I'm using the pads they provided but I am not buying any more. I looked as I was assembling the C3 and the cut to fit material I used in my AC50 will work in the C3. I can rinse and wring this stuff out and reuse many times and it gets better at trapping fines the more I wring it out. Here's a pic of it. I got it at Petsmart for about $8. OS.
***************
Be careful. Believe it or not ....... I have two bags of this exact stuff that I got for free from Drs. Foster & Smith when they sent it to me by mistake when I ordered SeraWool (Floss) for my AquaClear 50. [when I called and told them that they filled my order incorrectly, they told me to just "keep it" and sent me the Sera Wool at no charge.]

The bonded filter pad in my "bag" of it is 3/4 of an inch thick. The C3 frame only allows for 1/2 inch of media. The filter is designed so that the space between the frame and back of the filter housing is left open so when water shoots from the "little black thing" on top of the motor to the back of the filter, unfiltered water is distributed evenly behind the media before it is pushed out to the front of the filter. View from back of C3 while running:

Newly Installed Fluval C3 Running. Water Is Forced Through Black "thing" Into The Space Between The Housing And The Filter Pad. Photo by Paul1792 | Photobucket

More important - the bonded filter pad is not going to act like a micron polishing pad so it's unlikely to give "canister" quality polished water. Unlike the AquaClear, you cant just "stuff it in tightly" to catch more particles.
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:54 AM   #8
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Interesting Paul. Glad you chimed in. Looking at the filter and pad on the counter before installing it seemed possible, but what happens in real use is, as you point out, another reality. Thanks for the heads up. OS,
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Old 02-15-2014, 10:36 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by anibis View Post
I'm interested in what you find out as well.

I already have the Acurel pad+AquaticLife polishing pad in my cart at Amazon, I have yet to purchase though.

I've had my C3 for 3 weeks now, and the maintenance tab has been up for a week. I've cleaned the pad twice, but it didn't make much of a difference. The waste pad seems to come clean. The polishing pad is a different story, that's kind of expected really. I don't think they can really make a good polishing pad that will rinse clean.

Also, what do you guys run in the mechanical filtration box? I currently have the carbon that it came with, but I don't really need it as my other filter has carbon as well. I was thinking about putting some Purigen in there.

Mine is still making a quite a bit of noise. I only had 2 fish in my 29g because it was cycling, so I'm thinking maybe there wasn't enough fish slime floating around to lube it up. My cycle is done, so I've added a couple more fish. We'll see if it quiets down once I get a decent stock in.
**************
You are correct .. the polishing pad cannot be rinsed clean because the micron particles are embedded in the media. Here is a picture of my first "maintenance" when the pad was rinsed in distilled water ..... Note the caption:

Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community - Paul1792's Album: Paul1792's 29 gallon - Picture

The same applies when you use the aquaticlife 100 micron pads. When you use them the first time, they clog in a few days because they are trapping a build up of particles. When I was running the C3 on my fully stocked 29 gallon tank, I had to switch out the pad about every three weeks. With the C4, I switched it out after five weeks .... but it was not yet clogged.

You may find some of the following pictures useful that I posted under the title "HOB Filtration" in my photobucket account:

HOB Filtration Photos by Paul1792 | Photobucket

Click on the picture you want to see and note they are captioned to explain what's going on in each picture.

As for the chemical basket .... it's Purigen + Floss. Optional if it will fit is Seachem Matrix in a Biobag (in my case small biobags from Drs Foster & Smith).

As for the noise, I that exact problem on my first C3. So bad, I posted this:

Two days of FluvalC3 are enough .. Best quiet filter?

But in the end it is totally silent. Amazing, my second came out of the box quiet and was silent in a week. The C4 came out of the box quiet on 1-6-14
and is now "very quiet" but not silent.

I am doing all kinds of C series experimentation right now (what the heck .... I have three of them right now) including the use of aquatic life 50 micron polishing pads and the supposedly miracle working Poly-Filter by Poly-Bio-Marine, Inc.

Pond Water Quality: Poly Filters Pond Filter Media

and I will be posting back on the results.

If you want your water to looks like this:

How to get crystal clear aquarium water - YouTube

but with out the unsightly mess, canister filter, & uv sterilizer, the C series lets you do it but the only way I have found to get it done is with micron polishing pads + Purigen.

As an aside, I even got crystal clear polsihed water with my Walmart Aqua-Tech 30-60 .... but the time, effort, and mess doing all the DIY odd shaped stuff and pre-filters just got to be too much so I gave myself 2 new C's last Christmas.

Good luck to you.

and oops ..... one more thing:

when using the 100 polishing pads, there are no instructions but be careful. The pad is "graduated" and feels like felt on one side and almost like plastic coated on the other side. Water should flow from the coarser felt like side to the finer "plastic-like-film" side.
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:32 PM   #10
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Interesting Paul. Glad you chimed in. Looking at the filter and pad on the counter before installing it seemed possible, but what happens in real use is, as you point out, another reality. Thanks for the heads up. OS,
Sure is interesting what we learn here. As it turned out, the loss of BB I was worried about when discrarding all my mechanical media and replacing it with new the other day was a non-event. The possible bacterial bloom I was concerned about never materialized since I have so much BB elsewhere in the filter and a tank only needs so much. Good old joey mullen youtube DIY explains it pretty well here:

CheckOutTheLatest - Subscribe to YouTube channels with Facebook

An interesting item he brings up in that video is that most bio-media does have to be replaced over time, albeit maybe not as often as they say to in the AquaClear & Fluval C instructions. The is consistent with what I have read elsewhere but many members of this forum say you never have to replace it because "it never wears out."

Joey explains that although the media never wears out, due to its pourous nature, it does become clogged over time with slime & whatever making it less efficient ... and it cannot be cleaned.

I experienced something similar when I noticed the other day that the bio-screen pad for the drip tray over the C-Nodes on my first C3 (running since last August) had almost completely clogged and the water was bypassing the drip tray and flowing directly into the outflow. When I went co clean it off the pad in distilled water, I was amazed at the incredible amount of slime that had coated it, cloggin up the pores.

Fortunately, I put extra bio material (Seachem Matrix) in all my filters ....... but I plan to start replacing my bio-media it a little at a time in each filter after the original OEM media becomes over a year old.
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