Hotting up my Emperor 400?
On my 55 gallon semi-friendly community tank -- some African cichs, a trio of clown loaches, a Raphael cat whose usually mia, a Syndontis, and some fun little plecs with lots of rockery -- I run two Emperor 400s side by side.
I seem to have been pretty lucky as both Emperor's run fairly quietly. In any event, as they are in the kid's playroom (at a height of about 5 feet) noise, to put it quietly is not a problem. Overall, I am quite pleased with the filters. They seem easy to manage, don't require that much fiddling, have good flow, fit into the canopy with no fuss and were cheap.
As I have some messy eaters and some messy feeders, the high flow rate is a bonus too, though to quote Ross Perot, there is a great sucking sound when I turn the flow down. In the begining it only affected a single filter, now it affects both. I tend to leave the tab pulled up now.
After a two month (seriously) cycle, the water parameters are basically perfect. Even the nitrates after a spike are low, which I don't quite get unless the small amounts of diatomaceous algae, small amount of plants, Seachem purigem, and fairly frequent water changes are doing the trick.
All however is not rosy, or at least not crystal clear. While I think that the Emperors do a decent enough job with biological filtration, mechanical filtration I think could be quite a bit better. Originally I thought the slight milkiness to the water had to do with the over fine sand I used as a substrate--that was a mistake. Then I thought it might be a bacterial bloom. Now I think it's probably neither--just messy water. Now I don't think that fresh water fish should live in a home with the clarity of a bottle of Absolut, I definitely think better could be done.
What do our forum members suggest. I could replace the filter inserts. The carbon will of course have been exhausted by now--so far I have just been rinsing it in the water I have drawn off during water changes and with most of the beneficial bacteria on the bio-wheels, I don't think I would seriously damage the colony.
Alternatively, would stuffing a finer material in the media baskets make a difference? And if so what would people suggest I stuff them with. I would much rather hit home depot or linens and things before hitting Pet-flatulence. Or is the Emperor just a poor mechanical filter and I just need to live with it?
I swear my Acquaclears did better.
I tried water clarifier on a couple of occasions. It worked for about 4 hours and intuitively I think that adding chemicals unneccessarily can't be a good thing.
All ears here. Jeff
In theory there should be no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.