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Old 09-17-2004, 09:04 PM   #1
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Maintenance of a Penn Plax Cascade 1500 Canister Filter

Newbie to the group!
Newbie to my new 90 Gallon Aquarium!
15 Year Veteran of a 20 Gallon tank...

I finally convinced my wife that for our 10th wedding anniversary....it is time to get a BIG aquarium....so I have recently purchased as 90 Gallon Freshwater Aquarium!!

My LFS talked me into getting a Penn Plax Cascade 1500 Canister Filter. He said that it worked as well as the Fluval 404 and was much cheaper.

The instructions with the Penn Plax Cascade 1500 Canister Filter are very limited...and I had a few Questions:

Media Changes:
1. How often should be Media be changed? There is no meter on the filter that indicates when it needs to be changed as some canisters have.

2. I currently have a Corse Sponge, Floss, then Carbon, then 3 buckets of floss. Is that too much floss?

3. The LFS has a bunch of other Media: Pre-Filter Ceramic Bio Rings, Zeolite, Carbon/Zeolite mix. Do I need any of these? The Bio Rings sound interesting...should I put that before the corse sponge and Carbon or after?

Outlet:
I have the choice of a Spray Bar or an Outlet Jet. Is any of these a preferred method for the outlet. I have mostly small fish in the tank so far if that is dependant on which outlet method to use.

That is all the questions I have on the filter at this point...I am sure I will have questions as things progress. I am currently cycling the tank with Zebra, Barbs and White Clouds.

WhiteCldOutlaw
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90 Gallon Fresh Water Planted w/ CO2:
7 Brilliant Rasbora, 6 Harlequin Rasboras, 3 Dwarf Neon Rainbows, 1 Red Tailed Shark, 2 American Flag Fish, 4 Skunk Botia Loaches

40 Gallon Breeder Salt Water: 4 inch DSB (2/3 Agaramax & 1/3 Sea Flor), Bak Pak 2R Skimmer w/ BBX, 2 x JBJ PHs, Coralife Lunar Aqualight (2x96w), 30lb Base Rock and 40lbs of Live Rock.
Inhabitants: Purple Firefish, Pygmy Angel, Lawmower Blenny, 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp(HH), 1 Emerald Crabs, 3 Porcelin Crabs(HH), varying amounts and varieties of hermit and snails.

3 Gallon Eclipse:
1 Goldfish (won free at a fair...cost $50 in equipment)
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Old 09-17-2004, 10:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Media Changes:
1. How often should be Media be changed? There is no meter on the filter that indicates when it needs to be changed as some canisters have.
Do not change the media, just rinse it off in old tank water and re-use it. Once it starts to break down and lose its shape, then replace it. With floss, throw it away and replace it whenever you open the filter. Floss should be dirt cheap.

Quote:
2. I currently have a Corse Sponge, Floss, then Carbon, then 3 buckets of floss. Is that too much floss?
It is a bit overkill on the floss. It will lose its effectiveness before getting through all three baskets. I would reccomend going with one basket of floss to polish the water, and add some bio media.

Quote:
3. The LFS has a bunch of other Media: Pre-Filter Ceramic Bio Rings, Zeolite, Carbon/Zeolite mix. Do I need any of these? The Bio Rings sound interesting...should I put that before the corse sponge and Carbon or after?
Get a good bio media like BioMAX or Ehfisubstrat. Pre filter rings can help, but are not really needed. Bio filtering is THE most important filtering to help the health of a tank. Typically, you would stack a canister filter one of two ways:

coarse (sponge) -> fine (floss) -> chemical (carbon) -> bio media (bio max or ehfisubstat) // The logic here is that the two coarse and fine media will clear up more debris, then clean water flows through the carbon and bio media

or

coarse -> bio media -> chemcial -> fine // Logic here is that some waster will collect on the bio media and help it break down faster. Then, it get finely filters before returning to the tank.

Either way way fine for a bsic setup. I prefer the second method myself, and I think the bio media works better if some waste can get to it. With a canister, you can do pretty much whatever you want and put in media that suits how you want to filter the tank, that is a primary benefit of having one

Quote:
Outlet:
I have the choice of a Spray Bar or an Outlet Jet. Is any of these a preferred method for the outlet. I have mostly small fish in the tank so far if that is dependant on which outlet method to use.
I would use the spray bar for more flexibility. Be aware that you really should look at adding at least one other filter for a 90g tank. I would reccomend a high power HOB filter to help with water movement. Also, with a large tank it is very important that you have a backup filter in case the primary fails.

One thing you should do to really help the new 90g tank along is to take some substrate from your 20g tank and put it in the 90g. Substrate is packed with good bacteria that can help kickstart your cycle. If the substrate does not match, you ban buy a little tank safe bag, and put your substrate in that. Then drop the bag in the tank and the bacteria can get to work. Some people even put substrate from another tank right in their canister.

Let me know if you have any other questions, and welcome to AA!
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Old 09-18-2004, 04:15 AM   #3
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I can add just one thing to all that info from grimlock. Fine foam. You could go coarse foam, fine foam, floss then carbon and or bio media.
Try the spraybar. You and the fish will love it.
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Old 09-18-2004, 07:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasgood
I can add just one thing to all that info from grimlock. Fine foam. You could go coarse foam, fine foam, floss then carbon and or bio media.
Chas and Grimlock,

Thanks for the recommendations! Now...of course a few more questions:

Chas: What do you recommend for Fine Foam (brand name or place to purchase)?. It sounds like a great idea! I think I will need something that I can cut to fit as Penn Plax does not make a ready to use fine foam.

I have 5 buckets in the filter. The filter filters from bottom to top...so here is my plan:

Top
5. Bucket of Floss (there was a lot of "stuff" on that top floss)
4. Floss and Carbon (they both fit)
3. Bio Media Ceramic Rings
2. Fine Foam (if I can find some...currently is old gravel in mesh bag...thank for the tip Grim)
1. Corse Sponge
Bottom

Does this sound good...or any other recommendations?

Grimlock...the HOB filter is not an option....I have the Tank only 2 inches from the wall...and the 90 gallon tank is NOT going to move. The Cascade 1500 can filter 350 gallon/hr and says it can be used in a 200 gallon tank. Do I really need more filtering than that?

I have the spray bar in place..and have it tilting upward now...and it make a lot of turbulence on the top now for O2 exchange.

Thanks for all help!

Steve Charles
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90 Gallon Fresh Water Planted w/ CO2:
7 Brilliant Rasbora, 6 Harlequin Rasboras, 3 Dwarf Neon Rainbows, 1 Red Tailed Shark, 2 American Flag Fish, 4 Skunk Botia Loaches

40 Gallon Breeder Salt Water: 4 inch DSB (2/3 Agaramax & 1/3 Sea Flor), Bak Pak 2R Skimmer w/ BBX, 2 x JBJ PHs, Coralife Lunar Aqualight (2x96w), 30lb Base Rock and 40lbs of Live Rock.
Inhabitants: Purple Firefish, Pygmy Angel, Lawmower Blenny, 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Peppermint Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp(HH), 1 Emerald Crabs, 3 Porcelin Crabs(HH), varying amounts and varieties of hermit and snails.

3 Gallon Eclipse:
1 Goldfish (won free at a fair...cost $50 in equipment)
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Old 09-19-2004, 04:04 AM   #5
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The same type of foam used in furniture I read works great. Scraps can be had for free. Or find a brand in the fish store that can be cut to fit. Open cell foam is what it is called. Your foam is 30, called coarse. The fine is 20. My Filstar came with it. It looks like the grey foam sometimes used in packing. Fluval and Ethiem make them too.
I would put the floss before the Bio Media Ceramic Rings. Just to keep them clean.

A second filter is not a have to item but it adds a safety margin. I have just 1 filter on each of my tanks. But my filters flow rates are 6x the tank volume per hour or more. Your filter is doing 4x the bare minimum. 90x4=360gph 90x6=540gph to 90x8=720gph flow rate is what most on this site try for. Once you get that tank close to the stocking limit you might want to get another canister. A smaller one will do. About 200 to 250 gph. They can be had cheaper online than in the lfs. 50 to 60 bucks. Tankgirl told me about http://www.bigalsonline.com/. They have the cascade line plus many others.
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:06 AM   #6
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hi whitecloud, i just got the 1200 canister filter. and i notice it only came with the active carbon and the floss, any recomendations ? im gonna put an arowana... should i replace some of the floss with bio balls in one media and ceramic on the other ? so it will be, carbon , floss, ceramic , bio balls ?
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:07 AM   #7
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correction, sponge , carbon , ceramic or bio balls and floss ? i only have 4 media, what is the best combination ?
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:11 AM   #8
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i would suggest you try to keep debris off the bio media, as you don't want the debris breaking down. It is better to remove the debris before it breaks down. Far too many people consider a cannister filter as a storage container for the debris in the tank. Regular maintenance will keep it working better and result in lower nitrate buildup. I would skip the carbon and use that space for a bio material, which can be any of the commercial media or something as simple as plastic pot scrubbers. Coarse reticulated sponges are excellent biomedia. Toss the floss rather than trying to clean it, as it mats.
One must always remember that anything in the cannister is still in the tank; it is just out of sight.
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:28 PM   #9
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sorry for my ignorance. but what is a debris ?.. the filter comes with coarse sponge, is that enough bio material ? or like u said i should replace the carbon chamber with any other bio material like ceramic or bioballs ? also how long u think i should wait to put an arowana in there.
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Old 09-12-2011, 01:14 PM   #10
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Debris is any solid material from within the tank. You want all portions of the filter filled. Don't use bioballs, as they don't have enough surface area for the space they take up. Most on here would recommend a fishless cycle which could take 4 to 6 weeks before adding fish.
Are you aware that the 90 gals won't be big enough for an arowana for long?
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