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Old 09-08-2012, 06:39 PM   #1
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Need more filtration, but the fx5 wont fit! Whats next?

I've got a 100 gallon African Cichlid tank with two canister filters- a Rena Filstar xP3 and a Fluval 405. They're nowhere near enough filtration for my tank - if I don't do a 50% change every week I'm looking at 80 nitrates.

I just came back from vacation and the parameters were: pH: 8.0, Am: 0, NO2: 0, NO3: 160 at about 15 seconds after starting the timer. That was 10 days after my last 50% change. I left the food measured in baggies so they wouldn't get overfed.



Don't know how much this matters but here is my current stock:
1 Rusty
4 Cyrtocara moori (blue dolphins)
3 Placidochromis sp. Phenochilus Tanzania (Star Sapphires)
1 Xystichromis Phytophagus (Christmas Fulu)
3 Protomelas taeniolatus, Likoma Island (Tangerine Tigers)
3 Cynotilapia afra (Cobue)
1 Cynotilapia afra (Chewere)
1 Aulonocara kandeense
2 aulonocara Rubescens albino
7 yellow labs

That makes a total of 26 but at the moment they're all under 3 inches, except for my gigantic peacekeeper rusty (he's full grown). The Cynotilapias, Protomelas and the yellow labs are probably all under 1 1/2"-2". I had many, many more large (5-6"+) cichlids previously and had the same problem...I'm surprised it didn't improve because I decreased the bioload substantially (about 2 months ago).


Ideally I'd get at least one FX5 and ditch the smaller canisters but the cabinets under my tank stand are only 9 3/4" each so that beast wouldn't fit through them to get under the tank. Since the mere mention of moving the tank and stand to get it in behind it also generated the death glare and the threat of permanently sleeping on the couch, it looks like that isn't an option for me either.

Can anyone tell me if the canister for the FX5 is flexible? If it will bend I might get one under the tank. The thing looks like a garbage can!

What's the next best thing? I can't fit a third canister so it would have to replace one, probably the Fluval because the Rena kicks butt. I noticed Rena is now API and they've got a newer filter, has anyone tried that?

Thanks!
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:48 PM   #2
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What media r u running in ur filters. I have that many fish in my 55 with just a hob and my nitrates dont get that bad. And i probably overfeed my alil. How often do u clean ur media
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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On the bottom level of each filter are 1-2 large pore sponges, then comes a fine/small pore sponge, next level is charcoal and on top is biomedia. Once a month I clean the filter media with tank water (I alternate the filters so I'm doing one every other week).
One thing I've done is use less media to get more water turnover. Sometimes I'll leave a level empty, other times I'll use only one sponge instead of filling it with 4.
Do you think having the media is more important than the water flow?
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:53 PM   #4
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What biomedia r u using. Ive read of people saying bio balls can be nitrate factories. So i would think a spouge would do the same thing( someone correct me if im wrong)
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:28 PM   #5
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Hmm...just the ones that came with each filter. The Rena's are little black stars and the Fluval's are white cylinders. How's that for a technical answer? I've got one pack in each filter.
I was wondering about that!
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Old 09-09-2012, 01:03 AM   #6
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R u rincing the bio media too.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:56 AM   #7
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Yeah. I also replace one or two sponges at a time so I'm keeping most the old media but also replacing something each time. I almost never bother to rinse the polishing pad so I usually toss that one and cut another and then half the time I replace a larger pore sponge too.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:27 AM   #8
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Sounds good there. What kind of substrate r u using
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Old 09-09-2012, 01:51 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=Rachel0001;2108964]Yeah. I also replace one or two sponges at a time so I'm keeping most the old media but also replacing something each time. I almost never bother to rinse the polishing pad so I usually toss that one and cut another and then half the time I replace a larger pore sponge too.[/QUOTE
The sponges in the Rena don't need to be replaced, just rinse in tank water. Run all 4 sponges in the bottom basket. Fill the rest with bio media Ceramic rings seem to work the best. Rinse the polishing pad in tank water, and keep using until it starts to deteriorate. I have two XP-3's on a tank with about 30 Rainbows in it, and they do a great job. I also do a 50-75% water change once a week, my nitrates are always under 10 PPM. I service the Rena's once every 4-6 weeks. Alternating weeks for each one, so both aren't serviced at once.
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:26 PM   #10
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I'm using a sand like cichlid sand, just not that exact brand. Its a natural sand, I know that. Some crushed coral I believe but its very fine. Much more so than my old "aquarium sand" from petco.
I know I shouldn't change out the sponges that much...I guess I've been sort of lazy (I HATE trying to rinse all the crap out of them). Initially I started changing some sponges each time because I hoped it would help decrease nitrates, I was thinking maybe I wasn't getting everything out. The last few times I don't have an excuse, just tried for about 2 minutes then decided a new sponge or two sounded fabulous. Lazy, I tell you!
Thanks for your responses, both of you.
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