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Old 06-04-2009, 03:29 PM   #1
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Question about Eheim Ecco 2236

I'm running an Eheim Ecco 2236 on my 55 gallon community tank and I just picked up an XP2 to help out with additional filtration last week. I planned on performing my first maintenance/cleaning on my 2236 today, and I have read that I should only replace the fine filter pad (white pad) each month when I do the cleaning, and just lightly rinse off the bio balls if they are dirty. My question is whether or not my bio balls should 'look' dirty after being in an established tank for a couple months? I was expecting them to have a bunch of the thick, brown, gunky stuff on them since that's where the beneficial bacteria are living; however, it seems to be the other way around -- my white pad at the top is completely brown and saturated with that thick, gooey substance and all three trays of my bio balls look just as clean as they did when I first set the filter up about two months ago. Is this normal? I don't want to replace my white filter pad later today and end up throwing away all of my bacteria and sending my tank into a mini cycle or something.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:16 PM   #2
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That is normal. IME it takes many months for the bioballs or other rigid media like that to get gunky, and for the most part the floss will trap the real gunk. Be very gentle with the bioballs as the colonies are not firmly established in the filter yet. I personally try to not touch a canister filter on a new setup for as long as six months, except swapping out the floss. I don't remove the other compartments, rinse them, or anything.

After the tank is established well, then you can be a little more cavalier with it and a more thorough rinsing won't hurt anything, but these are early days when it comes to biocolonies and kid gloves are in order.

Apropos of nothing, I have been very disappointed with the Ecco filters, and don't consider them worth anything. I put one on a 37g, was very disappointed with the lack of water movement, and had to add another. Even then I did not feel like it was adequate. I could have used the money from the two and purchased one classic Eheim and been good to go.
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Old 06-04-2009, 04:25 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response. I didn't really plan on touching the bio balls yet anyway, as they really don't appear to need any rinsing or anything, so I'll definitely hold off on that. As for the fine white pad at the top, where the majority of the brown gunk is, is it safe for me to replace that entirely (some people say they do, others say that they do not), or should I just rinse off the gunk in some old tank water and put it back in? If that's where the majority of the gunk is going to be for quite a while, I just don't want to kill off all of my bacteria by replacing it or rinsing it too much.

I agree that the flow of the Ecco is nothing great, and I had wished that I bought a Classic as well after I got my Ecco. That's why I ended up adding a second filter to my tank recently.

I'll check back in a bit if you could tell me if I should bother cleaning some of the gunk off of the white pad or replace it entirely or just leave it alone. Thanks again for the help!
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:00 PM   #4
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Save some money the eheim pads are expensive and just put filter floss on top.That way you can replace every week if you want. I have the eheim classic and still run another filter just for mechanical. It helps keep the canister clean.
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:13 PM   #5
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Agree with Brutus (you may be doing this already) and find the cheapest floss you can to stuff into the top.

I'd go ahead and replace the floss if it is gunky like you describe - it is impeding flow of water to the bioballs, and that is likely why they appear cleaner than you expect. They need good water flow over them to colonize properly.

Once things are established in both filters, I'd consider using only the rigid media in the Ecco (no floss at all to impede the already weak flow), and use floss and pads in the XP2 (pretty much what Brutus suggests). I ran an XP4 on my 55 for 10 years and have been very impressed with the quality of those filters.
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:30 PM   #6
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Thanks again for the suggestions. So completely removing the filter floss, even as saturated as it is with the brown gunk, won't remove too much bacteria or anything from my tank and cause it to go through a mini cycle? Sorry to sound so repetitive, just want to be 100% sure so nothing goes wrong.

With regards to the filters in general, once my XP2 gets itself well established, I'll probably use my Ecco strictly for biological filtration, as you both suggested, or maybe I'll just move my Ecco over to a new, smaller tank that I plan on setting up later this summer and buy a Classic to go along with my XP2 or something.
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Old 06-04-2009, 05:37 PM   #7
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If your tank is established then I'd replace the gunky floss. If it was a brand spanking new tank I'd try to wait.

In established tanks (running at least a year without any cycling blips) there is an abundance of biobugs on the hard surfaces inside the tank.
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:35 PM   #8
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Well, the tank has been cycled for about two months now with no ammonia/nitrite hiccups since then, but according to your definition of an established tank, perhaps it would be better if I just keep the gunky floss in there for now and continue to wait a few more months?
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Old 06-04-2009, 06:44 PM   #9
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Yeah - two months is nothing when it comes to a solid biobug colony. It would not be very hard at all to accidentally cause a mini cycle.
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Old 06-04-2009, 08:20 PM   #10
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Alright then, I'll just give it some more time then so I don't risk disturbing my bacterial colony. How many more months do you think I should wait? About 3-4 more months?

Thanks again for all of your help, TankGirl!
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