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Old 09-03-2010, 05:24 PM   #1
Jdh
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What type of filter should I use for my 10gal

Hi all! This is my first post here.
I'm wondering what kind of filter I should have with my 10 Gallon. Currently, I have a Cascade 80 (Charcoal filteration only), but an Aquarium calculator advised that it was too weak with my Bioload. (I'm also noticing small white specs in the water, I imagine a stronger filter would eliminate this?)

I currently have 4 Guppies and a Betta in the tank, in addition to 6 Cabomba Plants, 2 Anubias Nana, Dwarf Hairgrass, and Anubias Barteri.

Thanks!
-Josh
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Old 09-03-2010, 06:50 PM   #2
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Sounds like a perfect tank for a good, quality HOB (hang-on-back) filter. I'm very partial to the ones made by AquaClear; I think they are the best and quietest of all the HOB's I've had during my years keeping aquariums. Most pet stores (even the chains) carry the AquaClear filters too, which should make it easy to find one.

With AquaClears, there are 3 separate "pieces" to the filtration as supplied: first a sponge (mechanical removal of plant pieces etc.), then porous ceramic pieces (grow the bacterial colonies that break down ammonia & nitrite), then an activated carbon pack. I would recommend you not use the carbon pack at all; it's not needed on a daily basis, and since you have live plants you should realize that should you start dosing plant food/fertilizers, if you have carbon in your filter your carbon will just suck it all up. So just keep the carbon on hand in case you ever need to pop it in for a specific reason (i.e. sick fish, you dose the tank with chemicals to treat the illness, then after you have run the treatment you put in the carbon pack for a couple days to remove all the excess chemicals from the water). What I have always done is gone to the store and bought a 2nd pack of the ceramic things, and under normal conditions I run my AquaClear with the sponge and then 2 of the ceramic packs. That gives double the biological filtration capacity. Plus in the event I ever wanted to start up a 2nd aquarium, I could just buy another AquaClear and then use 1 of the 2 ceramic packs from my old one and pop it in the filter in the new tank and you have an instantly, immediately cycled 2nd tank. Which is very nice.

Something like this one or the next size up (this one) would be the right size for your tank. The smaller one is probably adequate (unless you way, way overstock!) but with filtration, you can never have "too much," only too little. So it never hurts to err on the size of larger.

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Old 09-03-2010, 08:01 PM   #3
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aquaclear 20 with out question. best hobs out there. pretty much agree 100% with john. though since mine are mostly planted i just run sponges but thats just me.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:17 PM   #4
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Okay, thanks for the suggestions. I think I'll go with the Aquaclear 20.

Out of curiosity, would there be any advantages for using a sponge filter?
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:33 PM   #5
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You could even do an AC30 for some added filtration. I have an AC 30 on one of my 10g's, and an AC50 on the other. The AC50 is just a bit overkill though, but it does a great job keeping the water super clear
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdh View Post
Okay, thanks for the suggestions. I think I'll go with the Aquaclear 20.

Out of curiosity, would there be any advantages for using a sponge filter?
A few advantages, yes...but for most people they are not going to outweigh the advantages of a good HOB.

The advantages to a sponge filter over an HOB

  1. Easier/more simple to use
  2. Easier regular maintenance (take it out, swish it around in a bucket of used tank water, put it back in. Done.)
  3. Useful if you live in an area that loses power often and you aren't home a lot; when an HOB loses power you usually have to manually fill it up with water to get it primed & restarted. If you're gone for weeks at a time and a power outage kills your HOB, you're in trouble. Whereas with a sponge filter, as soon as the power kicks back on, your filter is automatically back up & running.
  4. Sponge filter are safe for very, very tiny fish fry or other small organisms (baby shrimplets, etc.) that might get sucked into the intake of a HOB filter. This is why sponge filters are the filters of choice for many who specialize in breeding dwarf shrimp. (Though to be fair, you can achieve the same effect by using an HOB filter and simply putting on a good quality sponge attachment over the intake pipe of the HOB...many shrimpkeepers I know do this very thing.)
  5. Bubbles from the sponge filter also serve the purpose of having a bubble wand in the tank, so you kill two birds with one stone

Disadvantages of a Sponge Filter vs. an HOB

  1. Much less filtering capacity, both physically and biologically; a sponge filter doesn't turn over nearly as many gallons-per-hour as a HOB and doesn't have the same sort of "intake velocity" to pull in things like bits of plant leaves etc. About two years ago I set up two 10g tanks side-by-side at the same time; both used flourite black sand as the substrate (and as you may know, flourite generates a LOT of cloudiness when it is first put in the tank.) Both tanks looked like pea soup; the cloudiness was so thick you couldn't even see an inch into the water. One tank had a good-sized sponge filter as the filter, the other had the smallest size AquaClear HOB. When I went to bed that night and woke up the next morning, the difference was astounding. The tank with the AquaClear was almost perfectly clear; the tank with the sponge filter was a little better than it had been the night before, but was still 75% as cloudy as it had been. It was so bad that I took the AquaClear off the first tank it was on and put it on the other tank for about 24 hours just to clear that one.
  2. No possibility of using activated carbon or any other specialty filter inserts (crushed coral, peat, etc.) with it, if the need were to ever arise
  3. Doesn't circulate water around the tank as well as an HOB, and doesn't create any meaningful "current" (which some fish, like bettas, really like from time to time)
  4. Sponge filter requires an air pump to keep it going; air pumps tend to make far more noise than a quality HOB like AquaClear. So the net effect is much more noise being generated on tanks using sponge filters. (I know this first hand...I currently have 3 spongefiltered tanks in my bedroom, and it is definitely loud!)
  5. Much more intrusive; basically you have this big ol' sponge taking up a whole corner of your tank. Whereas a small intake pipe from an HOB filter takes up far less space and is much less intrusive visually, which is important especially in a small tank like a 10g. If you have a nice background taped to the back of your tank, then virtually the entire HOB is completely out-of-sight for someone looking into the tank. With a sponge filter...you always see the sponge filter. Always. :/
  6. No easy way to use filter material from a current tank to "seed" the filter of a new tank.
  7. The sponge material will eventually wear out & have to be replaced; of course this is essentially an all-or-nothing endeavor which means either having to re-cycle the tank all over again, or else spending an interim period (a month or so) with TWO sponge filters in the same tank (the old one plus the new one) while you wait for the new one to grow the necessary bacteria. Wheres the ceramic media in an HOB basically never "wears out," and if for some crazy reason you did decide you wanted to replace it at some time, all you would have to do is spend a month or so with a 2nd bag of ceramic media in the HOB, which is much less hassle than having two whole sponge filters in your tank at once (especially a small tank like a 10g)

Those are my thoughts at least.
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