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Old 09-05-2006, 09:35 AM   #1
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Filtration Media in a Planted Tank

I have the filter media mostly ready for the 55 gallon tank. The filter came with 2 Foam 20's and 2 Foam 30's in the bottom basket. I added a 2/3's liter of ceramic rings and 11 Bio-Chem Stars in the top basket. On the top I have the microfilter pad.

The only questions I have is the huge array of chemical filtration. The filter came with Bio-Chem Zorb but I don't know what it does or what effect it might have on a planted tank.

There is activated carbon. I ahve heard conflicting reports as to the need for this but I kinda like the water clarity. I've also heard conflicting reports as to whether or not it can hurt your plants.

There is also NitraZorb and PhosZorb, I'm thinking that these remove nutrients plants need?

There is a water softener pillow but I have 2 large pieces of malaysian driftwood, don't think I need this.

Finally there is Zeolite. If I culture bacteria properly, I don't think I will need this either.

SO, in conclusion the real questions are Bio-Chem Zorb and Activated Carbon. Can anyone share some experiences with these?

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Old 09-05-2006, 11:56 AM   #2
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I can't help you with those specific media, but I can tell you that I only have foam and Biomax (ceramic pieces) in the AquaClear HOB on my planted tank. I don't think most of the chemical media is necessary since hte plants are going to do all the chemical filtration for you. The only thing I notice with no chemical filtration is a slight surface skim right after I trim the plants, which is just DOC (dissolved organic carbon) escaping from the cut parts. It's harmless athough can look a little weird. Activated carbon will remove it but I don't really see the need. Keep up on the water changes and you should be fine without any chemical media.
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Old 09-05-2006, 12:05 PM   #3
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IMHO all you should ned in terms of filter media is biological media such as sponges, bio-balls, bio-max etc etc. Since you will be doing regular water changes anyway, just like every other SW tank keeper, the build up of nitrogen and phosphorus wont be a problem. If they ever are a problem, something you would determine by testing, then I would suggest using these medias.

As for activated carbon, the only time you should use this is when you are trying to remove medication (ie: copper sulfate) from the tank. Otherwise, since activated carbon is not selective in what chemicals it adsorbs, my opinion is that the AC would more then likely remove alot of the nutrients your plants need to survive.

Hope that helps.

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Old 09-05-2006, 12:11 PM   #4
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Ok, well in that case, should I leave that compartment empty or fill it with my "leftovers". If I need AC in the future for medications, I might want to have room for it. According to the media instructions 1 liter of the ceramic cylinders treats 75g tanks and 20 stars treats 100 gallon tanks so I have a lot of bio filtration media already. I also have some bioballs that I'm making my CO2 reactor out of.
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Old 09-05-2006, 01:17 PM   #5
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I actually removed most of my filter media this past week. I have just a whisper HOB filter, recommended for a 55-70 gal tank on my 125gal. I doent use carbon, but I use the fiber inserts as mechanical filtration. I removed the bag of ceramic media that I had in there. I also use this: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...1&N=2004&Nty=1
as the last step before water is returned to the tank. It *suposedly* filters out particles as small as 50 microns. My water clarity has improved since using it.
"... if any one specie does not become modified and improved in a corresponding degree with its competitors, it will soon be exterminated." - Charles Darwin
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Old 09-05-2006, 01:40 PM   #6
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Well I'm talking about a Rena XP2 canister filter. It wouldnt make much sense to waste all that compartment space without biological media.
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