clear? and crystal Clear Water?

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Dec 31, 2004
Vancouver BC
I have a basic question about filter choice and clear water.
My current setup is a planted 16G aquarium with about 1 inch of fish per gallon. I have a hanging AquaClear 150 filter on the back with foam, Activated charcoal and some peat. I do weekly 25%-30% water change.
My water (in the tank :D ) is clear but not that completely transparent crystal clear (is this possible).

If I switched to a more efficient and powerful filter unit (Eheim 2213??) and all else being equal would you think I would notice a difference in water clarity or quality for that matter?

Try this, between your foam and the carbon in your AC150, stuff a layer of filter floss in there. That will catch MUCH smaller particles than the sponge can.

It is possible to get crystal clear water, however it can take a while before you achieve this. Better filtration is a start, however I think you can get it with what you have.
Or ditch the carbon and add more filter floss. I tried it after reading TankGirl's suggestions in the arcive and it works great. If you're dosing ferts for your plants, you want to remove the carbon anyway.

Adding a canister will probably help, but I sugest trying the above first. Since adding a DIY wet/dry, I (and my family/guests) have found the water super clear. FWIW, I'm only using sponges and filter floss after the wet/dry stage.

BTW, great tank, Joe. :)
crystal clear

Now that is an interesting suggestion. What will I lose in water quality if I do not use activated carbon? It seems it removes some organics (good and bad) and clorine.
I've only read the back of activated carbon packaging and some discussion on the internet, but I've not experienced an increase in smell or any indications of bad water quality after ditching carbon. There have been debates here about the effectiveness of carbon, btw, and I've read its supposed to make water crystal clear. I would guess that the effects of fast growing, properly fertilized plants are more beneficial than chemical filtration, all things considered.

I'll try some flossing. and see how that goes. I ma not sure if the pore size is smaller but I am sure it gives a better seal so there is less bypass water.
Using peat and most drift wood leaches harmless tannins. They make your water softer and cause a light brown tint to the water. I don't run carbon in my filters unless I have been using medications and want to remove the residual. Carbon does absorb metals and chlorine, but most declorinators do the same thing. The small amount of carbon in most filters quickly becomes saturated, then starts leaching the bad stuff back into the tank. :D
If you do a water change every week (20-30%) there really is no reason to run carbon because you're pulling out a lot of those dissolved organics manually. I only leave in carbon because it's a good place for beneficial bacteria to colonize. I've been running the same bag of carbon in my canister filter for over 6 months.
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