75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 6 – Filtration

I had intended to try to cover filtration, lighting and CO2 all in one video, but it would have been too long.  Here is an episode on filtration.  You will hear me describe a new product my Boyd Enterprises… ChemiPure Green.  That product is not on the market yet, but I really like it.  I am sure that it will be released soon.

Installing a Corner Matten Filter

No secret that I am a huge fan of Poret foam wall filters (matten filters).  Here is a video that will take you through the step of installing a corner matten filter kit from Swiss Tropicals (the link will go to the site where you can buy the kit).  I really like the corner filter set up, which looks nicer in a display tank than a wall that blocks one end of the tank.  The corner filter basically ends up looking like an overflow box on a bottom-drilled reef-ready tank.  The whole project will take a couple days because you need to let the silicone dry on one brace before you can install the other.  Here is a list of the things you will need:

  • corner matten filter kit from Swiss Tropicals (foam wall, braces, jet lifter)
  • something to measure with and a straight edge
  • marker that will write on glass (a Sharpie will do)
  • paper towels
  • rubbing alcohol
  • heavy objects to support the braces while the silicone dries (I use books)
  • masking tape
  • 100% silicone sealant (I use the product made by Dap)

You can use a hand-squeeze tube of silicone, but a caulk-gun style tube is a lot easier to use.  That will be a lot more silicone than you will need, but it is not expensive stuff.  Sorry for the not-so-great video editing.  I will do better next time…

Filtration in the Fish Room

Finally!  A fish room blog post.  Hopefully I will be able to follow this one up quickly.  This post is about sponge filters, which I believe are the most cost effective method of filtering aquariums a fish room setting.  They are not pretty, but they work.  But not all sponge filters are the same, and the way they they are used can make a difference too.  One of the debates is whether a matten filter wall is worth cost.  Sure…. a filter all has a HUGE amount of surface area compared to a smaller cube filter.  But do you really need it more surface area in the same size tank that is being filtered effectively by a basic cube filter?  No… the only reason to use a matten filter, in my opinion, is if you want to over stock a small aquarium.

Bacteria grow and die very quickly, and their cell population is dependent upon the same ecological rules of carrying capacity as any other living things (except maybe humans… assuming we have surpassed our carrying capacity).  A biological filter needs the waste of fish to thrive.  If there is more waste than the bacteria cells can use, the cell population grows.  If fish waste reduces, bacteria cell population goes down.  And it happens very fast.  Days.  Hours even.  So there is really no point in a filter with 300 cubic inches of volume if the tank is going to hold two fish.  But… if you want to grow 200 cory cat fry in a 10-gallon tank, a matten filter will let that happen.

This video presents the basics of sponge filters, how they work and how to clean them.  I will cover how to run them with air in the next installment.