biological filtration?

  1. listsomewords Initiate Member

    I have two eheim eccos one of which i want to use on my new freshwater tank. will this filter create enough biological filtration on it's own? what else can i do to add good nitrifiers to my tank? live rock obviously doesn't work in a freshwater environment, but can the sand become live? any advice or opinions help, i'm new to this forum and somewhat new to fishkeeping. help me become the most responsible fishkeeper i can be!
     
  2. toosie Well Known Member Member

    Welcome to FishLore!!

    What is the model # of your filters? How large are the tanks you would like to use them on?

    To setup a biological filtration system for a fresh water tank, some bio rings, foam and other sources of filter media provide a place for the beneficial bacteria colony to establish. Providing an ammonia source will provide the food necessary for the beneficial bacteria to develop. For a Fishless Cycle, ammonia can be provided by feeding the empty tank fish flakes or raw shrimp (placed in a media bag or the foot portion of new nylons to keep the aquarium cleaner). These food products will decompose and produce ammonia. Pure ammonia without soap additives can also be used to perform a fishless cycle.

    To cycle with fish, a product called Tetra SafeStart can be used. This method doesn't work 100% of the time but when it does work, it works really well. You can also cycle with fish doing large daily water changes to keep the ammonia that accumulates in their tank due to their waste and excess food as low as possible and further protect the fish by using a product such as Seachem Prime or Kordon Amquel+ to detoxify the remaining ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. Prime or Amquel+ both act as a water conditioner too and remove Chlorine, Chloramine and neutralize heavy metals, so you don't need to purchase a separate water condition if you use one of these products.
     

  3. Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    welcome to the forum

    The bacteria will colonize all surfaces, so there are several colonies in the system. The strength of each is determined by the amount of food that's available to it. Because all the water in the tank is run through the filter, the colony in the filter is very strong - it's being force fed. Some surfaces and materials promote larger colonies than others. Plastics make terrible biomedia because only the surface can be colonized, whereas ceramics make terrific media because they are porous and dense, providing massive amounts of real estate for the bacteria. Sponges are good, but due to their nature (a sponge), most of it's volume is open space which can't be colonized. If you want to increase your filters capacity, adding more biomedia is a quick and easy way to do it.

    But to answer your question about whether the filter can stand on it's own - that depends on variables such as tank size and stock. If you could provide us with as much information as you can, we can provide you with the best and most accurate advice we can.
     
  4. listsomewords Initiate Member

    it's a 30 gallon tank. i'm not sure the exact model...my buddy gave me two eheim ecco's one is rated to 440 lph and the other to 550lph. i got a 5 liter box of eheim substrat that i can use as bio-media. ill probably only run one of them at a time because i am leaning towards discus and i've been told they like slower currents. so do i need a second means of bio-filter or will this suffice?

    also does the ph of tapwater fluctuate? or is it usually relatively stable?
     
  5. toosie Well Known Member Member

    A 30 gallon tank will be too small to use as a Discus tank. A 55 gallon is about as small as you want to go for them.

    The 550 lph eheim should be alright for the 30 gallon tank. It will give you almost 5 times the volume of the aquarium per hour and if you use a good amount of biomedia it should work for you pretty well as long as you don't plan on over stocking.

    I think you mean Eheim Substrat http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2753164 not substrate. If the link I provided is the media you are referring to, it sounds like it should perform well because they have designed it to have a complex pore system. I don't have any experience with this product so I can't tell you how well it works when compared to ceramic media such as biomax.

    Depending on the source of your water pH can change a bit with the seasons, but it is something that usually stays relatively stable at the tap. Some people like to check the pH at the tap at various times of year to track any changes that might occur. If you test pH directly from the tap though, it will not give you the same pH reading that you will likely have in the aquarium. Gasses that can affect pH get trapped in the water and when they are released into the atmosphere, (at times absorbed from the atmosphere) through aeration and surface disturbance, they balance out with the rest of the environment. This effect can give you quite a different pH reading. To test what the "true" pH of your tap water is, pour some into a container and run a bubbler in it for 24 hours, then test the pH. This reading should be what you can expect for a reading in your aquarium unless you use things that tend to alter pH inside the aquarium.