Can you over filter a tank?

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by Bob_Marley88, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Bob_Marley88New MemberMember

    The marineland 150 i had for my 30 gal was starting to make a lot of noise from the motor for some reason. I called marineland and told them what was happening and they told me to put the propeller in vinegar for 3 hours and that should fix the problem. Well fearing that my fish would not do well for 3 hours without a filter i went and bought a Aqueon 50 which is rated for up to a 50 gallon tank.

    So i had the Aqueon 50 running while i had the propeller from the Marineland 150 soaking. After 3 hours i tried the marineland again and it does seemed to have fixed my noise problem. Now i have the both running at the same time. I have 2 bichirs and 2 chinese algae eaters in the tank. Is this okay or should i remove one? I really like the Aqueon and if i had to get rid of one it would be the marinland 150. Im wondering is the tank is being over filtered or causing too much current, all the fish are behaving normally just wondering if this is bad news for the long run?
  2. HOWsMom

    HOWsMomWell Known MemberMember

    If the current isn't negatively affecting your fish, I'd say you are good to go !

    It would be next to impossible to over-filter a tank, unless you somehow managed to make it SO clean that no bacteria would grow in your filters (not sure that that is even possible).
  3. OP

    Bob_Marley88New MemberMember

    Cool thanks for the speedy response! I will leave as is for now and just monitor everything!

  4. t-ace

    t-aceValued MemberMember

    You can take some media from your old filter and put it in your new filter. This will help speed up the colonization of bacteria. I have an aqueon 50 and I put a foam filter replacement from an aquaclear in the extra space to the left.
  5. bowcrazyWell Known MemberMember

    You can’t really over filter the water but you can cause to much current for the fish to stay happy. I run more than one filter on most of my tanks just for the filter media and it also provides me with some place to get good used filter media if I need to set up a tank quickly.

    The more filter media you have the more stable the tank’s cycle will be and the less problems you will have. As long as your fish are not fighting to swim or the current isn’t beating them up I would personally leave both filters but if you decide to remove one of them use the old media in the new filter so that you don't loose your cycle.

  6. OP

    Bob_Marley88New MemberMember

    This leads me to my next question, for a filter that uses only one actual filter media, how do you prevent a new cycle when you replace the old filter media with a new one?

    My marineland 150 has slots for two filters, i replaced them both at the same time as i thought i was a good thing to do, i now realise i probably shouldnt have done that but i think i may as well leave it now since the fish are doing good.

    But most filters dont have two slots(for 30 gal or less), so how do you keep it from starting a new cycle? Is the water that's in the tank good enough to keep the cycle alive?
  7. OP

    Bob_Marley88New MemberMember

    Or is this the answer to my last question? Do you have to just get creative as to get the old bacteria into the new filter?
  8. HOWsMom

    HOWsMomWell Known MemberMember

    I ditch the filter media cartridges and just make up my own.

    Most of my filters (I'm only running 5 tanks, which seems low around here) have some kind of sponge / foam, biomax or ceramic type things, and polyester batting.

    I rinse out the sponge in old tank water when I do a water change, and occasionally change out the polyester batting. Haven't had to do much with the biomax stuff at all.
  9. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Just to answer the initial question, yes you can over filter. If the bacteria spreads itself to thin on the pads it makes the cycle less stable. Is it easy to do, not really.
  10. t-ace

    t-aceValued MemberMember

    Anything that came out of your old filter will have bb on it. Placing any amount of bacteria-covered media will dramatically speed up the cycling process of the new filter. (The more, the better). I have been running two filters in my 29 for a couple of years now (one for quarantine media), and I have never had any cycle-related issues. Just make sure to keep them clean. I think that it it easier to get elevated nitrate levels when you have two filters full of poo instead of just one.

    SoltarianKnight, what kind of gecko is that in your avatar? I had a leopard gecko when I was a kid. He was a neat pet. Beautiful animals.
  11. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Shes my lil SHTCT leo.
  12. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    :animal0068:I have moved your thread from Freshwater Beginners to Freshwater Tank Equipment/Filters and Filtration section of the forum.


  13. bowcrazyWell Known MemberMember

    I have to respectfully disagree with soltarianknight on the possibility of a tank being able to be over filtered but you can easily under filter it. In my almost 50 years of keeping fish I have never encountered a single case of the filter media being so large that it became less affective, of course I have never hung 15 filters on a 55 gallon tank to test this theory. Now this is not to say that water can not be too pure because it can. There are good things in the water like minerals that the fish require to stay healthy which is why I don’t ever recommend the use of reverse osmoses water in freshwater tanks if there is anyway that the local tap water can be used. By doing regular water changes you are replacing most of minerals that the fish use but in some cases it is necessary to use additives to replace them, especially in saltwater tanks.

    The bio-load of the tank and the available growing space for the beneficial bacteria determines the amount of beneficial bacteria that will grow and how much ammonia and nitrites that it can process. The same amount of bacteria is going to grow whether it is all in one filter or spread out over three or four of them and it will still be able to process the same bio-load. It is not like you are deluding the bacteria but are just spreading it out and giving it more room for growth when needed.

    By running an over sized filter or more than one filter on a given tank you are providing a larger turn over rate of the total water volume than one filter sized for that tank can do. This is going to allow the filter(s) to process the water more times an hour which is going to lead to cleaner water but the bacteria colony is still only going to process the same mount of ammonia and nitrites but will allow the colony to adjust to a larger bio-load easier because it has more room to grown and places to attach than can be provided by the smaller or single filter.

    Now having said that, it is possible to provide too much current in a tank for the fish to be comfortable. I am not recommending someone to put a 1000 gallons per hour filter on a 10 gallon tank because that is way more than is needed and the bacteria is still only going to process the same bio-load plus I don’t think there would be any fish that would be happy in that environment. I am just saying that if you increase the amount of water that is turned over per hour and the amount of growing area for the bacteria your water will stay cleaner and the bacteria will be able to adjust easier to a larger bio-load if it increases.

    Another point I would like to make is if all your beneficial bacteria is growing in one place you can easily affect the bacteria colony when cleaning. If you are running two filters and only clean one of them during a water change then you only have the potential of killing off half of the beneficial bacteria if you over clean it or contaminate it, not all of it. I never replace the filter media except when it starts to completely fall a part. I only lightly clean it in used tank water by sloshing it around. I have also removed the activated charcoal from the filter media and have replaced it with charcoal socks that I can replace once a month that way the bacteria colony is not affected by the replacement of it.

    One quick analogy of this would be – 100 people will eat the same amount of food whether they are all in one room or spread out across the country. But the 100 people in the room will have less room for comfortable expansion than the 100 spread out across the county would have.
  14. Wendy Lubianetsky

    Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    :;pirateI did exactly the same thing... as my local pet store recommended to change the filters every 30 days for the charchoal in them!! I am still paying as I am trying to cycle or recycle my 60 gallon tank. URRRRRRRRR
  15. CichlidnutFishlore VIPMember

    Awesome info Bowcrazy! I bet hillstream loaches would like a huge current that you talked about lol ;D
  16. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Yup to everything. I've got nothing to add.
  17. soltarianknight

    soltarianknightFishlore VIPMember

    Hey i was just answering the basic question, never said it was easy or that it was being done in this case :p
  18. OP

    Bob_Marley88New MemberMember

    Cool, thanks everyone! Lots of info here and i learned alot!

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