Canister Filter Stuffing

Stitcher

Member
Looking for opinions on what people are putting in their filters 
I just got a Fluval 405 on my 75 gal and packed it with prepackaged ceramic rings & carbon. Reading says to pack for your needs :-\ What are my needs ???
I was hoping to get some input from people that are using canister filters.
The 405 has 4 trays + foam.
 

Isabella

Member
I have a canister filter (Rena Filstar XP3) in my 75 gallon tank. The kinds of filter media should depend on the type of the tank you have. Will it be fully, moderately, or lightly stocked? Will it have live plants? Will the fish be messy eaters? Etc ... there are a lot of questions to consider.

My tank, for example, is fully planted, and the stock will be medium. In a planted tank, you cannot use activated carbon / charcoal because it will remove all the nutrients from the water that are necessary for the plants to survive. This is why I do not have any chemical medium (i.e. charcoal, activated carbon, etc ...) in my tank. Instead, I have only sponges/foams of 2 sizes, a micro-filtration pad, and 1 Liter of biological medium (ceramic rings, etc ... there are many kinds to choose from). I put a lot of sponges because I want my water to be filtered well and I want there to be a lot of surface area for the beneficial bacteria to grow. Biological medium is the main place where the bacteria grow, but they ALSO grow in the sponges/foams as well as on all surfaces of the tank.

In tanks without live plants, chemical media can be used, especially if the tank is fully stocked (not to mention overstocked - which I would NOT recommend!). With a heavier bio-load (i.e., more fish, and therefore more fish wastes), you will usually want more mechanical (sponges) and biological (bio-cubes, ceramic rings, etc.) media too.

So, what will be in your tank?
 
  • Thread Starter

Stitcher

Member
HI Isabella. I didn't know about carbon and plants, Thanks. I remember having a tank & fish when I was younger and my plants always died. Maybe that was it :
My fish load is light right now. Don't think the tank will vary to far from species I have in there now. Signature has list of what I have. Kids have a say in what goes in for fish but I have veto power if not good choice. I have no live plants right now. What I have in the filter now is : Foam then Poly wool ; carbon ; 2 trays of ceramic rings. LFS owner made this set up suggestion.
 

Isabella

Member
I'm sorry but your load is not light. Your tank is actually quite overstocked. If all of your fish are still young, it may not look overstocked to you because they haven't yet reached their adult sizes. I added up all of your fish and you will have approximately 85" of fish in your 75 gallon tank when they're all grown up. Not to mention that Plecos are larger waste producers considering their body sizes. Your filter media look good: you have biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration in your tank. Since you have no live plants, activated carbon/charcoal is OK in your tank. If you have empty compartments left in your filter, you can add more of any medium you want there. You could get more sponges/foams for example.

Do you mind telling me your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH readings? How long have you had the tank? How often do you perform your water changes and how large are they? The reason I am asking all these questions is because I am concerned about the overstocking problem. When your tank is overstocked, you'll need more frequent water changes to keep the water clean and to prevent the fish from getting sick (from poor water quality as a result of overstocking). Also, do you vacuum your gravel with your water changes?

Thanks

P.S. You know how large Plecos grow, right? A 75 gallon tank is fine for 2 Plecos, as long as that tank is not overstocked.
 
  • Thread Starter

Stitcher

Member
Your right To look at the tank now they are small and young but write them on paper and add it up I was surprised. My tank has been going 3 weeks . I bought it used, drained it and set it back up same day. Used same filter material and gravel to save bacterial. I would not have stocked more fish right away if I had known about the cycle. It came with a Dojo Loach, a Iridescent Shark and a Zebra Danio . I had these fish. They died one at a time. From what I know now, more than likely due to ammonia, didn't have a kit in first week of tank cycle.
My readings for the last week have been ; 0 ammonia ; 0.1 - 0.2 nitrites ; 5 - 10 nitrates. ph 7.2
I have been doing 2 water changes per week 25% - 50%. Changed water Friday and todays reading was 0 ammonia ; 0.1 nitrite ; 5 nitrate.
I was planning on doing a weekly water change once I start to get zero readings on both ammonia & nitrite. I use a gravel vac when I change my water. Been cleaning up that poop every change ;D
 

Isabella

Member
At 3 weeks, a new tank that is overstocked (+ if the fish were added to the tank the same day the tank was set up, or soon thereafter), will almost certainly have ammonia and/or nitrite readings. If there is ANY ammonia or nitrite in the water (no matter how small the amount), the fish can get sick or even die. That's how toxic these two compounds are to fish. Nitrate, on the other hand, is not as toxic and can be present in water as long as it doesn't exceed 20 ppm (but of course it's best to have 0 nitrate too).

Cycling a new tank that is full of fish from the outset, takes longer than cycling it without fish (for example by adding fish food to the tank or by adding pure ammonia). You already have fish in your tank, so you can't really cycle by adding even more food or by adding pure ammonia. Your best option right now are frequent and large water changes in order to be removing the accumulating ammonia and/or nitrite. Even with these water changes your fish can still get sick or die because they're being exposed to these toxic compounds. Personally, if I had ANY ammonia and/or nitrite in my water, I'd perform 50% daily water changes until ammonia = 0 and nitrite = 0. This is in order to increase the changes of the fish surviving the cycle. The cycle will take longer this way, but if you really want to save your fish, that's what you should do. A lot of people will also advise others to use "Bio-Spira" to help with the cycle, but I am not experienced with this product so if you're interested in it, you should ask others about it (for example, in the Beginners or the Nitrogen Cycle boards).

Good luck with your tank.
 
  • Thread Starter

Stitcher

Member
Thanks Isabella, If only I knew. Learned about cycle after had the tank going with fish : Found a lot of usefull info here on the site.
My next tank will get cycled with out fish.
 

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