Changing To Canister Filter

Ursinos
  • #1
So I took the plunge and picked myself up a canister filter (it's being delivered tomorrow). A SunSun HW-302.

I only today noticed that the amazon description says that it doesn't include any filter media other than filter floss pads, so I'm kinda cheesed that I'm gonna have to go buy some.

My main question is...I'm currently running a marineland HOB which has been stuffed with ceramic media and a filter sponge. Could I just dump that media into one of the canister trays (along with the sludge from the HOB filter), and just swap the filters out directly? Or should I run them both for a while to get the canister seeded first?

Also, what are peoples opinions on the media to pick up for the canister to flesh it out a bit (the HOB media I have isn't much)? I know some people say Lava Rock is a good inexpensive route to take...is there anything to watch out for to make sure it's aquarium safe?
 
glenCOCO
  • #2
Well, I think it only ships with filter pads because they’re assuming that canister filter users are going to customize the media to their own needs. Even big name canister filters won’t come with much out of the box for the very same reason. You can just throw in all the HOB media and switch it out right away. Assuming that you’re throwing in ALL media. Any lava rock from HD is fine, just give it a good rinse. I always like to run purigen in my tanks, wouldn’t hurt to give it a try if you want super crystal clear water. Having any algae or diatom issues? You can try throwing in a bag of phosguard if you don’t have any plants.

Also, depending on your stock it may not be necessary to fill all the compartments. There will only ever be enough BB for the amount of waste that’s produced in the tank. Increasing biomedia won’t increase the amount of BB unless of course there’s more waste. It’ll just spread out the BB more if that makes sense. Maybe just have extra in there to seed future tanks?
 
Kodie
  • #3
Like glenCOCO stated I think you would be fine if you put in all of the HOB media into the can. As for the media I have heard lava rock is a good one I personally just use the ceramic noodle things, but I have seen people take everything out of a can and fill it full of pot scrubber sponges and it works great to.. I guess my point is the BB doesn't really care what it lives on as long as its got some decent surface area.
 
Ursinos
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Well, I think it only ships with filter pads because they’re assuming that canister filter users are going to customize the media to their own needs. Even big name canister filters won’t come with much out of the box for the very same reason. You can just throw in all the HOB media and switch it out right away. Assuming that you’re throwing in ALL media. Any lava rock from HD is fine, just give it a good rinse. I always like to run purigen in my tanks, wouldn’t hurt to give it a try if you want super crystal clear water. Having any algae or diatom issues? You can try throwing in a bag of phosguard if you don’t have any plants.

Also, depending on your stock it may not be necessary to fill all the compartments. There will only ever be enough BB for the amount of waste that’s produced in the tank. Increasing biomedia won’t increase the amount of BB unless of course there’s more waste. It’ll just spread out the BB more if that makes sense. Maybe just have extra in there to seed future tanks?

I'm told my stocking is pretty light. 29 gallon tank with 1 bolivian ram, 5 gardnerI Killifish, 3 amano shrimp and a nerite snail. I'd say it's moderately planted (though the hornwort is growing like gangbusters, so getting even more so. lol).

Yes, the plan was to just throw in all the media from my HOB if I did it that way, and maybe empty the filter sludge into there as well (I'm given to understand that can help kickstart a filter as well).

I don't seem to be having algae issues any more. between the shrimp and snail in my tank (well, snails if you include the pest snails), I'm worried I don't have ENOUGH algae in there now and that they'll start eating my plants lol).

Like glenCOCO stated I think you would be fine if you put in all of the HOB media into the can. As for the media I have heard lava rock is a good one I personally just use the ceramic noodle things, but I have seen people take everything out of a can and fill it full of pot scrubber sponges and it works great to.. I guess my point is the BB doesn't really care what it lives on as long as its got some decent surface area.

pot scrubbies.....I forgot about that. that'd be a REAL inexpensive option. thanks for the reminder!
 
glenCOCO
  • #5
Wow, pot scrubbies... that’s some old school MFK stuff lol

Definitely a light stock so you should have no issues.
 
Fashooga
  • #6
When I moved my stuff from the HOB to the Canister I basically seeded extra media in the HOB for a week or so just to get a soaking. Than I transferred it all to the canister. There shouldn't be any hicups.
 
Eric360
  • #7
Some tips for the Sunsun (because their instructions are terrrrrible). I have a 404B now and started with a 302 and 5 years later just now have it set up correctly.
Flow goes down to the bottom, then up through the trays.
1) In the very bottom of the canister (not the trays), scatter some spare ceramic media. It doesn't have to be seeded and won't ever need to be because it will just break up the flow as intake water hits the bottom and will collect all the major waste down there. Then you can just rinse it out in sink water and not worry about killing BB (it will be in the top trays).
2) In the top 2 trays (I think 302 comes with 3 trays total), fill them with bio media. Put in your seeded media for now to get the cycle. Personally, I'd recommend Seachem Matrix as much as you can fit, probably 4L in both trays. I have almost 8L in 3 trays of my 404B. Lava rock would probably work fine.
Matrix supposedly allows anaerobic bacteria to grow and by loading every available basket with it you "should" be able to get some anaerobic bacteria to lower nitrates. (I've heard Prime and Purigen mess with anaerobic bacteria, so I'm currently not using Prime to test that but I have not been testing it long enough for a solid conclusion so that could be wrong).

Then, when you clean it just close the valve, there's a little flipper thing where the hoses go in and it closes both hoses. Then unplug it kind of quickly so the motor isn't running with the hoses closed. Then you can take the trays out and just swish the baskets of biomedia in tank water, set aside and squeeze out the sponges/floss then pop back together and fill canister up with tank water. Then plug back in, then open valve and it should self prime easily and not even have to push the priming plunger. Love my Sunsun, good economical choice.

PS-No canister comes with Matrix or (the way more expensive Biohome) which are probably the 2 best biomedias. Sometimes Sunsuns will come with some plastic bio balls or ceramic rings. If it does, use those in the very bottom of the canister to break the flow. I have ceramic rings in the bottom of mine. Do whatever biomedia you have/can afford in the top two trays. (4L of Matrix is $33 I think and would fill both top trays.) I would definitely recommend eventually filling the tops with matrix if it isn't feasible right now (gradually since you'll be putting your established bio media in for now, gradually replace it with Matrix if/when you can).
It takes a lot of Matrix or Biohome to support enough anaerobic bacteria to lower nitrates, so the more you have the better. Plastic/ceramic biomedia won't support anaerobic bacteria at all though, so agree that it will only grow as much aerobic bacteria as there is ammonia to eat. Lava rock may be able to get some anaerobic in the pores, but they might be too big. Matrix is just carefully selected pumice stone (which has very tiny pores) , so if money's tight you could just buy some pumice for cheap and sift through it for good pieces.
 
Ursinos
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Some tips for the Sunsun (because their instructions are terrrrrible). I have a 404B now and started with a 302 and 5 years later just now have it set up correctly.
Flow goes down to the bottom, then up through the trays.
1) In the very bottom of the canister (not the trays), scatter some spare ceramic media. It doesn't have to be seeded and won't ever need to be because it will just break up the flow as intake water hits the bottom and will collect all the major waste down there. Then you can just rinse it out in sink water and not worry about killing BB (it will be in the top trays).
2) In the top 2 trays (I think 302 comes with 3 trays total), fill them with bio media. Put in your seeded media for now to get the cycle. Personally, I'd recommend Seachem Matrix as much as you can fit, probably 4L in both trays. I have almost 8L in 3 trays of my 404B. Lava rock would probably work fine.
Matrix supposedly allows anaerobic bacteria to grow and by loading every available basket with it you "should" be able to get some anaerobic bacteria to lower nitrates. (I've heard Prime and Purigen mess with anaerobic bacteria, so I'm currently not using Prime to test that but I have not been testing it long enough for a solid conclusion so that could be wrong).

Then, when you clean it just close the valve, there's a little flipper thing where the hoses go in and it closes both hoses. Then unplug it kind of quickly so the motor isn't running with the hoses closed. Then you can take the trays out and just swish the baskets of biomedia in tank water, set aside and squeeze out the sponges/floss then pop back together and fill canister up with tank water. Then plug back in, then open valve and it should self prime easily and not even have to push the priming plunger. Love my Sunsun, good economical choice.

PS-No canister comes with Matrix or (the way more expensive Biohome) which are probably the 2 best biomedias. Sometimes Sunsuns will come with some plastic bio balls or ceramic rings. If it does, use those in the very bottom of the canister to break the flow. I have ceramic rings in the bottom of mine. Do whatever biomedia you have/can afford in the top two trays. (4L of Matrix is $33 I think and would fill both top trays.) I would definitely recommend eventually filling the tops with matrix if it isn't feasible right now (gradually since you'll be putting your established bio media in for now, gradually replace it with Matrix if/when you can).
It takes a lot of Matrix or Biohome to support enough anaerobic bacteria to lower nitrates, so the more you have the better. Plastic/ceramic biomedia won't support anaerobic bacteria at all though, so agree that it will only grow as much aerobic bacteria as there is ammonia to eat. Lava rock may be able to get some anaerobic in the pores, but they might be too big. Matrix is just carefully selected pumice stone (which has very tiny pores) , so if money's tight you could just buy some pumice for cheap and sift through it for good pieces.

Thanks for the advise. I'm going to wait a bit before working about matrix though. After months of struggling with high nitrates (due to our tap water being 20ppm, arg) my most recent test came up as 8PPM! I'm currently attributing it to the hornwort that is currently crowing like mad (which I only added 2 weeks ago. its already in need of a haircut lol). if the nitrates stay that low, I'm not going to worry about any special media.

I already set the filter up last night, but I'll remember to put some of those rings in the very bottom first time I crack it open again. Currently I have the bottom basket filled with lava rock, the middle basket filled with pot scrubbers, and the top basket holding the established media from my HOB.
 
Eric360
  • #9
Thanks for the advise. I'm going to wait a bit before working about matrix though. After months of struggling with high nitrates (due to our tap water being 20ppm, arg) my most recent test came up as 8PPM! I'm currently attributing it to the hornwort that is currently crowing like mad (which I only added 2 weeks ago. its already in need of a haircut lol). if the nitrates stay that low, I'm not going to worry about any special media.

I already set the filter up last night, but I'll remember to put some of those rings in the very bottom first time I crack it open again. Currently I have the bottom basket filled with lava rock, the middle basket filled with pot scrubbers, and the top basket holding the established media from my HOB.


Sounds awesome. Are you using the pot scrubbers for mechanical filtration? If so, I would suggest swapping the pot scrubbers to bottom tray and lava rock to middle tray (just switch the trays, they're interchangeable). The lava rock will get reeeeally gunked up with big debris. If you put the pot scrubbers on bottom they'll collect all the waste before it gets to the lava rock so it can just handle BB and you only need to squeeze out the pot scrubbers every so often. You'll like the rings in the bottom, they really knock down a lot of big waste.
 
Ursinos
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Sounds awesome. Are you using the pot scrubbers for mechanical filtration? If so, I would suggest swapping the pot scrubbers to bottom tray and lava rock to middle tray (just switch the trays, they're interchangeable). The lava rock will get reeeeally gunked up with big debris. If you put the pot scrubbers on bottom they'll collect all the waste before it gets to the lava rock so it can just handle BB and you only need to squeeze out the pot scrubbers every so often. You'll like the rings in the bottom, they really knock down a lot of big waste.

yeah, I'll remember that. I'm going to do a water change today or tomorrow, so I'll do the switching of the trays then. Thankfully the ammonia has dropped off in the tap water, so I'm not so concerned about it. there's still .25ppm, but I'm fairly certain with a double dose of prime that my filter can handle that.
 
Eric360
  • #11
I've looked it up and sometimes there in ammonium in tap water which gives an ammonia reading on the test but is harmless.
 
Ursinos
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
I've looked it up and sometimes there in ammonium in tap water which gives an ammonia reading on the test but is harmless.

this is something that's just come up recently. the local community believes the city is flushing the mains but didn't really tell anyone.
 

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