Diy Media Guide For Top Fin Silenstream, Aquaclear And Other Hob Filters - Page 2

Spyder

Member
If I'm understanding correctly, you can essentially just pack the TopFin Silent HOB 10 with as much media as you possibly can then (as long as it's not overflowing). For example, I packed a fluval sponge in it laying down like bricks and then bought a bag of the Fluval ceramic "pellets" that come in the white mesh bag. The bag was too full to fit in the tank so I cut it open a bit and removed some of the ceramic rings and then zip-tied the bag shut again.

Once my first, cycled, cartridge was full, I cut away that floss and ended up doing this:

1. 1 Fluval Sponge in the back like a brick
2. Layered the cartridge floss over it
3. 1 small bag of ceramic rings

The only downfall to this that I am seeing is that the tank is easily fogged up with particulate if you mess with anything in the HOB filter (when removing stuff to clean it up in a bucket and put it back). Just the slightest aggravation of the sponges/ceramic back there turns the tank into a mess for a while (very small particles similar to dust kind of) - but it all settles back down fairly quickly.

(FWIW - I do have an intake sponge on my intake valve but it is not very dense and is kind of coarse. I definitely know that some fine matter can make it right through the sponge, but flakes and larger food particles, or fry, won't)

Does anyone have a better or more efficient way of cleaning out the HOB filter without having to pull the whole thing off the tank so as not to accidentally disturb the media and end up clouding up the tank? (Logically, it sounds like that is really the only way, but I want to be sure the particulate matter that gets into the tank isn't harmful).

EDIT: There's only 1 white Fluval sponge in the HOB. I initially thought I stuffed 2 in there.
 

wd67

Member
I have had some success taking the inlet and sponge out first and get the impeller out at the same time. Then the filters in the hob come out without the junk getting back in the tank. Today is tank clean time...again. That's a couple of hours time, with the only issue is keeping the oscar from biting me and or the gravel cleaner. He flat don't like me messing with "his" tank!!
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
Spyder , if the filter is unplugged, water should not be spilling into the tank while taking media out.

How thoroughly was the bag of ceramic media rinsed before you placed it into the filter?

Maybe there was dust left on it from the package ?
 

Spyder

Member
Islandvic said:
Spyder , if the filter is unplugged, water should not be spilling into the tank while taking media out.

How thoroughly was the bag of ceramic media rinsed before you placed it into the filter?

Maybe there was dust left on it from the package ?
I rinsed it in a bucket of water with prime in it like I’d do a water change and sloshed it around pretty rough for a few minutes. To be honest I’m not sure if that was enough. But, the particulate is similar to overly aggressive disturbance of the substrate. Maybe I’m just not being gentle enough pulling the sponge out. Being the smaller HOb it’s stuffed in there pretty tight so just squeezing a bit to get it out releases a ton of gunk (which kind of spills back through the output mouth)
 

Rcslade124

Member
Here's how I did mine. Fluval bio foam at intake. A bomax black sponge after then a bad of media full of old cartridge
 

Spyder

Member
Rcslade124 said:
Here's how I did mine. Fluval bio foam at intake. A bomax black sponge after then a bad of media full of old cartridge
Thanks for sharing that! I readjusted a bit using your picture and everyone’s feedback and the water is already clearing up! I think I packed it too tight and water was kind of just saturating through and out without flowing through to trap the particles.
 
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Islandvic

Member
Many times it's a lot of trial-and-error getting a particular method dialed in.
 

Spyder

Member
Islandvic said:
Many times it's a lot of trial-and-error getting a particular method dialed in.
You sir started a ton of us down the DiY path and I can’t thank you enough. My wallet and fish are MUCH happier! Lol
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
Here is a link to a thread that FishRFriendz just posted, where he showed in detail making a DIY media basket out of Darice plastic craft mesh, also sometimes referred to as plastic canvas.

Azoo Mignon 60 Filter Basket


Very good write up with pics.

His method can be applied to any HOB filter.
 

peddidle

Member
I have what is essentially the same as the TopFin Silenstream (it's an Aqueon QuietFlow 10) on a 10-gallon and on a 20-gallon. I already have floss and ceramic rings. I am wanting to add Matrix (tap water nitrates run 20 to 30) in hopes of lowering nitrates. Where in the filter would I put it?
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
peddidle , those Aqueons have reservoirs that are not very deep (front to back), so space is a little limited versus the Silentstreams.

With the limited space, in my opinion you may not have enough room to add the Matrix needed to put a dent in the tap water 's nitrates.

If you alread have the Matrix, just put it in any available space in the HOB.

Also, I would advise to look into low-light plants for the tanks. On the buy-sell-trade section of the forum, there are members who sell plant packages for very reasonable prices with shipping.

Plants, in my opinion, would be a good starting point to deal with nitrates.
 

peddidle

Member
Islandvic said:
peddidle , those Aqueons have reservoirs that are not very deep (front to back), so space is a little limited versus the Silentstreams.

With the limited space, in my opinion you may not have enough room to add the Matrix needed to put a dent in the tap water 's nitrates.

If you alread have the Matrix, just put it in any available space in the HOB.

Also, I would advise to look into low-light plants for the tanks. On the buy-sell-trade section of the forum, there are members who sell plant packages for very reasonable prices with shipping.

Plants, in my opinion, would be a good starting point to deal with nitrates.
Yes, they're already packed pretty full and I don't even have much stuff in them. Both tanks are planted. I haven't bought the Matrix yet, but from what I've read, this is likely my best option. The tanks are partway through fishless cycles. I'm able to purchase different filters if that would be the best thing to do.
 
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Islandvic

Member
I would hold off until your tanks cycle and you add fish.

Afterwards you can evaluate your nitrate situation.

If you can control nitrates through weekly water changes and with the plants, I would not jump into getting a new filter and buying matrix right away.

Nitrate reduction can be tricky sometimes. Even with a procduct like Matrix, Pond Matrix, BioHome, etc, it may take weeks or months to colonize enough aerobic bacteria to put a dent in the nitrates, if you're able to at all.
 

Ssnaaiil

Member
How often do I change the sponge and the bio media??
 

Tol

Member
Ssnaaiil said:
How often do I change the sponge and the bio media??
Sponges when they are falling apart ( a long time generally), bio-media never.
 

Ssnaaiil

Member
Tol said:
Sponges when they are falling apart ( a long time generally), bio-media never.
They don’t get plugged up?
I’m switching to this method from using regular filter cartridges cuz those just get nasty and plugged up
 

mattgirl

Member
Ssnaaiil said:
They don’t get plugged up?
I’m switching to this method from using regular filter cartridges cuz those just get nasty and plugged up
You will want to rinse your bio-media occasionally. If it is in a media bag (recommended) pull the bag out and rinse it off in some of the water you have pulled from the tank or fresh dechlorinated water. Swish it around in the water. You can get pretty rough with it. You aren't going to dislodge the bacteria no matter how rough you get with it. Getting all that mulm off of it will allow it to work more efficiently. Squeeze your sponge to clean it. When I clean my sponges I keep squeezing until no more black is coming out of them.
 

Tol

Member
Ssnaaiil said:
They don’t get plugged up?
I’m switching to this method from using regular filter cartridges cuz those just get nasty and plugged up
Sponges can at times but rinsing/squeezing them generally does it, same goes for the bio media. I rinse all my media in tank water that I have removed during water changes. Using a pre-filter will help cut down on how dirty everything inside the filter gets as well.
 

ghostdawg

Member
HI all. @Islandvic I vacuum the gravel, decor and cleaned the filter media real good today along with my 40% water change. I also followed this thread about adding sponges to the filter intake & inside the filter along with the old filter media. I put the new sponge in the front & old behind it. I didn't add that blue plastic thingy. If anything goes wrong, I blame you all!
Here is a pic of how I added the sponge inside the filter box, I'm not sure if I put it in the right way (if there is right or wrong way). Thanks.
 
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Islandvic

Member
ghostdawg , it appears you have a Silentstream 10?

I think the way you set it up is perfect.

In my opinion, the blue plastic grid takes up space that better media could be utilizing, so the sponge that was inserted will work excellent.

You're correct, there isn't really a right or wrong way. A little trial and error usually will get you dialed in, but the pic you posted looks good to me.
 

ghostdawg

Member
Yes, it is the Slientstream 10. Thanks for the advice and the Howto. After adding the full sponge, the half a sponge is sticking up high, almost touching the top of the cover. Is it ok like that? I forgot to mention it earlier.
 

MarleyRM

Member
Islandvic said:
Putting it all together:

The following are pics of different combinations of DIY media that can be used in your HOB filter. For reference, I use the Top Fin Silenstream 20 HOB filter. Your HOB filter may differ but the same concepts will apply.

  • Intake pre-filter sponge + small bag of Bio-Max added to stock cartridge






  • Filter Media Pad cut from bulk roll + large bag of Bio-Max




  • Intake Sponge Pre-Filter + Polyfill + Aquaclear Sponge + large bag Bio-Max




There are other combinations that may be utilized w/ DIY media, but this will get you on the right track for your set-up......
This is amazingly helpful for beginners like me!

Thank you for your info! Here is what I did
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
ghostdawg , I don't think it sticking up will be a problem. You can always cut it down if you want and shove it in the space next to the intake tube.

MarleyRM , very good to see the write-up helped you. Thanks for posting pic!
 

kered

Member
When modifying a hob filter I like to get more travel sort of speak, I try to separate the front and back of the larger box, using a plastic card in the slots for the old media holders higher than the level of water in the filter but leaving a gap at the bottom, by doing this you force the water to travel from the prefilter at the top down through the main sponge and then up through the biomedia at the front to then exit the cascade, some of the photos in the thread the water can flow from the right side where it comes in and then basically across the top of almost everything only passing through the top inch of sponge/media, you need to create a barrier so it has to go down through everything to get out.
 

Mike999

Member
I used to fuss over the filter media, but after going 100% aquaclear sponges in each of my 4 hob filters, I've not really thought much about anymore.

The aquariums look clear, so I presume the sponges are doing their job.
 

Sanderguy777

Member
I used those topfin sponges on my Penguin 350s! They clogged too fast, but they actually fit the dreaded rectangle intake.

I have a question that may or may not fit here...
My 55 gallon cichlid tank has two penguin 350s on it, but I want to switch to an undergravel filter with two 320gph+ powerheads. Is there a way to get chemical media into an undergravel filter? I'm thinking of something like purigen, but I don't know how it would get circulation.
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
I'm not sure how it could be integrated into an UGF.
 

Sanderguy777

Member
I kind of figured. They weren't really designed to be modified....
Thanks though. Great thread BTW
 

kered

Member
I have never used purigen but anything you put in the water will find its way into the UGF and eventually stay there until biodegraded.
 

mastersafara

Member
Will the nitrogen cycle complete with just the bare minimum cartridge and bio-grid that comes stock with the top fin silentstream filters? Or is it useless as stock? If that’s the case, why does top fin sell it like this and set us up for failure. Yes it’s our/my responsibility to do my research however why are they selling their starter kits this way? Just to make a profit by making us find out the hard way we ultimately will need to go back to the store to buy more supplies for their filters?
 

Rcslade124

Member
Yes the bare minimum cartridges will be just fine for a cycle. They just clog up after so long and need replacement. And then you buy more and lose cycle.
 

Maritimer

Member
Islandvic said:
Putting it all together:

The following are pics of different combinations of DIY media that can be used in your HOB filter. For reference, I use the Top Fin Silenstream 20 HOB filter. Your HOB filter may differ but the same concepts will apply.

  • Intake pre-filter sponge + small bag of Bio-Max added to stock cartridge






  • Filter Media Pad cut from bulk roll + large bag of Bio-Max




  • Intake Sponge Pre-Filter + Polyfill + Aquaclear Sponge + large bag Bio-Max




There are other combinations that may be utilized w/ DIY media, but this will get you on the right track for your set-up......
[/QUO
Islandvic said:
The blue plastic bio-grid isn't hurting anything, but in my opinion it isn't helping much either.

You may certainly leave it in the reservoir.

On my Silentstream filter, my train of thought was that it took up space in the reservoir that could be better served by a sponge, bag of bio-media, Polyfil, etc etc.

The concept of the blue plastic bio-grid is that it creates surface area that beneficial bacteria colonizes on.

But in reality, the surface area is minimal and there is more surface area in the tank if you count the substrate, glass, ornaments and plants.

Considering everything in the tank, the surface area of the plastic blue grid starts to appear small.

That is why I removed it and inserted other media in its place.

For example, if you were to calculate the surface area of all the pockets on the exterior and inner structure of a block of foam sponge, you will have exponentially more surface area vs. the blue plastic grid. Plus the sponge catches muck and acts as a mechanical filter as well.

Same concept applies to a bag of bio-media. A handful of ceramic/sintered glass bio-rings or pumice stones will have an enormous amount of total surface area , both external and internal, due to their porous nature.

That is why in this thread the blue plastic "bio-grid" was removed for all examples. I felt there were many examples of other media that could replace it and do a better job.
I love this thread. My TopFin FL20 is all beefed up with an intake sponge, 2 bags of rocks and a quarantine tank diy filter piece cycling in it now. Thanks so much for the awesome info
 

wd67

Member
On my marineland hob, I took off all the gunk on the stock filter and use the frame to hold back my filtration. I am using three of the different spunges I have, course, medium and fine. Both sides are the same. Also have a prefilter on the intake. All I do is every two weeks wash them in Tank water and put them right back. Been using this for almost a year now and I haven't had to replace anything other than the intake prefilter. My fish like that prefilter because of the food it collects. After awhile the filter gets chewed up and needs replacement. Its funny that they don't do that so much with the canister prefilter. Weird fish...
 

Kobiashi3

Member
Islandvic said:
This is a write-up on some methods and options for using DIY media in your HOB filter. My goal is to condense in one thread, easy and cheap methods of improving the filtration in your HOB filter while making it more cost effective. I enjoy the hobby and especially the DIY aspect of it.

Have you become frustrated with replacing HOB cartridges and crashing nitrogen cycles? Is your filter not keeping up with the bio-load of your fish stock? Do you want to hot rod the stock filter your tank came with? Are you on a budget? Do you like or want to attempt some easy DIY projects that offer great results with minimal effort? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you should be interested in this thread.

The following lists some DIY media options for adding coarse/fine mechanical filtration and for adding extra biological media to your HOB filters. It will work for 10 gallon betta tanks, 75 gallon cichlid tanks and anything in between.

I will focus on mainly the Top Fin Silenstream series of HOBs and also give some examples using Aquaclear filters. The Top Fin Silenstream filters are included with the majority of Top Fin aquarium kits from Petsmart. They are prevalent in our hobby and very cheap to buy separately. Aquaclear filters are on the other side of the spectrum of HOB’s. Between these two models of filter, most people will probably be able to use this guide to get ideas for the brand of filter they own with some minor tweaking.

This is not an all-inclusive list, but a general guide to give you ideas for cost effective, readily available and easy to use media for your HOB filter.

I will include specific media I have used in my personal HOB’s. There are many brands and variations of media available at different price points, for certain applications and specialty use. I can not list every brand/model of HOB filter or media. Again, this is a general guide to point you in the right direction.

What I demonstrate in this thread may not be applicable to your situation and needs. Sometimes experimentation is required in the amount/placement/type combination of DIY media to balance the flow rate, effectiveness of filtration and adjust to the tank’s biological load. You may tailor the DIY media to fit your specific needs and application.

Before I begin, I must thank everyone here on the Fishlore forum. I have gained a lot of information from a lot of good people. Everyone here wants to advance the hobby and are always available to give some advice or share their experience in a positive. Therefore I want to contribute back and share what I have learned.

I also want to mention some YouTube resources I have come across with valuable information that help to advance our hobby. These hosts are also genuinely passionate about our hobby and I have learned a lot from them as well: Richard from Pondguru channel, Cory from Aquarium Co-Op channel and Joey from King of DIY channel. There are many more great aquarium hobby channels on YouTube, but I cannot list them all.


Basics of Filtration:

Throughout the guide, the flow of water follows the same basic pattern through the media. It can apply to whatever your filter and media you choose.

Water enters the filter and flows through the media in this order then back out into the tank:

1st: Coarse mechanical filtration

2nd: Fine mechanical filtration

3rd: Biological filtration.


Water enters the filter where larger suspended particles gets trapped by the coarse mechanical filtration and smaller particulates gets trapped by the fine mechanical filtration. Then the biological media (where the beneficial bacteria colonizes) will facilitate the nitrogen cycle.

In this guide I purposely did not give options for chemical filtration, though if you choose to use it, I recommend it being the last thing the water touches before it flows back into the tank. I did not want to get into debates of the validity or specific times of when/when not to use chemical filtration.



Top Fin Silenstream filters and other cartridge based HOB’s:

The first example of using DIY media in a HOB will be for the Top Fin Silenstream series of filters. The Silenstream shares many design characteristics with other brands of HOB’s, so the DIY media mods listed below are easily adapted for use in other brands of HOB’s.

It’s a basic HOB filter design using a plastic bio-grid and a replaceable cartridge. They have a telescopic intake tube with a very handy adjustable knob that lets you adjust the flow rate. The knob turns a restrictor in the intake tube limiting the water flow that feeds into the impeller housing.

Top Fin is Petsmart’s in-house brand and the Silenstream filter is included with most of their Top Fin aquarium kits ranging from 10g-55g. Although considered an entry level HOB filter, with the right mods it can be made into a very reliable and effective filter. The following lists the gph ratings of the models. Although not indicated in the literature or online, I assume the gph ratings is for flow at the impeller assembly without media installed. Your actual gph flow may vary, especially when using different combinations of media.

Top Fin Silenstream 10 85gph

Top Fin Silenstream 20 100gph

Top Fin Silenstream 30 150gph

Top Fin Silenstream 40 200gph

Top Fin Silenstream 75 400gph



Models 20, 30 and 40 share the same filter body, intake tube and reservoir. The only difference is the gph ratings due to differences in the impeller/pump. The model 10’s reservoir is not as wide but has the same design as the 20-40 models. The Silenstream 75 model basically has 2 reservoirs joined together side-by-side with a stronger impeller/pump assembly rated for higher flow. Sharing the same basic design elements, the DIY media mods featured here can be tweaked for use in the 75 model also.

I own the Silenstream 20 model and it’s used in the following pictures. Although originally included with my 20 gallon Top Fin aquarium kit, it was re-purposed for use on my 10 gallon and I find it to be a very effective filter in this application.







Thanks for the DIY ideas! I have a Top Fin Silenstream 30 and I put together what you can see in the pics earlier today. I cut the foam in half so it would fit and used a pre-washed Fluval carbon filter media bag to add with my current stock filter. 3 questions though... 1. My stock filter needs to be replaced so is it still needed at all now or should I just rinse it with tank water during my next WC and put it back in? 2. Do I need to keep the plastic blue bio filter in as well because I don’t see them included in your photos. 3. Is this order the best for success or should anything be rearranged?
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
Kobiashi3 , I'm glad the thread gave you some ideas on how to mod your filter.

To answer your questions.....

1. So really it's up to you. If you can swish it around in a bucket of tank water and it cleans it off, then sure you can reuse it. You could also cut out the white felt looking material from the cartridge and place it back into the filter. All the beneficial bacteria on the felt pad media would then be retained. Or just toss the cartridge altogether.

2. In my opinion, the blue plastic contraption takes up space. Other media can be placed in the reservoir in lieu of it.

3. I would try to place the bag of carbon so it's the last media the water passes through before exiting the filter. Somehow place the sponge first. The sponge block is more coarse and will trap the larger muck.

When I get home tomorrow when I'm off shift, I will take a pic of how my Silentstream 30 is running on our 10g and post it. It's set up slightly different compared to the examples I originally posted.

It will take some trial and error, but after a couple of variations you will come across what works best for you and the tank.

As long as water is passing through the media, it will all be good in the long run !

**edit**

Here is a pic...





The filter has a Top Fin sponge attached to the intake, just like the one shown toward the beginning of the thread. A block of foam sponge is placed toward the right of the reservoir, so water exiting the impeller assembly shoots through that and then into some Polyfil and a small bag of bio-media that's about 2 years old. This setup + a sponge filter has kept the little 10g tank healthy. This year I've added the Golden Pothos ivy for some natural filtration. The Pothos has been doing well, so it must be sucking up some ammonia and nitrates.
 

Kobiashi3

Member
Dope! I cut the felt off the disposable stock filter and stuffed it back into the canister with the sponge, and BioMax bags. I have one regular and one with activated carbon in right now. Tomorrow I am going to get some Poly-Fil to add as well and I ordered a sponge filter and foam for my impeller on Amazon that will be delivered tomorrow or Sunday. It’s already in the state so I’m hoping they come tomorrow. I hope with the extra sponge filter and added bio filters I can clear my water and keep the perimeters good. As of my test today my tests all look good but my tank is still horribly cloudy. I vaccummed my gravel on Tues night and last Sat was my last 50% WC. I’m not sure if it’s a Bio Bloom or just not getting trapped by the filter media? I added Clarity earlier this evening so we shall see what it does. Fingers crossed.
 

FeeshieSymfiny

Member
Islandvic said:
Aquaclear HOB Filters:

All of the media I mentioned above can be used in the Aquaclear series of filters. They differ from most HOB’s because of their removable media baskets and their water flow enters from the bottom of the reservoir and flows upward then out the discharge chute back into the tank.

I have included pics of one of my AC30’s and my AC110. For simplicity, I have not included my other AC30 and AC70. They are set up slightly different, but follow the same principles of the flow of water through the media that I outlined toward the beginning of the thread.

The media basket in the following pics are from one of my AC30’s on my 20g. Although not shown, it uses the green Top Fin sponge as a pre-filter on the intake that I mentioned earlier in the thread. I cut down the stock sponge in the media basket to free up additional room for other media.

On top of the sponge is a layer of Polyfil, then a layer of filter media pad cut from a bulk roll, a 100-micron filter pad, then finally a bag of Seachem Matrix bio-media.








Next are some pics of my AC110. It uses the ATI Filter Max III shown earlier in the thread. I also cut down the stock sponge in the media basket to allow for additional media. Above the sponge is a huge layer of Polyfil, 2 layers of bulk filter media pads, then 3 bags of bio-media (Matrix and Bio-Max).

Here is a link of a write-up I did on the AC110 that I posted here on the forum (LINK).







The media baskets on Aquaclear HOB's are rather larger, even for the AC30. There is an infinite amount of combinations of DIY media that can be used for these filters. As far as I know, Seachem Tidal filters are the only other HOB's that utilize a media basket.

I hope this guide for using DIY media in HOB filters can be used as a reference and starting point for other members and their own DIY projects. I have had the idea for starting a thread about it for awhile now.

Many times I see people post questions in different sections of the forum, asking about filter media, alternatives to cartridges, how to add biological filtration etc. The subject of being on a budget comes up frequently, so I chose methods that have both worked for me and were inexpensive.

My goal was to post some cheap and easy ways to hot rod up your HOB filter and enjoy a DIY project that anyone can do themselves.

If anyone wants to post their own DIY media used in their filters, please do so. Descriptions and pics of your set ups are welcome.

If anyone here gets some ideas from the thread and mods their filters, again please post your results.

Thanks!
This post is truly pertinent. Thank you for this. You increased my knowledge and option input.
 

toomanyfishtanks

Member
Okay so I have read most every post on this thread, extremely helpful by the way, and I am looking for just a little bit more clarity. So, I have the Aquaclear 20 on my 10 gal and Aquaclear 70 on my 30 (I like to over filter). Based on what I have read/watched here, I should never be removing the sponge the filters come with unless they are just completely falling apart, correct? Also, should I ever be changing the biomax insert? I think I read that I shouldn't, just rinsing, but I just wanted to clarify! Lastly, do you recommend using the activated carbon filter it comes with, or should I be using a less corse/fine sponge in that section of the filtration process? Any help would be much appreciated! Like I said, I am extremely grateful to come across this thread!
 

FeeshieSymfiny

Member
dottiemae said:
Okay so I have read most every post on this thread, extremely helpful by the way, and I am looking for just a little bit more clarity. So, I have the Aquaclear 20 on my 10 gal and Aquaclear 70 on my 30 (I like to over filter). Based on what I have read/watched here, I should never be removing the sponge the filters come with unless they are just completely falling apart, correct? Also, should I ever be changing the biomax insert? I think I read that I shouldn't, just rinsing, but I just wanted to clarify! Lastly, do you recommend using the activated carbon filter it comes with, or should I be using a less corse/fine sponge in that section of the filtration process? Any help would be much appreciated! Like I said, I am extremely grateful to come across this thread!
I removed the original sponge, cut it in half length-wise to add another sponge (also halved) with it... I wanted two different 'pore' types to work for me. But that was during installation of the aquaclear filters in my tanks, in your case I would agree, don't remove the sponge filter unless it's 'falling apart' (you can tank water rinse it every 6mos or 1yr if you'd like, I do that every 8-12mos 'gently'). And I don't change the 'biomax pre-filter' inserts (I replace a few pieces here and there if they're too clogged even after a slight rinse). I don't use carbon, I instead have more 'biomax' inserts (I use the Eheim media) in a 180 micron media bag (to keep them cleaner) in place of the carbon bag. If I ever need to remove medication from the tank I temporarily exchange the media bag for a new carbon bag for about 2-4 days (I store the removed 'biomax' media bag in an aerated tank water in a bucket during that time). I also use cut-to-size polishing cloths in between the bags and at the entry point (those I can remove to replace and discard). But that's just me, there are experts here who might have better advice for both of us imo.
 

FeeshieSymfiny

Member
FeeshieSymfiny said:
I removed the original sponge, cut it in half length-wise to add another sponge (also halved) with it... I wanted two different 'pore' types to work for me. But that was during installation of the aquaclear filters in my tanks, in your case I would agree, don't remove the sponge filter unless it's 'falling apart' (you can tank water rinse it every 6mos or 1yr if you'd like, I do that every 8-12mos 'gently'). And I don't change the 'biomax pre-filter' inserts (I replace a few pieces here and there if they're too clogged even after a slight rinse). I don't use carbon, I instead have more 'biomax' inserts (I use the Eheim media) in a 180 micron media bag (to keep them cleaner) in place of the carbon bag. If I ever need to remove medication from the tank I temporarily exchange the media bag for a new carbon bag for about 2-4 days (I store the removed 'biomax' media bag in an aerated tank water in a bucket during that time). I also use cut-to-size polishing cloths in between the bags and at the entry point (those I can remove to replace and discard). But that's just me, there are experts here who might have better advice for both of us imo.
I also have one of those sponge filter heads on the end of the aquaclear tubes (I rinse that every week or when I see that it's clogging). Hope all this helps.
 

toomanyfishtanks

Member
FeeshieSymfiny said:
I also have one of those sponge filter heads on the end of the aquaclear tubes (I rinse that every week or when I see that it's clogging). Hope all this helps.
It does, thank you for your response! After seeing this thread, I want to put a sponge on the intake of the filter! Do you recommend any different sponges than already mentioned here?
 

FeeshieSymfiny

Member
dottiemae said:
It does, thank you for your response! After seeing this thread, I want to put a sponge on the intake of the filter! Do you recommend any different sponges than already mentioned here?
I just use these on all my filters Amazon.com : Zanyzap Pre-Filter Sponge 12 Pack for Fluval Edge Aquarium : Pet Supplies) I find them cheap enough to throw away if need be, I also just use a small sized black rubber band to hold them to the tube in case I'm doing a PWC so they won't slip off (I've used a yellow rubber band to show what I mean); those tiny black rubber bands blend in. But when I am cleaning these, I actually just wash them completely in tap water (I have two filters on each tank and internal sponge bubble types so my beneficial bacteria remains safe when I clean one filter at weekly or monthly intervals) and squeeze out every bit of the tap water.. then I swirl them in dechlorinated water before reuse.
I even use them on my aquaclear 70 but they're tricky to put on (tube is wider), still they fit snugly.. so you might need a bigger size than mine for the 70 instead of what/how I use mine but I'm sure there are some to buy in bulk on Amazon.
 

toomanyfishtanks

Member
FeeshieSymfiny said:
I just use these on all my filters Amazon.com : Zanyzap Pre-Filter Sponge 12 Pack for Fluval Edge Aquarium : Pet Supplies) I find them cheap enough to throw away if need be, I also just use a small sized black rubber band to hold them to the tube in case I'm doing a PWC so they won't slip off (I've used a yellow rubber band to show what I mean); those tiny black rubber bands blend in. But when I am cleaning these, I actually just wash them completely in tap water (I have two filters on each tank and internal sponge bubble types so my beneficial bacteria remains safe when I clean one filter at weekly or monthly intervals) and squeeze out every bit of the tap water.. then I swirl them in dechlorinated water before reuse.
I even use them on my aquaclear 70 but they're tricky to put on (tube is wider), still they fit snugly.. so you might need a bigger size than mine for the 70 instead of what/how I use mine but I'm sure there are some to buy in bulk on Amazon.
Okay, thank you so much! I'm heading so Amazon right now!
 

FeeshieSymfiny

Member
FeeshieSymfiny said:
I just use these on all my filters Amazon.com : Zanyzap Pre-Filter Sponge 12 Pack for Fluval Edge Aquarium : Pet Supplies) I find them cheap enough to throw away if need be, I also just use a small sized black rubber band to hold them to the tube in case I'm doing a PWC so they won't slip off (I've used a yellow rubber band to show what I mean); those tiny black rubber bands blend in. But when I am cleaning these, I actually just wash them completely in tap water (I have two filters on each tank and internal sponge bubble types so my beneficial bacteria remains safe when I clean one filter at weekly or monthly intervals) and squeeze out every bit of the tap water.. then I swirl them in dechlorinated water before reuse.
I even use them on my aquaclear 70 but they're tricky to put on (tube is wider), still they fit snugly.. so you might need a bigger size than mine for the 70 instead of what/how I use mine but I'm sure there are some to buy in bulk on Amazon.
My tanks are planted, rock'd up, decor'd and/or have driftwood so tubes or airlines are camouflaged. I hope I've helped, good luck (your research style is to be applauded)!
 

Fishowner24

Member
Islandvic said:
Aquaclear HOB Filters:

All of the media I mentioned above can be used in the Aquaclear series of filters. They differ from most HOB’s because of their removable media baskets and their water flow enters from the bottom of the reservoir and flows upward then out the discharge chute back into the tank.

I have included pics of one of my AC30’s and my AC110. For simplicity, I have not included my other AC30 and AC70. They are set up slightly different, but follow the same principles of the flow of water through the media that I outlined toward the beginning of the thread.

The media basket in the following pics are from one of my AC30’s on my 20g. Although not shown, it uses the green Top Fin sponge as a pre-filter on the intake that I mentioned earlier in the thread. I cut down the stock sponge in the media basket to free up additional room for other media.

On top of the sponge is a layer of Polyfil, then a layer of filter media pad cut from a bulk roll, a 100-micron filter pad, then finally a bag of Seachem Matrix bio-media.








Next are some pics of my AC110. It uses the ATI Filter Max III shown earlier in the thread. I also cut down the stock sponge in the media basket to allow for additional media. Above the sponge is a huge layer of Polyfil, 2 layers of bulk filter media pads, then 3 bags of bio-media (Matrix and Bio-Max).

Here is a link of a write-up I did on the AC110 that I posted here on the forum (LINK).







The media baskets on Aquaclear HOB's are rather larger, even for the AC30. There is an infinite amount of combinations of DIY media that can be used for these filters. As far as I know, Seachem Tidal filters are the only other HOB's that utilize a media basket.

I hope this guide for using DIY media in HOB filters can be used as a reference and starting point for other members and their own DIY projects. I have had the idea for starting a thread about it for awhile now.

Many times I see people post questions in different sections of the forum, asking about filter media, alternatives to cartridges, how to add biological filtration etc. The subject of being on a budget comes up frequently, so I chose methods that have both worked for me and were inexpensive.

My goal was to post some cheap and easy ways to hot rod up your HOB filter and enjoy a DIY project that anyone can do themselves.

If anyone wants to post their own DIY media used in their filters, please do so. Descriptions and pics of your set ups are welcome.

If anyone here gets some ideas from the thread and mods their filters, again please post your results.

Thanks!
If I wanted to do what you did on the AC110 but on a AC50 what size of the cartridges would I need so I can fit 3 of them on the top?
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
Aquaclear sell 3-packs of replacement foam blocks, which may be stacked.

From what I recall, 3-pack replacements are available for the AC30, AC50 and AC70. The AC110 foam block is so large it only comes as a single replacement in the package.

Amazon, Chewy, PetSmart, Ken's Fish etc all sell them.

If you live near a PetSmart, then the cashier will price match the Chewy website.

3-pack foam blocks for AC50's shoilf run no more than $5 on line.

An alternative is to buy a sheet of 3" thick 20ppi foam from the brand Aquaneat from Amazon. It is a close match to the porosity of the Aquaclear foam and can be cut to fit the filter basket.

Aquaneat also sells 30ppi foam which is a bit denser.

In one of our AC70's, I run the stock foam block and then added a layer of Aquaneat brand 30ppi foam on top.

PPI stands for pores per inch. The lower the ppi count the more coarse the foam/sponge.

The higher the ppi count, the more fine it is.
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
Fishowner24

Aquaclear sell 3-packs of replacement foam blocks, which may be stacked.

From what I recall, 3-pack replacements are available for the AC30, AC50 and AC70. The AC110 foam block is so large it only comes as a single replacement in the package.

Amazon, Chewy, PetSmart, Ken's Fish etc all sell them.

If you live near a PetSmart, then the cashier will price match the Chewy website.

3-pack foam blocks for AC50's shoilf run no more than $5 on line.

An alternative is to buy a sheet of 3" thick 20ppi foam from the brand Aquaneat from Amazon. It is a close match to the porosity of the Aquaclear foam and can be cut to fit the filter basket.

Aquaneat also sells 30ppi foam which is a bit denser.

In one of our AC70's, I run the stock foam block and then added a layer of Aquaneat brand 30ppi foam on top.

PPI stands for pores per inch. The lower the ppi count the more coarse the foam/sponge.

The higher the ppi count, the more fine it is.
 

Fishowner24

Member
Islandvic said:
Fishowner24

Aquaclear sell 3-packs of replacement foam blocks, which may be stacked.

From what I recall, 3-pack replacements are available for the AC30, AC50 and AC70. The AC110 foam block is so large it only comes as a single replacement in the package.

Amazon, Chewy, PetSmart, Ken's Fish etc all sell them.

If you live near a PetSmart, then the cashier will price match the Chewy website.

3-pack foam blocks for AC50's shoilf run no more than $5 on line.

An alternative is to buy a sheet of 3" thick 20ppi foam from the brand Aquaneat from Amazon. It is a close match to the porosity of the Aquaclear foam and can be cut to fit the filter basket.

Aquaneat also sells 30ppi foam which is a bit denser.

In one of our AC70's, I run the stock foam block and then added a layer of Aquaneat brand 30ppi foam on top.

PPI stands for pores per inch. The lower the ppi count the more coarse the foam/sponge.

The higher the ppi count, the more fine it is.
Ok and what size of Matrix, BioMax pellets and BioMax rings should I get if I want 3 of them on the top layer like you did for the AC100 if I wanted to do it for the AC50?
 

tfreema

Member
Here is an interesting insert for aqua clear.

 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
Fishowner24 , the Aquaclear 50 media basket is only about an inch wider than the AC30. You wont be able to stuff a lot of bio-media in its basket.

In my opinion, if you double up the foam blocks and just add the little sack of included Bio-Max, it will be all you nee for your AC50.

If you prefer to use a traditional bio-media, then the most cost effect would be the 500g Fluval Bio-Max bulk refill.

I believe they are under $6 on Amazon. You will need a media bag to put it in.
 

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