Diy Media Guide For Top Fin Silenstream, Aquaclear And Other Hob Filters - Page 3

Fishowner24

Member
Ok I have a question do you need to put stress and zyme in your aquarium after you clean it and does your fish tank need salt?
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
If you are referring to API Stress Coat and API Stress Zyme, I dont use those products so I can't really give advise on that.

My water changes usually consist of a 50% - 75% change and the only thing I add is Seachem Safe dechlorinator. I temperature match the water and the fish dont really appear stressed afterwards.

Regarding your question about salt, I think in most cases salt isn't needed. Some people use salt to treat Ich or in other specific tanks for certain species of fish.
 

Fishowner24

Member
Islandvic said:
If you are referring to API Stress Coat and API Stress Zyme, I dont use those products so I can't really give advise on that.

My water changes usually consist of a 50% - 75% change and the only thing I add is Seachem Safe dechlorinator. I temperature match the water and the fish dont really appear stressed afterwards.

Regarding your question about salt, I think in most cases salt isn't needed. Some people use salt to treat Ich or in other specific tanks for certain species of fish.
Ok and how often do you clean the tank?
 

NevermindIgnoreMe

Member
Hi, I am planning an equalities day filter build for a forty gallon goldfish tank, I'm using a growbed, and I think I'll have enough media for the plants to sit in (in net pots, it's Matrix btw) but I don't have any for the bottom, I need enough to cover the bottom of a 36x7.77 flower box, under 20 dollars. Suggestions? Something nice and porous, but not to expensive.
Thanks
 
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Islandvic

Member
I am not sure what a "equalities day filter" is.

If you're looking for porous media for a planter box, consider buying bulk pumice stone from .

They offer pumice stones for hydroponics in different sizes and 20lbs runs between $16-$18. I think 20lbs equates to around 11-13 liters from what I recall when I was looking into buying some.

It's more than likely the same type of white pumice that Seachem sells as their Matrix and Pond Matrix. Seachem sells 4 liters for about $30, so the hydroponic pumice is a lot more cost effective.

It also comes from the Hess Mine, the largest pumice mine in the United States. So you dont have to worry about some cheap Chinese sourced pumice that emits radon, like the Chinese granite and drywall did back in the early 2000's housing boom.
 

NevermindIgnoreMe

Member
Thanks so much, that's exactly what I was looking for!
 

AcornTheBetta

Member
This thread is so cool. I want to try some stuff on my filter now.
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
Fishowner24 , so asking how often I clean my tanks is hard to answer.

I try to do water changes every 7-10 days. I use an old credit card or a Mr Clean Magic eraser to wipe the inside glass whenever its needed.

I remove the glass lids and wipe them down in my shower once every 2-3 weeks. While the lids are off, I wipe down the inner plastic lip of the frame of tank.

I dont vac the sand substrate at every water change, mainly because not much detritus and uneaten food collects on the bottom. My tanks have multiple filters and there is usually enough current in the tank to blow some of what's settled on the substrate around so it gets sucked up by the filters. I will usually do a quick vac of the sand twice a month with a siphon gravel vac and bucket.

My canister filters get cleaned once every 1-3 months, or whenever I see diminished flow.

The sponge pre-filters on the intake tubes get removed and rinsed off maybe twice a month.

I pull the media basket from my Aquaclears out maybe 1 or 2 times a month to give the foam blocks and other media a rinse. It really just depends because the pre-filter on the intake tubes cactch a ton of muck allowing me to extend the interval between cleaning the main media in the Aquaclears.

My sponge filters that run off air pumps get cleaned every 2-3 months maybe.

So to sum it all up, I clean manly tank on an as-needed basis.

Dont get caught up with trying to clean the entire tank all the time.
 

Fishowner24

Member
Islandvic said:
Fishowner24 , so asking how often I clean my tanks is hard to answer.

I try to do water changes every 7-10 days. I use an old credit card or a Mr Clean Magic eraser to wipe the inside glass whenever its needed.

I remove the glass lids and wipe them down in my shower once every 2-3 weeks. While the lids are off, I wipe down the inner plastic lip of the frame of tank.

I dont vac the sand substrate at every water change, mainly because not much detritus and uneaten food collects on the bottom. My tanks have multiple filters and there is usually enough current in the tank to blow some of what's settled on the substrate around so it gets sucked up by the filters. I will usually do a quick vac of the sand twice a month with a siphon gravel vac and bucket.

My canister filters get cleaned once every 1-3 months, or whenever I see diminished flow.

The sponge pre-filters on the intake tubes get removed and rinsed off maybe twice a month.

I pull the media basket from my Aquaclears out maybe 1 or 2 times a month to give the foam blocks and other media a rinse. It really just depends because the pre-filter on the intake tubes cactch a ton of muck allowing me to extend the interval between cleaning the main media in the Aquaclears.

My sponge filters that run off air pumps get cleaned every 2-3 months maybe.

So to sum it all up, I clean manly tank on an as-needed basis.

Dont get caught up with trying to clean the entire tank all the time.
Ok what would the flow look like when diminished? Would it look not as smooth? And how do you know when the sponge filter is dirty?
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
It really takes letting the tank run for a while and monitor everything. Keep an eye on it everyday and you will start to notice when the filter starts to get dirty.

Every tank is different, every filter is different, and everyone has varying fish stocking and feeding routines.

It's hard to pinpoint when exactly to clean a filter.

As time goes by, you will get a better feel for how your tank runs.

Regarding sponge filters specifically, they can go a long time before they need to be cleaned. Usually a month or two, or more.

To clean them, just get a 5 gallon bucket half filled with tank water and swish it around some and smack it against the side. Give it another swish and smack against the wall and it's good. You dont want to get them 100% clean. If you do, you will remove the beneficial bacteria. For the most part, sponge filters are a "set them and forget them" type of deal.

I think you're on the right track for a successful tank. Asking a lot of questions now saves you from mistakes in the future.

Consider starting new a thread if you have specific questions, that way your question is more exposed to members on the forum. You will get a lot more responses from a wider range of fishkeepers.
 

Fishowner24

Member
When shou
Islandvic said:
It really takes letting the tank run for a while and monitor everything. Keep an eye on it everyday and you will start to notice when the filter starts to get dirty.

Every tank is different, every filter is different, and everyone has varying fish stocking and feeding routines.

It's hard to pinpoint when exactly to clean a filter.

As time goes by, you will get a better feel for how your tank runs.

Regarding sponge filters specifically, they can go a long time before they need to be cleaned. Usually a month or two, or more.

To clean them, just get a 5 gallon bucket half filled with tank water and swish it around some and smack it against the side. Give it another swish and smack against the wall and it's good. You dont want to get them 100% clean. If you do, you will remove the beneficial bacteria. For the most part, sponge filters are a "set them and forget them" type of deal.

I think you're on the right track for a successful tank. Asking a lot of questions now saves you from mistakes in the future.

Consider starting new a thread if you have specific questions, that way your question is more exposed to members on the forum. You will get a lot more responses from a wider range of fishkeepers.
when should I replace my sponge for the sponge filter?
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
They generally don"t need replacing. They can last years and years.

About the only types of media that ever has to be replaced is chemical filtration (carbon, zeolite, etc) and fine floss/Polyfil type media.

Sponges, foams and bio-media (pumice, sintered glass, ceramic, etc) usually never have to be replaced.
 

Fishfriendof315

Member
Excellent write up!! I had aquired an AC 110 and didn't realize water ran bottom to top. Thought it ran in through the holes in sides of the basket.
 

Nikao

Member
Just did this an hour ago!!
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
Very cool Nikao !
 

Phillybeans

Member
Newbie here! Such an informative post!
Definitely not going to throw the used cartridges away right after(BB). I bought some bio media in store, it will take the blue mesh things spot. Might even add some foam where water comes in.

Can’t seem to find an intake sponge for my silent stream 20, they don’t carry the topfin blue one you mentioned in beginning anymore.
Any suggestions?
 

Fishfriendof315

Member
I took fluval canister prefilter cut it in half, wrapped it around the intake tube. Used super glue at the seam to make a good round. And stuck a bit in the bottom to seal up.
 

Phillybeans

Member
Fishfriendof315 said:
I took fluval canister prefilter cut it in half, wrapped it around the intake tube. Used super glue at the seam to make a good round. And stuck a bit in the bottom to seal up.
Is it the fluval edge prefilter? I wonder if it will fit my TopFin one, I measured the intake and it’s exactly one inch diameter. Quite long with lots of opening too. (Attached a box picture for reference)
 

Fishfriendof315

Member
Sorry, Had my companies switched. It is a marineland
 

Phillybeans

Member
I was able to get one to sort of work, but there is a little bit of opening up top, that I can’t seem to get the sponge to cover the entire thing. Is this equivalent of having no pre filter since water can still go in here, or is better than nothing since the bottom is covered at least?
 
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Islandvic

Member
Fishfriendof315 , I use that same Marineland coarse foam pad to wrap around the intake of our Top Fin 75 Silenstream filter. I cut it into a rectangle shape to shape to around, but used black zip ties to secure it on.

Phillybeans , you may have to experiment with the current foam you are using, or find something else.

Maybe put a dab of hot glue around the opening where the foam doesn't cover?

Or cut away material from inside the foam block so the intake strainer fits in deeper.
 

Fishfriendof315

Member
Big nasties will more than likely bypass because of the opening
 

Viper0n

Member
I want to replace the filter media (came with the filter) in my HOB (topfin) with some coarse sponge, filter floss and bio media like the guide. I've stuffed the bio media (ceramic rings) with my old filter media and am running it in parallel. How long can I wait before I remove the old media to replace it with the sponges ?. I also added a pre-filter sponge (don't know if bacteria grows on this). I'm just worried about crashing the cycle.
 

Rcslade124

Member
If you left the old filter then the cycle is intact. Let it run a month or 2 and you should be able to remove the old media. And yes the pre filter sponge coolest bacteria also
 

2fishinabowl

Member
Islandvic said:






There are other combinations that may be utilized w/ DIY media, but this will get you on the right track for your set-up......
First, THANKYOU for posting this. It's really excellent and inspired my wife and I to go out and buy the MF-40 intake sponge prefilter, bio media balls, and coarse sponge. We also have the Top Fin Silenstream PF20 hob filter.

But this particular photo showing left-to-right arrangement of media is puzzling since water flow on most hob filters like ours is from back-to-front :



Much like electricity, water always takes the easiest path so most of the water will flow through the coarse sponge and never reach the poly or bio media.



In our humble opinion a better media arrangement would be this (view is looking down from top of filter) :



That would force all the water to flow through each layer.

It would be interesting to see what other people have done to modify their hob filter media.
 

Rcslade124

Member
This is my tidals. The first one is bio media on bottom then 2 sponges on top. The second is just a bunch of sponge cut into square. They need rinsed off but doing their jobs.
 

2fishinabowl

Member
Rcslade124 said:
This is my tidals. The first one is bio media on bottom then 2 sponges on top. The second is just a bunch of sponge cut into square. They need rinsed off but doing their jobs.
I don't see the bio media so I'm guessing your hob has a vertical bottom-to-top flow instead of back-to-front flow? Or am I just blind? (Wife is shaking her head yes to that last question )
 

Viper0n

Member
2fishinabowl said:
First, THANKYOU for posting this. It's really excellent and inspired my wife and I to go out and buy the MF-40 intake sponge prefilter, bio media balls, and coarse sponge. We also have the Top Fin Silenstream PF20 hob filter.

But this particular photo showing left-to-right arrangement of media is puzzling since water flow on most hob filters like ours is from back-to-front :



Much like electricity, water always takes the easiest path so most of the water will flow through the coarse sponge and never reach the poly or bio media.



In our humble opinion a better media arrangement would be this (view is looking down from top of filter) :



That would force all the water to flow through each layer.

It would be interesting to see what other people have done to modify their hob filter media.
I think I have the same HOB as you. The way I have it is “bottom to top” since the water flows up from the bottom. Coarse in the bottom, fine media, purigen and then bio rings in the top. Oh I also have a coarse sponge in that gap between the tube and the slotting space.
 

Rcslade124

Member
2fishinabowl said:
I don't see the bio media so I'm guessing your hob has a vertical bottom-to-top flow instead of back-to-front flow? Or am I just blind? (Wife is shaking her head yes to that last question )
Yes the seachem tidals flow from bottom up. On the left the the filter the water drops in about 1 inch from the top. Then fills from bottom and out.
 

2fishinabowl

Member
Rcslade124 said:
Yes the seachem tidals flow from bottom up. On the left the the filter the water drops in about 1 inch from the top. Then fills from bottom and out.
Yes thats an awesome filter. Maybe we'll get one.
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
Rcslade124 , thanks for sharing pics of your Tidal setups !

2fishinabowl , each HOB takes some trial and error, especially when trying out different media and their arrangement in the reservoir.

Either way I think it will work. It will flow through all the media, but at different rates.

That's what makes this fun, trying out different ways and methods. If your method works, then post pics and let us know!
 

2fishinabowl

Member
Viper0n said:
I think I have the same HOB as you. The way I have it is “bottom to top” since the water flows up from the bottom. Coarse in the bottom, fine media, purigen and then bio rings in the top. Oh I also have a coarse sponge in that gap between the tube and the slotting space.
I respectfully disagree with the water flow being bottom-to-top in the Silenstream PF20 and most other HOB filters. The flow through media is usually back-to-front in a HOB.

A very informative article at the Aquarium Science website backs me up on this.

"Most HOB filters move the water from one side (the side away from the aquarium) of the hanging box to the other side (the side closest to the aquarium) of the HOB through a “cartridge”. This is a “back-to-front” flow HOB cartridge filter."

"There is one type of HOB filter which is unique. The two currently sold are the Seachem Tidal™ Power Filters and the Hagen Fluval/AquaClear Power Filters. These are relatively large HOBs that flow from the bottom of the filter up."

You can read the whole HOB writeup by going to number 8 in their main menu here (Filter Designs).
The url is Aquariumscience_dot_org. Not sure why the site won't link here.

Anyway from that page scroll down to the link at 8.2. Hang On Back Filters. Sorry I couldn't figure out how to direct link that.

But listen, like Islandvic said, experimenting is what makes this hobby fun. The more we talk about this stuff and share, the better it is for everyone.

And hey welcome to Fishlore!

Islandvic said:
Rcslade124 , thanks for sharing pics of your Tidal setups !

2fishinabowl , each HOB takes some trial and error, especially when trying out different media and their arrangement in the reservoir.

Either way I think it will work. It will flow through all the media, but at different rates.

That's what makes this fun, trying out different ways and methods. If your method works, then post pics and let us know!
I appreciate that. And yes experimenting is fun. It's fascinating how many variations of setups and opinions on those too.

It's all good.
 

Viper0n

Member
2fishinabowl said:
I respectfully disagree with the water flow being bottom-to-top in the Silenstream PF20 and most other HOB filters. The flow through media is usually back-to-front in a HOB.

A very informative article at the Aquarium Science website backs me up on this.

"Most HOB filters move the water from one side (the side away from the aquarium) of the hanging box to the other side (the side closest to the aquarium) of the HOB through a “cartridge”. This is a “back-to-front” flow HOB cartridge filter."

"There is one type of HOB filter which is unique. The two currently sold are the Seachem Tidal™ Power Filters and the Hagen Fluval/AquaClear Power Filters. These are relatively large HOBs that flow from the bottom of the filter up."

You can read the whole HOB writeup by going to number 8 in their main menu here (Filter Designs).
The url is Aquariumscience_dot_org. Not sure why the site won't link here.

Anyway from that page scroll down to the link at 8.2. Hang On Back Filters. Sorry I couldn't figure out how to direct link that.

But listen, like Islandvic said, experimenting is what makes this hobby fun. The more we talk about this stuff and share, the better it is for everyone.

And hey welcome to Fishlore!



I appreciate that. And yes experimenting is fun. It's fascinating how many variations of setups and opinions on those too.

It's all good.
Ah okay.. I should have looked that up properly. I just assumed since the intake tube goes all the way to the bottom of the reservoir the water would probably fill up the same way. Well.. time to tinker again
 

PortishGirl

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......

Oh my, this is my first interaction here and I don't know if I'm doing this right. Hopefully. Wanted an opinion on my diy filter set. Aquaclear50, polyfil with the cut out from stock filter floss and the ceramic rings in a media bag. Its pretty stuffed in there.
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
Looks like a winner!

Even if a little water starts to flow over the top of the media, it's ok.

Is that a TopFin Silenstream 10 or 20 model filter?

As with any filter, you may have to make some adjustments to the arrangement as time goes on to get it dialed in.
 

PortishGirl

Member
Its a silenstream 10. I also have a sponge on the intake that I put about a week back. Its like you have especially, the water is flowing a bit over the top and I was gonna ask about that next
 

CoryKat

Member
This was so helpful, thank you! I was looking for ways to keep the beneficial bacteria in my HOB filter after I changed the cartridges and this told me exactly what I was looking for!
 

2fishinabowl

Member
Just an update on the HOB MOD to our Top Fin Silenstream 20.

The Cartridge :
First we cut a new cartridge (dashed lines) and emptied out the activated carbon. We don't need or want that stuff in our tank. Then we filled these
"pouches" about 1/4 inch thick with polyfill. When these pouches get clogged it's real easy to pull out the cartridge and refill with new polyfill. Don't forget to stuff the beneficial bacteria-loaded old cartridge foam/polyfill into this new one's pouches the first time you run this. You can ditch it after a couple weeks.

The intake "prefilter" :
We needed both sponges that come in the MF-40 package to cover our intake holes on the Silenstream 20. We had to cut a hole in one of them to slide it up over the pipe but found the fit is really snug so we we didn't need to tie it onto the pipe. The second sponge slid right beneath that and it looks/operates like one long sponge installed.

Nylon Pot Scrubbers. 4-5 of them are along the HOB back wall and they stay there. We have found that these and the intake sponges are sufficient to hold any beneficial bacteria in the HOB.

No cycle crash from changing the poly so far even when we changed the whole cartridge out!

Also included here is a top view of the HOB. Currently full of deceased diatoms and ready for changing. We might reinsert that useless blue biomedia screen before the outlet just to hold this together somewhat more neatly but it's all working very well.

Finally, apart from the filter mods above we added an airstone which we believe helps the biology and filtration of any tank.

Thanks again to Islandvic.
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
PortishGirl , I wouldn't worry about a bit of water flowing over the media. I'm sure the majority of the water is still flowing through it.

CoryKat , great to hear !

2fishinabowl , thanks posting what you did to your filter! The more people post what they do, the more ideas we can give others ! Great pics also.
 

bgfireguy92

Member
Great article was tired of buying the cartridges and still getting a crash trying to keep the tank in good condioton for the daughters tank. Youre saving me so much money and hoping it makes better in the long run. Only question is i am going use the fluval biomax small bags. How often do you change those out? And im assuming you keep a few when you do change them to help start the growth again?
 
  • Thread Starter

Islandvic

Member
bgfireguy92 ,

Welcome to the Fishlore community. After looking at your name again, are you a firefighter ?

What type of filter do you have, what tank size and how is it stocked ??

You asked about the frequency of changing out media.

95% of the time, almost every brand of traditional bio-media can be kept in service for years.

Unless it's starting to crumble or break apart, then just keep it.

You're talking about those small Bio-Max bags that are $2-$4 and look like small croutons, correct ?

Those should last years as well. Just swish the bag around in a bucket of tank water during a water change and they are good.

Also, remember if you use any type of foam/sponge pad or block in your filter, this type of media will colonize a tremendous amount of beneficial bacteria.

Don't underestimate the ability for foam/sponge media to provide both mechanical and biological filtration.

If you have more questions, ask in this thread or start a new thread.

Ton of great members on the forum to help out with any question you may have.
 

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