Filtration Dilemma

Emanuel Alves

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Hello,
This is my first thread on FishLore, however, I've been doing so much research that I think this website is my second home! layful:

So, to briefly sum it up: I've been running a fish tank since December 2017. I started with a 2.5g (12 litres) fish tank (1st mistake...) and two weeks ago I purchased a bigger one - 7.3g (28 litres). I have a Marina i25 filter, a heater and a combination of plant-substrate + small pebbles on top - I moved everything altogether to the new tank (no cleaning, in order to keep as much BB as possible). I added water wisteria all around the tank and two moss balls (cladophora aegagropila).
For inmates I have 6 neon tetras, 1 male betta fish, 6 cherry shrimps, 1 otto and 1 snail. I have arranged the tank in order to be able to keep this current fish-stock - the fish have enough space and everyone is happy.

Now here comes the tricky part. The filter that I currently have (marina i25) doesn't allow much modding - it's a cartridge-based filter and the cartridges can't be modified - all I could do was add some small bio filtration media (Sera Siporax Mini) behind the cartridge, stuck against the back of the filter and a thin filter floss layer on the front of the cartridge, right behind the top cut-out where the water comes off. Every time the cartridge begins to clog up (every 2 months give or take), I have to replace it and lose a big portion of my BB... and I'm afraid that, in the future, with this new tank, it might have an impact on the water. Also, I feel this filter doesn't move the water *at all* - it is rated for up to 25 litres and, right now, it's filtering more than that.

Surprisingly however, the tank is doing ok so far. I've been testing the water every day for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and ph, and I'm a little bit confused with the results. The water ph is on the low-ish side: between 6.4 and 7 (most frequently 6.8) and, as such, the ammonium in the water doesn't turn into ammonia - the tests read about 2mg/l of ammonium which, according to the table on the instructions, represents less than 0,003 ammonia (if I had a ph of 7, which I don't) and, after a few hours, it goes back to 0. I never had any results when testing for nitrites - always 0, and for nitrates I do get some change of color on the test strip, but nothing major - about 25mg/l before the weekly water change.

These results don't seem "right", specially after having the aquarium running for a week without water changes, I thought it could be the BB taking care of things, but I'm not sure.

Now, everyone and their mother has been "suggesting" me to upgrade to a canister filter - the Eheim Ecco Pro 130 - because it would "fix" my two major annoyances with the aquarium which are the noise of the filter (that thing is quite loud, for someone trying to fall asleep :dead and the space that the internal filter takes up on the tank. The thing is: this canister filter has a 500LPH (132gph) and that's almost twice the recommended gph for my tank (73gph).
Then there's also the factor of price. This canister filter would cost me 89€ (a bit pricy) and I really don't want to make such purchase only to be disappointed or to run into trouble when I set it up.

On the other hand, I've been reading/watching videos and reviews about the AquaClear HOB filters (specially the AquaClear 20) which are quite flexible with the filter media and the GPH is much closer to what my tank is supposed to have, however, I'd probably still have to live with the noise... and a hunchback behind the tank.

It would be really, really helpful if someone with more experience on this topic could send me their thoughts on it. Is the canister filter THAT beneficial/better? Wouldn't the extremely high GPH be too much for my tank (even though it can be somewhat adjusted with the outflow valve)? Getting a bigger tank is not an option right now as I have it on my desk, inside my room... and I don't have much space left to accommodate a larger tank.

I really don't know what to do, I hope someone can help me clarify my head on this.
Here's a video of my tank: https://photos.app.goo.gl/p2k6Maeta31jqtMO2

Thank you!
 
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Emanuel Alves

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Ps: Can someone change the gender on my profile? Accidentally set it as "female" when signing up! :facepalm:
 

aussieJJDude

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Have you looked into getting a mini canister? This would give you the best of both worlds without the worry of a hob or internal filter.

Some that come to mind are zoo med 501 canister, tom mini canister, finnex px-360....

As for gender change, a mod should be able to help...


Edit: i love my canisters and death do us apart. They cheap, efficient and reliable. Plus highly customisable. Biggest drawback is to clean it out, you practically have to take it apart.... which is a little frightening at first, but after a couple of goes - in most cases, its every couple of weeks... On one of my tanks, I do yearly - its a breeze to clean and put together!
 

Mike

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Emanuel Alves said:
Ps: Can someone change the gender on my profile? Accidentally set it as "female" when signing up! :facepalm:
Lol - just updated it for you.
 
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Emanuel Alves

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aussieJJDude said:
Have you looked into getting a mini canister? This would give you the best of both worlds without the worry of a hob or internal filter.

Some that come to mind are zoo med 501 canister, tom mini canister, finnex px-360....

As for gender change, a mod should be able to help...


Edit: i love my canisters and death do us apart. They cheap, efficient and reliable. Plus highly customisable. Biggest drawback is to clean it out, you practically have to take it apart.... which is a little frightening at first, but after a couple of goes - in most cases, its every couple of weeks... On one of my tanks, I do yearly - its a breeze to clean and put together!
Thank you! I searched the mini canisters you suggested and the Zoo Med 501 looked nice, however, I live in Portugal and we have very limited options for filter brands etc. I had found the Eheim AquaCompact 40, however the pump is internal and as such it defeats one of main "pros" of a canister filter (no bulky box on the tank).
IF I went ahead to get the Eheim Ecco Pro 130, do you think it'd be overkill and the HOB would be better or not? I'm really concerned about running into too much water flow inside the tank given its small size :/

Mike said:
Lol - just updated it for you.
Thank you!!!!
 
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