How much flitration do plants actually do? and should I add another filter. Question

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by sambofish, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. sambofishValued MemberMember

    I have a marineland 56 gallon column tank  .
    It is a dirt planted tank with 13 plants of varying lengths (will be adding more soon), for filtration I have a Fluval 406, I do a 40% wc every week. In my tank I have 4 angels, 3 Gourami's, 6 Black Neon Tetra's, 3 dwarf pleco's (I forgot the actually name) and a dwarf upside down catfish.

    I know you can't have too much filtration unless it creates to much water turbulence.
    However, I've been thinking about adding a sponge filter or another filter that's not (HOB, wife hates the noise of them)

    My question are:
    How much filtration do plants actually do? I know some people have a tank so planted that filtration is not needed.
    Is adding a extra filter a luxury or a necessity? If its a necessity and you didn't use a HOB what would you use?

    Thanks is advance.
  2. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    I can't be much help as to how much removal of waste the plants can accomplish, I think that would be a hard figure to nail down. I think its the Walstad Method you're referring to.

    However, I think a great addition tot he tank would be a sponge filter, it'll add extra filtration plus you'll always have a cycled filter you can just throw into a qt or hospital tank. Of course, if you're injecting c02 it is my understanding the bubbles will work against elevated c02 levels, driving them down to normal levels.

  3. sambofishValued MemberMember


    Right now I am not injecting co2, that is further down the list after I get a new light and sponge filter (since it serves more than one purpose ie just extra filtration). Question what would be a good size sponge filter, I'm thinking I may have to get a tall one since I have a column tank.

    Thank you for the feed back

  4. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    No problem. :) I have one rated for 25g in my 55g along with a canister. I didn't want to get too huge of a sponge filter because I use it in a 10g qt. Also, concealment was a goal of mine so I got one that is triangular to fit into the corner behind decor. I like this line of filters, I have a couple of the #5:  

  5. ColoradoValued MemberMember

    I have the same tank. I use an Eheim 2217 and a medium-sized sponge filter. I added the sponge for a little more filtration and as a quasi-back up if something went wrong with the Eheim--at least I'd have something running. It also gives me an option for a QT if needed.

    Oh, and I have a fair number of plants and just see their filtration as a bonus. I don't count it in my overall plans.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2012
  6. AmazonPassionModeratorModerator Member

    1. I can't really answer your question on how much filtration plants offer, but the theory behind having plants act as the biological filter without using canisters, hobs, etc... One has to have a dirted heavily planted tank (75-80 percent of the tank has to be covered in plants to be considered a heavily planted tank) and low stocking for it be a success.

    2. In your case, the 406 is fine for a 56g tank. Adding an extra filter is an option not a necessity. Personally I would add a sponge filter. It has a dual purpose, serves as an extra filter and an emergency seeded filter if you need to start another tank.
  7. sambofishValued MemberMember

    So what size sponge should I get? For example should I get a sponge for a 55 gallon tank or can I go smaller? I hear people DIY it where do they get the material for it? I see that some use air pumps and other power filters what are the pro's and con's?

    Thank you for answering all my questions?
  8. Orion5Well Known MemberMember

    You can definitely have a planted tank that requires no mechanical filtration, however the number of fish you can then stock in the tank is greatly reduced. Then there is a hybrid idea (not the same as the Walstad Method, which I don't think you are wanting to do if I understand correctly...) of having a smaller filter with a large number of plants. Depending on your experience, I wouldn't try a natural planted tank unless you have at least a few years experience with plants in aquariums. Just my opinion... :)

    Your filter is perfect for the tank that you have (I think someone else may have already mentioned that.)

    Good luck!! Hope this helps
  9. ColoradoValued MemberMember

    I bought the #8 Azoo sponge


    Theoretically good for up to 65 gallons--does anyone actually use these alone without a canister or HOB?

    Anyway, it was cheap, came with a spare sponge, and makes me feel like a good over-filtering aquarist.
  10. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    I feel similar, its nice to have a backup.

    I wouldn't use a sponge by itself on a larger display, they are not very efficient mechanical filters. For a shrimp or betta display they could work by themselves imo. Another application is in bare bottom breeding and growout tanks. I've often seen them used in these situations probably because they're cheap to buy and run.
  11. cichlidmacWell Known MemberMember

    Also, you can use a small power head on the sponge filter with a air intake and when u get co2 you can connect the line to it and you'll have a filter and a co2 diffuser in one.
  12. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

  13. sambofishValued MemberMember

    Ken- Thank you for the links

    I am definitely going to get a sponge for all the above reasons. I just now have to look into getting a power head and how to install it. HAHA it never ends who know becoming an Aquarist could be so addictive.

    Question I have angelfish wouldn't the extra current created by the power head affect it?
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  14. Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    Angels do prefer calmer waters but I'd imagine you can direct the flow of the powerhead to allow for this.
    My angels stay on the calm 2/3rds of the tank 90% of the time but they do occasionally go to the filter outlet and swim in the current.
  15. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    I see that ken posted the link, but I was going to say - plants consume nitrate as a last resort. They are far better at consuming ammonia and nitrite than they are at nitrate, so yes, you CAN have too much filtration if you have a planted tank. Plants are part of the filtration system and should not be overlooked as such. You want the bacteria to compete with the plants for food. If the filters are too much they will overwhelm the plants, leaving them the nitrates, which won't get you as much growth. Hopefully someone will correct me if I am mistaken, as I am FAR from a plant guru.

    There is a limit to how much the plants can do, so the stock of the tank will determine how much filtration is needed to make up the difference. You can use the walstad method as a baseline. Minimal stock + lots of plants = no filter Marginal stock + lots of plants = small filter Heavy stock + lots of plants = decent filter whereas heavy stock + no plants = Huge filtration
  16. LifeSAbeachWell Known MemberMember


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