New filter Help

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by hollie1505, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. hollie1505

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    I have bought an 800GPH filter for my 85Gallon Goldie upgrade. I plan on transferring their current filter to their new tank long-term/permanently but, I have a few questions about the best way to work my filters.

    I know goldies have a huge bioload, this is why I bought a new filter with about 10x the volume of the tank. Will this be enough on it's own or will I need to run the 150GPH along side it permanently?

    If 800GPH will be enough capacity (it has a huge spray bar and a venturi tube for optimum aeration so I am confident it will provide enough surface agitation for gaseous exchange) could I move all the media from the 120 to the 800 and not use the 150 at all? (This would save me having to buy a new filter for the 40G, I have plenty of media to replace it and recycle, no plans as yet though for new fishies in there)

    I have bought some loose Activated Carbon and was wondering if there was a specific weight of carbon to use per gallon? Or some sort of measurement of 'enough' Carbon? Or if you simply 'put some in'?

    I have some polishing pads that I would like to put in the 800 (it is full of standard sponge media at the moment and I am trying to figure out the best way to have it running) does that close to the input or output (I am assuming output so the sponge can get the big bits rather than clogging up the polishing pad)?

    I also have (hoarder alert) ceramic rings, Carbon sponge, a variety of sponge media and floss. Is there a more effective way of using my filter? The media compartment is around 15" tall and has a 4" circumference so I have quite a bit of space to play with.

    Thank you for any advice.x
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  2. Dolfan

    DolfanFishlore VIPMember

    Grats on the new setup. I would suggest transferring all of the media from the old filter into the new filter. If you can get all of the old stuff into the new filter, than your cycle should be fine. You may consider using a bacteria booster like Tetra Safe Start or Seachem Stability just to be on the safe side and be sure the new filter builds up a good colony of bacteria. Monitor your parameters closely for the first few weeks and you should be fine.

    Then you can clean up the old filter and get it ready for a new tank. If you were planning on restocking the now empty tank sometime soon, here is what I would suggest. Do exactly as described above, but also fill up the old, now empty filter, with new media and then run it along side the new filter in your new tank. This way the new filter with old media will handle the bio-load of the tank, while the old filter with new media starts to recolonize with bacteria. After running both for a 2-3 weeks, then you could move the old filter back to original tank and it should be ready to go for fish.

    As for your media setup....Generally you want the water coming into the filter to first hit a coarse sponge or mesh to pick up large debris. Then some fine pads to get smaller debris, then bio-media like Seachem Matrix, ceramic rings, bio balls, etc. Then last would be chemical media like carbon or Seachem Purigen. For good measure if you have space, you may want to put one more fine pad last just to be sure no debris flows out and back into tank.

    As for carbon, I'm not sure of what amount you need per tank size. I personally don't use it, as I feel it's not needed and will need to be replaced every 2 weeks to get any benefit from it. It also sucks up stuff that would be fertilizers for my plants.

    Hope this helps.
  3. OP

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    Thanks for all the info! I think you've covered everything.

    I was going to do Tetra Safe Start anyway, as I like to be sure and I'll keep a close eye on the parameters.

    I hadn't thought of using the old filter alongside the new then removing it. Do I risk a mini cycle when I remove it? It's not a problem, I would just want to be aware.

    Thanks for telling me all about how to set up my filter. They are different in every tank so I wasn't sure on the 'correct' way to do it. Is there a bio-media that is best? I have ceramic rings and bio balls, is one better than the other? could I use both?

    coarse sponge
    medium sponge
    fine sponge
    polishing pads

    would that be okay?

    (I am only using Carbon as it's a new tank, to help with the cloudiness. I ordered 1kg forgetting how light it is, so I have plenty of the stuff! I generally only use it to get meds out of water and in new tanks).

    Thanks again for all your help! Really appreciate it!x

  4. Dolfan

    DolfanFishlore VIPMember

    Your stacking of the media looks good to me. I may add one extra polishing pad after the medium sponge and before the bio-media, just to be sure that nothing gets past it aside from water.

    As for a best bio-media....that is a debated topic, and I don't think anyone can "prove" that any particular bio-media is the best. I personally like Seachem Matrix. It is basically small rocks with millions of tiny pores that are perfect for bacteria to colonize. Seachem even claims that anaerobic bacteria can colonize the matrix rocks because of the pore size and structure. Anaerobic bacteria actually breaks down nitrate (final stage of nitrogen cycle) into nitrogen gas which is then off gassed into the atmosphere. I think that what Seachem claims is and can be true but I don't think it would be to the scale of removing all nitrate, maybe just minimizing it somewhat. Some people like the ceramic rings and bio-balls and I'm sure they work well, I guess it's probably more of a personal preference thing. One other think I like about Seachem Matrix is that it is cheap, seemingly cheaper then other options.

    For your situation I would use what you have, a combo of the 2 types that you have may work well. Be sure to put as much of the old media into the new filter as possible. If the old sponges and mesh doesn't fit just right, you can even cut it up into small chunks to mix into the bio-media. That is what I did in my SunSun HW-302 canister. I mixed cut up sponges and mesh from old filter into the Matrix. This seems to help the seeding process of the new bio-media and ensures good flow through the entire canister.

    As for possible mini cycle when you remove the other filter. It is possible, but I don't think it would be much, as most of the bacteria colony would be in the new filter with old media. The old filter with new media would just be starting to colonize with bacteria. If anything may just need an extra water change that week and keep an eye on parameters. Another reason I like plants, as they minimize all that sort of stuff, using ammonia and nitrite as fertilizer as well as nitrate of course. If you use the new filter with old media and the old filter with new media, you should have no problems with any mini-cycle at first. The only time you would have anything to worry about would be when you took the old filter with new media off and put back on other tank. At that point is why I would use the TSS or other bacteria booster (I personally like Seachem Stability).
  5. OP

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    Thanks. I think I have the stacking sorted in my head now :)

    The Seachem stuff sounds really good. A quick search on eBay brings up Seachem Matrix Carbon, is that the stuff? If not I may not be able to get it, although I will scour all the LFS's!

    I will try a combo of bio balls and rings and see how we do. My old filter has sponges and a very small bag of ceramic rings which, will easily fit into my new filter. Should I put the sponge with sponge or the bio media since I will be putting the old rings in there?

    I test my water two or three times a week anyway but I will keep a closer eye on it for the first couple of months and I guess a mini-cycle isn't too bad. I am planning on adding 2 Ranchus, would you do this during the possible mini cycle or wait until the new filter is properly established? I don't have them yet, they will be here in a month, then 6 weeks QT so I could just delay set-up if you would add them during the possible mini cycle (I only ask as they will probably cause a mini-cycle anyway and I would rather the oldie goldies go through one if possible and if I'm using TSS now it would be even less stressful on them).

    sorry for a further list of questions. I am wanting a rather smooth transition here as I am dealing with fungus in another tank!
    Thank you ever so much for all your advice, I am very grateful and the Goldies sure will be too :) x
  6. Dolfan

    DolfanFishlore VIPMember

    Add the ceramic rings and old sponge wherever you can in the new filter, after the coarse and medium sponge but before the final polishing pad. You may have to cut up the old sponge into small chunks to make it fit better. I would also open up the bag of ceramic rings and pour it into the new filter baskets.

    I wouldn't add any fish during the transition period. Wait until things get established for a few weeks. With TSS and using old filter media, I doubt you have any chance of cycle issues.

    As for Seachem Matrix, it is NOT the Matrix Carbon as that is just their version of carbon. I love all of Seachems products but they need to work on their names of products as they confuse most everyone at first. The same thing happens with their liquid fertilizers as it's called Seachem Flourish Comprehensive, Flourish Excel, Flourish Trace, etc. Just makes things confusing. What you want is small white rocks called just Matrix. Here is a link I found on UK Ebay for you....

    Although that seems expensive at almost $20 US dollars. Here in the US that 1 liter amount is around $9 US. So you may need to shop around a bit. Also here is a link to Seachem Matrix right from the Seachem website (which is very good website with info on all their products and a very helpful forum where company representatives will answer questions and provide info)....

  7. OP

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    It doesn't have baskets, it is full of sponge. I have bought some zip up bags, will these be okay?

    Thanks for your advice on the Ranchus, I will add them when the time is right.. They will have a 25 Gal QT which should be fine for a while as they are only juvies.

    I am in the UK and was only searching eBay UK, apologies. For this reason, there is $20 shipping to be added on. Is it worth that? I am tempted to try it out but at $40 dollars, it is a decision I will take care making! In your opinion, if it was you, would you pay $40 for the matrix or use ceramic rings/bio balls? Thank you for taking the time to get me those links. I did assume the carbon stuff was carbon but, being blonde it's always worth asking :)

    Again apologies for another list of questions! And thank you for all your help.x
  8. Dolfan

    DolfanFishlore VIPMember

    No problem about the questions that's what these forums are for.

    The zip up bags should be fine. Just try to place them where they get good flow through the bag.

    As for the Matrix, it is a great product and I love it, but I would not spend $40 on something I can get for around $15 including shipping. Look around on other sites or even local fish stores, you may be able to find it cheaper locally and not have to pay for shipping. What you have will work and do a good job. In the end, we are just providing surface area for bacteria to colonize on, so whatever does the trick will work. I have seen some people rave about how awesome plastic pot scrubbers from the dollar store work, so who really knows. I have never seen any scientific study with multiple different bio-media materials compared side by side with identical bio-loads and testing. So until then, we are all just going on personal experience and preference.
  9. OP

    hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    Brilliant. Thank you ever so much :)

    For now, I will not buy the matrix. If I see it reasonably priced I will be sure to pick some up. There looks to be a great aquatic store on the other end of town I plan on visiting this week... If I can get it locally, I get the feeling this will be the place!

    I have a snail tank running on dish scrubbers as the coarse media and sponge as the fine media and it is just as good as my tanks which have all sorts of fancy media in them!

    I think you may have answered all my questions... congratulations! haha!

    :) thanks a lot though, really appreciate it!x

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