55 Gallon Tank Switching filter to new style

mommameerkat

Member
Hey guys, I'm pretty new at this, I recently got a 55 gallon aquarium kit which came with a top fin power filter 60. I'm looking at switching to a canister filter that says it's good for 100-200 gallons, but don't want to lose all the healthy bacteria I built up. Since the types of media in each of the filters are different how can I safely switch to the new filter? Will it be okay to run both and have that much filtration? Is too much filtration a thing? Thanks in advance
 

AcornTheBetta

Member
mommameerkat said:
Hey guys, I'm pretty new at this, I recently got a 55 gallon aquarium kit which came with a top fin power filter 60. I'm looking at switching to a canister filter that says it's good for 100-200 gallons, but don't want to lose all the healthy bacteria I built up. Since the types of media in each of the filters are different how can I safely switch to the new filter? Will it be okay to run both and have that much filtration? Is too much filtration a thing? Thanks in advance
Welcome to Fishlore! To truly say if that filter is too much or too little we need to know the gallons per hour (gph) of the filter. To safely switch, it looks as though the HOB uses pads. I would take one out of the HOB and throw it in the canister compartment. Depending on the canister, this may not work (tho it will work with almost every canister I can think of). In case it doesn't you can put the canister media into the HOB and let that sit next to the pad to get BB. You could run both it really just depends on the gph, but I don't think too much is a thing unless you are running like a Fluval Fx6 on a 5g with a betta in it.
 

StarGirl

Member
Welcome to Fishlore!
Yes you can totally run both in a 55g. I would run both for a month and then put the media from the old one in the canister.

How recently did you get it? you may not have a whole lot built up yet. You may be cycling both filters at the same time.
 

Betta'sAnonymous

Member
Too much flow can exist, but no such thing as too much filtration if you ask me.
 
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mommameerkat

Member
The one I'm looking at says it's 525 gph. It's 12"x12" so I'm thinking the pad would most likely fit in there. The tank has been up and running for a little over a week now, we switched from a 10 gallon we had for over a year. I currently have the filter from the old tank in there as well, but it's pretty small so I'm not sure how much good it's doing. We put our old fish plus a few more in this tank a day or so after setting it up, but I've been checking ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates daily with a master test kit. Also adding prime to minimize risk to the fish. They all seem to be doing well. We have mollies, tetras, swordtails, 2 dwarf gouramis and a BN pleco. I haven't gotten the new filter yet because I want to wait until the tank is fully cycled before I even think about it so I don't stress the fish out too much.
 

Islandvic

Member
Is your Silentstream filter the model where the cartridges sit side-by-side?
 
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mommameerkat

Member
Islandvic said:
Is your Silentstream filter the model where the cartridges sit side-by-side?
Yes, I named the wrong filter in my previous reply lol
 

Islandvic

Member
I have one of those that came with the same 55g Top Fin kit.

It's used it in conjunction with a canister on our Aqueon 65g tank. It has been quiet and reliable for the past 18 months of running it.

Consider to keep on running your Silentstream filter.

In lieu of the cartridges I have inserted blocks of foam sponge cut to fit the left and right reservoirs. I removed the blue plastic bio-grids, or whatever they are called.

For the right side, I used a replacement foam block for an Aquaclear 110 that I cut down to fit.

For the left side, I used a piece of leftover 30ppi foam sheet from Amazon sold by "Aquaneat".

I mention all of this because you may want to consider placing it on the right of the tank, since the intake tube is on the right

Then place your canister's intake in the left corner.

This way, you will have intakes in both corners and won't have any fish waste building up in the corners.

I have found the Silentstream with this media arrangement traps an enormous amount of muck. Every time the foams are cleaned, I am amazed of all the muck that is released.
 
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mommameerkat

Member
Islandvic said:
I have one of those that came with the same 55g Top Fin kit.

It's used it in conjunction with a canister on our Aqueon 65g tank. It has been quiet and reliable for the past 18 months of running it.

Consider to keep on running your Silentstream filter.

In lieu of the cartridges I have inserted blocks of foam sponge cut to fit the left and right reservoirs. I removed the blue plastic bio-grids, or whatever they are called.

For the right side, I used a replacement foam block for an Aquaclear 110 that I cut down to fit.

For the left side, I used a piece of leftover 30ppi foam sheet from Amazon sold by "Aquaneat".

I mention all of this because you may want to consider placing it on the right of the tank, since the intake tube is on the right

Then place your canister's intake in the left corner.

This way, you will have intakes in both corners and won't have any fish waste building up in the corners.

I have found the Silentstream with this media arrangement traps an enormous amount of muck. Every time the foams are cleaned, I am amazed of all the muck that is released.
Which canister filter are you using? I've never used one before and I've been doing a lot of research trying to find a good one, but of course everyone has both good and bad things to say about every single one that I've found. The reason we want to get rid of the hob is for one, our cats LOVE to try and play in the water. Also we think it would just look cleaner if we get the canister style. We were looking at the fluval fx4, that way we know we would have plenty of filtration with one filter even if we add more fish down the road (which we are hoping to do), but even that one I've seen people say that it doesn't offer enough filtration.
 

Islandvic

Member
Don't get caught up in GPH ratings of filters. Most canisters only flow 40-60% of their rated GPH. Their advertised flow rate is at the pump, not through the entire system.

You asked about the filters I use....

I have a FX4 (plus a Aquaclear 70 & 110) on our overstocked 75g CA/SA cichlid tank. I have had zero problems with the FX4. I dont think it would be a good match for your 55g, unless it was overstock with a ton of Mbuna cichlids.

Our overstocked 55g African cichlid tank has a Marineland Magnaflow 360 canister, an Aquaclear 70 and a sponge filter. I bought the Marineland 360 mainly because I was able to buy it on clearance for $50. The are notorious for emitting microbubbles which I thought I had fixed with some mods I saw on Youtube. For almost a year it ran fine, but now on occasion it spits out microbubbles and I can hear it sucking in air and going though the system. I might do a warranty claim on it, or just put my old Hydor Professional 600 canister back on it. I would not recommend a Marineland Magnaflow canister for a first-time canister user.

I highly recommend Hydor canisters, especially the 600 model. They are built solid, does not feel cheap, and looks like a canister that Ikea or Volvo would design. Very modern looking. They can be pricey though, but I found mine on sale for 50% off when I bought mine.

Finally, our 65g community tank has a Fluval 307 canister, a Top Fin filter with the side-by-side reservoirs, and a sponge filter. I recently bought the 307 on Black Friday for $89. If your 55g is going to have just community fish, then a Fluval 307 would be perfect, especially if paired with a sponge filter.

The 307 does not flow as much water as the Marinland 360 or the Hydor 600, but it's in a smaller class of filters than those. So far, I really like the Fluval 307. It seems very well built and they have a very good warranty. Also, Fluval has spare parts readily available, such as orings, gaskets and impellers.

I don't even use the included "bio-max" or bags of charcoal that Fluval provides. In my opinion and experience, all but 1 or 2 versions of their Bio-Max is hard and non-porous.

In lieu of the bio-max and bags of carbon, I placed additional layers of foam sponge in the top and middle baskets. I find that foam sponge provides extra mechanical filtration and more than enough surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize on.

On a different subject, I am not sure how you are doing water changes, but I will tell you what I have found that works very well.

I use a Marineland MaxiJet 1200 powerhead (any cheap pump from Amazon with decent flow will work) that I connect to a 50ft run of 1/2" ID vinyl tubing to either pump out my tanks to our yard and plants, or to our bathtub during inclement weather. By using a pump, I can easily drain 50%-75% of the water.

When it's time to refill with water, I unscrew the aerator from my kitchen sink faucet and screw on a garden hose adapter. Then I can connect a drinking water safe garden hose. I use the Camco brand of RV drinking water garden hoses made for travel trailers and RV's. They can be ordered from Amazon and Walmart, among other places.

I have always like performing large water changes on my tanks. I've never had an issue doing this.
 
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mommameerkat

Member
Islandvic said:
Don't get caught up in GPH ratings of filters. Most canisters only flow 40-60% of their rated GPH. Their advertised flow rate is at the pump, not through the entire system.

You asked about the filters I use....

I have a FX4 (plus a Aquaclear 70 & 110) on our overstocked 75g CA/SA cichlid tank. I have had zero problems with the FX4. I dont think it would be a good match for your 55g, unless it was overstock with a ton of Mbuna cichlids.

Our overstocked 55g African cichlid tank has a Marineland Magnaflow 360 canister, an Aquaclear 70 and a sponge filter. I bought the Marineland 360 mainly because I was able to buy it on clearance for $50. The are notorious for emitting microbubbles which I thought I had fixed with some mods I saw on Youtube. For almost a year it ran fine, but now on occasion it spits out microbubbles and I can hear it sucking in air and going though the system. I might do a warranty claim on it, or just put my old Hydor Professional 600 canister back on it. I would not recommend a Marineland Magnaflow canister for a first-time canister user.

I highly recommend Hydor canisters, especially the 600 model. They are built solid, does not feel cheap, and looks like a canister that Ikea or Volvo would design. Very modern looking. They can be pricey though, but I found mine on sale for 50% off when I bought mine.

Finally, our 65g community tank has a Fluval 307 canister, a Top Fin filter with the side-by-side reservoirs, and a sponge filter. I recently bought the 307 on Black Friday for $89. If your 55g is going to have just community fish, then a Fluval 307 would be perfect, especially if paired with a sponge filter.

The 307 does not flow as much water as the Marinland 360 or the Hydor 600, but it's in a smaller class of filters than those. So far, I really like the Fluval 307. It seems very well built and they have a very good warranty. Also, Fluval has spare parts readily available, such as orings, gaskets and impellers.

I don't even use the included "bio-max" or bags of charcoal that Fluval provides. In my opinion and experience, all but 1 or 2 versions of their Bio-Max is hard and non-porous.

In lieu of the bio-max and bags of carbon, I placed additional layers of foam sponge in the top and middle baskets. I find that foam sponge provides extra mechanical filtration and more than enough surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize on.

On a different subject, I am not sure how you are doing water changes, but I will tell you what I have found that works very well.

I use a Marineland MaxiJet 1200 powerhead (any cheap pump from Amazon with decent flow will work) that I connect to a 50ft run of 1/2" ID vinyl tubing to either pump out my tanks to our yard and plants, or to our bathtub during inclement weather. By using a pump, I can easily drain 50%-75% of the water.

When it's time to refill with water, I unscrew the aerator from my kitchen sink faucet and screw on a garden hose adapter. Then I can connect a drinking water safe garden hose. I use the Camco brand of RV drinking water garden hoses made for travel trailers and RV's. They can be ordered from Amazon and Walmart, among other places.

I have always like performing large water changes on my tanks. I've never had an issue doing this.
Recently I've been looking at the Penn-Plax Cascade 1000 or 1200. We plan on overstocking, so once we're comfortable with our setup and confident in our abilities to maintain an overstocked tank we're going to, so I want a filter that can handle that. I figured one rated for 100 or 150 gallons would probably be sufficient. Our goal is to only have one filter and we'd prefer it to be a canister.

We bought a gravel vacuum, it's a Nicrew Power Vac plus Gravel Cleaner, so we've been using that to do water changes and it works pretty well. We set it up like the gravel cleaner so we can vacuum the gravel and do the water change at the same time. We've been doing about 20 gallon water changes. We tried connecting a hose to our faucet but it didn't thread on, so we just use 5 gallon buckets. Which is fine except the vac fills the tank faster than we can fill the next bucket lol.

On another note, I was reading your thread about DIY filter media for HOB, and I would like to start using that. My question is if I switch to ceramic rings for the biological filter media, will I be starting the cycle over? Or can I try to put the rings in while my current biological filter is in? I also thought about using my smaller filter in the tank with the Silenstream 75 and putting the ceramic rings in the small one to cycle them before I put them in the Silenstream. Plus I figured if I switch to that type of biological filter media, when I get the canister I can just put that media in there so I don't have to start the cycle over.
 

Islandvic

Member
I don't have personal experience with the Penn Plax filters, but I would not hesitate to try one myself. A lot of their parts are similar or identical to the Hydor that I have. The valves, hoses, intake/discharge pipes, spray bars are all identical. I think they either use the same supplier for the parts, or one buys some of the parts from the other. I would suggest to get the largest one you can afford.

One tip regarding canisters, consider using a food grade silicone lube on the orings and gaskets of the canister. I use a small tube of Danco Weatherproof Grease that is made for water faucets. It's NSA food grade safe and found online, hardware stores and the plumbing aisle of big box home improvement stores. Using a silicone lube on the orings and gaskets isn't 100% necessary, but its cheap insurance to the the rubber in good shape. Also, I use stainless hose clamps that tighten down with a screwdriver to secure the hoses to the intake/discharge tubes and at the canister's valves. Most canisters use some type of locking collar that clamps down on the hose, but I like having the additional stainless hose clamp to clamp down the hose onto the fitting's barb. They are cheap and usually a dollar or less for each one. Again, not 100% necessary but cheap insurance in my opinion.

Regarding the filter media, you have a lot of options. Your idea will work fine putting in media to the current filters and then placing it into the canister once you set it up.

Also, if you're using cartridges now in the HOB's, you can also cut off the felt material around the plastic frames and place them in the media basket of the canister as well.

Placing current and/or added media from the HOB's directly into a basket in the canister will be the best way in my opinion to not interrupt the cycle.

When you mentioned my DIY filter media thread, you reminded me that I need to spend some time updating it with some pics and examples of what I am currently using.

Nothing is wrong using traditional bio-media, but some are better than others. Eheim Substrat Pro and Hydor's bio-media uses a very porous sintered glass style of media.

Seachem's Matrix and Pond Matrix is white pumice stones. If you can find hydroponic pumice stones at your local nursery, big box garden center or online, they can be a cheaper and just as effective alternative to Seachem Matrix.

I have found that Fluval probably makes 4-5 different versions of their Bio-Max, ranging from pellet looking media to larger rings with large inner diameter hole in the center. I dont like the latter with the large void space in the middle, it's a waste of space and the material has a hard surface those doesn't appear porous at all.

The only Fluval Bio-Max that I would consider using is the one sold in their 500 gram bulk box. It has a completely different shape and construction compared to the others, having a surfacce that actually feels and looks porous and there is a very small void space in the center. I believe there are pics in my DIY Filter Media thread of it.

There are many many brands and versions of traditional bio-media, some are better than others.

Currently, I have removed half or more of the Seachem Pond Matrix from all the filters and replaced it with more layers of 20ppi and 30ppi foams.

Here is a link to inexpensive and very effective 2" thick sheets of foam sponge media that I bought off Amazon,

Amazon.com

For about the same price of buying a traditional bio-media like Seachem Matrix, consider buying a sheet of 20ppi foam to insert into the canister baskets. With a decent pair of scissors, a cut-out that matches the shape of the media basket can be made from the foam sheet.

I mention this because most fish breeders and fishkeeper's with multiple tanks run primarily sponge filters driven off central air lines, with HOB's usually used to supplement the sponge filters if they want additional flow in the tank.

A fish breeding guru here on the forum named Coral Bandit runs sponge filters + small Aquaclears HOB's using only double stacked foam blocks in their reservoirs. Another example, one of my favorite fish hobby YouTube channels is "Prime Time Aquatics". The host Jason and his wife have multiple tanks running from 10g to 150g, and they all primarily run sponge filters with the occasional HOB (they use Marineland and Tidal HOB's) to supplement when they want more flow and/or the tank's stocking is larger with a lot of cichlids. Another one of my subscribed fish hobby channels (I dont have very many) is "Andy Woods Cichlids" from the UK. Mr. Woods runs a dozen or more large tanks all stocked with very large Central/South American cichlids (many ranging 10"-14") and he uses large sponge filters with only a few tanks running a powerhead or HOB for more flow.

I gave those examples because I switched from being a heavy user of traditional bio-media (Seachem's Pond Matrix) to now mainly using layers of foams in my filters, and those fishkeepers and others were the main reasons why.

From my experience, sponge filters driven by air stones provide ample biological filtration. Brand like ATI and Aquarium Co-Op have options for sponge filters using a course foam allowing for more flow through the filter versus the more common fine foam sponge filters. Those two brands can be stacked as well. For example, I have a double stacked sponge filter where a coarse foam sponge is on the bottom and a fine foam sponge is stacked on top.

Many times, sponge filters are not good options for the tank and only a canister will be used like in your setup.

This is perfectly fine. Most times, anything you put in the baskets will work. As long as you have water flowing over/through any media will provide the tank with adequate biological filtration.

Adding a couple of layers of foam in a filter gives you the added benefit of extra mechanical filtration, while providing a ton of inner surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize on. I am always amazed by how much muck is released from my foam sponge media when I rinse them out.

Basically, what I am trying to say is don't underestimate the ability for foam/sponge media to colonize tons of beneficial bacteria!
 

Charlie’s Dad

Member
Filtration is the name of this game. Your fish will thank you!!!

Welcome to the forum. Your in great company!!!!
 
  • Thread Starter

mommameerkat

Member
Thank you for taking the time to explain all of that, it was very helpful! I'm trying to learn as much as I can about the changes I want to make before I take any steps towards actually doing any of it, and you've been very helpful! I will look into the sponges for sure, everything I was looking at talks about the traditional bio filter media so I didn't even know there was another option. I think we finally have cycled out filter, which is surprising to me because I only been two weeks, but our pH is 7.6, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and Nitrate about 20. So I'd like to help kick start cycling a new filter as much as I can when the time comes. I will definitely be doing a lot more digging around the forum before I make any decisions as far as filter media for sure. Thanks again
 

Islandvic

Member
Please ask as many questions as you need to here on the forum. There are a ton of helpful people here with a wide variety of experiences and knowledge. Your tank will thank you for joining the forum!
 

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