Unique questions

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Snowdonj92, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. Snowdonj92

    Snowdonj92New MemberMember

    Hello everybody, I'm a new fish keeper with a big problem. Okay so first, I have a 2x1x1 tank which holds 15 gallons, I have all the equipment necessary for keeping fish however I can't seem to get started.
    My filter is a Hagen marina i110 filter suitable for 100l, on the website it says it has 3 stage filtration, and a "bio screen" which allows bacteria to build up.
    So here is the tricky bit. The media in the filter apparently eliminates the ammonia.... So here is my question.... How do I cycle my tank!? Is my filter useless?? PS. Its a cartige filter and I have 6 of them, I read I should use the cartridge until it falls to pieces, and to prince it in water change water.... Please help I'm becoming increasingly frustrated and am seriously considering packing it all in :(
  2. LiterallyHydro

    LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

  3. alink

    alinkWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to FishLore!

    Your filter is a Hang-on-back (HOB) type. They all have 3 stages of filtration, mechanical, biological, and chemical.

    Mechanical filtration is the process of removing floating particles from the water (food, poops, plant matter, etc). This is done with a sponge that will catch these particles and not let them pass through.

    Chemical filtration is the process of removing contaminates and odors from the water. This is done with charcoal (carbon) in the filter cartridges or in a carbon pouch.

    Biological filtration is the process of changing toxic ammonia into toxic nitrite and then into far less toxic nitrate, which will be eaten by live plants and removed with your regular water changes. This is done with bacteria that grow within your filter and eat these ammonia and nitrite particles. The by product of converting them is the nitrate.

    Sounds like you are just setting this up and are ready to cycle the tank. Do you have fish in the tank already? I am going to assume you dont, which is good. In order for your filter to accomplish the biological part, you need to do whats called cycling the filter. First, there has to be an ammonia source. When your tank is up and running you will have fish that are pooping which will provide the ammonia, along with decaying food and plant matter. When you are cycling, you need to replicate that by adding ammonia to the tank. The bacteria needed to convert the ammonia to nitrite will form with enough time. When it does, it will be able to convert the ammonia to nitrite, almost instantly. Then there is another type of bacteria that will form to process the nitrite into nitrate. This again will take some time to form, but when it does, it will convert the nitrite into nitrate almost instantly.

    Regarding your cartridge... You can use the same cartridge until it starts falling apart. When you do your weekly water changes, rinse it out in the old tank water to remove anything that may be stuck to (or in) it. Then replace the cartridge. It is important that you use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramines, along with heavy metals that could be toxic to the fish. A product that I would recommend for this is Seachem Prime. This product will also lock up ammonia and nitrite for 24-48 hours after use, making the water safe for the fish. This is good because when you clean your filter cartridge, you will lose a little bit of your bacteria colony. Using this product will allow the colony to catch up and process the bioload before it becomes toxic to your fish.

    I think I covered the questions you asked, if you have any more, go ahead and ask a way! I know thats a lot of information so if you need clarification on anything just let me know!
  4. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, welcome to fishlore :;hi2

    Don't give up yet. First of all, are you cycling with fish or without fish?
    Using a bacterial additive? (live bacteria in a bottle)

    A lot of filters come setup this way to get you to buy more of their product ;)
    It won't stop you from cycling. You can use the filters since you bought them. What you will need to do though is when you've decided your filter can't be rinses anymore (in tank water) and is falling apart, you will need to cut the floss off it, dispose of any frame, carbon, zeolite etc. Put the floss in with the brand new filter pad and a couple weeks later, remove the old padding. This will continue your cycle from pad to pad. After that, you can always switch to foam and that will last a year or more with normal rinsing.
  5. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Dont know about you, but I cant readily get the Dr Tim's stuff in local stores... thats why I prefer Seachem Stability or TSS, its more accessible.
  6. Et tu

    Et tuValued MemberMember

    Those filter cartridge's contain carbon ( black pieces ) and zeolite ( white ) pieces, the zeolite will adsorb some ammonia at first when fresh. You'll still be able to fishless cycle. Your filter also has some room for additional bio media, google or youtube has some vids. of where to stuff the bio media.
  7. alink

    alinkWell Known MemberMember

    TSS+ is the common product as TSS is rarely stocked by fish stores anymore, at least that I have seen. Just saying TSS is misleading and could be confusing for the person going to the store looking for Tetra Safe Start and only finding Safe Start Plus, they might not know thats actually what they want. :)
  8. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Yea, my bad, TSS+ but I'm saying its still more accessible than the Dr Tim's. Although I prefer Stability anyway, I'm a Seachem fan for life! lol
  9. alink

    alinkWell Known MemberMember

    I will use TSS+ to cycle the tank, but Stability for bumps and bruises along the way, or if I change filters or something like that. If I were to do fishless cycle, I would use TSS+ and 100% pure ammonia from a hardware or grocery store. The fish food and raw shrimp techniques are antiquated and have proven to be far less effective.
  10. OP

    Snowdonj92New MemberMember

    Wow. I've posted the same question (pretty much) in a few other forums and can I just say thank to everyone who has replied, it is so disheartening when you feel like you are getting nowhere, I've been told to get rid of this filter by some other people so its good to know I can cycle. To answer some of the questions I've been asked, I know how to cycle and stuff I did a lot of research prior to getting the tank, I was just unsure about using this filter. I have no fish at the moment, but I do have two Malaysian trumpet snails :) I was hoping to keep danios and some guppies and hopefully some shrimp too eventually, would it be possible with my set up?
    I've been using fish food for now as a ammonia source but I have ordered liquid ammonia also.
    The bacteria I'm using is called "water life bacterlife"
    Thanks again for all the replies you have no idea how much you guys have cheered me up :)
  11. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    What are the dimensions of your 15 gallon? I would not do danios in anything less than a 20 gallon, they are really active and need the swimming space. I would be careful of the trumpet snails, they breed like rabbits, or worse.
  12. OP

    Snowdonj92New MemberMember

    Also as the filter uses cartridges, when it does eventually fall to bits and I have to replace it, won't that get rid of all the hard work I put into getting the bacteria?
  13. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Yea thats why you shouldnt ever replace all your cartridges at once, unless its falling apart beyond repair, which should be 5 years or more...
  14. OP

    Snowdonj92New MemberMember

    2 foot long and 1 foot the rest, I can only ever see one snail.. Think the small one may have died or something... Is there a limit to how many plants I can have? I have a fake one and a Java fern on a coconut that I got from [email protected] at the moment but I'd like a few more...
  15. alink

    alinkWell Known MemberMember

    I think that answers your question? :)

    As for stocking, a 15 gallon really limits what you can stock. It doesnt provide much horizontal swimming space. Anders247 can give you some advice on what would work best in there.
  16. OP

    Snowdonj92New MemberMember

    5 years!? I bought 6 spare! So I have 30 years worth of filter cartridges now! Ha! I thought the bio screen thing would keep it so I could just slot a new one in? Or could I drop a new one into the tank for a week to "prep it" (suggested by somebody else)
  17. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Well for stocking... for cleanup crew, you're gonna want to stick with those snails. Maybe a school of ember tetras. basically stick with the stocking of a 10 gallon and add a bit more :D
  18. Anders247

    Anders247Fishlore LegendMember

    The footprint of your 15 is the same of a 20 high, so zebra danios should be fine, imo. A 2 foot long tank is min for them.
  19. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    What filter are you running? You're probably gonna want to return those spares, you wont need them for a long long time lol.

    Ok so... a school of zebra danios, and maybe a honey gourami? And school of colder temp cories like panda or peppered.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
  20. alink

    alinkWell Known MemberMember

    So this 15 gallon appears to be the dimensions of a 20 Tall, just not as tall. So then you could do Platies and Guppies (be careful of their sex because they will reproduce super fast if you get females). Small tetras like ember, cardinal, neons would be okay. I also think Harlequin Rasboras would work too.

    I think this would work.
    3-5 Red Cherry Shrimp
    8 small Tetra or Rasbora
    1-2 Platy (all males) (there are lots of colors to choose from with these!)
    and a couple snails