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Shopping For A New Filter


Carole

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I am shopping for a new filter for my 20 gal (with two smallish fantails). My current filter is a Topfin20 HOB which filters less than 200gph. Right now it gets gunked up so fast that only a few days after cleaning it essentially stops working (little to no water comes out of the outtake). It is a combination of slime buildup on the intake tube and gunk and algae buildup on the media.

Is it usual for the gunk to build up that fast? My idea is to buy a filter that has at least 200 gph filtration and possibly a different geometry. What type of filter will not get so clogged so easily?

Also, I change my water and vacuum my gravel once every two weeks. Would a different cleaning schedule reduce the amount of buildup in the filter? Would removing some of the gravel make my tank cleaner?

My tank is cycled, has been running for 1.5 years, and has live plants.

Thanks,

Carole

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Hi Carole!

I would recommend kicking up the water changes and gravel vacs to at least once a week, twice if you can. 20-30% each time. This will definitely help with the bio load. Barebottoms are by far easier to keep clean. A lot of people have gone that route. I use to have a barebottom but I like the look of gravel so I went back. In one though, its semi barebottom, with just large river stones scattered around. I think it looks great and keeps gunk from being lodged in the substrate. If you do decide to go barebottom, don't take out all the gravel at once. This will disrupt your cycle. Instead opt for 1/4 at a time. Slowly removing the gravel won't have much impact on your cycle. :)

As far as filters go, I use almost all Aquaclear models. I love them. You can stuff a lot of media in the baskets and they are easy to maintain. They are also very quiet and dependable. I know a lot of people use them, but of course everyone has an opinion.

Hope this helped somewhat! :D

Edited by glitterfish
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Thanks for the reply. I think I will remove some of the gravel. How much gravel do you have to have for plants? I don't want to give mine up.

I think I like the idea of getting a filter with a biowheel. That way I don't have to worry so much about my bacteria when I clean the filter. Does Aquaclear make a biowheel filter?

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No but with Aquaclears, all you need to do is rinse the media in old tank water and it's good to go - this doesn't disturb the good bacteria at all :D

What I really like about the aquaclears is you can remove the carbon and fill it with more sponge plus the biomedia as Erin mentioned and it doesn't clog up fast at all. If you want to go all out, try the AquaClear 30 which does 300gph - I use this on my 20 and it takes weeks to fill up although I admit, i rinse the media weekly in old tank water :D

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So I cleaned my filter yesterday and scrubbed the gunk off the media and It worked like new, but now not 24hours later it is clogged again and not filtering well. I started the process of removing some gravel to try and keep the tank cleaner. I hope that works. I think I will buy an aquaclear after having heard all of the good comments about them.

Thanks

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I'd also go with aqua clear. I have both aqua clear & bio wheels and I find aqua clears are A LOT more quiet then the Bio Wheels.

As far as where to have the intake valves I'm no expert so somone please correct me if I'm wrong, I'd say close to the bottom where all the muck lurks. I have my intake tubes at 3 different levels though.

Edited by Katalyst
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I would get the biggest filter you can afford! It saves upgrading down the line! On my big tank I have to AQ110's AND a canister filter!

I have a AQ110 on my 30 too! (Well, I am planning to get a bigger tank in the near future so it'll work perfectly there......needless to say THAT tank's clear!!) :blink:

I have THREE smaller filters up under my cabinet right now that I have "upgraded" right past!! :unsure: So save money by spending a little more right at the start!!

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Are there different kinds of AquaClear? Like different levels within the brand?

I'm checking some out online (I might be upgrading to a 29 gallon) and the "Hagen Aquaclear 30" only filters 150 gph. You have to go up to AquaClear 70 to get 300 gallons per hour. Does the "hagen" in the title make a difference?

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Carole - Something's wrong here. Two small fantails can't be producing enough waste to clog a good filter in 24 hours. If that is happening, I don't think that removing some of the grevel is going to make much of a difference. It almost sounds like you have algae or something growing in your filter. The other possibility (sounds like you have a lot of plants) is that plant debris is getting sucked into your filter. I had a huge plant crop over the last summer and most of the stuff in my filters was plant debris. The third possibility is that the filter's design is poor and it gets plugged up to easily.

Does your filter have replaceable cartridges? If so, try replacing them.

Do you know your nitrate level? Are you getting excessive algae growths in your tank?

I love buying new filters and would do that in a New York minute, but I'm having trouble figuring out what the real culprit is here.

Dennis

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You may be overfeeding your fish. I would only feed them everyother day. In the wild, they don't get to eat daily, so I try to make it as lifelike as possible. Also, if I racall correctly, you have a 20 gallon tank. I do to. I use a Whisper 60 on that tank. Yours pumps 105 gph and mine pumps 330 gph. I think this will keep your tank cleaner and with 2 cartridges, you can change them alternately and you have more area for debris to catch onto it, so you won't have to clean it as often. I used to have the same problem, but with upgrading the filter and feeding less often, I have fixed it. I only clean my tank about every 2-4 weeks because my filter has kept my water parameters in check. It may seem a little large, but it gets the job done and my water stays crystal clear.

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