GTA Aquarium Forums banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's a 5.5 G Fluval Spec with the stocking filter. And it's been running for a little more than 3 weeks now. The water is still very clear now.

Also, the manual says I should change the carbon every week. Do I really need to change it that often? Actually, do I really need it? I mean, a sponge filter doesn't even have a carbon media.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,457 Posts
carbon should last about 30 days, but not needed. Very few of us use carbon but I believe most have it on hand in case we need it.

Yup, just squeeze out the sponge a bit in used water when you do a water change
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
As stated above use water from the tank only to squeeze out your filter media. Tap water will kill the beneficial bacteria we strive to have in our media.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
Keep the biomax, rinse it every couple of months in used tank water if it gets gunky otherwise leave it alone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,457 Posts
the stones media can last years, they just want you to waste money replacing it all the time so they make more money. You can use media for aquaclear to, any bio media works. You can even just use dollar store pot scrubbers if you wanted. Anything that gives a large surface area.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
714 Posts
the stones media can last years, they just want you to waste money replacing it all the time so they make more money. You can use media for aquaclear to, any bio media works. You can even just use dollar store pot scrubbers if you wanted. Anything that gives a large surface area.
I would just get more biomedia, and fill the second space with biomedia as well. You can put it in cheesecloth if you don't have another media bag. It should only cost $2 or so to get enough media to fill that little space.

Never replace any of these media unless they fall apart. The sponge in the fluval spec is not as robust as aquaclear sponge so it should start to fall apart after a couple of years. Once it comes apart just replace it. Might not be a bad idea to pick a replacement up now, just incase they stop manufacturing fluval spec. It could happen.

I've got the 2.6 gallon and I'm going to try to track down a replacement foam just incase.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,457 Posts
You can always buy foam for an aquaclear and cut it to size
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
714 Posts
You can always buy foam for an aquaclear and cut it to size
The foam for the aquaclear is maybe 2-3X the pore size of the foam for the spec. The Spec foam would be much better at mechanical filtration than the Aquaclear foam. Going to AC foam from Spec foam would be a mechanical filtration downgrade.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
I stopped buying the pre-packaged biomedia/carbon/ammonia remover for my Aquaclears and instead buy them in bulk along with some pantyhose material. When I need to change the media, I just put some in a pantyhose, slip knot both ends and stuff them into the filter. A lot cheaper than buying the ones for the filter. Also, I buy a big bag of filter floss and use that to replace the sponge filter which will catch and filter a lot better than the sponge. I do find that it will restrict water flow on some filters but with both of my HOB Aquaclear filters, it doesn't make much of a difference. Really polishes and cleans the water better and is quite cheap for a large bag.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,457 Posts
you can buy reusable media bags cheap just so you know.

I personally like to keep the aquaclear sponges in but because I don't use carbon, I have space to add floss along with sponge and bio media if needed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,976 Posts
The difference in sponge porosity can't be argued, but the sad fact is, the finer the pores are, the faster they clog up with gunk. I have some fine pore sponge prefilters that may clog badly in days, where a coarser one will take far longer to clog, and the super coarse pond type I use now rarely, if ever, clog.

I don't think using a coarser sponge necessarily means you get a downgrade in filtration, since I think of sponge primarily as bio media for growing BB, rather than mechanical filtration, though sponges certainly do absorb plenty of dirt.. I prefer floss for mechanical filtering.

And I agree, those refills for filters, made by the filter manufacturers, are a cash grab for them. Many have carbon in them, which you might or might not be aware of, but none of them needs to be replaced the way instructions tell you to.. in fact, doing it the way they advise means you toss away vast amounts of the precious BB you rely on to convert ammonia every time you make the change.

And carbon has a big disadvantage I think too many are not aware of as well. If you leave activated charcoal, which is what we refer to as carbon, in a filter for too long, it will simply discharge all the organics it has adsorbed back into the water.

So it is far better not to have it, than to have it and not change it often enough. And how often it needs changing can be difficult to judge, as it depends how great the load of organics the carbon has to adsorb. Light load, it will last longer, heavy load, might need replacing weekly.

Carbon is best reserved to use when you must remove medication, foul odours or perhaps unwanted colour from the tank water. Wood often turns water yellow or brown, carbon would help reduce that, for example.

I keep thinking I should try to organize a group buy on filter floss. I can get an entire bolt of the stuff at Fabric Land for 40% off the going price per metre any time I want, I have asked them about it.

All I have to do is compare what that price would be, to the price of the largest roll Big Al's sells, whether it's per sq. ft or sq.m, to find out if it is worth trying to do it. I believe the bolt material is a bit thicker, but again, I'd have to do a close comparison to know for sure.

But it's for sure the cheapest and best water polisher for the money, and it can grow quite useful bacterial colonies too. It doesn't have to be tossed every filter cleaning, it can last a surprisingly length of time.

If I did buy a bolt of floss, I'd need a ton of folks to share it, cause the bolt is nearly three feet in diameter and 60 inches wide, I think they are 25 or 30 metres long. I have no place to keep something so large.. just getting one into the back of the van would be a feat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,457 Posts
I picked up a good size bag at walmart for about $4.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
you can buy reusable media bags cheap just so you know.

I personally like to keep the aquaclear sponges in but because I don't use carbon, I have space to add floss along with sponge and bio media if needed
Thanks for the tip as I didn't know they sold resuable media bags - which should of came to thought to me but didn't bother looking for it since I remember as a kid my father used pantyhose for his aquarium and just bought a box of it for cheap. Works the same way I guess and read it shouldn't affect the aquarium in a negative way.

The difference in sponge porosity can't be argued, but the sad fact is, the finer the pores are, the faster they clog up with gunk. I have some fine pore sponge prefilters that may clog badly in days, where a coarser one will take far longer to clog, and the super coarse pond type I use now rarely, if ever, clog.

I don't think using a coarser sponge necessarily means you get a downgrade in filtration, since I think of sponge primarily as bio media for growing BB, rather than mechanical filtration, though sponges certainly do absorb plenty of dirt.. I prefer floss for mechanical filtering.

And I agree, those refills for filters, made by the filter manufacturers, are a cash grab for them. Many have carbon in them, which you might or might not be aware of, but none of them needs to be replaced the way instructions tell you to.. in fact, doing it the way they advise means you toss away vast amounts of the precious BB you rely on to convert ammonia every time you make the change.

And carbon has a big disadvantage I think too many are not aware of as well. If you leave activated charcoal, which is what we refer to as carbon, in a filter for too long, it will simply discharge all the organics it has adsorbed back into the water.

So it is far better not to have it, than to have it and not change it often enough. And how often it needs changing can be difficult to judge, as it depends how great the load of organics the carbon has to adsorb. Light load, it will last longer, heavy load, might need replacing weekly.

Carbon is best reserved to use when you must remove medication, foul odours or perhaps unwanted colour from the tank water. Wood often turns water yellow or brown, carbon would help reduce that, for example.

I keep thinking I should try to organize a group buy on filter floss. I can get an entire bolt of the stuff at Fabric Land for 40% off the going price per metre any time I want, I have asked them about it.

All I have to do is compare what that price would be, to the price of the largest roll Big Al's sells, whether it's per sq. ft or sq.m, to find out if it is worth trying to do it. I believe the bolt material is a bit thicker, but again, I'd have to do a close comparison to know for sure.

But it's for sure the cheapest and best water polisher for the money, and it can grow quite useful bacterial colonies too. It doesn't have to be tossed every filter cleaning, it can last a surprisingly length of time.

If I did buy a bolt of floss, I'd need a ton of folks to share it, cause the bolt is nearly three feet in diameter and 60 inches wide, I think they are 25 or 30 metres long. I have no place to keep something so large.. just getting one into the back of the van would be a feat.
That is a lot of filter floss... if you do get a group buy succesfully going, I wouldn't mind joining. Big Al's sells the big roll for $15 which will last me for at least 2 years since I only have a few filters running that needs a small strip. But like I said and agree with you, filter floss was one of the best things I've used to in my filter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,976 Posts
Is that Walmart stuff the loose tufts or a roll ? I find I like the rolled stuff better, because they lightly fuse the upper and lower surfaces with heat, which makes the roll manageable. It's sold primarily to use a quilt batting or insulation for coats, so it needs to be manageable.

Big Als rolls are darn near identical to the stuff at Fabric land, and I have seen the gigantic bolts of it they buy themselves. I don't know if they repack it under their own name or buy it packed under their own name, but the stuff used in the fish room comes in a truly enormous bolt, I think it's five or six feet in diameter. All of it has the heat treatment on the surfaces, which makes it easier to handle or cut into pieces. Can also be torn by hand, of course.

edit: pantyhose, mainly made of nylon or polyester, won't harm anything in a tank. The main disadvantage to them is that they are such a fine mesh, they tend to become clogged with fine particles of crud. The mesh bags sold for the purpose are not so very fine, thus allowing them to last much longer before they get clogged up with crud.

That mesh in the purpose made bags is reasonably similar to the stuff used to make some lingerie wash bags. Meant to hold socks and undies in the wash, they come either in a loose mesh that looks like the mesh on athletic shirts, or a much finer one that resembles brine shrimp netting.

Both work nicely as media bags, and are cheap to buy, and sturdier than panty hose. Most bags have a zipper, just cut that out, use the fabric in much the same way you use the panty hose, if you don't feel like stitching up a bag.. which is NOT hard to do, even if you have never used a sewing needle. They don't need to be perfect, or even attractive, just functional.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,457 Posts
it is the loose stuff, it works, but not the best to work with. I'll probably not get the loose stuff next time to keep things neater.

The reusable bags I have use draw strings to close them up and I am happy with them.

There are lots of things we can use to save money, pantyhose works, but I bet you don't actually save anything over the reusable bags or at least the price difference is so little that it doesn't matter.

I use alternatives for many things suck as pot scrubbers for bio media, dollar store scrubbies for cleaning tank glass, sandblasting sand as substrate, shop lights as aquarium lights basic polyester fill for floss, and so on.

There is the odd time you might as well get the normal product and the reusable bags are one of those times in my opinion
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top