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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

Wondering if I could pick some of your brains as far as the filtration on my 75 Gallon Mbuna tank.

So far it's about 6-8 weeks I'm guessing and is running great. Currently have the following:

Fluval fx4 (700 gph)
Fluval c series 70 (264 gph)

Fish stocking: - 18 fish

6 yellow labs
6 acei
6 rusties

Been seeing a few articles as of late regarding sponge filters. Was thinking of throwing one in there for good measure but honestly was wondering if another HOB Fluval C 70 is the way to go for the additional biomedia that it can hold. Know this is a little more pricey but honestly am just looking to go the best route for the fish and have an extra bottle of 2 of matrix I could throw in there.

What would you all do or is what I have good enough already? They are all still 2" or less but am trying to think ahead for when they eventually get bigger.

Am also looking to get a Bristlenose possibly in the next day or two as I'm starting to see the rocks getting pretty brown and heard it's best to introduce them when the fish are relatively small like mine are.

Thanks in advance,

David
 

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Okay then….
Let’s work through this.
  • Aquarium. At 6 – 8 weeks in existence, your aquarium really is still in its infancy. It has taken 6 weeks in some cases with C-F members, before the biological filtration was even fully cycled.
  • Filtration. Your two filters are producing a combined flow rate of 800-850 GPH (adjusted for gravity imposed, discharge head pressure). This more than equals a recommended 8 – 10 times water turnover rate per hour. A higher water flow rate is not needed. If both of those aquarium filters are filled with the recommended filtration media – then more biological filtration is not needed either. Or, to simplify…. If you are not seeing a detectable level of ANY Ammonia or Nitrites in measured PPM for the water of your aquarium? Then your biological filtration is proving that it is up to the task. But, if the 'funk buildup' inside the canister and HOB filter is happening too quickly, then one way to slow that down will be to install foam pre-filters onto the intakes of your filters. Cleaned in a bit of tank water every week or so, they will mechanically catch that stuff before it is ingested by the filter and breaks down into the clogging funk inside your media. Foam pre-filters will also add just a bit more surface area for beneficial bacteria colonization to enhance biological filtration capacity. (The downside to them is that they can clog up fairly quickly - must be cleaned regularly).
  • Sponge Filters. NOT magic. They perform biological filtration by water flow passing through and over the foam media - just like in your existing filters. The only difference being that sponge filters typically use supplied air to lift that water through a plastic (or glass) tube to provide water flow. But, the air bubbles popping on the surface of the water from the sponge filter will break up a bio-film surface layer, and help to promote better oxygenation of the water. That is something a simple air stone placed in the tank will do just as well, though.
  • Brown Algae. Congratulations! You are experiencing an outbreak of Diatoms in your newly established aquarium. This is to be expected, as the sand, rocks and other mineral-type objects placed down in the water, will provide an initial, rich source of silicates to feed those little diatoms – causing the brown film. Over time, the grains of sand, rocks and other mineral-based objects in your tank will be coated over with this stuff called ‘bio-film’ (beneficial bacteria live in it), which will greatly impede access to that source of silica by those Diatoms. The brown slime will fade out and disappear over time.
    NOTE: Fish won’t eat Diatom produced slime. It is not plant-based Algae.
  • Bristlenose Catfish. Not needed in a tank with primarily herbivorous African Mbuna in it. Those types of Cichlids like to nip and pick at any algae growing on any surface they can get to inside the tank. Unfortunately, one or more of those African Mbuna may feel the same way about a Bristlenose catfish kept with them, and will systematically nip and pick at the poor catfish until it is literally picked apart. These kinds of Cichlids with that demonstrated behavior are correctly called ‘Catfish Assassins’. Which is one reason why I couldn’t keep a Bristlenose Pleco alive in my own African Mbuna tank. Other aquariums will vary though, and some people report success in keeping those catfish with their African Mbuna.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Auballagh for helping me out with this! Can see that I’ve got a whole lot more to learn still…
Thanks for all the advice. The bio-media is pretty packed in there as I literally wouldn’t be able to fit much more. Matrix is what I’m using. Am using all the sponges that come with the filters but removed the carbon for as much Matrix as I could fit.

Had much of the Matrix running for years in my old goldfish tank but the rocks and Cichlid sand is all new. Hang on back is new as well and so I figured I’d give it a head start and dumped a large bottle of Fritzyme 7 a day or two before all the fish.

So far I’ve been doing weekly 30% water changes and tests 2-3 days a week and always get 0 for the ammonia and nitrite and 8.2 for the ph, nitrates have been 20 or less as it’s kinda hard honestly for me to tell the difference between these shades of orange.

I’ll take your advice on the Bristlenose Plecko as I didn’t realize they don’t eat this brown stuff. Also hate the thought of him getting picked on or worse.
Brgrowing pretty much on all the rocks and much of the glass although I’ve been using a brush to remove it from the front and sides as it’s not the best looking stuff.

Read that 79 degrees is good for these guys and so that’s what the thermometer is set for, water is always between 78-79.

How long before this brown stuff goes away?
Any harm in me removing it from the glass? If your saying it’ll eventually go away on its own should I even be removing it from the glass?

Figured between all the rocks and sand that there’d be plenty left?

again, appreciate all of your help and can’t thank you enough, your obviously much more in tune with this stuff than myself :)
 

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+1 to @DJRansome on those diatoms.
-
Yes, the brown slime those diatoms produce is indeed a bit annoying. But, patience now.... it WILL dissipate over time and go away. In the meantime, just simply wiping and cleaning it from places you don't want it growing on, is about all you can do. Also... it helps to periodically sift and churn through the bottom substrate occasionally while this is happening (esp. as your Cichlids are still very small in size, and not digging as prodigiously as they will once adult size is attained). Exposing buried parts of the sand to the water, will help to expedite the 'bio-film' layering process on it. Once your tank matures out properly, that 'bio-film' film will actually coat Each Grain Of Sand in the substrate.
No more diatoms.:)
 
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Hey all,

Wondering if I could pick some of your brains as far as the filtration on my 75 Gallon Mbuna tank.

So far it's about 6-8 weeks I'm guessing and is running great. Currently have the following:

Fluval fx4 (700 gph)
Fluval c series 70 (264 gph)

Fish stocking: - 18 fish

6 yellow labs
6 acei
6 rusties

Been seeing a few articles as of late regarding sponge filters. Was thinking of throwing one in there for good measure but honestly was wondering if another HOB Fluval C 70 is the way to go for the additional biomedia that it can hold. Know this is a little more pricey but honestly am just looking to go the best route for the fish and have an extra bottle of 2 of matrix I could throw in there.

What would you all do or is what I have good enough already? They are all still 2" or less but am trying to think ahead for when they eventually get bigger.

Am also looking to get a Bristlenose possibly in the next day or two as I'm starting to see the rocks getting pretty brown and heard it's best to introduce them when the fish are relatively small like mine are.

Thanks in advance,

David
Thanks guys for the help!!! Appreciate you
both…
I am having filter envy since with my 75 I have one Fluval 407, which seems to be enough for me. I am admittedly new to Cichlids specifically but having kept other fish for years, something like to do it buy the double sided dish sponges from amazon (link below). They fit perfectly (with slight modification for the one curved corner) in a Fluval canister filter. What is so cool is that you can tear the scratchy part from the sponge part. The scratchy part becomes a nice mechanical filter. Then I cut up the sponge part into little pieces (long and cross wise) and they become biological media. I hope this info is useful...but I wonder if I am trying too hard to outsmart the big brands lol.

The question I have for everyone is about chemical media. If I'm not having any problems is chemical media even necessary?

https://www.amazon.com/Cleaning-Scr...26&sprefix=sponges,aps,124&sr=8-4-spons&psc=1
Thanks guys for the help!!! Appreciate you
both…
 

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Hello there.
If I'm not having any problems is chemical media even necessary?
Nope.
One of the big advantages of keeping a freshwater aquarium is how abundant the water supply source is for it. Those periodic water changes are a huge part of successfully keeping a freshwater tank healthy and running right.
The Solution To Pollution - Is Dilution?
And some chemical things can cause harm if over used. And example of that problem would be Activated Carbon/Charcoal media. Extended use of Activated Carbon/Charcoal media has been positively linked as a causal agent for HITH/HLLE in Cichlids. That's why I reserve very limited use of Activated Carbon/Charcoal to remove medications in the water of the aquarium after treatment is over.
 
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Hello there.

Nope.
One of the big advantages of keeping a freshwater aquarium is how abundant the water supply source is for it. Those periodic water changes are a huge part of successfully keeping a freshwater tank healthy and running right.
The Solution To Pollution - Is Dilution?
And some chemical things can cause harm if over used. And example of that problem would be Activated Carbon/Charcoal media. Extended use of Activated Carbon/Charcoal media has been positively linked as a causal agent for HITH/HLLE in Cichlids. That's why I reserve very limited use of Activated Carbon/Charcoal to remove medications in the water of the aquarium after treatment is over.
Oh I didn't know that about HITH/HLLE so thank you for that info. I'm gonna blame Fluval marketing (lol) but at one point I had phosphate remover, ammonia remover AND activated charcoal. The more I looked into room for adding more mechanical and biological media instead, I eventually ended up with just the charcoal because I thought it helps with water clarity. I'm going to look into that and reconsider that as well.
 

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Oh yes.... the water clarity thing.
And yes, Activated Carbon/Charcoal media will clear up your water a bit, if you aren't happy with it. Typically utilized to clarify 'tea stained' water with tannins in it to reduce the PH, the Activated Carbon/Charcoal media will work to remove that (harmless) stuff and clarify your water. The problems start happening when that chemical media is left in service too long.
To explain - over time, that media will sort of 'fill up' with the stuff it has captured from the water. When that happens, that old stuff in the media will start leaching back out of the chemical media and in to the water of the aquarium. And after weeks of being worked on in that media by various bacteria and some potentially harmful other pathogens... that old stuff crawling back into the water of your aquarium, is gonna be REALLY nasty.
That's why I don't recommend using ANY chemical media product longer than is absolutely necessary. And certainly no longer in duration than a maximum of 30 days.
 
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Oh yes.... the water clarity thing.
And yes, Activated Carbon/Charcoal media will clear up your water a bit, if you aren't happy with it. Typically utilized to clarify 'tea stained' water with tannins in it to reduce the PH, the Activated Carbon/Charcoal media will work to remove that (harmless) stuff and clarify your water. The problems start happening when that chemical media is left in service too long.
To explain - over time, that media will sort of 'fill up' with the stuff it has captured from the water. When that happens, that old stuff in the media will start leaching back out of the chemical media and in to the water of the aquarium. And after weeks of being worked on in that media by various bacteria and some potentially harmful other pathogens... that old stuff crawling back into the water of your aquarium, is gonna be REALLY nasty.
That's why I don't recommend using ANY chemical media product longer than is absolutely necessary. And certainly no longer in duration than a maximum of 30 days.
That's a good point about leaving it in there too long. I guess it can help clean up some things, but the underlying issue needs to be resolved.
 
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