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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 72 gallon bow front glass tank. I am wondering if I have the correct filtering for it. I have a undergravel and a Fluval 405. I have read on here that all the stuff in the compartments of the Fluval (which is expensive) is not nessesary as well as having an undergravel. Now I am confused as to what is best for bacteria growth, water circulation and so on. Can you point me in the right direction.
thanks for the help.
 

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I think the fluval 405 advertises as good for 100 gallons. It is commonly thought that while the manufacturer's recommendation may be good for "typical" tropical fish, a "typical" cichlid tank will need more filtration.

Do you have ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate test kits? If so, what are those levels? If your ammonia and nitrite levels are always zero, then you have sufficient biological filtration. It might be nice to have a little bit of extra "capacity" so to speak so that if you accidently kill a some of your happy bacteria (doh! used hot tap water to clean out my filter sponge, etc.) you've got plenty of others. Your UGF/Cannister filter setup provides some of this redundancy, though, since you're probably not going to be washing your gravel in hot chlorinated water ;).

Is your water clarity satisfactory? Many people like to add "water polishing" filters, such as HOB style filters stuffed with floss, or Magnum cannister filters.

What fish do you have in your tank? That will end up being a large factor in your filtration decisions.

As far as the fluval media expenses, what are you using now, and how often are you replacing it? According to the hagen website it comes with 2 foams, 4 carbons, and 4 "biomax" media packets? If the biomax is what I think it is then you probably don't need to be replacing it. foam is usually easy to wash out or find cheaper alternatives for, and many people find carbon unnecesary.

-Rick (the armchair aquarist, who in this case leans towards "if it ain't broke, don't fix it")
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
struggling with ammonia. I have Malawi cichlids, and I am using carbon, ammonia, and biomax in the Fluval.
So do i need a bigger filter or another filter? Should I have the undergravel? (pain in the butt with them diggers) :)
 

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safireeyz said:
struggling with ammonia. I have Malawi cichlids, and I am using carbon, ammonia, and biomax in the Fluval.
So do i need a bigger filter or another filter? Should I have the undergravel? (pain in the butt with them diggers) :)
Err, I hope you're not putting ammonia in your Fluval. Do you have some sort of ammonia absorbing media in your fluval?

If you have an established tank with established filters and you've having ammonia problems, then it sounds like you're suffering from insufficient filtration.

Do you replace the biomax or do you leave it in there?

There's nothing wrong with having an under-gravel filter, though it may accumulate gunk in it worse than just having a gravel or sand substrate, and therefore require more "vigorous" gravel vacuuming to get it out than it might take without the ugf. The ugf should be giving you more surface area for biological filtration, though (After all, that's what it's for).

I presume you're gravel-vacuuming? When you clean out your fluval, how do you do it? It's possible that you're killing the bacteria in the fluval int he process, which would lead to an ammonia spike every time you clean that filter.

How many malawi cichlids are in the tank, and how big are they?

-Rick (the armchair aquarist, who apologizes for playing 20 questions, but to get a good answer you'll need to be providing lots of info ;) )
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No I use the ammoina filter media and I keep the biomax in for the bacteria. When I clean the filter I replace the carbon and ammonia media and wash the foam. I vacuum the gravel as well. I have 10 africans ranging from 2"-5.5" inches. I am thinking of taking the under gravel out becuase it does just that, "requires more vacuuming"
 

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If you're having ammonia problems, I wouldn't take out the UGF until you've replaced it with something else. What do you wash your foam with (i.e. tank or tap water)? Do you wash the biomax too? What's your budget like for new filtration?

Some folks go the "canister plus power filter" route, since power filters are typically alot cheaper than canisters. Power filter technology may have advanced since I last looked into it, but several years ago the Emperor 400 and Aquaclear 500 (now called the Aquaclear 110 I believe?) were both very popular power filters for larger tanks. The Emperor has biowheels for excellent biological filtration, but the Aquaclear has exceedingly flexible media options, and allowed for better mechanical filtration.

-Rick (the armchair aquarist)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Actually I tested my water last night and all is good. however it is cloudy. I did a 20% water change too. I wash in same temp tap water and not the boimax. And I am open to new filteration prices.
I am now confused as to what exactly to put in my canister and if i get a HOB what to put in that?
Thanks for your patience and help Rick. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I ran my System One the other day for the cloudiness but still can't seem to pin point the problem?
 

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I vote for removing the underground filter because as you said the fish love to dig and expose it plus it is a nitrate generating machine. I would replace it with a HOB filter.

I run a Fluval 405, an Emperor 400 plus a small power head on my 75G tank. I *really* like the Emperor and it does a nice job of filtering the water and providing aeration.

safireeyz said:
I wash in same temp tap water and not the boimax.
This may be part of the problem. You should always wash your filter media and sponges in used *tank* water. Tap water will kill all the good bacteria. This may be why your water is cloudy- a bacteria bloom.

safireeyz said:
I am now confused as to what exactly to put in my canister and if i get a HOB what to put in that?
In my fluval 405 it has the sponges, the bottom tray is half carbon half ceramic rings, second tray is ceramic rings, third tray is pot scrubbers and fourth tray is quilt batting.

In the Emperor I use the plastic refill cartridge frames and wrap them in quilt batting instead of buying new. In the gray inserts I put quilt batting in one and pot scrubbers in the other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Natalie I am going to go get a Emperor 400 today. the at home filter media is definatly my style and cheap.
Thanks for the advise. Hopefully the cloudiness will clear up once I start the HOB.
 
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