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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

so last night I was doing some research on bio-media and canister filter setup and I came across aquariumscience.org . It seems like a great site with lots of super interesting information, but their recommendations and what they have found to work best in terms of bio-media is 30ppi foam or pot scrubbers. Has anybody tried a canister filter just filled with 30ppi foam media or pot scrubbers and no bio-media like matrix?

I am looking to use a oase biomaster thermo 600 and either a fluval 407 or fx4 as the filtration system for a 120G tank, so it would be super easy and way cheaper to just use 30ppi foam in all the baskets.

Thanks a lot,
B.
 

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Okay then.
There are three words I will now use to describe the very act of tearing down and doing a thorough cleaning on a canister filter.
IT's.
NOT.
FUN.

There are some definite Buzz Kills that inevitably emerge in the exciting and wonderful world of aquarium keeping. Cleaning canister filters is almost certainly one of them!
So, to that end.... I still STRONGLY recommend the use of a single canister for your 120 gallon aquarium. The Oase Biotherm 600 with integrated heater should provide a great foundation of filtration for your tank. That is why I recommended the install of either the Aquaclear 110 or Tidal 110, as the additional filter to support that canister. Those Hang On Back (HOB) filters are just so much easier to maintain than the canister type. And, the flow rate in those large filters will provide a balanced current and water flow throughout the aquarium. This will promote better oxygenation of the water and help to eliminate dead spots where waste products could possibly build up.
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Canister media. My advice? Don't overthink this thing. But, if you are determined to go down this path? There are three potential choices you can consider
1) Do nothing. Just utilize the canister filtration media provided by the company 'as is'. The filter will NOT 'spontaneously explode' or something in doing that. It will work just fine.
2) Go with the Aquarium Science recommendations. Sure! The filtration foam will work great. The beneficial bacteria just need a home to sit on, and that 30 PPI foam media will work out just fine,.
3) Go with my (possibly more radical) way. I completely fill my canister filters with a big (Eheim) mesh bag full of Seachem Matrix Rock (pre-rinsed). I don't use ANY foam or the plastic media tray separators inside my canister filters! Nope. However, I DO install foam pre-filters on the intakes of ALL my filtration (HOB, canister & sump). To make something like that work out, ALL of those foam pre-filters get netted up and rinsed out 2 to 3 times per week to remove uneaten food, fish waste and any other 'funk' caught on them. I tear down and clean my canister filters about every 18 months or so (whether they need it or not).

Some of us it seems just REALLY don't like cleaning canister filters, I guess. :D
 

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I currently am using Eheim Classic filters on tanks that are not using air driven Poret Mattenfilters.

On my 3 large Eheim 2260/62 filters which don't have stock foam media pads available, I'm using the included Ehfi Mech (hollow cylinder ceramic) media to catch coarse debris, then 10 PPI Poret and either two or three 20 PPI Poret foam media cut to fit snugly and finally Ehfi Substrat Pro or Seachem Pond Matrix in either media bags or a zippered mesh laundry bag.

FWIW, 30 PPI Poret foam would probably work just fine though it will clog up quicker than the 20 PPM Poret so will require more frequent cleaning, just watch the filter flow output as it will decrease.

If your filters came with existing media, both bio and mechanical, I'd just use them as is and maybe consider replacing any foam pads with 20 PPI Poret down the road as they wear out.

I see @Auballagh offered good advice before I posted my suggestions but will offer one exception. On the FX filter intake, I'd avoid adding a sponge pre-filter unless it was very coarse such as one that was 10 PPI Poret because of the filter flow. I see complaints of either the filter gurgling or decreased output due to the pre-filter not being cleaned enough or being too fine pored.
 

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Aquariumscience.org may be the most important site on the internet for fish keepers. I’ve been following his advice for a long time. It’s thoroughly researched and well presented. And to actually answer your question: yes.

I’m currently running both canisters and a sump using only 30ppi foam. The foam is a MUCH better solution than when my canister was filled with seachem matrix.

when his detailed, we’ll implemented and thorough research says foam is 5 times better at biological filtration than matrix or biohome or lava rocks, I believe it. And, I have five tanks where my before and after experiencematched his research.

So… DO IT! Also… follow his stocking advice once you have really good filtration…

PS here’s my 75 with mostly 30ppi foam and a small chamber of Fluidized K1:
Pet supply Fish Gas Plant Aquatic plant
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay then.
There are three words I will now use to describe the very act of tearing down and doing a thorough cleaning on a canister filter.
IT's.
NOT.
FUN.

There are some definite Buzz Kills that inevitably emerge in the exciting and wonderful world of aquarium keeping. Cleaning canister filters is almost certainly one of them!
So, to that end.... I still STRONGLY recommend the use of a single canister for your 120 gallon aquarium. The Oase Biotherm 600 with integrated heater should provide a great foundation of filtration for your tank. That is why I recommended the install of either the Aquaclear 110 or Tidal 110, as the additional filter to support that canister. Those Hang On Back (HOB) filters are just so much easier to maintain than the canister type. And, the flow rate in those large filters will provide a balanced current and water flow throughout the aquarium. This will promote better oxygenation of the water and help to eliminate dead spots where waste products could possibly build up.
-
Canister media. My advice? Don't overthink this thing. But, if you are determined to go down this path? There are three potential choices you can consider
1) Do nothing. Just utilize the canister filtration media provided by the company 'as is'. The filter will NOT 'spontaneously explode' or something in doing that. It will work just fine.
2) Go with the Aquarium Science recommendations. Sure! The filtration foam will work great. The beneficial bacteria just need a home to sit on, and that 30 PPI foam media will work out just fine,.
3) Go with my (possibly more radical) way. I completely fill my canister filters with a big (Eheim) mesh bag full of Seachem Matrix Rock (pre-rinsed). I don't use ANY foam or the plastic media tray separators inside my canister filters! Nope. However, I DO install foam pre-filters on the intakes of ALL my filtration (HOB, canister & sump). To make something like that work out, ALL of those foam pre-filters get netted up and rinsed out 2 to 3 times per week to remove uneaten food, fish waste and any other 'funk' caught on them. I tear down and clean my canister filters about every 18 months or so (whether they need it or not).

Some of us it seems just REALLY don't like cleaning canister filters, I guess. :D
Thank you for the response, @Auballagh . I know you recommended the the oase 600 with a HOB filter, but I have found the HOB to be noisy and the tank will be in my living room, so I am trying to go for the quietest setup possible. I know it is probably not the best way to choose the filtration system, but I kind of have to work within my parameters. :D

I hear you about cleaning canister. A long time ago (like 25 years ago), i used to have a fish tank and had a Eheim canister filter and I remember having to clean it every now and then and it wasn't fun for sure. Because of that, I might be better off with 2 oase biomaster 600 (as the second would be similar price as the Fluval 407 and cheaper than a Fluval FX4) as the only thing that truly needs cleaning in them is the pre-filterm which does 90% of the mechanical filtering and it is super easy to do so.

I am intrigued by your radical way, but I am not sure I am ready for that just yet, but I totally appreciate the suggestion. :D
Thank you again for the response.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Aquariumscience.org may be the most important site on the internet for fish keepers. I’ve been following his advice for a long time. It’s thoroughly researched and well presented. And to actually answer your question: yes.

I’m currently running both canisters and a sump using only 30ppi foam. The foam is a MUCH better solution than when my canister was filled with seachem matrix.

when his detailed, we’ll implemented and thorough research says foam is 5 times better at biological filtration than matrix or biohome or lava rocks, I believe it. And, I have five tanks where my before and after experiencematched his research.

So… DO IT! Also… follow his stocking advice once you have really good filtration…

PS here’s my 75 with mostly 30ppi foam and a small chamber of Fluidized K1:
View attachment 139606
Wow... that is a nice tank. I am glad to hear that their recommendations work and that other folks are following them. I am also glad to hear you confirm that Aquarium Science is a great resource that can be trusted.

Regarding their stocking recommendations, because I will have a decent amount of plants in the tank, I was reading their section about planted tanks and how one can't have lots of fish and lots of plants, so the tank will have a good amount of fish, but definitely not the stocking recommendation they make. :D

Thanks again for the response.
B.
 

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The foam thing might be something I'll try in the future. For convenience in cleaning, it's actually kind of hard to beat pulling out a bag of Seachem Matrix rock and just dumping it into a large cement mixer tray full of tank water. Seriously, i just agitate and swish the bag with matrix around a bit to clean and rinse off buildup, then just plop the whole thing back into the canister filter.
And yes, it IS totally likely the foam has more USEABLE beneficial bacteria colonization area than the Matrix rock. But, it's all a matter possibly of just how much do you actually need? A large bag full of Seachem Matrix rock in that canister filter, is possibly providing me waaaayyyyyy more biological filtration capacity than I actually need.
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For me, the challenge has ALWAYS been in reducing the Nitrate buildup in the aquarium. Dilution with high percentage/high frequency water changes. Or, Plants. MORE Plants! Controlling Nitrate buildup will definitely work you in keeping an aquarium.
Oh, and here is a source of fairly cheap, sheet filtration foam I would consider for possibly filling a canister filter with,


Just measure and cut those things down to size, then stack 'em up. Could work just fine. :)
 

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Around mid-November of last year, I found Aquariumscience.org. Doing exactly what you're doing. Planning a tank for the living room and trying to make it the best it could be. What bio media was I going to put in the sump...

I read the whole site. All of it... that weekend. I finally UNDERSTOOD what was going on and how I'd been trashing my own fish-keeping experience for years. I changed everything over to foam. I have been running 4-6 tanks with nothing but canister filters stuffed with foam. I started with pot scrubbers, but then worried that the water would flow around them and not through them. (I now realize that I probably had them packed in there too tightly.) But - I switched to sunsun 303B's just full of the pre-cut blue foam they make for them. Water in my tanks is crystal clear - even the ones where I'm following the aforementioned stocking recommendations.

Here is the thing that Auballagh is onto - cleaning canister filters sucks. And it's dangerous... every time you mess with it, it leaves the possibility of compromising a seal. So... Don't. Some of the filters I've set up this way are running with no changes now for nine months. I have a fluval 307 that I took all the ceramic media and stuff out of and just left the pot scrubbers in there. I've not opened this filter since just after thanksgiving last year. When it slows down or stops, I'll dump it out and swish it around in some tank water - maybe spray it with the hose a bit, reassemble and see how long it lasts 'til it plugs up again.

My one sump, I run much like Kwik 3 Mart above. However, Kwik, Check your overflow, I don't think adult mbuna are supposed to go down it :ROFLMAO:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Around mid-November of last year, I found Aquariumscience.org. Doing exactly what you're doing. Planning a tank for the living room and trying to make it the best it could be. What bio media was I going to put in the sump...

I read the whole site. All of it... that weekend. I finally UNDERSTOOD what was going on and how I'd been trashing my own fish-keeping experience for years. I changed everything over to foam. I have been running 4-6 tanks with nothing but canister filters stuffed with foam. I started with pot scrubbers, but then worried that the water would flow around them and not through them. (I now realize that I probably had them packed in there too tightly.) But - I switched to sunsun 303B's just full of the pre-cut blue foam they make for them. Water in my tanks is crystal clear - even the ones where I'm following the aforementioned stocking recommendations.

Here is the thing that Auballagh is onto - cleaning canister filters sucks. And it's dangerous... every time you mess with it, it leaves the possibility of compromising a seal. So... Don't. Some of the filters I've set up this way are running with no changes now for nine months. I have a fluval 307 that I took all the ceramic media and stuff out of and just left the pot scrubbers in there. I've not opened this filter since just after thanksgiving last year. When it slows down or stops, I'll dump it out and swish it around in some tank water - maybe spray it with the hose a bit, reassemble and see how long it lasts 'til it plugs up again.

My one sump, I run much like Kwik 3 Mart above. However, Kwik, Check your overflow, I don't think adult mbuna are supposed to go down it :ROFLMAO:
LOL... I love your "So... Don't" . Thank you for chiming in and sharing your experience. I will probably give this a try and follow their recommendations. Thank you @SenorStrum, @Kwik-3-Mart and @Auballagh for sharing your different perspectives as this is the only way one can make their own decision!!! Truly appreciated and Happy Thanksgiving!
 

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Around mid-November of last year, I found Aquariumscience.org. Doing exactly what you're doing. Planning a tank for the living room and trying to make it the best it could be. What bio media was I going to put in the sump...

I read the whole site. All of it... that weekend. I finally UNDERSTOOD what was going on and how I'd been trashing my own fish-keeping experience for years. I changed everything over to foam. I have been running 4-6 tanks with nothing but canister filters stuffed with foam. I started with pot scrubbers, but then worried that the water would flow around them and not through them. (I now realize that I probably had them packed in there too tightly.) But - I switched to sunsun 303B's just full of the pre-cut blue foam they make for them. Water in my tanks is crystal clear - even the ones where I'm following the aforementioned stocking recommendations.

Here is the thing that Auballagh is onto - cleaning canister filters sucks. And it's dangerous... every time you mess with it, it leaves the possibility of compromising a seal. So... Don't. Some of the filters I've set up this way are running with no changes now for nine months. I have a fluval 307 that I took all the ceramic media and stuff out of and just left the pot scrubbers in there. I've not opened this filter since just after thanksgiving last year. When it slows down or stops, I'll dump it out and swish it around in some tank water - maybe spray it with the hose a bit, reassemble and see how long it lasts 'til it plugs up again.

My one sump, I run much like Kwik 3 Mart above. However, Kwik, Check your overflow, I don't think adult mbuna are supposed to go down it :ROFLMAO:
Lol. That’s my red zebra. She’s a huge female I got from a friend. I get her some friends, but they are too small and she beats them up. So she gets taken out for a while to settle down. Usually, she goes into a quarantine tank, but it’s full of yellow lab fry at the moment. So she’s in the sump for a few days. Getting out tomorrow. Good behavior.
 

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Hi all, I've heard mixed reviews on whether to use the hollow cylinder ceramic vs the "bio-balls". I often hear use as much space as possible. Any suggestions on hacking my sump setup? Water Fixture Fluid Wood Rectangle
 

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Bio-Balls! Have used them as sump media, quite successfully in the past. And yes, completely filling that media compartment with stacked up sheets of filtration foam, may be the absolute 'BEST' method, if you REALLY want to replace those bio-balls and optimize filtration performance. But, I personally believe that those bio-balls will provide - as is - more than enough biological filtration capacity for your aquarium. To pretty easily optimize an established bio-ball based sump filtration system, I suggest the following.
  • Ensure that the drip tray under your inlet hose fitting is distributing the water evenly across all of the bio-balls below it.
  • Check the sheet of foam placed on top of the drip tray. If it is worn or degraded, you may want to consider replacing it with a fresh sheet. Additionally, doubling up the foam sheets can help to distribute the water flow more evenly across the drip tray.
  • If you are a DIY'r? You could take the route I went down, and install a spray bar to the sump inlet fitting to better distribute the water flow across the drip tray. Not exactly necessary, but it did spread the flow of water across the drip tray (for my own bio-ball based sump) a bit better.
  • And lastly, you could install a filter sock onto the inlet fitting. Water diffusing out from the filter sock will be lower in velocity, helping to better distribute the flow of water across the drip tray (and bio-balls underneath) better.
 

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The General Use of activated carbon is NOT recommended for aquarium filtration systems with Cichlids. That stuff has been positively identified as a causal agent for HLLE/HITH, and a host of other problems.
So no.
But, activated carbon IS useful on a limited basis for 'targeted' applications such as medication removal, or in clearing up stained/dyed water conditions caused by new install of bog woods or use of some medications. In these uses, the carbon-based filtration media is utilized for only a matter of days, and is then removed or replaced by fresh carbon media if the water clearing, application effect is still required.
 

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Activated Carbon. Charcoal. Carbon Media - they are all the same thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Around mid-November of last year, I found Aquariumscience.org. Doing exactly what you're doing. Planning a tank for the living room and trying to make it the best it could be. What bio media was I going to put in the sump...

I read the whole site. All of it... that weekend. I finally UNDERSTOOD what was going on and how I'd been trashing my own fish-keeping experience for years. I changed everything over to foam. I have been running 4-6 tanks with nothing but canister filters stuffed with foam. I started with pot scrubbers, but then worried that the water would flow around them and not through them. (I now realize that I probably had them packed in there too tightly.) But - I switched to sunsun 303B's just full of the pre-cut blue foam they make for them. Water in my tanks is crystal clear - even the ones where I'm following the aforementioned stocking recommendations.

Here is the thing that Auballagh is onto - cleaning canister filters sucks. And it's dangerous... every time you mess with it, it leaves the possibility of compromising a seal. So... Don't. Some of the filters I've set up this way are running with no changes now for nine months. I have a fluval 307 that I took all the ceramic media and stuff out of and just left the pot scrubbers in there. I've not opened this filter since just after thanksgiving last year. When it slows down or stops, I'll dump it out and swish it around in some tank water - maybe spray it with the hose a bit, reassemble and see how long it lasts 'til it plugs up again.

My one sump, I run much like Kwik 3 Mart above. However, Kwik, Check your overflow, I don't think adult mbuna are supposed to go down it :ROFLMAO:
I found this thread on fishlore from someone who decided to go full foam in his canister filters (FX6 and FX4): https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...ng-my-fx4-fx6-filters-with-poret-foam.417047/

What is awesome is that he gave a write up 2 years later about the results: https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...ng-my-fx4-fx6-filters-with-poret-foam.501642/

It looks like awesome results. The interesting change that he made compared to what Aquarium Science has recommended is the use of those foam blocks. As you'll see, someone surmised that the inside of the blocks could hosts the anaerobic bacteria that would transform nitrate into nitrogen. If this works as designed, it could be a very interesting options when keeping fish, such as GBR, who don't like nitrate.
I thought I would share on here as it seems to validate Aquarium Science's claims.
 

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The whole Nitrate reduction thing in aquariums, is tougher to do than most people believe....

someone surmised that the inside of the blocks could hosts the anaerobic bacteria that would transform nitrate into nitrogen
So, I'm going with just a 'mehh' on that that claim.
Reason is because it is counter to the entire narrative (and benefits) of using the 30 PPI foam. That is, being capable of forcing the water flow completely through - EVERY LAST BIT - of the filtration media to get the best results. Unfortunately, to get the best results in anaerobic-based filtration media, there is little to almost no water flow through it. A good flow of oxygenated water (in normal filtration media) will strongly support the Ammonia and Nitrite eating bacteria - NOT the Nitrate eating type.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The whole Nitrate reduction thing in aquariums, is tougher to do than most people believe....



So, I'm going with just a 'mehh' on that that claim.
Reason is because it is counter to the entire narrative (and benefits) of using the 30 PPI foam. That is, being capable of forcing the water flow completely through - EVERY LAST BIT - of the filtration media to get the best results. Unfortunately, to get the best results in anaerobic-based filtration media, there is little to almost no water flow through it. A good flow of oxygenated water (in normal filtration media) will strongly support the Ammonia and Nitrite eating bacteria - NOT the Nitrate eating type.
I agree with you on the need for no flow for the anaerobic bacteria, but that was the interesting part of his setup. By using dense foam cubes (45ppi) in one of his filtration tray, the analysis made was that water would have a higher flow with good oxygenation around the cubes vs inside the cubes which will see very little flow and very little oxygenation, therefore giving those anaerobic bacteria a place to thrive. I am super intrigued by this. I have my eyes on a used 120G with an FX6 canister filter and might give this a try and set up the FX6 the same way he did and see what results I get.
 
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