Can the mechanical filter remove nutrients?

Discussion in 'Filters, Filtration and Pumps' started by sisko, 6 Nov 2008.

  1. sisko

    sisko Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    London, UK
    I like my water superclean so I'm using not 1 but 3 white filter pads in the Juwel filter every week. 3 in the same time :lol: Sometimes I change it after a few days.
    Don't know why is it so dirty, I have low bio-load. Am I removing only the bad things or some good stuff as well?
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    No, mechanical filtration cannot remove chemicals. This would only be accomplished if the media were some sort of chemical resin, or had some reactive ingredient such as activated carbon. The dirty pads are an indication that your plants are producing a lot of organic waste, perhaps more that you had originally anticipated. It's not just fish that produce waste. This is why filtration in a high light planted tank is so important and is a factor that has been overlooked for so long. The higher the light and growth rates, the higher the waste production. This is also why large water changes are a good thing as it gives the opportunity to directly remove organic waste.

    Cheers,
     
  3. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    Mechanical filters won't remove chemicals as such, but filters do have a habit of removing iron if it is dosed using iron chelate. Could be because of Fe and PO4 reaction which then precipitates out and collects in the filter. Same reason why iron sometimes collects in the substrate. A good reason why regular iron dosing should be done.

    James
     
  4. sisko

    sisko Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    London, UK
    Hmm. I have a few question if you don't mind? :D
    Can this waste deposit on the leafs? That would explain why some older leafs look unhealthy and dark.
    Is this waste producing traceable to unbalanced nutrient levels or general plant health? Will this level ever drop once everything settled down or it will stay/raise?
    If I did 2-3 big water changes for a few weeks that obviously would help, but lets say after a month or two I came back to the 1x a week standard. What would happen than?
    I guess the best option would be an extra filter...
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi sisko,
    Organic waste includes lots of things such as simple rotting bits of leaf or stem, but it also includes carbohydrates, proteins and lipids ejected from the leaf. These do tend to settle on the leaf surface and can have the effect of blocking nutrient and CO2 uptake. It's a good ides to shake the plants regularly and to preen them like a bird preens it feathers. This removes the debris, detritus and the biofilm which coats the submerged surfaces. However, dark or unhealthy looking leaves are a sign of poor CO2 primarily, and possibly other dosing or flow related issues.

    Well, consider this: If you feed your fish twice as much don't they grow faster and produce twice as much feces and urine? Organic waste is a fact of life and all living things uptake nutrients and discard those substances which are the byproduct of their metabolism. It should come as no surprise therefore that the more you feed your plants and the faster they grow, the more waste will be produced. There's no getting around that except to lower the growth rate. That is accomplished by having a low light low growth tank. This in effect is the allure of the non-CO2 injected, low light, so-called "natural" planted tanks. They require very little maintenance because their growth rates are 5X-10X lower than in high light injected tanks. Low growth rates equal low waste production rates. Poor nutrition in high light tanks cause all sorts of problems including unscheduled ejection of substances, but this is a different issue.

    It might be helpful to substitute the word "puppy" for "plants" in this analogy. If growth continues then it is logical that waste production continues. This is not a one shot deal. This is a complex living system so doing extra water changes is great but just doing a few extra water changes for some weeks won't convince your plants to suddenly stop growing. Growth equals waste production. Faster growth equals faster waste production.

    Well, I'm a filter fanatic and they don't make filters big enough for me in this country but if you didn't want to go that route you's have to consider more (or larger volume) water changes and/or more frequent filter cleaning. I squeeze, clean and re-use all my pads so I rarely have to by new pads - maybe once or twice a year, but yes I do have a lot of filtration. It's one of the keys to a healthy high light tank.

    Cheers,
     
  6. sisko

    sisko Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi ceg,

    Thank you for your answer!!
    I really have to sort out my CO2 injection than. I thought I did it, but obviously it's not good enough.
    The poly pads don't cost me much, I got them from ebay (100 for £10 I think).
    Now I know what I want for xmas! A CO2 reactor and a big-big external filter

    Did you ever considered to go for sump? You can build one with huge water turnover, hide everything inside, and I believe if you cover it you won't loose much CO2, or even if you do it's still worth the extra cost.
     
  7. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yes, sumps are great but they add more complication to a system that's already setup. I'll plan on using one for the next setup.. ;)

    Cheers,
     
  8. scottturnbull

    scottturnbull Member

    Messages:
    132
    I used to own a Juwel Aquarium. I still do, but have long since ripped out the box filter.

    The Juwel Filter intake is almost at the level of the water-surface. It also draws water in through vents, but they have to rise up to the top to enter the filter. It means the filter takes most of its intake from the surface. The white pads get dirty very quickly with this system.

    Even if you minimise the waste, the filter pads will still be dirty. They are pitifully small and thin. Personally, I hate the Juwel filter system. It's a bit of a rip off, designed to maximise the amount of refills you need.

    My recommendation is you remove the box filter. I changed mine for an Eheim 2224, and went from replacing filter floss every two to three weeks to replacing it every two to three months. That's how bad Juwel filters are. But it's your tank, and I wouldn't want you to rip it apart on my account.
     
  9. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    The Juwel filter is fine, you just need to think of the media and how you use it. Half of the sponges in mine have been replaced with sintered glass material and I use two foam sections in the top half. I have a coarse sponge on top and a fine one under that. I have never used the fine filter pad - there is no need unless you have lots of fine particles in your water and if you do I'd look at the source of them and remove the problem there. Used like this, with a sensible fish load, a Juwel internal is a good filter. The problems come if they are overloaded or if you don't like them taking up space in the tank. Otherwise no problems.

    Conversely I find the fine floss pads in my Ehiem filter cause far more problems for me than my Juwel filter.
     
  10. sisko

    sisko Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    London, UK
    :lol: Last time when I emptied the tank I ripped it out and since than only a few suction cups holding it in place. I was planning to replace it just hasn't happened jet.
    Same time I've replaced half of the sponges to sintered glass too :)
    Thanks for your answers!!
     

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