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Cleaning Foam

Andrew Butler

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I've only ever known filter socks from my time in marines and with freshwater I've always used the Fluval G3 or G6 filters which have a great pre-filter.
Moving over to an AIO system where foam will be my mechanical filtration how often do people go about washing it and how? - such a simple question but with so many incomplete threads about it and with being such a simple thing I'm hoping to hear about how everyone else goes about it. As it's purely mechanical I know tank water isn't needed.
(or is it? :rolleyes:)
 

FishKeeper55

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I never washed any foams from filter under tap water, always used water that have been drain from tank, as for when I would say when flow is reduced if you on lazy side ;)
 

mort

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If its just for mechanical filtration then you can just wash it out under the tap as you plan. When I was in the shop and we had the racking systems, they had a bank of 4-5 sponges before the ceramic media and we washed the top sponge, sometimes the second as well, under the tap because you couldn't get all the crud out in the tank water. This did minimal damage to the biofiltration and probably improved things.
As a general rule I wouldn't use the tap if it's more than 20-25% of your filtration but you may be fine using tank water if you have light stocking or frequent maintanance.
 

Andrew Butler

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If its just for mechanical filtration then you can just wash it out under the tap as you plan. When I was in the shop and we had the racking systems, they had a bank of 4-5 sponges before the ceramic media and we washed the top sponge, sometimes the second as well, under the tap because you couldn't get all the crud out in the tank water. This did minimal damage to the biofiltration and probably improved things.
As a general rule I wouldn't use the tap if it's more than 20-25% of your filtration but you may be fine using tank water if you have light stocking or frequent maintanance.
Thanks for the input. I'm still fiddling with how much foam and densities as I want it to act as a good mechanical filter but to be honest never being reliant on foam don't have the experience. I do have a good amount of bio media further along but if it works then a few layers of foam, between what I rely on as mechanical foam and the main bio media rinsed in tank water has been the idea.
I'd guess this is a very variable question, but how dirty does your foam get and how much water do you consume rinsing it through to try and get it clean?
The joy with this new AIO system is I can pull it out whenever needed and rinse it through quickly and have been weekly in tank water but it just seems to be that little bit dirty still. Having a play around with a finer grade to start with and see how it goes; trial and error.
 

mort

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The foam gets reasonably dirty but the tank is quite heavily stocked (it's actually my brothers tank but I do all the maintanance on it) and he feeds, probably overfeeds, with flake foods. I do a weekly water change but only clean the filter ever two weeks as it doesn't seem to impede the flow in that time frame. I tend to try and squeeze as much debris out of the foam in the old tank water first and then run it under the tap (not much comes out under the tap though tbh). I'd guess I put a couple of liters through it if I run it under the tap but you can squeeze it out in a bowl of freshwater if you want to limit it further.

If you have space and you aren't using it, then the white filter floss (juwel make one but you don't need juwel it's just a good example of what I mean, I tend to use jbl symec filter wool as I have it). This is really good for inter maintenance, ie every few days, because it's very fine and stops the majority of muck getting through. It's fine and doesn't last many washings but is cheap to replace and might help you. The only thing with that is if it blocks to quickly it might raise your water level but could be worth experimenting with.
 

Andrew Butler

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I do a weekly water change but only clean the filter ever two weeks as it doesn't seem to impede the flow in that time frame. I tend to try and squeeze as much debris out of the foam in the old tank water first and then run it under the tap (not much comes out under the tap though tbh). I'd guess I put a couple of liters through it if I run it under the tap but you can squeeze it out in a bowl of freshwater if you want to limit it further.
Am I correct to think the foam only acts as mechanical and not biological filtration in this case as you rinse it in tap water?
If you have space and you aren't using it, then the white filter floss (juwel make one but you don't need juwel it's just a good example of what I mean, I tend to use jbl symec filter wool as I have it). This is really good for inter maintenance, ie every few days, because it's very fine and stops the majority of muck getting through. It's fine and doesn't last many washings but is cheap to replace and might help you. The only thing with that is if it blocks to quickly it might raise your water level but could be worth experimenting with.
Unsure if the pictures below from a design I had make this easier to understand.
After water has travelled through the intake slots the first section has a 190x150mm footprint which is where I have had all foam(s) to date. (biological in second section)
The grades I'm not entirely sure of as I just ordered some of these from Ebay which I've cut in half so the thickness is more like 40mm; I have 80mm of 'course' and 40mm of 'fine' at present.

I added some filter floss as you suggested but think it's a bit too restrictive as the water in the last chamber is lowering a little too much for my liking before it's even clogged. This is something I'd been pondering over for a little while now and just not tried and if it's only a one use item there's cheap enough versions out there to make it a disposable product.
*I am suspicious that the way I have rearranged the biological filtration and the type is impeding flow a little too much also but is a whole other topic.*

Anyone with realistic and practical suggestions for media layout are most welcome to put ideas forward.
I might also end up changing the layout and heights of things in the filtration section, again a whole different topic!

new design 2.jpg
new design.jpg
 

dino21

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Hi,

You only need to look at the commercial foam filters and you will find that regardless of shape or size the actual 'depth' of the foam at any one point is rarely over 25-30mm.

Like the Eheim foams used in the canisters its always a quiet course foam, finer foam will offer too much resistance and block to quickly .

If you use a horizonatal layer of sheet / wadding filter floss or even a some loose type it will soon reduce the flow as you say.

However if you use a vertical or angled carrier and place a thin sheet across it, then you have a very large area, about 400 x 150 in your case, so it will take a lot longer to affect the water flow.
 

Andrew Butler

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However if you use a vertical or angled carrier and place a thin sheet across it, then you have a very large area, about 400 x 150 in your case, so it will take a lot longer to affect the water flow.
Interested to hear how I could include that in such a system like I have, a little sketch or picture would be great. :)
You only need to look at the commercial foam filters and you will find that regardless of shape or size the actual 'depth' of the foam at any one point is rarely over 25-30mm.
I did tell a lie earlier about having no experience with foam; I did have an Oase BioTherm for a short while but didn't find it suited me. Unsure if I'm remembering correctly but there were thicker layer's of foam.
I'm unsure quite how foam affects resistance or the grades people would look towards in such a system.
 

mort

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You are correct Andrew. Rinsing the media means it's only for mechanical filtration, which is why it's only a small percentage of the overall filter media. In a planted tank it's even less of an issue but since bacteria quickly colonises again it will contribute after a day or two.
 

dino21

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Interested to hear how I could include that in such a system like I have, a little sketch or picture would be great. :)

I'm unsure quite how foam affects resistance or the grades people would look towards in such a system.

This pic shows the ultimate system :D - though you get the idea, in one chamber, a vertical or diagonal plate , eg egg crate or similar , with a layer of floss across it and folded over the edges, this helps create a good seal as you slide the down filter into the chamber.
Used this type of simple floss filter pre media on our marine tank for many years.

Do you need foam ? the weir should stop the large debris and the floss shoud take out everything else. Because its a large area its going to take a lot to block it up and affect your pumping level, unlike a peice of foam which has a much smaller surface area.




000317.jpg
 

Andrew Butler

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This pic shows the ultimate system
Not a product I've come across before although I'm not sure it's best suited for my needs but I get the idea you're putting across.
Do you need foam ? the weir should stop the large debris and the floss shoud take out everything else. Because its a large area its going to take a lot to block it up and affect your pumping level, unlike a peice of foam which has a much smaller surface area.
Do I need foam; that's a good question! - some of the foam was planned to be there to act as biological filtration also but I've not got enough in there to allow this easily.
I've had thoughts of a filter sock inserted into a plate, sat like a shelf but was something I got talked out of a while ago - something easy enough for me to try but I just never got around to it. I'd imagine this would give me a better area for the water to pass through. Purely mechanical so worth a shot I think.
 

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