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What filter media is best?

zozo

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'SINTERED GLASS'

Biohome is sintered glass, i missed? That somwhere before and have something else, but the same.. Tho not in a smooth saugage..

A lfs i come, sells this stuff as a pond filter medium in nameless bags rather cheap, i have it also in my sump and the helophyte filter in the garden pond. It definitely is frit.

After some research i found the manufacturer Unigeni Minerals and the stuff is called Unigrog.

I have the Unigrog 10
unigeni-minerals-bv.JPG


Both filters run like a charm on it, plants grow very well on it.. I have no idea what you guys pay for Biohome but this stuff is darn cheap and same stuff.

They have a rather wide range of granular filtermedia for water treatment. No idea about if their products go international, no international website.

Also used in other industries called Frit :) e.g. laboratories.. (we call it commonly Glassfoam) And because it is used in different applications it comes in these industries in standarized porosity and sizes.. Then you know what you are ordering or filtering with if you like it like that.
http://adamschittenden.com/frit_porosities_and_sizes.html
 

zozo

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I've not tried it,but there's also Alfagrog.Looks very much like UniGrog.
http://www.alfagrog.com/

Yup likely the very same stuff.. They also said to me unigrog can be used as substrate, but feeling it i wont let my school of cory's loos on that, it will probably cut more off than only the wiskers. But as base substrate it definitely is great stuff, in my pond filter basket all plants grow very good on it. I think this stuff can well be considered as a very good substrate for elevated ereas or just a base for planted eareas but well capped if loaches are kept.. I found it last year for the first time and dumped it in the sump, this year in the ponds filter basket. But not yet in a tank.. :) I have to go and see, if i remeber correctly but bought 1 litre bag for € 1.50,- he packet those himself to get the best price of course. Next time have to ask for the big bag price. :)
 

DavidW

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I did look into alfa grog but the report I read said it needed changing quite often because it would get clogged up with dead bacteria, but given the price I may look at this again if / when I need to change the biohome. Alfagrog is nearly a 3rd of the price :)
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I did look into alfa grog but the report I read said it needed changing quite often because it would get clogged up with dead bacteria
I've never used <"Biohome">, but I'm sure it is just as good as <"alfagrog, pumice, eheim "cocopops"> etc.

Having used it for a while I really like the Kalnes type K1 media (bought as generic "floating cell media"), partially because it is self cleaning. If someone else is paying I'll have "Substrat pro", but it really doesn't matter.

If you keep all the filter material aerobic it has the ability to deal with large bioloads, oxygen is really the key. If you have high flow through the filter the water remains oxygenated and you never get thick biofilms, or the type of zonation that "Manuel Arias" describes, develop.

If you have <"plants efficient nitrification is an asset">, so if you can find filter types described as "nitrate factories" that is an advantage.

The late <"Bob Marklew, Pleco breeder extraordinaire">, an engineer and extremely meticulous man was an alfagrog user, so I don't think there is much wrong with it.

cheers Darrel
 

PARAGUAY

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Trying different things my 2000 ex it came with no sponges but a thin layer of what appears to be filter wool pad in the four baskets ceramic noodle above in two followed by plastic bio balls in third tray above the pad,final tray of the activated carbon supplied above the pad. I tried loads of combinations since including nitrate removal media and also purigen in place of the carbon in the fourth basket and 2 sponges in the first basket.I have removed 50% of ceramic noodles every 6 months, not sure if I could leave these longer.?Stuart Thraves uses Alfagrog as substrate for plants in his "Setting Up A Freshwater Aquarium" book with stunning results
 

zozo

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Great media for fast ammonia removal and I love the way it tumbles when it's matured :)

Yes it's intriguing and fun to watch in a sump.. :) But the constant airpump running drove me nuts in the living room.. Might have bought the wrong one, but i doubt if there are any realy silent..
 

Timon Vogelaar

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I'll try to sum some things up;

- When it comes to "porous" media there are different type of it. Some i got to know thanks to you:
  • Pumice, mineral, lava ect; ADA's Bio Rio, Seachem Matrix, Unigrog, Eheim Lav and casual lava stone
  • Plastic ; K1 media, Bio Balls, Sponges
  • Sintered Glass ; Biohome, Eheim Substrat and substrat Pro, Sera Siporax
  • Ceramic ; Noodles, Alfagrog, Eheim Biomech
  • Synthetic material ; Seachem Purigen
Some things for me to consider:
- Sintered glass has probably the biggest surface area which makes possible to attach lots of bacteria. I do not like it i have to have to change it every half year.
- K1 is mainly used in sumps where air is flowing trough. I can't provide that.
- Manuals heads up on eventual risks of toxicity when using sintered glass.
- Also tempted to use pumice from ADA or Seachem. I've read that when you look with a microscope there is a big difference between regular pumice and pumice that ADA or Seachem use. So it's not "just" pumice that the brands sell. And your able to just rinse to clean and reuse.
- Seachem Purigen looks like something good to add since it is very unique.

Questions;
- Since i have no clue about most things Manual explained i wondered if people on UKAPS agree with his statements? Making products from sintered glass less attractive.
- Which media does not clog up?
- Any other kinds of porous media that have good value and should be on the list above?
 

Manuel Arias

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I use it in my canister filters too.Does a great job.
Any pourous media will reduce nitrate to a degree due to anearobic activity in the pores of the media.The way i understand it this nitrate is converted into soluble nitrogen that is easily obsorbed by plants?

You are right. Any media able to support a bacterial colony in the way I showed will have a certain degree if denitrification. The process becomes NO3- into N2. This can happen by absorption of protons, or by reduction through ammonium. Nitrogen in from of N2 is an inert gas, not able to react with anything in the aquarium and as an ideal gas, any excess of concentration is released to the air. It basically disappear from the tank. Some bacteria are able to use N2 to generate ammonia by using protons in water, inverting the process. However, this is a process that requires some specific conditions. In water, this process can be done by some bacteria/algae, like cyanobacteria.

The reason why we say Biohome is sinteresed glass is because it what says in the description of the product (first sentence of this link): http://www.tarkusaqualife.com/products/treatments/bio-home/

Cheers,
Manuel
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Sintered glass has probably the biggest surface area which makes possible to attach lots of bacteria. I do not like it i have to have to change it every half year.
It is all smoke and mirrors.

You never have to throw it away, you can just rinse it and carry on for ever. If you are worried about the deeper micro-pores being blocked you can microwave it.

I've actually got sponges that are 10 years old and still OK.
K1 is mainly used in sumps where air is flowing trough. I can't provide that.
It is fine in a canister filter, if you contain it.
Manuals heads up on eventual risks of toxicity when using sintered glass.
It just isn't true. If you supply sufficient oxygen it is never going to develop the zonation you would see in a <"Winogradsky column"> (in Manuel Arias's schematic).

fig5702p56a.jpg


The real danger with all canister filters is that the media becomes de-oxygenated and then ammonia levels rise, causing lower oxygen levels, causing higher ammonia levels, causing lower dissolved oxygen levels ad infinitum in a positive feedback loop.

In a non-planted system biological filtration in a canister filter is always <"single point of failure">, and this is exacerbated by trying to have simultaneous aerobic nitrification and anaerobic denitrification in the same filter.

I like any mechanical filtration to be in an (easy clean) pre-filter and I don't want anything (like floss or fine (PPI30) sponge) in the filter.

You can achieve nitrification and denitrification in the substrate or by using a HMF, or trickle filter, mainly because they have access to oxygen from the tank water and air, but a canister filter doesn't. A finite amount of oxygen enters the canister, and it can't be replenished once it is in the filter.

A lot of people don't understand this, or why oxygen is so important. About ten years ago I wrote <"aeration and dissolved oxygen..">, largely based upon my experience working on the biological re-mediation of landfill leachate, and I would say that it has stood the test of time remarkably well.
I've read that when you look with a microscope there is a big difference between regular pumice and pumice that ADA or Seachem use. So it's not "just" pumice that the brands sell. And your able to just rinse to clean and reuse.
There are <"pumices with lots of different chemical composition">, it depends upon the geology of the volcano they were ejected from.

However I would be surprised if any commercially exploited sources of pumice aren't derived from rhyolite (you only get huge volcanic explosions from silica rich magma), and you only get commercially exploitable deposits of pumice from huge explosions where the pumice has ended up in a lake or sea (on land large deposits will form welded Tuffs under their own weight).

You can re-use pumice, in fact you can treat pumice exactly like a sintered glass media, because they are basically the same thing. Are ADA's or Seachem's pumices better than horticultural pumice in use? I don't know, but I would be very surprised if they are.

cheers Darrel
 

zozo

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Purigen is quite pricy and doesn't last for ever, at one point it is done.. At least it was in my case, nice to give it a try but not again if there aint a good reason for it.
I tried to use to get the tanins from the wood out of the water, now i have about 5 kilo of mopani in the tank, didn't pre soak it and it is almost after a year still leaching. That wood is very agressive when it comes to leaching color. Can't say if the purigen helped so much but it was always coffee brown withing a few weeks, cleaned it about 4 or 5 times and it is about done taking up it seems.. I not spending more money on that part, eventualy it will clean out with water changes too. For the rest i personaly see no advantage in this stuffs other alledged properties over the cost of it.

- Since i have no clue about most things Manual explained i wondered if people on UKAPS agree with his statements?
Haha what a question, you're probably the first one ver asked it.. You make me laugh, but in a good way.. yes there are few very scientific edducated people around here on UKAPS, Manuel and Darrel are only 2 of them and there is nothing much to disagree upon the knoweldge they share other then a little bit of nitpicking sometimes occurs. But that's more sport among acquaintances than disagreement. ;) Anyway you can take for granted they know what they are talking about.

- Which media does not clog up?
That's the downfall of all canister filters, they are a closed system and no matter what you put in eventuely they all will clog up if not cleaned (enough) and then start to gass out into the water column and can be dangerous. So it all comes down to husbandry and how often and how good you clean your filter. When it comes to media it's in the porosity, the smaller the void the sooner it can clog, but if you wait long enoug everything gets cloged. That's all i can say about it, it never occured in one of my filters as far as i could determine. But in general my tanks are beter cleaned than my kitchen and have a strict cleaning schedule and never skip a session.. I guess it takes someone very lazzy or just not knowing when and what to clean to make a canister filter gass out. Even biomedia can be rinsed off once in a while, it is common sense to see when this is necessary. In an open biological filter, this aint such a big issue becuase the filter gasses out in the atmosphere.

But since you are so fanatic about filtering you might like this too.. :) and this will never clog.
http://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/fluidized-or-moving-bed-filters.38719/#post-435598
But also contains a small risk of gassing out into the water column as explained above. If these chances are high or slim i guess also comes down again to overall husbandry. In a nutshell, get sloppy get gassed. :hungover:
 
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Also tempted to use pumice from ADA or Seachem. I've read that when you look with a microscope there is a big difference between regular pumice and pumice that ADA or Seachem use. So it's not "just" pumice that the brands sell. And your able to just rinse to clean and reuse.
It can be of interest for you to read through the following thread on TPT.net: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9-equipment/1045898-matrix-without-seachem.html.
The user tested the Seachem Matrix vs. Pumice for nitrification capacity. There is probably a lot of interesting data for your filter media consideration (as far as nitrification is concerned).
 

zozo

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looks very interesting.
Indeed and a funny note to the history..

In 1958, a local farmer, frustrated by his inability to grow anything in the thin soil over what is now the Wright’s Creek Area pumice mine, leased the ground to Marion Hess, who ripped up the white volcanic rock and sold the crushed pumice to a building block manufacturer in Salt Lake City. From those humble beginnings, the now carefully refined, pure and white pumice from the Hess mine is in demand by industry worldwide.
And then the poor frustrated farmer pulled out his hairs.. :lol:
 

DavidW

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I think Darrel and Marcel, have summed this up brilliantly, all porous media will eventually get blocked without proper maintenance. Any dangers that may occur with certain media and toxicity is all down to how you maintain your filter and media. I don't believe there is a filter media out there that you can buy and then never have to do any maintenance to nor filter for that mater although a moving bed comes quite close. Everyone will have there own preference and swear by it.

In my canister on my smaller tank I have foam then ceramic noodles then eheim substrate pro then several more foam layer, and this has worked well for me for years. I do maintain the filter every 3 months by rinsing each media basket in a bucket of aquarium water to get rid of any surface much and I also rinse the sponges until they aren't dirty anymore. My tank parameters are always solid and the water is crystal clear so I wouldn't change this setup because it works for that tank.

In my sump I have a lot of mechanical filtration before it gets to the biohome which will help prevent clogging, it is also at the bottom of a trickle tower so will say well oxygenated. As long as I clean it periodically it should last years. The guys on the cichlid forums have been using biohome for a while now and only have good things to say about it. So far the results im getting are excellent so I will be keeping my sump setup as it is.

I'm no where near as knowledgable as other forum member like Manuel about the nitrification process, all I know is what works for my tanks and what keeps my fish and plants happy :)
 

Daveslaney

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Its the method as well as the media that helps too a wet dry /trickle tower in a sump will outperform submerged media ten fold due to the degassing effect using this method. Denitrification will still happen in the pores of the media and every thing is gassed of into the air.

So no danger of any toxic effects.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
In my canister on my smaller tank I have foam then ceramic noodles then eheim substrate pro then several more foam layer, and this has worked well for me for years. I do maintain the filter every 3 months by rinsing each media basket in a bucket of aquarium water to get rid of any surface much and I also rinse the sponges until they aren't dirty anymore. My tank parameters are always solid and the water is crystal clear so I wouldn't change this setup because it works for that tank.
If it works, don't change it. There isn't just one method that works.

It isn't a very exciting, but I like a risk management strategy for biological filtration. The major reason for this is that if things go wrong you can rapidly end up with a low dissolved oxygen levels and that is a certain killer.

If you can build in spare filtration capacity, try and avoid single points of failure you can reduce the probability of an event happening.

We have a great advantage in that we all have planted tanks, and plants are the most important single factor that increases biological filtration capacity and resilience.
The guys on the cichlid forums have been using biohome for a while now and only have good things to say about it. So far the results im getting are excellent so I will be keeping my sump setup as it is.
As a long time cichlid keeper, I think if this discussion had been on a cichlid keeping forum things could have <"spiralled out of control by now">.

cheers Darrel
 

Nelson

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Hi all,It is all smoke and mirrors.

You never have to throw it away, you can just rinse it and carry on for ever. If you are worried about the deeper micro-pores being blocked you can microwave it.
I'm using some noodles that are about eight years old :rolleyes:.After reading this thread,was going to bin them.
Never thought of nuking them in the microwave though :facepalm:.
 

zozo

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Never thought of nuking them in the microwave though :facepalm:.

I once needed, wel thought i needed to clean my ceramic rings because the submersed canister they where in (in the pond) was cracked and bypassed the prefilter when i noticed the water and also the ceramic rings where coffee brown and slimey all over.. I rinsed them and left them in clean water for days till the water stayed clean, but still they where coffee brown. Then i boiled them for a while and still a lot of gunk came out. And was left with camou rings..
Also never thought of the microwave (dry heat) to open them up again. But what i saw comming out after boiling, i guess that's not a bad idea prior to the microwave. :)
 
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