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How to get crystal clear water?

Discussion in 'General Freshwater' started by JosephMCorbett, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. JosephMCorbett

    JosephMCorbett AC Members

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    My tank is a 125 with the tankmates in my sig. I've shut off my bubble bar and took out the air-diffuser from the power-heads. Seems the power-heads still put out a fine, fine mist of air bubbles - how can this be if they are submerged? Also there is a fair amount of particulate matter floating around at all times. I'm running a Rena Filstar XP3 and have two Penguin 1140 phs with sponges on the intake grates. The clearest tanks I've ever seen are running UGFs. If you've got a really clear tank, let us all know what hardware you are using and/or what your secret is please.
     
  2. TipStylez

    TipStylez XCELMotorsports.com

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    i use 2 30gal external hang on filters in my 29gal, i also got a coustomized "gravel" filter not ugf but it just filters anything around the gravel floor, made out of a power head and some ugf pipeing...il show you giw u made it tomarrow after work.

    -Q
     
  3. Kasakato

    Kasakato SatCan

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    Plants, water changes, filter cleaning, gravel vacs. Everything adds up.
     
  4. id10t

    id10t AC Members

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    Using a 10gal with the smallest penguin biowheel filter (came with the tank). Water as clear as could be, with just a few plants (elodea, bound at the bottom and stuck into gravel) and 2 guppies.

    Probably helps that my water comes from a well, and said well is right into the Florida Aquifer, about 3 miles from Ginnie Springs....
     
  5. RTR

    RTR AC Members

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    Water clarity is a function of particulate capture. Are the sponges on the Penguins the Penguin reverse-flow kits? I use multiple of those for RFUG, but they are pretty coarse sponges. You could try FilterMaxIII (coarse, but finer than the Penguin kits) or FilterMaxI (quite fine). Either will definitely improve your particulate capture, but the cost will be increased sponge rinsing, as the finer sponges will clog much faster than the Penguin sponges,which rarely clog (if that is whet you are using).

    For the ultimate clarity, go to the finer sponges mentioned above and then add a HOT Magnum with the micron filter sleeve (you will need two sleeves, one in use and one being cleaned for the next round). The combo of fine sponges and the micron pad will give post-diatom filtration clarity routinely, but at the cost of extra filter upkeep.

    Your fine bubbles sound like cavitation in the impeller chamber. Is the sponge clogged?

    All the sponges discussed here need to be tap water rinsed at least weekly, the fine FilterMaxI likely 2X weekly.

    HTH
     
  6. JosephMCorbett

    JosephMCorbett AC Members

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    Thanks guys for the input so far. Kas I do a 35% water change per week with a gravel vac. on one portion or other of the tank. I've been cleaning the filter once per week. By the way, I'm not too taken with the Rena Filstar...I think there is blow-by which is contributing to the particulate matter in the tank. I think I didn't see the bubbles or most of the particulate matter until I put on the 260w light hood. Nothing hides now. RTR, as far as the sponges on the p/hs, they are a recent addition. Wasn't sure what to do about the particulate matter and was thinking...I've got a p/h in each corner for airation and to move heated water away from each back corner heater and all they are doing is moving water; I should use them to filter if I can. As I mentioned, they are Pengiun 1140's and I was not able to find any kind of filter/floss/sponge attachment that is made for them. My LFS had on hand some Fluval filter sleves made for one of thier internal filters. I bought them to see if they might work. Trimmed to fit over the intake grates of my p/hs and gave it a shot. Even though they are relatively course, it appears they are catching some particles. The foam gets green/brown after a few days and there are relatively large pieces of plants stuck to them. But I still see some relatively large particles floating around as well as the bubbles from the p/hs. If the p/h impellers are cavitating, how do I stop this? I was considering the Eheim Aquaball internal filters...anyone have exp. with them. Also, considering swapping the Rena for an Eheim pro II.....I want clean water!
     
  7. f8ldzz

    f8ldzz AC Members

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    What kinda filter media are you running in the Filstar?
    Rena makes a white "micro" pad, and two black foam pads (20ppi and 30ppi).
    The white micro pad comes with every new Filstar, but you'd need to purchase the black 20 and 30 foam pads separately.
     
  8. JSchmidt

    JSchmidt Cowbell! I need more cowbell!

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    A HOT Magnum as suggested by RTR would probably do the trick. They work quite well. I'd prefilter it with a sponge to help the micron filter not clog so fast.

    Jim
     
  9. JosephMCorbett

    JosephMCorbett AC Members

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    The media I'm running in the XP3 is as follows:

    Bottom basket: 2 20 micron foams (bottom), 2 30 micron foams (top)
    Mid basket: 2 carbon pouches
    Top basket: ceramic bio-media (bottom), 2 white micron foams (top)

    Maybe I'm not getting enough GPH with all the foam in the bottom? Was thinking about taking 1 each of the 20/30s out.

    Will look into the Magnum.
     
  10. Kasakato

    Kasakato SatCan

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    Did you wash out the carbon? Try taking it out for a bit.
     
  11. Harlock

    Harlock Educated Idiot

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    My water stays clear. Gear listed in the link in my sig or on my custm member page linked to the left.
     
  12. RTR

    RTR AC Members

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    Order the Penguin RFUG kits to get the prefilter sponges at least - the kit is cheaper than the FilterMax kits locally for me. It is coarse, but only fairly fine stuff gets through. If that does not do the job, step up to FilterMax. If you are still unhappy, add, don't replace the sponges, the HOT Magnum, and prefilter it as suggesteed. But keep the HOT prefilter really clean to keep from starving the pump (rinse every 2nd or 3rd day). The HOT, when used with additional mechanical (the powerhead sponges at least, or those plus prefiltering the HOT) will keep the tank diatom-clear.

    If the p/h pump is cavitating, it means it is starved for flow - wrong sponge or clogged sponge such that the impeller is starved.
     
  13. Slappy*McFish

    Slappy*McFish Backhanded fish to the face!
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    I don't mean to hijack this thread but I have a question regarding the HOT Magnum micron cartridge. Once the cartridge becomes clogged is there a good way to clean it or does the thing have to be replaced? I've tried to clean mine but with very little success.
     
  14. Kissofthegorami

    Kissofthegorami Broke College Student

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    I have a classic eheim canister filter that captures pretty much everything. Water oes through ceramic beads, then a course filter pad, then lots of gravel-like substrate, then a fine filter pad. I also use an aquaclear hang on back with sponge and ceramic beads. I put filter floss on top to polish that water. I have a planted tank and seems everyone with a planted tank has very clear water, cept when they have algae.
     
  15. RTR

    RTR AC Members

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    Slappy - the micron pads are bleached, rinsed and de-clor'd, then ready for re-use. this is the reason for specifying that two are needed - one in use, the other being cleaned and then held held for next trade-out. They are fairly lasting.
     
  16. JosephMCorbett

    JosephMCorbett AC Members

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    RTR is there any other reason besides cavitation that could be causing my p/hs to release fine bubbles. My LFS said to make sure that they are completely submersed so that air doesn't get into the case from the top. Did that...no improvement. The flow on them is great. The grates are clean, the sponge pre-filters are clean. Tiny, little bubbles. Looks also like my Filstar is releasing some as well. I think the ceramic bio-media holds alot of air or creats alot of air from the bacteria and then periodically releases it...not sure. As I plant more, I'm not going to need the bio-media anyway. Or the carbon for that matter with ferts. Just sponges and micron floss in the cannister for a planted tank? I know there is blow-by as well. Not sure what to do with my current hardware to fix the bubble problem - looks like if I want to fix it, I need a new filter and new p/hs. I've read alot of your posts and you seem to use relatively low light and no co2 for your planted tanks. You say you also try not to have too much surface agitation. Are you relying on your cannister filters to airiate your water? Is that enough for me (check out the sig. for fish list)? Would one cannister airiate a 125 gallon tank with 30 4 inch fish in it? Sorry lots of questions.
     
  17. TipStylez

    TipStylez XCELMotorsports.com

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    are thos tiny little bubbles look like dust floating around? if so i had the same problem its gone now ever since i did a 75% water change
     
  18. RTR

    RTR AC Members

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    I can't think of any other reason for small-bubble generation in the powerheads or external filters. All I have had myself have been impeller starvation issues from whatever source.

    I did away with the high-light pressurized CO2 tanks ages ago - required too much effort in pruning/upkeep. I have too many tanks for that. Some of my tanks still get routine supplements up to and including Excel, but no CO2 as such.

    I have plenty of current within the tanks, just minimum surface breaks. The circulating range does get breaks (it is on 4 levels, with constant-level siphons connecting) from the level changes, so did blow off CO2 quite well.

    I have biofilters all over the place, even on the heavily planted tanks with full supplements. I am very much a belt & suspenders type - nothing is critical-path single unit supported. I have more equipment than I use anyway, having functional back-ups is no extra hassle for me. I know well that the biofilters are well inoculated but not competent to handle the bioloads in their tanks alone - found that out the hard way stealing them for freshly set FO tanks. If I want to use them for new FO of comparable biolod, I need to give them a week or two of ammonia feeding on an empty tank to boost colony size first. And the setups from which they were stolen show no metabolites in the meantime - but then they also have back-ups. So personally I have biomedia in dedicated canisters, biofiltration only, externally prefiltered for mechanical protection from being silted. I did separate bio- and mech filration quite some years back, it makes life easier for me. I can go through swapping out mechanical filter sponges without touching or disturbing biomedia or being concerned about preserving nitrifying bacteria. One advantage on using only a limited variety of filtration technics and having run more tanks in the pst than I operate currently. My son has big plans for inheriting all my equipment... ;)
     
  19. nvan2

    nvan2 AC Members

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    Good filter and regular water changes and filter clean-outs.
     
  20. MrAquarium

    MrAquarium AC Members

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    Time, is all you need for a clear water aquarium,
    all I run is a hot mag 250 with the foam sleeve nothing else in it, and a power head on a coffee can filter I made for polyester fiber fill to filer out the finner stuff.
    Plants and wood and fish is all I have, weather I do a w/c a week or once a month, my water is never less then clear.
    Live plants is a big helper,
    UGFs are nice to but are a pain to clean when the tme is needed, unless your running reverse flow power heads on them with a filter that can get the stuff out of the water.
     

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