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  1. #1
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    HMF Mattenfilter - lots of pictures and FAQs

    Hi !

    Here some pictures of the HMF http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums...ad.php?t=79104in use in different setups, from 4 to 790 Gallons, breeding to show tanks.














    even in larger tanks:


    or in the “classical” way, like that guy from Hungary, from front side to reverse side at one end of the tank. (that’s the way I did it in my 30G tank 5 years ago and it is still running..)






    or in Nano-tanks: (12 liter)


    read more:
    http://www.dive-links.com/de/aquaris...2006-04-05.php


    if you fear that sand might slip into the filter chamber you could silicone a small strap of plexiglas/acrylicglas



    or in a community tank. As seen in this tank from Slovakia:





    see more pictures:
    http://jacik.akva.sk/wiki/nahlad.php...d248665a98d80a




    or in this tank for loaches, 150x50x60 cm (= 60*20*24 inches, 450 liter = 450liter =119 US gallons) powered by a Maxi-Jet Power Head with 316 gals/hr



    or this 3000 liters (=790 gallons) Diskus tank


    you can see the filter mat at the right side


    HMF in use at a breeder of Malawi cichlids:



    in a 25 liter tank with red cherry shrimps:


    in this overgrown tank for Bettas


    If you want you can alos build a holding ray, if you don’t want to silicone the cable channels to the tank itself:

    [IMG]http://www.*******s-of-science.de/images/hotte/x007.jpg[/IMG]
    [IMG]http://www.*******s-of-science.de/images/hotte/x009.jpg[/IMG]


    **** stands for b a s t a r d which is obviously a bad word in html-software if i cope and paste it from word it is somehow transformed to ** , Crazy.
    just look for mattenfilter in google.com images to see more examples of it in use.

    I didn't want to make the existing thread about the HMF much longer, so here come the translated FAQs for it...


    _________________________
    German language original URL:
    http://www.deters-ing.de/Filtertechnik/FAQ.htm
    Date 24-11-03
    Author :Olaf Deters
    The author gave writen consent to use his original article

    The Hamburger Mattenfilter has gained it's rightful place among aquarists. Even mail-order shops offer the mat now, even though they would prefer to sell more expensive filter constructions. Since 1996, the mattenfilter has been
    explained on these pages in text, drawings and pictures.
    In the course of time some questions arose on behalf of readers and users and I get emails nearly everyday about this. The answers to questions have been incorporated either into the text or into these FAQs.


    Can the Filtermat be too large ?

    No, but the velocity of flow might get too low. If it is too low further problems arise. On one side suction is
    reduced. By this, a part of the biology supposed to take place in the filter shifts to the aquarium. In my
    experiments, some considerable nitrite levels appeared if speed was reduced too much.


    I read that there should be a gap of about 2cm between mat and pane, but then the pump doesn't fit in between any longer. Can I have more distance or does this change anything in the filtration effectiveness of the HMF?

    No this has no effect at all on filterpower. The 2cm result because of the construction and are thought as a help in
    understanding.


    Can the matfilter be used in seawater aquaria ?

    Usually not. According to its principle the matfilter produces nitrate and this is disposed of by water changes or plant growth. In a seawater aquarium the water changes are negligibly small so that this means there is no way of nitrate disposal. Algae as well do not absorb nitrates too much. So the aquarium has to get along with all the nitrate. In a seawater aquarium one therefore installs skimmers which extract proteins etc, before turning into nitrate.


    How high is the waterspeed in the mat really ?

    Very much higher than in the calculation results. The calculation does not take into consideration the narrowing of the diameter of the mat and its getting choked up with mud. Therefore the real speed is much higher. In practice the recommended approximate values turned out to be good as they contain some safety reserves. For this reason there is no danger if one calculates a too low speed of waterflow.


    The calculation does not prove right


    An aquarium is a biological system and no exact technical construction. Accordingly, it can be adjusted rather
    inaccurately. The recommended values concerning Speed of waterflow and circulations per hour are
    approximative values, which resulted mostly from experience. If the speed of water flow is only 2cm /minute but the flow rate in the tank per hour is alright no problems are to be expected. The flow rate could also go down to 1x per hour or rise to the threefold. It will have no effect, if the speed of the wate rflow remains within limits. Basically, my calculations only show the lower limit of dimensioning, the filter can very well be larger .

    Can I take a mat from Home Depot/Bauhaus ?

    There a positive and negative experiences alike. I supect that Home Depot/Bauhaus/Obi/... doesn't get supplied
    for by always the same plastics producer but changes its range of product over time and has regional differences. For this reason one cannot make any general statements.. Its safer to use real filtermats. You can find them here.


    How high must be the difference in water height in front of and behind the mat ?

    In new mats one often finds no difference in waterheights. This does no matter. To exclude any unwanted
    circulations one can, in example, check with a suspension of dry food if the water goes through the mat or if there
    are some leaky parts at the margins of the mat. Maximum height difference is somewhere around 4 - 5 cm, in my
    experience. Above that, the one-sided water pressure is so high that the mat bows heavily and does not fit tight to
    front and backsidewalls. Then one should clean the mat more intensively, Note: There are aquaria where this never occurs.


    Where is the area of calculation being measured, from upper edge to ground or to the bottom side

    Correctly from upper edge to ground, but this is no exact science. One gets along well if one takes the lenght of the sidewalls. As mentioned above, the existence of the Mattenfilter is more important. It cannot be too large, but I would not size it smaller than at the levels mentionned.


    Where to buy the mat ?

    I bought my foamed plasticmats at specialised dealers. There one can let it have cut, aswell. Meanwhile all
    specialised mail order shops feature the mat.


    How thick should the mat be ?

    A mat thickness of 5 cm turned out to be okay. Certainly, one can choose a thicker one, but stability does not
    increase linearly. One says that the main activity happens in the first centimeters. The other centimeters are for stability.


    Can I do without a pump ?

    Two of my tanks have a Mat on the entire backside, made of a 2cm coarse foam mat, which has been glued with
    aquarium silicone onto an extra pane of glass. The Pump sucks water at one side and pushes it from the other side
    through the tank. A river aquarium for catfishes. In the mat enough organisms pile up and streaming is sufficient.
    But the aquarium is oblong. I would not recommend that for standard aquaria.


    How long does a Mattenfilter needs to get going ?

    Oh, difficult to say, Expect four weeks, rather more. It depends decisively on water contamination. It really works well from week 12 on, or more. But then it also works for a lifetime. If the tank has been operated before with a canister filter one could and should let it run parallely for a time (ca. 2 -4 weeks). Negative results are not to be expected.


    One says that it should still be squeezed out.

    No. It is not in the nature of a mattenfilter to need any care. Only some occasional sucking off every few
    waterchanges is necessary. In tanks that are extremely contaminated this might be the case more often and
    more periodically. Oddly enough, it also happens in normal aquaria. But one does not need to and should not
    squeeze it or de-mud it by principle.


    Can a mattenfilter be operated externally, too ?

    Principally yes, but some major advantages get lost: An internal mattenfilter develops no suction effect worth to
    speak of, as the suction takes place over a large area. Therefore, a Mattenfilter "eats" no food or young fish. Now
    if one uses the suction pipe of the filter to bring water to the filter then again the suction basket might get blocked up with plant parts. I do not believe this is a good idea.



    "It has happened twice that a part of the water finally made it to the appartment. The reason was, besides me, the
    hoses or the canisterfilter. Beside others, the BIG advantage at the mattenfilter is that it is within the tank. If one
    uses the Mattenfilter externally, one also looses this advantage
    ." (Henry Hoch, October 1999)



    Can one also use two mats ?

    Of course, if the aquarium is 1.80 m or more then I would recommend that, if one takes care that there are no larger parts without circulation. The circle effect gets lost hereby (applies to canisterfilters, too). If in these tanks one installs a filter on one side only then, possibly, the last 80cm are not moved any longer. One can prevent this if one places the gushing out pipe to the other side and thereby pushes the water towards the mat.


    Which filter foam is better, the fine or the coarse one ?

    Doesn't matter, I prefer the fine foam. It also does not get sealed. But if one has some fish which mess in the mud
    or eat a lot, e.g. large cichlids, then the coarse one will serve better. The foam is nothing but the "stock shelf" for
    the mud, the supporting framework. If that is now fine or coarse does not matter for the filtration. Only the circeling might take longer in a coarse mat, as its riddle effect is not as high.


    How old does a mat get ?

    My oldest mat lived to be eleven. The mats I had to change had been beaten up with pushes from the hose at
    multiple cleanings. No wonder, it were breeding tanks with a lot of Baby brine shrimp feeding. But even under
    these conditions, they are in it for 3 - 4 years for sure and without any intensive cleaning.


    How large has the mat to be cut ?

    In the width it should be 5 mm broader than the inside width of the tank. Height should be chosen so that it is 10
    mm higher than the waterlevel. Apart from that , the size results from the calculation


    Must the mat go down to the glassbottom ?

    Yes, that's recommended. Otherwise there might be a small gap between mat and substrate, where the water
    might pass through unfiltered.


    What about the mud behind the mat ?

    One can leave that mud behind the mat. Usually it does not distract there and it serves, in some sense, as a
    store for bacteria and buffer.


    Does one safe waterchanges with a Hamburger Mattenfilter ?

    No, the mattenfilter does not replace a waterchange. A real waterchange has still to be done.


    So what's the point with the HMF ?

    It makes a substantially very stable biological environment in the aquarium. This is due to its true and large mass
    of filtermud. In canisterfilters there is less and in addition, the aquarium (plants, substrate..) filters itself. In a
    MF-aquarium, one can quite possibly suck off the substrate or do some large scale water changes. The MF will
    buffer that. The MF-aquaria are far more resistant against influences from outside. They are biologically stable.


    Canisterfilters do work, why then a Mattenfilter ?

    No one says that aquaria with canisterfilters have to be adapted at once. But for a new installation one should
    think about a filterchange. Usually, aquaria with a canisterfilter do work as a large part of the filterwork takes
    place in the aquarium and not in the canister. Experiments showed that in average canisterfiltered aquaria, one
    could remove the filter wool and nothing changed in the aquarium. That means that the filter does not help much,
    it only provides watercirculation.


    Does it make sense to use a circulation pump filter as a pump for a internal MF ?

    Principally yes. But one should bear in mind that, because of frictional resistance inside, the net pump power
    cannot be compared any longer to the given pump power. It is reduced. This should be checked when doing the
    mathematical dimensioning.
    For a repetition: One assumes a twofold circulation of the tank per hour. That means that the pump power per hour must be twice as high as the tank volume (with or without substrate, does not matter). Thereby the waterflow in the mat should be between 5 - 10 cm /minute. If the Eheim pump shows 620 ltr /h and the tank has a volume of 300 ltr/h then it might get rather on the short side of 2x per hour. This is because the real pump power is only 50 ââ‚“ 75 % due to the filling material and its density in the canister.



    Are iron fluctuations in the mat preventable or dangerous ?

    No, completely normal. The iron which comes from fertilizers into the tank is held stable by chelators. These
    chelators do not work forever, the the iron precipitates and gets into the substrate or into the filter. However, some traces come back from there, so that a certain iron supply from the filtermud is given.



    Mattenfilter and mould film

    A mould film consists of bacteria living on the surface. They are of no importance in small numbers. So if a
    mould film appears, that is no reason for panic. A mould film has nothing to do with filtration, both are principally independent matters. A mould film behind the mat is absolutely not critical. I would not do anything against it. At the aquarium side, a mould film can be prevented or fought against by a handy placement of the pump outlet pipe. Otherwise the usual operations: periodical removement with blotting paper or a litre mug.


    Mattenfilter and sand as substrate

    Of course, wheter gravel, sand or no substrate at all like in breeding tanks, a mattenfilter will always work. This is one of the essential points of a MF. It alone shall, must and will be sufficient to hold all the microbiology for the aquarium. That's the job of a Mattenfilter.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    German language original URL: http://www.deters-ing.de/Filtertechnik/FAQ.htm

    Date 24-11-03

    Author :Olaf Deters



    see also some pictures:
    http://www.deters-ing.de/Filtertechnik/FilterBilder.htm

    _____



    Have a nice day!

    Jörg





  2. #2
    I wish I was a fish I wish. Que's Avatar
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    What kind of foam is the filter mat?

    Q



  3. #3
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    Hi!


    It is the same material that Eheim uses as blue filterpads.
    It is polyurethane

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyurethane

    foam with open cells (you can breath through them) on basis of polyether or polyester. The material is "reticulated", meaning that the open pores are treated (with ultrasound?) so that nothing remains but a skeleton of foam.
    Eheim Filterpads:



    Here it is available in different densities (pores per inches, ppi) and sizes (usually 50x50x5cm about 10euro) for a standard tank
    I once used a foam used for seat cushion, which had even smaler pores, but you never know wheter this unknown material emits some conservants, fungizids,etc. With the PU-filtermats available at Petshops you should be on the save side.
    opencelled PU Foam should be available worldwide, it is a mass product.



    Jörg



  4. #4
    BobsTropicalPlants.com Mgamer20o0's Avatar
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    how hard to clean?



  5. #5
    Cityfied Redneck
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    I love anything DIY. May have to try something like this on my next tank. Gonna bookmark this thread!
    Cheers!
    Ketso
    My Tank - 55 Gallon Planted Community Freshwater, 32w DIY 6500K Lighting, Rena Filstar XP3 Filter, Pool Filter Sand Substrate
    My Fish - 10-15 Cherry Barbs, 1 Otos, 25*/- Green Cory
    My Plants - Java Fern, Anubia



  6. #6
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    Hi mgamer!

    "how hard to clean"

    Occasionally I use the hose during the waterchanges and siphon it's surface off. About once a month.
    Maybe you have to clean it more often when you have a lot of wood-rasping fish like Plecos or larger catfish. In that case a mat with larger pore diameter (less pores per inch, ppi) might work well.
    Generally, it is a filtration system that works best when you leave it alone. leave the mat at it's place, dont pull it out, hands off! Once the bacteria and organic matter have settled in the mat,when it changes its colour from blue to brown, any excess material (the "mud") is transported by the small flow of water (5-10 cm/min) towards the filter side of the HMF and sinks. Don't touch it , unless it gets too much. Other kinds of bacteria (bacteria eating bacteria) and nematodes will live on it and will keep it's volume rather constant at an acceptable level. This material is also ideal to shorten the cyceling phase of a new tank. When i start a new tank, i take some ml of that material from an existing tank and add it to the new tank. When everything is well dimensioned you have a good chance that no nitrite(NO2) peak will occur.No need to do it with food cycling or NH4. (Of course you are free to buy that stuff in little expensive bottles at at you local pet shop. ;-) ).

    When you use a HMF, you will get a higher biological stability in your tank, given by the larger filter volume and slower speed in the filter than in the classical canister filters. Thus, when you follow the advices and dimension it with the above mentionned criteria (AQ volume passes twice per hour through the filtermat, speed of water in the mat is 5-10 cm/min) you will get cristall clear water and can have larger waterchanges. One "disadvantage" might be that a well running HMF is absorbing quite a lot of iron. But knowing that you can adjust your dosing regime and have a great rate of growth. I am using the estimative index for dosing and it works out well.

    @ketso:

    Just do it! You don't need much material and shouldn't it work out well you can still go back to canister filters (i doubt that ;-). You see that it works well in many different setups. Why not in yours ??

    Bye

    Jörg



  7. #7
    The glistening drop.... Rbishop's Avatar
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    It's different. Looks good for many still water fish and planted set ups.
    Bob

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  8. #8
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    What is a non-still water fish ? A trout? I think for the aerobic steps of nitrogen degradation (NH4->NO2->NO3) it makes no difference which fish "emitted" the matter ;-)
    Of course you would need an additional streaming pump for rheophile fish, no matter which filter system you use.
    Jörg



  9. #9
    The glistening drop.... Rbishop's Avatar
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    My meaning was directed that I thought it best for fish who prefer mild flow conditions. I am sure it is a very capable biological filter.
    Bob

    Our baggage helped define who we are. How we carry it determines our direction in life.



  10. #10
    BobsTropicalPlants.com Mgamer20o0's Avatar
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    the one down side i see is taking up tank space. do you have any kind of ratio on how big of tank vs how much area you should use. also do you ever fill in the extra area with other kinds of media.



    looks like a lot of extra space that could be used for bio media or floss or more sponges or would that cut down flow?



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