Added Some Supplemental Media to the QuietFlow 75 to Help with Bio Filtration During Cycle...PLEASE Advise

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Kaskade10729

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My tank has been up and running for about a month now, and we have been -- if anyone has been following my other threads -- attempting a fish-in cycle with two small fancy goldfish (we plan to keep fancies once the tank is matured; amazingly, throughout this entire process, the two fish we put in there are not only happy, eating and thriving, they're actually growing significantly since we got them). We did two rounds of Seachem Stability treatment, per Seachem's recommendation after our bacterial bloom didn't really improve, and at this point we still have a bit of a haze in the tank, with API test readings that come back, day after day, with almost the same results.

As of today, 7/21, the readings were:

Ammonia: 0.25 - 0.50 ppm
Nitrite: 0 (this never seems to move)
Nitrate: 0 - 5.0 ppm (this also never seems to move, always coming in as a dark yellow color in the test tube, indicating the level is somewhere between 0 and the orange box of 5.0)

I have also performed several small (about five to 10 gallons each) water changes during this month time period when the ammonia level seemed to reach a definitive 0.50, but I'm not sure if this is setting the bacteria growth process back any.

Now, Seachem had suggested to me that I add some biological filtration media to one of my HOBs, an Aqueon QuietFlow LED PRO 75 (which only takes two floss cartridges with carbon), to speed up the bio-seeding stage (we have two filters on this tank; the Aqueon on one side, and an AquaClear 110 on the other with a foam block, floss layer and BioMax rings in the chamber). I also plan on running 200ml of Purigen in the AquaClear when I can get around to going to my local mom-and-pop aquarium shop (the only place that carries it in my area), but let me explain the crux of this thread with regard to the media I stuffed inside the Aqueon today...

As I said, I didn't get a chance to get to our mom-and-pop aquarium shop today to get the packs of Purigen (the local Petsmarts and Petcos don't stock it) but I will tomorrow, probably; however, I did get to a Petsmart and was able to pick up a small packet of bio rings (I wanted the Seachem Matrix, per Seachem's recommendation, but they had none, so I settled for the Fluval BioMax for the AquaClear filters) as well as a three-pack of small foam blocks (also from Fluval) which I installed in my Aqueon HOB. Here's what I want to know about this setup:

Because I couldn't fit the ceramic rings in front of the floss cartridges of this filter, I was forced to drop the sack into the little intake chamber that sends the water through to the cartridges (in this HOB, the water flows from back to front through the cartridges, unlike the Fluval AquaClears or Seachem Tidals, where it flows from the bottom upward) and I had to put the small foam block in there, as well. Is this okay, and will it provide good additional mechanical and biological filtration? I bought this additional media, again, per Seachem's suggestion to get some more biological material into the filters...

Let me see if I can explain it better with pictures...

Here's what the Aqueon looks like with the cover off:

1595370484713.png

See that little open chamber area above the intake box in the upper left hand corner? That's where I was forced to stuff the foam block and then the sack of bio rings on top of it. This means that the water will go through those pieces and then spill over to the cartridges on the right, where the water should be further polished with the carbon floss pads (all that blue plastic is supposed to "harbor" beneficial bacteria, as well). Is this okay?

Also -- I removed the exhausted ammonia "specialty pads" that Aqueon provides for this model, which fit into this little "bio grid" that sits before the water returns to the tank:

1595370533699.png

See those "pads" that are sitting in that "cage" near the water return area? I replaced those ammonia removers that were supplied in the box with cut-to-fit pieces of foam block I bought today, so I figured this would just be another area for bacteria to grow on...or perhaps some additional water polishing. Is this okay?
 
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the loach

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The nitrifying bacteria aren't really dependent on what media you have in your filter, as they are about everywhere on the surfaces of your tank, for sure that's enough for 2 small goldfish in a 55 (?). It won't hurt for the future though, as they will get big and you want sufficient surface area for the bacteria. Like I said before HOB's aren't really suited for big messy fish, if I had them in a 55 I would have at least 1 Eheim canister on there, which has about a gallon volume for media. I can't really tell from the pics what volume these HOB's have for media?
 

Kaskade10729

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The nitrifying bacteria aren't really dependent on what media you have in your filter, as they are about everywhere on the surfaces of your tank, for sure that's enough for 2 small goldfish in a 55 (?). It won't hurt for the future though, as they will get big and you want sufficient surface area for the bacteria. Like I said before HOB's aren't really suited for big messy fish, if I had them in a 55 I would have at least 1 Eheim canister on there, which has about a gallon volume for media. I can't really tell from the pics what volume these HOB's have for media?
Thanks Loach; any feedback about my water readings at this point?

Actually, I am running a 60 gallon, and have two HOBs on here -- the Aqueon and the AquaClear 110. Together, they're supposed to be turning over close to 900 gallons per hour (rated).

There really isn't a lot of room for media in the Aqueon; to be honest, they were designed to be used with the company's proprietary cartridges (of course :rolleyes:) but many people mod them in different ways to get different media in there.

It's difficult to get pictures of what the chamber looks like in these; I'll try to get actual snaps of my filter as soon as I can...in the meantime, here's what the cartridge compartment looks like (this is a smaller model than mine):

1595373802070.png

And:
1595373836762.png

You see that empty chamber on the left side of the media compartment? THAT'S where I stuffed a foam block and the bag of Biomax. Is that okay that they're coming BEFORE the floss cartridges?

Also -- I cut pieces of the Fluval foam to fit in that little area in the front of the filter, where that "pad" resides in the picture above...remember we were talking about the ammonia remover pad in my other thread? I replaced those with cut-to-fit pieces of the Fluval foam block...is that okay? I figured this would either trap more debris not caught by the floss, or perhaps polish the water even more...

So I took THESE out of that "cage" area (the blue plastic at the waterfall return stage area):

1595374521429.png

And replaced them with cut-to-fit pieces of THIS:

1595374561803.png

Any thoughts?
 
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Kaskade10729

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Here are some more examples of how people have modded these Aqueons with different media:

1595374089980.png

1595374108346.png1595374129039.png1595374142994.png

1595374173688.png

1595374193019.png
 

fishorama

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I have similar filters with the vertical cartridges & as long as it doesn't slow the flow when slightly dirty it's ok. I've done thin sponges behind it & in front. I'm not sure about the "layering" of media. It may just bypass the bottom layer if it's too dense. I have also put ceramic bits inside the floss sleeve cartridge instead of the carbon it comes with. I don't think the plastic balls are better than polyester or sponge, it's all about surface area, but as tl said, it's all tank surfaces not just in the filter.

I also don't see much difference between the ammonia strips & the polyester pads. After a little while the ammonia 1s are "used up" & work pretty much like the poly. That little amount of either won't help all that much but doesn't hurt anything.

Water for bypass flow by the intake area. That will mean the flow is impeded. It can be from too dense or too dirty media anywhere but look at the stuff around the intake compartment first. If that happens take it out & see if it helps.... Also listen if the motor seems too be working too hard, some get noticeably noisier.
 
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Kaskade10729

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I have similar filters with the vertical cartridges & as long as it doesn't slow the flow when slightly dirty it's ok.
What are you referring to -- the new bio rings and sponge I put in, or the cartridges themselves?

I've done thin sponges behind it & in front. I'm not sure about the "layering" of media. It may just bypass the bottom layer if it's too dense.
I think we're talking about two different things here (unless I'm mistaken); there is a kind of science behind "layering" filter media in that the thickest part of the stage, usually the "sponge" or "foam," should come first to trap large and semi-large debris, followed by chemical and then, finally, the bio material, the reasoning being that the biological material should be the last area the clean water flows through (so that the bacteria are "flushed," so to speak, before returning to the tank).

This is the way the Hagen/Fluval AquaClear baskets are set up, along with the newer Seachem Tidals; with these HOBs with the cartridges, the simpler system has water come through the back of the chamber, through the cartridges and then out the unit, but the trick to modifying these is how to "stagger" the "layering" -- which I why I originally asked about it.

Now, with my Aqueon, I have placed some ceramic bio rings and a foam block in that intake chamber of the filter, but this stage comes before the cartridges -- so I'm wondering if this will be effective in terms of filtration...

I have also put ceramic bits inside the floss sleeve cartridge instead of the carbon it comes with. I don't think the plastic balls are better than polyester or sponge, it's all about surface area, but as tl said, it's all tank surfaces not just in the filter.
Indeed, the bacteria live everywhere in the tank; but in my case, as I stated in the original post, I'm attempting to get this tank cycled for a month now, and it was suggested to me by Seachem that I add some biological material to the Aqueon filter, being that bio filtration is something of a weak point for this model...

I can certainly try bio rings inside the floss sleeve; but again, does this kind of "staggering" where the bio material would come BEFORE the polishing stage of the floss make a difference?

Not sure what you're referring to with regard to "plastic balls"....do you mean those plastic bits that people put in their filters that act as surface area for bacteria? If so, I've seen them, and I never really understood the appeal...

I also don't see much difference between the ammonia strips & the polyester pads. After a little while the ammonia 1s are "used up" & work pretty much like the poly. That little amount of either won't help all that much but doesn't hurt anything.
You're most likely right -- but my reasoning here was that perhaps the exhausted ammonia pads were going to "leech" something bad back into the tank (the way people thought exhausted carbon will); I just felt more comfortable removing them.

Once the tank is cycled, I could, of course, get new ammonia removal pads or the carbon pads from Aqueon and stuff em back in there until they exhaust, too, and then just leave them. The main thing about stuffing that area is that I just wanted something in that little "bio grid" area of the filter's return stage, as without a pad of some kind there, the water return is seriously loud and aggressive.

Water for bypass flow by the intake area. That will mean the flow is impeded. It can be from too dense or too dirty media anywhere but look at the stuff around the intake compartment first. If that happens take it out & see if it helps.... Also listen if the motor seems too be working too hard, some get noticeably noisier.
I will definitely listen for a noisier motor/pump; thanks for that. As it stands, these new Aqueons (the old ones were much better IME) don't live up to the "QuietFlow" name, at all....the pump makes the entire filter rattle something awful, and I'm constantly adjusting the cover to either silence the vibration or reduce it (something I normally had to do with my AquaClear's lid).

But when you say "water for bypass flow" what are you referring to -- you mean the intake area I stuffed the extra media into? If so, do you think this will impede flow in any way? I know over time, these pieces of media will clog up, so I plan on rinsing them in tank water when doing maintenance, once I get on a regular schedule...but right now, I have to say, there seems to be NO reduction in flow rate (or very very little) with the added media...
 

the loach

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One explanation for not having nitrates could be that there are denitrifying bacteria in Stability as well. All readings are slowed down cause you have a large tank with just 2 fish. Not that that is a problem if Stability doesn't work, that's just the old fashioned way of cycling a tank (but it can easily take over 6 weeks). It's fine that you replaced the ammonia blocks with foam. The reason for the order of the media coarse to fine is otherwise it'll clog too fast. Yes your filters turn over 900 gph but they have little volume for filtration. Your filter setup is meant for like a hill stream tank with small fish. You need volume for goldfish or you'll be continuously cleaning the filters.
 

Kaskade10729

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One explanation for not having nitrates could be that there are denitrifying bacteria in Stability as well.
Interesting; it seems I have the Seachem rep I've been in touch with completely at a loss with regard to this, evidenced by this last email that came in from him just now:

As far as the nitrite thing is concerned, since you did see it at some point in the past I'm led to believe that you've hit the point of what's being generated is immediately being consumed. One of the things that has me stumped is nitrate. I expect it to increase just as you do and am trying to figure out what could be going on in the tank to keep concentrations low.

Indeed, today's readings (7/22) were at the EXACT same spots...I, for the life of me, can't figure it out...unless it's what you say here:

All readings are slowed down cause you have a large tank with just 2 fish.
Readings for 7/22:

Ammonia: 0.25 - 0.50 ppm
Nitrite: STILL 0 ppm

Nitrate: 0 - 5.0 ppm

Not that that is a problem if Stability doesn't work, that's just the old fashioned way of cycling a tank (but it can easily take over 6 weeks).
What do you mean?

It's fine that you replaced the ammonia blocks with foam.
Thanks.

The reason for the order of the media coarse to fine is otherwise it'll clog too fast.
Yes; that's what I was trying to say to fishorama regarding the heavier debris/waste going into the foam/sponge first...

Yes your filters turn over 900 gph but they have little volume for filtration. Your filter setup is meant for like a hill stream tank with small fish. You need volume for goldfish or you'll be continuously cleaning the filters.
Even the AquaClear 110's chamber is considered "little volume for filtration"?

If you're referring to the AQUEON chambers for volume, the pictures I provided were of much smaller models of filters; I was just showing these as an example of how some people have modded them for use without the cartridges solely. MY LED PRO 75 model is much bigger in terms of media space than the models in the picture, so I can stuff additional pieces in there...
 

the loach

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I looked up the Aquaclear 110, yes if you have 2 of that size I'd say you have enough volume for 2 goldfish. If they clog easily, start with (more) ceramic rings before going to foam. It's hard to say why you're getting the same readings every day. What is Seachems explanation that you're still having ammonia readings?
 

Kaskade10729

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I looked up the Aquaclear 110, yes if you have 2 of that size I'd say you have enough volume for 2 goldfish. If they clog easily, start with (more) ceramic rings before going to foam. It's hard to say why you're getting the same readings every day. What is Seachems explanation that you're still having ammonia readings?
You honestly don't think the 110 PLUS a 400 GPH Aqueon for 75 gallon tanks is enough filtration for a mere two goldfish? Sure, we plan on adding like two more once the tank matures, but I've run a setup like this (with an Aqueon 55 and the AC 110) before on this same tank without any water clarity issues.

And if the filters are clogging, wouldn't it make sense to add more mechanical (foam) material?

As for Seachem, my contact hasn't commented much about it; he is as much in the dark about it as we are. At one point, he just suggested that there's obviously something that's a "source of ammonia" in the tank, but he couldn't go beyond this; now, he's telling me to use Seachem's Zeolite product to reduce the ammonia...but previously, you and even he recommended that I REMOVE the Aqueon "ammonia reducing specialty pad" from that filter...NOW I'm being told to ADD Zeolite back into it...

I'm really confused here, Loach, and don't know what to do; if you, or anyone else who has contributed to this thread, is consciously misleading me with conflicting recommendations and suggestions because you may think my queries are ridiculous at this point, and that it's humorous to do so, there's nothing I can do but say it's the sake of my fish's health that's at stake -- I just want them to remain healthy through this process, and I don't know what to do next or who to turn to. WHY can't ANYONE tell me why my test results aren't even MOVING? How can my water be THAT messed up?

What am I supposed to do moving forward if the tank NEVER cycles? Do I perform water changes? Why is the haze in the tank not really disappearing after a MONTH?
 
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