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Biological filter media volume - quick formula ?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Cip, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. Cip

    Cip Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hey guys,

    Is there a simple formula that I can use to calculate the volumn of bilogical filter media that I need for x liters tank ?

    I found this article: http://goo.gl/oQfucR but to be honest I caught my ears in those formulas.

    Thank you.
     

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  2. J Art

    J Art Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Interesting, but I feel like it really doesn't need to be broken down this much. Just use the next size up filter that the manufacturer suggests, use as much biomedia as you can in your setup, don't overfeed, and don't overstock and you'll be fine.
     
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  3. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    I have always worked to this common sense practice it's very basic and never a problem.

    The only concern you often see with beginners is "I cannot afford a bigger/quality I will get it later" then they wonder why they are having continuous problems.

    Then they go off and buy a bigger unit and that meant a bigger over all cost.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  4. Cip

    Cip Aspiring Aquascaper

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    @J Art I agree with you but some brands take into consideration the volume of the tank and not the media volume which is more important in my opinion, that's why I opened this subject to discussion, maybe I'm over reacting like usual :)).

    @keithgh yeah you're right I supose.

    I want to avoid this that's why I wanted to discuss this subject with you guys.

    So let me give you an example:

    Fluval 206: http://goo.gl/GCzM7x
    4.6l of media
    JBL e701 greenline: https://goo.gl/5Xf4F2
    6.1l of media

    Small price difference between them, both are suitable for 45gal ( 200L ) max.

    For my next project which will be a 64L I don't need a filter this big but if in a year I decide to upgrade, which I most probably will do :) I could use the same filter for it, so it's a long term investment, don't mind the extra costs. For sure I'll go with JBL e701, what do you think ?
     
  5. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't over think it. The article you are referencing is for aquaculture where goals, stocking, volume, and waste are drastically different.

    J hit it. Getting an oversized filter if possible and fill it up with biomedia. Good practices will prevent problems. Safe stocking levels and avoiding over feeding.
     
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  6. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Cip

    We are all talking from experience and what is best for our fish and plants.

    What are your thoughts now?

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  7. Cip

    Cip Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I know you are talking for experience, maybe I pushed it too far but I'm sure there is math behind it.

    I know the basic stuff, I was just curious if a magic formula exists and if someone is using it :)

    I guess I'll take your advices and forget about calculations, I'll have KISS in mind :). Thank you all!
     
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  8. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Cip

    Honestly I think you have made the wisest decision in the long term, in the future who knows what developments will happen.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  9. J Art

    J Art Aspiring Aquascaper

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    No magic formulas, but I've added more biomedia inside my filter by removing the mechanical filtration (sponges, filter floss, etc).

    Sponges on the intakes to save shrimp, fry, etc take its place. Works the same way and little critters like to munch on it. Easy cleanup during water change with siphon, just vacuum excess debris from the sponge.

    For me this cuts filter maintenance time, increases filter flow, and in my opinion makes it a more efficient.

    You're right to go with the larger filter and thinking long term. Most filters allow you to turn down the flow output if need be.

    Equally important is the flow pattern inside the aquarium. Adding a little pump to help flow and eliminate dead spots will likely do more for you overall than just having more filtration.
     
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  10. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I think what you posted would be the formula. In our hobby when we run into formulas or things like this they are generally, as in this case, taken from industry. There are plenty of smart hobbyists out there who could certainly develop something, but there really isn't a need for something applicable to the hobby. Getting good porous biomedia is a very good idea. I would avoid anything plastic that calls itself biomedia. You want to maximize the surface area of the media. All in all, the difference between one expensive commercial product and say something like small lava rock is most likely negligible.
     
  11. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    I have used this in my Eheim only one concern it must be washed extremely well to remove all the dirt and dust before its used in your filter.

    [​IMG]

    This is called Scoria in Australia it's used every where it's that cheap
    [​IMG]

    Ready for use in the garden

    A 10lt bucket might cost you nothing but a please and thank you at many garden suppliers.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  12. Cip

    Cip Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Last night a saw this video from Cory https://goo.gl/2Ud1I5 :), gave me some ideas. Like you said the intake sponge it's almost godlike :)).

    I agree with you here. I currently have in a HOB mini siporax from tetra, ceramic media, I'm not to happy with, it it clogs really fast but it does the job.

    I have bought some time ago like 20kg of lava rock for aquascaping very cheap, I already have like 5 kg grated so I think I'm gonna use it :).

    Earlier I said that the info in Cory's video gave me an idea, I already have a HOB for the 30lt cube, which I'll dismember as soon as I have the new tank started, I can buy another HOB and run both on the new tank. One with sponges for mechanical filtration and one with bio media. HOB filters are easy to maintain I'll have good flow in the aquarium etc. Like @J Art mentioned I'll add also an intake sponge to the bio media HOB and I think for a 64L it's overkill :). Of course I would not overstock it, a school of boraras, maybe 6-8 pygmy corys, few amanos and that's that. What do you guys think, would you do something like this ? I'll have large surface area for bacteria to grow, good flow, easy to maintain, and cheaper than buying a canister filter which most probs will do the same as 2 HOBs.
     
  13. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    If you want practically maintenance free use a UGF with a good air pump. To keep under the UGF clean always syphon via the riser tube/s.

    HOB just make sure you get the correct size/s for your tank.

    With the HOB inlet make sure the inlet is covered to save your Shrimp fry.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  14. Cip

    Cip Aspiring Aquascaper

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    UGF is impractical cuz you have those pipes in your tank, I have it installed on the shrimp tank. If you have a large hardscape you can't siphon everywhere and so it will eventually clog.

    This is applicable for every filter :) so yeah you need to have a good size HOB, I just said I will have 2.

    I have a DIY "shrimp guard" since day 1.

    Thanks!
     
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  15. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    You seem to have every thing covered.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  16. Cip

    Cip Aspiring Aquascaper

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    That's because you guys give good advices every time :), and you make me wanna learn more and more.

    Thank you!
     
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  17. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    As far as I am concerned its based on experience over many years also being an Advisor and a Moderator on several aquarium Forums certainly helps.

    My Aquascaping knowledge is based on all the design work I have learnt and taught.

    I have been lucky enough to do some Judging along the way.

    80 years young is not that far off and, I hope to continue as long as I can.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  18. Cip

    Cip Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Me too @keithgh, I wish you good health and happiness.
     
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  19. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you very much.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  20. MarcelM

    MarcelM Aspiring Aquascaper

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    All those rather very exact formulas are pretty useless in something as dynamic ecosystems as aquariums.

    Im my opinion i filter never can be to big it only can be to small. People are building sump filters wich are packet with all kinds of media, the bigger they are the better. I've seen them in 75% volume of the tank they have to filter. And if the biological balance is healthy they need very little maintenance and are pretty self-sufficient.. Everything gets broken down into usefull elements again, like nature does, nothing stays unused, "dust to dust ashes to ashes". The bigger they are the less manual input they need, only if the are (to) small and over time clog with debri more then they can handle, this is where the common sense comes in to know how to determine when and where your filter needs maintenance. Usualy this is at the initial small mechanical side which just becomes smelly over time where the larger debri gets collected and stacks up. These filters work over the complete range, aerobic and anearobic this is why eventualy everything is broken down and recycled. Hence nature can provide us with clean drinking water and nobody needs to make a filter for that, nature itself is the filter with for example the biological organic forset topsoil where the aerobic part is done on top of a sand sediment where all the water seeps through and the anearobic part is finnished and pops the surface again down hill and forms a stream teeming with life and lush green plants we can drink from.

    When it comes to cannister filter which actualy are closed mainly anearobic filter systems it doesn't realy matter you can make them as big as a house they stay anaerobic and do in fact only half the job and are half as sufficient. Because they are only anaerobic they are way slower and over time will collect so much debri which can not be broken down they need to be washed out from time to time. So even if you fill them with biomedia only it eventualy will get cloged. A sponge is in fact as biological as any other biomedia.. As long as it houses bacteria its biological. The aim of all this special developed biomedia is the extra surface area it provides to be able to house more bacteria. But a sponge filter only also has biological propperties, maybe a bit less sufficient because it has less surfsce area and thus houses less bacteria. So with this it also becommes a bit obvious, would you like a formula you also would need to know the surface arae of the media you plant to use. :) The same volume of fine sand has maybe 100 x more surface area than the same volume of bioballs. :)

    Read Diana Walstad, in her books everything is kinda explained very sceintificaly with loads of formulas. Regarding some, a bit to sceintificaly, but if you are into that, eat your heart out and devour it, you might love it. :) In this book you will learn that even a aquarium can be a rather self sustaining eco system depending how you set it up. Some low tech people even never ever, clean the substrate and still have very healthy lush green clean looking tanks. (y) The substrate by itself can be a very sufficient maintenance free biological filter.
     
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