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okay before I say anything, I'm learning and I'm trying
now I got 5 1" rbp's in my 35G and I got a aquaclear 100 or mini (same spec's Ive read) I knew it was inefficient and so I try extra hard to keep waste low and water changes high. I have some questions about aquaclear's since I dont understand mine. the water comes up the tube, thru the pump and than it moves over to the sponge and right back out again? I have a small bag of carbon and mixed with white stuff in the bottom, than I have a white sponge-like filter on top, I know the water passes thru the filter material but does it pass thru sideways vertically from pump to filter while never touching the bag of charcoal on the bottom or does the water somehow shoot out of the pump to the bottom of that enclosed area and than have to fight thru the charcoal/etc and than come up vertically thru the sponge and over the edge into the tank?. I feel that little sponge dosent do crap, I'm washing it twice a week and I dont see how it filters smaller material/particles. now I want a new filter but I am on a really tight budget (reason I've had a single hagen mini for so long) I want a magnum but theyre sooo expensive to me. the aquaclear's I remember as a kid, they came out and it was like the must have filter. looking at my aquaclear I think its a waste, dosent pump enough water and barely holds half the dirt, the other half of finer sift just keeps cycling. the bigger aquaclear's I can buy for under 50 bucks but they use the same damn sponge crap and that puts me back to having a half-azz filter.can you use a finer wool-like material as well or also?they pump enough GPH (say 200-500) this I think would be more than sufficient and it could also act as a power head I feel if I set it up at one end of the rectangular tank. just so confused
the good filters are too much and I want the best for my fish. I dont want a filter thats inadequate or just enough, I want a decent filter that catches ALL the dirt/silt thats more than enough GPH/Flow for my small tank.
 

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Danse Macabre!
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Truth be told, I wouldn't worry so much about mechanical filtration, most of the stuff settles in your gravel eventually and it really serves no benefit to your fish's health in any way shape or form to have better mechanical filtration (or any mechanical filtration at all actually).

The way the aquaclear works is that water enters through the bottom of the chamber and flows upwards through the media, spilling out at the top. Your sponge should go first (as in on the bottom). You also don't need to rinse it out that often, more like once a month should be fine. Just a pointer since some people overlook this, is that when you rinse your sponge you should NEVER use tap water, always use dechlorinated water or you'll kill the beneficial bacteria on the sponge. A good way of doing this that works for me is I rinse all my filter media in water I've drained from my tank into a bucket during water changes.

Lastly, as far as suggestions go for a new filter, I like my XP2 and it should work in your situation. Something you're going to need to consider is that your 35 gallon tank is too small for five red bellies, so if you plan on upgrading you'll need to find a filter that will both be gentle enough on your current tank but provide you enough current to be useful when/if you upgrade. If you got an XP2 it would be ok on your tank now, and also be useful if you were to say, cut down to three piranhas and get a 50 gallon tank 4-6 months from now.

EDIT: I noticed you're on a tight budget there, in that case just get an AC 500 (flow rate cranked down a little bit when you set it up) or AC 300 and you should be good. It doesn't catch super fine particles, but then it's not something you really need as much as a good turnover and efficient bio filtration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
El thats the most helpfull post I've ever had sent my way. I see what you mean about mechanical vs biological. the sponge goes on the bottom!?!? see man I didnt understand how the water would get to flow out the bottom (dont see no exhaust tube into bottom of chamber) thats why I put the sponge on the top, to make sure it caught anything before if fell back over into the tank. how often should I change my charcoal/media in the hagen? I'm gonna look into the AC500 and also the XP2
my eventual plans are to use my 36x12x18 for a Rhom (I want to get) and find a used 100 or 125 for the RB's that is kinda down the road but so is them hittin 4"+ each I'm hoping.
 

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Danse Macabre!
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Michaeljames said:
El thats the most helpfull post I've ever had sent my way. I see what you mean about mechanical vs biological. the sponge goes on the bottom!?!? see man I didnt understand how the water would get to flow out the bottom (dont see no exhaust tube into bottom of chamber) thats why I put the sponge on the top, to make sure it caught anything before if fell back over into the tank. how often should I change my charcoal/media in the hagen? I'm gonna look into the AC500 and also the XP2
my eventual plans are to use my 36x12x18 for a Rhom (I want to get) and find a used 100 or 125 for the RB's that is kinda down the road but so is them hittin 4"+ each I'm hoping.
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Glad I could help. It's my understanding from AC diagrams that the water flows out the bottom. I'll admit I've never actually looked at mine to double check, but I know the sponge goes on the bottom and on mine with the sponge on the bottom and and ceramic rings on top, the sponge is always filthy and the rings never get much debris in there, so I assume it's pretty much as aquaclear says it is.

Media changing, well the sponge you can use for as long as you can until it gets so clogged it starts to slow down the flow rate. That's probably about 4-5 months depending on how much mess goes through your filter. Regularly washing the sponge is enough to have your filter working tip top in the meantime. Carbon is kind of a mixed bag, some people will tell you a month, other people will tell you carbon is no longer effective after one day. Me, I just don't bother using the stuff at all.

The 36x12 tank would be good for a small rhom for a few years, or an irritan could go there for life. There's a few options you've got when the time comes, but for what it's worth I love my five inch rhom.
 

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the way the ac filter has been explained i couldnt do any better . now about a diferent filter for your tank. STAY AWAY VERY FAR AWAY FROM ANY OF THE MAGNUM FILTERS THE MAG 220 MAG 350 AND MAG 350 WITH BIOWHEEL SUCK.
Alright . u should pick up like a ac 500 for the tank your fish are gonna get bigger and start produceing alot of waste. save money and time . buy the ac500 forget the bio rings and charcol buy a secdon sponge just like the one that comes with it and stick it on top of the bottom spong. that will filter the shibby out your tank. if you use the carbon it goes on top the sponge not under it
 

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elTwitcho said:
Truth be told, I wouldn't worry so much about mechanical filtration, most of the stuff settles in your gravel eventually and it really serves no benefit to your fish's health in any way shape or form to have better mechanical filtration (or any mechanical filtration at all actually).
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I wouldn't say that it serves no benefit at all to your fish's health. The more crap that gets trapped in the sponge, the less of it is filling up in the gravel at the bottom of your tank, which is much more difficult to thoroughly clean.

Other than that, AC500's are a great option as long as you can fit one on your tank. I have 2 on my 110 gallon as well as a Filstar xp3. But as Twitcho said, make sure you get filtration done in this order: mechanical, chemical, biological to avoid getting detritus stuck in the chemical and biological stages. (So go sponge, carbon bag, bio media)

Another one of my favorite filters for smaller tanks are Penguin 330's and Emporer 400's, both of which serve primarily for biological filtration, in my opinion the most significant kind.
 

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elTwitcho said:
Truth be told, I wouldn't worry so much about mechanical filtration, most of the stuff settles in your gravel eventually and it really serves no benefit to your fish's health in any way shape or form to have better mechanical filtration (or any mechanical filtration at all actually).

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whoa whoa. did you just say mechanical filtration is pointless? wow...id rather have my filter pick up loose debris for me rather than have to cravel vac or net sweep it every time.
 

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ceramic rings? I always wondered how a piece of ceramic does anything for a tank
especially in the shape of rings, I could see if it was in the shape of ceramic screening.

and nobody see's anything wrong with me putting a AC500 (aquaclear?) on a 35G?
thats like 500GPH! wouldnt that suck my P's right up, sand and all? sure sounds like major overkill. just wanna make sure its a really good idea on my 35 before I go buy it this friday (cant wait!! gonna geta couple things u guys keep talkin about!)
 

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Filo said:
whoa whoa. did you just say mechanical filtration is pointless? wow...id rather have my filter pick up loose debris for me rather than have to cravel vac or net sweep it every time.
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Read the quote again sparky, I said "no benefit to your fish's health". Considering you highlighted that part of my post, I would at least expect you to have read it.
 

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Michaeljames said:
ceramic rings? I always wondered how a piece of ceramic does anything for a tank
especially in the shape of rings, I could see if it was in the shape of ceramic screening.

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They provide a surface for bacteria to colonize, and act as your biological filtration. It will be far more useful than adding two sponges as the rings provide a permanent place for bacteria to colonize, while a sponge will need to eventually be replaced
 

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Michaeljames said:
thats like 500GPH! wouldnt that suck my P's right up, sand and all? sure sounds like major overkill.
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Not sure about the sand, but on the fish topic I had one on a 20 gallon tank with small African cichlids without experiencing any problems. Remember, we're talking about piranhas not discus! There is no such thing as overfiltration.
 

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if u run the 2 sponges like i said . you will only be cleaning the bottomg one when you clean a sponge . the bottom one will be the one collecting the major debres. it will take maybe 2 months for that sponge to clog when you see watter flow start to deminish you remove the bottom spong clean it then take the top sponge move it to the bottom and put the clean one on top. Sponges have major aurface area for biological and mechanicle filtrate with mad surface to air ratio wich helps in the nitryfying bacteria needed for god fish health.

If sponges suck so much thwen why do all th major fish breeders and lfs and importers run a sponge filter in all there tanks?
 

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WCKEDMIDAS said:
if u run the 2 sponges like i said . you will only be cleaning the bottomg one when you clean a sponge . the bottom one will be the one collecting the major debres. it will take maybe 2 months for that sponge to clog when you see watter flow start to deminish you remove the bottom spong clean it then take the top sponge move it to the bottom and put the clean one on top. Sponges have major aurface area for biological and mechanicle filtrate with mad surface to air ratio wich helps in the nitryfying bacteria needed for god fish health.
If sponges suck so much thwen why do all th major fish breeders and lfs and importers run a sponge filter in all there tanks?
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Fish breeders run sponges because it is the only filtration method gentle enough to not suck up young fry. Local fish stores and importers run sponge filters because they are the cheapest system to set up and they can literally hook hundreds of sponge filters up to a single high powered air pump.

A sponge under water has no surface to air ratio, in fact I'm not sure what you're making refference to here. As for surface area, ceramic rings have more than a foam sponge does. As for the bottom one being the one that collects the major debris, exactly. The one on the bottom collects the major debris and the top is doing virtually nothing, except for providing a less efficient home for bio filtration than ceramic rings would. On a tank that is heavily stocked such as a 35 gallon with 5 piranhas, you're going to want all the biological capacity you can get.
 

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i honestly think the second sponge will be better then the little sac of ceramic rings. due to its larger volume and tyhe watter still has to go threw the sponge. I asked about this on other forums . and there was alot of people running the second sponges in there ac 500s
 

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WCKEDMIDAS said:
i honestly think the second sponge will be better then the little sac of ceramic rings. due to its larger volume and tyhe watter still has to go threw the sponge. I asked about this on other forums . and there was alot of people running the second sponges in there ac 500s
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Volume is nothing, a 1 inch thick sheet of cell pore has more surface area than a few gallons of bio balls does, despite having probably less than 1/20th the volume. I don't doubt there's people using a second sponge on other forums, but that doesn't mean it's the best way to get bio filtration in your tank. I stick with what I said, and emphasize again that with the bio load he has in his tank he's going to want the most efficient bio filtration he can get.
 

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elTwitcho said:
Volume is nothing, a 1 inch thick sheet of cell pore has more surface area than a few gallons of bio balls does, despite having probably less than 1/20th the volume. I don't doubt there's people using a second sponge on other forums, but that doesn't mean it's the best way to get bio filtration in your tank. I stick with what I said, and emphasize again that with the bio load he has in his tank he's going to want the most efficient bio filtration he can get.
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Im gonna have to agree with el twitcho that ceramic rings are going to be better than another sponge on top.

I do have a problem with saying mechanical filtration doesnt help the health of the fish in any way. If you have none, wouldnt particles get trapped in your bio media and decay? If it falls in the gravel, you just clean it out once a week at least. But if it gets stuck in the bio media, you are going to have some trouble keeping good water quality. Just my opinion.
 

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mori0174 said:
I do have a problem with saying mechanical filtration doesnt help the health of the fish in any way. If you have none, wouldnt particles get trapped in your bio media and decay? If it falls in the gravel, you just clean it out once a week at least. But if it gets stuck in the bio media, you are going to have some trouble keeping good water quality. Just my opinion.
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Instead it gets trapped in your mechanical media and decays there. It doesn't make much difference to water quality if you have decaying matter in your mechanical media, or on your rings, it's still the same decaying matter. I only use it because it's easier to clean a sponge than it is to clean off bits of crap from your rings, but that isn't to say it makes any difference to your fish.
 

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elTwitcho said:
Instead it gets trapped in your mechanical media and decays there. It doesn't make much difference to water quality if you have decaying matter in your mechanical media, or on your rings, it's still the same decaying matter. I only use it because it's easier to clean a sponge than it is to clean off bits of crap from your rings, but that isn't to say it makes any difference to your fish.
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that was pretty much my point. It would be very difficult to get debris out of some bio media without killing all the beneficial bacteria that lives on them. Thats why we use mechanical media. To say it makes no difference to the health of your fish would be a matter of opinion in my opinion.
 
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