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There's Never-Enough Filtration... But It's Nothing Without Water-Flow!

I just learned a hard lesson or two... and my babies suffered during it because of my stupid ego. 

It goes like this:

During a water-change few weeks back, I decided it was time to singularly unitize my 40-gal's filtration into one large container. With it on-hand (API XP4), I eliminated the the two smaller ones setup in-series (XP2->XP3) and also rang-out the sponge media on the inlet tube. With part of the sponge media gone from within the previous canister setup, I thought everything would be fine... Or so I thought. 

During initial operation, I'd hear the canister's pump-head cavitate. Having heard this occasionally on the previous setup, I thought nothing of it at first... But then, it didn't happen this often! Or so loudly!! Figuring that air got trapped in the system, I eliminated the original inlet tube & placed a in-tank power-head in place, figuring that would stop it. But no-luck!... All it did was collapse the inlet sponge & growl oddly once uncovered during water changes. Good-lord...! Fustrated, I becgan to consider using the 400-gph pond-pump I used to drain the 20-gal on the inlet instead. Then I noticed that the sponge on the 20-gal's inlet would slowly collapse over time, even after switching foods. (BTW: Don't bother with Hikari's Blood-Parrot pellets!)

So... After switching inlet pump-heads again, I made sure the impeller in the canister pump-head was the correct one, and tried again. Cavitation! angry And every-time I did a multi-pump setup, I'd power them up in series to purge whatever air might be trapped inside! Figuring the in-tank pump had enough muscle to push the water through, I eliminated the impeller pieces from the canister's pump-head & ran it like that. Silince, finally! The whole while this went on, my tank got cloudy & nothing I did would correct it. I changed both chemical media & did a overdue cleaning of the bio-media--as instructed--along with the gravel & a floss change... Nothing

A run to my local live fish store with a water sample to be tested, I told the expert... Yes, a real expert!... what was occuring & learned that my tank was going through a mini-cycle (Bio, that is...!) and the best thing to do was just let it be, and make checks of the nitrite & nitrate levels under the nitrites were zero. Then change the water! Well I did so, but I didn't feel any better about it. That was a few days ago.

Up early this Saturday morning, I decided to get started on the water changes... And looking at the 40-gal, I decided "What the heck!..." and began draining it... Deeply.(70-80%) This wasn't the first time I drained it with the new system installed, but it bugged me how slowly it brought the level down... Especially considering how that 400-gph pump would drain the 20-gal, or how the old system was almost as quick! At a certain point, I looked at the level & thought "Now would be a good time to remove the [Iridescent] Shark & put it in a bucket, to maybe take somewhere". And as I began to fill said bucket with tank water from the drain hose, I couldn't get over how slowly what little came out... It was barely stronger than a trickle! THAT'S-IT!! Enough of this bull! Gathering the needed parts on-hand & after refilling the tank & adding chemicals, I gathered the on-hand needed parts & began to reassemble the old system... But with a twist!: I kept the 400-gph pump in the tank, and assembled the most powerful canister-heads with the best impellers. And as I disassembled the XP4 canister, I was shocked at what be inside: All the floss... All of it!... was a blackish-brown with whatever sediment & debris it caught from the water that ran through! UN-BELIEVABLE!! Naturally, I changed it... and then kept-on with my project.

And so, without filling the canisters first, I checked all diverter valves & powered-up the in-tank... Then the XP2 w/XP3-head/impeller after a few minutes, followed by the XP3 w/XP4-head/impeller a few minutes later. After the respective subsequent bleeches of air through the under-gravel return, the system began to run quietly... Except for a bit of normal pump operation noise from the XP4-head. An hour or so later, I was surprised to see the water was clear for the first time in weeks! Finally! Now all that remained was to clean the outside of the glass, and put the shark back in!


So what did I learn? A few things:

1): Rinse... don't ring-out!... inlet-sponge media.

2): If something's working well, don't mess with it... Unless what you're attempting is proven truly an improvement.

3): You can never have enough filtration... But filtration means nothing without adaquate flow of what you're trying to filter!


'Til next time, fin-heads! 




I love detailed posts like this - Thank you!!


Thanks, but in review, I missed a few:

Replacing the sponge in the 20-gal.

Trying to clean part of the gravel a couple times during the later weeks with the XP4 attatched, only to have that POJ Ehiem wand just set all the smaller particles loose in the water... That--most likely--is what cogged-up the floss & made it "Black" with dirt. I'm gonna modify & try that tool I made again... Once I have the money for the additional equipment to make it work properly. Ever see a shop-vac used to clean gravel? Then filter the water through external household-style filtration, before reurning it to the tank? It's big, it's somewhat complicated, but damned if it don't do the job right the first-time... And quickly! 

I used to have a 29 gallon tank that came with its generic 30 gallon hang on filter. My water was constantly blurry. I trashed that and got 2 AquaClear 70 gallon filters. My tank was crystal clear. Then I moved my 2 blood parrots from the 29 gal to a 50 gallon and added a 65 gal Eheim canister filter. I still have the 50 gal tank running with crystal clear water, with 3 filters.

Nice! This falls right in line with a vid posted by KGTropicals that I viewed recently: Take the 1-gal./1" of fish rule, multiply it by 10, and use DOUBLE the filtration.