Filters and Foams

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Filters and Foams

Postby SRThomas » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:13 pm

Hi all. I'm relatively new to the game, so as always be gentle...

I've got two tanks; stats are as follows:

48l fishbox from P@H; Interpet PF1 (I also have the (tiny) filter from a 19l quarantine tank from P@H running as well to maintain maturity); 25C; 1 Dalmatian Molly; 2 Platy; 1 Guppy (M); 1 Glass Catfish; 4 Neon Tetras; 1 real and 1 fake plant; gravel substrate (the small stuff from P@H).

60l (possibly fluval) I got free from a friend); Fluval 3plus (closest guess - filter media seems to fit perfectly); 2 Opaline Gouramie; 1 Upside Down Catfish; various plants, gravel (bigish - possibly 'pea gravel').

The 48l has been running since about the end of March 2012; the 60l from mid June 2012. Both are cycled (as far as I can tell) with appropriate test readings (I'm currently testing as I type so I can provide more detail if needed); water is very hard (over 16 degree's GH and KH, though that was with stip-tests - on which note is there a decent testing kit for hardness?) and alkaline (at least 7.6; I'm going to get a higher range kit when i see one next).

My question at this point is this: the Fluval filter is running with two filter media 'blocks', with a carbon pad put in for a week as per kit instructions (I've only done this once so far). The Interpet filter has a biological filter media and a carbon media (as per the design; carbon changes as per kit instructions). I was wondering whether it would be ok to take the carbon out of the Interpet and replace with a bio media, and then only using a carbon pad as and when (probably at the same time as I put carbon in with the Fluval as part of my maintenance routine). In other words, with the particular design of the Interpet filter (water goes through bio filter then through carbon), would a 'double bio filter' approach (a) work (b) not put too much strain on the filter?

Secondly, if I do go for the double bio filter approach, would it be best to (i) have a whole filter pad, and when using carbon, just ramming the carbon in on top of the bio media; (ii) having a whole pad, but removing and and replacing with the carbon as and when, and having the bio media just floating in the tank; (iii) having just half a bio filter, with half a carbon filter; (iv) not bothering with the carbon in the filter at all; (v) cutting up a small bit of the carbon filter, and using it in the extra 'quarantine filter', and then cutting up the bio filter in the Interpet filter in such a way that when the quarantine filter needs to be used for its primary use I just remove a chunk of the bio filter from the Interpet filter and replace as and when.

Of course all of this is rather moot if, as I've sometimes read, the carbon filter doesn't really need replacing as such and operates as a bio filter in its own right.

So, a bit of a technical question (at least for me), which may be easily dealt with, in a number of possible ways. (I will be posting a few other questions on other boards, relating to my plans for the future, so keep looking and thanks for any advice!)
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