OT: Way Off: Aquarium Filters

Yeah, I know it don't belong here but I've grown to trust the corporate wisdom of the Wreck, disregarding the applicability of the post.
I've revived the 55 gallon tank so that my eleven year old can have the experience of an aquarium.
The tank is holding water and I have an under gravel filter in place with two power heads running the tubes.
My equipment is stone age level. I still have an old Silent Giant air pump and a Danner filter that seems like it wants to die.
I've been reading about Bio-Wheels and would like some informed opinion.
OBWW - The plastic has split at the top of the tank and I will have to make a wood frame to hold the top together and receive the enclosing glass and the lights.
Regards,
Tom Watson http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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This is the dawning of the age of aquaria, age of aquaria, age of aquariaaaaaaa, ahhhhhhh
Charcoal.
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On Wed, 3 Dec 2008 17:19:38 -0800 (PST), Robatoy

Remember that comment about the corporate wisdom - scratch that.
just kidding.
you know, you'll pay by having that freking song run through your head all night.
not me
o please god, not me
arrrrgggghhhh.
Regards,
Tom Watson http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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You did the WhoDoYouLove thing to me... payback's a bitch.
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IN THE JUNGLE - THE MIGHTY JUNGLE - THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT ............ A WEEEMA WAPA WEEMA WAPA (there you go - I've been beating myself to death with the Fifth Dimension for the past hour! I've got a show to do tomorrow night and I CAN NOT keep this in my old head! LOL!
Jimmy Mac aka Minwax Mac www.brazosriverband.com
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On Wed, 03 Dec 2008 21:41:28 -0800, Jimmy Mac wrote:

ALL THE GOLD IN CALIFORNIA IS IN A BANK IN BEVERLY HILLS IN SOMEONE ELSE'S NAME ...
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then to stretch his legs.
B.
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Ha!!! Nice!
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Bio, but not necessarily the wheel. I've got a wheel running now in a 20 gallon and I'm waiting to see how it turns out. You buy starter bacteria in a bottle. WARNING: Do not open with mouth! Yes, it really said that on the bottle.
If you want to buy a book, I recommend this one:
"Setting up a Tropical Aquarium Week by Week" by Stuart Thraves (available on Amazon)
If not, check out this web site:
http://www.firsttankguide.net /
The fish are generally the cheapest part of the operation!
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I wouldn't claim much wisdom but after a 30 year hiatus I set up a tank again last year.....Instead of my old gravel filters(worked fine 30 years ago) I used a Tetra Whisper filter that has worked very well. Mostly from web based forums I gathered the old box and gravel filters were less than desirable. Seems a few people think the Bio-Wheel is noisy but otherwise I wouldn't know, the Whisper filter is very quiet unless I let the water level go down. I bought a aqua culture air pump(absolutely silent where-as my old air pumps had a disagreeable hum) to run a couple of air stones, I had a overwhelming desire to plop a coffee cup in the tank with the air bubbles mimicking a cup of steaming coffee.
For plants I used corkscrew bamboo tops and spider plant runners....They have held up as well or better than many aquarium specific plants and were effectively free since I already had the house plants. They rooted and grew reasonably well with some deterioration after nearly a year.
Plan on partial water changes(25%) to keep the nitrates down especially when the tank is new.....if you slowly populate the tank, the filter media sponge can catch up to the eventual load(fewer water changes).....if using a sponge type filter use drained tank water to rinse the sponge to keep the nitrate eating critters alive.
If possible once set up also use a smaller nursery tank for a few day or week isolation period of all new fish and/or a place for ill fish. After nearly a year of a healthy tank with growing fish I added 2 Cory catfish and 3 Kissing Gouramies and within a week I had 15 dead fish. Only 3 Frogs, 4 ghost shrimp and a large algae eater survived......Both losing the fish and then tearing down and bleaching everything was NOT fun.....I now have a nursery tank.
If you expect to have a community tank African dwarf frogs and ghost shrimp are a hoot....The shrimp seem quite partial to tubifex worms, a qtr block of worms float quite some time and the shrimp do their damnedest to get the thing to the bottom.
I as well have a wood frame for the light cover on my to-do list.
In my youth the tank was always a good place to get cozy with a gal especially with inspirational kissing gouramies, with 30 plus year wife she just likes to look at the fish....enjoy Rod
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Under gravel, Euwww. as I recall they simply hid the mess. Way back when the Diatom filter did the trick with out ever having to clean the tank or change the water. There may be something better now.
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Tom,
Nice treat for your eleven year old. Aquariums are terrific learning tools and just plain wonders and hours of enjoyment.
There are many new items available, but first is it fresh water or salt water? Big difference in how you proceed with filtration.
I was a long time salt water (reef) grower and not a believer in substrate level filtration. Too much can build up in the substrate to ruin the natural ecology of the tank. I preferred real sand and external Fluvals (or similar) and they worked great. Aside from cleaning some salt creep and adding water once in a while, I hardly ever had to stick my hand in the tanks. My favorite was a 5-1/2 gallon mini reef that I ran for over 5 years untouched. Then I had to move halfway across the country and although it survived the move, it didn't survive the mother-in-law.
For fresh water you can go either substrate (under) filtration, Fluval outside type canister or over-the-edge wheel. I like the Fluvals, but Eheim are good too. If you don't like the external canister idea, then I suggest bio-wheel such as Penguin or Marineland. I personally prefer the outside canister but it's not for everyone. I've just had great success at tank ecology with them.
Here are a few links that might help ...
How to choose a filter: http://www.ehow.com/how_7026_choose-filtration-system.html
Ideas of filters available: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/pet_supplies.cfm?c578+3579
Penguin Bio-Wheel: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c578+3579+12320&pcatid 320
Good luck! And let us know what fish you go with!
`Casper

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On Wed, 03 Dec 2008 19:41:33 -0500, Tom Watson wrote:

Tom, ditch the undergravel filter and get a canister filter. I've got one on a 40 gallon tank and it only needs cleaning once every other month. If that's too rich for your blood, get an Aquaclear filter in the appropriate size. Cheaper, but requires minor cleaning weekly, major every other month.
Undergravel filters just pile up the crud where you can't see it. Biowheels have a nasty habit of stopping just when you're not around to detect it and all the bacterial die out of water, Yes, I know some have had good luck with them, but enough haven't to make me leery. Aquaclear is the low cost choice for many.
Don't know what you're thinking of for fish, but if freshwater (less work) and you have hard and/or alkaline water, look at cichlids and rainbowfish.
Good luck.
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I agree about the undergravel filter. It just collects crud. I have an Aquaclear in my 110 gallon tank and am quite happy with it.

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...
I used to have a 10 gal with a little bio-wheel filter ("Bio-wheel mini" model, if I recall). It seemed to work out okay, in as much as the fish didn't die a rapid death and the water stayed appropriately clean. Some others mentioned noisiness; mine certainly didn't seem to make any excessive noise, certainly not in comparison to the typical small vibrator air pump and other aquarium appurtenances.
--
Andrew Erickson

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot
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I have had the Biowheel filters running in my lab aquariums for years. They work well, but I have found they require a little more maintenance than other outside filters. The spray bar has a row of holes, and they can become clogged periodically, which slows down or stops the wheel. If the wheel dries out, the bacteria has to be recolonized, so the biological action is reduced. This brings up another point: If you use a biowheel, the wheel should not be changed when it gets dirty, and you shouldn't rinse it with tap water. You need to maintain the live bacteria colony, so it needs to be rinsed in aged water (24 hours after coming out of the tap) so the chlorine doesn't kill the bacteria.
Someone mentioned buying a starter bacteria colony. They can be helpful, but they aren't really necessary if you are able to wait a week or a few to put your fish in after you set up. You can speed up the cycling by using a little ammonia. I don't recall the specific amount, but you need it to go through the cycle to get the bacteria properly balanced. Or instead you can use some cheap dither fish, like feeder guppies.
Back to your original question, I think the biowheels are good filters. With the exception of making sure the spray bar doesn't get clogged, which is a minor and easily-rectifed-with-a-pin problem, maintnenace is about the same as any outside filter.
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On Thu, 04 Dec 2008 21:18:39 -0800, celticsoc wrote:

Note that some water suppliers now use chloramine instead of chlorine. Chloramine does not go away after standing as chlorine does. It must be treated.
As far as rinsing out a dirty filter, the advice I've always followed is to use the water you just siphoned out of the tank for a water change.
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You are correct about the chloramine. A new tank should be treated, since it would be a week before chloramine levels adjusted to acceptable levels. For low level water changes, using chloramine- treated water direct from the tap may be fine. I have even read that there may be benefits to it, although it is probably best to use chloramine removers even for those changes.
Using the siphoned water for rinsing is a good idea. I just never got in the habit because often there is debris in the water if I siphon near the gravel to clean up as I remove water for changes. Chloramine- treated water would be bad for this purpose as well.
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Thanks to everyone for their help on this.
I've gone with the 350 BioWheel.
It seems pretty quiet.
Time will tell.
tom
wrote:

Tom Watson http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
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