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Numpty filtration - micro particles

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I am a total noob, posting up here as I have exhausted google searches on QLDAF and elsewhere. I have found the problem somewhat often but no one posts later with exactly how they fixed it! 

So, I will start with my model as this may be semi common with Aqua One drip tray filtration systems. I have an AR510 with the stock pump dripping onto 5 layers of media - bio sponge, wool, two layers of dacron and I have had it running around 8 weeks now and have not been able to lose the micro particles. Another forum had a suggestion of much less wool in second layer, change/clean it often (which I have done around every 2-3 days for 2 weeks), no improvement. Added a wee power head for more circulation, no help there. Added Dacron a few weeks back and a second layer of dacron  last week to no avail. I have a very amateur planted tank with a few java ferns, moss carpet, elodea (I know, I know), diy CO2. Stocked with a few guppies, RCS, Pygmy cories, hill stream loach and one lonely endler. 

Params are at NH3 0, NO2 0, NO3 10-20. PH 7.2 ish, TDS 270 odd. Dose with Dino spit and flourish comp at recommended levels..

Water is clear, not cloudy, stock and plants are happy, owner is not. Also PWC 20% weekly, treated tap with prime. 

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I'll kick off just so you get some replies coming in. I only have canister / hob / internal filters but have run into the same problem.

From overseas threads, I've gathered that.

Feeding pellets might be less messy than flakes.

Packing in extra filter wool and the filter will get better after several days as it packs down.

Some particles in a planted tank are normal. I take all my photos day after a clean when it looks better.

Seachem clarity may help.

Powerheads will shift particles but then need filter intakes in right spot to get them.


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Great point on the pellets to flakes mate. My guppies eat both and only have the flakes for them... might also try an additional change of diet for them for a week, has to help a little.

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Looking at your photo, the particles are mostly at the top. The water near the substrate doesnt have them. ... so look at micro bubbles.

If you turn the filter off for an hour does the tank clear? If so, a bubble trap on the filter would fix this. 

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Thanks for your input gents @Delapool & @aquaholic99. So this afternoon I dropped power to filter and power head - particles remain suspended throughout entire tank top to bottom. Delapool youre right about my power head positioning poor to allow  the intake to pick up the particle flow I was swirling. I have taken it out for now. I replaced the first Dacron layer again ensuring the fit was tight with an extra layer of noodles... 

Watch, adjust, watch again I guess. 

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I'm not familiar with the aqua one tanks and its filtration specs, but i find stuffing extra filter wool into my canister works. All my cainsters consist of Sponge, more sponge, wool and MORE WOOL. and ofc lava rock. 

How long has tank been running and when did you notice the particles? 

 

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Hey @inkevnito,

Thanks mate, tank has been running around 8 weeks. The aqua one all in one tank just use a drip filter which is basically a submersible pump into a tray where the water drips through your media through gravity only... have added more layers this afternoon, so gonna review it again for the next few days. I noticed the particles in the first 2 weeks before I ever started with ferts or diy co2. I have gradually been attempting things since then (changing factory carbon wool pad to wool, add power head, weekly wool changes, Dacron, double Dacron etc). I also have an inert gravel substrate... wait, ofc lava rock

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 @inkevnito my other two tanks are nano shrimp tanks that have sponge filter and HOB on both, they also never get flake/floating food and have crystal clear water. 

I am starting to suspect it is a combination of powerhead and the flake/floating food. 

This morning, around 12 hours later after removing powerhead and reshuffling media (I now have top to bottom: bio sponge, wool, dacron, noodle, dacron, noodle) there appears to be little difference, although I suspect in a few days these changes may start to show signs of inprovement...

The filtered water dropping from the tray appears to be clean and I can see the particles getting taken up into the intake, perhaps it just needs a few circulations now. 

Thanks for the suggestions and advice gents, will update again in a few days or as soon as it's sorted! 

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The beauty of these units is the appearance.  The filter unit is very tidy and hidden, so does not impact on the tank and surrounding appearance.  This is also the cause of the limitation. 

You can only do so much with the filter.  You have a small space compared to a sump or canister filter ot fit media, and fitting finer filter media may lead to the unit overflowing and becoming either ineffective or giving you a wet floor. 

Given this I would attack the problem with flocculants.  A lot of clearing chemicals for aquarium act by making the small particles stick together so the filter can catch them.  This will be a continuous requirement.   

Personally I would get over it.  Remember the key purpose of filtration is to deal with the fish health issues.  Your ammonia cycle is good, your plants are doing well.  The fish act healthy.  This is the key to fish keeping.  Messing to much and you might lose these to get a clear tank.  (OK I might be strange, I also like tannins in water, that is why they call blackwater, blackwater)

Steve 

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Thanks @gingerbeer you're probably right. I don't mind tannins in the water either - one of my shrimp tanks is littered with IAL  and has painted the water a nice shade, although comparatively looks way better than the aqua one because it is crystal clear for particles...any particular brand you recommend for flocculants?

I have thrown a fair few new scenarios at it this week so am going to review for the next week or so and see how we go. 

Thanks again for all the input legends.

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So the update for those of you that care (does anybody care?! Ha!) but mainly for those in future with the same problem is...

Removal of the powerhead and ceasing the feedings of flake food has helped significantly (thanks @Delapool!) I would estimate around 50% reduction in the particles. The change with Seachen Clarity was insignificant (despite having a freaking awesome effect simulating an underwater fire on your weak attempt at a java moss tree and smoke underwater!). This took a few hours to clear (6-8) with no visible reduction of particles. The change with doubling up filtration (large sponge, wool, dacron, ceramic media, dacron, ceramic media) appeared to help just minimally. I have added the double media due to more frequent fine filtration changes to keep some good nitrifying bacteria alive and thriving - not sure if this helps?

This evenings new plan of attack is removal of wool for a new superfine eggcrate style sponge. Second dose of Seachem Clarity tonight, again at recommended dose/Litre. 

This is all helping me lean further and further towards an RO unit, tank strip and rebuild, then converting to another SHRIMP tank. Filled with crystals and Taiwan Bees. Low maintenance, clear water, low bio load, yada yada. 

 

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Don't rebuild. Keep this tank. 

Set up another tank in the name of science and fish keeping in order to compare. Use this reason to convince your other half you NEED another tank. 

Buy the RO unit. :P

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So the news is, for this interested. My Water is clear.

 

Latest mechanical filtration added was a super fine foam pad I picked up from a mate a few weeks ago. I believe the particle circulation was a combo of two factors - a power head cycling my flake food across the water column and inadequate mechanical filtration (fine filtration not completely sealed to the edges of filter box). 

I have completely removed the power head and also ceased feeding floating flake pellets, the guppys who were eating them are fine. A few weeks worth of filtration experiments from lots of wool, less wool, Dacron, double Dacron, double ceramic media...

The filter setup I have finished up with is large sponge, fine sponge, ceramic media, Dacron, ceramic media - Maybe that's all uneccessary now that the floating flake is gone. Perhaps this is all moot as this current carnation is about to be torn down in the coming weeks. Thanks all for your input! 

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