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interesting biological filtration "experiment"

this was not really a planned experiment, but i had read in the list how an 
author uses a canister filter with no media in their tank.

my 29-gallon tank has housed a collection of assorted west african, asian and 
australian fish over the years.  the plants in it are only java fern and 
Anubias.  recently, the eheim filter i had seemed to be slowing down.  last 
week, several days, i woke up to find the fish sort of panting and gasping 
for air.  i thought there was something wrong with the water so i immediately 
made a water change, which helped things, until the next morning and they 
were panting again.   i made another water change and the next day, it was 
happening again.  i then realized that the filter had basically stopped.  
since i had another new eheim filter for a tank i had never set up, i quickly 
set it up for this tank but without any media, as i had to get to work 
quickly.  guess what?  the fish are happier than ever.  the filtration 
without media seems to increase oxygen levels without affecting biological 
filtration adversely.  as for plant growth, that's another matter...i should 
also mention that the filter before never had carbon, as i don't use carbon 
in my filters anymore. 

tsuh yang chen, nyc, USA