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[APD] Re:Vortex diatom filter

Someone gave me my Vortex D1, but now that I have been using it for a year, I would not think of not having one.  I use it on my three tanks once or twice a month as follows:  
1.  Clean/scrub the glass inside aquarium (and other maintenance/pruning). 
2.  Do a water change (typically 25-40%).
3.  Run the D1 until the filter media loads up enough to reduce the flow by about 75%(about 3-4 hours on my 125g, 4-6 hours on my 55g, and 8 hours on my 37g.  - setup and clean-up/backwash time is about another 15 minutes per tank).  
The reason I do it this way:  I do not have an algae problem but do get some minor algae and bio-slime on the inside of the glass.  By using the scrub/change/filter steps, I not only get it all off the glass, I get it out of the tank so it does not redeposit or cloud the water. The result is crystal clear water that literally sparkles.  
Note 1:  I find the 125g really needs it twice month but the smaller tanks are good with only once/month. It is a matter of taste - how clean/sparkling you want the water (if you want a black water swamp-look, you don't need it, if you want a fresh water spring-look, you probably do). 
Note 2:  My regular filtration is with Eheim 2217s, each filled with Ehfisynth and Ehfimech and one course pad (two on the 125g, one each on the 55 and 37g). I rinse out the filter media in tankwater about every 90-120 days when I notice a flow rate reduction.  Arguably I could put finer media in the cannisters for "cleaner" water, but I have found that the D1 does a better job and leaving the fine pad/floss out of the cannister extends the time between cleaning.  (not that is that hard, but cleaning the Eheims is more effort than using the D1).  I use Vortex Diatom powder - cheap enough when you buy the big bag.
Note 3:  Diatom filtering is mechanical only and I am not sure it improves the health of the aquairum water, but it sure improves the appearance IMHO.  Some say it filters out some parasites and pathogens (like Ick) but since I have not had any outbreaks, I can not say with certainty whether: a) I have not tested that theory or b) it is working.  I am not smart enough to figure it out, so I just don't tamper with a successful routine. 
Note 4:  Although the instructions at first seem daunting, once you have done it a couple times, the set-up and clean-up routine of the D1 is very simple and easy.  Tip:  go get a cheap (<$2) plastic round oil-change pan at a DIY auto parts store.  It is shallow enough and a good size to set the Vortex in during use to catch any drips.        
I would be happy to answer any other questions and hear comments.  

Jim Stimmel - Washignton DC

>> Did anybody have experince or comments to share with
>> us about using a Vortex Diatom Filter in plnted tank.

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