Re: My 2 cents on filters

In my experience all types of filtration have value when used in the right
set up. Here are some of my experiences with:

Sponge Filters & Prefilters (not the same as sponge filter media)
Hang On

Power filters are a necessity because they 1. are the most cost effective
bio filter, 2. the best aeration/circulation system w/o driving off CO2 and
3. An easy way to add carbon or resins when needed (I use neither all the
time). They also make a good place to exhaust your coil denitrator. I use
Aquaclears with sponge only. I won't mention the other brands I have used,
but I have several of the most popular brand sitting idle. You can add a
sponge pre-filter to a power filter, it's easy to lift out the tube for

Sponge filters are great in small tanks with small fish where they can be
run for several weeks before cleaning.

Cannisters are *not* better mechanical filters than sponges (note that
sponge filter media is not the same as a sponge filter, sponge media is
primarily a bio filter and is used to stop large particles from hitting the
impeller in cannisters). It's very easy to tell, the sponge clogs much
quicker! That's the main problem with sponges, they need cleaning too
often. I prefer the Fluval cannister, it's much less expensive here, and I
like the "baskets" because I use peat. The Fluval, *is* more fragile and
care must be taken when cleaning. The pump is a tad weak, so get "the next
bigger size". Cannisters make it very easy to add a DIY coil denitrator.
You can't add a sponge pre-filter to a cannister filter, it's difficult to
lift out the inlet tube for cleaning without breaking the siphon.

Hang On filters are OK, but not really a "polishing" filter unless you add
diatom powder, but they don't hold enough, and will clog quickly. Very easy
to clean because you take the whole mess to the sink. An advantage of paper
pleated filters is that they can be re-used after a bleach soak.

I consider a diatom filter a necessity. I use my Vortex 1. as part of my
parasite control program (2 hrs/day to remove "floaters") 2. to make the
tank sparkle for photography and 3. for a quick clean after stirring up
things fooling with plants, or large water changes. A diatom filter
develops a tremendous "head", it literally sucks gases out of the water,
bad and good (CO2).

Trickle filters and skimmers are not for us plant lovers, they both drive
off CO2. Skimmers have the added disadvantage of not working well in FW.
Save both of these types for Salt.

- Bill Brady ...
On the shores of the Chesapeake Bay,
the land of pleasant living - Harwood Maryland USA