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"Polishing" filters-diatomaceous earth

I thought all of you would be interested in what people have written to me
about a polishing filter for use in our tanks.  I appreciate the
information.  Here was my question:

Choice No. 1:  The Diatomagic Filter available from That Fish Place for
52.99.  The current one hangs from the side of the tank, on the inside
actually.  My concern with it is that the return is a nozzle that
apparently has only one direction-straight down toward the gravel.  Of
course I do not want it stirring up the substrate, so that is why I would
appreciate the experience of anyone who has used one of these.

Choice No. 2:  System 1 Pressure Filter available from Pet Warehouse for
$83.95. The picture of this filter in the current Pet Warehouse catalog, p.
10, is very small, and so it is difficult to tell what that parts are like,
and whether you can change the direction of the return so it does not point
straight down.

Below are the comments on these two and other filters:

From: dhutton at omnipoint_com

Macon, I have a System 1 filter.  The filter cannister is very thin cheap
plastic and it leaks very easily.  As an alternative  I highly recommend a
Magnum 350 filter.  You can use diatomaceous earth combined with the micron
filter sleeve.  I have one and it works well without leaks.  You can get
one mail order for a very reasonable amount of money.  It's alot more
versatile than a System 1 and you can buy adapters for vacuuming gravel
etc.  It also has double disconnect valves if you buy the Magnum Deluxe


From: gawdess <gawdess at earthlink_net>

I have a HOT magnum filter (39.95 mail order).  It came with a micron
cartridge that works very well to polish water.  I think it traps up to
1 micron.  It can also be used as a regular filter, and you can adjust
the outflow to point in any direction.


From: Stephen Pushak <teban at powersonic_bc.ca>

I've used the H.O.T. Magnum filter ($70.00 Cdn) with pretty good
success. The outlet is adjustable however you have to get the water
level up within an inch of the top of your tank or else, you'll get an
awful lot of turbulence at the surface. Aiming it down is no good
because it digs pretty good holes in the substrate with a strong flow.
If the outlet went another inch deeper it would be goof. 2 inches would
let me relax with leapers like SAEs and killie fish who can clear a 4"

Steve in Vancouver where it's dark outside (night time, eh?)

From: adeana bishop <abishop at aries_scs.uiuc.edu>

Hi!  I saw your post on the archives.  I don't have any experience with
either of the filters you have asked about, but I thought I could
recommend one other filter for you to consider.  I run a H.O.T. magnum
with the micron cartridge and diatom powder for polishing.  I find it
works very well for clearing up green water and cloudy water.  The biggest
advantage is the filter is pretty cheap ~$39 from mail order and
replacement parts are readily available.  The micron filter is not very
effective without the diatom powder.  So if you have heard reports of
limited success with the H.O.T. magnum, this is probably the cause.  I've
had a couple bad outbreaks of green water in my 30 gallon, the
diatom/micron combination made the tank sparkling clear in about 30
minutes.  The diatom powder is pretty easy to load, there are no
instructions for use of diatom powder with the H.O.T. magnum, but there
are instructions with most diatom powder.  Finally the outlet on
the magnum allows adjustment for direction of flow and other attachments
can be purchased inexpensively.  I don't know if the 250 gph would be
sufficient for your application, but I have found it to be very effective
for the price.


From: JOlson8590 at aol_com
Subject: D.E. filters

I own and use both Vortex and System One filters, and have used the Magnums
as DE filters. For a really LONG run, the Vortex is best, but it is a _lot_
more fuss to set up. For a simple thorough water polishing, I prefer the
System One. Incidentally, I have two of them, and one is "Original," IOW made
before the inventors sold the invention to the bigger company. System One is
not intended to run on a 24 hour a day basis - the motor gets pretty hot. I
bought my first Vortex in the late 60s, and have managed to replace just
about every part over the years, including the motor!  (Joke coming -
"Yessirree, this is the Same Axe my Great Great Grandfather brought over from
the Old Country. It has had five new handles, and two new heads, but it is
the SAME axe!" )  The Magnums are more fuss to set up than either of the
other two.

As I think about it, I guess I use the System One filters at least ten times
as much as the Vortex, just because they are so easy to set up!  They also
work quite satisfactorily.

Just my experiences, as they say, Your Mileage May Vary! :-)

From: Jonathan_Kirschner at Energetics_com (Jonathan Kirschner)
Subject: Re: Vortex filters

>Of course there are the old Vortex diatom filters that use a Ball
>canning jar and sits on a narrow round base so that it often falls
>over on its side...

The newer ones don't have this problem.  They are very stable and
do a great job, but if you don't know how to start them correctly you
can really subject your fish to a "white out"! I find that storing the
Vortex and its accompanying hoses, however, can be a bit of a

Jonathan in Maryland, where we broke a temperature record

Macon Cowles             | Trial Lawyer representing people
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