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> case, but you don't actually need too much biological filtration.  If
> you have enough plants, with enought nutrients (light, CO2, trace
> elements, etc.), the filter can actualy become competition for the
> plants.  
> Justin Collins

> If you want a higher fish load, you may need a biological filter as well
> as the plants, but you will need a much smaller filter than would be
> required in a tank without plants.
> David Aiken

I currently keep an Eheim, rated for a 55 gallon tank, on my 30 gallon
tank.  It's not really for the bacteria, but for the actual debris. 
With an actively flowering crispus and a bunch of lilies that are
constantly dropping older leaves in favor of new ones, I still need to
gravel vac weekly to remove the debris, which gets caught in the
grasses.  Not to mention, I've got a lot of floating bits, mostly of
ambulia, from disturbance by the fish...

Anyway, I change the filter media every two to three weeks, and I've
always got a sludgy soup.  Granted, I have a high fish load (just over
40 fish).

I feed fairly heavily (oops, forgot to include that in my 'optimum'
list... absorption of the extra food I can't help feeding my fish
because they look so pleadingly hungry...), so I'm sure that contributes
to the filter sludge, and helps minimize any competition from the

Anyway, I'm now moving up to a 75 gallon tank, so I just bought an Eheim
rated for a 125 gallon tank.  In my situation, is there merit to the
'competition from the filter' problem?  If so, can anyone recommend a
medium that would help minimize this problem, while still allowing me to
collect mulm?  Less surface area, somehow?  

Alysoun McLaughlin
Wheaton, Maryland