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Re: Keeping Quarantine Tank Filter Media in a Planted Tank

George Booth wrote:

> ... My plan was to keep a bag of Eheim media (Ehfistuffofsomekind) in the 
> sump of a trickle filter. When needed, the media would be put in a 2213 canister 
> to run the quarantine tank. 
> We tried that recently and it didn't seem to work. After two days, we noticed 
> ammonia building up in the quarantine tank. We've resorted to frequent emergency 
> water changes and replaced the media with bioballs from one of the trickle 
> filters. Luckily, the quarantinees are doing fine but our self-image of "expert 
> aquarists" has taken a beating. 
> I'm wondering if anyone has a hypothesis for why this didn't appear to work.

I have long held the opinion that the biofiltering properties of filter
media were vastly over rated. We are now even told the species of bacteria
doing the job usually aren't the ones indentified as such originally.

I recall reading that 70% of the biofilter action of a cycled tank is due to
the glass and substrate, and 30% or less due to the filter. [Since my memory
is still my second-shortest thing, I regret I can't cite the source right
now.] That fits pretty well with my experience, too. I keep lots of small
killy tanks, which gives me ample opportunity to observe.

Trickle filters may well be an exception, and the extra availability of
oxygen may play a significant role there. There could even be a totally
different kind of bio-action in the high-oxygen environment. There's some
growing anecdotal evidence that the activity of trickle filters is, in
general, far more beneficial to fish life than simple bio-filter theory
would predict. Measuring ammonia, nitrate, etc. may have us looking in the
wrong direction. IDK. [Sort of like carefully matching pH, then killing our
fish with osmotic shock due to unmatched tds.]

Based on all that, I'm tempted to suggest that the trickle filter, perhaps,
does not support the same submersed bacteria we have on the glass and in the
substrate, and when confined to a closed cannister filter it either just
does not work or quickly dies.


Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679  huntleyone at home dot com

                There are two rules for success in life:
             Rule 1: Don't tell people everything you know.

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