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Old 05/08/2018, 09:02 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 1
Filtering and Stability

Hello everyone, I have been reading so many of your posts that have gotten me well into a year in the hobby and hope to continue successfully, but for obvious lessons learned. I am posting this on a few forums so I hope there is little overlap but moderator, please feel free to move/delete if against the rules. I'm just looking for perspective on why something has been working because it goes against all traditional thinking.

I have been though many evolutions of filtering, but the priority has been minimalism, namely a single 100g HOB filter with porous rock balls inside. This was the destination although I have been through bio pads, carbon, etc. inside it. I have even gone through wrapping cotton around the inlet, changed each day, but wanted something more sustainable.

I ended up without anything but the balls inside with no particulate filtering, a natural solution that I knew once a month I would clean the interior and the balls and let it run its course, particles flowing through and back out or getting caught, but some getting recycled back into the tank. I have Chaeto growing in a basket and free in the tank behind a few rocks with good flow through them as well and they are thickening and expanding.

I have tried to list the tank contents/parameters in my signature. I'm sure I'm missing something.

With light feedings and seemingly happy fish, all my softies and Bubble tip are healthy and growing to the naked eye. The lighting seems to be right, little algae exists in the tank, partly because of the white and clear organisms that started growing in the HOB filter. All kinds of pods have populated the filter as well as the sand and rock.

What I'm wondering is if I have achieved a balance of organic/natural filtering that has grown to balance the tank inhabitants and their load. This was the goal, although I wasn't ready to let the filter get that "dirty," but it seems to be doing a nice job of processing things. I see so many with all kinds of filtering mechanisms and nutrient output items and I challenged myself to not use any of it, instead finding things that did the job naturally between inhabitants.

I have been topping off with rodi water from the LFS and feed frozen shrimp as well as diced seafood from the grocery store. Trying not to over feed, overnight, the tank sand is always clean of uneaten food, no doubt attributed to the crabs and shrimp scavenging at night. There is no dosing of anything to the tank although I throw in Cyclops and target feed once in a while to be sure everything is eating.

I know this goes against all traditional thought, but I figured there had to be some way to get a tank stabilized eco system wise. That was the goal at least. I know there are plenty of nay sayers and I have read their posts.

Is success the only gauge? It has been a challenge getting here with an ick outbreak after some salinity runaway that was my fault.

The softies and acan are happy and growing, especially the frog spawn.

Thoughts on the filtering?

Thanks for all the perspectives coming. I look forward to theories, suggestions and the inevitable nay sayers.

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Old 10/21/2018, 06:43 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: earth
Posts: 50
I also have a 20 gallon that I use only a HOB AC110 on. Only small amount of carbon in a bag. I glued egg crate to the output and put a thin strip of floss across. change the floss every few days and carbon once a month. 25%(salt bucket) WC every two weeks. everything ( lps softies and 3 fish) is flourishing and not a drop of algae anywhere except coralline

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Old 10/21/2018, 07:03 PM   #3
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Location: Overlook Hotel, CO
Posts: 108
Just keep it simple.

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Old 10/21/2018, 07:37 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 18,533
There are thousands of people running a system like you describe.. Many without any filter or chaeto even... Bacteria does far more work than anything in these tanks..
Anything beyond saltwater, a powerhead and some porous rock so that bacteria has adequate surface to grow on is for the most part optional and not required to be successful...

Many do not recommend any sort of mechanical filtration as it is for the most part useless unless changed nearly daily which is just a nightmare...

Being blunt and having fun
Straight up INTJ
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Old 10/22/2018, 11:30 AM   #5
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Posts: 582
The only kind of filtration I do besides rock is a small sponge filter attached to my crappy nano stock pump (I also use a second power head). I used to clean it out every few days, but have started leaving it longer because my cleaner shrimp loves prodding at it for morsels between feedings.

Other than that, there is nothing except a small bin of carbon helping with water coloration and potential toxins, etc.

I have been just as surprised as you at my success, but I do think it rings true to the theory that mcgyvr often pushes here: attention to your rank and good bio-filtration can take you very, very far.

I’d say the best gauge is, indeed, the success you’ve had. It’s no coincidence your hard work and attentive nature have led to a successful environment.

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bioballs, filter, filtering

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