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Filter Replacing in a 500 lt tank

 by Francesco Zezza

FOREWORD: I use to consider a tank like something alive (as a “whole thing”, beyond live beings actually kept in it). In this respect, a tank, as a living organism is always changing and evolving. It is evident that a tank ages (with passing years) and – in some cases – eventually die (when, for whatsoever reason, it is abandoned). The same is true for the equipment which support it.

This time I will refer to the “rise and fall” of the (excellent in results but, in the long run, very demanding in maintenance) fluidized bed filter unit. This filter was installed for the first time in the 360 liter M’buna tank (which doesn't exist anymore). It’s original complicated, but effective, layout (mounted “serially” to a canister filter) has, with time, changed a bit with the pump (water flow 1000 lt/hr) being placed in the “water intake column” of a “wet-dry” filter (in the, 500 lt, Amazon tank).

When servicing this new (even simplified) layout became – regardless the reasons - impossible (the main problem was/is keeping the sand in the filter free of debris) the solution was simple: I had to look for something else …

My aim this time was a bit different, switching from the "higher possible filtration power” (this duty being now performed by an Eheim unit) to "the highest possible debris trapping” or else, mechanical filtration. This particular tank houses geophagines and loriicarids which have grown considerably and “sand-storms”, mostly at feeding time, are almost the rule rather the exception. One more criterion for the filter choice was a reliable, fast and easy service.

In the end the choice was an internal filter with compact dimensions and a flow ratio of 1000 lt/hr. The main filtration media would be only sponges since the requested function was primarily a good mechanical filtration.

HERE WE GO:

The filter (as a whole) is pictured above. The power head (below) has the water outlet allowing a 90° positioning (plus, not show but used, an optional air snorkel for increased air supply). These optional features make things far easier when it comes to the actual placement of the filter in the tank.

The main filter body has a flow switch (again below) that varies the output between 700 and 1000 lt/hr. My first choice has been the lowest possible flow, which may change in the future.

The filter media compartment is easily reachable from the bottom.

At the moment (stock option) only two sponges are in use but there’s enough room in the middle for an additional “filter cartridge” either from the manufacturer or – better yet – a “do it yourself” one. Possible choices being activated carbon, peat, zeolite or alike according to tank needs …

On the upper surface of the power head there is a – simple but effective at a first glance - “low flow” warning meter (the yellow dot).

The upper image shows the indicator in the "zero flow" indication (filter not being used) while the picture below shows the indicator in the "maximum flow" position, since the brand new filter just became operational. When the indicator falls lower the message will be simple and clear: the time to service the filter has come

So far so good … the filter is happily running (no need to cycle it since the main filter hasn’t been touched) in the tank. Will it work as supposed to do? Lets’ give it some time. I will revert on this matter regardless of the results, so stay tuned.

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