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Matten Filter (experiences, opinions, suggestions?)
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UncleWillie
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: 2011.04.20(Wed)13:41    Post subject: Matten Filter (experiences, opinions, suggestions?) Reply with quote

Hey yall.
I have had my stream tank up and running for a couple of years now (with the unidirectional flow using PVC under the gravel with a sponge and intake on one side with the powerhead outlet on the other). I have been very pleased with this setup so far. However, with the sponge being directly on the intake allows for relatively quick clogging if I have plant material drift onto it.

I have has a few suggestions to make it into a corner modified matten filter to create some space between intake and sponge, and will also increase area for bacteria.

Has anyone used this setup before? I've done plenty of reading and I am nearly set on making this my next DIY project. I basically just wanted to see if any of you had experiences and any suggestions, modifications, etc.

It looks quite nice and I've heard of people letting moss or HC grow all over it too. I recently collected some Micranthemum in the coastal plain of GA and was thinking of letting it creep all of the sponge.

Thanks!
Willie
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UncleWillie
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: 2011.08.10(Wed)12:18    Post subject: Reply with quote


Here is a simple schematic of my setup. The plumbing from the intake to the powerhead is under the gravel so that the only equipment seen is the powerhead itself. The secondary (inner) sponge is optional, but I used it extra biological filtration. The space between the two sponges is small and just gives me room to get the the inner sponge if I need to (and this is where those who keep tropical fish can hide the heater). I suppose you could use this space for culturing scuds or other live foods if you'd like.

A second way to arrange the powerhead...

Here, the powehead can be put into the empty space (you may have to remove the inner sponge if you want more room). This way, you have no under-gravel plumbing, and everything is totally hidden and out of site. All you need to do is cut out a small hole where the outflow of the powerhead can stick through.


This I found this setup to be virtually maintenance free if you are lightly stocked and have mosses or java fern or something attached to the sponge. All the mulm, and other debris and fish waste is caught in the sponge and plant roots, where it is broken down and used as nutrients for the plant growth.

(PS, the pictures different colors because the image hosting website recognized the images as being nearly identical and changed the color automatically. My apologies.
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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2011.08.21(Sun)20:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, can't say I've ever heard of these before, but it sounds like an interesting idea. Would like to know if you find it as maintainence free as it is meant to be. I just can't see how the sponge wouldn't eventually become clogged.
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UncleWillie
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Location: Georgia, USA

PostPosted: 2011.08.31(Wed)8:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well this setup had mixed results.
First, I tried putting some wild Micranthemum on the outside sponge. The really cold temp of this tank and high water velocity resulted in melted plants and a big mess. Bust.

I redid the tank - this time with java moss. The moss is doing quite well. The high velocity of the tank doesn't allow fish waste to stay settled on the bottom. The result of this is fish waste is picked up in the water column and is pinned down onto the outside sponge with the moss attached. The moss attached to the sponge has been doing its job exceptionally well and is exceeding my expectations. I only remove the inner sponge occasionally (once every 2 or 3 weeks) and wash out what little bit of gunk has built up (which is minimal).

The issues, however, are that the large amount of volume that is pumped through this setup means that the outer sponge is vulnerable to clogging. But, with my light stocking (two small snail bullheads), reduced flow is minimum..

In conclusion, it is an interesting setup and has great potential to hide equipment and culture live foods. However, for this arrangement to have little maintenance, you must have a light stock, and plants that readily attach to a sponge that are very good at breaking down fish waste at a decent rate.
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