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Will a bigger filter help?

Jasgriff

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Hi,

I have a tank that came with an interpet cf1 and it was fine at first but as I have more fish and seems that the filter is getting dirty a lot quicker the water isn’t as clear and green algae is growing back within days.
I think the filter is just about good enough for my size of tank so was wondering if it would be better to but the larger cf2 instead? Would this slow the algae and clean the water better?

thank you
 

essjay

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Getting a bigger filter won't get rid of algae. You need to find out the cause of the algae, and sort that out.

Algae is often caused by light - is it on too long? Is it too bright?
Do you have any live plants in the tank? If you don't, the lights don't need to be on very long.
If you do have live plants, do you use plant fertiliser? Too much of that can cause algae.



On the subject of the filter, I would suggest either leaving the carbon cartridge in there permanently, or better still replace it with sponge. And unless you have a lot of phosphate in your tap water, replace the algaway pad with sponge as well.
 

Byron

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[Edit, essjay posted while I was typing, so this is in response to the question in post #1, not essjay.] Yes and no, and more likely the latter. You haven't given the tank size, fish load, feeding schedule, and water change schedule--all these are factors in the biological system and if they are not in sync, no filter can handle it.

Algae has nothing to do with the filter, it is solely an issue of light and nutrients. Live plants also factor in, and these are not mentioned one way or the other.

Filters need regular cleaning; the brown gunk is organics, and these occur naturally from fish. The more fish, the larger the fish, and the more they are fed, the more organics. Removing the organics as soon as possible can help, but the overall balance is still key.

It would also help to know the water quality, especially nitrate, and pH.
 
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Jasgriff

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Getting a bigger filter won't get rid of algae. You need to find out the cause of the algae, and sort that out.

Algae is often caused by light - is it on too long? Is it too bright?
Do you have any live plants in the tank? If you don't, the lights don't need to be on very long.
If you do have live plants, do you use plant fertiliser? Too much of that can cause algae.



On the subject of the filter, I would suggest either leaving the carbon cartridge in there permanently, or better still replace it with sponge. And unless you have a lot of phosphate in your tap water, replace the algaway pad with sponge as well.
I think it might be the light then....

The tank came with a one bar led light and when I put some plants in I upgraded this to a two bar one. It was also coming on and going off without fading so I bought a sunset dimmer but it was switching off before I came home from work and I found that the fade in and out interval was really short so I ended up overriding the time and with me being home more I have left the light on more than normal.

I will give it another good clean up and then maybe try going back to having the lights on less in the day or maybe dimming them which would be a shame as you get used to it looking bright I guess. I don’t use fertiliser.

I have included a picture of the filters that I use. Are you saying not to use those and use sponge ones instead? If so do you have a link for some good sponge to use? I dont think I could leave either of those in more than a few weeks as it stands as they become full of gunk.

Thanks a lot for your help.
 

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Jasgriff

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[Edit, essjay posted while I was typing, so this is in response to the question in post #1, not essjay.] Yes and no, and more likely the latter. You haven't given the tank size, fish load, feeding schedule, and water change schedule--all these are factors in the biological system and if they are not in sync, no filter can handle it.

Algae has nothing to do with the filter, it is solely an issue of light and nutrients. Live plants also factor in, and these are not mentioned one way or the other.

Filters need regular cleaning; the brown gunk is organics, and these occur naturally from fish. The more fish, the larger the fish, and the more they are fed, the more organics. Removing the organics as soon as possible can help, but the overall balance is still key.

It would also help to know the water quality, especially nitrate, and pH.
Sorry for not including this in my original post.

The tank is 65L
Tank link but I changed the one bar led strip for a two bar one.

I have 4 neon tetras 4 Cory catfish 3 adult guppies 3 medium sized guppies and some baby guppies.

I feed them in the morning and in the night. I try to feed them enough that it doesn’t sink to the bottom but that is sometimes hard as they seem to not see it or miss it and hover around the top when it’s already on it’s way down.

With the cleaning I change about 2 buckets of water each week mainly to get any debris off the bottom of the tank. This has become a lot hard as the algae is harder to clean off the filter and the heater so everything is taking much longer. I have attached a picture of the Plants and you can see the heater is pretty thick but it was full cleaned off 2 weeks ago.

I have changed the food to tetramin flakes and this seems to have helped with the growth of the guppies and brought the colours out quicker? Might just be a coincidence? But this also might be why I am seeing more gunk in the filter then? Would it be good to changed them for some sponges as mention above and then just wash them out and put them back in or should I keep buying the service packs for this one and change them more frequently?

Ph 6.5
Nitrate is just under 40 ppm but this is before a water change which is due today.

I have attached a picture of the plants to give you an idea.

thanks again
 

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seangee

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You should really change 50 - 75% of your water weekly. Fish exposed to 40ppm nitrates will live a much shorter than expected life. This should never go over 20 - and preferably less than that. Nitrate is also food for algae. Plants do use it too but not nearly as effectively as algae can.
There is no need to replace your filter - just cut pieces of regular filter sponge to the same size and shape as the catridges and replace those. Don't replace all at once as that would risk losing too much good bacteria in one go.
I rinse my sponges every week with my water changes. It only takes a few minutes, but leaving them for more than a few weeks without cleaning is not realistic - fish live in their own waste.
Feeding once a day is plenty. I usually only feed 5 days a week, but that is a choice. The more you feed the more nitrates will ultimately be created.

Finally on the lights. None of the fish you mentioned like bright light - in fact most fish don't. There is no need for the tank lights to be in sync with daylight hours. I have mine on a timer and they only come on in the late afternoon so that I can see the fish in the evenings. Of course now I am at home all the time it means I have to view them by ambient light during the day time.
 

Byron

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I agree with everything seangee posted. On the nitrates, have you tested the tap water on its own for nitrate? This is important to do so you will know if the nitrates in the tank are partly comingh in with fresh water (this is one issue) or being produced solely within the system (quite another issue, and the easier to deal with). A 65 liter (just under 20 gallons) tank is quite a small space, and feeding twice a day means double the organics being created, so reducing this to once (preferably near the beginning of the fish's day) makes a big difference. And rinsing the filter at every water change, and vacuuming into the substrate at each water change is crucial. Without plants needing nutrients produced by organics in the substrate you can remove as much as possible.

When I say feed near the beginning of the fish's day, I mean closer to when the tank light comes on, rather than closer to it going off. The tank light is the "day" for fish, and without plants it is better to have less light rather than brighter light. If you get some floating plants (live) this will help a lot, as they will use up nutrients and shade the lower regions. Use a timer for the tank light so it is on/off at the same period each 24 hours.
 
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Jasgriff

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Thanks a lot again for both of your responses....

I have had a really clean out. I have a timer which was coming on and off at set times so I have put that back in the tank. I might change the light back to the previous one which wasn’t as bright if needed.

I am only going to feed once a day and that will be in the morning which is when I normally do the first feed anyway.

I do have a few more questions if you don’t mind.

On the filters there is the bio media one that I swill every now and again then there is the carbon filter and the algae filter. I have been doing as per the instructions which is to change them both each month. I thought the good bacteria lived in the bio media so I didn’t think about what I might have been throwing away.

Can you send me a link for some sponge that you think I should get to swap with the carbon filter and the algae pad? Are you saying I should Not throw this away until it’s falling to bits and just swill it each week?

also when I do the water change the filter has no water for 10 to 15 minutes. I have read some people saying that it doesn’t matter and some people saying that it needs to stay in the water or the bacteria will die?

Thanks a lot again.

Here is a pic after a clean.
FC76597B-5994-4709-B8E3-42207BB66D8C.jpeg
 

seangee

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For 15 minutes I would not be concerned. You don't want the media to dry out but I just leave mine turned off while I am changing the water. I have actually replaced my bio media with sponge too. You should swish this around in a bucket of the water you have removed from the tank every week or two. Once a month take the filter out and give it a thorough rinse and wipe down with a sponge or soft brush. You can leave the media in a bucket of water while doing this.

Any filter sponge will do. Here is one that looks like it has a quick delivery date https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075Q6Y218/?tag=. Ignore the suggestion to replace every 3 months. Replace when it falls apart.
 

Naughts

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Thanks a lot again for both of your responses....

I have had a really clean out. I have a timer which was coming on and off at set times so I have put that back in the tank. I might change the light back to the previous one which wasn’t as bright if needed.

I am only going to feed once a day and that will be in the morning which is when I normally do the first feed anyway.

I do have a few more questions if you don’t mind.

On the filters there is the bio media one that I swill every now and again then there is the carbon filter and the algae filter. I have been doing as per the instructions which is to change them both each month. I thought the good bacteria lived in the bio media so I didn’t think about what I might have been throwing away.

Can you send me a link for some sponge that you think I should get to swap with the carbon filter and the algae pad? Are you saying I should Not throw this away until it’s falling to bits and just swill it each week?

also when I do the water change the filter has no water for 10 to 15 minutes. I have read some people saying that it doesn’t matter and some people saying that it needs to stay in the water or the bacteria will die?

Thanks a lot again.

Here is a pic after a clean.
View attachment 100074
If you close the blind and cover the back of the tank, that will reduce the light aswell.
 

PheonixKingZ

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Algae is really never solved my getting a bigger/better filter. It is all in the lighting. How many hours a day do you leave your light on for? Close the blind next to/behind your tank. That might solve the problem as well.
 
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Jasgriff

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The tank is in a bedroom so it’s difficult to leave it closed during the day.

The light is currently on for about 12 hours 8 til 8 it was on for longer previously.

Am I better getting a background on the tank?

Also I notice the fish has been following me more when I go near the tank they get really excited is this because they are now only being fed once a day so you think? It’s not because they need feeding do you think?
 

PheonixKingZ

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The tank is in a bedroom so it’s difficult to leave it closed during the day.

The light is currently on for about 12 hours 8 til 8 it was on for longer previously.

Am I better getting a background on the tank?

Also I notice the fish has been following me more when I go near the tank they get really excited is this because they are now only being fed once a day so you think? It’s not because they need feeding do you think?
My fish sometimes “follow” me, along the tank. It is just because they are exited to see someone. Or it could be because of the fact that they are hungry. That is their version “begging”.

You could try to add a background to the tank, that might help. I have black backgrounds on all of my tanks. You can use either a black trash bag (new) or a piece of black paper.
 

Byron

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Am I better getting a background on the tank?
Definitely, yes. This has quite an impact on the fish. Something plain and dark; I use black construction paper, you can buy one3 or two sheets and cut it, tape it to fit on the outside (so it doesn't show through the back wall in the tank). Non-shinny black makes the tank visually larger, calms the fish, and the colours of plants and fish will really stand out.
 

Tez_20

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Algae has nothing to do with the filter, it is solely an issue of light and nutrients.
Good point on this Byron because i'm on top of my tank, regarding cleaning ornaments slowly between one another, then the glass and i vacuum twice a week besides doing water changes the same being a larger tank.

I have the the bright light on for 4hrs of a morning and the dull light on for 4hrs in the afternoon and my tank must carry good nutrition as my shrimp did well in growth and molting.

I still have it build up on the ornaments quite quickly besides the back glass plus it's the other side of the room from the window up the corner.
 
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