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Any Tips for new FBF???



 
 
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  #1  
Old April 10th 04, 02:35 AM
CanadianCray
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Default Any Tips for new FBF???

I just installed one of the new Lifeguard 300 FBF on my 125gal Cichlid
tanks. Just wondering if anybody has anything they have learned when using
these types of filters that may be helpful. Tips, things to watch for
anything really.

Thanks much.

--
Craig Williams
_________________________________

www.Canadiancray.tk


  #2  
Old April 10th 04, 05:42 PM
Rob
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Default Any Tips for new FBF???

I just installed one of the new Lifeguard 300 FBF on my 125gal Cichlid
tanks. Just wondering if anybody has anything they have learned when using
these types of filters that may be helpful. Tips, things to watch for
anything really.


Hi Craig,

I use the same filter - it's next in line after an Eheim canister
pre-filter. I'm running it on a Tanganyikan cichlid tank. Tanganyikans
have a strong need for very high quality water, and my fish breed regularly
despite the fact that I'm not particularly anal about doing water changes
(usually every 2 or 3 weeks).

My experience with the FBF has been that you have to be careful about
ensuring that the sand level does not go above the upper line, or you'll see
sand slowly shooting out of the outflow. It can take some time for the sand
storm to get to a steady state in the water column, so it's best to be
conservative about how much flow you route into the FBF and to watch it for
a few hours after you think you've hit the right level. I tend to have my
sand storm running at about 1/4 inch below the top line to reduce sand loss.

After running my filter for about a month, I had to get some more sand to
bring the level back up to where it should be - which is a pain (media
refills are expensive and the process is picky as you need to reset your
flow levels again). It's normal to lose a small portion of sand over time,
but it shouldn't be a regular, high-maintenance operation at all. FBFs are
generally pretty low maintainence.

Other issues to consider: FBFs need regular water flow (and the oxygen it
brings) to maintain the bacterial colony - the biggest risk is having an
extended power outage that causes the sand to sink and compact, starving the
filter of oxygen and basically causing your cycle to start again. We don't
have a lot of power outages where I live, and they are generally pretty
short, but I made an investment in a cheap computer UPS (uninterruptable
power supply). Although it will only run a computer for a few minutes, will
run my 15 watt canister filter for a loooong time (I tested it at well over
an hour before getting tired of the warning beeps). Obviously, it's
important to *only* plug your filter in to the UPS, as heaters or lights
will quickly run the battery down.

Also, if you have a power outage or just shut things down for maintainence,
rapidly turning on the water flow again can cause the sand to rise in a
single mass. The Lifeguard design is actually pretty good at preventing
this, but it can happen and you can end up losing sand. The sand won't hurt
your tank, but you lose some of the filtration capacity.

Your tank will need decent surface agitation to ensure that the water is
well-oxygenated. FBFs are extremely effective aerobic biological filters
and can end up returning fairly "anoxic" water to your tank. Therefore, I
have the FBF return water so that it's right at the surface of the water and
gets as good of a mix as possible, and use a spray bar and small powerhead
to help with agitation across the rest of the tank.

Obviously, you need a pre-filter - I find a canister with enough pump
turnover works well. Over time your pre-filter will become less efficient
as gunk builds up in the mechanical filtration layer, which will reduce the
flow in the FBF. You can adjust the flow going into the FBF accordingly,
but it's important to maintain the prefilter periodicallly to ensure proper
flow to the FBF and overall turnover in your tank.

Overall, my water quality has been excellent since I started using this
filter - it's got tons of extra capacity for my 90 gallon tank. The biggest
issue/risk for a freshwater tank is a long-term power outage; that risk is
relatively minimal in an urban area, especially if you get a UPS.

Hope this helps,

- Rob


  #3  
Old April 10th 04, 08:09 PM
Rob
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Default Any Tips for new FBF???

Oops - need to qualify on one thing:

After that first experience of losing sand (I lost about 1/4 of the total
volume in just over one month of trying to keep it right "at" the top line),
I started letting the filter run at tiny bit below the top line. Now that
the level is running slightly lower, I seem to be maintaining the sand level
without much loss of the media at all.

- Rob


 




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