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Biologically active sponge filter - buy or not buy?

This is a discussion on Biologically active sponge filter - buy or not buy? within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hello! I'm still trying to get my tank going while my little axos (who have already grown so much!) are ...

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Old 10th April 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Default Biologically active sponge filter - buy or not buy?

Hello!
I'm still trying to get my tank going while my little axos (who have already grown so much!) are sitting in tubs with daily water changes. Cycling isn't going the best, and i don't have any aquatic-loving friends locally who can give me an established filter.

THUSLY i found this website:
Biologically Active Sponge Filters for Aquarium

Has anyone bought these?
I was reading a little bit on sometimes biological filters depending on the fish they're used with can be problematic for other aquatic life. Is this the case with Axos?

And if it's a great idea, at least the link is also now floating in the forum for people like me with unfortunate opportunities of aquatic-less friends!



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Old 10th April 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Biologically active sponge filter - buy or not buy?

Hello.
I don't have any experience with these filters, but would certainly not take any notice of the information on their site that says the following:

We are not fans of "fish-less" cycling. It seems every time a customer is having trouble cycling their tanks with our filters, it's a "fish-less" cycle. It's possible some additive in the ammonia they're adding, is interferring with their test kit readings or is simply doing something to the nitrifying bacteria. Either way, if you add one of our active filters, your tank is ready for fish. Forget about adding ammonia first.

Even if you do decide to buy this I urge you to still test the water to check ammonia, nitrites & nitrates for a few days. If there is any doubt about the ammonia used for cycling then just use something like defrosted frozen prawns (in a mesh bag/panty hose) as a source of ammonia to check the filter bacteria performance for a few days before adding your axolotls.

What problems are you currently having with cycling your tank?



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Old 10th April 2016   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Biologically active sponge filter - buy or not buy?

I agree with Donna, what ever filtration system you use, test for nitrates etc but excessive, frequent water changes is not the answer.
You need to look at the tropical fresh water aquarium websites as they have tons of information. I keep a 2 m tank with a fairly high density fish population. Firstly, establishing a microbial population in the filter can take four or five weeks and this needs to be done carefully and ideally before you start stocking the tank. You can buy microbial cultures to get it started but then the addition of components of the nitrogen cycle needs adding sympathetically. I started mine with six tetras and gradually increased their number and amount and type of food so as not to over load the system. Daily water changes sound excessive to me and is only necessary if you have small tanks, feed a lot of high protein diet and/or have high stock densities of your animals. I find quick plants are excellent at mopping up nitrates.



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Old 10th April 2016   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Biologically active sponge filter - buy or not buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna001 View Post
Hello.
I don't have any experience with these filters, but would certainly not take any notice of the information on their site that says the following:

We are not fans of "fish-less" cycling. It seems every time a customer is having trouble cycling their tanks with our filters, it's a "fish-less" cycle. It's possible some additive in the ammonia they're adding, is interferring with their test kit readings or is simply doing something to the nitrifying bacteria. Either way, if you add one of our active filters, your tank is ready for fish. Forget about adding ammonia first.

Even if you do decide to buy this I urge you to still test the water to check ammonia, nitrites & nitrates for a few days. If there is any doubt about the ammonia used for cycling then just use something like defrosted frozen prawns (in a mesh bag/panty hose) as a source of ammonia to check the filter bacteria performance for a few days before adding your axolotls.

What problems are you currently having with cycling your tank?
I was hoping to check the ammonia levels and nitrates for about a week if i decide to invest in this prior to put in the axos anywho.

My cycle may have been tempered with originally-- i had cleaned the tank with an eco-friendly over the counter product because i got the tank from craigslist and didn't know if the previous owner's fish may have died froma disease that could affect the axos...

Realizing that the product may still be on the tank and accessories i did an extra rinse and have been trying to cycle with the "start cycle" ; the ammonia raised to .25ppm and have not dropped in two weeks :/ i can't find my 100% ammonia i bought at Ace Hardware to add it to 2ppm

I've done tons and tons of research on why my ammonia isn't dropping after 2 weeks and essentially all i get is "wait for it" ; but (i am super impatient, i know ;_; ) i don't want to wait a month with no results and my Axos outgrowing their tubs / getting too stressed from having to be moved every night

Plus i'm just so new to doing this, i don't know if i'm even doing the cycle correctly (aside from just constantly testing and getting the same results 0ppm Nitrites, 0ppm Nitrates and .25-.50ppm Ammonia )



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Old 10th April 2016   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Biologically active sponge filter - buy or not buy?

My sympathies are with you. I am also quite impatient and found my first tank cycle infuriating. Since then I've always been able to move small amounts of mature media between filters to help with cycling. 10 tanks later and I pretty much always have something I can use.
I can understand you cleaning a second hand tank thoroughly, and this may have had an impact on your cycling, but best to be on the safe side.
I have attached a link to the fish forum I use. It contains a step-by-step guide to cycling and is the easiest one to use that I found.
FISHLESS CYCLING - HOW TO DO IT | Think Fish Tropical Aquarium Forum
If you do buy the mature sponge filter I think you are doing the right thing by planning to test the tank. You will need a source of ammonia during that week, and if you can't find your 100% ammonia just use fish food or prawns in a mesh, which should be enough to keep any bacteria in the filter active.
Obviously the sooner you can move your axolotls into a cycled tank the better, and I can understand why you are concerned about stressing them. So, perhaps if the mature media filters are not expensive, and you are going to check the water parameters as well, then there is probably n harm in trying the product.
Best of luck, I hope that you can complete you cycle soon.



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Old 10th April 2016   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Biologically active sponge filter - buy or not buy?

oh wow thank you so much! You indicating the same problems actually has relieved me a little more. And that website is super helpful! Natasha's comment is pretty much what i'm going to try to follow (since it's literally a day by day log of it all) but that website is a lot more in depth than others i've been finding.

I'll invest in it and keep you guys updated on the results!



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