filtration choices OTHER THAN a skimmer

Swanwillow

goby girl
ok, so I have a seahorse tank, and its been said that skimmers cause gas bubble problems. found that out last night, as it happened to me (the micro bubbles became caught in my males pouch)

so my skimmer is currently off, and I'm on a budget. a VERY TIGHT budget, since I don't have any income coming in (I'm on maternity leave)

so, is there a DIY type of filter I can get set up for cheap, or ??? canister filters were another thing I was thinking of. I don't know HOW to start about setting up an under-tank refugium/sump... otherwise I can get my skimmer on a ten gallon under the tank.

so, I guess... help?
 

rioratholenm

New member
build a refugium in 29 gal. tank under your main and put the skimmer in sump baffled before the refugium then after the refugium put another baffle with foam . this way you would have more water volume and you would also have natural filtration. plus the micro bubbles would stay out of your main tank. Also what kind of skimmer do you have some kick out micro bubbles more then others.
P.S. You can make baffles by going to a glass shop and have them cut you the glass so it fits inside the aquarium then just silicone (aquarium safe) them in place.
 

Swanwillow

goby girl
ummm, that would be great and all

but my tank is a 35 gallon hex, and i have no idea how to make a refugium... a ten gallon tank is the biggest that will fit
 

agilis

In Memoriam
alternatives

alternatives

I am assuming that you are using the 30 g you mention in your personal data.

If your tank is stocked lightly, meaning about 6 adult seahorses, and if you are careful about not introducing excess organics through overfeeding, you have many options. Probably the simplest would be to do a 3 or 4 gallon water change about every 10 days, and to use a larger size Bio-Wheel hang- on filter. These are available mail-order for about $30. Don't bother too much with chemical media. The air/water interface of the wheels will do most of the work. Keep it simple. I ran a 50 gal equipped with this kind of filter when I collected wild seahorses. I had up to 20 at a time, and kept some for as long as 3 years. I had lots of holdfasts and hiding places, mostly plastic plants and some live rock. The seahorses bred regularly, fed ravenously, and produced lots of young. The tank was lighted dimly, mostly by natural light from a nearby window. Seahorses prefer it dim; bright lighting can stress them. When I collected them, they were often under docks or in heavy cover.

Run the skimmer for only a few hours every other day, and try directing the skimer return into a one inch ( or larger) plastic tube, fixed in place, projecting slightly above the water surface. and ending slightly above the tank's bottom. Most of the bubbles will dissipate in the tube as the return water flows out the tube's bottom. This assumes a moderate water flow, and some rudimentary plumbing skill. I'm also assuming that the skimmer is a hang-on type. There are foam bubble traps for skimmer returns that may also do the trick.

In my experience, gas bubbles in seahorse pouches are sometimes connected to high bacterial levels, so beware of any biological decomposition, overfeeding, etc.

Good luck with your family.
 

Swanwillow

goby girl
a max of 6 horses? wow... only have three, and the midas blenny.

I should add I have about 35 lbs of LR... shallow sandbed (I HAD a jawfish, but he died...) I'm trying to reduce one reason for the pouch bubbles, which may or may not be the skimmer... If I reduce one problem, and this recurrs, then I can go back to skimming and look at other options.

I DID read about the bacterial things and chemistry things that may also cause the pouch gasses... I don't THINK I over feed, the nass snails clean up quite nicely. I'm making sure to pull out dead macros right now (some of my macro died during a tank leak, and its just now starting to show its death)

I'd LIKE to have a sump/refugium, but I have no idea how to go about setting it up... My boyfriend said he'd set it up if he got instructions (detailed!!!) and I bought the parts... but I don't even know how to go about doing THAT, how horrible, huh?


you should explain that plastic tube better: when you first said it, I was thinking that you were explaining to make the out-put longer???

oh, its a CPR bakpak...
 

agilis

In Memoriam
Three seahorses is even better. The lighter the bio load the better, especially in a cube aquarium, which has a limited surface area, and therefore much less carrying capacity than a standard 30 gal.

Some skimmers are real bubble factories. My suggestion is similar to making the return longer, but not the same. Imagine the standard return emptying into a tube which is not connected to the skimmer directly, but which is in a corner, about 3/4 inch above surface level. The tube is rigid, and fixed in place anyway you can arrange: suction cups, a rock leaning against it, etc. the open bottom of the tube is an inch or so off the tank's bottom. Most of the air will rise to the top of this column/tube, and bubbleless water will empty from the bottom. This is, in effect, a mini counter current skimmer tube, but let's not get technical. It would be much easier to have the skimmer empty into a tank of some sort outside the aquarium, like a sump under the stand, or a small sump with a surface slightly higher than the tank for a simpler drain return, but this raises plumbing issues you may not be able to easily handle, and you may not have the space and technical resources. I suggested something easy, though not ideal. Check out overflow boxes and foam returns, as long as they don't restrict flow. You can find many blueprints and plans through Google.

In any case, consider if you really need a full-time skimmer in a non-reef tank with a light bio load. I don't think you do. With a few live rocks and even a small biowheel ($16), I think you would be fine, maybe even better off without a skimmer. A good cannister filter will do the job. Given the choice between a cannister and a good bio-wheel, I'd go for the bio wheel.

Keep it simple, clean, light bioload, no chemicals; with time to stabilize properly (about 3 months) a tank like that can practically run itself. Skimmers, fancy plumbing, etc., are very demanding. I use these things where needed. A small tank like yours should be fun, not a labor intensive project.
 

Swanwillow

goby girl
actually, I found a fluval 404 for nice and cheap... so I'll be overfiltering, and not need the skimmer

thanks though, those WERE great ideas. I consider my bioload high though, cause seahorses are MESSY!!!
 
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