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Watchful Goby
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321 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read again and again that physical filtration is frowned upon. If you don't clean the filters regularly, the junk that is filtered out remains caught in the media, submerged in your tank, and decomposes into unpleasantries. If you do use physical filtration, you should clean/replace the socks/floss at least every few days (daily being best).

But my question is, if you don't have any form of physical filtration, doesn't the physical matter just eventually find a place to settle and start decomposing anyway? With a physical filter, the junk is still in the tank if you don't change the filter media. Without a physical filter, the junk is still in the tank, just hidden in a nook or cranny of the tank. Either way, junk remains in the tank and can therefore decompose.

So given the choice between physical filter and no physical filter, shouldn't we opt for a physical filter and try to be as vigilant as possible about changing the media?
 

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Watchful Goby
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321 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well of course, but that cleaning only happens about once a week. According to the 'physical filter media needs to be changed daily' mantra, we should be siphoning off debris daily from the bottom of our tanks.
 

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the problem with media is that it is in a high flow area and therefore breaks down quickly, releasing phosphates and nitrates into the water...I personally have no filters. All dirt and detritus ends up on the bottom of my tank, most in my settling tank. Since both are bare bottom it is easy to syphon out any debris...The skimmer takes care of the water column.

Some do a small water change daily, and others do it once a week. This really depends on your bio-load...the longer dirt and detritus stay in your tank, the more it breaks down, whether it sits on the bottom of your tank or in your filter, high flow breaks it down more quickly.
 

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I'm doing all three, hob filter,skimmer, and live rock. The hob helps a lot during cleanings as I'm stirring things up it'll suck in a lot of deitrus. My skimmer is 24/7 except for feedings when it's off for an hour or so( some additives make it bubble wildly) and last but not least the bacteria within the liverock.
 

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A really good skimmer, limiting food and low bio load for less waste, regular water changes while blowing off the rock and siphoning crud out of sand, pysically trapping debris durin water change and cleaning will work over time
 

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Well of course, but that cleaning only happens about once a week. According to the 'physical filter media needs to be changed daily' mantra, we should be siphoning off debris daily from the bottom of our tanks.
in a perfect world yes. that is why a lot of people prefer BB tanks. they can see the detritus and find ways to get the flow to remove it, or move it an easier place to get it out.

as hotdogg was saying, it is the high flow where the detritus is collected in a mechanical filter that is the problem. high flow means high oxygen. the more oxygen the faster the decomposition. when the detritus is allowed to settle in a substrate, the oxygen content goes way down, so the decomposition is slowed. the detritus is still accumulating even though it may seem less obvious, trust us it is still there. the affects of all of the detritus is delayed because of the low O2 in the substrate. substrates do not make the nutrients go away, they just slowly migrate them downward until they become full. it becomes a decision on how you want to do your maintenance. a little here and there, or a lot every now and then.

G~
 
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