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Filter for shrimp tank

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I know about the different types of filters, but wanted to ask more generally:

1)Mechanical filtration: You know that tan-brown gunk that usually gets trapped in the filter?  Do you try to filter the water as much as possible, or rather let chunks of this get recirculated?  I once saw a successful CRS tank with no mechanical filtration, the water had all kinds of debris and stuff floating in it, and the shrimp seemed very happy and picking at everything.

2) Biomedia: do u prefer sponge or any of the hard ceramic / rock / sintered glass things?  Secondly, do you purposely try to go overboard with the biomedia (which is what I hear some Asian Bee shrimp breeders do) or just use as little as necessary?  In my tank setup, the biomedia is actually after the filter outlet, where the stream of water sprays on a small pile of Biomax and lava rocks.  It seems the shrimp like to gather there occasionally and pick at the rock.  Plus I assume the rest of the surface area of the tank is also doing some nitrification.  I have never seen ammonia nor nitrite after the initial cycle, but have been wondering if I should add some more biomedia "on purpose".

3) Do you run any kind of setup that is for de-nitrification, or do you just count on plants to do it?

4) Do you use any chemical media like Purigen?

Basically, I am trying to decide between "low tech natural" and "super clean".

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Most of your technical questions are a bit over my head, but this is what I use on all the tanks:


I use 2 in each tank and some come with cartridges of carbon, those I remove the carbon and just cut a bit of bigger sponge to fill the whole space. It is super easy, no carbon or ceramic etc, just the sponge, nothing else. There is a cap on the bottom which I permanently remove so there is more area exposed to the water and then to clean all I do is turn the whole thing about 120 degrees, pull out the sponge through the open bottom, squeeze it in removed tank water, put the sponge back in through the bottom and twist back into place. There is no taking anything apart as the bottom cover has been left off and the whole maintenance takes about 60 seconds if not less????

Having the 2 per tank (30L) makes it easy when you get a new tank as well as you can remove the dirty sponge from one and replace it with the other ones new sponge etc and you have immediate BB in both tanks, and any way they are so cheap why not have 2?  It is ALL super cheap, super easy and super basic. I very rarely change the sponges either but again as there are 2 it won't upset anything if you change one sponge or if one of the filters breaks. Incidently I have had some 5+ years and not 1 has failed yet.

This is what I  have done/used for years, sorry I can't be of more help on the specific technical questions you pose but as you see we really are talking a basic system of muck sucked into sponge and that is it, and the spray bars aerate the tank when the water comes out the other end.


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