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Recommended ppi for matten filter


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The setup:

20g long tank, bare bottom, holding guppies and shrimp. 
 

Question for the hive mind:

Do I go for 20ppi or 30ppi for the matter filter foam?  Or go rogue and pick something completely different. Looking for which way you would vote and a little context as to why as I keep going back and forth.  Thanks. 

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On 5/16/2024 at 4:59 PM, AdamS said:

Do I go for 20ppi or 30ppi for the matter filter foam?  Or go rogue and pick something completely different. Looking for which way you would vote and a little context as to why as I keep going back and forth.  Thanks. 

I am running 1 matten filter right now. I like the 30ppi foam just because it picks up particles and is easy enough to clean, as well as the fact that it can be bought in bulk from pond and pool supply places with significant savings.

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Posted (edited)

1-1/2" of 30ppi over under gravel filter - its awesome. I use a powerhead on one tube on 5 & 10 gallon tanks or air driven on both tubes (for calm water in grow out tanks). Also have 3 37gallon tanks with this setup. 

I even sculpt things out of sponge to hide the lift tubes. I'd rather lose a bit off the bottom than a portion of my viewing area.

20 gallon with Tiki lift tube covers, 'rocks' and coconut tree trunks (to be topped off with java ferns). I'll put glass beads and crushed coral in the "river" areas on the bottom...

Here's a pic...with apologies for the reflections on the glass:17155221533621435198142797897141.jpg.0e03a876243b210f8fbc8b675b32f99c.jpg

Edited by Sammy
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On 5/16/2024 at 11:41 PM, Sammy said:

1-1/2" of 30ppi over under gravel filter - its awesome. I use a powerhead on one tube on 5 & 10 gallon tanks or air driven on both tubes (for calm water in grow out tanks). Also have 3 37gallon tanks with this setup. 

I even sculpt things out of sponge to hide the lift tubes. I'd rather lose a bit off the bottom than a portion of my viewing area.

20 gallon with Tiki lift tube covers, 'rocks' and coconut tree trunnks (to be topped off with java ferns). I'll put glass beads and crushed coral in the "river" areas on the bottom...

Here's a pic...with apologies for the reflections on the glass:17155221533621435198142797897141.jpg.0e03a876243b210f8fbc8b675b32f99c.jpg

Cool job, looks great 

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Posted (edited)

So what I am thinking:

20ppi - less polishing but won’t clog up for longer

30ppi - clogs up sooner…

 

but how soon is “sooner”?  Or is the difference so small I’m just over thinking it. 

Edited by AdamS
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I originally used 40ppi on the bottom matten filter... it caused me to vacuum the bottom about once every 2 weeks as flow started to lessen. 20 is definitely too coarse and the Cory's and cherry shrimp even have a hard time getting food out - when I checked under the UGF, you could see mulm starting to build after 3 months. 

1-1/2" of 30ppi in tanks under 20 gallon (air or powerhead driven),  2" of 30ppi in 20 and 30 gallon ,  1-1/2 of 30ppi on 1" of 20ppi in my 37 gallon tanks. New 20gal has a thin seam of black silicone to hold it in place and keep snails and baby cherry shrimp from getting down into the foam, which they WILL do. I also added an "egg crate" mesh under the foam for easy removal in case of emergencies (aquarium leaks) and hidden handles... wish I'd done that from the start (I will never buy a used aquarium "resealed" by a previous owner again - hard lesson). 

Haven't vacuumed any in 3 years... not even this ramshorn & Amano shrimp tank. Plants have no problem rooting into 30ppi... the Ember tetras,  Glowlight tetras & Harlequin rasboras barely produce enough waste to feed the plants, Panda Corys clean up any leftovers. Nitrates stay low and I leave all the algae alone for the natural look. I feed mostly live foods or high grade feed so there's little waste.

1715522369246639967647010776286.jpg.7a0aabc86110b691caca8f42fb799395.jpg

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On 5/17/2024 at 12:53 PM, AdamS said:

So what I am thinking:

20ppi - less polishing but won’t clog up for longer

30ppi - clogs up sooner…

 

but how soon is “sooner”?  Or is the difference so small I’m just over thinking it. 

Once the matten filter is mature, the decomposition rate is equal to the deposit rate. The beneficial bacteria growing in it just reproduce to a level that it does not clog. Any tiny area that even starts to plug,  the material is softened and consumed by the heterotrophic bacteria and clears the plugged area. It happens on such a regular but minute scale, I doubt it could be calculated.

Swisstropicals.com has a great write up about the brown gunk being alive, check it out. (Wish I could afford their foam in all my tanks but shipping to Canada is atrociou$ now)

aquariumscience.org gave me the final push to go with foam as it taught me to do my own surface area calculations. 30ppi foam has one of the highest surface areas available in filter media. Great for high biofiltration area, good mechanical filter too. Makes for low maintenance,  super clear water. 

I'm older and way more lazy than I used to be... scraping the front glass and light water changes is a once a month job instead of a weekly thing... more time to build/rebuild more tanks. 😁

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