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Aqueon QuietFlow 10 modification question


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I have a 10g tank with a betta.  I was wanting to add an Indian almond leaf until I realized that my carbon filter will remove the tannins that the IAL provides.  So I started looking at options of modifying my HOB.   I've seen so many done but very few of the Aqueon QuietFlow. However I did see a good one on this forum: 

 

But I wanted to go a step further.  It was important for me to try to have ceramic rings inside as well.

I saw a video of someone who layered the narrow reservoir similar to an Aquaclear filter.  Foam on the bottom, floss, and then ceramic rings.  But it would seem to me that would helpful if the water was flowing from the bottom to the top.  But when you look inside the Aqueon Quietflow, water goes in from the entire side - not just the bottom.   Here's a picture of one of one of my broken QuietFlows, older model but the reservoir is the same.  

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You can see that the water comes in from the left, goes down to go into the filter area, but there's an opening that goes from top to bottom.  So while the initial water will start at the bottom and go up, once it fills, new water seems to just go just through the top.  

Am I wrong in assuming that's how the flow will go?   Even when I see the diagram of the QuietFlow that describes its layers of filtration, it's just back to front.

So if my assumption is correct, this is my plan:

1) I ordered a coarse sponge from Aquarium Co-op.  The thickness will fill the entire reservoir.  I plan to cut out half-an-inch within that, so it'll look like a "]"

2) I also ordered a small media bag and the ceramic rings.  I'll take some of those rings, put it in the media bag, and put it in that cut out slot in the sponge.  

3) I'll use the floss pad just like was done in the link shared above.

4) I'll be combining the floss and another sponge to baffle the outflow

 

I haven't received the media yet, but I'm trying to plan it out and get some feedback.

I know this could be a lot easier if I just put the sponge in and not worry about the rings. Perhaps the sponge can do bio filtering just as well as the rings, in addition to the mechanical.  I don't know.  

 

Any feedback from others would be helpful?

 

 

Edited by Gideyon
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8 minutes ago, ererer said:

I think you're overthinking it (which I do all the time!)

I'm an introvert.  That's what I do. 

I appreciate the feedback.  I was thinking the same thing about surface area, but then I asked myself why do they even put ceramics in bigger filters, cannisters, etc.?  Certainly it has better value in bio filtering than a sponge.    

In all likelihood, it'll end up being just a sponge and I'll have a big bag of ceramic rings doing nothing.

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8 hours ago, Gideyon said:

new water seems to just go just through the top.

You are sorta right, it does move water front to back. Like @ererer said it wont leave dead spots, the entire volume of the hob will cycle out. You will however notice that water on the top will flow faster than water at the bottom, seemingly giving you the impression that only the top water is flowing. Armed with that knowledge you can use the differential water speeds to your advantage. I find that bio media works better in a slower flow. Thats not to say high flow wont work, but if you are trying to use bio rings to boost surface area for this particular hob, i recommend putting them in the bottom, then sponge on top. 

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Well, the folks that sell aquarium filters often sell cartridges that have low surface area and are designed to be replaced, instead of sponges (aquaclear is one of the exceptions that comes to mind), even though this is the exact opposite of what we want to do. So one reason could be just to sell more things. Ceramic media is porous, so theoretically it should make good media for bacteria to colonize, or at least as good as a sponge. I do use it in my filters. I believe the design behind the rings is that they are less likely to fill with aquarium gunk than a sponge will. However, I think you'd be 100% fine with just a combination of coarse filter sponge and filter floss. Many experienced aquarists with dozens and dozens of tanks run just sponge filters in their fish rooms with lots of success. I have run sponge filters without issue myself, though I don't prefer seeing the sponge in my display tanks, or the noise of the pump.

Edited by ererer
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Thanks for the input. 

I happened this morning to come across a video of Cory "hot rodding" this exact filter.  He had a bigger intake sponge than what I ordered (hopefully it'll still fit), but went with all sponge inside, or all ceramics. 

I'm beginning to feel like the ceramics are not as needed. After all, there's enough gravel for bacteria.  I don't know if the sponge and rings will add much benefit. 

But my goal is to have lower frequency of water changes, so eventually when/if I add more Nano fish to this, things are in place to handle the bioload. 

 

So taking your feedback and that video into consideration, I'm going to try putting the sponge on the side the water comes in, and the ceramics in that small space to the right.  So instead of layered top-down, it's layered side to side. Since the water is coming in from the side

Once I get the materials I'll try it out. 

 

Thanks again.   

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I finally got the materials and put together my modified Aqueon HOB. 

There's a notch that the cartridges fit in (perhaps to make sure the user puts it in the right direction).  I used that notch as the mark of how wide the sponge is.  On the other side of the notch stuffed ceramics as much as I can. I also put a mini corse filter intake sponge to add to the mechanical filtration (though it seems minimal).  

The little bay to put the aqueon pad in (not sure what the purpose is) I placed the polypad like shown in the link above. 

The original pad that was there I stuck in the little area where water comes in so I don't do a complete reset with beneficial bacteria in the filter.  

 

Also, being a betta tank, I needed slower output.  Earlier I baffled it with a pre-filter sponge that I cut. It didn't do as well as I hoped. So I took the polypad and placed it underneath.  Now the baffling is much better.  

I'll see how it is after a few days if the water starts to backup.  

 

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