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Discussion Starter #1
I am curious as to why discus keepers who change 80 - 100% of the water and run barebottomed (BB) tanks even worry about biological filtration. With those frequency of water changes, there is no ammonia to even feed the bacteria. Why not just run an airstone?

I know this can be an inflammatory subject, hence I asked here instead of on Simply. Before I get into anything, I like to do my research, and this is one topic that has confounded me no matter how often I research it. Thoughts?
 

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hmmm if you end up feeding them as often and as much as I do...there will be A TON of poop build up by the end of the day even with daily water changes, 2 sponge filters, a rena xp2 with prefilter sponge (in a 65gal)

I know from experience that if I don't clean the sponges regularly and they get dirty, my water becomes cloudy right away and even water changes can't bring the water condition back to tiptop shape.

Do keep in mind though that I've got juveniles I'm trying to grow out. Though even with adults, you still want to try to keep the water clean during the 23-24hrs between water changes, and to do that, you need bio-filtration.

*edit...canister is xp2, not xp3*
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'm not sure if you've ever had plecos, but I can assure you, nothing can poop like a large panaque after a yam or zucchini feeding. That's 1 lb of food in 24 hours produced as waste.

Yup, you're actually reinforcing my point. The detritus buildup on your sponge filters is causing a bacteria bloom. My suggestion is that if you don't have sponges or any filtration, and just clean all the gunk out by doing 80%+ water changes in your tank every day and vacuuming out all of the poop and detritus, where would the need for filtration come from? Your sponge prefilter is not even allowing any detritus from getting in to your canister. You can accomplish the same thing with a closed loop pump with a sponge on the inlet end, no?

I hope I'm not being argumentative, but my engineering background is struggling to understand what principles are at work that requires the filter if you remove all the poo and detritus. In your case, you're not removing it all, so there is accumulation on the sponges.
 

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I don't mean to distract from this thread, but your question reminded me that I have learned a lot about discus since coming to BCA and am impressed by the level of care that discus owners give their fish. Just going away on vacation must take a lot of planning.
 

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well, as I said, you need some form of filtration to take care of the waste produced constantly. It isn't possible to be changing the water constantly. Without any filtration, water condition won't be stable.

When I first started with this group of discus, I was only running one single small sponge filter and doing massive water changes everyday. The water was still often cloudy. It was not until after I added more filtration that the water cleared up.

I did ask myself the same question you are asking now before. But has since come to terms with the need for bio-filtration. Not quite sure how to explain it but its just something that I've learned from experience.

I don't have a panaque who eats 1lb of food a day but I do have 3 greedy BNPs who poop like nuts. Their poop is different from my discus though (dunna why...digestive system different??). The BNPs are eating exactly what my discus are....they have become super lazy and doesn't eat algae anymore! +.+

Maybe someone else can better explain this??

p.s. you'd be surprised how much detritus gets into the canister even with the prefilter...my discus' poop become kinda powdery after a while (before I can do my daily water change). Without filtration........water just becomes super cloudy.
 

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There are breeders in Asia who rely solely on water changes. But they do multiple 100% changes a day.

The water will cloud if you don't have some sort of filtration, but the higher the percentage of WC, the less filtration required. I had 2 sponges filters running on my 46 when my discus were babies. They got a 80% change a day and I never had to clean the filters. Probably could have gotten away with just having airstones and no sponge.
 

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I had 2 sponges filters running on my 46 when my discus were babies. They got a 80% change a day and I never had to clean the filters..
lol maybe I am feeding mine too much. Even with daily wc's, I still need to clean my sponges at least once a week. They get SO dirty.
 

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your idea of not using sponge filters would work if you do 80-100% WC after every feeding every time. (2-3 times daily). As Daniel mentioned, this is what Asian breeders do.

But for an average Discus keeper, 3 x 100% WC every day wont work and to compliment that they have sponge filters. Discus poop a lot too :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Interesting input Athena. Conversely, would it make sense to have huge mechanical filtering with no bio? Such is in multiple AC110's? If it's just removal of detritus, wouldn't pure mechanical filtration, such as a large sump (for the added water volume) with just a filter sock do just as well?

And Sharkbait, I don't have any discus yet, but I spend probably 5 hours a week doing maintenance, pruning changing water and unclogging intakes in my planted tanks, so I don't think planted tanks will make the discus tanks any easier. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #12
But for an average Discus keeper, 3 x 100% WC every day wont work and to compliment that they have sponge filters. Discus poop a lot too :)
You mean Josephl and Embersmon are not your average discus keeper? :D
 

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What do you mean by mechanical filters??

I just have more sponges and eheim substrate pro in my canister.

So...wouldn't that make the canister both a mechanical and biological filter??

I've never really looked into what a sump is besides something that is hooked up to the tank and usually places underneath and that they are super awesome and handy for water top up or something....oh, and that people usually make them themselves XD
 

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Discussion Starter #14
What do you mean by mechanical filters??

I just have more sponges and eheim substrate pro in my canister.

So...wouldn't that make the canister both a mechanical and biological filter??
Yep, it's both. And that's my question. If the objective is to remove as much detritus as possible why not run more filter pads instead of wasting space on the EhfiSubstrat Pro. I run my filters that way as I'm after bio, but I only do a max of 2 water changes a week of 50% and I have a much heavier bioload than many discus tanks (30+ plecos and 4 cichlids of which the biggest is about 10"). With it being planted, my nitrates reach zero essentially every other day if I don't dose the tank with KNO3. Many discus keepers say that won't work for discus, and thus the reason why I'm asking this question. It seems bio is not as important as the water changes.

Edit: Sorry, forgot to directly answer the question. Mechanical as in filter pads, sponges, anything that trips dirt, including Ehfimech from Eheim.
 

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I think my original reasoning for putting eheim substrate pro in the canister was cuz I didn't want detritus to build up and not be 'broken down' fast enough?? Thus the eheim substrate pro, for more bio-filter to break down the gunk in the canister??

Edit: I think some people do use only HOBs jammed with sponge pads in their discus tanks. My only concern with running a lot of them would be the water flow. With sponge filters, they are air driven (the ones I use anyways) and so water current isn't as strong. With canisters, there are always ways to make the water flow more gentle (spray bar, aiming against glass or something, etc).
 

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Interesting thread.
Ammonia is always being produced in any aquarium. Regardless of water change, there should be a biological filter present. I have seen discus set ups where there was only mechanical filtration and massive regular water changes. Yes it can be done but if you miss a change, not good. Why would you not want to bother with some sort of bio filter? No negative after all.
 

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In my opinion..

The negatives of having BIofiltration is the nitrates. If you are doing big water changes throughout the day Boifilters would contribute to poorer water quality not better, In the case of air stones only in a juvie grow out with water changes throughout day..
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The negative I'm thinking of is $. Why spend $300 on an Eheim 2078 when 2 x $20 sponge filters plus a $30 air pump will do that same. I do appreciate the fact that ammonia is continuously being generated though.

Another method, as someone suggested above, is a continuous trickle water changer, I guess.

Anyway, I think there is enough input I have now to suggest that there is enough justification for a proper biofilter. And unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I don't have enough time for multiple big water changes a day and plan on filtering the cube with my 2078 and using substrate. :D

Thanks for the input everyone, especially Athena.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
In my opinion..

The negatives of having BIofiltration is the nitrates. If you are doing big water changes throughout the day Boifilters would contribute to poorer water quality not better, In the case of air stones only in a juvie grow out with water changes throughout day..
Right. The only thing bio has over no bio is that nitrate is not as toxic as ammonia or nitrite. If you transport all the ammonia out, there is no reason to have bio filtration. Which comes back to my original question in a big circle.
 

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The negative I'm thinking of is $. Why spend $300 on an Eheim 2078 when 2 x $20 sponge filters plus a $30 air pump will do that same. I do appreciate the fact that ammonia is continuously being generated though.

Another method, as someone suggested above, is a continuous trickle water changer, I guess.

Anyway, I think there is enough input I have now to suggest that there is enough justification for a proper biofilter. And unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I don't have enough time for multiple big water changes a day and plan on filtering the cube with my 2078 and using substrate. :D

Thanks for the input everyone, especially Athena.
Sponge filters are Biological. They would suffice with regular water change.
 
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