. . . about a variety of subjects
Aqueon versus Aqua Clear filters
This is a re-written product review based on a response I posted at Badman’s Tropical Fish forums this morning.
The question was regarding densely packed bubbles collecting on the surface of the water. First the what, why and how to get rid of this phenomena, if it is a sign of trouble in the tank.
The last, first; Yes, it is an early warning sign. The bubbling is a sign there is a protein build up due to one or more factors; poor water circulation from a dirty, clogging or exhausted filter media. Additionally, over feeding and/ or a carcass decaying in the tank could be adding to the problem. We have taken care of the what and a couple of whys.
How do we correct this problem?
Look at the surface of the water, can you detect less motion than you normally see after your regular water changes. You are checking your filter, heater and so forth at that time, every time, right? Of course you are.
If there are no decaying carcasses, on to the filter.
Turn the filter off. Drain off a quart or so of tank water into a pail, bowl or some other wide and deep container. Next remove your intake tube or hose. Is your intake clogged by debris, slimy colonies, a dead fish, some (detested) pond snails you did not know you had? Clear the intake. Remove the filter media, wash in that tank water you just set aside. Check the filter box for the same problems.
Do not ever wash the media in tap water. You just spent a dollar-two, ninety-eight on that bottle of water conditioner to remove all the chlorine and chloramide, remember? (yes, that is a real dollar amount, where is your sense of humor)
Reassemble all the parts, resolve not to let this happen again, or at least too frequently. You can replace the quart of water with fresh, conditioned or aged water.
The Product Comparison
I have an Aqueon rated 20 on a 10g planted tank.
I also have two Aqua Clear filters. One rated to 30 gallon on
a second 10g tank. And one a rated 20 on a 5g tank. The rated 30 is brand new. The AquaClear 20 on the 5g was previously on the second 10g.
I am disappointed in the Aqueon because the tank it is on has many
more water problems than either Aqua Clear tank. I have the same
dense bubbling that the original person asked about and a persistent “pond scum” problem if I am not vigilant about yanking that cartridge in the Aqueon and rinsing it.
The benefit of “ease” of filter maintenance on the Aqueon is eliminated
by the need to yank the filter cartridge every 4-5 days and clean it after
a month of use in a heavily planted tank.
No way, in my opinion, will the cartridge insert system used
by Aqueon, last more than two months, tops in a moderate to heavily planted tank.
I am suspicious of carbon exhaustion in those cartridges; there is much less carbon in a cartridge than in the sachet of carbon in an Aqua Clear setup. So too for the fiber encasement and there are no bio-media at all.
In my opinion, the Aqua Clear mechanical configuration
is superior to the Aqueon. There are three filtration sachets therefore; true triple filtration capabilities. Bio-sponge at the bottom, carbon sachet in the middle and I use a bio-tube media sachet instead of ammo sachet at the top before the water dumps out the outlet. Additionally, of the smaller, less expensive filters, I find the flow adjustment on an Aqua Clear better suited to my tanks needs and livestocking purposes, than the fixed rate of the Aqueon.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am raising shrimp in the AC 30 tank
and have added a puff of fiber to the intake, in the event I should ever
have shrimplets. Shrimp need super-clean water and over-kill
filtration has eliminated Grass/ghost/glass shrimp death due to
When I have some luxury cash, I will be swapping my Aqueon
off the first 10g and replacing it with an Aqua Clear.
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