Making the most of your filters

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Making the most of your filters

Post by Neil » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:03 pm

As nobody has posted in her yet (come on advanced members!), I thought I'd make a start with my favourite subject - filters!

As I'm sure you all know, filters are designed for fish tanks, not for terrapin tanks, and as such they have loads of sponges, a small amout of biomedia, generally some activated carbon or carbon pads, and not all that much flow. As such, we tend to advise a much bigger (rated about twice the actually amount) filter. From my experience, however, it is entirely possible to run a tank on a smaller filter as long as it is set up with terrapins in mind, although obviously you'll want to keep it rated for at least the tank size you have!

First of all, the sponges, which generally come in three different grades as standard - coarse, medium, and clogs-up-in-seconds! Obviously with terrapins, they create a lot of large waste (rather than small waste that fish make) which can often be netted out to help keep the filter cleaner. As such, you only really need one or two grades of sponge, and as they can be quite thick on the larger filters, you've instantly got more space!

Next is the biomedia, and there is quite a selection out there at different prices and effectiveness! Personally, I've found Alfagrog to be by far the best, not only in performance, but also value for money as it's available in bulk sacks of 15kg for around £12, compared to the same price for very small (a few hundred grams) of "brand name" media! You'll often find that the filter is also only half full with the amount of media supplied from new, which is just a giant waste of space IMO!

So, now you're filter is working at it's best, it's time to decide what additions you want to make. You can add a UVC (to kill germs and prevent green water), which should be put before the filter. You can also add filter floss at the end of the filter if you want, which will get rid of any of the last of the smallest particles to have "sparkling" water, although bear in mind that this could well get very dirty very quickly, and need changing fairly often. I found that the stuffing from cheap pillows worked great as filter floss, and works out far cheaper than "proper" filter floss!

The only other important thing to remember, is oxygenating the water. Without oxygen in the water, the good bacteria cannot survive, and instead you get less efficient species of bacteria, those nasty ones that make that stagnant water smell! Plenty of oxygen makes the difference between a filter working great, and not working at all, and with the price of air pumps and stones (as well as the bubbles making for interesting entertainment!) it's always worth having one anyway!
0.1.0 - Chelydra serpentina
*.*.* - Graptemys ouachitensis
*.*.* - Pseudemys concinna
*.*.* - Pseudemys nelsoni
*.*.* - Trachemys scripta elegans
*.*.* - Trachemys scripta scripta

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Re: Making the most of your filters

Post by suej » Fri May 06, 2011 9:32 am

I have been a bit sleep deprived lately which will go a long way to explain my actions.

I have a Chinese made external filter, a noisy little thing, but it turns the water round great and does a pretty good job. Because of the noise it lives in the shed and filters the Wood Turtles little pond, our old friend the underbed storage box.

I wanted to try to use it for the pond on the floor of the shed, but we all know you have to have the filter lower than the pond, so for a while, I have had a small submersible pump conected up and just used the external as a filter. Works well.

However the external will keep leaking from the lower joint, causing puddles on the shed floor and I kick it as I walk through the shed, so a couple of days ago in desparation, I stood the filter in the pond. The filter isn't turned on, the submersible pump was still doing the job.

Now, I figure as long as the electrics at the top of the filter dont go underwater it would be fine, so I disconnected the submersible pump and turned the external on, and it is, fine, the intake pipe being at the bottom, has a short length of tube, with the filter 'basket' on, the water is nice and clear, the flow is a bit of a full on current.

The whole thing could be stood in a pond plant basket and I think you could make a rather nice waterfall, which might slow the flow a bit. I think the big girls would push the filter round, although full of water and grog it is heavy.
sue j

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Re: Making the most of your filters

Post by Turtle_Huw » Wed May 11, 2011 5:42 pm

As another idea for improving filtration, if you have big external pond type filters, you can also plant them with aquatic or marginal plans, these help to reduce nitrates and other nasties.

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