Going Sponge-Free, Part 3

So, three days ago I switched my HOB filter media in my 20gal Long and 40gal Breeders so that I no longer have sponges or floss. I then placed pre-filter sponges on the intake tubes for all filters (including the canister’s). I had intended to switch out my floss and sponge media in the canister filter two days ago, but ran out of time, so I ended up doing that yesterday. Now, all filters in my 20 and 40 are utilizing lava rock, matrix and ceramic biological filter media… and that’s it. There’s absolutely nothing else going on in those filters. Thus, the true test begins.

Meanwhile, the new plants in my 75gal are growing like crazy. I’m going to have to trim the Parrots Feathers in another day or so, because they’re already nearing the top of the tank. When I do take trimmings, I plan on outfitting the 20gal long with the new plants. I’ve been meaning to rescape that for a while, but haven’t had the plants to do so, and I really couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. Now I have a pretty good idea, so I’ll be moving forward with that idea soon.

Tonight, I outfitted both canisters in my 75gal with pre-filter sponges. Just a reminder, I used an AC110 Sponge and just cut it up into 4 different sponges for the 40gal Breeder and 75gal filters (4 filters in total and I still have a block of sponge left to create another one, should I need to). That sponge was well worth the money.

Anyway, as far as results go regarding the test:

The 20gal long is surprisingly very clear. There is no particulate matter floating around in the tank, which was one of the things I was worried about. I actually think the tank looks more clear than it has in a while… not that it’s been cloudy or anything, but I’ve noticed an improved clarity. My guess is that the nasty sponges can no longer leach dirt into the tank through the outflow of the filter.

Since it’s only been a day for the 40gal to be completely sponge free (besides pre-filter sponges), it’s a little hard to tell if there’s a difference. However, I can say that there certainly is improved flow. My floating plants don’t stand a chance anymore… not that I really mind. I’m kind of sick of them at the moment, anyway. Even with modest flow, they still get pushed around and get submerged. I hope to see the same improved clarity as the 20gal in a couple of days. Not sure it’ll happen, but in this tank I’ll definitely be able to see a difference if it does.

I tested Nitrate in all three tanks tonight, to see if there’s any improvement yet and here are the results:

75gal: 20ppm Nitrates
20gal: 20ppm Nitrates
40gal: 10ppm Nitrates

So, no change yet… but the readings have remained stagnant since the 17th (2 days ago). I suppose that could be read as good news. I would hope they remain stagnant after a water change, as well, but time will tell.

Tomorrow is the end of my 75gal’s first dosing of medication, so I’ll be conducting a large water change. It’s at this point where I’ll be switching the filters over to lava rock, as well, and removing the sponges. Then, all 3 tanks will have completed the sponge-free transition. I’m curious to see if the nitrates drop considerably after the large water change and how long they’ll remain stagnant throughout the week. I’m hoping it lasts the week, but we’ll see. I’m definitely going to need a new Nitrate tester, as I’m running out of liquid.

Anyway, until next time, have a wonderful night and thanks again for stopping by!


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