Going Sponge-Free, Part 4

I suppose I should get everyone updated on the sponge-free test, eh? I mean, it’s only been about 3 months since I’ve updated the blog… what’re you crying about?!

First I should recap:
– I started this test on 2/16 with all 4 of my tanks.
– I removed all filter floss and sponges from all filters.
– I added a pre-filter sponge to all intake tubes.
– About 2 weeks ago, I replaced the pre-filter sponges with stainless steel mesh filter guards
– All other maintenance remained the same (weekly 50% water changes & monthly filter cleanings)

Here are tonight’s parameters for all 4 tanks:
75gal = 5ppm Nitrates
40gal Breeder = 5ppm Nitrates
20gal Long (micro fish) = 0ppm Nitrates
20gal Long (Apisto/Killi tank) = 0ppm Nitrates

These are ALL improvements, but of course, there are other parameters to consider. For one, all of these tanks are planted. While the 40gal Breeder tank hasn’t changed since day 1, the others have become heavily planted. All three of the others have gone through some pretty dramatic changes with plant stockings. Also something to consider is that my fish stocking has also changed throughout. I actually increased livestock in all tanks. I added 2 GBRs, 4 Lyretail Killifish and a Flash Pleco to my 75gal. I added 3 Kribs to my 40gal Breeder. I lost the betta & 1 otocinclus, but added 5 Clown Killifish, 15 Trigonostigma hengeli, 13 Celestial Pearl Danios and 2 Apistogramma cacatuoides in the 20gal Long (micro tank). I sold 2 of my Apisto panduro approximately 6-7 month old fry and added 2 Lyretail Killifish.

Something else to consider is that I cleaned all filters, with exception to the 40gal breeder Filstar canister. All others were cleaned.

So, is it working? I think so. The only tank that hasn’t become more heavily planted, and is thus, my control, has been the 40gal Breeder and I added 3 additional fish to it, while the Angels and Plecos continue to get bigger. You’d think that would result in higher waste output from the fish, while sure, the plants are also growing, but they were also growing in January/February. Yet, it dropped from 10ppm to 5ppm Nitrates, and that’s without cleaning one of the filters (the bigger of the two) last week.

For me? This is a positive result and I think I’ll continue as-is for some time. The clarity of the water has always been a concern, as well, but with exception to the 20gal Long micro tank, the others are hard to judge, based on the messy eaters and other outliers, such as algae growth). I’ll continue to monitor the water column of every tank and make certain I’m not imagining things. I think that once I find a nutrient/light/co2 balance in my 75gal, that will certainly improve… but it’s been a pain in the butt since I went high tech. lol

Thanks for reading. I hope this has been helpful to anyone that’s been interested in testing this method out. Sponge-free is a win-win, if you ask me.

Take care,
Kevin

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