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Author Topic: Is Anybody Else Using Hamburg Matten Filters (HMFs)?  (Read 6621 times)
TwoTankAmin
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« on: November 11, 2015, 12:36:46 PM »

This past year I have begun changing how I filter tanks. I have made a few basic changes, Firstly, I am replacing sponges, whether as the sole filter or as a component in a canister, with Poret foam. Next, I have begun replacing other filters with Hamburg Matten Filters (HMF). This is a completely different approach to filtration than most of us use.

Poret foam is a high quality rigid foam which closely controls the porosity. One can get the foam anywhere from 10ppi all the way up to 45 ppi. The higher the ppi the more pores there are but also the smaller the pore size. So the higher the ppi, the sooner it clogs. One cleans HMFs about once every one or two years although in some cases this can be even longer. One also runs an HMF at a slower flow rate than is traditionally used in most filters. Any needed additional current is supplied by auxiliary means not connected to filtering.

I am making the switchover because it reduces the time I have to spend doing maint. while either maintaining or even improving overall water quality.

So, is anybody else doing anything similar?

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russ
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2015, 03:23:16 PM »

Are you planning to place yours along the back, sides, down the center, or corner of your tanks?
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BallAquatics
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2015, 04:19:26 PM »

I switched ALL my tanks over several years ago.  Best thing I've ever done in the fish room!  I've known Stephan from Swiss Tropicals for many years now.  When he was living in Columbus he belonged to my local club, CAFE.  Stephan is a great guy, and I can honestly say I'm a better fish keeper from my association with him.

http://www.swisstropicals.com/

http://www.columbusfishclub.org/

Dennis
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TwoTankAmin
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2015, 11:28:51 AM »

At the end of the tank. However, I have also come up with an interesting design for use in my pleco spawning tanks. because HMFs work best at slower flow rates than the typical filter, I needed more current in the tanks. I particularly needs to send current down the front of the tank so it would move past the cave mouths in a perpendicular fashion- it should not blow into the cave but across the opening.

My first solution was to use a second pump with an spraybar adapted to fit the output and which then pushed a current across the bottom of the tank towards the HMF. The result would be a somewhat circular flow pattern in the tank since the output of the HMF is over the top. On some of these I make my own custom spraybar in order to increase the surface agitation. width of the return.

I had an interesting idea, I thought. Instead of using a single 3 inch foam at one end and  a plain return device at the other, I wondered what would happen if I used 2 foams, each 2 inch thinck and placed at opposite ends of the tank. The return from one would be the traditional over the top type. But the foam at the other end would have a hole drilled near the bottom and the return would be there instead of over the top. I would still have a similar flow pattern but I would gain 33% more foam by having 2 x2 inch instead of a single 3 inch. I ran this idea by Dr. T. and he saw no reason not to try it.

This past week I began the process by inserting the first foam which has the over the top return. This foam went on the end of the tank where there were two sponged powerheads. One pushed water down the front and the other down the back. I removed the smaller of these and rinsed the sponge out in the tank with the HMF running. The second sponged PH was moved to the opposite end of the tank and set to blow down the front, The 200 gph Hangon was left in place. In about 2 -3 weeks I will remove the remaining PH and insert the second Poret with the return near the bottom. I will shut down the orig foam and the hang on and squezze the sponge into the tank with the new HMF running. Finally, in another 2 - 3 weeks I will remove the Hang on, rinse the media in the tank and the system will be complete.

As to Stephan, he is a great guy. he and i have exchanged emails over the past few years on the topic of bacteria vs archaea as the dominant ammonia oxidizers in aquariums. I was fortunate to meet him at CatCon last year. He was also most helpful in advising me on converting my canisters to using Poret and in convincing me to give up using filter floss when running either HMFs or a few of the other Poret shapes/sizes for cube or block filters in lieu of a full blown HMF.

I actually started using the Poret a few years back as I began to replace my Hydro sponges with Poret.

As an aside, I fitted my first Eheim canister to run all Poret about 6 weeks ago. It is an Eheim Pro II 2026. It was a real challenge cutting the foam to shape. Once done I discovered it could not be put into the basket due to the handle system. So I had to cut it in half to fit it. The worst part was making the large hole needed in each foam. I did not find his suggestion on making a circular hole cutter by using copper or PVC pipe which you sharpen one end of with a file. I will make one of these before retrofitting the other two canisters planned for conversion.

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mchambers
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2015, 08:20:13 AM »

I just saw this thread, and thought it would be worth resurrecting, in light of another post about replacing HOB filters.

I've been thinking about switching some tanks to mattenfilters.  Most of my canisters have at least some Poret foam in them, but I've been too lazy and cheap to switch to mattenfilters.  The more I read about them, and see them (I have at least two friends using them), the more I see the advantages.  Ted Judy has a good video about installing them:

http://tedsfishroom.com/2015/12/05/installing-a-corner-matten-filter/
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TwoTankAmin
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2015, 11:23:52 AM »

I must admit my motivation in moving towards HMFs started with the Poret cubes from Swiss Tropicals. I have one 2x2x2 incher 30 ppi in a fry growout tank along with a 3x3x3 20 ppi. After that I have more 4x4x4 20 ppi and a couple of 5x5x5 20 ppi. The wrok great and they only need to be rinses about once every 3 - 4 weeks at most. The HMF need way less cleaning.

And that was what was behind the shift. I found that in the 1st 14 years I was keeping fish that water was apparently gaining weight. I know this to be the case as the same buckets of water were clearly getting heavier. I was also finding having to clean between 2 and 4 filters per tanks, including changing floss where used, was taking a lot of time. The idea of being able to cut my work load was my main motivation.

But there is a second benefit, HMFs really do work well, better than most filters out there. Here is how much I trust them:
20L 2 cubes grows out L450 and contradens fry- the fish sell for $30 each.
20L an HMF used to grow out zebras or L173B- fish all sell for well over $100 each.
33L an HMF used to breed and grow out L236- the fish sell in the $100 range each.
33L custom HMF using a pair 2 inch foams one at eat end as described above. Breeder tank for L173b.
40B with a lot of zebra plecos- 2 cubes and an AquaCklear 300. Fish sell for over $100 each.
20 with a dozen zebras, 2 cubes. Fish sell for over $100 each.
50B with amanos and whatever I need to park there, plus a ton of excess plants. # 4x4x4 poret cubes.
75 with a lot of zebra plecos- 3 filters the primary which is an Eheim canister with Poret and nothing else.

Consider the value of the fish vs the nature of the filtration. There is a lot of value in those tanks and I trust it all to HMFs and Poret cubes. I think the tanks described above are certainly as healthy, if not healthier, than the rest of my tanks (current total is 18).

There is only one drawback to HMF and Poret cubes, there is no place for chemical media such as carbon, or tannin producing substances etc. So if you decide to switch a tank to using these filters exclusively, make sure you keep a hang-on of some sort to handle such things when they are needed.
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BallAquatics
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2015, 07:20:08 AM »

.....  I've been thinking about switching some tanks to mattenfilters. .....

I'm a big fan of the corner filters in my bigger tanks ( 40 gallons and up ).  I used vinyl "J" channel from the local hardware store to build mine.  This was before Stephan had the corner filter kits.....  http://www.swisstropicals.com/filtration-shop/cornerfilter-shop/



I like the cubes for my breeder set-ups.  I use the 45 ppi foam as it works better when feeding BBS to young fry.

I like full width mattenfilters on my 20 gallon long grow-out tanks as they have a high stocking density and the extra filter material is a big plus.

I've got a blog post on my site about my experience with HMF filtration.....  http://ballaquatics.com/diy/hmf-aquarium-filtration/

I must admit, I am biased towards these filters and SwissTropicals.  Stephan has been a great friend of mine for years, and I built the new swisstropicals.com website, ( my day job is as a computer systems engineer ).

Dennis
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mchambers
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2015, 09:47:07 AM »

Do you use air pumps to move the water?  I'd like to have the system be as silent as possible, so am not wild about air pumps.
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TwoTankAmin
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2015, 01:32:04 PM »

For smaller tanks I use air power on the HMFs. However, in pleco breeding tanks I use a small pump. I need more surface agitation and also additional flow. I make my own custom spraybar for the returns.

Also as an alternative to glass strips and the vinyl you can find clear plastic "corner guards" at Home Depot. They offer a variety of sizes: http://www.homedepot.com/s/corner%2520guard?NCNI-5 Do not get the stick-ons, get the plain, "Commercial" ones.

I have been going back and forth (in slow motion) with Dr. T. for the past few years over the archaea/bacteria debate.

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mchambers
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2015, 01:41:27 PM »

I have been going back and forth (in slow motion) with Dr. T. for the past few years over the archaea/bacteria debate.
Which side are you on? 
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BallAquatics
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2015, 07:46:40 AM »

Do you use air pumps to move the water?  I'd like to have the system be as silent as possible, so am not wild about air pumps.

100% air.  With around 100 tanks going the electric bill gets prohibitive running too many pumps and power filters.  Also with that many tanks, you never hear the air pump.  LOL

Also as an alternative to glass strips and the vinyl you can find clear plastic "corner guards" at Home Depot.

I went with the vinyl as silicon can sometimes be finicky about the type of plastic it wants to adhere to....  no issues with vinyl.

Dennis
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russ
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2015, 08:14:50 AM »

"100% air.  With around 100 tanks going the electric bill gets prohibitive running too many pumps and power filters.  Also with that many tanks, you never hear the air pump.  LOL"



I can totally relate to that.
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TwoTankAmin
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2015, 11:30:02 AM »

I have been going back and forth (in slow motion) with Dr. T. for the past few years over the archaea/bacteria debate.
Which side are you on? 

What is boils down to, as far as I am concerned, is that neither the archaea nor the bacteria can be described as being the dominant ammonia oxidizers in aquariums. Some tanks seem to rely more on one or the other while some tanks have both or actually change over time. The bacteria do better when ammonia is higher and the archaea can thrive on the lowest levels where the bacteria will not do well. The result is that during cycling bacteria tend to dominate. Once a tank is established, ammonia levels stay low because they do not accumulate. In some mature tanks the archaea appear to dominate. This would suggest that the microbial populations in tanks change over time.

One issue I have with the very few studies of this isuue in tanks is there may be a bias based on the specific water source. I do not believe that a brand new tanks gets the needed seed bacteria from the air. Rather, it arrives with out tap water. If it were airborne, then is follows it should be almost impossible to cycle a tank when it is freezing or when one lives in a desert environment or where the hottest temperatures are well above 110F.

I have read plenty of papers dealing with nitrification in drinking water systems and the bacteria that are thriving within them. This is even more true one the pipes go from being municipal to private.

What we do know is that research has shown both the bacteria and the archaea show up in tanks- clearly both can be present. I think the more interesting recent discovery is that Nitrospira may be able to oxidize both ammonia and nitrite. This was discovered in the basement tank at a University.

Quote
Complete nitrification by a single microorganism
Here we report the enrichment and initial characterization of two Nitrospira species that encode all the enzymes necessary for ammonia oxidation via nitrite to nitrate in their genomes, and indeed completely oxidize ammonium to nitrate to conserve energy.
from http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vnfv/ncurrent/full/nature16459.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20151203&spMailingID=50159890&spUserID=MzA0ODA0NjE2NDQS1&spJobID=820348363&spReportId=ODIwMzQ4MzYzS0

Just when we thought they had it figured out, they discover something new, first the archaea and now the above.

@Dennis- thanks for the warning on the use of silicone with some plastics, it never occurred to me.
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2016, 11:08:20 AM »

At a recent aquarium convention (The Big Fish Deal, in Maryland), the sponsoring club was selling some poret foam cubes (I think 4x4) that were left over from a previous convention.  They didn't have lift tubes, but I figured that would be easy to make, so I picked some up.

When I got home, I realized I could use the cubes as prefilter intakes for some of my canisters.  So far, so good.  The cubes don't clog quickly, but they do catch a lot of organic material.  Every week or two I take them off and clean them in a bucket of tank water.  I expect I'll need to clean my canisters far less frequently.
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BallAquatics
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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2016, 08:12:00 AM »

Stephan is speaking in your neck of the woods this weekend at the NEC convention.....

http://northeastcouncil.org/NewNEC/index.php/convention-speakers

Dennis
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When i read things that say that wont work....
I mostly smile and think , yeah right 
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