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filter sock/sponge cleaning


Bpb

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Quick question everyone. I've read on many forums about the many ways to clean filter socks and such. I am using an eshopps sump, with the big block of foam in the two baffles, and the filter sock which the overflow empties into. I have several spare overflow prefilter sponges, so I'm in the habbit of changing those out every day and rinsing them. i've recently removed the sponge on my return pump intake because it is VERY difficult to get to and I don't want it collecting detrius, or have to fuss with changing it even weekly.

However...I do want to keep my filter sock pretty clean as well as the sponge in the baffles, so I want to clean them twice a week ideally, worst case scenario, weekly. This is a new tank for me, but it is mature and cycled. I only have one filter sock right now, so the days I clean it, the tank runs sockless...On to my question

I have read alot of people bleach theirs, and then run it in the washing machine with a double rinse cycle, no detergent, and dry in the sun. Well...today I cleaned my sponges and filter sock in a tub with bleach. Power sprayed them and they are super clean looking. Filter sock looks cleaner than the ones I wear on my feet! So then i rinsed them in the washing machine, ran it twice on hot. Dried them in the 90 degree sun for 4 hours, and I tell you they were bone dry. Well...I am getting ready to put them back in the sump, but they still stink of bleach!

I then soaked them again in a gallon of RO water and a 5x dose of Seachem Prime to hopefully get rid of the chlorine. I have them air drying again and they no longer smell of bleach...Do you guys think it will be safe to use them later today after they're dry, or did I just ruin my mechanical filtration. I know I need to get multiple socks and sponges so I have something to use on cleaning days, but I havent gotten to that yet, and right now my tank is FILLED with microbubbles. I know they only look unsightly but I'd like to get the sock and sponge running again asap. Any ideas? Thanks!

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You have the nose of a bloodhound. Our noses can smell down to the parts per billion with something like hydrogen sulfide. You would have had no problem after your very complete first rinse. Your quality assurance test is an indicator of your goal o excellance. You have no problem, reinstall your filter sock.

Patrick

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Thank you sir for the quick reply. My nose is weird. Some things I'm real sensitive to and others I am not. Bleach is one of those things that I hate the smell of, so even just a trace amount is unpleasant to me. I guess I'm just concerned if the Prime I used will get rid of what traces may be left over. I'm very new to saltwater tanks and I just bought a mature, stocked tank. I'd hate to kill what livestock I have. The guy I got this tank from has had one of these fish for 10 years!

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I just run mine through 2 cycles of hot in the washing machine and let them dry overnight. I then rinse them again in a bucket of RO water right before I put them back in. I have never used bleach and I've never had any problems with water quality.

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That makes sense. The tanks previous owner used phosphate remover media pretty heavily from what he told me. I would like to get away from using gfo, so I'm kind if adopting a more rigorous detrius removal routine, and two water changes a month rather than just one, which he had previously done. Now I'm down to only using the filter sock, baffle sponge, and overflow bulkhead sponge as mechanical filtration. Those 3 things are easy to clean weekly or more. As far as other filtration I'm using an eshopps 75 in sump skimmer and a separate refugium that is literally packed with about 10 gallons of chaeto. How often should I remove chaeto and how much at a time is good without causing a nitrate/phosphate spike? I also feed very lightly. Once every other day. The fuzzy biofilm and algae on the rocks has gone down noticeably in the past week since I set up the tank. Hopefully in a month it'll be stable and spotless. That's my goal anyway.

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Hey there...I use the same sump (brand anyway) and I rarely ever clean my filter sock/sponge. The only time I swap socks is if it starts "overflowing" through the top of the sock. The sponge...I guess MAYBE once a month, but I'd say more like MAYBE every 3 if I remember.

+1 to the pumps...they can get pretty funky

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Also...how often would y'all recommend taking the pumps apart and cleaning them? I took apart the two powerheads when I got the tank, which had never been done and they looked pretty clean. No scrubbing necessary. I'd rather not mess with the return pump too often, but what would be a good regiment? Tank inhabitants are a clarkii clown, pajama cardinal, and azure damsel. I also have a rock anemone, brain coral, and a handful of button polyps. Very lightly stocked 55 gallon with only a couple hardy corals

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Thx for the reply. I think I'll forgo using bleach again. The filter sock had no more odor, and was mostly dry (from soaking in ro water with prime, then air drying). Sponge is gonna dry over night and I may do another soak in ro water just to be safe. I'm freaking out now wondering if the filter sock may have still had something bad on it. Ha ha wish I hadn't used bleach because now I'm afraid I may kill everything. I put the sock back on an hour ago and the fish seem normal I guess? All the feather dusters are still open too. Is that a good sign?

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I do use filter socks on some systems and I wouldn't worry about bleaching it. Running it through a wash cycle without soap or bleach is going to get rid of most of the detritus, the small amount left is not going to be close to what's still in your rock and you can reuse the sock immediately. However the majority of my systems don't use any kind of mechanical filtration and I would not have had this success if they did:

post-1247-0-08500200-1337387282_thumb.jp

Parents came in with live rock about 10 years ago, the juvinile ws found in the sump last fall.

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What is that in the pic you're holding? Maybe I'm not looking at it right. Looks like a clam of some sort? Anyway thanks for the good advice. My sole purpose for the mechanical filtration was to lower my presence of micro bubbles.

I still have a ton to learn, but I was kind of under the impression that the amount of nitrifying bacteria in the system was so heavily concentrated in the rock and sand that anything on a filter sock or sponge would be too minuscule to matter. I never clean my canister filters on my freshwater tanks. That's an ecosystem in and of itself so I don't like messin with those unless the flow drops too much.

There are two things that concern me though about mechanical filtration in my salt tank. First, I'm worried the filter sock is catching valuable microfauna and small critters that would otherwise be feeding coral and filter feeders. Secondly, if I miss a cleanin I don't want a phosphate spike and algae bloom which seems a likely result from collecting so much detritus.

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Well after soaking through the night in ro water the sponge finally doesn't smell anymore. Well...at least it smells like the saltwater tank again. All residual bleach must have broken down and evaporated. I also had a couple pieces, about 20# total, of formerly live, dead dry rock. These two pieces are beautiful an will go perfect to help give me some height in the rock wall. Since they were dry I was gonna just rinse them and add them, but to be safe I decided to do a quick curing of them, just to see.

I'm glad I did. After 3 days I tested the water and it came out at 3.0ppm ammonia, so it looks like Ive got a cycle started. It's in about 10 gallons of ro-made salt water with a powerhead, in a container with a lid in the garage, so I don't need a heater. I'll keep checking and changing the water every week or so until the tests indicate the cycle is done. Good stuff

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What is that in the pic you're holding? Maybe I'm not looking at it right. Looks like a clam of some sort? . . .

The top two frames are pictures of the baby clam that showed up on a piece of eggcrate last year. The bottom frame is a picture of the two parents attached to a peice of live rock, they've been in the tank over ten years.

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That is pretty amazing actually. Most people struggle to keep clams alive an you were able to raise them by accident. I suppose every tank truly is different. I'm going to keep using the filter sock and baffle sponge for now until I can get a new stand built, and maybe modify my sump to get rid of any splashing. I just hate the way the micro bubbles look in the display. I need longer plumbing coming from my overflow and refugium so they go directly into the water instead of "pouring" in from above the water level. And I think the baffle design in the eshopps sump is also a contributor to more splashing as well. It works for now. Thanks again for the advice though

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Well, I decided to bite the bullet and remove all mechanical filtration. No more sock or sponges. The micro bubbles aren't that bad. I'll get used to them. Hopefully this will help my corals and other inverts feed better and grow better with less micro fauna getting trapped and rinsed away. The skimmer, live rock, sand bed, and refugium should be adequate for bio filtration since my stock is so light

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I have one sponge as a bubble trap, it gets stopped up frequently and I dont feed much. I do recommend a filter sock. It doesnt stop the small particles that would be used by filter feeders or corals, but will catch all the big nasties that make it to your OF box.

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I don't know if this is practicle for your tank but I've done it on several systems to reduce splash and bubbles. It's essentially a toeless sock tie wrapped to the drain line. And you are right about the amount of bacteria on the sock being insignificant to what's on your rock and sand.

post-1247-0-22035300-1337633919_thumb.jp

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Ive run into my next issue. It seems that taking out all the sponges increased my flow enough to where the water level in the display tank nearly overflowed. It seems my overflow is having trouble keeping up with the return pump.

It's a 55 gallon display, sump is 10 gallons, fuge is also 10 gallons but it has it's own overflow and pump plumbed directly to the sump, so it shouldnt factor into the issue here.

My overflow is an eshopps pf-300, and return pump is a mag 5, which pumps almost 5 feet back to the display. I use all soft tubing so there are no right angles.

Now...I still have ANOTHER eshopps pf-300, brand new in the box. If I installed that one also and ran both, would that allow me to run the skimmer teeth higher, right now the water is wanting to flow almost entirely over the overflow box, and there are only about 1/4" to maybe 1/8" of the top of the overflow skimmer teeth showing. The water level in the overflow is almost level with the display water line. I'd like to get some of that surface scum gone so I need to run the skimmer teeth higher, dropping the overflow water level. When I try that the tank almost overflows though.

Sorry to be so wordy. Just trying to be clear. Can I run both overflows or will that not work/help?

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I'm not familiar with that overflow but it sounds like there is some restriction in the overflowbox and drain line to the sump. Also, I am happy with just one or two trunover per hour through my sumps so if there is no obstruction I would reduce the output of the pump rather than hook up a second overflow. If you like a lot of flow by all means don't hesitate to add a second overflow. People are successfull using sumps/refugiums with 30 - 40 X turnovers per hour and using air bubbles with no pumps or sumps/refugiums. (read Delbeck and Sprungs chapter on filtration methodology in Vol III of thier Reef Aquarium series.)

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Interesting. I am wondering what would be more convenient, installing a valve of some sort to reduce the flow from the return pump, or just tossing the other overflow up. Currently I use the single mag 5 return, an ac30 powerhead, and a koralia 750. I've read plenty of info that says the corals I currently keep don't like strong current so I'm wondering if I should just remove the koralia for now and put the other overflow up, or if I should just try to sell the overflow. I just hate having a decent piece of gear and not using it(overflow and powerhead both for that matter).

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. . . I just hate having a decent piece of gear and not using it(overflow and powerhead both for that matter).

Sounds like you need to set up another tank! grin.png Myself I would just get a PVC valve and slow down the return to the tank to reduce the risk of overflow.

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Well, i had been planning on going to lowes and completely re plumbing my sump, but decided to try one more thing...checked the u tube closer on the overflow box, and it was about 75% clogged! After cleaning it out and replacing, the flow is back to 100%, water level dropped and it's perfectly balanced. Man. Looks like I still have much to learn. At least I have managed to keep my phosphates and nitrates at zero. And my livestock is alive an healthy. Next step is upgrading salt to get my calcium and alk into desired ranges. I significantly run about 8 dkh and 380 calcium. Gonna switch to reef crystals to hopefully address that. I'll post some pics of my tank Friday so y'all can see my noob scape job and view the tank you've all provided me good advice on

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