filter media for low ph filtration

#1
HI
For various reasons that I have not been able to remove, I am filtering water with Ehiem Classics and an Ehiem Pro in various tanks and have clarity issues in water at 30C and TDs 20, and PH 4.5. There is, not at all surprisingly, basically zero bacterial filtratrion which greatly affects the filter's ability to get things sparkly, even with a UV. Though I am trying to raise the ph which will solve everything in this area in some weeks, the fish ( my altums of 15 months)have always "told me" not to raise the ph or else their fins will deteriorate.

When in this situation,is there a better media to load in the filter to get the very best mechanical filtration at least...like lots of coarse and fine sponge. I use the standard effimec and effisubtrtatum now. When taking down the filter ( for those of you that believe that there is low ph bacterial filtration) there is almost not a trace of soil in the foam and not a trace of activity on the media.
What might help?
Thanks Al

Re: filter media for low ph filtration

#2
Hi Al,

I fear that there is so much misinformation flying around that this does not help the lay person to understand the details of biological filtration. Let me rule out a myth straight away. At pH 4.5 there is a lot of biological filtration. The bacteria in these filters adapt fantastically and do give excellent biological filtration. If it was not like this, then you would have had ammonia and nitrite issues and your altums would have died in no time, so this is simply not the case, and you need not worry. When I say that the bacteria adapt, I am not meaning that the bacterial species that are there in an aquarium that is running at pH 7 versus one that is running at pH 4 have the same composition, in other words are present in the same relative amounts, but rather that the bacterial species composition may change to ones that can cope with the low pH better. You also do not need to see bacterial deposits on filter media, they will be there as long as the aquarium has been running for long enough, and is not in the maturing phase, but I am assuming that this is not the case in your aquarium.

I say this after running discus and angels in our very soft water her near Cape Town, where pH crashes are common if you are not careful. I have to do regular pH checks to make sure the pH does not drop below 4 and in summer I often run the pH between 4 and 5 and the altums and discus are fine with this, and the biological filtration is also fine about that I am sure.

I would suggest that you try to improve the fine filter medium to improve the mechanical filtration in your canisters to ensure that you do not get fine particles going through the filters. Otherwise everything sounds perfectly ok.

Kind regards,

Dirk
Somerset West, South Africa

Re: filter media for low ph filtration

#5
Dirk Bellstedt wrote:Hi Al,

I fear that there is so much misinformation flying around that this does not help the lay person to understand the details of biological filtration. Let me rule out a myth straight away. At pH 4.5 there is a lot of biological filtration. The bacteria in these filters adapt fantastically and do give excellent biological filtration. If it was not like this, then you would have had ammonia and nitrite issues and your altums would have died in no time, so this is simply not the case, and you need not worry. When I say that the bacteria adapt, I am not meaning that the bacterial species that are there in an aquarium that is running at pH 7 versus one that is running at pH 4 have the same composition, in other words are present in the same relative amounts, but rather that the bacterial species composition may change to ones that can cope with the low pH better. You also do not need to see bacterial deposits on filter media, they will be there as long as the aquarium has been running for long enough, and is not in the maturing phase, but I am assuming that this is not the case in your aquarium.

I say this after running discus and angels in our very soft water her near Cape Town, where pH crashes are common if you are not careful. I have to do regular pH checks to make sure the pH does not drop below 4 and in summer I often run the pH between 4 and 5 and the altums and discus are fine with this, and the biological filtration is also fine about that I am sure.

I would suggest that you try to improve the fine filter medium to improve the mechanical filtration in your canisters to ensure that you do not get fine particles going through the filters. Otherwise everything sounds perfectly ok.

Kind regards,

Dirk

Thank you for the detailed response Dirk. I always enjoy reading your posts.

Re: filter media for low ph filtration

#6
It's nice to see how Al got sound and well founded advise not just from Dirk, but Phil and Mike, they all hit on the spot.

Al, you might find a post here at Finarama where Dr. Tim Hovanec (the man who developed Bio Spira, Tetra Safestart and went on to develop his proprietary "Dr. Tim's One and Only" nitrifying bacteria formula), shared his points of view with us several years ago.

Dirk's explanation very much compliments Dr. Hovanec's. Adding to this, we have that in the acid environment you are keeping your fish at, ammonia is present only in its atoxic form.

Last but not least, bringing your pH up into the mid 6's, will allow you to use the lower to mid 4's as part of your set of triggering factors further ahead for breeding purposes.

20ppi Mattenfilters are working great in my tanks.

Good luck!

Ed
God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!
E.R.
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