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OT: New Media Bags - PICs

Posted By: Mr Leadfoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Wednesday, 8 January 2003, at 2:58 p.m.

I thought I'd share this in case any of you hate how much media bags clog and are a PITA to clean, too.

I run AquaClear filters on all my tanks (until my Eheim 2128 arrives any day now), and like to run Eheim's Ehfimech (ceramic noodles) in the AquaClears for an added biobed, as well as to help mechanically filter. All my AquaClears have a sponge on the bottom, a Cell-Pore BioBlock on top of the sponge, and the noodles on top of the BioBlock. I previously tried putting the noodles on the bottom of the filter before the sponge, but when you clean, the noodles would just spill out all over the place. Additionally, if the sponge or the BioBlock gets too high in the basket, the return water flow is impeded. The only solution is to place the noodles on top of all other media. To make maintenance easier, the noodles are placed inside a media bag. The problem with typical media bags is that they get dirty quite easily, and cleaning is a real pain. And, if you don't clean often the mesh in those bags clogs.

Now, like many hang-on-the-back filters, AquaClears also allow a certain percentage of the water to bypass the filtration and simply overflow directly from the input well into the output well without passing through any filtration media, then right back into the tank. The percentage increases when you reduce the flow rate of the filter. Having the "noodles-in-a-bag" on top of all other media in the output well helps to mechanically filter that overflowed water, and also provides a great place to colonize bacteria, without significantly impeding water flow. Unfortunately, the small openings in the typical mesh bag tends to build up with junk quite quickly, which not only allows some debris to get washed back into the tank, but also causes bacteria to build up more on the bag rather than on the noodles INSIDE the bag, which is the whole point of having the media there to begin with.

Advertisement: Have you had this experience, too? Well, you don't have to suffer anymore. Now, there's...sounds like an ad, though, doesn't it? Just thought I'd break up this long-winded post! :-)

Anyway, I decided I'd had about enough of those bags. I got some fiberglass window screening from Home Depot, and made my own mesh bags. I used 12 lb. test monofilament fishing line to "sew" the bag's sides, and used the same line for the drawstring. The 12 lb. test is stiff enough so the sewing was easy to do without needing some kind of sewing needle, and the fishing line is also small enough in diameter to easily fit through the screen's openings. The openings in the mesh are much larger than a typical media bag, so it doesn't clog, allowing whatever media is inside the bags to do its job. In addition to using it for ceramic noodles, when I run carbon, I use the large granule stuff, so these bags are perfect. The other nice thing is that the screening is fiberglass, so you don't have to worry about fraying at the edges, and you can clean it quickly and easily with an old tooth brush, should you get lazy and allow it to clog, which will take quite a long time. The durability of the materials I used is very high, and a single bag should outlast even your most hardy fish.

Here's some pics:

I think I need to get a life,
P.S. If I'm clogging up (pun intended) this board with useless posts, let me know.


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