The Marineland filters sold for the
Eclipse hoods have a very fine poly-fiber like cover, which quickly
silts up, especially in the goldfish tank, so that the water just
passes over the top of the filter anyway--little filtration happening
there--and is difficult to rinse and reuse. Inside the filter
package is activated charcoal, which is not necessary in a planted
tank, where the plants take up the ammonia from fish waste. So I
wanted to replace the mechanical filtration and skip the chemical
I first tried sheets of polyfiber filter media sold in fish
shops. It was still fairly expensive but did last through several
rinsings. To save on the expense, I bought some polyfill fiber
material sold in bulk in fabric stores for quilting and stuffing
pillows. It was cheap but didn't hold together well through
repeated rinsings. I tried green kitchen scrubbie pads but their
fine mesh deteriorated quickly when scrubbed with sufficient
determination to actually clean out the accumulated mulm.
Then I tried mesh body sponges sold for bath use. They are
great: easy to clean and reuse, and sturdy enough to bleach if
necessary (like after use in a quarantine tank). Here's how
I do it:
The sponges come like this, or sometimes attached to a little
stick. I find the smaller sizes more convenient. I haven't
had any problem with them, but I'm always careful to look for any
statements like "anti-bacterial", because I'd want to avoid any with
surface treatments that might harm the fish or biofilter.
Snip the string that holds it into a ball carefully. If you snip
the mesh too, it will easily rip the length of the mesh sleeve.
Remove the string and unroll the mesh. You should have one or
sometimes two pieces several feet long, like this:
Rinse the mesh well and let it dry. Now slip your hand inside the
mesh and push it up on your arm, letting it fold and stack up like so:
and take one end, slip it back over the stacked mesh, and tuck it
inside the other end.
You now have a neat little bundle of filter media, not as dense as
polyfiber, but after a little mulm starts to stick to it, it holds
things pretty well.
I keep a lot of them on hand, for all my tanks, with lots of spares.
To clean them, simply grab the tucked-in end, unwrap and stretch out
the mesh under the tap, and rub and rinse until they're clean. I
hang them off the fish cart until they're dry, then rewrap them to be
ready for the next use.
A minor complication
Much as I love the Eclipse setups, there is one glitch to all
this, which fortunately is easily gotten around. The problem is
that the filters like to poof up when they're put into the filter
box. This is not a problem in my nanocube tanks, where they are
well-contained by the design of the filter box. In the Eclipse,
however, the filter box is above the level of the tank. If the
filter material rises above the level of the filter box, and starts to
become full of mulm, water can be diverted over the edge of the filter
box, and some of that water may make its way outside the tank.
This is bad.
To contain the filters vertically, I made little keepers out of plastic
canvas mesh sold for needlepoint in crafts stores. I made a
little cardboard guide:
(for eclipse3 hood)
(for Eclipse Explorer (2G) and Eclipse System 3 (3G) tanks)
For the Eclipse3 hoods, the final dimensions of the finished keeper is
9 inches long by 1 1/2 inches deep by 3 inches wide. For
the Eclipse System 3 3G and 2G Eclipse Explorer filter boxes, the
keeper dimensions are about 2 3/8 inches by 3 1/2 inches by 1 inch
deep. I trace the guide out onto the plastic canvas:
then cut it out. (This will be for the System 3 tank.) The
canvas can be folded by hand, but will want to relax back to its
formerly flat shape.
To fix the edges so it will stay in shape, dip it in water as hot as
you can stand, and crease the edges firmly.
Holding it into its folded shape, dip in cold water to set the changes,
and now you have a nice little plastic box which will hold its shape
Open the flap and insert a clean mesh sponge
And insert into the filterbox.
(in the Eclipse3 hood; you can also see the brite stik in place)
I simply rinse the box when I change the filters inside. The
plastic canvas is very easily and quickly cleaned, well, except for in
the piggy goldfishes' tank.
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