Category Archives: Aquarium

Aquarium filtration choices and changes

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos about sumps and overflows lately – and I am contemplating replacing my Hydor canister filter with a sump. Challenge is with the stand that I built – and getting a suitable sump to fit.

As luck would have it, after adding a few new fish to the aquarium, the impeller decided to blow up. As I haven’t been able to move forward on the sump – I had to get the filtration running ASAP, so I ended up purchasing a new canister filter from the closest pet store, Petland.

Exploded Hydor 250 impeller

The new additions to the tank included 4 more Denison barbs – these ones are pretty young and only about 1.5-2″ long right now, but are schooling great with the older ones that are about 3.5″ now. I also added 5 little Julii Cory’s to help out the 3 clown plecos (that I rarely see). I still only have the one discus – would like to add a couple more at some point.

Julii Corydora’s

h080, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I would have just replaced the impeller, and I had actually been searching for one as a backup. Unfortunately I was unable to find one in town or online. It’s a shame, as the Hydor 250 has been working very well, and I had the filter cleaning process down.  I might see if another brand of impeller might be suitable, or perhaps see if I can cast a new blade.

The new filter I picked up is a Fluval 406 – it’s good for up to a 100 gallon tank. In setting up the filter, I replaced the carbon pouches with more bio media – the stuff I had already in the Hydor filter, along with a bunch of the Eheim substrata sintered glass spheres.

Fluval 406 Canister filter

The media boxes don’t feel as durable as the Hydor trays – the plastic feels more brittle – but we’ll see how things go.

Some of the nice features are the quick release hose assembly at the pump – will be interesting to see how well it works in a week when I give the pre filter it’s first cleaning. The other nice feature is the priming pump – while it doesn’t feel very robust, it did work very well.

The pump did not come with any sort of pre-filter for the intake, so I might look at adding one in the near future, and it also didn’t come with a spray bar. I prefer that to the included spout, which seems a little aggressive – fortunately I was able to reuse the Hydor spray bar.

Aquarium rebuild

After a tragic loss of all but 2 fish in my aquarium, I took it as an opportunity to try something a little different.

The 2 survivors are my stealthy Bristlenose Pleco’s.

The new occupants:

  • 9 Rummy-nose tetras
  • 6 Discus
  • 3 Botia dario loaches

Added a very large piece of driftwood to the tank, and also added a new LED light – MicMol 36″-48″ Planted tank lamp, with scheduling.  The lamp is very nice – but is a pain to program.  Just have to be patient 🙂

I have been finding snails to be a challenge to control, which was one of the reasons for adding the loaches.  Unfortunately, they don’t seem all that interested!
I’ve been reducing the amount and frequency of feeding the fish, although the discus I bought are young and growing!  One seems to be a runt.

Current Tank Occupants

Currently, my 55 gallon aquarium has the following:

  • 3 new Denison barbs, about 2″ long
  • 1 old Denison barb, about 4″ long
  • 2 Plecostumus – I rarely see them, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen both at the same time since adding them to the tank.  When I do see one, it is about 3″ long.
  • 3 black tetras
  • 1 Phantom tetra
  • 4 Siamese algae eaters

A few fish have died over the past couple years, and the only new additions since my last stocking post was the addition of the Pleco’s.

The amazon sword plant I have is flourishing.  Can’t say that about the 3 other kinds of plants that I have, although they aren’t dying… just growing very slowly.  I mean very very slowly 🙂

I want to make some changes to the lighting.  The 4′ flourescent tube has quit – and I would like to replace it with some LED lighting.  The lighting needs to be string enough for the plants however – which can make them very expensive.  Debating whether I should just make my own using some outdoor LED floodlights.

Hydor + Big Al's = Great Customer Service!

When setting up our aquarium a couple years ago, I purchased a Hydor 250 canister style filter. The filter has been fantastic, performing flawlessly, and completely silent in our living room.
During the evening a couple days ago, I noticed that it wasn’t moving any water. I promptly unplugged the filter, and shut off the valves to and from the tank. I had just cleaned the filters 3 or 4 weeks earlier, but cleaned everything again, including the impeller. I did notice that the blades spun freely of the magnetic cylinder, but I couldn’t remember if that was the way it was supposed to be, but nothing appeared broken or damaged otherwise.
I cranked up the aeration in tank, and went online and found the Hydor website, and filled out a contact form, and explained my situation. The company is based in Italy, so I wasn’t expecting a response for a couple days, so after work the next day I went to Big Al’s here in Edmonton, expecting to buy a new canister filter. While looking at all the different filters, a saleperson came over to assist, and I explained what happened. They checked their parts and found they had no stock of the impeller for my particular model, so asked if I could bring the filter in and take a look.
Bringing the filter back to the shop, they immediately confirmed that the problem was with the impeller – and no, it wasn’t supposed to spin freely. They applied some aquarium safe adhesive to cement the impeller blades back onto the magnetic cylinder, we tested the filter in the store. It’s moving water again!
After I got back home and reconnected the filter to the aquarium, I checked my mail, and had a reply back from Hydor, asking for a photo of the impeller. I told them that I was able to get things resolved at Big Al’s, and told them about the repair. The next day, I got another reply, and they told me they are sending me a new impeller, at no cost!
I was very pleased with the Hydor filter to begin with, very impressed with their prompt replies, and very surprised about them sending me a new impeller! Big kudo’s to Big Al’s and to Hydor for their excellent customer After this experience, I think that I might add a second filter to the aquarium, just to be on the safe side!
UPDATE:  January 5th, 2018
The new impeller arrived today!  Thank you Hydor!

New tankmates

Recently I added a couple small bristlenose pleco’s to the aquarium.  They are small right now, not quite 2″ in length.  Their maximum size is around 6″, which works nicely – I definitely didn’t want a common pleco, which can grow over a foot long!
They are very good at staying hidden, but this evening for the first time I saw both of them out for a little while at the same time 🙂


The current residents of the aquarium:

  • 4 Denison barbs (or indian flasher barbs)
  • 6 Siamese algae eaters
  • 2 Bristlenose plecostomus
  • 2 Salt and Pepper corydoras
  • 6 Red Phantom tetras
  • 6 Black neon tetras
  • 6 Neon tetras
  • 8 Head and Tail Light tetras

I also added a digital thermometer – much easier to read than the little plastic strip I had stuck on the front glass!