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Friday, 21 September 2012

Seachem Trials Update

Today marks the date of just over 4 weeks for the  use of the Seachem products i decided to run in my topical aquarium. These were…

  • Matrix Carbon
  • Matrix
  • Puirgen

As far as the Matrix goes i don't think there is much to be said. The bio filter seems as strong as ever and there is never a trace of anything nasty in the system, and the Nitrates remain within comfortable limits.

I originally planned a 4 week change or check over for the Matrix Carbon as this was in line with my original method when using the Juwel sponges. Carbon media usage does seem to follow a general “rule of thumb” of once per month, I've found it to be the generic reply in most cases.

Seachems own recommendation for its use is as follows…

250 mL will easily treat 400 L (100 gallons*) for several months. MatrixCarbon™ is very clean and nearly dust free. For best results, MatrixCarbon™ should be placed so as to maximize the flow of water through it. It may be used in a canister filter, chemical filtration module, box filter, or any high flow area of a trickle filter.

Source

Being a bit anal with these things, what is “several months”, normal approximate scales would suggest that to be around 6-7months to me, which seems way longer than any of us would want to keep the same carbon media in the system. But if this is the case then it will far outweigh the premium price paid for Matrix Carbon compared to the cheaper alternatives.

Another potential issue with running carbon media for so long, is mulm can build up on the carbon surfaces.

What is mulm? Basically its the blown slimy layer that can build up on surfaces in our aquariums, in effect it is organic marine material decomposing.

Mulm can build up and coat the carbon granules being as they are confined in the same area that all the biological filtration takes place, and when it does become coated, it looses its effectiveness, regardless of what condition it is in. Essentially it clogs up the pores in the carbon granules.

So back to my aquarium…

One of the nice things I've noted is the water seems to be crystal clear at the moment, a sure fire way of knowing their isn't too much in the way of dissolved organics or other stuff floating around in the water column, which alternatively gives the water that yellow tint.

I took a glass full and placed it next to a glass full of RODI water and against natural light…

2012-09-21 18.24.15

And against a white background…

2012-09-21 18.25.43

The sample on the left is tank water, in both pictures…

I for my life could not see any obvious differences, which is good!

Very happy with this result i gave the current bag of carbon a good rinse to hopefully release any mulm and i intend to allow it to run for another 2 weeks. I will continue to do so until i see an accountable difference in the water quality and determine just how long the Matrix Carbon will last.

For reference i am using 80ml for the 120l capacity of the aquarium. This is on ratio with Seachems recommendations.

While i was routing around in the filter i decided to take a look at the Purigens progress. If you didnt know, Purigen changes colour as it collects and traps various chemicals from the passing water.

It was good to see the Purigen then has taken on a light brown colour from the original yellowish colour that it starts out as.

2012-09-21 18.32.35

Which would suggest to me, it’s doing its job fine!

Minor problem though, i did discover that the Aqua One media bag mesh is not really fine enough to contain the Purigen, as i found out when i lifted the bag from the filter, some escaped…

2012-09-21 18.27.39

Pretty rough and blurry image i admit, but you can see the granules floating about. I quickly siphoned these back out as mush as i could.

So i need a different media bag. Seachem themselves do The Bag, unfortunately it is 5” by 10” in size, so far too big for what i need. Shame they don't make various sizes. But they do say its 180micron mesh, so ill look at getting or making something similar.

For now i had to improvise.

I've recently taken it upon myself to buy big sheets of filter floss and cut squares off to match the size of the Juwel filter.

2012-09-21 18.33.19

Works out a great deal cheaper, at about £8 for a 25” by 18” piece! And its about 5-6times thicker, so it could be split down into even more, but honestly at this thickness it still sits nicely in the top section.

I cut a square slightly smaller than the original and made a hollow in the middle…

2012-09-21 18.37.15 
I then packed in 32ml of Purigen into the hollow…

2012-09-21 18.41.42

I washed any excess bits off an kneaded the Purigen around inside its new pad, then replaced it back in the media bag.

Hopefully it will keep the Purigen locked away and still allow enough flow through it without becoming too clogged up with debris as it is very low down in the filter box.

I admit its not ideal, but should so until i get hold of something more appropriate.

On a high note I'm happy and impressed with the Seachem medias and will report back in future with the developments of the tests.

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