Inserts for the filter


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I've had an API Filstar XP filter for several years, and after cleaning it last night I think that I'm missing something! It has a lot of empty space in the canister.

At the bottom is the charcoal bag. Then there's a plastic separator of some sort. Then on top of that is a microfilter:


My pond filter has plastic stars in the bottom, then a filter pad, then a foam filter pad. Am I supposed to put stars in the bottom part, then the charcoal and microfilter in the top part?
 
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brokensword

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the water should hit the coarse pad first, then the fine pad, followed by the 'stars/biomedia', then the charcoal last. The charcoal isn't necessary unless you're trying to remeove color or some chemical in the water. Usually, you need at least a pad for mech filteration and some sort of media for the bio filtration part (shreds/balls/ribbons of plastic or even pea gravel; something with a lot of surface area for the bacteria to colonize).
 
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Odd little thought process here, but... I'm not sure if the pump brings the water to the bottom and pushes up through the filters, or if it filters from the top down and then sucks it out of the canister! So I don't know which way to layer things :-O

I use well water, so there aren't any "chemicals" to remove other than elements found in the local soil. Algae is my biggest issue, I think.
 

brokensword

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Odd little thought process here, but... I'm not sure if the pump brings the water to the bottom and pushes up through the filters, or if it filters from the top down and then sucks it out of the canister! So I don't know which way to layer things :-O

I use well water, so there aren't any "chemicals" to remove other than elements found in the local soil. Algae is my biggest issue, I think.
charcoal won't remove algae, nor will any mech filter; you need plants and more plants to out compete the algae (free floating). For any other algaes, that's what plecostomus are for (or snails, etc). You could reduce the light and watch the amount you're feeding, too.

Okay, so looked at the filter and from the pic (below) you can see that the water enters and exits from the top. The layering is as the picture shows;

Screen Shot 2021-05-08 at 1.54.26 AM.png


I would think this is a lot more cumbersome to clean.
 
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Thanks, @brokensword, that helps a lot! So I guess I have it all backwards, anyway; I have the charcoal on the bottom and the microfilter on top. But I think the microfilter is the only thing actually doing anything, anyway.

So the 20ppi at the bottom, then 30ppi, then the biomedia, then the microfilter. Right?

Does the charcoal do anything to remove minerals from the water? I have the infamous Carolina Clay soil, and even though I have a whole-house filter I still get red stains in the back of the toilet. So I'm pretty sure the tap water is high in either iron or manganese (or both).

Since I'm ordering the 20 and 30ppi filters and stars, would you recommend pea gravel or anything else over the stars? Barley?


FWIW, plants have been a challenge because my fish keeps eating them! Or digging them up and then they get sucked in to the filter. I have creeping jenny (moneywort?) in there, and that's working out OK because it grows as fast as the fish can eat it! LOL I used to use anacharis but it would get eaten fast; parrot's feather was ignored, but it died away on its own and clogged up the filter :-/
 

brokensword

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Thanks, @brokensword, that helps a lot! So I guess I have it all backwards, anyway; I have the charcoal on the bottom and the microfilter on top. But I think the microfilter is the only thing actually doing anything, anyway.

So the 20ppi at the bottom, then 30ppi, then the biomedia, then the microfilter. Right?

Does the charcoal do anything to remove minerals from the water? I have the infamous Carolina Clay soil, and even though I have a whole-house filter I still get red stains in the back of the toilet. So I'm pretty sure the tap water is high in either iron or manganese (or both).

Since I'm ordering the 20 and 30ppi filters and stars, would you recommend pea gravel or anything else over the stars? Barley?


FWIW, plants have been a challenge because my fish keeps eating them! Or digging them up and then they get sucked in to the filter. I have creeping jenny (moneywort?) in there, and that's working out OK because it grows as fast as the fish can eat it! LOL I used to use anacharis but it would get eaten fast; parrot's feather was ignored, but it died away on its own and clogged up the filter :-/
seems right to me.

Can't say pea gravel would be better or not as I don't know how much surface area your 'stars' have, but I'd assume it's adequate as you've got it. The more 'stars'/biomedia, the more area for bacteria. You can put some pea gravel in your aquarium, just a thin layer, and that would increase the bacteria colonization potential. I'd only do it if you're having water parameter issues. It can make cleaning more difficult, but it's a trade-off.

I used barley a long time ago when I first started; didn't notice it helped keep algae away and have since learned it's one of those old wives' tales and I'd say don't waste your money.

I hear pothos does well in an aquarium and maybe your fish won't eat at it. That said, you could also make some sort of floating net island that allow the roots to do their thing while having their roots protected. In a pond, it looks nicer but you could relegate a side of your aquarium to this task/plant/netting. Just some ideas.
 
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A ro di filter will remove your red staining but the cost of the filters is not cheap as they will clog quickly a huge settling chamber can help but for the amount of gallons per day your talking it to won't be cheap.
 

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