6 footer with Hamburg Matten Filter Project

Discussion in 'Pets & Animals' started by afcca, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. afcca

    afcca Member

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    Ok, so some of you may of noticed in the Aquarium thread that I had some issues as to what to filter my new 6ft with effectively, as the base is a strange enclosed design with a stupidly small door. After some discussion here, and with another forum, and a lot of help from an extremely friendly NZer in the know-how, I decided to go with a corner Hamburg Matten Filter (HMF) setup. These filters have become extremely popular in Europe as they are low cost, don't take up room outside of the tank, extremely efficient biological filtration and require considerably less maintenance than other filters.

    Link to the original information page translated from German.

    In a nutshell, the original HMF is a large piece of foam, the size of the height x depth of the tank and around 5-7cm thick. 20-30ppi foam is generally best depending on what sort of effect wanted, I opted for 20ppi as it is the most commonly used.
    This large slice of foam is essentially wedged in the tank about an inch from one end of the aquarium, having some form of water movement relocate the water from the small side back into the tank.
    [​IMG]

    This can be achieved using either a normal power-head (as in the picture) or using an air powered uplift tube. I have opted for power-heads as they actually seem to be cheaper than the large L per M air pumps as well as I can easily ensure the correct amount of flow is achieved in each filter.

    As this version takes up an entire side of the tank, and is a fairly horrible eyesore especially on larger tanks, the design was conceived to change the filter from one flat piece spanning the entire width and height of the tank, to merely take up one corner of the tank. This also allows objects such as heaters and CO2 setups to be hidden behind the filter.

    This filter is different than a normal canister setup in that the optimal amount of water wanted to pass through the filter is 2-2.5 times the tank volume, and figuring out the size of the filter itself requires some maths. Now, I hate maths, most people hate maths, so I won't list mine here. Please see the original link or here for the list of formulae in working out the required filter size.

    Onto the build.

    This is the tank I am working with:
    [​IMG]
    It's a 6x2.2x2.2

    According to my maths, I would require an extremely large corner filter, so I decided to split the load into two smaller filters on each side of the tank.

    I ordered my foam from Purely Poret in NZ, as the gentleman who runs the site has been more than accommodating in my many many questions regarding the filter. I worked out that each piece of foam would need to be approximately 60cmx30cm.

    Here are the pieces after being cut out of the 1mSq piece of foam I ordered.
    [​IMG]

    Next was figuring out how to hold the foam in place. Generally, the more professional corner filters are held in place using pieces of glass, or the more commonly used cable channel, however I was unable to track down any channel that was appropriate here so resorted to using 40x20 Aluminium L bracketing.

    Have since filled the tank and decided aluminium doesn't look very good in the tank, I've decided to re-do the bracketing with glass instead. Will update when it's complete.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  2. Aetherone

    Aetherone Member

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    I wonder how you'd go growing a moss blanket over it?
     
  3. OP
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    afcca

    afcca Member

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    It's actually pretty common for people to grow Java moss/fern all over the sponge which will eventually encompass it completely, hiding the foam from plain view.

    I'll be going for tall plants around the corners to hide as much of it as possible.
     
  4. Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

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    Isn't aluminium going to react badly with the water of your tank?
     
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    afcca

    afcca Member

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    It shouldn't. Aluminium cable channel is a commonly used material for holding the sponge in place for this sort of filter, and as long as there isn't salt in the water there shouldn't be a problem.

    However. In the past few days I decided the aluminium didn't look very good underwater so I've decided to re-do it with glass. I'm pretty crap when it comes to these sorts of things so I won't post photos until after it's complete >.>
     
  6. n3wbi379

    n3wbi379 Member

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    mmm if this is a display tank why not use a sump or just a canister ????
     
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    afcca

    afcca Member

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    Unfortunately due to poor design, I cannot put anything under the tank. The base is a completely enclosed box with only a small opening at the front as shown in the picture. I could put 2 canisters outside the tank but they would have to sit beside the tank, taking up room that I currently have plans for. \

    I was originally going to have 2 HoB filters and 2 internal filters but it turned out to be far more cost effective in both setup and running to run a HMF. The HMF is an extremely effective filter requiring less running cost (even less if using an air driven uplift system), less filter maintenance and allows hiding of items like you could with a sump.
     
  8. Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

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    Once you set this tank up it will hopefully be running for years. Ditch the stand if it's really limiting your options. Or rip the front off it and make your own. Or turn it around and use a drape cloth from under the tank as a replacement front - I did this on a 4-footer, looks fine. You just seem to be working around a pretty major flaw when you could eliminate it early on and have a lot more freedom.
     
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    afcca

    afcca Member

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    I thought about it, but I would have to make a new stand or get it specially ordered, as it's quite a unique size tank. To do that it would probably cost the same as what I paid for the entire setup. The box is completely enclosed, including the back, so turning it isn't an option.

    Yeah, its a waste of space, but I knew that when I bought it and I'm relatively happy with it. I actually don't really like canisters, they're just effective and do the job pretty well, hence why I was going to go for HoBs & internals but the HMF is something I've wanted to do for years and I actually really like the look of it in the tank, it's different.
     
  10. Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

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    That front panel won't be structural, though. You could keep the body of the stand and just replace the front with someone that has useful doors or shelves or whatever. Anyway your tank, I'll stop badgering you. :)
     
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    afcca

    afcca Member

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    Haha it's ok, it's all stuff I've already thought over. The first thing I did was stick my head inside and see how it's built, and the thing is solid as a rock. I was going to cut the ends open and turn them into doors but in the end decided against it due to costs, time and lack of effort ;P
     
  12. japes

    japes Member

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    Have seen these filters at work and filter well and can be pretty well hidden. The ones I've seen a little different, essentially half glassed off and the water feeds up through the foam instead. Also good for hiding heaters.

    Any reason for taking this route instead of something more conventional, especially given the amount of room underneath a 6x2x2 (and slightly bigger in your case).

    Either way, looking forward to see how this progresses. :thumbup:
     
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    afcca

    afcca Member

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    I assume this is a question? :lol:
    The base is a box completely enclosed and built really strongly. I was originally going to cut the sides out to make doors, but after inspection of the inside it'd be pretty time consuming and costly. I was then going to go for HoB and internal filters but they are pretty costly when running a tank this size so I settled on this idea as I always wanted to make one.
    While I had the aluminium in, I could see how the foam looked in the tank, and I actually really like the look of it, and as you said it means I can hide the heaters (which I HATE seeing, but don't have any sump options really). It's a different approach that hopefully pays off with low running and maintenance costs while showing off a system that isn't overly popular over here yet.

    I picked up the glass today and half of it is setting in place as we speak. Siliconing in 2.5x6inch pieces of 6mm glass 3/4 up the height of the tank vertically is tricky :lol:
     
  14. japes

    japes Member

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    Sorry, forgot the question mark :thumbup: (not to mention you had already answered it, my bad :tired:).

    It's without a doubt one of the best filtering 'internal' filtering options, equal at least with an overhead filter (like what you'd find in an Aqua One All-In-One setup, but customs are better of course). Both work very similarly to sumps.

    Do you plan on only using foam, or running the foam as a large bio+mechanical pre-filter to something like Matrix inside the corner.

    You've definitely got the right idea with the planned 2-2.5x turnover as well, particularly if you plan on keeping softwater species - the volume of the corner regardless of measurements is going to be a substantial increase over even large canisters and at a rate that low it will spend a lot of time (comparatively) being filtered.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
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    afcca

    afcca Member

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    I'll be using remaining foam cut into small cubes stuffed in behind the main pieces in the corners to increase the filter media and eventually I'm told the de-nitrifying process occurs. As the foam is so thick, the bacteria actually builds up in the foam itself, that's why the flow rate needs to be in that sweet spot, so the water spends enough time going through the filter but not too much that the cycle can't occur. Over time the bacteria simply gets stronger, hence why these filters only need to be cleaned once or twice a year, if that. I will be keeping a close eye on it and the readings for a fair while though.
     
  16. japes

    japes Member

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    Yep, the foam will definitely be substantial enough, especially with the moderate flow rate you're aiming for. If you've got enough to take up the majority of the internals minus where your heater etc. need to go that will be fine - something like Matrix inside the weir though where it would otherwise be open water would definitely be beneficial. You could even set up a DIY basket type insert to store it in and then be able to easily add other chemical filtration at a later stage - purigen etc.

    Keep us updated on the progress :thumbup:

    What's going in the tank eventually?
     
  17. OP
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    afcca

    afcca Member

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    It's the upgrade from my 4ft that has clown loaches and gouramis at the moment. I was thinking of putting a large school of something like tetras perhaps. Still unsure at this stage, but definitely clowns.
     
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    afcca

    afcca Member

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    Minor update.

    Glass has been siliconed in place, reasonably happy with the job. I assume it will look better than the aluminium but won't be able to put water in the tank until at least Friday next week, silicone needs a week before fully cured for aquarium use.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Almost finished the monitor that's going in the tank, looks maaad.
    [​IMG]
     
  19. OP
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    afcca

    afcca Member

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    Update 27/02

    Silicone is set, though not aquarium safe cured yet, that won't be till Friday, so won't be putting water in until the weekend. Rather happy with the job:
    [​IMG]

    The postman also brought some goodies today :D
    [​IMG]

    2 Eheim Jager 300w Heaters & 2 Eheim Compact 1000

    Off to Bunnings to get some hose. Next is to figure out how I want to return the water back into the system.
     
  20. n3wbi379

    n3wbi379 Member

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    Looking good :thumbup:

    I think 1 heater will do tho ...
     

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