Friday, April 20, 2007

Dictionary: Acronyms, Abbreviations and Key Words commonly used in fishkeeping

Below is a thread I started in a forum to build a "Fish Acronym Dictionary" but I wanted to have this available on my GoldLenny Blog as well.

I'm just starting this list late on a Tuesday night so I'm only putting a few to start with. Please post your Acronym/Abbreviation/Key Word with a definition and I will add it to this "master" list... with credits to you, of course.

ACF - African Clawed Frog

ADF - African Dwarf Frog

BR - Bolivian Ram (Cichlid)(Thanks to XSV Paintballer)

BW or Brackish Water - A mix between Fresh and Salt (Marine) water usually have a salinty count between 5-18ppm or specific gravity between 1.002 - 1.022

CAE - Chinese Algae Eater. Not a good community fish. Also see SAE.

CFS or CS - Chain Fish Store or Chain Store... like Petco, PetsMart, etc.

CO2 - Carbon Dioxide...released by fish during respiration and also used to fertilize plants. (Thanks to Hailey)

Cycle - Abbreviation for "The Nitrogen Cycle" which you can read about on the Beginner's Tutorial on the "Pinned" Training Page link in my sig.

Detritus - Debris, Fish Poop, Uneaten Food, Dead Plant Matter, etc., in your gravel.

dgh- degrees hardness...common measure of gH and kH (equal to 17.86 mg/l or ppm) (Thanks to Hailey)

DI - Distilled Water (Thanks to Hailey)

FW - freshwater (Thanks to JoeGarcia)

GBR - German Blue Ram (Cichlid)(Thanks to XSV Paintballer)

GH- general hardness (level of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water...this level is what is being referred to when people talk about "hard" or "soft" water) (Thanks to Hailey)

gph - Gallons Per Hour for filtration/circulation purposes (Thanks to JoeGarcia)

H-Tank - Hospital Tank HOB - Hang On Back Filter System (also called a Power Filter)

HOT - Hang On Tank filter (power filter)...means the same as HOB (hang on back), but this abbreviation is used less frequently (Thanks to Hailey) (GoldLenny Note: I haven't really heard this term before so I really think this is what Hailey thinks when she looks in the mirror.. HOT! ;-))

Ich/Ick - Ichthyophthirius or White Spot. Common, but dangerous parasite disease. (Thanks to JoeGarcia with added info from GoldLenny)

JD - Jack Dempsey (Cichlid)(Thanks to X24)

KH- carbonate hardness (buffering capacity...a measure of the water's ability to maintain a stable pH when acids or bases are added) (Thanks to Hailey)

LFS - Local Fish Store. An independent, non-chain store.

MAC - Magnetic Algae Cleaner (Thanks to XSV Paintballer)

mg/l - milligrams/liter (one millionth part of a liter... same as ppm)

N-Bacteria - Nitrifying Bacteria. (I have to pat myself on the back for inventing this term since I got tired of typing "Nitrifying" all the time.) The scientific research is still going through some some major changes as it was originally thought that the Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter were the N-bacteria in freshwater but further genetic research is revealing that it is actually Nitrosomonas, Nitrosopira and Nitrospira that are the actual and best N-Bacteria in freshwater. Nitrobacter seems to have been a big mistake from the beginning which is why so many "bacteria-in-a-bottle" products do not work as advertised, since they were based on bad science. Bio-Spira seems to be the only product (due to a patent) that has the correct N-Bacteria for quick-cycling a tank.

NH3 - ammonia. The first part of "The Nitrogen Cycle" (Thanks to JoeGarcia with added info from GoldLenny)

NO2- - nitrite. The second part of "The Nitrogen Cycle" (Thanks to JoeGarcia for reminding me about NH3)

NO3- - nitrate. The final part of the "The Nitrogen Cycle" (Thanks to JoeGarcia for reminding me about NH3)

O2 - Oxygen (Thanks to Hailey)

pH - Potential of Hydrogen - pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Solutions with a pH less than seven are considered acidic, while those with a pH greater than seven are considered basic (alkaline). pH 7 is considered neutral. (From Wikipedia definition)(GoldLenny)

ppm - parts per million; a measure of how much of a material is present in (usually) water or air. Same as mg/l (Thanks to Joe Garcia with mg/l added by GoldLenny)

PWC - Partial Water Change (Usually a 25% PWC but some people do 33% but it's best not to change too much water at one time unless of a contamination or emergency since the fish actually acclimate to "bad" or dirty water slowly over time and if you change the parameters too fast, it can "shock" the fish.)

Q-Tank - Quarantine Tank.

RO - reverse osmosis. A method of producing "pure water". Used more in SW aquaria than FW.(Thanks to JoeGarcia)

SAE - Siamese Algae Eater. A fairly common algae eater that grows to 4-6 inches. Peaceful. (Thanks to GoldfishCrazy11)

SW - saltwater (Thanks to JoeGarcia)

UGF - Under Gravel Filter (Not used as much in current fish keeping but some modified UGF's are making their way back.)

UV- ultraviolet light (Thanks to JoeGarcia)

If you do not find your "word" on this list, please post a comment about it and I will add it to this dictionary, with credit given to you. You can also try this other site

I hope this helps with some of the frequently used acronyms.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Filter Profile - Marineland Penguin 200 Bio-Wheel

The following article shows the breakdown, cleaning and reassembly of my Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel 200 filter system... one of my many filter systems.

Manufacturer's description:

Noise-Reducing Vented Cover For quieter operation

Two-Piece Filter Hood For flip-top filter cartridge access

Adjustable Mid-Level Intake attaches to the Intake Extension Tube to provide increased water circulation.Extra Media Slots (Penguin 200 and 350) for an additional Rite-Size Filter Cartridge or Penguin Refillable Media Cartridge for enhanced chemical filtration.Plus...
Leak Proof, Easy-Care Design.

One-piece tank and motor assembly means no O-rings to fail.

Single moving part removes easily for cleaning.

No oiling or motor maintenance required.

Automatic Self-Starting Feature Restarts automatically.

No messy siphons or valves.

Worry-Free, Safety Engineering.

UL listed; cUL or CSA listed.

Epoxy-sealed, moisture-proof motor ensures safe operation.
Penguin 100 - 100gph (up to 20G tropical or as additional filter on goldfish tank)

Penguin 150 - 150gph (up to 30G tropical or as additional filter on goldfish tank)

Penguin 200 - 200gph (up to 50G tropical or as additional filter on goldfish tank)

Penguin 350 - 350gph (up to 75G tropical or 35G goldfish tank)

The following photos will also show the filter cartridge modifaction that I made to remove the carbon and also how I add extra polypad filter media for increased filtration between the bi-weekly cleanings. The reservoir on this filter is not very large so it does not have a lot of room for very much media but it could hold a small media bag full of some type of bio-media. I just prefer to use extra polypad media which provides both mechanical and biological filtration.

Here is the filter on the tank with the two covers in place. There is a top slotted-cover over the filter reservoir and a separate front cover over the Bio-Wheel, so as it spins, the spray drips back down into the waterfall and tank.

Here is the filter with the two covers removed.

Since this cleaning was going to take longer because of the photographs, I removed the Bio-Wheel and had it floating in the tank, so that it would not dry out and kill the nitrifying bacteria. Usually, I set it in the removed front cover while I'm cleaning the filter. Anytime the fliter is turned off for any length of time (e.g. during transport or a power outtage), the Bio-Wheel should be floated in the tank to keep it from drying out, keep the nitrifying bacteria alive and to help continue "cycling" the ammonia in your tank.

Here is the filter sitting next to the sink, ready to be cleaned.

I first removed the intake tube and impellor assembly. I run water through the tube to flush out any large debris and occasionally I clean it with a bottle brush and clean the impellor housing as well.

Here is the filter cartridge and the extra polypad filter media. I use bulk polypad filter media comprised of blue (coarse) and white (fine) polypad material and cut the large sheet into the sizes I need for my various filter systems. A package of this polypad media is inexpensive.

This shows a top view of the filter and reservoir. I use the "dirty"
extra polypad to clean off the buildup on the waterfall outlet and any other buildup, before I clean the polypad material. If needed, I clean the Bio-Wheel holders with a toothpick to remove any buildup that might slow down the spinning of the Bio-Wheel.

Here are the filter cartridge and extra polypad filter after cleaning under dechlored tap water from my PUR faucet filter. This keeps some of the N-Bacteria alive. I have two filters for this tank and clean one every other week to minimize disruption of the biological filter. If I only have one filter system on a tank, then I only squeeze/swoosh the filter media in removed tank water so I do not kill off any of the good nitrifying bacteria.

Here is the other side of the filter cartridge and polypad filter media.
The blue and white polypad material is a combination coarse/fine mechanical filter media, which also provides additional surface area for growing good nitrifying bacteria.

This shows how I used a razor knife to slice open the black slotted plastic on the back of the filter cartridge so I could dump out the carbon and re-use the filter cartridge over and over and over. Basically, I cut an "H" along the sides and across the middle but a "U" or inverted "U"
could also be done. I thought the "H" would leave the frame structure intact. I do frequent 25% PWC's (partial water changes) so I do not run carbon in all of my filters. I do keep bulk carbon on hand for when I need it and use filter media bags to hold the carbon. This is still the original filter cartridge that came with the system two years ago.

Here is another picture showing the "surgery" I did to the filter cartridge to remove the old carbon, yet allow me to reuse the filter cartridge.

Here is the filter Cartridge and extra polypad media replaced in the reservoir. Note how I have the extra polypad sticking up about an inch above the filter cartridge. I then fold this over the top of the cartridge so that when the filters start to get dirty and the water fills up more in the reservoir, it will eventually overflow the polypads but still get partially filtered by this extra inch of polypad.

This shows the extra inch folded over the top of the filter cartridge.

Here is the filter sytem cleaned and back on the tank. That white buildup is the calcium/mineral buildup from the evaporated hard tap water that I have. I would normally just use a little white vinegar on a paper towel to easily wipe that off.

BTW... that 1/2 filled 10G tank in the background is an H-tank where I have one of my goldfish right now. He's not feeling well and has a fin-tear/rot issue so I have him in the H-tank with a bubble filter so he doesn't have to deal with the over-filtration in the main tank. I'm treating him with MelaFix/PimaFix cocktail and anti-bacterial food for the past three days. He's doing much better but will stay in the H-tank till he's back to his perky self!

Lenny Vasbinder aka GoldLenny in forums

Monday, April 2, 2007

Filter Profile - Rena Filstar xP1

The following article shows a breakdown, cleaning and reassembly of a Rena Filstar xP1 Canister Filter... one of my many filter systems.

Manufacturer Stats:

xP1 - 250gph (up to 45G tropical or 25G goldfish tank)
xP2 - 300gph (up to 75G tropical or 30G goldfish tank)
xP3 - 350gph (up to 175G tropical or 35G goldfish tank)
xP4 - 450gph (up to 265G tropical or 45G goldfish tank)

» Easy-to-use and extremely powerful with multi-stage filtration and bypass-free circulation, the Rena Filstar continues to raise the bar for the best possible aquarium filtration.

» Guaranteed self-priming system (unique "anti-airlock" system)

» Adaptable to all types of aquariums (spraybar and powerhead included)

» Extremely quiet

» Efficient 3-step filtration guaranteed in a by pass-free construction

The following photos will show a complete breakdown of the filter system and also how I add extra polypad filter media for increased mechanical and biological filtration between the bi-weekly cleanings.

The reservoir on this filter is around one gallon so it does have a lot more room for filter media, compared to an HOB (hang-on-back) style filter. Besides the two large sponge blocks, which come with the xP1, I also prefer to use extra polypad media which provides both mechanical and biological filtration.

This is the smallest Rena Filstar Canister Filter, rated at 250gph, but I think it's the best bargain as far as gph-per-dollar out of many canister filters that I compared including the bigger Rena Filstar models. I've had it for three years (this blog was written in 2007) and it is a work-horse, IMO (and it's 2010 now and still working like a horse!) The only thing I've had to do, besides normal weekly to bi-weekly filter media cleanings and impeller cleaning, was to clean the clear intake/outflow hoses of any algae/detritus build-up. I usually do this about once a year, by using a bottle brush and a piece of string, tied to the handle, to pull it through the hose.

Hint on cleaning the hoses - After removing both hoses from the system and draining them to get most of the water out, use your home vacuum to "suck" the string through the hose, then pull the bottle brush through and the hose is "clean" of any algae build-up. You may have to do this more than once, depending on your build-up.

Here is the filter installed and running. Prior to doing any filter maintenance, you must unplug the filter system. Like many filter systems, there is no on/off switch on this filter system either.

Side view showing clear housing to observe water quality in the filter. It will almost always show "clear" when it's running since the detritus is sucked up against the bottom filter grate. As soon as you unplug the filter, you will see the detritus floating around in the reservoir.

Showing lever to release hose connection panel, in the down or locked position.

Showing lever lifted up to release hose connection panel.

Showing hose connection panel lifted off of canister top.

Canister removed to counter for cleaning. Four snap locks un-snapped.

Canister motor housing removed showing underside with impeller cover.

Canister motor housing removed showing impeller cover removed.

Inside of canister showing filter basket.

After basket removed, showing "dirty" water remaining in canister.

Basket removed, sitting in sink.

Opening the basket to expose various filter media.

This is the "top" of the filter media basket. Water comes up through the bottom of the filter basket so this is the last stage of filtration... a polishing poly pad.... although I am planning one more stage of Purigen.

Second to last stage of filtration... a blue/white coarse/medium poly pad.

Plastic grates go between each layer in the basket. Third to last stage of filtration... a small pore open cell sponge.

First stage of filtration... a large pore open cell sponge.

Basket empty of all filter media and ready to be rinsed off. Note large detritus/debris on the bottom of the large pore open cell sponge.

The two sponges were swooshed and squeeze out several times in a gallon of removed tank water, so most of the N-bacteria stay living in the sponges.

There is more surface area on the insides of one of these sponges and polypads than almost all of the other surface areas of your tank, combined. Open cell sponges provide biological and mechanical filtration. Polypads provide biological and polishing benefits.

The Blue/White poly pad was rinsed off under PUR filtered tap water to clean it good while not killing all of the N-bacteria, since the PUR filter removes chlorine/chloramine from the tap water. The White polishing poly pad was rinsed really good over and over under hot tap water to bring it back to nearly white condition. Poly pads provide biological and mechanical filtration.

The media was put back into the basket in the reverse order with the white polishing polypad on top, as the last stage of bio/mechanical filtration.

The canister reservoir was then emptied and rinsed out. The basket full of cleaned media replaced into the canister reservoir and the reservoir filled up with tank water. The motor housing replaced on top and snapped into place. Then the hose connection panel plugged back in and clamped into place. Then plugged back in to turn it on.

Please note that I am going to start using Purigen, from Seachem. A [b]rechargeable[/b] filter media that is reportedly 500% better than carbon and does not remove trace elements... only DOC's, etc. It does not purport to allow you to go 6 months or forever without PWC's but it does claim to last up to 6 months between recharges. It's a white filter media that turns dark as it gets "dirty" and then is recharged using a bleach solution and soaking in dechlor solution before being reused in our tanks.

My blog "article" on Filter Maintenance & Cleaning details more information.

The above pictures are reduced in size for this article (I like that feature at Webshots... where you can choose from a thumbnail to a full-size image URL for use in linking in forums). They are published FULL-SIZE in my public Webshots photo album, , so anyone is welcome to use copies as they see fit.... subject to $1,000,000.00 royalty payments to me! LOL (I don't have any rich relatives so I have to get rich somehow. :-D)

Lenny Vasbinder
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