This week one of the “big chores” on my to-do list was “clean fish tank filters.” I run XP3s on the 75 and the 55 – canister filters with baskets you can fill with whatever media you want. I’ve got mechanical, bio, and chemical filtration in them right now, after having run my tanks without chemical filtration for some time. The filter pads needed rinsing and I wanted to check the Purigen, because I’m not sure yet how often I will need to recharge it.
I have trouble with creating good routines, so I figured I’d write the date of the last time I cleaned the filter and charged the Purigen on masking tape and stuck it onto the filter. Bingo – date on the side equals total guilt-free tank maintenance and no wondering “how long has it been since I cleaned this?”
Now that I’m gardening more intensively, I figure that my “livestock” can help out more than the plants in their tanks – the mulm* from the fish filters is going into the raised beds instead of being rinsed down the drain. I’ve also started running my siphon hose out to my beds – by sticking it out of second-story windows! I’m not sure how fertile that water is – when I’ve tested the nitrate content previously, even in the bioload-heavy cichlid tank the nitrates are well below 20ppm, perhaps because I’m using Seachem Matrix as biomedia. (The appearance of red algae on the rocks tells me that dissolved organics have been running fairly high, however.) I’m guessing the planted tank water is probably not full of nutrients – but I might as well water my plants with the water I’m getting rid of anyway.
*Mulm is partially decomposed fish poo and plant detritus. It only stinks if something goes badly, badly wrong, so cleaning the filters is less gross than you might imagine. Dragging the canister out from under the tank and sanitizing the sink after cleaning are actually the most annoying parts.