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Mistake: Not being patient when doing first cycle and wanting to change the water because I thought the water readings were too high.

Remedy: Posted everydays reading on the forum and told people what I wanted to do then listened to their advise, became patient and did not change the water.


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Hi AT,

My direct answer is not going to be helpful to you, but I'll try to expand.

I've moved into a brand new house so ATM I don't have one running. When time permits I will though.

These systems last as long as you want them to. If you are using gravel or clay or other course media, the media does eventually clog and you need to replace it.

If you have no other filtration they do no not last as long as if you were to properly filter with MBBR, swirls or other filters. There is plenty of info on this forum about that if you use the search function.

If you decide to do iAVs the correct sand is the key, no other filtration is required and it is not known how long the sand will last at this stage but all reports are substantially longer.

If you want to see what I have done over the years use the search function and you may need to dig a little further into the archives. Lots of people have also posted their systems in the build section plus, we would like you to post your build as you go along your journey as well, this helps other future newbies and also helps the current community.


Edited by bigdaddy (see edit history)

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Hi AT,

Where do I begin... and still making them (although they appear to be smaller:))

  • did not put air hole or T at in fish tank overflow, drained the tank completely
  • used to small of diameter drain pipe from beds, overflowed beds
  • made and used (for a few days, until I read about danger) a copper heating coil instead SS
  • my first system was simply 1 10 foot 4" nft and a 55lb barrel with goldfish, worked great until I went crazy and added way too much stuff like aquarium tanks quickly
  • had a sump tank that was too small (55 gal buried)and system didn't cycle properly
  • had a sump that wasn't insulated in a warm water system 
  • had a 280 gal fish tank on a ibc tote which was also being used as a fish tank which I couldn't access properly to monitor fish and clean tank
  • over fed fish, too much left in tank
  • for some time didn't use back flow valve, so end of each cycle was pretty noisy(in a greenhouse), not the greatest sound for neighbours
  • had too high of fish density (40 1" niles) not enough aeration and aquarium temp too high sadly lost them all  (I was quite ill and my video feed to greenhouse was down, so I was unaware and not checking on my greenhouse as often as I usually do)


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