I agree with Hallyx. I have that same filter in my QT and I recently took the thing apart and realized that it's basically useless, so much of the water just flows right back in to the tank. I saw Sicce Micron Internal Filter on someone else tank and I really liked it. You can get it through Amazon for $21.
"i" signifies 'i'nternal filter, which fits inside your tank as opposed to Hanging On the Back (HOB). Hagen, Tom's, Fluval and many others make good internal filters in that size and price range. You probably only need a 20gal version, unless you plan to overstock. All are suitable for placing between two dividers (along with the heater) if that's the way you want to go. I do it that way and I recommend it. I like an underwater outlet (instead of a waterfall type) because it's quieter. Call up Amazon, internal filter, and get totally confused---or enlightened. ;-}
Originally Posted by labloverl
With whatever new filter I choose to go with, would I just put it in the tank with the original filter still running? Would the new filter need to be running?
You could do that; four weeks with both filters running ought to do it. Or you could put the old, cycled filter media into the new filter. Putting additional filter foam in the filter bay (between dividers) increases your bacteria capacity.
Well, me not knowing exactly how filters work.... I tested the tetra whisper filter out in a tub of water, and did not see how the water did not pass over the filter material. It looked like it came right up the back of the filter cartridge and passed through it and the foam grid that's in front. Although, with the cartridge pushed all the way down, the water looked like some was going over the cartridge.
Again, I don't know how filters work, or how they work with a "cycled tank." Please enlighten me if you'd like. :) I've always thought that they just caught trash and food. I know nothing about bio media and that kind of stuff. What is filter media... the cartridge? I just know that my tank is cycled (I have a test kit) and I want to keep it that way.
So how exactly does the tetra whisper filter not work very good for those that are saying it doesn't?? I'm new, and am learning so much at one time! :)
You need a filter in order to cycle a tank and to keep it cycled. Cycled means having enough live bacteria in your tank to eat the ammonia and nitrate.
These BB (beneficial bacteria) need food (ammonia) flowing over them. The filter pump supplies that flow.
They need a place to live. Some of the BB live in the gravel; some live on the walls and decorations--even on the plants and fish. Much of the BB lives in the filter media (foam in your case). The water flowing over the foam makes these BB the most effective and most important.
If you look closely at your Tetra, the flow only passes over the top half-inch of foam. The rest just sits down there being ineffective. Run it with the cartridge out and you'll see what I mean.
All of the filters that we have recommended cause water to flow over the filter foam with the BB in it. This is the most important function of a filter.
Filters also filter out waste and food, but most of this decomposes in your gravel, which creates ammonia, which feeds your BB. A lot is removed in your weekly 25% to 50% water change and gravel vacuuming. This important change and vac also removes DOCs (dissolved organic compounds) that pass through your filter, and it restores minerals that your plants and fish have used up during the week.
Since I have so many HOB filters that I've used in the past, and if I really don't want to spend any more money on filters, I can always put the filter on one side, and the heater close to the divider on the other. I really want the filter and heater between 2 dividers, but I really just did not want to buy another filter.
I wanted to add these last few questions. Say I switch filters, from a HOB filter to an internal filter and I wanted to put the old, cycled filter media into the new filter. What is the filter media, and what if it doesn't fit??
Also, for fake plants, can I use floral decorations (literally, fake plants) like from walmart? I can't find any plants in the fish department that are tall enough without being too rough and pointy, but I did find some in the floral decorations. The ones I found are a lot like the fake silk plants I have.
Editing to add that I tried the whisper filter without the cartridge. I did see that the water only went over the top part, but Hallyx, how did you modify it?
I agree that, considering the setup you have, the easiest is to put the heater on the other side of a single divider. It will work just fine.
Filter media is anything (foam, rocks, ceramic noodles, charcoal) in your filter that removes paricles and, more important, provides area for your BB. Your filter uses foam as the medium, I think. You can buy filter foam in bulk from your LFS and cut it to fit. It's useful to stick a small chunk of foam over or into the filter intake to protect your fish.
Silk plants are recommended here by those who use artificial plants. I don't know anything about that.
To make your Whisper actually work as a filter:
--Drill a 1/4 in hole into the back of the case, near the bottom, all the way through into the filter compartment.
--Seal the hole in the back of the case with aquarium sealant or epoxy glue.
--Seal over the top of the tube portion of the case (where you see the bubbles coming out of now).