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Installing the new Fluval-G Filter-Part 1 - Background
Multi-Stage Efficiency Filtration made easy
The new Fluval-G filter is making quite a hit with the advanced aquarist on a number of levels. The filter is one of the most technologically sophisticated filters I have ever seen (and I started looking and using filters when the inside air driven box filter was just about the only filter that was available!). With the steep pricepoint, well into a few hundred dollars, this is not the filter most beginners would even begin to consider, but intermediate and advanced aquarists who are looking for an edge in keeping their fish alive, and who want to have some casual record keeping done for them as time goes by will find this filter one of the most appealing.
The Fluval-G filters come in two sizes, The smaller, the G3 is designed to filter aquariums up to 80 gallons (300 L) while the G6 is engineered to handle tanks as big as 160 U.S. Gallons (600 L). Other important specifications show that the G3 will process 185 U.S. Gallons (700 L) an hour. The G6 will run 265 U.S. Gallons (1000 L) every hour through its highly customizable media chamber.
But I am not here to simply provide all the information that can be found on the official Fluval-G website - http://www.fluval-g.com, I am here to report on the actual installation I did with a Fluval-G used to replace a Fluval 105 filter on my Tropiquarium 88 - about 30 gallons of water, so it si much smaller than the recommended maximum.
I am used to filters like the Fluval Canister systems, starting with the original Fluval series all the way to the most recent versions, the 05 series. These leading edge canister filters have slowly evolved over time to move from a unit where all the filtration media was contained exclusively in the media stack cleaning and purifying the water as it rose from bottom to top where it was pumped back to the aquarium. This "single media stack" configuration was used up to the Fluval 403 and its smaller sizes. The following generations, Fluval 404 and 405 have changed the flow to run the water through a foam frame straining the water before the active media stack. This captures gross particulate matter before it can enter the actual media stack.
The Fluval-G has taken this concept one step further, replacing the foam screen frames with a much tigher controlled and managed water flow through the mechanical filtration cartridge. This is a pleated pre-filter cartridge which is designed to trap and hold a greater amount of debris and particles than the tradition foam inserts previously used. Although I am sure the actual lifespan of the cartridge will not be able to match the actual foam pads for lifespan, the trade off advantage is to ensure minimal bypass of any particulate material and very little debris passing through the screen to contaminate and prematurely fill the rest of the filtration stages.
Since I am using this filter for African Cichlids,I have no problem with using the supplied standard weave cartridge. For those considering the filter for their salt water installations, there is a 75 micron screen cartridge available for those applications. In particularly dirty aquariums these 75 µm cartridges can be used for polishing the water to remove as much waste as possible before it can be solubilised and pollute the general habitat.
The water delivered to the remaining stages of filtration is clean and particulate free, allowing even delicate resins that can be filled easily with waste to be used in the second stage, the chemical cartridge. Following along the strength of the Fluval canister lines, the chemical cartridge area can be filled with any media that is required to perform a specific task in the aquarium. The cartridge accepts bulk media, so the actual choice is up to the individual application and requirements.
I am not keeping plants in my African tank, so I simply used the supplied cartridge which was filled with carbon granules. The carbon will help remove any dyes or discolorants, and "polish" the water to crystal clear. The choice of cartridge is not so clear for aquarists who are trying to grow plants. Carbon will adsorb many micro-nutrients that plants require. If you are keeping plants in the tank consider an alternative cartridge, possibly the phosphate remover to reduce the chances of an algae bloom, or a nitrate absorber to keep the level of nitrate from continuing to concentrate after the aquarium has matured.
For the blow-by blow account of how I installed this filter on my Tropiquarium, go to my hub Installing the Fluval-G3 Filter - Part 2 Preparation