Hamburg Matten Filters are space saving, non leaking and supremely efficient. HMF`s do better when not cleaned, have a 5 year guarantee and provide superior biological stability.
We started using the HMF (Hamburg Matten Filter) technique in 2012. It has really super charged our fishkeeping. Our water quality is exceptional and the HMF allows us to add large batches of new fish without a spike in Ammonia. In fact one our tanks has not had a filter cleaning since March 2013. This tank is featured further down this page.
Whether it’s being used in our 7,500L African cichlid hatchery, aquariums we maintain or one of our display tanks. The Hamburg Matten Filter excels in every situation. I had heard about HMF technique from my German friends. They used words like "cheap" and "minimal cleaning".
They were not wrong. We use this filter design because it replicates nature. If you have been on our filtration design page you know all about mulm. Yes, the mulm is stuff that makes our fish tanks so successful. You can be guaranteed that the every crevice in Lake Malawi is filled with mulm housing beneficial bacteria.
An HMF is normally a large sheet of of foam at one end of the tank. This means it has a really large surface area measuring the entire end of your tank. The large surface area prevents it from blocking up easily. Going for long periods before you have to clean it (12 months-2years)*.
Not cleaning it allows the beneficial bacteria population to become really mature and have a higher variation of beneficial bacteria. If you have a look at this graph you can see why HMF`s surpass other filters biologically. It fact it leaves them in the mulm. Every time you clean the filter, you wash away the mulm and beneficial bacteria. This is why filters that need regular cleaning to function well, will always have a less mature population of beneficial bacteria. Certain species of bacteria take months of inactivity to become established.
How to move the water from behind the HMF sheet.
In most situations we recommend the use of an air pump connected to an uplift. As the air moves up the pipe it pulls water with it. In fact its very effective for moving water around. We always try to make any aquarium as air tight as possible with tight fitting glass lids. This prevents water moisture from getting in your house. If this is the case we need to make sure that we are introducing new fresh air for which the air driven system is excellent. You can alsouse a water pump or a canister filter to drive an HMF.
The most important factor- cycle rate. If you have visited our filtration design page you should have a good understanding of what this means, how to measure it and the best cycle rate for biological filtration. For HMF`s there is a very in depth series of equations for working out the optimum cycle rate for any specific tank size. Honestly I have always found it very confusing. We use the rule of thumb that if it`s a standard size aquarium and the foam sheet will fill one end of the aquarium, a 2.5 times cycle rate will work very well.
If the tank is very tall or wide you can increase the flow rate to say 3.25 times cycle rate. If you have a cycle rate that is too fast you will experience Ammonia spikes which is the last thing you want. This is because the water is flowing over the bacteria too quickly for them to do any good.
If you have an aquarium that is less than 250liters> then a 2.5 times cycle rate will give you great clarity and biological stability.
The aquarium pictured above has been running since March 2013. It has housed many different fish since then. What has remained the same is the biological stability. The HMF is made up of 2 different densities(20ppi and 30ppi) and folded into a 90 degree bend which forms a corner filter. The black foam and the corner design hides it all very nicely.
This filter has not been cleaned since it was put together in 2013. Once again the reason it`s so stable is a combination of the AquaPonics and the mature untouched filter. The proof of the pudding really is in the eating. This is a real example of how good the Hamburg Matten Filter is. All the filter kits below are pre-cut for aquariums that measure 50cmx50cm (19"x19") or less.
If you have a show aquarium that is large (300liters<) you will want to look at separating the mechanical from the biological filtration. You get water that is visibly cleaned more often in an hour and still have biological stability. This is why we developed the HMF2.0
With larger show tanks or aquariums with heavy stocking rates, such as the ones seen in our videos, there will be a large amount of debris floating around. We feed large amounts of Norill (Nori Krill combination) which doesn't get broken down as easily as processed fish food. To ensure that we have crystal clean water we have developed the HMF2.0, basically we have tweaked the only flaw* of the HMF design.
This flaw is a slower flow rate, which means you might see the same bit of debris for longer than you would want to. On smaller lightly stocked tanks (most of our customers) this isn't an issue. With our tanks we needed to redesign a great system and so came up with the HMF2.0. We split the mechanical from the biological filtration allowing us to have high flow rate to clean the water of debris and as low flow rate to ensure biological stability.
* only ever a flaw on large tanks or aquariums that are very heavily stcoked.
This is the setup we use on all of our large scale aquariums that are tight for space . It ensures that your fish are shown off at their very best. Meaning the water is very healthy and stable and the water is visibly clear of dirt and debris which we know is very important to the viewer.
The biological and mechanical section are separated by a sheet of glass or acrylic. The partition is held in place by silicone which also ensures there is no cross water movement between the two sections.