AZOO Mignon Filter 60 and 150 Review

Mignon Flow

Most of my smaller tanks use AZOO Mignon filters – either 60 or 150 depending on the tank size. These little filters are quite sleek and compact, and they come with a great price tag. The AZOO 60 works best for pico tanks under 3.5 gallons. The 150 claims to be good for tanks up to 30 gallons on the Amazon.com listing, but I have mostly restricted their use for tank 15 gallons and under.

Mignon Filter

While the AZOO Mignon filters might not have the most impressive exterior packaging, they are quite well designed. The filter comes filled with the inclued intake extensions, intake sponge covering, filter sponges/cartirdges, and such. The intake has an adjustable knob, allowing for great flow control. I’ve also constructed a few baffles to change the water surface disruption levels for my floating plants.

The intake tubing is all clear, with a black filter sponge. Overall, the filter is quite unobtrusive in the tank, and the pre-filter sponge works quite well.

These filters are really capable of some powerful flow. My only complaint is that the intake extension tubes have fallen apart in the tank before. As I was using the filter on a nano tank, I came home to find a few shrimp and fish had been sucked directly into the filter. This problem has happened twice now on the same filter, leading me to replace the intake tubing on the filter and be a bit paranoid about checking that particular filter. I have five of these filters running right now, and the issue only occurred for one of the filters, and would have been avoided had I paid more attention to the tank with the problematic filter.

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Riccia Fluitans/Moss Mats – Fishing Line and plastic grid/cloth method

There are many different methods to create flat sections of moss, riccia, or other plant life that doesn’t typically carpet or grow in such a form naturally. These mats can be quite effective when fully grown, and allow the easy control and use of new colors and textures in the planted tank. Takashi Amano is credited with first using riccia fluitans, aka crystalwort, in such a scenario. Since, many different types of plants have been experimented with, some with more success than others. Here’s what you’ll need to make a mat:

The Plant

Mats work best with fast growing species that split in many different directions as they grow.  Common choices include Riccia fluitans/ CrystalwortJava MossChristmas MossPellia liverwort (Monosolenium tenerum), or Fissidens.

The Mat Material

Any material which can withstand being under water without decay or contaminating the water (many plastics, stainless steel 316, etc) can bee used for this. Common choices include nylon netting from craft stores, plastic grids from craft or hardware stores, metal meshes, or re-used material from bath poofs, filter media bags,… The material needs many openings that are large enough to let in light and allow the plant to grow through while being small enough to hold back the initial portion of the plant. Be careful if using metal – stainless steel 316 is the most common choice for fish tank use, and those edges can be sharp!!

Thread/Line

Any string or thin material that won’t degrade under water that can fit through the holes of the chosen material works for this step. Fishing line is a common choice, as it is hard to see and easy to use. The thinner the line, the less visible and easier to work with. Riccia Line is usually just a green tinted fishing line, such that it blends in quite well immediately. Nylon thread also works well for this and is available in a variety of colors. If you steel mesh for the material and attaching the mat directly to wood or an object, then thread or line won’t usually be needed.

My riccia and moss mat process using filter media bag and fishing line:

Collect the portions of riccia, moss, etc to be used and plan out the size of the mat. The plant will need to be placed between two layers of the mat material, so either cut two identical pieces for the top and bottom, else, if the material is easily folded, cut a single piece that can be folded to give the right mat shape. Giving yourself some extra room around the edges that can be trimmed can make sewing together the mat easier.

Spread the plant portion over the mat material that will form the bottom half of the mat, as below.

A uniform layer just thick enough to cover the entire mat bottom is ideal. If the layer is too thick, portions of the plant often die or decay due to lack of light and water flow. Put the top half of the mat into place, and use the thread/line to tie small knots every half inch or more along the open edges.

I keep the mat wet with tank water throughout the process. Any sections of the plant that dry out can become damaged and die rather than grow into the mat.

I’ll be sure to post updates soon on how these mats are growing out in my new 7 gallon setup! I also ordered some stainless steel 316 wire mesh/screening this week, and will be making some mat portions with that as well. I’ll post on it once I’ve found a good method.

Giant Danio (Devario aequipinnatus)

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I began keeping giant danios back when my largest tank was a 30 gallon tall. I got them to create more motion and excitement in my tank, whose other residents tended to be slower moving or usually out of sight. Everything I’d read described giant danios as fast, mid-level swimmers who need other giant danios to bully and race.

The giant danio makes a beautiful schooling fish, especially if they have ample room to swim. These are some of the quickest and most active schooling fish I’ve ever had the pleasure to home. While most sites online recommend 30 gallons for a school of them, they seem to absolutely love the extra space in my 150 gallon. If kept in a 30 gallon or similar sized tank, try to use an extra-long if possible. Giant danios are quite active and need lots of swimming room!

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Giant danios reach about four inches in length when full grown. As they age, my danios have also shown changes in facial features. Most noticeably, the areas around their eyes become more pronounced and darker in color with age.

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I love the beautiful yellow-orange markings on the sides of giant danios. Each fish has a distinct pattern of markings that help me tell them apart, though making out the patterns when they’re darting around is rather difficult.

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My group of eight danios eat pretty much anything I add to the tank. They enjoy flake food, pellets, veggies, blood worms, and everything else I’ve ever added. My group of giant danios would also follow behind loaches and other bottom feeders, waiting to snag stirred up bits of food. Because they are quite resourceful and seemingly always hungry, many of them have developed decent sized bellies.

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I’ve never had a giant danio jump out of my tank, but every site on them tends to mention needing am aquarium lid. I have no doubts that these sleek and powerful fish could easily jump out of a tank if they wanted, so am glad I’ve never had to experience that.

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I highly recommend this hardy and active fish to those with a compatible aquarium setup. Especially if not kept in a decently sized group, they can antagonize other fish. They also will eat readily, so shy fish might need special accommodations or experience stress if homed with giant danios.