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Old 04-07-2006, 03:48 PM   #1
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Changing filter cartridges

I'm not ready for this yet, as I'm in the last half of the initial nitrogen cycle, but when and how should filter cartridges for a HOB Emperor 400 (dual bio wheel) be changed?

There are two pairs of cartidges, one for activated charcoal, one foam/sponge type cartridge, with more charcoal inside it I think. One set for each half of the filter.

I know the cartridges will need changed (I scraped off some crud last week that was completely blocking it up), but I don't want to lose any beneficial bacteria.

Should I change one set at a time, then wait a week or two for the other?

Where exactly, besides the bio-wheel and filter media, does the beneficial bacteria live? In the sand? LR?

Also, if I want to help a cycle in my QT tank down the road, what can/should I take from the big tank to assist the process?

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Old 04-07-2006, 04:31 PM   #2
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beneficial bacteria lives on every surface in the tank that stays submerged.

do you have live rock? if so, as long as you have at least 1lb per gallon of water, that should be enough bio filtration.

the cartridge based HOB's are something I NEVER recommend. you spend a lot of money replacing cartridges, and its not even necessary.

Ideally, you get a HOB that uses sponge blocks for mechanical filtration, and just rinse them out ever time you clean the aquarium/do a water change. In SW, these sponges and cartridges can become nitrate factories, so you end up rinsing them every few days to keep them clean and healthy.

The bio wheel is also gonna be a nitrate factory.

If you have a lot of live rock, a pair of quality powerheads is what you really need for circulation. you could use the HOB with filter floss to polish the water.

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Old 04-07-2006, 04:37 PM   #3
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Since the Emperor 400 has two bio-wheels you are safe to completely change out the filter media without destroying the bacteria colony you have worked so hard to achieve.

For HOB/canisters that do not use bio-wheels it’s best to rinse the filters of in old SW (when you do a PWC) or ro water because rinsing them off in tap or hot water will destroy the bacteria built up on them.

To answer your question as to where the bacteria is stored with your setup the majority of it is stored on your bio-wheels, a little is stored in filter media you talk about replacing, and a little more in your case is in the ls.

I would recommend rinsing your filters weekly to keep it free of waste which breaks down into no3 eventually. Replace your carbon filters every 3 weeks and replace your other filters as they wear/tear.

Your bio-wheel should never be replaced unless damaged. I shake mine in old SW once a month which doesn’t hurt the bacteria but does get off any gunk that might build up which is usually pretty minimal.

Also if it takes you longer then 15 minutes to clean your filter or do a PWC then I’d float the bio-wheels in the tank or old SW until you can get them running again. Do the same if the power goes out. It takes a good 4+ hours to kill off the bacteria on the bio-wheel but I don’t like to take chances. Especially if it’s your main bio-filtration and you don’t have lr to back it up.

Lastly instead of carbon I would also run PhosGuard, Chemi-Pure, or Purigen after rinsing in old SW or ro water for a week or two to help keep your tank pure. These are great products IME that greatly help keep your levels in check. Especially when first starting
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Old 04-07-2006, 05:15 PM   #4
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Thanks again tecwzrd.

I only have a couple pounds of LR. Budget issue. I plan to get more as time goes by, probably adding a little at a time.

With the HOB I have, I can refill one set of cartridges with charcoal (so that's low cost).

Sounds like I do want to add more LR sooner than later, I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket, relying mostly on the biowheels for bacteria colonies.

It it cool to add more LR to a tank during the initial cycle?
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Old 04-07-2006, 06:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Scoot
It it cool to add more LR to a tank during the initial cycle?
Sure as long as you cure it first if not getting cured lr from your lfs.
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