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Old 07-25-2011, 11:47 PM   #1
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Talking Filter Changing Help

I was wondering about changing filter media before the time comes when my pouch is ripping apart. I rinse the cartridge now in tank water once a week. How often do I need to change the carbon in the pouch and can I just buy the activated filter carbon from walmart? It's like $3 for a carton of it. And when the pouch starts tearing how do I change this since this is where the BB lives correct?

Any help on any of the process would be a great help. Thanks!
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:58 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by michelle504
I was wondering about changing filter media before the time comes when my pouch is ripping apart. I rinse the cartridge now in tank water once a week. How often do I need to change the carbon in the pouch and can I just buy the activated filter carbon from walmart? It's like $3 for a carton of it. And when the pouch starts tearing how do I change this since this is where the BB lives correct?

Any help on any of the process would be a great help. Thanks!
The best thing to do is always seed a new filter before removing the old. Find a way to jam the new one in right up against the old (where the old filter contacts the water first as it comes into the filter, new pressed up against it) and leave it as long as possible...I'd say 2 weeks is good.

The carbon is "supposed" to be replaced every month or so...but normally it's just a sales gimmick to make you buy things every month which you don't need. I don't have carbon in any of my tanks...and most experienced members don't either. Keep your water clean with pwc's and you'll never need it unless you're removing meds.

Carbon will become inert and simply part of your bio-filter once it is exhausted. If you want to remove it, just cut a slit down the side and shake it into the trash.

Like you've been doing, just rinse the debris it collects off in tank water during pwc's...and never replace it until it is literally falling apart.

The article in my signature is about fishless cycling...but it does have some info about when and how to replace media
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:27 AM   #3
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So I don't even need carbon? Just the filter media pouch? Does carbon not do anything for the water unless there is medication in there? And are there places where you can just buy the pouches? Where I've been looking is usually pouches and carbon packets together. So if I buy those I might use the carbon just so I don't waste it. My filter cartridges are open at the top and held together with a clasp so the carbon would be extremely easy to take out. And how long until I should take the carbon out from my current cartridge?

I will definitely reread your link post. Thanks so much!
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:33 AM   #4
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Carbon is GOOD for your water taking out most impurities from the water.
PLEASE read up on it before giving up with out giving it a shot.
I don't know how to explain it. So I prefer to tell you read up on it

I change my carbon in my tank every month but I use a reactor since it's saltwater.
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by michelle504
So I don't even need carbon? Just the filter media pouch? Does carbon not do anything for the water unless there is medication in there? And are there places where you can just buy the pouches? Where I've been looking is usually pouches and carbon packets together. So if I buy those I might use the carbon just so I don't waste it. My filter cartridges are open at the top and held together with a clasp so the carbon would be extremely easy to take out. And how long until I should take the carbon out from my current cartridge?

I will definitely reread your link post. Thanks so much!
I also invite you to research carbon...but I think you'll find most of the experienced FW guys don't use it. It can serve as a water polisher and odor reducer...but those are things that weekly water changes take care of on their own. If you have plants, there's also debate whether carbon strips nutrients from the water column that plants need.

Instead of the pouches, you can buy sheets of filter media (they're sold rolled up), which you just take a pair of scissors to and cut them to size. it's MUCH cheaper. Like I said, monthly replacement is mostly a sales gimmick which doesn't take your fishes wellbeing into account. The stores would make a lot less $ if they didn't convince you that you need to come back and buy new things every month.

You can remove the carbon from your current cartridge whenever you'd like. Carbon is a porous surface and will hold some degree of beneficial bacteria...so simply monitor your water parameters for a few days after it is removed to be safe...or just leave it in there, it won't hurt anything. I've never seen proof that carbon leeches anything into your water after it is used up.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:27 AM   #6
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Okay I will I'll go talk to my LFS about it too. I found a new one yesterday that I'm really excited about, I'm pretty much done forever with chain pet stores.

I have one more quick question for you Eco about my sisters tank that she got done cycling last week. She put in 3 new fancy guppies in her cycled tank nd the ammonia levels are at .25ppm, nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 10 ppm (she was feeding the BB fish flakes and did a big water change the night before she bought her new fish) this is normal correct? It'll take some time for the BB to catch up to 3 fish?
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:31 AM   #7
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It doesn't look like my edit worked so I'm gonna just post another reply. Sorry if it's up here twice.

I should mention that she has a 10 gallon and wants to get all fancy male guppies (she loves their different patterns) and a few ghost shrimp eventually. Thanks for all the help Eco!
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:12 PM   #8
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If the tank was fully cycled...there really shouldn't be any ammonia at all. What type of test kit is she using? It's possible it's just a faulty ammonia reading. Do you know how long she cycled the tank for? Since she has nitrAtes there's definitely conversion happening...just have her keep an eye on things and do water changes if the ammonia or nitrIte climb above .25.
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michelle504 View Post
So I don't even need carbon? Just the filter media pouch? Does carbon not do anything for the water unless there is medication in there? And are there places where you can just buy the pouches? Where I've been looking is usually pouches and carbon packets together. So if I buy those I might use the carbon just so I don't waste it. My filter cartridges are open at the top and held together with a clasp so the carbon would be extremely easy to take out. And how long until I should take the carbon out from my current cartridge?

I will definitely reread your link post. Thanks so much!
As eco23 said ... most experienced aquarists don't use Carbon in their filters except to remove meds. Below is a link about some info on Carbon you may find useful.

Activated Carbon In Aquarium | Aquariums Life
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:28 PM   #10
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Well it was a used tank and she has a new filter with the old filter up next to it and 3 guppies in there right now. She kept an eye on everything for about 4 weeks and every time she put flakes in the water and have it up in ammonia the ammonia would be gone within a day. She is using my API Master Kit and the reading this morning was very light, it took very direct light to see that the ammonia level was most likely .25ppm

And thank you for the carbon link jcolon! I appreciate it
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