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Old 05-23-2008, 09:52 PM   #1
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Filter Medium Question

Hey All,

I am trying to do a fish-less cycling right now, but Ive been doing some reading and had a question. I am concerned because I have a 16 gallon tank and am using a Whisper inside power filter that had the "spongy" filter and an activated carbon filter inside (These came with my set). Ive been reading that you want to change the carbon filter around every 2 weeks or so, but that doing so can restart the whole cycling process. Is it ok to add like, a second carbon filter and just offset the replacement period (just shove it into the filter container)? There really isn't room for a second power filter, maybe my tank is too small for this to matter? Is there anything else I can use as a biological bacteria medium that I could change or replace at an offset time to avoid loosing the bacteria culture? Thanks for any advice!
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:59 PM   #2
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Really there's no need to use activated carbon in an aquarium except to remove medications. Good maintenance and water changes will take care of the rest. I'd just leave it be and let it become an additional surface for the beneficial bacteria to grow on.

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Old 05-23-2008, 10:10 PM   #3
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Hm, well i have read that the carbon, if left to long, can begin to release toxins (Im not entirely sure how this would work, but thats what I've read). Thanks for the welcome! Any thoughts? Is there anything I can add to to tank additionally? I dont want to have any issues with having to re-cycle after i get fish in there. Thanks!
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Old 05-23-2008, 10:23 PM   #4
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I have read that too. If you haven't used the carbon to remove meds then I don't think it would release anything harmful. Or you could remove the carbon and insert a second sponge. If you can't buy a sponge alone separately, without carbon (I'm not sure what those Whisper cartridges look like but I had a Marineland cartridge once that had the carbon inside a pouch of floss, so you couldn't separate them) just buy an inexpensive sponge filter replacement and cut it to fit your filter. If you do this make sure the new sponge insert is not impeding the water flow. If you have two sponge pads, you can rinse them gently, after the cycle is over, in removed tank water. Alternate which one you rinse to preserve the bacteria. I don't think the bacteria is that fragile that a rinse will dislodge it, but I never rinse all my media at the same time and I don't really "squish" my sponge - just swish it gently. Hope that helps!
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Old 05-23-2008, 10:25 PM   #5
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Thats pretty much exactly what I was wanting to know. So This then leads to yet another question. Like I said im doing a fishless cycle, but Ive actually changed the water out a couple times because of an awful smell comming from the tank (my ammonia is around 6ppm). The carbon I JUST added and it supposedly keeps the stinky smell away, is this the case?

Followup 1: OO, also, do you have a suggestion on brand etc I should get for the sponges?
Followup 2: Is this what you mean when you say sponge? Rite-Size Bonded Filter Sleeves for Magnum Models 200 and 330 at PETCO
Or is sponge really SPONGE as in what one would normally think of as the material of a sponge?

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Old 05-23-2008, 10:34 PM   #6
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If you're using carbon to get rid of the odor, you'll probably want to remove and replace it about once a week. It should be helpful in getting rid of the smell. As long as you have adequate other filter media, you'll be fine. After the cycle completes, there's no real reason to use carbon, and replace it often, unless you're removing something like meds.

The filter sponges for the Aqua-Clear brand of filters should be pretty cheap and work well for your needs.
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Old 05-23-2008, 10:39 PM   #7
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Okidoki! Thanks AA advice givers, just the advice I was looking for, thanks a million!
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Old 05-23-2008, 10:46 PM   #8
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You can get something cheaper than the link you posted, and easier to cut to fit. Something like this:

AquaClear Foam Filter - Filter Media - PetSmart

This is "sponge" material. I would get filter sponges and not a regular "kitchen" sponge, to avoid any type of contamination. Some kitchen dishwashing sponges may come with soap already in them. Soap in any form is very bad for a tank!
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:16 PM   #9
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Ya, thats what I was thinking of picking up, perfect! Hopefully ill be able to stick fish in here some decade Im on day 7 and I still have a buncha ammonia, a little nitrAte and no nitrIte, a little confused considering im supposed to have nitrite first but...who knows. Thanks again!
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Old 05-24-2008, 12:31 AM   #10
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Test some tap water - you may have a low level of nitrates in there.
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