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Old 10-24-2011, 10:02 AM   #1
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alittle confused about filters

I have always had tanks on and off many many years ago but now it seems like the hobby is alot harder than I remember. I hardly did water changes, rinsed out my charcoal cartridges and I kept fish alive for years , Now i am hearing you need to do pwc every few days, dont change charcoal cartridges until they are falling apart . the only pwc I did is when the tanks fell 2-3 inches below rim line on tanksand then maybe I would tear tanks down and clean 2 times a year, But my fish stayed alive w/ all that abuse I quess.going back into the hobby, I love my fish and want to do right by them. So its alot more pwc and dirty cartridges. I recently was reading that it seems like alot of people dont keep charcoal cartridges in there filters to keep the water crystal clean! I thought thats what charcoal does to the water?????/ I was reading some use some kind of floss or sponge and ceramic balls or maybe they were called bio balls not sure. My question is if this is true where do you put the floss or sponges and balls?I have a emperor 450 on a 55gal and I must say its not all that crystal clear.My tank has been up 6 months or more nowPlease help me understand this filter stuff
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:01 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by crittergal View Post
Now i am hearing you need to do pwc every few days, dont change charcoal cartridges until they are falling apart .
When we used to have those cartridges, we didn't change them out until, as you said, they are falling apart.

If you have a separate carbon package, it needs to be replaced every 30 days (if you choose to use it).

We have switched over to all separate media, as some lasts longer than others. We have sponge filter media, bioballs, floss filter. You use lots of things within your filter. We prefer to not use cartridges because we've had great results with the separate media.

We don't ever have to replace anything but the sponges and that's maybe a few times a year. We just rinse them out at each water change.

This page might be helpful to show you the various media choices: Aquarium Filter Media: Bio Media, Mechanical Media, Chemical Media & 3-Stage Filter Cartridges
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:13 AM   #3
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Filters with cartridges are designed to be easy to use. The drawback is the cost of replacement elements. Good for the manufacturer, bad for you. This is why I like the AquaClear filters, as the sponge inserts last for many years with regular cleaning in tank water. Carbon isn't necessary for tank filtration. Many people have come up with various substitutions for the manufacturers filter media.
In the old days you tore your tank down twice a year. With PWCs and regular filter maintenance, you can go years between tear downs (10 or more in my case). there are many things that work as media, such as polyester batting, plastic pot scrubbers, and Scotchbrite pads, depending on what you are trying to accomplish.
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:26 AM   #4
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Filter Information

Good morning crit...

Large and frequent water changes will take the place of carbon and some of the filtration. Carbon is good for keeping tank odors down, but doesn't do much else. I keep a small charcoal pad in my tanks, but only if I notice a little water odor.

I keep several 55 G, planted tanks and change a minimum of half the water weekly. Your fish survived because they adapted to the marginal water conditions. If you'd cleaned up your water, you'd probably have killed them.

If you do large and frequent water changes and fill the tank, you won't need to top it off, because there won't be enough time for much evaporation before the next change.

Hopefully, I answered some of your questions. I like to keep my tanks extremely clean, but pretty simple, so if you need any other information, just PM me any time.

I've never too busy to talk about our "waterkeeping" hobby.

Above everything else, have fun!

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Old 10-24-2011, 06:22 PM   #5
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