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Old 12-09-2011, 05:30 PM   #1
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Question Another AquaClear Media Question

I just got an AC50. I love it so far.

Background: Here is what I currently have in there. I put in the foam, carbon and BioMax per the instructions in that order from bottom to top. Just below the BioMax and above the carbon, I put a piece of my old filter pad, and I had also run the foam in my old filter so there should be some beneficial bacteria to get things off to a good start.

(I have the carbon in there by choice. Although I cleaned the brand new acrylic tank with warm dechlorinated water, I want the carbon in there just as insurance for now)

Question: My real question is about the foam and the BioMax (ceramic pellets -- the ones that came with my filter aren't rings) Hagen says change the carbon monthly which makes perfect sense, but they also say to change the foam every 2 months and the BioMax every 3 months (not changing more than one media at a time to maintain the BB). Why would I need to do anything except rinse the foam and the BioMax? Other than the fact that filter makers want to sell media... I've read differing opinions here, but am still a little fuzzy about it.

So what do you do with your AquaClear? Do you change these portions of the media as directed or do you just rinse and keep it as long as you can? I would very much appreciate it if AC users would weigh in on the pros and cons. Also do you use something else? Do you "roll your own" so to speak? Do you buy ceramic rings in bulk and refill that way. Do you use the official Hagen foam or something else? What have you done that does or does not work? Are there any dangers from using the foam or the BioMax for too long?

In the end I imagine that my water tests will tell the story, but I'd sure like to learn from your experiences. I have media bags so I literally could put anything in there that fits.

TIA

P.S. I got the AC because it is so highly regarded here.
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:28 AM   #2
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You do not have to replace the sponge unless it is absolutely falling apart. It will last for years. rinse it out in tank water when you do your WC's The ceramic cylinders never have to be replaced. rinse them once in a while also. the rest of the media that comes with the filter is not necessary to use. Personal choice comes into play here, I run carbon in my canister filters, I feel it helps keep the water clearer, and does remove some unwanted substances. Once again personal choice, but not necessary The manufacturer would love you to change media once a month, More profit
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Old 12-11-2011, 02:39 PM   #3
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Thanks foster53. That's just the answer I needed. Logic dictated that the ceramic cylinders and foam could just be rinsed, but I really wanted to hear from someone with experience with this filter. This is great news and I believe will be healthier for the fish.

I tend to like carbon in my filter, too for the reason you stated. As long as I change it monthly; there is a reason to change the carbon for sure. That's one reason I got the media bags, so I could buy the carbon in bulk in the cartons or jars rather than be wedded to pre-packaged carbon.
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Old 12-11-2011, 02:48 PM   #4
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You are very welcome!! Foster and Smith offers their own brand of carbon in bulk. It seems to be pretty decent. I have been using it for several months with good results Maybe someone on this forum also offers carbon in bulk, best to support our members whenever possible
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Old 12-11-2011, 05:09 PM   #5
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I agree with supporting the folks who support this forum. I will start looking at the ads here first. Thanks again.
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Old 12-12-2011, 02:25 AM   #6
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I have been running the same sponges in my AC110 for 5 years. The rings can be treated the same though I don't use them. I also wouldn't run carbon all the time unless you have a reason to like to remove tannins or meds. I'd run Purigen if you are looking for clear water. It removes organics from the water but not ferts and can be reused and lasts up to 6 months between recharging. It's great stuff. IMO carbon has it's place in the cabinet but not in the tank until truly needed.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:32 AM   #7
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I agree, i just removed my carbon this week. I thought it be more useful to pack more sponge in. I dont need carbon, so why keep it? Kind of a waste of space!

I will say my AC has gotten loud after a few months, and several other people have the same problem (i did everything you can think of to make it work normally again. I think the impeller is damaged/not lined up properly). So heads up they may not stay silent forever, or you may need to replace a part.
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Old 12-12-2011, 02:21 PM   #8
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Thanks Nubster. I will look into the Purigen. I have heard it mentioned here but I don't (yet) know much about it. I see it is a Seachem product.

Thanks for weighing in gabysapha. Yeah, I had read that several were having noise probs with their AquaClears. I'll keep that in mind. I certainly will replace a part if needed. I'll have to check the paperwork as to warranty. I think there is one, but I can't remember.

On another note, I'm checking water quality daily and so far it looks like my BB on the old filter material are working in there. I didn't have the option of running my old filter with my new filter in the new tank because my old tank was an Eclipse 12 with an integrated filter system (that impeller ran noiselessly for 8 years).
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:11 PM   #9
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I run a sponge in the bottom of my AC50, biomax in the middle and some polyfiber on top for polishing the water.
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:03 PM   #10
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Most of my ACs are old, from before the name change. I use 2 sponge inserts and perhaps some pot scrubbers on top. If I want finer filtration I will add poly batting between the two sponge inserts. Some of my sponges are over 10 years old.
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