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.
P.S. I got the AC
because it is so highly regarded here.