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Old 04-28-2011, 03:12 AM   #1
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AquaClear 110 Media "Maintenance"...

During the last couple of water changes I completed, I also took the opportunity to clean out my Aqueon and AquaClear filters, making sure all was good in there and thoroughly rinsing all the media (the cartridges in the Aqueon, which I need to replace anyway, and the sponge block in the AC) and also checking on the status of my Purigen bags in there (it seems they're all beginning to turn orange-y red; I think they need replacing when they turn dark brown, correct?).

At any rate, it got me thinking...what's the "maintenance" schedule like for the AC's media? The sponge never needs replacing, right, just constant rinsing during maintenance and changes? If so, I have been doing that -- but instead of the carbon bag that came with the filter I am using layers of Seachem PhosGuard and two bags of Purigen side by side...on top of the Seachem stuff is the mesh sack of ceramic bio rings that also came with the 110. I know the rings don't need replacing either, as they carry the BB colonies, but is it okay for me to continue using the Purigen as the "in between" media between the sponge and bio rings? Should I add another sponge for better mechanical filtration?

Which part of the AquaClear media is the part that "polishes" the water and traps debris the best -- is it the sponge? If so, should I double up on this part of the media roster?

Any insight or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:25 AM   #2
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you can pretty much use your media of choice in the AC filters (which is why they are so loved ). i'm not familar with Purigen, but instead of the carbon bags i just added extra bio-rings, and will probably shove some filter floss in there next PWC. sounds like you're doing it all right. just make sure you're rinsing with tank water not tap water. i believe the component of the AC filters that is supposed to "polish" the water is the carbon bags. the carbon does help to keep the water crystal clear, but can remove other things that are needed. it's best to just not use them (unless getting rid of meds)
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:51 AM   #3
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you can pretty much use your media of choice in the AC filters (which is why they are so loved ). i'm not familar with Purigen, but instead of the carbon bags i just added extra bio-rings, and will probably shove some filter floss in there next PWC. sounds like you're doing it all right. just make sure you're rinsing with tank water not tap water. i believe the component of the AC filters that is supposed to "polish" the water is the carbon bags. the carbon does help to keep the water crystal clear, but can remove other things that are needed. it's best to just not use them (unless getting rid of meds)
Thanks Rachel...

I appreciate your quick reply! Some things you say about the AC concern me, so let me address them one at a time...

Indeed, I am aware that the ACs are loved due to their customizable media baskets. Purigen is an "extreme water polisher" made by Seachem, which is available in prepackaged 100ml sacks, which you just drop into a filter media area -- I am running two of these, side by side, on top of the sponge of my AC 110, as well as one in the Aqueon filter. Purigen is also supposed to trap and remove organic debris in the water column, and many users report getting 0 level readings for all parameters when testing and using Purigen (ammonia, nitrates, etc.). Now, given this background, are the two sacks of Purigen an okay substitute for the carbon bag between the sponge and the ceramic rings?

Why do you use two bags of rings instead of two sponges, may I ask? How does this improve water quality from your end? As for the rinsing, I was rinsing the AC sponge and Aqueon cartridges in tank water when I did one of the last water changes and did a complete cleaning of the filters, but I rinsed under tap water during this very last water change just because I forgot -- but from what I understand, there is plenty of good bacteria built up on other parts of the filters and in the tank that it's not necessarily "bad" that you rinse sponges or cartridges in untreated water. At any rate, the sponge of the AC 110 has been rinsed and so have the Aqueon's carbon cartridges (I will replace these when I get to PetSmart) but I am more concerned with what "needs" to be done to the AquaClear in order for it to maintain its water quality/polishing duties -- you say the carbon sack is really the element which polishes the water in the AC's, but I threw mine out months ago because it was seemingly exhausted, replacing it with the Seachem Purigen water polisher packs -- so, between the sponge, the Purigen and the bio rings, do I have the right kind of media going in my 110?

Also -- you state that the carbon can get the water real clean, but that they really should be used only to remove meds and such (which I have heard as well) but if they polish the water so well, shouldn't we leave them in there? I mean, I suppose I could look at it like I'm using the Purigen in place of the carbon, but I'm just curious...

Thanks again for your feedback!
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Old 04-28-2011, 04:03 AM   #4
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well, i have a planted tanks. i use fertilizers and run CO2. it's my understanding that carbon can remove the fertilizers from the water column before they are used by the plants. that was the reason i pulled the carbon bags out of my filters last week (which i was previously using to rid my water of tannins from my mopani driftwood). i would personally not use any water "polishers"... first of all because i don't know about the products you speak of, second, because i need nitrates in my tank. my plants use them, and actually i am having to dose my medium-light tank with nitrogen.

so, IMO, i would stay away from things that claim to pull all the "bad" stuff out of the water, because they are probably pulling out all the good stuff as well (like carbon will do).

i'm not running two bags of bio-rings. like i said i just removed the carbon last week, and to take up the space i just added some more rings to the mesh bag. i plan to add some filter floss between the sponge and bio-rings tomorrow with a PWC.
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Old 04-28-2011, 04:15 AM   #5
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i just read up on Purigen a bit. it seems that it is a replacement for (or apparently can be ran in conjunction with) carbon. i don't know that i would use it in a planted tank, but it seems like a better alternative to carbon. so it seems to me you're on the right track. i would personally use filter floss and not bother with Purigen, but then again, i have plants and i'm also cheap i'm currently looking into peat moss for my filter (supposed to be good for live plants)
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Old 04-28-2011, 04:48 AM   #6
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well, i have a planted tanks. i use fertilizers and run CO2. it's my understanding that carbon can remove the fertilizers from the water column before they are used by the plants. that was the reason i pulled the carbon bags out of my filters last week (which i was previously using to rid my water of tannins from my mopani driftwood). i would personally not use any water "polishers"... first of all because i don't know about the products you speak of, second, because i need nitrates in my tank. my plants use them, and actually i am having to dose my medium-light tank with nitrogen.

so, IMO, i would stay away from things that claim to pull all the "bad" stuff out of the water, because they are probably pulling out all the good stuff as well (like carbon will do).
I do not have any live plants in my tank. Because of my lack of water change "skills" and desire to do many of them, I need as many aids as I can get in keeping my water good. Purigen was promised to do this.

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i'm not running two bags of bio-rings. like i said i just removed the carbon last week, and to take up the space i just added some more rings to the mesh bag. i plan to add some filter floss between the sponge and bio-rings tomorrow with a PWC.
Okay -- I didn't necessarily "mean" two bags; I meant you're running "more rings"...so, you just added to the stock Hagen bag? Won't this just be more for growing BB?
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Old 04-28-2011, 04:51 AM   #7
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i just read up on Purigen a bit. it seems that it is a replacement for (or apparently can be ran in conjunction with) carbon. i don't know that i would use it in a planted tank, but it seems like a better alternative to carbon. so it seems to me you're on the right track. i would personally use filter floss and not bother with Purigen, but then again, i have plants and i'm also cheap i'm currently looking into peat moss for my filter (supposed to be good for live plants)
Indeed, since I don't have plants in my tank, I use stuff like Purigen.

So, now, I need to figure out the "maintenance" for the AC 110...

Let's recap a bit:

1. I don't need to change the sponge until it falls apart, right? Just keep rinsing it out? Should I add a second sponge; what would this do?

2. I can keep the Purigen in place of the carbon, between the rings and the sponge, yes?

3. I don't need to ever change out the bio rings either, right -- just rinse them till they fall apart as well?
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Old 04-28-2011, 10:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Osage_Winter

Indeed, since I don't have plants in my tank, I use stuff like Purigen.

So, now, I need to figure out the "maintenance" for the AC 110...

Let's recap a bit:

1. I don't need to change the sponge until it falls apart, right? Just keep rinsing it out? Should I add a second sponge; what would this do?

2. I can keep the Purigen in place of the carbon, between the rings and the sponge, yes?

3. I don't need to ever change out the bio rings either, right -- just rinse them till they fall apart as well?
1- right. yes. depends--do you feel you need more mechanical filtration(catches all the tangible "stuff" in the water)?

2- yes. although I would not substitute the Purigen for regular water changes. it's important to perform weekly water changes to keep water quality at it's best.

3- right.
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Old 04-29-2011, 03:08 AM   #9
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1- right. yes. depends--do you feel you need more mechanical filtration(catches all the tangible "stuff" in the water)?
Not sure; I mean, I could always use more mechanical trapping -- but I was generally wondering if putting more bio rings would be more beneficial than another sponge...

Quote:
2- yes. although I would not substitute the Purigen for regular water changes. it's important to perform weekly water changes to keep water quality at it's best.
I understand; this is debatable though, personally, to me as I am not that successful with water changes (they've been a disaster for us) and the Purigen has seemingly kept our parameters in check, believe it or not...

Quote:
3- right.
Okay, thanks; so no need to ever change the bio rings...

Why does Hagen recommend these get changed at some point though -- outside of the obvious profit element?
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:57 AM   #10
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A second sponge insert will double the mechanical ability and increase the biological capability. In addition you can add a layer of floss between the two inserts for polishing. Carbon doesn't actually polish the water. The term refers to the removal of extremely fine particles. Prior to the renaming of the AC line, the sponges were the bio media. Actually they still are, even with the bio rings.
While your parameters may be perfect, because of the Purigen, there are other compounds in the water that are better removed and not tested for. Thus the need to do water changes.
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