Originally Posted by Jmunroe
No need to "replace" any media until it's falling apart, in any filter. Unless you have carbon in it, which you shouldn't unless removing meds. Take sponges and biomedia out 2-3 times a year and rinse it in discarded tank water and put it back in the filter. Make sure to just rinse the bio media gently so you don't lose all your beneficial bacteria. And also make sure you don't listen to any LFS
people who just love to have your money by getting you to replace sponges and media every 2 weeks or month.
I haven't seen enough evidence to suggest that you should not be using carbon filters. It seems that carbon filter use is a matter if preference. I read the carbon filters remove contaminants that cause water to smell and also clear things such as tannins. It also removes dissolved organic compounds which aids in bio filtration limiting heterotrophic bacteria growth not allowing them to outcompete nitrifying bacteria. And it removes medications.
The disadvantages of carbon are cost, duration of effectiveness. I have also read that a disadvantage of carbon is that it MAY remove micronutrients and could have a negative effect in a heavily planted aquarium. I've heard people who run with in one tank and without in another with no differences.
But none if these claims have been written as fact except that carbon removes tannins, odours and medications. For this reason I choose to use it as part of periodic maintenance. I then leave it in when it runs out as not to disturb the bacteria but my water is crystal clear for a month.
If someone can convince me not to use it backed by facts. I would love to hear it. And I'm really not trying to be funny or smart here I am genuinely interested.