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Old 03-03-2009, 12:45 AM   #1
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Filter media reuse and reconditioning

Ok, I searched and searched, and all I can find is that you can reuse biological filter media until it "can't be used anymore", "is totally blocked/no longer porous" or "is falling apart".

Although the last one is pretty obvious, how can I tell with the first two? I have filter media that is 3 years old that looks fine and isn't falling apart, at what point should it be replaced? Is there any definitive test or signs?

Also can you use bio filter material that has been on a FW tank on a SW tank? I've seen a few random posts by people cautioning against reusing anything (including the tank!) that was used on FW for SW, but why? Assuming that the FW tank had no problems what is wrong with reusing the materials on a SW tank?

Once the media is considered "unusable" can it be reconditioned?

Yes, I know it's not a big deal to buy new media, but I'm very much of the mind "waste not, want not". Why throw out something that's still good? Sure it's "safer" to use new media, but is there actually anything wrong with using the old stuff?
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:00 PM   #2
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Anyone have any idea or thoughts on this?
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:02 PM   #3
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I reuse filter media till it's falling apart i find it's a waste to get new media every time.
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:40 PM   #4
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Depending on what filter media you are talking about .... I think the getting clogged/ falling apart refers to media like filter floss.

If you are using ceramic rings or bioballs, the comments don't really apply. FAIK, these lasts forever. <I am still using bioballs from 6 years ago.> You just rinse out the gunk & reuse.

Certain media can be reconditioned. Eg. you can reconditioned activated carbon by heat (although some question the effectiveness). The Micron filter by Magnum can be reconditioned by soakling in bleach. <That is according to manufacturer's instruction .... rare in this throwaway age.> The bleach breaks down organic material that is clogging the filter so you can get rid of it & allow the filter to work again. <I suspect this will work with other clogged filters as well, but most other maunfacturer just tell you to buy a new one.>
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Old 03-07-2009, 04:18 PM   #5
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Good point i use aquaclear filters and i use the sponges and carbon until it's falling apart.
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Old 03-07-2009, 04:24 PM   #6
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Ok, so now what about the FW/SW reuse question? Is there any real reason why I can't take a filter that was in use on a FW tank, clean it out, and use it on a SW tank?
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Old 03-07-2009, 04:35 PM   #7
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I'm guessing you probably could but I'm no expert I'm interested at what other people think about this.
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Old 03-07-2009, 05:59 PM   #8
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No, bacteria strains are different between FW and SW. You CAN reuse it but it's no different than starting from new. The FW bacteria will die off and the SW will populate (or vice versa)
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Old 03-07-2009, 06:13 PM   #9
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Yes, that much I understand. From what I was reading though people were saying that it was BAD to reuse equipment. Other than bacterial die-off are there any problems that can occur by doing so?
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Old 03-07-2009, 06:17 PM   #10
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just clean it really well when ever you switch.
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