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Old 03-04-2005, 02:28 PM   #1
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Hey there everyone! question re: filters

My tank is doing pretty well at this point. I've lost a couple, gained a couple, but all in all the majority of the group is doing fantastically.

I have made one major change - I moved the feeder to a smaller tank. I was suspecting (based on his eating habits of pushing the other fish out of the way to eat as much food as possible) that he was the culprit behind my continuing ammonia problems. Decided to try moving him to his own bowl, and in just a couple of days I am already seeing a steady drop in ammonia (down to between .25 and .5) and I'm getting nitrite readings for the first time ever (just shy of zero). Nitrates are a solid 5.

I am down to one panda cory, which is too bad because they were so cute. I don't know what to do - he looks like he's "panting", like he's not getting enough oxygen, but the rest of the community is fine, my bubble stone is constantly running, and the filter is working properly.

Anyway, I am about to undertake the challenge of cleaning my canister filter and wanted to make sure I wasn't replacing the filter I should keep. There is the black carbon, a white "fine" filter and a blue "coarse" filter. I assume it's the black one I should just rinse with de-chlorinated water? Let me know if I'm incorrect.


36 gallon bowfront w/all fake ornaments, Eheim 2213 canister filter, one sub heater (have a hanging heater for backup), and a 4" airstone.
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Old 03-04-2005, 03:09 PM   #2
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You don't need to replace anything in the canister filters unless something is destroyed. For instance, if the white filter is breaking apart, then it's time to toss it. But if it is just turning green from algae, just rinse it off in used tank water.

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Old 03-04-2005, 04:14 PM   #3
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I would really hesitate to clean the filter at all when the tank is not completely cycled. It is so easy to disturb the bacteria and set yourself back. You will have to make that decision based on how clogged you suspect it to be.

In general, though you don't really need the black "carbon" one as it has lost its usefulness as carbon, but does hold bacteria so you can rinse it out and reuse it, as you will with the blue one. The blue one, from personal experience, can last you years and years. The white one will need to be replaced, as it is just floss. I don't even use the white pads in my Eheims, but wad up a piece of filter floss that I buy in a giant bag and use that.

Corys are a good indicator of general water quality, as they reside on the bottom where the concentration of ammonia is often higher. You could try holding your finger over the end of the test tube and filling it with water right off the bottom, and holding your finger over it on the way back up, and test that to see if you get a different ammonia reading.
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Old 03-05-2005, 01:12 AM   #4
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Moxie- Congrats on the tank. It's been 3 months now and you seem to be doing great. From what I have read, the cycling process has been a bit challenging for you. But, at least you started off on the right foot by coming here first.
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Old 03-05-2005, 05:22 AM   #5
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Moxie, to expand on what Tankgirl said...........

Your tank is not cycled. I wouldn't do anything to the cannister except making sure the impeller is clear of debris and cleaning the intake hose. I wouldn't add any more fish until ammonia and nitrites are zero. Ammonia burns the gills of fish and I suspect this is the problem your cories are having. Gill damage is usually permenant.

A tank should be fully cycled in 3 months time. Possible reasons why it isn't are as follows: Adding too many fish at one time. Overfeeding. PH swings killing off the nitrifying bacteria.

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Old 03-05-2005, 08:03 PM   #6
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Water changes help to stop pH swings. Once fully cycled try 2 25% PWC's per week. You fish will love you for it.
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Old 03-05-2005, 09:01 PM   #7
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I echo the advice about changing out media when the tank is not cycled. When starting out, I saw a high NH3 reading (over 20ppm), freaked out thinking that the filter was the reason and tossed away my sponge. Of course, doing that completely stalled the cycle and it started all over again.

I'm really surprised to see that you're still getting NH3 and NO2 readings after all this time. This is since Christmas (yeah, I remember how excited your daughter was in the infamous Bowfront on stones pic). Even with the failure of the bio-spira

Something is obviously still stalling your cycle.

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