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Old 07-16-2012, 03:44 PM   #1
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Changing my Filter

I am new to freshwater aquariums. I have a 36 gallon tank that has been set up almost a month. It will be time to change my filter before long, but I'm wondering if I risk losing a lot of the beneficial bacteria when I change the filter. I do not have a bio-wheel, only an Aqueon quiet flow 30 power filter. According to the instructions though, this filter does have a couple of pieces on the output side of the filter that it labels as bio grids or something like that.

I have heard that some people actually cut part of their old filter off and place it behind the new filter so that there is still some of the old media in the tank. Is this a good idea? Is it needed?

Though I already have several fish, I'm in the middle of cycling my tank and I want to be sure that I don't cause major problems by changing the filter. (I didn't learn that is better to do a fishless cycle until after I bought fish. So now I'm just doing my best to keep my fish healthy while my tank cycles)
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:47 PM   #2
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Do not change any filter media until it's literally falling apart. Rinse your sponges and any floss/soft material in used tank water when it gets clogged up. You'll be able to tell as your filter won't run as well. I just do it with my weekly water changes.

I probably change out my sponges and floss material 3-4 times a year. The manufacturers recommend monthly so that they can up their profits.

With carbon, you should replace after 30 days. If you have a filter where your carbon is part of the other filter material, like in a cartridge, cut the cartridge open and remove the carbon.
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:15 PM   #3
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Thank you for the very quick reply!

I'd like a little more info though. First, I am pretty sure that my filter contains carbon. You recommended cutting it open and removing the carbon. What does the carbon do for the aquarium and how long should I go without carbon? Also when I finally do have to replace the filter, will I lose a lot of bacteria or will I be fine?
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:19 PM   #4
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Once you're fully cycled, you don't have to worry about changing out sponges and the like. What you don't want to change out is biomedia, like ceramic rings, biowheels, stuff like that.

Most people don't use carbon at all. Some do, they think it clears up the water, or removes smells from the tank. I never had an issue with less than clear water and never have smells. So, not sure what's up with their tanks.

If you're still cycling, keep the carbon. It can't hurt for this short period.
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RangersFanDave View Post
Thank you for the very quick reply!

I'd like a little more info though. First, I am pretty sure that my filter contains carbon. You recommended cutting it open and removing the carbon. What does the carbon do for the aquarium and how long should I go without carbon? Also when I finally do have to replace the filter, will I lose a lot of bacteria or will I be fine?
As LyndaB mentioned, no need to use carbon.. Unless you want to remove meds or tannins. Keep all filter media.
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