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Old 02-24-2021, 11:59 AM   #1
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Filter Change Questions

Hey guys,

So as some of you already know, I am still new to keeping an aquarium. I have been reading contradicting information on filters. Some say not to change cartridges and some say to change it monthly. I am hoping you guys can push me in the right direction on this. I have had my tank for a few weeks now and have started adding fish this past week or so.

I am not familiar with what "cycling" is and even if I have done that. I know that I set the tank up with conditioned water, live plants, a heater and the filter that came with the tank. I let it run for about a week before adding my first fish. The water parameters have seemingly been perfect every time I have checked them, even after adding fish and doing water changes. I am getting a new filter Friday due to the fact that the one that came with my tank seems like a piece of crap.. and I would like a filter that hangs off the side as my tank is already so small.

So questions:

How do I "cycle" the tank with the new filter on Friday?

How often should I be changing and/or cleaning my filter?
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:28 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by NayaVe View Post
Hey guys,



So as some of you already know, I am still new to keeping an aquarium. I have been reading contradicting information on filters. Some say not to change cartridges and some say to change it monthly. I am hoping you guys can push me in the right direction on this. I have had my tank for a few weeks now and have started adding fish this past week or so.



I am not familiar with what "cycling" is and even if I have done that. I know that I set the tank up with conditioned water, live plants, a heater and the filter that came with the tank. I let it run for about a week before adding my first fish. The water parameters have seemingly been perfect every time I have checked them, even after adding fish and doing water changes. I am getting a new filter Friday due to the fact that the one that came with my tank seems like a piece of crap.. and I would like a filter that hangs off the side as my tank is already so small.



So questions:



How do I "cycle" the tank with the new filter on Friday?



How often should I be changing and/or cleaning my filter?

Cycling in a nutshell = Making harmful nitrogen in to less harmful nitrogen. Microbes do this for us and the microbes live on your filter cartridges or sponges. Another word for these is ‘media’. Cycling (growing microbes) takes approximately just over a month.

You fish produce harmful nitrogen (ammonia) all day, every day, so a strong and complete cycle will protect them. Water changes will also do this.

If you buy a new filter you need to keep the media and put it in the filter.

If the fish are healthy and show no signs of distress just keep doing what you are doing. You are keeping the harmful nitrogen under control via a good microbial population and consistent water changes.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:34 PM   #3
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Cycling in a nutshell = Making harmful nitrogen in to less harmful nitrogen. Microbes do this for us and the microbes live on your filter cartridges or sponges. Another word for these is ‘media’. Cycling (growing microbes) takes approximately just over a month.

You fish produce harmful nitrogen (ammonia) all day, every day, so a strong and complete cycle will protect them. Water changes will also do this.

If you buy a new filter you need to keep the media and put it in the filter.

If the fish are healthy and show no signs of distress just keep doing what you are doing. You are keeping the harmful nitrogen under control via a good microbial population and consistent water changes.
Thanks for the advice! So when you say to put the same media in the new filter, how would I go about doing that considering they are 2 different cartridges? I mean, is it okay if it doesn't fit properly? Or are you saying to add it in conjunction with the new cartridge?
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:58 PM   #4
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Filter Change Questions

It depends if it fits. Most of the time people use a sponge or foam as their media other than a cartridge. The cartridges are usually designed for the filter so you can’t buy another manufacturers, then they tell you to replace it every so often so you spend money on their new cartridges. Which is wrong of course. If it fits put the cartridge in the new filter with the new media for 4 weeks.

If it doesn’t fit add both filters then take the old one out after 4 weeks.
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Old 02-24-2021, 02:17 PM   #5
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Awesome! Will do! Also, if I were to switch to a sponge media or something similar, what would your recommendation be?
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Old 02-24-2021, 03:02 PM   #6
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This is a vid from aquarium co.op to upgrade ur new hob filter , if u want to of course,
But recommend because it will make ur filter work better for biological and mechanical filtration,
AND ITS FAR FAR CHEAPER in the long term .
https://youtu.be/ipTDkQsT6HQ
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Old 02-24-2021, 03:17 PM   #7
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I replaced my carbon filter media with biological by getting the fluval bio balls and adding to a mesh filter in new aquarium. In the other i replaced my carbon filter with a sponge filter, just cut to size. Both are hob filters that came with carbon filters but i see no need. Biological is best. Also looking into getting a bio rock that you just sit in aquarium, no filter needed for it to work but best placed near water flow. The main thing to remember about sponge filters is do not change, just wash debris out in AQUARIUM WATER like when doing a water change and not tap water. The chlorine will kill bacteria. Saves a ton of money also than having to buy cartridges every month.
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Old 02-24-2021, 04:44 PM   #8
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Welcome. Here is information on Aquarium Tank/Filter Cycling that will help you.

You wanted to know about filter media, sponges and simple pot scrubbies have been tested and verified at the best for ammonia oxidation.

And one of the top 100 myths is chlorine in tap water will will kill your bacteria. That is just wrong. If tap water kills bacteria it would be classified a disinfectant. Of course it is not, as you would die if you drank water. Rinsing you filter in tap water is done millions of times a day with filters all over the world with no problems. I, and professional fish keepers do it all the time because there is not enough chlorine in tap water to cause any harm and has been tested and verified.

The actual problem is that folks scrub and clean out their media way too much, too often and too thoroughly all that brown liquid gold going down the drain is your beneficial bacteria of which none is in your filter media now so it must be cycled again causing cloudy water and ammonia spikes.
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Old 02-24-2021, 05:14 PM   #9
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Thanks to all of you for the great advice! I will definitely get some sponge media for the new filter.
And thank you so much for the education on the "brown stuff" built up on the media. I was always under the impression that that was bad and would replace the cartridge when it got caked on. I'm definitely learning a lot here.
I must say though, I am incredibly surprised and a bit impressed that my tank has done so well without all of this knowledge! Haha I'm going to just assume it has something to do with having live plants.. Hopefully it will only get better!
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Old 02-24-2021, 05:30 PM   #10
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I'm going to just assume it has something to do with having live plants.. Hopefully it will only get better!

This. Plant/microbe filtration will always be superior than just microbe filtration.
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