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Old 01-20-2006, 10:45 AM   #1
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prefilter sponge question

I use prefilter sponges on my tanks that have a sand substrate so sand doesn't get into my filter impellor as easily. Do these prefilter sponges provide much biological activity? I don't know if I need to be careful cleaning them or not.

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Old 01-20-2006, 10:50 AM   #2
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Yes, bacteria will colonize your pre-filters (another benefit of using them). Gently squeeze them out in the bucket of tank water (after doing water changes) so you won't destroy the bacteria.
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:01 AM   #3
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on the other hand, my prefilter sponges usually get so gummed up from all the crud, that they end up restricting the flow from the filters and powerheads. i usually clean them thoroughly in the tank+tap water coming from my python when i do water change. i rinse them until no brown stuff comes out. i figure that, between the 2 filters and my substrate, the bacterial colony will hardly be affected by the small loss from the sponges. i have never had an ammonia spike afterwards.
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:09 AM   #4
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I've been thinking of using a small wet/dry vac to clean them. What do you think of using that?
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:13 AM   #5
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personally, i think it's more trouble than it's worth. how big is your tank and how stocked is it? and how often do you have to rinse the sponges. i have to rinse mine twice a week--so a vac would be too much a pain. i really don't think you'll have a problem just rinsing them out--especially if you do it in tank water. jmo though.
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:18 AM   #6
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The problem is that I sometimes don't think I'm getting enough of the gunk out. By pulling it out backwards I may be getting a little more stuff. The tank is a 100 gallon Hap/Peacock tank that has 12 half grown fish in it. I try not to overfeed and I never see a piece of food hit the bottom of the tank at feeding time. I have Filter Max prefilters on an XP3 and 2 AC 500s.
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:22 AM   #7
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you might get more stuff out. i just squeeze the heck out of mine until they run clear. i did just change the sponges out for new ones (after 6 months). hey, if you have the time and the inclination, i don't see that it could hurt
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Old 01-21-2006, 07:04 AM   #8
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I really wouldn't worry about saving much bacteria from the pre-filters. After all, you do have the actual filters collecting bacteria.

What kind of sand are you using? How far from the substrate is the input?
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Old 01-21-2006, 09:23 AM   #9
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I use pool filter sand and the intake is about 3" from the substrate. I like having intakes at different levels. Plus, cichlids spit sand all over the place.
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Old 01-21-2006, 09:49 AM   #10
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Have you pulled sand out of your filter before?

I have pool filter sand in our 150 with Africans and don't use prefilters. The sand is alot heavier than most sands.

I wouldn't worry about saving the bacteria from all of the pre-filters. If you have any intakes above 5 inches above the substrate, I wouldn't even worry about the prefilter as heavy as the pfs is.
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