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Old 03-05-2010, 02:36 PM   #1
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Replacing Filter cartridge with....

Well, I hope I didn't make a big mistake...My 10gal has finally finished cycling after having started it with 1 fish, stocking with 4 and later having lost all of them...FINALLY the water parameters are good. In spite of that, even having my specialty LFS (not the chain LFS) checked the levels, 2 days later I would have dead fish, not all of them, 2 out of 3 fish introduced and not many times only this last time that I introduced 3 Bleeding Hearts, 2 died 2 days later. SO, this is what I did yesterday following the advice of my LFS: After considering all the "common mistakes" newbies do, he asked me how long has the filter been running?- 6 weeks, so after that he decided that probably is releasing toxins at this point and that I should changed it. I remembered yours advise and I asked if I shouldn't "rinse it" first, he said no, to replace the filter or use what they use that is cheaper which is that blue sponge type that you can cut to the size needed for your particular filter..he showed me that they use it for their tanks at the store and he uses it for his own tanks at home. So I embraced myself and I went for it...Now I am a little concerned, but I trust this guy... I would like to know your thoughts...At this moment I have 3 BH and 3 Neon Tetras.
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:56 PM   #2
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Is there only one type of media in your filter? If you simply go with that sponge type thing, you will not have the chemical filtration (carbon) that helps limit that fishy smell and clear up the water. You will still have the mechanical filtration with this media. But if you only had one type of media previously in the filter, most likely your nitrifying bacteria will have grown on that single medium. By you getting rid of that previous medium, you have removed some of the beneficial bacteria that has built up over the previous 6 weeks.

You may not totally be in the danger zone because a lot of the nitrifying bacteria also builds up in your substrate. To remedy the situation, you can take your old inserts (if you haven't thrown them out or let them dry up) and swish them around in the tank. This will introduce that bacteria back into the water column which should then start to re-adhere to the "blue sponge type thing".

I don't understand what the LFS guy was talking about when he said that it is "releasing toxins". I've had my filter inserts in my filter for a couple months now with no problems. The reason that they say to replace the carbon is because it loses its efficiency which can make your tank turn a slight yellowish color. My inserts have most likely lost their ability to "clean" the water, but my water is still very clear. The reason I have kept my inserts is because I have a lot of nitrifying bacteria that have built up on the spongy pad part of the insert.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:07 PM   #3
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Hi Viper! No, I have thrown it away...If I have kept it in water (until checking with you all), for how long is the bacteria alive? (out of the filter but kept in tank water) I am asking you this because not to long ago I got rid of the cartridge of a tiny filter that worked with a water pump...this one stopped working and I didn't know what to do with the cartridge...I wanted to keep it to use it later when getting a new one, but I never did... i need to call this guy and ask him again what was his reasoning... I don't know what is going to happen to the tank now...I remember him saying that the carbon helps keeping the water clean, but if mine was already clean I didn't need it...I will clarify this as soon as I talk to him again!!! Thanks!!!

My filter is a Tetra Whisper HOB and it has the removable cartridge and in front of it has like a "black sponge", no wheels...
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:21 PM   #4
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Hey Marina how are ya?

You might be OK then if it has a black sponge that has been in there for as long as the tank has been cycling. The sponge is there to allow a "landing site" for the nitrifying bacteria.

As for taking the insert out of the filter but keeping it in the tank: As long as the bacteria is in the water, it will live. It doesn't have to be in the filter. The reason that the bacteria colonizes so well in a filter is because of the constant flow of water that goes through it. While the bacteria will still continue to grow on something that is fully submersed at the bottom of the tank, it just wont grow as quickly.

The reason that the bio-wheels are all the rage is because, in theory, the mixture of oxygen, water and surface area is an ideal site for the bacteria to colonize. The only downfall of these wheels occurs when they stop spinning (which happens in my tank more often than not). At this point they become more of a decoration lol.

It is true that carbon is not necessary in a tank. If your tank happens to stay clear and not smell too fishy, then you can by all means go without it. It is also recommended (by some) to remove the carbon if attempting to grow plants because the carbon will remove a lot of those little trace elements that exist in the water that the plants use to grow.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:43 PM   #5
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THANK YOU!!! I talked to the people at the LFS and that is what they said...is just a personal preference (not to use carbon)...so that is what that "black sponge" is for...it makes sense!!! Let me tell you a short story...after 2 of the 3 BH died, the remaining BH was the only habitant for a week and 1/2 or so...You should see what a dictator he become!!! Following the poor neons, not letting them get to the food...it was terrible. Then I read about the need to be in groups of at least 6 to feel more "secure"...That is how I ended up in the LFS and the same guy that told me about the filter told me to "rearrange" the aquarium so he will become less territorial... It worked!!! Last night, the neons finally got to eat and the BH seemed more calm...So interesting! Now, since these fish (BT and Neons) should be kept in groups of at least 6, since my tank is small (10gl) do you think that having them in groups of 3 will be enough for them to be happy? And again, thank you for your time!!! Have a great weekend!!!
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Old 03-05-2010, 04:06 PM   #6
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It really depends on how your tank is setup, if you have places that they can retreat to and rest and not feel stressed all the time, you may be alright. It is possible to keep them in smaller numbers than recommended, but you have to have a setup that will suit their needs.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:47 PM   #7
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Thank you again...will watch them closely....
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:29 PM   #8
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My question still stands from your other thread... I dont think the tank is cycled. You mentioned that you left it fishless for 2 weeks but you made no mention of keeping an ammonia source to keep the nitrifying bacteria fed. Am I missing something?

FWIW, I dont and never have run carbon in any of my tanks...
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