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Old 01-17-2022, 03:54 PM   #1
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when to change an Aqueon filter cartridge?

I have an Aqueon HOB filter.
The present cartridge has been in it over a moth and, it is brown front and back with things filtered out.

However water still flows freely through it and it is evidently still filtering.
So. when is it prudent to change it ?

Aqueon says to change it every 4-6 weeks but, they probably just want to sell you more filter cartridges than you really need..

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Old 01-17-2022, 04:10 PM   #2
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FWIW

If you can, get rid of cartridges altogether. Cut a piece of sponge, get some biomedia like matrix or biomax and put it in the filter. Then all you need to do is periodically rinse your filter media. A filter is just a box for filter media. It doesnt have to be the cartridges the filter manufacturer wants you to keep buying. While convenient, filter cartridges are a bad idea.

Every time you replace a cartridge you throw away your beneficial bacteria and risk crashing your cycle. While you can rinse cartridges they arent going to last as long as proper media.

I know this video isnt for your exact filter, but it demonstrates the principle. Ignore the pitch for biohome (although biohome is a good media, i use it, will last decades without needing changing).

https://youtu.be/2uX-VBxRkQA
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Old 01-17-2022, 04:28 PM   #3
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That does not begin to address my questions

I do not want to stop using the cartridges. I am a long time aquarium hobbyist and well versed on adding my own filter material. However this is only for a 10 gal planted cycled tank and it serves my purpose very well. .

Also, the Aqueon filters have much surface area on the two blue holders where much good bacteria can also colonize.
In fact whenever you replace any filter media in any filter with anything, are you not also removing some goo\d bacteria?

BTW, I have a sponge pre filter on the intake that collects a surprising amount of crap extending the life of the cartridge. The sponge can be rinsed and reused many times of course .
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Old 01-18-2022, 11:37 AM   #4
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Anyone got any info other do not use the Aqueon cartridges ?
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Old 01-18-2022, 01:12 PM   #5
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If a degree of precision is your goal Joe, test your water and respond to your findings. This approach isn't the easiest because you need an understanding of what the parameters represent and how to correct them if need be. FWIW, I haven't mastered this approach yet, but I have a wife that's developed a strange love for water testing, and a hatred for hardware and filter mats.
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Old 01-18-2022, 03:08 PM   #6
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OK thanks for the reply.

FWIW......
My planted tank is fully cycled.
Nitrate is the only thing I have to keep an eye on.

I change 3 gal of water in my 10 gal tank once a week to keep Nitrate down to a good level.
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Old 01-18-2022, 09:55 PM   #7
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I’m not familiar with cartridge filters (got one, never used it). Are you able to stuff a new cartridge in there while still retaining the old one? (To allow bacteria to form on the new one before removing the old)

Like Aiken said, the problem with cartridge filters is you throw out a vast majority of the bacteria that is your cycle every time you change the filter. Yes you still have some bacteria that remains in the rest of the filter and it’s likely not an issue for most people if you aren’t heavily stocked. Ideally we would all use reusable media that is maintained on a staggered schedule to reduce impact on the cycle, but that’s not always practical.

Since you’re using the pre filter sponge and it’s got the blue gizmo that’ll house some bacteria, it probably isn’t ever an issue to continue using the cartridges. Just make sure you leave some time between the maintenance of the pre filter sponge and anything else when you do change the cartridge. As you likely know, a full clean of the filter, pre filter and a new cartridge has basically 100% chance of crashing the cycle

As for when to change the cartridge. I know from experience a fine mesh pre filter sponge makes a huge difference on the maintenance I need to do on my comet tank. It literally doubled the time between cleanings of the filter, and only requires a quick rinse of the pre filter sponge once a week now. If the cartridge isn’t restricting flow, I would personally run it until you start to see a noticeable increase in restriction. That’s how I maintain mine anyways, when the flow is reduced, it’s time to service it!
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Old 01-19-2022, 12:53 AM   #8
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BTW,
If you are not familiar with the Aqueon HOB filters.......
The two blue holders have many areas designed to allow and encourage good bacteria to grow on them.
So the good bacteria does not just grow in the cartridge

Anyway, I never clean the pre filter and change the filter cartridge on the same day
I also check my water parameters about every two weeks and it's all stable. .
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