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Old 08-03-2018, 10:55 PM   #1
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Why are my filter cartridges disgusting after only a week?

Hi guys,

Iíve been having this issue in both my tanks for a long time now. I have a 55 gallon and a 5 gallon. In both tanks the water is crystal clear. I overfilter both tanks. I also donít over feed and am regimented on my water changes.

My five gallon tank I have a Betta and a few guppies. They have an aqueon power filter 20. I have noticed after a week of a new filter cartridge that the filter cartridge literally stinks. Itís so bad that I canít rinse it off in old tank water. I have to throw it out. The other day my filter was covered in black and brown slime and actually had a slug on it. I have no idea where that slug came from. I do water changes three times a week on this tank.

My fifty five gallon I set up about two months ago. It has a Marineland power filter 350 and an aqua tech 30-60.
When I first set this tank up. I checked it two weeks later and the filters were filthy. I was surprised because nothing was even living in it yet. I now have an Ornate Bichir and three Blue Botia loaches living in it. I change about 40-50% once a week.

When I do change the filters the terrible smell goes away in a few hours but it returns in about four days. Sometimes I start to walk upstairs and can immediately smell it. I try to go as long as I can without changing the filters but like I said the smell is really bad and I usually have to change once a week.

Again Iím not really sure where the smell is coming from. Itís like a strong rancid seaweed smell. Thereís no food or debris and the water is crystal clear? Iím using tap water that I add API stress coat to. I also do water chemistry on both tanks and everything is in range.

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?
Thanks
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Old 08-04-2018, 12:18 AM   #2
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Don't change out the filter cartridges until the floss mesh begins to unravel. Every two weeks clean the cartridge off by dunking it into a bucket of old tank water. Shake it underwater then wipe the face off with the palm of your hand. Reinstall.
It's likely your changing out the cartridges too quickly, not allowing enough time for a sufficient BB bed to become established. Once the filter matures, it should have a clean chemical type smell.
Your Marineland filter should have a good sized media box. You might consider stuffing the box with a couple of Fluval replacement filter sponges. I've done that to my ancient Marineland 280. No more expensive filter cartridges. Just squeeze the sponges out once every 2 or 3 weeks.
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Old 08-05-2018, 06:36 PM   #3
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Yeah you are changing them way to often! I have had the same cartridges in mine for the last 2 years. I do take out the charcoal before I change them out. The only thing I change on any sort of sort term basis is my polishing pads and those I do maybe every 2-3 months
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Old 08-05-2018, 06:48 PM   #4
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Let's take a step back here...
A- a cycled filter has a clean organic,.earthy smell... nothing chemical about it??
B- what is the media present in your filter?
C- what is the source water? It is possible sediments are getting deposited via source water. The smell is concerning. I know it's a waste but maybe run a sink into a folded over over paper towel for an hour. See what's coming out of the faucet?
D- in the new tank what was used for substrate and decorations?
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:15 AM   #5
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I was trying to decide if over cleaning my tanks had wiped out all bacteria both good and bad or if something else was going on. I was wondering if adding bottled bacteria regularly would help the smell?

On the five gallon filter it has an aqueon floss filter cartridge. Then it has two bio grids with carbon pads.
The fifty five gallon filter just has two Marineland floss filters and then two bio grids.

In the new tank I have gravel as the substrate. I made sure it was thoroughly rinsed before I added it. I also have two caves made by Marineland, two pvc plumbing pipes, one of those underwater bubbling volcanoes, a dragon statue and an Anubias plant. Aside from the plant all the decorations I soaked in boiling water overnight.

I normally use tap water and add API stress coat. I live in Houston and we naturally have bad water. Even more so since it’s summer. I think there are even more chemicals added to the water now.

On another note my normally healthy Betta is getting deathly ill since my last four water changes. I do my normal water change routine that I’ve been doing the last year and a half but this time after I change the water he curls up in an 0 position with his head buried in the gravel. He has rapid breathing and can’t swim upright. After about three days he will pull out of it and is his normal happy self again. He is the only one of my fish to be affected by the water changes so I don’t know for sure if something is going on with the water. I’ll do the paper towel thing and see if I see anything.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:22 AM   #6
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Yeah, I think a clean organic earthy smell is a better description than the description I initially provided. "Chemical" implies inorganic and that is not what I meant.
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:58 AM   #7
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So you have renowned terrible tap water. After changing water your betta curls up and buries his head in the substrate. A few days without water changes your betta is okay.

Have you ever considered stopping water changes and just let things be for a while?

I donít really use filter pads anymore because they just collect waste that sits there consuming oxygen. After the tank has been established for a long time this does tend to slow down but you can get your Beneficial bacteria pretty much everywhere in the tank so whats the point in filter pads?

The one true mistake i made and is also the reason i think your tank could be fouling is lack of oxygen. I small airstone or simple sponge filter will work well in your 5 gallon. Either way your water surface needs to remain crystal clear. Surface skimmers also help with this.

Are you overfeeding? This is a massive no no.
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Old 08-12-2018, 02:48 PM   #8
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You are changing the filter way too much. Does it smell bad? Do you know the water parameters?
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