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Old 11-09-2023, 07:59 PM   #1
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Exclamation Best methods for cleaning filters

Back in August, I made the mistake of buying a new filter cartridge & throwing out my old one. It restarted the cycling process in my tank & ive been dealing with it since. I didnt clean the filter for a month because I was terrified of killing my beneficial bacteria that was trying to grow, which lead to my filter getting clogged a few days ago & it stopped working. I had to buy a new filter & ended up getting the MarineLand penguin pro 175, which was a huge upgrade from my topfin filter I bought for $20. I want to keep this filter in good condition, & the part I struggle with in this hobby is filter matinence. Everytime I clean the filter even if I just rinse it in tank water it destroys my bacteria colony. What am I doing wrong? & whats the best way to clean my filters?

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Old 11-09-2023, 08:24 PM   #2
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For starters, the nitrifying bacteria are not just in the filter. They are found around the tank in any area with higher concentrations of oxygen. ( This is why they are found in the filter. ) If you are having ammonia or nitrite issues after cleaning your filter, there are other reasons why the remaining microbes around the tank are not picking up the slack.
Rinsing off the filter cartridges in tank water should not dislodge all of the microbes. A simple swish in a bucket of tank water should remove any material clogging the filter. If not, a light brushing of the cartridge should create enough openings for the water to flow through the cartridge again.

But since you are moving from a flow through cartridge to a biowheel style filter, let's discuss just that. You need to use the filter cartridge as a pre filter to keep the biowheel clean. If your model has the spare filter cartridge section, I'd add a foam pad in there to help add protection for when you have to clean the outer cartridge. Since your biowheel will be holding a large portion of your biological filter, cleaning or replacing the flow through cartridge should have no bad effects on the tank. You alternate cleaning the outer and spare cartridges at water changes. Do only one of them per water change. Leave the biowheel alone.

If possible, post a video of your tank to help us see if you need more aeration or circulation in the tank to increase oxygenation inside the tank.
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Old 11-09-2023, 08:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Sager View Post
For starters, the nitrifying bacteria are not just in the filter. They are found around the tank in any area with higher concentrations of oxygen. ( This is why they are found in the filter. ) If you are having ammonia or nitrite issues after cleaning your filter, there are other reasons why the remaining microbes around the tank are not picking up the slack.
Rinsing off the filter cartridges in tank water should not dislodge all of the microbes. A simple swish in a bucket of tank water should remove any material clogging the filter. If not, a light brushing of the cartridge should create enough openings for the water to flow through the cartridge again.

But since you are moving from a flow through cartridge to a biowheel style filter, let's discuss just that. You need to use the filter cartridge as a pre filter to keep the biowheel clean. If your model has the spare filter cartridge section, I'd add a foam pad in there to help add protection for when you have to clean the outer cartridge. Since your biowheel will be holding a large portion of your biological filter, cleaning or replacing the flow through cartridge should have no bad effects on the tank. You alternate cleaning the outer and spare cartridges at water changes. Do only one of them per water change. Leave the biowheel alone.

If possible, post a video of your tank to help us see if you need more aeration or circulation in the tank to increase oxygenation inside the tank.


Thank you I will add the spare pad rn but What could be reasons? & yes heres a picture
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Old 11-09-2023, 08:45 PM   #4
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Thank you I will add the spare pad rn but What could be reasons? & yes heres a picture
Do you do major cleaning of the substrate when you clean the filter? That could be part of the problem. You only want to clean a small section at a time so that you do not kill off a lot of the bacteria bed at one time.

I see there is an airstone in there so oxygenation shouldn't be the problem but circulation could be. Hopefully the bigger filter will solve that.

Then of course there is the obvious, is your test kit accurate? If you can, take a reading then take a sample of the same water to a local store and have then test it as well to compare results. Old test reagents can give bad results when the actual reading is good.

If none of these fix your problem, you will need to describe in detail your maintenance procedures so we can see what is happening.
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Old 12-06-2023, 05:58 PM   #5
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FWIW......
I have a "hang on back" filter. I also have a pre filter in this filter's input
When changing filters, I never change both on the same day

I also have an air stone for more surface agitation.
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