Originally Posted by baldegale
alright, ill do that tomorrow. how long until i can take the old cartridge out and replace it with the carbon bag it came with? also whats the maintenance like on these, like how often do you have to replace the media and/or clean it etc
Assuming the tank is cycled already, I would keep the old cartridge in there at least a month. I would not worry about using the carbon unless you are trying to adsorb medications or toxins out of the water; water changes do a better job at diluting and removing dissolved waste.
As for maintenance, every few weeks you can remove the foam and bagged ceramic media and swish it around in a bucket of old tank water that was removed during a water change. This should remove most of the trapped debris. The sponges last a very LONG time so you won’t need to replace it for quite a while. I cant say I have ever replaced the ceramic media.
Personally, I use bulk floss instead of the foam because it does a better job at trapping debris. Once a month I either rinse the floss and reuse it or I chuck it and replace it.