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Old 08-13-2012, 05:56 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Changed filter--did I reset my cycle?

My cycle's been going well. My ammonia has always been safe.

Now it's reading at .5 (danger) a day and a half after the change.

During this change I pulled out the carbon filter. It was very gross, full of grey fluff, stringy, etc. All I thought think was, "ew, ew," and changed the filter.

I took the sponge and cleaned it in the tank water. Then I replaced it.

It is possible I've restarted my cycle? Are my fish at risk? It took months to get it where it was. But then again, I can't keep the same carbon filter in there forever.

Also, is the carbon poisonous to my fish if they touch it?
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:50 AM   #2 
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Join Date: May 2012
You're supposed to rinse the media in siphoned water, but don't throw it away.

If you clean the filter media once a month, it wouldn't be that GROSS.

If you only rinse the media once every 3 months it'll get nastier.

  • What brand & model filter is it?
  • What size tank do you have?
  • What kind of fish live inside?

I use filter floss in combination with carbon/zeolite. I dump the filter floss when it's completely black. But after what I've learned on this forum, I'm just going to give it a good rinsing in the siphoned water to remove the chunks.

Carbon is not poisonous to the fish but don't dump out the carbon into the tank. It should stay in the filter.

Also the used carbon can be mixed in with your garden soil to be used as fertilizer for your trees and flowers.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:32 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Oh dear, it sounds like you may have lost the cycle :/
Bacteria thrive on the filter media, and by throwing away the carbon filter, you've almost certainly lost a good portion of beneficial bacteria.
I'd say to watch your parameters closely the next few days. There's probably enough bacteria in your substrate to start a new cycle.
Next time, just swish the filter media around in old tank water (NEVER hot or tap water) to clean it out. I'd only replace it if you noticed a change in the filter's flow.

It's ok, we all make mistakes
That's how I destroyed the already unstable cycle in my 3-gal /)__-
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:12 AM   #4 
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Get a good water conditioner like Prime it detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate but I would still keep up with water changes till your tank cycles again.
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