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Old 03-23-2011, 02:39 PM   #1 
briser
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Filter cartridge?

So my tetra filter for my 5.5 is this one:



It says in the instructions you HAVE to change the cartridge when the timestrip tells you (timestrip = little strip that comes with cartridges that show you when you need to change them.) Or else the filter won't clean your water.. So I bought some more cartridges ($7.. for 3.. wow.) but then I read you shouldn't change anything in your tank because if you do it will mess up the cycle.. and I'm currently doing a fish-in cycle and everything is going perfect so I don't want to mess it up.. But there is a big sponge thing in the filter that came with it, so I was wondering if changing the cartridge but leaving the sponge would be okay? I donno, I'm confused.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:12 PM   #2 
pumpkinspikepie
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I was told to never take out the sponge, and if you think your filter isn't filtering that well you can take some water out of your tank, rinse the filter cartridge in that water, and then stick it back in. I'm pretty sure the timestrip thing just a marketing ploy to get you to buy more cartridges than you actually need.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:56 PM   #3 
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Once the tank is mature and established nitrogen cycle you can change out the filter media and usually you will not have any issues...you may have to make an extra water only change between the regular weekly water change depending on tank size and stocking...you can also cut a piece of the old sponge off and keep it in the filter until the new sponge seeds/establishes a colony of good bacteria.....

A lot of the need to change out the filter media is related to carbon use...if you want to use carbon you have to change it out every 3-4 weeks or per the direction because it is used up, however, you don't have to have or even need carbon in most cases....especially since a water change will do the same thing 99% of the time

Bottom line-it depends.....if you want to use carbon you have to change it, if not-then give the filter media a rinse/swish in old tank water with a water change a couple of times a month and when the water flow slows to maintain good water flow and change the filter media out when it is falling apart.....I change mine 2-3 times a year a best when I used store bought filter media....now I make my own....I always keep fresh unused activated charcoal or carbon on hand for an emergency...you never know when you need it short term when a toxic accident happens..........

With that type of filter cartridge-I would dump out the old charcoal and add fresh per direction to the old or used sponge if you want to even use carbon that is.....and give the sponge a rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month...

Carbon use is more of a personal choice than a need in my opinion.....nothing wrong with using it or not using it........

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 03-23-2011 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:46 PM   #4 
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I have the same filter. I've only just changed the filter media after 4 months because the mesh material had literally fallen apart, was coming out of the little box and being chased by an inquisitive fishy. Don't change the sponge, just the mesh bag if you have to. But the little timestrip has been red for a looooong time now and I've had no problems. I just give it a swish during water changes now and then when the flow slows down and everything has been fine. I definitely wouldn't change the media while you're in the middle of cycling your tank. That's an important place where all of the bacteria you're trying to encourage are growing. Good luck with your tank!
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:59 PM   #5 
briser
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
Once the tank is mature and established nitrogen cycle you can change out the filter media and usually you will not have any issues...you may have to make an extra water only change between the regular weekly water change depending on tank size and stocking...you can also cut a piece of the old sponge off and keep it in the filter until the new sponge seeds/establishes a colony of good bacteria.....

A lot of the need to change out the filter media is related to carbon use...if you want to use carbon you have to change it out every 3-4 weeks or per the direction because it is used up, however, you don't have to have or even need carbon in most cases....especially since a water change will do the same thing 99% of the time

Bottom line-it depends.....if you want to use carbon you have to change it, if not-then give the filter media a rinse/swish in old tank water with a water change a couple of times a month and when the water flow slows to maintain good water flow and change the filter media out when it is falling apart.....I change mine 2-3 times a year a best when I used store bought filter media....now I make my own....I always keep fresh unused activated charcoal or carbon on hand for an emergency...you never know when you need it short term when a toxic accident happens..........

With that type of filter cartridge-I would dump out the old charcoal and add fresh per direction to the old or used sponge if you want to even use carbon that is.....and give the sponge a rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month...

Carbon use is more of a personal choice than a need in my opinion.....nothing wrong with using it or not using it........
Thank you for all the information.. Right now I have a carbon cartridge in that you can't take apart.. but the new cartridges I bought you can take them apart.. It comes with 4 sponge-like things, and 4 little packages of carbon.. Would it be sufficient after the cycle is established to use one of these and instead of changing the sponge things just take out the old carbon and put in some new stuff?
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:09 AM   #6 
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its quite common in larger filters to use a plastic carbon holding cartridge separate from the fiberous filter material.

The sponge is there until it falls apart, generally even when you use medications you leave the bio-media sponge in. Since you're talking about one betta you will probably never see it clog up.

Carbon, tidbit. You can continue to use the same white rayon filter-bag on the replacements and simply add a teaspoon of carbon to it each week, if the replacements use a little U shaped clip over top of two leaves to keep it closed you only need to shut off the filter, open it up in place in the filter and add to it. You can continue to do this every week until the rayon starts to fall apart.

The carbon actually IS important if you don't have complete control over the local environment of your home, it protects the fish against many chemicals that can damage internal organs.

If you like you can get some cloth from an old t-shirt and hand wash/hand dry it a few times in clear tap water then cut sections that can wrap around all four edges of the carbon filter bag, these can be removed and sprayed clean at the sink then air dried in the sun and re-used when dry.

I use a more expensive version with a 50 micron rating in my canister filter.


Ideally you can get one of the pre-filter sponges I seem to be carrying on and on about (fluval, they're for The Edge but work on any half inch pipe filter) and keep the large material from getting up into the filter at all.
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:24 AM   #7 
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I have a semi-related question.

I always rip open my cartridges and dump out the carbon/charcoal, and stuff aquarium sponge inside the cartridge. Would it be ok to get rid of the cartridge completely, and just stick some loose aquarium sponge in the filter where the cartridge is supposed to go? Cartridges are expensive, I'd rather not pay for them if I don't have to. And I recently found out that the charcoal is often made from charred animal bones!
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:21 AM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LolaQuigs View Post
I have a semi-related question.

I always rip open my cartridges and dump out the carbon/charcoal, and stuff aquarium sponge inside the cartridge. Would it be ok to get rid of the cartridge completely, and just stick some loose aquarium sponge in the filter where the cartridge is supposed to go? Cartridges are expensive, I'd rather not pay for them if I don't have to. And I recently found out that the charcoal is often made from charred animal bones!

I've never seen a coconut walk around and moo.
Yes bone char is used in aquarium filtration but animals aren't specifically raised to make bone char, its just an efficient use of a waste material kind of like using manure fertilizer for organic food growing.
The temperatures used for making bone char are in the 440 to 500C range. (times nine divide by five add thirty two) 824F to 932F. There is no longer anything in them that resembles biological material AND the calcium compounds that remain are very effective at removing the stuff that hurts our fish.
Coconut shell also makes great filtration material but sadly it is hard to mass produce.

Sure you can use just a sponge, but honestly the charcoal protects your little friends from all the nasty chemicals in the house if you're not spending the time to make a full blown natural soil layout.

Funny is most aquarium filter cartridges are laid out for people using the filter on the maximum size tank or worse, so that huge amount of carbon in there is unnecessary! I'm sure you can get your hands on cheap stockings and can buy a container of API charcoal, just rip all the filter material off the frame of the cartridge after it becomes clogged the first time and dump the old carbon. Stretch and lay a tied-off section of stocking over the cartridge frame, add a teaspoon of carbon, close the top with a twist tie, paper clip or what not and then every month just take the whole filter off the back and pour it out into the sink then rinse the stocking off and add a couple drops of dechlorinator by the pump part and another teaspoon of carbon in the stocking, close and you're good to go.

Keep in mind that if you don't have activated carbon in the tank your fishs' bodies are the only chemical filtration you have left (unless you go full dirt planted) and they WILL absorb any chemicals you get in the water.

An alternative to much of this is Purigen. You need to know what you're doing with Purigen because its recycle mechanism is chlorine bleach baths and then a prime bath. It works fairly well for most organic chemicals but won't take out some toxic metals.
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:46 AM   #9 
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Ohah, looked up Seachem's filtration faq

http://www.seachem.com/Library/Artic...Filtration.pdf

the second page is the hard one, just skim it and keep reading after.
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:46 AM   #10 
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Hmmm I've always heard that you don't necessarily need charcoal as long as you stay on top of water changes. Also, I use India almond leaves, and I've heard that the charcoal removes the tannins from the water, so I haven't been using it. Now I'm confused!
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