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Old 05-01-2012, 03:06 PM   #1 
agent89201
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Should I be changing my filter?

I haven't been on here in a while but I have some more questions!

I have a 5 gallon tank that is cycled. I have some kind of filter that came with the tank. I'm confused about what to do with it. Should I be rinsing it out every now and then? Should I be replacing the little blue spongey thing in there? I'm confused.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:17 PM   #2 
Micho
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To be honest, you don't have to really change the things inside the filter that much. Maybe every 3 months, some people don't change it at all.

Rinse the sponge with old tank water, maybe do a water change and wash the sponge in the old water. Don't use tap water, it'll kill the beneficial bacteria.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:19 PM   #3 
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The sponge just needs a good rinse/swish in the bucket of old tank water with a water change a couple of times a month to get the big pieces of gunk off-it should look dirty but still have good water flow.

I don't change my sponge until its falling apart...usually 1-2 times a year at best....

If you want to use carbon (not needed) this needs to be changed per package directions....Carbon is more of a personal choice than a need.....

The filter box itself-can be dumped and rinsed in old tank water or dechlorinated water-but generally its not needed.

I dump mine on a regular basis-but only due to the baby shrimp that end up in them and I like to get them out before they die.....
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:20 PM   #4 
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You don't have to change the cartridge inside the filter or the filter itself at all. Filters honestly require minimal maintenence, the reason why you would not want to change the filter is because the vital Bacteria is contained within that system, the bacteria that breaks down harmful substances into less harmful compounds, changing the filter or filter cartridge will surely get rid of the majority of the bacteria as it colonizes in the filter because of the oxygen level and the flow of food.

The only maintenence that you should perform is washing out the cartridge in old tank water monthly so it won't get clogged up
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:53 PM   #5 
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Phew. Ok. That's what people on this site had told me before, but I was reading the package of some filters while cleaning my tank and I was getting worried. Thanks for clearing that up for me!
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:04 PM   #6 
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Yes. Corporate spmpanies main priority is to make money, hence why they recommend to replace them which means to buy more constantly
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:24 AM   #7 
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**IF** the filter itself, the impeller and pipes, become clogged you can use straight hot tap-water from the sprayer to rinse the layers of muck off then use vinegar to dissolve any deposits that have developed on the pin-shaft axle of the impeller. Just wave dry-ish and then put it on the back of the tank and pour freshly treated replacement water through it before you turn it on.

There's no need to use chemical cleaners since the 115F tap water will break down most the slime/sludge that develops on the plastic parts.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:03 AM   #8 
Hallyx
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I know all these answers are correct IF you're running a cycled tank or are in the process of cycling it---which means paying close attention to the NH3,NO2 and NO3 as befits a fish-in cycle.

But what if Agent (the OP) is not running cycled nor is interested in cycling his tank? Would your advice be the same?
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:28 AM   #9 
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Not cycling a 5g tank is harder than cycling it...

The world is full of bacteria that consume ammonia and nitrite by diluting them with oxygen. They WILL form and build up in a tank on their own unless you live in a completely sterile environment.

If the tank is definitely not cycled you should replace the water cumulatively at about 20% per day of operation. This means a couple 50% replacements per week AND a sterilization of all materials.

That's a lot of work and handling of the tank.

In my experience most people think their tank isn't cycled and it is anyway. Its just the way of the natural world. For something so difficult to set up the nitrogen cycle is also undefiable. It WILL happen even if it takes time for a chlorine resistant amine consuming bacteria to form.

(In such a circumstance where you want to keep the tank as absolutely clean as possible it's usually the best choice to get a sponge filter.)

With all that in mind, gunk of various sorts will still build up inside the impeller housing. Same treatment but if you plan on having a forced-uncycled tank you'll want to use a one teaspoon per pint chlorine solution to kill off the bacteria on everything then rinse it all out with treated water. Vinegar still necessary for mineral build up.

Don't risk poisoning fish by adding un-treated equipment back onto a tank.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:53 AM   #10 
Hallyx
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Apologies to Agent for this hijack, but I want to thank Thunderloon for getting me closer to a full understanding of the nitrogen cycle.

So you don't think that my twice weekly 50% to 80% changes in my 2.5gals are sufficient without breaking down the tank and sterilizing everything? If I keep doing this, will my tiny tanks eventually cycle? Bare-bottomed with no filter and only a few slow plants? Hard to imagine.
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