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Old 02-02-2014, 07:06 PM   #1 
ovukelj
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Filter Cartridge Question

Quick question. I have a Marina filter that can hold up to two filter cartridges. When I purchased my new tank and filter, I put one cartridge in and then waited a week until my refills came in the mail. I've read that you're only supposed to change one cartridge at a time in order to maintain your beneficial bacteria. My question is, can I rinse the existing cartridge that's in the filter while I replace the second one? Or should I just leave the existing one there and replace it when it gets too dirty and completely skip the rinsing?

Sorry if this sounds confusing but my situation is that I basically have one cartridge that is white and brand new and one that is a light brown color. I'm not going to replace it for another two weeks or so. I was wondering can I rinse it off a bit (to preserve it a bit longer), or would that mess up the bacteria cycle?

Thanks.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:09 AM   #2 
Hallyx
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Do not replace filter media until it is falling apart. As you've observed, that's where a lot of the nitrifying bacteria live, that light brown color. Leave both sponges in there. Only replace one at a time (sometime next year probably).

Swish/rinse the cartridges in removed tankwater every month or so.
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Old 02-03-2014, 03:33 PM   #3 
ovukelj
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Do not replace filter media until it is falling apart. As you've observed, that's where a lot of the nitrifying bacteria live, that light brown color. Leave both sponges in there. Only replace one at a time (sometime next year probably).

Swish/rinse the cartridges in removed tankwater every month or so.
Wow. I wish I knew that before I just ordered 15 replacement cartridges. Next year? Does everybody do that? Wouldn't that affect my water quality? I'm sorry, that just seems a bit drastic.

And I'll rinse the filters occasionally when I change the water. Thanks for that tip.
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Old 02-03-2014, 04:39 PM   #4 
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Dirty filters mean clean water. Unless it's literally falling apart or too clogged up for water to pass through properly (even after rinsing in tank water), then there is no need to replace a filter cartridge.

For some reason or other the manufacturers don't tell us that . . .
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Old 02-03-2014, 06:25 PM   #5 
ovukelj
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Wow. That's really enlightening. You guys just saved me a lot of money. Thanks for the help!
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Old 02-04-2014, 02:04 AM   #6 
Tikibirds
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Im sure not everyone does that, but smart people do it
I have different filters then you - mine is big enough that I can stuff a big peice of aquaclear filter foam in it and not even bother with the cartridge (although sometimes I do stick one in there) and I have yet to replace the foam. Its been in there for over a year now. I have noticed though, that some of the cartridges will fall apart rather quickly - like the tetra ones. When it starts to fall apart, thats when you want to replace it. Otherwise just swish it on OLD tank water when you do your water changes.

oooh - if it has carbon in it - the carbon will no longer be effective after about a month. Some people say you dont need the carbon, others on here will argue that you do. Personally, I dont think you NEED it unless you want o remove chemicals from medicine or in my case - I breed snails and OMG the water reeked without the carbon filtration. I suppose I could of just done more water changes but it was a pain in the butt since the tan was on the floor and siphons didint work

Last edited by Tikibirds; 02-04-2014 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 02-04-2014, 04:14 PM   #7 
ovukelj
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Im sure not everyone does that, but smart people do it
I have different filters then you - mine is big enough that I can stuff a big peice of aquaclear filter foam in it and not even bother with the cartridge (although sometimes I do stick one in there) and I have yet to replace the foam. Its been in there for over a year now. I have noticed though, that some of the cartridges will fall apart rather quickly - like the tetra ones. When it starts to fall apart, thats when you want to replace it. Otherwise just swish it on OLD tank water when you do your water changes.

oooh - if it has carbon in it - the carbon will no longer be effective after about a month. Some people say you dont need the carbon, others on here will argue that you do. Personally, I dont think you NEED it unless you want o remove chemicals from medicine or in my case - I breed snails and OMG the water reeked without the carbon filtration. I suppose I could of just done more water changes but it was a pain in the butt since the tan was on the floor and siphons didint work
Very, very interesting. Thank you for the advice.

Aha! See, my filters are carbon infused. And I'm planning on getting a snail, too. I guess I should be changing one out of two filters monthly since I have carbon in my filters?
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:54 PM   #8 
Joey Fish
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My filter is small, and only holds one cartridge, how should I change it without losing all of my great bacteria.
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Old 02-05-2014, 03:49 AM   #9 
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ovukelj. One snail in a tank (even several) will not foul or smell-up your water. Tiki was talking about a snail-breeding tank. Leave your filter in as long as you can. That's where the cycling bacteria live. If your tank ever smells, there's a reason. That reason should be fixed, not covered over by a carbon filter.

Joey, that's usually done by either...
---stuffing the new cartridge in there
---cutting the cartridge in half and replacing half at a time
---replacing the cartridge and leaving the old "seeded" cartridge on or near the filter intake

The last one is easiest, but you have to monitor you readings. Well, you should monitor your water frequently, anyway.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:51 AM   #10 
Joey Fish
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Thanks thats really helpful, I was worried about losing the cycle and losing my bacteria.
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