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Old 01-28-2011, 12:48 AM   #1 
opus2000
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Does changing the filter upset the nitrogen cycle?

I have been learning so much here about cycling my first tank. I have read several references to the beneficial bacteria growing in the filter. My tank's instructions say to change the filter every approximately every 6 weeks. Does changing the filter mean the cycling process starts all over again? Or is there enough good bacteria in the gravel, on the tank decorations, etc., to keep everything balanced?
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:19 AM   #2 
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Probably 99.9% of your beneficial bacteria is found in the filter simply because it's the environment best suited for it. The rest of the bacteria would be found in your gravel and water column, but in amounts so negligible that they have little impact on maintaining the cycle in your tank.

That's why large water changes will not usually disturb your cycle, but changing out the filter pad will cause it to crash.

The only reason companies tell you to change out your filter media every six months is because a) some of the media in your filter is carbon, and it becomes useless after a certain amount of time (but does provide another surface area for your beneficial bacteria to colonise) and b) they want to make more money off you.

I have had a goldfish tank running with two filters for about two years now, and aside from a gentle swish every now and then in treated tank water, my sponges have never needed replacing
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:53 AM   #3 
c4talys7
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I was trying to find the answer to this too, I'm glad someone else had the question. Will rinsing the filter holder ruin the cycle? Or getting all the gunk off the sides of the tank ruin it as well? I noticed a lot of build up while cycling.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:38 AM   #4 
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Scrubbing something like a clear film off your aquarium walls should have no effect on your cycle. You can also safely dunk your filter in a bucket of old tank water to dislodge any organic debris, and maximize water flow/filter performance, as well as wipe off any algae growing on the outside surface.

However, I wouldnt' scrub the inside of the filter too vigorously. There will be enough beneficial bacteria colonising not only the filter media, but also the inside of the filter itself, that it could upset your cycle if you are continually cleaning. The only time I rinse my filter media is when the indicator on top shows that it's blocked.
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:28 AM   #5 
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So, should I just rinse the filter sponge and change the carbon media inside, rather than replace the whole thing?
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Old 01-28-2011, 09:31 AM   #6 
Canuck Fins
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You really don't need the carbon if you are cycling the tank.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:54 PM   #7 
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Ok thank you! I just notice that there is some junk getting sucked into my filter and just wanted to get those out, so probably a quick dump in old tank water would do it?
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:08 PM   #8 
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I have the filter sandwiched between two Fluval sponge filters. If I ever need to replace the filter I have the sponge filters that should be colonized with the same bacteria as the filter as well. That is my theory and I hope it is sound enough to work. Anyone care to comment or offer advice on that idea?
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:13 PM   #9 
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Also take note to never use tap water on the filter to clean it. Only the used tank water or bye bye colony. Dip the filter media in the water and then lift it and let the water drain out of it. Gently rub and pluck the fiber clean from extra debree under the water and swish it around a bit in it, followed by a few more dunks and letting it drain.

Last edited by ChicagoPete; 01-28-2011 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:15 PM   #10 
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Of course lol, I will keep that in mind as well seeing as I really don't want to deal with that smell again after cycling.
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