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Old 06-05-2011, 04:16 PM   #1 
Neil D
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Lightbulb DIY Bio-Filter Medium. EASY!

Alright, for all you peeps that have carbon in your HOB filters, you know you have to change it once every 6 Months or so right? What happens to the bacteria? Well I hope this is a solution.

So for this project you'll need:
-3 straws
-scissors
-ruler
-rubber bands, AQ glue, or cable ties

Steps: cut two of the three straws into 5 cm segments. Then bind them together to form a cylinder of straws. Cut a 7-10 CM piece off the third straw and shove it in the middle of the cylinder. Put the piece into the filter and let sit for at least 1 month* to allow BB buildup. Pics belowThere should be no need to replace BB Medium unless there was a recent outbreak of disease. You can replace the cartridge without worrying about the tank's cycle!
*Note: I have not had this setup in my tank for more than 2 days by this time, so the times are educated guesses: estimates.

The last pic is the finished product!

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Old 06-05-2011, 05:06 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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I am confused...what is it that you are making with the straws.....

Activated charcoal-sometimes called carbon...generally is only active for about 2-6 weeks....depending on what it is made from, quality...etc.....its not all created equal.....

Beneficial bacteria are sticky and adhere to everything in the tank-like the walls, decorations, plants both fake and real, in the top layer of substrate and in the filter media...very little is in the water column

With mature (3+mo) filtered tanks, properly stocked-that have stable water prams of 10gal and larger-generally-the filter media can be changed without too much fear of a crash/spikes/mini-cycle, however, its always a good idea to monitor the water after a complete filter media change and best done a few days after a water change so that it is scheduled a few days before the next regular scheduled water change...you can also cut a piece of old filter media off to add with the new filter media to help seed it for a week or so....... with that said....

You don't have to change out the filter media until it is falling apart...usually about 3-4 times a year or less...as with anything...this can vary.......unless you want to use carbon (not needed)....carbon need to be changed out per the package direction, however, water changes will do nearly the same thing that carbon will.....removes odor, tannins, medication among other things....and so will a water change-carbon use is more of a personal choice and nothing wrong with its use.....but...it is always a good idea to have fresh unused carbon on hand for emergencies.....it has saved me more than once....lol.......

With the filter media that is a combo-meaning, that it is made with a sponge with added carbon attached to a plate...you can cut a slit in the sponge and dump the carbon out either before use or after..... either toss used carbon and/or save the unused to continue using the sponge attached to the plate until falling apart....some speculate that keeping old carbon for long periods of time can re-release all the bad stuff it has accumulated over time....I don't agree-before I started making my own filter media I had left old carbon in my filter boxes for years without any problems.....

On smaller tanks due to the limited surface area for beneficial bacteria to colonize-this limits the stability of the nitrogen cycle ability to keep the water safe for longer periods of time and one of the reasons why twice weekly water changes are needed....not because it can't cycle but because it is limited......and changing the filter media is moot.....
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:15 PM   #3 
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Ugh! Fine, if you wanna ruin my brainstorm! lol...

Anyways, just thought it would be fun/cool to make. I wanted to experiment with the BB so thats why I made this. You put the straws in the filter and let the BB clog up the straws and wait till it gets all gunky. This will stay in your filter and provide a permanent home for the BB. That's my theory anyway...
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:11 PM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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Thats a good thought....however, the BB may not get enough oxygen like that...maybe poke holes in the straw pieces to get better oxygen circulation.....

I don't want to discourage you and your experiment and I think its a good idea.....keep monitoring and tweak it a bit and let us know how it turns out....
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:34 PM   #5 
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Its inserted straight up and down in my HOB filter. Maybe I should turn it so it goes with the flow...hmmm...*runs to fish tank*
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