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I have heard that you have to replace it every 4-6 weeks, but then others say that you can't because you throw away beneficial bacteria. I have a 5gal mini bow tank that came with a filter. The intake tube is submerged in water, and the place where the media goes is above water as well as the outflow. I have been using the mini bow media for more than a month, and every week when I do a water change and take out 50% of the water, I rinse the media in the old water in my bucket. Then put it back in. I never rinse it with tap. I've been doing this for a long time. Nothing seems to be wrong, but I don't know what to do. Keep doing this or replace every few weeks or what?

Also, I saw some carbon at petco. It is filter media for power and canister filters as well as internal and outside filters. Not sure if this is able to be used in my filter or not. Never used it before. I am just asking because it is a lot cheaper than other actual media ($3.99 for container of media, or $12.99 for a pack of media). If I can, do I need to use a filter bag to put it in?

Thank you very much! Just want to make sure I am doing it right. :)
 

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Hi, i have the 2.5 mini bow.

I used the inserts that are made for that tank for a few months but then I switched to just plain filter sponge. You can buy a box for around $5 and that will literally last forever. Its very easy to cut a piece that will fit into the filter.

you want to avoid changing the filter at all costs - you should only change those cartridges until they are literally falling apart. This can take a year or so. When the cartridge is falling apart, take the new one and lay it on top of the old for at least 3-4 weeks so that bacteria can transfer. Then you can remove the old cartridge. Then test the water to make sure you didn't mess up your cycle. If you left the new cartridge there for at least a month, you should be fine.
 

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+1 wait for media to be falling apart. The only thing that would break down quickly for me was filter floss, but it still lasted 2-4 months. I usually use stronger foam/sponge and bio/ceramic media which lasts much longer.
 
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