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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
From what I am gathering you basically just run a filter until the filter cartridge and sponge is falling part and only change one part at a time as not to decimate your bacteria colonies. Also that changing the activated carbon isn't that big of a concern and my harbor more of the good bacteria.
 

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This is mostly true if you perform lots of maintenance in your tanks(water changes) other than that they will keep your water clear and collect good and bad bacteria as well as debris in the tank.
 

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What kind of filter?

Most have the sponge like pad and carbon all as one unit. The carbon lasts less than a month and needs replaced. The sponge is where most of the bacteria will be in a new tank. If possible, it is best to dump the carbon and replace monthly while just rinsing out the pad (in old tank water) and reusing it until it falls apart. Some filters make this easier than others, and some it is impossible without cutting it up.

In an established aquarium, most of the bacteria will be in the substrate and not the filter. This is, of course, assuming you have a proper aquarium and not just a bowl.
 
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