Am I destroying my filter's bacteria?

  1. Mmbrown

    Mmbrown Well Known Member Member

    Hi everyone, newbie here :p

    I have had my 10g up an running for... I would say 6 months now. I got it in one of those complete setup packages. I know that most the bacteria that is created during cycling live in the filter, so am I actually doing more harm than good when I replace the filter cartridge? I was replacing the cartridge on a schedule (about once every 4 or 5 weeks, occasionally longer depending on how well I thought it was working at the time) as per some directions I had read, and didn't think anything of it until I recently saw a post mentioning cutting the cartridge to take the carbon out and then continuing to use the rest of the filter media.

    So basically, did I fall into another one of those traps to get more money, sort of like how the shampoo bottle tells you to repeat so that you use, and subsequently buy, more shampoo? Or am I really doing alright with replacing the cartridges? Never had a problem with any mini cycles after changing cartridges but I thought I'd get this cleared up.

    Also as a mini note, I've had some white residue in the filter. Is this something to be concerned about, should I just wipe it off and forget about it, or is it something benefici that I should leave in?

    Sorry for so many questions. There's so much to learn!


    TL; DR: Changing filter cartridge regularly: yes/no? Also: white residue inside filter?
     
  2. Akari_32

    Akari_32 Fishlore Legend Member

    Unfortunatley, yes, you are and have fallen into the marketing trap. However, there is some truth behind what they say. Carbon needs to be replaced every few weeks, but you also do not need carbon in your filter on a regular basis. You can just use filter sponges, and only replace them when they are literally falling apart, which is every few years, actually. They do, however, need to be rinsed every few weeks, in old tank water. :)

    To keep your filter running at its best, you need to wipe it out every few weeks, or as needed.
     
  3. Jaysee

    Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    Welcome to the forum

    BINGO! My favorite consumable product direction - "use generous amounts..."

    I would totally ditch the whole cartridge system. You can come up with better media for less. Aquaclear filter sponges make excellent media for other filters, because they can be cut to size and they hold their shape.
     


  4. OP
    OP
    Mmbrown

    Mmbrown Well Known Member Member

    Okay, so I will look for the sponges. I had a feeling once I read that post that I was having the wool pulled over my eyes. But who was I to know? Lol.

    So when I replace the filter cartridge with a sponge, am I going to have to keep an eye out for mini cycles? I've got a BN in there and would hate for him to be stressed out or anything. I'm assuming he'd just ride it out as he has done with the cartridge changes in the past?
     
  5. Akari_32

    Akari_32 Fishlore Legend Member

    All you need to do is add the new media right in with the old media, and let it be for a few weeks. Then, remove the old stuff, and you're good to go :)
     
  6. PrairieSunflower

    PrairieSunflower New Member Member

    Another way I build up good bacteria in a sponge is to just wedge it somewhere in the tank (for me behind the filter) so it won't float away and leave it there for a few weeks... when its ready add it to the filter.
     


  7. Jaysee

    Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    Yes, that's an excellent way to keep seeded media handy.

    A lot of people will put the sponge over the filter intake.
     
  8. fbn

    fbn Well Known Member Member

    It is super handy to put extra media in a filter (and good for the water). If you ever start up another tank, just pop that extra media into the uncycled filter.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Mmbrown

    Mmbrown Well Known Member Member

    Great, thanks everyone. This may sound really stupid (but leave no stones unturned, right?) but is something labeled as a foam filter the same as a sponge filter?
     
  10. Jaysee

    Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    Yes, they are the same.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Mmbrown

    Mmbrown Well Known Member Member

    Hi again, reviving my old thread (seems old but I suppose it's only been a week!) as I had another question.

    Because I'm not exactly sure how many different types of filter media there are, the following shows what I have:
    http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2752295

    As per your suggestions I will likely be changing over to a type of sponge filter in the future. But since I already have a few cartridges, I figure I might as well get some use out of them first. So... my question is this: Is there a way to remove the carbon? I think I have read that you can cut a slit in the top of the bag and pull the carbon out. Would this still be effective in filtering my tank, and if so, for how long? Would it work just as well as a sponge filter?

    Thanks in advance :D
     
  12. Akari_32

    Akari_32 Fishlore Legend Member

    You should be able to open the black part, cut the stuff out from the top, and replace the black part. Then you can just keep and reuse the white part, and when you need to, open it back up, dump some carbon in there, and close it up.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Mmbrown

    Mmbrown Well Known Member Member

    Oh neat. So I'd only have to replace the actual bag once it starts falling apart?

    Also - this is kind of an embarrassing question - do I take everything out of the bag? As in, is it all carbon or should I leave some stuff in there?
     
  14. Akari_32

    Akari_32 Fishlore Legend Member

    Yeah, that should be fine. It works like a sponge filter pretty much anyway, its just designed to hold carbon, as well as catch the big stuff.

    Yep, take it aaaaall out. :)
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Mmbrown

    Mmbrown Well Known Member Member

    Thanks! I've got a new project ahead of me :)
     
  16. Akari_32

    Akari_32 Fishlore Legend Member

    Sure thing! Have fun, and don't cut off any fingers :p