Aqua Tech filter cartridges...

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cerfew

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The filter I have, an Aqua-Tech 5-15, has 2 cartridges in it, the actual filter part, and a white stringy "bio-mesh" cartridge. Will I be ok changing only the filter cartridge? I've heard that it's a bad idea to do so, due to the beneficial bacteria that may live there...
 

fishingman001

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Why do you want to change it?

If you have to get new mesh leave it in the tank for about a month before replacing the old mesh. That way the cycle will still be going.
 
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cerfew

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In the filter, the water goes through the filter media first, then the bio media. The filter media gets completely gunked up with everything, which is why I want to change it. Would it be better to just keep rinsing it every once in a while?
 

ariolex

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Just rinse it. The problem is the activated carbon (AC) that is inside the cartridge. There is a debate about the effects of using the same AC for extended periods of time (more than 2 weeks), some people think that it is harmful (due to releasing traped toxins back)others say that it just looses its chemical properties although it still housing bacteria and therefore doing biological filtration. Those that don't like keeping old AC just cut either the plastic or the pad to take it out and keep using the external pad rinising it when it gets clogged.
Others just attach some sort of media (mainly sponges) to the cartidge frame
Whatever you decide to do try to disturb your benefitial bacteria colonies as little as possible, and do not touch the biogrid

I hope this helps
 

bassbonediva

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Just rinse your filter cartridge out in old tank water (removed during the water change) whenever you do a water change. You can use your fingers to get the majority of the thick gunky stuff off. Part of the reason the AquaTech (and Marineland) filter cartridges cut down your water flow when they get "loaded" is because the carbon settles down to the bottom of the cartridge and blocks the flow. I know this from first-hand experience. So, I don't use the premade cartridges anymore. I buy blue filter pad ($5 or so for 312 square inches at Petsmart) and cut it to fit in the cartridge slot on my filters. It is MUCH easier to rinse out that way (you can squeeze it out like you would a sponge). If I need carbon to remove meds or whatnot, I just stick a bag of activated carbon ($2 for a mesh bag and $7 for a huge tub of activated carbon at Petsmart or Petco) into the filter when needed, then remove when done.

The manufacturer tells you to replace the cartridge every month, but that's just so they can get more money out of you. Changing your filter cartridge (media) throws your tank into a mini cycle which is stressful for your fish and can lead to disease (like ick) and death.
 
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cerfew

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Wow, thanks guys. I'll definitely just rinse it from now on, and if I ever have to change it I'll use the filter pad like bassbonediva said. I still have 2 unused cartridges that I bought at the time of the filter though... Should I just take the foam off of those and put it in my filter with the other cartridge? There is a bunch of stuff that I impulse bought when I got my first tank and now I'm a little annoyed about it because the stuff is useless and was a waste of money.
 

bassbonediva

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That's what I'd do (the cutting off the pad from the new cartridge idea). No need to feel annoyed with yourself over impulse buying. The main thing is that the cartridges are still useable, just maybe not in their original form.
 

Sh_akers

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just to let everyone know, i found this thread very helpful... i always wondered why they say change the filter cartridge, when it has so much good bacteria on it... as aqua tech is my only choice around here, unless i order online, and sometimes, time does not allow that
 

bassbonediva

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Sh_akers said:
just to let everyone know, i found this thread very helpful... i always wondered why they say change the filter cartridge, when it has so much good bacteria on it... as aqua tech is my only choice around here, unless i order online, and sometimes, time does not allow that
Glad to be of help!
 

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I have a 5-15 and I got an extra pack of cartridges before I knew better. I ended up cutting the charcoal out and saving it then cramming the extra cartridge into that filter and adding them to the new canister. In a couple wees I'll have 3 extra pieces of seeded media for emergencies or new tanks. I also have a bag of charcoal on the off chance I need to remove medication from the tank.
 
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