Aqueon Filter Questions

ng620

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Hello! Little background - I got my first tank (29 gallon) almost a month ago and am so happy to have found this site since I've already made quite a few mistakes. I did a fish in break-in cycle (didn't know better) with 6 bloodfin tetras and 7 albino pristella. Started 7 and 7, but one bloodfin didn't make it past a few days . I think the tank is cycled - ammonia is 0.25, but I think I've been overfeeding so will be more careful, nitrite is 0 and nitrate is 5.0, using API test kit. I will do a 25% water change tomorrow (know to treat the new water and bring up the temp before adding), and hopefully that'll bring the ammonia down a bit. Once it gets to 0, I plan on adding a BN pleco.

Anyway, the instructions that came with the filter said to change the small specialty filter pad every 2-3 weeks and the larger one 1x/month, so I've already changed each once. After doing more research, have learned this is NOT a good idea since it can get rid of bacteria and potentially cause another mini-cycle. I will be getting a filter media pad tomorrow and just cutting to fit the filter. Right now the aqueon filter slides into a blue bioholster, which the instructions said to only rinse with tank water. I'm planning on putting one layer of filter media next to this initially so it can get some bacteria from it, but am wondering if eventually I should just take it out and have two layers instead?

Also, how important - really - are the specialty filter pads? Is there something else I could be putting there that would be better, and hopefully less expensive? And how long realistically are they effective? At this point, I had an ammonia reducing one in for 2 weeks - would it be better to change it for a fresh one to help with the ammonia, or would that do more harm than good since it'd be getting rid of some beneficial bacteria?

Sorry this was so long! I'm sure I'll be posting more newbie questions in the future, and hopefully some pictures of my new lil' buddies!
 

wodesorel

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Congrats on a good cycle!

I think I have the same filter, and I swapped the cartridges for foam and those little ceramic blocks. They never need to be changed and you'll never lose your bacteria. There is a lot of room in the filter for whatever media you choose! You are not limited to the replaceable bags that eventually fall apart.
 
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