Bio filter, When is it too dirty?

  1. Ben3721 Well Known Member Member

    First some info on how I do my filter media.

    I replace my mechanical/chemical filtration media in my HOB filter every 3 months. I rinse it every weak in chlorinated water then rinse it in de-chlorinator water to kill beneficial bacteria and remove the chlorine after so it kills the bacteria, I do this so the bacterial dependency is NOT in the mechanical filter but is in the tank and bio sponge where it should be. This makes it so when I replace the mechanical filter media I don't get a mini cycle since the bacteria dependency isn't in the mechanical filter. I know bacteria dependency is an arguable topic since most people don't think that far into it, but so far my tests show great results in an slightly overstocked tank. I mean really I have 0ppm ammo, 0ppm Nitrite and less then 3ppm nitrates with my nitrate reducer... Id hate to mess that up.

    But now my biological filtration is blocking the water flow making more and more water go through the over flow. I lightly rinse my biological sponge in dirty water change water once a month. But the thing is like a block of mud still. Should I slowly replace parts of it with clean media or should I rinse it harder and prep for the mini cycle with prime and a bacteria supplement?

    In a nutshell what do you do with your bio media after a year and it looks like solid mud?
  2. Jomolager Well Known Member Member

    In a nut shell, my bio media has never looked like solid mud. I rinse it every other week in used tank water. I've read that the type of bio media I have may start disintegrating after a while, and that it is advisable to periodically make partial replacements a few weeks apart in order to maintain the BB presence. I do that.

    I hope that one or more of the Mods would share their opinions on your method, I find it puzzling, alas, I am not as well informed as they are, so I won't pontificate.

    What I am interested in though is your reference to your "nitrate reducer." What is it? Please share. My tap water has very high nitrates, and they get even higher after serious rainfall and/or concomitant burst pipes.
  3. jetajockey Fishlore VIP Member

    Regarding biomedia, simply, if water is not flowing through it, then it's not performing it's function as well as it should.
  4. Jomolager Well Known Member Member

    I wish you commented on his theory of rinsing mechanical/ chemical media in tap water to deliberately kill BB. Wouldn't his mud brick slow the water flow? I am very confused.
  5. Rivieraneo Moderator Moderator Member

    Ben3721, I think we all develop our own methods, reasons and routines as to why we do things a certain way. I can see your logic behind building a strong bacterial colony in your biomedia sponge versus sharing the colony between filtration media that gets replaced every few weeks. You mentioned your bio media being a sponge material, have you tried giving it some good wrings in old tank water ? this removes a lot of accumulated organic matter from my sponges in my canister filters. The brown gunk is only organic matter, your beneficial bacteria is microscopic and lives in the sponge fibers itself.
  6. Ben3721 Well Known Member Member

    The bacteria dependency part is kinda complex to explain. Essentially I'm forcing the bacteria to grow in the tank and bio media rather then some grow in the mechanical filter pad. So when I change the mechanical filter pad I don't have a mini cycle that might get my fish sick. I have done tests to show it works how I said it does. You have to think the bacteria has to grow somewhere and its going to max out, so where do you want the bacteria to be kind of thing. And I always do tests. Twice a week. The stuff I use for to almost eliminate my nitrates is called ocean nitrate reducer. It takes a month to start working but then it brings nitrates down a crazy amount. I even had my LFS test my water because I couldn't believe it. And yes I shook the second test bottle haha. I only do 20% percent water changes a week now. Stuff seems pretty safe. Pick up a bottle from pet smart or order it. Its under appreciated so you won't believe me until you test it. It took about 3 months for my nitrates to drop from 70 to less then 10. My tab water is over 150 in nitrates so sometimes when I rinse stuff off I get nitrates in my tank. Living around farms really ruins my tap water.

    And thanks I'll twist my bio media in a few days in some tank water and see the reaction it does on the bacteria. I may go back to artificial sponge. I'm tempted to test the bio load/flow rate to see which one is better for bacteria. Sponge vs open cell artifical sponge like what most hob filters come with. I would guess the more surface area the better but then again flow rate is also important. Who knows. Only testing can tell
  7. Jomolager Well Known Member Member

    I've just looked for it on Amazon and it says that it is for salt water tanks
  8. Ben3721 Well Known Member Member

    Let me find the one I use. One sec I edit this post with the link
  9. Jomolager Well Known Member Member

    Thanks. I would do anything to get rid of high nitrates.
  10. Rivieraneo Moderator Moderator Member

    I think the saltwater members would be best to comment on this product, i've never heard of it being used in a freshwater tank before. Ben, sounds like you're the first statistic, can I ask what turned you to using this product in a FW aquarium?
  11. Jomolager Well Known Member Member

    Some of my fish: dojo and cories don't do salt. I wonder how they would react to it.
  12. Ben3721 Well Known Member Member

    I did a review on it before on fish lore... It doesn't say anything about salt or.freshwater on the bottle or on oceans website?
    Also the product doesn't have salt in it. So any fish should be fine?... if it had salt it would mess up the balance of salt in salt tanks.
    We'll I was blown away buy the reviews on this product. And that's why I use it. And I still don't see anything about it being on saltwater. In fact the reviews I'm reading are people with freshwater... is it safe for saltwater? Idk it uses bio polymers to change the nitrate into gas naturally. I'm the kind of guy who reads labels and reviews. And then looks into how it works.

    I can list a huge list of fish that I have had with this in the water. They all seemed happy.
  13. jetajockey Fishlore VIP Member

    I skimmed over it. Whether that method actually kills a substantial amount of BB is questionable, since everyone's tap water source is different.

    Apart from that, it's kind of a moot point. Biomedia is called as such because it's entire purpose is to be a source of biological filtration. That means that it's superior surface area is going to be much better at housing BB than filter floss and other means of mechanical filtration.

    However, if water is not freely flowing through the biomedia and just over the top of it, it's not going to be doing it's job nearly as well as it could be.
  14. Jomolager Well Known Member Member

    I ordered it. It is on its way. I will let you know how it works out. Thank you.
  15. Ben3721 Well Known Member Member

  16. Rivieraneo Moderator Moderator Member

    Very interesting, essentially, you are pouring very small sized plastic balls that hold time released carbon which feeds your BB so its able to convert nitrate into nitrogen gas.
  17. Jomolager Well Known Member Member

    In other words, am I correct in understanding that what you are saying is: don't worry about ditching falling apart media floss because BB is alive and well in bio media ?

    Again in other words, in order to keep my water polished, I can just keep changing my various floss arrangements without worrying about loosing BB?

    Does that also mean that if I choose to or have to, I can do 100% water changes without jeopardizing my precious BB in a fully cycled established tank?

    I am sorry I am buttonholing you. I appreciate your help.
  18. jetajockey Fishlore VIP Member

    Theoretically you are correct. Basically bacteria will thrive in biofilm which is present all throughout the tank. The nitrifiers will tend to concentrate in the areas where their needs are best met, i.e. areas with the best water flow.

    Biomedia is created to have a massive surface area for bacteria colonization. So if you have an adequate amount of biomedia, adequate filtration through said biomedia, and a healthy established colony, then you can do 100% water changes and toss filter floss at will without affecting the bulk of the BB colony.
  19. Jomolager Well Known Member Member

    Where have you been all my aqua life?

    Why do I firmly believe that most of my BB resides in my filter, and only negligible amount of BB can be found in gravel and walls of my tank and tank decorations?

    My Fluvals have space for bio media, but my Aqueons kind of don't.

    I stuff my Fluvals with all that floss to get my water polished, and sometimes, I have so much floss that my water flow slows. So I am killing my BB? Or at least preventing it from growing?
  20. Ben3721 Well Known Member Member

    Where did you read that? But yeah they are nurdles (super tiny plastic balls) And seem to be none toxic. My fish ate some and lived.

    Im not sure if it works with the beneficial bacteria, I think its more of a chemical catalyst to convert no3 into nh4. Or it could be both. But its unclear. I may mail ocean brand and ask how it works... They might not tell their secrets.

    Also I believe that it depends on your filter size on how much bacteria will live in the tank, But ive changed gravel before and I had a major re-cycle from it. And yes I vacuum my gravel weekly.

    You know ive never really testing before and after using this stuff, it could be instant idk. I just know it works