Changed filter cartridge, whoops?

crackatoa

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Hello all,
I have a 10 gal. tank with a over-the edge power filter from petsmart (Top Fin line).  It has one drop down filter.  Last night I changed the filter cartridge.  Doing research today, I realized I just threw away my biological filtration. 
Short term: Do I grab the material out of the trash when I get home, pour out old carbon and stick the material behind the new cartridge (it seems as if some of you do this).
Long term: For next time, do I just swap out carbon and not material? Or should I do the extra material thing?

thanks,
Caryn
 

Isabella

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How long have you had your tank? If you had it long enough, there must be a lot of bacteria in the gravel and on tank walls and decor to help speed up the cycle with the new cartridge. As for the thrown out cartridge: if it is dried up, chances are it is useless by now. However, if it is still moist, let us hope some bacteria survived. I suppose if it is moist (and not dirty) you could put it back. I don't know what kind of filter yours is, but if it has a sponge, you could just take the sponge or a piece of it and put it in your filter (next to the new cartridge) to seed the new cartridge with the bacteria.

Now, if that's not possible, maybe you could go to your local fish store and ask them if they have some cycled filter cartridge and if they could give it to you. If not, what you will now have to do is continuously monitor your water for ammonia and nitrite, as you'll have at least a mini-cycle going on (if not a major cycle). As soon as you detect ammonia and/or nitrite rising, perform large and frequent water changes to constantly remove the rising toxic compounds, and so that your fish don't get sick and die. Without a cycled filter, that is the best you can do.
 
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crackatoa

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Thanks a bunch Isabella.
I've had the tank since mid May.
I didn't see this last night and I did go and grab the material from the old cartridge and place it behind the new one. It was dry though, so as you pointed out, it may no longer be helpful.
There was no nitrite as of last night. I don't have an ammonia testing kit, but will get that today so that I can monitor for a mini-(or other) cycle.

Thanks again.
-Caryn
 

Butterfly

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And for the future the cartridge can be rinsed in used tank water until the filter pad falls apart. If you know your ready to change your filter pad stick a new one behind the old one for about a week then throw the old one away. I have very few that I use pads for and only replace them about 2x a year. The other filters have sponges that I rinse and squeeze out or floss that I rinse, squeeze and put back in. Hope that helps
Carol
 

LilaBean

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i thought so too-- about every other month i put a new filter with new activated carbon in my tank-- is this wrong?? and when i'm treating i take the activated carbon out of the filter, rinse the filter, and put it back in the tank?? is this okay?? LILA
 

Butterfly

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The common practice is to take the filter pad or sponge out during water changes and rinse them in used tank water. Do this each water change until they fall apart. When they are just about ragged slide a new filter pad in with the old one for about a week so it can be seeded with beneficial bacteria. I have sponges in most of my HOBs and they will last for years just being rinsed at water change times. Some of them have been in there for years I know manufacturers tell you to change them once a month or so, but this is how they make their money. My charcoal is seperate from my sponges so I only use it when I'm trying to remove meds which isn't often.
carol
 

LilaBean

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hmm-- intresting...so you never use carbon??? don't your filters get really scuzzy??or is scuzzy good?? used tank water for rinsing-- i will definately have to remember that-- i've been using tap water :-\ --oops-- LILA
 

chickadee

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When you rinse it you always lose Some of your bacteria. But the important thing in your post that I can see is that you rinse in tap water. When you do this unless the water is dechlorinated you are introducing chlorine into your tank when you put the filter back. The use of used tank water that you have taken from the tank during a water change helps to preserve the bacteria and to keep from introducing chlorine back into the tank. Just kind of "swish" it back and forth in the water to rinse a bit of the gunk off. You will never get all the gunk off without doing too much scrubbing so please don't try. Some of the what looks like gunk is probably bacteria. You will be able to tell when the excess food and stuff is off of it.

Hope this helps.

Rose
 

Butterfly

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Lila what your doing isn't "wrong".(yes scuzzy is good ) But it's not economical or necesssary. When you rinse your filter pad in used tank water you are rinseing a good bit of the gunk off and as long as the water flows through afterwards you can continue to rinse and reuse. The used tank water preserves the bacteria. The chlorine in the tap water kills a good bit of the bacteria in your filter pad when ou rinse it in tap water.
No I don't use carbon as a regular thing. I have sponges in most of my filters and just rinse them out at water change time. I've had the same sponges in some of the tanks for years and my water parameters stay right on the dot of where thay should be.
Now if you choose to change your pads as your doing right now thats fine and the fish won't know the difference. Just remember to install the new pad about a week before you plan to change the old one so it can seed with bacteria before you throw the old one away.
As you know theres not just one way of doing most things and as you get more experience you will try different things and find out they work and then pass those tips on to other new people. Thats just what the above is a handy tip.
Carol
 
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