Cleaning Filter Media Without Getting Rid Of Bb

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by fjh, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. fjhWell Known MemberMember

    Hello all!

    So... pretty simple question, but getting really annoying in one of my tanks!
    The filter media in my 10g guppy fry tank gets dirty really fast. During the WC last weekend, I rinsed the filter media and scraped off some of the fish poop/dead plant/etc that the filter picked up because it was impeding the water flow in the filter. I usually have to do this about once a month.
    THEN... my water parameters go haywire; ammonia goes from 0 to 0.25-0.5, nitrite goes from 0 to 0.5, and nitrate doesn't climb for about a week (its at 10-15 after the wc, and is still the same when I do my WC the following week).

    I know I am creating a mini cycle every time I "clean" the filter, but I'm not sure how to prevent it. My issue is I need to get rid of some of the gunk to to let the water pass through, but when I get rid of it my BB goes bye-bye. Any suggestions? How does everyone else manage this?
  2. AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    I keep sponge filters with dual heads and only squeeze one off at a time. If there are more than 10 fry, I throw in a small hob filter as well, and just rinse the filter when i do a water change. I clean my filters a little every week, in my other tanks, saves from having to scrape all the gunk off once a month, plus I run sponge filters in them too
  3. S_Fish85New MemberMember

    When you clean the first pads you should rinse them in the water from the fish tank. Just lightly to remove some gunk.
  4. fjhWell Known MemberMember

    Unfortunately I only have one piece of bio media in the filter (made for 15-20g). Should I stick a second one if so that I can alternate cleaning them? I also have a second small filter lying around (made for 10g), should run both filters on the tank? I am concerned that might make too much current for the fry though.

    I do rinse in the tank water I remove. I also have to scrape off some of the stuff when it impedes the flow though.

    I just realized I rinse it in the bucket the tank water goes in after I ramove it from the tank... and that the bucket is usually stored under the sink where I have some cleaning materials (mostly dish soap and stuff like that). Is it likely that some of the chemicals end up in the bucket and kill the outermost layer of bb in the filter? Because when I just rinse normally, the cycle is still in tack, but when I scrape I'm exposing a lot more of the bb to the water.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  5. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    Are you rinsing it in the old tank water? You need to be sure it is rinse in dechlorinated water or it will cause a mini-cycle. Have you tried adding a different sort of media to keep your cycle more stable? Such as ceramic rings? I added some to the bottom of my filter and placed the rest of my filter media over it. That way the bacteria stays on the rings, even after I have to rinse my other media.

    You can look on YouTube for making your own filter media for ideas on what to add and how to set up your own media. It taught me more about filter care than anything else has so far.

  6. AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    are you using the regular kind of polyfilter with carbon in it? If you are, maybe get some sponges, cut one small enough to stick behind the normal filter, or you can get some tiny ceramic rings or other media like that and just put it in a mesh bag behind it. Something I'm trying in my brackish tank is live rock pieces in the hob filter, I've got extra room in it though (lots of it)
  7. AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    guppy fry can usually handle pretty strong of a current.
  8. S_Fish85New MemberMember

    Try adding a pre-filter sponge to catch the gunk before it enters your filter. You can also just fill your filter with bio media. Then you can just remove the sponge rinse it off and put it back on and all your beneficial bacteria will stay in your filter.

    And yes you should just use a bucket for your fish tank only and definitely without any chemicals having ever been in the bucket
  9. fjhWell Known MemberMember

    Yes, I use the water I just removed from the tank.
    It only happens in this one tank, hence why I am looking for alternatives ;)
    I don't use ceramic rings, how would you make them/where do you buy them?

    True... but on the other hand they are pretty tiny (I move them once I can determine gender) and I've seen them battle with the current current on occasion. Perhaps if I have the two outputs facing each other?

    I have a modified/holey sponge over the filter intake so that the fry cant get sucked up, but a lot still gets pulled through.
    and I don't deliberately put chemicals in the bucket! lol Everything has lids on and I have never put soap in the bucket, they are just stored in the same location so I was wondering if there was a lot of contamination.
  10. AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    Amazon sells all kinds of media, including ceramic rings, terra cotta, etc. I'm thinking if your guppy fry are having an issue with one filter you probably shouldn't add a second one, unless it is a mini sponge filter ran off of an air pump....or you could just switch to sponge filters all together, you wouldn't have fry getting sucked up :)
  11. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    I got mine at Petco, but Amazon has better prices. You can get media bags online for cheaper too. I just put them straight into the filter since they are pretty self contained, but when I set up the new tank next weekend, I am going to set it up a bit different with each thing in its own media bag. Then I won't be stuck dumping them out when I want to reposition something lol
  12. fjhWell Known MemberMember

    Thank you for the help guys!! I found some cheap ceramic cylinders so I'll use them and see if that helps at all :)