Desperate Beginner Filter Question

Jen Clair
  • #1
HI all,
I have a 55 gallon established tank that my dentist gave me. In an effort to get my nitrates down (always 40ppm no matter what I do) , I added a second H.O.B. Aqueon 55/75 filter. I am still using the filter cartridges because I have a whole box of them.

I am afraid to get rid of the cartridges because I have a notion that's where my bacteria is. Is that true?

We got some new fish.
I added little bioballs and 2 Purigen pouches. My water started overflowing and my water parameters are bad now: AMMONIA .25; NITRATES: 40.

so I started adding Stability and Prime everyday because my husband thinks I am crazy to do daily water changes. . Then I read that I should use Matrix. So I got rid of the bioballs, and poured a bunch of Matrix in the filters.

Of course water is still overflowing the cartridges. I don't know what to do. Please help.
 
AMC_1204
  • #2
Is the tank cycled?
More filters won’t help with nitrates, live plants will take up nitrates, or best bet is water changes regularly.
 
mattgirl
  • #3
It sounds like your cartridges are clogged. You are right, the BB does live on those pads. You can cut the fiber off of them and put that fiber along with a new cartridge in your filter housing. that way the BB can transfer over from the old to the new.
 
Jen Clair
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
It sounds like your cartridges are clogged. You are right, the BB does live on those pads. You can cut the fiber off of them and put that fiber along with a new cartridge in your filter housing. that way the BB can transfer over from the old to the new.

Is the tank cycled?
More filters won’t help with nitrates, live plants will take up nitrates, or best bet is water changes regularly.

I don't know if it cycled. We have had it since the beginning of January, but it was 5 years old before that. I change the water every week and the nitrates are always at 40 ppm. I have checked the tap water, and it is fine.

Now the ammonia is up to .25. I don't know what else to do.
 
mattgirl
  • #5
I don't know if it cycled. We have had it since the beginning of January, but it was 5 years old before that. I change the water every week and the nitrates are always at 40 ppm. I have checked the tap water, and it is fine.

Now the ammonia is up to .25. I don't know what else to do.
It probably is cycled as long as you kept the filter media wet while moving the tank.

If the water is running over the filter cartridge instead of through it you can have the problems you are seeing right now. The water has to run through the media (in your case the filter media is the cartridge). as I said before, just cut the fiber off of the clogged cartridge and put this fiber and a new cartridge in the filter housing and you will see that the water will now go through instead of over the cartridge.
 
Jen Clair
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
It probably is cycled as long as you kept the filter media wet while moving the tank.

If the water is running over the filter cartridge instead of through it you can have the problems you are seeing right now. The water has to run through the media (in your case the filter media is the cartridge). as I said before, just cut the fiber off of the clogged cartridge and put this fiber and a new cartridge in the filter housing and you will see that the water will now go through instead of over the cartridge.
Thank you so much. I just did this and the water started flowing through the cartridge.
 
mattgirl
  • #7
You are very welcome.

Hopefully this will help with your ammonia spike. To get those nitrates down it may take several back to back water changes. I would be doing about 30% water changes each day until you see them stabilizing. I would suggest larger water changes normally but your tank is struggling right now and you don't want to add more stress to it.

What kind of substrate does it have? sand? gravel?
 
Jen Clair
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
You are very welcome.

Hopefully this will help with your ammonia spike. To get those nitrates down it may take several back to back water changes. I would be doing about 30% water changes each day until you see them stabilizing. I would suggest larger water changes normally but your tank is struggling right now and you don't want to add more stress to it.

What kind of substrate does it have? sand? gravel?
It has gravel.
 
mattgirl
  • #9
It has gravel.
If you aren't doing it already you may want to start vacuuming the gravel. A lot of stuff can build up in the gravel and if not removed can add to the ammonia and nitrate level. You only want to do sections of it at a time until the tank stabilizes.

Just stick the vacuum tube down into the gravel and keep it there until the water starts to clear. Lift it up and do it again an inch or so away from the first time. You really don't want to stir the gravel just in case there is a lot of stuff in there and you don't want to cloud your water with it.
 
Jen Clair
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Thank you again so so much.
 
Snailwhisperer
  • #11
I have a similar filter. I have had the tank running for only a month. It is planted (in picture, though much more growth now). My filter is covered with brown/grey/blackish slime. There is also some plant bits that have been sucked in. I was worried to mess with it incase I killed my bacteria. My water tests ammonia 0, nitrates 0, nitrites 0. I have 13 snails, and three mollys in a 40 gallon.

Is there a way to use some of the cartridge to help cycle brand my new 55 gal tank? How do I know when I need to change the cartridge?

Thanks
 
Jen Clair
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
How long is it going to take for the ammonia to stabilize? I have done 4 water changes since last Saturday. My nitrates are down somewhat, but the ammonia is still .25.
 
Swampgorilla
  • #13
How long is it going to take for the ammonia to stabilize? I have done 4 water changes since last Saturday. My nitrates are down somewhat, but the ammonia is still .25.

Okay ... ".25" on the API color scale is a very light green and depending on the light - it may actually be yellow (0 ammonia) and LOOK green.

Here's something to try. Hopefully you have ZERO ammonia in your tapwater? If so ... next time you test your tank for ammonia ... simultaneously test your tap water. At the end of the test - compare the two test tubes, if they look the same ... YOUR AMMONIA IN YOUR TANK IS ZERO.

I wouldn't sweat .25 ammonia because PRIME locks it up for at least 24 hours. I wouldn't even do a water change.

I have three tanks I test everyday ... and often I get "faked" into thinking they're ALL at .25 ammonia. That's impossible for them to have the same exact small amount of ammonia when the tanks are separated and have different filters and livestock. If they look the same ... and they all look .25 ... then they are ZERO.

I don't even add PRIME - in fact, I don't use PRIME anymore for other reasons, but that's a different thread.
 

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