Does Removing My Carbon Cartridge Affect Cycled Tank?

FishWithTim

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So I just dosed medication for a sick guppy I have. I removed the carbon cartridge and have like a red tray in the filter right now and that's it? If I leave the cartridge out will it affect the tank? Will it stay cycled? A quick answer would be appreciated.
 

Goldiemom

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When you say you moved the cartridge do you mean the flat part with the floss on it. You need to leave the floss in. Just cut the bottom and shake out all the carbon you can. Beat it against the trash can. Put the floss back in as that is what has the B.B. on it.
 
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FishWithTim

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Goldiemom said:
When you say you moved the cartridge do you mean the flat part with the floss on it. You need to leave the floss in. Just cut the bottom and shake out all the carbon you can. Beat it against the trash can. Put the floss back in as that is what has the B.B. on it.
Ok but will I need to by another cartridge in the future because I won't have any carbon?
 

Goldiemom

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The carbon only lasts about a month anyway. You don’t have to replace it unless you want to. All it really does is filter out odors or meds. You may want to use some for a couple of days after finishing treatment. Otherwise, really no need for it.
 

Dch48

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I'm sure some of the BB is also on the pieces of carbon. If it's been in for more than a month, it's probably not working anyway. I would leave it in.
 

ystrout

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No the carbon has very little bacteria on it. Change it once a month.

Don't change the sponge, beads, or floss though.
 
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FishWithTim

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ystrout said:
No the carbon has very little bacteria on it. Change it once a month.

Don't change the sponge, beads, or floss though.
Started TSS cycle a week ago. Idk what to do here is what I'm working with.
20180627_150247.jpg
 

ystrout

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Don't ever replace that blue stuff. That's where the bacteria is going to live.

I don't even see any carbon in there. But if there is any, don't worry about replacing it. It won't affect the cycle.
 
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FishWithTim

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ystrout said:
Don't ever replace that blue stuff. That's where the bacteria is going to live.

I don't even see any carbon in there. But if there is any, don't worry about replacing it. It won't affect the cycle.
Very little carbon. Not a lot. Does it instantly remove the carbon? Will the meds make a difference?
 

ystrout

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I'm a little confused.

But the meds won't affect the carbon, it's the other way around. The carbon will make the meds ineffective. That's why you need to take the carbon out.

And does what instantly remove the carbon?
 
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FishWithTim

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ystrout said:
I'm a little confused.

But the meds won't affect the carbon, it's the other way around. The carbon will make the meds ineffective. That's why you need to take the carbon out.

And does what instantly remove the carbon?
I know it is the other way around and I am wondering if the carbon will remove the meds instantly because already dosed some meds and I don't even want to cut the carbon out and redose because I am scared of over dose and apparently carbon has bb.
 

Dch48

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The carbon will absorb the meds if it is fresh enough to still be working. Carbon will also absorb toxic metals like copper so saying it isn't needed at all I can't completely agree with.
 

ystrout

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Ahh I see.

As far as the cycle goes, don't worry about it. The carbon has very little BB on it. That blue thing and the substrate has almost all of your BB.

And I wouldn't re-dose. Just continue dosing as normal. If the carbon is over a month old, it won't be very effective anyway.

If it's new carbon and was in there a while after dosing, I would re-dose since it would probably have removed most of the medicine.
 

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When this cartridge (the part that has blue fiber on one side. plastic on the other and carbon in between) gets to where water will no longer flow through it freely or the fiber starts wearing thin you can cut that fiber off and put it in the filter housing along with a new cartridge and the old fiber will seed the new cartridge. Most of your cycle (bacteria) is on that fiber so by cutting it off and keeping it in the filter you will not hurt your cycle.

If this cartridge has been in there for a month or more the carbon is at the end of its useful life so it shouldn't be removing the meds you have added. If it has been a month or more don't do anything with it until you finish the treatment. Once you are done then you can cut that fiber off and add it along with a new cartridge to your filter.
 

Goldiemom

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OMG! Are ya’ll still talking about this? I actually took a nap and came back. Have you cut the carbon out yet? If not, it is already affecting your meds. The carbon is obviously new if a cycle is still trying to be made. You can tell by the pic it is new too. Cut the carbon out and quit stressing. Lol!
 

jdhef

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Okay, hopefully I can clear up the consfusion...or maybe I'll just add to it.

Carbon is good for removing impurities from the water. And as far as carbon is concerned, meds in the water are impurities, so the carbon will remove them. The problem with carbon is that at some point (usually within one month's time) it becomes saturated and stops removing impurities from the water.

So because of this, carbon needs to be replaced every month. But many filters (like yours) has a cartridge that consist of carbon encapsulated inside some type of floss or sponge. So filter manufactures say to replace the cartridge every month, since the carbon has most likely stopped working by then. But since the vast majority of the bacteria that cycles your tank lives on the filter cartridge, actually replacing the cartridge would make you remove all of your bacteria and you would therefore lose your cycle.

So your filter manufacturer had an idea. They put that red piece of plastic on the filter. (I don't know if your filter is made by Aqueon, but Aqueon has a similar system). This red piece of plastic is supposed to be a place for bacteria to grow. Then in theory, you can replace the cartridge, but not lose your cycle, because there is bacteria living on the red piece of plastic.

I used to have an Aqueon filter (like I mentioned with a similar system) but I NEVER trusted that piece of plastic to hold the bacteria. So what I did was cut a slit in the cartridge and I dumped out the carbon. Now that I no longer had carbon in the cartridge, I didn't have to replace the cartridge, I could just swish it around in a bucket of dirty tank water when doing my weekly partial water change.

Carbon, as mentioned is not a "must use" item. Many people run tanks without carbon in their filter with no problems at all. I'm not sure if there is room, but if you wanted to, you could put a media bag of loose carbon in your filter box that could be changed monthly. Or you could change to an AquaClear filter (by far my favorite HOB filters) since they have a separate sponge for removing course debris, a bag of carbon that is very easy to change out, and a bag of ceramic rings where the bacteria lives. These rings will last forever and never need to be changed. (I've got ceramic rings in my canister filter that I have been using for over 10 years).

Very little bacteria will live on your carbon, I never (nor do I know of anyone who ever) lost their cycle when replacing their carbon. Also, while some bacteria supposedly lives in the gravel, I don't believe it is very much bacteria (unless you have an under gravel filter) since the ammonia/nitrite laden water is not pushed thru the gravel. Therefore the only ammonia/nitrite that the bacteria would have to feed off of would be the ammonia/nitrite that happens against it. Plus the bacteria prefers the aeriated water that passes thru the filter. Since you could never cycle a tank without a filter, it just makes sense that if there is any bacteria in the gravel, it is very little and very ineffective.
 

Goldiemom

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jdhef said:
Okay, hopefully I can clear up the consfusion...or maybe I'll just add to it.

Carbon is good for removing impurities from the water. And as far as carbon is concerned, meds in the water are impurities, so the carbon will remove them. The problem with carbon is that at some point (usually within one month's time) it becomes saturated and stops removing impurities from the water.

So because of this, carbon needs to be replaced every month. But many filters (like yours) has a cartridge that consist of carbon encapsulated inside some type of floss or sponge. So filter manufactures say to replace the cartridge every month, since the carbon has most likely stopped working by then. But since the vast majority of the bacteria that cycles your tank lives on the filter cartridge, actually replacing the cartridge would make you remove all of your bacteria and you would therefore lose your cycle.

So your filter manufacturer had an idea. They put that red piece of plastic on the filter. (I don't know if your filter is made by Aqueon, but Aqueon has a similar system). This red piece of plastic is supposed to be a place for bacteria to grow. Then in theory, you can replace the cartridgge, but not lose your cycle, because there is bacteria living on the red piece of plastic.

I used to have an Aqueon filter (like I mentioned with a similar system) but I NEVER trusted that piece of plastic to hold the bacteria. So what I did was cut a slit in the cartridge and I dumped out the carbon. Now that I no longer had carbon in the cartridge, I didn't have to replace the cartridge, I could just swish it around in a bucket of dirty tank water when doing my weekly partial water change.

Carbon, as mentioned is not a "must use" item. Many people run tanks without carbon in their filter with no problems at all. I'm not sure if there is room, but if you wanted to, you could put a media bag of loose carbon in your filter box that could be changed monthly. Or you could change to an AquaClear filter (by far my favorite HOB filters) since they have a separate sponge for removing course debris, a bag of carbon that is very easy to change out, and a bag of ceramic rings where the bacteria lives. These rings will last forever and never need to be changed. (I've got ceramic rings in my canister filter that I have been using for over 10 years).

Very little bacteria will live on your carbon, I never (nor do I know of anyone who ever) lost their cycle when replacing their carbon. Also, while some bacteria supposedly lives in the gravel, I don't believe it is very much bacteria (unless you have an under gravel filter) since the ammonia/nitrite laden water is not pushed thru the gravel. Therefore the only ammonia/nitrite that the bacteria would have to feed off of would be the ammonia/nitrite that happens against it. Plus the bacteria prefers the aeriated water that passes thru the filter. Since you could never cycle a tank without a filter, it just makes sense that if there is any bacteria in the gravel, it is very little and very ineffective.
I agree 100% and you did an excellent job of explaining it. I actually did just what you suggested and got a media bag to put carbon in. I have an Aquaclear on my 55G and they are the best! My carbon bag goes in the 29G which has a bio wheel. My nursery tank has no carbon ever and neither does my tropical tank. The Betta does just because it’s new. So basically, I only use carbon in my goldie tanks because they are messier. The others don’t need it unless filtering out meds.
 

snowballPLECO

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I really wish people would stop using filters with cartridges... I get they’re cheaper, but media is so much better for filtration and hosting BB.
 

NavyChief20

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snowballPLECO said:
I really wish people would stop using filters with cartridges... I get they’re cheaper, but media is so much better for filtration and hosting BB.
You and me both! Carbon does hardly anything. It's a gimmick to sell you those stupid cartridges. If you have it removed right now do yourself a favor and put some ceramic media in there or lava rock and some polyfil (yes pillow stuffing).

You can thank me later as you are shocked at how much money you aren't spending and how clean your tank is.
 

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