Filter Cartridge Change?

  1. BettaLover07

    BettaLover07 Valued Member Member

    So I've had my tank for about 1 month and a half and I'm not sure if if I'm supposed to change the cartridge completely or not. I've seen multiple websites where some say change the cartridge because it runs out of carbon, but others that say never change it because you will lose beneficial bacteria? I'm concerned about if I'm doing this horribly wrong and should have changed it by now so I hope I can get some more information on this. Also I have a 10 gallon tank with a pretty friendly betta and 2 guppies. The filter came from the 10 gallon top fin aquarium starter kit.
     
  2. FishFish221

    FishFish221 Well Known Member Member

    Cut a hole in the cartridge and let the carbon out, put in more if you want to (really only useful for removing medication and odors). Taking the whole thing out will make you lose your cycle, which is what changes the toxic ammonia that fish produce into slightly less toxic nitrate.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    BettaLover07

    BettaLover07 Valued Member Member

    So I don't change it? I just cut a hole in it? ( I'm very new to filter stuff)
     
  4. FishFish221

    FishFish221 Well Known Member Member

    Cut a hole and take all the carbon out if you want to (the carbon will just become almost useless after a month).
     
  5. tunafax

    tunafax Well Known Member Member

    Don't change - wash with tank water. It's only been 1 month so it's probably fine for now, but if it comes to worst you can just dig out the carbon and get some new carbon from walmart.
    I'd look into diy filter cartridges if you want to stick with your top fin filter. An lazier (better, imo) solution is probably to fill your filter with filter media around the cartridge, so that when the time comes to replace the cartridge, most of your bacteria lives on in the media. You shouldn't be replacing it in a month, anyway. Like 4 months is when I'd start thinking about it, or when my water starts to stink.

    You need at least 5 guppies for a guppy tank. The betta will be "friendly" right up until the day he decides to go on a killing spree, and in a properly stocked guppy tanks (5+) that will happen sooner than later.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    BettaLover07

    BettaLover07 Valued Member Member

    So when you say wash it with tank water do I just take a container or something with water from the tank, take out the cartridge and swish it around and then it's ok? ( I know I probably don't even know what I'm talking about.)
     
  7. tunafax

    tunafax Well Known Member Member

    That sounds fine! :) Obviously don't do it in the tank itself. You can even squeeze and rub off the algae/gunk if there is any. As long as you don't do it with chlorinated water, your cycle will be fine.
     
  8. S

    Sam1859 New Member Member

    Yes I have been doing that for 3 months with my 10 gallon betta tank. Do not have guppies only Amano shrimps.
     
  9. D

    Discusluv Well Known Member Member

    Yeah, many people will tell you to use the cartridge until it disintegrates ( some have had their nasty sponges in their filters for years!), and the only time they clean them are in dirty tank water. You do not have to do this!
    In fact, an old sponge that has been in a filter for months, years, forever, has no more beneficial bacteria on the sponge than one you reseed (placing a new cartridge behind the old one that you want to replace). The filter sponge will only be seeded with beneficial bacteria to match the bio-load of the fish you have in your system- no more, no less.
    Actually, leaving a sponge in for extended periods of time, only swishing around in tank water to clean, will eventually become layered and layered with mulm which will, in time, cause anaerobic pockets- killing the bacteria. You dont have to change as often as manufacturers suggest, but it is good aquarium husbandry to change them out at least every few months.
    That said, you should wait to change yours until your system is established--- after three months.
    After this, place the new cartridge behind the old one you are replacing, let it reseed the new one for approximately a week. You will not go through a mini-cycle let alone loose your cycle completely. I had this type of filter for 15 years. Changed my cartridge once a month (after reseeding) and never lost my cycle.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    BettaLover07

    BettaLover07 Valued Member Member

    Thanks for all the helpful information and I'm glad that I now know how to properly take care of my aquarium's filter cartridge. :)