Filter clog

Discussion in 'Fish Tank Filters' started by Lady Monster, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. Lady Monster

    Lady MonsterWell Known MemberMember

    I have a hob filter that's been running for 2 or so weeks. It gets rinsed and swished around in the tank during water changes. The filter bag is filthy because all my mollies do is eat and poop lol. Should I use the old carbon with some new carbon in a new bag? I could keep rinsing the old bag but it's brown and used looking. And a new filter on top of it will only worsen the clog problem.

    I'm changing the bag regardless but need to know if I should keep the carbon and add it to the new bag? The overflow tube is draining into my tank so I don't want to wait much longer to swap things around. I'm also adding a sponge filter when it arrives in the mail.
  2. Nicoldeme

    NicoldemeValued MemberMember

    Don't change the cartridge yet! I know, it's annoying, but keep it for just a little while longer. Get a new cartridge of the same size and put it behind your old one. No, don't use the same carbon, after a while it'll just foul up the water again, use new. After the new cartridge has been in the filter for at least a few days to a week, then take it out.
    Do you have biological filter media in there? If you do, you don't really have to worry about changing filter media. I just give it a single day before taking it out due to the biological media.
  3. hampalong

    hampalongWell Known MemberMember

    Carbon isn't necessary. I would swap it for more biological media, such as another sponge.

  4. OP
    Lady Monster

    Lady MonsterWell Known MemberMember

    There is a green plastic piece, then the bag with the carbon in it.

    My other filter has a black scrubby like sponge, then the bag with the carbon.

    Both filters are new and not flowing properly. Overflow / low flow
  5. hampalong

    hampalongWell Known MemberMember

    Black sponges are usually carbon-impregnated sponges. If you take stuff out and replace it you should find which one/s are slowing the flow. I would replace those ones with sponges. (assuming it is the media, and the filters flow well with none).
  6. OP
    Lady Monster

    Lady MonsterWell Known MemberMember

    The filters i have are tetra whisper 10 and top fin 30 power filter.

    I broke up the compacted carbon and redistributed in, not over flowing anymore.

    Im still not sure about cartridge changing.

    Should i just replace the carbon and keep using the same bag? I don't want to lose my cycle
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
  7. Jsigmo

    JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    The main part of your beneficial bacteria is in and on anything fluffy or with large surface area that is in the water flow path.

    So the bags, and the spongy thing, and the hard plastic thing are all meant to provide a lot of surface for the bacteria to colonize.

    I have a couple of filters that are probably similar to yours.

    One style has a hard plastic plate that has a lot of holes through it, and each hole has sort of a snorkel or tube shaped projection, to give more surface area.

    The other style uses plastic pieces that are sort of like sponges. They are what we'd call "open cell foam". This is, as you say, sort of like a scrubby thing.

    Water passes through these plates or sponges after it passes through the filter bags. So these are meant to be the "biomedia" in these designs.

    The bags, and their carbon, filter the water first. Then the filtered water passes through the biomedia, and then out into the aquarium.

    The idea is supposed to be that these plastic biomedia parts hold a lot of beneficial bacteria so you can change the filter bags without losing too much of your beneficial bacteria.

    So you don't want to clean these biomedia parts too thoroughly, ever. And always just use old tank water or at least water that you've treated for chlorine/chloramines. You really don't need to clean them much, or often, because the bag filters catch the crud before the water reaches them. The slime coating on those biomedia pieces is actually what you want to have. Don't try to keep them clean.

    The manufacturers want you to just throw the filter/carbon bags away frequently. But the thing is, they do house a lot of beneficial bacteria, too. So you will be throwing away a good portion of the BB whenever you do that.

    Thus, most of us like to use the filter bags until they're really falling apart. I usually get a few years out of them. I carefully open them and swap the carbon every so often. And I just rinse them gently in treated or used aquarium water.

    The brown stain is actually your friend. You want to keep as much of your bacteria as possible. Don't clean them too thoroughly. You just want to unplug them so they'll flow well again.

    When they totally self destruct, then I do replace them. But not too often. The manufacturers probably hate that!

    Activated carbon is optional. I sometimes use it because I have some on hand. But usually, it's not necessary. So refill the bags if you want to, but don't worry too much about it. As hampalong suggested, you can just stuff some filter floss in the bags if you want to fill them out a bit.

    Edit to add:

    It's not uncommon for these internal filters to overflow a bit as their bags clog up. Some water still goes through the filter, so it's not the end of the world if some water bypasses. But it's a good way to see when the bags need rinsing.

    One thing to watch out for, though, is to mount the filter low enough that if it overflows, none of that overflow can go over the side (back) of the aquarium. There are usually two or three mounting holes in the hanger. I go low, now.

    Ask me how I know! ;)

    The beauty of these little internal filters, to me, is that the pump is at the bottom of the filter, so they self-prime at startup, and they're extremely quiet.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
  8. OP
    Lady Monster

    Lady MonsterWell Known MemberMember

    Thank you! I will just replace the carbon and watch for holes in my bag.

    That is what I'm understanding is my advice. I will change carbon every month until im out of refill. I ordered some filter floss, do i need bio balls or can i use the "green plastic" that came with my filter?

    From my understanding the carbon isn't necessary but it's nice to use as it helps detox the water. Which does sound necessary lol. I can order media bags instead if i need to?

    I guess I'm looking for a diy method so i don't have to spend too much on pre made cartridges.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
  9. Jsigmo

    JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    The bio media that came with your filters is nice because it is made to fit. If you have spare room, you can add more biomedia, such as balls or ceramic rings or the like. But usually, you have very little space in these smaller filters.

    I found spare bags to fit some of my filters on Amazon. I think the box has ten bags, ten little packs of carbon, and one frame. So that will last me for a long time.

    These particular bags/frames happen to fit three of my filters. But I need to get smaller ones to fit two others.

    We need to look up your particular filters to see which bags and frames yours use. Sometimes, the sizes are not well explained on the sales webpages for these "kits".

    These kits are a lot cheaper than the pre-made filter bag assemblies. You replace the bag and carbon, but re-use the frames. And if you get a year or more from each bag, a box of ten lasts you a long time!

    If you do use the activated carbon, you can buy it in bulk so it can be swapped out every couple of weeks and be relatively inexpensive, too, even when reusing the bags. It's kind of a hassle to get the old, wet carbon out of the gunky, wet bag, but if you're careful, it can be done.

    Rinse the new carbon to get rid of the fine dust that comes from it being ground down in shipping before you put it into the old wet bag. Use dechlorinated water for this rinsing.

    A normal eating spoon can help with all of this.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2016

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