Filter, Filter Media, And Beneficial Bacteria Question

ohdearcheesus

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Okay, so I might be making a bigger deal out of this than I actually need to be, but I thought it was better to ask a --maybe silly--question than to worry about it too much.

So, when I upgraded to this new 20 gallon, I started with running my old filter alongside the new one to get the bacteria going, along with adding Stability to be safe.

It's been about 2 weeks (a little more, now) since I transferred everything over to the new tank and both filters have been running together since then. Today, I was doing a partial water change and decided I'd swish out the filter media in some tank water. There were some dead leaves on the back of the old filter cartridge and when I went to pull them off, I ended up grabbing some of the filter and it tore off in my fingers. I tested in another spot and it was basically falling apart in my hands, so I tossed it out.

Am I good? Is it safe to go ahead and take out the old filter, since it's been 2 weeks and I've also used the Stability? Is there anything else I need to do at this point?

Thanks so much!
 

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Okay, so I might be making a bigger deal out of this than I actually need to be, but I thought it was better to ask a --maybe silly--question than to worry about it too much.

So, when I upgraded to this new 20 gallon, I started with running my old filter alongside the new one to get the bacteria going, along with adding Stability to be safe.

It's been about 2 weeks (a little more, now) since I transferred everything over to the new tank and both filters have been running together since then. Today, I was doing a partial water change and decided I'd swish out the filter media in some tank water. There were some dead leaves on the back of the old filter cartridge and when I went to pull them off, I ended up grabbing some of the filter and it tore off in my fingers. I tested in another spot and it was basically falling apart in my hands, so I tossed it out.

Am I good? Is it safe to go ahead and take out the old filter, since it's been 2 weeks and I've also used the Stability? Is there anything else I need to do at this point?

Thanks so much!
I wouldn't for another 2 weeks. I leave ragged filter media in & sandwich it between new pads for at least a month... because the more horrible it looks, the higher the BB content imo....

watch for ammonia spikes over the next 5 days.
 
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ohdearcheesus

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I wouldn't for another 2 weeks. I leave ragged filter media in & sandwich it between new pads for at least a month... because the more horrible it looks, the higher the BB content imo....

watch for ammonia spikes over the next 5 days.
Ooooh okay! That's good advice.

Given I've prematurely tossed it because it was kind of shredded and I don't think it's the best idea to fish it out of the trash, should I put in some new media into the second filter and add some Stability? The old filter has a small plastic-y... not mesh... but something like that, sort of thing in it that sits on the outside of the filter media. Would there be any BB in that? [I can try to get a picture if it might be more helpful to determine that answer haha]
 

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Ooooh okay! That's good advice.

Given I've prematurely tossed it because it was kind of shredded and I don't think it's the best idea to fish it out of the trash, should I put in some new media into the second filter and add some Stability? The old filter has a small plastic-y... not mesh... but something like that, sort of thing in it that sits on the outside of the filter media. Would there be any BB in that? [I can try to get a picture if it might be more helpful to determine that answer haha]
i would put some new media in and add a double dose of stability just to be on the safe side.

not sure about the plastic thingy...is it like a sponge or is it like a hard plastic slotted thingy? if it's the second one, nah, doubt it. BB need lots of surface area (crinkles and holes and pores) to grow.
 
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ohdearcheesus

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i would put some new media in and add a double dose of stability just to be on the safe side.

not sure about the plastic thingy...is it like a sponge or is it like a hard plastic slotted thingy? if it's the second one, nah, doubt it. BB need lots of surface area (crinkles and holes and pores) to grow.
I was able to find a picture online, which is probably much better than what I'd be able to get with my apartment's bad lighting haha.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/tc-photos/11442/product/large/512486.jpg

It's one of these! It's sort of spongey and sits on the side where the water would come out.

I'll go ahead and replace that media and do the Stability just to be safe! I'd rather have "too much" bacteria in there than not enough.
 

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I was able to find a picture online, which is probably much better than what I'd be able to get with my apartment's bad lighting haha.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/tc-photos/11442/product/large/512486.jpg

It's one of these! It's sort of spongey and sits on the side where the water would come out.

I'll go ahead and replace that media and do the Stability just to be safe! I'd rather have "too much" bacteria in there than not enough.
Yep, that spongy thingy is indeed media your bacteria can grow on! most folks on this forum love those things.

you can't really have too much. your bacteria only grow to the bio load (ammonia/fish waste) in your tank. if you don't have enough food to support the bacteria, the colony dies off. if you start producing more food than your bacteria can handle, the colony grows (this is when you might get small ammonia/nitrite spikes). that's why you're meant to add fish slowly.

*says the woman who just added 8 odessa barbs to her tank at the same time and is now testing her tank daily waiting for the dreaded spike*
 
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ohdearcheesus

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Yep, that spongy thingy is indeed media your bacteria can grow on! most folks on this forum love those things.

you can't really have too much. your bacteria only grow to the bio load (ammonia/fish waste) in your tank. if you don't have enough food to support the bacteria, the colony dies off. if you start producing more food than your bacteria can handle, the colony grows (this is when you might get small ammonia/nitrite spikes). that's why you're meant to add fish slowly.

*says the woman who just added 8 odessa barbs to her tank at the same time and is now testing her tank daily waiting for the dreaded spike*
Hahaha do as I say, not as I do, right? ;D Hey, we all get a little excited now and then and just go for it! lol

But that's awesome! I was thinking that's what it might be, so hopefully there a little something in it. I went ahead and added a new cartridge to that filter and plugged it back in, plus tossed in some Stability. It's just the Betta, an oto (who hopefully survives), and some snails now, so hopefully it'll go alright!

Would my recent ammonia spike (0 at one reading, 0.5 at the next, then 0.25 yesterday) have been because I tried to add the otos and then some ghost shrimp when I replaced one of the otos that died?
 

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Hahaha do as I say, not as I do, right? ;D Hey, we all get a little excited now and then and just go for it! lol
yeah, one of my FL mentors is not impressed because he knows we knew better *hangs head*

Would my recent ammonia spike (0 at one reading, 0.5 at the next, then 0.25 yesterday) have been because I tried to add the otos and then some ghost shrimp when I replaced one of the otos that died?
Possibly? had you done a pwc recently prior to the spike? that's a bit of a spike but i suppose i've heard that otos and shrimp can create some waste...and of course we all tend to overfeed new additions if you ammonia jumped to .5, you may want to check nitrite just in case. i had our sneaky BB decide they wanted more nitrite fixing bacteria a week after an ammonia spike up to about .75... thankfully i had another cycled tank to put the fish in. so,because i'm paranoid, i would be checking nitrites every other day for 2 weeks. but again, i'm paranoid.
 
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ohdearcheesus

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Possibly? had you done a pwc recently prior to the spike? that's a bit of a spike but i suppose i've heard that otos and shrimp can create some waste...and of course we all tend to overfeed new additions if you ammonia jumped to .5, you may want to check nitrite just in case. i had our sneaky BB decide they wanted more nitrite fixing bacteria a week after an ammonia spike up to about .75... thankfully i had another cycled tank to put the fish in. so,because i'm paranoid, i would be checking nitrites every other day for 2 weeks. but again, i'm paranoid.
I think I did the water change right after I noticed the spike up to .5, and that was the day after adding the first two otos. It was back down to .25 last night when I checked and I need to check again after having done my water change today.

I did just realize, though, the ammonia could’ve been partially due to the fact that I was trying to feed my Betta and he was being stubborn about eating. We had several pellets on the bottom of the tank just sitting around because I was silly and didn’t get them out right away.

My nitrites, thankfully, have been coming up at 0! I’ve been checking all parameters every time I test.
 

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I think I did the water change right after I noticed the spike up to .5, and that was the day after adding the first two otos. It was back down to .25 last night when I checked and I need to check again after having done my water change today.

I did just realize, though, the ammonia could’ve been partially due to the fact that I was trying to feed my Betta and he was being stubborn about eating. We had several pellets on the bottom of the tank just sitting around because I was silly and didn’t get them out right away.

My nitrites, thankfully, have been coming up at 0! I’ve been checking all parameters every time I test.
yep, leftover fish food can easily cause a spike.

we brought home our EBJD over the weekend (impatience for this stunning fish is at least 50% of the reason we didn't add the odessas in 2 lots of 4). he's tiny - just over an inch long. he's got a 60L QT for now, and we have 5 mystery snails, 1 apple snail and 3 suckers in there with him (there were 4...can't find the tiniest...we suspect the filter...). they're all in the tank with the filter that grew BB to cope with all 8 odessas, so i'm not expecting a spike because i'm feeding the tank less than i was with the odessas.

Having said that... we gave our tiny EBJD the very corner of a frozen bit of cichlid food (mostly shrimp, salmon, etc bits). it was adorable ripping into this tiny lump of flesh. but it left 2/3 uneaten. i was going to remove. but then i saw the funniest thing: 3 of the snails making a b-line for the leftovers! they were on it SO fast! go clean up crew! lolz.
 
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ohdearcheesus

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yep, leftover fish food can easily cause a spike.

we brought home our EBJD over the weekend (impatience for this stunning fish is at least 50% of the reason we didn't add the odessas in 2 lots of 4). he's tiny - just over an inch long. he's got a 60L QT for now, and we have 5 mystery snails, 1 apple snail and 3 suckers in there with him (there were 4...can't find the tiniest...we suspect the filter...). they're all in the tank with the filter that grew BB to cope with all 8 odessas, so i'm not expecting a spike because i'm feeding the tank less than i was with the odessas.

Having said that... we gave our tiny EBJD the very corner of a frozen bit of cichlid food (mostly shrimp, salmon, etc bits). it was adorable ripping into this tiny lump of flesh. but it left 2/3 uneaten. i was going to remove. but then i saw the funniest thing: 3 of the snails making a b-line for the leftovers! they were on it SO fast! go clean up crew! lolz.
That’s so great! What an awesome clean up crew!

We had 6 ghost shrimp in our 10 gallon but lost them on the upgrade :c They we’re pretty great at getting those extra pellets! It was pretty funny because they were even fighting I’ve them a couple times so I’d have to drop some extra ones in.

Right now, my cleanup crew only consists of an oto, a tiny horned nerite snail, and a couple pond snails. I tried to get a few ghost shrimp again, but they didn’t make it. We lost two otos I tried recently, too, so I’m not sure what’s up. I am thinking about getting some corydoras at some point, though—I would think they’d be a bit hardier than the ghost shrimp?
 

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That’s so great! What an awesome clean up crew!

We had 6 ghost shrimp in our 10 gallon but lost them on the upgrade :c They we’re pretty great at getting those extra pellets! It was pretty funny because they were even fighting I’ve them a couple times so I’d have to drop some extra ones in.

Right now, my cleanup crew only consists of an oto, a tiny horned nerite snail, and a couple pond snails. I tried to get a few ghost shrimp again, but they didn’t make it. We lost two otos I tried recently, too, so I’m not sure what’s up. I am thinking about getting some corydoras at some point, though—I would think they’d be a bit hardier than the ghost shrimp?
i'm jealous that you can get nerite snails! they aren't sold in NZ, illegal to import, and i can't find anywhere telling me if they exist here in the wild.... sigh. get more of those imo.

our sterbai cory are actually meat eaters - so they will clean up leftover fish food, but not algae. i've never kept shrimp or oto's. we have mystery and apple nails, kuhli loaches & a pleco. that's our clean up crew. oh, and our hands, a toothbrush & vacuum siphon of course
 
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ohdearcheesus

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i'm jealous that you can get nerite snails! they aren't sold in NZ, illegal to import, and i can't find anywhere telling me if they exist here in the wild.... sigh. get more of those imo.

our sterbai cory are actually meat eaters - so they will clean up leftover fish food, but not algae. i've never kept shrimp or oto's. we have mystery and apple nails, kuhli loaches & a pleco. that's our clean up crew. oh, and our hands, a toothbrush & vacuum siphon of course
Oh no! That’s so sad! If it wasn’t illegal, I’d get some and send them your way! They’re so cute. My little guy was pretty much the smallest in the tank when I got him. I might go ahead and grab a couple more next time I’m at the pet store—or check a couple other places to see what they’ve got and maybe get a small variety.

Our Betta seems to do very well with snails. I’ve seen some warnings, but he doesn’t even bother with them!

And of course! Hands, toothbrushes, and vacuums are always helpful! haha. I’m going to look more into different types of cory fish—we used to have some with our last Betta and I liked them. Plus they tended to stay out of his way, which is always good too!
 
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