Filter Media Questions

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by Isabella, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    I have an Aqua Clear filter for 40-70 gallon tanks (though my tank is 30 gallons). So far I have been changing the filter media according to the instructions on the filter manual. That is: carbon - every month, sponge - every 2 months, and white bio-cubes - every 3 months. Never really had any problems with water. But I am wonderinf if it's really necessary to change all of these media that often? What will happen if I keep carbon for 2 months, sponge for 3 months, and bio-cubes for 4 months? Or do I even have to be getting a new sponge every month? I clean the sponge anyway - so what would happen if I kept just cleaning the sponge? What about the bio-cubes?

    What is the longest I could keep all of these filter media without replacing them? The manual says to replace sponge and bio-cubes but bio-cubes are really good for bacteria. Should I replace them AT ALL?

    Thanks for help :)
  2. GunnieWell Known MemberMember

    Don't change out your filter media until your filter doesn't work anymore! That's how they continue to make money. Those sponges can last 15 years! I wouldn't change the bio cubes either. Are they ceramic? You may have to rinse them off, but that should be it.
  3. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Gunnie beat me to it!! ;) I agree totally, I have sponges i have used for several years and they still rinse out good. The ceramic just needs a rinse(in tank water) once in a while
  4. newbie101Well Known MemberMember

    i have a filter that uses a packet of activated carbon, and then a white piece of floss stuff that is never changed (im assuming thats where the bacteria grows). how often do you think i should change the carbon?
  5. GunnieWell Known MemberMember

    It is not necessary to use carbon in your filter unless you want to. Most folks use it to absorb mediations from the tank, and some use it to keep the water smelling fresh.
  6. newbie101Well Known MemberMember

    well i think i have to use it or not all the water would be filtered because the floss isnt big enough to cover the whole space. does that mean i just dont need to change it every month like it says?
  7. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Really? Heck, then my store did make lots of money off me already. Exactly, I was thinking the same - if bacteria are so beneficial why change the white cubes so often? By doing it, you're removing the good bacteria. Same goes for sponge. Sometimes "going by the book" isn't such a good idea at all. Thank all of you so much. I will just keep filter media in there much longer than I have been keeping them so far. Besides, if you test the water every week or two and all toxic levels are low (like nitrate) and nonexistent (like ammonia and nitrite) - then I don't think there's anything to worry about.
  8. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Your catching on Isabella ;)
  9. newbie101Well Known MemberMember

    wont the carbon lose its ability to filter well after a while though?

    and Isabella, i think "going by the book" is a good idea, but "going by what the pet store people say" is a baaaad idea lol. there are lots of good books out there. ;D
  10. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Good perception Emma. The companys are there to make money.If they didn't make money we wouldn't have those wonderful filters we have, but we still have to use discretion in how we give them our money ;)
    I think after a couple of months the Charcoal quits being effective anyway. So if you only use it to clear medications out or occasionally to freshen your water it wouldn't be really expensive to keep on hand to use it and dispose of it. Just my thoughts.
  11. GunnieWell Known MemberMember

    Yeah. The charcoal only works for a couple of days, and if you buy charcoal that comes in a carboard box, then it's probably not gonna work very well, because it will absorb anything it can, and until you use it in your tank, any smells it comes in contact with will start it working. It's kind of like storing baking soda in your spice cabinet. Especially when the box is opened, it immediately starts absorbing all the smells of your spices.
  12. newbie101Well Known MemberMember

    oooooo ouch....mine comes in a cardboard box of 8....
  13. DinoFishlore VIPMember

    I threw away my first Aquaclear sponge last year, after 15 years of constant use.

    Carbon loses all absorptive properties after less than 24 hours in your tank.
    It still does work as a large surface area for bacterial growth, however.
    I only use it here for medicine removal.

  14. newbie101Well Known MemberMember

    15 years!!!!!!!!!! :eek: :eek: :eek:
    how long do "they" tell you to keep it? like 2 months?
  15. chickadeeFishlore VIPMember

    :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[I just did my first "wash" on my sponge filter.  I have been just blithely going along and throwing them away like "they" said to.  Noel seems to be just as happy and the tank has been in such great balance I hope this works because changing the whole filter usually means a recycle process.  Thank you for this thread so I learned something about saving money.
  16. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Definitely! Buying filter media one at a time doesn't seem like a lot of money. But when you add up all the filter media you buy throughout a year - that is quite a sum. So you definitely save money by not changing filter media too often. Plus, when you really think about it - by throwing out a sponge very often, you're throwing out the good and essential bacteria (not to mention bio-cubes). I have been so blind and they made lots of money off me already.

    In the light of all this, now, how should I maintain my WhisperTetra filter in my 10g. tank? How often to change the bag with carbon? (The bag in a WhisperTetra 10 filter comes with carbon).
  17. GunnieWell Known MemberMember

    Don't change the filter bag until your water flow is clogged and you are not getting good flow from your filter.
  18. IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Thanks Gunnie, I'll do just that :)
  19. jim55379Valued MemberMember

    emma I usually leave mine in for about a month. They start to smell pretty bad though and I find myself ringing it out in the sink about once a week. That biological filter is kind of a mystery to me. I try to clean it out also but don't know what good it does over the blue charcoal filter. Do you use aeration in your tank? I just use the filters waterflow and it seems to work fine. I like the soothing noise they make like a trickling stream. I hear they have new whisper quiet filters out but I don't know If I would like them or not. You should take it apart about every water change though because the tubes get gunk in them and so does the impeller. They feel kind of slimy also so like to clean that off. Did you notice the moderator on this article has enough fishtanks and gallons of water to flood a swimming pool. Wow..... ;D :D
  20. newbie101Well Known MemberMember

    I don't have aeration in my tank eitherI just use the waterflow from my filter, it makes lots of bubbles, plus I have live plants which give oxygen.
    do you rinse it off in tap water from the sink? If you do that is a good possiblity why your fish are dying! :( :eek: