Filthy Filter Cartridge, What Now?

Molasses

Hello,

I'm in a bit of a panic right now. Today my friend and I went to our LFS. He is currently cycling a 75 gallon aquarium (fishless) and the worker at the store told me to swish around my filter cartridge in his tank to get some of the BB in the water so his filter can suck it up.

Well, this is the first time I've seen the cartridge since setting up my own tank in December. It is FILTHY. The people at that same store told me not to touch the cartridge to not disturb the BB, but I looked it up and it seems the filth on this cartridge might be hurting my tank. I tried rinsing it in a bucket of my tank water until the water turned dark brown, but the end result is the picture I have linked. Is this cartridge screwed? Do I need to replace it? And if so, will it hurt my cycle?

My tank is a 29g, Marineland Penguin 200 Filter. Thanks.
 

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Donthemon

Oh that is nasty. Is there any other filter media in the filter ? Best to get away from those overpriced not that great cartridges and just add your own bio media and filter floss.
 

EbiAqua

It's normal for them to get that color, don't worry. If you want to replace it (with any media, really), place the new media or cartridge behind it and wait two weeks before throwing the old one out.

If you want, just cut some of the filter floss off and give it to your friend to put in his filter (remembering to keep it wet in a container of your tank water). It will seed it a LOT faster than if you just swished your cartridge in his tank.
 

Molasses

Oh that is nasty. Is there any other filter media in the filter ? Best to get away from those overpriced not that great cartridges and just add your own bio media and filter floss.
Sadly I never got around to adding any other media. It was one of those things where I was gonna wait for later but never happened.

It's normal for them to get that color, don't worry. If you want to replace it (with any media, really), place the new media or cartridge behind it and wait two weeks before throwing the old one out.

If you want, just cut some of the filter floss off and give it to your friend to put in his filter (remembering to keep it wet in a container of your tank water). It will seed it a LOT faster than if you just swished your cartridge in his tank.
That sounds like a good solution. By placing the new one behind the current one, do you mean having the current one being the first to touch water that's sucked up and then it passes to the new one?

And how do you cut it? Could I just literally cut off that big chunk hanging down and place it in the other filter? And where would I place it?

Thank you for your help and sorry for all the questions. I just want to make sure I do this right.
 

EbiAqua

That sounds like a good solution. By placing the new one behind the current one, do you mean having the current one being the first to touch water that's sucked up and then it passes to the new one?

And how do you cut it? Could I just literally cut off that big chunk hanging down and place it in the other filter? And where would I place it?

Thank you for your help and sorry for all the questions. I just want to make sure I do this right.

Yep, that way beneficial bacteria are transferred to the new one.

Literally take scissors and cut off the filter padding and just stuff it in your friend's filter! Easy as pie.
 

Molasses

Yep, that way beneficial bacteria are transferred to the new one.

Literally take scissors and cut off the filter padding and just stuff it in your friend's filter! Easy as pie.
You're a lifesaver. Thanks, I'll give it a try tomorrow. I wish I knew this before swishing the cartridge, because now there's waste in his tank. But better late than never!
 

ystrout

Ya that's gross, lol. At least you know it's working!!!

But just swish it around in a bucket of tank water. Once that bucket turns disgusting, full up a new bucket and do it again. Do it a few times. Don't throw it away or your lose your beneficial bacteria. You can add a second cartridge to to and transfer the bacteria, but you'll lose a lot when you throw away the old media which will cause a minI cycle.

I am using the same filter sponge in one of my tanks after 4 years. I've transferred it to a bunch of tanks and it never lost bacteria.
 

Molasses

Ya that's gross, lol. At least you know it's working!!!

But just swish it around in a bucket of tank water. Once that bucket turns disgusting, full up a new bucket and do it again. Do it a few times. Don't throw it away or your lose your beneficial bacteria. You can add a second cartridge to to and transfer the bacteria, but you'll lose a lot when you throw away the old media which will cause a minI cycle.

I am using the same filter sponge in one of my tanks after 4 years. I've transferred it to a bunch of tanks and it never lost bacteria.
Thanks for your feedback. I've been through many mini-cycles due to my beginner mistakes so I'm prepared for it. Whatever it takes, I suppose.

Yep, that way beneficial bacteria are transferred to the new one.

Literally take scissors and cut off the filter padding and just stuff it in your friend's filter! Easy as pie.
Hey sorry to bug you again, but I'm about to attempt cutting the cartridge and I was wondering if I could leave the filter running without it in there so I don't have to turn it off and then get it running again. Also, should my friend siphon out the waste from when I swished the cartridge in the tank or should he leave it in there till the cycle is complete?
 

EbiAqua

Hey sorry to bug you again, but I'm about to attempt cutting the cartridge and I was wondering if I could leave the filter running without it in there so I don't have to turn it off and then get it running again. Also, should my friend siphon out the waste from when I swished the cartridge in the tank or should he leave it in there till the cycle is complete?

A few seconds or minutes with no filter cartridge won't hurt anything.

I'd get any necessary waste out of the tank. Giving him the piece of your media will almost instantly cycle him anyway, getting only a small ammonia hiccup rather than a full cycle.
 

Molasses

A few seconds or minutes with no filter cartridge won't hurt anything.

I'd get any necessary waste out of the tank. Giving him the piece of your media will almost instantly cycle him anyway, getting only a small ammonia hiccup rather than a full cycle.
I think it was a success! I cut off a few pieces of the media from the cartridge around the edges and transferred it next to his media! I hope it worked! My tank is a bit cloudy now from removing the cartridge but it's totally worth it.
 

TucanSam

That bulge is likely the carbon inside of the filter. The only reason to ever replace a cartridge is if it is falling apart or you want new carbon. The color and gunk isn't a concern for your fishes health, just rinse it in a bucket of tank water.

I assume that the penguin has some sort of bacteria plate or wheel to house BB as well. If so, you could just get a new cartridge and give your friend the old one completely. Should practically instant cycle his tank.
 

Molasses

That bulge is likely the carbon inside of the filter. The only reason to ever replace a cartridge is if it is falling apart or you want new carbon. The color and gunk isn't a concern for your fishes health, just rinse it in a bucket of tank water.

I assume that the penguin has some sort of bacteria plate or wheel to house BB as well. If so, you could just get a new cartridge and give your friend the old one completely. Should practically instant cycle his tank.
If you mean a bio wheel, yes it has one. And yeah that's a really tempting idea. I already cut off some parts around the edges to throw into his filter, but if that's not enough I might take your suggestion.
 

Elkwatcher

You could run a second HOB or sponge filter in your tank, that way when you alternate clean your filters you don't have to worry about losing the BB so much. This will also let you could give one of the media complete to friends or start up another tank for yourself with almost an instant cycle.
 

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