How Often Should Filter Media Be Changed?

Emma McCarthy

Member
I want to know how often the filter media should be changed. I own 2 aqua clears. One being a 20 and the other a 30. Just wondering what is necessary to be changed and what isn’t.
 

Fizzfrog

Member
What kind of media do you have in your filter? Carbon only works for a few days after the filter starts running but it isn't really necessary for a filter's function, if I remember correctly it helps keep the water clear but that's about it.

Beneficial bacteria live in the filter, so you shouldn't change the media too frequently. Ceramic rings can be replaced when they start to crack and fall apart (generally after around a year). I don't have much experience with bio balls but I've heard they last practically forever. I would guess that the same applies; you only need to replace them if they start to fall apart, and just be sure to rinse them every few months when they start to get gunky. You can clean sponge filters by swishing them around in tank water you take out during a water change and then putting the sponges right back into the filter, the frequency of which depends on your overall tank parameters. The dirtier the water the sponge is filtering, the more frequently it will need to be rinsed out. I don't think there's a specific amount of time where they would need to be replaced, just when they're actually falling apart and physically can't be used anymore.

Just make sure that you're never replacing too much of your filter at once to avoid removing too much BB, and I would suggest always keeping extra ceramic rings inside your filter compartment in case you do need to replace almost all of your filter media at once - those extra ceramic rings would ensure that there is still some BB left so your nitrogen cycle is less likely to crash.
 
  • Thread Starter

Emma McCarthy

Member
Fizzfrog said:
What kind of media do you have in your filter? Carbon only works for a few days after the filter starts running but it isn't really necessary for a filter's function, if I remember correctly it helps keep the water clear but that's about it.

Beneficial bacteria live in the filter, so you shouldn't change the media too frequently. Ceramic rings can be replaced when they start to crack and fall apart (generally after around a year). I don't have much experience with bio balls but I've heard they last practically forever. I would guess that the same applies; you only need to replace them if they start to fall apart, and just be sure to rinse them every few months when they start to get gunky. You can clean sponge filters by swishing them around in tank water you take out during a water change and then putting the sponges right back into the filter, the frequency of which depends on your overall tank parameters. The dirtier the water the sponge is filtering, the more frequently it will need to be rinsed out. I don't think there's a specific amount of time where they would need to be replaced, just when they're actually falling apart and physically can't be used anymore.

Just make sure that you're never replacing too much of your filter at once to avoid removing too much BB, and I would suggest always keeping extra ceramic rings inside your filter compartment in case you do need to replace almost all of your filter media at once - those extra ceramic rings would ensure that there is still some BB left so your nitrogen cycle is less likely to crash.
Ok great yea I do have ceramic rings in there for my biological filtration and a sponge. So you’re saying I should really replace the sponge either? I do also have carbon in my filter.
 

Fizzfrog

Member
I don't think there's a need to replace the ceramic rings or sponge unless they're falling apart - just rinse them in aquarium water if they start to get a bit gunky. That's what my family has done with a tank we've had for many, many years, and we haven't lost any fish to filtration issues. You can replace the carbon if you want, it certainly won't hurt! It's just not really necessary for the actual filtration process.
 

aquatickeeper

Member
Emma McCarthy said:
Ok great yea I do have ceramic rings in there for my biological filtration and a sponge. So you’re saying I should really replace the sponge either? I do also have carbon in my filter.
I wouldn't change the filter media. Most of the BB live on the media so changing the media is equivalent to throwing your cycle away.
 

JB92668

the sponge should be replaced every 6 to 8 months acctavated carbon should be removed after 3 to 5 days
 

Fizzfrog

Member
johnbetta said:
the sponge should be replaced every 6 to 8 months acctavated carbon should be removed after 3 to 5 days
I think it also depends on what kind of sponge you have, some last longer than others. The one I have lasts for years and still works well. If you do replace the sponge this frequently (and I guess some sponges do need this frequent replacement if they get irreparably clogged or fall apart that quickly), you need to make sure your filter doesn't consist of only that single sponge. Otherwise you would be tossing almost all of your BB and your cycle will crash. If the sponge is still working well to filter out the water/will work well after a quick rinse I don't see why you would have to replace it.
 

JB92668

well said fizzfrog
 

aquatickeeper

Member
johnbetta said:
the sponge should be replaced every 6 to 8 months acctavated carbon should be removed after 3 to 5 days
Carbon is something that stops working at around 4 weeks, not 3-5 days.
 

Swampgorilla

Member
I've got two AC70's and on AC110. I never change the sponge - just squeeze it out. If it starts falling apart - I'll change it. Beyond that, I put POND MATRIX and filter floss. I change and throw away the floss every three weeks. The pond matrix ... never - I just "swish" it clean and plop it back in.
 
Top Bottom