5 Gallon Tank Is it safe to replace my aquarium filter cartridge?

rkeehn547

Hello, I was wondering if or when I will ever need to replace the cartridge in my aquarium filter. I have heard that the cartridge should never be replaced because of the beneficial bacteria that lives on it. My tank is in the middle of cycling so I’m afraid that replacing the filter cartridge will interfere. Should I just rinse the cartridge in tank water if it gets dirty? I’ve also heard that the carbon inside the cartridges can become useless after a period of time. To sum it up, can I replace the cartridges when they get dirty or just rinse them? Thank you
 

86 ssinit

They can be replaced. But if it has a poly wrap just rip off the poly and add it to the new cartridge. The carbon is not needed.
 
Upvote 0

SM1199

The best way to keep your cycle is to not throw out your media until it is literally falling apart, and instead rinse it in tank water. The filter companies want you to replace the cartridges every month just so they can make more money. Carbon is not at all necessary to run a fish tank, so in the future once this cartridge starts falling apart, you may be best off buying your own loose media and plopping that in behind the cartridge for a while before removing the cartridge. That way, the beneficial bacteria have time to seed the new media.
 
Upvote 0

Flyfisha

Rinse the dirty cartridge in old tank water IN A SEPARATE CONTAINER. A bucket etc.

I have filters with media that’s 4 years old. No need to replace at the moment. Definitely don’t replace them while the tank is cycling.
 
Upvote 0

rkeehn547

Thanks everyone for the advice, now I know not to replace my filter cartridge at least for awhile
 
Upvote 0

JustAFishServant

I agree with both SM1199 and Flyfisha. A filter cartridge need never be replaced. Activated carbon isn't needed, and in fact, it can do more harm than good. It doesn't remove any organic compounds including waste, ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates and it's only true purpose is to remove colors and odors from the water. What it does do, however, is remove beneficial nutrients and tannins from the water column, making it unhealthy for plants and inhabitants without extra supplements being added. It also removes medications, so say 'goodbye' to effective treatment!

Activated carbon filter cartridges are, frankly, a money-grabber; it's only purpose being to "make your tank clearer". The problem is, you don't always want to get rid of cloudiness. Most of the time it's a bacterial bloom, where beneficial bacteria colonies made a little too many "friends". If you freak out and immediately perform a water change, you're removing millions of microorganisms that are helping keep your tank clean. Activated carbon also raises your pH by a substantial amount. So don't. Just don't.

If you do, however, like the effects of activated carbon, don't mind spending extra time and money buying, adding, and monitoring nutritional supplements, and want to replace it when needed, that's fine too. Replace it when needed but remember, it's not helping your tank or your pockets.

So, of you're absolutely horrified to hear what I just told you about activated carbon like I was when I first learned about the negative and/or zero effects that it has on our tanks but you still want a clear tank without colors or odors and want to keep your pH regulated without spikes, your water full of nutrients, and your blackwater aquariums filled with tannins, look no further than Seachem Renew! No, I'm not being paid to tell you about this product. I just have faith in it! This stuff is absolutely incredible and won't even touch the chemical makeup of your water, although it will help control ammonia, nitrates, and phosphates. It will also help stabilize your pH, create a healthier environment for plants and inhabitants, and it will even leave tannins alone! Best of all, it's cheaper than carbon in the long run. Sure, you can get that 3-pack of those tiny cartridges for your 2 gallon tank for $4, but meanwhile, you could be getting an entire GALLON of Renew, an amount that can treat up to roughly 605 gallons, treating your 5 gallon tank 121 times, and lasting you 2.32 YEARS for less than $29! That's about $1 a month for this great stuff, compared to $4 a month of pre-made carbon cartridges. Now, I've been using this media for over a decade, and I overall highly recommend Seachem Renew over activated carbon any day!

Filter media can be a confusing topic, but I'm hoping this helps you make good decisions for the long-term success of your aquarium! You have a good day
 
Upvote 0

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Question
5 Gallon Tank Filter media question
Replies
3
Views
253
Islandvic
Replies
9
Views
421
Skavatar
Replies
4
Views
420
Islandvic
Replies
6
Views
197
Islandvic
Replies
5
Views
311
NellysDad

Random Great Thread!

New Aquarium Filter Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom