Please help me understand the workings of my filter Question

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by cheesepuff, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. cheesepuffWell Known MemberMember

    First I would like to note that I did indeed see there was a sticky thread more or less about this subject, but just to be sure I wanted to make a thread on the specific filter that I have. I have made a video to clearly display the questions that I have. I would genuinely appreciate it if some of you could take a look at it and help answer the questions in the video. I have tried to understand how everything works, but I am pretty heavy on being a visual learner and I can't quite seem to grasp all the concepts that I need to yet. I'm having a particularly hard time understanding how the bacteria builds up where it needs to. I have more or less outlined my questions on this subject in the video.


    I think my trouble understanding the issue comes from the media that is used in my filter and how the media is intended to work. I know a video is somewhat inconvenience, but it was the only way I can think of to express my thoughts. Thank you all in advance for helping me learn

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  2. chrisdmcgeeNew MemberMember

    The blue is just to filter the water you change it out every month are sooner

  3. hampalongWell Known MemberMember

    You shouldn't change anything every month. It all will contain bacteria. If you change anything you will be short of bacteria and will probably get another ammonia spike (or nitrite).

    A filter is just a place with a lot of surface area.

    Bacteria (the ones we want) are in water. So they will settle on the surface area (all of it) in the filter. That means all of the media. Keep water flowing through the media, with a constant supply of ammonia from the fish, and oxygen, and the bacteria will build up until there's enough for the amount of ammonia being produced. You won't see the bacteria, but your test results will tell you what's what. Just squeeze out the media in tank water when it's mucky, and don't change any of it.


  4. leftswerveWell Known MemberMember

    Got about half way through your vid. The course black sponge is your bio-media, do not replace and only rinse with tank water as necessary to maintain flow.. BB will build up there. Where I disagree with another post, by rinsing and/or replacing the one with carbon in it, when it gets clogged or rough, ....the bio media will begin building more and more BB to compensate.
    Unfortunately you have to replace that second filter frame media, because it has carbon that will exhaust. Try to get them on a rotating sched.
    As for you ammonia spike.....something happened, did you clean out your filter too quickly or with chlorinated water? (assuming the tank was already cycled.)
    Good luck.

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015
  5. hampalongWell Known MemberMember

    Exhausted carbon foams are still surface area and get colonised by bacteria just like the other foams. They do not need to be replaced.
  6. Et tuValued MemberMember

    Watched your vid. you have the basic idea, yes the black sponge is the main bio filter media. The blue fiber filter insert is for straining debris, but it will also develop a large amount of BB. The blue filters will clog up and need to be cleaned. Shake or rub the dirty filters while in a bucket used tank water. Alternate cleaning them, never both at the same time.If you put a prefilter sponge on the strainer and keep it clean in used tank water,you'll extend the life of the filter pads.
  7. hampalongWell Known MemberMember

    It's ok to clean the whole filter at the same time. Where does this view that cleaning a filter is bad for bacteria come from? It's total garbage. Another myth that will take a long time to disappear.....

  8. Et tuValued MemberMember

    From life experience! To each his/her own.
  9. hampalongWell Known MemberMember

    If you clean filter media in its own water you will not dislodge any bacteria. They make a very strong protein-based glue to stick to surfaces. Your experience was wrongly attributed I feel. You must have done something else and thought it was because you cleaned the filter?
  10. Et tuValued MemberMember

    I shall agree to disagree, to each his/her own .
  11. hampalongWell Known MemberMember

    Science can't help everyone, lol.

  12. leftswerveWell Known MemberMember

  13. hampalongWell Known MemberMember

    There's no proof that carbon leaches anything back into the water. Tbh, it's best use is usually as a standard foam after it has exhausted itself.
  14. Et tuValued MemberMember

    Et tu!
  15. cheesepuffWell Known MemberMember

    One more thing - it says on the instructions for my filter that I need to change the filter (blue sponge / carbon) every month. Why would it say that if I shouldn't do it? I know carbon has a limit to how much it can filter before needing to be replaced in order to keep filtering.

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  16. Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Attempts to keep making money off you? Just ignore it.
  17. Bijou88Well Known MemberMember

    If you're worried about the carbon being exhausted, cut a slit in the top of your filter cartridge, once a month dump the old carbon out and replace with new. That way you keep the bacteria on the outside material while still maintaining clean, new carbon. You can buy containers of activated carbon almost anywhere that sells fish stuff.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  18. cheesepuffWell Known MemberMember

    All my experience with carbon comes from CBRN ( chemical biological radiological nuclear) respirator filters and HAZMAT equipment. In that field anything with carbon must be replaced asap when it gets used up. That's why it got me thinking that my water flow was getting bad from used up carbon. But the darn media has the carbon attached to the prefilter sponge. I can try replacing the carbon in that media, not sure it will work well.

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  19. cheesepuffWell Known MemberMember

    What if I had the bio media filter first, and then had the blue sponge carbon filter? That way there will be enough surface area for the bacteria to grow on a course media that will not impede water flow, and then I can still have the filtration power of activated carbon and its pre filter?

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  20. Bijou88Well Known MemberMember

    Your water flow is being impeded because filter media gets clogged, swish them around in old tank water in a separate container and your flow should return to normal. I'm not saying you can't replace the carbon, most cartidges have the carbon loose in a fiber sack, cut the sack open, dump out the old carbon and replace with new. You typically want the bio media after the sponge so that the sponge catches the debris your filter sucks up and not the bio media.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app

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