Pretty Much Finished My Cycle. But It Says To Change My Filter Cartridge. Should I Do It?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Metallica1175, Apr 3, 2019.

  1. Metallica1175New MemberMember

    So when I first did my tank, it was really cloudy with clay dust for a few days. It says to change my filter. Here are pictures:



    Should I change the cartridge Even though it's towards the end of the cycle?
  2. SM1199Well Known MemberMember

    Nope! Just rinse it in a bucket of tank water. You don't want to lose all the beneficial bacteria you just worked so hard to establish. I have the same filter, and it basically always says I need to change my filter cartridge (sorta poor design in my opinion), but as soon as I rinse it, the little dial says it's good.

    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  3. bizaliz3Fishlore LegendMember

    I dont change cartridges unless its falling apart. You can clean excess gunk off in a bucket of tank water. (Never use tap water)

    Definitely dont replace it. Especially when you are still trying to establish a good colony of beneficial bacteria.

  4. Metallica1175New MemberMember

    So just literally squeeze and scrape off the gunk in a bucket of tank water?

  5. SM1199Well Known MemberMember

    I usually just squeeze and swish, not so much scrape, as that will usually tear some fibers.
  6. JenCWell Known MemberMember

    I agree with everyone else. Mechanical and biological media are best kept until they're literally falling apart or too degraded/clogged to function. Clean them as needed in old tank water or dechlorinated water.

    filtration is replaced differently, e.g. activated carbon changed every 3-4 weeks. This creates some issues when carbon is embedded with the filter floss. I don't know if this applies to your cartridges.
  7. IslandvicWell Known MemberMember

    @Metallica1175 , is that a Silentstream filter?

    The other members gave excellent advice.

    Swish the cartridge around in a bucket or container of tank water and put back in.

    Also, here is a (LINK) to a thread on the forum that gives inexpensive and effective ideas for adding DIY media to boost your mechanical and biological filtration.

    It shows examples of how to continue using the cartridge and supplementing it with additional media, and shows how to stop using cartridges altogether.

    After cleaning the cartridge, the white felt media can be cut away from the black plastic frame and stuffed in with new media or new cartridges. Doing this allows the beneficial bacteria to be retained.

    Also, the blue plastic bio-grid those filters come with are more "show" than "go".

    Removing it and adding something else in its place will improve filtration.

    It is all explained in the thread I linked.

    Also, how is your nitrogen cycle coming along?
  8. Metallica1175New MemberMember

    Thanks. The cycle is going ok. I think I'm at the end of it. In a 24 hour period it went from 2ppm ammonia to about 0.5. I didn't see any nitrites though. Do nitrite eating bacteria work faster than ammonia eating bacteria?
  9. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    Sometimes you will not see the nitrite spike, especially if you used seeded material or a bacteria starter like TSS+. What are your nitrates? Typically, if you don't use seeded filter media or a bacteria starter, the nitrite phase is the longest to get through and occurs after the ammonia starts to process. Seeing where your nitrates are will give a clue if nitrites are being processed or the cycle hasn't progressed to that step yet.

    And yeah, never replace your cartridge during a cycle and only ever replace it when it is falling apart. Cutting the floss part off and sticking down into the filter with a new one when you absolutely have to change it is great advice. Also, the DIY link shared is a good one, I have started pimping out all my HOBs with sponges, ceramics or biohome, and filter floss/pads getting rid of those cartridges. In that case, since I have the sponge and ceramics, I can toss and replace the floss or pads when I do filter maintenance (every 4-6 weeks). The companies want you to keep buying their cartridges so they make them to not last. Sponges last a LONG time and ceramics/biohome a lifetime.
  10. COHikerNew MemberMember

    At least some of these cartridges are made to open, replace carbon and reuse. So the carbon switches but the mechanical portion of same cartridge stays. If that makes sense.

    Glad I didn't get the alarm filter then.
  11. Morpheus1967Well Known MemberMember

    Those literally say disposable on the box lol.
  12. bizaliz3Fishlore LegendMember

    ya, those are disposable.

    I have cut open cartridges to remove carbon before. Due to medicating. (carbon removes meds) But I have never cut open a cartridge to re-use.

    I thought all cartridges were disposable to be honest.
  13. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    The only time I have done it other than for meds as you described, is on the smaller filters where there is only one cartridge (like for a 5g tank) and it had to be replaced. I didn't want to throw away by bb, so I cut the floss off and stuck in the filter with the new cartridge to help seed it.
  14. bizaliz3Fishlore LegendMember

    Haha right!! Because while the cartridges themselves are disposable (most anyway)....the BB hanging out on them IS NOT!!!
  15. JenCWell Known MemberMember

    They're designed to be disposable, Whisper Bio Bags included. It's a bad system.

    I'm not a fan of caridges. It's often easy to start using better media with the same filter. I hope folks know that.
  16. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    Agreed! Or at the very least, use a filter that has multiple slots so you are not throwing the entire bb colony away in the trash. My penguin bio wheels have double slots and the larger ones have two compartments for a total of 4 slots to put cartridges in. For years, I used the cartridges (again, not replacing until they were falling apart) and only replaced one at a time without any cycle bumps. You never want to replace more than 50% of your filter media and those bio wheels do not hold enough.
  17. JenCWell Known MemberMember

    I always feel so bad when a new aquariast does everything right, completes a fishless cycle, then follows the filter's instructions and throws the seeded media away to put in a new cartridge. It makes me inordinately mad at the filter companies. :mad:
  18. COHikerNew MemberMember

    The ones i used back in 2004 had a similar looking clip that snapped on/off. So I didn't have to cut them. One box came with 3-4 different carbon pouches to add to the cartridge. i could add them a new filter or just reuse the old one. i think in some cases i just emptied the old bag and then stacked the old filter (sans carbon and plastic frame) in front of the new filter for a week until i thought the new filter was seeded. Meh.

    Technically i'm disposable, but I like to stick around.