Preventing mini cycles when changing filters

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suzybelle

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My tank is still cycling, but just thinking ahead to the day when this needs to happen...

I have an aqueon filter with activited carbon in it. There is only one filter, so when it needs to be replaced, there is no filter that can stay and help prevent a mini cycle. What should I do now to deal with this - should I add sponges in the filter so bacteria can build up on it and then that stays when I switch filters? Or should I cut up the old filter and put some of the material back in when I put a new filter in?

Thanks for any help! I'm having trouble getting my tank cycled the first time (topic of a different thread) so I don't want to have to go through it again!
 

Meenu

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Hi suzybelle, great that you are thinking ahead.

First let me say that the advice given is usually to cut out the carbon and toss it, and to reuse the cartridge until it is falling apart. For some brands, that can be years, but for some, they fall apart easily (not sure about the aqueon). You can replace the cartridge with sponges. Also, I like to fill up my filter with as much media as possible as long as it doesn't keep it from working, so if you have space for extra sponges, that is a great idea. Basically, the more surface the bacteria has to grow on, the better.
So my advice is to not change the cartridge until you absolutely have to. If you can keep an extra cartridge in the tank for 2-3 weeks before the change, that would be great. Add extra media when possible. And if you have a brand that makes bad cartridges, use sponges.
 

michael68

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I would by a small bio bag and fill it with ceramic bio chips that you can buy in bulk and stuff it behind your filter cardtridge and let it run for about a month.You also dont have to change your filter until it is falling apart you can cut a small slit at the top and replace the carbon.Rinse your filter in tank water as you are changing your water.Aqueon claims that the blue holster where your filter sits harbors good bacteria.Not sure how that works.I had an aqueon filter and decided to go with an aquaclear.The ac filter gives you many more filtration options.You never have to change your sponge or bio ceramic chips,just replace carbon,or run with no carbon and stuff in extra filter floss.With the aqueon i would rinse filter during water changes and use it until the filter is falling apart.
 

Kunsthure

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You could do what I did in my 37g and 5g: get a second filter so you can alternate changing media if you have to and yet still always have an established one in place.

-Lisa
 
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suzybelle

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Thanks for the info! If I wanted to cut the carbon out of the filter, can I do that while I'm cycling or will having it out of the water for that long stress the bacteria? Thanks!
 

jdhef

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It should only take you a few seconds to cut the filter cartridge and dump the carbon, so your bacteria should be fine.

The advice about adding additional media is to the filter is good, but if your aqueon filter is anything like mine, there isn't a whole lot of room for additional media. So I went out and bought an Aqua Clear filter, and run it and the Aqueon (with the carbon removed) in my goldfish tank.
 
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