Tank maintenance help

Spiritedruin

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I have a 20 gallon long aquarium with 9 platy and some fry. For a filter I have an aqueon quietflow 50. I'm having lots of trouble and stress trying to figure out how exactly I need to set up a routine to keep the tank healthy. Initially I was doing a 50% WC every week. Then once a month I'll rinse the filter cartridge in old water and squeez the "sponge" on the front as well. But the cartridge keeps getting clogged to the point where no water will flow through within a month or so. I also don't know exactly how frequently I need to travel vac or take the whole filter apart and clean it etc. Thanks you

Additional question: can you continue to dose Prime without doing water changes? I've been dosing every day attempting to get the tank to cycle and not harm the fish. I believe it was initially cycled but somehow did something, I think, to crash it and there is still ammonia. From what I understand, if the tank is cycled there should never be an ammonia reading? Is this correct?
 

flyinGourami

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If your tank is not cycled, please do DAILY 50 percent water changes(especially since you've got platies and platy fry in there). Yes, if a tank is cycled there should never be ammonia and nitrite readings. As for maintenance, if your cartridges are getting clogged, I would rinse them in aquarium water. Just rinse, no need to replace unless the cartridge is physically breaking down. You don't really need to take the whole filter apart, I believe you can just rinse the cartridges once a week. For now, I would gravel vac since you are cycling your tank but eventually you don't actually NEED to gravel vac, as long as bacteria is breaking down all the waste at the bottom. Once you get your tank cycled, I would do weekly 50 percent water changes, with an additional 75 percent water change once every 1-1.5 months. I would rinse the filter cartridges in aquarium water every to every other week. Hope this helps.
 

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Hi Spiritedruin,
You are correct a tank with a full working nitrogen cycle has no ammonia. However the API colour chart can be a little misleading in regards to zero ammonia. Or a fish tank always has a background of ammonia that has not been consumed.

You may wish to change the cartridge for a slice of foam . You will need to somehow run both in the filter for a month before you toss the cartridge. At the very least have both in the water flow,perhaps in the waterfall.

i have no person experience dosing with Prime midweek but believe some people find that easier than smashing out a 5 minute water change? It is an acceptable practice in some people’s eyes.

How often to DEEP gravel vacuum.
Mulm is not as bad as many beginner think.( mulm is that brown organic waste a mixture poop and everything)
I watch many videos on U tube. Many people have auto water change systems that only remove water from the surface of the tank. They seem to be ok with letting mulm sit on the floor for a while?

As for cleaning the inside of a filter. I don’t think you should be doing that at all. Once every 12 months maybe? But no all hard surfaces are a home for bacteria don’t clean it. Especially as you are still building the colonies of bacteria ( cycling).

A snapshot of a HOB with no cartridges just foam and ceramic
image.jpg
 

flyinGourami

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Flyfisha said:
Hi Spiritedruin,
You are correct a tank with a full working nitrogen cycle has no ammonia. However the API colour chart can be a little misleading in regards to zero ammonia. Or a fish tank always has a background of ammonia that has not been consumed.

You may wish to change the cartridge for a slice of foam . You will need to somehow run both in the filter for a month before you toss the cartridge. At the very least have both in the water flow,perhaps in the waterfall.

i have no person experience dosing with Prime midweek but believe some people find that easier than smashing out a 5 minute water change? It is an acceptable practice in some people’s eyes.

How often to DEEP gravel vacuum.
Mulm is not as bad as many beginner think.( mulm is that brown organic waste a mixture poop and everything)
I watch many videos on U tube. Many people have auto water change systems that only remove water from the surface of the tank. They seem to be ok with letting mulm sit on the floor for a while?

As for cleaning the inside of a filter. I don’t think you should be doing that at all. Once every 12 months maybe? But no all hard surfaces are a home for bacteria don’t clean it. Especially as you are still building the colonies of bacteria ( cycling).

A snapshot of a HOB with no cartridges just foam and ceramic
image.jpg
Yeah, there isn't a need to gravel vac really. Imo, a water change is better than dosing prime. Also, yes, api test does test for ammonium, but if your tank is cycled, unless you tested after a water change and your tap has ammonia or ammonium, it should really be zero.
 

Flyfisha

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I believe this colour is as close to zero as I can achieve. The first photo is under artificial lighting the second 30 seconds later under sunlight.
This is ether background ammonia from an hour ago. Bad choice of colour from API , or my eyes.
202B8064-E85F-4BC2-8CB5-68329DBE1D49.jpeg
BFB245DE-81F7-476B-ADF7-2D325871B73A.jpeg

i ask you is it possible to have zero ammonia in a tank that has fish pooping in it?
 

flyinGourami

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Flyfisha said:
I believe this colour is as close to zero as I can achieve. The first photo is under artificial lighting the second 30 seconds later under sunlight.
This is ether background ammonia from an hour ago. Bad choice of colour from API , or my eyes.
202B8064-E85F-4BC2-8CB5-68329DBE1D49.jpeg
BFB245DE-81F7-476B-ADF7-2D325871B73A.jpeg

i ask you is it possible to have zero ammonia in a tank that has fish pooping in it?
Yes, it is possible to have zero ammonia, even with fish doing their business in a closed environment. Tbh, api should work on the colors of the testing tube thingy lol
 
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Spiritedruin

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bgntoc said:
If your tank is not cycled, please do DAILY 50 percent water changes(especially since you've got platies and platy fry in there). Yes, if a tank is cycled there should never be ammonia and nitrite readings. As for maintenance, if your cartridges are getting clogged, I would rinse them in aquarium water. Just rinse, no need to replace unless the cartridge is physically breaking down. You don't really need to take the whole filter apart, I believe you can just rinse the cartridges once a week. For now, I would gravel vac since you are cycling your tank but eventually you don't actually NEED to gravel vac, as long as bacteria is breaking down all the waste at the bottom. Once you get your tank cycled, I would do weekly 50 percent water changes, with an additional 75 percent water change once every 1-1.5 months. I would rinse the filter cartridges in aquarium water every to every other week. Hope this helps.
The cartridge stays completely clogged no matter how vigorously I rinse/swish it in water
 

idkausernamesoyeah

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ngl i didnt read everything but from what i did see, why do u have such a big hob filter????? and get a sponge and it will work even better than cartidges. they design them so u have to continuously buy them every month and its a huge source of revenue for the company
 

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Spiritedruin said:
The cartridge stays completely clogged no matter how vigorously I rinse/swish it in water
Thats interesting. Honestly, I would switch the cartridges out(I wouldn't take all of them out since it sounds like they still have beneficial bacteria in them) and put in good media. I would get some sponges or polyfil, as well as some seachem matrix media(or lava rocks; they are cheaper than matrix).
 

flyinGourami

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idkausernamesoyeah said:
ngl i didnt read everything but from what i did see, why do u have such a big hob filter????? and get a sponge and it will work even better than cartidges. they design them so u have to continuously buy them every month and its a huge source of revenue for the company
I mean, theres not really anything wrong with a big filter.
 
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Spiritedruin

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idkausernamesoyeah said:
ngl i didnt read everything but from what i did see, why do u have such a big hob filter????? and get a sponge and it will work even better than cartidges. they design them so u have to continuously buy them every month and its a huge source of revenue for the company
From what I know, the more over filtered the better.
 

idkausernamesoyeah

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Spiritedruin said:
From what I know, the more over filtered the better.
yeah but u dont want TOO MUCH as this will just move the water way too much. take a piece of airline tubing and close off the ends to trap the air in and this will float and keep the water surface a little bit more stable. also put a prefilter sponge on for more beneficial bacteria to grow and it will lower the flow a little extra
 
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Spiritedruin

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bgntoc said:
Thats interesting. Honestly, I would switch the cartridges out(I wouldn't take all of them out since it sounds like they still have beneficial bacteria in them) and put in good media. I would get some sponges or polyfil, as well as some seachem matrix media(or lava rocks; they are cheaper than matrix).
Yesterday, I DID buy a new cartridge which should be here in a few days. I was going to keep the old one in with the new one until enough bb was on the new one. However I don't know about filtration media other than the standard stuff like cartridges. I think I will get a sponge but I don't know exactly what to look for?
Would it be possible to just use both the cartridge, a sponge and some lava rocks
 

idkausernamesoyeah

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Spiritedruin said:
Yesterday, I DID buy a new cartridge which should be here in a few days. I was going to keep the old one in with the new one until enough bb was on the new one. However I don't know about filtration media other than the standard stuff like cartridges. I think I will get a sponge but I don't know exactly what to look for?
Would it be possible to just use both the cartridge, a sponge and some lava rocks
the cartridge is just a waste of money. ok so lemme explain a lil abt filtration. idk THAT much abt it but ik some basics. so there is mechanical filtration, which is just the ability to pull sstuff out of the water. biological is to convert ammonia and nitrite into nitrate. it does this by having beneficial bacteria, and the beneficial bacteria colonizes on surfaces and feeds on the fish and food waste and whatnot. thats why we suggest lava rocks or sponges bc they have a lot of surface area for the beneficial to thrive. hob filters bring the water to the filter media and it distributes the cycled water. theres also one other type of filtration that i forget. but cartridges allow water to go thru the cotton or floss or whatever and it passes thru whatever they have in there like activated carbon
 

flyinGourami

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idkausernamesoyeah said:
the cartridge is just a waste of money. ok so lemme explain a lil abt filtration. idk THAT much abt it but ik some basics. so there is mechanical filtration, which is just the ability to pull sstuff out of the water. biological is to convert ammonia and nitrite into nitrate. it does this by having beneficial bacteria, and the beneficial bacteria colonizes on surfaces and feeds on the fish and food waste and whatnot. thats why we suggest lava rocks or sponges bc they have a lot of surface area for the beneficial to thrive. hob filters bring the water to the filter media and it distributes the cycled water. theres also one other type of filtration that i forget. but cartridges allow water to go thru the cotton or floss or whatever and it passes thru whatever they have in there like activated carbon
Yes. Theres also chemical filtration, but its honestly not necessary. The filter provides an oxygen rich area for the aerobic bacteria(bb) to thrive in. Also, there is anaerobic bacteria that can colonize in the core of seachem matrix and lava rocks too I believe(the idea is that water passes through, carrying nitrates. The media is porous, which means there is little to no oxygen in the middle. The surface of the matrix and or lava rocks is home to aerobic beneficial bacteria, which converts the ammonia to nitrite then nitrate, the water then passes through and the anaerobic bacteria uses the nitrate as food). You can use a combo of sponges, cartridges, and lava rocks. You really don't need to replace any of them unless it is fully clogged(and therefore isn't REALLY useful) or it is physically breaking down. I would keep the cartridge since if you replace it completely you will get rid of beneficial bacteria which you need. Also, I would get a bottle of tetra safestart or api quickstart or seachem stablity if possible to help aid you during the cycle. During your cycling period, for your stocking I would do daily 80 percent water changes with prime.
 

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bgntoc said:
Yes. Theres also chemical filtration, but its honestly not necessary. The filter provides an oxygen rich area for the aerobic bacteria(bb) to thrive in. Also, there is anaerobic bacteria that can colonize in the core of seachem matrix and lava rocks too I believe(the idea is that water passes through, carrying nitrates. The media is porous, which means there is little to no oxygen in the middle. The surface of the matrix and or lava rocks is home to aerobic beneficial bacteria, which converts the ammonia to nitrite then nitrate, the water then passes through and the anaerobic bacteria uses the nitrate as food). You can use a combo of sponges, cartridges, and lava rocks. You really don't need to replace any of them unless it is fully clogged(and therefore isn't REALLY useful) or it is physically breaking down. I would keep the cartridge since if you replace it completely you will get rid of beneficial bacteria which you need. Also, I would get a bottle of tetra safestart or api quickstart or seachem stablity if possible to help aid you during the cycle. During your cycling period, for your stocking I would do daily 80 percent water changes with prime.
i recommend seachem stability
 

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