When to change the cartridge

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by BritJo, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. BritJoValued MemberMember

    Hey everyone so I have a ten gallon tank that currently is housing 2 albino cory cats ( I know they like to be in larger groups than that but my tank has decided it was never fully cycled, and we had a mass death of fish so I've been holding out on replacing anything till things are stable). Today I changed the substrate from gravel to sand to make the little guys a little happier and because the gravel was so filthy that I was still getting debris from fish that had died in the past (after doing daily water changes!! It was DISGUSTING). I figure if I was gonna pull the gravel out might as well put the sand in. The little guys are LOVING it. That being said....what is your guys opinion on changing my filter cartridge? This cartridge has been in about a month and is one of the preassembled tetra brand cartridges. They recommend changing once a month, but seeing as the tank is definitely still cycling (readings at ammonia between 0-.25 nitrite between 0-.25 and nitrate at 10...I'm getting there I'm hoping this might be the final week!) I'm a little hesitant to change it. The cartridge looks okay, not falling apart or anything, but it is pretty gunked up (though I still have good water flow) and seeing as I am having no luck getting over that last little ledge in the cycling process I'm wondering if my filter is not able to process the gunk anymore. On the same hand I really don't want to go through another cycle, mini or not.

    What say you all? I should note that when I went w/ the sand I made little baggies of clean nylons w/ the old gravel in them to keep in the tank for a week (or so, under the advice of my lfs guy who does actually know his stuff it's a family owned place and he's an avid fish keeper himself if you get him started you wont leave for hours lol) and I definitely won't change my filter for another week, but I'm just curious as to what others have done. I meant to ask my guy this today and forgot so I figured you all would know too.
  2. flyin-loweWell Known MemberMember

    I am guessing that the cartridge you have has filter floss on the outside and carbon on the inside. If this is the case carbon is only good for a couple weeks. Best thing to do is cut the filter floss and remove the old carbon and then put in new carbon. There is no need to replace filter floss until it starts to fall apart. If you start to loose water flow you can clean your old filter out in water from your tank, not fresh tap water as the chlorine will kill the bacteria you have growing.
  3. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    As flin-lowe said you don't want to replace the floss part of the cartridge until you absolutely have to, since this is where the bulk of the bacteria lives. You can put new carbon in as stated above, or just skip using carbon all together. Carbon isn't a must have.
  4. BritJoValued MemberMember

    Thanks guys, so just cut open the pre assembled thing and take apart another one and put the carbon from the new one in?
  5. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    You can buy loose carbon. It will be much cheaper than paying for a cartridge for the little bit of carbon that is in it.
  6. BritJoValued MemberMember

    Yeah it was super easy to open the cartridge so I'm so just getting some of my own carbon. Much easier and way cheaper! Esp since the cartridge still looks good, just needs a little swishing in the bucket next time I think :) Thanks guys you just made me feel much better, I was in a panic over having to do a mini cycle having JUST been finishing this first cycle on this dang tank. It's been a little stressful for mommy and fish. Def thought the tank was cycled before putting the little guys in, I so didn't want to cycle the tank w/ them in already (and it didn't go well, most of them died in the big ammonia rise, though a lot of that had to do w/ my room mate giving way to much food...oh well she was trying to help at least). I'm hoping this is the last of the problems!

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