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Filters and Powerheads Questions and comments about aquarium filters and powerheads

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GingerKoala GingerKoala is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: South Florida
Posts: 51
Default How long to incubate new filter media with old?

I was just wondering... I have a HOB filter with a big square cartridge that has activated carbon inside the spongy stuff. I have been rinsing it in old tank water during PWCs but this doesn't seem to remove much of the gunk that builds up on it. If it gets really bad and I need to change the media, how long should I let the new cartridge sit in the filter with the old cartridge to become seeded with bacteria and minimize disruption of the biological filter? Is 48 hours sufficient?

Also, is it OK to scrub the cartridge gently in the old tank water to remove the gunk? Or would that also be disruptive? Swishing it around just doesn't seem to do much. Would it be OK to put on a disposable glove and try to remove some of it by hand?
16 gal bowfront: 1 Gold Mickey Mouse Platy, 4 Molly Fry (AKA the Fishlets)
14 gal rectangular: 1 Dalmatian Molly
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Dano Dano is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Goose Creek SC USA
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Default Re: How long to incubate new filter media with old?

If you have a healthy well established tank, tossing the old dirty cartridge will not hurt much. The new cartridge will soon become seeded with beneficial bacteria...................When a cartridge becomes saturated with debris, it begins to rot and the type of bacteria eating the solid debris contribute more to the nitrate level in the tank..................If the solid material cannot be rinsed from the filter material then it is time to replace it..................I will often use the spray on my garden hose to clean the filter cartridges then re use them........................Most of the beneficial bacteria live on the inside glass and on the surfaces of everything in the tank. A single grain of the gravel will have many thousands of beneficial bacteria......................Filters add to this overall surface area, but their primary function is to remove waste and suspended debris from the water column.

If your tank is healthy, it won't hurt to replace cartridges when they become nasty and clogged.
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