- Jan 7, 2014
- Reaction score
How do I switch out a sponge on a sponge filter? I don't want to destroy my colony of bacteria. Would like to know beforehand, just in case.
Byron said:I just change it. I will assume this is an established tank, so there will be bacteria everywhere. And if you have plants, certainly no issues. I wash my sponge filters under the tap every week during the water change (which is much the same thing, bacteria-wise).
Akasha72 said:I'd never wash sponges under the tap!!I'm actually horrified that anyone would! It's incredibly brave
I'd also second swapping 50% at a time - or seeing if you can cram bits of the old sponge somewhere - but I know that's not always an option depending on filter design
Monochloramine penetrated fully into nitrifying biofilms within 24 hours when fed at a 4:1 Cl2:N ratio, showing a cessation of aerobic activity via DO penetration following application of monochloramine. However, monochloramine penetration did not necessarily equate to a loss in viability, and the presence of excess ammonia in the water system prevented microbial inactivation. Biofilm recovery occurred when disinfection stopped. Monochloramine showed greater penetration compared to chlorine. Monochloramine penetrated into the biofilm surface layer 49 times faster than chlorine within the nitrifying biofilm and 39 times faster in the multi-species biofilm than did chlorine. Phosphate was found to act positively on biofilm development and nitrification in the long term. Phosphate microprofiles showed that phosphate contents in the biofilm was independent on the nitrifying activity.
Under both monochloramine application conditions, monochloramine fully penetrated into the nitrifying biofilm within 24 h. Despite this complete monochloramine penetration, complete viability loss did not occur, and both biofilm samples subsequently recovered aerobic activity when fed only free ammonia.
baker360360 said:Mine are well over a year old and I only clean them in tank water when the output flow slows down. I would only change them if they were falling apart like my filter wool/floss.
What does that mean for aquarium biofiltration?
Water filtration is teamwork by the members of the substrate microbial community from all domains of life. This is an important conclusion, both for freshwater and marine habitats. The different players form a food web, where most organisms cannot exist alone but are interdependent. The microbial community varies greatly depending on the availability of foods, pore sizes, and substrates. Soil biofiltration is therefore very plastic, meaning it can cope with a variety of conditions. However, one feature is common. Natural layers of biofiltration are usually undisturbed for longer periods of time (many weeks and months). In nature, no one squeezes out the debris or rinses the media on a weekly schedule. Occasionally, seasonal floods or rains may “wash” a gravel bed but regular rinsing of the filter media is not happening. The microorganisms eat the debris and the sludge is completely broken down into gases and soluble products that then escape the pore space. Soil biofilters are almost maintenance-free. The released substances are either getting into the atmosphere or are taken up by plants.
For aquarium biofiltration to be most effective, filters should be running undisturbed for as long as possible. Filter media that remain passable and have a variety of pore sizes are best. Given that we like to influence the water parameters depending on the species we keep, and thus make water soft, hard, etc, the filter media should be chemically inert, so that it does not affect the water chemistry by itself.
Author © Stephan M. Tanner, PhD