How thoroughly should I rinse foam filters?

FishHobby99

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I have two sections of foam cut to fit the 20 G sump below my 90 G tank. The foam is covered by spiky balls. I am not rinsing the balls (in conditioned water) thoroughly unless I see attached food or plant materials.

I am struggling with how well to rinse out the sponges. I want them clean enough, but have concerns about removing too many BB. This is an established setup, owned 5 years by someone else.
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Byron

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Bacteria are very sticky, and adhere to surfaces well. Normal rinsing even under the tap is not going to remove them. If you really scrubbed/scraped the surface, they would dislodge, but that is not likely to be the situation with foam or sponges. I hold my sponges under the tap, squeezing them until the water runs relatively clear.
 
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FishHobby99

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Thank you. I rinse mine in a bucket of conditioned water, dump water, refill, & repeat until water is clearer, never 100% clear. Stopped rinsing with tap water in the sink after reading the chlorine can kill BB.
 
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Colin_T

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The spikey balls are bio balls and a lot of beneficial filter bacteria live on them.

I used to do sponges in 2 buckets of tank water. Squeeze the sponge out in a bucket of tank water and if it was reasonably clean, that would be it. The sponge went back into the tank. However, if the bucket of water was really dirty, I would lift the sponge out of the water and squeeze it to remove most of the dirty water, then put it in a second bucket of tank water and clean it some more.

Filter sponges don't have to be spotless, but you want to get them pretty clean. If you do sponges every month, they usually only need to be done in one bucket of tank water.

In the quarantine facility, we used to put filter sponges in a front loading washing machine and run them through a cold wash cycle (no soaps). Then put them back in the filter. We did about 1/4 of them each week and it worked well.
 

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Thank you. I rinse mine in a bucket of conditioned water, dump water, refill, & repeat until water is clearer, never 100% clear. Stopped rinsing with tap water in the sink after reading the chlorine can kill BB.

This is not really true, another of the myths being perpetuated. After all, where do the nitrifying bacteria come from when we cycle? Answer--in the chlorinated tap water. If this were not the case, we would never be able to cycle a tank without some sort of seeding from elsewhere. The level of chlorine may have an impact, but most water systems do not use this high a level. Chloramine might be a different story, but you did say chlorine. Chloramine is added because of the weak effect of chlorine, which dissipates out as it travels through the pipework.

Over caution is not a bad thing, but I would never fuss around with buckets of tank water, and haven't for 30 years. I do have plants which take up the ammonia faster than the bacteria anyway, so in a tank with some fast growing plants the nitrifying bacteria are so minimal they are rather ineffective anyway. Your call of course. :fish:
 

Colin_T

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After all, where do the nitrifying bacteria come from when we cycle?
From the air. They are airborne and land on the aquarium water. This is why a new aquarium should have the coverglass removed until the tank has cycled. It lets more bacteria get onto the water sooner.
 

Byron

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From the air. They are airborne and land on the aquarium water. This is why a new aquarium should have the coverglass removed until the tank has cycled. It lets more bacteria get onto the water sooner.

Are you certain of this? When this topic came up a few weeks ago, I tracked down some scientific data that said the nitrifying bacteria must be wet, they cannot survive in air, and they are in every natural water on the planet. Airborne seems impossible. This is why it can take 2 to 8 weeks to establish these bacteria, it depends upon the number in the chlorinated water.

Edit. I am of course speaking only of the nitrifying bacteria that live in fresh water. The soil nitrifying bacteria are a different species, and obviously live in air. But these do not colonize submersed surfaces.
 
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FishHobby99

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The spikey balls are bio balls and a lot of beneficial filter bacteria live on them.

I used to do sponges in 2 buckets of tank water. Squeeze the sponge out in a bucket of tank water and if it was reasonably clean, that would be it. The sponge went back into the tank. However, if the bucket of water was really dirty, I would lift the sponge out of the water and squeeze it to remove most of the dirty water, then put it in a second bucket of tank water and clean it some more.

Filter sponges don't have to be spotless, but you want to get them pretty clean. If you do sponges every month, they usually only need to be done in one bucket of tank water.

In the quarantine facility, we used to put filter sponges in a front loading washing machine and run them through a cold wash cycle (no soaps). Then put them back in the filter. We did about 1/4 of them each week and it worked well.
A washing machine! Wow!
Isn‘t using conditioned water the same as tank water? If I were to remove water from the sump, I’d only have to replace it.
 
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FishHobby99

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This is not really true, another of the myths being perpetuated. After all, where do the nitrifying bacteria come from when we cycle? Answer--in the chlorinated tap water. If this were not the case, we would never be able to cycle a tank without some sort of seeding from elsewhere. The level of chlorine may have an impact, but most water systems do not use this high a level. Chloramine might be a different story, but you did say chlorine. Chloramine is added because of the weak effect of chlorine, which dissipates out as it travels through the pipework.

Over caution is not a bad thing, but I would never fuss around with buckets of tank water, and haven't for 30 years. I do have plants which take up the ammonia faster than the bacteria anyway, so in a tank with some fast growing plants the nitrifying bacteria are so minimal they are rather ineffective anyway. Your call of course. :fish:
Well, I use cycled filters to cycle new tanks. Once I tried Dr.Tim‘s method with ammonia & bottled bacteria. Additionally I thought folks used organic matter to foster BB growth. My call indeed & if I err out of an abundance of caution, so be it. I have never heard of anyone using unconditioned tap water alone & waiting for the tank to self cycle if I’m understanding you correctly. Sounds like a long wait.

BTW, What are your favorite fast growing plants?
 

Byron

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BTW, What are your favorite fast growing plants?

Floating plants...Water Sprite, Frogbit, Water Lettuce. Stem plants tend to be fast growing, but being further down require stronger lighting for the most part. Pennywort used to do well in my tanks, now it doesn't.
 
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FishHobby99

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I never have been able to grasp the concept of intense light vs lower levels in fish tanks. I am unprepared to spend $500+ for meters that I am told accurately measure light intensity. It was said here the adage of 1 W per gallon of water is meaningless. But I kinda know what you mean.

Thanks for your plant suggestions. 👍👍
 

Byron

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I never have been able to grasp the concept of intense light vs lower levels in fish tanks. I am unprepared to spend $500+ for meters that I am told accurately measure light intensity. It was said here the adage of 1 W per gallon of water is meaningless. But I kinda know what you mean.

Thanks for your plant suggestions. 👍👍

I have never measured intensity technically. The light I have is moderate to low, and as I have no intention of blinding the fish with brighter light, the plants have to manage or they get tossed and other plants tried. Floaters tend to do well in less intense lighting because they are at the surface right under it, but while Water Sprite grows like weeds in my tanks, I cannot grow stem plants (except Pennywort previously), and I know it was the lower light.

The watts per gallon is meaningless, except when measuring different wattages of the exact same type of bulb/tube. If I had listened to these people years ago, my fish would have asked me for sunglasses. My 5-foot, 2 foot deep, 115g tank had two 32w tubes with a Kelvin of 6500K and 5500K (one of each). That was 64 "watts" over 115g, and it was plenty bright for the plants I stayed with. Photos below of this tank in 2010 and 2014.
 

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