H0pefulDad

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So. Filters, right? I have a couple of questions regarding them.

It's been about a month now of me unsuccessfully attempting to cycle my new 10 gallon tank, and I've had my filter running the entire time. It's an Aqueon QuietFlow Internal Power Filter, and of course has the appropriate media. I took the filter cartridge out today, and it's all brown colored. I tried what I heard about rinsing it with old tank water after a water change to preserve any bacteria that have settled there, but it didn't look any better afterwards. Even though I haven't had a fish in this tank yet, do you think I should put a new cartridge in by this point?

As a followup, there's some other media in my filter, let me show you:
159346969052524245268563116032.jpg


I couldn't get a very good picture, but I'm sure you can see the black spongy material in there as well. This is the filter model meant for keeping shrimp and small fish from getting sucked in too, so there's also some of that material by the intake. I'll take another picture:
15934698395588575204271396645275.jpg

(Yes that's cat hair, don't ask me how it got in there.)
I know this is the medium is for catching larger particles of things, and I was wondering if I should replace it too?

And my final question, is how exactly I should go about replacing my filter cartridges. I know you're supposed to replace them every month, but I also know it's not as simple as taking the old one out and popping a new one in, once again because you don't want to get rid of all the bacteria that live there. I've tried looking for one way to replace them while keeping the bacteria, but I've heard a lot of conflicting methods. I mentioned before that I'm struggling to cycle this tank, and I don't want to undo any progress I've made, so please tell me if you know how to properly replace a filter cartridge without interrupting the nitrogen cycle.
 

PheonixKingZ

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Don't rinse in tap water, or throw away filter cartridges. You will lose your bacteria. If it is brown, rinse it in old tank water.

I know you're supposed to replace them every month
That is a myth. Company just tell you that to get your money. You shouldn't need to replace a cartridge, until they are literally falling apart.

They almost all look brown. That is a good kind of brown. All of mine look brown, and they have more months. Now, I clean my filter every month, as you should. But I never throw away, or rinse them in tap water.
 

FishGuest5123

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I clean mine every 2 weeks in tank water but most of my cartridges are over 2 yeas old. Don’t use new ones. Your filter will die before you need a new cartridge. Lol.
 
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H0pefulDad

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Don't rinse in tap water, or throw away filter cartridges. You will lose your bacteria. If it is brown, rinse it in old tank water.


That is a myth. Company just tell you that to get your money. You shouldn't need to replace a cartridge, until they are literally falling apart.

They almost all look brown. That is a good kind of brown. All of mine look brown, and they have more months. Now, I clean my filter every month, as you should. But I never throw away, or rinse them in tap water.

Huh, that's news to me. Thanks for sharing, it'll certainly be more cost effective if I don't have to replace anything. I have to pump some water out again soon to get rid of these weird little growths, so I'll rinse everything then.
 

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H0pefulDad

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Have you cycled your tank? You must use pure ammonia at a level of about 3ppm and follow the following steps to properly cycle your tank. You can add Tetra Safe Start to give the cycle a boost to speed it up a bit. You need a good test kit to know where you are in your cycle. Follow steps here: https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/

I've been trying to cycle for a month now, trying with bacteria from API and then Fluval to speed up the process. I did start at 3 ppm ammonia, but it didn't go down, and only very trace amounts of nitrites appeared, leading me to believe that somehow all the bacteria I had was dead. I've been using API's master test kit, and I did a water change and added a bit more ammonia before putting the Tetra SafeStart in.
 

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Not only do you not need to change filter cartridges, but you don't need to replace them when they wear out. I've used cheap ceramic bio-media (from amazon or ebay) and/or polyfill (the cheap fluff you can buy at craft stores to fill pillows and stuffed animals). Works like a champ, costs very little, and lasts darn near forever.
 

PheonixKingZ

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Huh, that's news to me. Thanks for sharing, it'll certainly be more cost effective if I don't have to replace anything. I have to pump some water out again soon to get rid of these weird little growths, so I'll rinse everything then.
Yes, most definitely...

I used to change mine every week when they got dirty, until I learned it was wrong. I bet I've had mine for over 9 months now. No wear, and it still works.
 

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