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Is my Filter rubbish?

essjay

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It's not that the filter is rubbish, just that the media could be a lot better. This is do-able without changing the filter.

The image says it contains an algaway pad and what looks like a cartridge. The latter are usually a filter wool-like bag in a plastic frame and filled with carbon. Is that what you have?

Carbon is not needed routinely. The way to deal with this is to make a slit in the fabric part, empty the contents then put the bag on a frame back in the filter.
Algaway pads are not much use either. I would replace that (or those if there's more than one) with sponge. You can buy any make, just cut it to the same shape as the algaway pad. Finally, if you can replace the cartridge with sponge, do that as well.

However, do not replace everything at once. Do one thing, wait a month, then do the next, and so on till you've done everything. Leave replacing the cartridge till last as you will have a lot of bacteria in the fabric of the bag. Once you have all sponge (or an empty cartridge and sponge if you can't replace the cartridge) just clean them by squeezing them in old tank water during a water change. They'll last for years.
 

PheonixKingZ

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Good filter, bad filter cartridges.

Do not change out, as @essjay said, until it literally falls apart. Also, do not rinse it out in tap water. You will lose all of your beneficial bacteria. If you feel the need to rinse it out, then rinse it in tank water. (After you do a water change, is a good place to rinse it out!) :)
 
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