When do I replace my filter cartridge?

HoldenOn

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Hey all,
The flow of my filter has slowed down considerably, to the point where the bio-wheel doesn't turn. I looked at the filter media and its pretty gross, but isn't it supposed to be? I've had this cartridge in for 4 weeks. If I replace it will it cause problems with my beneficial bacteria?
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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In short, yes, if you throw it out and replace it, you'll lose all the BB that are on that cartridge. Take the cartridge out and rinse it in a bucket of tank water - not under the tap! Tapwater contains chlorine and sometimes chloramines, which are put in the tapwater to kill bacteria and make it safe for us to drink. But it will also kill beneficial bacteria.

Do a water change and gravel vac your substrate at the same time, then use that gunky water you removed to rinse the cartridge. You're not aiming to get it spotless, it'll never look like new and that's fine, just try to remove the worst of the gunk. Rinse the biowheel as well in that water. Then put it all back together, and let us know if the flow is good again :)
 

Deanasue

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My bio wheel filter media are the same ones I put in 2.5 years ago. Sometimes the bioeheels just quit turning but won’t hurt your filtration.
 
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HoldenOn

HoldenOn

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In short, yes, if you throw it out and replace it, you'll lose all the BB that are on that cartridge. Take the cartridge out and rinse it in a bucket of tank water - not under the tap! Tapwater contains chlorine and sometimes chloramines, which are put in the tapwater to kill bacteria and make it safe for us to drink. But it will also kill beneficial bacteria.

Do a water change and gravel vac your substrate at the same time, then use that gunky water you removed to rinse the cartridge. You're not aiming to get it spotless, it'll never look like new and that's fine, just try to remove the worst of the gunk. Rinse the biowheel as well in that water. Then put it all back together, and let us know if the flow is good again :)
Thanks!
 
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HoldenOn

HoldenOn

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Today I switch substrates, should I float the cartridge in the bucket with the fish?
 

PheonixKingZ

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Yes, it’s supposed to look “gross”. The one I have in my 29g tank has been in there for over 8 months. It’s brown and nasty. But, you can get some of that out by swishing it in some used tank water.

Yes, the filter cartridge should be good floating in the tank for a while.

Edit: I do suggest adding an airstone if possible.
 
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