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Advice Needed On How To Change To A New Filter

Author Topic: Advice needed on how to change to a new filter  (Read 1733 times)

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Offline sarah79

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Advice needed on how to change to a new filter
« on: April 07, 2014, 03:13:44 PM »
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I am new to fish keeping but have read up on a lot. I have decided the filter that came with my tank may not be good enough and am going to buy a new one.

I am only on week 2 of the nitrogen cycle. Should I wait the whole cycle before changing the filter completely? Or can change the filter any time as long as I use the sponge from the current one I am using?? They are both internal filters of a small size.

Also could you advise how long it is ok to switch the filter off for when changing or cleaning etc.

Thanks

Offline Sue

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Re: Advice needed on how to change to a new filter
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2014, 04:26:37 PM »
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As you've only just started cycling, now is the time to change over. You won't have many bacteria yet and although it may cause a hiccup in the cycle, that's all it will be. Use the sponge from your current filter. Cut it up if necessary to make it fit the new filter then cut up the media (sponge, ceramic noodles etc) to fill in any gaps left. Once the tank has been running several months you can then remove the old sponge a bit at a time and replace with media from the new filter. I would wait at least 6 months before doing this to allow the media to mature, then swap a bit every month till it's all changed to the media that comes with the new filter.

If you are doing a fishless cycle and have the patience, you might want to consider just starting again from the beginning with the new filter. But if you are doing a fish-in cycle, you will be better preserving as many bacteria as possible.

The bacteria in the filter are lot hardier than used to be thought. With an internal filter, you need to turn it off when doing a water change because when the water level drops enough that the impeller will be above the water, it damages a motor to run it. Unless you take hours and hours to do a water change, just leave the filter attached to the glass till you fill the water back up again. The media won't dry in an hour or so, it is quite safe leaving it that long.
And on the subject of turning things off during a water change, you must also turn the heater off as they can shatter if they switch on out of water. You just need to remember to turn them back on after.

Cleaning the filter, I just take the filter out of the tank and put it in a bucket, then siphon water out of the tank into the bucket, take the sponge out and squeeze it to get the muck off, then put the filter back in the tank and carry on with the water change. The first few times you do it, you'll find a lot of mucky water drains out of the filter back into the tank while you are lifting it out. Don't worry about that, just siphon the muck out. You'll get quicker with practice  :D


Plain sponges do not need to be replaced like the manufacturer will say. Sponges only need to be replaced when they go holey or won't go back to shape after washing. And when this happens in a few years' time, cut the old sponge up into at least three, then replace one part every month till you have all new.



Offline sarah79

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Re: Advice needed on how to change to a new filter
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2014, 02:08:49 PM »
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Many thanks for your detailed advice, very much appreciated!

Offline fishcake76

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Re: Advice needed on how to change to a new filter
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2014, 04:55:58 PM »
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Once the tank has been running several months you can then remove the old sponge a bit at a time and replace with media from the new filter. I would wait at least 6 months before doing this to allow the media to mature, then swap a bit every month till it's all changed to the media that comes with the new filter.

Plain sponges do not need to be replaced like the manufacturer will say. Sponges only need to be replaced when they go holey or won't go back to shape after washing. And when this happens in a few years' time, cut the old sponge up into at least three, then replace one part every month till you have all new.

Sue,

Should I adhere to this advice too?  My tank is now mature (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite now for just over a week - I think).  It's been running for three months and I have done maybe two gentle cleans of the sponges in that time.  Shall I leave my filter alone now until it has been running for about 6 months or longer than that?

thanks,

FC

Offline Sue

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Re: Advice needed on how to change to a new filter
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2014, 05:06:23 PM »
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Do you mean changing the filter or cleaning it?

It will need cleaning when it gets mucky, and that's a 'how long is a piece of string' type question. Every tank and filter is different. If the water flow slows, it needs cleaning. If it looks covered in brown goo, it needs cleaning. Depending on how messy the fish are it could need cleaning every week or once every few months. Look at it whenever you do a water change; if it needs cleaning, clean it. If it doesn't, don't. make a note of when you need to clean it then after a while you'll get to know when you need to check it.




And just for clarification:
A tank is cycled when the filter can keep ammonia and nitrite at zero by itself.
A tank is mature when all the other necessary micro-organisms have grown, usually said to be 6 months after the filter has cycled. This is what is meant when it is said that certain fish need a mature tank.

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