View Full Version : Does this make sense?

Lady Hobbs
12-05-2006, 01:04 AM
Several weeks ago I read an article written by an old time fish keeper and his article just stuck in my head. Unfortunately I didn't keep it but remembered his comments.

It said that changing the water is ridiculous if you use the same natty filter that has all that bacteria on it. He said what is the use of doing water changes if you are just going to filter it thru all that nasty bacteria and debris again as you are once again introducing pollents, bacteria and possibly parasites right back into the tank that your water change has just gotten rid of. If your water is clean then so should be your filter media and the filter itself.

He also stated that sloshing the filter media around in fish tank water is not killing any parasites or bacteria that may be lingering there but only getting rid of some of the surface dirt.

The more I have thought about this "common sense" article, the more I have to agree with his philosophy. This, of course, does not apply to new tank setups but once a tank has fully cycled and is an established tank it is not necessary to keep using a nasty filter.

If you change out your filter media you have no bacteria established on it or if you run medication thru your filter you have also killed off the good bacteria so why can't you just clean the charcoal filters in very hot tap water to kill whatever nasty bacteria or parasites that may be lingering there?

Right now I am using spun fiber in my filters and no charcoal but if I go back to using them, I may try this other approach. It just makes more sense to me that if the water is clean then so should be the filter media.

12-05-2006, 03:55 AM
Interesting thinking isn't it? Some of it may not be totally off the wall....for instance, my eclipses have built in filters that you put an all in one filter media in that has the carbon inside. Short of cutting it up, you can't remove the charcoal. The pad isn't very durable and does have to be replaced much more regularly than other filter types I have. Thus, when I replace the pad....along with it goes any bacteria, good or bad, that might be on it. This has not caused me any issues so far, and I only recently started leaving the old filter on top of the new for a few days in the 5 gal due to the extra bioload of the panda corys I added to it, just to be safe. Maybe try an experiment of his theory on a tank and check water parameters daily to see if there are any spikes. My initial thought would be to try a lightly stocked aquarium first, and then a heavily stocked one and note if there are any differences. Is there any mention of biowheels in this article anywhere? My tanks with biowheels seem much easier to maintain, and I haven't had issues with water parameters.

12-05-2006, 04:07 AM
In order for the water change to have removed all that bad stuff, you would have to do a 100% water change. Water changes are not done to remove parasites or nasty bacteria. Bacteria on the filter will not be harmful, it will be beneficial. Sloshing filter cartridges in tank water is not done to remove bacteria, it is done to remove the surface junk while preserving the good bacteria. It depends on what you mean by nasty filter cartridges. Cartridges with lot sof nasty debris on them will cause problems, but 'nasty' cartridges may be nasty because of the presence of colonies of good bacteria, such as a nicely aged biowheel. Did he mean if you keep using your same filter cartridges, why even do water changes?

Lady Hobbs
12-05-2006, 10:04 AM
No, he simply meant that changing filters was just as important as changing the water so you would not be adding pollents back into the new water.

Kimmers: My 55 tank if full of fish. I change out about 50% of the water, clean the media in both filters (one is a bio-wheel) clean the gravel completely, wipe the glass, etc, and never have a mini cycle. When I was still using carbon filtering, I started running it under the hottest water that would come from my tap just to kill off living things that may linger there. Can you just imagine looking at an old filter under a microscope? To me, it was not much different than just adding a new carbon filter. They come out pretty clean again but in my mind, if anything was living there, it was probably dead by then. And also no different than me changing out the spun filtering I use every other water change.

I think that once tanks are established that so much good bacteria is right there in the gravel and decorations that it can hold about anything else you do to the tank........other than adding medications.

I have tanks with and without bio-wheels and have had no problem with any of them getting set back. I just feel better knowing those filters are clean, too.

12-05-2006, 11:38 AM
Hi Hobbs!

Just to let you know what I do.

Every week when I do my water changes, I thoroughly clean my filter with hot tap water. That includes the sponges inside the Fluval 405, all the filter baskets and the filter walls.

I gently run cooler water over the bio max just to rinse them.

The beneficial bacteria is in the gravel, on the glass and on the ornaments as well.

Even a 100% change of water, which I have done in an emergency, doesn't jeopardize your cycle unless you do maybe 2 or 3 back to back 100% changes. That's from personal experience.

Yes, clean the filter with each water change.

Lady Hobbs
12-05-2006, 11:51 AM
Morning! I know it's said that tap water kills the good bacteria, too, but if your tank doesn't suffer from doing so, what's the difference? No difference than adding a new filter. The filter doesn't have to run very long for good bacteria to be right back on it.

You and I are on the same page here. I want clean water and a clean filter.

03-06-2007, 10:28 PM
Here's my two cents worth.

You can and should replace your chemical and mechanical filtration media monthly. They are primarily meant to trap debris and harmful pollutants. Chemical media will not be "rejuvinated" by any amount of washing. When it's done, it's done. The purpose of your biological media is to be a pleasant home for the nitrifying bacteria. A place where all the water from the tank is channeled and all the waste it carries can be utilized. The problem occurs when your multi purpose cartridge is also your main biological filter media as well. It's a catch 22 as you kind of throw the baby out with the bath water by changing it.

The simple answer is to use seperate biological media in your power filter reservoir or suppliment with an UG or sponge filter. These media should be simply rinsed to remove incidental debris accumulation. I don't know if all power filters have one, but mine came with a black mesh biological sponge material that is the final stage before returning the water to the tank. This is the media meant to house the bacteria. The floss and charcoal packet are meant to be disposed of.

I personally believe in, and use UG filters in every tank. I am a firm believer in their prowess as a biological filter that can quickly adapt to different waste levels. Kind of like a little septic tank for your aquarium.

03-07-2007, 07:12 AM
I have thought that myself, aquarium maintainence really contradicts itself, we take the upmost care to keep our tanks clear, but we cycle to build up a bacterior, and this is meant to be good, never really has made sense to me.