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  1. #1

    Default Making your Own Filter Media; Advice Please


    0 Not allowed!
    I recently had an incident where one of my commercially made filter cartridges went bad and basically fell apart. It was less than a month old. I found fibers and white flakes throughout the tank from the disintegrating filter. Not only was it a mess to clean up, it was also a blow to my tank cycle when I had to prematurely discard the cartridge. In spite of the fact that my filter uses multiple cartridges, I had Ammonia build-up to deal with soon after since this is a relatively new tank.

    Although I had never thought about it, building my own filter media seems like the way to go to ensure quality, and maybe save some money. I found a video on YouTube with instructions on how to do this using Polyfiber pads and Biomax inserts.



    1. Has anyone done this?

    2. Does it work well?

    3. I have read that activated carbon only removes chlorine, chloramines, and tannins (which keep the water color clear), and phenols (which cause odors).

    4. Is activated carbon really necessary?

    5. If so, how would you add it to the configuration in the YouTube video above?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I can't help you with all of your questions, but I can help you with some of them

    Quote Originally Posted by Sportsnerd View Post
    3. I have read that activated carbon only removes chlorine, chloramines, and tannins (which keep the water color clear), and phenols (which cause odors).
    Not all carbon will remove both chlorine and chloramines. There is different types / quality of activated carbon. The carbon often used in cartridges will not remove all chloramines. Carbon is really good at removing toxins and helping with oders.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sportsnerd View Post
    4. Is activated carbon really necessary?
    No. You really don't need to use it all the time. I only use it after I use medications as carbon will remove all the left over meds from the water
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
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  3. #3

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I have not used cartridges for years. Actually only bought a new box one time in my years in this hobby. My filters are all packed with foam blocks that only need to be rinsed. If room, I also add bio-max in a bag.

  4. #4

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for the response... questions:

    1. What kind of foam do you use?
    2. Do you ever change out the foam/bio-max, or just rinse with tank water?
    3. How long should I overlap the foam with the existing media to get a good transfer of bacteria?
    4. You find no use for activated carbon?

    Thanks!

  5. #5

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    I do the same as LadyH. I have HOB filters that are supposed to use cartridges and I just don't. Buy polyester floss anywhere wherever its cheap (so long as its not treated with anit-flammatory chemicals or anything) and I buy bulk sponge at the lfs and cut to fit. I don't use carbon in my FW tanks at all, and would only use it (and would use a media bag if I ever had to) if I wanted to remove medications after treatment if my fish ever got sick.

    I only change the sponge out if it starts to fall apart, but they last a long time. I would overlap old media with the new for a few weeks to help with BB transfer.

  6. #6

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    Default


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    One thing people miss. Carbon has a pretty high surface area. Even if it doesn't suck up nasties any more it's still useful.

    Personally I just run an external. Sponge, load of high surface glass sinter media, another sponge and some floss. The floss I buy in big bags from the pond section, the rest gets a swish in old tank water and will last for quite some time.

  7. #7

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    Default


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    Heck, you could use a sponge and broken up (or small) coarse/porous rock if you wanted. Beneficial bacteria can grow on pretty much anything, but the more porous the better, since that increases surface area to allow more bacteria to grow.
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  8. #8

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    OK... So I am switching my filter media from the store bought cartridges to custom fit filter pads and bio-max ceramics. The bio-max ceramics have been in with the established / establishing cartridges for a couple of days. Now I want to add the new filter pads that I will use permanently, but all of that wont fit in the filter. What is the best way to go?

    1. Soak the new media in the tank in a media bag for a couple of weeks?
    2. Put the new media in the filter and soak the old media in the tank?

  9. #9

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    a couple days doesn't really give the bb a chance to spread to new media. I would leave the bio max for another week/week and a half.
    Then I would remove the old cartridge and replace with filter pads. Your bio max, if you have enough for the stocking you have, will be enough to hold the cycle.
    Don't forget, your substrate, decorations and all surfaces in the water hold bb as well.

  10. #10

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Both should go in the filter, because that's where the majority of your BB lives. It lives where the most flow is, not in the tank. It'll take at least 2 weeks to colonize the new filter media with the old one.
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