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Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 42
  1. Default Don't Want to Lose All My Good Bacteria!

    0 Not allowed!
    I know most of my good bacteria lives in my substrate, which I try not to touch that much of anymore, I usually swirl over it to do some cleaning. My corys sift through it all day, will that destroy the good bacteria in there? It's a little confusing because they do help aerate it and help with the water circulation to keep the bacteria alive but at the same time, they're disrupting it....

    Also, when I do my water changes, I like to scrub the glass of any residues/algae that might be on it. Am I removing too much of the good bacteria that has settled there as well? I also scrub out the filters and clean the sponge and carbon in dechlorinated water, I leave the bio-max stuff in some aquarium water while I clean the rest.

    The reason I'm asking is because I am almost through a mini-cycle when I decided to add a layer of sand over my existing one last week.

    Does adding something mechanical like Fluval's Clearmax (removes phosphates,nitrites,nitrates) or Ammonia Remover to my filter ruin my natural nitrogen cycle by depriving them of the things they need to work properly? Should I avoid those products?
    I watch fish. Really. I just sit and stare.

    Hardscaped 29G: 12 Harlequin Rasbora, 3 Diamond Tetra, 1 Bolivian Ram, 1 Cockatoo Apisto, 1 Crowntail Betta, 6 Peppered Cory, 1 BN Pleco

  2. Default

    2 Not allowed!
    MOST of your beneficial bacteria lives in your FILTER, in the sponge and the bio-max. Yes, some BB lives in the substrate but you will have no problem vacuuming your substrate. If you're tank is not planted, vacuuming is the only way to clean up the poo and any left over food that might be there.

    If you are diligently scrubbing your filters and sponges on a regular basis (even in dechlorinated water) you're probably killing off a lot of your BB. That may also be why you're experiencing mini cycles.

    Most here do tank maintenance something like this:
    weekly water changes of 30%
    every other month to every 3 - 4 months, clean the filter - and only gently squeeze the sponge and dip the bio media in tank water that you removed during the water change.
    Vac 1/2 of the tank weekly - again, if you don't have plants.

    If you don't have snails to eat your algae, then it's fine to wipe the glass down whenever you do a water change.

    Not the only way to maintain a tank but it works

    Hope that helps
    30 g FW planted:corys, female ABNP, blue angel, harleys, zebra danios, rummies,
    15 g FW planted:2 male guppies, neons, pygmy corys, clown pleco, 4 types of shrimp, assassin snails
    90 Gal Journal:
    fishless cycling:
    fish in cycling:

  3. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Oh....When I do my weekly wc which is usually 20-25% I clean the filter as well. I see a lot of sludge/gunk always build up after just one week. I rinse/squeeze the sponge like crazy because it's almost black, I rinse the carbon out and replace it every month, and clean down the whole filter because of all the slime build-up. I was afraid if I leave it for 2-4 months it would have so much gunk that it becomes useless and the bad stuff ends up going back in the tank. I also don't have any plants or snails in there and this is the first time that my tank has mini-cycled.

    Maybe I need to lay-off my crazy maintenance plan a little.
    I watch fish. Really. I just sit and stare.

    Hardscaped 29G: 12 Harlequin Rasbora, 3 Diamond Tetra, 1 Bolivian Ram, 1 Cockatoo Apisto, 1 Crowntail Betta, 6 Peppered Cory, 1 BN Pleco

  4. #4


    1 Not allowed!
    Yes, I would avoid using any of those products, unless necessary to keep your fish alive - if you had high ammonia then I would use some Prime to keep the fish alive, but otherwise those products make water testing more difficult, as they can skew test results. Aside from dechlorinator if you have city water, I would do water changes rather than use any of those products.

    As far as adding substrate over top of existing substrate - my personal opinion (and I have no facts for back up) is that there is quite a bit of bacteria in the substrate, so I would have only covered half of the substrate one week...then done the rest of it a week or two later. I think that the mulm that sits around down there is loaded with bacteria buddies, so unless you are a fanatical vacummer that contributes quite a bit to the cycle. Again, only IMO.

    I used to clean my sponges under the tap when I used sponges. As of now, my fully established tank has neither sponges or carbon.
    I wouldn't advise you taking out your sponge, but you can certainly do without the carbon.
    20gal long planted community

  5. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Ok thanks, I thought I would use those extra media as a "just in case" thing and my lfs told me to use it because I had brown algae on my glass at one point which he said could be from the phosphates in my tap water, now its more of a grey film on my glass. I used it for about 2 weeks but removed it today, I had second thoughts about it interfering...

    Ya, the way I added substrate thing was a big mistake, I did my research on nitrifying bacteria only later because I was researching information on how it is affected by UV and learned about how bacteria lives mostly on the substrate and surfaces. That's why I try to leave my surfaces alone as much as possible. What do you think about my glass? Is it safe to give it a weekly wipe-down in your opinion?

    When I first started, I used to rinse everything under tap water and throw it in, recently I started using dechlorinated water for those media. I'm sure a really good tank doesn't need any of those filter materials like you said but I'm too afraid to try that after I see all the gunk that builds up in there, if it's not in my filter media I would think it would all stay in my tank or spill back into the tank.

    The carbon I think is good to remove any odours and help keep the water clear looking? And the sponge would help trap big pieces of debris and to feed the bio media? And the bio-media to hold some bacteria? So if most of the good bacteria is on the surfaces in the tank, with enough circulation and aeration, there's no need for all that filter media I guess...but I'm definitely not there yet.
    Last edited by fish gazer; 07-24-2014 at 12:00 AM.
    I watch fish. Really. I just sit and stare.

    Hardscaped 29G: 12 Harlequin Rasbora, 3 Diamond Tetra, 1 Bolivian Ram, 1 Cockatoo Apisto, 1 Crowntail Betta, 6 Peppered Cory, 1 BN Pleco

  6. #6


    3 Not allowed!
    Scrub your glass all you like - of the three places (filter, substrate, surfaces like glass and non-porous decorations) the surfaces carry the least BB and you don't depend on that BB at all.

    Carbon is good to remove odours (if you have any, which you shouldn't have anything noticeable unless your face is right over the tank) and medications. The clarity of the tank is more due to polishing pads and poly filler/floss. But run it if you like, it certainly doesn't hurt! I just rather have more bio-media than have carbon. Sponges do trap larger particles of debris - thats its job - but it doesn't feed the bacteria in your bio-media. bacteria are pretty stationary critters - the debris trapped in your sponge would only feed the BB on that sponge, and if you are rinsing the thing all the time, you aren't really trying to grow BB on your sponge.

    You may be slightly over-estimating the "surfaces" thing. Substrate, bio-media, and porous rocks like lava rock and texas holey rock, and the rock used in reef aquariums - are all extremely porous and so have many times the surface area for growing BB than smooth surfaced things like glass, or plastic plants and decorations. That's why reef tanks get away with no filters if they have reef rock - that type of rock is just large chunks of bio-media sitting in your tank rather than in your filter.

    So I don't suggest depending too much on your glass or other surfaces in the tank for BB. Your filter is there for that purpose specifically, and the substrate exists in that capacity naturally. Unless you have as many pounds of porous rock in your tank as you do gallons of water, you aren't getting any substantial BB growth on your other surfaces.
    20gal long planted community

  7. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I get what you're saying and it makes alot of sense to me. The only extra surfaces I have are driftwood and I think black sandstone in the tank. As for let's say the bio max in my filter, I use the original that the Aquaclear 70 came with and threw in an additional one made for an Aquaclear 20, just for added bacteria space. Since I'm going this route at the moment, should they be swished in aquarium water a little from time to time to keep some of the dead stuff off or left completely alone? And maybe completely replace one at a time every year?
    I watch fish. Really. I just sit and stare.

    Hardscaped 29G: 12 Harlequin Rasbora, 3 Diamond Tetra, 1 Bolivian Ram, 1 Cockatoo Apisto, 1 Crowntail Betta, 6 Peppered Cory, 1 BN Pleco

  8. #8


    2 Not allowed!
    Yah, its safe to rinse that way once a monthish or so. No need to completely replace it unless it is literally falling apart - all you would be doing is throwing away a major colony of BB that you would have to replace with equivalent already cycled media. Thats another reason why most of us run two filters on our aquariums - you can completely clean one filter, while knowing the other one is covering for the loss of the BB you are washing away.
    20gal long planted community

  9. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Oh ok, thanks, I think I will add more of the smaller bags of bio max to the two that I already have going so that when I have to rinse them, I can do one at a time sort of thing. I have a second filter but it's a uv clarifier but I only turn that part on if I have cloudy water for some reason, other than that, I run it as a regular filter along side my main one. It has a sponge inside of it to filter the water but that's about it, I don't think there's room to add more media to it.
    Last edited by fish gazer; 07-24-2014 at 01:04 AM.
    I watch fish. Really. I just sit and stare.

    Hardscaped 29G: 12 Harlequin Rasbora, 3 Diamond Tetra, 1 Bolivian Ram, 1 Cockatoo Apisto, 1 Crowntail Betta, 6 Peppered Cory, 1 BN Pleco

  10. #10


    1 Not allowed!
    lol I'd be cutting that sponge in half to make room for some bio-media...some of us take huge liberties with what is in our filters.

    Do you find that the uv bulb gets dirty being run without being on? Or do you take the uv part right out when not in use?
    20gal long planted community

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