Filter cleaning - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-07-2018, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Filter cleaning

I understand I need to clean my filter, but doesn't cleaning the filter get rid of bacteria? Bacteria is needed for disposing of fish waste. So how much do you clean,(canister filter)?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-07-2018, 09:18 PM
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I understand I need to clean my filter, but doesn't cleaning the filter get rid of bacteria? Bacteria is needed for disposing of fish waste. So how much do you clean,(canister filter)?
I start by rinsing / squeezing out any course / reusable sponges in OLD TANK WATER (usually water I just siphoned out). Next I will put the biomedia in a large net and swish it in some old tank water, and re-add to filter. Lastly I will throw out + replace any filter floss and add my newly collected shrimp into the tank before I hook everything back up.

The bacteria lost in filter cleaning is not significant enough to cause too much of a problem. Most of the biofiltering is done in the substrate not so much in the filter (after the tank is well established anyway).

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-07-2018, 09:20 PM
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Disposable mechanical media like fine pads and floss you just want to toss and replace. Other mechanical and bio such as sponges and all of the varieties of ceramic media you want to rinse in tank water. Rinsing in tank water keeps any loss of bacteria to a minimum. Of course an established tank stocked full of healthy plants is pretty much a biofilter in itself, not to mention the bacteria in the substrate and on the hardscape and plants. Of course the amount of bacteria you have is dependent on the amount of "food" that's available for the bacteria, but that's another, although related topic.

Long story short, rinse any media you plan on returning to the filter in tank water to minimize loss of beneficial bacteria.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-07-2018, 09:20 PM
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Once you're dealing with an established tank, you can really clean your filters well as most of the bacteria is in your substrate, on plants and surfaces throughout the tank. I clean my Eheim's weekly, rinsing all the media in RODI water. All of my tanks are well established and this causes no problems. If you're dealing with a cycling tank, I'd recommend you leave your filter alone.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-07-2018, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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I have been away for quite a while, with a friend feeding my catfish that got HUGE. So just got home and had to start over. After a 50% water change, nitrates were still reading 160ppm. Also filter started leaking, replaced with an Eheim pro4 250. How long should I leave my filter alone?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-07-2018, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Edwelds View Post
I have been away for quite a while, with a friend feeding my catfish that got HUGE. So just got home and had to start over. After a 50% water change, nitrates were still reading 160ppm. Also filter started leaking, replaced with an Eheim pro4 250. How long should I leave my filter alone?
Clean + reuse existing media from the old filter into the new filter. That should cycle it right away so you can go ahead and clean it every other week or so.

I would worry about getting that NO3 level down to 'nicer' levels first though.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-07-2018, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Too late on reusing old filter . Did a 100% water change and added a bottle of New tank bacteria. Also gravel vacuum my gravel moderately. Got rid of catfish. Water chemistry is nearly perfect now. Added 3 guppies. Going to wait a couple weeks and slowly add fish.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-08-2018, 02:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwelds View Post
I have been away for quite a while, with a friend feeding my catfish that got HUGE. So just got home and had to start over. After a 50% water change, nitrates were still reading 160ppm. Also filter started leaking, replaced with an Eheim pro4 250. How long should I leave my filter alone?
I would try cleaning at least every two weeks. Sure, you can go longer, but it'll just build up more detritus in the filter and more organics will be released into the tank as the detritus breaks down. At two weeks, see how clean it is and adjust accordingly.
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