I have not even pulled out the media basket in over 4 months. Only drop the motor to clean, and clean intake pipe. I use a fluval prefilter sponge, it catches everything.
Bio media still looks very clean through sides of the filter, lots of roots to.
Combination of low bio load(3 kuhlis, snails,shrimp), lots of plants(in tank and on filter),2-25%water changes a week must be why. But I think I the pennywort has gotten to big and is totally sapping the water colum. Once it gets going emersed, it is very aggressive.
Now my soil seems to be depleted of potassium,(way underestimated how much I needed) so I've been dosing. And plants are slowly showing iron deficiencies, even though I added 20oz of laterite to the dirt. I did not know the importance of CEC when I started this tank, and should have used some clay in my dirt. I don't think the soil mix has sufficient CEC to recharge itself, and was lacking to begin with.
I'm going to be breaking the tank down soon and moving all the plants and livestock to other tanks.
I already made a mineralized topsoil(focussing on CEC), using worm castings,and many amendments. I have also grown out several aquarium plants in my pond. I will be dirting a rimless 60 gallon(48"L, 16"W, 18"H). Just Working on the stand, and looking for an LED light.
I'll be sure to take lots of pictures of the root mass in the filter when I tear the tank down. And the filter has only recently been "clogging up" with roots, but nothing near the motor(somehow). Just so many roots no water can flow by lol. Nothing serious, just reduced flow