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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Marineland 3gal tank that came with a Tetra Whisper 10i. It takes those standard inserts.

I have experience replacing the media in a Aqueon Evolve 4, and I was looking to do the same with this. I hate changing cartridges.

Any suggestions? Or should I seek a different filter?

Thanks!
 

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I never buy ready made cartridges. I bought a really, really big roll of air handler media like is used for commercial AC units. I cut a peice and wrap around the old cartridge frame, finding some way to hold it in place. Rubber bands worked until they got too stiff.
A good alternate pad is the blue/white bonded pad made by Marineland. Cut to fit and much cheaper. No carbon needed.
 

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I stuff all the HOB filters with a stack of media like this:
Bottom = Aquaclear sponge.
Middle = blue and white bonded media mentioned by Rich.
Top = floss (polyester quilt batting)
On top of that= bio noodles in a nylon stocking.
A few filters get a nylon bag of peat moss or other stuff.

Pretty much all the filters have a sponge over the intake that is either an Aquaclear sponge or a slightly coarser sponge.

No cartridges for me, either!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So I finally went out and decided to try something. Following along the lines of what I learned from Aquaclears and what I did for my Evolve 4.

I bought media for an Aquaclear. Aquaclear 20 Biorings. Aquaclear 50 sponge cut in half. And Aquaclear 30 carbon insert. The Aquaclear 30 carbon bag was a bit big. I will hopefully replace this someday soon if I can find a smaller one, otherwise will have to come up with something else.

The rings kind of stick out above the filter a little, but I hope to fix that when I replace the carbon bag.

It slowed down the flow a lot but that is actually a good thing considering this is for a betta.

Any thoughts or problems? Thanks!
 

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Sounds okay from here but then it is something that you can look over and see how it might work better. Three gallon with a single betta? That says not much bio-load. So most any sponge or soft media will collect enough bacteria to handle the load. Sometimes more media to slow the flow, sometimes less to get more flow? I would watch the flow and how clean it is getting the water. Finer media like filter floss pads are good for the mechanical straining. I would suggest one that can be rinsed and reused a number of times before falling apart.
In general the idea is to run the water through one or more mechanical "strainers" and then if you want bio filtering which is prone to getting the little pores stopped up, add it after the mechanical. Then if you want to "polish" the water, a layer of really fine stuff. Not all situations require all those, so it may need some watching and small changes as you see how it works for you and the big guy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sounds okay from here but then it is something that you can look over and see how it might work better. Three gallon with a single betta? That says not much bio-load. So most any sponge or soft media will collect enough bacteria to handle the load. Sometimes more media to slow the flow, sometimes less to get more flow? I would watch the flow and how clean it is getting the water. Finer media like filter floss pads are good for the mechanical straining. I would suggest one that can be rinsed and reused a number of times before falling apart.
In general the idea is to run the water through one or more mechanical "strainers" and then if you want bio filtering which is prone to getting the little pores stopped up, add it after the mechanical. Then if you want to "polish" the water, a layer of really fine stuff. Not all situations require all those, so it may need some watching and small changes as you see how it works for you and the big guy.
Thanks, I have never tried anything beyond what I have learned from using an Aquaclear 70. In my Evolve 4, the media chamber is exactly the same size as an Aquaclear 70. So what I did for that was put a sponge at the bottom, a carbon insert, and then another sponge, and then the biorings. All from basically what would be put in an Aquaclear 70. I know the double sponge is a little over kill, and all of it barely looks dirty even after a year, again probably because of the bioload being so small.

But I took the same principals from that and applied it to my Tertra Whisper. Originally when I started with nano tanks with built in filters, I never thought I would even be able to understand how to find a replacement to the cartridges. I have to say, the water in my Evolve 4 is crystal clear.

The flow in my 3 gallon with the Tetra Whisper is a little less than what ideally I wanted. But then again Bettas do not much care for flow. The water looks good though. I will be testing the water every few days to make sure I have not caused any issues. I am leaving the old cartridge in the tank for a few days to make sure I get all the beneficial bacteria I can.
 

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It is not hard to change things around to suit what we want if we have some idea of what it is doing for us. Sometimes I see people have done things to get filters better but they don't ask themself if that is what they really need. If it is doing all the bio that is produced, adding more bio rings or whatever can just wind up cutting the flow. I no longer use carbon most of the time as I find it is just a little too messy and I have to change it more often than I find needed when I use other things. It does a good job for color or removing meds but normally I run without it. I lay the new cartidge back when I get a new filter, just in case I do get a need at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It is not hard to change things around to suit what we want if we have some idea of what it is doing for us. Sometimes I see people have done things to get filters better but they don't ask themself if that is what they really need. If it is doing all the bio that is produced, adding more bio rings or whatever can just wind up cutting the flow. I no longer use carbon most of the time as I find it is just a little too messy and I have to change it more often than I find needed when I use other things. It does a good job for color or removing meds but normally I run without it. I lay the new cartidge back when I get a new filter, just in case I do get a need at some point.
Yeah, I am just tired of cartridges. I understand their point and use, but I hate the cost, how effective they are, and find it easier to customize the media.

I have also been thinking of removing any carbon inserts. Or even going with Purigen (sp?). I find that I tend to leave the carbon insert in my 30 gal. I think I have replaced it once over a year. So why even have it?
 

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On a three gallon tank and not much load, one could almost say the bacteria on the walls and all the surfaces might be enough to do the bio filtering. Not that it is recommended but with small loads, you do have lots of surface area for bacteria to hang out even without a filter. The big problem might be when we get all worked up and really clean the glass of all that good bacteria. That used to be the Saturday morning ritual at my house. Take all the fish and water out and take it all to the sink and sterilize every little part. And make real sure that you clean the filter real good. It's always full of dirt. How did the fish ever make it?
 
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