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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I currently am using a HOB marine land bio wheel along with a left over top fin HOB for my 20 long planted tank. I am starting to realize again that having to buy the store bought filter cartridges as rather expensive. I actually have some left over ceramic rings that I previously bought. I was wondering what everyone's experience is with either adding ceramic rings to their HOB and also the use of a carbon less filter pad. This tank has been established since December and all the levels look good so I also do not want to mess with something that isn't broken! Any information would be helpful. Thanks!
 

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Yea...Your throwing away your cycle if you do that. Cut a slit at the top of a fresh cartridge and take out the carbon. Then fill the bag with a decent amount of ceramic rings. To clean, lightly rise with tank water after a water change. Never throw the rings away. If the cartridge is really dirty, put the ceramic rings in a new one.
 

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You don't need activated carbon in your filter. Activated carbon is for those rare occasions when you want to remove medications or discoloration from the water. You are not supposed to be using it on permanent basis.

Manufacturers add carbon to their filter cartridges because this is the only thing that can expire, thus making you believe that you need to buy a new cartridge. You don't. Get rid of the carbon in the filter, replace it with some bio-media or floss and just keep using your cartridge forever (just rinse it in aquarium water from time to time).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok all makes sense so I will go without the carbon from now on. Next question would be do most people do as stated in previous post and take out the carbon and insert the ceramic rings directly into the filter or do they either insert in front of or behind the filter pad? If so would it make more sense to put the filter pad before the ceramic rings correct?
 

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I think typically most would use a coarse foam followed by finer foam or filter floss and finally ceramic rings. So it goes from mechanical to biological. As mentioned above you should rinse out your sponges and rings when needed in clean water from a water change so the beneficial bacteria is not killed. You can toss the filter floss depending on how clogged up it gets. Big Al's sells a big roll of it pretty cheap. I also use it in the cats fountain filter.
 

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How to set up filter media is something that I do on a tank by tank basis. Some tanks need different things to get what we need. But that can come back down to what space is available. For me and HOB, I find space is somewhat short while I find there is a lot of space for the good bacteria in all the other parts of the tank. There are times when I use the space for bio but most of the time, I let the other parts of a mature tank do the bio and use the limited space for mostly just basic mechanical.
So you may come out with a better setup by looking/thinking what is needed for your tank. Need more mechanical to clear debris floating around or is the tank really not mature or really close to overstocked? To clear the look of the water, it may need more mechanical cleaning and leave the bio to the rest of the tank. Knowing how long and how well the bacteria as populated the total tank may guide you.
I do not use carbon nor do I use the prepared filter cartridges. Again the methods need to be tailored to what you find in your case. I was running a lot of varied ype filters and needed more mechanical that I could change out quickly with little muss/fuss. That left me getting a very large roll of the filter material used for commercial air handlers and cutting pads to fit. It can be very cheap and easy to cut it to fit all kinds of filters. If one is not into heavy use, there are many different forms of cut to fit pads that work very well. I like to have two thinnish type pads and put them back to back in the compartment. That lets me leave one full of bacteria and swap out or clean the other.
This is one place I like and find lots of choice for cut to fit media:
Bulk Filter Media, Floss & Foam Aquarium Filter Media for Sale Online | PetSolutions

A bit of looking around will find lots of ways to tailor what you use to what you need and save money at the same time. Carbon? Not needed very often!
 
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