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Hello,

Recently bought my fluval vista 23g aquarium and I wanted to meticulously follow my Aqua Clear 50 instructions about changing the media (foam, activated carbon and biomax) when needed.

But after some searches I realized that changing something might hurt the tank by removing good bacteria. I understand now stores sell products to add to the tank when doing maintenance, to avoid ammonia peak.

So, I am not sure anymore what is the best thing to do. I read that some people just clean once in the while their filter inserts (with tank water), and they change them just when they fall appart. I also read some thread where people follow Aqua Clear guide and change the filter inserts. Some people even add their own filter pads to keep the bio max cleaner.

So, that is the question, what is the best approach to keep the tank healthy? I think it is really important because I`d like to have shrimps and everybody told be that they are really sensible to ammonia.
 

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The folks who make and sell filter media are way to glad to see us buy new!! And it can actually hurt us as there is a good amount of bacteria in the media we throw away. so my methods are not what the makers call for doing!
Cleaning and how much is good depends on several things and one big one is how old the tank. New tank,less than six months old, are thin on bacteria and that leaves it much easier to upset things if we clean too well. Cleaning does two things. It makes the tank look nicer when we clean up it is not good if we clean too much so that we kill too much bacteria before it gets settled in all parts of the tank. I recommend NOT cleaning a new filter until I see the flow begin to drop. We do need to keep the water flowing but not so much that we risk killing the bacteria as that is what we really need to take care of converting the waste down to nitrate for plants to use or to be removed with water changes.
Many find the carbon is way to quick to get the tiny holes filled and we stop using it once the tank gets going a bit. I lay it back incase I need to remove colors or meds from the water but it is too much work to change carbon every few weeks and it doesn't last much longer than that. If carbon feels slick, it is certain the tiny holes are no longer working but covered.
Lots of good clean water while waiting longer to clean the filters as the point of cleaning the filters is to remove the waste they take from the water and hide. They don't actually do much other than hide it, so at some point we do find it worth the time to remove the waste hidden there. Just not to throw out the good bacteria we want to grow there? By the time the media is getting to fallin apart, it is safe as there will be bacteria all around and we don't miss the small percentage in the media.
 

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You can use the foam media and the biomaxx until they physically fall apart. Just squeeze out the sponge and rinse out the ceramic media periodically. I usually clean my AquaClear 110 when I see water flowing over the top of the media basket.
 

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I wanted to do my water change every week, so, carbon might be useless most of the time. What is better to replace the carbon in my filter? More mechanical filter, like sponge, foam or pad, or more bio filter?
Throw in a Purigen pouch instead of carbon. Should fit your AC 50 noooo problem! Pull it out from time to time when it gets brown, throw it in a 1:1 bleach:water solution for 24 hours, rinse, soak in heavily Primed water for a few hours(SeaChem says 24, they also say to use far too much Prime) and then back in the filter it goes.

The only piece of media I EVER replace is my filter floss pads when they start breaking down. Only run carbon pads after meds, you'd also need for unwanted chemical exposure in the tank....that's never happened to me though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Throw in a Purigen pouch..
Is it what you are talking about : The bag ?

The only piece of media I EVER replace is my filter floss pads when they start breaking down.
Don't know what is a floss pad. In my aqua clear 50, I have a big sponge brick. I guess this will last for a long time...

thx
 

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Floss is that really fine white material that catches the finer debris. You can buy them in sheets/rolls on amazon and such. I used to use them but got tired of them clogging up so quickly. I just double up on the sponges myself. If you can find that dense yellowish filter sponge, that would be a much better option than filter floss. A sheet of that would last the lifetime of the tank easily.
 

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I wanted to do my water change every week, so, carbon might be useless most of the time. What is better to replace the carbon in my filter? More mechanical filter, like sponge, foam or pad, or more bio filter?
Which is best can vary with each tank so we need to look at what each does and decide if we may need more of that one type. filter do mechanical. that is like running things through a strainer that catches some size. We often run the filter so that big pieces hang up mechanically in something really course first then something a bit less course next. This can be as simple as two different types of sponge or as "fancy" as round ceramic barrel shaped hard media. Catching the bigger parts first keeps the big debris from clogging up the smaller holes too quick and that lets us go longer between cleaning. Too much of the really course may let too much debris move all the way through and back into the water so that there is too much small "dirt" floating and it looks bad. So we get to decide how much of each we want by looking at the water and how often we have to clean.
Next we often get something like ceramic balls, plastic balls or that sort. This is a place like an apartment building where there are lots of really tiny spaces where bacteria are meant to grow and we call it bio media. Bacteria does grow there and it is often one way to keep more fish if we keep lots of bacteria working to convert the ammonia to nitrate. But after a while we do know that bacteria gather on pretty much everything in the tank, so we may not need that "apartment" building" full but just let all those others do the work.
And after doing the course mechanical, smaller mechanical and bio, the water is pretty clean but we want to "polish" the water by running it through something really fine. a good place for thick pads or something that might fill up too quick if we used them first?
Then we may want to replace some part of these with something like carbon, Purigen, or dozens of other things that do something special for us. All have some specific purpose but how much we need of any of them will depend if we have the need and many do not need them once the tank is running well. These are often called chemical media. I think of them as more "specialty" items.
Many do some good but then it becomes a question of how much we need them versus how much do we want to spend in money to buy them, time to clean them or some other factor. Tanks that are running good are usually fine with the mechanical and bio-media types in varied amounts.
We need to keep in mind that mechanical is also somewhat bio as bacteria does live there and bio is mechanical as it does do some straining of debris.
So we get to choose how much of each and watch how it works in case we want something different?
 

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Stage 1: Mechanical-Foam Filter Insert
AquaClear® Foam Filter Inserts perform mechanical filtration by
trapping particles and debris as they pass through the insert.
This unique foam, designed for use with AquaClear® Power
Filters, features optimal pore size for efficient mechanical and
biological filtration.
Usually fine to just rinse and return

Stage 2: Chemical-Activated Carbon Filter Insert
AquaClear® Activated Carbon Filter Inserts contain 100%
premium research grade carbon. Premium research grade
carbon provides large amounts of surface area for adsorption of
undesirable impurities. The Activated Carbon Filter Inserts will
remove unwanted odors, discoloration and impurities resulting
in a crystal clear aquarium.
Discard, most feel carbon is a waste at best, detrimental at worst.. Good for getting rid of antibiotics
One option is to replace w/ stage 3.
DO NOT rinse this in tap water if it contains chlorine ect..
I usually rinse it w/ tank water or Seachem Prime treated water..

Stage 3: Biological-BioMax Insert
AquaClear® BioMax Filter Inserts contain BioMax ceramic rings.
The surface of BioMax is made up of a complex pore system that allows bacteria to thrive.
Use of the BioMax Filter Insert will provide optimal living space for beneficial bacteria and
enhance the removal of ammonia and nitrites resulting in a healthy aquarium environment.
NOTE: Regular replacement of AquaClear® Filter Inserts is essential for optimum filter
performance.
Replace w/ poly fill or top off stage 2 (increase size of stage 2) and any fine filter media.
Others have mentioned other substitutes though top should have at least some fine filtering ability, which should be discarded at cleaning..

Well one suggestion..
 

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And if that is not enough to set one's mind on fire? We can also look at alternate items rather than what we pay premium for in the fish shops! Filter floss is simple to replace with a huge bag of "pillow stuffing" from most any sewing, craft or hobby store. That makes it so cheap to throw away that water to wash it may cost more?
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Poly-Fil-Supreme-Ultra-Plush-Fiberfill-12-oz-Bag/17808686
 
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