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Hey guys, going to change the substrate in my cichlid tank from gravel to sand and was wondering if all there is too it is taking the fish and the gravel out and then puting in the sand(already soaked and rinsed out of course.
 

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thanx, cuz i read on a few oter sites and have been told that when changing substrate it takes out a lot of beneficial bacteria.
While some beneficial bacteria will reside on the surface of the substrate, the majority lives in the filter media, where there is much more surface area compared to the substrate.
 

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How do others clean their filter media w/o killing the bacteria? I have a HOB with 2 filter media sections (no carbon). At the end of 2 weeks, it is covered with a brown mess. I have to use the kitchen sink hose to get it clean, but I am sure that does in the bacteria with the chlorinated tap water.
 

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How do others clean their filter media w/o killing the bacteria? I have a HOB with 2 filter media sections (no carbon). At the end of 2 weeks, it is covered with a brown mess. I have to use the kitchen sink hose to get it clean, but I am sure that does in the bacteria with the chlorinated tap water.
I just rinse mine out in a bucket of dechlorinated tap water (or better yet, since I'm doing a water change, I just siphon off some of the water that would be wasted anyway).

I have my media in mesh bags, so I just give them a swirl in the bucket.

If you have those HOB filter pad-type cartridges, you can do the same, or just use a (new) brush and dislodge any detritus.
 

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i hav marineland hob filters that hav a wheel jus for beneficial bacteria to grow on, so it makes it ok to jus throw away the filter pad every month(once a month i shud say).
There is really no need to throw away the filter pads. They are still useful if you just rinse them.

No need to spend extra money if you don't have to ;)
 

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For cleaning the filter pad I've always rinsed it in the sink, That's right! straight tap water. It may be the wrong way of doing things but I've been doing it like this for years with no negative effects
 

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For cleaning the filter pad I've always rinsed it in the sink, That's right! straight tap water. It may be the wrong way of doing things but I've been doing it like this for years with no negative effects
When I discussed this with the worker at the big box pet store (concerned about killing bacteria I was), she keenly brought it to my attention that if I was throwing away the filter I'd retain zero beneficial bacteria. So in the end I'm no worse rinsing it in the sink, even if I kill all the bacteria.

I have to believe though that in a mature tank, most of the beneficial bacteria is elsewhere than the filter media. It's hard to believe that the majority of your colony will keep going back to the same place that gets disposed of on a regular basis. It seems to make much more sense that even without biowheels it will find other places which are not so regularly cleaned, like the inside of the intake and filter housing, plants, other decorations, back glass, and yes substrate.
 

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I have to believe though that in a mature tank, most of the beneficial bacteria is elsewhere than the filter media. It's hard to believe that the majority of your colony will keep going back to the same place that gets disposed of on a regular basis. It seems to make much more sense that even without biowheels it will find other places which are not so regularly cleaned, like the inside of the intake and filter housing, plants, other decorations, back glass, and yes substrate.
Well, bacteria are not smart like humans :smile:

They will just colonize anywhere and everywhere. For sure they are present on ornaments, hardscape, the substrate, etc.

However, the total surface area of these is probably less than the surface area available in filter media. Some filter media like sintered glass, etc are very porous, having extremely high surface areas that allow for greater (denser) bacterial colonization.
 

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Yeah I also believe most of the bacteria is in the filter pad, however depending on how your tank is setup I've never had negative affects doing it this way & will continue doing it the same way I've always have. Except for a bare bottom tank. I've had a mini cycle happen with a bare bottom before
 

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Well, bacteria are not smart like humans :smile:

They will just colonize anywhere and everywhere. For sure they are present on ornaments, hardscape, the substrate, etc.

However, the total surface area of these is probably less than the surface area available in filter media. Some filter media like sintered glass, etc are very porous, having extremely high surface areas that allow for greater (denser) bacterial colonization.
That's my point exactly though, it doesn't take intelligence, only variation and consistent removal of a healthy bacteria population from one particular source. Let's say every time bacteria expand, they grow 2 parts on the filter media to 1 part everywhere else. And we're assuming the 'everywhere else' doesn't get cleaned, like substrate, decorations, etc. Well everytime you remove the filter media that location has to start from stratch with bacteria, but everywhere else the population just keeps growing because it's not being disturbed. Otherwise, if the majority of our bacteria were really in the filter media we'd have a mini cycle everytime we put a new filter in.
 

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That's my point exactly though, it doesn't take intelligence, only variation and consistent removal of a healthy bacteria population from one particular source. Let's say every time bacteria expand, they grow 2 parts on the filter media to 1 part everywhere else. And we're assuming the 'everywhere else' doesn't get cleaned, like substrate, decorations, etc. Well everytime you remove the filter media that location has to start from stratch with bacteria, but everywhere else the population just keeps growing because it's not being disturbed. Otherwise, if the majority of our bacteria were really in the filter media we'd have a mini cycle everytime we put a new filter in.
Bacteria growth will depend on availability of nutrients and other things required for sustaining their life.

If it is abundant, then bacterial growth will be exponentially faster. There are also other factors such as quorum sensing that will play a role in the rate of bacterial growth.

The other areas that bacteria can colonize will generally have slower/less dense growth.

For filters such as HOB that have smaller surface areas, replacing the media completely may not result in a mini cycle. Do the same for a canister filter, and you may see different results.
 

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What's your tank size and fish load? I wouldn't do the filter anytime near the substrate (I'd wait at least 6 weeks), not that you were considering it. As others mentioned, I think you'd be fine as long as your stocking level isn't crazy
 

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Nitrifying bacteria are not fast growing species.
If they are constantly being removed from one area (filter media) then the best population will be elsewhere in the tank. On the substrate, on plant leaves and stems, on driftwood...
Then you introduce new filter media and the bacteria start growing on it. But all the established bacteria are taking a lot of the ammonia, so there is not a lot available to the bacteria trying to get going on the new filter media. So growth is slow. Then that media is thrown away, and the bacteria in the rest of the tank remains to take care of the ammonia.

So:
Throwing away the filter media, or cleaning it with chlorinated water often enough to keep the bacteria population very low is not going to cause a significant cycle in the tank as long as there is other media (substrate etc.) for bacteria.
Note R.sok's post, #12. A bare bottom tank has more bacteria in the filter, so the loss is significant.

Plants are also a part of the bio filter, and they also help pick up the slack when small amounts of bacteria are removed.
 
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