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I am going to replace the foam filter in my aquaclear 50 soon. I was wondering if you all would recommend just using the manufacturer's replacement or something else? I have a heavily planted tank with a pretty decent size bio load also. As of now I have the filter set up as it comes in the box. Foam/charcoal/biomedia. Should I replace the charcoal pack also? Thank you
 

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Yeah, just squeeze out the foam in old tank water to clean out the gunk and reuse it. You can reuse it until it starts to fall apart. When I finally do replace a sponge on my aquaclears, I just use the ones made by the company. They're really cheap to buy, last a long time, and do the job well. I don't think it's necessary to find an alternative product in this situation.

The charcoal should be replaced regularly though, if you choose to use it at all. It shouldn't be necessary unless you are trying to remove medications or tannins from the water.
 

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I am going to replace the foam filter in my aquaclear 50 soon. I was wondering if you all would recommend just using the manufacturer's replacement or something else? I have a heavily planted tank with a pretty decent size bio load also. As of now I have the filter set up as it comes in the box. Foam/charcoal/biomedia. Should I replace the charcoal pack also? Thank you
Take the carbon out and install your new filter sponge on the bottom. Keep running in that stack for about six weeks. Then consider if you want or need to replace the old sponge.
 
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