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So. I am new at this and ended up in the shrimp hobby organically and not completely by intention. BUT that is a long story. I like and am attached to them now. I now know what I need to do for a shrimp specific tank, when I have money for my birthday... for now, I have a 3.5 gallon tank that came with it’s on carbon filtration system. My shrimp are doing well. The tank is cycled... 0 ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites and Nitrates range from 0-10. The increase in nitrates from 5-10 occurred this week. In any case, I do weekly 10% water changes. I know they say not to run a carbon filter longer than a month. This one has been running for 2 months, and I have rinsed it in aquarium water when doing water changes at least twice...in the bucket of course. I don’t have the equipment to do anything complicated... when and how do I replace the filter w/o losing my bacteria or cycle. Thanks for your time and assistance.
 

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If it were me I would cut open the carbon filter, throw the carbon chips in the trash and place the sleeve that held the carbon in the filter with the sponge you are going to be using (or whatever filter media you wish to use). You can reuse filter media until it's falling apart, there's not really a shelf life on it, but carbon chips lose their effect pretty quickly. They won't harm anything though.
 

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75g, 33L, 2g and play tanks
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Just change them out. Buy the replacements and change it? Most carbon filters just need to be changed. With shrimp they should be fine with the new changes. Just rinse the new carbon well so it's not running off particles anymore. I don't really do weekly water changes on my shrimp tanks. I just do it when I can't remember how long it's been, so usually every 3-4 weeks, though I keep it topped off. Also, there should be plenty of BB (Beneficial Bacteria) in the tank to get the filter going again with the BB. Unless you have like 30+ full grown shrimp in your 3.5. But even then you should be okay.

I use just a sponge filter and I don't clean it at all. They shrimp take care of that. I know that, yes, I will have to eventually, but there is no sign of having to any time soon.
 
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