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How Often Should You Change Biological Filter Media

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How Often Should You Change An Aquarium Filter

Fluvals guide on when to change your aquarium filter media

Aquariums are aesthetically pleasing and also provide an artistic effect to the room.

The plants, the colorful fishes, and the décor have certain therapeutic benefits like reducing stress and lowering blood pressure and are known to make one calm.

However, all these benefits as well as the overall beauty of an aquarium cant truly be enjoyed if it isnt properly maintained.

An aquarium filter plays a major role in maintaining the health of your aquarium. It keeps the water clean, increases ventilation, and enhances the wellbeing of the inhabitants.

The filter has to be cleaned and changed in a timely manner. The pressing question here is how often should the aquarium filter be replaced?

If youre interested in answers to that question and more, read on to find out everything you need to know about changing an aquarium filter.

How Often Should You Rinse/change Filter Media And Wash Off Sponge Filters

Stump 2793104 said:Do not rinse your filter media with regular water … Hot or cold. It will kill the bacteria you are trying to keep.Either use tank water or conditioned water, it will preserve the bacteria and still rinse the “gunk” off.I fill a bucket with water, and as it’s filling I add water conditioner so it mixes. I then use that water to rinse my media.HTH

SimonL 3678231 said:You know, for such a giant fish, you think you’d want a bit of stunting…I’d advise having it smoke cigarettes from a young age as well

Can you wash sponge filters the same way?

Stump 2793104 said:Do not rinse your filter media with regular water … Hot or cold. It will kill the bacteria you are trying to keep.Either use tank water or conditioned water, it will preserve the bacteria and still rinse the “gunk” off.I fill a bucket with water, and as it’s filling I add water conditioner so it mixes. I then use that water to rinse my media.HTH

How Often Should Your Aquarium Filter Be Changed

Sometimes cleaning your aquarium filter might not be an option, meaningyou have to change it. Moreover, changing your filter on a regular basisensures your tank is clean, and your fish remain safe.

Having said that, how often you change a filter, as with cleaning, willdepend on the system you have.

Please note that what you need to change regularly is the filter media,and not so much the actual filter unit.

For a better perspective you may never need to change your chemicalfilter unit unless itâs falling apart, but you will need to change thefilter media, which in most cases is carbon.

With a sponge filter, a common media in mechanical/biological unit inthe fish keeping hobby, you can quite easily give it several rinses, asdescribed above, before you actually have to change it.

So, the more important question would then be, âwhen and how often doyou need to change your aquarium filter media?â

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Using Chemical Filter Media

A third stage of filtration that doesnt come as standard in filter boxes is chemical filtration, usually in the form of activated carbon . This can be added on top of the regular 2-stage filtration to help neutralise heavier organic pollutants that bio and mechanical media cannot remove from water.

Activated carbon can remove residue chlorine, pesticides, tannins , or even leftover medicines or treatments. If youre having issues with water clarity that bio-media is not able to remove, adding activated carbon to the filter box may help the issue. Activated carbon can also help prevent biological media from becoming so easily clogged by neutralising pollutants that would otherwise get stuck on the surface of your bio-media.

It only needs to be replaced every few months and requires no cleaning once added, so is a very low maintenance form of filtration.

Check here for more information on activated carbon and our recommended brand picks.

Does A Fish Tank Need A Filter

Fish Tank Filter Media Material Bio Ball Ring Aquarium Ceramic Pond ...

Most fish tanks require three different filters for the different kinds of filtration. The three types of filtration are biological, mechanical, and chemical.

  • Biological Filter. The purpose of the biological filter is to use microorganisms and bacteria to remove the waste that fish secrete. Fish waste contains ammonia, which is toxic to them and must be converted into less toxic particles by other organisms. Generally, a biological filter is needed to support life in a tank, even if you dont have another kind of filter.
  • Mechanical Filters. These filters are used to trap any solid materials floating in the tanks water. Items like uneaten fish food, dirt, leaves, and decomposing plants are the type of substances that a mechanical filter helps remove. They work by pushing water through a strainer-like filter that will catch the solid materials.
  • Chemical Filters. These filters remove other chemicals from the tank, including ammonia, dissolved organic matter, and metals. These filters use chemical resin or carbon to filter out chemicals. Typically, these are used for short-term issues. One example is using a chemical filter to filter out medicine after it is no longer needed.

As a responsible fish owner, you should be aware of these three filter types and able to use them appropriately.

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How Often Should I Change Filter Media


If I have more than one filter could I change the media in one filter regularly and the media in the other very infrequently? on my 125 I have two canisters and a HOB, I am planning to put a bunch of plants in the HOB but could I just change the media in one of the canisters a bunch?

If I have more than one filter could I change the media in one filter regularly and the media in the other very infrequently? on my 125 I have two canisters and a HOB, I am planning to put a bunch of plants in the HOB but could I just change the media in one of the canisters a bunch?

I have an Aquaclear 110, Penguin 350 and an Eheim Classic 2215. All filters use only what was originally included. Which media should be replaced and which media should need cleaning/rinsing only ?”

  • Your 40 gallon breeder has an Aquaclear 70 processing 300 GPH.
  • The typical target turnover rate for a HOB is 8x-10x tank turnover per hour. On a 40 gallon this would be 320-400 GPH. Therefore, the tank might be under-filtered depending on its stocking.
  • To improve the tank’s filtration, you would add more filtration – supplementing with another filter or replacing the Aquaclear 70 with a unit that has a higher processing rate.

adding DIY media to your filters

How Often Should You Change The Filter

When talking about changing the aquarium filter without losing bacteria, the change refers to the filter media used by your filtering system to trap particles of waste and debris.

Filter cartridges should be changed at least once a month. The frequency of filter changes will depend on a lot of things that are particular to your tanks set-up.

Apart from a monthly filter maintenance session, you should change filter media when the water flow becomes noticeably slower all of a sudden.

If you notice that your tanks filter seems to be under-performing, check to see if the filter media hasnt become clogged-up with waste/debris.

If the filter isnt performing better after changing filter media, you can assume the filtering system is malfunctioning, and its time to start looking for a replacement.

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Best Biological Filter Media: Your Fish Will Thank You

Almost all aquarium filters now come with at least three filtrations, including mechanical, chemical, and biological ones.

And the last one is exceptionally useful to create a stable and natural environment with beneficial bacteria for your fish. To be more specific, there is a filter media where those bacteria settle on and create colonies.

Useful as it is, however, the media should be replaced every three or six months at a minimum, depending on the water environment.

For that reason, you search for the best biological filter media and reach our post. Fortunately, you do not have to search any further. Here we discuss all you need to know about biological filter media.

Lets start!

How To Preserve Aquarium Filter Bacteria

When to Change Your Aquarium Filter Media

The first and most important thing to do is to only ever clean filter media in old tank water. To do this, syphon some water from the tank, using a gravel vacuum, into a bucket. Turn the filter off, remove the filter media and wash it in the old tank water. The filter sponge gets washed and physical debris is removed, but the live bacteria on that sponge is preserved. Flow is restored, and bacteria continue to do that very important job of nitrification.

Chlorine is added to tap water by water authorities to kill bacteria, so thats why media should never be cleaned under the tap, and tap water should always be treated before adding it to the aquarium.

If the sponge no longer springs back into the right shape it’s time for a new one. If the filter comes with just one sponge, cut it in half, replacing half of the old sponge with the new. Monitor water quality over the next few days to ensure that enough bacteria remained to continue to break down waste.

If the filter comes with two sponges then one whole sponge can be removed and discarded, and replaced with a brand new one. Enough good bacteria will remain on the old sponge and bacteria levels should remain high enough to prevent any issues.

A blocked sponge filter will decrease flow and oxygen in the filter, risking bacteria and fish, so it’s another good reason to clean and change it.

Activated Carbon can be removed or replaced at any time, as it doesnt work biologically.

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How Often And Much Do I Need To Change My Aquarium Water And Clean My Filter

A good general rule of thumb is ‘keep your water clean and your filter dirty’ and this is really the secret of successful fish keeping. Although good filtration will keep water crystal clear, it is important to remember that although clear, it may be full of the accumulated nitrates, phosphates, pheromones and other byproducts of daily life inside a fish tank. Properly carried out, a water change is always beneficial and if you follow a good regime of regular weekly 25% water changes your pets will prosper. Old water is great for fuelling algae growth and making your tank look tired as well as depressing the immune systems of your fish. Water change rates can be tailored to your stocking levels and feeding rates – messy fish such as large cichlids and goldfish thrive on large frequent changes, whereas Tanganyikan cichlids and reef tanks like smaller changes of around 10% at a time to ensure more stability.

Depending on various factors, a monthly rinse of filter media coinciding with that week’s water change might be the ideal basis for a regular maintenance regime.

How Often Should You Replace Filter Media

Showing 1 Answer

  • When water flows excessively from the Wonder Tube Chamber into the aquarium, it is time to change the Bio-Bag. The Bio-Bag should be changed once per month to prevent backflow and avoid filtration problems resulting from a clogged Bio-Bag.

    By on May 22, 2019


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Tips For Maintaining The Aquarium Filter Media

Now, we know that you need to be maintaining your aquarium filter media if you want your water to stay clean and healthy, but its not always easy to actually stay on top of it. Here are a few tips for maintaining the different types of filters that are out there.

In-Tank and Hang-On Filters Are the Easiest to Maintain

If you want to make life easy for yourself, in-tank and hang-on filters are the easiest to maintain. You can quickly remove the filter without disturbing the overall tank, so there is less planning that needs to go into the whole process.

Canister Filters Can Be Awkward

Many canister filters dont need to be replaced or cleaned as often as other types, but they can be a real pain to take apart and maintain. You are also more limited with the replacement options that you have when the time comes to put a new filter media in.

Undergravel Filters Are Harder to Reach

Undergravel filters are great for keeping a tidy-looking tank, but they are hard to get access to when you need to give them a clean or change the filter media. Fortunately, you will be vacuuming your gravel for basic maintenance every couple of weeks anyway, so this is the perfect time to clean or replace your filter.

Clean The Filter Housing Often

Whether youre cleaning the filter media itself or not, rinsing the housing that it lives in can really reduce the rate at which it clogs. You should be giving the filter housing a bit of a rinse, a wipe-down, or even a scrub, about once a month.

How Often Should You Change Your Aquarium Filter Media

Aquarium Filter Media Material Bio Ball Ring Aquarium Keramik Teich ...

Keeping your fish tank clean is not just important for the way that it looks its essential if you want your fish to be happy and healthy. With that in mind, how often should you change your aquarium filter media?

How often you should change your filter media depends on the type of filter that you have, the size of your tank, and the number of fish in it. You can clean and reuse a mechanical filter multiple times, but it will still need changing about every 3-6 months, whereas most chemical media should be replaced monthly. Most bio-media needs to be changed about twice a year.

Read ahead in this article to discover why the different types of filter media last for different lengths of time and when exactly you need to be ready to clean or change yours to keep your aquarium as fresh and safe as possible.


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Test Test And Test Fish Tanks Again

The golden rule with all aquariums and filters is to test the water regularly. Bacteria are too small for us to see so we cant tell whether they are present and doing their job properly or not. Aquarium water can also be gin clear but deadly to fish, so arm yourself with the four most important tests -pH, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate, and some ammonia remover, tap safe and bacteria for emergencies.

If you dont want to risk any unpleasant surprises in your aquarium water then you can also be made aware by way of an Ammonia Alert, or a Seneye.

What Are Ceramic Rings Used For In Your Aquarium

If you think back to the nitrogen cycle, you will remember just how important nitrifying bacteria are.

This beneficial bacteria removes ammonia and nitrites from your aquarium. These chemicals naturally build up inside your aquarium, and if the bacteria in your tank dont remove them, then your fish will eventually die. As you see, these beneficial bacteria are pretty important.

Well, these bacteria need a place to live. Ceramic rings offer the perfect home for the beneficial bacteria in your aquarium.

You see, beneficial bacteria need a surface to cling to. The more surface that is available, the more bacteria that your filter media can hold.

Ceramic rings increase their surface area through tiny little pores. These pores are so small that you can hardly see them without a microscope

Its in these pores that the beneficial bacteria make their home.

Important:beneficial bacteria that live in these rings

However, ceramic rings have an additional advantage over other types of filter media

Ceramic rings can hold a second beneficial bacteria:

Denitrifying bacteria.

These bacteria eat nitrates and will only survive where there is no oxygen present.

Denitrifying bacteria live deep inside rock, ceramic and other porous materials, where oxygen cannot reach them. You wont find this bacteria in plastic or foam filter media.

However, just because denitrifying bacteria help to combat nitrates, it doesnt mean that you can skip water changes.

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Leave The Old Filter In The Tank

If youre changing your tanks entire filtering system, you should definitely plan on keeping both the old and the new filtration systems in the aquarium until the colony of beneficial bacteria has time to settle in the new filter.

This set-up is temporary, easy to implement, and very efficient. Keep the old filter while running the new filtering system for 4 to 6 weeks, and youll be able to make the switch with virtually no bacteria loss.

It might not be the quickest way to change an aquarium filter without losing bacteria. Still, its definitely the least expensive method to use when switching to an entirely new filtration system.

How Often Should You Clean The Filter

Aquarium Filter Tips and Tricks! Start Saving Money Now!

Cleaning your tanks filter should be a multiphase process in order to avoid sending your tank into new tank syndrome, which can happen if you remove too much nitrifying bacteria.

Clean filter media in a container of siphoned old tank water, trying to only remove waste and debris.

Try to clean filtering media alternatively, without ever deep-cleaning a filtering system all at once.

You should perform this filter maintenance routine every 4 weeks in a cycled tank with a well-established culture of beneficial bacteria.

Cleaning aquarium filters too often can have a paradox effect, as your tanks water will get dirtier quicker due to the disturbance in the bacterial balance caused by the cleaning process itself.

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