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Maschka1

What is this black stuff in my ceramic biofilter?

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Hey Everyone,

I realized I had missed my last scheduled carbon change in my fluval canister filter, so I pulled it out, this morning to take care of it. When I opened up the filter it was extra nasty (I feel really bad about that) but what struck me as strange was that my bio filter media looked really weird. So, on the bottom layer of the fluval I have those round ceramic pieces and mixed in with them are all these small, round, black balls. I can crush them in my fingers and they are kind of chalky or similar to peat. I don't recall adding any media that looks like this (although it is possible that I did and don't remember). Any Idea what this is? Is there a bio filter media that looks like this and I am just being an idiot and don't remember? or is there something strange growing in my filter?

IMG_5798_zps2965a553.jpg

Thanks for your help!

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By any chance, was your carbon in a bag and it may have opened? It seems that that may have happened.

Edited by teleSC

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^ I was going to ask if you might have carbon in your filter as well..... not sure that's what it is, but it's the only logical explanation I can think of

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Thanks guys. I do have carbon, but it looks nothing like this. The carbon is square and jagged and no where near as soft as this stuff. I originally thought it was carbon too. I am so confused.

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Whatever it is, if it's not something you put in the canister, then it needs to be removed ASAP. I will search around as well to see what it could be. It's very strange.

:o

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Whatever it is, if it's not something you put in the canister, then it needs to be removed ASAP. I will search around as well to see what it could be. It's very strange.

:o

Ya, I wanted to see if anyone had any ideas because my Google search is turning up with nothing. (except those plastic black balls for filtration- which is not helpful). I guess I am off to the fish store to buy some new media to stick in there. I just hate changing it out now because i just messed with my substrate and rearranged the tank and re-planted, etc. I hope I don't mess up my biological filtration too much. :no:

Ugh! Fish tanks! they are never ending sources of amusement and head ache. lol

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Good luck finding some other media :)

Do you have bio max? Many of us recommend bio max because of the amount of beneficial bacteria it can hold.

Edited by teleSC

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Good luck finding some other media :)

Do you have bio max? Many of us recommend bio max because of the amount of beneficial bacteria it can hold.

The white ceramic media she has in the filter is equivalent to biomax :) just a different brand.

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Good luck finding some other media :)

Do you have bio max? Many of us recommend bio max because of the amount of beneficial bacteria it can hold.

The white ceramic media she has in the filter is equivalent to biomax :) just a different brand.

Ooh, I never knew that :)

Edited by teleSC

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Can you list all the stuff you had in this filter :)

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Ya, that white ceramic stuff is Fluval Biomax, although I did mix in a little I had in a "sample" from another brand (they are almost Identical, though). Then I also have a "layer" of carbon/ammo-chips (cheap petsmart brand that comes pre-mixed), sponges, and polishing pads. Nothing that would make little round black things, like that. I will admit it has been 2 months since I have taken it apart to change the carbon, but I am completely baffled.

I picked up so api Bio-Chem stars. They said they have 3x's the pore volume for colonization then the ceramic rings. Has anyone ever tried these?

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Im thinking it was the carbon/ammo-chips that the carbon part went funky on you..... Either way you dont and shouldnt use them anyway... if your tank is cycled or even trying to cycle the ammonia needs to be consumed by the tank. If you use this stuff your basically inhibiting the cycle and causing a false ammonia use... :(

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Oh...I have not really kept up too well with some of the "new" technology. I remember when carbon was THE filter media. So are you saying no carbon or no ammo chips? I dont think there is much ammo chips in the mix, but I have been using them in this tank for over 10 years. I have been hurting my tank? shoot! So what would you suggest in place of that?

Also, the black balls really had no resemblance to my carbon. Maybe they turned black from it, but I am not sure how it turned into round black balls. It really reminded me of Peat, only black instead of brown. When I cleaned it out I couldnt think about what it might be. eewwwww!

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Oh...I have not really kept up too well with some of the "new" technology. I remember when carbon was THE filter media. So are you saying no carbon or no ammo chips? I dont think there is much ammo chips in the mix, but I have been using them in this tank for over 10 years. I have been hurting my tank? shoot! So what would you suggest in place of that?

Also, the black balls really had no resemblance to my carbon. Maybe they turned black from it, but I am not sure how it turned into round black balls. It really reminded me of Peat, only black instead of brown. When I cleaned it out I couldnt think about what it might be. eewwwww!

The potential issue with ammo chips is that your cycle needs the ammonia produced by the fish. The ammo chips (if they work the way they say they do) can actually starve your cycle by eating up ammonia that your beneficial bacteria need.

In an appropriately stocked (15-20 gallons per fish), cycled, well maintained (weekly water changes) tank there should be no need for ammonia reducing agents, as your cycle will do that job for you. Ultimately it's just an added unecessary cost.

Similarly, most here do not use carbon - it is just not necessary in most goldfish tanks. It can be good to have some around for clearing medications from the water etc. But similar to ammonia reducing products, it's just another unnecessary cost.

Extra biomedia and/or filter padding are good things to replace the carbon/ammonia chips with. Instead of a bag of carbon I keep an extra bag of ceramic media and a couple extra filter pads in my filter.

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Basicly all you need in a filter is two kinds of filter floss. I like a sponge like material and then filter floss it self a corse one and then a finer kind to pick up the small particles.. then Bio Balls.

you dont need to add anything else into a filter system :) Less is more, letting the natural BB's do there thing :)

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