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I Am A Bit Confused.


Guest MrMatt

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Guest MrMatt

I have a Whisper Power Filter 60. Click on the link below to see.

http://www.tetra-fish.com/catalog/product.aspx?id=279

Firstly, After reading a lot of post on filtration as to how and go about changing the filters, I'm a little confused. My power filter houses a bag, full of carbon that fits down inside a slot. Just in front of that is a very porous sponge. Which one of these is the filter for housing the beneficial bacteria. I am thinking it is the one filled with carbon and if that is so, when I change that filter with new ones isn't that getting rid of the beneficial bacteria? How often should this be changed and how? Should this one be cleaned every so often instead of being replaced? And if so, How do I accomlish this correctly.

Secondly, what is the purpose of the porous sponge that sits in front of the bag full of carbon? What is it filtering? It seems to me that nothing could get to it since the water passing through the first filter is catching everything. Should this one also be cleaned or changed?

Lastly, and the one I am most confused about the most is sponge filtration. I have been reading about sponge filtration. How can I accomplish this with my setup? Do I cut sponges up and put them before the bag of carbon inside the housing? Or should I cut round elongated sponges and put them inside my intake tube or possibly one that fits around the outside of my intake tube? Do I need to do this for extra benefit? the reason I ask is beacuse I read this:

"Combine a sponge with your filtration unit. Box and Power filters don't support biological filtration as naturally as other filtration types. One way of enhancing them is to add sponges, which will provide more space for the beneficial bacteria to grow. Round or square sponges are made to fit the intake tubes of a power filer, or attach to an airline. Small star shaped sponges are made for placing inside the box, and do an excellent job of supporting biological filtration. You should be able to find both of these at a pet shop. Remember... these will need to be cleaned from time to time."

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From what I see, the cartridge with the carbon inside of it is the mechanical and chemical filtration part of the filter. The bag will mechanically filter out any large detrius and debris that flows though. The carbon, for a time, will chemically bind various substances that is in the water. The best way to describe the way the carbon works is to say the it has many openings in it that will attach to other chemicals and substances. When all the openings are filled, though, the carbon ceases to do any good as far as chemical filtration. This time is usually about 2 weeks in most tanks. That is why, if you want the carbon to work for you, you would change out the cartridge.

Many people do not use carbon in their filters. I use it only when removing medications or such - not as a standard addition. There is some thought that the carbon, once it has bound the "bad" water inclusions, that it can leach them back into the water, and should be removed. I have several opinions on this, but in general, I just leave the carbon that comes in my cartridges alone. IF I have used it to remove medications, then I discard it. After it is "full", it still provids miles of surface area for the beneficial bacteria to colonize, making it a valuable asset to the filter. I do not replace my cartridges until the floss or bag is so worn and shaggy that it is falling apart. I bang and thump them roundly in a bucket of used fish water at each water change and this cleans them well.

The major part of the biological filtration in that filter comes from the sponge you see. The sponge is simply a platform for the beneficial bacteria to colonize. It contains miles and miles of surface area for the bacteria to stick on. You will occasionally need to squeeze the sponge out in used fish water, but you should not have to replace it.

What it appears they are talking about in the quote you have posted is addtional or replacement types of sponges - similar to bio-balls. They are small star shaped sponge pieces that work in the same fashion as the larger sponge - they provide miles of surface area for the bacteria to colonize. I love extra media and use every opportunity to add more to my filters. If some extra sponge media will fit in your filter, that is always a plus.

Does that help a bit?

:)

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Guest MrMatt

Hi Daryl

That helps a lot. A few questions though.

1. Basically what you are saying is to change the carbon in the floss but to keep the floss and just clean it by banging it around in a bucket of used fish water, right?

2. You said you only use carbon to remove medications but then you said you just leave the carbon that comes in the cartridges alone. Should I use carbon in the cartridge or something else? Do you use something else?

3. I don't think I can put any more media in my housing itself due to lack of space. Would it be ok to cut some sponges down and put them in the intake tube of my power filter? Will this hinder water flow? If I can put some more sponges in the housing part where do I place them, in front of the other sponge cartridge, in between the sponge cartridge and carbon bag or before both filter cartridges? Also, do you know where I can get these type of sponges?

Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it. :thanks

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In a cartridge that contains carbon, I usually just leave the carbon in. It will "fill up" and be generally rendered useless in about 2 weeks. Unless you are planning on using a medication or need the carbon to remove the medication, you can simply just leave the carbon in there for the life of the cartridge. I really bang and shake and rub the cartridges in used fish water to clean the mulm off them every time I change the water. In a healthy tank the carbon really serves no purpose. I ignore the carbon pieces for they simply act as a bio-platform for the beneficial bacteria.

If you wish to medicate a tank, you can slit the cartridge's floss across the top and shake all the carbon pieces into the garbage. The cartridge will continue to filter large debris but will not adversely affect your medication's effectiveness. When you are done medicating, you can drop some fresh carbon into the cartridge for a day or two to remove the meds, then shake it out into the garbage to rid the tank of any meds.

I am not sure where you can get these sponges, but I expect that the places that sell the filters would be happy to sell you additional parts and cartridges. If you stuff more sponge pieces up into the tubes, though, I would think you would dramatically reduce the gph of the filter. This would be bad and I think would negate any added value you might get from the added bio-base.

I think that if your filter does not easily lend itself to additional sponges, then simply go with the one you have. It should have tons of surface area for the bacteria to utilize.

If you were to put in more sponges, and actually had a choice as to where to place them, it is usually better to place your biomedia platforms after the part of the filter that removes the majority of the large waste. This prevents too much large waste particle from clogging up the sponge. For the beneficial bacteria to act efficiently, they need water flow and oxygen - they combine the oxygen with the ammonia and the resulting nitrite to transform the fish waste into nitrates. You do not want to reduce the water flow or the oxygen penetration.

:)

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Guest MrMatt

Thanks Daryl! You have been extremely helpful to me. I am going to follow your advice. I hope to talk to you again in the future. :D

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