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Penguin Users, Please Help.


Guest genx1972

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Guest genx1972

My 350 is awesome. It moves a lot of water in my 29g tank. However, I got it mid cycle and noticed it sucked up all the nitrite and nitrate for a while. as the the carbon filled, the levels came right back. Does marineland make a filter without carbon, or am I worrying too much about the future change disturbing my cycle? I know I don't need carbon right now. Should I just keep rinsing as usual and replace as needed?

Edited by genx1972
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I have the same set up as you and I agree, that filter is great for a 29/30 gallon tank. :) I don't think they make carbon-less cartridges, but what I have done, since there's two compartments is fill one side with filter bags full of ceramic media. The other side currently has the regular carbon cartridges but I plan on slowly switching that out with filter floss and additional ceramic media. You really don't need the carbon unless your trying to get medication out of the water. I only rinse out one of my cartridges at a time, per water change, or unless one gets clogged. Hope that helps.

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they actually make shells that can be used instead of the carbon filled filters. its just a plastic casing that you put your own filter floss in. i have three penguin 350's and i ordered my own shells and just use 100% polyester quilt batting (super cheap at w-mart) and put in it. the carbon really isnt necessary unless you're trying to draw medicines out of the water after running a treatment course. here's a pic of what i mean:

picture just the plastic shell part tho.

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Carbon will not bind nitrite or nitrate. It binds other inpurities, though. These, for the most part, stay bound. In general, though, I find no use for carbon in a tank on a regular basis. I would not hesitate to use the carbon to remove medications when I am done with them, but, once used, I get rid of the carbon.

AFter about 2 weeks, your carbon in that blue floss filter cartridge is almost assuredly "Full". It will serve no more purpose. If you have not had any meds or other really NASTY things in your tank, however, there is nothing that you have to worry about. You can simply leave that carbon in the cartridge for the duration of the cartridge's life. In fact, the carbon will become, to a degree, a nice platform for still more beneficial bacteria.

All in all, though, the blue floss cartridge is mostly a mechanical filter - it is not meant to serve as anything other than that. Build your platform for the beneficial bacteria in your clamshell media holder (the new 350s have those, right? They used to have baskets but I think they changed their design a bit) and in the biowheel.

If you do use the carbon to remove meds or some such, it is simple to get rid of it, keeping the cartridge. I suggest that you slit the bottom of the blue floss and bang the carbon out in the garbage. IF you slit the top, the floss will sag over time and decrease the useful life of the cartridge. I keep the blue floss until it literally falls off the frame in shreds. At every water change I bang it clean in a bucket of used fish water.

Do not worry too much about your cycle when replacing the cartridge - as I said before it is far easier to build a platform for the BB in the clamshell than it is on the floss or even the carbon. (And do not waste your money on a new cartridge every 2 weeks - you really have no need for that carbon. Keep the blue floss until it wears out!)

:)

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I have the same filter and do pretty much exactly what everyone else so far does, just a little varied.. I took two cartridges, as daryl said, and made a slit and emptied out the carbon... I place one on each side of the filter, along with an extra piece of floss. Then I fill mesh baggies (you can buy them at most pet stores real cheap) with Fluval Bio-Max. Mine doesn't have any sort of clamshell media holder.. I'm not quite sure what that it, but I just shove the baggies in behind the cartrige.. I think I have about 4 of them. I also sometimes will take the leftover cartridges I have from the Whisper Internal filters, empty out the carbon, and replace that will the Bio-Max.. And place that entire thing in the filter. I rinse them in old tank water when I am doing water changes, and will replace as it wears out.. After seeing so many people on here not use carbon I decided to do the same, and only keep it on hand for removing medications. The bio wheels really are excellent for retaining the BB's in my experience.. At one point (while there were no fish in the tank) I removed ALL filter media except for the bio-wheels and changed it out. This was because I wasn't really maintaining things properly before I came to this site and everything was nasty.. There wasn't even a bump. Granted, there were no fish in there, but I was still adding 2 ppm of ammonia daily and it was all gone in 24 hours... I am pretty happy with that filter.

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In many of my 400s, I have baggies shoved behind the blue cartridges. They hold more than those little clamshells. It is also easy to make a "clamshell". Take the blue floss off the cartridge when it is used up. The black plastic frame is great - I actually sew a mesh bag over it and drop in a bunch of ceramic media. A ready made net baggie would fit, too. You can even slit the TOP of the blue floss and drop a bunch of hard media into the cartridge, letting the blue floss hold it. The floss will, eventually, sag, however.

:)

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