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How Often Should I Change My Filter


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I have several questions about tank cleaning - I apologize ahead of time for my ignorance.

1) How often should I change my filter?

2) Also is the carbon insert the actual filter? I've had my 10gl tank set up for about 2 months and have been changing the carbon insert every 2-3 weeks. I haven't changed the white fiber pad (for all I know this is the filter)since I set up.

3) I do a water change every week, anywhere from 25-50% - I've been doing a deep vaccum each time (as opposed to simply going over the top) - is this okay or should I cut back on the vaccuming?

4) Is 1.5 - 2" of gravel in the bottom of my tank too much. If so, whats the best way of removing it. Small amounts over a period of time?

5) My common goldfish was haing an issue (I believe septicemia) and I went and bought some medication at the pet store. He's doing much better now, but I'm concerned that I may have really done something wrong. The guy at the pet store said that while I was medicating the tank, I needed to remove the carbon insert. I'm hoping this was information was the correct. I added the last packet of Marcel Two today; should I replace the carbon cartridge immediately?

Thanks for any feedback...

Caz

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1. Never change your filter unless it's clogged. if you do you kill your entire biological system and your tank's cycle crashes. Do you know about the cycle of the tank?

2. Yes there is and this is why many don't use these. They're honestly scams. You can get filter sponges and padding (like aquaclear sponges) and put them in your filter. Works a lot better. You do not need carbon except to remove medicine.

3. You should be doing a lot of vacuuming and large water changes. Is your tank cycled?

4. Yes small amounts over a period of time.

5. Do a large water change and remove all medication from the tank, I can guarantee you it isn't septicemia but rather poor water quality, (ammonia or nitrite if the tank isn't cycled) especially if it's a common goldfish in a 10 gallon tank. They need 20 gallons minimum each. :( Signs of ammonia poisoning are blood streaked fins, labored breathing, and ragged tails.

I would go about removing the medicine right now and no more medicine. They end up pushing sick fish over the edge as they are very harsh. How big is your fish and any chance for a picture? I really hope he feels better soon :heart And no question is silly, we want you to ask away, you're being a good fish mommy :D I hope we might be able to help you out even more.

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  • Regular Member

I have several questions about tank cleaning - I apologize ahead of time for my ignorance.

1) How often should I change my filter?

2) Also is the carbon insert the actual filter? I've had my 10gl tank set up for about 2 months and have been changing the carbon insert every 2-3 weeks. I haven't changed the white fiber pad (for all I know this is the filter)since I set up.

I'll answer these two questions together because they're related. You actually don't need to use the carbon in your filters. What you can do is just stuff the filter box full of ceramic rings, filter floss, and sponge. That will do a much better job because it will have a greater surface area for beneficial bacteria to live on. You do not ever need to replace these types of filter media, but you should swish them gently in a bucket of old tank water every-other tank cleaning or so. Carbon is mainly only used to absorb any odors or water discoloration. It's not really necessary and can actually be a pain, because after only a short while it stops absorbing things and begins to dump them back into the water. That's why it has to be changed so often. It's good that you have never changed the white filter part, and make sure you don't, because that is keeping your cycle stable.

3) I do a water change every week, anywhere from 25-50% - I've been doing a deep vaccum each time (as opposed to simply going over the top) - is this okay or should I cut back on the vaccuming?

4) Is 1.5 - 2" of gravel in the bottom of my tank too much. If so, whats the best way of removing it. Small amounts over a period of time?

I'll also answer these two questions together. Yes, the gravel should absolutely be cleaned very thoroughly every single week. The thing with gravel is that anaerobic (bad) bacteria thrive in anything deeper than 1/4 of an inch. These bacteria produce toxic gasses that collect under the gravel. So it has to be stirred up well each week to release these gasses before they build up too much. Secondly, the amount of gravel you have is too much. Since bad bacteria can live in anything deeper than 1/4 an inch, you should never have the gravel any deeper than that. Many people here don't use gravel at all (including myself) and those that do use it only have just enough to cover the bottom. To remove the gravel, you'll want to do it a little bit at a time so you don't disrupt the cycle. (Some beneficial bacteria can live in the gravel)

5) My common goldfish was haing an issue (I believe septicemia) and I went and bought some medication at the pet store. He's doing much better now, but I'm concerned that I may have really done something wrong. The guy at the pet store said that while I was medicating the tank, I needed to remove the carbon insert. I'm hoping this was information was the correct. I added the last packet of Marcel Two today; should I replace the carbon cartridge immediately?

The guy at the store was correct, the carbon removes the medication so it must be removed when medicating. However, red fins can be caused by many many things, and in most cases it is not actually septicemia. If you make a post in the 911 or Diagnosis and Discussion section we can help you figure out what the issue was. Red fins are almost always water quality related though. Do you have a test kit?

Thanks for any feedback...

Caz

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Thank you for all of the great information. Unfortunately, I didn't find Koko's until after my goldfish got sick and I had already begun "treating" him. I had done much research on goldfish care and came up with alot of conflicting information; it seems that I've made alot of mistakes. SO....

~I will order a new tank today. I'm trying to decide on the size. I know that the larger the tank the better. Do goldfish need/want companionship? I've read that they are fine alone, but I just wanted to check. If I were to have two common would I need a minimum of a 40gl aquarium? Would 40gl be sufficient long term?

~Until I get the new tank and get it ready should I do more frequent water changes? Everyday, every other day? I'll begin removing handfuls of gravel when I'm doing water changes. Is it okay to remove 1 handful at each water change even if I'm doing water changes everday/or every other day? I will also follow your advice on using sponge, ceramic rings, and filter floss instead of the carbon inserts.

~I ordered a test kit a few days ago and it should be here anytime.

~I guess that my tank isn't cycled because I dont know how to do that. I set up the tank per the instructions that came with it which was to simply get everything up and running and allow the water to sit for 24 hours before adding any fish. I did add a dechlorinator. I'll look at some of the Cycling topics in this forum so I can figure out how to get my new tank started correctly.

Thanks again!

Caz

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Thank you for all of the great information. Unfortunately, I didn't find Koko's until after my goldfish got sick and I had already begun "treating" him. I had done much research on goldfish care and came up with alot of conflicting information; it seems that I've made alot of mistakes. SO....

~I will order a new tank today. I'm trying to decide on the size. I know that the larger the tank the better. Do goldfish need/want companionship? I've read that they are fine alone, but I just wanted to check. If I were to have two common would I need a minimum of a 40gl aquarium? Would 40gl be sufficient long term?

~Until I get the new tank and get it ready should I do more frequent water changes? Everyday, every other day? I'll begin removing handfuls of gravel when I'm doing water changes. Is it okay to remove 1 handful at each water change even if I'm doing water changes everday/or every other day? I will also follow your advice on using sponge, ceramic rings, and filter floss instead of the carbon inserts.

~I ordered a test kit a few days ago and it should be here anytime.

~I guess that my tank isn't cycled because I dont know how to do that. I set up the tank per the instructions that came with it which was to simply get everything up and running and allow the water to sit for 24 hours before adding any fish. I did add a dechlorinator. I'll look at some of the Cycling topics in this forum so I can figure out how to get my new tank started correctly.

Thanks again!

Caz

You have done such a great job!

Yes, a 40 gallon would be the very smallest tank you could get away with for two single tailed goldfish. I would suggest that a 55 gallon tank would be a much better habitat for them long-term though. This should allow them a bit more space to stretch their fins, since single tails get quite large! Goldfish can do just fine alone, but I do think most of them enjoy companionship. If you do get a second fish, just make sure you quarantine it properly before adding it to your main tank with your other fish. Basic QT procedure lasts 4 weeks, and involves treatment with aquarium salt and prazi. It's not difficult; the only hard part is the wait! I know I'm always anxious to add the new fish to the main tank right away, but patience is super important with this.

Yes, you could remove one handful of gravel with each daily water change. Since you don't have a test kit right now and don't know how the tank is doing as far as ammonia and nitrite, then I would recommend at least doing one 50% water change every-other day or every few days. If the fish sits on the bottom or shows any other signs of stress, increase the frequency of the water changes.

Probably your tank has begun cycling. All aquariums do this eventually, even if the aquarium maintainer doesn't know it! It's the natural process in which beneficial bacteria convert waste products (ammonia) into nitrite, and then into nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite are very toxic, but nitrate is less toxic. Nitrate is only removed from the aquarium by regular water changes (but some can be removed by live plants). That's why a weekly 50% water change is so important for goldfish, because they are big waste-producers and nitrate builds up quickly. So your tank has probably at least begun the cycling process, but since you don't have the test kit yet it's hard to say how far along it is. Since it's been set up for 2 months I would guess that it's complete or almost complete. But it's better safe than sorry, so until you get your test kit, I'd keep up with the every-other day water changes. Extra water changes won't hurt anything :)

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You can get a 29/30 gallon if you don't add a fish. No goldfish don't need company but they do like it. If you do get company I would resuggest a 55 or bigger. Go no gravel this time.

Good luck

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